Was The Early Church Closer to Protestant or Catholic? Need help?

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Many Protestants I have been coming across, epecialy my old church has this continual thinking that Catholicism is a faith or Church that came around 250-400A.D. and is a coruption of the original church. They have been claiming that Protestantism fits the early church much better but can never back up what they are saying. I would quote the church fathers. Although I understand that doesn't "prove" my case but I was only trying to show that Mary as the "Mother of God" is not a 1100A.D. doctrine but was believed EARLY. Same as Holy Commuion. Although one said Augustine believed it was a symbol. I have seen where some would say this because of the quote Agustine says calling it "symbolic" but there are other quotes as well where it seems quite clear Agustine believed in the Real Presence. My priest uses the word "symbol" or "sign" but knows it's the Real Presense. It IS a sign. Just as "The SIGN of Jonah" was a REAL event or the "SIGN of the Son of man coming in the clouds" will be a REAL event.

Any comments? And does historical evidence show that (even though some writings confirm Catholicism) Protestantism was well within the early Church? Antherwords Solo Scriptua, The Rapture, 1000 year reign, prayer to the saints is idoltrous, Mary had OTHER children, Baptism only symbolic, anti-Papacy, etc? Because Iv'e heard some claim that Protestantism doesn't begin with Luther but only became greatly wordly reconized by Martin Luther and much of the early church was Protestant compared to "catholic."

P.S. Doesn't the Apostles Creed say "One Holy APOSTLIC Church?" That seems to me that the Apostles wanted ONE UNIFIED FAITH and not 30,000 Christians running around with Bibles all disagreeing and fighting. Oh how that is such a turn off to the world. Iv'e have heard Athiests say they respect the Catholic Church at least for their faithfullness and UNITY.

God give you peace

-- Jason (Enchantedfire5@yahoo.com), January 22, 2005


Sorry, for the Apostles Creed I meant "One Holy CATHOLIC Apostlic."

-- Jason (Enchantedfire5@yahoo.com), January 22, 2005.

I've had this same discussion with my Fundamentalist friends for over 20 years now. It never ceases to amaze me that when you get right down to it, their one main argument is that Protestantism never had any connection to the Catholic Church..ever.

A close friend of mine actually believes with all of his heart that there was always a separate group of Christians in the "early CHurch" who kept themselves "free" of Rome, and in the purity of the gosples, never heard of again until the 16th century..to then emerge as the Protestant Church.

All of the historical documents that the Church possesses, according to my friend, were "falsified" IN 100 AD. When I ask him why the CHurch would do that when they had no reason to do so in 100 AD, he says that "satan led them".

You just cannot argue with this kind of thinking. I love my friend dearly, yet when someone refuses to even pick up a secular history book, written by a non-Catholic and read about the "History of world religions" and look at PROOF of how Christianity developed, you cannot get them to listen to anything.

-- Lesley (martchas@hotmail.com), January 22, 2005.

Fascinating thread, Jason!

I looked for a protestant "golden thread" running through Church history, but was never able to find it! The closest thing I could find were the Waldensians in continental Europe and Lollards in England, but that was the High Middle Ages (13th-14th centuries), certainly not *early* by any means.

I myself am convinced by the folowing:

1. Read the Canons of the Council of Nicea, which is available online. Believe me, they don't sound Protestant! These martyrs which had just come out of great persecution--many of the bishops present had been hurt and maimed by the imperial soldiers because of their Christian faith--are quite clearly what we would call "Catholic" or at least "Orthodox", as far as their view of Eucharist, the importance of the threefold offices of bishop, priest and deacon, the importance that the dying receive holy "viaticum", periods of Penance for serious sins, etc. None of this sounds remotely like Pat Robinson!

2. The earliest letter from a Church "father" we have is the letter of Clement and the Church of Rome to the Church at Corinth, c. 95 A.D. In it, Clement who had been ordained by Peter, mentions the importance of obeying the bishops which had been appointed by the apostles, talks about the bishops blamelessly "presenting the sacrifice" (eucharist!), and says at the end of the letter that the Church at Corinth is in grave danger if they do not listen to the words which the Holy Spirit has spoken "by us". (Sounds like an early pope).

3. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 110 A.D.), disciple of John, ordained by Peter, calls Holy Communion "the medicine of immortality" and says the Gnostics abstain from it because they do not believe it is "the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and the cup of His blood". That doesn't sound like a Baptist! He also mentions that there is "one altar" from which Christians eat--and an altar is a place of *sacrifice*. Of course he regularly refers to "Christ our God".

4. Justin Martyr (died 165 A.D.) and Irenaeus of Smyrna who became bishop of Lyons (c. 185 A.D.) speak of the Eucharist being "not common food" but "the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus".

I could go on forever, Jason, and will give great detail if you wish.

Now granted, we do see a certain freedom in worship and use of charismatic gifts in the New Testament that is noteworthy. The Didache does mention "prophets" who are worthy of honor, alongside the bishops, and that is interesting. (The Didache also says in case of need baptism can be done not only by immersion, but also by pouring water on the head three times "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit", so this is not a Baptist document either!)

For me, the Catholic charismatic movement, properly administered under the umbrella of the bishop, is a wonderful manifestation of the early Church life: the bishop appointed by the apostles, a liturgy (referred to by Justin and in Acts 13:1-2 "leitourgon" and 2:42 "the prayers"), alongside the gifts of prophesy, healing, knowledge, etc. What a wonderful blend!

The one thing I don't see much of until the fourth century is a wide use of the intercession of saints, though it *is* found in some inscriptions in the catachombs, and there is a third century prayer saying "we fly to your protection, Mother of God". Normally, ascetics such as St. Antony of the Desert, and saints like Augustine, were content to pray directly to Father, Christ, Spirit. Augustine does mention, however, the benefit of praying at the tombs of holy martyrs.

In short, Jason, I am quite confident that the early Church was "Catholic"--unless you want to become a Gnostic heretic and claim them as your spiritual ancestors. But they died out during the persecutions of the first three centuries; their faith was not strong enough to survive the Roman persecutions by the emperor.

If you find any other group resembling protestants, I really want to hear about them, because I have looked in vain for them for years.


-- Michael (edwardsronning@prodigy.net), January 22, 2005.

