onsdag 5 februari 2014

Sometimes a Lutheran gets it right! Baptism INTO the forgiveness of Sins is a Gift from God

Most people on CMI seem to deny the necessity of baptism as far as we are concerned.

I say that phrase "as far as we are concerned" because God is not bound to the Sacraments so as not to be able to save us without their actual reception.

Now, Jonathan Sarfati with some reluctance took up the charge to answer in a clarifying way that baptism is not necessary to get saved. But it is - as far as we are concerned. Now, fortunately he published a postscript. Unless someone else did, the PS is not signed by Jonathan Sarfati. Anyway, the PS is very good:

Our intention in responding to the initial ‘cannibalism’ complaint, which also criticised us for not teaching baptismal regeneration, was not to enter areas outside of our Statement of Faith, but to affirm our position (C5) in that Statement of Faith that salvation is by grace through faith alone. We did not intend to come across as weighing in on any of the other controversies associated with baptism (e.g. mode and subject), as we are a non-denominational ministry. We therefore publish a comment from Lutheran minister Noel S from Canada, as follows:

Dear friends at CMI,

Let me interject a Lutheran understanding of baptism as a middle ground . Baptism is not a work we do to earn salvation, it is a gift we receive from God. Baptism is visible Gospel by which we receive divine adoption and the inheritance of sons (Gal 3:26-27). Of course, the promises of baptism are apprehended by faith, but that does not mean that God's promises are not truly offered in baptism. Yes a person can be saved solely by believing the promises of the bare Word (w/o baptism), but baptism makes those promises very personal: I baptize YOU in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. I have a great and wonderful comfort in baptism, it is something I can hang on to when I'm tempted to doubt God's grace and favour & the Gospel IS for ME!

We are confident that Rev. Noel would affirm with us Ephesians 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.

God usually makes men by the sexual intercourse of a married man and a married woman. God usually makes wine of water through soil and vine plant and fermentation ... this does not mean He is unable to have achieved the creation of Adam from noone, Eve from Adam's side and Christ from the womb of a Virgin. Any more than He was unable to shortcut the steps between water and wine at Cana.

Now, the way in which God ordinarily makes reborn men is by Baptism. It is just as much a gift from God as being born in the first place. And when applied to infants - believing in the faith of them that carry them to the font - it is not a work by the person getting saved.

Actually, it is the position "Baptism is what saved people do, not what people do to be saved" which makes Baptism a work, since it precludes infant Baptism but also makes Baptism a sign of obedience and no more - thereby contradicting Our Lord in John chapter 3.

Now, the Lutheran parson got it perfectly right:

Baptism is not a work we do to earn salvation, it is a gift we receive from God.

It is a pity Luther did not see it that way about Holy Mass and the Seven Sacraments.

Fasting is a work, and we do not do it to get saved - in the first place, preliminarily, "in hope", that is receiving the state of grace, but in order not to get lost again once we are in the state of grace. That is why the godfather and godmother of Father Bryan Houghton after his reception into the Church (the point at which they technically knew him to be saved) told him "Oh Bryan, it is marvellous, now that you are a Catholic you can fast!"

Sure, it was Lent as the godmother had told him and instead of café au lait with maybe a croissant, he had black coffee.

But that is not a work to earn salvation. It is a work by which the saved - in spe salvi of course, not yet definitely saved as having died in Christ - earn merits for Heaven, but in someone doing the same work without being in the state of grace it is neither a merit for Heaven (though it may earn some rewards on earth) nor saving him. It is first and foremost a work done in order not to get lost through mortal sins. There was one occasion when Father Bryan showed one person (and years after, without disclosing her identity his readers) that he had indeed some protection from such things.

But if taking black coffee instead of café au lait is works, but not in itself for salvation, baptism is salvation by grace and not by works. Sure, it is "works" for the priest performing it correctly (and he is not doing it to earn salvation but to earn merits to enjoy in the Heaven Christ had already opened for him), but it is not works, it is the gift of God for the one receiving it.

Same is true for any Sacrament and also for Holy Mass. The tragedy of Catholic priesthood is the risk of loosing sight of that because to the priest it is also a work that takes their efforts ... precisely as kneeding and standing next to an oven, even in summer, and rising at three o'clock to have bread ready for customers is for a baker.

