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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Dave_Poedel on April 22, 2007, 10:34:27 PM

Title: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Dave_Poedel on April 22, 2007, 10:34:27 PM
OK folks.  Here is a question and answer about Divine Mercy Sunday.  How many ecumenical issues can you spot between Rome and Evangelical Catholics (aka: Lutherans)?  Enjoy!

Code: ZE07041729
Date: 2007-04-17
Divine Mercy Sunday
And More on Communion on Good Friday
ROME, APRIL 17, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

* * *

Q: Would you please clarify what is "special" about Divine Mercy Sunday, and what the faithful and priests have to do in order to obtain the special grace associated with this day? According to the priests that I have spoken to, the same graces can be obtained at reception of holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday as on any other day when Communion is received by a communicant in a state of grace, i.e., a plenary indulgence. So what is different about Divine Mercy Sunday and how should the liturgy be properly celebrated so that the faithful may receive the special graces associated with it? -- J.C., Ballina, Ireland

A: The devotion to the Divine Mercy stems from the revelations made to the Polish nun St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) over a number of years and at several convents, including the one in Krakow where she is buried.

There are several elements involved in this devotion. One is the image of the merciful Jesus based on a vision of February 1931. In it Our Lord is pictured in the act of blessing, with two rays, one red and the other pallid (representing blood and water), shining from his heart. The words "Jesus, I trust in thee" are placed at his feet.

Copies of this image are today found in many churches all over the world -- a sign of the rapid extension of this devotion.

Other elements are the hour of mercy, at 3 in the afternoon, in which the Passion is meditated upon and certain prayers recommended by the revelations are recited. As well as this, there is the chaplet of Divine Mercy with its attendant litany. It is recited using rosary beads but substituting other prayers such as "Through your sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the entire world" on the beads of the Hail Mary.

A special request of these visions was that the first Sunday after Easter should be the feast of Divine Mercy and that on this day the Divine Mercy should be proclaimed in a special way.

The spirituality of Pope John Paul II was deeply influenced by the devotion to the Divine Mercy, and he dedicated his second encyclical, "Dives in Misericordia," to this theme. As archbishop of Krakow he promoted the beatification of Sister Faustina and on the occasion of her canonization in April 2000 announced that henceforth the second Sunday of Easter would be the feast of Divine Mercy.

This announcement was followed by two juridical acts by Vatican offices.

With the decree "Misericors et Miserator" (May 5, 2000) the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments stated: "And so with provident pastoral sensitivity and in order to impress deeply on the souls of the faithful these precepts and teachings of the Christian faith, the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, moved by the consideration of the Father of Mercy, has willed that the Second Sunday of Easter be dedicated to recalling with special devotion these gifts of grace and gave this Sunday the name, 'Divine Mercy Sunday.'"

The congregation explained that the change consisted in the additional name for this day. The liturgy would suffer no change whatsoever. All the texts and readings would remain those of the Second Sunday of Easter.

The second decree was published two years later by the Apostolic Penitentiary. This Vatican tribunal, among other tasks, oversees the granting of indulgences. This decree granted new perpetual indulgences attached to devotions in honor of Divine Mercy.
Among other considerations, this text states:

"The faithful with deep spiritual affection are drawn to commemorate the mysteries of divine pardon and to celebrate them devoutly. They clearly understand the supreme benefit, indeed the duty, that the People of God have to praise Divine Mercy with special prayers and, at the same time, they realize that by gratefully performing the works required and satisfying the necessary conditions, they can obtain spiritual benefits that derive from the Treasury of the Church. 'The paschal mystery is the culmination of this revealing and effecting of mercy, which is able to justify man, to restore justice in the sense of that salvific order which God willed from the beginning in man, and through man, in the world' (Encyclical Letter 'Dives in Misericordia,' n. 7).…

"Indeed, Divine Mercy knows how to pardon even the most serious sins, and in doing so it moves the faithful to perceive a supernatural, not merely psychological, sorrow for their sins so that, ever with the help of divine grace, they may make a firm resolution not to sin any more. Such spiritual dispositions undeniably follow upon the forgiveness of mortal sin when the faithful fruitfully receive the sacrament of Penance or repent of their sin with an act of perfect charity and perfect contrition, with the resolution to receive the Sacrament of Penance as soon as they can. Indeed, Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us in the parable of the Prodigal Son that the sinner must confess his misery to God saying: 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son' (Lk 15,18-19), realizing that this is a work of God, "for [he] was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found" (Lk 15,32).…

"The Gospel of the Second Sunday of Easter narrates the wonderful things Christ the Lord accomplished on the day of the Resurrection during his first public appearance: 'On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad to see the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And then he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained"' (Jn 20,19-23)….

"To ensure that the faithful would observe this day with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence, as will be explained below, so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit. In this way, they can foster a growing love for God and for their neighbor, and after they have obtained God's pardon, they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters….

"Thus the faithful will more closely conform to the spirit of the Gospel, receiving in their hearts the renewal that the Second Vatican Council explained and introduced: 'Mindful of the words of the Lord: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13,35), Christians can yearn for nothing more ardently than to serve the men of this age with an ever growing generosity and success. ... It is the Father's will that we should recognize Christ our brother in the persons of all men and love them with an effective love, in word and in deed' (Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et spes, n. 93)….

"Three conditions for the plenary indulgence

"And so the Supreme Pontiff, motivated by an ardent desire to foster in Christians this devotion to Divine Mercy as much as possible in the hope of offering great spiritual fruit to the faithful, in the Audience granted on 13 June 2002, to those Responsible for the Apostolic Penitentiary, granted the following Indulgences:

"a plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!");

"A partial indulgence, granted to the faithful who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation.

"For those who cannot go to church or the seriously ill

"In addition, sailors working on the vast expanse of the sea; the countless brothers and sisters, whom the disasters of war, political events, local violence and other such causes have been driven out of their homeland; the sick and those who nurse them, and all who for a just cause cannot leave their homes or who carry out an activity for the community which cannot be postponed, may obtain a plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday, if totally detesting any sin, as has been said before, and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, will recite the Our Father and the Creed before a devout image of Our Merciful Lord Jesus and, in addition, pray a devout invocation to the Merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you).

"If it is impossible that people do even this, on the same day they may obtain the Plenary Indulgence if with a spiritual intention they are united with those carrying out the prescribed practice for obtaining the Indulgence in the usual way and offer to the Merciful Lord a prayer and the sufferings of their illness and the difficulties of their lives, with the resolution to accomplish as soon as possible the three conditions prescribed to obtain the plenary indulgence.

"Duty of priests: inform parishioners, hear confessions, lead prayers

"Priests who exercise pastoral ministry, especially parish priests, should inform the faithful in the most suitable way of the Church's salutary provision. They should promptly and generously be willing to hear their confessions. On Divine Mercy Sunday, after celebrating Mass or Vespers, or during devotions in honor of Divine Mercy, with the dignity that is in accord with the rite, they should lead the recitation of the prayers that have been given above. Finally, since 'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy' (Mt 5,7), when they instruct their people, priests should gently encourage the faithful to practice works of charity or mercy as often as they can, following the example of, and in obeying the commandment of Jesus Christ, as is listed for the second general concession of indulgence in the 'Enchiridion Indulgentiarum.'

"This Decree has perpetual force, any provision to the contrary notwithstanding."

In conclusion, it must be mentioned that our correspondent was misinformed when she was told that Communion on this or any other Sunday granted a plenary indulgence. This is not the case. For more on indulgences in general, see our columns of Feb. 15 and March 1, 2005.

Finally, because of the special liturgical nature of this Sunday, all devotions must be made outside of Mass and no change may be made in the liturgical texts or readings. Mention of the theme of Divine Mercy may be made, however, during the homily, commentaries and during the general intercessions.

* * *

Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Mel Harris on April 23, 2007, 12:29:18 AM

OK folks.  Here is a question and answer about Divine Mercy Sunday.  How many ecumenical issues can you spot between Rome and we Evangelical Catholics?  Enjoy!


I lost count.  Though how well I qualify as an Evangelical Catholic could be debated.

Mel Harris
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 23, 2007, 01:41:50 PM
Well, for starters, we were celebrating Mundane Wrath Sunday, which, like Festivus, begins with the Airing of Grievances.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on April 23, 2007, 04:25:45 PM
Next would the "Feats of Strength," between Hansen and Ratzinger.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Dennis on April 24, 2007, 10:12:59 AM
Actually, the ones I would like to have explain this all to me are Klein, Neuhaus, Hahn, et. al. 

This is the part of contemporary Catholicism that I just can't understand, and which still seems so medieval.  My response to "Divine Mercy" Sunday is to say, "So what else is new?  We didn't need Sr. Faustina to tell us what scripture teaches so clearly."

And, this is from one who considers himself an evangelical catholic.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Dave_Poedel on April 24, 2007, 12:10:43 PM
When my dad (who died loosely connected to the Roman Church, I was able to preach at his funeral in a RC Church) was hospitalized, the prayer book he received from the Eucharistic Minister had a notation after each prayer indicating the number of years of indulgence for each prayer, each time prayed.  I remember commenting to a colleague about my surprise that these things were still around.

I was told that the more liberal wing (the NCR crowd) had pretty much done away with any indulgence piety, but the conservative renewal was bringing them back, along with Eucharistic adoration outside the Mass, scapulars, etc.

It looks like the "renewal" is coming from the highest level.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Gladfelteri on April 24, 2007, 12:16:16 PM
I was told that the more liberal wing (the NCR crowd) had pretty much done away with any indulgence piety, but the conservative renewal was bringing them back, along with Eucharistic adoration outside the Mass, scapulars, etc.  It looks like the "renewal" is coming from the highest level.
  When our local diocese got its new bishop, the first thing he did was fire all the staffers who were of "the NCR crowd."  Scapulars and eucaharistic adoration never went away.  Neither did scapulars. but public processions with a priest carrying a monstrance are back.  Indulgences never went away either, just de-emphasized.  they are now being emphasized but ther are not being sold! 
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Revbert on April 24, 2007, 12:21:08 PM
...I was at a RC funeral service (at the funeral home chapel, not a Mass) in Canada a couple of years ago where the priest's homily had a lengthy discourse on puuuuuuuuuurgatory and the need to get the deceased out of there in due time.  Had all but a 900 number to call to pay for the Masses.

Indulgences?  Yeah, he had them, too.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 24, 2007, 01:01:04 PM
Actually, the ones I would like to have explain this all to me are Klein, Neuhaus, Hahn, et. al. 

This is the part of contemporary Catholicism that I just can't understand, and which still seems so medieval.  My response to "Divine Mercy" Sunday is to say, "So what else is new?  We didn't need Sr. Faustina to tell us what scripture teaches so clearly."

This expresses my reaction exactly, especially to things related to Mary. Evangelical Catholics will always say that there is nothing un-evangelical about Marion devotion because she always and only points people to her Son Jesus. But what is the point then? It is like looking up a number in the phone book that you already know anyway. Nothing against the phone book, and if I didn't know the number I'd be glad for it. But once I know the number I can bypass the phone-book. If Mary is always and only going to point us to Christ, it would seem directly contrary to her own wishes that we focus on her.

Evangelical Catholics will also talk of purgatory, quite properly in my view, as the process whereby the imperfect truly becomes perfect not only by promise but by fact-- the completion of sanctification. But where does the idea of years come into that? Who comes up with the number? When somebody dies it makes sense to me to say they went to heaven. I can also at least understand the idea that we wait for the Resurrection and Judgment Day. But what makes no sense to me is that the person is not in heaven now but might be in a negotiable number of years.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on April 24, 2007, 01:39:17 PM
As usual, Speckhard speaks along the lines I am thinking.

I've spent about 3 years looking at the RC Catechism, the Compendium, JPII's encyclical letters, the writings of Benedict XVI., Scott Hahn's books, St. Thomas Aquinas and so on.

I keep running up against two major problems for me as a Lutheran theologian and it's the same two problems Lutherans historically have with the Romans:

1. Mary.

2. Purgatory.

I'm fine with the Pope being the Kapuna Kahuna. I'm fine with Church Tradition trumping Historical Criticism. And the authority of a magisterium with historical and bureaucratic gravitas is as attractive as a greener, nicely-weeded and mown RC lawn is to the browning wilt of the ELCA's current crop of issues.

But, if according to RC teaching, Mary is to be venerated and only Christ adored, then let's just adore Christ and get on with it.

When you've got the best, why fool with the rest?

Now, it's true that the RC has a charming way of integrating folk-pieties and backwater whirpools of superstition into their communion with the company of local saints and the carrot-and-stick authority of indulgences. The ELCA could only dream of being so inclusive and diverse with so many ethnic and racial blends of pieties and organically-grown liturgies.

But what stops me from converting this second is threefold:

1. The Confessions as the best explanation of what's going on with Jesus.

2. The Society of the Holy Trinity which focuses on Christ and our ordained vows to serve Him and His Church.

3. The focus-on-so-many-things-Roman-Catholic which seems to dim the focus on the Light Eternal, Jesus Christ my Lord.

Pete (So close to Rome- and yet so far...) Garrison
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Gladfelteri on April 24, 2007, 02:30:49 PM
...I was at a RC funeral service (at the funeral home chapel, not a Mass) in Canada a couple of years ago where the priest's homily had a lengthy discourse on puuuuuuuuuurgatory and the need to get the deceased out of there in due time.  Had all but a 900 number to call to pay for the Masses.

