"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." -Cardinal Francis George

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Burn the Gospel of Straw

Martin Luther called the book of James an "Epistle of straw" because he did not like what Saint James had to say concerning how faith and works relate to our justification. It would have been so much more convenient for Luther to just be rid of the epistle so he could more easily explain his *biblical* doctrine of sola fide. The problem for Luther, is that James has the authority and Luther does not. Luther's characterization of the Gospel according to the book of James amounts to a "straw man" argument in the debate on justification. Catholics have always affirmed that justification is the work of God from start to finish, the Holy Spirit going before us with us and behind us to help us on the journey, with all glory going to God. Here is a fun exercise: Walk up to any evangelical Protestant and ask them to define infusion and imputation, and how each of them relate to the ground of our justification. Now watch for the blank stare... There it is. Heck, I would give a blank stare most days. It is a complicated web of sins and merits flying around courtrooms, cloaks, snow on manure piles, and it is hard to describe coherently. Now describe the Catholic doctrine of justification by grace without naming it as such. Tell them it is salvation by Gods grace alone where he changes our heart from stone to flesh (infuses grace into our hearts) so that Christs love can work through us. And then He declares us righteous. Because He makes us righteous. NOT because of us, but because of Christ in us... "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Phil. 2:13 They will agree with this doctrine nearly every time, because it is the Gospel of God's free grace. Now tell them they just affirmed the Catholic doctrine, and they will probably puke. Protestants hate what they think the Catholic gospel is (Us working our way to God) and not what that Gospel actually is. I think Dr. RC Sproul may be the only man alive who understands and hates the actual Catholic gospel and not just the straw man "Gospel of works" one. It's high time you protesters throw down your "Sola Fide NOW!" banners and come on home to Rome. Hey, your leaders have long since walked away, you can't decide where the protest rally should even be located so you are scattered all over town, and most of you have forgotten what you're even protesting, and those of you that do remember have a much different looking Christendom than Luther saw. If Luther were here he would be in sackcloth and ashes to see the current state of the Reformation, and would crawl over broken glass to kiss the Popes ring. "search your feelings... you know it to be true!" (Gotta love the Star Wars reference.)


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