Luther lost sight of it and declared several Sacraments and Holy Mass itself "works" and therefore blasphemies against God's word in Ephesians 2:8-9. Father Bryan Houghton did not loose sight of it. But Father Bryan Houghton was never a Jansenist. Luther's earliest divagations are more Jansenist than Protestant ... and Jansenism is (if you know Pascal) not the happiest kind of Catholic there is (it was also condemned, not just in Luther's case but also later in the cases of Baius and Jansenius and Quesnel - none of which were ever Protestants, but all of which were rigorists). He could have profited by the letter Exsurge Domine, which was not really telling him not to be a Protestant (he was not so yet), but not to be a Jansenist.

I am an ex-Lutheran. I think the letter of parson "Noel Santaclaus" or whatever his name is (he would be "Father Christmas" if a Catholic priest, exactly like the martyr Noel Pinot, killed by French Revolutionists) clarifies how the Lutheran position I had about baptism prepared the Catholic position I have about Baptism as well as the other Sacraments. If someone else has any doubts about it, I recommend the consultation of Unwanted Priest - which is an autobiography by Father Bryan Houghton. I nearly think he achieved the miracle of saving Monty Python from blaspheming Christ in the person of "Brian", because Father Houghton actually did in a way both say "Romani ite domum" and take a correction "about his Latin". That is, he refused to celebrate the New Liturgy ("Romani ite domum"), but he agreed to step down as a curate in order to obey Church Law (or what he took for such - hence the Brian "taking a correction in Latin by Biggus Diccus").*

Now Lutheran liturgy is - compared to the Latin Mass - a kind of super-Jansenism. It presumes making Holy Mass as stately as possible is somehow some kind of "work" and therefore making it as simple as possible (as well as denying it is a Real Sacrifice, others even denied it is the Real Presence of Christ) is some kind of obedience to Ephesians. Not true. But as far as Baptism is concerned this Lutheran keeps (as Lutherans generally) a Catholic rather than a Jansenist outlook.

Now to the examples given by Jonathan Sarfati to pervert "Baptism is not a work we do to earn salvation, it is a gift we receive from God" into "Baptism is what saved people do, not what people do to be saved."

But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. ... Save yourselves from this perverse generation. They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls.

This is St Peter's first Sermon. The one in the Portico is the next chapter and contains the words:

Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.

He was not in another city, everyone knew that Baptism was involved. This happened after the three thousand souls just on Pentecost day - and saying souls were added implies knew Creatures, that is that they were being saved as they were being baptised. The first exhortation to Baptism indeed implies that NOT getting Baptised implied remaining in "this perverse generation". That can by itself - we are bound to take it as taken by the Church but I speak without having checked - either imply "unregenerated sons of Adam" or "sinful Pharisees who have just killed God". Or both at the same time.

To you first God, raising up his Son, hath sent him to bless you; that every one may convert himself from his wickedness.

This means they had to get baptised. If anyone was by any chance (and Jews spread rumours quickly) still unfamiliar with the Baptism going on previous days or weeks or months (since Pentecost day) the wording would have reminded such ones of St John the Baptist.

Next sermon evidence cited by Jonathan Sarfati is St Paul's speech in the Areopagus. One Dionysius heard him more or less and later wrote De Divinis Nominibus, as St Thomas Aquinas believed. The day when people like Valla (not sure if he was himself a culprit in exctaly this case) denied that book was by that Saint reformation was alas not far away. But Jonathan Sarfati's point is that St Paul did not mention Baptism. Let us have a little look at the context:

17 He disputed, therefore, in the synagogue with the Jews, and with them that served God, and in the market-place, every day, with those that were present.

Plenty of time to mention Baptism there. There are no exact relations of their and his words given by St Luke.

18 And certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers disputed with him, and some said: What is it that this babbler would say? But others: He seemeth to be a preacher of new gods: because he preached to them Jesus, and the resurrection.

If they called him a babbler, so much must be true about it that he spoke more than just what is recorded in verses 22-31.

19 And taking him, they brought him to the Areopagus, saying: May we know what this new doctrine is, which thou speakest of?

20 For thou bringest certain new things to our ears: We would know, therefore, what these things mean.

21 (Now all the Athenians, and strangers that were there, employed themselves in nothing else, but either in telling or in hearing something new.)

The context is therefore Apologetics. And what was being defended was certainly not an ablution rite or what must have seemed so to the Pagans who knew no better, they had some such themselves and were not attacking it, what was being defended was the central message. But there is more to it than this:

32 And when they had heard of the resurrection of the dead, some indeed mocked: but others said: We will hear thee again concerning this matter.

33 So Paul went out from among them.

34 But certain men adhered to him and did believed: among whom was also Dionysius, the Areopagite, and a woman, named Damaris, and others with them.

