Tuesday, July 07, 2009

To Bait or Not to Debate, That is the Question (Curious Tactics of "Argument" From Anti-Catholic "Turretinfan")



This is one of the oddest encounters I have ever had online. One "Turretinfan" (usually affectionately known as "TAO": short for The Anonymous One, because this guy has never yet revealed his true name) knows full well of my policy of no longer attempting to debate anti-Catholics. But I have had some (as usual) silly, tangential chit chat with anti-Catholics on an anti-Catholic blog lately, including with TAO, and he is absolutely determined to hound me over and over with the question of whether a Christian is one who is "saved" or not. He won't give it up, even though I have repeatedly stated that I feel he is trying to bait me into a debate, which I refuse to do, based on my policy, arrived at after many years of frustrated attempts at rational discussion with our esteemed anti-Catholic apologists and polemicists.

I think it is rather obvious by now that either he was trying to get me to enter a debate out of exasperation, so he and his cronies can then have a field day mocking me because I broke my resolution to not do so (with anti-Catholics like himself), or to show that I am (proven by my refusal to answer) somehow scared to death to answer, for fear that my entire apologetic for Catholicism will come tumbling down, due to one Profound Question. It would be all over in one brilliant stroke. Either way, he "wins." That is my theory as to why he is doing this (knowing my policy). Whether I answer or don't answer, he has an opportunity to mock and ridicule (which is pretty much all these guys do anymore with us despised "papists / "Romanists").

Anyway, you can decide yourself if his methodology is asinine and childish (as I think) by reading this Abbot and Costello, "Who's on Third"-like silliness. Here is the entire thing, from the anti-Catholic blog, Hays' Triablogue site (noted by an asterisk: *), and my own (two asterisks: **). TAO's words will be in blue. After reading this, I think it is highly likely that any reasonably sane, conscious person (not themselves afflicted by the malady of anti-Catholicism) would never again question the prudence or reasonableness of my decision to cease engaging eccentric characters like this in true debate / dialogue on theology. Ask yourself how you would do in response to such relentless, mindless, utterly boorish goading and mocking.

* * * * *

You call us "Christians" but do you use that term as synonymous with "saved"? Or do you mean something less by that? (7-9-09) [1]

Protestant baptism is valid, sacramental, and regenerative. (7-9-09)

Which is a "no" to my question about "Christian" meaning "saved," right? I'm not sure why you're being so cagey. Do you equate "Christian" and "saved" or not? (7-9-09) [2]

. . . evasion . . . (7-10-09*)

I don't debate anti-Catholics anymore, per my above explanation. You had your chance to engage in a live chat debate with me about the definition of Christian and you declined, carping on and on, as you do, about your contention that I am not a bona fide orthodox Catholic in the first place. I won't be baited into it here. (7-9-09)

It's amazing you cannot answer a simple and straight question about what the word "Christian" means when you were hounding Reformed folks to debate you on that topic. I bet the folks who declined simply see this as further evidence of the wisdom of their decision. Meanwhile, I still have held open the option (despite your outright lies to the contrary) of debating you if you will take the Roman Catholic position in the debate. (7-9-09) [3]

. . . excuse . . . (7-10-09*)

Right TAO. Nice melodramatic flourish there. The pseudo-"negotiations" were beaten to death with many thousands of words -- summarized in a lengthy footnote in my recent paper. . . . I'm through debating all anti-Catholics, in terms of working through issues back and forth. You know that full well. You saw me reiterate it in this thread. Yet you tried to bait me into a discussion on the very same topic. Surely you are not so ignorant as to not know the huge vistas of debate that open up when throwing out even one gigantic term like "saved." Surely you are not so naive as to not know that there can be no short answer to that. A short answer would lead to more of your prodding, and then there we are: right back into a debate situation that I have already stated is out of the question, after 12 or so years of trying to have cordial, reasonable discussions with anti-Catholics like yourself. . . . (7-9-09)

Amazing that you can type so many words to criticize a flourish (your description) and can't answer a simple question. That ought to trouble you, even if you want to call any criticism of yourself an "insult." (7-9-09) [4]

Again I prodded Dave to try to get a straight answer out of him (Got no answer.) (7-10-09*) [5]

But again - does "Christian" mean "saved"? Dave won't say (choosing instead to focus on flourishes). (7-9-09) [6]

Psychological (baiting) tactics don't work with me, TAO. I don't play those games. Theology is a serious matter and we should all respect it as such. (7-9-09)

. . . rebuff . . . (7-10-09*)

Apparently, you don't take theology seriously enough to be able to answer a simple question. If "baiting" (your term) doesn't help you to stop evading - would anything help you? Are you just hopelessly unable to answer simple questions? You heart should be doing my job for you, telling you that while you post floods of self-justifying comments for your insults, you cannot actually answer a simple question. (7-10-09) [7][8][9]

Still, I did not give up trying to get my question answered but tried once again (got no answer) (7-10-09*) [10]

I posed the question a third time in the form of incredulity over his twice failure to answer the question. I got the excuse . . . (7-10-09*) [11]

[responding to an ecumenical Calvinist regarding similar issues; later I referred TAO back to this, to no avail] This gets to the question of subjective vs. objective criteria of what Christian is. Because the Protestant believes that salvation is already attained, most will want to surmise whether this momentous event has happened in the life of a person. Then the Calvinist / Arminian thing comes into it, too. I understand this. I,. too, had a radical life-changing experience in 1977, and again in 1980, when I was, I firmly believe, further filled with the Holy Spirit. Catholics believe that Baptism regenerates: a real change takes place: one is incorporated into the Body of Christ. So these are all big discussions. I think in the end we can only sensibly discuss the issue across the board on a more objective, theological basis: on the creedal level. I usually use the Nicene Creed as a criteria for the definition of a Christian.On this basis, Catholics clearly would be Christians. You said this yourself, so you clearly mean it. But if we speculate on the present spiritual state of individuals, we have no certainty, and it goes round and round. John Calvin said we cannot be certain who is of the elect; even ourselves. Luther struggled with that, too. And both believed in assurance of salvation in some sense, over against an Arminian / Catholic / Orthodox understanding. When a Calvinist clearly forsakes the reformed faith, and is deeply into sin and outward rebellion against God, Calvinist theology requires that he or she is now defined as having never been a Christian or saved or justified or regenerated at all. But it then follows that those who thought he or she was in the past were wrong, and did not have certainty at all. So we just don't know with absolute certainty. We can only go, therefore, by what a person claims to believe, in judging whether they are Christians.

The [anti-Catholic] categories forbid Catholics from being Christians. A consistent, obedient, orthodox Catholic cannot possibly be a Christian. To be a good Catholic is to be no Christian. To be a Christian is to be a bad (heterodox) Catholic. Most anti-Catholics, following Calvin and Luther, will leave a tiny loophole for the Catholic individual to have a chance to still be saved. But this is virtually despite the Catholic Church. If one is a Catholic and understands Church teaching and adheres to it, they are out of the fold, by this mentality. Some (like an Baptist preacher friend of mine I once worked for briefly, or one of my best friends, will contend that a former evangelical Protestant like myself was clearly saved, and so therefore (from eternal security) could not have fallen away, even having become Catholic. (7-10-09)

So many words from Dave on his favorite misleading label of "anti-Catholic" and still no answer about whether being Christian means being saved. One wonders if Dave himself notices this oddity. (7-10-09) [12]

I notice that you are quite odd (and oddly, inexplicably uncomprehending). (7-10-09)

Don't let any oddities I possess distract you from answering a simple question, please. Try to focus on the issues. I think that, if you try hard, you can probably bite the bullet and answer the question. (7-10-09) [13][14]

Tried once more (I got a personal remark, but no answer). (7-10-09*) [15]

[to someone else] As you see, I have continually declined T-Fan's baiting, precisely because he is trying to woo me into a theological discussion / debate, which I refuse to do with an anti-Catholic anymore. You can't have it both ways: mock me for supposedly engaging in what I'm not engaging in, as proven by T-Fans infantile mocking and attempts to goad me. Not that logic is the high point of anti-Catholic gifts and talents, but still . . . (7-10-09)

Now, let's try one that's not taken out of context: "I have no problem talking to anybody, or being friendly, or answering questions, etc. " But over at Mr. Swan's blog, Mr. Armstrong couldn't answer the simple question about whether he uses "Christian" as synonymous with "saved." (7-10-09*) [16]

I pushed once more for an answer to the question (Dave simply references two of his previous non-answers - the excuse in response to try #3 and to the first of a series of lengthy comments in defense of the misleading label "anti-catholic"). I really think that any reasonable person would say that his claim: "I have no problem talking to anybody, or being friendly, or answering questions, etc. " simply isn't true. How many chances do I Have to give this guy to be able say that such a claim is a lie? (7-10-09*) [17]

Falsely claiming that I "refused to debate" is something you did to suit your polemical purposes and justify your running away from Reformed apologists. You practically admitted as much later on when explaining your motives for the challenge. So, please - run away all you like, refuse to answer simple questions as much as you like, but face the fact of what you are doing, at least for your own benefit, if not for that of the folks who read your blog. And that simple question, just for the record, is whether you consider "Christian" and "saved" to be synonymous. That's the question that I asked, and for which I got belittled and insulted by you. (7-11-09**) [18][19][20]

