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Assurance of Salvation

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Stryder06, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. Stryder06

    Stryder06 Check the signature

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    This question is really for Catholics, but anyone can answer. Mind you I'm looking for a serious response, no ulterior motive here. I don't know how accurate this is, but Pastor John MacArthur stated that the catholic church holds to a belief that one cannot, outside of special revelation, be certain of their salvation. Apparently this was something that was part of the council of Trent.

    Now I have no knowledge about what happened during the council of Trent, or what that means as far as what the catholic church teaches today, but I was quite certain that those of you I've interacted with here were certain of your salvation.

    Any clarification on this would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Yarddog

    Yarddog Senior Contributor

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    You may have to define what you mean by assurance of salvation.
    Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
    This is from the Joint Declaration with the Lutheran Church.

    [​IMG]
    4.6 Assurance of Salvation
    34.We confess together that the faithful can rely on the mercy and promises of God. In spite of their own weakness and the manifold threats to their faith, on the strength of Christ's death and resurrection they can build on the effective promise of God's grace in Word and Sacrament and so be sure of this grace.
    35.This was emphasized in a particular way by the Reformers: in the midst of temptation, believers should not look to themselves but look solely to Christ and trust only him. In trust in God's promise they are assured of their salvation, but are never secure looking at themselves.
    36.Catholics can share the concern of the Reformers to ground faith in the objective reality of Christ's promise, to look away from one's own experience, and to trust in Christ's forgiving word alone (cf. Mt 16:19; 18:18). With the Second Vatican Council, Catholics state: to have faith is to entrust oneself totally to God,[19] who liberates us from the darkness of sin and death and awakens us to eternal life.[20] In this sense, one cannot believe in God and at the same time consider the divine promise untrustworthy. No one may doubt God's mercy and Christ's merit. Every person, however, may be concerned about his salvation when he looks upon his own weaknesses and shortcomings. Recognizing his own failures, however, the believer may yet be certain that God intends his salvation. [See Sources for section 4.6].


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    - The Council of Trent also emphasizes that "it is necessary to believe that sins are not forgiven, nor have they ever been forgiven, save freely by the divine mercy on account of Christ;" and that we must not doubt "the mercy of God, the merit of Christ and the power and efficacy of the sacraments; so it is possible for anyone, while he regards himself and his own weakness and lack of dispositions, to be anxious and fearful about his own state of grace" (Council of Trent, Session 6, chapter 9, DH 1534).
     
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  3. Frogster

    Frogster Galatians is the best!

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    Paul was assured. Look how he used a word in a past tense,as though it already happened.

    Rom 8;30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
     
  4. MrPolo

    MrPolo Woe those who call evil good + good evil. Is 5:20

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    Don't you worry, Stryder---I heard that on MacArthur this morning too. I had a couple reactions. The first reaction is that earlier in the sermon, he talked about how some people have false assurance even though they think they have true assurance. Despite the reality that someone can genuinely be deceived into thinking one is elect, he proceeds later in the episode to say assurance of salvation is some kind of metaphysical absolute certitude. And yet there are some people who can think this and be wrong....? He did not make sense and contradicted himself within 15 minutes.

    Secondly, what MacArthur partially quoted from Trent was 6th session, paragraph 12, which I will reproduce here:
    CHAPTER XII.
    That a rash presumptuousness in the matter of Predestination is to be avoided. No one, moreover, so long as he is in this mortal life, ought so far to presume as regards the secret mystery of divine predestination, as to determine for certain that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; as if it were true, that he that is justified, either cannot sin any more, or, if he do sin, that he ought to promise himself an assured repentance; for except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God hath chosen unto Himself.​
    What this paragraph says is to avoid the sin of presumption, which MacArthur condemned as "false assuredness" earlier in the very same sermon! The paragraph says that God is the judge of souls, not us. We can have a moral certainty that we are in God's good graces, but Trent warns us against thinking our imperfect minds have made an absolutely correct conclusion in thinking we are saved such that we "cannot sin any more" or will absolutely surely "repent" some day of our sins.

    I've heard him in other sermons try to take the Catholic caution against presumption the way Luther did---that one must live scrupulously to be Catholic, thinking one will go to hell unless he constantly exercise "works righteousness." MacArthur takes caution against presumption as if a Catholic has no capacity to sense he is following God at all, instead of exercising trust and follow God as best he can without being scrupulous. In this regard, MacArthur totally fails to understand and subsequently misrepresents Catholic theology.

    At any rate, MacArthur's "absolute assurance" position is destroyed by Biblical concepts like "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" or Paul fearing that he may be "disqualified from attaining the prize."
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
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  5. Stryder06

    Stryder06 Check the signature

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    Well the only Catholics I know are right here, so I figured it be easier to ask the question and get a straight answer if I did it here. And I wasn't using MacArthur, its just that Word FM is the only option for me during my morning commute. can only listen to the same CD's so many times :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2010
  6. Stryder06

    Stryder06 Check the signature

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    Thanks Polo.
     
