tisdag 9 januari 2018

Restorationism is Consistent Protestantism

Or in other words, mainstream Protestantism is Restorationism with inconsistencies. It is also sth else with inconsistencies.

Here is my source for what the word Restorationism means:

What is Restorationism?
on got?questions

Here is the definition:

“Restorationism” refers to a group of unaffiliated 19th-century movements from within Christianity based upon the premise that the true faith and practice of the church had been lost due to apostasy and that the church needed to be restored to its New Testament model.

Well, how exactly does this differ from Protestantism?

Reformers were accusing the Catholic Church of being an Apostate Sect.

That is what "Babylonian Captivity of the Church" and identifying Papacy over several centuries as the Antichrist was about. No wonder these early Protestant positions are very popular with Restorationist "Churches." Most sites now presenting Newton's famous or infamous reading of the 1260 days as chronologically 1260 years that I know of are 7th Day Adventist ones.

Here is a further discussion of what it means:

While all these groups teach widely divergent theologies, and while some restorationist groups are considered cults (Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses) with other groups being considered valid Christian movements (the Restoration Movement), they have in common the notion that true Christianity had died out many years ago and it needed to be restored to its original New Testament form. Some of these groups believe they alone are the embodiment of true Christianity, some going so far as to teach that all other groups, including mainline Protestant denominations, are not really Christians at all, having lost their way over the centuries to complete apostasy. They are convinced that the drift from Christian principles is so extreme as to render the church irredeemable, and, therefore, it must be completely rebuilt. Denying that past historical patterns have any validity at all, they are free to embrace what they understand to be pure biblical truth as revealed to the apostles.

Well, the thing is, if the Church found by Protestant Reformers was not "irredeemable", why was it so important to them to leave it? Which, after some time of Luther shilly-shallying, they did. With violence about pre-existing Church buildings, which Catholics wanted to keep as they were and Protestants wanted to demolish the interior of, as a consequence.

How much is this "mainstream Protestant" site ready to concede to Restorationism?

Certainly, there have been abuses and misuses of the Word of God down through the years by churches claiming to speak for Christ. One has only to look at the Roman Catholic doctrines of purgatory, prayer to Mary, and the veneration of saints—all of which are completely unscriptural—to agree that, in some cases at least, church tradition has superseded the Bible as authority.

Now, the man writing claims these are "completely unscriptural", a charge which doctrine for doctrine I have answered elsewhere.

If a Church claiming to be that of God has doctrines which are "completely unscriptural", I take this means not just not directly in the Bible but against the Bible, how can it be the Church of God?

Perhaps if such a doctrine is optional. From Pius XII to recently, "Adam's body evolved from primates, but his soul was created immediately by God and so was Eve, from his rib" has been considered optional, a valid option for Catholics wanting to accomodate Evolution.

A diocese which in 1947 or 1950 agreed on this would not automatically become a diocese outside the Church of Christ, since, while this doctrine was strictly unscriptural (a point which Pius XII refused to decide, leaving it for future discussion, like Pilate "washing his hands", nearly), the diocese in Paris in 1947 or some diocese in US or UK on 1950 were not pretending to outlaw the traditional doctrine, both Biblical and Patristic.

I would say, this is true even if the situation has gone on longer. Since at least 1820, Heliocentrism is considered optional. But Geocentrism was not outlawed. The Geocentric Father Anfossi was told he could not condemn the physics book by Settele, but he was not told he had to become a Heliocentric himself.

Also in 1893, Pope Leo XIII was vaguely (without direct mention of the point) commending as optional the Heliocentric view, with an exegesis of "phenomenal language" for Geocentric passages. Note, optional. Or actually, it is saying some phenomenal language does occur, but not specifying if Geocentric expressions are part of that case. Therefore, Heliocentrism is optional. Any theoretical diocese (I have no historic knowledge of a factual one, with certainty) which treated this solution as obliging the faithful to abandon the Biblical and Geocentric world view was at least wrong, and by itself would have been automatically excommunicated : for schism, because arrogating to itself the right to declare illicit what had been lawful before and at times even obliging, when the Pope himself had not declared it illicit, and for heresy, because the doctrinne is in fact unbiblical, and by making it obligatory, they are not excusing individual adherents from the sin of heresy, but falling themselves into that, bishop and clergy along with laymen. It could only have survived as a Catholic Diocese by the Pope excusing the bishop as an overenthusiastic reader of Providentissimus Deus 18 on some few sentences:

To understand how just is the rule here formulated we must remember, first, that the sacred writers, or to speak more accurately, the Holy Ghost "Who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation."(53) Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers-as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us - `went by what sensibly appeared,"(54) or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to.

Some other sentences make inerrantism exceedingly clear as non-optional, like it has always been.

And that Pope so excusing the bishop remaining Catholic (true of at least Leo XIII, St Pius X, most probably Benedict XV and again certainly Pius XI) as deciding to leave corrections or real decisions for later, when things clear up. And that Pope remaining Catholic also holding the diocese to be Catholic. Just as a King*, representing God's justice on earth, can decide that a murder is not executed, (especially while deciding a bit more if it was murder of self defense) a Pope, representing the Faith and Grace on Earth, can decide that someone not materially orthodox is nevertheless not cut off from grace for heresy.

Is it necessary for the Pope to explicitly have at least in pectore have considered Geocentrism as true and in fact obliging? I think a Pope could also be excused, as long as Heliocentrism remained optional to him.

So, the Catholic Church can remain Catholic, if that is the right Church, as long as unbiblical doctrines like Heliocentrism and Evolution remain optional. If however a diocese starts treating these errors as dogma and the truths as heresy, even the Pope has no power to declare such spiritual tyranny to be acts of a bishop ruling in the Catholic Church over a diocese. A Pope not excommunicating such a diocese would fail in his duties, as lamentably as Honorius I when it came to Monotelethism.

Now, what does this principle mean for the claim of "got questions"?

Supposing "the Roman Catholic doctrines of purgatory, prayer to Mary, and the veneration of saints" had been un-Biblical, the Roman Catholic Church could only have remained the or a Church of Christ by leaving these doctrines as optional.

But in fact it did not.

It was liturgically confessing these doctrines, and therefore obliging anyone participating in the liturgy to "confess with his mouth" these points. Not just since this or that more or less recent Council claimed as Ecumenical, but by the constant liturgic practise. August 15 was a Holiday of Obligation** and each diocese was obliging all faithful not having a particular excuse to be in Church, as on a Sunday, even if it was not a Sunday, because Assumption of Our Lady was kind of equivalent to a Sunday. Attending in Church on that day automatically implied you were accepting the Mariological content of the feast. Or, the Protestants would have it, the "Mariolatrous content".

The feast is older even than the Schism between East and West, in the East it is called Dormition of Our Lady and it is held she did not remain in the grave. She was taken to Heaven and is its Queen, just as Her Son is Heaven's King.