Jason, see also my last comment on your Church Fathers Part 2 thread. And by the way, I had reason to try to find early Protestants--I was raised Lutheran!

-- Michael (edwardsronning@prodigy.net), January 22, 2005.

Oh, Jason!

I forgot, the only other group I could find sounding remotely protestant or at least pentecostal, was the Montanists. Tertullian became one eventually, which is why he is not canonized. They believed in prophesies, etc. Their one *big* problem, in my mind, is that they did not believe in the forgiveness of sins after Baptism! Which is why Tertullian joined them: he was a rigorist and didn't think Christians *could* be forgiven for adultery, idolatry or bloodshed, etc. I think Tertullian for all his brilliance was wrong about this; and I treasure the words of the Creeds, I believe in the "forgiveness of sins". By the way, the Montanists died out also, so they don't seem to be "the city set on a hill".

-- Michael (edwardsronning@prodigy.net), January 22, 2005.

The question itself is meaningless, since history clearly reveals that the Catholic Church of today and the Church of the Apostles are one and the same. It's like holding a contest among contemporary artists to paint their versions of the Mona Lisa, and then asking which painting Da Vinci's "version" most resembles - itself, or one of the modern productions. It's pitiful really to see the bizarre lengths some non-Catholic Christians will go to in a desperate attempt to legitimize their existence, when such existence is plainly condemned by the words of Christ Himself. Such absurd "arguments" just illustrate the truth of the famous quote by Cardinal Newman (a convert to Catholicism) - "To know history is to cease to be Protestant". Many avoid that harsh reality by simply making sure they don't know history.

-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), January 22, 2005.

"to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant," is the quote.Not simpey to "Know" History.

-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@JUNO.COM), January 22, 2005.

Thanks guys! And Paul M. it may have been a meaningless question but I felt upset and a little confused and everytime I do I like to talk about the issues with of course, my brothers and sisters, all of you:)

Hey Zarove. I have seen your arguments before on certain issues and I know you are not Catholic but respect the faith. I myself respect Protestants and was not attacking them but was being attacked by them so I came seeking answers. Anyways thanks everyone.

-- Jason (Enchantedfire5@yahoo.com), January 22, 2005.

Jason, I was only criticizing the substance of certain kinds of questions sometimes posed by attackers of the one true Church. I certainly wasn't criticizing you for inquiring about such matters. It is their questions which I find essentially meaningless, not your question about their questions.

-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), January 22, 2005.

Techniclaly speaking, Im only Protestant currently by virtueof attenting a 4 Squate cruch. I grw up Chruch of christ, which is not protestant, but Restoritionist. ( even though Some on this baord may make no distunction, the course of events in the last year have confirmed in my mind that they are seperat indeed, and the estorition Chruches are not Protestant.)

Thus why my theology itsself is in some regards similar.I shall start a thread about Restorition theology in the near future shoidl time permit. However, I am often unreliable in keeping these goals due to life cercumstances.

-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@JUNO.COM), January 22, 2005.

Although the modern use of the word "symbol" tends to mean "a MEANINGLESS sign", the original meaning of "symbolic" as used by St Augustine and your priest, is "expressing a truth too profound to be able to be properly expressed in words".

-- Steve (55555@aol.com), January 23, 2005.

Dear Steve;

Please note, in this conversation it is the Catholic community of this board that usually attempts to diminish the meaning of the word ‘Symbol.’ Calvin, who specifically cites Augustine, gives full weight and power as to why the Symbol paradigm allows for the clear description of Christ’s participation and presence in the Sacraments without the pitfalls of Aristotle’s metaphysical/alchemy paradigm (superstition and magic). Reformation Churches continue to use that paradigm to explain the Sacraments.

A deed to a house is a good example of the power in a symbol. To possess a deed is to assure ownership of a house. While the deed (paper) is not the same as the house, it is the sign and seal that you own the house. Even if someone else is living in the house, they do not own it, but are simply renters.

The “Symbolus” of the Sacraments are the sign and seal of the promise of salvation Christ made in the action of his life, sacrifice, and resurrection to those who confess him Lord and Savior. If one is tempted to diminish the power of that promise, we need to remember the great assurance, “Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. If a man is in Christ, he becomes a new person altogether – the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new.”

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 24, 2005.

"A deed to a house is a good example of the power in a symbol. "


how can this analogy be applied to the Blessed Sacrament? a brick from said house works. but deeds prove ownership and confer the power to sell or mortgage; what is this seal that you mention? the brick is of the house.

as for St Augustine, St Thomas etc, that they spent ages trying to explain the unexplainable is probably neither here or there. the fact of the Real Presence is a fact. just as doctors having a explanation of cancer does not chage the fact that it exists.

-- Ian (ib@vertifgo.com), January 24, 2005.

Good Point Ian:

But, let me ask, what would you rather have, a brick from the house or the whole house? The deed allows you to enter the house and live in it. The brick is just a brick.

As for the “sign and seal” phrase… this uses the old imagery of a document as being the “sign”- the details of the agreement - that is confirmed by the ‘seal’ (the wax or ink impression on the document) that proves it is real. The sacraments are a “sign and seal” of the promise made by Jesus Christ regarding our salvation and relationship with him.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 24, 2005.

The Church has taught us precisely everything the apostles had from Jesus Christ. The seven REAL sacraments all impart upon us profusely-- the saving grace of Our Saviour; not merely a sign of whatever relationship you believe in. Sanctifying grace issues forth from the sacrifice of Calvary into every sacrament in His Holy Church. The sacraments that give life; Baptism and the Eucharist, infuse their recipient soul with nothing less than a share in the life of the Triune God; life eternal. This is the life of grace; attained in no other way. Not as actual grace, such as prayer and faith can obtain. Prayers and faith, however don't approach the divine grace given our souls in each sacrament. Each sacrament, Robert-- all SEVEN, was instituted wholely by Jesus Christ. The Church could never attain a single sacrament except from Him. You and I know that all grace is His to give us.

