Thursday, February 16, 2006

Apologetics without Apology

Here is the "conclusion" to the debate begun in the previous post. I say conclusion with quotes, because none of these debates ever really conclude. Routinely, my opponent backs out with one of a variety of reasons. In this particular incident, David "Mark 1:17" Blisset has exited because this debate made him angry to the point of sin. Apparently, in demonstrating the logical conclusion of his theology, he felt that I was attacking him, himself. However, as I wrote about in "If I Call You a Heretic, Please Be Assured that I Mean That in the Nicest Possible Way", my goal is not to call someone names, or be insulting, but to cause them to examine their own beliefs logically and thoroughly.

This is how "apologetics" (defending the faith) is done. On the one hand, it demonstrates the lacking in the opposing viewpoint, and helps to demonstrate the answer in the apologist's own viewpoint. Throughout the history of Christianity, this is how orthodoxy was preserved and heresy was defeated--because when the Church heard a new or different teaching, it took the time to consider it, to weigh it against the Bible and Tradition, and to ponder it from several different angles, to see what logical conclusions could be drawn from a specific belief. If a belief led to an erroneous conclusion about something, then it was discarded. David, though, when I showed him how his argument led to heretical teaching both about God Himself, and Jesus specifically, said that I was "putting words in his mouth". This is not the case--I was inviting him to think through and clarify his position (since words are incredibly limited in describing infinite mysteries of God), and, if that clarification still led to the same conclusion, to reconsider it. It truly grieves me that instead, he got indignant and offended, and chose to abandon the discussion. Here then is the conclusion to our debate on "Total Depravity, and whether it is our nature to be sinful, or whether we are subject to the state of sin." It is an important distinction, as I will demonstrate below. David's words will be in black, while mine will be in the default blue. Where David quotes my previous words, they will be blue and blockquoted. Any [bracketed] statements are my own editorial comments throughout, for further clarification or commentary. On with the show...

Mark 1:17 said...
Sorry for the length, there was a lot to tackle.


You said,
"This is flat out ridiculous. Being regenerate equals everything you do being to the glory of God?! That would imply that nothing that you do would be sinful, which certainly does contradict Scripture (1 John 1:8)!"

This would not "imply that nothing that you do would be sinful," Not At ALL!!!
I can still choose to sin!!! However, Christ makes me a New Creation in Himself. I have the Holy Spirit indwelling me and guiding me. Even at a subconscious level. The only sins that I would commit would be sins of choice, because the Spirit guides me in all Truth. And the Spirit convicts me of sin before I even commit one. The Spirit basically communicates with my spirit saying, "You are at a cross-roads, you can obey God or you can commit this sin."

But David, what I was objecting to was your logic saying that everything that you do, as a regenerate Christian, is for the Glory of God, and therefore, one who is not regenerate does nothing for the glory of God, and therefore sins.

Now, if everything you did was for God's glory, then even your sin would be. But the example of brushing your teeth, a neutral act, is not for God's glory simply because you are regenerate. Giving Glory to God is a conscious action. And nothing in your above argumentation clarifies your statement.

You also said, "As for no one seeking God, what about passages like Isaiah 60, where all the nations come to Israel to seek Him? Since verse 6 is a direct prophecy of the wisemen (who themselves were Zoroastrian astrologers), it's certain that at least three people in history "sought God". Were they regenerate before or after they worshipped Jesus--and how do you know?"

Well, are people seeking God of their own accord, or is God drawing them to Himself???
I would say that Absolutely No One can seek God unless He is the one who draws them to Himself...based on: Isaiah 55:1-9 The Compassion of the LORD
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. 'Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
The Key is verse 5:
"Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you."
This is a prophesy. Talking about the Gentiles coming into Israel..."because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you." The Gentiles are called, they don't seek because they can, they seek because of the LORD!!!!

David, you infuriate me, because I said all of this! I never said that someone seeks God apart from His Grace--only that His grace does not always lead to their evential sanctification. God gives His Grace to the unregenerate--if not, He could never use the Wicked to fulfil His Good Purposes! But either way, there are people who seek for God, which is still the opposite of what those texts say. The texts never say "There is no one whom God hasn't regenerated who seeks for Him" It simply says, "There is no one."

Also, read through Hebrews 11.
Every example, God approaches man, and man responds to God.
Yes each person in this text is someone who is a "Righteous" person. But if this concept applies to a "Righteous" person, it surely applies to an "Unrighteous" person.

Verse 4: Where does it say that God sought out Abel?

Verse 5: Where does it say that God sought out Enoch?

Verse 7: God sought out Noah to warn him because Noah was already serving God. But it doesn't say that Noah was already serving God because God sought him out.

In fact, not until we get to Abraham do we clearly see an example of a man following God because God sought him out.

And, for the record, where does it say that God sought out Rahab (cf. v. 31).

So Hebrews 11 fails to bolster your point.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'
Here Paul is talking to believers, who were called, they were called by God to be believers in Christ Jesus out of their "Natural" state of unbelief!
No one can seek God, unless God calls them to Himself!

I actually never denied that, except that it is not a natural state to not seek for God. Sin is an unnatural state of being. It is a detraction, an impairment, upon who God made us to be. Yes, "No one comes to Me unless the Father draw him" (John 6:44). But my point in asking about those who sought for God was to counter the idea that "No one seeks God", which is patently false, since those whom God graces, seek Him. Therefore, my point ran, we must obviously be careful in our assumptions about what that verse is actually saying, considering the fact that it is hyperbolic.

In point of fact, all your scriptural citations of people seeking God, prove my point, not your own.

Moreover, there are multiple examples of our need to seek God, and in a basic understanding of the Bible we need to seek out patterns that are repeated. We look for these because they tell us we need to focus on this concept. And if we need to focus on this concept, it is something that is not natural to us. Therefore as a direct correlation, we do not seek God, but we need to.

