"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Is Mormonism Christian? | Main | Book Review: A Biblical Defense of Predestination, by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. »

    Rome and the Eucharist (Quote by William Webster)

    "There are some present day Roman Catholic writers who deny that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the mass is the re-sacrifice of Christ, but the words of the Council of Trent are quite clear in their meaning:

    And forasmuch as, in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner who once offered himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross . . . For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different. . . If any one saith, that the sacrifice of the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; or, that it is a bare commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice. . . and that it ought not to be offered for the living and the dead for sins, pains, satisfactions, and other necessities: let him be anathema.19

    Trent teaches that just as Christ was the divine victim and was offered and immolated on the cross as a propitiatory sacrifice for sin, so in the mass, which is a distinct sacrifice in its own right, he is referred to as the divine victim who is again offered and immolated as a propitiatory sacrifice, just as he was immolated on the cross. The only difference, according to Trent, between the sacrifice of the mass and the sacrifice of the cross is that one is bloody and the other unbloody.

    There are those who object to the charge that what Trent meant by immolation is a renewed slaying of Christ. Historically, the word immolate had been used by Fathers and theologians of the Church to refer to the eucharist as a commemoration of the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ. Augustine used the word in this way and his definition became normative for centuries afterwards.20 For example, Peter Lombard in the twelfth century in his Sentences expressed the Augustinian view in this way:

    We may briefly reply that what is offered and consecrated by the priest is called a sacrifice and an immolation because it is a memorial and a representation of the true sacrifice and holy immolation made upon the altar of the cross. Christ died once, upon the cross, and there he was immolated in his own person; and yet every day he is immolated sacramentally, because in the sacrament there is a recalling of what was done once.21

    The meaning of the term as it is expressed here is strictly that of a sacramental commemoration, it was not literal. However, Trent’s use of the term added a new dimension of meaning to the word which differs from that of Augustine for he did not view Christ as being physically present in the sacrament, nor the eucharist as a propitiatory sacrifice for sin. Augustine certainly did not teach that the sacrifice of the eucharist was the same as the sacrifice of Calvary.

    But in Roman theology the eucharist is not merely the commemoration of a sacrifice, it is itself the same sacrifice as Calvary, and the immolation is literal. In the mass Christ is literally and physically present on the altar. He is referred to as a victim and is literally offered and sacrificed in the same manner as he was offered and sacrificed on the cross as an expiation or satisfaction for sin. One would seem to be justified in concluding that the Council of Trent understood immolare to refer to the offering of a victim in sacrifice to God, specifically in death, since this is how Christ was offered on the cross. The teaching of Trent on the nature of the mass is that it is a repetition of the sacrifice of Christ because he is offered again as a propitiation for sin.

    While the exact meaning of the term immolare as employed by Trent may be disputed, there is no ambiguity about the fact that the Council teaches that the mass is a propitiatory sacrifice for sin. It was at this point that the Reformers universally challenged the Roman teaching. They charged that if the mass were truly a propitiatory sacrifice then Christ must die, which contradicts the clear statement of Scripture that Christ died once for all and can never die again. And on the other hand, if Rome teaches that Christ does not die, its teaching that the mass is propitiatory for sin is false for it is not a true sacrifice. Vatican II says that the mass was instituted in order to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice through time. But if his death was once-for-all it cannot be perpetuated through time. Christ can never die again. Propitiation was accomplished at Calvary.

    .....This presents the Roman Catholic Church with a dilemma. Scripture teaches that Christ’s body and his sacrifice were offered once. Rome teaches that his body and sacrifice are offered over and over again in transubstantiation and the repetition of each mass. The Church attempts to get around this problem by claiming that the sacrifice of the mass is not a different sacrifice from that of Calvary but the same sacrifice perpetuated through time. Because God is beyond time the sacrifice of the cross is always present with him, and therefore the sacrifice of the mass is the same sacrifice as that of Calvary. This logic is a semantic smoke-screen: the sacrifice of the cross was an historic space-time event which occurred once and can never be repeated. The application of the Lord’s sacrifice goes on through time in terms of the Holy Spirit bringing men to receive the benefits of his finished work, and the commemoration of his sacrifice goes on through time, but the sacrifice itself cannot be perpetuated. Indeed, the principal theme of the book of Hebrews is that there are no more sacrifices for sin of any kind whatsoever.

    Scripture teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ has not only made a once-for-all-time atonement, but that his historical death on the cross is a complete atonement. He has completely satisfied God’s justice: the debt due to man’s sin has been fully paid and therefore all those who come to God through Jesus Christ are wholly free from condemnation. No further expiation for sin can ever be needed. The biblical view is that cleansing and forgiveness for sin are found in the blood of Jesus Christ alone, and never in the works or sufferings of man, for the law demands death as a penalty for sin. The significance of the reference to blood with respect to the work of Christ is that it signifies his life has been given over in death on our behalf and as a payment for our sin. It is because a full atonement has been made that a full forgiveness can be offered:

    The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

    In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7).

    Scripture nowhere teaches that men must suffer temporal punishment for their own sins to render satisfaction to God, either in this life or in the life to come. All punishment for sin was borne by Christ. This is why the Word of God declares that ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Rom. 8:1). God certainly disciplines believers for sin, but this has nothing to do with making atonement or expiation. In the discipline of his children God’s action is remedial, not punitive; it flows from love, not wrath (see Heb. 12:4-13).

    Full article here :

    Posted by John Samson on January 5, 2009 11:32 PM

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