Thursday, October 11, 2018

Can Hell Be Empty?

I stumbled across a response to an article I wrote back on January 19, 2014, The Matter of Hell. A person who normally opposes my articles (goes by the nickname of TurretinFan, I have no idea of his true identity) actually came out in support of what I said! Now, of course, he still found a way to spin that into an attack on me and/or the Catholic Church - which is why I write this response today. It's nearly 5 years later, but that is mostly because I was not aware of "TurretinFan's" posting. A simple comment stating he responded, preferably with a link, would have been nice and would have likely drawn a more prompt response from me. That being said, let us get into what he said and my responses....

Scott Windsor has a post, "The Matter of Hell," in which he sides with unordained Michael Voris against ordained priest Robert Barron. By contrast, Mark Shea has a post, "Michael Voris Again Smears an Innocent Catholic," in which he sides with Barron against Voris.

Well, let's take TurretinFan's statements in order. First he makes a point of the "unordained" Michael Voris, and that I sided with him in opposing (then) Fr. Barron (he is now a bishop), as if lay people must remain silent with regard to ordained priests. I truly hope that is not TurretinFan's position because often it is precisely the un-ordained who draw back in the ordained. We even have a responsibility to stand up for the traditions we have been taught if we believe any Catholic, ordained or otherwise, is publicly stating something contrary to consistent Catholic teaching. 

TurretinFan also mentions an article by Mark Shea, calling out Michael Voris. I must say, until reading TurretinFan's response to me, I was not aware of Mark Shea's article. Shea wrote, 
Michael Voris sets about the task of ginning up a mob against none other than Fr. Robert Barron as a heretic for his views on hell... 
Well, let us be clear here - Michael Voris - in the short video he posted about Fr. Barron's statements on Hell - NEVER stated Fr. Barron was a heretic. Yes, he clearly stated Fr. Barron was wrong - but not once did he state Fr. Barron was a heretic.

Shea argues that Barron is saying almost exactly what Pope Benedict XVI said on the topic, whereas Windsor argues that Barron's position comes close to falling under the condemnation of the Second Council of Constantinople. Per Windsor, Barron's view is "scandalous at best and perhaps even heretical" whereas Shea thinks "Barron is guilty of no heresy, has said nothing “wrong” and is perfectly within the pale of orthodox speculation."

Interesting how TurretinFan is pitting all these Catholics against each other, as if Catholics can never disagree with each other - even though throughout history we often do and until something is defined as dogma, prior to such a definition, we could even be opposed to the doctrine and still remain a faithful Catholic.

Shea goes on to say: 
You will note that what he has to say is basically identical to what Pope Benedict has to say in Spe Salvi. It is, as it is with Benedict, a speculation, not a forecast or a doctrine. Voris, to his credit cannot bring himself to declare Benedict “wrong” but does not hesitate to bring up Barron on heresy charges for his audience. The problem is, Barron is guilty of no heresy, has said nothing “wrong” and is perfectly within the pale of orthodox speculation.

Let us note, Voris didn't mention Pope Benedict at all, much less make any implication that he was "wrong." Shea submits that Bp. (then Fr.) Barron "is guilty of no heresy..." but as my original article points out, the 2nd Council of Constantinople, the 5th Ecumenical Council, states in the Anathemas Against Origen:
I  If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it:  let him be anathema.
XIV - If anyone shall say that all reasonable beings will one day be united in one, when the hypostases as well as the numbers and the bodies shall have disappeared, and that the knowledge of the world to come will carry with it the ruin of the worlds, and the rejection of bodies as also the abolition of [all] names, and that there shall be finally an identity of the gnosis and of the hypostasis; moreover, that in this pretended apocatastasis, spirits only will continue to exist, as it was in the feigned pre-existence:  let him be anathema.
The "monstrous restoration" and the statement that "all reasonable beings will one day be united..." are both statements nearly identical to what Bp. (then Fr.) Barron asserted - and are flatly condemned with the penalty of anathema from the 5th Ecumenical Council. So to assert there is "no heresy" and "nothing wrong" - is wrong. My initial article, as well as this one, does not go so far as to condemn Bp. Barron as a heretic - but I did, and still do, call for him to publicly retract those statements on Hell - and I would add he should remove that video from YouTube.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: 
The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs (CCC 1035).
Catholic Answers posts a whole article on The Hell There Is!  Their article also references many of the Early Church Fathers, demonstrating the consistent teaching of the Church throughout the ages.

At issue is Barron's apparent view (which he says agrees with Balthazar's view) we should believe that Hell is at least possible (as a metaphor for loneliness from divine love, not actually a place) but that we can reasonably hope that Hell is empty based on God's universal salvific desire. Barron concedes to the big tent nature of Roman Catholicism, pointing out that folks like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas would disagree with him.

Shea likewise balances his comment by pointing out:
Now those, such as Ralph Martin who speculate that few will be saved are also (obviously) also within the pale of orthodoxy and share their opinion with not a few Fathers and theologians. But at the end of the day, that’s all you have: two schools of opinion–both of which are allowed by the Church.

When the consistent Church teaching from the Early Church Fathers, to the Fifth Ecumenical Council to the current Catechism of the Catholic Church all affirm the existence of Hell and even anathamatize those who "speculate" on an "empty Hell" or some form of universal salvation, it is extremely difficult for anyone to claim it is "within the pale of orthodoxy" to even hope for an empty hell. It is just wrong, and to claim the "two schools of opinion" are "allowed by the Church" is false.

But it's not just Windsor and Voris vs. Shea and Barron. We could add that we have previously pointed out contemporary cardinals holding that hell may be empty (Cardinal George Pell and Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor).

So, what's the big deal? Well, on the one hand - the Scriptures are clear that there will be men in hell. For example:
Matthew 7:23
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 25:41
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Revelation 20:14
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Matthew 22:14
For many are called, but few are chosen.
1 Corinthians 1:26
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
Matthew 26:28
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Mark 14:24
And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
Romans 9:22
What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Matthew 8:12
But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
And we could on and on.  Although the great Origen erred in hoping for the eventual restoration of all creation, such a view is not consistent with Scripture's teachings both that hell is real and that the punishment of hell is eternal punishment.

So, on the one hand, Windsor is right that people like Barron and a couple of Windsor's cardinals are wrong. 

TurrentinFan acknowledges, "Windsor is right..." and that others IN the Church are "wrong." 
On the other hand, such a problem is not resolvable on Roman Catholic grounds for basically the reasons that Shea and Barron enunciate: there has been no "official teaching" that anathematizes one or the other position, and consequently both contradictory positions are acceptable, even though both cannot be right.

Well, as I have pointed out - there really ARE teachings which put the statements of Bp. (then Fr.) Barron at odds with orthodox Catholic teaching.  Yes, some have claimed there is no definitive teaching from the Church - but clearly, there IS.

Worse yet for Windsor and Voris, the evidence is that the current hierarchy supports and teaches the erroneous view.  I have not confirmed whether Shea is accurate in characterizing the teachings of Benedict XVI, but it clearly extends at least up to the cardinals.