Indulgences?  Yeah, he had them, too.
A Jesuit friend of mine years (decades) ago described Purgatory this way:  that it was "a blessed and protected place within  heaven in which those who die needing further spiritual growth will achieve it taught personally by Christ and by the Saints and Angels."  I have used that ever since.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Dave_Poedel on April 24, 2007, 02:45:37 PM
For a detailed explanation of current indulgences practice, see: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19670101_indulgentiarum-doctrina_en.html

What still confuses me is how long a plenary indulgence is good for.  Once granted, do only sins committed since the last plenary indulgence have to be covered by the next one received? If one dies between plenary indulgences, does one have to make satisfaction in purgatory only for those sins committed since the last plenary indulgence?

Regarding "partial indulgences", Peter, the new directive prohibits the assignment of years to the satisfaction.  What the effect of that is, I do not know.

The new guidlines speak of purgatory as flames and torments, so Irl's Jesuit friend needs to review his Pope Paul VI decrees.

This subject baffeled me when I was Roman Catholic, now it makes me glad to be an Evangelical Catholic.  This doctrine is not part of the "good news".
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Deb_H. on April 24, 2007, 03:07:45 PM

The new guidlines speak of purgatory as flames and torments, so Irl's Jesuit friend needs to review his Pope Paul VI decrees.

Who thought up purgatory anyway?  Is there any hint of a basis for it in scripture?
I was thinking the same thing, by the way, about Irl's description of purgatory being a place in heaven -- if one is already in heaven, and not only that, but in the presence of Christ! , why would their family and friends on earth want to hurry them out of that situation??
None of it makes any sense to this Lutheran.

Debbie Hesse
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Dennis on April 24, 2007, 05:27:56 PM
I agree with Peter on Mary, too.  However one defines Mary's personhood and identity theologically, it is the common piety and devotion to Mary that always gets me.  I can't help but think that for the person in the pew, there is little difference between adoration and veneration.  For example, the rosary doesn't work mathematically for me: 10 Hail Mary's to 1 Our Father, 1 Glory Be and 1 "Oh my Jesus"  (the Fatima prayer)    That equals 53 Hail Mary's (three at the beginning) 11 Our Fathers, 11 Glory be and 11
"Oh, my Jesus (which is optional).  53 to 33 or 22.   

I also don't think that in the pews there is much understanding of the true and official view of indulgences which is that they remit the penalty for sins already forgiven.

Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 24, 2007, 06:15:07 PM
This expresses my reaction exactly, especially to things related to Mary. Evangelical Catholics will always say that there is nothing un-evangelical about Marion devotion because she always and only points people to her Son Jesus. But what is the point then? It is like looking up a number in the phone book that you already know anyway. Nothing against the phone book, and if I didn't know the number I'd be glad for it. But once I know the number I can bypass the phone-book. If Mary is always and only going to point us to Christ, it would seem directly contrary to her own wishes that we focus on her.

"Our confession approves giving honor to the saints.  This honor is threefold.  The first is thanksgiving: we ought to give thanks to God because he has given examples of mercy, because he has shown that he wants to save humankind, and because he has given teachers and other gifts to the church.  Since these are the greatest gifts, they ought to be extolled very highly, and we ought to praise the saints themselves for faithfully using these gifts just as Christ praises faithful managers [Matt. 25:21,23].  The second kind of veneration is the strengthening of our faith.  When we see Peter forgiven after his denial, we, too, are encouraged to believe that grace truly superabounds much more over sin [Rom. 5:20].  The third honor is imitation: first of their faith, then of their other virtures, which people should imitate according to their callings."   Kolb/Wengert edition Book of Concord, Apology to the Augsburg Confession, Article XXI p. 238

I think the Marian issue is part of a much larger issue that we have as Lutherans.  We have a tendancy, in my opinion, to divide the Church between the living and the dead in such a way that the "saints" are excluded.  We tend to focus so intensely on the Church Militant that we have no clue how to understand the Church Triumphant.  We want little or nothing to do with the saints, especially when it comes to Mary.  Lutherans tend to almost react violently to anything Marian related in regards to the Church.  This is a way Lutherans have traditionally distinguished themselves apart from Roman Catholics.  Unfortunately that self-identification is still alive and well today.  It seems to me that the Saints and especially Mary can and do strengthen our faith and with it the Church, because they point to God's work in the world.  I think our distaste for the saints and Mary is to our detriment. 

Granted all of this is in my own Marian Evangelical Catholic skewed view of the world.

Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Charles_Austin on April 24, 2007, 06:44:53 PM
Don't know about purgatory, but limbo has been axed.
From the Newsweek website today.
Web Exclusive
By Matthew Philips
Newsweek
Updated: 42 minutes ago
April 24, 2007 - In the world of Vatican reversals, it’s a big one. According to a 41-page report released last week by the Roman Catholic Church’s International Theological Commission, limbo—a celestial middle ground between Heaven and Hell—is no longer necessary. That means that babies who die unbaptized are now free to go to heaven rather than being consigned to limbo, where for the last 800 years they’ve been forced to await the End of Days, unable to share in the beatific vision of God and Jesus Christ with their Roman Catholic brethren.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 24, 2007, 07:01:55 PM
frluther, please don't misunderstand. I have a great deal of sympathy for your viewpoint and in no way would react negatively to the idea of Saints or keeping the Kingdom of Grace and the Kingdom of Glory one. We always keep the Saints' days when they fall on a Sunday. And naturally we thank God for the great cloud of witnesses and seek to imitate their faith. But that does not seem to be what a lot of RC piety is really about. It strikes me more as superstition, a la another thread in this forum dealing with burying statues of St. Joseph to sell your house. When it comes to Mary, perhaps it is the word "devotion" that throws me. Do we offer our devotion to, say, St. John? Surely God used him mightily and he is worth giving thanks for, imitating and otherwise honoring. Yet the RC view of Mary seems to go way beyond that. Far from pointing people to Christ, she sometimes (against her own wishes) seems to take center stage, and the official RC church seemingly does nothing to discourage this in the popular piety.  
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 24, 2007, 07:25:13 PM
Peter-

I didn't necessarily mean to direct my thoughts towards you.  I just chose your quote because I thought it raised a good question, the role of the saints.  I think there is also another issue, which is in the background and that is the difference between doctrine and piety.  It seems to me that Roman doctrine concerning Mary is rather clear that she is not to be worshiped.  What we see on occasion is the practice of over-zealous Marian piety which looks more like adoration than veneration.  Here is a case where doctrine and piety appear to be at odds with one another.  Lutherans, we too, need to be aware of this.  We have our own examples where our Lutheran doctrine says one thing, yet our practice suggests something else.  Perhaps an example of this could be Sola Scriptura.  We say Sola Scriptura, yet we debate over the historical minutia of the Book of Concord (just a few clicks away).  I know this example is somewhat flawed, if others can think of a better one please offer it.  My main point is that we too have our own instances where piety counters our doctrine.  What do we do with this?? 
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Dave_Poedel on April 24, 2007, 07:52:20 PM
The bottom line issue, for me, is our emphasis on justification by grace through faith, almost at times to the exclusion of everything else.  While everything does revolve around God's relationship with us through faith, we are a part of the Church Catholic.

How we react to things like this indulgence thing, which I thought went away during the Vatican II era, reminds me why we are still separated from full communion fellowship as the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I tend to react with resignation, prayer and grace, other times I just throw up my hands in prayerful despair.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 24, 2007, 09:08:41 PM
What still confuses me is how long a plenary indulgence is good for.

Yeah. Some synod assembly plenaries last forever, it seems. :o
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Gladfelteri on April 24, 2007, 10:07:02 PM
In the "For What It Is Worth Department," Martin Luther was apparently quite devoted to the Virgin Mary.  The following was written by Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong and is online at http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=788 :  "Despite the radicalism of early Protestantism toward many ancient Catholic distinctives,' such as the Communion of the Saints, Penance, Purgatory, Infused Justification, the Papacy, the priesthood, sacramental marriage, etc., it may surprise many to discover that Martin Luther was rather conservative in some of his doctrinal views, such as on baptismal regeneration, the Eucharist, and particularly the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Luther indeed was quite devoted to Our Lady, and retained most of the traditional Marian doctrines which were held then and now by the Catholic Church. This is often not well-documented in Protestant biographies of Luther and histories of the 16th century, yet it is undeniably true. It seems to be a natural human tendency for latter-day followers to project back onto the founder of a movement their own prevailing viewpoints.

Since Lutheranism today does not possess a very robust Mariology, it is usually assumed that Luther himself had similar opinions. We shall see, upon consulting the primary sources (i.e., Luther's own writings), that the historical facts are very different. We shall consider, in turn, Luther's position on the various aspects of Marian doctrine.

Along with virtually all important Protestant Founders (e.g., Calvin, Zwingli, Cranmer), Luther accepted the traditional belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary (Jesus had no blood brothers), and her status as the Theotokos (Mother of God):

Christ, ..was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him... "brothers" really means "cousins" here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers. (Sermons on John, chapters 1-4.1537-39).
He, Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary's virginal womb.. .This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that. (Ibid.)

God says... "Mary's Son is My only Son." Thus Mary is the Mother of God. (Ibid.).

God did not derive his divinity from Mary; but it does not follow that it is therefore wrong to say that God was born of Mary, that God is Mary's Son, and that Mary is God's mother...She is the true mother of God and bearer of God...Mary suckled God, rocked God to sleep, prepared broth and soup for God, etc. For God and man are one person, one Christ, one Son, one Jesus. not two Christs. . .just as your son is not two sons...even though he has two natures, body and soul, the body from you, the soul from God alone. (On the Councils and the Church, 1539).

Probably the most astonishing Marian belief of Luther is his acceptance of Mary's Immaculate Conception, which wasn't even definitively proclaimed as dogma by the Catholic Church until 1854. Concerning this question there is some dispute, over the technical aspects of medieval theories of conception and the soul, and whether or not Luther later changed his mind. Even some eminent Lutheran scholars, however, such as Arthur Carl Piepkorn (1907-73) of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, maintain his unswerving acceptance of the doctrine. Luther's words follow:

It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin" (Sermon: "On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God," 1527).
She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin—something exceedingly great. For God's grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. (Personal {"Little"} Prayer Book, 1522).

Later references to the Immaculate Conception appear in his House sermon for Christmas (1533) and Against the Papacy of Rome (1545). In later life (he died in 1546), Luther did not believe that this doctrine should be imposed on all believers, since he felt that the Bible didn't explicitly and formally teach it. Such a view is consistent with his notion of sola Scriptura and is similar to his opinion on the bodily Assumption of the Virgin, which he never denied—although he was highly critical of what he felt were excesses in the celebration of this Feast. In his sermon of August 15, 1522, the last time he preached on the Feast of the Assumption, he stated:

There can he no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know. And since the Holy Spirit has told us nothing about it, we can make of it no article of faith... It is enough to know that she lives in Christ.
Luther held to the idea and devotional practice of the veneration of Mary and expressed this on innumerable occasions with the most effusive language:

The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart. (Sermon, September 1, 1522).
[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ. ..She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures. (Sermon, Christmas, 1531).

No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity. (Sermon, Feast of the Visitation. 1537).

One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God's grace.. .Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ...Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).

Luther goes even further, and gives the Blessed Virgin the exalted position of "Spiritual Mother" for Christians, much the same as in Catholic piety:

It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother, Christ is his brother. God is his father. (Sermon. Christmas, 1522)

Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees...If he is ours, we ought to be in his situation; there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother. (Sermon, Christmas, 1529).

Luther did strongly condemn any devotional practices which implied that Mary was in any way equal to our Lord or that she took anything away from His sole sufficiency as our Savior. This is, and always has been, the official teaching of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, Luther often "threw out the baby with the bath water," when it came to criticizing erroneous emphases and opinions which were prevalent in his time—falsely equating them with Church doctrine. His attitude towards the use of the "Hail Mary" prayer (the first portion of the Rosary) is illustrative. In certain polemical utterances he appears to condemn its recitation altogether, but he is only forbidding a use of Marian devotions apart from heartfelt faith, as the following two citations make clear:

Whoever possesses a good (firm) faith, says the Hail Mary without danger! Whoever is weak in faith can utter no Hail Mary without danger to his salvation. (Sermon, March 11, 1523).

Our prayer should include the Mother of God.. .What the Hail Mary says is that all glory should be given to God, using these words: "Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ. Amen!" You see that these words are not concerned with prayer but purely with giving praise and honor.. .We can use the Hail Mary as a meditation in which we recite what grace God has given her. Second, we should add a wish that everyone may know and respect her...He who has no faith is advised to refrain from saying the Hail Mary. (Personal Prayer Book, 1522).

To summarize, it is apparent that Luther was extraordinarily devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is notable in light of his aversion to so many other "Papist" or "Romish" doctrines, as he was wont to describe them. His major departure occurs with regard to the intercession and invocation of the saints, which he denied, in accord with the earliest systematic Lutheran creed, the Augsburg Confession of 1530 (Article 21).

His views of Mary as Mother of God and as ever-Virgin were identical to those in Catholicism, and his opinions on the Immaculate Conception, Mary's "Spiritual Motherhood" and the use of the "Hail Mary" were substantially the same. He didn't deny the Assumption (he certainly didn't hesitate to rail against doctrines he opposed!), and venerated Mary in a very touching fashion which, as far as it goes, is not at all contrary to Catholic piety.