Again, I never denied this. You seem to think that I somehow am espousing a Pelagian "we don't need God, we can make it by ourselves" notion. That is not what I have said at all. The only difference in what we believe here, is whether being sinful is a part of what it means to be human, or if being sinful is a corruption of what it means to be human. Again, I point out, that if being sinful is what it means to be human, then Jesus could not truly have been Human and sinless!

You said,
More, I have a book at home that outlines that even religious texts as far away as China prophesied the coming of one who would save us from our sins (and the Chinese believed that one would come from the West, and that His religion would dominate theirs--as we see happening even today, in Communist China where the Church is experiencing massive growth!) as well as Roman and Greek prophecies to the same effect. Thus, God has not left the world without a witness, and without an expectation of Christ. So someone was seeking Him. Would the ones who wrote these prophecies have sinned in writing them, since they weren't "regenerate"? Or, if they were regenerate, wouldn't that open the door to some sort of universalism?
So now we are giving Divine Authority to something outside of Scripture?

Well, yes, I suppose I do. But by citing other cultures' prophecies about Christ, that isn't what I am doing. I was pointing out that other nations have sought for God, and God gave them clues as to how to find Him (which, by the way, is what the Bible itself says: The Wise Men knew of the coming of Christ through their astrological studies! St. Paul says that God left a record of Himself in nature and in human hearts, leaving humanity without excuse when it chooses not to seek Him!).

But I guess for RC’s that is not something uncommon,

Okay, before I go through and point out just how baseless are your citations, and lack of understanding of the Deutero-Canon, I'd like to make the counter-point that by removing them and following the rewritten Hebrew OT from the Council of Jamnia (rewritten by the Jews of AD 90 to minimise references to Christ, btw!), you could be very readily accused of the opposite charge of which you accuse me and my church--namely, denying Divine authority to something that God did in fact inspire! By the way, there's a reason why the New Testament always quotes from the Septuagint, and not the Hebrew!

seeing that 2 Maccabees 12:42-45 contradicts Hebrews 7:27 about Christ being continually sacrificed,

Failing number one: 2 Macc has nothing to say at all about Christ's sacrifice. And if you want to cite Hebrews 7:27 to say that Christ's sacrifice lasts only for a moment, then it contradicts Revelation's description of a Lamb, perpetually slain, from the foundation of the world! So if you want to play that card (and I have no idea why, because this whole argument is a huge non sequitur), then we could play the "why does your idea of what is Scripture contradict itself?" game. Of course, it doesn't. But the way you interpret Scripture does! But hey, let's continue!

and the Wisdom of Solomon contradicts Genesis 1 and Psalm 33:9 about the world being created out of pre-existent matter,

You know what would really be helpful? A reference from Wisdom. It is after all, 19 chapters long! But since it is one of my favourite books of the Bible, I've read it several times, and never seen it say that God created the world from pre-existing matter. So, maybe you'd like to clarify?

(By the by, I'm not entirely certain of the relevance of Ps 33:9)

and Ecclesiasticus 3:30; 3:3; 5:5; 20:28; 35:3; 45:16; and 45:23, all contradict Romans 3:20 in that giving alms and other works can make an atonement for sin,

In that case, Romans 3:20 contradicts James 2, because James 2 agrees with Sirach. Moreover, since Ecclesiasticus is OT, then you might as well say that the entire OT contradicts Romans 3:20.

and 2 Maccabees 15:14 and Baruch 3:4 contradict Matthew 6:9 about the invocation and the intercession of the saints,

Matthew 6:9 has nothing at all to say about the invocation of the saints. And 2 Macc is describing a vision, where Jeremiah appears to Judas Maccabeus. This contradicts Scripture? This contradicts Matthew 6:9?! Have you read the account of the Transfiguration, out of curiosity?
And Baruch 3:4 is right in line with Revelation 5:8 and other places in Revelation.

and Tobit 12:12 contradicts Colossians 2:18 about worship of Angels,

In what sense?! Raphael reveals himself. Verse 12 says nothing about worshipping him. In verse 16, they were filled with awe and terror (a common reaction throughout the entire Bible to angelic manifestations), and immediately Raphael tells them to "bless God forever" in verse 17!

I have an idea. Why don't you read the passages in question, rather than spouting off someone else's ill-informed list, which is obviously what this is, since I would hope someone as bright as you wouldn't have come up with it otherwise.

and 2 Maccabees 12:42, 46 contradict Hebrews 9:27 about purgatory and the redemption of souls after death.

A) Hebrews 9:27 does not contradict notions of Purgatory. B) Purgatory does not entail notions of redemption after death, and C) 2 Macc is right in line with St. Paul's prayer for the deceased Onesiphorus in 2 Timothy 1:18.

God does not contradict Himself!!!

Indeed not. But your understanding of His Word, does. Just like apparent contradictions exist in the Protestant Canon of Scripture, and able Protestant apologists can decipher them and rationalise them away, then why is it different with the Catholic Canon? You a priori assume that certain books cannot be part of Scripture, and then say when the slightest thing disagrees with your theology, "Aha! There, see?" Whereas, if you were reading your own Bible, and it said something that disagreed with your theology, you would not throw it out, but try to reinterpret it to submit to your manmade tradition. This is not how the Bible is to be read, but rather, when it says something that disagrees with our preconceived understandings, we are to submit to its teachings! You have shown yourself unwilling to do that on issues as straightforward as Christ's real presence in the Eucharist, and the Spirit's regenerative power in Baptism. Why doesn't it surprise me that you would do the same here, with these passages you fail to heed.