Besides, if I was so interested in "running away" from Reformeds, why would I be engaged for hundreds of hours presently in answering the entirety of Calvin's Book IV of his Institutes line-by-line? Surely you have better things to do than to utterly make a fool of yourself, no? (7-11-09**)

Whatever you say. If anyone holding Calvin's positions decides that your Calvin posts are worth responding to they will be labeled "anti-Catholic" and ignored per your non-vow commitment to running away from Reformed apologetics. (7-11-09**)

If someone responds who is not an anti-Catholic (like, e.g., Pilgrimsarbour), I'll be more than happy to interact, just as I was with him. I'd rather "run away" from foolish and vain conversations than from logic and charity, any day. (7-11-09**)

[quoting me] "I'd rather "run away" from foolish and vain conversations than from logic and charity, any day." "My own definition of anti-Catholic has no connection whatsoever to behavior." (7-11-09**)

I don't believe you can possibly be this dense and logically challenged., Surely you must be joking when you make so many elementary logical lapses . . . (7-12-09**)

. . . he made the following vow: "I'll be ignoring you and other anti-Catholics (barring exceptional circumstances; particularly if it involves defending someone else from anti-Catholic smear campaigns)." Of course, as I predicted, he couldn't do that. In fact, I've already documented over 50 examples of his not ignoring "anti-Catholics" (documentation) since that vow was made. I could add many more. As you can see the list hasn't been updated for a few months. But now the vow has morphed. It's not really ignoring us (which would be impossible for poor Dave) but instead just running away from theological arguments, explanations, and (most of all) the dreaded task of answering simple questions. In a very worldly sense, this is wise of Dave: his positions are so weak that they cannot stand up to reasoned discussion (or even simple questions) with the most staunch opponents of his religion. One way to minimize having the weakness of his positions demonstrated for all is to run away from theological discussions with those that oppose his religion. But - then again - isn't Dave supposedly an apologist? Isn't an apologist for religion, position, or viewpoint "x" supposed to be prepared to defend that from anti-x's? We defend Calvinism against anti-Calvinists, and the Reformed faith more generally against her most outspoken detractors. Not Dave. Go figure. (7-12-09*) [21][22]

Must you continue to be illogical in virtually every point you try to make concerning me? (7-15-09)

Still hiding from that simple question about whether you view "Christian" and "saved" as synonymous? (7-15-09) [23]

Have already explained about ten times now as to why I refuse to answer your question, TAO (once in great detail and another time actually hitting closely on the topic in reply to a non-anti-Catholic Calvinist).

But I haven't given up hope yet that you will man up and answer it. [24]

You killed the effort when I challenged you (along with six others) to a debate on definition of Christianity / Christian by your ridiculous qualifications of my having to become a Protestant in order to be a real Catholic in order to debate you.

You know very well that I didn't ask you to become a Protestant.

I won't be baited into it now.

I wonder whether, in your imagination, answering a simple question is either (1) becoming a Protestant or (2) engaging in the chatroom debate you previously hounded us for?

I gave up on you guys having any sort of sustained, cordial, rational discussion.

Ah, there we go ... yet above you tried to claim you were still steering for said rational discussion. So confusing this back and forth.

Your antics now amply confirm it.

Yes, had you been willing to debate, I would have insisted that you answer questions, like the question that you've been evading about 10 times now. [25]

You can't take no for an answer.

You can't answer a simple question. [26]

You insist on either debating me, or else using your antics as fodder for further mocking (as you've already done at Triablogue).

Actually, I've just been trying to get you to answer a simple question. It's interesting that you cannot do that with debate (in your mind) or mockery (again, in your mind). [27]

More confirmation of the wisdom of my decision to ignore you, debate-wise.

But not mocking-wise, eh? Although you are trying to steer things toward rational discussion, or are you?

You could have "cross-examined" me for hours if you had simply said "yes" way back when.

One imagines that you would have been able to keep evading the questions for hours, since you've managed to do so for days here. [28]

You could have had a grand old time and shown me to be an absolute fool, if I am anywhere near as dumb and stupid and clueless as our gracious host, White, and others of your pals have claimed for years.

It's interesting how your mind works. If I debate someone it is not for that purpose. It is to advance the cause of the truth.

If you're so intent on debating me, simply take one of my papers and reply to it, just like I do with Old Man Calvin (Book IV of the Institutes).

I'm not the least bit intent on debating you. There are, in fact, some articles of yours that I had queued for response at some point, but they have not been a high priority. In any event, I wouldn't consider responding to your articles, as I have done in the past, to be a "debate."

I won't reply. You're safe.

If I were worried about people replying, I'd write only on my moleskine.

And I trust all logically-trained, fair-minded readers to immediately see right through your arguments, so that is no concern to me at all. Fire away.

It's interesting how you judge arguments before they are presented. In some circles, that's referred to as prejudice.

If our host can write 110 papers about me, you can put up 50 or so, no (because I am so dangerous to the flock)?

LOL - I've had people beg me to respond before, but I've never had someone make a request for 50 responses! I'll have to remember that.

And please do tell: if there are all these mentions of White and Tim on my blog, how can this be if I have supposedly been running from all anti-Catholics (and those close to that position) all along, according to you?

I said you're running away (now, not "all along") from Reformed apologists (I'd distinguish between them and "all anti-Catholics" but the way you grossly abuse the term, it amounts to about the same thing). (7-15-09)

As if my huge Anti-Catholicism page with its scores of papers doesn't exist? I've either been replying to White or I haven't. I have many dozens of replies to him, and they are chock-full of substance, believe me. I just recommended one on my site about 1 Corinthians 3 that was 11,000 words. . . .

But you can't have it both ways. If you mock me because I have a lot of stuff about White, then obviously I have been dealing with him and not running in abject terror of any counter-reply, as he has done with my materials for 14 years now.

On second thought, since (in your replies to me, anyway) you seem to be remarkably free of self-consistent logical thought, you could indeed assert two mutually contradictory things, and think nothing of it; even glory in it. (7-15-09)

Of course there hasn't been a normal conversation yet, though, in this combox. Whenever I try to steer it to an actual reasoned discussion, y'all go right back to mocking. Par for the course. I would expect nothing more in these parts.

A few days ago you were avoiding answering a simple question in order to avoid actual reasoned discussion according to your own testimony. (7-15-09) [29]

So tell me TAO: why is my answer to your Big Question so hugely important to you, that you feel you have to hound me for days on end to answer it?

What?! you refuse to answer my simple question and then try to question my motives for asking the question in the first place? Amazing! Answer the question, and I'll be happy to explain my motive for asking. See, I'm sweetening the pot with a little quid pro quo. That's the carrot to try to get you to answer my simple question. [30][31][32][33]

What is it about all my many previous reasons for refusing to do so that is so incomprehensible?

I'm not sure you understand the basic problem here. It's a simple question. I'm looking for the answer. I'm not trying to peer into your psyche (as you seem to be interested in doing with me), just getting you to deal with this simple question. (7-15-09) [34][35]

If you were simply looking for a simple answer to a simple question (if indeed you are so simplistic to think that this particular question is so easily answered in one or two words, given all the well-known soteriological disputes, that are anything but simple), then you would have either:

Watch out, here come the forced choices
1) accepted my initial short answer,

Your initial response was an evasion. It did not answer the question, and you know it. [36]

2) or the long answer (in effect) that I offered to Pilgrimsarbour, that I later referred you to. You simply deemed that to be a non-answer.

Since it did not answer the question. [37]

3) And you would not have engaged in mockery and insinuations at Triablogue, to the effect that I am a coward, not "man" enough to answer, which only exposes (in my opinion) your quite probable motivation in asking to begin with.

You're still not man enough to directly answer the question - you're still evading, refusing to answer, and attacking the questioner. If you don't like that fact, do something about it: answer the question.[38][39]
But you didn't do either because (it's fairly plain to me) the goal was mockery and belittling from the beginning. You knew that you could make hay whatever I did. If I responded in the length the question demands, you could carp on about how I (again) broke my supposed "vow" (that I have never made, since the only vow in my entire life was when I got married: one I have kept for almost 25 years).

I know you will be shocked that your amateur psychology practice missed, but the reason I didn't go with one of the alternatives above was that you didn't answer the question. It's really that simple. I want an answer to the question, and if I have to ask a few times to get the answer - so be it. [40][41]

If I don't respond (to your satisfaction, that is), then you can take your present course, of making out that I am a coward.

If the shoe fits ... but I'd rather just have an answer to the question. [42]

So my choice is coward or falsely alleged vow-breaker. Some choice, huh? That's what I get when I engage you in any degree whatsoever. It's all just for entertainment's sake, in your eyes, and for folks like mouse, etc., safely observing from the sidelines and never in much danger of the sin of "committing" (heaven forbid) a serious theological discourse, even in a sub-debate, severely limited sense.

You made the decision/vow/whatever to ignore Reformed apologists. That's no one's fault but your own. But I'll tell you what - I'd have a little more respect for your refusal to answer a simple question if you had something you yourself considered a "vow" not to do it. You draw a line between "vows" and something apparently equal so binding that it leaves you in between a rock and a hard place where you are a pseudo-vow-breaker or a coward (by your own analysis). Just answer the question and escape this dilemma of your own construction. (7-15-09) [43][44]

* * * * *

Pilgrimsarbour asked:

But if I were to ask you to respond to Turretinfan's question, might you be more inclined to do so? I ask because I'm interested in your answer.
I replied:
Not in this context, for reasons I have explained. I have already pretty much offered you the answer I would give, in our earlier dialogue, in my discussion of subjective vs. objective elements in the definition of Christian (that I have referred TAO back to, only to be mocked again).