If you don't believe that, you have no business being in Church on August 15, and ALL Catholic dioceses, as well as ALL Orthodox, as well as ALL Coptic and Armenian and as well as ALL Nestorian ones required you to be in Church that day.

Fact checking for Nestorians, first attempt:

Confessional Gadfly : Are You a Nestorian?
Rev. Eric J Brown | Monday, August 16, 2010

"Over at his blog, Rev. Mason Beecroft posts his sermon from yesterday in which he laments that the LCMS calls August 15th "Mary, Mother of our Lord" instead of "Mary, Mother of God." (Okay, he rails)."

(Mason Beecroft's blog is private, that is why I cite the post citing it)

In fact, not a good fact check, since LCMS is Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore or Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. While considered by some fellow Lutheran as Nestorianising, it is not the communion going back to Nestorius.

Here is a better fact check:

Tuesday August 15th, 6:00pm

Tuesdays are not Sundays.

And here is a liturgic text***:


In the plan of your wisdom
she who bore the Christ in her womb
was raised body and soul in glory to be with him in heaven.

Note, of the Pre-Protestant Churches, Nestorians are furthest away from Roman Catholics. They too believe she remained virgin, and, what Lutherans and Anglicans and Calvinists usually don't do, that she was lifted to Heaven.

If you don't believe that, for centuries you had no diocese to go to and worship with.

A Nestorian Church will consider you as a sinner and as an apostate if you consistently don't go to Church on August 15. Precisely as a Catholic and an Orthodox Church will. On the other hand, if you believe this doctrine is unbiblical, you are committing hypocrisy or even apostasy in your own eyes if you go to Church on August 15 (unless it's a Sunday).

So, a Calvinist not believing this would have to ultimately choose between Restorationism or Catholicism (of some sort, ranging from Roman to Nestorian).

How does "got questions" deal with this?

Of course, parts of the church have apostatized, but there has always been a remnant of the faithful preserved by God for His purposes.

Either believing Our Lady is with Christ in Heaven, body and soul - and this imples she is Queen there, since in Judah the queens were mothers of the King - is not apostasy or it is. If it is not apostasy, "Mariolatry" is no reason to leave the Catholic Church. If it is, the "remnant of the faithful" was an invisible one. Or has since become so to us.

And, as said elsewhere, an invisible remnant is un-Biblical. Whether the rock in Matthew 16 is Christ or St Peter or both, it is clear the Church is built on a rock. One way of looking at it is, the Church is a city built on a Hill.

One cannot have centuries through which a City built on a Hill is hidden behind a city built around a swamp (on seven hills or not). Not even hidden in retrospect.

All attempts to identify this faithful remnant for centuries like the Vth Century AD or VII C. AD have failed - obviously for those thinking the great mass of Catholics back then were apostates. A Catholic need not identify "a remnant" for those centuries, since identifying those centuries as not being the ones after the Great Apostasy, not being the ones in which the true Church is reduced to a remnant.

Note how very different Pope Michael's claim is from the restorationist one. He is Young Earth Creationist and Geocentric and can point to recent decades in which the positions were at least licit.

A Restorationist like Calvin could not point to recent decades in which Catholic dioceses had not been obliging the faithful to August 15.

Now, the mainstream Protestant position of "got questions" is inconsistent.

In 1400, apparently, one could in most places (those not obliged by presence of Hussites or Culdees) celebrate August 15, believing or confessing belief like a Catholic. But in 1600 you were somehow obliged (at least unless stranded among Spaniards) not to do so, on pain of being an apostate.

On the other hand, if in 1600 you were stranded among Spaniards, you would still, on this view, be obliged to confess your horror of "mariolatry" since maintaining silence and pretending too much to acquiesce (like going to Church on August 15°) you would be

In fact, criteria for apostasy can change through Church discipline. Each new council of the Church adds to the criteria. This is why we don't quite consider the Nestorians as Christians, when refusing Her the honour of Mother of God. Ephesus I, 431 AD. I have heard, Nestorius himself accepted the verdict, resigned as Patriarch and went into a monastery, from which he only emerged again after Chalcedon, 20 years later, after 20 years of penitential silence. He considered, after what I heard, Chalcedonian formula is what he meant.

But an act like the Reformation - not involving higher clergy, usually, not pointing back to recent decades of admitted orthodoxy or at worst optionality of heterodox position - is not a licit means for changing the criteria of what is Christian faith, either true or at least possible, and what is apostasy and known to be so.

The Protestants were doing it anyway, because, at heart, they were Restorationists, in the above meaning of the word.

And that meaning is clearly at variance with Matthew 28, as said elsewhere.

Now, the reason Protestants backed down from Restorationism very quickly is, the Catholics pointed out the absurdity and they needed to admit it. Any Lutheran, Calvinist or Anglican today is heir of the admission made in the debates from back then that pure Restorationism is wrong.

So, mainstream Protestantism became inconsistently Restorationist. Catholicism remained consistently, I will not say "anti-restorationist", because that is not the substance, only the comparison, but I will say it remained consistently "Continuationist". The Church of God which was present in Jerusalem when St Stephen was martyred is exactly the same which was present in many places in 1400 and some fewer ones in Europe due to Reformation, but more ones overseas, thanks to Columbus and Cortez and a few more, in 1600 and which required you to participate in the liturgy of August 15.

What is the other thing which mainstream Protestantism was also inconsistently?

The other thing is "Ecclesio-Imperfectionist". Admitting a position of the Church presented as obligatory can in fact be all the time and later also recognised as being damnable. However, for this to be consistent, you need to admit you must be in a Church even if it has a damnable doctrine. But for this to be consistent, you need to say the Reformation was as such a mistake - obviously not one making it wrong to be Lutheran, since the damnable doctrine of the Reformation being necessary did not disoblige people in Lutheran countries from being in a Church.

Since this, the doctrine of "Ecclesio-Imperfectionism"°° has been more purely distilled in the originally Protestant movement of Ecumenism. It is also apparent in the changes due to Vatican II (which is one reason for a Catholic to stand apart from that establishment, and probably also the council texts as such). In other words, the largest "Ecclesio-Imperfectionist" confession in our days is Novus Ordo Catholicism. It is not consistently Continuationist, though many even Novus Ordo worshipping Catholics are very Continuationist. Why? Because, if you agree with "Pope Francis" on matrimonial validity, you disagree with centuries of Church discipline. And you consider that as an imperfection of those centuries without any as yet psychology from Freud and his ilk. And if you agree with the earlier centuries, you consider "Pope Francis" and his Encyclical Amoris Laetitia are after all a clear imperfection, but also not so much of an imperfection as to make discommunion with them necessary.