Therefore, it can be stated without fear of contradiction that Luther's Mariology is very close to that of the Catholic Church today, far more than it is to the theology of modern-day Lutheranism.  To the extent that this fact is dealt with at all by Protestants, it is usually explained as a "holdover" from the early Luther's late medieval Augustinian Catholic views ("everyone has their blind spots," etc.). But this will not do for those who are serious about consulting Luther in order to arrive at the true "Reformation heritage" and the roots of an authentic Protestantism. For if Luther's views here can be so easily rationalized away, how can the Protestant know whether he is trustworthy relative to his other innovative doctrines such as extrinsic justification by faith alone and sola Scriptura?

It appears, once again, that the truth about important historical figures is almost invariably more complex than the "legends" and overly-simplistic generalizations which men often at the remove of centuries—create and accept uncritically."
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Gladfelteri on April 24, 2007, 10:12:00 PM
Don't know about purgatory, but limbo has been axed.
From the Newsweek website today.
Web Exclusive
By Matthew Philips
Newsweek
Updated: 42 minutes ago
April 24, 2007 - In the world of Vatican reversals, it’s a big one. According to a 41-page report released last week by the Roman Catholic Church’s International Theological Commission, limbo—a celestial middle ground between Heaven and Hell—is no longer necessary. That means that babies who die unbaptized are now free to go to heaven rather than being consigned to limbo, where for the last 800 years they’ve been forced to await the End of Days, unable to share in the beatific vision of God and Jesus Christ with their Roman Catholic brethren.
  I will have to wait to see the document but according to what I have seen Limbo is not necessarily being eliminated but rather sent to Limbo - de-emphasized, put on the back burner, but it stops just short of eliminating it.  The piece I saw on this from the Catholic News Service (by John Thavis) emphasized that belief in Limbo had not actually ever been required as an element of the faith on the one hand, and that this new document is not a Magisterial document.  So what it does is uncertain.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Charles_Austin on April 24, 2007, 11:20:19 PM
The archnbishop writes (re the recent Vatican document on limbo):

So what it does is uncertain.

I comment:

And so it is with virtually every document issued from the Vatican, social statement adopted by any denomination, or protest resolution passed by any special-interest group. The faith goes on, the Gospel is proclaimed, people come to Christ, Christian fellowship around word and sacrament happens, and people in need get served in spite of all our attempts to codify, regulate, legislate, prescribe or make "certain" every aspect of the faith. Messy, isn't it?
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on April 25, 2007, 01:34:40 AM
Who thought up purgatory anyway?  Is there any hint of a basis for it in scripture?

The biblical roots of purgatory are most explicitly found in 2 Macabees 12:42-46.  Teaching of purgatory goes back at least to Tertullian and Origen, so it was being spoken of within a century of the Apostles themselves.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Deb_H. on April 25, 2007, 02:21:20 AM
The biblical roots of purgatory are most explicitly found in 2 Macabees 12:42-46. 
Ah, there's my problem.  My Bible doesn't have Macabees in it ... which sort of then begs the question -- has someone "added to scripture" or has someone "taken some of it away"?

Quote
Teaching of purgatory goes back at least to Tertullian and Origen, so it was being spoken of within a century of the Apostles themselves.

So .. during the time of the Apostles and for nearly 100 years afterward, there was 'no purgatory?'

Debbie




Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Charles_Austin on April 25, 2007, 07:14:32 AM
Deb H. writes:
Ah, there's my problem.  My Bible doesn't have Macabees in it ... which sort of then begs the question -- has someone "added to scripture" or has someone "taken some of it away"?

I comment:
No, it's just that Lutheranism has never closed the canon of scripture, that the books of the Apocrypha are considered scripture by the majority of Christendom and some readings from those books are included in our lectionary.  I have long contended that our BIbles should have the apocrypha in them. But I have generally lost that argument.













Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Gladfelteri on April 25, 2007, 08:59:49 AM
The archnbishop writes (re the recent Vatican document on limbo):

So what it does is uncertain.

I comment:

And so it is with virtually every document issued from the Vatican, social statement adopted by any denomination, or protest resolution passed by any special-interest group. The faith goes on, the Gospel is proclaimed, people come to Christ, Christian fellowship around word and sacrament happens, and people in need get served in spite of all our attempts to codify, regulate, legislate, prescribe or make "certain" every aspect of the faith. Messy, isn't it?
Yeah, but wonderful.

Peace,
Irl
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Gladfelteri on April 25, 2007, 09:55:15 AM
Who thought up purgatory anyway?  Is there any hint of a basis for it in scripture?

The biblical roots of purgatory are most explicitly found in 2 Macabees 12:42-46.  Teaching of purgatory goes back at least to Tertullian and Origen, so it was being spoken of within a century of the Apostles themselves.

Pax, Steven+
Steven is right.  The following is from the Catholic Encyclopedia article on this subject (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm#III ):  "The tradition of the Jews is put forth with precision and clearness in 2 Maccabees. Judas, the commander of the forces of Israel,  making a gathering . . . sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead). And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. (2 Maccabees 12:43-46)

At the time of the Maccabees the leaders of the people of God had no hesitation in asserting the efficacy of prayers offered for the dead, in order that those who had departed this life might find pardon for their sins and the hope of eternal resurrection."

". . . There are several passages in the New Testament that point to a process of purification after death. Thus, Jesus Christ declares (Matthew 12:32): "And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come." According to St. Isidore of Seville (Deord. creatur., c. xiv, n. 6) these words prove that in the next life "some sins will be forgiven and purged away by a certain purifying fire." St. Augustine also argues "that some sinners are not forgiven either in this world or in the next would not be truly said unless there were other [sinners] who, though not forgiven in this world, are forgiven in the world to come" (De Civ. Dei, XXI, xxiv). The same interpretation is given by Gregory the Great (Dial., IV, xxxix); St. Bede (commentary on this text); St. Bernard (Sermo lxvi in Cantic., n. 11) and other eminent theological writers.

A further argument is supplied by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15:  "For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble: Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire."

While this passage presents considerable difficulty, it is regarded by many of the Fathers and theologians as evidence for the existence of an intermediate state in which the dross of lighter transgressions will be burnt away, and the soul thus purified will be saved. This, according to Bellarmine (De Purg., I, 5), is the interpretation commonly given by the Fathers and theologians; and he cites to this effect:

St. Ambrose (commentary on the text, and Sermo xx in Ps. cxvii),
St. Jerome, (Comm. in Amos, c. iv),
St. Augustine (Comm. in Ps. xxxvii),
St. Gregory (Dial., IV, xxxix), and
Origen (Hom. vi in Exod.).
See also St. Thomas, "Contra Gentes,", IV, 91. For a discussion of the exegetical problem, see Atzberger, "Die christliche Eschatologie", p. 275."

The section of the above-referenced article headed, "Tradition" is also impressive.

The present Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC, Part I, Sect. III, #1030) merely calls it, "a place of purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven."  Section #1031 does state,, "The tradition of the Church by reference to certain texts of Scripture speaks of a cleansing fire."  (A footnote cites 1 Cor 3:15 and 1 Pet 1:7.)   The text then goes on to quote parts of statements from the Councils of Florence and Trent supporting this.  The thing to note here is that the CCC calls this a "tradition" rather than a "dogma" or "doctrine."  There is a difference between the three.  The CCC does not spend much time on Purgatory (barely one page in my edition, and only two short paragraphs in the Compendium.)  And the thrust of the CCC is on a process of purification rather than on punishment.  Any student knows that education (purification certainly involves education on a number of levels) can be either joyous or painful: and looking at the results of a test on which one did not do well is also be painful though a major learning device.

The first thing to keep in mind is that no matter how it looks to those outside of it, the Roman Catholic Church is anything but  a monolith.  What is taught and how it is taught depends very much on who is teaching, whether they are conservatives or liberals, and what Religious Order they belong to.  There are "Baltimore Catechism Catholics" out there who are agitating for accompanying the return of the Latin Tridentine Mass with the replacement of the Catechism of the Catholic Church at least in the U. S. with the old Baltimore Catechism (!)  Those guys very much see Purgatory as a place of immensely painful punishment in fire - except that the spirits running it are angels rather than demons, and the eventual entry into Heaven of those in Purgatory is quite assured. 

This is a very broad generalization based on personal experience however, but the Jesuits and Salesians (and most of the Benedictines) whom I know personally all describe Purgatory as a place of "purification," generally by some form of education, and many if not most of them seem to associate it with Heaven, itself in some way or other, rather than in a "third place, per se, (without denying it, however) and compare the pain of purgatory to the pain of looking over the results of a test which one barely passed with a C- or D.  They can be hard to nail down . . . especially the Jesuits. 

Other Orders, Redemptorists come to mind, as well as some Franciscans (again speaking from personal experience) are into "purifying fire," as are the "Baltimore Catechism boys," who sometimes seem almost "gleeful" about the fire . . ."  Opus Dei?  Well, in my experience as an active Cooperator, they do not like to go further than, "a place of purification where people are able to achieve the holiness they were not able to achieve on earth," and do not go beyond that since their focus is on developing personal holiness (achieving sainthood) in ordinary life in the world, through our ordinary daily work, and "aiming for heaven, taking as many people as possible there with us", rather than aiming for Purgatory.  .  The various Orders can, at times, almost act like "churches within the Church."  The secular priests I know are all over the map.  As Charles would say, "messy, but . . ."

The second thing to keep in mind is that all the EC Lutherans who have "swum the Tiber" have had to accept Purgatory on at least some level, as will those who will swim across in the future. 

To be fair, I should also note that Eastern Orthodoxy and the Non-Chalcedonian Churches consider Purgatory to be one of several "Roman heresies."

References:  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm#III (the article also cited above on Purgatory in the online Catholic Encyclopedia) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is online at http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: janielou13 on April 25, 2007, 10:49:27 AM
This topic keeps coming up in one form or another,,,,,,, usually not as pastoraly or insightful as this thread, sadly enough.
Perhaps our deare moderator could request an essay for Forum from Robert Wilken on the topic,,, of the folks listed he and Len Klein would be most instructive from what I've read of them.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 25, 2007, 11:48:19 AM
Ah, there's my problem.  My Bible doesn't have Macabees in it ... which sort of then begs the question -- has someone "added to scripture" or has someone "taken some of it away"?
In general, Protestants took the apocrapha away. From the beginning, Roman Catholics have always included the following books, which they call deuterocanonical (we call apocrypha). In Roman Catholic Bibles, they are included within the Old Testament.

Tobith
Judith
additions to Esther
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
Wisdom of Solomon
Sirach
Baruch & Letter of Jeremiah
Additions to Daniel:
   The Prayer of Azariah & The Song of the Three Hebrews
   Daniel and Susanna
   Daniel, Bel, and the Dragon

Besides these, the Eastern Orthodox Bibles generally include also:

1 & 2 Esdras
Prayer of Manasseh
Psalm 151
3 Maccabees
4 Maccabees (in an Appendix)

While Luther included the apocrypha in his Bible, he, following the lead of some other translators, put them in a separate section. The Protestant Bibles that include it usually place them between the OT and the NT.

These writings are part of the Septuagint [LXX], the Greek translation of the Old Testament that was begun about 250 years before Christ in Alexandria. (Greek was the common language at that time.) They are not in the Hebrew versions we have. One guess is that there were different versions of the Hebrew scriptures in different communities back then -- some with these writings and some without. In 383 when Jerome began his Latin translation of the Bible -- the common language at that time -- he included the apocrapha. His Latin translation had been the basis for Roman Catholic Bibles.

The deuterocanonical/apocrapha books are included in the Old Testament in Roman Catholic translations, such as the New American Bible and the New Jerusalem Bible. They can also be found as a separate section in "Protestant" translations. I have them in the RSV, NRSV, Good News Bible (Today's English Version), and the Contemporary English Bible. (As far as I know the NIV offers no translation of the apocrypha.)

The Revised Common Lectionary includes readings from the apocrypha (with optional readings from the OT). I believe that the Episcopal Church has always read from them, and some Lutheran churches are using them, too. (We had to have Bibles with the apocrapha in seminary.)

Quote
So .. during the time of the Apostles and for nearly 100 years afterward, there was 'no purgatory?'

It's difficult to know. 2 Maccabees was written somewhere between 50-100 years before the time of Jesus and the apostles. It covers the Jewish revolt under Judas Maccabeus and his brothers, which succeeded in overthrowing Antiocus IV Epiphanes in 164 BC. As far as I know, we have no ancient commentaries or teachings on how the people understood 12:42-46. We do know that Christians carried on the belief in the resurrection of the dead.

Oh, by the way, here is 12:41-46 from the CEV.

Our troops praised the Lord, who judges fairly and makes all secrets known. They also begged the Lord to forgive this terrible sin. Judas, that wonderful man, said, "You have seen for yourselves how God punished those who disobeyed him. So I warn you not to sin!"

Then Judas collected from his troops two thousand silver coins, which he sent to Jerusalem as payment for a sacrifice to forgive this sin. Judas did this generous and honorable thing because he firmly believed God raises the dead to life. Otherwise, it would have been useless and foolish of him to have spent this money on prayers for the dead. But he was a man of deep faith, who was convinced that God's faithful servants would receive a wonderful reward after death. So he paid for a special sacrifice to take away the sin of those dead soldiers.

