Pages

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? (The Sinner's Prayer & Lordship Salvation)

Evangelicals love to ask "Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?" but most people are unaware of the damning contradiction behind this question that is tearing Evangelicalism apart daily. The contradiction, or better yet self-condemning dilemma, is summed up in what is known as the Lordship Salvation controversy. The concept of Lordship Salvation teaches that Jesus is not just Savior, but Savior and Lord. This is specifically understood to mean that Jesus doesn't just save you, but He's also your master whom you must obey. This means that anyone living a life of sin cannot be truly a believer, since anyone who has "saving faith" will prove this by obeying Jesus, principally by turning away from sin and producing good fruit. Indeed, there are plenty of texts that would suggest this very thing (e.g. 1 John 2:4; Mat 7:15-23). To Catholic ears, this sounds perfectly reasonable. So what's the big deal?

The "big deal" is that those advocating the concept of Lordship Salvation are those in the Reformed (Calvinist) camp who were combating the charge of anti-nomianism (literally: anti [moral] law). From the start of the Pretend Reformation, Catholics have pointed out that the Reformed doctrines of Faith Alone and "Once Saved, Always Saved" will naturally cause Christians to let their guard down and fall into sin. Many will (logically) think that if they cannot lose their salvation, then they're free to not follow the moral law (and thus be anti moral law). These antinomians are seen as "Christians" who effectively confess Jesus as their Savior but not as their Lord to obey. In response to this charge, the first Calvinists came up with an ad hoc solution: they said that anyone who truly has "saving faith" is guaranteed to produce good fruit and avoid sin, and all others who fail to do this will be exposed as deceived liars who were "never saved in the first place." This is how they explained how a person was justified by faith alone while maintaining the Bible's warnings about the need to produce good works and avoid sin. (They often say "Faith alone saves, but true saving faith is never alone, it's always accompanied by good works.") But there's a fatal flaw in this "solution," and Catholics and many non-Calvinist Protestants recognized it.

The fatal flaw in the concept of Lordship Salvation was that not only did the Bible never teach good works are guaranteed, this doctrine also had the negative effect of causing despair whenever a Christian sinned (especially since Christians regularly sin!). For example, if good works are guaranteed, then what happens when a Christian falls into sin? Were they never saved in the first place? How many good works must a Christian see before they can be confident they were really saved? What about those Christians who turn to lives of sin later on in life? This line of questioning put the Calvinist in a bind, for the Calvinist has no good answer for this dilemma, since Calvinists on one hand admit true Christians struggle daily with sin (and their salvation cannot be lost), while on the other hand admit good works are guaranteed and lack of which demonstrates one was never originally saved. They cannot give any coherent or concrete measurement for if someone is truly saved, and this 'examining oneself' has the effect of undermining any notion of looking to Jesus and being assured of your salvation. In fact Calvinists would have to conclude that sinners like Kind David who lived with unrepentant murder and adultery for a year were never saved (even though Calvinists believe David was saved and never lost his salvation). In fact, the (Calvinist) Westminster Confession reluctantly admits this embarrassing contradiction in their theology: "Nevertheless, they [true believers] may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and, for a time, continue therein..." (Ch XVII:III) So lack of good works, including remaining in serious sin for a time, does not prove anything, since true believers can have this happen to them. Thus, Lordship Salvation was seen (quite logically) as a dangerous heresy against the comforting Gospel message of assurance and self-contradiction by many non-Calvinist Protestants, particularly many modern Evangelicals. 

This is why many Evangelicals today will call Calvinism a heresy that destroys a person's assurance, making a mockery of the Gospel, and rightly so, since in the Lordship Salvation scheme a person cannot really have any assurance. Instead, they will (if they're honest with them self, though most wont publicly admit it) realize that as soon as they fall into sin or stop producing good works then they must question whether they were really saved in the first place. This mentality was especially engrained in the Puritan mind, which is why they were so "rigid" in condemning anything that even potentially could be sinful and striving non-stop to engage in good works, since this was (logically) the only way they could convince themselves they had true faith. So the irony of ironies is that Protestantism was invented to give an "assurance" which Catholicism allegedly did not give (which is not accurate), and in the end it resulted in a system that made people more uncertain and more dependent on their works than ever before. The options the systems provide are plain: either one can have assurance from just believing, or one must do good works, and more good works, (and more good works, and more good works, and persevere in good works, and persevere further in good works,) before they can "know" their original faith in Jesus that happened 37 years ago was genuine "true saving faith" and thus (finally! maybe!) have "assurance".