The doctrine common to Restorationism and Continuationism is, heresy is worse than schism. The opposite doctrine is that of Ecclesio-Imperfectionism, schism is worse than heresy. Isolation from other Christians is worse than error. No, it is not. But Ecclesio-Imperfectionists say it is.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Sts Vital, Revocate and Fortunate
Martyrs of Smyrna

PS, quoting once more the article I respond to:

The second, and far more destructive, result of restorationist philosophy is that it denies God’s ability, or willingness, to preserve the faith “once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), rejects His sovereignty over His people, and disavows His plan to bring to pass His will without fail, despite attempts by Satan and his minions to derail it. God did not send His Son to die on the cross for the sins of His people only to allow those same people to lapse into apostasy and languish there for 1800 years.

Exactly why I am no longer a Protestant./HGL

* The notion of King would normally include Presidents of the US, even if they are Kings only for 4 years at a time. That they are elected has no bearing, since "king" is not tied to the dynastic principle. Swedish Kings were elected in Westrogothia and could even be deposed by Westrogothia. Even if that was a long time ago - when all Christians were still Geocentric and Young Earth Creationists. ** And as Our Lady was patron saint of Sweden like so many other kingdoms, national feast day of Sweden. (När Nordens Drott blef Jesus Christ, du Nordens Drottning blef förvisst ...) *** Putting it in italics, since not one of the Roman Catholic Church. I think a Catholic liturgic text would be referring to Her as Mother of God. The enumeration of memories for August 15 begins with Assumptio sanctissimae Dei Genitricis Virginis Mariae. ° If last August 15 I did not go to Church it is because in Paris no Church is in Communion with Pope Michael. Many are in Communion with Antipope "Francis". °° My coinage ad hoc, not sure if there already is a word for it.

lördag 23 december 2017

Protestants Don't Get Christ's Sacrifice

I Cor 5:7

[7] Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened. For Christ our pasch is sacrificed.

So, here Christ is compared to both the Pesach Lamb and - his Church - the Pesach Azymes (the Matzoth).

And TektonTV (alias J. P. Holding) is on 4:04 in this video on record as saying Christ is not eaten:

Jesus the Human Sacrifice, Part 2: Foiling the Fundy Atheists
tektontv, 12.II.2012

Well, He is so. If you took Communion without first judging yourself (as just out of Baptismal Waters, as just after Confession, as having kept grace since last Confession, or as going to Confession first), you are eating and drinking a judgement over yourself. Because you are eating and drinking your Judge. Not some other person and not even some other thing, but Himself, under the veil of bread and wine's exterior accidents.

That means, Christ is a true sacrifice. It also means, Mass is a true sacrifice, because the hieratic act by which He made the sacrifice is the one He at His last Supper confided to the Twelve (or to the Eleven, if Judas Ischariot had already left) and is continued to this day.

Bread and wine are not individually the same as He took back then, but same kind of thing. Altar (with bones of a saint in them) represent Calvary (on which Christ made the bones of Adam and Eve bones of saints). Words are the same Christ used. Priests are either the Eleven to whom He confided this, or people who attained priesthood later, through laying on of hands by them, and by their successors in episcopate. In other words, the act is the same, and the result is the same : Christ is present as the victim He was on Calvary.

Hans Georg Lundahl
St Victoria of Rome*

* Romae sanctae Victoriae, Virginis et Martyris, quae, in persecutione Decii Imperatoris, cum esset desponsata Eugenio pagano et nec nubere vellet neque sacrificare, ideo, post multa facta miracula, quibus plurimas Deo Virgines aggregaverat, a carnifice percussa est gladio in corde, rogatu sui sponsi.

PS : 5:13, same video "In Hebrews He is referred to as both Sacrifice and High Priest, which obviously does not reflect a real world possibility" - in the hall of the Last Supper, He was both priest (holding the bread and breaking it) and sacrifice (present in the broken bread). In each Mass, Christ is present as priest in the duly ordained priest having the intention to do what the Church does, and in the Eucharist, in the sacrament. So, yes, it does reflect a real world not just possibility, but fact./HGL

PPS : 7:20 "obviously, not all these images can be literally true" - they can if Our Lord's sacrifice is the one fact which is basic, and the OT sacrifices are the images, the figures of speech./HGL

fredag 8 december 2017

At Least 48 Reasons why Luther was Excommunicated, as per Armstrong

Armstrong actually gives 50 reasons, I happen to disagree with two of them.

Here are the two I disagree with:

10. Only justified men can do good works.
33. The Church cannot institute sacraments.

The Catholic Church actually agrees that the Church cannot make any act an Eighth Sacrament. While the Polish priests I converted for said "in Sweden, Church coffee is the eighth sacrament", they said that as a joke.

As a quip on Swedes who, even when Catholic, seem to think Church coffee (the coffee time after Holy Mass, in the parish hall near the Church) merits more preparation and work than receiving the sacraments. Obviously, the sacraments merit much more, since they are what God has instituted for our justification and also after justification ongoing sanctification.

Note, the seven sacraments are instituted by God. Sacramentals may, of course, be instituted by the Church, like the Christian coronation of a monarch. Indulgences are also sacramentals, and some sacramentals have indulgences attached.

But all seven sacraments were instituted by God. Either we must say that Confirmation (Acts 8) and Extreme Unction (Epistle of St James) were already instituted by Christ before the Ascension, only publicised afterwards, or we must say the Holy Ghost - also a divine person, remember! - inspired them in the Apostles who were able to receive new doctrine as long as one of them was alive on earth. Probably the former, since the announced function of the Holy Ghost was to remind the Apostles of all that Christ had told them.

As to the other reason, "only justified men can do good works", I distinguish.

If you are in a state of mortal or original sin, you can do a work which is good in its kind, naturally, like giving alms. It does not become a sin because performed by someone not justified. It may or may not be accompanied by a sinful intention, but that is nothing to whether the man not yet justified is doing a work which is good rather than sinful.

However, if by good we mean a work which can be rewarded with eternal life, no, the man in a state of sin is not capable to such works before justification. Not works which in themselves merit eternal life, like even the least act of devotion or love of neighbour by one at present justified. Some natural habits - like that of almsgiving in the as yet pagan Eustace - may be such that God thinks "what a waste if he is not justified" and so God gives them a chance of justification, as God did to St Eustace (who also took the chance). But if St Eustace had not been baptised, had not renounced the Pagan gods, and so on, his almsgiving would still have merited some rewards on earth, but would not have given him eternal life.

Now, these two sentences are the exceptions to the rule, there were about fifty very good reasons in Catholic theology why Luther was excommunicated:

NCR : 50 Reasons Why Martin Luther Was Excommunicated
Nov. 23, 2016 : Dave Armstrong

From the list of fifty, deduct one and a half, as per above. I have read through all of the list, and agree with all of the other reasons without reservations like these. There were one or two on which I am doubtful whether Luther said that or continued saying that (he considered Confession a sacrament too, making his list of "Gospel sacraments" one of three, not just two, but that could be a later modification after 1521).