Purgatory is seen as a place where the dead are "purged" of their sins, i.e., have them taken away through the prayers and sacrifices of the living.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Deb_H. on April 25, 2007, 01:02:46 PM
These writings are part of the Septuagint [LXX], the Greek translation of the Old Testament that was begun about 250 years before Christ in Alexandria.
Quote
So .. during the time of the Apostles and for nearly 100 years afterward, there was 'no purgatory?'

It's difficult to know. 2 Maccabees was written somewhere between 50-100 years before the time of Jesus and the apostles. [...]
Oh, by the way, here is 12:41-46 from the CEV.
[...] Judas did this generous and honorable thing because he firmly believed God raises the dead to life. Otherwise, it would have been useless and foolish of him to have spent this money on prayers for the dead. But he was a man of deep faith, who was convinced that God's faithful servants would receive a wonderful reward after death. So he paid for a special sacrifice to take away the sin of those dead soldiers.

Yes, but -- this is all "Old Testament" stuff.  They paid for and made other special sacrifices because they didn't yet know of God's plan of salvation through Jesus' sacrifice.  The only way, then, for any sort of life after death would have been to earn it.
We now know better.  Earning it doesn't get you there.  Prayers for the dead are just that -- working under the old testament system of earning or paying for salvation. 
Jesus did it once, for all.  It's done.  There is no further point in trying to earn it, as far as I'm concerned.  And now that I know that I'm OK with God, (it's taken care of on my behalf) I am freed up from having to try to make myself right with Him and am instead freed up to serve my neighbor, however that comes about.  He takes care of my neighbor through me, I guess it is, since there's nothing much good I can do by myself.
Quote
Purgatory is seen as a place where the dead are "purged" of their sins, i.e., have them taken away through the prayers and sacrifices of the living.
That sounds too much like baptism of the dead to me, as in how the Mormons make sure all their relatives will be able to join them in heaven.  If they didn't have the chance to be baptized while they were alive, then we'll just baptize 'em now.  I don't think anything I do now on someone's behalf (who has died) will change anything they did or didn't do when they were living.  I don't recall reading any grounds for that sort of thought in the Bible, and especially not in any of Jesus' words.

Did Luther ever quote any of the the apocryphal books in his writings?

Debbie
Quote
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Gladfelteri on April 25, 2007, 01:32:04 PM
That sounds too much like baptism of the dead to me, as in how the Mormons make sure all their relatives will be able to join them in heaven.  If they didn't have the chance to be baptized while they were alive, then we'll just baptize 'em now.
Not at all.  the souls in Purgatory are already Baptized and saved.  Their entrance into Heaven is a "done deal."  All they have to do is to achieve the spiritual prefection they were not able to achieve while on earth.  Purgatory (however that place is defined) is where that happens.

As far as the Apocrypha is concerned, Luther included the Apocrypha in his German Bible, but he introduced the Books of the Apocrypha with the comment, "These are books that are not to be considered the same as Holy Scripture, and yet are useful and good to read."  Since he put these books in his translation it is fair to presume that he quoted them on occasion in some settings.  Even John Calvin occasionally quoted from them to support his positions. (Ref. http://www.ude.net/Bible/psychopannychia__by_john_calvin.htm)
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 25, 2007, 01:35:34 PM
That sounds too much like baptism of the dead to me, as in how the Mormons make sure all their relatives will be able to join them in heaven.  If they didn't have the chance to be baptized while they were alive, then we'll just baptize 'em now.  I don't think anything I do now on someone's behalf (who has died) will change anything they did or didn't do when they were living.  I don't recall reading any grounds for that sort of thought in the Bible, and especially not in any of Jesus' words.

We have Paul stating in 1 Cor 15:29: "Otherwise, what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?"

The Mormon practice has a scriptural basis. (I don't agree with the practice, but I don't have a good interpretation of this text from Paul.)

Quote
Did Luther ever quote any of the the apocryphal books in his writings?

Yes. In notes I used as a brief introduction to the Apocrypha, I have:

Martin Luther's Bible had these extra books. He translated them for his German Bible. However, he, following the lead of some other translators, separated them from the Old Testament and put them in their own section. He did not remove them from the Bible as some other Protestants did. In his introduction to these books, he wrote: "Books that are not to be regarded as the equal of Holy Scripture but are nonetheless profitable and good to read." Since he occasionally preached on texts from the Apocrypha, (three different sermons based on Sirach 15:1-9,) he must have considered worthy to be the basis for sermons.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Deb_H. on April 25, 2007, 01:54:33 PM
the souls in Purgatory are already Baptized and saved.  Their entrance into Heaven is a "done deal."  All they have to do is to achieve the spiritual prefection they were not able to achieve while on earth. 

First of all, understand that I am not a purgatory person (which you probably figured out).   But if I were, it still makes no sense for the living to be praying and making sacrifices on behalf of those in purgatory.  If "all they have to do* is achieve the spiritual perfection they were not able to achieve while on earth"  then it sounds like it would be up to them to do it, not for anyone here to be doing on their behalf.

[*ALL they have to do??  What happened to saved by Grace, free gift, etc.?]

IF there were any need for purgatory at all, and IF people here could affect change for those who "are there," then they ought to be concerned for those who weren't already baptized, saved, and/or partly in heaven already.  The others can fend for themselves.

Quote
Luther included the Apocrypha in his German Bible, but he introduced the Books of the Apocrypha with the comment, "These are books that are not to be considered the same as Holy Scripture, and yet are useful and good to read." 

And he'd probably say the same thing about the writings of C.S. Lewis, but that doesn't make them scripture either.  When I asked for a scriptural basis for purgatory, the only reply quoted one of the Maccabees books.  Still waiting, then, for a scriptural basis for purgatory. 
(I think it is a human explanation of the time between an earthly death and the "last day," but then that assumes linear time the way we experience it here and now.  Goes God work in linear time?  I think not.  But that's just me.)

Debbie
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 25, 2007, 02:10:18 PM
Not at all.  the souls in Purgatory are already Baptized and saved.  Their entrance into Heaven is a "done deal."  All they have to do is to achieve the spiritual prefection they were not able to achieve while on earth.  Purgatory (however that place is defined) is where that happens.
Also, as I recall, in the Roman Catholic belief, penance included, repentance, forgiveness, and satisfaction for one's sins. Thus a priest may tell a confessor to recite so many "Hail Mary's" or some other work to make satisfaction for the sins. (Luther objected to this stage of penance.) However, with the Roman belief, I think purgatory was a place that missed satisfactions could be made -- and/or where someone's extra acts of satisfactions may be given to those who didn't have enough -- thus indulgences could be sold to reduce one's time in purgatory.

12-Step programs include confession and forgiveness and these two steps:

STEP EIGHT – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
STEP NINE – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

While not exactly the same as "satisfaction," they are additional steps beyond forgiveness to restore human relationships.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 25, 2007, 02:58:06 PM
the souls in Purgatory are already Baptized and saved.  Their entrance into Heaven is a "done deal."  All they have to do is to achieve the spiritual prefection they were not able to achieve while on earth. 

First of all, understand that I am not a purgatory person (which you probably figured out).   But if I were, it still makes no sense for the living to be praying and making sacrifices on behalf of those in purgatory.  If "all they have to do* is achieve the spiritual perfection they were not able to achieve while on earth"  then it sounds like it would be up to them to do it, not for anyone here to be doing on their behalf.


Deb, this is a good point. If purgatory is a place of learning or becoming spiritually perfect (complete sanctification) then by definition it can't be done by anybody else on your behalf. It would be like getting physically fit by having a group of people do push-ups for you.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Gladfelteri on April 25, 2007, 03:15:39 PM
Also, as I recall, in the Roman Catholic belief, penance included, repentance, forgiveness, and satisfaction for one's sins. Thus a priest may tell a confessor to recite so many "Hail Mary's" or some other work to make satisfaction for the sins. (Luther objected to this stage of penance.) However, with the Roman belief, I think purgatory was a place that missed satisfactions could be made -- and/or where someone's extra acts of satisfactions may be given to those who didn't have enough -- thus indulgences could be sold to reduce one's time in purgatory.
Close.  Those who have repented adequately and been forgiven and thus guaranteed eventual entrance into heaven, may not be ready for that yet.  They have more work to do.  They can be forgiven but still "have to do the time," so to speak.

For example, a crime may be committed and forgiven by the victim, but the perpetrator still has to undergo the consequences - a fine, probation, incarceration, whatever.  Similarly, (the way it has been explain to me - repeatedly) is that the souls in Purgatory have already been forgiven, but they still have to endure the consequences of the sin - pay the penance which may or may not be beyond that assigned by their priest here on earth.  In other words, forgiven is not necessarily forgotten until they have paid whatever penalty God assigns.  That penalty may be paid either here on earth or in Purgatory.  A person in Purgatory can be helped by prayers, intercessions by saints, etc., and the "treasure of merits" / works of supererogation which may be applied to those in purgatory is still taught.  

This is not a doctrine of the Reformation, and as I noted upstream, is something everyone who has crossed the Tiber from Richard John Neuhaus to those recently crossing the Tiber who were former STS members - and all others who have crossed before or since have had to come to terms with this as will whose who may cross in the future.  It is another of the "Roman non-negotiables."

Do not expect Rome to abandon this either.  Right now, Purgatory is apparently not really being emphasized very much except by some conservatives; it may be packed away in the basement; or put on "blocks under a shade tree in the back yard with a tarp over it;" but as long as the Sacred Magisterium is believed to be infallible, it will never be entirely repudiated.  And though it may one day be "packed away," it can always be brought out again at some time in the future.  Could this be discussed by various commissions some day?  Sure.  But don't expect a Vatican document to do away with it entirely.  There will always be a disclaimer in there somewhere.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on April 25, 2007, 03:52:53 PM
Ah, there's my problem.  My Bible doesn't have Macabees in it ... which sort of then begs the question -- has someone "added to scripture" or has someone "taken some of it away"?

Well, Debbie, the other messages here should suggest to you that this is actually a rather complex question.  It is pretty clear that the Bible used by the the first Christians was the Septuagint (LXX), which has books (or portions of books) that weren't in the Hebrew-language Old Testament.  Nearly all the OT quotations in the NT are from the LXX.  

We should probably note that the Hebrew "canon" wasn't as fixed then as it would later be, so that one will find variations in both Hebrew and Greek of what the "Scriptures" consist of even into the 2nd Century AD.  When St. Jerome did his magisterial translation we call the Vulgate, he championed as OT canon only what was accepted by the Jews, or what we usually call the Masoretic text.  That the "apocrypha" was included in the Vulgate was against his best scholarly judgment -- which was that the OT books should be those that were originally in Hebrew.  The controversy re-emerged with Luther and the Reformation at the Diet of Worms, particularly because of Purgatory, who went back to St. Jerome's argument.  It has been a controversy between Catholics (and Orthodox) and Protestants ever since.

As for whether the Apocrypha/deuterocanonical books were "added" or "subtracted" from the Hebrew/OT canon, I think we cannot ignore that the Jews established their canon after the rise of Christianity and they wanted to distinguish between the Christian Old Testament and the Jewish Scriptures.  Protestants, beginning with Luther, made that same distinction -- but always included the "Apocrypha" in their Bibles, though in a separate section.  Only at the beginning of the 19th Century did noncomformist English/American Bible Societies deliberately remove those books from their published (King James Version) Bibles.  German and Scandinavian language Bibles have included the Apocrypha to this day, and this includes the immigrant Lutheran churches in the US.  The German-language Bibles this congregation used (published by Wartburg and Concordia) include the Apocrypha; the English Bibles (published by the American Bible Society and, after the First World War, by Lutheran publishers) did not.  I've seen the same thing in the Norwegian Lutheran Churches -- the Norwegian-language Bibles had them, the English-language ones didn't.

The principle used by the Reformers was that the Apocrypha are useful and good and should be read, but they are not reliable sources for matters of dogma -- again, the particular dogma is Purgatory.  However on other matters Luther and, more importantly, the Confessions quote from them as Scripture for further support on other controversies.  And unlike other Reformation-era churches (both Protestant and Catholic), Lutherans did not formally define the canonical Scriptures.

Quote
So .. during the time of the Apostles and for nearly 100 years afterward, there was 'no purgatory?'

I don't think we can say that definitively.  In fact, as ++Irl has quoted elsewhere, there are other hints of purgatory, or at least what happens in Purgatory, elsewhere in the Old and New Testaments -- including within the words of Jesus himself in the Gospels.  The earliest unambiguous teachings we have today on Purgatory are in Tertullian (c. 160-240), and the images we have are (like ours of Heaven and Hell) more from the Middle Ages.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 25, 2007, 05:07:53 PM
. the souls in Purgatory are already Baptized and saved.  Their entrance into Heaven is a "done deal."  All they have to do is to achieve the spiritual prefection they were not able to achieve while on earth.  Purgatory (however that place is defined) is where that happens..

If they're "saved," why do they need more saving? Is baptism only partially efficacious? If their entrance into heaven is a "done deal," why does more need to be done? If "all they have to do is to achieve the spiritual perfection" who needs Christ? Does Christ forgive some sins, but not all? Gnosticism is a pernicious thing.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on April 25, 2007, 05:39:48 PM
I find some of the Roman Catholic teaching "common sense," adaptations to human dilemmas.