If you'd like to have a discussion on our own elsewhere (my site or yours) then I'd be happy to cordially dialogue as normal men do, minus all the nonsense that goes on here. I'm under no self-imposed constraints with you as I am with TAO, because you are not an anti-Catholic, and have proven yourself quite gentlemanly (and challenging and interesting too). (7-15-09)
And TAO jumped right on that with more facile, self-congratulatory rhetoric:

LOL - Now you cannot answer because TurretinFan is around. "If I answer you here, it will look like TurretinFan ate my lunch. Can I answer you behind the bleachers?" (7-15-09) [45]

The numbingly mindless nonsense continues today, too:

And despite your post, I'm still waiting for an answer to that question. Maybe if I hold your feet to the virtual fire for a bit, you'll realize how easy it would be simply to answer the question. But I realize now that perhaps you've been feeling burdened. Perhaps you've thought I wanted not just an answer to whether you do or do not use the term "Christian" as synonymous with "saved" but also a detailed defense of your usage. If that has been your problem, let me set your mind at rest. I just want a clear unequivocal answer to the question. If you feel that you have to explain your answer, I leave that up to you, but I'm not asking for a detailed explanation. I'd be perfectly satisfied if you answered the question monosyllabically with a "yes" or "no" as the case may be. I'm not asking you for a debate - just a simple answer to a simple question. (7-16-09) [46][47][48][49]

If the question had been posed by someone toward whom Dave didn't have as much antipathy, that might have enhanced his willingness to answer the question. That's true whether his antipathy toward me (and other Reformed apologists) is justified or unjustified. (7-16-09) [50]

TAO has a blog called Reformed Boor. Never were truer or more accurate words spoken . . . TAO writes on the sidebar:
At least at first, this blog will be responding (boorishly) to questions asked to other columnists.
How well I can relate, having been on the receiving end of his boorishness (and you, too, after being masochistic enough to endure this post; my sympathies) . . .

Yet more requests from the broken record:

One might think that answering a simple question would be more important than ad hominem but that assumes rationality. (7-16-09) [51]

With this kind of double-mindedness, no wonder Dave can't answer a simple question. (7-16-09) [52]

You're very fond of mocking Mr. Bridge's name (You've called him "Defective Gene" and "Gene 'Troll' Bridges" here and other things elsewhere), but not so fond of answering simple questions.
Odd, isn't it? [53]

Hey TAO. We're now up to 53 times asking the same question [over eight days' time, or almost seven times a day, average]. I wanna get up to at least 75, if not 100, so the entertainment value can increase proportionately. I know you won't disappoint us. (7-16-09)

One assumes that however immature you may be acting now, you'll eventually answer the simple question. If it takes asking you 100 times, so be it. (7-16-09) [54]

Excellent! So we have a fightin' chance for 75, and a fair shot at achieving 100, too. This is the best thing since Cool Hand Luke eatin' 50 eggs . . . (7-16-09)

Too bad you are not as eager to answer simple questions as you are to accuse others of doing the same thing you do. (7-16-09) [55]

At least I still have my wits about me. (7-16-09)

We've proven you are obstinately refusing to answer a simple question no matter how many times it is asked. (7-16-09) [56]

YES! TAO has just attained to 7.0 / day average asking the same old question (56 times in 8 days). That was my goal for today. Everything else is above and beyond. Eight more today would get him to the 8.0 mark. It's entirely possible, I think. It would only take a little more than six days at his present rate to top the 100 mark. THAT's what I wanna see (really bad). It would be a keeper for the ages, for sure. The rate of commission, however (it should be duly noted), is increasing. TAO has already uttered The Question a dozen times today, or a full five above his average for one day. So I believe it is possible to hit the century mark in as little as four-five days, even assuming that the guy has a life. (7-16-09)

I'm trying to get you to answer a simple question. (7-16-09) [57]

And Dave, you do realize that whatever score you are keeping is also the tally of your refusals to answer the simple question, yes? (7-16-09) [58]

Considering that we'd expect a mind-reader to answer a simple question, . . . (7-16-09) [59]

I realize I'm biased on this point, but I think that the ability to answer a simple question is probably a requirement to be considered an "apologist." (7-17-09) [60]

That's your 60th time asking, TAO. Congrats! You're ten past Cool Hand Luke and his eggs now and you've equaled Babe Ruth's homers in 1927. Onwards and upwards! ROFL. I look forward to another productive day for you. (7-17-09)

Dave's answering lots of non-substantive things, but not a simple question, even if asked 60+ times. (7-17-09) [61]

TAO was actually answered three times. He is simply too dense to know that. I told him over and over. (7-17-09)

You know you didn't answer the question. Evasions aren't answers. You recognized that previously when you gave excuses for why you weren't answering the question. I guess you've at least come to a realization that you ought to have answered the question, which is some progress. Perhaps if I ask another (How many times is it now? - multiply by two) times. I'll actually get an honest, straightforward answer to a simple question. . . . Why, Dave, can you not just answer the simple question directly? Why be so cagey? I'm not asking that to hear your excuses ... I'm asking that to provoke you to thought ... and hopefully to actually answer the question. (7-17-09) [62][63][64][65][66][67][68][69]

The man who can't answer a simple question making simple requests. (7-17-09) [70]

The man [Steve Hays] writes about precisely what he wants to write about (just as I do). He usually refuses to discuss anything with a Catholic past one round at the most. I refuse to discuss theology any longer with anti-Catholics. We all make our choices. Most normal folks will accept those. Others (no names!) keep hounding like a three-year-old asking for a toy at a toy store, as if they never understood a person's completely acceptable choices for his own use of time. (7-17-09)

You write books, but you can't answer a simple question, as we've demonstrated dozens of times. (8-3-09) [71]

. . . if you'd do me the favor of answering my simple question, I'd happily answer yours. (8-4-09) [72]

51 comments:

Ken Temple said...

Dave,
Instead of this long re-hashing of issues and personal stuff between you and Turretinfan, why don't you just address the doctrinal issue of the question?

You spent and waste a lot of time documenting all the personal stuff, too much, making new posts on these things.

"Is the Roman Catholic stance of Protestants as "Christians" (separated brothers, accepting their baptisms) the same as those same Protestants "being saved"?

does the RCC see them (us) as "saved"? Otherwise, it does not seem like much to say "we accept you as Christians", but really, because of all the other RCC theology of mortal sins/purgatory/grave matter/knowledge/sacramental standing, etc. we are not really "saved".

If that is true, then your viewing us a Christians is not more noble than Reformed folks who sincerely believe that someone who knowingly with understanding rejects justification by faith alone (but it does not stay alone, but results in works) is probably not saved. (But we cannot see the heart, so we don't know; we must be charitable; only God knows that.)

That is an issue that I am sure everyone would be interesting in seeing. (not the personal stuff)

Dave Armstrong said...

So now you're gonna repeat TAO's boorish behavior, too? Don't be so predictable, Ken. You're in danger of becoming a parody of yourself, and of your buddies.

I know no one cares about all the anti-Catholic inanities. They know it's as worthless in and of itself as I do. I document it strictly for the record, and to show how your buddies "argue." It's mostly a diversion and entertainment (with an underlying point to be made, as with almost all of my writings: even the humorous ones).

But no one here cares about it. They're as used to it as I am. All the activity is over on Doe's Boors All blog.

That said, I do think it is important to illustrate with examples, the remarkable anti-Catholic mentality that produces vapid hyper-silliness of the sort that I am documenting.

Tim MD said...

Hi Dave,

You may be interested to know this. I don't know turr's real name either (not that I should talk I guess), BUT, he and I went round and round for several months about his claim that he had (the typical) "proof" that a Council had INTENTIONALLY taught error on a matter of either faith or morals. It took me literally 20 posts to finally get him to "put up". When he finally did...........guess what, it was only an opinion.

He now claims not to have made that charge, but you know what, I think I have it saved and could probably dig it up with a little effort.

Anyway, when young turr and I were going "around", which was less than two years ago, he was NINETEEN years old. Ahhhhh the wisdom of youth. Ain't it great!!!!

Now he claims to never have revealed his actual age on line, however, two years ago he pretty much bragged about it sometimes.

Now....if he wants to refute this, we might have to discuss "the SWORD that God Personally handed him to smite me with" I did save that one for sure. It was amusing to say the least.

As for me, I am actually a Tim, not an MD but from MD, and I am about three times as old as young turr.

God Bless You Dave, Tim

PS: I have found it benificial to debate someone ONLY IF they can conceive the slight possibility that they could be, in fact wrong. IF they can't, like turr, then it's a waste of time unless you are only using the opportunity to make a point.

Carmelite said...

Turretinfan to me was like reading James White books. To me Turretinfan sounds like lot of his arguments are from James White.

I did read that he says the Catholic Church does not teach the gosple. In this guy says that when his church was nonexistence for over 1500 years of Church History.

The Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by God grace which is a free gift of God. The Catholic Church teaches very deeply the Trinity and Christology. So oh yes we teach the gosple,,4 corners of the earth which is truly universal.



"[W]e have considered that it ought be announced that although all the Catholic Churches spread abroad through the world comprise one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it..."...The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the Apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither the stain nor blemish nor anything like it"
Damasus Pope, Decree of Damasus,3(A.D. 382)

Paul Hoffer said...

Since Mr. Fan is presently on a St. Gregory of Nyssa kick:

We shall decline to confirm our doctrine by dialectical art through syllogistic and analytical methods, because reason is unreliable and suspect for the demonstration of truth. Everyone knows that dialectical elaboration has equal power on both sides to overturn truth and to accuse falsehood. Hence, we are suspicious of the truth itself, if it is presented with this kind of art, as if cleverness might mislead our mind and deceive it of the truth. But if someone would accept an unadorned discourse, bare of all disguise, we will tell it, bringing out the theory concerning these faculties, as far as possible according to the sequence of scriptural narrative.

From "On the Soul and Resurrection."

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Rev. Temple: To answer the question you asked, sporting the name “Christian” is not synonymous with being “saved” any more than calling oneself a “Catholic” or “Protestant” is synonymous with being “saved.”

In the words of Thomas a Kempis, to be a Christian is to imitate Christ. Calling oneself a “Christian” does not mean that person is “saved.” Being “saved” requires that one shares the qualities that Jesus Christ exhibited. As the Catholic bishop, Saint Gregory of Nyssa wrote in “To Call Oneself a Christian,” “If therefore, someone puts on the name of Christ, but does not exhibit in his life what is indicated by the term, such a person belies the name and puts on a lifeless mask.” As Catholics, we believe that God uses the Church as His means to distribute His grace. Since Protestants, to a large extent, still adhere to many of the doctrines and teachings of Church, it is possible for them to receive many of the graces that God provides. However, the Catholic Church provides the fullest and best means to receive those graces and enable us to become more and more “perfect, even as [our] Heavenly Father is perfect.”

God bless!

Turretinfan said...

I pointed out elsewhere that Tim MD is confused both about the nature of our past interaction as well as about his imagined insight into my biography. His claims to insight are false claims - I never gave him my age, just as I normally do not give out my age. I've already pointed this out to him twice (first time and second time).
This is the third time.

Carmelite,

Thanks for stating: "Turretinfan to me was like reading James White books. To me Turretinfan sounds like lot of his arguments are from James White."

You also wrote: "[and] this guy says that when his church was nonexistence for over 1500 years of Church History."

In this, you are mistaken. I adhere to the faith of the fathers, the faith handed down in Scripture from the apostles.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer,

I found your approach to the question interesting.

The question asked whether Dave (but I guess, if you are answering it you are answering for yourself not him) uses the terms "Christian" and "saved" synonymously.

You seem to be answering a slightly different question, which is whether calling oneself a Christian is synonymous with being saved. I certainly agree with you that calling oneself a Christian is not synonymous with being saved, but that's not what the question was asking.

Perhaps you'll see why if I give you an analogy. Suppose I ask whether you use "God" and "Creator of the Universe" synonymously.

If you were to respond that "Not everyone who calls himself "God" is actually the creator of the universe," I'd agree with you, but that doesn't really answer the question - as hopefully you see.

The question is about your (well, it was about Dave's, but you seem to be speaking effectively on his behalf) usage - not about the usage of other people.

When you and I use the term "God" we mean the "Creator of the Universe."

What about when you use the term, "Christian"? Do you use it synonymously with "saved"?

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mr. Fan:

Calling a person "Christian," "Protestant" or even "Catholic" is not synonymous with being "saved." I recognize the notion that there are both goats and sheep in the Church. Each of us still have to face Our Lord solus cum solo at Judgment Day.

That being said, by virtue of still being connected in some ways to the Catholic Church, Protestants can possibly be "saved." They are not saved by being Protestants; they can be saved to the extent that they truly imitate Christ and the Catholic Church in which He resides as its head. You might want to check out Vatican II's Lumen Gentium 15 and Unitatis Redintegratio that help explain what I am saying far better than I.

God bless!

Ken Temple said...

It is amazing that you don't want to address the doctrinal issue; it would be very interesting; and it gets to the heart of the reason for the Reformation, the sufficiency of grace.

Take up the issue. I am sincere; I am not trying to play games.

Augustine wrote in his Reconsiderations: "I tried hard to maintain the free choice of the human will, but the grace of God prevailed." (2.1.1 The Latin Retractationes does not mean "retractions" in the sense of "recantations, but more "reviews, revisions." (David F. Wright, "Justification in Augustine", (chapter 3)in Justification in Perspective, p. 56. Baker, 2006)

This book is very good, there is also a full chapter on "Justification in the Early Fathers", by Nick Needham.

Ken Temple said...

they can be saved to the extent that they truly imitate Christ and the Catholic Church in which He resides as its head.

This seems like salvation by works. "imitate the Catholic Church" ? how does one imitate the Catholic Church?

Did you mean "imitate Christ" and "submit" to the Catholic Church?

In that case, they would cease to be protestants. I don't fully understand your statement.

Ken Temple said...

I have found it benificial to debate someone ONLY IF they can conceive the slight possibility that they could be, in fact wrong. IF they can't, like turr, then it's a waste of time unless you are only using the opportunity to make a point.

The RCC is the one that is the most "locked" into that kind of absolute infallible certainty, because they are the ones who think they cannot possibly be wrong on anything, ex cathedra dogmas, etc.

So, is it a waste of time to try to talk to RCs, ? because they are claiming absolute infallible certainty on everything they have authoritatively decided; and don't think they can possibly be wrong? And cannot ever admit they were wrong, for then the whole thing about infallibility will crumble to the ground.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer wrote:

"Calling a person "Christian," "Protestant" or even "Catholic" is not synonymous with being "saved.""

There seems to be a little faulty parallelism there, in that I think you mean to say:

"Calling a person "Christian," "Protestant" or even "Catholic" is not synonymous with [calling them] "saved.""

Please correct me if my editing was mistaken. If so, then you are actually answering the question in the negative. You do not use the terms "Christian" and "saved" synonymously.

I also see your comment about the possibility of salvation for (in your nomenclature) non-Catholic Christians. I don't mean to ignore your views on that, but that's a rather different question - just because the terms are not synonymous doesn't mean their is no overlap: "red" and "firetruck" are not synonymous, but there are red firetrucks.

Now, I wonder if Dave is willing to adopt your answer?

Ken Temple said...

Turretinfan is making some great points and headway with Paul Hoffer; at least both Turretinfan and Paul Hoffer are willing to discuss the issue more deeply than Dave is.

Dave Armstrong said...

Right, Ken. I was so unwilling that I challenged seven anti-Catholics to a live chat debate about the definition of Christianity and they all turned me down. It is they who chose to remove themselves from rational discussion about one of the most fundamental issues, not I.

You don't like that, you can lump it. I can engage or not engage whomever I want to.

And I'm still awaiting James White's answer to my 36-page treatment of this topic in extreme depth. I've been waiting since May 1995 for that.

Carmelite said...

In this, you are mistaken. I adhere to the faith of the fathers, the faith handed down in Scripture from the apostles.


This is one of things the Fathers handed down at a Council with Western and Eastern Bishops present. Not one person disgree with this statement,,there was no James White preachers running around back then.

"There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever, lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed Pope Celestine,according to due order,is his successor and holds his place..."
Philip,Council of Ephesus,Session III (A.D. 431),in NPNF,XIV:223

Turretinfan said...

If you understood the conciliar documents a bit better, you'd recognize that as a self-serving comment from a Roman legate, not the position of the council.

Turretinfan said...

Side 1: "It is they who chose to remove themselves from rational discussion about one of the most fundamental issues, not I."

Side 2: "You don't like that, you can lump it. I can engage or not engage whomever I want to."

Dave Armstrong said...

James White, "About Debating Certain Roman Catholic Apologists" (c. 2000 or so)

http://vintage.aomin.org/Aboutdebates.html

"We'd like to set the record straight. There are exactly two Roman Catholic apologists who need not contact us about doing a public debate: Vinney Lewis and Dr. Art Sippo. The reason that we would have no interest in doing debates with these folks is quite simple: we have concluded they are not capable of acting in a sufficiently gentlemanly manner for a meaningful debate to take place."

9 August 2005:

"Art Sippo Declines Debate Challenge: I Am Not Nice Enough"

"So, finally, I challenged Sippo to debate me on the topic he himself demands we debate. I arranged a local venue, right there where he lives. He doesn't even have to take a day off of work, doesn't have to pack a bag. We even do the video taping, and provide him, free of charge, an unedited master to distribute far and wide! After all these years of calling me a coward, a fraud, referring to me as "Pseudopodeo" (an alteration of one of my old AOL screen names), lying about me without even bothering to check facts, I finally get fed up and see a chance to combine an already scheduled event (lecture series on New Perspectivism in the St. Louis area) with the debate Sippo has repeatedly said I am afraid to engage in. So, what's the result? Well, it's really quite simple: Art Sippo says I'm not civil enough."