And as for reason 10, Luther actually did say that the good works as in naturally good works of a man in a state of sin were themselves sins. Which is clearly wrong. As for reason 33, I wonder if this is not a mistake for his saying Church not being able to change conditions of validity for a sacrament. Church can, like when certain modes of marriage were valid before but not after Trent, certain degrees of proximity were sometimes nullifying and sometimes not nullifying marriages, as well as an age below 14 / 12 if not dispensed, and other example, when leavened bread is invalid matter in Latin rite and unleavened bread is invalid bread in many an Eastern rite.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Feast of Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary

måndag 27 november 2017

Validity (if Not Licitness) of Some, Not All, Non-Catholic Sacraments (quora)

Do Catholics believe that the bread and wine also become the body and blood of Christ during masses and services from other Christian denominations?

Answer requested by João Paulo Cavalcante

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Studied religions as curious parallels and contrasts to Xtian faith since 9, 10?
Answered just now
With Orthodox, Coptic and Nestorian priests, as well as some later schismatics from Catholics : yes.

With Protestants : no.

Protestantism made a point of changing the rite so as to exclude sacrifice of the Mass. This makes Protestant “masses” (Lutherans and Anglicans use the word) and “Lord’s suppers” invalid, sacrilegious and excluding the Real Presence.

This is also the case with the Protestant denominations where all (Lutherans) or a group (Anglo-Catholics among Anglicans) believe the Real Presence, as long as they use liturgies excluding Sacrifice of the Mass and clergy where ordination has not passed by a bishop in continuity with those who do believe Sacrifice of the Mass, at least, if not necessarily Catholic.

This is what Ratzinger (Antipope Benedict XVI, but correct on this one) meant when he distinguished between Churches and Ecclesial Communities outside the One True Church.

torsdag 26 oktober 2017

Were Reformers Creationist Heros? No.

I was just receiving an update from The Bible Science Guy, in which he commemorates, in advance, Luther's 95 theses.

He is, correctly, considering Luther as a Creationist. Same goes for Zwingli with Oecolampadius, their "joint disciple" Bucer, his disciple Calvin and this one's associate or disciple Beza and his disciple Knox. It also goes for Luther non-Zwingli OWN dsciple Melanchthon. And for Bucer's non-Calvin disciple Cranmer. Here is what he says about all of these (perhaps not naming all of them, and the following points are direct quotes):

  • They believed the book of Genesis was a book of actual history.
  • They believed Yahweh created everything in six regular days only a few thousand years ago.
  • They believed Adam and Eve were real people, the parents of the entire human race.
  • They believed Adam’s sin brought death and a curse on all of creation.
  • They believed a global Flood in Noah’s day destroyed the world and all life except for those in the Ark.

I am tempted to reply "well, so does Satan". James 2:19.

Seriously, none of these issues were controversial between this mainstream origin of Protestantism and Catholicism.

Pope Leo X who admonished Luther to retract certain theses (not all of the 95 and not only from the 95) by the bull Exsurge Domine and a few months later excommunicated him with the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem - he believed all these things too.

Thomas de Vio, known as Cajetan (from Gaeta, where he was bishop) and who before helping Pope Leo with Exsurge Domine had also already tried to admonish Luther in a debate - he did not doubt one of them.

Neither was any of these doubted by Pope St. Pius V, who excommunicated Elisabeth Boleyn as well as declare her a non-Queen, usurper and tyrant. Nor by St Robert Bellarmine : a modern day Jesuit who himself wants to take Genesis 1 - 3 non-literally looks back at St Robert as promoting a reading too close to Fundamentalism. And I could go on.

So, the mainstream Protestant reformers were not Creationist heros, while they were Creationists.

Some other reformers were less Biblical, like the uncle and nephew Sozzini. I am not sure whether they doubted any of these, except the part on original sin. But they did promote a liberal Bible reading in general.

Some of the mainstream reformers had been against "allegory". This did NOT concern putting any doubt on the literal truth of Genesis, it concerned whether the events in it (and in later parts of OT) also spell out prophetic allegories about Christ, the Church and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Four OT women are called blessed (three in Protestant Bibles) and two of them in a sense with some restriction added blessed among women (one in Protestant Bibles). The Catholic Church held, that while these literally lived and literally merited the word "blessed" in their own context, they were also allegories of the Blessed Virgin. And still holds so now.

Anything you have heard about Reformers fighting "allegory" is not about fighting for literal truth of six regular days, but fighting against allegoric truth of this or that OT type of the Blessed Virgin. The ones who did attack literal truth of the Bible were the Socinians, though not necessarily on text of Genesis, they considered Bible fallible and to be taken with correctives. And the Catholic Church condemned them as much as the Lutherans, at Trent. I am less sure how Biblical Thomas Münzer was, but I don't think he was for literal Bible truth either.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Vigil of Sts Simon and Jude

It seems I misread the martyrology, yesterday when I wrote this. Today is the vigil. Tomorrow the feast. I should have stated the date as Pope St Evaristus, Martyr.

onsdag 25 oktober 2017

Mercator and Geert Groote (excursus)

Both Gerhard Mercator and Gerhard Grote were invoking one St Gerhard as patron saint. He is celebrated on October 3 - same day when I spotted and answered Russell Grigg's hagiographic outburst for Luther. He was the first saint on the day, until St Therese of Lisieux took that place.

Russell Grigg is here claiming that Mercator was suspected of Lutheranism:

In 1544, the Catholic Inquisition charged 43 Louvain residents with ‘heresy’. Mercator was accused of ‘Lutheranism’, and of having written ‘suspicious letters’ to the friars at Mechelen.6 At the time, he was temporarily in Rupelmonde as executor of his recently deceased Uncle Gisbert’s estate. Nevertheless, he was declared a fugitive, arrested, and imprisoned in Rupelmonde Castle.

Despite a search by the authorities at Mechelen, no incriminating letters were found. Mercator’s friends at the University of Louvain petitioned strongly for his release, which finally happened after he had endured several months’ incarceration.

Mercator’s Projections
by Russell Grigg

True enough. But that does not make him a Lutheran, he was cleared. It is very clear (!) that part of the reason for the charge is that Lutheranism was as fearful a threat as Communism in the McCarthy era. In other words, people were being suspected for sometimes somewhat flimsy reasons. As Russell Grigg noted, Mercator was cleared. Inquisition was not quite like McCarthy system.

I am reminded of another exponent of Devotio Moderna (after he started studies in Paris anyway) who was also suspected of heresy. His disciples were going to use Mercator's projection a lot as missionaries. I am speaking of St Ignatius of Loyola. Though, as he was less into devotio moderna previous to studies, and as these were the result of his deal with the Inquisition, he had instead been suspected of being an Alumbrado - a kind of Spanish, half Catholic, Quaker.

There is perhaps another reason why Mercator was suspected of Lutheranism. He was according to wikipedia associated with Geert Grote, whom I mentioned at the head of this article. Geert Grote being founder of the Common Brethren, in which Geert Mercator was going to school. (There had been a vandalism making him contemporary of Mercator, I recall, but it has been fixed). Er, correction, the one he was associated with was actually Franciscus Monachus. My bad, I must have looked up Groote as a side note. We'll be back to that.