All that said, the "conservative" Evangelicals in the anti-Lordship crowd will make it clear that even though one does not need to do good works as a Christian, since their salvation doesn't depend on that, that Christians should still do good works out of thanksgiving to God and to make a good testimony to their neighbor. So these "conservatives" do not advocate sinning, but they are also very clear that a Christian could sin, even backslide into a life of sin, and still be saved. This is precisely where the modern notion of "The Sinner's Prayer" came from, where they reason (quite logically) that all one really has to do is pray a short prayer along the lines of "Jesus, I don't deserve eternal life, but I believe you died for my sins, and so I accept you as my savior and ask you to come into my heart today." And with that, they're saved. This is where they then "give their testimony," and when they retell the story include the fond memory of "that day" 23 years ago when they "got saved" and didn't have to worry if they couldn't live a perfect or even mediocre Christian life.

The problem with that is it goes right back to the original dilemma the Pretend Reformers were in, that of stopping the (logical) slide into antinomianism, which is why many Protestants today will (logically) go to such extremes as saying without shame that anyone who confesses Jesus as their Savior is saved and can live as they please. The result of this fully-realized, logically consistent, outworking of Faith Alone is that our society today is full of "Christians" living unashamedly sinful and scandalous lives, all the while thinking they're safe and sound before God. Those in the Reformed camp (rightly) viciously criticize this, calling it "cheap grace" and "easy believism," but their ad hoc solution (described earlier) doesn't get them out of this dilemma.

The only way out of that vicious self-condemning dilemma is to abandon Justification by Faith Alone. As a Catholic response to the original question about accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, I'd respond by saying something to the effect that, yes I accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and by that I mean that He saved me so that I can faithfully obey Him as Lord, and thus hopefully be judged worthy to enter Heaven by cooperating with His grace. When the Reformed Protestant is caught off guard and objects, I'd ask them what accepting Jesus "as Lord" means to them, and proceed to point out the dilemma they're in. Those espousing the Sinner's Prayer are a lot harder to reason with, since they're typically not interested in systematic theology and will brush off any of the warning passages of Scripture (e.g. Galatians 5:19-21; 1 John 3:10). The good news is that more and more people are seeing Sola Fide for the dangerous and unChristian doctrine that it is. Unfortunately, so much damage has and will continue to be done by it for the foreseeable future.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jn 12:42 says that many of Jewish authorities BELIEVED but did not confess Christ for fear of the pharisees. Failure to confess, or denial of, Jesus before men will be met with His not acknowledging us before the Father. So believers may "believe in their hearts" yet fail to "confess with their lips that Jesus is Lord". Confession does not follow Faith by necessity. Same applies to good works.

Nick said...

Amen to that! I often point out that the same Believe/Confess of John 12:42 is found in Romans 10:9-10. In fact, a while back I wrote an article on Romans 10:9-10 and how it refutes Sola Fide.

http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2011/09/does-saint-paul-have-his-own-not-by.html

Erin Pascal said...

Thank you so much for this amazing post. It was a very good read. Wonderful words in the last paragraph "I accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and by that I mean that He saved me so that I can faithfully obey Him as Lord, and thus hopefully be judged worthy to enter Heaven by cooperating with His grace."--this is by far the most beautiful words that I have ever read in a very long time. Thank you very much for this and may God bless you. :)

Anonymous said...

Well done Nick.
I've always wondered where is the biblical basis for making Jesus Savior and not Lord.
I could probably spend a couple of weeks going through the NT showing verses that directly or logically contradict this.

Since most evangelicals that deny "lordship" salvation are also dispensationalists, how can it be said that they aren't intersted in systematic theology?
Even though there are several dozen versions of the end times, the majority appear to hold to the premillenial rapture, seven year tribulation, etc ala Hal Lindsay.
Could we call it selective systematic theology?

JohnD said...

Good post Nick. Though I must be somewhat critical as you did not present a key aspect of the Reformed view regarding assurance of salvation.