22 May 2006:

"Evidently he thinks nine months is sufficient time for his followers to lose all memory of his running from a perfectly legitimate debate challenge (here is the last article I wrote about that particular issue) and who knows, maybe it is? But the Internet has a long memory, and documentation is documentation."

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=1375

3 July 2008:

"But for some odd reason, Art isn't pounding on my door. In fact, the last time I said I'd come right to his own back yard and debate him on the only topic he said he would debate on...he said I was just too mean!"

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=2751

Dave Armstrong said...

I didn't put the URL for the August 2005 quote. Here it is:

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=598

Dave Armstrong said...

White did the exact same thing to me in our first exchange, on 4 May 1995:

"Over the years I have attempted to establish "standards" to guide me in how I should invest my very limited time. Working, as I do, with Mormons, JWs, and now Roman Catholics and even KJV Only folks, I have to attempt to be balanced. It is not an easy task. Normally, I will admit, your letter's tone would be sufficient for it to be dismissed. I have learned to recognize sophistry when I see it, and as I grow and mature, I have learned to ignore such argumentation as falling under Paul's prohibition of 1 Timothy 2:23. The number of simple misrepresentations, and gross caricatures, of my letter to you and the position I espouse was enough to do almost irreparable damage to your credibility and keep me from investing any of my limited time in responding to you."

". . . Might I suggest to you, Mr. Armstrong, that it might be because some of us have standards with reference to the behavior of those with whom we correspond? I will not debate Vinney "85% of those who hear me think I'm a lunatic" Lewis, either, and there's a reason for that: he is not worthy of being noticed on that level. Seemingly you have taken at least some of your cues from Mr. Lewis, . . ."

Despite this, he still challenged me to a public debate in the same letter:

"In light of this, your reasons for declining a public debate are left rather hollow. Perhaps you will reconsider your refusal? I have no idea who Gary Michuta [whom he later debated on the deuterocanon] is, what his position is, what he's written, what his background is, or anything else. You wrote to the folks in the cult directory. You have the stationery that says "Catholic Apologist." You claim to eat Protestant apologists for lunch. I think you need to defend your position in a scholarly manner."

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2004/02/is-catholicism-christian-my-debate-with.html

In his fax of 11-10-95, declining to answer my final 36-page installment, he wrote:

". . . sadly, I can't suggest anyone else who would be willing to invest their time in responding to such materials, either. Most folks I know are too busy doing constructive things with their lives. . . . So, Dave, I'm sorry to have to inform you that I have far more pressing issues to address than your letter and its extensive flights in illogic and personal attack."

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2004/04/is-catholicism-christian-my-debate-with.html

Later he challenged me once or twice more (I'm certaihn at least once) to an oral debate. I declined, as I always do, for principled reasons based on my critique of that methodology.

I challenged him twice to a live chat debate, giving him massive advantages. He declined twice. He has fled from extended rational (written) dialogue / debate with me ever since.

We did have one lone recorded encounter in his chat room, on 29 December 2000:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/11/live-chat-dialogue-on-patristic.html

The pattern is exactly the same (in Art Sippos's case and mine):

1) First White sez we are too dumb and nasty for him to waste time debating.

2) Then he later can't resist and challenges us both to oral debate.

So he goes back and forth on whether he wants to engage certain Catholics. The reasons he gives are lack of charity and knowledge on the part of the Catholics he refuses to debate).

I simply say that in my opinion, based on many many years of previous experience, anti-Catholics as a class are not worth spending any time debating. The negative experience when I tried was universal.

If white can decide not to debate certain people based on their behavior and alleged profound stupidity, so can I, by the same token. If he is not blasted and lambasted and pilloried as an alleged coward for taking such a course, neither should I be.

Ken Temple said...

Why don't answer my question as if it is coming from me, Christian = saved ?; difference between "calling someone a Christian or saved, vs actually being one, etc. instead of bringing in all the personal history with others?

cover all the issues in RCC theology with it, knowledge, mortal sin, sacramental standing, etc.

It also gets to the heart of the difference between Trent/Vatican I and Vatican 2; don't you think?

I am only saying that the issue is an interesting one; one that I think is not really addressed here at all; and gets to the core of the Reformation; one that I think you would want to devote to a full blown exegetical and doctrinal discussion; not the personal stuff.

There is no need to dig all that stuff out over again; we have seen you post it what it seems like 3-5 (? ) or more times before.

Dave Armstrong said...

1) You are an anti-Catholic like TAO, and you know my policy.

2) TAO was actually answered three times. He is simply too dense to know that. I told him over and over.

3) I've dealt with all these issues many times over. Go to my Justification and Salvation page. Read the last installment of my debate with Jimbo White in 1995, that he has never answered. Read my paper on how for White Augustine and Luther could not be Christians. Etc., etc. Why must I do everything 20 times for your sake? I've already done it.

Turretinfan said...

Dave:

You know you didn't answer the question. Evasions aren't answers. You recognized that previously when you gave excuses for why you weren't answering the question.

I guess you've at least come to a realization that you ought to have answered the question, which is some progress.

Perhaps if I ask another (How many times is it now? - multiply by two) times. I'll actually get an honest, straightforward answer to a simple question.

Mr. Hoffer seemed to be able to answer "no" on the second try (at least, I hope I properly understood him ... if I didn't I'm sure he'll let me know) - and he will be the first to admit (so I know I'm not insulting him by saying this) that he's not a professional apologist.

Why, Dave, can you not just answer the simple question directly? Why be so cagey? I'm not asking that to hear your excuses ... I'm asking that to provoke you to thought ... and hopefully to actually answer the question.

-TurretinFan

Ken Temple said...

1) You are an anti-Catholic like TAO, and you know my policy.


Even after I sent you an email saying that the way Tim Enlow expressed it was better? Which you admitted was not "anti-Catholic"??

Again below:

Just noticed your dialogue with Tim Enloe – I don’t read everything – it is just too much – But I did notice this, below.

I wish I had expressed it this way, when you asked me.

Sincerely,

Ken Temple

[19:35] well, I certainly believe "on the Lord Jesus Christ," so then I am both a Christian and saved (according to the above definitions), right?

[20:02] If you have faith in Christ as the ground of your justification apart from your own works, yes. But I can't see your heart; I can only attempt to be charitable based on your profession and what I may know about your life (which is pretty much nothing, by the way). :)

Dave Armstrong said...

Can I believe absolutely everything the Catholic Church teaches and still be a Christian according to you? Is that the true gospel of grace?

Carmelite said...

Nope that was a wide belief of the Council and Church not a opinion.

Just wondering Turretinfan how many churches in your denomination are name after Early Church Fathers, that are spread 4 corners of this earth? You know the Catholic Church has thousands of Catholic Church names after Fathers around the globe.

Name me the oldest church of your denomination that they can vist.

I been to Catholic Churchs in Europe and the East that over 1000 years old.

The fact since you know your denomination did not exist the first 1500 years of Christain History you must come up with a mental gymnastics of theories that never really justified why your church exist now but not the first 1500 years of Christodom. You end up saying the Fathers were not Catholic or not Protestant just Fathers!!

You know the Vatican is built on a tomb of a Apostle. I think his name was Peter.

"[W]e have considered that it ought be announced that although all the Catholic Churches spread abroad through the world comprise one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it..."...The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the Apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither the stain nor blemish nor anything like it"
Damasus Pope, Decree of Damasus,3(A.D. 382)

Turretinfan said...

Carmelite,

I have no idea what the oldest building of my denomination is. It never crossed my mind to use the age of buildings as the standard of truth.

As to tombs (real and alleged), decorating the tombs of the apostles shows one kind of regard and adhering to the teachings of the apostles shows a different kind.

Turretinfan said...

And as to: "Nope that was a wide belief of the Council and Church not a opinion."

The statement is plainly recorded simply as the statement of the Roman legate. As with your quotation from Damasus, the Roman bishops and their legates tried to be the spiritual equivalent of the Roman emperor. That, everyone can see. They still try that today, though now anyone can read Scripture for themselves and discover that Jesus never ordained that a Roman bishop be an earthly prince.

Ken Temple said...

Dave wrote:
Can I believe absolutely everything the Catholic Church teaches and still be a Christian according to you? Is that the true gospel of grace?

That was the issue at the Reformation. Doctrinally, the RCC does not teach the gospel of grace; although it claims to; and thinks it does. The RCC anathematized the Reformers and justification by faith alone, which is based on grace alone. (Romans 4:16)

In our discussion on this issue, you mix doctrinal objective things with subjective experiential things. (“am I a Christian?”) I told you I like the way Tim Enloe expressed the issue, that I cannot read your heart and the best I can do is take your word and be charitable. And you said in your exchange with him that at least that is not the “anti-Catholic” position. You have also written in other places of your explanation of “anti-Catholic” that is doctrinal, not personal. You said that the issue is doctrinal; but you make it personal, because your questions seek to force us to make judgments on you and your heart; when in reality we cannot do that.

You mix it with personal experience, (“am I a Christian?”), then you seek to force us to make a judgment. I would rather talk about the doctrinal issue.

But you cannot answer our simple question, “does Christian = saved?”

