29 September, 2009

Discussion with Emmanuel Hechon about the authority of the Church

(Emmanuel Hechon) Hi,

First, I would like to answer to your question to a purely theoretical level: the truthness of a truth does not depend of his oldness. Either it is true, or not but it is regardless on when it was discovered, otherwise all scientific discovery would be false when they were first prove -because they are by definition new - and their truth will increase with time to finaly become completely true after a while. This is totaly absurd.

(Cristoiglesia) A appreciate your attempt to frame the discussion with your theorem but I find it somewhat lacking in logic. Certainly the age of a stated truth does not reflect negatively or positively on its veracity. We cannot make a priori judgment based on age but we are not limited in making a posteriori judgment as to the veracity of the stated truth because of the age of the stated necessary truth.

I theorize that the truth derives its veracity from its source instead of its age. To come to the truth there must be a syncretic joining of both priori and posteriori judgment derived from the source of the truth. For the sake of our discussion we must first present our case for what is the source of truth from which we can truly call the regula fidei. While truth is fully factual at its inception it may be more fully understood in time applying scholarship in priori and posteriori understanding derived from its source which applied to our discussion is Christ’s authority given to His Church. Such authority by all reason and experience is the Church with age being left completely out of the theoretical theological conclusion. Age therefore is just a starting point adding veracity but not necessarily defining it as does the source which is Christ.

(Emmanuel Hechon) Therefore even if protestantism were born yesterday, it could nethertheless be true.

(Cristoiglesia) Only if one gives more weight to the argument you theorize about age but when one gives more weight to the source of the truth which is Christ instead of age then the burden of proving your theory rests on posteriori judgment alone and in a true sense ignores priori judgment. You are concluding without sufficient evidence that posteriori judgment is sufficient to lend veracity to your conclusion and I assert that the evidence is woefully insufficient to make such a conclusion. Thus, it is your burden to prove your theorem within a reasonable doubt which I doubt is possible within the construct of your paradigm.

(Emmanuel Hechon) Let us considere now, you're premise, I restate your question: " So Why exactly do you fallow a theological thought that came in the 15th century rather then a much earlier chruch?"
I would like you to see, that your question is a complex question, that is to say that it presuppose two assumptions:

- all that catholicism teaches is exactly what was always be tought from the beginning of christianity.
- all the ideas of protestantism were novelties and has never existed

Without the truth of this two assumptions, your question makes no sense.

Logically you have to prove the two things, before asking the question. I would like to give you a famous sample of a complex question:

When did you stop to beat your wife?

If someone answer to the question, he is admitting that he has beaten his wife. Because the asker presupposes that it is the case.

To ask the question without proving the beating is a logical fallacy. The same that you commited.

So, I can't answer to the question, because it would be accepting your premise that I don't hold.

Before answer to this question we have to do two things:

We have to make some works:
- identify was are the "theological thoutht" of both catholicism and protestantism
- look in history to know when they were stated.

(Cristoiglesia) When you restated my question you changed the entire intent of the question which was to illustrate the importance of the source of truth whether coming from the divine savior of the world through His only Church or from a man-made source which are the Reformers whose goal was not to find the truth or even to proclaim the truth but to form a perception of God that conformed to their philosophical desires coming out of Scholasticism and evolving into Humanism that mankind and particularly themselves need a belief system that has at its goal a God that serves man instead of the relationship of Christian orthodoxy taught by the Catholic Church of a God that is served by man instead. For the orthodox Christian ones highest aspiration was to be in God’s will by serving Him in spirit and in truth while Luther, Zwingli, Calvin et al taught an entitlement by faith alone of creating a debt owed by our sovereign God to man which in essence demanded that God justify a man on this faith alone and denying justice in place of undeserved mercy without the presence of contrition for falling away through the seduction of sin.