Now, Dutch Protestants have for some time been claiming Geert Grote was a kind of "proto-Protestant" (you may guess I consider him at least as much as a proto-Jesuit).

Thing is, this is getting out of fashion.

Check these pages (taken by screenshot):

Source : Piety in Practice and Print: Essays on the Late Medieval Religious Landscape, by Koen Goudriaan, pp.209-210, via Google Books.

So, the Brethren of the Common life, as influence in the case of Mercator's childhood, will not cut it to make Mercator reasonably suspect.

What about anti-Scholasticism?

Young scholars of that era often Latinized their names, and Gerard Kremer chose to call himself Gerardus Mercator Rupelmundanus, under which name he enrolled at the University of Louvain, and received a Master of Arts degree in humanities and philosophy in 1532. These studies were based on the teachings of Aristotle: e.g. that all matter was composed of earth, air, fire, and water, that there was no divine purpose in the affairs of man or nature, and that the universe never had a beginning and would never end. This presented something of a crisis of faith for Mercator—not so much of his faith in the Bible, but in what he had been taught.

He corresponded with and then visited a group of Franciscan friars in Antwerp and Mechelen, which reinforced his strong Christian convictions. He later wrote: “When I saw that Moses’ version of the Genesis of the world did not fit sufficiently in many ways with Aristotle and the rest of the philosophers, I began to have doubts about the truth of all philosophers and started to investigate the secrets of nature.” Surely a commendable approach today for those who heedlessly imbibe the anti-God and anti-scientific philosophy of Darwinism.

Was the University of Louvain asking students to believe in the eternity of the world because Aristotle had done so? I very much doubt it. Even for the Master of Arts' course he had taken.

If we go back a few centuries, St Thomas was certainly aware of Aristotle, was certainly accepting the four elements, and was also aware of but not accepting the position that the world was eternal. He was just saying "ok, we can't prove the world had a beginning, otherwise Aristotle would have found that proof, so we must take it on faith of the Bible that the world had a beginning". Insofar as Louvain a few centuries later was still a Catholic university, it arguably was still having theology and not philosophy as "queen of the arts" or "queen of the sciences", and therefore was still accepting Aristotle was wrong.

It can have given the training in philosophy with some empathy for the Aristotelic viewpoint, requiring students to internalise that this is what rational inquiry, unguided by divine revelation leads to. Such creationists who not only prove the world CAN be within Biblical time frame, but presume to prove it MUST be young, would obviously beg to differ about this. Nevertheless, there is a point in teaching what science says by itself, without the aid of revelation, and it seems University of Louvain was saying this for what they considered the best scientist to date, in generalities. Aristotle.

I guess, to Geert Mercator this was actually an approach he could for some time accept (how would he otherwise have had his master of arts) and came later to consider sinful. Imagine Jonathan Sarfati or someone else lecturing on Creation University of Sydney a preliminary course on what evolutionists used to believe back when they were in charge. And imagine one impatient student not getting this, finally, but, while understanding the purpose, nevertheless turning his back on Creation University of Sydney and getting around with some of the ones who say one should not even study evolution at all. That would be a fair guess, from my side, on the change of mind in Mercator.

Now, to be fair to myself, I was probably tired from answering a lot of presumed arguments against Catholicism from the Bible quotes in Russell Grigg's hagiographical work on Luther - the answer to which I will resume, and Geert Groote was mentioned in the article on Mercator:

At no time in his life did Mercator claim to be a Lutheran but there are many hints that he had sympathies in that direction. As a child, called Geert, he was surrounded by adults who were possibly followers of Geert Groote, who placed meditation, contemplation and biblical study over ritual and liturgy—and who also founded the school of the Brethren of the Common Life at 's-Hertogenbosch.

This should be conferred with the words in above quote from Koen Goudriaan.

There are other reasons why it is difficult to know why Mercator came before the Inquisition.

Some have presumed his Inquisitors (one of which had also been involved with Tyndale before his burning) were cynics, who didn't consider it too important whether the one burnt was guilty or innocent, provided the public thought him guilty:

It is no great matter whether those that die on this account be guilty or innocent, provided we terrify the people by these examples; which generally succeeds best, when persons eminent for learning, riches, nobility or high stations, are thus sacrificed.

Thus Ruard Tapper, as quoted from reference Brandt & Chamberlayne (1740) ... which seems to be, let's see: Brandt, Geeraert; Chamberlayne, John (1740), The History of the Reformation and Other Ecclesiastical Transactions in and about the Low-Countries., T. Wood, links to a page where I can read this (screenshot):

Yes, it seems to be somewhat suspect of Protestant bias and of calumny against Ruard Tapper.

Perhaps the real deal is, some Protestant in 1740 thought "it is no great matter whether those that we blame on this account be guilty or innocent, provided we terrify the people by these examples; which generally succeeds best when persons eminent for high stations in Papism, for learning, or for sanctity are thus sacrificed." In other words, the source given by some wikipedian about the one Inquisitor of Mercator (who found him innocent) is worthless. It is a piece of ruthless Protestant Propaganda.

So no, we still do not know why Gerhard Mercator was suspected. We do know, however, thanks to this, I had to look up Jacobus Latomus - the other Inquisitor at Louvain back in the day of Mercator, he died the year after trying Mercator, in 1544. And thanks to my looking him up, we do know that to him, the chief fault of Tyndale was NOT translating the Bible:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobus_Latomus [Look it up.]

Either way, thanks, Grigg, for giving some time off from Luther. Mercator was a good Catholic, though briefly sucpected of the opposite, and I have known a man like Groote personally : Tom Zimmer, whom I met in Rome in 1986 (before the blasphemy in Assisi!) was certainly no Protestant. He was a pro-lifer, a creationist, very devout to some saints, and to certain promises given about certain post-Biblical prayers.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Marcellinus, Pope and Martyr

tisdag 10 oktober 2017

Was the Bible For or Against Luther's Work? (part 3 of series)

Continued from previous. Imputed only righteousness in Philippians 3:9?

7 But what things were gain to me, those I have counted loss for Christ.

8 But indeed I count all things to be but loss, for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ, my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ,

9 And may be found in him not having my justice, which is of the law, but that which is of the faith of Christ Jesus: the justice which is of God in faith,

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death:

Ver. 9. I may be found in him not having my justice, which is of the law; i.e. not pretending to be justified either by my own works or by the works of the Jewish law, but by that which proceedeth from faith in Christ, and by his merits. (Witham) --- St. Augustine expounds the sense thus: not that justice which is in God, or by which God is just, but that which is in man from God, and by his gifts. (lib. 3. cont. 2. ep. Pelag.)

Ver. 10. That I may know him. This knowledge of Christ the apostle prefers to all honours and advantages accruing from his adherence to the synagogue.

