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Featured Do Catholics Deny Imputation?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Tree of Life, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Survives on Coffee and Whiskey

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    Reformed theology - and most all the Protestants who came from the Reformation - believe that the righteousness of Christ (which he accomplished during his earthly humiliation) is imputed to believers. This means that Christ's perfect obedience to the Father is credited to the account of believers such that they are seen as perfectly righteous in the eyes of God and are justified. The same is true with Adam's sin. The guilt of Adam's sin is imputed to all who are "in Adam" (credited to their account). So all who are in Adam are guilty by virtue of his sin.

    Do Catholics deny the doctrine of Christ's imputed righteousness? If so, why?
     
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  2. joinfree

    joinfree Well-Known Member

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    Luke 19:20 Then another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth.
     
  3. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Survives on Coffee and Whiskey

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    Huh?
     
  4. joinfree

    joinfree Well-Known Member

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    Problems?
     
  5. Tutorman

    Tutorman Charismatic Episcopalian

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    Adam's sin is his own not mine or anyone else, we only inherit mortality from Adam. God makes us righteous nothing is imputed.

    To the Greek Fathers, what we inherit from Adam is not his sin and consequent guilt, but mortality.4 From Adam (understood, really, as an archetype), we “inherit” the sting of death. Death has spread to all of humanity, as an inevitable consequence of our fallen nature; yet each of us, under the threat of death, rebels personally against God, the Author of Life. This means that our guilt is our own; we bring it upon ourselves
    Source

     
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  6. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother?

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    Short answer: yes.

    This isn't a subject to which I've devoted a tremendous amount of study. But if I had to guess, I would say it's at least partly due to the Catholic view of baptism. Specifically, that baptism essentially results in a new creation by God. Out with the old (original/inherited sin) and in with the new (eg, a new creature), as per 2 Corinthians 5, particularly verse 17.

    The word which keeps popping up is infusion (eg, a pouring-in which is done intentionally) rather than imputation (eg, an exchange which is possibly done completely arbitrarily).

    Assuming I'm right about any of this, the disconnect here seems to be that Protestants and Catholics broadly agree that a sinner needs something more than his natural (eg, sinful) state to enter Heaven. Logically, he must be made righteous in some fashion or another.

    Catholics view the modality whereby this process begins to be baptism, a sacrament which the Church teaches offers (among other things) sanctifying graces.

    Protestants, however, often view baptism as a merely symbolic activity. And yet, even the Protestants understand that righteousness is still missing from the equation as we cannot be righteous on our own. Imputed righteousness, then, solves the problem of a lack of righteousness in a sinner's natural state and also what these types of Protestants believe is a lack of sanctifying graces resulting from baptism. Instead, imputation begins (I presume) at the moment a repentant soul places his faith in Our Lord.

    I welcome correction from a more knowledgeable Catholic on any of the points I raised above.
     
  7. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Survives on Coffee and Whiskey

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    This is not an orthodox view. Death, sin, and legal guilt are all interrelated. 1 Corinthians 15:56 says - "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law." This is to say that we die because of the legal penalty due to us because of sin. "The wages of sin is death". People are mortal because Adam's guilt is imputed to them as their federal, covenant head. Romans 5:15 says that many died through the one man's trespass.
     
  8. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Survives on Coffee and Whiskey

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    I don't believe that the doctrine of imputed righteousness arose as an attempt to solve a theological quandary related to baptism. The Bible teaches imputed righteousness and so did many early church fathers (although the doctrine had not been completely developed until the Reformation).
     
  9. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother?

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    Fair enough. I'm not here to persuade you; simply answer a question.
     
  10. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Survives on Coffee and Whiskey

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    Thanks for the answer. Would Catholics also deny that the guilt of our sins is imputed to Christ?
     
  11. gordonhooker

    gordonhooker Franciscan tssf Supporter

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    That was my reaction as well. :)
     
  12. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother?

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    Haven't you and I danced to that song before? I seem to recall a thread where we discussed penal substitutionary atonement and you seemed so surprised as to be alarmed at discovering that the Church does not teach PSA. If I recall correctly, I think I posted a video where Jimmy Akin explains the satisfaction theory of atonement and why that's the better interpretive framework.

    In other words, yes.
     
  13. Phil 1:21

    Phil 1:21 Well-Known Member

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    "For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him." 2 Corinthians 5:21 NABRE (Catholic Bible)

    Why would the RCC deny that which is spelled out so clearly in the scripture?
     