Tell me, if books like Wisdom are not to be included in the Bible, then how could God use them to speak so prophetically about Jesus?:
'Let us lay traps for the upright man, since he annoys us
And opposes our way of life,
Reproaches us for our sins against the Law,
And accuses us of sins against our upbringing.
He claims to have knowledge of God,
And calls himself a child of the Lord.
We see him as a reproof to our way of thinking,
The very sight of him weighs our spirits down;
For his kind of life is not like other people's,
and his ways are quite different.
In his opinion we are counterfeit;
He avoids our ways as he would filth;
He proclaims the final end of the upright as blessed
And boasts of having God for his father.
Let us see if what he says is true,
And test him to see what sort of end he will have.
For if the upright man is God's son, God will help him
And rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
Let us test him with cruelty and with torture,
And thus explore this gentleness of his
And put his patience to the test.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death
Since God will rescue him--or so he claims.'
(Wisdom 2:12-20--a prophecy that not only calls Jesus the Son of God, but sinless, includes His teaching of the Sermon on the Mount, particularly the Beatitudes, cites the religious leaders' response to Him, and prophecies His torturous, shameful death, even using the words that the Pharisees and priests would hurl at Him on the Cross! But no, this isn't inspired literature! Oy.)

This is also a very generalized prophesy! A man from the west? Basically everything but Japan and the eastern most part of Russia and Australia is west of China.

Japan is northeast of China, but thanks for the attempted geography lesson. The point, though, was that God left them with an indication of His plan, even without them being regenerate.

That is an extremely broad area.
Also, are we to no put a Divine significance behind fortunes from fortune cookies? If we take this general of a prophesy to be Divine, should we take the generality of a fortune cookie to also be true?

David, you are being obtuse. The prophecy is not as vague as all that, and notably, you said nothing about the more explicit prophecies from other neighbouring nations.

I would hope and suggest not!

I would hope and suggest that you don't think there was any valid argument in your non sequitur.

You said,
David, considering the fact that you cited Psalm 14 above and quoted it, and then cited Psalm 51 above and then proceeded to quote Psalm 14 again, I think in fairness, before you just out and out say that I "contradicted" myself, you might allow the graceful assumption that I didn't articulate my point very well, just as I gracefully assume that you forgot to copy before you pasted the second passage.
Have you not read?
Psalm 14 and 53 (for I did not say a thing about Psalm 51) are for the most part Identical.
But for the sake of "fairness", I will "allow the graceful assumption" that this was just an oversight on your part.

David, I posted an apology here. For whatever reason, Jacob didn't publish it. I realised after the fact that I made that error. If you bothered going to Three Nails, you could have read the edited version of my reply above.

As to the rest of what you have said according to "Nature" and "State of Being",

With your logic, Satan and the Demons, who were originally created as Angels or good, still have a "Nature" that is good. For the same thing that happened with Adam happened with Satan. Satan chose to disobey God (just like Adam chose). This was evil, God did not create it, but allowed it to happen. Satan's entire "Nature" was changed, not just his "State of Being". Or do you honestly think that at Satan's core, there is good? I would hope that you don't believe that!

I believe that Satan has a different nature from Adam to begin with (after all, Satan wasn't made in God's image), and more, Satan's fall was more serious than Adam's since the priveleges that he held before he rebelled were greater.

But no, I don't think that his "nature" changed. That doesn't mean that he could repent, or be redeemed (nor want to, for that matter). It simply means that God did not create him to be like that.

No one but God alone is good! Luke 18:19 "And Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.'"

Good here, is being used in a completely different sense--the sense of perfection. When I say that Man is "good", I do not mean that ideal of perfection theologically termed "Good." Only God is good. But that does not mean, cannot mean that Man is therefore evil by nature, because if Man was evil by nature, again, God could not be Good, because He would be the author of evil.

You are trying to make a separation where there is none.

I am making a separation that is necessary, because otherwise everything falls apart: Again, if we are by nature evil, then God created evil when He created us, and Jesus had to have sinned because He became one of us. The only way around that is to make the distinction between nature and state that I, and the Church historically, have done.

Our actions come out of what is inside of us.
Matthew 12:24 "You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."
Matthew 15:19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander."
Is the Heart our "State of Being" or a part of our "Nature"?

The sinfulness of our hearts is a part of our state.

It is a part of our physicality, our nature, and out of it comes "evil thoughts", and even out of a Believes heart can come evil thoughts, but those must be taken captive before Christ.

Are you kidding me?! Jesus isn't talking about our literal heart! That was perhaps the lamest thing I've ever heard!

1 Corinthians 2:14-16
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 'For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ.
In order to understand that the way you want to, you have to say that the 'natural' person has no soul or spirit, but that the regenerate person is given a spirit that he didn't have before.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Paul's use of the flesh is metaphorical, not literal. The "fleshly" or "natural" man is the one not animated by the Holy Spirit, who is dead in his sins and separated from God. We must not act like that, lest we return to being like that!

If we had a good "Nature" or a clean heart,

A good nature is not the same as a clean heart.

why would God inspire David to write: Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."

Because that heart had committed sin, and was no longer clean! Notice the word "renew"--before David sinned, his spirit was right. But he sullied it through sin. He doesn't ask for a different heart, or a different spirit, but for his to be cleaned and fixed!

Heart: Hebrew word – Leb: meaning – inner man, mind, will, heart

Yes, and David is saying that it is dirty, and needs to be cleaned. Dirt is not inherent to a thing, but clings to it from the outside, making something dirty. If dirt was inherent to whatever it was attaching to, it wouldn't be dirty. A garden, for example, is full of dirt. But it is not dirty. The vegetables in that garden, when pulled up, are covered in the garden's dirt, and are dirty. Why? Because the dirt is not a part of them!

When David asks for a clean heart, it is because it is now dirty! The dirt is affecting him (as sin does), but it is not a part of him. If sin were a part of who we were, then we would not be guilty of it!

You are mixing truth with non-truth.
The truth is that God does not create evil!!!