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  7. MrPolo

    MrPolo Woe those who call evil good + good evil. Is 5:20

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    There's some interesting editing that apparently took place in airing MacArthur's sermon this morning. This website has a transcript of the sermon. However, there are some lines in there cut out. And if you download the MP3, you can hear the cut in the audio I didn't pick up on first listen. The parts in red were cut out:
    6:55 The first one is this, some people have assurance but they have no right to have it. Some people have assurance but they have no right to have it. It is false assurance, it is false peace, it is a false security. Such false assurance is dangerous, deceitful, deadly and damning because it mistakes one's true spiritual condition. The old Negro spiritual put it simply, "Everybody talkin' about heaven ain't going there."​
    13:35 Such a certainty of salvation which Catholic theology describes as absolute was repudiated by the Council of Trent because whereas the Christian is absolutely forbidden to doubt what God has done in Jesus Christ, or to doubt his universal salvific will, this does not exclude all possible doubt of one's own eternal salvation," end quote. What a silly statement. You can't doubt anything but you're own salvation. G.C. Birkhauer(?) in his book, Conflict With Rome...​
    If I had the time and interest, I would search for more. But I wonder if the editors thought these comments were offensive or if MacArthur tried to clean up some of the bombast. They may have been trying to cut it to a certain length, but still they had to pick what came out, and the radio intro and post-comments should be able to adjust for the length anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  8. MamaZ

    MamaZ Guest

    My assurance in salvation is in Christ. Not in what I do or not do for He is faithful and His work on the cross is my assurance to salvation.
     
  9. simonthezealot

    simonthezealot have you not read,what God has spoken unto you?

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    If i own a diamond mine but have not mined out the diamond yet i still own the diamond that's in it. I need to work it out!
     
  10. simonthezealot

    simonthezealot have you not read,what God has spoken unto you?

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  11. LiturgyInDMinor

    LiturgyInDMinor Celtic Rite Old Catholic Church

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    Don't listen to John MacArthur. He's anti-catholic, thusly becoming a non-player in this debate. ;)
     
  12. MrPolo

    MrPolo Woe those who call evil good + good evil. Is 5:20

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    Hopefully you won't have fear and trembling if it's already your mine, nor worry about being disqualified from owning it. :)
     
  13. simonthezealot

    simonthezealot have you not read,what God has spoken unto you?

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    Anti-catholic, sure along with all the great reformers; Martin Luther, Jan Hus, John Calvin, William Tyndale, Check that if John Macarthur is anti-catholic then so is anyone who understands the plain things of scripture plainly.
    A person who defends against their non-biblical view of justification is not anti anything rather PRO-truth.
     
  14. Tangible

    Tangible ن

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    (Correction - Luther was not anti-catholic. Just anti-errors-and-abuses-in-the-Roman-Catholic-church. :) Lutheran Christians are very catholic.)

    Assurance of salvation comes from outside our sinful selves, from the power and promises of God alone.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  15. boswd

    boswd New Member

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    <staff edit>........

    You know what never mind.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2010
  16. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    None of those men were anti-catholic. They were against the state of the Catholic church in their time. Virtually all of them tried to work with the Catholic Church to achieve reform and only stepped outside the organisational structure when they become frustrated with the response (or lack of one). And thereby have actually achieved a lot of their aims within the CC:
    The Catholic Church has moved from guilt to assurance of God's loving purpose (Luther)
    The sacraments are fully available to the laity (Hus)
    The commitment is there to making the bible available to all in their own language and teaching them to read it. (Tyndale)
    Services are conducted "in a language understandeth of the people" (Cranmer)
    and so on...
     
  17. DD2008

    DD2008 New Member

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    1 John 5:13 KJV
    [13] These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
     
  18. simonthezealot

    simonthezealot have you not read,what God has spoken unto you?

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    <staff edit> disparaging men of God is not a wise thing to do, you know that i'm sure.
     
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  19. MariaRegina

    MariaRegina New Member

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  20. Harry3142

    Harry3142 Regular Member

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    The New Jerome Biblical Commentary agrees with the generally accepted view that our salvation in dependent on our acceptance of Christ's sacrifice. The RCC's interpretation of Romans 3:19 to 5:11 is the same as the Baptist's (I have talked personally with priests and ministers from both areas).

    Where confusion develops is through the phraseology rather than through significant differences in many cases. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that if we are truly Christians, having accepted Christ's sacrifice on our behalf as a truly historic fact and putting our trust in his sacrifice as the foundation upon which our salvation is built, then the way we live our lives will testify to that. What is approved in Scripture as the appropriate actions for a Christian are the actions which we are to practice, while what we read in Scripture as being inappropriate actions are the actions that we are to shun.

    The Baptists say the same thing, but in another manner. They state that if a person has truly accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, then the Holy Spirit will come into his life to guide and direct him. What God does not approve of, the Spirit will help the Christian to shun. What God does approve of, the Spirit will help the person to accomplish, even giving him 'fruits' he did not have before so as to accomplish the tasks set before him (Galatians 5:16-26).

    But the Baptists and the RCC agree on a very important point. The works done by Christians are not what saves us; it is Christ and his sacrifice which are the sole foundation for our now having eternal life. What we do is what we should do, nothing more (Luke 17:7-10).