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  14. Ripheus27

    Ripheus27 Holeless fox

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    Yes, why on Earth would we deny what was so clearly spelled out in someone's pet version of the scriptures?
     
  15. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No. But we do understand it differently.

    You described accurately what I understand to be the Reformed position:
    The operative phrase there is 'is seen as'. The Catholic position would word it as follows: This means that Christ's perfect obedience to the Father is credited to the account of believers such that they are reborn as perfectly righteous in the eyes of God and are justified. The Reformed and the Lutheran position is that this righteousness of Christ covers up a continuing unrighteousness in the sinner. A legal fiction. Snow covering a heap of dung in Luther's words. The Catholic position is that the dung is gone. No legal fiction. Imputation, the legal term, the Biblical term, coincides with an actual rebirth. The scales don't lie, one is not said to be righteous when it isn't so. God condemns that kind of lie many times in the Bible.

    So Catholics do imputation differently. What is imputed is also made to be so, and it does not stay a mere legal fiction.
     
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  16. Tutorman

    Tutorman Charismatic Episcopalian

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    That is the western reformed view not the Orthodox view
     
  17. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I said 'yes' instead of 'no' but I agree with what you have said. The distinction is that when you speak of 'infused' instead of 'imputed' I would speak of 'infused' and 'imputed' together.

    The Reformed/Lutheran idea of imputed righteousness not being a real righteousness in the newly saved person is a different attempt to solve the problem of how we can be saved sinners. We know we sin, we know we are tempted, we know that we are redeemed. The historical solution was that we were made righteous and yet we have concupiescence, a continuing attraction to sin which endures but is not in itself sin. The Reformed/Lutheran solution was to simplify that and say that sin and unrighteousness remained in th e justified person, just covered up, discarding Augustinian concupiescence.

    Imputation was on of the biggest issues for me when I decided to remain Catholic. I needed to have imputation be a declaration that corresponded to a deeper change in the soul, a new creation, a rebirth. Lots of Protestants, I've discovered over the years, think the very same way.
     
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  18. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    Im not sure I fully appreciate the difference between imputed and infused. At conversion, just as Abraham believed and it was credited to him for righteousness, the believer is righteous based on grace through faith. Practical works of righteousness nessacarily follow and the new nature begins to grow and ultimately bear fruit. Its like having your debts paid off and money deposited in your account. Sometimes we confuse justification that happens at conversion with the sanctification process that follows.

    Sundown today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. The high priest would enter the holy of holies with blood and incense to make atonement for the sin of the people. This is the idea of 1 John 2:2 is Gods atonement remains even if the believer stumbles. It is grace that nurtures the works of rightiousness, ultimately righteousness is practical. We are infused, that is filled with the Holy Spirit. Its not just an acquital, its an ongoing relationship that begins with atonement, continues based on it, and ultimatly bears fruit to the glory of God.
     
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  19. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Looks like you and I would agree, you would agree with Augustine and pre-reformation Christian theology, but some Calvinist/Reformed/Lutheran types would be quite clear that 'imputed' alone is the only real deal. That 'infused' is of the devil. That our reality in Christ really is a dung heap covered with a nice fresh cover of snow.

    Imputation is a legal fiction where everything is made to look good, the judge has spoken, the verdict is changed from guilty to innocent. Grace is a cover, a blanket.

    Infusion is where one is changed, not legally, but actually, from guilty to innocent. Grace floods our being.

    My position is a 'both-and' one where one is imputed to be righteous only because one is actually made righteous. The change is both actual and legal. The legal alone is too reductive.

    I've discovered many many Protestants who would agree. Perhaps they are not the most consistent Reformed theologians in coming to that conclusion, but then again I think they see a Biblical truth which is larger than Reformed theology can admit, that we are a new creation in Christ, not just said to be a new creation.

    The corollary though is that we can seriously stain our righteousness, because it has been given to us. Once saved always saved doesn't work unless imputation alone is how it works too.
     
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  20. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    I dont really relate to well to theological terms, I get most of my theology from Scripture. I dont recall Paul saying imputed or infused, the quoted from the LXX was 'credited'. Luther did use the analogy of snow over dung, obvilously his concern there was regeneration. He also said mixing dung and ice cream wont hurt the dung, but it will ruin the ice cream.

    My point was that at conversion the blood is applied and God can 'credit' the believer with righteousness. This is the moment when the promise is recieved by faith. When Peter was asked by Jesus, who do you say I am? Peter responds, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus informs Peter flesh and blood had not revealed that to him, that understanding came from God. Even faith is a gift from God.
     
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