For instance: Purgatory as a "Cosmic Do Over."

When I ride along in a police car as chaplain I get this question: "So, Padre- if a murderer says he's really sorry to Jesus just before the guy is gassed in San Quentin, does that mean he gets to go to heaven?"

For me, the short answer is: "Seems to me, yes." (cf: St. Luke 23.43.)

"Well," the cop says, "It doesn't seem right to me."

Purgatory would be (if I believed in such a thing,) a perfect answer for this cop.

Punishment would still have to be meted out to the repentant murderer before gaining entrance to heaven.

As I understand one aspect of Purgatory- it exists in order for you to "make up," for all the consequences your sin caused in the world; a "If you do the crime- you must do the time," sort of place. Your sins may be forgiven, but you've got work to do to un-do all the mess you've made.

It is a place of temporal punishment for the sins you committed in "time." Not eternal punishment as if you did not repent and claim God's eternal mercy through Jesus.

Still- Jesus seems to have handled all the problems with that one murderer by stating, "Today you will be with me in paradise," not "later on," or "in a while."


Peter (Still looking for loopholes,) Garrison
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on April 25, 2007, 07:17:28 PM

If they're "saved," why do they need more saving? Is baptism only partially efficacious? If their entrance into heaven is a "done deal," why does more need to be done? If "all they have to do is to achieve the spiritual perfection" who needs Christ? Does Christ forgive some sins, but not all? Gnosticism is a pernicious thing.

So what do you propose should be done about sins committed after Baptism?  Is such sin of no consequence?  Or, as in ante-Nicean years, should Baptism be postponsed until one's deathbed?

Gnosticism is not the only pernicious thing.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 25, 2007, 07:20:30 PM
If they're "saved," why do they need more saving? Is baptism only partially efficacious? If their entrance into heaven is a "done deal," why does more need to be done? If "all they have to do is to achieve the spiritual perfection" who needs Christ? Does Christ forgive some sins, but not all? Gnosticism is a pernicious thing.

Does sin remain after baptism?  

"For the opponents know in what sense Luther intended the statement that original sin remains after baptism.  He has always written that baptism removes the guilt of sin, even if the "material element" of sin, as they call it, remains, namely, concupiscence.  He even added about the material element that when the Holy Spirit is given through baptism he begins to put concupiscence to death and to create new impulses in the human creature.  Augustine also says the same thing when he states 'In baptism sin is forgiven, not that it no longer exists, but that it is not accounted [as sin].'  Here he clearly confesses that sin remains, even if it is not accounted [as sin]. ...And in Against Julian, Augustine says, "That law, which is in the members, is forgiven by the regeneration of the spirit, but it remains in mortal flesh.  It is forgiven because the guiltis absolved in the sacrament by which the faithful are reborn.  But it remains because it produces desires against which the faithful struggle."     Kolb/Wengert edition, Book of Concord, Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Art. II, p.117-8.


Notice here Melanchthon describe both Augustine's and Luther's position about Sin and the Christian life.  Sin (concupiscence) remains, although forgiven, it still pokes and prods the Christian all of his/her life.  The difference after baptism is that the Sin no longer rules in the Christian but Christ does.  It is the difference between Reigning Sin and Ruled Sin.  Christ rules over sin in the Christian forgiving it even though it is still active in a diminished capacity.  The Christian life includes this wrestling and struggling with concupiscence/sin.  All of our life we are to struggle, however we should increase in holiness where the struggle hopefully becomes less and less.  There is for the Lutheran a notion of "growth in grace."  Another place to hear Luther on this would be Against Latomus.  Luther is quite clear on his position of this in that treatise.  I would argue that a position which says, "Christ's forgives me...so no worries about struggling against sin" is 1) in denial and 2)purely antinomianism.    

If all of this is true, then purgatory isn't that much of a strech for Lutherans.  If we truly beleive that sin, namely concupiscence, remains after baptism, and Sin is not allowed in the presence of God because it is opposed to God, THEN there would/should be a "time, place, whatever" where that concupiscence would be purged (be it by fire or whatever).  The problem for us might be how to describe purgatory, its use and function, because we don't clearly have that spelled out for us in scripture.  The notion of purgatory however shouldn't be that great of a theological leap for us.

In Christ,
Ian Wolfe

Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 25, 2007, 08:03:15 PM
Still- Jesus seems to have handled all the problems with that one murderer by stating, "Today you will be with me in paradise," not "later on," or "in a while."
Peter (Still looking for loopholes,) Garrison

Peter,

There is an exegetical problem with that interpretation/translation of Luke 23:43.  The problem is over the issue of where the comma should be.  I am sure Brian S. will be able to elaborate more on this per is exegetical prowess.  The issue is should the translation be, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."  OR  "Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise."  Clearly where one places the comma changes the understanding of the verse.  Obviously as we are well aware Greek has no commas, they are a latter addition by us.  The editors of the Greek text we use and most, if not all translations of this verse place the comma where we normally expect it to be.  "truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."  However, if one looks at the greater use of the word "today" in Luke-Acts, it is almost exclusively use to signfy the time of the proclamation not the time of the act.  Thus, "truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise" is also a valid translation of this famous passage of scripture, even if it is unfamiliar in our ears.  Please note this isn't a full exegetical argument, only a synopsis of it.   
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 25, 2007, 08:32:39 PM
"Well," the cop says, "It doesn't seem right to me."
It's a lot like the parable of the workers in the field. In our "natural" thinking, those who worked all day long should be paid more than those who only worked an hour. Most of us are like those who worked all day -- we don't like a gracious pay-master or God, because grace doesn't seem fair to those who work for it.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 25, 2007, 08:46:11 PM
There is an exegetical problem with that interpretation/translation of Luke 23:43.  The problem is over the issue of where the comma should be.  I am sure Brian S. will be able to elaborate more on this per is exegetical prowess.
You are right about the different nuances depending on where a comma is placed. The literal Greek, in the order of words is: "And he said to him Amen to you I am saying today with me you shall be in paradise." Should "today" be connected to "saying" which comes just before it, or with "with me" which comes just after it?

For those who might want to do further study, the Greek word semeron, ("today") occurs in the following verses in Luke.
2:11
3:22 (variant reading)
4:21
5:26
12:28
13:32
13:33
19:5
19:9
22:34
22:61
23:43

In Acts:
4:9
13:33
19:40
20:26
22:3
24:21
26:2
26:29
27:33

Quote
However, if one looks at the greater use of the word "today" in Luke-Acts, it is almost exclusively use to signfy the time of the proclamation not the time of the act.
Not quite. There is also a sense that by declaring something, it also comes to pass, e.g., God speaking creation into being (see especially Lu 4:21; 19:9).
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Deb_H. on April 25, 2007, 08:47:11 PM
"Well," the cop says, "It doesn't seem right to me."
It's a lot like the parable of the workers in the field. In our "natural" thinking, those who worked all day long should be paid more than those who only worked an hour. Most of us are like those who worked all day -- we don't like a gracious pay-master or God, because grace doesn't seem fair to those who work for it.

And thus, the reason for this parable story in the first place, I always thought.
Whoo-hoo, I agree with Brian S.!

Debbie
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 25, 2007, 08:48:30 PM
I did say almost.... ;D
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on April 25, 2007, 08:56:09 PM
"Well," the cop says, "It doesn't seem right to me."
It's a lot like the parable of the workers in the field. In our "natural" thinking, those who worked all day long should be paid more than those who only worked an hour. Most of us are like those who worked all day -- we don't like a gracious pay-master or God, because grace doesn't seem fair to those who work for it.

And thus, the reason for this parable story in the first place, I always thought.
Whoo-hoo, I agree with Brian S.!
Did the parousia happen and we missed it?

In a group discussion on the parable, a woman offered a different perspective. She had been one who was usually picked last for sports teams. She was one who always felt like the underdog. She empathized with those who had been standing around all day, wondering if they would have enough money to buy food for their families. She felt the grace of the land-owner in a way much different than we who empathized with the first hired and felt the unfairness of the situation. I've just read What Do They Hear?: Bridging the Gap Between Pulpit & Pew, by Mark Allan Powell, he notes in experiments he has done that different groups empathize with different characters in stories -- and are affected in different ways by the same story. He suggests that the meanings of stories can be a message (which clergy tend to look for) or the impact or affect the story has on the hearer/reader (which lay people tend to react to more than clergy).
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 26, 2007, 08:13:00 AM

So what do you propose should be done about sins committed after Baptism?  Is such sin of no consequence?  Or, as in ante-Nicean years, should Baptism be postponsed until one's deathbed?


Do? DO? Why nothing, dear friend, since Christ has already done it. "Sin boldly! ...but believe more boldly still." As Luther wrote to Melanchthon in 1521, "God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners.  Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world."   
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on April 26, 2007, 08:33:45 AM

So what do you propose should be done about sins committed after Baptism?  Is such sin of no consequence?  Or, as in ante-Nicean years, should Baptism be postponsed until one's deathbed?


Do? DO? Why nothing, dear friend, since Christ has already done it. "Sin boldly! ...but believe more boldly still." As Luther wrote to Melanchthon in 1521, "God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners.  Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world."   

Sola fidei, sola gratia was never intended to be a license for antinomianism.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Deb_H. on April 26, 2007, 10:34:30 AM

So what do you propose should be done about sins committed after Baptism?  Is such sin of no consequence?  Or, as in ante-Nicean years, should Baptism be postponsed until one's deathbed?


Do? DO? Why nothing, dear friend, since Christ has already done it. "Sin boldly! ...but believe more boldly still." As Luther wrote to Melanchthon in 1521, "God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners.  Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world."   

Sola fidei, sola gratia was never intended to be a license for antinomianism.

Well you had to know, Kris, that once "sin boldly" came out, the "a" word would show up. 

Of course, that's not what the phrase was ever meant to be, and not what Kris means by it either.  But if we are truly saint AND sinner at the same time ... we have no option but to sin.  If we're so afraid we might sin, (while believing it's possible not to) we may never ever get much of anything done that we were meant to do -- and so we do the best we know, believing if it wasn't quite 'right' that forgiveness will cover a multitude of sins.  To me, that is what sin boldly means.

It's sort of inside talk, though -- you have to be a Lutheran to understand it fully, and maybe even a 'certain type' of Lutheran.  To all others, it sounds like a license to go out and SIN freely and it makes them squirmy; but who, if they call themselves Christian, would even want to do anything like that? 

Debbie
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 26, 2007, 11:01:10 AM
Of course, that's not what the phrase was ever meant to be, and not what Kris means by it either.  But if we are truly saint AND sinner at the same time ... we have no option but to sin.  If we're so afraid we might sin, (while believing it's possible not to) we may never ever get much of anything done that we were meant to do -- and so we do the best we know, believing if it wasn't quite 'right' that forgiveness will cover a multitude of sins.  To me, that is what sin boldly means.

It's sort of inside talk, though -- you have to be a Lutheran to understand it fully, and maybe even a 'certain type' of Lutheran.  To all others, it sounds like a license to go out and SIN freely and it makes them squirmy; but who, if they call themselves Christian, would even want to do anything like that? 

Debbie

Debbie- 

I think there is another issue that needs to be raised.  There is a difference between SIN and sinS.  Lutherans belive concupiscene  to be SIN and the actions that flow from that perverted desire sinS.  I think that what is at the heart of SIEP (simil iustes et peccator) for Luther isn't the focus of these sinS but rather SIN (concupiscence).  The Saint isn't a SIEP because of sinS, but rather because the SIN remains after Baptism (see previous apology quote).  Luther believed that a Christian could refrain from committing sinS (I believe the Commentary on Galatians addresses this) but was still plauged by SIN. 

Now if this SIN still remains in the Christian it obviously will not be allowed into the Kingdom of God.  SIN is opposed to the will of God and as a matter of fact cannot remain in us if we belive that our salvation is union with Christ and the Triune God.  Such a union between SIN and God cannot exist for a FULL UNION.  We are still a defective creature who is not the creature God has called us to be, even at death.  It would seem then that this SIN needs to go away before salvation (fulll union with the Triune God) is even possible.  Here is the theological possibility of speaking about purgatory, understood as a process or way whereby the SIN is removed from the saved inorder to enter into ultimate salvation, Union with the Triune God.  Seems to make sense to me...


Ian
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Michael_Rothaar on April 26, 2007, 02:26:50 PM
In a group discussion on the parable, a woman offered a different perspective. She had been one who was usually picked last for sports teams. She was one who always felt like the underdog. She empathized with those who had been standing around all day, wondering if they would have enough money to buy food for their families. She felt the grace of the land-owner in a way much different than we who empathized with the first hired and felt the unfairness of the situation. I've just read What Do They Hear?: Bridging the Gap Between Pulpit & Pew, by Mark Allan Powell, he notes in experiments he has done that different groups empathize with different characters in stories -- and are affected in different ways by the same story. He suggests that the meanings of stories can be a message (which clergy tend to look for) or the impact or affect the story has on the hearer/reader (which lay people tend to react to more than clergy).

Lots of years ago, Neill Hamilton (at Drew) called this the hermeneutic of analogy. (NB - hermeneutic, not exegesis) He used to say that there is no link between us and the people in the Bible -- worldview, social structure, economic life, etc. -- except human emotion. To be afraid, angry, proud, relieved, joyous, etc. is exactly the same for us as it was for them. So a good strategy for gaining a hearing for the word is to draw a picture of a situation that gives rise to the same emotion we're reading about. Like Powell's comments on empathy, it's a technique that requires good knowledge of the real life stories with which people enter the church.