Meaning he was interrupted. On Pentecost the Jews had let St Peter speak, but the other Apostles had been either tired or silenced or started listening to St Peter. On Areopagus, the Greeks did not let Saint Paul speak. Probably because some of them had been tipped off by Jews (see verse 17) who wanted to avoid another Pentecost day.

So, since Christ's Resurrection logically comes before His command to Baptise, we may pretty safely say that St Paul broke off when he was interrupted and had no time to get into Baptism in public, but he of course did so to St Dionysius and to Damaris, since they went off with him and continued listening.**

The book of Acts also provides an example of people who were saved before being baptized, the first Gentile family who became Christians. In Acts 10:44-48, Cornelius and those with him were converted through Peter’s message. That they were saved before being baptized is evident from their reception of the Holy Spirit (v. 44) and the gifts of the Spirit (v. 46) before their baptism. And once again, it was this evidence that they were already saved that led Peter to baptize them (cf. v. 47).

Fact. That is why even a Feeneyite*** must agree that though a man needs to get baptised if he wants God's grace, God does not need to wait till he is baptised with giving it. Also Saint Eustachius was told by Our Lord who appeared to him not only that he must get to the bishop of the city and get baptised, but also that he had pleased Our Lord. One possible case against Feeneyism is the girl who was stoned by Pagans while still a Catechumen, St Emerentiana was praying on the tomb of St Agnes, but they would answer she was already probably Baptised and simply prolonging her Catechumenate. That might be a copout.

Similarily, in order to be absolved before God for a mortal sin committed after Baptism, one need not always have already confessed and be given the Absolution, one can be absolved before one confesses - but not if one intends not to confess, since that is against God's law as stated in Epistle of St James. And who intends to disobey God is not repenting. But once one has confessed one goes to the priest to get absolution anyway. Why? In the old law, a man who had been cleansed of leprosy had to show himself to the priests. The rite of the two doves, which has been ridiculed as an impossible and superstitious cure for leprosy at least in the common medical sense of the word, Hansen's infection, was in fact a cohen acknowledging that the miraculous cure of leprosy (miraculous in the case of Hansen's infection anyway) had been done. But unlike the cohen who could not cure but only proclaim, the priest who is successor of Christ's Apostles also has the power to "cure of leprosy" in cases like when one approaches the Sacrament of Penance with imperfect contrition or attrition for the sin. And this is precisely not making the penant get saved by "Christ plus my works", it is making him get saved by Christ, because it is by mandate of Christ that they are able to absolve.

Here is the commentary on the Cornelius passage:°

Ver. 44. The Holy Ghost fell upon all them, and made his coming known in some visible manner and exterior signs, as on the day of Pentecost. The Christians who had come with St. Peter, who before had been Jews, were astonished to see that such extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were given to uncircumcised Gentiles. (Witham)

Ver. 47. Can any man forbid water? &c. Or doubt that these, on whom the Holy Ghost hath descended, may be made members of the Christian Church, by baptism, as Christ ordained? (Witham) --- Such may be the grace of God occasionally towards men, and such their great charity and contrition, that they may have remission, justification, and sanctification, before the external sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and penance be received; as we see in this example: where, at Peter's preaching, they all received the Holy Ghost before any sacrament. But here we also learn one necessary lesson, that such, notwithstanding, must needs receive the sacraments appointed by Christ, which whosoever contemneth, can never be justified. (St. Augustine, sup. Levit. q. 84. T. 4.)

Now Jonathan Sarfati is saying that Acts 2 do not show the reverse order, as normal, i e getting saved through Baptism. I find him engaged in ingenuous eisegesis here:

That baptism is the act of a saved person is shown even in the Acts 2:38 passage. Peter appears to link forgiveness of sins to baptism. But there are at least two plausible interpretations of this verse that do not connect forgiveness of sin with baptism. “For” is the Greek word εἰς (eis), and both the English and Greek have several meanings, depending on the context. Certainly it sometimes means “in order to” or “to achieve”, “to obtain” etc., which is the meaning you ascribe to the “for” in this passage, e.g. a diver came up for air, meaning to obtain air. But this is not the only meaning. E.g. if I take an aspirin “for” my headache, it certainly doesn’t mean that I’m taking it to “obtain” a headache. Rather, the “for” here means “because of”.