1. It is true they believe saving faith naturally produces good works. That is scriptural (Ephesians 2).

2. They also believe that the external, objective evidence of saving faith is perseverance in a life of faith which includes good works. They read, "He who endures to the end will be saved" descriptively as opposed to prescriptively.

3. However (and this was the important piece absent from your otherwise thorough post), the Reformed believe that the "internal evidence" is what provides assurance to the believer. It is the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the heart of the True believer that assures him that he is saved. This is also consistent with the Reformed interpretation of James 2, in which they will say that a true, saving faith comes with the external evidence of good works to vindicate it. But, they argue, they had already been saved by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit which produces saving faith, which subsequently produces good works.

5. Also, assuring the believer of salvation is not the only function of good works on the Reformed View. The WCF says: "These good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto,that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life."

5. Also, I'm interested in your Catholic interpretation of 1 John 3:9. It seems to fit the Reformed view if you read it as "anyone born of God cannot go on sinning willfully." The Catholic might adopt the same reading, but then it is merely a tautology. Those who go on sinning are no longer "born of God" since to be "born of God" requires sanctifying grace which is destroyed through mortal sin.

Nick said...

Hello John,

I could have included the "internal testimony" of the Holy Spirit, but I don't think it gets Calvinists out of the dilemma. This is because as soon as the works stop flowing (or you fall into sin) you must ask yourself whether you were truly saved in the first place for this to happen. You can start off with a great 'feeling' of having the Holy Spirit and have a surge of good works, but as soon as the feeling/works go away you're stuck wondering. The notion of good works guaranteed with the allowing of backsliding is a contradiction. The same Holy Spirit producing the "inward testimony" is also leading the cause of producing the fruits proving your salvation was genuine.

You asked me about 1 John 3:9. It can be read a few ways.

One is the way you described, but I wouldn't say it's a tautology in the strict sense: "Nobody who is a child of god should (want to) sin, since they're in a state of grace, and as a child of God he is not allowed to continue in sin."

Another rendering is one 'describing' how a person in a state of grace acts: "Nobody who's in a state of grace can also be committing mortal sin. Mortal sin is incompatible with being a child of God."

The 'stone-cold' reading of 3:9 in such a way that a Believer can never ever sin is contradicted by the Scriptural testimony that can Believers fall into sin (e.g. 2:1).

The reason why I don't think 3:9 can fit the Reformed view is because the Reformed view explicitly allows for a Christian to fall into grave sin and remain there for an unspecified time. There is no coherent way to spin 3:9 to allow for this.

JohnD said...

Hello Nick,

Thanks for the response.

1. You said, "The notion of good works guaranteed with the allowing of backsliding is a contradiction." Not really. First, the Reformed deny backsliding in the sense of coming under condemnation (losing sanctifying grace). Second, they would argue that the regenerate man still sins, but his heart has been changed so that he also produces good fruit. So, he will produce goo works, even though he will also sin.

2. Turning to 1 John 3:

A. You said one reading could be, "Nobody who is a child of God should (want to) sin." Yet, Catholics argue that this is exactly what occurs in mortal sin. There is the willful choice to sin made with full knowledge of the sinfulness of the act. So, if the man born of God truly "cannot want to sin" then Catholic theology has the contradiction here.

B. Your 2nd rendering appears to be the strict tautology. In other words, no one in the state of grace can be committing mortal sin since if they commit mortal sin they are no longer in a state of grace. The tautological reading just does not seem to be what John is getting at, though I don't claim to have airtight exegetical reasons against it.

C. You said, "The reason why I don't think 3:9 can fit the Reformed view is because the Reformed view explicitly allows for a Christian to fall into grave sin and remain there for an unspecified time. There is no coherent way to spin 3:9 to allow for this."

Here is Calvin on the passage:

"But here a question arises, Whether the fear and love of God can be extinguished in any
one who has been regenerated by the Spirit of God? for that this cannot be, seems to be the
import of the Apostle’s words. They who think otherwise refer to the example of David,
who for a time labored under such a beastly stupor, that not a spark of grace appeared in
him. Moreover, in the fifty-first Psalm, he prays for the restoration of the Spirit. It hence
follows that he was deprived of him. I, however, doubt not but that the seed, communicated
when God regenerates his elect, as it is incorruptible, retains its virtue perpetually. I, indeed,
grant that it may sometimes be stifled, as in the case of David; but still, when all religion
seemed to be extinct in him, a live coal was hid under the ashes. Satan, indeed, labors to
root out whatever is from God in the elect; but when the utmost is permitted to him, there
ever remains a hidden root, which afterwards springs up. But John does not speak of one
act, as they say, but of the continued course of life."

