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1 Question Is it necessary to prove your salvation? If so, to whom? In what ways do you seek to prove your salvation? What potential problem do we face.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Question Is it necessary to prove your salvation? If so, to whom? In what ways do you seek to prove your salvation? What potential problem do we face."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Question Is it necessary to prove your salvation? If so, to whom? In what ways do you seek to prove your salvation? What potential problem do we face if we are driven by a need to prove our salvation?

2 2 This Week i. Conclude our review of the distinctions between Roman Catholic ideas of salvation and the Protestant view ii. Examine the notion of the “Beatific Vision” and note how it fits into the RC idea of salvation of the soul iii. Explore the ideas behind the purpose of Penance in RC theology Lesson Plan

3 3 This Week III. Survey the topic of indulgences and how that practice fits into the doctrine of salvation IV. Explore the concept of Purgatory as it relates to salvation in the RC view V. Remind ourselves of the significance of the Protestant doctrine of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ who, by Himself secures the salvation of the believer Lesson Plan

4 4 I. Beatific Vision a. Although there is no biblical basis for purgatory, there is a strong philosophical/logical need for it in Roman Catholic theology. This is due in part to the idea of beatific vision, which is the soul’s vision of God after death. b. The Church views ultimate salvation as the objective adornment or beautification of the soul which enables man to see God as he truly is. It is a process which starts at baptism through which sanctifying grace is initially infused. Matt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. KJV

5 5 I. Beatific Vision c. This process ultimately renders the soul holy and inherently pleasing to God. Other sacraments and good works further justify the soul and make it increasingly attractive to God. d. The ultimate goal is to transform the essential character of the soul into something which is in itself objectively good. Such a vision inaugurates us into a new life, "eternal life".

6 6 I. Beatific Vision e. It is, therefore, only reasonable to require the complete cleansing of every vestige of sin before the soul can come into the presence of God. Pope Benedict XII and the Council of Florence in 1439 decreed: this cleansing enables the soul to see the divine essence with an intuitive vision and even face-to-face, without the mediation of any creature by way of objective vision; rather, the divine essence immediately manifests itself to them, plainly, clearly and openly, and in this vision, they enjoy the divine essence. Such faithful will clearly see God, one and three, as God is, though some more perfectly than others, according to the diversity of merits.

7 7 I. Beatific Vision f. This traditional teaching was reaffirmed by Pope Paul VI, May By such a vision we thereby become fully like God. No trace of selfishness remains. We are fully open to other. We cling to nothing of our own. We pour out our own being as God poured out the divine being in Christ. g. Early Christian martyrs, by yielding their lives up to God, completely transcended selfish being and attained a likeness of Christ. And so to God. This is why the early church believed that martyrs went directly to heaven without purification.

8 8 I. Beatific Vision h. Since so few souls attain such perfection, intermediate steps are necessary. One step to purification is penance or reconciliation which is for those whose bond with the church, and ultimately with God and Christ has been weakened or even severed by sin. i. Another step is Purgatory, which is an extension of sheol where the souls of the departed are awaiting their full redemption. 2 Maccabees 12:38-46: for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death… Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

9 9 II. Penance a. According to Catholic theology (CCC, par. 987), penance is a sacrament where a person, through a Catholic priest, receives forgiveness of the sins committed after baptism. The priest pronounces absolution and imposes acts of penance to be performed. b. "Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion.” (CCC, article 4)

10 10 II. Penance c. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. In Protestant terms, the need for penance equates with one’s loss of salvation. d. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as 'the second plank (of salvation) after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace," (CCC, par. 1446). The Council of Trent (Sess. XIV, c. i) declared regarding Penance: "As a means of regaining grace and justice, penance was at all times necessary for those who had defiled their souls with any mortal sin...."

11 11 II. Penance e. Acts of penance vary, but some of them include saying the rosary, reading the scripture, saying a number of "Our Father's" or "Hail Mary" prayers, doing good works, fasting, and other such things. f. It is by doing these acts of penance that the Catholic is able to regain his justified state before God. In essence, because of things the sinner has done to restore himself this equates to one’s earning one's salvation.