Similarly, a poster saying “Jesse James wanted for robbery”, would be unlikely to mean Jesse is wanted so he can commit a robbery; rather, it means he is wanted because he has committed a robbery. So too in this passage, the word “for” signifies an action in the past—that we are baptized because we identify with the salvation Christ has already achieved for us. Otherwise, it would violate the entire tenor of the NT teaching on salvation by grace through faith and not by works (e.g. Romans 4, Galatians 3, Ephesians 2:8–9, and about 200 other times where faith/belief is the only condition listed for salvation).

It is also possible to take the clause “and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” as parenthetical. Support for that interpretation comes from the fact that “repent” and “your” are plural, while “be baptized” is singular, thus setting it off from the rest of the sentence. If that interpretation is correct, the verse would read “Repent (and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ) for the forgiveness of your sins.” Forgiveness is thus connected with repentance, not baptism, in keeping with the consistent teaching of the New Testament (cf. Luke 24:47; John 3:18; Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18; Ephesians 5:26).

First of all, the distinct meanings of eis and the distinct meanings of for are not the same ones. The basic meaning of eis is into. This totally contradicts the idea (which would have been possible if St Peter had been speaking the English of ESV) that forgiveness of sins was cause rather than effect of Baptism. For can sometimes mean because of what has gone before and sometimes because of what one wants. But eis is certainly incompatible with the meaning "because of what has gone before", since it means "into". It can therefore be used as "so that you get" but never as "because you have got". You can take an aspirin "for" headache and Jesse James can have been wanted "for" robbery, but never ever can a Greek take an aspirin "eis" anything other than mouth or stomach, and if Jesse James was [insert verb] "eis" anything it was "into a court" (which did not happen) or "into a tomb" (which did happen due to the dirty little coward who shot mister Howard - he actually did lay Jesse James "eis" his grave).

Douay Rheims also has "for" the forgiveness, but two or three non-Catholic versions actually avoid the English pun involved in Jonathan Sarfati's reasoning:°°

Repent, replied Peter, "and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, with a view to the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Weymouth Bible

And Petre seide to hem, Do ye penaunce, and eche of you be baptisid in the name of Jhesu Crist, in to remissioun of youre synnes; and ye schulen take the yifte of the Hooli Goost.
- Wycliffe Bible

and Peter said unto them, `Reform, and be baptized each of you on the name of Jesus Christ, to remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,
- Youngs Literal Bible

The German has:

„Petrus antwortete ihnen: Kehrt um und jeder von euch lasse sich auf den Namen Jesu Christi taufen zur Vergebung seiner Sünden; dann werdet ihr die Gabe des Heiligen Geistes empfangen.“
Apostelgeschichte 2,38 EU

Note that Sarfati's reasoning is consistent with "wegen der" but not with "zur". Note also that this passage is giving the original for a part of the Creed of Nice and Constantinople. Lutherans in Sweden recite it as "till syndernas förlåtelse" and Swedish "till" = English "to" = Greek "eis". Since that translation is Catholic, here is the 1984 edition of Luther Bible:

Petrus sprach zu ihnen: Tut Buße und jeder von euch lasse sich taufen auf den Namen Jesu Christi zur Vergebung eurer Sünden, so werdet ihr empfangen die Gabe des Heiligen Geistes.

Now, Jonathan Sarfati may have sensed he needed a backup to this argument. Here it comes:

It is also possible to take the clause “and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” as parenthetical. Support for that interpretation comes from the fact that “repent” and “your” are plural, while “be baptized” is singular, thus setting it off from the rest of the sentence. If that interpretation is correct, the verse would read “Repent (and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ) for the forgiveness of your sins.” Forgiveness is thus connected with repentance, not baptism, in keeping with the consistent teaching of the New Testament (cf. Luke 24:47; John 3:18; Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18; Ephesians 5:26).

The conclusion would have been more correct, linguistically as well as theologically, to make it: Forgiveness is thus connected with repentance, AND baptism. Because, otherwise it was clumsy to put the parenthesis about baptism between repentance and forgiveness.

Remember, here the Bible is not just telling us what a man like anyone else is saying. It is telling us what St Peter said specifically under inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

The second question of Luther's Smaller Catechism (if you prefer that to Catholic Catechisms) asks "why are you called a Christian" and the answer is "because I am baptised in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost and in baptism have clad myself in Christ and believe and confess that he is my Saviour and the one who shall give me eternal Bliss". It then cites Galatians. Check out the Baltimore Catechism, 1941, on Baptism yourself°°° Note that clothing myself in the righteousness of Christ is not in my human power as approaching Baptism. It is an act of God, but it as considered an act of whoever gets baptised insofar as one is chosing it (and children getting baptised are chosing it through their godfather's and godmother's choice). It is both essential for salvation and a gift of God, and not a work of man.