So, Calvin seems to read it as "He who is born of God cannot go on sinning willfully since the Spirit of restoration abides in him." It's interesting how he references David specifically; I wonder if he comments on David's mention in Romans 4. Hmm...

JohnD said...

Also, I just had another quick insight I' like to add. It appears the Reformed view puts an emphasis on restoration. I just recalled a time when Dr. White debated Mathhew Bellisario on the Papacy and referred to Peter's "restoration" after denying Jesus 3 times. So, I think Calvin and the Reformed would argue that the elect, if they fall into sin for a time, will be restored to a state in which they overcome that sin. Therefore, you are correct that a Calvinist who falls into grievous sin has reason to doubt his salvation (this actually makes sense of the warnings in Hebrews for them too). But, for the elect, the assurance of salvation will be restored by the Holy Spirit that continually abides in the man of God.

Esther Ong said...

just an insight - in essence, those non-Catholic Christian communities are all Protestants, but they refused to be called so.

Nick said...

Hello John,

Here are my thoughts to your numbered points.

(1) I was using "backsliding" in the sense that the Reformed believe a true believer can lapse into a lifestyle of sin and remain there for an indefinite time. The claim that the regenerate man still can sin despite regeneration and having a changed heart is a contradiction and ultimately cannot be any guide on whether the person was truly saved or not.

(2A) You misunderstood my "not want to sin." I was not speaking in the Reformed sense that teaches a person loses all desire to sin and yet somehow sins. I was speaking in the practical sense of "If you love your wife, you should be careful not to hurt her."

(2B) I don't see the tautology, especially considering the text is defining what it means to be in mortal sin and the incompatibility of that with being in a state of grace. But even if there was the Bible at times does speak in such a manner.

(2C) Calvin seems to be saying "Nobody who is truly regenerate can go on forever living in sin". Your rendering of "go on sinning willfully" doesn't include the time component. David went on sinning willfully for a time. The point Calvin made was that no matter how long and how far a regenerate sinks into sin, someday they will eventually come out. This is essentially what I originally said and why it strips 3:9 of any meaningful teaching. The idea that the Spirit of God is guiding a regenerate person, especially considering free will is denied, makes falling into sin, particularly for a time, absolutely unexplainable.

You said in your second post: "you are correct that a Calvinist who falls into grievous sin has reason to doubt his salvation"

And in recognizing this, you can see how Assurance cannot exist in Calvinism. It doesn't matter how many good works they do or how much they feel the Spirit, as soon as they fall into grievous sin then all that other stuff means nothing, for they must immediately question their own salvation.








JohnD said...

Hey Nick,

Thanks for the response. Here’s my reply after some further thought and investigation. [Sorry for the length]

1. “The claim that the regenerate man still can sin despite regeneration and having a changed heart is a contradiction.” There is no contradiction there. In fact, this is consistent with the Reformed (and Catholic) view of the process of sanctification in which the elect are conformed to the image of Christ throughout their lives, not instantaneously.

2. The Reformed to do not teach that a person “loses all desire to sin” [at least not to my knowledge], since they realize the regenerate man still walks in the flesh which has desires against the Spirit. However, the regenerate man has a heart of flesh that is oriented towards Christ and will conform more to Christ throughout life.

3. After pondering 1 John 3:9, I think the ONLY rendering that makes sense in the Catholic view is the tautological reading. That is because it says the man who is born of God “cannot sin” or if you like “cannot want to sin.” But, Catholics believe that men who are born of God in baptism can fall away by choosing to commit mortal sin. So, the Catholic position is that he who is born of God can sin (and *want to* sin, since that is implied in the definition of mortal sin) both venially and mortally. I don’t see how the Catholic view can escape this without adopting the tautological reading. Do you agree? I think there are exegetical reasons to reject the tautological reading, but if you are not committed to it, then I will not waste time substantiating that claim.