Sin eradicates grace, more or less according to the severity of the offense. Mortal sin leaves the soul damned. But through the Church and her treasury of grace, which Jesus merited for us by His passion and death,

Sanctifying grace is restored to us. First for repentence, as the sanctifying grace of absolution; in Penance or Reconciliation. Most of all by our partaking of the Lord's body and blood in Holy Communion. The sacraments by definition are BOTH sign and true grace, which they signify. What ever they may mean as the ''sign'' of Christ's promises is altogether periferal. Grace is their reality.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 24, 2005.


in that small tasteless wafer, you can receive [ie eat] the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Christ.

i think that the idea that this might be so seems primitive. it might be more modern to consider it a symbolic act. but, because it seems "primitive", that doesn't make it wrong, though.

how many Jews that did not use bitter herbs, but used no herbs or sweet herbs, survived the Passover? how many thought that the herb could be symbolised [modern sense, and btw great research Steve]? surely, none?

God said "This IS My Body", "This IS My Blood".

i suspect we'll agree to disagree, but that "seals" it if you pardon the pun. St Justin confirms this in his historical account from the early 2nd century.

the primitive aspects of the Faith are where so many have become unstuck. why should i kill my son? why should i kill this animal or that? or the daughter that happens, somewhat unluckily, to be the first person i see.

surely, the ultimate primitivity is the Incarnation, God becoming one if us. Yuck. how could He. we are worthless specks of nothing. if i made a cake yesterday and it didn't taste very nice, would i become a cake to help it taste better - or would i just chuck it in the bin and make another?

i think we all accept the reality of the Incarnation. but even the early Church really, really struggled with that ultimate reality. hence all the heresies.

hope i have not wandered way off topic, and that i am not misrepresenting yr views. and, i know, the cake analogy probably really sucks.

-- Ian (ib@vetifgo.com), January 24, 2005.


We obviously disagree as to what sacraments specifically instituted - i.e. instructed the disciples to do it (do this in remembrance of me... go baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...).

I also take exception to the idea that sin erodes grace. This is one of the great disagreements between Reformed and Catholic theology. If God is the author of Grace, how can it be eroded or limited by human behavior? To make God’s Grace susceptible to human action is to affirm that man, and not God, is the author of salvation.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 24, 2005.


re- grace

the short answer is that you can throw a gift back in the direction of the donor.

Mary was "full of Grace" because She accepted Her mission without question. had She sinned, had She exercised Her free will in another way, well She might not have been full of Grace........

Judas sold his gifts for a few bucks.

-- Ian (ib@vertifgo.com), January 24, 2005.


So, you agree that men control Grace? Interesting. I am relieved that the Grace revealed to me in the Gospel is irresistible.


-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 24, 2005.

I always wondered about " Sin cannot erode Grace' in reform thought meself...

Basiclaly, if you have that "Saved" tag on, it doesnt matter what yo do, you go to Heaven, so long as you sincerley beelived for a few minuets yars ago...want to take drugs?Knock yourself out. Have sights on that sexy woman? no inhibitions, have fin. shes married you say?So what, whats marriage but a peice of paper...Adutlery is only a sin BEFRORE your svaed, sice your saved, and grace cant be erode dby sin, have a blast.

Grante dosme sya yo get one less jewel in or crown int h afterlife, but at leats you had finun...

serosuly though, and realisticlaly, Logic dictates differently.Protestants most especially stress the RELATIONSHIP elements of God, we aenter a RELATIONSHIP with him. If I had a frend that treated me like dirt andocnstantly ut me down, acte din self desrictive and petty ways and alays wante dme ot bail him out so he coidl do it again, and persisted in beign rude, degenerate, fowl mouthed, and loathesome, I doubt my relationship woidl last very long wiht them. Yet "reform theology" as robert holds it seems to think of God as just this sort of doormat. He saves you, then nothign you do can alter the fact that he now owes you heaven for a moments beleif.

And this is part of the reason why I dot undertsand reform thought very well.

-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@JUNO.COM), January 24, 2005.

I am relieved that the Grace revealed to me in the Gospel is irresistible.

Then you must have been born without free will.

God's Graces are powerful, however only when accepted.

-- DJ (newfiedufie@msn.com), January 24, 2005.

You don't see how that reveals your error.

You cannot be in sin, unrepentent; but still have grace. If sin didn't destroy grace in the soul, then anyone would be acceptable in heaven. But everyone is not.

It is solely the grace of Jesus that admits us. By His sacraments all the faithful gain, preserve in themselves, are fortified in it, and can RECOVER sanctifying grace. And there's no substitute for it.

The parable of the wedding feast is indicative of this truth. One guest is without a wedding garment; that which we call Grace. He's cast out by command of the king. (Matt 22, :11-14)

Mortal sin takes away that garment. To enter heaven we must be arrayed in it; and sin does not co-exist together with mortal sin. Grace is lacking in a sinner unless he gains forgiveness. And THAT is a different sacrament, Robert.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 24, 2005.


I meant to write, ''To enter heaven we must be arrayed in it; and GRACE does not co-exist together with mortal sin.''

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 24, 2005.


"I am relieved that the Grace revealed to me in the Gospel is irresistible."

OK, if this is true, AND God wills **all** men to be saved - so He must give said irresistible gift to everyone, doesn't it follow that ALL men [+ women!] are in fact going to be saved? or is salvation predestined? if you get the gift, you're saved no matter what. but then, does God really want ALL men to be saved if only a few get given this amazing gift of salvation?

i'm a little out of my depth here, so please humour me.

-- Ian (ib@vertifgo.com), January 25, 2005.


You never cease to amaze me as to how you construct an argument with yourself and then attribute it to the other person. Using your own example – the reality is, the person who treats you like dirt never was your friend, even if he calls you his friend. Likewise, the person who continually lives in unrepentant sin never was saved by grace, even if he says he is saved. While good works do not save, the saved live by good works.


True freedom only comes through God’s grace.

The recognition of irresistible grace is not in whom we think God will or will not select but in the assurance we have in faith that our salvation is not at the whim or weakness of our own human effort but by the desire and action of God. We can never see irresistible grace from God’s point of view. It is only a reflection of our “pilgrim’s progress’ after we receive that grace and follow the path of repentance, faith, justification and sanctification. Remember, I am speaking from a Reformed point of view.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 25, 2005.

FRETZ-It never ceases ot amaze me how you need to put someone down to make your poitns look stornger.

TheDoctorine of Irrisistable Grace and is not in the Bible and was never taught int he hcurh till John Calvin invented it.