12 12 III. Indulgences a. Canon Law defines indulgences as a “remission before God of the temporal punishment for sin the guilt of which is already forgiven. It is not enough to be sorry for one’s sins; that only removes the guilt of sin. One must also pay the penalty. b. Since sin always involves a violation of the Church, as the body of Christ on the earth, the Church is also involved in the process by which the sinner is reconciled to God. It is the Church which prays for the penitent and decides when he is ready to be restored.

13 13 III. Indulgences c. In dispensing indulgences, the Church draws upon its own spiritual treasury of grace and merit to cancel out some or all of the punishment still due to an individual’s sin. d. The first use of indulgences appeared in France in the 11 th century and the practice grew and continues to the present time, although the meaning and practice has shifted somewhat over the centuries.

14 14 III. Indulgences e. By the 1500’s the practice had become a convenient way for the Church to raise money and had therefore become a scandalous and egregious error that took center stage at the time of the Reformation. f. In the early days, a specific number of days or years would be subtracted from one’s purgatorial “sentence”. In 1967 Pope Paul VI abolished the practice of specifying the subtraction and instead declared indulgences for the dead to be either partial or plenary.

15 15 III. Indulgences g. Pope Paul VI further refined the understanding of the expression “treasury of the Church” to mean the “infinite and inexhaustible value which the merits of Christ have in the sight of God.”

16 16 IV. Purgatory a. While they differed in their understanding of the doctrine, Justin, Tertullian and Origen all shared the belief that purification was necessary for the believer after death. 1 Cor 3:13-15 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. KJV

17 17 IV. Purgatory b. In the 12 th century Purgatory became an important element of the Roman Catholic penitential system. Operating in some fashion like a bank account, every sin credits temporal punishment to the sinner’s account. c. Acts of penance, suffering, and indulgences debit this account. Since sinners most likely will not make full satisfaction for sin in this life, purgatory in the afterlife is necessary to balance the account.

18 18 IV. Purgatory d. Finally, the effect of purgatory serves to motivate Catholics to live righteously because the pain suffered there is very real so it is viewed as a horrific place and to be avoided or shortened to the extent possible. e. The Church affirmed the existence of purgatory at each of the last three ecumenical councils: Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II.

19 19 IV. Purgatory f. Therefore, purgatory is still taught as official dogma and is an essential part of the Roman Catholic plan of salvation and provides the rationale for why present day believers should continue to pray for the dead. g. Pope Paul VI also reaffirmed that while temporal punishment due to sins have been blotted out as far as guilt is concerned, suffering is due to the sinner as a means of purging one’s soul of its intrinsic ego-centeredness.

20 20 IV. Purgatory h. Belief in the existence of purgatory is also expressed at every Mass during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, where prayers are offered for the dead. Usually the Mass itself is also offered for someone suffering in purgatory.

21 21 V. Relationship Not Ritual a. Roman Catholic doctrine has developed over the millennia by councils, argued by various factions, and in many cases it has been determined by edicts of Popes who are viewed as Christ’s Vicar (His substitute) on earth. b. Conversely, Protestant theology, while it may have divergent viewpoints, is drawn from the Bible alone without the stricture of binding tradition or the burdensome weight of supposed papal authority.

22 22 V. Relationship Not Ritual c. The Protestant doctrine of salvation rests in Christ alone. There is no need for the soul to become objectively beautiful to God because the soul has its standing in Christ and it is His imputed righteousness which God sees. 2 Cor 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. KJV d. The believer walks by faith and through the enablement of the Spirit lives righteously. Nevertheless, he has no hope of ever being personally and objectively good enough in himself to stand in the presence of God.

23 23 V. Relationship Not Ritual e. Since Christ’s payment on the cross constituted complete satisfaction of the debt, there is no need of purgatory. And, if there is no need of purgatory, there is no need for indulgences or penitential works of righteousness. f. God desires fellowship with His people not rituals and works righteousness that cannot save us. May God receive all the glory due Him because of His grace. 1 Cor 1:9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. NIV

24 a. Why do you suppose Church theologians have historically struggled so mightily against the idea that salvation is completely and totally monergistic; that it is initiated, carried out, and completed by Christ alone? b. Do you ever struggle with the fact that your salvation is monergistic? 24 VI. Application


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