So, St Paul wishes to actually have the justice which is of God. Not to have it just imputed.

"Faith involves trusting solely in the promises of God and the finished work of Christ"

Romans 4:16 was the other reference.

6 As David also termeth the blessedness of a man, to whom God reputeth justice without works:

Sorry, that one was 4:6. Its sequel says sth about non-imputation of sins - a negative justice imputated. We agree in that one. But what about the positive one which is of God? The one which we have, which St Paul wants to have?

16 Therefore it is of faith, that according to grace the promise might be firm to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

Ver. 16. There are two kinds of children of Abraham, to whom alone these promises are made; the one is according to the flesh, the other according to the spirit. The former of these had no more part in the promises made to him and his seed than the Gentiles, unless they imitated the fidelity and obedience of their father. (Calmet) --- It is in this sense of spiritual father, that the [Catholic] priest at the altar, speaking in the name of the faithful, calls Abraham our patriarch. (Estius)

This is not about imputed only justice, but about why Law of Moses is not a necessity.

Hebrews 11:6

6 But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him.

Ver. 6. He proves the Henoch[Enoch] was translated by faith, or on account of faith, thus: Henoch was translated because he pleased God; now he could not please God but by faith; therefore by faith he was translated. (Menochius)

So, faith is our first duty. It involves a reward of one good action : seeking God.

"Luther expressed it thus: 'He [Christ] died for me, He made His righteousness mine, and made my sin His own; and if he made my sin His own, then I do not have it, and I am free.' Describing this culmination of his spiritual journey, as the burden of his sin lifted, Luther wrote: 'All at once I felt that I had been born again and entered into paradise itself through open gates.' For the first time in his life, he experienced the assurance of salvation and peace with God that only Jesus can give (Hebrews 2:14-15; 9:14)."

Is Jesus giving each individual a complete assurance of Salvation?

2:14 Forasmuch then as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same: that, *through death, he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil:

15 And might deliver them, who, through the fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to slavery.

Ver. 14. That, through death, he might destroy the power of him who had the empire of death, who, by tempting men to sin, had made them slaves to him and to eternal death; so that they lived always slaves to the devil, under a miserable fear of death, and liable to eternal death. (Witham)

Ver. 15. The devil, by exciting men to sin, made them liable to a temporal and eternal death; he was, therefore, the prince of death, both as to soul and body. Jesus Christ, the life and source of life, has by his death destroyed sin and vanquished the devil; he has, at once, triumphed over the prince of death, and death itself; and by the assurance which he has given us of eternal life, has delivered us from the terrible apprehensions of dying. To a good Christian, death is the termination of misery and the beginning of eternal happiness; why, therefore, should we be afraid to die? We ought rather, with St. Paul, to say: I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ.

9:13 *For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of a heifer, being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh:

14 *How much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the Holy Ghost, offered himself without spot to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?

Ver. 13-14. For if the blood of goats, &c. Another main difference betwixt the sacrifices in the old, and that of Christ in the new law. Those imperfect carnal sacrifices could only make the priests and the people reputed clean, so that they were no longer to be treated as transgressors, and liable to punishments, prescribed and inflicted by the law: but the sacrifice of Christ has made our consciences interiorly clean, and sanctified them even in the sight of God. Having offered himself unspotted to God by the Holy Ghost, the divine Spirit of the Holy Ghost moving Christ as man to make this oblation of himself, though free from all sin, and incapable of sinning. And being this oblation, made by him, who was God as well as man, it was an oblation of infinite value, which repaired the injury done to God by sin, and redeemed mankind from the slavery of sin. (Witham) --- Here we have an abstract of the passion of Jesus Christ, or of the sacrifice of the cross. We see who is the priest, and who is the victim; we see the virtue and efficacy of this sacrifice, and why it was offered; also by what signs we may know whether we partake of it, viz. if dying to sin and to the world, we live to God, and serve him in spirit and truth. Calvin makes Jesus Christ a priest and mediator, according to his divinity; but in that case Christ would be inferior to his Father, not only as man, but according to his divinity: for the priest is inferior to the God to whom he offers sacrifice, which is an expression of supreme excellence. See Dr. Kellison's survey of the Protestant religion.

"Luther had discovered that the biblical text from the Latin Vulgate, used to support the sacrament of penance, involved a mistranslation. St Jerome’s Latin translation of Christ’s command in Matthew 4:17 reads: 'Do penance (paenitentiam agite), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' But the Erasmus Greek translation says: “Μετανοεῖτε (metanoeite), meaning ‘repent’ or ‘change your mind’. That is, God demands a changed heart and mind, not the doing of deeds. ‘To do penance’ and ‘to repent’ are two different things, and thus doing penance is not what this passage teaches."

To do penances is a different thing from doing penance.

Doing penance, we do by recollecting and repenting sins, and bringing them to God through the priest. Doing penances we do over and above satisfaction, and we do it according to the penances imposed by the priest.

4:17 *From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Ver. 17. Jesus began not to preach till St. John had announced his coming to the world, that the dignity of his sacred person might thus be manifested, and the incredulous Jews be without excuse. If after the preaching of St. John, and his express testimony of the divinity of our Redeemer, they could still say: thou givest testimony of thyself; thy testimony is not true: what would they not have said, if, without any precursor, he had, all on a sudden, appeared amongst them. He did not begin to preach till St. John was cast into prison, that the people might not be divided. On this account also St. John wrought no miracle, that the people might be struck with the miracles of our Saviour, and yield their assent to him. (St. Chrysostom, hom. 14.) --- It may here be remarked, how different were the motives of the prophets from those which the baptist and Christ made use of to exhort to repentance. The former menaced evil, and held out a promise of good, but the good or evil was temporal. St. John begins his exhortations with the threat of eternal punishments---but Christ sweetens the hardships of penance by reminding us of the reward. "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Jansenius)

"He defended marriage of the clergy on the grounds that Genesis 2:18 was 'the Word of God by virtue of which … the passionate natural inclination towards women is created and maintained. It may not be prevented by vow and law. For it is God’s Word and work.'"

This is behind the wrong in the Nashville declaration, saying marriage is God's will for each and all.

2:18 And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.

Nevertheless, Jesus was alone, and so was Jeremias. He may have been counted as married so his widow could give him a son through levirate, but he was living alone.

In this sense, clergy can follow the higher example. If Pope Michael is the true Pope, priesthood is no longer reserved even in Latin rite for those who do so, but once this vow has been finally made, it must also be kept.

Now, to a new part by Russell Grigg:

Luther’s Legacy
by Russell Grigg, Published: 10 October 2017

"Salvation is the gift of God, acquired through faith alone, received through God’s grace alone, (Ephesians 2:8–9; 2 Timothy 1:9), because of Christ alone."