Amen! [Just a note, dear reader, I was "amen"ing the truth that God does not create evil, not the accusation that I am mixing truth with case there was any confusion.]

However, through the flesh evil came into Adam's own Heart by His own Choice to sin against God, which was allowed by God, and is also allowed by God to transmit to every one of Adam's offspring!

What does that mean, "through the flesh"? That sin is passed to us only on the physical side of our existence, but our soul is free of it, so God, in giving us a soul, doesn't create evil? This is Gnostic or Manichaean dualism, and it's heretical. Otherwise, when we die, and our soul is liberated from our body, we'd all be saved, because the sin-cage of our fleshly nature would be gone!

But sin affects our souls, too--that thing that God directly creates in us (not that He doesn't have a part in creating the rest of us--Psalm 139). But sin is in our soul, as well. If it were inherent to our soul, then God truly would be creating Evil. There is no way around that. It is not me who is mixing truth and non-truth, David.

That is why Paul says in Romans, God is just in His Judgment.

God is just in His judgement because He doesn't create us to be evil or sinful. He is just in His judgement because sin is not what we are by nature, but something we are subjected to, by our own choice. If we were by nature sinful, then God would not be just to condemn us for the way we were made!

David, in this you are like a student in math class who can get the right answer but can't show how he got there by doing the work, and so gets part marks. The right answers, that God is just, that we are guilty of sin, do not come from the formula of Total Depravity and Sin Nature. That formula leads only to where I have shown that they do: to a dualistic God creating both good and evil, and to a Christ who, in taking on HUMAN NATURE (which you keep saying is sinful) had to take on and be guilty of SIN!

You also said,
I disagree, and see no evidence that the Bible would describe sin in those terms. Sin is not the core of our being any more than slavery or death are. Sin is compared to slavery and to death again and again in the Bible--but while we are subject to all three in our sinful state, they are not what we were meant to be by nature.
Again you mix truth with non-truth! The truth in this statement is this phrase, "they are not what we were meant to be by nature." You are speaking of sin and slavery and death. Yes, when God created the Human race, He created us Perfect! However, Adam chose to sin, sin brought death...if our nature is not sin why is it that we die?

Because immortality was also our state, and not our nature. Moreover, death, according to the Bible, is our payment for sin! (Romans 6:23) We have to earn death! (Notably, this is why we believe in the Assumption of Mary. If Jesus preserved her from the stain of sin, He also preserved her from the sting of death! Glory to Jesus!)

Why is it that a baby can die, even before it is born? If that child had not had a chance to commit a sin, and its nature was good, it should not die! For Death is what is earned from Sin...Romans 6:23.

Exactly. However, far from your seeming individualistic notions of sin and salvation, we are a community, us humans. What one of us does affects another. The sins of others lead to death, but often, death is the consequence of their sins, inflicted on others. Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. That's because in sinning, Adam and Eve didn't subject themselves alone to a state of corruption, but that curse has fallen upon the entire world!

Sin infected Adam at his core and that infection spread throughout all of Humanity by reproduction, Save for One Man, who had a Miraculous Birth!

Explain how Jesus' birth from one human parent instead of two is what spared Him from sin. Does sin only get passed through the Male genes? Moreover, how could Jesus truly be human, if He does not possess the same nature as we do? It is not logical! If Human Nature is Sinful, and Jesus had a Human Nature, then Jesus had to be Sinful! But Jesus was not sinful, even though He had a Human Nature, because Sin is not part of Human Nature.

More than this:
Ephesians 2:1-3
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
"Children of Wrath" and "Sons of Disobedience"! Does God send His Holy Wrath down upon things that He sees as "Good" or "Righteous"? Or does God send His Holy Wrath down on "Children of Wrath" and "Sons of Disobedience" who they are "by nature".

Funny, my Bible has that a little differently.
[For the record, the New Jerusalem Bible reads:
And you were dead, through the crimes and sins which used to make up your way of life when you were living by the principles of this world, obeying the ruler who dominates the air, the spirit who is at work in those who rebel. We too were among them once, living only by our natural inclinations, obeying the demands of human self-indulgence and our own whim; our nature made us no less liable to God's retribution than the rest of the world.
That's a somewhat different understanding than David's version.]
Looking at a comparison of texts where this term is used, either Scripture contradicts itself (cf Romans 2:14, where it said that "by nature" men obeyed the Law even when they didn't have it) or Paul is using the term Nature in a different sense than I am and the Reformers, who coined the phrase, were.

There is a reason why we are referred to as "Children of Wrath", that reason is the Fall of Adam, but more than that, we have the same characteristics of Adam after the Fall to be considered "Children of Wrath". That characteristic is a Sin Nature.

No, I'm afraid I can't go with you there, because that is not what the Bible actually teaches. It is using Nature in a sense that is different than what Calvin and the Reformers, and from what I and the Church, are using it. It's like talking about 2 different things, with the same word.

I will retract what I said about if I brush my teeth the act is "Righteous" and if my friend who is not regenerate brushes his teeth, the act is "Unrighteous". Only to clarify!
The act in and of itself is not sinful, HOWEVER, because the attitude of the heart is sinful, that transmits to the act, therefore the act in the eyes of God, is sinful!
If I hate my brother...according to Christ I have committed murder, I have not actually killed my brother, but in my heart, I have broken the command, "Thou shall not Kill." In the same way, if I am an enemy of God, even though I do something that could be considered good, He will not acknowledge the act. Therefore, if God does not acknowledge the act, can the act in and of itself be good...I don't think so.

David, something that is not sinful is not the same thing as something that will earn God's favour. You're confusing the two things. Something can be good (many things are) without gaining us salvation (since nothing apart from Christ can). Because you have not understood that one foundational part in my entire argument, you have thrown out a huge tirade of unrelated argumentation!