Unfortunately the juggling with words while not understanding the meaning is not done for Jonathan Sarfati on this one:

Similarly with Acts 22:16, the phrase “wash away your sins” is best connected with “calling on His name”. A connection with “be baptized” would leave the Greek participle ἐπικαλεσάμενος (epikalesamenos = calling) “dangling” without an antecedent. Thus Paul’s sins were washed away by calling on the name of the Lord (cf. Romans 10:9–13; see below), rather than by baptism.

"Calling on his name" is obviously connected both to the "rise up" and to the "and be baptized" and to the "and wash away thy sins". This is one thing a participle can do in Latin or Greek. Has Jonathan Sarfati ever heard of a Baptism where one is NOT calling on the name of the Lord? A jocular one (like the blasphemy when Little John is baptised in beer in the Sherwood forest) or one in a film are baptisms where calling on God's name is not really involved, and in which there is also no real washing away of the sins.

This is a Catholic truth, which Pope Leo X defended against Luther, who tried to make, if not Baptism, at least Absolution, independent of the absolving priest's real intentions. At least if the person in question really believed himself to be absolved.

Now we get to James 2:19~

14 What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?

15 *And if a brother or sister be naked, and want daily food,

16 And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be you warmed and filled: yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself.

18 But some men will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee my faith by works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well: the devils also believe and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

And here is the comment:

Ver. 14, &c. Shall faith be able to save him? He now comes to one of the chief points of this epistle, to shew against the disciple of Simon , the magician, that faith alone will not save any one. We may take notice in the first place, that St. James in this very verse, supposes that a man may have faith, a true faith without good works. This also follows from ver. 19., where he says: Thou believest that there is one God: thou dost well. And the same is evident by the words in John xii. 42., where it is said, that many of the chief men also believed in him, (Christ)....but did not confess it, that they might not be cast out of the synagogue. Now that faith alone is not sufficient to save a man, St. James declares by this example: If any one say to the poor and naked, go in peace, be you warmed and filled, and give them nothing, what shall it profit? Even so faith, if it have not works is dead, &c. i.e. such a faith, though it be not lost and destroyed, yet it remains in a soul that is spiritually dead, when it is not accompanied with charity and grace, which is the life of the soul, and without which faith can never bring us to eternal life. In this sense is to be understood the 20th and 26th verses of this chapter, when faith is again said to be dead without good works. This is also the doctrine of St. Paul, when he tells us that a saving faith is a faith that worketh by charity, Galatians v. 6. When he says, that although faith were strong enough to remove mountains, a man is nothing without charity. (1 Corinthians xiii. 2.) When he teacheth us again, that not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. [Romans ii. 13.] St. John teacheth the same (1 John iii. 14.) He that loveth not, remaineth in death. But of this elsewhere. (Witham) --- Grotius in this place makes a very candid and remarkable profession of his faith, very different from that of his associates in the pretended reformation, called Solifideans [who pretend one is justified by faith alone]: "There are some who say, 'My works indeed are not as they ought to be,' but my faith is firm, my salvation is therefore out of danger. This opinion, which has sprung up in this our unhappy age, and recommends itself under the name of reformed doctrine, ought to be opposed by every lover of piety, and all who wish well to their neighbour's salvation....no faith has ever availed any man, unless it were accompanied by such works as he had time and opportunity to perform." His words are: "Opera quidem mea non recta sunt, sed fides recta est, ac propterea de salute non periclitor....Renata est hoc infelici sæculo ea sententia et quidem sub nomine repurgatæ doctrinæ, cui omnes qui pietatem et salutem proximi amant, se debent opponere....cœterum nulla cuiquam fides profuit, sine tali opere, quale tempus permittebat," &c. In vain do we glory in our faith, unless our lives and works bear testimony of the same. Faith without charity is dead, and charity cannot exist without good works. He who bears the fruits of Christian piety, shews that he has the root, which is faith; but the root is dead, when it affords no produce. Works are to faith what the soul is to the body. See the remainder of this chapter.