It also marks a good use of film and tv, which often provide the mythic or archtypical points of identification. In my Bible study group this week, previewing Sunday's Gospel, it was helpful to get them hearing "Messiah" along the lines of "Braveheart." (But beyond establishing that "the Jews" were in the wrong Mel Gibson movie, it's also helpful to discuss the circumstances of life that brought forth William Wallace as leader, and which in Jesus' time had given rise to the messianic hopes and expectations -- why the great reversal of the parables was so hard to accept, and why we, too, sometimes have trouble actually hearing the voice of the shepherd.)
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 26, 2007, 03:37:59 PM
  Such a union between SIN and God cannot exist for a FULL UNION.  We are still a defective creature who is not the creature God has called us to be, even at death.  It would seem then that this SIN needs to go away before salvation (fulll union with the Triune God) is even possible.  Here is the theological possibility of speaking about purgatory, understood as a process or way where the SIN is removed by the saved inorder to enter into ultimate salvation, Union with the Triune God.  Seems to make sense to me...

Not to me. Of course we are not the creature God has called us to be. But Christ is, and by God's grace through faith in him, by his righteousness, and not our own, we are indeed the creature God has called us to be. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (St. Paul). To assume we need "do" something more is an affront to the cross of Christ. To the Harry Potter poppycock of purgatory, Luther writes: "Besides, this dragon's tail -- that is, the Mass -- has brought forth a brood of vermin and the poison of manifold idolatries. The first is purgatory. They were so occupied with requiem Masses, with vigils, with the weekly, monthly, and yearly celebrations of requiems, with the common week, with all Soul's Day, and with soul-baths that the Mass was used almost exclusively for the dead although Christ instituted the sacrament for the living alone.  Consequently purgatory and all the pomp, services, and business transactions associated with it are to be regarded as nothing else than illusions of the devil, for purgatory, too, is contrary to the fundamental article that Christ alone, and not the work of man, can help souls.  Besides, nothing has been commanded or enjoined upon us with reference to the dead.  All this may consequently  be discarded, apart entirely from the  fact it is error and idolatry." (The Smalcald Articles, Part II, Article II) To confess a belief in purgatory is to believe in something our Lutheran Confessions categorically reject.

As for the "a" word being invoked, Debbie, "we are now discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code, but in the new life of the Spirit." "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption." (St. Paul, Romans 7 & 8). The charge of antinomianism is most frequently invoked by persons for whom the sufficiency of the cross is folly, who refuse to die in Christ in order to justify their own works righteousness.

Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 28, 2007, 09:08:09 AM
Not to me. Of course we are not the creature God has called us to be. But Christ is, and by God's grace through faith in him, by his righteousness, and not our own, we are indeed the creature God has called us to be. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (St. Paul). To assume we need "do" something more is an affront to the cross of Christ. To the Harry Potter poppycock of purgatory, Luther writes: "Besides, this dragon's tail -- that is, the Mass -- has brought forth a brood of vermin and the poison of manifold idolatries. The first is purgatory. They were so occupied with requiem Masses, with vigils, with the weekly, monthly, and yearly celebrations of requiems, with the common week, with all Soul's Day, and with soul-baths that the Mass was used almost exclusively for the dead although Christ instituted the sacrament for the living alone.  Consequently purgatory and all the pomp, services, and business transactions associated with it are to be regarded as nothing else than illusions of the devil, for purgatory, too, is contrary to the fundamental article that Christ alone, and not the work of man, can help souls.  Besides, nothing has been commanded or enjoined upon us with reference to the dead.  All this may consequently  be discarded, apart entirely from the  fact it is error and idolatry." (The Smalcald Articles, Part II, Article II) To confess a belief in purgatory is to believe in something our Lutheran Confessions categorically reject.

As for the "a" word being invoked, Debbie, "we are now discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code, but in the new life of the Spirit." "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption." (St. Paul, Romans 7 & 8). The charge of antinomianism is most frequently invoked by persons for whom the sufficiency of the cross is folly, who refuse to die in Christ in order to justify their own works righteousness.




Kris-

This is why no one can dialogue with you...  If someone holds a different view than you do you immediately attack his or her faith and do not address the point raised.  Your argument that those who believe that a position is antinomian must obviously not TRULY believe in Christ or the Cross is comple poppycock!  Even though Christ lives in you apparently pride still remains, and that's my point.  This is all in relation to Christ reigning in our lives and at the same time SIN (concupiscence)remaining.  Do you believe that concupiscence is SIN?  Do you believe that it remains in the justified after baptism?  It seems our Confessions do.  Do you really believe when we enter salvation we will still have that SIN? 

Try reading the rest of Romans, there's a sharp turn in 12, because of the preceeding 11 chapters.  "I appeal to you THEREFORE, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."  Romans 12:1   Becaue of Christ's work on the Cross and our union to him in Holy Baptism we are now able to do such a command from Paul.  No one here is denying Christ, the Cross or being united with him, in fact we take it very seriously and believe in Christ probably just as much as you do. 

In Christ,
Ian
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 28, 2007, 10:56:07 AM
Ian asks:  "Do you believe that concupiscence is SIN?"

Yes.

"Do you believe that it remains in the justified after baptism?" 

"Yes."

"It seems our Confessions do.  Do you really believe when we enter salvation we will still have that SIN?"

Yes. But maybe this is where the misunderstanding occurs. Salvation is yours and mine the moment I receive faith. It's instantaneous. (If one were to argue it is gradual, that would be the Catholic, but not the catholic position.) As Augustine says (Marriage and Concupiscence, 1, 25), "Sin is forgiven in baptism, not that it no longer is, but it is not imputed." Thus concupiscence is sin, but not imputed to the person of faith. The Catholic (but not the catholic) position contra Augustine (e.g., Pope Julian) was that concupiscence is a penalty, necessitating purgatory. My point is that nothing further needs to be done after death to satisfy, purify, clarify one's sins, make one holier than Christ's blood has already made one, (e.g., in purgatory), since by grace through faith, the sins were never imputed to the believer in the first place.  I understood you to be suggesting that further "work," post mortem, may still need to be done. If I misread you I apologize.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 28, 2007, 12:45:15 PM
Ian asks:  "Do you believe that concupiscence is SIN?"

Yes.

"Do you believe that it remains in the justified after baptism?" 

"Yes."

"It seems our Confessions do.  Do you really believe when we enter salvation we will still have that SIN?"

Yes. But maybe this is where the misunderstanding occurs. Salvation is yours and mine the moment I receive faith. It's instantaneous. (If one were to argue it is gradual, that would be the Catholic, but not the catholic position.) As Augustine says (Marriage and Concupiscence, 1, 25), "Sin is forgiven in baptism, not that it no longer is, but it is not imputed." Thus concupiscence is sin, but not imputed to the person of faith. The Catholic (but not the catholic) position contra Augustine (e.g., Pope Julian) was that concupiscence is a penalty, necessitating purgatory. My point is that nothing further needs to be done after death to satisfy, purify, clarify one's sins, make one holier than Christ's blood has already made one, (e.g., in purgatory), since by grace through faith, the sins were never imputed to the believer in the first place.  I understood you to be suggesting that further "work," post mortem, may still need to be done. If I misread you I apologize.


Salvation is both here and not yet, it is proleptic.  I think the NT writers themselves argue such a position.  While it is here and present it still is yet to come, when Christ comes again.  While we are here we are still attacked by the devil and SIN remains, granted its punishment is not imputed to the justified, but nevertheless it is still there tempting us.  This SIN is something that is foreign to the human and not part of God's intention in creation.  God does not intend for his creation to have this SIN.  There must be, I would think, a restoration of the creation, whereby our SIN is removed (not just not imputed against us, but removed completely from us).  Clearly I am not arguing a position that one must be holier than Christ's own blood, that's just not possible and nonsensical.  But I would argue for a position that would talk about the restoration of creation.  A position that doesn't allow SIN to remain in the person since it is contra the intention of God's creation.  I would argue for an understanding whereby that very blood of Christ doesn't only not impute our sinS but like bleach removes the stain of concupiscence itself from the justified.  Clearly that hasn't happend yet, because concupiscence still remains in us.  If not now, when?  Clearly salvation is not completed (present but not fully), unless you believe that salvation includes the human will moving contrary to the will of God?  I would not.  Perhaps we better need to define our understanding of salvation as well.  I understand salvation to be complete unity with the Truinue God, through Christ.  Can there be true unity where our wills are conflicted? 

I think there is another misunderstanding we are having over SIN and sinS.  In your last post you seem to muddle the two.  You move from talking about Sin being not imputed then move to talking about nothing needing to be done about one's sinS.  I think the two should be kept distinct, not that they aren't related to each other, but for understanding's sake.  Here is how I distinguish the two.  Original Sin is the perversion of the human will (concupiscence) to move towards that which is contrary to the Will of God.  SinS are those specific acts which result from the movement of that perverted will.  SIN is forgiven and not imputed against us through the work of Christ, HOWEVER that SIN still remains in the justified.  SinS are those specific acts which the justified commit and too are forgiven through Christ.  SinS do not of necessity remain in the justified, Luther argues that the justified can not commit sinS. 

 
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 28, 2007, 04:24:29 PM
Ian states: "I would argue for an understanding whereby that very blood of Christ doesn't only not impute our sinS but like bleach removes the stain of concupiscence itself from the justified."
 

Christians who keep one eye on satisfying the law remind me of a quote from Zorba the Greek, "You worry too much. Like old women in the market place, they weigh everything." The key ingredient you're missing here is sanctification. As we can no more be partially saved than we can be partially pregnant, might I recommend a rereading of Romans, especially St. Paul's glorious theology on the subject in chapters 5 - 8, beginning with "Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more..."

Also, "But now that you have been set free  from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life."

And, "Do you not know, brethren -- for I am speaking to those who know the law -- that the law is binding on a person only during his life?"

"Likewise, my brethren, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God."

Again, "But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit."

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death." 

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship."
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 28, 2007, 04:39:33 PM
Kris-

Sorry but I am not following you.  I have mentioned nothing about worrying about satisfying the Law, only Christ in his pure obedience to the Father can do that.  I am talking about salvation as being more than only an external proclamation.  That salvation brings about an internal effect as well, i.e. the removal of original sin.  I have no clue what led you down a treatise on the law.  That is another topic for another thread.  Again you have not addressed my points but slid into an anecdote about Zorba and scripture quotes not on topic.

Which is okay I guess seeing as we are the only two talking on this thread anymore...where did everyone go? 
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 28, 2007, 07:18:03 PM
  That salvation brings about an internal effect as well, i.e. the removal of original sin.  I have no clue what led you down a treatise on the law. 

What led me straight to a treatise on the law is your statement below:

"Now if this SIN still remains in the Christian it obviously will not be allowed into the Kingdom of God.  SIN is opposed to the will of God and as a matter of fact cannot remain in us if we belive that our salvation is union with Christ and the Triune God.  Such a union between SIN and God cannot exist for a FULL UNION.  We are still a defective creature who is not the creature God has called us to be, even at death.  It would seem then that this SIN needs to go away before salvation (fulll union with the Triune God) is even possible.  Here is the theological possibility of speaking about purgatory, understood as a process or way where the SIN is removed by the saved in order to enter into ultimate salvation, Union with the Triune God.  Seems to make sense to me..."

How does one not conclude from this that you are advocating works righteousness through the fulfillment of the law? Asked differently, How in the world is sin removed "by the saved?"

Thanks.

Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 28, 2007, 07:25:49 PM

Try reading the rest of Romans, there's a sharp turn in 12, because of the preceeding 11 chapters.  "I appeal to you THEREFORE, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."  Romans 12:1   Becaue of Christ's work on the Cross and our union to him in Holy Baptism we are now able to do such a command from Paul.  No one here is denying Christ, the Cross or being united with him, in fact we take it very seriously and believe in Christ probably just as much as you do. 

In Christ,
Ian

Ian,

Are you saying we are now able to keep the law? If so, exactly how?

Thanks.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: MMH on April 28, 2007, 07:49:58 PM
Please pardon me for going back to the original point of this discussion.

But...

I happened to be at a Mass on Dvine Mercy Sunday (actually the Saturday).  The celebrant at end explained what was going on.  To my uneducated Lutheran ears, I heard at lot about God's grace through Christ alone.

I also have a dear friend who is an RC priest who was part of the group that went over to Rome for St. Faustina's cannonization.  While this may not be to our Lutheran liking, again, his emphasis to me sounded pretty solidly Solus Christus/Sola Gratia.

I have to say I am worried that we can always scare up a 5 page anti-popery riot over this, but we seem complacent over the fact that some of the folks that we (at least in the ELCA) are in full partnership with are ready to undo the gift of the Holy Spirit in the celebration of "Pluralism Sunday."

Which of these two digressions from the purity of the Lutheran Gospel ( :D) do you think
a) is closer to the actual Faith received
b) poses a more immediate threat to the spiritual welfare of our flocks?

Given the prejudices of most Lutherans I have encountered, it will be a cold day in Guam before folks took up any of that "Catholic mumbo-jumbo," but I can  see some of them bringing me a print out from Pluralism Sunday with a bright smile on their faces and "can we do this?" on their lips.

Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Eric_Swensson on April 28, 2007, 08:21:08 PM

Try reading the rest of Romans, there's a sharp turn in 12, because of the preceeding 11 chapters.  "I appeal to you THEREFORE, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."  Romans 12:1   Becaue of Christ's work on the Cross and our union to him in Holy Baptism we are now able to do such a command from Paul.  No one here is denying Christ, the Cross or being united with him, in fact we take it very seriously and believe in Christ probably just as much as you do. 

In Christ,
Ian

Ian,

Are you saying we are now able to keep the law? If so, exactly how?

Thanks.

Kris, no one would say that, so this is basically boring, a red-herring, whatever. What might be more interesting is to ask, and I do ask you with a mind to learning why you are pressing this, "Is there no aspect of the law that we are able to keep?"
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 28, 2007, 08:30:55 PM
  That salvation brings about an internal effect as well, i.e. the removal of original sin.  I have no clue what led you down a treatise on the law. 

What led me straight to a treatise on the law is your statement below:

"Now if this SIN still remains in the Christian it obviously will not be allowed into the Kingdom of God.  SIN is opposed to the will of God and as a matter of fact cannot remain in us if we belive that our salvation is union with Christ and the Triune God.  Such a union between SIN and God cannot exist for a FULL UNION.  We are still a defective creature who is not the creature God has called us to be, even at death.  It would seem then that this SIN needs to go away before salvation (fulll union with the Triune God) is even possible.  Here is the theological possibility of speaking about purgatory, understood as a process or way where the SIN is removed by the saved in order to enter into ultimate salvation, Union with the Triune God.  Seems to make sense to me..."

How does one not conclude from this that you are advocating works righteousness through the fulfillment of the law? Asked differently, How in the world is sin removed "by the saved?"

Thanks.

Kris,
NOW I UNDERSTAND!!!! That is clearly a typo and a mistake in my editing!   What should be written is, "whereBY the SIN is removed from the saved in order to enter into ultimate salvation...etc."  I did not mean to say, "the SIN is removed BY the saved."  Please forgive my typos, I am going back to correct that previous post!   
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 28, 2007, 08:49:12 PM

Try reading the rest of Romans, there's a sharp turn in 12, because of the preceeding 11 chapters.  "I appeal to you THEREFORE, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."  Romans 12:1   Becaue of Christ's work on the Cross and our union to him in Holy Baptism we are now able to do such a command from Paul.  No one here is denying Christ, the Cross or being united with him, in fact we take it very seriously and believe in Christ probably just as much as you do. 

In Christ,
Ian

Ian,

Are you saying we are now able to keep the law? If so, exactly how?

Thanks.

Kris,

What I was trying to get at is that for the Christian there is a New Obedience, namely obedience to Christ.  There is not some amorphous freedom that is won by Christ apart from himself.  The question of freedom also needs to be discussed.  What exactly are we freed from or for?  In the account of Genesis it isn't the Law that's the problem, it's rather the disobedience of Adam and Eve.  The Law in the Garden can be understood, both for their protection and as an act of worship to God (by not eating).  They ate and their sin is the plight that we face today and it is what Christ has freed us from, the bondage to Sin which the Law in its goodness reveals and condemns.  If we say the Law is the problem and not SIN, then Ps. 1 and Mt. 5:17-20 makes no sense at all and our freedom becomes anarchy/lawlessness.  The Ten Commandments and Christ's commandments to love are in someway binding upon the Christian.  I am sure you wouldn't argue against that...
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 29, 2007, 12:10:33 PM
Matt:

"Which of these two digressions from the purity of the Lutheran Gospel do you think
a) is closer to the actual Faith received
b) poses a more immediate threat to the spiritual welfare of our flocks?"

I'd say, six of one, half a dozen of the other. False doctrine is what it is.

Eric:

"Kris, no one would say that, so this is basically boring, a red-herring, whatever. What might be more interesting is to ask, and I do ask you with a mind to learning why you are pressing this, "Is there no aspect of the law that we are able to keep?"

The reason I'm pressing this is I can't believe anyone called "Lutheran" would give purgatory a sympathetic hearing here. And the answer to the question is obviously "No."

Blessings.
 
 
 
 
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Charles_Austin on April 29, 2007, 12:46:59 PM
Matt Hummel asks:

of these two digressions from the purity of the Lutheran Gospel do you think

I comment:
Well, Matt, I do not believe there is such a thing as the "purity of the Lutheran Gospel." Everything we preach, teach, and order is tainted by sin; and the "purity of the Gospel" (whether Lutheran or Roman or Anglican) manages to get through by the grace of God, not by our jinkering with texts or confessions. Pastor Baudler writes as if there were a purity and absolute formulation of a number of things, but he is wrong about that.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: MMH on April 29, 2007, 02:34:42 PM
Well, Matt, I do not believe there is such a thing as the "purity of the Lutheran Gospel."

I apologize for the mistaken assumption that people would read the sentence and understand that I was speaking some what tongue and cheek.  I will now go & redact my statement with the suitable emoticon.

Matt Hummel+
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: MMH on April 29, 2007, 02:42:02 PM
I'd say, six of one, half a dozen of the other. False doctrine is what it is.

Well, yeah- but the point is- which presents more of a clear & present danger to the world-view of the average ELCA Lutheran?

Seeing that so much of the popular piety is wrapped up in "We're not Catholic!" (One is reminded of the opening sequence from M. Python's Meaning of Life for the definition of Protestantism) I contend that while Divine Mercy Sunday may be false doctrine, it does not present the same allurement as does the silly, sophistic, self loathing of some Mainliners (ala Pluralism Sunday).
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Eric_Swensson on April 29, 2007, 02:56:09 PM
Kris, in your view, does law only and always convict us of sin?
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 29, 2007, 04:58:41 PM
Pastor Baudler writes as if there were a purity and absolute formulation of a number of things, but he is wrong about that.

While Pr. Austin appears somewhat clueless on this question, our Lutheran Confessions, thank heavens, are not, to wit: "[The church] is the assembly of all believers among whom the Gospel is preached in all its purity and the holy sacraments are administered according to the Gospel." (AC 7) So a test question for Pr. Austin to redeem himself: What exactly did Melanchthon and the Wittenberg Reformers mean by that statement? (Hint: Campeggio said it had something to do with a cobbler.)
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 29, 2007, 05:09:16 PM
Kris, in your view, does law only and always convict us of sin?


The law always accuses us, it always shows that God is wrathful.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 29, 2007, 05:26:42 PM
The Ten Commandments and Christ's commandments to love are in someway binding upon the Christian.  I am sure you wouldn't argue against that...

I'm sorry, Ian, but I would argue against that most strenuously. How can I be bound to that from which I have been discharged, to that to which I am dead, free from that which held me captive, and which I no longer serve? Instead they are written in my heart by grace through faith, by which means alone, they are fulfilled. 

Blessings.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Dave_Poedel on April 29, 2007, 05:42:01 PM
Matt:

Since I started the thread, thanks for bringing it back.  I am delighted that you experienced grace on Divine Mercy Sunday.  My reason for bringing the news release from ZENIT is the whole indulgence thing.  I wish the whole thing would go away, so we Evangelical and Roman Catholics can get serious about working out our differences and coming together when we can do so in integrity.

As long as indulgences and purgatory continue to be on "the books", though clearly not in THE BOOK, I suspect we shall remain at more than arm's length and continue to throw darts at each other (actually, they tend to ignore us pretty easily, we keep thinking it's 1517).
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 29, 2007, 05:42:29 PM

I'm sorry, Ian, but I would argue against that most strenuously. How can I be bound to that from which I have been discharged, to that to which I am dead, free from that which held me captive, and which I no longer serve? Instead they are written in my heart by grace through faith, by which means alone, they are fulfilled. 

Blessings.

Because Christ said so.....

Are you telling me we don't have to Love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind?  Do we not have to love even our enemies??  My peccatorhood is really enjoying this!  
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 29, 2007, 05:49:52 PM
Matt:

Since I started the thread, thanks for bringing it back.  I am delighted that you experienced grace on Divine Mercy Sunday.  My reason for bringing the news release from ZENIT is the whole indulgence thing.  I wish the whole thing would go away, so we Evangelical and Roman Catholics can get serious about working out our differences and coming together when we can do so in integrity.

As long as indulgences and purgatory continue to be on "the books", though clearly not in THE BOOK, I suspect we shall remain at more than arm's length and continue to throw darts at each other (actually, they tend to ignore us pretty easily, we keep thinking it's 1517).

Sorry for getting off topic.  I thought I started to be on topic talking about purgatory, but got side tracked into a discussion about law. 
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Dave_Poedel on April 29, 2007, 06:11:57 PM
Sorry for getting of topic.  I thought I started to be on topic talking about purgatory, but got side tracked into a discussion about law. 

No problem. Getting into a back and forth with Kris tends (in my observation) to get tangential real quick.  I am not the Czar of this thread, my comments were for Matt, not for anyone else having an intramural discussion.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: MMH on April 29, 2007, 07:06:34 PM
Matt:

Since I started the thread, thanks for bringing it back.  I am delighted that you experienced grace on Divine Mercy Sunday.  My reason for bringing the news release from ZENIT is the whole indulgence thing.  I wish the whole thing would go away, so we Evangelical and Roman Catholics can get serious about working out our differences and coming together when we can do so in integrity.

As long as indulgences and purgatory continue to be on "the books", though clearly not in THE BOOK, I suspect we shall remain at more than arm's length and continue to throw darts at each other (actually, they tend to ignore us pretty easily, we keep thinking it's 1517).

Dave-

You're welcome.  Nice to know that I can be of help sometimes.

When I was working on my Masters in Christian spirituality, I had to spend some time thinking about purgatory.

I can see the logic aas it was explained to me (though we are not going to be offering up prayers at my parish any time soon)

As one person put it-

Imagine you are mucking about in the sewer all day.  All of the sudden you are invited to a wonderful party.  Wouldn't you like an opportunity to shower up & get dressed in your best party clothes before attending?

I know our Lutheran answer is that the invitation has the washing  & the dressing built in so to speak.  Imagine opening that envelope!  ;D 

However, as the Catholic instructors spoke to the issue, there was never any doubt that one was saved by Christ alone the grace alone.  It was only a matter of how that was worked out.

As for our direct approach, not that this is a correct analogy, but I am reminded of the end of WWII in the ETO when American GIs ended up killing some of the Concentration Camp survivors.  The GIs saw these poor walking skeletons.  Moved by pity, they fed the people their food.  Because they had been starved so long, the richness of the food they were given killed them.  They needed to be given IVs and weaker foods to build them up.  Could we see Purgatory as that period of "bulking up?"

Matt Hummel+

Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: MMH on April 29, 2007, 08:12:31 PM
I'm having an extremely difficult time understanding why anyone who subscribes to the Lutheran Confessions would be interested in defending the anti-Christian, anti-Gospel and anti-Biblical notion of "purgatory" or a "waiting room" for heaven.

I would assume that you mean me, so I will give the Lutheran answer-

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

    What does this mean?--Answer.

    We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.
[/u]


 ((http://www.bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.html#tencommandments)

My Catholic friends would find your comment that their beliefs are anti-Christian and anti-Gospel (though some would cop to anti-biblical) either amusing or offensive or both.

Just because I say I understand does not mean that I subscribe.

But hey- thanks for absolutely proving my point about Lutheran popular piety being based in unthinking anti-popery.

Matt Hummel+




Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Charles_Austin on April 29, 2007, 10:42:38 PM
Pastor Baudler opines:
While Pr. Austin appears somewhat clueless on this question, our Lutheran Confessions, thank heavens, are not, to wit: "[The church] is the assembly of all believers among whom the Gospel is preached in all its purity and the holy sacraments are administered according to the Gospel." (AC 7) So a test question for Pr. Austin to redeem himself: What exactly did Melanchthon and the Wittenberg Reformers mean by that statement? (Hint: Campeggio said it had something to do with a cobbler.)

I comment:
Do you ever stop with the snooty and oftimes irrelevant citations? To "redeem myself"? My "clueless" self? Sheesh!

At least (am mindestens) there was no unnecessary bi- or tri-lingual screen clutter this time.

Even if I wanted to wrangle that sentence, I'd say that the "purity" refers to the Gospel and not to our preaching of it; which is exactly what I said in my previous comment. The Gospel gets through, despite our imperfections.

So let's not toss around little bits of Reformation history trivia about what Melanchthon or Campeggio said when getting their shoes fixed. (I've got a stash of that stuff just below the shelf where I keep my "Heroes of the 16th Century" comic books.) i'll just whomp myself upside the head for not realizing that this discussion has nowhere to go.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 30, 2007, 07:58:02 AM
Ian: "Are you telling me we don't have to Love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind?  Do we not have to love even our enemies??"

     In Christ we are not "bound" to love, we are "freed up" to love. It's grace over law. (3rd article of the creed.)

Ian: "Sorry for getting off topic.  I thought I started to be on topic talking about purgatory, but got side tracked into a discussion about law."

     You weren't sidetracked at all. Purgatory is law. It is the nonsensical Roman equivalent of Luther's defining distinction between a Christian
     and a Muslim: A Christian is always certain of their future before God, a Muslim never is. Purgatory is about uncertainty, uncertainty is about
     fear, fear is about law, law is about sin, sin is about separation from God, separation from God is death. "For you did not receive the spirit of
     slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship."
   