Why shoid I beel,ive God FORCEDS soem to beleive and nto others? Is this no the dfinitin of "Irresistable"? If he is FORCING people to be saved by his irresistable Grace, I guess he relaly doesnt want everyon to be saved, unelss you interrpet the verse to mean " He wants everyone to be saved so the people who doesnt like he lets burn in Hell, thi ay only the saved are left."

The Idea of "Irresistable Grace" means we do NOT make a choice in Acceptign God or rejecitn him since hes irressistable, and thus by implecaton only svaes some oeople whom he likes better than others.

This is rejected.

-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@JUNO.COM), January 25, 2005.


"The recognition of irresistible grace is not in whom we think God will or will not select but in the assurance we have in faith that our salvation is not at the whim or weakness of our own human effort but by the desire and action of God."

to a simpleton like myself, that's pre-destination.

to simplify your statement, by taking out the negative assertions [which only emphasis the positive, so i hope you'll agree i'm not word-twisting]: "The recognition of irresistible grace is... in the assurance we have in faith that our salvation is ... by the desire and action of God."

where's the free-will gone?

-- Ian (ib@vertifgo.com), January 25, 2005.

We know where you got your views, Robert. Please note that my initial attempt to persuade you of the sacraments and sanctifying grace; on January 24th; said:

''The Church has taught us precisely everything the apostles had from Jesus Christ.'' This is the plain truth. We would not believe EVERYTHING we believe in His Church had not the apostles first preached it.

You have no claim to that authority, ''speaking from a Reformed point of view.'' Christ never founded the ''reformed church.'' Which means your view is privately attained; without the teaching of ANY apostle. NOT ONE. Please contemplate this in the Holy Spirit; whom you claim you have indwelt.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 25, 2005.

Here is a scnearion Fretz. Two men. They ar ebest firneds. They woidl gladly die for each other. The years roll on, and an acumulatin of small thigns caus them to dift apart, toll fnally they have a faling out. Now they are bitter and resentful on toward another.

Suppose one reconciled his feeings, and the other doesnt, andtus still treats his former fend with contempt. dos the crrent state of contemnt mean he lacked lov origionally for his friend inhe past? No, he loved him deeply, and now does not.

So is the same with God and us, for thugh God never ceases his love ofr us, we may choose to do so to God.

Unliek your scneario where the man was cruel to me aconstant durign the course of he rslatinship, in mine, the man was niv and orgial, and willign to lay down his life for me. But now, woudl glaldy pull the trigger to end my life if givn the chance.

such a ang eof heart isposisble, and thus, the idea that "He wasnt relaly saved" if he falls away is liek sayung friendhsips that are true cannto be broken. Suhc is not the rality.

-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@JUNO.COM), January 25, 2005.

The words of Saint Paul, ''The wages of sin is death,''-- ''Work out your salvation in fear and trembling,'' and -- ''While we are in the body we are exiled from the Lord,'' (2Cor 5:6, and :10, ''For all of us must be made manifest before the tribunal of Christ, so that each one may receive what he has won through the body, according to his works; whether good or evil.''

He was writing to the saints. Even so, they weren't assured of total security. But Christ said it best: ''If thine eye cause you to sin, pluck it out.''

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 25, 2005.

Dear Folks,

I am done for the day so I won’t have time to respond in detail.

Zarove: Augustine began this conversation in detail regarding predestination. Calvin simply continued it.

Ian: "The recognition of irresistible grace is... in the assurance we have in faith that our salvation is ... by the desire and action of God." Nicely put. With that assurance, you are free.

Gene: Use the whole quote – 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 “So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and be at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

PS Zarove: Please try this to help us be clear as to what you are thinking. 1) Write your comments on a word processing program such as MSWord or WordPerfect. 2) Run the Spell Check and Grammar Check for the document. Most corrections will be made automatically. 3) Then go to “Edit,” choose “Select All, “ then “Copy.” 4) Finally, go to the “Contribute an answer” box and “Paste.” Hope this helps.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 25, 2005.

FRETZ-You do realise Aigustien isgt infallable, right? He likewise thought women may lack soils and thught instrumental Music was too Pagan. Brillaint though he was, he is not a final Authority.

-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@JUNO.COM), January 25, 2005.


Zarove's posts here have been the clearest in substance and intent - by some way.

...and, yours, the most obtuse, by some long distance!

also, i suspect [mea culpa, if untrue] that in yr last post to me, you accepted "pre-destination", but then you didn't say that, did you?

call a spade a spade, Robert. c'mon.

-- Ian (ib@vertifgo.com), January 25, 2005.

Sorry Ian;

I believe that God bestows his grace upon those he chooses. And, I believe that the human and mortal reaction to God's grace is irresistible.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 25, 2005.


No one is infallible. Infallibility implies perfection and St. Paul recognized that impossibility. Romans 3:21-26

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 25, 2005.

You learned so many errors, Robert; and keep on thinking they're true. That is the definition of ''fallible''.

''Infallible'' doesn't imply perfection at all. It literally means not failing, or CORRECT.

If Christ ordained that His Church be correct forever, that should have exempted her from your reformation. The reformers taught you all these errors, and you presume to reject the notion of infallibility? The most fallible are your own ministers. They are rarely correct, and will not accept correction. They're caught in a wilderness of error, and one of these is ''eternal security''.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 25, 2005.


Consider Romans 2:17-24. While St. Paul is addressing Christian Jews, it applies to anyone or any institution that sees itself as "correct." If the Church is an infallible "corrector of the foolish" then its behavior of its leadership reflects the truth it proclaims. You tell me, has the recent past been an example of the Catholic church's "Correctness" or are we seeing verse 24 brought to life? Perfect correctness is Christ's alone.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 25, 2005.

"I believe that God bestows his grace upon those he chooses. And, I believe that the human and mortal reaction to God's grace is irresistible."


-- Ian (ib@vertifgo.com), January 25, 2005.


I am not attempting to sidestep your question, but "predestination" has many meanings and the title often becomes the topic rather than the meaning. I have communicated to you the meaning of what I affirmed at my ordination.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 25, 2005.

Robert, so you believe in election, right?

I don't see how Augustine believed in election and not free will. I've seem many quotes that appears he might have been teaching that, but others that apply free will. I often speak saying "God has to draw us to Himself before we can believe and HE has to move us toward salvation, we cannot do that, and everything good we do (which includes believing and following Him) is all grace from Him to begin with." Yet we still have to COOROPERATE with Him and make the choice. It's a mystery we cannot explain.

