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Newman #46687 Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:13 PM
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A few years ago didn't the current pope say something about only Catholics being true Christians?

Tom

Reformation Monk #46688 Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:33 PM
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That is interesting; I can only go with what RCs say. I will say however, if what I hear is true there is a sense that even these misinterpretations have an element of "tradition" in them. Unlike Protestants, Catholics do not interpret Scripture with Scripture, they appeal to tradition.

Tom

AC. #46690 Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:39 PM
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I agree that there needs to be a standard of who may be called a Christian. We are assured by Jesus that the road that leads to life is narrow and few find it. Balance that with God's sincere desire to save as many as possible, reaching out to the highways and outlands to those who never were invited to the wedding feast to replace those who were and turned up their noses.

Is the Mormon a Christian? The Jehovah Witness? I would give a hesitant yes to the first and a categorical no to the second. While Mormons take a radical departure from orthodoxy by suggesting that Christ is a creature, Jehovah Witnesses seem wholly indifferent to Christ crucified for sinners.

But there is another issue as well. Who God decides to save will not fall along the same gerrymandered lines that we draw, nor will God abide by the formulas we propose to put on Him. While there can be no doubt that Jesus is the only name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved...how, when, and under which circumstances people come to accept or reject God's grace is not something that can be judged accurately by outward appearances. Like David was chosen by Samuel out of all of his "more qualified" brothers, we too can be deceived by our own eyes and ears.

When we start down the path of saying who is and who isn't Christian, where does that end? Shall we consider the lunatic rants of Ellen G. White who believed anyone who worshipped on Sunday took the mark of the beast and were not Christian as an example of how far adrif we might go? I rather like Christ's teaching that he who is not against us is on our side (Mark 9:39). Our duty is to preach Christ crucified and leave the final judgement to God.


Liberalism -- Ideas so good, they have to be mandated.
via_dolorosa #46691 Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:36 AM
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I agree with that statement to a point....and I agree we should try not to make Christianity into a formula...but if some of these differences in doctrine were irrelevant when considering the big picture then what is all the fuss about.....I think you are taking a bit of a laissez faire attitude here....with the Reformation various forms of heresy and more importantly God's honor was at stake with each side fighting a virtual holy war against the other, obviously for good reason resolution and harmony was never achieved.

Thankfully, the bloodshed and persecution stopped but I still believe there are spiritual consequences on the line in these disputes....while I agree with you that only God knows the heart and He is the final judge....

Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
I rather like Christ's teaching that he who is not against us is on our side (Mark 9:39). Our duty is to preach Christ crucified and leave the final judgement to God.


The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent, Augustine

via_dolorosa #46692 Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:44 AM
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Originally Posted by via_dolorosa
Is the Mormon a Christian? The Jehovah Witness? I would give a hesitant yes to the first and a categorical no to the second. While Mormons take a radical departure from orthodoxy by suggesting that Christ is a creature, Jehovah Witnesses seem wholly indifferent to Christ crucified for sinners.
I must admit that I was deeply saddened to read what you wrote here. Despite the fact and because you appeared to be an ardent Roman Catholic, I have always thought you held to the historic evangelical Creeds, e.g., the Nicene, Athanasian and Chalcedon. Evidently, you too have fallen into modernism and either ignore these foundational statements of the Christian religion or deny their verity and secondary authority. You might as well include Muslims as those who can be saved for they like the Mormons deny the doctrine of the Trinity.

There IS a "faith once delivered unto the saints", that "faith" being a body of truths, doctrines which come from God himself. Without truth there is no salvation. As to how much truth one needs to have in order to be considered a Christian is a much debated question. Obviously the answer will vary considerably depending upon who you talk to. The most lackadaisical will of course generally make the requirements minimal and the Pharisaical will make the requirements extraordinarily narrow and harsh. And in case you couldn't guess, I believe the Reformers and Puritans took the biblically 'narrow road' that leads to eternal life and set forth those doctrines which were and are commonly believed by all who have a true living faith. Issues as to whether you should immerse, sprinkle or pour in baptism are minor although some on both sides make them to be monumental, fellowship-breaking doctrines, much to their shame. But to deny the very doctrine of God's nature can hardly be considered a minor issue.

Again, I am deeply shocked that you would even hesitantly consider a Mormon as being beloved of God and destined for glory. And IF this is what the modern RCC is OFFICIALLY teaching, then this just goes to show how far afield the Roman State Church has gone over the past 50 years. So you see, it isn't just Protestantism that has cast off its roots, which it has for the most part and gone far astray in doctrine and life. [Linked Image]


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Pilgrim #46707 Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:33 PM
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We are probably going to have different opinions on this, but our points of agreement would certainly outnumber our disagreements.

Mormons call themselves Christians, something that JW's will not do, which is why I can't place them in the same basket. Of course, in defining what it is to be a Christian, we can ultimately fall back on the Creeds, the first significant winnowing fan separating orthodox from heretic. The Creeds defined the Trinity, the eternal nature of God, the virgin birth, the crucifixion, resurrection and bodily ascension, and so on. In saying that Christ is a creature instead of the eternal God, the LDS church has taken a radical departure from the doctrinal essentials of Christianity, and as such, I can't blame any Christian who doesn't want to include them under our banner. The most generous thing I can say of the LDS is that they can be subsumed into a more aggrandized definition of Christianity in that they attempt to follow Jesus as best they understand him.