Dave: "I wish the whole thing would go away, so we Evangelical and Roman Catholics can get serious about working out our differences and coming together when we can do so in integrity."

     "Evangelical Catholics" (notice: no "Lutheran") are "Roman Catholic" wannabes forever relegated to the purgatory of ecclesial uncertainty
     through Dominus Iesus. Something to do with papal envy. Or did you mean "evangelical catholic?"   


Matt:  "My Catholic friends would find your comment that their beliefs are anti-Christian and anti-Gospel (though some would cop to anti-biblical) either amusing or offensive or both."

     Invoking the 8th commandment in the case of false doctrine is inapplicable. Try the 1st.
   
Austin: "Even if I wanted to wrangle that sentence, I'd say that the "purity" refers to the Gospel and not to our preaching of it; which is exactly what I said in my previous comment."

     You wrangle wrongly. No cigar. (Hint # 2: It's what distinguishes a Lutheran from an "Evangelical Catholic.") Three tries for a quarter...
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 30, 2007, 09:31:21 AM
Kris' reply: In Christ we are not "bound" to love, we are "freed up" to love. It's grace over law. (3rd article of the creed.)


Ian's reply:  Kris no one is arguing that this is some form of works righteousness, get over it.  Grace is always the presupposition, either stated or not.  But clearly the justified are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind and love our neighbors as our self.  There is a new obedience FOR THE JUSTIFIED, namely Christ.  Grace always is the first action which moves us to do these things.   

Kris' statement:
     You weren't sidetracked at all. Purgatory is law. It is the nonsensical Roman equivalent of Luther's defining distinction between a Christian
     and a Muslim: A Christian is always certain of their future before God, a Muslim never is. Purgatory is about uncertainty, uncertainty is about
     fear, fear is about law, law is about sin, sin is about separation from God, separation from God is death. "For you did not receive the spirit of
     slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship."


Ian's response:
This is just flatly wrong.  Purgatory has nothing to do with the uncertainty of the Christian before God.    In fact it is the exact opposite only the redeemed are in purgatory, for purification before coming face to face with the Triune God.  Your litany of connections, which appears to be impressive, is just a fallacious argument in disguise.  These do not necessarily flow from the other.


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
III. The Final Purification, or Purgatory

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.604 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. the tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come
my emphasis
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Michael_Rothaar on April 30, 2007, 11:38:36 AM
I'm having an extremely difficult time understanding why anyone who subscribes to the Lutheran Confessions would be interested in defending the anti-Christian, anti-Gospel and anti-Biblical notion of "purgatory" or a "waiting room" for heaven.

Could it be that there are some confessional Lutherans who are willing to believe that our ancestors in the faith who, over generations, hypothesized the existence of purgatory were not opposed to Christ, not opposed to the Gospel and not opposed to the Bible?

It is possible to disagree and argue a contrary position without attributing ill will and bad motives to people.

Now, in fact, Luther did make accusations of unworthy motives respecting purgatory, relics and the "treasury of merit,"  particularly with respect to fundraising. But the revenue potential came long after, for example, the veneration of relics. Nobody in 2nd-century Smyrna was saying, "let's collect Polycarp's bones and see if we can make a few bucks out of them."

It's always fruitful to take a look at the impulses that gave rise to practice, and the questions their hypotheses were attempting to address.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: MMH on April 30, 2007, 12:01:29 PM
In The Screwtape Letters, the eponymous Screwtape shares with Wormwood how Satan keeps the world & the Church off balance.  In times of puritanism, the devil has folks worried about licentiousness.  In times antinomianism, he has them fearful of pharisaical thoughts & deeds.  At a time when we need to worry about (to use an old term that perhaps FoA precludes our using) crypto-calvinism, why are we so worried about Rome?

My point that the self appointed Gnesio-Lutherans have yet to address is this- Do you think that at any time soon (i.e., before the eschaton) that there is a danger of Lutherans lapsing into such papistical practices as praying for the souls in purgatory?

If the Lutheran Church, or at least the part in which I serve as an ELCA pastor, is going to fall off the horse, it will be square into a pile of Mainline Protestantism.

I don't worry about the Catholics hiding under our altars.  I worry about the folks bringing in the Communion tables & works righteousness through appropriate social actions.

Matt Hummel+

Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 30, 2007, 12:09:16 PM
In other words, via purgatory, Rome says to the faithful:

"Welcome to the joy of your Lord, but....please take a seat here and take a number!"

Or: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever, well, that is, after my 'time out' in purgatory."

Or: "I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you shall be, well, eventually after you spend time in purgatory clearing customs on your way to heaven."

I'm not sure this is accurrate. It makes all the difference in the world whether we're talking about something in time or instantaneous. The idea of a certain negotiable number of years in purgatory is entirely opposed to the Gospel, but the concept of a purging from sin is a Gospel thing itself. I don't expect to be saint and sinner in heaven, but only a saint. But I also expect to be myself. Therefore, something has to give, as everyone who knows me can testify. The Gospel promise has to include a "purging" or fundamental changing of my nature; one cannot be forensically righteous by faith for all eternity or heaven will be no different from this world. But if you could step through a curtain of fire and be purged of lust, greed, hatred, envy and every sin, would you do it?

The RC problem is that they talk about the mere purging concept with some people but won't refute the former "suffer punishments in proportion to your evil deeds for a really long time unless somebody prays you" concept, so everything is muddled. Best to stick to the simple Gospel, but remember that the promise of actual perfection, complete sanctification, is part of the Gospel message, part of the picture of heaven. Every Christian longs for that. To hunger and thirst for righteousness means more than hungering and thirsting for forgiveness; it means hungering and thirsting first for justification and also for sanctification. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, we will be changed. If you want to call that purgatory I don't care; I just don't want the idea replaced with the traditional idea of purgatory.    
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Deb_H. on April 30, 2007, 03:23:35 PM
only the redeemed are in purgatory, for purification before coming face to face with the Triune God. [ . . .]

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
III. The Final Purification, or Purgatory

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

Again, the Catholic catechism has no authority on a Lutheran discussion list.  For me, anyway.
And again, if this is necessary, then all have to do it since none would be completely 'pure' at the time of their bodily death, so praying for them to spend less time there doing what is necessary seems odd to me.  It's their job ... pray that they 'do better' on earth while they're alive.

The way I see it, at the moment of my death, the pure white garments of Jesus and his atonement will cover the stain of my sins and will make purgatory or any such place completely unnecessary!  Which is mostly why I'm not a Catholic of any sort.

Debbie Hesse
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Richard Johnson on April 30, 2007, 03:47:33 PM
Again, the Catholic catechism has no authority on a Lutheran discussion list.  For me, anyway.

You've missed the point, Deb. Certainly the Catholic catechism has some "authority" just about anywhere to describe what the Roman Catholic Church actually teaches--which is, turns out, not really how Kris characterized--or caricatured--it. Whether you or I believe what that catechism teaches is another question, but it was quoted as evidence for what the Roman Catholic Church itself teaches.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on April 30, 2007, 05:47:54 PM
Ian's response:

"This is just flatly wrong.  Purgatory has nothing to do with the uncertainty of the Christian before God. Absolutely it does! According to Catholic doctrine, one does not know the degree of one's redemption or what further requirements there are for "spiritual perfection" beyond the blood of Christ at one's death. This makes a total farce of the total expiation of all our sins through Christ's blood on the cross and is just so much ecclesial pornography. In fact it is the exact opposite only the redeemed are in purgatory, for purification before coming face to face with the Triune God. No one is in purgatory! It doesn't exist. It is a myth. A complete and utter fable meant to justify the Catholic pseudo-sacrament of Penance and the Treasury of Merits. Your litany of connections, which appears to be impressive, is just a fallacious argument in disguise.  These do not necessarily flow from the other." It is impressive, it flows, and I challenge you to show biblically and confessionally how it doesn't. (But please spare me anymore quotes from the Catholic Catechism. I have my own copy and that of Trent. I'm Lutheran, not a Roman or "Evangelical Catholic.")
 
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: peter_speckhard on April 30, 2007, 05:57:01 PM
There are two discussions happening simultaneously here. Some people are trying clarify what the official RC teaching is as opposed to sterotypes about that teaching, while others are pointing out that the RC teaching is wrong. For the former, quotations from the RC catechism matter, but for the latter they don't matter one whit.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: frluther1517 on April 30, 2007, 06:03:55 PM
There are two discussions happening simultaneously here. Some people are trying clarify what the official RC teaching is as opposed to sterotypes about that teaching, while others are pointing out that the RC teaching is wrong. For the former, quotations from the RC catechism matter, but for the latter they don't matter one whit.

Actually Peter I disagree with your last statement.  If one is arguing against the RC teaching and why it is wrong, then one must make sure that he or she clearly understands that teaching.  Quotes from the RC Catechism can make sure that the position which some are attacking is the properly understood position of the RCC. 
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: ptmccain on April 30, 2007, 06:34:55 PM
One is quite capable of reading and understanding Rome's teaching on purgatory and very much still saying it is wrong precisely because it is contrary to Sacred Scripture and an offense to the free and full salvation that is ours through Christ our Lord.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Mike Bennett on April 30, 2007, 06:38:55 PM
There are two discussions happening simultaneously here. Some people are trying clarify what the official RC teaching is as opposed to sterotypes about that teaching, while others are pointing out that the RC teaching is wrong. For the former, quotations from the RC catechism matter, but for the latter they don't matter one whit.

Actually Peter I disagree with your last statement. If one is arguing against the RC teaching and why it is wrong, then one must make sure that he or she clearly understands that teaching. Quotes from the RC Catechism can make sure that the position which some are attacking is the properly understood position of the RCC.

I'm reminded of a column written more than four years ago by Joseph Sobran commending the debating style of St. Thomas Aquinas.  Sobran wrote:

"I’ve just been reading some recent theological controversies, and how I wished St. Thomas could have stepped in to settle them. The disputes werefull of vigorous, thought-provoking arguments; but the arguments were also adulterated by overstatements, imprecision, and even personal accusations. The phrase odium theologicum sprang to mind. And in some cases the disputants hadn’t taken the preliminary step of defining their terms.

"In other words, if you’re not careful, theological debates can become alarmingly similar to political journalism, where truth-seeking easily turns into mere partisan polemics, or just bickering with annoying people. The goal is victory over a humiliated opponent. This spirit is not necessarily charitable.

"The spirit of Aquinas is very different. He isn’t merely charitable to his opponents; he is always on his opponent’s side. That is, he wants to confront opposing arguments at their best, even if he has to reformulate them himself and make them purer, stronger, and more precise than their advocates have done.

"Aquinas has the rare quality of wanting to know all that can possibly besaid for the other side. He understands that you can’t find good answers without good questions. The human mind needs both.

"There are no cheap shots or straw men in the Summa Theologica. Aquinas has no need of them; they would only corrupt what he is trying to do. When he debates the existence of God, he doesn’t cast aspersions on wicked atheists; he simply tries to make the strongest case for atheism before he gives his reasons for rejecting them and for affirming God’s existence. Thinking is complicated enough, without being further complicated by personalities — even one’s own personality."

-------

How I wish what Sobran wished.

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Charles_Austin on April 30, 2007, 07:57:10 PM
Pastor Baudler writes:
But please spare me anymore quotes from the Catholic Catechism. I have my own copy and that of Trent. I'm Lutheran, not a Roman or "Evangelical Catholic."

I comment:
I think the jury is still out on precisely what you are.
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Dave_Poedel on April 30, 2007, 07:58:33 PM
Mike:

I think it was Fr. Edmund Oakes, SJ who wrote a similar article a number of years ago in "First Things".

Especially in an anonymous medium like an internet forum, where I personally know only 5 or 6 folks who post here personally,  I believe it is imperative that we go out of our way to be courteous to one another and attempt to "hear" each other out without interrupting.

I especially appreciate Mike Bennett's post above as it attempts to set the bar higher, which leads to greater understanding as well as a higher level of discourse.

May I suggest, Pr. Baudler, that you listen more, assume less and operate in Christian charity even where you think you smell heresy.  I am weary of your predictable attacks and caricatures of your "opponents" views.  Please surprise me and reply with charity instead of another attack. (I don't use smileys, otherwise I would put a "lighten up" icon here).
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: MMH on April 30, 2007, 09:10:04 PM
And again I ask why some people are getting so hot under the (non-Roman) collar over this. Is there anyone who sees the doctrine of Purgatory as clear & present danger to the spiritual welfare of our congregants?

There are for more immediate issues about which one can get exercised.  Find me the Lutheran parish in ELCA or LCMS that has a picture of the Divine Mercy that is venrated and then I'll get as angry as Kris, Paul & Fr. Luther 1517 (which strikes me as a suspiciously Romish nom de web!)

Well, gotta go time to do my beads... ;D

Matt Hummel+
Title: Re: Divine Mercy Sunday This is a test...
Post by: Kris Baudler on May 01, 2007, 08:43:44 AM
I especially appreciate Mike Bennett's post above as it attempts to set the bar higher, which leads to greater understanding as well as a higher level of discourse.

May I suggest, Pr. Baudler, that you listen more, assume less and operate in Christian charity even where you think you smell heresy.  I am weary of your predictable attacks and caricatures of your "opponents" views.  Please surprise me and reply with charity instead of another attack. (I don't use smileys, otherwise I would put a "lighten up" icon here).

So much for the higher bar.