8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: for it is the gift of God;

9 Not of works, that no man may glory.

Before looking at the comment : not OF works, but also not so as to live thereafter WITHOUT them either. Not of works, but to works, as far as Salvation begins in this life. Here is the comment:

Ver. 8. Faith is the beginning, foundation, and root of justification, and the first of all other virtues, without which it is impossible to please God. (Bristow)

Ver. 9. Not of works, as of our own growth, or from ourselves: but as from the grace of God. (Challoner)

I did not see any "faith alone", as if for instance Sacraments are not required to bring someone from a state of sin to a state of grace, normally.

I did see "through faith", and never without it.

"was not only necessary but was also both complete and sufficient to pay the total penalty for our sins and thereby discharge our sin-debt to God in full (Hebrews 7:25)."

If someone who refuses to believe is not saved, is it because Christ's death was not sufficient? No, but because he is not abiding on the terms by which it gives him life. Now, remitting the sin debt in full is done once : when you are baptised (unless you pose an obstacle). If we sin after baptism, we can still come back again, for any sin which leaves us any room to real and efficient repentance (a successful suicide by gunshot for instance does not give one time, taking the mark of the beast may well take away one's freedom).

But this second (or these many second) takings away of our sin-debt usually does involve some remaining duties on our part.

7:25 Whereby he is able also to save for ever them that approach to God by himself: always living to make intercession for us.

Ver. 25. Make intercession. Christ, as man, continually maketh intercession for us, by representing his passion to his Father. (Challoner)

The Confraternity Bible does not have "able also to save for ever", but "able at all times to save".

Latin has:

"salvare in perpetuum potest"

And you can parse it either way.

salvare in perpetuum | potest
He is able to save-for-ever.

salveare | in perpetuum potest
He is for ever able to save = He is at all times able to save.

Greek has:

καὶ σῴζειν εἰς τὸ παντελὲς δύναται

Which can also be parsed either way, since in Greek as in Latin, the normal place for an adverbial in relation to an infinitive is after, in relation to a finite verb before, however, less strongly so in Greek:

καὶ | σῴζειν εἰς τὸ παντελὲς | δύναται
"also, He is able to save-into-complete, entire, perfect, through all time" (Strong 3838)

καὶ | σῴζειν | εἰς τὸ παντελὲς δύναται
"also, He is able into-complete, entire, perfect, through all time to save" (dito)

Obviously, the words after δύναται are direct object to σῴζειν. Some Grecist better than I (how about giving me some slack, since I left off Greek in 1992!) would be better positioned than I to know if the word position is possible either way or favours one of the meanings.

However, we are not just at the mercy of diverse views of Greek syntax. We must take into account it is a Biblical teaching some do loose their salvation and need to get it back - and some even can't.

This is the drama which Luther sooner or later imagined or made others imagine was just a "Papist scare".

Note also very well, that residual duties after remission of sins are not against "σῴζειν εἰς τὸ παντελὲς" : a man who must fast on earth or who must go through Purgatory is already totally saved. He is, as long as he sins no more, in no risk of Hell, and those who are in Purgatory cannot risk Hell again, unless someone were to be resuscitated : but this God more usually does with people either firmly hoping to retain salvation, as having tasted it (St Lazarus had been in the bosom of Abraham) or with those who very seldom get a second chance after having been in Hell.

"This is the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1, 3–4), and there is none other that saves (Acts 4:12; Galatians 1:8)."

In the context of this panegyric over Luther, this sounds like a kind of rejection of the Catholic doctrine being thus buttressed by the Bible.

15:1 Now *I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand,

2 By which also you are saved: if you hold fast after what manner I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you first of all, which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, *according to the Scriptures:

4 *And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures:

Oh, wait ... 1 Cor 1 - 4 is not about "faith not works", as in Luther's polemics against the Catholic Church, but about faith in resurrection needing to be kept inviolate, orthodox. Indeed, it is paramount : but other, less paramount things also need to be kept inviolate, orthodox.

Here are two general comments on the chapter:

This chapter is addressed to some among the Corinthians who denied the resurrection: St. Paul, therefore, in order to cure this philosophical opinion, gives them his counsel and advice in this chapter; and lest he might be thought to preach up a new doctrine, in the beginning of his admonitions he informs them that he is preaching no other gospel than what he has always taught, and wherein they believe. (Estius)

And Confraternity Bible:

Christ's resurrection was difficult for pagans to believe. When the Athenians heard it some began to sneer (Act 17, 32); Festus thought Paul mad when he spoke of it (Acts 26, 24). At Corinth some questioned the fact of our resurrection, others also the resurrection of Christ (12).

It also has a comment on verses 1 and 4:

1. Being saved: the process is continual from the first grace through perseverance to glory. 4. According to the Scriptures: Christ's death is foretold in Isa. 53, 4-9; His burial and resurrection in Isa. 53, 9; Pss. 6, 3; 15, 10; Jonas 2, 1 f (cf. Matt. 12, 40).

Acts 4:12

12 Nor is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name, under heaven, given to men, whereby we must be saved.

Salvation by Christ, not by the Old Law. If you look at the context.

Confraternity Bible has this comment:

8-12. Answering the assembled Sanhedrin, St. Peter again touches on the chief points in his previous discourses, insisting on Christ's crucifixion and resurrection and His present power and glory; salvation is to be found only in Him, not in the Jewish Law.

Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an Angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.

Note, St Paul does not say "besides that which I have written", but "besides that which we have preached to you". In other words, all of the Apostolic Tradition needs to be kept inviolate. Any heretic, be it against an express proof text or against a general part of the Church's lore, is, in the terms of St Paul, anathema.

In context of previous verse, this is clearly in this context about Judaisers. People claiming that keeping the Ritual Law is required for Salvation.

Here is a comment on same with both surrounding verses, from Confraternity Bible:

7. Which is not another gospel: there is only one gospel of Christ, while the Judaizers were preaching among the Galatians serious doctrinal errors as if they were the gospel. 8. Anathema: cursed, excluded from the kingdom of God. 9. St. Paul reminds the Galatians of the warning he and his companions had given them before, possibly on his second visit, against false teachers.

Hmmmm ... against false teachers? All of them, not just in this particular context?

9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone preach a gospel to you other than that which you have received, let him be anathema!

But obviously, St Paul had said other words in preaching the Gospel than just that justice by Christ replaces justice by the Jewish law. So, in a sense someone might pretend to say the opposite of these Judaisers and also be anathema. Like, if Luther really preached the Gospel he had received from the Church of Christ, how come he was so advers against the Epistle of St James?

Luther: “The second step is this: If you want to be saved, your salvation does not come by works; but God has sent His only Son into the world that we might live through Him. He was crucified and died for you and bore your sins in His own body (1 Peter 2:24)."

Is 1 Peter 2:24 saying this second step?

24 *Who his ownself bore our sins in his body upon the tree: that we being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed.

Wait ... it says something about us being dead to sins. And living to justice. It says works.

24. He suffered for us. By his stripes you were healed: the scourging, so well known to slaves.

But the healing needs to be applied.