God give you peace

-- Jason (Enchanted fire5@yahoo.com), January 25, 2005.

It's fine to be obstinate, if you're defending the truth. But you aren't. The proof-texts you cite are written by a Catholic saint and apostle. He must have been one, because only the true Church had authority during Paul's lifetime. That is our holy Church; and she is still the infallible authority.

Not on account of men's wisdom, or men's authority, but because of the Holy Spirit. There is one Church to whom Christ sent the Holy Spirit. It wasn't any ''reformed'' church, but Paul's Church. That's the Church of the holy apostles; not a fictitioous one depending on an imaginary succession based on the Bible.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 25, 2005.

Pastor Fretz,

Does your denomination hold to the "Tulip" teaching of the Calvinist Synod of Dort? In that case, I presume you do not believe Jesus died for all people, but only for "the elect".

I've always had a problem with that, not only because it violates the obvious, straightforward meaning of John 3:16, but because it clearly contradicts 1 John 2:2, "Christ died not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world", and 1 Peter 2:1 where we see that false prophets with destructive heresies deny "the Master who bought them". In spite of our sad bondage and slavery, by nature, to sin and death and the devil, the salvific will of God for all humans is attested in Holy Scripture: He loves us: 1 Timothy 2:5-6.

By the way, Pastor Fretz, the views of Augustine were duly considered by Augustine's own Church when, in 529 A.D. the Second Council of Orange defined the necessity of grace for salvation, that grace is the source of all faith and every good work--yet that council also said Christ died for all people. Augustine as theologian would have honored the definitive teaching of his Church on this matter.

-- Michael (edwardsronning@prodigy.net), January 26, 2005.


The Reformed Church affirms that the Canons of Dort are an historic witness to the doctrines of faith revealed by scripture. They are part of our constitution.

The Synod of Dort would have agreed with Augustine on both claims you identify.

TULIP is one of the English language acronyms used to describe Dort. Perhaps a more accurate description using modern language is “Intentional Atonement.” Dort concurred that Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient for the sins of all people, but it is applied only to those whom God has adopted – John 10:14-15 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me… and I lay down my life for the sheep.” That ultimate authorship of salvation is God’s alone - John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Jim Osterhouse, a Christian Reformed Church author wrote; “Things are not always as they seem. Think of the gate of heaven as having a wrought iron arch overhead. As you approach the gate you read the words ‘Whosoever will may come,’ and you decide to walk through the gate. Once inside you turn and read the arch from heaven’s perspective; ‘Chosen from all eternity.’ Those who believe in Jesus for their salvation realize that it is God who gives them faith and God who keeps them in the faith. They can take none of the credit. All the glory belongs to God.”

Who is saved, that is knowledge only for God. Is his grace sufficient for our salvation? Yes, it is. Do we know who else he has called? No, we do not – but we must assume it is the next person we meet as we share the Gospel in our words and actions.

Thanks for asking.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 26, 2005.

You haven't disposed of 2Cor 5; ''For all of us must be made manifest before the tribunal of Christ, so that each one may receive what he has won through the body, according to his works; whether good or evil.''--Robert.

But from your point of view, your soul will have been saved no matter if all your life you were sinful and unrepentent. (Why Paul was unaware, I don't know.)

Your repentence itself (if you repent) was predestined by God, who followed after after your sins Cleaning up the stain each time; the way we scoop up cat litter? A truly novel idea. Not apostolic, though.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 26, 2005.


Where exactly did I – or Calvin, or the Canons of Dort for that matter - say that salvation is in the possession of someone with an unrepentant soul and an intentionally sinful life?... Oh, that’s right… I didn’t.

What has been said and written by Reformed theologians and councils is that sanctification is the assurance of salvation obtained through repentance and justification by faith. In other words, good works, receiving the sacraments, worship and fellowship in the church, along with gifts and talents of the Spirit are signs of God’s action and assurance of His salvation.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 27, 2005.


you are a mass of contradictions. you presume your own salvation, yet you presume election. it would be far easier to presume one's own salvation were the trials of Salvation a challenge for the free will [God-assisted] to over come. obviously it would.

-- Ian (ib@vertifgo.com), January 27, 2005.

...sorry Robert, getting the thread back on track, and irrespective of whether you contradict yourself, the early Church was not Calvinistic -- so your own form of protestantism is unlike the early Church.

is that correct?

-- Ian (ib@vertifgo.com), January 27, 2005.


Where is the contradiction? If one claims to be assured by faith… what backs up the claim better than a life in love, worship, prayer, and good work? But, that might cause pride, until we remember it was a gift from God.

As to the nature of the early Church, are you asking or presuming?

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 27, 2005.


A/ if ypu presume you're elected, you're doing the electing, not God.

B/ "asking" -- for proof.

-- Ian (ib@vertifgo.com), January 27, 2005.

Om telling. Augistine brought upt he discusion of election, but he ALSO brought up the Preimenancy of the see of Peter, rome's Athority, the Infirioty of owmen, the isnfulness of insturmental music, and abstanng frm all forms of the world as the highest spiritual ieal, all of hwich you reject. so regardless of augistine, whom you misrepresent when you mention "election", as he liekwise taught frre will in "The confessions" as well as "The city of God", you have to wonder why you feel at liberty to reject much of Augustines austere teahcins while graspign at the straw of his concercumstantial mention of election?

The early Chruch beleived that we chose slavation and worked toward ot by a moral and charitable life throughhe risen Lord and svaiour Jesus Christ, it did NOT teahc God predestined us to slavaito or damnation, nor did it state that there is a perserverenc eof the saints. indeed, many, from origen to Clement to augistine, rpeidited APOSTATES. The fact that Apostates existed in the midnset of the ealry Chruch meant htey undertsood the cncpt of "Fa;ling away" and held no veiw of perserverenced or preservation fo the saitns and an absolute asurance of slavation for those who do not " Work out there own salvation."

need I post the disrctory for the Fathers? its fre online.

-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@JUNO.COM), January 27, 2005.


The faith (trust) we have is in the promise (covenant) God has made with his people. Start with Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...” Even after suffering in this world, our “hope is not disappointed because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” St. Paul is pointing out God’s promise.

