Scripture, tradition, the Church

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Rexlion, Aug 16, 2021.

  1. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    And if ‘justification by faith’ referred to believing something, that might be relevant. But it doesn’t, so it isn’t. God’s grace extends to all, even infants. :yes: In baptism, they are adopted and made members of the visible Church. That is what it means to be Christian. Whether that translates to a true life of sanctification in each individual case is only something God can know. But to assume that journey can’t begin in infancy is absurd. If we want to get technical about it, it actually began in eternity. I don’t think God takes a break from working His purposes while people are infants. :wicked: And by making the promises they do at the baptism of their children, parents are already taking concrete steps toward their sanctification. It is not something that all has to be ‘internal’ to the child or be the result of something the child does (which would be a ‘work’, BTW).
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2021
  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    At the end of the day, we are 'justified' (which means our relationship is set to rights - hence its equivalence in Greek with righteousness) by grace through faith. At the end of the day, it is not about what I have done, but what God has done.

    In Antioch the believers, followers in the way, were first called Christians - meaning 'like Christ' , and would that we could all be a little more like Christ. The people of the Old Testament were also followers in the way, however we don't normally call them Christian, but do recognise and celebrates lives live with faith and stumbling, like us all.
     
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  3. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Greek for "faith" is pistis, and it actually means "belief" or "conviction of the truth". The problem is that you're getting the English meaning of faith wrong. You're using "faith" in the first sense as a guess, or hope, or inclination; you should be using it the second sense of "conviction of the truth". I have set my mind on the truth of Christ, thus is my faith established.

    We are justified by our acceptance of Christ as our only Lord and Savior. Our acceptance is not mere "belief" (which is to say a guess or inclination), but rather a conviction that it is true. Pistis, in the Christian sense, is not a tentative or vacillating word. It carries the sense of truth, not hesitancy.
     
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  4. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    thanks be to God
     
  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That can't be what it means to be a Christian. If it did, then an adult could become a Christian simply by being baptized, without possessing a shred of faith. Oh, he would be a "member of the visible church;" that plus $2 will get him a cup of coffee, but only condemnation at the Judgment.
     
  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I was referring to the Latin fides (“trust”), as that term was understood and used by the Reformers, rather than the contemporary Greek or English usage. For Aquinas, this meant giving one’s assent to a specific set of propositions about God. Luther rejected this in favor of understanding faith as trust in God’s saving action toward us.
     
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  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Funny thing, though, is the fact that Jesus never spoke in Latin. Why should anyone give special credence to the Latin translation from Greek versus the English translation from Greek? :hmm:Unless they were a RC prelate, of course...
     
  8. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Well, to be fair, he (probably) didn't speak Greek much either. But clearly the New Testament Scriptures were written in Koine Greek, and by Apostles who for the most part had a fairly sophisticated grasp of the language. They chose the words they used carefully.

    One of the main projects of the Reformers, in fact, was to recover the Bible by going back to the best Greek manuscripts they could find with Erasmus' Textus Receptus as the basis. The Reformers may have preferred academic Latin as the lingua franca of their age, but they were very attentive to the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, and generally only used Jerome's Latin Vulgate as an additional source (in those days, there wasn't the massive library of early manuscripts we have now). That's why post-Reformation Bibles use the Masoretic Old Testament rather than the Greek Septuagint as the basis for the Old Testament (which I think was and is a mistake, but that's a rant for another day), and the Greek Textus Receptus rather than Jerome's Vulgate as the basis for the New Testament.
     