The encyclical from Pope Benedict, Spe Salvi, which has been alluded to as evidence of Benedict denying Hell barely mentions Hell - and never denies it. There was a bit of a controversy earlier in 2018 when Pope Francis gave an interview to an atheist "friend" of his - but that turned out to be a bit of a farce. Scalfari has a reputation of putting words into the mouth of Pope Francis and in his story recapping the interview he did not use quotes and it certainly appears this was another incident of him inserting his own words for the Pope's.  See my article Pope Francis on Hell from April 1, 2018. Again, I will not be surprised if you can trot out others IN the Church who believe as then Fr. Barron presented in the YouTube Vlog - but that doesn't change the Church's consistent teaching on this matter.
The most remarkably thing is that Windsor and Voris continue to trust in this church (which teaches and promotes errors that they themselves are able to identify) rather than trusting in God alone and His Word. They may be able to convince themselves that these same hierarchs would never commit their erroneous doctrines to an allegedly infallible document, but such thinking seems wishful indeed in view of the highly compromised documents of Vatican II, not to mention the victory of the ultramontanists in Vatican I.

The fact that some men IN the Church have embraced errors doesn't mean we should abandon THE Church which Jesus Christ Himself promised to build. During the time of St. Athanasius MOST of the hierarchy in the Church, including the pope for a while, embraced the heresy of Arianism, leaving St. Athanasius virtually alone in opposing the heresy (which got him exiled from the Church for a time too!). Eventually, however, the pope and the Church returned to orthodoxy and St. Athanasius was returned to the fold. So this sort of argument from TurretinFan does not really carry any weight. Trusting in His Word alone (sola scriptura, which is no where taught in Scripture) has led to literally thousands of "Bible-believing" sects which disagree with each other on many points - and many condemn other "Bible-believing" sects for not believing as THEY do on given topics (baptismal regeneration, to name one). The point is, just because some IN the Church may be venturing into scandal and even heretical territory - that doesn't make the Church wrong.

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Sunday, October 07, 2018

A Matter of Character

Listening to The Lutheran Hour (a half hour program on the radio presented every Sunday by one of our local Lutheran churches) on September 30, 2018 to a sermon entitled Cut Off -- For Us - I am compelled again to respond, and my theme (comparing to other Lutheran Hour responses) remains the same - while the underlying message is true - there is a fundamental flaw which could, in fact, lead to "losing our reward," as this sermon refers to.

I will quote portions of the sermon so you can see the context. It is also found in whole here:

Text: Mark 9:38-50
Have you ever seen a post on Facebook and said to yourself, "Oh, that's not smart"?

One of the challenges that can confront people today as they enter the job market is their digital footprint. Posts on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites follow people into the application process and even into personal interviews. Folks are sometimes surprised to find that prospective employers have searched their online postings as a part of the hiring process. What was posted in fun can have serious effects on a person's employment!

Why would a prospective employer go to the trouble of investigating materials that have nothing directly to do with the potential employee? Plain and simple--it's about character.

sw: I must say, I am often struck with how "right on" the speakers on The Lutheran Hour are much of the time - and this is no exception. What we say or post on the Internet can have an effect on potential employment.

What is more, He uses the occasion to teach the disciples once again what the kingdom of God is really about. While they argue among themselves about who is going to be first in Christ's kingdom, He steers them back to the focus of work in His kingdom: "And He sat down and called the twelve. And He said to them, 'If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all'" (Mark 9:35). Then Jesus takes a child into His arms and says that whoever receives this child receives Him, and whoever receives Him receives His Father, the One who had sent Jesus. Then Jesus goes on to say: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea" (Mark 9:42). This is serious stuff for the Twelve!

sw: And this is case in point where "the message" is really right on the mark, this is "this is serious stuff" for ALL of us - as Dr. Rast goes on to say...

And it is also serious for you and for me. Have you ever caused one of Christ's little ones--youthful or otherwise--to sin? Indeed, you have, whether you realize it or not--and I have, too. Thus, if you really take Jesus' words seriously, you and I are next in line for a pair of cement shoes and an all-too-brief swim in the harbor.

Let's be honest with one another--and with God: how seriously do we really take our caring for others? Do we really put others first, or do we serve ourselves, just like the power-hungry disciples?

sw: I don't know where this "power-hungry" comment comes from - but the statement about "causing one of Christ's little ones - youthful or otherwise--to sin" rings absolutely true. From a certain perspective, ALL Christians can be considered "Christ's little ones" as we are all considered children of God.

But in all honesty, while the first two are pretty straightforward: that is, communicate the faith of the church as taught by the Bible and confessed by the Lutheran Confessions; and share that with people who do not know Jesus both here in the United States and throughout the world, it is the latter where we find the challenge. Where we--where I-- struggle, is in caring for all. This is a basic human challenge--and often it degenerates into sin. For either we fail to care for those in need or, worse, actually harm them by our words and deeds. In so doing we show we disregard God's commands for us, refusing to share even "a cup of water to drink" with those in need and, as a result, we should "lose (our) reward."

"Losing our reward" is a terrifying prospect. Much more than a foolish social media post, your sinfulness and mine cuts us off from God by destroying our relationship with Him. Further, it disrupts all our relationships with family and friends. And it threatens to leave us eternally separated from God. This is indeed serious, serious stuff!

sw: Yes! Indeed this is "serious stuff!" Now, consider that starting with Luther himself, the whole Lutheran movement is causal to literally millions falling from the grace which Jesus Christ Himself provided for His People - the Church. This is no small matter! Whereas the Lutheran Church has similar beliefs to Catholicism in many ways, there are serious flaws to the concept of the schism of Lutheranism. Most notable, we look to the "Four Marks" of the Catholic Church, which are, ironically, still professed in most - if not all - Lutheran churches throughout the world. Those "Four Marks" are, "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic."

sw: Lutheranism itself is not "One," as there are several "synods" of the Lutheran Church - which do not blanketly accept others - even other Lutherans. Anecdotally, when my family moved from one part of town to another, we went from a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS, same synod which produces The Lutheran Hour) to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) and before they would allow our family to participate in Holy Communion, we had to meet with the pastor and be interrogated regarding our faith. We "passed" and were "accepted," but I felt very strange and even a bit offended that as "fellow Lutherans" we had to go through this.

sw: "Holy" is arguable. While I do believe there is a good measure of holiness in the Lutheran Church, can they really be considered "holy" if they are part of what broke apart the Christian Church in the 16th century and continue to be separated to this day? This could be argued as quite "unholy."

sw: Lutheranism is not "Catholic" nor even "catholic." The term meaning "universal," cannot be applied to Lutheranism for they, while being in many parts of the world, are not a universal church - nor do I believe they would literally claim this "mark." Now again, as a former Lutheran, I do concede they do claim this "mark" with the lower-case "c" - implying they belong to the universal belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, this watered down representation of the term cannot be what the writer(s) of the Nicene Creed had in mind because it specifically expresses belief in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic CHURCH. Another point I would add - of the major Lutheran synods, only the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) retains the word "catholic" - the others using a mistranslation here choosing to use the word "Christian."

sw: Lutheranism is not Apostolic - for in breaking with the Catholic Church they have lost their link to the line of bishops. Lutheran bishops (yes they do exist) do not have a valid consecration to the bishoprick - and thus have no valid claim to the "mark" of "apostolic."