You don’t want to answer that, it seems, because it exposes that there is a great difference in RCC theology between those two terms; and that RCC can call Protestants “Christians”, but cannot believe that they are “saved”, because in your church’s teachings, “saved” depends on someone dying in a state of grace, having made sure they confessed their sins up to date and received absolution from a priest from their mortal sins. (by their last confession or last rites) You can never be sure you will be “saved” until the final breath, and last rites are given to seek to make as much as possible that understanding be possible, but there is still no assurance. Then one must still go through purgatory, if they died in a state of grace, and in good standing with the RCC. Since we are not in good standing, and don’t believe in those de fide dogmas, and don’t believe your church is infallible or the true church, we are anathema. But Vatican 2 has contradicted Trent and Vatican 1 on that; it honestly seems; but that is a separate issue.

Since RCs can loose their justification after baptism and after faith by mortal sin and they are always in danger of that; Protestants are in much greater danger because we are in active rebellion against the “true church’ (in your opinion); so it is really not very noble and great for you to be able to call us “Christians” because that only means we were baptized in water in the formula of the Trinity from Matthew 28:19. So, you should not be offended by Evangelicals who sincerely believe that denying justification by faith alone (but results in love and good works, Gal. 5:6, Ephesians 2:8-10, James 2:14-26) and not from works (Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16; Romans chapter 4, Galatians chapter 3; Acts 13:38-39) is a contradiction to the gospel of grace.

Ken Temple said...

continued

Protestants believe that the RCC doctrine is mutually exclusive with the gospel of grace, because it denies that justifying grace is sufficient to take the justified all the way to glorification, whereas Romans 8:28-33 says the opposite. This passage teaches that those who are elected will be justified and those who are justified will be glorified. “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies.” Romans 8:33

Furthermore, your RCC adds a different category of “justified” – those who are baptized as infants in the RCC (and I suppose other Protestant groups). So you see baptism as an act that a man (priest) does on the infant, yet the infant cannot understand, repent, or believe. “confessing their sins, they were baptized” (Matthew 3:6) That is a man –centered, external work. The priest says the right formula for putting grace on the infant. ( priestly ex opera operato commands and statements). This is really magic and superstition, although you deny that and are probably insulted by us charging it that way. There is nothing in Scripture about this RC practice. All who received Peter’s word were baptized, because they had repented and trusted Christ alone for their salvation. Acts 2:41

So calling us "Christians" because of our baptism is not more noble (because we are probably not saved in your view, because of the sacramental status needed for us of being in the state of grace when we die; which we admit, we are not) than us believing that the RCC is not the true church and that it does not teach the gospel of grace.

Ken Temple said...

which we admit, we are not)

(according to your church's view of the sacraments; not ours)

Dave Armstrong said...

Protestants believe that the RCC doctrine is mutually exclusive with the gospel of grace,

This is untrue. The tiny fringe movement of anti-Catholic Protestants believe this, but not ecumenical Protestants, who understand that we accept sola gratia, just as they do.

You remain an anti-Catholic, Ken. Nothing's changed. All you do is allow a loophole that a Catholic might possibly be saved in the end, provided he denies Catholic doctrines (which virtually all anti-Catholics do). To be a good Christian is to be a bad Catholic and to be a good Catholic is to not be a Christian, by definition.

This is classic anti-Catholicism, and I no longer debate people who hold these views (on theology). It's not a personal thing: strictly a judgment of stewardship of my time, and avoidance of what I consider to be the vain and foolish discussion, per the Apostle Paul.

You're more than welcome to interact with anyone else here who desires to or critique my papers to your heart's content. But it ain't gonna be me, in terms of new dialogues.

I dialogued with Steve Hays last night because that wasn't about theology but about what an apologist is. It had to do with sociological classification within the Catholic system.

His reasoning (insofar as it was present at all) was just as faulty as anti-Catholic theological reasoning, though. Big surprise . . .

Carmelite said...

It just interesting you can walk into your denomination today meet your pastor and members but 600 to 1500 years ago you could not. Only Church you could walk into was the Catholic Church all other were heretical sect outside the Catholic Church.
Here is a small list of them threw the ages,,,
Judeo-Christians--> (Judaizers),,
,,Nicolaites,,Docetae,, Cerinthians,,Ebionites,,Nazarenes,,Gnostics,,Marcionites,,Encratites,,
Montanists,,Manich├Žism,,Arianism ,,Pelagianism,, Eutychianism,,Nestorianism,, Protestantism heresy came into the church 1517.

The Church that Jesus founded would be historical thats why its important to have archaeological evidence of your church you belong to. It must have a historical pedigree with antiquity. Thats why its important to know the Catholic Church has thousands and thousands of Catholic Church name after Early Church Fathers and very old churches to vist in Europe. This would be true of the true historical Church that Jesus built.

When you study and do research on the historical and archaeolcal of your denomination you see it did not exist so then you have no foundation or justification why your in a church that Jesus did not start and attacking a Church that Jesus started.

There was not a great apostasy or some invisible underground church threw out the centuries. Nope it was a Catholic name Martin Luther that was nudged by a lighting storm
become a monk and had a very bad unbalance mind and misunderstanding of Catholic teaching.

Carmelite said...

"But the sacrament of baptism is undoubtedly the sacrament of regenation: Wherefore, as the man who has never lived cannot die, and he who has never died cannot rise again, so he who has never been born cannot be born again. From which the conclusion arises, that no one who has not been born could possibly have been born again in his father. Born again, however, a man must be, after he has been born; because, 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God' Even an infant, therefore, must be imbued with the sacrament of regeneration, lest without it his would be an unhappy exit out of this life; and this baptism is not administered except for the remission of sins. And so much does Christ show us in this very passage; for when asked, How could such things be? He reminded His questioner of what Moses did when he lifted up the serpent. Inasmuch, then, as infants are by the sacrament of baptism conformed to the death of Christ, it must be admitted that they are also freed from the serpent's poisonous bite, unless we wilfully wander from the rule of the Christian faith. This bite, however, they did not receive in their own actual life, but in him on whom the wound was primarily inflicted."
Augustine,On Forgiveness of sin, and baptism,43:27(A.D. 412),in NPNF1,V:62

Ken Temple said...

This is untrue. The tiny fringe movement of anti-Catholic Protestants believe this,

all the original Protestants thought this, following Luther, Cavlin, Zwingli, Chemnitz, Bucer, Knox, Francis Turretin, Westminster Divines, Bunyon, Puritans, Spurgeon, etc.

but not ecumenical Protestants, who understand that we accept sola gratia, just as they do.

You accept your version of Sola Gratia; but it is not the version of Augustine (which I showed from the Retractionaries, he did not believe in the freedom of the will to choose good over evil in unregenerate people.

Are these "ecumenical Protestants" willing to come into your RC churches and repent and submit to the Pope and renounce Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide?

If not, then they are not really ecumenical; they are just trying to be nice so you won't call them "anti-Catholic", it seems to me.

Ken Temple said...

The quote from Augustine on infant baptism as regenerative shows an inconsistency in his thinking; and as B. B. Warfield has rightly written, "The Reformation, inwardly considered, was just the triumph of Augustine's doctrine of Grace over Augustine's doctrine of the church."
(Warfield, Calvin and Augustine, p. 322-323)

Augustine was wrong on that infant baptism being regenerative and it is no where in the Bible and no where significantly earlier in Church history.

It is an external magic formula done by the RC priest, it does nothing and has no power to get God to put on grace on the child and it is a shame that your church starting teaching that doctrine and contributed to so much nominalism down through the centuries.

Calvin was right to separate infant baptism from regeneration; and seeing it as "entry into the covenant community"

Dave Armstrong said...

he did not believe in the freedom of the will to choose good over evil in unregenerate people.

Of course he didn't, because the converse is biblical and Catholic teaching. Welcome to Catholicism 0101.

Are these "ecumenical Protestants" willing to come into your RC churches and repent and submit to the Pope and renounce Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide?

That's got nothing to do with it. They are Protestants, but they don't believe that Catholics who follow their system are not Christians by definition.

I agree that the earliest Protestants were anti-Catholic. They were reacting in the extreme, so we would expect this. Subsequent generations of Protestants got more sense in their heads insofar as they didn't have to be anti-Catholic. They could develop their own identities and traditions without always having to be against big bad Rome: proactive rather than reactive.

If not, then they are not really ecumenical; they are just trying to be nice so you won't call them "anti-Catholic", it seems to me.

Of course they are ecumenical; and they are Protestants. This ain't rocket science.

You're the one trying to be nice and weasel words, so that I will debate with you. But it ain't gonna work. But I'm not the only Catholic in the world. I'm sure you'll find someone else. I don't have time to waste in debate with folks who can't even figure out that I am a Christian. It's like a lion talking to an elephant who believes that the lion is a grasshopper (he's not what he obviously is). Some things are simply beyond the pale, and sufficiently ridiculous to be removed from rational discourse from the outset. That's anti-Catholicism . . .

Carmelite said...