If you want a start on scholarly work on the early Christian communities, read Bart Ehrman’s “Lost Christianities” and “The Orthodox Corruption of the Scripture.” (No, it is not a conspiracy book against the church.)


Thanks for reminding me about Augustine and the others… That’s why the Reformation Churches will reference the Church Fathers but form doctrine from scripture alone.... (and I would even add the Greek books of the Apocrypha… but the scriptural references for purgatory are still as thin as the starter batch for stone soup… That’s an aside, not intended for response to sidetrack this thread. Otherwise we will be on Eugene’s Thread.) By the way, I have never denied free will. I simply affirm that God’s will is greater than my own.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 27, 2005.

When the term used is ''His people'' [God] from the Covenant POV, they are not reformed Christians. That idea is self-serving.

Those who rebelled against Christ's only Church-- the Catholic Church,

--Repudiated their faith in the New Covenant. (Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...”) --when seen rightly, speaks to Catholics; loyal to the Church of the holy apostles. But reformed Christians are no longer ''His people,'' as you claim. The Covenant is more than just a promise from God. It's also the peoples' covenant with Him; to be in communion (fellowship, to protestants) within His Holy Church; --who is in touch with Jesus Christ TRULY, and not outside the reach of her doctrines and authority.

There is an implied forfeit in the act of ''reforming'' what Christ gave you and me. One of us is true to the Covenant sealed in Christ's blood; ME, the Catholic. The other is a lost sheep-- outside the Church and untrue to the Covenant. YOU, a ''reformation'' believer.

This is borne out absolutely by the fact that you reject many teachings of Christ. That you take liberties with His Holy Word, and that you find men's teachings sufficient for your salvation.

You speak as if there were real authority behind your views; but there is none. You depend on the word of self-ordained ministers. They have bowdlerized the meanings of scripture now for more than 400 years, and that's the margin of your error.

But you came to the right place to begin anew. Back into the Church Saint Paul spoke to in Romans. This is a good Catholic forum where you finally receive all the the truth about Christ and the Holy Gospel. I'm glad you've come to us, Robert.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 27, 2005.


I suppose you have identified the core of the issue: What is it that you seek from Christ?

I won’t say this is the case for all Catholics and I imagine it is not the intent of the Catholic Church, but it is apparent that you seek authority and definition (rules). Hopefully, you’ve never been disappointed in the application of that authority within those rules by the people you are required to trust. You seem to be empowered by that hierarchical absolutism. If that keeps you facing toward Christ, good for you.

However, that is not what keeps me in the presence of Christ

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 27, 2005.

Please don't change the subject to hierarchical authority. The plain fact is, Christ has given His Church hierarchical powers. You dislike that, fine. The devil dislikes it even more.

Whatever keeps protestants in ''the presence of Christ'', it isn't anything the Catholic Church failed to teach. Your own baptism is just part of the absolutism you decry here. It survived the cut when your ''reformers'' were done reforming.

We have Jesus living in our midst, Body Blood, soul and divinity. Not from any merit we claim for ourselves; but by way of His declared Will; building His Church. Your ancestors, the blessed ones of Fretz days past, all were Catholic faithful. If you went to Europe and searched, you'd find all their baptismal records, still available in some provincial Catholic Church. Much like Luther's own certificate of baptism, and those of his Catholic family. How you can come now to disown their faith, I don't know. But then, you may come from Jewish stock, too. At least that would give you a plausible excuse, Robert.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 27, 2005.

The Offertory had long been a target of the enemies of Christ and His Church, since it clearly expresses the propitiatory content of the Sacrifice of Christ which is repeated in an unbloody manner in the Mass. The was the subject of a stern warning by Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei, some of the pretended resurrection of early traditions was patently fraudulent. Nowhere is this more clearly evident than in the supposed revival of a "Jewish table blessing" from the days of the first Jewish converts to Christianity as a replacement for the Offertory. We are supposed to believe that this scrapping of the Offertory marks a return to the type of faith and liturgy of the earliest Church, and furthermore supposedly reminds us of our Jewish roots. Typical modernist tactics.

-- JS (A@A.com), January 27, 2005.

To be honest, Pastor Fretz,

Rules are not what I seek! But at times rules are called for. I for one am willing to bend to the authority established by Christ to Peter and the Apostles, the Keys (symbolizing prime minister's authority, cf. Isaiah 22:22) and the authority to bind and loose.

And if that authority is sometimes misused? Admittedly that is problematic. But the promise of Christ and the positions of authority He has granted are not removed simply because someone occasionally misuses them. Compare Saul, who was still the Lord's Anointed even when he disobeyed; and the wicked sons of Eli who were neverthless anointed priests.

But I think you would find, Grace abounds in the Catholic Church. And by the way, I think John Calvin and Geneva could tell you a thing or two about oppressive rules, could they not? ;-)

-- Michael (edwardsronning@prodigy.net), January 27, 2005.

FRETZ-My point is this. The Binle said we must choose. If God's wil is soveing over our own lives, then we do not choose slavation,, God chose to save us for us, and chose to damn the others. Thats the fatal flaw of the Counsil of Dort.

You may not realise this, but by syang our wll CANNOT resist Gods desire to save us, then you AUTOMATICLALY say that we are pwerles ot choose God or not, thus all the damned in Hell are te becase God chose no to extend his irresistable grace tot hem, and all the sved in Heaven are here because God forced them to accept him.

-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@JUNO.COM), January 27, 2005.

More bogus theological balderdash:

''Nowhere is this more clearly evident than in the supposed revival of a "Jewish table blessing" from the days of the first Jewish converts to Christianity as a replacement for the Offertory.''

You're right, NO-where; because there is no supposed anything replacing the offertory. We offer God exactly what our mother Church always offered. The offering of gifts at the beginning, bread and wine, is not a ''change'' in the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist. Go to any priest and ask him. He'll laugh at your ''Jewish table Megillah.''.

''We are supposed to believe that this scrapping of the Offertory marks a return to the type of faith and liturgy of the earliest Church,'' -------Wrong. We must believe that Christ becomes present in the moment of Consecration and Himself makes the clean and unspotted Oblation of His body and blood before His Almighty Father. Nothing has been ''scrapped''-- except your credibility, Smith.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 27, 2005.