God's Word challenges us to take sin seriously by showing us the grave consequences that it has. And it demands that we address it with absolute earnestness: "And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 'where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched'" (Mark 9:43-48). If we really took these verses literally, every one of us would be affected. For our hands rarely help others; our feet move slowly for the Lord's service; and our eyes too often serve as an opening for all kinds of uncleanness to come into us.

Yes! We should take this seriously - and that is part of why I post this Missed it By That Much series. While I have deep rooted love and respect for Lutherans (having spent 20 years as one myself), I also have deep concern that they have missed the mark, "by that much." As Dr. Rast stated above, we need to "address it with absolute earnestness." Anything less than this and we may be judged as "lukewarm" because we got comfortable with the way someone preaches or the people in the congregation. 
Matthew 7:20-25
20 Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.21 Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name?23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.24 Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock,25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.
Matthew 16:18
18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter (rock); and upon this rock I will build my church
Revelation 3:14-16
14 And to the angel of the church of Laodicea, write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, who is the beginning of the creation of God:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot.16 But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.
sw: So ask yourself - are you seeking the ultimate truth with absolute earnestness, as even Dr. Rast encourages you to do? Do you believe Jesus waited 1500 years for Luther to come around before He built His Church? Dr. Rast next challenges his listeners (and readers) with the hyperbole of "What should we do--begin the amputations?" While that is a bit hyperbolic, it is true! If you have a cancer, you cut it out - why? Because the cancer can kill the rest of your body if you let it stay. Being content with a portion of the Truth is just as deadly, spiritually speaking, for the lukewarm Jesus will spit from His mouth and say to them, "Depart from Me for I never knew you." Pretty stern words, and keep in mind - the lukewarm are people who THINK they are following Jesus, they even claim to prophesied and cast out devils in His name - but they find themselves cast out!  Don't be satisfied just because you have found a pleasant pastor or made some good friends - what good will these do you when you are cast out of Heaven? What does a bit of good feeling do here in this temporal state we are in if it does not bring us to eternity with Him?

sw: Don't just take my word for it - study for yourself. Be open to hearing/reading the whole Truth, and do not be complacent with a comfortable niche - and remember, "Wise men still seek Him." Never stop seeking Him!

Scott Windsor<<<

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Saturday, October 06, 2018

Feast of Corpus Christi - A Response

Someone who goes by the name "Malakye" posted a response to my earlier article on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The response is getting a bit long for a combox posting and by responding with a new article, responses for the next 2 weeks do not go into moderation (like Malakye's did initially).  So below I am quoting Malakye's entire response with my responses interjected (and the original is linked above).

You quote: "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. (1 Cor. 11:29).
Then you comment: "It has long puzzled me as to WHY most Protestants don't get this! This is not the use of symbolism...."
RESPONSE: Stop right there. Apparently, you fail to realize that "eating and drinking judgment" in the very verse you wish to prove Transubstantiation, is SYMBOLIC! Oh my, now wasn't THAT a kick in the pants!

sw: Malakye, just because you assert something does not make it so. The fact of the matter is this verse is entirely literal. When you eat and drink the eucharistic hosts - IF - you do so unworthily THEN you are eating and drinking judgment upon yourself. That is not symbolic, that is FACT. Why is it fact? Well, we will discuss that next...

You continue: "It is stating that the eating and drinking of THAT bread and drink (that which was just consecrated by the words a few verses earlier: 1 Cor. 11:23-25) in an unworthy manner brings judgment upon that person for what? For not discerning the body of the Lord! It doesn't get much clearer, my friends!"

RESPONSE: To begin with, you simply READ INTO the Text that the bread and wine were "consecrated" by a priest and by some magic trick, Transubstantiation occurred. Where is the army of Bible scholars who will suppo(rt) sneaking that little notion through the back door?

sw: Well, rather than just rely on the citation, let's look at those words from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 11:
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread.
24 And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me.
25 In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.
26 For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.
Do the words St. Paul used here sound familiar?  They should!  They are straight from the Gospels:

Matthew 26:
26 And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body.

27 And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this.

28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.

Mark 14:
22 And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body.
23 And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it.
24 And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.

Luke 22:
19 And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.
20 In like manner the chalice also, after he had supped, saying: This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.

sw: And even Martin Luther's Small Catechism uses the same verbage:
"Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when he was betrayed, took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said: Take; eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way he also took the cup after the supper, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, Drink of it, all of you. This cup is the New Testament in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
sw: So clearly, St. Paul was passing on the very wording that Jesus Christ used and was recorded by the Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark and Luke. I quoted Luther too, using the same words, and virtually all Christian communities which celebrate "Holy Communion" or "Eucharist" use these same words. Yes, most believe these words to be symbolic but my point here is that Jesus intended we "DO THIS" and we do it THAT WAY every time we participate in Eucharist - and for the most part, we DO exactly THAT and it is for this reason that St. Paul's wording is so familiar.

sw: Now, to answer your question of "where is the army of Bible scholars who will support this concept of Transubstantiation? To quote the U.S. Army slogan, we only need "An army of One," and that is Jesus Christ Himself! When HE said, "This IS my body" and "This IS my blood," true followers of Christ don't doubt His words here! We BELIEVE what Jesus Christ said IS TRUE!  That bread and wine no longer is bread and wine, it IS the body and blood of Christ! When Jesus Christ Himself says it, why would you feel the need for an "army of Bible scholars" to support the statement? That being said, throughout the ages this has been the consistent teaching and this notion of symbolism is the novel (new) idea which gained in popularity only in the last 500 years and only in groups in schism from the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. If you really want a list, I'll provide one - just ask again, and be prepared to be overwhelmed.

sw: You accuse me of reading into the text the concept of Transubstantiation - but I say to you, it is YOU who reads into the text a concept of symbolism - for again, when Jesus says "This IS my body," TRUE believers accept Him at His word - it IS His body, it is no longer bread. It may still appear to be bread - St. Thomas Aquinas did an excellent job of explaining the concept of the appearance is the "accidents" and the "accidents" don't change - however the "substance" - that which it REALLY IS - does change. That is where we get the word Transubstantiation -
trans = change
substantia = substance
tion = an act
sw: There is a REAL change in the substance of that which still has the appearance of bread and wine. To say anything LESS happens, like a mere statement of symbolism, is to actually READ OUT OF the text something which is literally part of the text.

sw: In John 6 when Jesus COMMANDS (several times!) that we MUST eat His flesh and drink His blood or we have NO LIFE in us - He doesn't explain it away as a figurative parable. No, in fact when many of His own disciples "turned and walked with Him no more" over that very statement, He doesn't go chasing after them and explain, "Wait guys!  I was only speaking figuratively here" - no!  Instead He turns to The Twelve and challenges, "Will you also leave?" And of course, they don't.