As for your assumptions, the Catholic Church has never departed from the teaching of Jesus and the disciples and the Protestants being the newcomers to Christianity have the onus upon them to prove otherwise. I do not see why one must prove that Protestant ideas or as you name them novelties never existed in the Church but only that they are lacking the fullness of truth and in some cases the novelties, or being more theologically correct the heresies, have no veracity based on the Christian orthodoxy established in the first century by Jesus, the Twelve disciples and their subsequent successors. So, again I must point out that the onus is upon you to prove the veracity of the departures from orthodoxy made by the Reformers is in fact a return to some regula fidei that has been abandoned by the original Church established by Christ and the disciples, which is undeniably the Catholic Church, and consequently restored. Indeed your claim of a logical fallacy does not apply unless the original premise is obscured by a restating of the original question. But I agree that it is reasonable to examine the theological thought of both Christian disciplines, Catholicism and Protestantism from a historical perspective even though or historical genesis is separated by fifteen hundred years which causes a necessary disconnect from apostolic Christianity taught and practiced by Christ’s Church in the Protestant experiment of the Reformers. In other words, Protestant Christianity cannot be a continuation of apostolic teaching and practice but instead it is a redefining of the same without any justifiable or verifiable authority to do so. But I can agree that historical chronology is important for both sides of this discussion.

(Emmanuel Hechon) I would argue you that the heart of catholicism is the best explained your cathechism on the sections about indulgences, that is section 1471 to 1479. Here are the references:http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P4G.HTM#5K

We can sum up this in that way:
- all the merits of the saints, the virgin Mary, and Christ are contained in the treasury of merit.
- The administration of the treasury is the privilege of the roman catholic church.
- The church gives the benefit of this treasury by the sacrements.

If I am wrong, you can correct me, but I am ready to argue that all the priestly system and the mass hold in large on this notion of treasury of merit.

(Cristoiglesia) I have to disagree strongly here to your assumption that the heart of Catholicism is the Sacramental life of the Church because it denies the completely Christocentric aspect of the Church which puts Christ as the reason and the desire of the faithful. The Sacraments in the view of the Church are God’s gifts of grace to His faithful that facilitates, secures and promotes the ongoing sanctification of a soul infused with salvific grace as a result of our faith. In Catholic Christianity, salvation is a process completed at our death and our salvation is determined by the state of our soul at death rather than when we assent to faith. It is not when determined when we surrender to the law written on our heart as a result of the call of the Spirit resulting in faith. The Bible clearly states that we must endure and the Church rightly agrees. The Sacraments and the Grace they bestow are the bread of life or food for eternity for the soul seeking their salvation with fear and trembling with a heavenly hope. (Phil 2:12)

(Emmanuel Hechon) So now, what is the heart of the reformation? I think that this historical latin sentences can do our job very well:

- sola sciptura: the holy scripture is the only infaillible rule of faith and pratice.

(Cristoiglesia)By the end of the first century the Church was formed around the bishop who represented the Church in apostolic succession. The great commission was well underway and had extended to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. In scriptures we see St. Paul in his epistles telling the Church to respect the Sacred Traditions handed to them coming from both written sources and oral ones. Even the written sources were delivered orally as transcripts were very rare and few people were literate. There was not widespread distribution of what we consider today to be inspired Scripture as decided at the African Synods by the Church in the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Throughout the first sixteen centuries of the Church there was never any question that the authority of truth rested in the Church as the “regula fidei” where all teaching was and is measured by Sacred Tradition not by the Bible alone, especially when interpreted outside of its source the Church. To orthodox Christians this would be considered ridiculous as well as arrogant considering the church never wrote the Bible to be a sole source of faith, morals and practice and one author even reminded those who would approach its use in such a way as to consider it the only source that it is incomplete as far as teaching and that Christ taught much more than what it contained. In fact, it warns that it contains only a small part of Christ’s teaching, but the faithful need not fear because the Church was sent the Holy Spirit that leads the Church to all truths.