But, more than that! The last part of Romans 14:23 says, "For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." Can a person that does not have the Spirit of God living within them, honestly do anything from faith, that is faith in God? They are His enemies and they hate Him, they do not have faith in Him!!!

David, again you do not understand context. Paul is saying that a person is sinning by eating food offered to idols is sinning if he does not believe (have faith) that it is okay to do so. It is not a general statement.

Therefore "Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin."
The action may be an action that "Man" would consider "innate" or even "good" but if it does not proceed from faith, it IS SIN in the eyes of God!!!

That's not what the text is referring to.

And who's standard are we talking about here? I would hope that we are both talking about how God sees things...and I think Paul honestly put it best, "For whatever does not proceed from faith, is sin."

You just keep citing that irrelevant passage.

So, if it were possible that a person could brush their teeth without hatred for God in their heart, yes, that act would not be sin. However...everyone who is not Born Again of the Holy Spirit, is an enemy of God. It is all about the heart attitude! Is your heart right with God or are you His enemy? Do you Love God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or do you not? The only why to please God is through Faith! Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." And, whatever is not done by Faith is Sin! Romans 14:23 "For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin."

David, you still can't explain to me how, if all this is actually true, Jesus could be free of sin and still be totally Human, and how God, in creating people's natures, could not be creating evil. Until you can demonstrate that, it is plain that all the scripture you quote has to have a different application than what you are giving it, or else it is self-contradictory!

For more thoughts on this topic...thoughts that are not my own check out:
Total Depravity: John Piper & Bethlehem Baptist Church Staff

I will as soon as I have time. [I'll even make an attempt at a reply to it, if I have said time.] I have great respect for Piper. However, his thoughts had better be clearer than yours if they are going to convince me.

Jesus did not have a sin nature!

Then according to your logic, He was not fully Human, and if He was not fully Human, He could not save us from our sins!

However, since I believe that Jesus didn't have a sin nature (since, if He had, He again would not have been able to save us), and I believe that He alone could save us, I have to believe that He was completely like us, possessing the fullness of what makes us human. Therefore, if that is true (and it must be), and if He had no sin, then Sin is not ours By Nature.

Yes He was born of Mary a human. (I know you don't believe this, but she was sinful! If she wasn't sinful, she would in no way be in need of a Savior! Why would she, what would the Savior save her from? Nothing, she has not sinned against God. But she was in need of a Savior to save her, from what? The sin that she had committed against God! Even she admitted her need of a Savior in Luke 1:47 "and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior")

She was sinless, because Jesus saved her from sin! He took it away before she could ever commit it! In that sense, her salvation was not only different than ours, it was GREATER!

But, Jesus was also born of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was fully God in all the fullness of His Deity. And He was fully Human, flesh and blood, feelings and emotions, just like every one of us! Yet without Sin!

Yes, exactly! He was completely Human, but never sinned! If part of being human is being sinful, and He didn't have that sin nature, then He could not be fully human! But He was! Therefore, the only possible conclusion, and I've stated it about 10 times so far in this post!--is that Sin is not a part of Human Nature!

Hebrews 4:15 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."


So, if we are by "Nature" good, we also, like the Mary of RCism would have no need for a Savior!

Being by nature Good, and still committing sin, we have more need for a Saviour! If sin was a part of who we were, then either we would not be guilty of it, or God would have caused it and then punish us for it in the gravest act of injustice!

But we do have a deep and grave need to be saved.

Yes, because contrary to who God made us to be, we have chosen to sin, through Adam, and have been subjugated to it in slavery ever since!

And the only ONE who can accomplish that is Jesus Christ!

Yes! Precisely because He became One of us in Every Singly Way! He was a Human, who, because He was God, chose not to subject Himself to the slavery of Sin, but nonetheless took on our nature!

Don't you see we are at our very core sinful?

Yes! But it is YOU who do not see that that sin is our taskmaster unless we are redeemed from it by Christ! Jesus does not save us from ourselves but from our sin!

This is why Christ needed to come! It is not just that we are slaves to sin (which in an unregenerate state we are), but rather we, through Adam are utterly sinful to our core. We do not have the capacity to believe or have confidence in God, therefore everything that we do outside of this is sin, Hebrews 14:23 "For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin."

No, you are wrong here. He came to save us from sin, not to save us from ourselves. The Bible never says that He saves us from us!

Until a person comes to the realization that they are sinful and I mean completely incapable of doing good, they are like the Rich Young Ruler and the Pharisees, who confess Christ with their lips, but are far from Him in their hearts.

Interestingly enough, the Rich kid was told by Jesus that he could be saved by giving alms. Makes you think about that "contradictory" list above, eh?

Good is an Attribute of God and God alone,

The attribute of "Good" belonging to God is of the perfect Good, the source of Good. We are good by nature because our nature was created by the source of Good. However, we have become subject to sin, and thus have committed evil, and are guilty of betraying and offending that Source of Good, and thus must be forgiven and redeemed. That is Salvation.

the only good that a human can do is in the eyes of another human.

Unless, as I have repeated from the beginning, that person is given grace from God to do actual good. I have not wavered in the slightest from that opinion.

However for those who have been Reborn in Christ Jesus, because He is the one actually doing the work, we are said to be able to perform a "Righteous" deed. Again this is only through the Power of Christ!

True! Amen!

In Christ,


Maybe if you wont here this from me you will listen to some words from a much smarter man than I. Granted He is not speaking to the full extent of things that we have touched on.