But one thing I cannot do is make the leap between saying they are not Christian and saying they cannot be saved and one thing I can definitively say is taught by the Catholic Church is that the only one who knows who will go to heaven is God himself. The LDS church is besotted with error in many ways, but if we take upon ourselves the task of deciding how much error can keep those who strive to follow Christ from the salvation Christ offers, then where do we draw that line, and by what authority? We can claim that the Mormons follow a different Jesus and preach a different gospel, and there is ample scriptural evidence for this, but to then suggest that this alone puts out of their reach the very salvation they are seeking is to trek into uncharted territory, that is the impeccable judgement of God. Jesus told the Pharisees that tax collecters and harlots would enter the kingdom of heaven before them; an indicator that an unpenitant heart is the sure harbinger of damnation, not error in belief.

Perhaps it is my fervent prayer and desire that the deceptions of the LDS church will not consign to perdition those sincere followers who all their lives have hoped for heaven and eternity with Christ as I do. My own parents came out of the RLDS, having discerned the error and set free by the truth, and that is my prayer for all Mormons; that the veil of darkness might be lifted. And for my part, I will do all I can to expose the falsehoods of the LDS in hopes that somebody can become free of it. But that failing, I still hope to be in heaven with them.

Edit: As far as official Catholic teaching goes, we accept all converts from non Catholic Christian denominations without requiring rebaptism, believing the Protestant baptism meets all the requirements for legitimacy. That is not extended to LDS converts who must undergo a correct baptism. Let that fact speak for itself.

Last edited by via_dolorosa; Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:40 PM. Reason: addition

Liberalism -- Ideas so good, they have to be mandated.
via_dolorosa #46713 Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:56 AM
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Via_dolorosa,

This is what I believe to be an example of why I personally believe in Scripture Alone.

I am a Cessationist when It coms to further Special Revelation. I believe by Scripture that God's final special revelation ceased with Christ and His apostles.

The reason I say that, is because It doesn't make sense to me to have a God who "changes" His mind.

Therefore; I can't accept any truth that contradicts the plain truth of scripture.

My only recommendation to you at this point is for you to read the Bible.

As this thread has proven, at the end of the day, there is still always going to be minor differences in doctrine, such as credo and paedo baptism and what not, but the differences are minor.

You talk about the creeds.... but even in the Apostles and Nicene Creed's there is no mention of Faith Alone. So in my opinion there isn't enough in them.

For myself personally, the gospel is faith in Christ's atoning work on the Cross imputed to us through this faith alone without any personal work of justification of our own. To deviate this, to add any work righteousness is to preach another gospel.

Which can lead to any belief.

So again, my only recommendation is for you to just pick up your Bible and read it for a few months and let it speak to you.
Dave


Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. - Galatians 2:16
Reformation Monk #46740 Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
Greetings, Reformation Monk.

[quote=Reformation Monk]
I am a Cessationist when It coms to further Special Revelation. I believe by Scripture that God's final special revelation ceased with Christ and His apostles.
On that we definitely disagree. The Council of Jerusalem itself set the template for further revelations in regard to doctrine and administration. To say that special revelation ceased with Christ and the Apostles is to make the eggregious error of saying that the Bible itself is not a product of revelation.

Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
The reason I say that, is because It doesn't make sense to me to have a God who "changes" His mind.

Therefore; I can't accept any truth that contradicts the plain truth of scripture.
God never changes his mind. Not ever. And none of God's revelations contradicts another, but rather all of God's revelation is pluperfect in continuity. What we may disagree on is what constitutes God's revelation as I don't believe it begins and ends with the Bible notely because the Bible, particularly the New Testament, was never designed as an exhaustive account of all that Christ OR the apostles taught. For this reason, we are exhorted to "hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by word or our epistle." (2Thess 2:15)

More on the theme that God does not give conflicting revelations, what appears as a conflict at first glance is not a conflict when examined in detail. Even within the Bible, there is a perception by the ignorant that the Bible "contradicts itself." But those who know the Bible well can easily clear up that mistake. In a broader sense, what teachings and traditions you think conflict with the Bible I can readily explain in the context of early church tradition, a far more credible indicator of true doctrine than our feeble guesses 2000 years later. For instance, to refer to presbyters, elders, and other mature Christians in leadership as "father" was common in the early church, indicating that those Christians had quite a different take on what Jesus meant when he said to call no man your father. This is an example of how a glancing view of scripture can lead to incorrect conclusions about which doctrines and practices are correct or incorrect and why a thorough exegesis of scripture must include the context of the beliefs of the early church.

Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
My only recommendation to you at this point is for you to read the Bible.
I have read the Bible since I was a wee lad and have a deep love and reverence for it. The Bible has helped to lead me to the holy Catholic faith. But I thank you all the same for your exhortation as we should always be reminding each other to do this more.

Originally Posted by Reformation Monk
For myself personally, the gospel is faith in Christ's atoning work on the Cross imputed to us through this faith alone without any personal work of justification of our own. To deviate this, to add any work righteousness is to preach another gospel.

Which can lead to any belief.

The reason we could arrive at a Joint Declaration of Justification is because our beliefs are not really that far apart and are often just expressed in a different way. That we are saved by grace, through faith given to us from God is a unifying belief. I'm fond of using Christ's "unprofitable servant" teaching to underscore that though we do those works which are our duty to do, in the end, nobody can outgive or outdo the Lord and we rest on the fact that we are saved by grace, unmerited favor given to us out of love, not remuneration.


Liberalism -- Ideas so good, they have to be mandated.
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