Obviously, because there are those who have rejected orthodox Christianity some lack the fullness of truth that is contained in the Episcopal structure of Christ’s Church. They lack the fullness of worship by not having the corporeal Christ present in their worship. They lack the fullness of faith by not receiving His Body and Blood that the Bible and Sacred Tradition say is necessary for eternal life. The Church is led by men as the enduring Church and not by a book easily misinterpreted and its teaching turned into the traditions and doctrines of men by those through eisegesis use it to support their desires of the flesh very often exhibited by their hatred for the Church and hatred for the most sacred of gifts to humanity His Body and Blood of the Eucharist. These misinterpretations also cause them to have animosity for each other with the same source, the Bible being used to justify schisms which are usually not so much the result of theological disagreements so much as pridefulness and deceit which are no gifts of the Spirit but attributes of the flesh that inhibit our process of sanctification that leads to final salvation. Perhaps this is why Jesus said as a prophetic statement, that unless we eat of His Body and drink His blood we have no life in us. Perhaps this is why the Bible teaches that it is not enough to cry “Lord, Lord” as some of those who do will hear at their judgment that Christ never knew them and be thrown into the lake of fire.

Christ did not teach that we are to gather around a book of Scriptures to find the truth but that the truth is found in the Church that gathers around the bishop. God was not the author of division as has occurred with those who have abandoned the Church for their private interpretations of Scripture into tens of thousands of exponentially increasing schisms without end. God is a God of unity where He prayed His prayer before His arrest and crucifixion that we all be one. He is not a God that can only be found in the pages of a Book but who is found in His Church and where His corporeal presence is given to His Church as He promised so that we may endure to eternal life and His Church may endure until He comes again. It is His Church where the truth resides and it is the place where we find the ”bulwark and ground of the truth”, there is no other.

(Emmanuel Hechon) - sola gratia: the grace of God is the only reason of salvation, it is founded on God alone and nothing in the creature, not even a foreseen faith

(Cristoiglesia) This is clearly affirmed by the Council of Trent: "...we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification." (Chapter VIII)

(Emmanuel Hechon) - sola fide : this salvation is only by faith which is not something that everybody has, but a particular gift of God grace to his elect.

(Cristoiglesia) The belief in faith alone is a heresy condemned the only place it appears in Scripture by St. James. Even the demons believe. The Catholic Church does not teach that works merit salvation but instead we teach grace through faith. Can you agree that works may come as the result of the believer cooperating with the Holy Spirit and being obedient to God and working within His will? Can you also agree that it is the Holy Spirit that makes us desire Him and become in a familial relationship with Him? Jesus did say that unless we eat His Body and drink His blood we have no life (eternal) in us. We desire His great feast and it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that gives us that desire and hunger to do His commandment. Surely we do desire eternal life but we do not desire His Body and Blood because of this but it is the Holy Spirit that gives us the desire and compulsion to do His will.



1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" and through Baptism:34
But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.35

1988 Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ's Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of his Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is himself:36
[God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature. . . . For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.37

1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus' proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.39

1990 Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God's merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals.

1991 Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or "justice") here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us.

1992 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:40
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.41

1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:
When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight.42

1994 Justification is the most excellent work of God's love made manifest in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit. It is the opinion of St. Augustine that "the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth," because "heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect . . . will not pass away."43 He holds also that the justification of sinners surpasses the creation of the angels in justice, in that it bears witness to a greater mercy.

1995 The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the "inner man,"44 justification entails the sanctification of his whole being:
Just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification. . . . 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.45


1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.46

1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.

1998 This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God's gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.47

1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:48

Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.49

2000 Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God's call, is distinguished from actual graces which refer to God's interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification.

2001 The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, "since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:"50
Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us. It has gone before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that once healed, we may be given life; it goes before us so that we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified; it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God: for without him we can do nothing.51

2002 God's free initiative demands man's free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only he can satisfy. The promises of "eternal life" respond, beyond all hope, to this desire:
If at the end of your very good works . . ., you rested on the seventh day, it was to foretell by the voice of your book that at the end of our works, which are indeed "very good" since you have given them to us, we shall also rest in you on the sabbath of eternal life.52

2003 Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church. There are sacramental graces, gifts proper to the different sacraments. There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning "favor," "gratuitous gift," "benefit."53 Whatever their character - sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues - charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church.54

2004 Among the special graces ought to be mentioned the graces of state that accompany the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and of the ministries within the Church:
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.55
2005 Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be known except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved.56 However, according to the Lord's words "Thus you will know them by their fruits"57 - reflection on God's blessings in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is at work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty.
A pleasing illustration of this attitude is found in the reply of St. Joan of Arc to a question posed as a trap by her ecclesiastical judges: "Asked if she knew that she was in God's grace, she replied: 'If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there.'"58


You are glorified in the assembly of your Holy Ones, for in crowning their merits you are crowning your own gifts.59
2006 The term "merit" refers in general to the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment. Merit is relative to the virtue of justice, in conformity with the principle of equality which governs it.