Next, the phrase, "not discerning the Lord's body" isn't symbolic in and of itself because obviously, to not discern something is to not discern something. It is WHAT is being discerned that is the question here...and we say the "WHAT" is definitely symbolic.
You simply assume that judgment was brought upon them because they had failed to discern Transubstantiation had taken place. NO! Judgment was brought upon them because of their callous disregard to what the elements REPRESENTED. Consequently, their's was an abuse offered to a SIGN. Such abuse reaches to that person which the sign signifies; thus, the Corinthian’s sacrilege of the Supper amounted to burning Christ in effigy. They were "insulting the Spirit of grace" (Heb 10:29) which whitewashed our crimson-stained redemption, resulting in some of their deaths (1 Cor 11:30). Therefore, the "Real Presence" of Christ is simply not required to be in the emblems of bread and wine for one to be "guilty of the body and blood of the Lord"....and happily, no need to ever celebrate "Corpus Christi" or name a church like that ever again.
Repeat: it was NOT that they were failing to discern Transubstantiation had occurred. They were failing yes, but failing to honor what the Lord's body REPRESENTED in the elements; namely, that it was given in order that our sins might be put away! By their cantankerous behavior, they were effectively treating the work of Christ in contempt. Instead of being cleansed by his blood, they end up being "guilty of his blood"; in the same sense as expressed in Hebrews 6:6; "crucifying to themselves the Son of God afresh."

sw: First off, let me say that I certainly understand WHY you must interpret this as figurative or symbolic - but the reality is there is no figurative language being used here! Jesus does not say, "Take and eat, this bread REPRESENTS my body..." no!  He said "...this IS my body." There is no judgment for not recognizing a representation - the judgment is for not recognizing the body of Christ! 

sw: Ask yourself this - How can one be cleansed by His blood and/or guilty of not recognizing it as TRULY His blood, IF His blood isn't really and TRULY there?

HEBREWS 6:6 IS THE ANSWER, MR. WINDSOR, as to what being guilty of the body and blood means. ALL CATHOLIC APOLOGISTS WITHOUT EXCEPTION, MISS THIS. In other words, if the Corinthians continue to deliberately undermine the cross-work of Christ, they are no different than those who first crucified him; seeing his death as not for the sins of others, but as one who deserved execution.
I trust now you are no longer.... "puzzled"???

sw: In context, Hebrews 6:6 is referring not to someone partaking in the Eucharist unworthily, but to those who were once Christians and have fallen away.  These fallen away Christians, since they once knew the Truth now are making a mockery of their former faith and are crucifying Christ again. There is no mention of the Corinthians "continuing to deliberately undermine the cross-work of Christ, you have imported that into the text. The text says those who have fallen away, they are bringing forth thorns and briers - they are no longer Christians, their end is to be burnt (see verse 8). So Hebrews 6 is NOT talking about partaking in the Eucharist unworthily, but abandoning Christ altogether and sewing thorns and briers among His Church.

sw: Without knowing you, other than your appearance here and the fact that you are challenging me and the Church. I must say, I do appreciate your zeal but I would offer you a bit of caution. Hebrews 6 seems to apply more to a person such as yourself. You have had a taste of the truth, you know the saving power of Christ and the Cross, yet you are attacking the Church which He founded! You are attempting to sew thorns and briers here. He chose The Twelve, our first bishops, and The Twelve chose others to spread the Church and to CONTINUE the Church until He comes again. That Church is the Catholic Church which has been around for nearly 2000 years now - it is not some schismatic group which was formed sometime in the last 500 years.

sw: I pray for your repentance and conversion.


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Monday, September 17, 2018

Pope Francis McCarrick and the Latest Sex Scandal

2015 Pope Francis embracing Cardinal McCarrick
Some of you may have been wondering, "Why is this Catholic apologetics site so silent on defending the Church in this latest sex scandal?" Well, to be blunt - this is NOT a matter of the Faith for a Catholic apologist to defend! There is no Catholic teaching here to be brought up in question and/or needing a defense. If anyone reading this has such a teaching in mind - bring it up - otherwise stop trying to attack the Catholic Church for the alleged deeds of some men IN the Catholic Church.

Secondly, there's nothing "new" in these allegations - and some are more than 30 years old! Does that make the allegations less concerning? No, but to represent this as new news is not quite honest.

As for Pope Francis covering this up, he wasn't even pope at the time of the alleged events took place, in fact, Pope John Paul II was in charge.

Back to the heart of this discussion - if Card. McCarrick is guilty of these allegations, then it is a despicable and indefensible situation - AND he would be in VIOLATION of Church AND scriptural teaching on this subject. So, what would a Catholic apologist, one who defends the Faith, have to defend here?  The answer is NOTHING.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Response to the Indulgences Debate Discussion

This posting is actually in response to one who goes by the nickname of "Peace By Jesus" which I have shortened to "PBJ."  PBJ is responding to a thread on the BeggarsAllReformation Blog (BARB) which also discusses the Indulgences Debate, to which I have provided a fairly thorough response to here on Qui Locutus. PBJ is not responding to my commentary of the debate, but to a discussion on BARB. I have linked that discussion above for those who would like to see the context. I post here because this response became a bit too long and involved for a combox response. Without further ado...

> PBJ:  I do not check this email often, so i missed this reply.

SW: No worries - it has taken me a while to complete my response to you.

>> SW:   While I get the rationalizations you put forth,
> PBJ:  No, what you do not get then is that Scripture
> clearly speak of the next conscious reality for
> believers then it is with the Lord,

SW: Let's look at those verses, instead of just throwing out of context references, shall we? While the readers here will have the benefit of the verses actually being quoted - on BARB we were not afforded that luxury.

Lk. 23:43 "And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise."

SW: Purgatory IS part of Paradise. Only the SAVED can be in Purgatory.

2Cor. 12:4 "That he was caught up into paradise, and heard secret words, which it is not granted to man to utter."

SW: Context, my friend, context. This passage speaks of a man St. Paul knew and did not know whether or not that experience was in the body or out of the body. This speaks NOTHING about after this life, in fact St. Paul speaks of him in present tense that he KNOWS him (See verse 2). [Added: Perhaps this man to whom St. Paul speaks of never died? Scripture alone doesn't tell us.]

Rv. 2:7 "He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: To him, that overcometh, I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of my God."

SW: All this says is that the one who overcomes will eat of the tree of life. You cannot use this as a statement against Purgatory - if anything, one could use it in support of Purgatory! He that overcometh (the trials of Purgatory) shall eat of the tree of life...

Phil 1:23 "But I am straitened between two: having a desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, a thing by far the better. 24 But to abide still in the flesh, is needful for you."

SW: So here, St. Paul desires to be with Christ, but he is still needed to abide with the Church on Earth. Again, there is no negation of Purgatory here.