"Did God create everything that exists? Does evil exist? Did God create evil?" A University professor at a well known institution of higher learning challenged his students with this question.
"Did God create everything that exists?"
A student bravely replied, "Yes he did!"
"God created everything?" The professor asked.
"Yes Sir, he certainly did," the student replied.
The professor answered, "If God created everything; then God created evil. And, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then we can assume that God is evil."
The student became quiet and did not answer the professor's hypothetical definition. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had prove once more that the Christian faith was a myth.
Another student raised his hand and said, "May I ask you a question professor?"
"Of course", replied the professor.
The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"
"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The other students snickered at the young man's question.
The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 F) is the total absence of heat; and all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."
The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"
The professor responded, "Of course it does."
The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact, we use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."
Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"
Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course, as I have already said. We see it everyday. It is in the daily examples of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."
To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light."
The professor sat down.
The student's name? Albert Einstein
[For the record, I have trouble believing that this is in fact a true story. Number one, a professor "of higher learning" is brazenly ignorant of rudimentary physics. More, if he is a philosophy professor, as seems the case by the actual discussion recorded, he would be aware of the philosophy stretching as far back as Plato that evil does not exist in and of itself. Further, the story sets up an Agnostic Jew (Eisntein) as the champion of Christianity, which seems further unlikely. An interesting point, though, from this story, is the professor's phrase, "man's inhumanity to man". If man were by nature evil, then exercising "inhumanity" to another would actually constitute being good to them. But if man is inherently good, then his "inhumanity" certainly is evil!]

It's funny. Einstein must have read his St. Augustine, because that Catholic Church Father said precisely the same thing. But if sin was part of our nature, then it would exist, and God would have created it. However, evil does not exist except as a corruption of what is Good. Therefore, we are by nature good, and not evil, otherwise, according to Einstein, and the Catholic Church before him(!) we would not exist! This is exactly my point! Thank you very much!

You may think, this is exactly what you are talking about.

It really actually is, and it is what the Church has said all along (I actually just quoted St. Thomas Aquinas saying the exact same thing over at Grace for the Wayward Heart yesterday!

But in all reality it is not! The absence of God is evil...if God is not within our Hearts in the Hebrew idea of it, our soul, we are evil at our core.

You don't understand philosophy at all. If we were evil at our core, we could not exist. Nothing (not even Satan) is evil at its core, because evil is non-existence. Even Satan has to do "good" things once in a while in order to corrupt this world. Evil is non-existence, not simply, as you tried to put it, the absense of God. Saying that we can be truly evil is a complete reversal of what Einstein said above. Besides, nowhere from North to South, East to West, heigth nor depth--to the farthest reaches of the Universe--is devoid of God (Psalm 139). Therefore nothing in creation is intrinsically evil.

It is not until God through Rebirth resides within our soul, that we can be even considered good and that Good is only from God himself living within.

Our good is a result only of God's grace. I fully agree (and have said it countless times)--but that is true whether we are regenerate or not. If the unregenerate manages to follow the Law (Rom 2:14), it is also because of God's prevenient grace.

The ability, in Paul's thought, for a person to "by nature" (Paul's words) to follow the Law (in other words, do what is right, what is Good) only makes his guilt all the greater when he fails to do it always!

But again, I offer the thesis, and the problem, with your argument.

If man is evil in his core, then Jesus, in becoming a man, must have also become evil in His core. Otherwise, He could not have been a man. But if He was evil, He could not be God (who is Good), nor could He have saved us. But if we are evil in our core, and Jesus became one of us without being evil in His core, then at His core, He was not one of us, and therefore could not mediate for us to God, and therefore not save us.

Moreover, if God creates each of us individually, and we are evil to our core, and God creates our core, then He creates evil. Again, we find a contradiction.
These are the two points upon which the argument hinges. It should be obvious, the biblical support for Jesus' humanity, goodness, mediation, and salvation, as well as for the goodness of God. So I won't insult you by listing them. Taking those truths, this is the only logical conclusion that we can come to, and you have failed to demonstrate otherwise.

So really, instead of launching into another huge, irrelevant, non sequitur to try to disprove some point that I never made and you never really understood, focus on these points, because these are the points at where Total Depravity as Calvinism understands it, leads inexoribly into heresy.

I see it. The Early Church Fathers saw it. The Doctors of the Church saw it. Even Luther and the Arminian anabaptists could see it.

I hope Jacob can see it, though he has remained very aloof from our discussion, and I pray that you will see it too, because the conclusions are very dangerous.

God bless

David replied, and ended his involvement in the debate with the following words, again, in black. My words, as always, are in blue.

Mark 1:17 said...
Maybe a step back is needed.

I would say so. It has at times felt like we've been having two separate monologues rather than a discussion.

Some clarifications need to be made.

If I understand you correctly, this is what you are saying:
1. Humans at their core, are good people.
2. They are good because they are created in God's image.
3. Because God can't create evil, they are good, but have this bent towards sin, that is called "Original Sin".

It's a fair assessment, although I would add #4: This "bent" toward sin, as you call it, in a life devoid of God's active grace, causes men to be in a state of slavery out of which they cannot free themselves.

And #5: It is only through the grace given through Jesus' death and resurrection that men can be freed from this state and restored to the life that Adam and Eve lost for them through the Fall.

My stance would be:
1. Humans at their core, are bad, evil people.
2. They are not persay created by God as evil, however through the fall of Adam, that sin is transmitted through the flesh to all Humans, except Jesus Christ, He had a miraculous birth through the power of the Holy Spirit.
3. God doesn't create evil, but allows evil in this fallen world.

David, here is where I have a huge issue with what you have said--a couple, actually:
First, "sin" is not transmitted through the "flesh" if by flesh you mean our physical flesh-and-blood bodies, as opposed to our spiritual souls. The way you say sin is transmitted, that our earthly parents pass it on to us through the flesh, does in fact lead to a gnostic dualism, whereby the soul within us is pure, but our flesh is evil. If this is the truth, then no one would go to Hell, since once we were physically free from sin in our flesh, death would liberate us to go to God.