2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.

2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man's merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.

2009 Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God's gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us "co-heirs" with Christ and worthy of obtaining "the promised inheritance of eternal life."60 The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.61 "Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due. . . . Our merits are God's gifts."62

2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God's wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.

2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.
After earth's exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for your love alone. . . . In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself.63


2012 "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him . . . For those whom he fore knew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified."64

2013 "All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity."65 All are called to holiness: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."66
In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ's gift, so that . . . doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.67

2014 Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called "mystical" because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments - "the holy mysteries" - and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all.

2015 The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.68 Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:
He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.69

2016 The children of our holy mother the Church rightly hope for the grace of final perseverance and the recompense of God their Father for the good works accomplished with his grace in communion with Jesus.70 Keeping the same rule of life, believers share the "blessed hope" of those whom the divine mercy gathers into the "holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."71


2017 The grace of the Holy Spirit confers upon us the righteousness of God. Uniting us by faith and Baptism to the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, the Spirit makes us sharers in his life.

2018 Like conversion, justification has two aspects. Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, and so accepts forgiveness and righteousness from on high.

2019 Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man.

2020 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God's mercy.

2021 Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons. It introduces us into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life.

2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.

2023 Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it.

2024 Sanctifying grace makes us "pleasing to God." Charisms, special graces of the Holy Spirit, are oriented to sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. God also acts through many actual graces, to be distinguished from habitual grace which is permanent in us.

2025 We can have merit in God's sight only because of God's free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man's collaboration. Man's merit is due to God.

2026 The grace of the Holy Spirit can confer true merit on us, by virtue of our adoptive filiation, and in accordance with God's gratuitous justice. Charity is the principal source of merit in us before God.

2027 No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.

2028 "All Christians . . . are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity" (LG 40 § 2). "Christian perfection has but one limit, that of having none" (St. Gregory of Nyssa, De vita Mos.:PG 44, 300D).

2029 "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt 16:24).

34 Rom 3:22; cf. 6:3-4.
35 Rom 6:8-11.
36 Cf. 1 Cor 12; Jn 15:1-4.
37 St. Athanasius, Ep. Serap. 1,24:PG 26,585 and 588.
38 Mt 4:17.
39 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1528.
40 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1529.
41 Rom 3:21-26.
42 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1525.
43 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 72,3:PL 35,1823.
44 Cf. Rom 7:22; Eph 3:16.
45 Rom 6:19,22.
46 Cf. Jn 1:12-18; 17:3; Rom 8:14-17; 2 Pet 1:3-4.
47 Cf. 1 Cor 2:7-9.
48 Cf. Jn 4:14; 7:38-39.
49 2 Cor 5:17-18.
50 St. Augustine, De gratia et libero arbitrio, 17:PL 44,901.
51 St. Augustine, De natura et gratia, 31:PL 44,264.
52 St. Augustine, Conf. 13,36 51:PL 32,868; cf. Gen 1:31.
53 Cf. LG 12.
54 Cf. 1 Cor 12.
55 Rom 12:6-8.
56 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1533-1534.
57 Mt 7:20.
58 Acts of the trial of St. Joan of Arc.
59 Roman Missal, Prefatio I de sanctis; Qui in Sanctorum concilio celebraris, et eorum coronando merita tua dona coronas, citing the "Doctor of grace," St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 102,7:PL 37,1321-1322.
60 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1546.
61 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1548.
62 St. Augustine, Sermo 298,4-5:PL 38,1367.
63 St. Thérèse of Lisieux, "Act of Offering" in Story of a Soul, tr. John Clarke (Washington DC: ICS, 1981), 277.
64 Rom 8:28-30.
65 LG 40 § 2.
66 Mt 5:48.
67 LG 40 § 2.
68 Cf. 2 Tim 4.
69 St. Gregory of Nyssa, Hom. in Cant. 8:PG 44,941C.
70 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1576.
71 Rev 21:2.

