Arminianism and Roman catholicism

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by Aco, Sep 13, 2019.

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  1. Aco

    Aco Puritan Board Freshman

    I wrestled with this quite some time now.
    I want to hear your thoughts on that.

    In Roman catholicism the idea of (libertarian) free will is crucial to it's system, especially it's sacramental system. While teaching that everything is from grace (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, chapter on grace and jusitifaction), even the beginning of salvation is "all of grace" (prevenient grace) until final perseverance (efficacious and sufficient grace, which only receive the elect => Thomism). The Mass is the real presence of the body and blood of Christ, and it implies necessarily that Christ's sacrifice doesn't perfect anybody because not all who partake will be saved.
    Now how on earth in light of that can Arminianism/Semi-Pelagianism be freed from the same charge? I'm looking for consistency. In those systems Christ's work doesn't perfect anybody, it is a fundemental denial of the finished work.
    If we ought to evangelise Roman catholics, why not Arminians (and other free will and universal atonement affirmers)? On what basis? How is it different concerning the atonement?

    If we go the route of saying; Well, Arminians are ignorant, but they are still brethren etc. Then on why not embrace a Roman catholic who doesn't subscribe to all dogmas but has almost the same theology like the Arminian (I can speak here from personal experience, not just hypothetically).

    Or, if we say it is just transsubstantion and it's applications, how could you embrace a confessional Lutheran and Anglican?

    You have to be consistent. If Roman catholics are not part of the kingdom of Christ, then it's very diffcult for me to see how a denial of the doctrines of grace makes any difference, facing the same problems. It is IMPOSSIBLE to seperate the doctrines of grace from the essentials of the gospel, tgey are everywhere intertwined in the writings of Paul.

    Where I'm missing something? Help me out.
  2. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    This is not an answer your question, but simply making a comment to underscore the reality that Romanism does not define "grace" as the Reformed do. Rome, unlike the Reformed, believes that grace can be merited. For example . . .

    John Hardon’s Catechism Q&A 1096. What can we merit supernaturally? We can supernaturally merit for ourselves an increase of sanctifying grace and the infused virtues, actual graces and a title to them, the right to enter heaven if we die in the divine friendship, and an increase of happiness in heaven. John Hardon, S.J., The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism (New York: Doubleday, 1981), p. 220.

    John Hardon’s Catechism Q&A 1390. How is satisfaction remedial?
    Satisfaction is remedial by meriting grace from God to enlighten and strengthen a person against committing the same sins in the future. John Hardon, S.J., The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism (New York: Doubleday, 1981), p. 276.

    CCC 2010: Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God’s wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions. Catechism of the Catholic Church (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1994), #2010, p. 487. See also #2025 & #2027

    It is always best to remember that Rome does not define terms the way the Reformed do. When the Roman communion states explicitly that grace can be merited, I recall to mind the words of one of their favorite early church writers . . .

    Augustine (354-430): When, however, a truth is of such a nature that he who cannot receive it is made worse by our speaking it, and he who can receive it is made worse by our silence concerning it, what do we think is to be done? Must we not speak the truth, that he who can receive it may receive it, rather than keep silence, so that not only neither may receive it, but that even he who is more intelligent should himself be made worse? For if he should hear and receive it, by his means also many might learn. For in proportion as he is more capable of learning, he is the more fitted for teaching others. The enemy of grace presses on and urges in all ways to make us believe that grace is given according to our deservings, and thus grace is no more grace; and are we unwilling to say what we can say by the testimony of Scripture? Do we fear, forsooth, to offend by our speaking him who is not able to receive the truth? and are we not afraid lest by our silence he who can receive the truth may be involved in falsehood? NPNF1: Vol. V, Augustin’s Anti-Pelagian Works, A Treatise on the Gift of Perseverance, Chapter 40 - When the Truth Must Be Spoken, When Kept Back.

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  3. Aco

    Aco Puritan Board Freshman

    I’m fully aware of those distinctions.
    They are rooted in the nature-grace scheme of Romanism.
    But since you're quoting Augustine, he himself is probably a bit guilty, since he began with those divisions of graces.
    If you read his On Grace and Free Will, On Rebuke and Grace, On the Predestination of the Saints and On the Gift of Perseverance, you will see, because if his ecclesiology, that actually every baptised one reveives grace, but the grace of the gift of perseverance receive only the predestinated elect. That will be further developed by the scholastics in divisions like gratia gratis data and gratia gratum faciens etc. Every Thomist is fairly consistent with Augustine on those issues (read Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange's Predestination, or Thomas's chapter on predestination in his Summa).

    The Reformed concept approximates mostly with what the scholastics would have called uncreated grace which is the Holy Spirit himself, effectual calling is an act of the Spirit and infallibly achieves it's purpose and indwells the believer. But the Reformed didn't use such language to my knowledge.

    The crux of the issue is here: all the non-Reformed concepts of grace collaps into the same problems as Romanism. In Arminianism/Semi-Pelagianism the effect of grace is grounded in the autonomous act of the human will. It is fundamentally meritorious as well. Regeneration doesn't occur unless the will cooperates.
    That renders it crossless as well, it is dependent on the creature.
  4. RJ Spencer

    RJ Spencer Puritan Board Freshman

    You are absolutely correct that they need to be evangelized. They teach others that faith originates with them and so they fail to differentiate between saving faith and mere intellectual belief. "Traditionalism" is even more dangerous, because they teach this same heretical easy-believism, but throw in Once Saved Always Saved. So all across the south you have unconverted people that trust a prayer that they prayed for their salvation, rather than trusting in Christ's finished work through a regenerate heart. A majority of Arminians are likely unconverted, because they trust in their decision or their mere belief to save them rather than Christ.
  5. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    The elect come from every tribe, tongue and nation; the RCC's system is aberrant; The elect will prevail through the error and leave (usually).
  6. Aco

    Aco Puritan Board Freshman

    Well I don't know about the south, I don't live in the US and never been there. But I would say it is true generally, it seems that Arminianism rearly stays just Arminianism. I would argue that historically, at least in Europe here, it has often lead straight into all forms of Liberalism (of course it's not the only factor). And you can see that with Reformed churches as well. Soften divine sovereignty, you got humanism, soften biblical authority... you got heresy after heresy.
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