That you believe that sin is transmitted solely through the flesh in the sense that I have indicated comes out through your next point, about Christ: Christ was not kept from sin through the Virgin Birth, and the Bible nowhere indicates that that is the case. That interpretation, that Christ had to be born of a Virgin in order to remain sinless, is, as you are so fond of putting it, "a tradition of men."

Jesus was born of a Virgin because A) it was prophecied, B) there could be no doubt that He was Divine, and C) according to St. Anselm, because God had never done it before (take that last one as a little bit tongue-in-cheek, unless you've actually read Cur Deus Homo? and understand Anselm's point).

Jesus was free from Sin because, as God, sin was antithetical to His Divine Nature. God and sin cannot coexist. However, as Christ, God put on an actual, true, and complete Human Nature, that coexisted alongside the Divine Nature in one Person, neither separate from each other nor confused in each other. This is what theologians refer to as the Hypostatic Union, and what contemporary preachers refer to when they say that Christ was 100% God and 100% Man.

So again the logic says that Human Nature, which Christ adopted Completely could not be at its core "bad" or "evil", because otherwise Christ was not fully Human, or Christ had sin.

Here is a small analogy to explain my position.

Can we agree with Mr. Einstein that Evil is the measurement of the absense of God?

As St. Augustine said, evil is the tendency toward non-being. Since God is by definition the cause of all being, then yes, we could infer, logically, that evil is the absense of God. Again, just like I said above, this, and not Jesus' virgin-birth, is the reason for His sinlessness.

I hope that we can agree on that and I will assume that we do.
God is the great sculpter! He has sculpted humans in His own image.
This could mean:
1. We are bodily in the same image
2. Our Souls are His image
3. A compination of both

This seems to me too simplistic a description. Since what it means to be in the Image of God is not specifically defined in Scripture, any interpretation is obviously extra-biblical, and as such, you can not have any a priori rejection of my use of the Catechism at this point:
I. "In The Image Of God"
356 Of all visible creatures only man is "able to know and love his Creator." He is "the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake," and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God's own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity:
What made you establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which you have looked on your creature in yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed you have created her, by love you have given her a being capable of tasting your eternal Good." [St. Catharine of Sienna]

The only answer of the three you give above, David, is #3, and even then, just saying that we are created in the Image of God as a combination of body and soul does not do it justice. After all, when the Bible, in Genesis, says that we are created in the Image of God, Moses and the Hebrew people had no notion whatsoever of a distinction between "body" and "soul", but this was a Greek philosophical idea (Plato, I think) that is alien to the Bible.

I believe that only #2 is correct. We are told that we need to worship God in Spirit and Truth. God is Spirit and we are in His image, our Soul/Spirit is His image.

You are mistaken. When Jesus said we are to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, He did not mean that our bodies are to have no function, no purpose, and no role. Instead, by saying this, Jesus was contrasting the idea of being in a certain place (Jerusalem or Gerazim) to worship God, but that since God, as spirit, is everywhere, those who worship in spirit will not be confined to one physical location.

But that same Gospel that discusses Spiritual Worship also discusses that worship in extremely sacramental and physical terms just 2 chapters later. Jesus talks about eating His Flesh and Blood in order to have true spiritual, eternal life, and then says that this is that spiritual worship! (John 6:53-55, 63)

We are a composite of body and soul. To divide body from soul is death--and the fullness of eternal life is the bodily resurrection when we are reunited body and soul. If our souls were the only important point, then there would be no resurrection from the Dead, for that would be redundant!

Now, if I were an artist, I could create a sculpter of myself, in my own image. Does this mean that I am present within that sculpter, or is it just in my image?
Even though it is physically impossible for me to be within that sculpter it does not take away from the fact that it is still in my image.

This leads me to the conclusion:
God created man in His image and in Adam and Eve's original state were perfect and God lived within them (something only He can do). However that fellowship was broken by a choice on Adam and Eve's part, God removed His presence from them, their intimate fellowship was broken. And this transmitted throughout their offspring.
According to the deffinition above, that evil is the measurement of the absense of God, and we know from Scripture that only God is good, if God is not within a person, they are not good.

David, since God is Good, life, holiness, love, etc. to be made in His Image is to possess Goodness, Life, Holiness, Love, etc. in a limited capacity, sure. In a wounded capacity, absolutely. Often, and in many people, one or more of those qualities could be described as being "dead". However, "evil" is not having those qualities present, though dead, but not ever having those qualities.

"Rebirth" is not the irradication of who we are and the creation of something new that looks and talks like us. It is the revival of those qualities that are in us by virtue of being made in God's image, but which have been wounded or killed through sin.

Further, if a person was not "good" to some degree, not only could they not have God within them, but not even around them. Neither could they recognise goodness. The more a man refuses to accept God, the more he pushes God away, the more evil affects him and mars the Image of God within himself. But he never becomes totally evil--because to be totally evil is, at the same time, to not exist.

Therefore, I believe that no human could do a good act unless they have God living within them.

This is not true. For a person to do Good, all that is really required is that God give them the grace to be able to do so, whether or not at that point, God is dwelling within them.

There is a rather large distinction of Created in God's Image and being the Temple of God, where God choses to make His dwelling.


And only Christians have Christ living within them. If Christ is living within them, He is the one doing the work of the Father, therefore they can do Good acts.

Very true.

However if a Christian Adam did, to not obey God, that would be the Human chosing to sin and Christ would take no part in that sin.

If a person chooses to sin in such a way, that he knows he is sinning and wilfully participates and chooses to sin, then not only does Christ not participate in that sin, but the life of Grace that Christ imparts is killed by that sin, and that person must restore his covenant relationship to Christ.

Not that He removes Himself from the life of the Believer, but their intimate fellowship is broken.

That is the same thing.

I hope this clears things up a bit, however I have the feeling that it wont.

It clears up your position, perhaps for yourself, but it is the same position that I've understood you to hold since we began.

On the other hand, I hope my own clarifications above have cleared up my own position.