2Cor. 5:8 [“we”] "But we are confident, and have a good will to be absent rather from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

SW: Again, there is no denial of Purgatory here! The desire to be in Heaven does not mean there is no Purgatory.

1Cor. 15:51ff'- "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

SW: That we will be changed does not preclude going to Purgatory.

1Thess. 4:17 - "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

SW: Keep in mind, those in Purgatory WILL be with Him forever too.  Still no preclusion of Purgatory here.

> PBJ: And the next transformative experience that is manifestly taught is that of being like Christ in the resurrection.

1Jn. 3:2 "Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is."

SW: And again, what we shall be does not mean we will not be purified before we get there.

Rm. 8:23: "And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body."

SW: Is anyone else seeing a pattern here? Again, waiting for the adoption, etc. does not equate to no Purgatory.

1Co 15:53,54 "53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory."

SW: Yes, when we go to Purgatory our corruption puts on incorruption.

2 Cor. 2-4 "For out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote to you with many tears: not that you should be made sorrowful: but that you might know the charity I have more abundantly towards you."

SW: I do not see any relationship at all here - assuming your meant 2 Cor. 2:4.

> PBJ: At which time is the judgment seat of Christ, which is the
> only suffering after this life, which does not begin at death,
> but awaits the Lord's return,

1 Corinthians 4:5 "Therefore judge not before the time; until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise from God."

SW: This one actually supports Purgatory! "Who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness..." but every man shall still have praise from God? Even though the things of darkness are exposed - "every man" who is in this purification IS saved and shall have praise from God!

2 Timothy 4:1,8 "I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom." And: "As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming. Make haste to come to me quickly."

SW: I would be relatively certain that St. Paul suffered his Purgatory while still on Earth, and he is speaking of himself in these verses. Between those two verses he speaks of those who will fall away due to following teachers with itching ears, etc., so the same context is talking about losing souls (so much for the once-saved-always-saved mentality). Anyway, nothing here speaks against Purgatory.

Revelation 11:18 "And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest render reward to thy servants the prophets and the saints, and to them that fear thy name, little and great, and shouldest destroy them who have corrupted the earth."

SW: Again, while it speaks of judgment here - and those who were "prophets and saints, and to them that fear Thy Name, little and great..." shall be rewarded and those who corrupted the Earth will be destroyed, nothing is denying a time of purification of those souls who WILL BE rewarded.

Matthew 25:31-46 "31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. 32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. 34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: 36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. 37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? 39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? 40 And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. 41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. 44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? 45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. 46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting."

SW: And again, you argue from silence. EVERY MAN who goes to Purgatory SHALL GO INTO LIFE EVERLASTING too! Just because THIS verse or THAT verse doesn't mention the purification phase does not negate those other verses which DO mention the purification and those being purged will "suffer loss" though they will still be "saved" in the end.

(A verse from me) 1 Cor. 3:15 "If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire."

SW: You can cite dozens of verses which don't mention the purification period (Purgatory) but if there is even ONE verse (and there are others) which CLEARLY represents where "ANY" man's work (not just preachers, as some will try to diminish the REAL meaning of this text, which you have before you in black and white) will be jugded and IF it is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself is still saved! That is PRECISELY what Purgatory is all about! Only the SAVED will be there, the chaff is already cast into Hell.

1 Peter 1:7 "That the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold which is tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ" and 5:4 "And when the prince of pastors shall appear, you shall receive a never fading crown of glory."

SW: Here again you mention a verse which overtly speaks of the "trial by the fire" - which IS Purgatory!

> PBJ: and is the suffering of the loss of rewards (and the
> Lord's displeasure) due to the manner of material one built
> the church with, which one is saved despite the loss of such,
> not because of. (1 Corinthians 3:8ff)

SW: And this is part of the context of the verse I quoted, 1 Cor. 3:15. Yes, the man spoken of here IS saved already, and though some of his works may cause him to suffer loss - he is still (already) saved. Yes, this IS Purgatory!

> PBJ: Since all you see are rationalizations I repeated what
> Scripture says, which all your strained or wrested appeals
> to texts which do not teach Purgatory cannot refute.

SW: Well first off, be accurate and truthful - you didn't "repeat what Scripture says," you presented a list of unquoted Bible verses.  *I* have provided the actual text(s) of what your list refers to and NOT ONE of those verses refutes Purgatory!  NOT EVEN ONE of them does! Arguments from silence are not valid and are therefore to be outright rejected from evidence. NONE of those verses mention that Jesus wore sandals either, but just because they don't say He did doesn't mean He didn't.

>> SW: I can provide prooftexts which allow us to rationalize that
>> there is indeed a Purgatory -
> PBJ: And which attempts have been refuted here in a succession of
> posts,

SW: Nope.  Didn't happen. Just because YOU believe there has been a refutation from your arguments from silence does not mean there as been even a SINGLE refutation.

> PBJ continues: and shown that belief in Purgatory is not
> what is manifest in the the only wholly inspired authoritative
> record of what the NT church believed (including how they
> understood the OT and gospels). But there is always another
> RC devotee who seems compelled to defend whatever Rome imagines,
> regard(les)s of how cultic it makes them look.

SW: First off, a "cult" is not necessarily a bad thing. Too many people out there confuse "a cult" with "occult" and the two are NOT the same and should NOT be equivocated so!  Whereas the "occult" involves things like magic and the paranormal - the word "cult" simply means a group or following.

>> SW: and- if it exists, then the Church, through her authority
>> to bind or loose whatsoever she chooses, could indeed loose
>> in a a plenary or partial fashion the time spent in Purgatory.
> PBJ: Please. Parroting prevaricating propaganda may be
> comforting to the Catholic choir but it simply will not stand
> the test of examination of what the NT church believed in the
> most ancient substantive record. But I do understand that Rome
> has presumed to infallibly declare she is and will be
> perpetually infallible whenever she speaks in accordance with
> her infallibly defined (scope and subject-based) formula, which
> renders her declaration that she is infallible, to be infallible,
> as well as all else she accordingly declares.

SW: THE POINT of THAT statement is that this really boils down to AUTHORITY. You adhere to the un- and anti-scriptural notion of sola scriptura (Scripture, nowhere, proclaims itself to be the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church); and I adhere to what Scripture clearly points to as infallible authority in one man (the pope) in Matthew 16:18-19 and the council of bishops in Matthew 18:18.

> PBJ: Maybe you want to try the "The Church ® gave you the
> Scriptures, thus it is the supreme infallible authority on
> what it means" argument.

SW: Well, did you listen to the whole debate? While Peter D. Williams DID make an argument regarding the Canon of Sacred Scripture... which IS a valid argument for Church Authority - I did not see that as a valid argument in the Indulgences Debate between him and White. MY point in bringing up Church Authority is that this is truly the root of our separated beliefs. IF there is merit to the Church having said authority THEN the matter of Purgatory is not really up for debate anymore. IF the Church does not have this authority - then Scripture lies to us in telling us she can bind or loose whatsoever she chooses and that binding and/or loosing is also in effect in Heaven. Or, perhaps you believe that error can be bound in Heaven?