4. You said the Reformed view strips 3:9 of any meaningful teaching. Let me try again to lay out a clear case for how the verse could be understood on a Reformed view. The man who is born of God cannot sin, means “he who is born of God cannot go on sinning willfully” is what I said originally and you have argued that this lacks specificity. You are correct. Let me clarify in two ways that the make this reading consistent with other parts of John’s letter. The adjusted reading would be “cannot go on sinning willfully in the same way as the unregenerate man does” OR perhaps “cannot go on sinning willfully to death” as John describes later in the epistle there is sin that leads to death and sin that does not [**Interesting sidebar** John Salza rejects that 1 John 5 is a text that clearly distinguishes mortal and venial sin]. So, on the Reformed view, restoration will inevitably occur if a regenerate man falls into grievous sin, and the amount of time before that restoration occurs is unspecified. You might still object: that doesn’t provide a quantitative standard! You are correct. Justification is a qualitative action on both the Reformed and Catholic view.

5. As I see it, the assurance obtained on the Reformed view comes from the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit. The assurance in the Catholic view comes from the sacraments of Baptism [1 Pet 3:24] and Reconciliation [1 John 1:9]. They both have some idea of assurance in their system, but in both cases objective, infallible assurance is not to be had. The only “infallible” assurance or “certain” assurance can come through the sinner’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Here’s the famous Ott quote proving assurance is subjective on the Catholic system, “The reason for the uncertainty of the state of grace lies in this, that without a special revelation nobody can with certainty of faith know whether or not he has fulfilled all the conditions which are necessary for achieving justification.”

Nick said...

Hello John,

Here are my thoughts:

(1) Catholics don't have the same view of Sanctification as Protestants. For one, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Protestantism plays only a negative function, meaning the Holy Spirit acts like a crutch to get the believer back to a neutral Adam-like state as close as possible to when the indwelling wont be necessary any longer. The Reformed deny Adam had the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the beginning. But on the issue of sinning, I cannot see how the Reformed explain the Christian's ability to sin if (a) free will is denied and (b) good works are guaranteed.

(2) Again, I don't see how the Reformed can explain this. Affirm it, yes; explain it, I don't see how.

(3) I'm open to seeing what's wrong with the tautological reading. The second clause is in some way a restating of the first.

(4) I'm not sure what “cannot go on sinning willfully in the same way as the unregenerate man does” means. Certainly they can commit the same kinds of sins, e.g. murder, adultery. As for “cannot go on sinning willfully to death," this is similar if not identical to the original assertion and my response. Under the latter reading, it would have to read as an Eternal Security verse, but since it reads as 'how you should be living right now' verse, I don't think that works.

(5) You said: "They both have some idea of assurance in their system, but in both cases objective, infallible assurance is not to be had." Are you admitting/agreeing that the Reformed view fails to provide infallible/certain assurance?
The difference I'd say is more than this though, because real though not infallible assurance is possible in Catholicism, and it's achieved by a thorough examination of conscience. The problem in Reformed theology is that it's an all-or-nothing scenario, where either you're saved from the beginning or else you weren't, and if you weren't then everything you did since your "conversion" was a series of self-delusions. There is no concrete act in Reformed theology you can point to in order to anchor onto something, since any of those acts could have been self-delusions done by an unregenerate. In Catholicism, one can look to their baptism and other acts of faith to get a good idea of what track they're on.

JohnD said...

Hey Nick, thanks for the interaction. Here is my response to a few things:

1. You said, "But on the issue of sinning, I cannot see how the Reformed explain the Christian's ability to sin if (a) free will is denied and (b) good works are guaranteed." It's actually fairly straightforward. The Reformed argue that sanctification is a process (not instantaneous), thus, man will still sin even with his new heart of flesh. They don't deny "free will" but rather an "autonomous free will" which Thomists deny as well by the way [e.g. Father Garrigou Lagrange].

2. Perhaps I was imprecise with the "go on sinning willfully to death" rendering. I meant death in the same way John means it in 1 John 5 when he refers to the fact that there is sin that leads to death and sin that does not. It seems to be a consistent rendering that 1 John 3:9 refers to the type of sin that leads to death and the fact that those Born of God will not commit it.