Thomas Aquinas Chavez has spoken; Case closed.

Are you sur that you never worked in a pretzel factory. Or maybe a top manufacturer.

-- JS (A@A.com), January 27, 2005.

Pastor Fretz,

Upon further reflection, my apologies if my last post sounded snide toward the end. It is just my frustration that, since the Catholic Church honors the commands of Christ against divorce and remarriage, etc., it is often accused of being legalistic. Others condemn it because it advises against artificial contraception: my married life agrees with this teaching wholeheartedly and finds it enriching rather than legalistic. Again, it is condemned because it requires celibacy of priests and bishops. Well, I would personally give more wiggle room here, but I respect the right of the Holy Father to accept to the presbyterate only those men who have that calling. There are, after all, other ministries in the Church than the ministry of the Altar. And, far from "forbidding marriage", the Church proclaims it a holy Sacrament.

I wish the Lutherans in the ELCA knew that; instead they are in the process of defiling holy Marriage with same-sex unions.

The Catholic Church is firm in its stand for the Truth; but I have found it to be a wellspring of life and grace, not a cage.

-- Michael (edwardsronning@prodigy.net), January 27, 2005.

If one were to believe in Christ, follow Him, love Him and participate doing the sacraments etc. but then 4 years later begins to slip away and eventualy doesn't believe in God any longer. Was that person elected? No because he fell away even though he seemed as if he could have been save and elected. He was just one of the parables that Christ taught where some believe for a while, but the riches, Satan, or the concerns of thisworld pull them away.

If this is the case you CAN NEVER know FOR SURE if your saved if you believe in election/predestination until perhaps your death bed.

And again free will is a GIFT from God! Therefore we do not get any credit because if He didn't give us free will, we wouldn't be able to choose Him, ever! It's His gift.

-- Jason (Enchantedfire5@yahoo.com), January 28, 2005.

TRhe Irony is Clavin said the samething...you cannot knwo till you are dead...

Oh and Jason, to mention this as I forgot to,not all Protestants beleive iN rapture Theory.

-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@JUNO.COM), January 28, 2005.

What Zarove says is correct, Jason. You will lose your ever-livin' mind if you try to figure out what each sect believes.

What Lesley said above is so similar to the experiences I have had with my Protestant friends. When you try to show them proof of just who and what the Catholic Church is, their eyes glaze over, their faces contort (sometimes in a rage) and they act like you're pouring hot oil over them. It is quite the odd thing! I believe it comes from centuries of rebellion and deception. That spirit of rebellion is a powerful foe.


BTW Not all are like that though. There are plenty on this forum who are not afraid to look at the evidence. They may not know what to make of it, but at least they have the guts to look.

-- Gail (rothfarms@socket.net), January 28, 2005.

Ya Zarove I know not all Protestants believe in the rapture. A good friend of mine (who is a follower of family radio except for the belief in leaving the church) believes when Christ returns it is judgment day.

God give you peace.

-- Jason (Enchantedfire5@yahoo.com), January 28, 2005.

"A friend of mine...is studying for the Novus Ordo priesthood in a midwestern seminary. This week he emailed me to let me know that he made the mistake of attending his first Tridentine Mass last weekend. He said he loved it so much that he doesn't see how he can ever celebrate the new Mass. I would like to encourage everyone to attend the Tridentine Mass just once to see what all

Someone elses post but it makes a point. the fuss is about. The Feast of All Saints might be a good day to drop by. I must warn you, however, if you do attend this Mass, you may love it so much that you might never attend the NO ever again. Will anyone take me up on my offer

-- JS (A@A.com), January 28, 2005.

I would love to check one out sometime. The NO is the only mass I have ever attended, but I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. The first mass I attended was 3 years ago, and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The glorious presence of God was so sweet. Truly, having been a Protestant all my life, I was completely FLABBERGASTED. Then several months ago I had to attend my brothers Willow Creek-type church. Lovely people too, nice service and all that, but I could not wait till the next week to get back to the Holy Mass.

Someday I'll have to find one and check it out.

-- Gail (rothfarms@socket.net), January 28, 2005.

Dear Folks;

I think I hit a sore spot – unintentionally. I wasn’t talking about (or attempting to insult) the structure of the Catholic Church. I was talking about the fact that some people prefer the authority by which a truth is taught or organized over the authoritative nature of the truth: Example – Authority: The Bible is true because Church A says it is true. Authoritative: The Bible is true because it is self evident. Or - Authority: A wife is to believe her husband loves her because he said so, and he is the head of the house. Authoritative: A wife believes that her husband loves her because of the way he treats her and speaks to her – it is self evident.

Is it simply one or the other? No. Does the Catholic Church exemplify self evident fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit? Yes. Do Protestant Churches ever use authority and rules to maintain discipline? . But, which is dominant? It comes down to what do you trust.

My observation is that these conversations usually end with a Catholic using the authority of the Church as his final proof and trump card (“Thus, saith the Church”). The Protestant will use the self evident authoritative nature of Scripture as his final proof and trump card. ( “Thus, saith Scripture”) When Catholics say, “We are the authority that formed the Scripture,” Protestants say, “Because the truth in the Scripture was self evident then, and it is self evident now.”

Why do I lean toward the self evident and authoritative truth of Scripture? I have been disappointed at times by Christians of all traditions and positions of authority. Authority is only as good as the people who use it. On the other hand, I have never been disappointed by my continuing relationship with God through the self evident truth revealed in the Scripture – even when it has made me rethink (and change) traditional attitudes I was comfortable with. It It guidels, draws, and provokes me to love God and my neighbor. It is the nature of being Reformed and always reforming according to the Word of God.

Jason- “If this is the case you CAN NEVER know FOR SURE if your saved if you believe in election/predestination until perhaps your death bed.”

That’s why it is called “Faith.” “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Heb. 11:1 (There’s that authoritative truth of the Bible again.)

Have a good weekend folks.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 28, 2005.

Do Protestant Churches ever use authority and rules to maintain discipline? (Sorry, I cut out the answer) Yes.

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 28, 2005.

Now you come to the crunch Robert. What happens when person A truly believes that it is “self-evident” from scripture that a certain belief is true, and person B truly belives it is self-evident that A’s belief is false. Persons C, D, E, F etc. have various other opinions, all conflicting with each other, and all of which each of them sincerely believes is self-evident from scripture. That’s when they need an authority to decide which is true. But not just ANY authority set up by men. They need the infallible divine authority given by Christ to St Peter and the Apostles.