(Emmanuel Hechon)- solo christo, this salvation is through Christ alone, he alone has done what is necessary to salvation, nothing is done by the believers to merit it, not even to believe because it is a particular grace given to them.

(Cristoiglesia) (Deu 30:11) This commandment, that I command thee this day is not above thee, nor far off from thee:

(Deu 30:12) Nor is it in heaven, that thou shouldst say: Which of us can go up to heaven to bring it unto us, and we may hear and fulfil it in work?

(Deu 30:13) Nor is it beyond the sea: that thou mayst excuse thyself, and say: Which of us can cross the sea, and bring it unto us: that we may hear, and do that which is commanded?

(Deu 30:14) But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, that thou mayst do it.

This is the teaching of Moses where Moses tells the people the importance of the law being upon their hearts and how it is essential for God’s plan for humanity. We rarely see reference to these verses because they speak most profoundly against Calvinist predestination that says only some are predestined to salvation and others are predestined to hell. If the law is written on everyone’s heart by God, then for what purpose, except to provide a pathway to eternity in Christ. I heard a preacher in a small Pentecostal Church in the mountains of Kentucky say that the law on our hearts was like the Rosetta stone allowing us to understand the things of God, that the law contains the very concept of faith and this grace and this Godliness coexists with our inherent sinfulness until we are washed by the blood of the Lamb with our surrender and become pure of heart within God’s law and consequently within His will. We can not be within God’s will without obedience to this imputed law that along with inherited sin intuitively shows us the need for a Savior, Christ Jesus. This is why we have no excuse for our lack of surrender to God because He is not only evident in His creation but He is a part of our very being upon our creation.

How could one understand God’s demands upon us without this law? How can we understand God’s will for us to live within righteousness and justice if not for this law that abides always in our conscience? We often think of God’s law as something without us but in fact it is eternal within our being that calls to intuition the will of God. This is essential for without the law we can not know God.

Now the law on our hearts should not be confused with those external laws of men. The law written on our hearts is the law that makes us understand righteousness, justice, love and reconciliation. The law in our hearts is not the external law that can result in legalism where the letter of the law is followed at the expense of the spirit of the law. There is no other means by which we know His voice when He speaks to our spirit.

(Heb 8:10) For this is the testament which I will make to the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my laws into their mind: and in their heart will I write them. And I will be their God: and they shall be my people.

(Rom 10:6) But the justice which is of faith, speaketh thus: Say not in thy heart: Who shall ascend into heaven? That is to bring Christ down;

(Rom 10:7) Or who shall descend into the deep? That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.

(Rom 10:8) But what saith the scripture? The word is nigh thee; even in thy mouth and in thy heart. This is the word of faith, which we preach.

(Rom 10:9) For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

(Col 1:27) To whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ, in you the hope of glory.

(Emmanuel Hechon) - soli deo gloria, all this result in the glorification of God alone, believers have nothing to boast for. Each of their good acts - either their faith, or their repentance or their perseverance, or anything else - are not because there is something good in them, but because they were prepared by God before the foundation of the world and bought by Christ.

(Cristoiglesia) Limited atonement” says that Jesus only died for a few who are the elect but the Scriptures say differently that Jesus died so that all men may be saved. Now, one can play around with rhetoric to deny, what I believe, are the clear teachings of Scripture that salvation is available to all men by their free will to respond to the law already written on their hearts and come to belief in Christ. Again, there is no effort by Calvinists to reconcile Scriptures contrary to their teaching.