3. No objective, infallible assurance is possible on any system for particular believes [that is unless God's revelation stated that someone in particular was saved]. But real assurance can exist for particular believers in the subjective sense. Both systems have a way. The Catholic way is a thorough examination of conscience and confession; the Reformed way is the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit.

De Maria said...

John D said,

3. After pondering 1 John 3:9, I think the ONLY rendering that makes sense in the Catholic view is the tautological reading.

Tautological? In the sense that it is presumed that a man of God can not sin?

If so, that would be false because the Catholic Church teaches we can all fall into sin.

That is because it says the man who is born of God “cannot sin” or if you like “cannot want to sin.” But, Catholics believe that men who are born of God in baptism can fall away by choosing to commit mortal sin.

Correct.

So, the Catholic position is that he who is born of God can sin (and *want to* sin, since that is implied in the definition of mortal sin) both venially and mortally. I don’t see how the Catholic view can escape this without adopting the tautological reading. Do you agree?

No. You are having this problem because you are reading this verse as a Protestant would. Apart from the immediate and proximate context.

Catholics do not read any of Scripture in this way. We know that this verse exists and we can read it separately but not apart from the rest of Scripture.

Now, in the immediate context, we see that St. john is contrasting the wicked and unrighteous sons of Satan who live according to his will (1 John 3:8).

And those born of God (1 John 3:9).

And then contrasts both together in 1 John 3:10.

If we read the entire letter, we see that he has been doing the same thing from the first chapter to the last. But, then he also says:
1 John 1:
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 2
King James Version (KJV)
1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

1 John 5:15-17
King James Version (KJV)
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

Therefore, the message of John is this:
Those who sin habitually are sons of the devil.
Those who do not sin are sons of God.
But even the Sons of God may sin occasionally. But their sins will probably not be of a mortal nature. But it is possible that a brother might sin mortally. It is not out of the question all together.

Therefore, the only way to read a tautology into 1 John 3:9 is to isolate it from the rest of the letter and from the rest of Scripture.

I think there are exegetical reasons to reject the tautological reading, but if you are not committed to it, then I will not waste time substantiating that claim.

First, define tautology. And then explain why it would be wrong to use tautologies at times to bring home certain points?

JohnD said...

De Maria, thanks for the reply, here's my response:

You said, < "First, define tautology. And then explain why it would be wrong to use tautologies at times to bring home certain points?" >

1. I was using tautology as a "truism" or something that is true by definition, a trivial truth. For example, "A is A" or "A is not [not A]" are tautological truths.

2. I didn't say it was wrong at times to use tautologies to bring home certain points. I do think there are exegetical reasons to reject the tautological reading, but if you are not committed to such a reading, then I see no need to present them.

3. I think you did a nice job of placing you in context. However, you never got around to explaining what 1 John 3:9 means in that context. It sounds like you are saying that the "man born of God cannot sin habitually" but I can't really tell. Please let me know how you understand the verse.

JohnD said...

Also, how do yall do the cool bold thing with the quotes? =)

De Maria said...

Hi John,

March 4, 2013 at 4:40 PM
JohnD said...
Also, how do yall do the cool bold thing with the quotes? =)


1. See the message below the edit box which says, you can use these html tags?

2. Before the phrase you want in bold, use the html tag which has the b in brackets, (<>). After the same phrase, put a /b in brackets. That will make it bold. You use the same procedure for the other html tags. the i is italics. the a is, more complicated. I use it with a href. which makes a link.


JohnD said...
De Maria, thanks for the reply, here's my response:


Ok, I skipped to #3 if that's ok.

3. I think you did a nice job of placing you in context. However, you never got around to explaining what 1 John 3:9 means in that context. It sounds like you are saying that the "man born of God cannot sin habitually" but I can't really tell.

Basically, yes. But recognizing that this is not an absolute. St. John would not contradict himself and in the same epistle, he admits that even the faithful can sin and some can sin mortally.

Please let me know how you understand the verse.

In the context of the Epistle in which it is contained and in the context of Scripture.

Anonymous said...

As a Catholic response to the original question about accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, I'd respond by saying something to the effect that, yes I accept Jesus as Lord and Savior..

To say we can accept Jesus is completely false and not supported by scripture because we are "spiritually dead in sin (psalm 51:5), And John 6:44, John 6:37, John 15:19, Romans 8:9.