>> SW: that indulgences are ONLY for those who are saved already.
> PBJ: I think I expressed that,

SW: GOOD! Then you concur that White lost the debate because IF indulgences are ONLY for those who are already saved THEN they cannot be a denial of the Gospel - which IS the question of THAT debate.  Thank you!

> PBJ: except that "saved" in Scripture means the next conscious
> reality for believers after this life it is with the Lord. Who
> is not in RC Purgatory.

SW: Well, 1) The Lord IS in Purgatory!  It is His LOVE and PRESENCE which burns at the souls of those who have ANY stain of impurity remaining when they stand before Him. 2) There is NO Catholic teaching on just how long Purgatory lasts. It could last just an instant - that instant we stand before Him - and it may SEEM like days, weeks, years, etc. Or it could last days, weeks, years. What relevance is "time" really in the realm of eternity? 3) I repeat, NONE of the verses you cited (and didn't quote) denied the reality of Purgatory anymore than they denied Jesus wore sandals.

> PBJ: May God peradventure grant you "repentance to the
> acknowledging of the truth." (2 Timothy 2:25)

SW: Thank you, and likewise - it is with modesty that I admonish you in your resistance to the Truth (same verse).

SW: I do wish you peace and openness to God's guidance to the fullness of truth and faith.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

An Apologist View of the Assumption

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was last week, August 15th. In the Eastern Rites this is celebrated as the Dormition of the Theotokos.
St. John Damascene (d. 749) also recorded an interesting story concerning the Assumption: "St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven." [Qtd. by Fr. Saunders in The Assumption of Mary at:]
The Feast is established in the Eastern Church by the Byzantine Emperor Mauritius (582-602)on August 15th and remains celebrated on this date in both Eastern and Western (Latin) traditions.
I selected this picture because it shows our Blessed Lady as an older woman. So many of the other pieces of art we have show the Blessed Virgin as a young lady, even at the time of her assumption into Heaven.

Is The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Contrary to Scripture?

While it is true, Scripture makes no mention of the Assumption, it is not something contrary to Scripture either. Enoch walked with God and was taken by God (Gen. 5:24). Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind as he and Elisha were talking and separated by a chariot of fire (1 Kings 2:11; 1 Macc. 2:58). Elijah's presence in Heaven is made evident as well by his appearance at the Transfiguration - and also at this event was Moses, indicating at least a third person was bodily in Heaven (Matt. 17:3). That being said, Scripture itself does imply she's already there! In Rev. 12:1 we hear of this "woman clothed in the sun" and "crown on her head with twelve stars" - again implying she is already there AND has been crowned, as we refer to her, as Queen of Heaven. We're also sure this passage is talking about the Blessed Virgin Mary because it also speaks of her as giving birth to a Son, whom the Devil sought to destroy, but that Son ascended into Heaven where He sits upon His throne.

Even the staunchest of "Bible-believering Christians" must accept that bodily assumption into Heaven is not something contrary to Scripture.

A Contradiction?

Some may point to John 3:13 and Jesus' own words where He says "And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven." Does Jesus then contradict what is clearly recorded in Gen. 5:24 and 2 Kings 2:11? By no means! Enoch and Elijah were "taken" to Heaven, they did not ascend by their own accord - and neither did the Blessed Virgin! The only Man who has ascended into Heaven by His own will/accord - is the Son of Man, Jesus Christ.

Another Extraordinary Event During the Ordinal (Counting) Season

And yes, during this time of the liturgical year, in modern times it is referred to as "Ordinary Time," but this is yet another example of the extra-ordinary being celebrated. It is my ongoing mission and plea that we stop referring to this period in the liturgical calendar as "ordinary" and go back to what it was called previously - and that is "Ordinal Time." Yes, both "ordinal" and "ordinary" are from the same root and CAN both mean a period of counting - the more popular use of "ordinary" takes on a lesser meaning of something more general, or humdrum, or run-of-the-mill (see Thesaurus on "ordinary" for more).

Does The Church Have the Authority

Does the Church have the authority to declare such a feast day and dogmatically define such a teaching? Clearly, the answer here is YES! In Matthew 16:18-19 the authority to bind or loose on Earth and in Heaven of whatsoever he chooses is given to our first pope, St. Peter - and in Matthew 18:18 that same authority is given to the Apostles, our first bishops, as a group. So, while St. Peter and/or his successors, can declare such a teaching as dogma (and this did happen in 1950 when Pope Pius XII defined this very teaching as dogma in Munificentissimus Deus. I would add, the ONLY part of that document which is absolutely infallible is the definition itself, and that is:
that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
Bottom line here is, before getting too far into a debate on the Assumption itself, it is best to establish the authority of the Catholic Church - which is truly the more/most fundamental difference between Catholics and those who protest against Catholicism.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Indulgences Debate Summary

OK, for my summary of this debate:

All other side-topics aside (and there were a few on both sides in this debate)...

1) Williams - He does a very good job of representing what indulgences ARE and does drive home the fundamental FACT that indulgences are not contrary to the Gospel, they are an INSTRUMENT of the Gospel. Peter not only points out the organic development of the doctrine in Sacred Tradition (as opposed to a mutatative development) but also points out scriptural references to support the belief and teaching.

2) White - While in his Opening Statement DOES say indulgences are only for those who are already saved - he apparently ignores that FACT - and continually equivocates indulgences to salvation, which, as Peter and myself state repeatedly, are not salvific. Indulgences, as James correctly posits (and ignores) can ONLY be applied to those who are ALREADY SAVED and/or are IN THE STATE OF GRACE. James repeatedly tried to say indulgences somehow earn salvation, but again - that position is absolutely DENIED by true Catholic teaching and confession. 

White's myopic focus on that which indulgences are NOT is why he loses this debate.  Even if he concedes what indulgences ARE, he loses - because then he would also have to admit that indulgences do NOT deny the Gospel - which IS the question of this debate.

Back to Indulgences Debate Index

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Indulgences Debate

This article serves as the Index Page for my commentary on a debate on Indulgences between James R. White and Peter D. Williams. The debate took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland in an Anglican church on June 4, 2018. The title/question for this debate was "Does the Doctrine of Indulgences Deny the Gospel?"

James White, asserting the positive (that indulgences DO deny the Gospel message) goes first...

Indulgences Debate Commentary Part 1

Do Indulgences Deny The Gospel?

So goes the title of a debate between James White (Reformed Baptist) and Peter D. Williams (Catholic). Below are my notes and quotes from the debate and my comments will be inserted in this font/color.

One point I would like to open with, and White even mentions this fact and that is, indulgences are applied against "time" in Purgatory. Indulgences have absolutely nothing to do with salvation - as those who might receive an indulgence are ALREADY SAVED. It is this latter point which White erroneous equates indulgences with salvation and hence he confuses indulgences with the Gospel. One thing I would like to say up-front - in the terms of THIS debate, White is put at a disadvantage in going first. Williams should have gone first to spell out the terms and definitions as used by Catholics. As you will see below, White (repeatedly) uses wrong terminology and/or applies the terminology wrongly.

