Friday, November 3, 2017

The Reformation Continues. . .

If you watched the interchange between Cardinal Cupich, the Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, and Pres. Ryken of Wheaton, you noted that there was polite disagreement amidst all the cordial and friendly discussion.  There is nothing wrong with that.  The disputes of past and present will not be resolved by skirting the issues or talking around them.  They must be faced head on.  If you missed it, you can watch it below.

Or click here. . .



That said, it is clear that for all the fuss about agreement on JDDJ, justification remains a hot topic in Rome as much as between Rome and Wittenberg.  In particular, one of the corrections to Pope Francis offered by the traditionalists within Rome involves Luther and justification.  Here, the words of correction stand in stark contrast to what Rome says about JDDJ and what the Lutherans say (and Paul's pointed words):

The gospel does not teach that all sins will in fact be forgiven, nor that Christ alone experienced the ‘judgment’ or justice of God, leaving only mercy for the rest of mankind. While there is a ‘vicarious suffering’ of our Lord in order to expiate our sins, there is not a ‘vicarious punishment’, for Christ was made “sin for us” (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21) and not a sinner. Out of divine love, and not as the object of God’s wrath, Christ offered the supreme sacrifice of salvation to reconcile us with God, taking upon himself only the consequences of our sins (cf. Gal. 3:13). Hence, so that we may be justified and saved, it is not sufficient to have faith that our sins have been removed by a supposed vicarious punishment; our justification lies in a conformity to our Savior achieved by that faith which works through charity (cf. Gal. 5:6).
Clearly, the issue of justification remains at the heart and center of the Reformation of the past and its present conversation, as well.  Faith and works and their connection remain at the core of the debate.  Do works contribute or are they only result and sign of that justification?  No less than Avery Cardinal Dulles noted that there are two languages used between Rome and Wittenberg to speak of justification but the real question is whether these two languages are actually saying the same thing.

5 comments:

John Joseph Flanagan said...

I agree that Justification was the core principle guiding the Reformation, however, it is grounded in the centrality of Scripture over Papal authority, and this is where the tension begins and ends. It is the reason we can never achieve unity with the Roman church, nor should we seek it foolishly. ("The Narrow Way's not easy.' - John J Flanagan -Christian Folk Song -Youtube).

Unknown said...

Quoting from the “Filial Correction”: “While there is a ‘vicarious suffering’ of our Lord in order to expiate our sins, there is not a ‘vicarious punishment’, for Christ was made “sin for us” (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21) and not a sinner. Out of divine love, and not as the object of God’s wrath, Christ offered the supreme sacrifice of salvation to reconcile us with God, taking upon himself only the consequences of our sins (cf. Gal. 3:13).”
If all the truth were on our side, as we assume it to be, things would be easier. But in this case, the Roman Catholic theologians are right in their condemnation of penal substitution, and we are wrong. However, because they draw the wrong conclusion from their condemnation, we assume both to be untrue.
We believe that the Roman Catholic Church has its roots in the Apostolic teaching. Over the years, they have added many teachings, which are not based on Scripture, and which we justly condemn as heresy. But penal substitution was never a teaching of the Apostolic Church. The Roman Catholic Church did not at one point remove it from its teachings, either by papal decree or by council. They acknowledge that it is a heresy that has its origins in the fourteenth century. Actually they refer to it as a “Reformed” heresy. And they are right.
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Carl Vehse said...

John Joseph Flanagan: "It is the reason we can never achieve unity with the Roman church, nor should we seek it foolishly."

Excellent point. It deserves constant repeating since some cannot hear with all the splashing going on in the Tiber.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I don't see or hear any splashing in the Tiber. I do see and hear splashing in your pond.

Unknown said...

Cupich shows himself to be a theological no weight just like his boss, Pope Frank.