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  9. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Sola fide, the rallying cry of the Reformation, is a Latin phrase. Latin was the theological lingua franca at the time the Reformers wrote. The question is not what "faith" means in the abstract but what "justification by faith" means, and for that, we have to go back to what the people who actually originated the phrase - the Protestant Reformers - intended by it. We can't just invest our own meaning and ignore what it meant to Reformers. Article IV of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession has what is probably the most lengthy and detailed treatment of the subject, and it is worth reading again and again for the depth of its insight. My allusion to the Latin phrase sola fide simply has nothing to do with being an "RC prelate".
    Here's the outward/inward Revivalist notion being imported again. To be Christian, i.e., to be someone who professes the Christian religion, is simply to be a member of the visible Church, which one does by receiving baptism and remaining in good standing by submitting to its discipline, just as to be Muslim is to be someone who has confessed the shahada and practices the other tenets of Islam (prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and pilgrimage). To say that an individual belongs to this or that religion is not tantamount to making a statement about the fate of their soul; only God knows the future. Answering the question what a person is now can only be known by certain visible, tangible signs. And that's what the sacraments are. There may very well be people who today are not members of the visible Church on earth but who may in the future be part of the Church in heaven after the Last Judgment, but we would have no way of knowing this today in the cases of specific individuals. And there may be members of the visible Church today who will not be members of the Church in heaven after the Last Judgment. But again, we have no way of knowing who these individuals might be. Trying to determine which members of the visible Church are also members of the invisible Church is an unbiblical practice (see the parable of the wheat and the tares). This is part of the reason why the historic position of the Episcopal Church with regard to eternal election, following in the footsteps of such notable English commentators such as Burnet and especially Browne, has been that it refers to the visible Church rather than to the invisible Church.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2021
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  10. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Sole Fide. We need to be careful in understanding the purpose of the theological principle. For the reformers it was a description of the operation of grace. Grace is in operation, and our response to grace (faith) does not force the operation of grace but is our response to grace. We don't have faith in order to make grace work, we have faith because of grace. The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-17), which has been a challenge to many a unionist, is about the operation of grace, and that it is indeed grace. It is absolutely not our job to tell God who he can save and who he can't save. We are not saved by the purity of our theology (for that would be a work), but by grace and our seeking to improve our theology is part of our response to grace, part of the exercise of our faith response to grace.
     
  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    You know, you've gotten me thinking: maybe the people who "work" in relation to faith are the ones who work to resist and reject God's grace, the ones who refuse to have faith!
     
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Faith seems to be granted and seized upon only by anyone whose heart is eventually able to accept it. The hardened of heart, hearing and insight just reject the gift whenever granted.
    .
     
  13. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    'Go back and re-read what I actually said, carefully.' You said (emphasis mine):

    Why is my post, pointing out that there is a lot of disagreement among Jews and Muslims within their own faiths, not relevant?
     
  14. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I was referring to the broad agreement about what one needs to believe and practice in order to be a good Jew or a good Muslim. If you observe the ‘five pillars’ and adhere to one of the schools of jurisprudence (there are many), you are a good Muslim. You don’t have arguments within Islam (today) over things like “predestination vs. free will”, “faith vs. works”, the “validity” of one sect’s hajj vs. another’s, or which chapters belong in the Qur’an, etc. There is basic agreement on these things, even between groups that don’t like each other. The kind of doctrinal and liturgical chaos that one finds in Christianity appears to be unique to Christianity. And I find that fact very interesting.
     
  15. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I think you could equally say that Christianity has broad agreement. If you forget some of the more bizarre sects who are questionably Christian, e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, Christian do have basic beleifs on which they agree.

    I recommend you do some research on two of the things you mentioned. In Saudi Arabia they have a very strict interpretation of Sunni Islam. They consider Shia and other branches of Islam to be at best heterodox and, often, outright heretical. The Saudi religious police have arrested Shiites in central Medina because 'they were heretics in a holy city'. Non-Muslims are forbidden access to Mecca altogether and to central Medina. There are many occasions when the Saudi authorities have prevented Shiites from being able to do their Hajj.
     
  16. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    This is the exception that proves the rule. If anybody besides the House of Al-Saud were the Custodian of the Two Holy Cities, those kinds of abuses would not be happening. Saudi Arabia is not a large country by population. It’s population accounts for only a small fraction of the Muslim world.