Indulgentiarum Doctrina [White cites this numerous times, here's the source:] - 

Section 7

Temporal punishments due to sins (which have been forgiven) are able to remitted through indulgences.

The treasure made up of merit gained by Jesus Christ and the Saints, excess merit which can be doled out to those on earth,

Norm #1 - White quotes stating the sins are "already forgiven." This is the key point which White quotes, but seems to ignore. You will see below, while he opens with a proper definition (so maybe Williams going first would not have changed things) he continually goes into terminology of justification and salvation - which has nothing to do with indulgences for those who have been justified - those who ARE saved.

You cannot gain indulgences by purchasing them, but they are still available. You can get one simply by attending an upcoming conference in Dublin, Ireland - and not just a partial indulgence, but a plenary - or totally remits all temporal punishment.

This is the concept of indulgences is wholly unbiblical and never taught by any of the Apostles and thus is a later invention of the Catholic Church - "it was a long process to get there," White states.  White believes it is built upon a "fundamental misunderstanding of God's Grace and especially the nature of the Gospel" and based "on a long line of unbiblical concepts, including but not limited to:
  • The unbiblical distinction between mortal and venial sins.
  • The concept of sacramental penances.
  • The entire concept of the Roman priesthood and its alleged powers and authorities to levy temporal punishments upon the souls of those already justified in the Righteousness of Christ and who, in their ordination, call themselves an alter christus (another Christ).
  • Likewise, the concept of excess merit which can somehow be stored, controlled, counted, put into a treasury and then transmitted to other people through the power of the keys given only to Peter.
  • Then the utterly non-apostolic concept of the treasury of merit combined with the errant belief that the Bishop of Rome possesses the keys of Peter that could control such a treasure when in fact that authority to bind and loose was given to all of the Apostles and not to Peter alone. 
After bringing up all these topics, he dismisses them stating we could go into half a dozen different topics from the papacy and priesthood which he's already debated and refers us to his earlier debates. So why throw these out there in the first place? It would appear he just wanted to make these statements, all of which do relate to the subject of indulgences - but doesn't want Peter (or us) to respond to them. In essence, exposing the jury to details, but then withdrawing the statement so while there is to be no discussion, the jury has already heard him. Since he brought them up, let's deal with them instead of just letting it pass...
  • The distinction between mortal and venial sins is most definitely biblically based! 1 John 5:16-17: If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death (venial), he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death (mortal); I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death (venial)[NASB, parenthetical insertions mine]. White is simply wrong here to state this is an unbiblical distinction. Now, he might want to interpret this differently (I don't really see how) but he cannot say mortal v. venial sins is unbiblical when it clearly is biblical. That being said, the distinction between mortal and venial sins is not the topic of this debate - a misdirection by White.
  • Sacramental Penances - No such thing. There is the Sacrament of Penance, which is Confession and typically a penance is given but White is mixing terminology here. Confession is based in John 20:22-23 - (Jesus) said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” (NASB) This authority is given to the Apostles, and in the previous verse Jesus tells them that as the Father sent Him, He sends them (v. 21). Clearly succession is here and since He gave them this authority to forgive or retain sins, they were to pass this authority on to others.
  • "The entire concept of the Roman (Catholic) priesthood" - OK, that's huge, but really - it is based in John 20:21-22 (as above).
  • "...and authorities to levy temporal punishments upon the souls of those already justified in the Righteousness of Christ." Priests do not "levy temporal punishments." White is just wrong here (again).
  • "...and who, in their ordination, call themselves an alter christus (another Christ)." Well, specifically this refers to when the priest consecrates the Eucharist and he does speak in persona christi - in the person of Christ. When the priest says, "This is My body" he refers to the body of Christ, not his own. This is not a topic for this debate.
  • The concept of excess merit... I believe this is a development, but it does not oppose the Gospel.
  • "...the power of the keys, given only to Peter." The only time "the keys" are mentioned is in giving those keys to Peter (Matthew 16:18-19). This is not a topic for this debate.
  • "the authority to bind and loose was given to all the Apostles and not to Peter alone." We agree! The authority to bind and loose is not the same as the authority of the keys. Yes, all the Apostles together are given the authority to bind and loose in Matthew 18:18. Peter is given that authority alone in Matthew 16:18-19. So, that which Peter can do on his own, the rest of the Apostles (bishops) can do as a group, such as in an ecumenical council. This is not a topic for this debate.
Back to the debate...
Now, number one:
Indulgences are based upon the Thesaurus Meritorum, from the Treasury of Merit. There is no basis for believing the amount of blood shed is relevant to some concept of merit. The reality is in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, it was the Perfect Life given that saves, not the amount of blood shed. The amount of blood shed does not create some sort of excess merit. God's purpose was specifically to redeem a specific people He does so perfectly, there's nothing left over or accidental and it is in union with Christ that we then receive that benefit, it is not about the amount of blood that is shed. The elect are saved by union with Christ in His death, the idea that a single drop of blood could redeem the world misses the reality of God's purpose of the union of the elect with the God-Man.
There is nothing in any doctrine of indulgences which mentions "the amount of blood shed," so I do not know where this is coming from. Another misdirection from White.
Further, the mixture of Mary and the Saints with that of Christ is a blasphemous error. His saving power is utterly unique as the God-Man.  Mary was not the god-woman, the Saints are not god-people. The merit He has as the God-Man absolutely unique to Himself and the only reason that Mary and the Saints are in Heaven is due to His merit in the first place. So, how could they have merit which would add to His merit when they are dependent upon Him to get there in the first place? Mixing merit shows a fundamental heresy regarding the ground of our forgiveness with God. The idea of the Church on Earth, in any fashion, controls this mythical treasury or can dispense its fictional benefits is utterly unknown to any apostolic witness of Scripture. Where does an Apostle teach anything like this?
 And yet another misdirection from White. Again, merits applied from indulgences do NOT "save" anyone, as White has already admitted, they are only applied to those who are already saved.

Indulgences fundamentally deny the purpose of God in conforming believers to the image of Christ in sanctification, (walking through doors, or climbing up stairs on your knees, or attending conferences, in no way mortifies remaining sin or brings one closer to Christ. 

Indulgences, again, are only applied to those who are in the state of Sanctifying Grace, they are "saved," and are being tested, as by fire. (1 Cor. 3:12-15).
We do not grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ by attaining mythical merit via indulgences.

There can be definite growth in grace (God's life in us) and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially if the indulgenced act is something like the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross or reading Scripture with devotion due to God's Word for at least a half an hour. Certainly these are means of increasing "God's life in us" and can be bringing us closer to Christ. So again, White is simply wrong on this.

