Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nulla Salus Extra Christus!!

Of late, Pope Benedict XVI has made a couple of interesting decrees. The one on the Latin mass is interesting in and of itself, but the latest decree is one affirming St. Cyprian's Dictum "Nulla Salus Extra Ecclesiam" (No Salvation outside the church). Actually it's not so much a decree as it is a restatement of what has already been said and understood as official Roman Doctrine.

Having said that, what is most interesting about this is how The Pope makes a move concerning both Easter Orthodox Churches and Protestant Churches. In Reaffirming his document, "Dominus Iesus" and over and against what the 5th Lateran Council said (and Cyprian), he calls the Eastern Orthodox Churches "defective", a point that has never been made as far as I can find. He then lumps every other church body into one box, calling them "ecclesial communities". In that particular box he lumps all reformational churches as well. He has stated in the past that Protestant Theology is "gravely Deficient", and called Protestant churches "not true churches", and reaffirms these notions firmly.

What I'd like to do is show to both my Lutheran Brethren and any modern evangelical what it is that Rome still holds to. From the Council of Trent...


But though it is necessary to believe that sins neither are remitted nor ever have been remitted except gratuitously by divine mercy for Christ's sake, yet it must not be said that sins are forgiven or have been forgiven to anyone who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins,[47] resting on that alone, though among heretics and schismatics this vain and ungodly confidence may be and in our troubled times indeed is found and preached with untiring fury against the Catholic Church. Moreover, it must not be maintained, that they who are truly justified must needs, without any doubt whatever, convince themselves that they are justified, and that no one is absolved from sins and justified except he that believes with certainty that he is absolved and justified,[48] and that absolution and justification are effected by this faith alone, as if he who does not believe this, doubts the promises of God and the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ. For as no pious person ought to doubt the mercy of God, the merit of Christ and the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, so each one, when he considers himself and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension concerning his own grace, since no one can know with the certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.

Stunning... Absolutely stunning. The heretics are us, my friends. Because we believe, teach and confess that Salvation is by Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria, and reserve no credit for ourselves whatsoever, Rome considers us anathema. In this, Rome's Tridentine Catholic teaching tells us that no one should ever say nor believe that they are saved. This is a weird type of Pietism that robs the believer of any kind of comfort in this life. Even more so...


But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one should use that rash statement, once forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God does not command impossibilities, but by commanding admonishes thee to do what thou canst and to pray for what thou canst not, and aids thee that thou mayest be able.

Rome would have us be, at the very least, Semi-Pelagians. Note that Pelagius' teachings began because he believed that God would not nor could not command of anyone something that is impossible. "For God does not command impossibilities" Rome says. Pelagius said that same thing.

Grace alone? Rome will affirm this one, though grudgingly. Their doctrines of prevenient grace teach that it's God's grace alone that saves. But look...

Canon 11. If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost,[116] and remains in them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.

Rome teaches that grace is something more than God's good will. It's understood that grace is a substance that is literally poured into us. Note also that those of us that understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, and that sole imputation alone is all that is needed for justification, are condemned.

Let's witness Rome now condemn the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Canon 12. If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy,[117] which remits sins for Christ's sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be anathema.

I deliberately refrained from bringing scripture in until now because I was interested in making people think about what they believe as opposed to what Rome teaches. But right now, I'm going to let St. Paul talk to this particular Canon...

Eph 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

Gal 2:16-17 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!

Ro 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

Indeed, Jesus tells us this...

Lk 18:10-14 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Again, Because we believe, teach and confess that Salvation is by Sola Gratia (Grace alone), Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Solus Christus (for Christ's sake Alone), Soli Deo Gloria (For the Glory of God alone), and reserve no credit for ourselves whatsoever, Rome considers us anathema.

Nulla Salus Extra Christum.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Lutheran Church makes a Christian Difference

After a month long break from High Places, I'm back and announcing the blogsite is completed for our Church's Podcast, The Lutheran Difference. Four People enter, only one leaves... No, I'm only kidding. The show is a discussion of Lutheran Theology in light of today's modern evangelicalism.

It's been a blast working on this. I'll be posting here again as well as at the show's blog. When you go to the site, you'll find you can listen right from the site, download the show as an mp3, subscribe to the show in RSS and iTunes, as well as find out about future programs and find programs you missed in the archives.

Surf on over to listen to the show. I have a meeting later today with the participants to plan for more programs and such.

the big test

Since someone, somewhere, has seen fit to deprive the world of Issues etc and take a huge bite out of confessional Lutheranism at the same time, I will not take up the mantle of working to see that those who did it answer for their actions.
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