“Irresistible grace” says that God can save whom He will and I do not disagree with this thinking as the sovereignty of God to save whom He wishes is unquestionable as He is the creator of all things. The question comes up, however, is this plan what is indicated by Scripture that our sovereign God will compel some to salvation while ignoring others as this doctrine of men would suggest. It denies, as I believe is its intent, that God has given men free will to respond to the Spirit or not. This comes very close to suggesting another Gospel that is forbidden by Scriptures and negates the great commission to spread the Gospel. For if what Calvin says is true, then spreading the Gospel has little, if any, purpose as a sovereign God will save whom He will and all others go to hell and are separated from God by some previous lottery before the earth was created. To me this puts into question the just nature of God as just and what I believe is man’s mission, as His created, to serve Him. Then, again being consistent, why is the law written on everyone’s heart, if not for providing the ability to respond to the Spirit. Why not write the law only on the hearts of the elect, and not all men, as the Scriptures teach? Could it be that Calvin was wrong and men do have free will to respond to the Spirit and come to faith?

And then, of course is Calvin’s teaching on “perseverance” which is consistent with “irresistible grace” which both denies free will, or the purpose of the law being written on one’s heart. Trying to justify this with the Scriptural teaching that we are to be cautious and ever mindful that we can fall away from belief as John 3:16 says, that we are to continue to believe for eternal life. Then, of course there is the evidence, as all ministers will attest, of those believers, who are seduced by the world into disbelief and a return to a life of sin leading to destruction. While Calvinist’s will say that they were never among the elect, the light of God shown brightly in their lives before it was extinguished by sin without repentance. The question is apparent, if they fall away only for a time is the grace received really irresistible grace and the falling away evidence of a Spiritual walk leading towards sanctification as the Scriptures indicate? And, is the process of salvation and the adoption through the Spirit of a new creature encumbered by the return to a sinful walk in the world? Why would God allow one of His elect to return to sin once he has come to belief and responded to the Spirit and how is that reconciled with “irresistible grace”?

(Emmanuel Hechon)In addition to the five solas, we can add:
- tota scriptura: Our faith in not only founded in scripture but in the whole scripture.

(Cristoiglesia) Our faith is founded in the Word which is Christ and not in just His written Word. The fullness of truth is the totality of Sacred Tradition which Protestants deny even though such a belief is not supported by Scriptures but instead denied. The Bible states that not all of Jesus’ teaching is contained within but that if all His teaching were written down all the books in the world could not contain them.

(Emmanuel Hechon) - semper reformada: the church has to always reform itself to conform to this scripture

(Cristoiglesia)The true Church never needs reforming but always conforms to Scripture. For Jesus promised that His Church would never fall into apostasy and would endure for all times as the “pillar and foundation of the truth”. With such a Church testifying to the truth of these promises it convicts those in protest as heretics and reveals their apostasy lest we call Jesus a liar and an incompetent in founding His Church with him as the cornerstone and the disciples as the 12 foundation stones of he Church. Such a belief is a direct attack on the veracity of Christ and His redemptive work for mankind. Jesus was the Messiah prophesied and not a pretender as Protestants suggest by their doctrines of men.

(Emmanuel Hechon)So you have to prove that your system was always believe in the church and mine never before Luther. Once you have done that, your question can be asked... but this question is of no relevance if I can prove that the reformation system is true. My answer would be: I follow this "new system" because it is true.


(Cristoiglesia) It is simple. If your “new system” is true then Jesus is a liar when He made His promises and is not the Messiah prophesied but instead He is a pretender. The martyrdom of the disciples was in vain and the world still awaits a Savior.

God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph


  1. Wow that was a long post! Actually, I was wondering how he can believe in all 5 solas if the word sola means only? I thought you made your point well, but I also believe there is a totally different mindset for Protestantism. I have found that they (Protestants) want a check list, instead we (Catholics) give them a grocery list. A check list gets checked off forever, whereas a grocery list may get checked off but we will invariably need (it) again in the future. Checklist contents: Say sinners prayer, read Bible, Accept Jesus the Christ as your personal savior. The grocery list is more like: Receive Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Repent for our transgressions., Pray (worship)... see the difference?

  2. I think I agree with your observation. I think it may be because we accept and follow all Scriptures while Protestants tend to proof text their doctrines and ignore anything contradictory in Scriptures. Thanks for your comment. God bless!

    Fr. Joseph