-- Steve (55555@aol.com), January 28, 2005.

Maybe it is the Holy Spirit revealing that what they are disagreeing about is a mystery, an action to be shared in fellowship but left to the knowledge of God… or its irrelevant.

Good night

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 28, 2005.

This last glib evasion keeps away inquiry and eventual conversion. ''The Holy Spirit revealing''

(BUT NOT REVEALING, CONCEALING) --''that what they are disagreeing about is a mystery,'' (God reveals something, and you prefer a mystery?) ''--an action to be shared in fellowship,'' (Found to be irreconciliable?) ''--but left to the knowledge of God. SO--The truth WON'T make you free? Come on, Robert! ''Or it's irrelevant.'' What Christ gave us in the Holy Gospel wasn't made irrelevant by a band of ''Reformers''.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 28, 2005.

OK Robert I’ll make it concrete for you. Person A is a Catholic. Person B is a Lutheran, C a Baptist, D a Methodist, etc., all sincerely believing that their beliefs are the true Christian beliefs self-evident from the Bible. Let’s call you Z. You have spent a lot of time and energy on this site telling "A" that many of his beliefs are wrong. Obviously you don’t think that these matters you have vigorously disputed are “a mystery, an action to be shared in fellowship but left to the knowledge of God… or irrelevant.”

-- Steve (55555@aol.com), January 29, 2005.


i think your point about authority is word-play - not deliberate, but certainly, objectively speaking, it is word-play.

here's why:

A) in the one case (Catholic), the Church is the authority;

B) in the other (your own position), the reader of the Bible is the authority.

...and, no, the meaning of the Bible plainly isn't self-evident [its very complicated, actually], which is why we trust the Church, and which [practically speaking] is why there are so many different Christian sects; and, moreover, the NT is, by its own admission and omission, incomplete.

-- Ian (ib@vertifgo.com), January 29, 2005.

Yes Pastor Fretz but many Protestants believe that you can KNOW if your saved because of having FAITH in Jesus Christ. Because of believing in Him you CAN KNOW if your saved and when you die you'll go to heaven. That was one of the big things and celebrations at my former Protestant Church "The Christian Missionary Alliance Church."

I'm not saying that you believe this and you don't seem to from what I gather from your posts. But I have friends who believe in election and believe as well is you have an ernest ongoing desire for God along with Faith in Christ, you can KNOW that your saved and would go to heaven after death. Yet when you boil down to it on election, you can never KNOW if you are saved

God give you peace.

-- Jason (Enchantedfire5@yahoo.com), January 29, 2005.


I think Pastor Fretz would probably answer, if you have faith in Christ and Christian obedience, that is a sign, evidence, that you have been elected to salvation--because God wouldn't have given you that grace otherwise. I imagine he believes that a true Christian cannot fall away from their faith.

I disagree with that: the examples of Demas (2 Tim. 4:10) and King Saul come to mind, not to mention the Parable of the Sower and the *many* warnings of Christ and of the Apostles that we must keep faithful and persevere unto the end--why would He warn us if we couldn't fall away?

On the other issue of "knowing" if you are saved, well, St. Thomas Aquinas said we *could* know "with a moral certainty" from the fruits of our life (which flow from God's gift of sanctifying Grace) that we are saved. Compare 1 John 3:14,24 and 5:13. It is just, we cannot *infallibly* know if we are in a state of Grace. The best prayer, then, may be, "O God, if I am not right with You, make me so. And if I am right with You, keep me so!"

-- Michael (edwardsronning@prodigy.net), January 29, 2005.

Gene; Thanks for making my point about our preferences.

Steve; Perhaps you need to look more at what we agree upon. We (Catholic, Orthodox, and Reformation Churches) are all from the Trinitarian / Nicene proto-orthodox (B. Ehrman’s term) alliance within the various early Church experiences. What do we agree upon?

As to your last comment, I have never told anyone they are wrong about Catholic Doctrine (I may ask for clarification). The only time I get involved in this board is if a comment is incorrect about a Reformed doctrine and history or on political and social issues that effect American society (I attempt to be specific and cite my sources). No, Catholics should be Catholic.

Michael; No one knows were Saul landed – that is God’s dominion. And I never said we couldn’t slip – just that God won’t those who He has called his own fall. I do like the prayer.

Have a good weekend

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 29, 2005.

..just that God won’t (let) those who He has called his own fall...

-- Robert Fretz (pastorfretz@oldstonechurchonline.org), January 29, 2005.

That's all very possible. Because to fall, one has to be in unrepentent sin at the moment of death. Sice God has sent the grace of repentence to many souls in that hour, it can be said he loves those whom He's called His own with infinite mercy.

Nevertheless; a soul has free will. Repentence is our action, not God's. He cannot repent for you. You are to choose, when the grace has been exhausted. Your reward will come altogether indicated by your acts of good or evil. I ought to repeat, for the benefit of others as well as yours:

There is an implied forfeit in the act of ''reforming'' what Christ gave you and me. One of us is true to the Covenant sealed in Christ's blood; ME, the Catholic. The other is a lost sheep-- outside the Church and untrue to the Covenant. YOU, a ''reformation'' believer. --What's the likelihood of your returning to His fold repentent, if He sends you GRACE to see the need? He clearly DOES give you this grace today, you're made aware here; now.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 29, 2005.

You are to choose, when the grace has been exhausted.

Hey eugene. I don't believe God's Graces are ever exhausted as long as we are here on earth. I think it's safer to say that one has to choose as His Graces are made available before time has run out on their physical lives.

-- DJ (newfiedufie@msn.com), January 30, 2005.

Let's quibble some other time. God grants His grace. No one questions His willingness to keep offering more.

I say it's exhausted at that moment we pass into the next life. If we haven't repented, grace was of no use. It can't be God's loss; it's the unrepentent soul's. It wouldn't be predestined repentence in any case, but an act of free will. God leaves it up to us.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), January 30, 2005.

I say it's exhausted at that moment we pass into the next life.

No quibbling necessary if that's what you mean't. Cheers.

-- DJ (newfiedufie@msn.com), January 30, 2005.

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