Anyway, this has gone far enough...we know where each other stand on the issue.
Neither of us are going to change the other...the only way that will happen is from reading God's Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict us on these issues.

Quite true.

By the way, I would be interested in understanding the RC idea of the Store House of Merit? If you could do a post on that, I wont comment, just wondering what exactly is the RC idea behind this and how it came to be?
It makes no sense to me, seeing that Christ declared "It is finished." or "Payed in Full."
I would like to get an understanding of where this concept came from.


In Christ,


That sounds like a great idea for a topic. Thanks for the suggestion. I don't know quite when it will be up, because I'd have to research it, and because I'm going through the Sermon on the Mount currently, and will have enough other interuptions along the way. But I'll toss it up when that's done.

In brief, though, you're on the right track in what you've said above, namely, where you said that Christ living inside of us does good works through us, and this is how we can do Good Works. The amazing thing about this is that those works that Christ does through us are by that same Grace, actually called our own!

Basically, in a nutshell, it's like this: Through Christ's death on the Cross, the Graces that He gave us redeem and sanctify us. Since Christ is infinite, what He does is of infinite worth. Since what He does is infinite, and since it is applied to us, there is a super-abundance of merit available to us through His sacrifice. When we live in Him, and through His grace do those works which God regards as our own, He adds more merit to the superabundance brought by Christ.

The Treasury of Merits of the Saints, on the one hand, is not needed because of the superabundance already available through Christ, but, on the other hand, is still available, because in the end, that treasury is the self-same treasury as the superabundance found in Jesus Christ.

All that is to say that it is a beautiful picture of the Grace that is available through Christ.

I will flesh that out a lot more on my blog--no later than Easter. Possibly during the Easter Season, since that would make sense.

Reply to David's second post:

[David took his parting shots here. For the record, I'm omitting an off-topic comment to Jacob about comment moderation]

Anyway, on with David's final post:

Mark 1:17 said...
I must appologize.
My tone over the last few posts has been one of outrage. I have been angry that I have been called many, many names, none of which I have claimed for myself...also, words have been put into my mouth, I have never uttered or written these words, yet they were attested unto me as a logical path, even though I had no thought of ever going in those directions with my thoughts.
But that is not the point here. The point is, I have been angry and I am sure that tone has come across in the posts.
This is not the correct attitude for me to have, and I am sorry.
I ask for your forgivenness.

I am no longer going to participate in any discussions with you Gregory. Although, I must admit for myself they have greatly strengthened my faith and confidence in God and in His Word! I thank God for that opportunity, but, they are causing me to sin through anger. And that must not be allowed to go on any longer (pluck out the eye!).

Gregory, I do have a suggestion for you in debating with people.
Don't put words into their mouths, and don't take them down a trail that they would have never gone. If you think that they are going in a direction with something they have said, clarify before you go off on this long discourse about how there "logic" is so off. Honestly, you have no idea where they are going to go with a thought. The only thing that you can go off of, is where you yourself would take that thought. If you would take it to a different place, ask them to clarify before you write a 5 page paper on why what they said leads to some heresy.
Allow them the grace to explain there position!

I also just want to clarify, I am not backing out of this. I, myself, would love to stay and get this thing hashed out. However, because it is causing me to sin, it is not beneficial.
Therefore, I am done with this conversation.

In Christ,


David, I accept your apology, but I'm afraid a reciprocal apology from me might not meet with your expectations or approval. I would suggest reading my article at Three Nails, "If I call you a heretic, please be assured that I mean that in the nicest possible way."

I'm sorry if you think that when I point out the logical conclusion of your argument, you take it as an attack on your own person. That is not my intent. My intent is to demonstrate that, whether you yourself realise it or not, the position that you are holding will boil down to that point.

This is how I debate, mainly because this is how debates are done (and for the record, as shown above, when you did clarify your view, I still see it leading down the same path). Theology over the past 2000 years has followed this line: The Bible says something, the Church believes it, someone comes along and misinterprets what the Bible says because on whatever issue, the Bible isn't exhaustive in its treatment of it, and there is room for interpretation (like the Trinity). The Church studies the issue, looking at it from as many sides as is humanly possible (with the added advantage of being led by the Spirit into all truth). They see that if X is believed on the subject, then Y is the conclusion. Therefore, not only do they reject conclusion Y, but proposition X, because it led to Y.

Now, I'm not a genius like St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas, but one thing that God has gifted me with (which even my Protestant theology professor attested) was the ability to see the logical conclusion of an argument or belief system. Combining that with 2000 years of people who have come before me making my job infinitely easier, and it is a very simple thing to say, "No, that's wrong because of X, which leads to Y."

I am not trying to be insulting. I am not trying to put words into your mouth. I am trying to warn you that a specific belief leads to heresy.

Above, you have done me the same courtesy, and I took that opportunity to correct either my thinking or my word choices when they have been in error. I was not offended, because I am not my arguments.

If I point out that something you have said leads to a heretical view, then I hope that you could clarify it in a way that demonstrates why it does not lead to that view, or else, I would hope that you would reexamine your view to see why, in fact, it does lead to heresy.

If you do clarify your beliefs, and I still demonstrate why they lead to something untrue, I again am not attacking you. I think you are a wonderful person, with a definite heart to follow God, but on this issue you are sincerely wrong.

I don't want you to be wrong, or a heretic, which is why I point it out. You once said, below, about Marian dogma, that you will stand on guard against all false teaching. Well, David, the feeling is mutual. If someone challenging you in your faith, showing how your belief on an issue is wrong, makes you so angry that you sin, then yeah, this debate should stop. But some soul-searching should begin.

In sadness

[So, it seems, concludes my interaction with David "Mark 1:17" Blisset. I pray that God gives him the grace to see the fulness of His Truth, and the openness to embrace It.

God bless


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