Ver. 18. Some men will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works. Shew me thy faith, &c. He confutes the same error, by putting them in mind that one can shew that he has faith, which is an interior virtue, only by good works, and that good works in a man shew also his faith; which is not to be understood, as if good works were merely the marks, signs, and effects of faith, as some would pretend, but that good works must concur with faith to a man's salvation by an increase in grace. (Witham)

Ver. 19. The devils also believe, and tremble. St. James compares indeed faith without other virtues and good works, to the faith of devils: but comparisons must never be stretched farther than they are intended. The meaning is, that such a faith in sinners is unprofitable to salvation, like that of devils, which is no more than a conviction from their knowledge of God; but faith which remains in sinners, is from a supernatural knowledge, together with a pious motion in their free will. (Witham)

So, though the beginning of my salvation is a gift of God and not my work, along with the faith which is a gift of God I also need, even to get saved in the end, and not just as Sarfati would like to pretend that they accompany a salvation already finished, the good works. But the Baptism is not so much a good work on behalf of the one getting baptised as an act of God, which makes this somewhat beside the point.

Sarfati makes one point here:~~

But the James 2:19 passage that J.G. alludes to states that the demons believe in one God—they don’t believe that Jesus died for their sins, so they lack the proper content for saving faith.

If they believed that Christ died for the sins of any non-humans (specifically fallen angels) they would be heretics. But "believing Christ died for MY sins" is not enough and not even the basis.

5 *By faith Henoch was translated, that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God.

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. 5. Henoch[Enoch] was translated, so as not to die nor see death. In Ecclesiasticus (Chap. xliv.) he is said to be translated into paradise. By these words, that he should not see death, it is the general exposition of the ancient interpreters, that he is not dead; but in what place, or in what manner God preserveth him, we know not. See St. Augustine, lib. de pec. orig.[on Original Sin] chap. xxiii.; St. Chrysostom; &c. (Witham)

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)

Obviously, the demons believe the first part, and if they do not deny the second part, they are not affirming it in their eternal deadness either. Insofar precisely as they give no good works. Where in all of the Bible does Jonathan Sarfati even find such a thing as believing Christ died for one is the proper content of saving faith? It is very firmly condemned by the Council of Trent, and seems to be to be as much of illicit eisegesis (a stranger reading his own understandings into a culture not really his own) as the wordplay on "for" in a verse where "unto" or "into" would have been clearer.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Agatha

Thank you, St Agatha, for your intercession 16 years ago!/HGL

PS, the best argument for Jonathan sarfati and Kent Hovind not being heretics is they are not yet Baptised. And as such not yet Christians. Since valid Baptism involves the intention of the person baptising to make - under God (as St Peter and St Paul and Elijah worked cures under God) - a new child of God and since these are baptised in congregations where the intention is rather to recognise a recent child of God, their baptism might be invalid and thus they would be godfearing gentiles. Or in Sarfati's case, a godfearing non-Christian Hebrew./HGL

* It may be argued Father Bryan was probably a cheesemaker, he kept nannygoats in Provence. It is certain that he tried to be a peacemaker, between those using New and Older Liturgies (the one he rejected and the one he stuck to, see chapter "La Bombe" in the French translation "Prêtre rejeté"). There might be a reference to him in "Brian" hearing the words of Our Lord (not shown!) ... especially if "Cultural Protestants" (I owe the expression to a "Cultural Muslim" who was an Atheist) like Monty Python also believed Father Bryan Houghton had got the words of Our Lord wrong in certain contexts. If you so much as chuckled at any scene in Life of Brian, you owe it both to the honour of Our Lord and to the memory of this possible inspiration for the film's central character, to read Unwanted Priest by Father Bryan Houghton.

** Not sure if she has thereafter lived before the eyes of the Church the kind of life or the kind of death that would have gotten her honoured as a saint. But of course that does not mean that she was no saint in private. I do not know her from the Calendar.

*** Feeneyites are those claiming that in the New Testament era no one is ever saved without getting baptised before he dies. Other Catholics hold that the grace of Baptism can be given even finally to someone not baptised in case he either wanted Baptism but had no chance to get it or he died as a martyr for the Christian faith. But Cornelius means they have to agree grace can be given before the Sacrament is given. It is just that they say that in every such case, if they are faithful to the grace, God will give them Sacramental Baptism.

° Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition : ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 10

°° King James Bible Online : Acts 2:38

Not sure if what we have as Wycliffe Bible is really Wycliffe's work, Belloc had doubts on that matter.

°°° Catholicity, the Catholic Church Simplified : Baptism
Lesson 24 from the Baltimore Cathechism

~ Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition : ST. JAMES - Chapter 2

~~ Here I give the link to Sarfati's article:

CMI : Feedback archive → Feedback 2009
Is baptism necessary for salvation? Is death such a bad thing?
Published: 14 February 2009(GMT+10)

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