White accepts and acknowledges apostolic succession and then redefines what it means, He does NOT accept the concept of the succession being the OFFICE of the bishop, which IS the apostolic office each of the Apostles held and passed on to successors.  White states it is "a succession of truth, that is, you stand in the succession of the Apostles when you teach what the Apostles taught." Yes, that IS a "succession of truth," but it is NOT the historical. It is common for the Protestant to deny REAL apostolic succession in the OFFICE of the bishop - because to acknowledge that not only gives tacit consent to valid succession all the way back to the Apostles, but also would mean this OFFICE would also carry with it apostolic authority. 
White jumps from indulgences to justification (yet another misdirection) and brings up Romans and that we have peace in His Grace.  None of these things add to our justification, they do not add to our peace with God, but they do conform us to the image of Christ...  Christ alone died for us... anything which detracts from Christ, anything which puts the focus on us or anyone else misses the New Testament and apostolic teaching. Much more than being justified... by how?  By His blood. He repeats, "By His blood; that is the giving of His life, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him."  
And I repeat - indulgences is not about being "saved." Those in Purgatory have already escaped God's wrath! This time of purification (since nothing impure can enter into Heaven [Rev. 21:27]). At this point I am not convinced that White is deliberately misdirecting (maybe he is?) but rather he truly does not understand the concepts of purification in Purgatory or the distinction between forgiveness and the removal of temporal punishments.  Being saved from God's wrath (Hell) and being set free from Purgatory are NOT the same thing - yet White continually confuses the two, as we see next:
White asks, "What are temporal punishments?"  White adds, "I have been justified by His blood and I will be saved from the wrath of God, not just in eternity, but against the wrath of God against sins through Him."  "For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son. Are we truly reconciled, or is there a necessity of some sort of further reconciliation? We shall be saved by His life, (no one else's) and not only this but we also exalt in God through Jesus Christ through whom we have now received the reconciliation. We do not need to be seeking some sort of reconciliation through indulgences for the forgiveness of temporal punishments of our sins.
I hope you can see what I am talking about here! White is confusing justification and salvation with indulgences and the removal of temporal punishments due to sin. I feel I need to keep repeating myself - the removal of temporal punishments is NOT justification! The removal of temporal punishments is NOT salvation! Those for whom indulgences might be applied ARE ALREADY JUSTIFIED! Those for whom indulgences might be applied ARE ALREADY SAVED! So again, this is either deliberate misdirection OR White truly does NOT understand the concepts we are discussing here.

You might say, "But does not God discipline us?"  Yes He does, but there is a vast difference between the wrath of God in punishment, temporal punishments for sins and the fatherly chastening of His people. In Hebrews chapter 12, which White then quotes:
"it is for discipline that you endure - not for cleansing so that you can enter into the presence of God. It is for discipline that you endure, God deals with you as with sons, for which son is there which God does not discipline? But if you are without discipline of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers which discipline us and we respected them, shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of Spirits and live? For if they disciplined us for a short time as seen best to them, but He disciplines us for our good so that we might share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." 
God chastens us, He chastens us, His people; that is not the same thing as temporal punishments assigned to you by a priest that you must have cleansed from your soul either through your own suffering in Purgatory, your acts of penance on Earth or by the deposit to your account of the foreign mixed merits of Jesus, Mary and the Saints.
And again with the erroneous statement that priests assign temporal punishments. That concept is wholly foreign to the Catholic teaching on indulgences. I would also say that the topic of disciplining us is yet another misdirection. Time spent in Purgatory is not for disciplining so that one might learn a lesson and grow in awe and respect - it is simply a time of purification for those who have already been saved, already been forgiven. 
White used to use an example (for another reason) of his Cross Medalist pen, let me use that image for a moment. Let's say I stole White's Cross Medalist pen. Later, I'm feeling a bit guilty and/or sorry for doing this so I go to him and say, "James, I'm sorry I stole your pen." White could then say, "Thank you for coming to me and admitting this, I do forgive you... now one more thing... you need to return the pen to me or reimburse me for the cost of the pen." While White may have forgiven me the offense of stealing his pen, I will not really be welcome in his presence if I have not returned the pen and/or paid him for the cost of that pen. "Truly, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny." [Matthew 5:26 and Luke 12:59].
How is the justice of God satisfied in me?  Well, what did Paul say in Romans 8:1?  "Therefore there is now no condemnation (for whom?) for those who are in Christ Jesus.  It is union with Christ.  It is His death in my place. It is Him bearing my sins. My receiving His righteousness by God's grace, through faith. That is what satisfies the justice of God.  
And again, White confuses the terms of "condemnation" and "Purgatory." He does not use the word "Purgatory" here, but it is from there that a person is released once they have no more temporal punishment remaining.
God's justice is not satisfied by someone thinking that they are going to be able to be made right before God, that they are going to have the justice of God satisfied in them by attending a conference in Dublin in a few weeks. That does not satisfy the justice of God... and to say that it does, fundamentally, denies what Lord Jesus Christ went through on the Cross of Calvary.  
And again, White confuses the satisfaction of God's justice with Purgatory. Those in Purgatory have ALREADY satisfied His justice and ARE saved.
You want to see what satisfies the justice of God, then see what the Son suffers on Calvary itself. (Quoting the Catechism of Pope Pius X...) "And obtain possession of Heaven sooner and more easily."  I can't obtain the possession of Heaven.  You see the only way that I can believe that I will be in the presence of God is if I am in the ONE who perfectly fulfilled all of God's Law.  The ONE in whom is eternal life. The ONE in whom the wrath of God finds no place. The perfect God-Man, Jesus Christ.  If I am in Him, I have His life and the wrath of God finds no place in me, only - only because I am in Him and He has born that wrath already in His body upon the tree. So I cannot possess Heaven by anything I do in this life.  The Christian message is I flee from all the manmade works and I trust solely in Jesus Christ. That is the only way to possess Heaven.
White repeats this error so many times, I have to repeat my answer! Those in Purgatory ARE saved, but until there is no remnant of impurity (temporal punishments due to sin) they cannot enter Heaven [Rev. 21:27]. Purgatory is NOT "God's wrath!" Purgatory is God's love! THAT is the "possession" which Pope Pius X's catechism refers to.
When we're talking about grace. When we're talking about forgiveness... we're talking about salvation. There is a God-centered way... and then there's a way which says, oh, absolutely necessary, gotta have Him... but... but... there's all this other material that you can claim comes from the Apostles - but I'm going to say, "please show us in meaning means of exegesis of Scripture where the Apostles ever taught any of this."  Since this has to do with the Gospel, we cannot abandon that, we dare not abandon that. Thank you very much for your attention. (James leaves the podium...)
Since we are talking about temporal punishment and indulgences we are NOT talking about forgiveness... we are NOT talking about salvation! White demonstrates here that he either does not know what he's talking about - or he's deliberately deceiving the audience and playing a little shell game - hiding the REAL topic - since he's yet to actually deal with the REAL topic.

34:20 - Then Peter comes to the stand.

Here is the full debate on YouTube provided through James White's Alpha and Omega Ministries:
(2 hours, 42 minutes)

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