St. Justin Martyr (150 AD):

"And both men and women who have been Christ's disciples since infancy, remain pure, and at the age of sixty or seventy years ..." (Justin Martyr, First Apology,15:6 -- AD 110-165)

Origen (244 AD):

"Baptism is given for the remission of sins; and according to the usage of the Church, Baptism is given even to infants. And, indeed, if there were nothing in infants that required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of Baptism would be superfluous." (Origen, Homily on Leviticus 8:3 -- AD 244)

St. Cyprian (250 AD)

"But in respect to the case of infants, which you say ought not to be Baptized within the second or third day after their birth, and that the law of ancient circumcision should be regarded, so that you think one who is just born should not be Baptized and sanctified within the eighth day ....And therefore, dearest brother, this was our opinion in council, that by us no one ought to be hindered from Baptism ...we think is to be even more observed in respect of infants and newly-born persons." (Cyprian, Epistle 58, To Fides [54] -- AD 251)

St. Gregory Nazianzus (381 AD)

"Be it so, some will say, in the case of those who ask for Baptism; what have you to say about those who are still children and conscious neither of the loss nor of grace? Are we to Baptize them too? Certainly, if any danger presses. For it is better that they should be unconsciously sanctified than that they should depart unsealed and uninitiated." (Gregory Nazianzus, Oration on Holy Baptism, 40:28 -- AD 381)

St. John Chrysostom (388 AD)

"We do Baptize infants, although they are not guilty of any [personal] sins." (John Chrysostom, Ad Neophytos -- AD 388)

St. Ambrose (387 AD)

"Unless a man be born again through water and the Holy Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. No one is expected: not the infant; not the one prevented by necessity." (Ambrose of Milan, Abraham 2,11:79 -- AD 387)

St. Augustine (415 AD)

"Likewise, whoever says that those children who depart out of this life without partaking of that Sacrament (Baptism) are alive in Christ, certainly contradicts the apostolic declaration and condemns the universal Church, in which it is the practice to loose no time and run in haste to administer Baptism to infant children, because it is believed as an indubitable truth, that otherwise they cannot be made alive in Christ." (Augustine, Epistle 167 -- AD 415)

Council of Carthage (418 AD)

"Canon 2: Likewise it has been decided that whoever says that infants fresh from their mother's wombs should not be Baptized ...let him be anathema." (Council of Carthage, AD 418)

Carmelite said...

J.N.D. Kelly (Anglican patristic scholar) --

"From the beginning baptism was the universally accepted rite of admission to the Church; only 'those who have been baptized in the Lord's name' may partake of the eucharist [Didache 9:5]....As regards its significance, it was always held to convey the remission of sins....the theory that it mediated the Holy Spirit was fairly general....The Spirit is God Himself dwelling in the believer, and the resulting life is a re-creation...."

"Speculation about baptism in the third century revolves around its function, universally admitted hitherto, as the medium of the bestowal of the Spirit. Infant baptism was now common, and this fact, together with the rapid expansion of the Church's numbers, caused the administration of the sacrament to be increasingly delegated by bishops to presbyters....We observe a tendency to limit the effect of baptism itself to the remission of sins and regeneration, and to link the gift of the Spirit with these other rites [Chrismation, Confirmation, and the laying on of hands -- detailed analysis from the ante-Nicene Fathers on Baptism follows].....

"From these general considerations we turn to the particular sacraments. Cyril of Jerusalem provides a full, if not always coherent, account of the conception of baptism which commended itself to a fourth-century theologian in Palestine. The name he applies to the rite is 'baptism' or 'bath' [Greek provided along with references]. It is 'the bath of regeneration' in which we are washed both with water and with the Holy Spirit. Its effects can be summarized under three main heads. First, the baptized person receives the remission of sins, i.e. all sins committed prior to baptism. He passes from sin to righteousness, from filth to cleanliness; his restoration is total....Secondly, baptism conveys the positive blessing of sanctification, which Cyril describes as the illumination and deification of the believer's soul, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the putting on of the new man, spiritual rebirth and salvation, adoption as God's son by grace, union with Christ in His resurrection as in His suffering and death, the right to a heavenly inheritance....Thirdly, and closely connected with this, baptism impresses a seal [Greek provided] on the believer's soul. Just as the water cleanses the body, the Holy Spirit seals [Greek] the soul. This sealing takes place at the very moment of baptism....and as a result of it the baptized person enjoys the presence of the Holy Spirit....These ideas are fairly representative of Greek and Latin teaching about baptism in the fourth and fifth centuries." [detailed analysis from the post-Nicene Fathers on Baptism follows] (Early Christian Doctrines, page 193ff, 207ff, 428ff

Carmelite said...

Philip Schaff (Presbyterian/Reformed) --

"This ordinance [Baptism] was regarded in the ancient church as the sacrament of the new birth or regeneration, and as the solemn rite of initiation into the Christian Church, admitting to all her benefits and committing to all her obligations....Its effect consists in the forgiveness of sins and the communication of the Holy Spirit.

"Justin [Martyr] calls baptism 'the water-bath for the forgiveness of sins and regeneration,' and 'the bath of conversion and the knowledge of God.' "It is often called also illumination, spiritual circumcision, anointing, sealing, gift of grace, symbol of redemption, death of sins, etc. Tertullian describes its effect thus: 'When the soul comes to faith, and becomes transformed through regeneration by water and power from above, it discovers, after the veil of the old corruption is taken away, its whole light. It is received into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; and the soul, which unites itself to the Holy Spirit, is followed by the body.' ...."From John 3:5 and Mark 16:16, Tertullian and other fathers argued the necessity of baptism to salvation....The effect of baptism...was thought to extend only to sins committed before receiving it. Hence the frequent postponement of the sacrament [Procrastinatio baptismi], which Tertullian very earnestly recommends...." (History of the Christian Church, volume 2, page 253ff)

"The views of the ante-Nicene fathers concerning baptism and baptismal regeneration were in this period more copiously embellished in rhetorical style by Basil the Great and the two Gregories, who wrote special treatises on this sacrament, and were more clearly and logically developed by Augustine. The patristic and Roman Catholic view on regeneration, however, differs considerably from the one which now prevails among most Protestant denominations, especially those of the more Puritanic type, in that it signifies not so such a subjective change of heart, which is more properly called conversion, but a change in the objective condition and relation of the sinner, namely, his translation from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of Christ....Some modern divines make a distinction between baptismal regeneration and moral regeneration, in order to reconcile the doctrine of the fathers with the fact that the evidences of a new life are wholly wanting in so many who are baptized. But we cannot enter here into a discussion of the difficulties of this doctrine, and must confine ourselves to a historical statement." [patristic quotes follow] "In the doctrine of baptism also we have a much better right to speak of a -consensus patrum-, than in the doctrine of the Holy Supper." (History of the Christian Church, volume 3, page 481ff, 492)

Carmelite said...

The doctrine of baptism is one of the few teachings within Roman Catholicism for which it can be said that there is a universal consent of the Fathers....From the early days of the Church, baptism was universally perceived as the means of receiving four basic gifts: the remission of sins, deliverance from death, regeneration, and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. The Church of Rome at the Bar of History Webster, page 95-96

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Rev. Temple:

I apologize for taking too long in answering your queries, but for what they are worth, here they are.

You wrote: “This seems like salvation by works. "imitate the Catholic Church" ? how does one imitate the Catholic Church?”

I answer: Works have no salvific effect unless they are done through faith. All of the people in Our Lord’s lessons in Chapter 25 of Matthew supposedly had accepted Christ; however, only those who imitated Him were actually saved.

As far as your second question goes, I am using “imitate” in the sense that the Fathers of the Church used the word, to follow as a model or type or resemble. One imitates the Church (the Body of Christ) by being as St. Peter says, “living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5)

You wrote: “Did you mean "imitate Christ" and "submit" to the Catholic Church?”

I answer: No. A saved Christian is one who submits to Christ, and takes up His cross as Christ commanded. The example that Christ left us as Peter stated is to follow in His steps, which is done through His Church. 1 Pet. 2:21-25.

You wrote, “In that case, they would cease to be protestants.”

I write: Yep. If one truly follows Christ, they would not be “Protestants” any longer even if they still apply that label to themselves.

Some further points: As a Catholic, I do not claim that I have “absolute infallible certainty on everything authoritatively decided.” On the other hand, I do claim that Our Lord promised that the Church led by the Holy Spirit would never be wrong in teaching His Gospel. Since Christ is the head of the “Body of Christ” and since Our Lord is incapable of ever being wrong, the “Body of Christ” i.e His Church can not be wrong when it comes to its teachings.

Mr. Fan: You are correct that I do not use the terms "Christian" and "saved" synonymously. I do believe that persons who are “saved” are “Christians.” I do not believe that all persons who call themselves “Christian” are “saved.” I hope that helps.

Mr. Fan wrote: “Mr. Hoffer seemed to be able to answer "no" on the second try (at least, I hope I properly understood him ... if I didn't I'm sure he'll let me know) - and he will be the first to admit (so I know I'm not insulting him by saying this) that he's not a professional apologist.”

My answer: I did say “no” on the first try as well by explaining that the terms are not synonymous.

However, more to the point I would note for all here that I have asked you in the past whether you believe that Catholics are Christians on several occasions and I do not believe that you have ever answered my queries either. Dave has given an explanation why he has chosen not to answer your query. Are you able or willing to give an answer to mine? Or if you have, can you provide me with the link so I can read it?

God bless!

Ken Temple said...

I answer: Works have no salvific effect unless they are done through faith. All of the people in Our Lord’s lessons in Chapter 25 of Matthew supposedly had accepted Christ; however, only those who imitated Him were actually saved.