"God has purposed that we do not merit His grace by anything we do (Galatians 2:16; 3:3)."

Before looking at text : by anything we do of ourselves, by anything we do without already being in grace. True.

If you come to confession with insufficient repentance to be already justified, it is in confession that God gives you the repentance you need. And if your repentance was already sufficient, you still need to go and to take it as a gift : from God, though His Church. Now for the texts:

2:16 But knowing that man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ; we also believe in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; *because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Now, Galatians 2:16 does not even bother about this part, what I mentioned or else what Grigg imagines, it only reaffirms we are not saved by Judaising.

Works of the law is a technical term, it is not equivalent to good works, it is not equivalent to works of penance, it is not equivalent to works of mercy, it is not equivalent to keeping the commandments, all of which are required.

Works of the law are things like keeping the Hebrew Sabbath, like eating Seder on the even of 14th of Nisan, and these things.

Ver. 16. &c. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law. St. Paul, to the end of the chapter, seems to continue his discourse to St. Peter, but chiefly to the Jewish Galatians, to shew that both the Gentiles, whom the Jews called and looked upon as sinners, and also the Jews, when converted, could only hope to be justified and saved by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law. --- But if while we seek to be justified in Christ, by faith in him, and by his grace, we ourselves also are found sinners, as the false doctors teach you, and not to be justified but by the ceremonies and works of the law of Moses, this blasphemous consequence must follow, that Christ is the minister and author of sin, by making us believe that by faith in him, and complying with his doctrine, we may be justified and saved. For thus we must be considered transgressors, unless we renew and build again what Christ and we have destroyed. --- For by the law I am dead to the law. That is, says St. Jerome, by the evangelical law of Christ I am dead to the ancient law and its ceremonies. Others expound it, that by the law and its types and figures, and by the predictions contained in the law, I know the Mosaical law hath now ceased, in which sense he might say, by the law I am dead to the law. --- If justice. That is, if justification and salvation be to be had, or could have been had by the works of the law; therefore Christ died in vain, and it was not necessary that he should become our Redeemer. (Witham)

Note very well, in the following, what I took up spontaneously is there : a work needs to be done in a state of grace (i e not by my sole carnal initiative, but by Christ living in me) in order to merit before God. He says so in verse 20, and in verse 18 mentions it is possible and very regrettable to sin after receiving grace. Mortally, that is. A venial sin does not amount to building up what one tears down in penance.

Ver. 19. He here expresses the change which had been wrought in him. The law to which he had been attached, had passed away from him. Now he was so united to Christ and his cross, that he says: Not I, but Christ liveth in me. The strong expressions made use of by St. Paul with regard to the Jewish law in this chapter, may appear strange, and very capable of a wrong interpretation. But we must ever bear in mind that St. Paul speaks exclusively of the ceremonial part of the law, and not of the moral, contained in the decalogue: of this latter he says in his epistle to the Romans, (ii. 13.) the doers of the law shall be justified. But to effect this, was and is necessary the grace which Jesus Christ has merited and obtained for all, grace which God has shed on all, more or less, from the commencement of the world.

Confraternity Bible has this comment:

16. The precepts of the Mosaic Law were ceremonial, such as circumcision, and moral, such as the Commandments. The Judaizers insisted on the observance of the ceremonial precepts or works. Such prescriptions of themselves had no power to save, as salvation depends on faith in Christ.

This distinction should be kept in mind in the next passage:

3:1 O senseless Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been set forth, crucified among you?

2 This only would I learn of you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

3 Are you so foolish, that, whereas you began in the spirit, you would now be made perfect by the flesh?

Ver. 1. Before whose eyes Jesus Christ....crucified among you.[1] The common exposition is, that St. Paul had before described and set before them Christ crucified. Others, that it had been clearly foretold by the prophets that Christ was crucified for them. (Witham)

Ver. 2. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law? As if he said, you esteem it a great favour to have received those spiritual gifts of working miracles, &c. When you were made Christians, had you these favours by the works of the law, or was it not by the hearing of faith, and by the faith of Christ, that you had such extraordinary graces? and when you have begun thus happily by the spirit of Christ and his spiritual gifts, are you for finishing and thinking to make yourselves more perfect by the exterior works of the law, the circumcision of the flesh, and such like ceremonies? (Witham)

And Confraternity Bible:

1. Who has bewitched you: as if by an evil eye. Through Paul's teaching Jesus Christ crucified was made to appear before their eyes as if actually existing in the flesh. some Vulgate codices and the Clementine edition after bewitched you add "that you should not obey the truth." 2. They had received the Holy Spirit with His sanctifying grace and His special gifts through Paul's preaching, and their believing in Christ crucified. 3. Are you so foolish, that beginning your salvation by the reception of the Holy Spirit you seek the completion of it in the carnal ceremonies of the Mosaic Law (the flesh)?

So, supposing that the Catholic Church into which Luther was received by baptism was no longer the Church of Our Lord Jesus, the Church wherein ministered St Paul, supposing Luther were right on Galatians condemning Catholicism like Judaisers, one could ask: who has bewitched us Catholics?

In the case of the Galatians, the Bible does not tell, perhaps some Church historian does. It does not matter, as I suppose, since Galatians took heed of St Paul's word. And that very quickly.

But supposing we Catholics had for centuries been mishearing St Paul, not just Luther himself during a few failed attempts at living as a monk, supposing we had merited St Paul's charge?

If so, who had bewitched us? A man who made a deal with the devil to be called "Pope" as in Jack Chick's The Death Cookie?

Jack Chick does not dare name which Pope he considers to be the first Antichrist (unlike Sedes who will debate whether John XXIII as false Pope came after Pius XII as true Pope and so on : the range is not very wide, and "John Paul II" can no longer be a Pope, while St Pius X very certainly was). Some may say it doesn't matter. It does. A several centuries long misdemeanour, it does not happen without someone responsible for it. Even for Paganism in general, while it is difficult to trace the roots of each individual Paganism fully, both for better and for worse, the general misdemeanor is brought down to either Nimrod or Ninus.

We Catholics dare name Luther, Zwingli and Oecolampadius, Sozzinis and Münzer as origins of the misdemeanours of the Reformation and its daughters. St Paul by his question does not suggest that this is idle curiosity. On the contrary, if you know the witch or warlock, you may know the spell, if you know the spell, you may know the exorcism. So, supposing we really and truly were lapsed, who made us lapse? Not speaking of the Vatican II lapse, now. I am speaking of the one you try to trace, by considering Luther as taking the role of St Paul.

If and when you get to grips with who bewitched us, on your view, next question would be what was his spell? At what time was it a novum?

For Luther and a few more, the forbidden words, the evil spell, are given in both Exsurge Domine and in the divers sessions of the Council of Trent. If you ask us. And we identify Luther and a few more as authors of, inter alia, confusing "works of the law" with "good works".

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St. Francis Borgia SJ

On to: Mercator and Geert Groote (excursus)