Thanks Paul,
This is the same as the Reformed Protestant position. Sheep act like sheep, because they became sheep first, by grace through faith. We are justified by faith alone; but that faith does not remain alone; it grows and works and is alive and produces fruit and change and acts of love.

the sheep prove they are sheep by their good works; but they did not justify them; the goats prove that they were goats because of their lack of love and lack of good works.

Ken Temple said...

Of course he [Augustine] didn't,[believe in free will in unbelievers] because the converse is biblical and Catholic teaching. Welcome to Catholicism 0101.

Are you agreeing that Augustine was wrong on this? I don't understand the "of course he didn't"? The RCC believes in free will, as Erasmus did against Luther; as you do also. Augustine did not. That is one of the main themes that Calvin and Luther and Reformed folks love about Augustine's writings.

Ken Temple said...

Maybe Paul Hoffer will answer my question: I repeat this (with some editing) from discussion above with Dave A. He won't answer; maybe Paul will.
Thanks Paul.

on the question of "does Christian = saved?"

Dave A. did not want to answer that, it seems, because it exposes that there is a great difference in RCC theology between those two terms; and that RCC can call Protestants “Christians”, but cannot believe that they are “saved”, because in your church’s teachings, “saved” depends on someone dying in a state of grace, having made sure they confessed their sins up to date and received absolution from a priest from their mortal sins. (by their last confession or last rites) You can never be sure you will be “saved” until the final breath, and last rites are given to seek to make as much as possible that understanding be possible, but there is still no assurance. Then one must still go through purgatory, if they died in a state of grace, and in good standing with the RCC. Since we are not in good standing, and don’t believe in those de fide dogmas, and don’t believe your church is infallible or the true church, we are anathema. But Vatican 2 has contradicted Trent and Vatican 1 on that; it honestly seems; but that is a separate issue.

Since RCs can loose their justification after baptism and after faith by mortal sin and they are always in danger of that; Protestants are in much greater danger because we are in active rebellion against the “true church’ (in your opinion); so it is really not very noble and great for you to be able to call us “Christians” because that only means we were baptized in water in the formula of the Trinity from Matthew 28:19. So, you should not be offended by Evangelicals who sincerely believe that denying justification by faith alone (but results in love and good works, Gal. 5:6, Ephesians 2:8-10, James 2:14-26) and not from works (Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16; Romans chapter 4, Galatians chapter 3; Acts 13:38-39) is a contradiction to the gospel of grace.

Protestants sincerely believe that the RCC doctrine is mutually exclusive with the gospel of grace, because it denies that justifying grace is sufficient to take the justified all the way to glorification, whereas Romans 8:28-33 says the opposite. This passage teaches that those who are elected will be justified and those who are justified will be glorified. “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies.” Romans 8:33

Furthermore, your RCC adds a different category of “justified” – those who are baptized as infants in the RCC (and I suppose, the RCC will accept other Protestant groups baptized as infants).

So baptism is an act that a man (priest) does on the infant, yet the infant cannot understand, repent, or believe. “confessing their sins, they were baptized” (Matthew 3:6) That is a man –centered, external work. The priest says the right formula for putting grace on the infant. (priestly ex opera operato commands and statements). . . this is unbiblical.

All who received Peter’s word were baptized, because they had repented and trusted Christ alone for their salvation. Acts 2:41

So calling us "Christians" because of our baptism is not more noble (because we are probably not saved in your view, because of the sacramental status needed for us of being in the state of grace when we die; which we admit, we are not- according to the RCC view of that) than us believing that the RCC is not the true church and that it does not teach the gospel of grace.

Dave Armstrong said...

St. Augustine believes in free will, as I have shown at great length:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/02/st-augustine-are-reformed-protestants.html

No amount of Ken Temple's wishing something to be true will in fact, make it true if it ain't.

Ken Temple said...

Sometimes Augustine writes "free will", he means "without outside coersion", without force, free to choose and do what you want to do"; which is true.

But if you say he meant, "freedom to choose good over evil, apart from grace", then you are wrong.

He also developed in his writing, and in his later Anti-Pelagian writers, he makes it more clear.

Again, you have very little actual quotes with enough context from Augustine himself. You are mostly quoting others.

Most of your article deals with other issues, Justification, Predestination, and other things.

Very little actual quotes from Augustine on the will and its freedom in your article; the middle section is mostly a long long quote from a scholar.

You did not make your point at all that Augustine believed in the freedom (inherent power of goodness to choose without God's grace) of the unregenerate will.

Again:
Augustine wrote in his Reconsiderations:

"I tried hard to maintain the free choice of the human will, but the grace of God prevailed."

(2.1.1 The Latin Retractationes does not mean "retractions" in the sense of "recantations, but more "reviews, revisions." (David F. Wright, "Justification in Augustine", (chapter 3)in Justification in Perspective, p. 56. Baker, 2006)

Ken Temple said...

Augustine, Enchiridion, 32 – on the Freedom of the Will,

(which only God makes to be free from the natural state of the bondage of the will. (see also John 8:34; Romans 9:16; Titus 3:3-4; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Acts 16:14; John 6:44)

A clearer passage from Augustine, with enough surrounding context to get his intention.

Chapter 32.—The Freedom of the Will is Also the Gift of God, for God Works in Us Both to Will and to Do.

"And further, should any one be inclined to boast, not indeed of his works, but of the freedom of his will, as if the first merit belonged to him, this very liberty of good action being given to him as a reward he had earned, let him listen to this same preacher of grace, when he says: “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to do of His own good pleasure;” (Phil. 2:13 ) and in another place: “So, then, it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy.” (Rom. 9:16) Now as, undoubtedly, if a man is of the age to use his reason, he cannot believe, hope, love, unless he will to do so, nor obtain the prize of the high calling of God unless he voluntarily run for it; in what sense is it “not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy,” except that, as it is written, “the preparation of the heart is from the Lord?” (Prov. 16:1) Otherwise, if it is said, “It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy,” because it is of both, that is, both of the will of man and of the mercy of God, so that we are to understand the saying, “It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy,” as if it meant the will of man alone is not sufficient, if the mercy of God go not with it,—then it will follow that the mercy of God alone is not sufficient, if the will of man go not with it; and therefore, if we may rightly say, “it is not of man that wills, but of God that shows mercy,” because the will of man by itself is not enough, why may we not also rightly put it in the converse way: “It is not of God that shows mercy, but of man that wills,” because the mercy of God by itself does not suffice? Surely, if no Christian will dare to say this, “It is not of God that shows mercy, but of man that wills,” lest he should openly contradict the apostle, it follows that the true interpretation of the saying, “It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy,” is that the whole work belongs to God, who both makes the will of man righteous, and thus prepares it for assistance, and assists it when it is prepared. For the man’s righteousness of will precedes many of God’s gifts, but not all; and it must itself be included among those which it does not precede. We read in Holy Scripture, both that God’s mercy “shall meet me,” (Psalm 59:10 ) and that His mercy “shall follow me.” (Psalm 23:6) It goes before the unwilling to make him willing; it follows the willing to make his will effectual. Why are we taught to pray for our enemies, ( Matt. 5:44) who are plainly unwilling to lead a holy life, unless that God may work willingness in them? And why are we ourselves taught to ask that we may receive, ( Matt. 7:7) unless that He who has created in us the wish, may Himself satisfy the wish? We pray, then, for our enemies, that the mercy of God may prevent them, as it has prevented us: we pray for ourselves that His mercy may follow us.”

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Rev. Temple:

You referenced that Dave would not answer your questions. He did answer them, just not in the way you would have preferred. I answered them a bit more directly because I felt it necessary to correct some misapprehensions that your comments exhibited. I will do so again.

As for my understanding of Matt. 25, yes it is true, the Church's teaching in that regard is one example of something that the Protestant system retained from its Catholic parent.

More to the point though: The Catholic Church teaches that we are saved through the grace of God coming to us through the whole life of Christ, concluding with His Death and Resurrection!

However for grace to be actually grace, it has to be freely accepted. A human response is needed. This human response begins with faith which is a work itself fostered and supported by hope and continues and is perfected by love.

As far as infant baptism goes, I am amazed that you deny the efficacy of God's grace. While it may be true the infant does not have the capacity to accept the gift himself/herself, but just like intercessory prayer, the priest and the Godparents are interceding and asking God's grace to come upon the child which God does give through the sacrament. In your church does one have to know of that someone is praying for them in order for the grace God chooses to bestow as a result to be operative?

As far as whether Protestants can be saved...by being Christian we are participating in the system that God chose to create as a means of dispensing His graces. Being a Catholic and actually practicing the Catholic faith allows the Christian the fullest access to God's graces. Being a Protestant limits such access, the extent depends on the denomination and the person himself/herself. BUT we do not deny that the graces that a Protestant might receive through such a self limiting access could be sufficient to "save" them. Recalling Matt. 25 again, the servant with the 2 talents was rewarded as well as the servant with the 5 talents for making them grow. Further, I look at the lives and the works of folks like Richard Hooker, C.S. Lewis or Dietrich Bonhoeffer as examples of grace-filled lives and do not doubt the truth of what the Catholic church teaches in this regard.

Unfortunately. Rev. Temple, it appears from your comments that you believe that God provides Catholics no grace at all. In your mind, you deny that the Master even gives us the one talent.

BTW, All the people in Purgatory are "saved."

God bless!