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Switch to Forum Live View The Nature of Grace, Faith and Good Works. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Venial Sins and Mortal Sins.
8 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2010 - 11:10AM #1
dqualk
Posts: 65

Since the time of the Protestant Reformation there has been important distinctions between grace. On the Protestant side there arose Common Grace and Sanctifiying Grace and on the Catholic side there was Actual Grace and Sanctifiying Grace.


How do these different kinds of grace play into you understanding of who goes to heaven, purgatory or hell and why? If you are not up with the theological terms perhaps you can just describe who you think goes to heaven etc.


What basics do you belive are requisite to enter the pearly gates, and do you think the majoirty of people are going to heaven or hell? Bible references, and Church references are nice but not necessary.


Another interesting idea to discuss within this forum would be the teaching of theosis. How do you feel about it? And how does it play into your understanding of the above?


 

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8 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2010 - 2:56PM #2
gilg
Posts: 5,200

Dqualk,


 


There are multiple questions and topics there, perhaps related but I think you might want to consider different threads but since threads sometimes take a life of their own I guess you can lump all the questions together. But regardless, why not present your views, perhaps focusing on grace?


 


I understand grace both as a manifestation of God binding and holding all creation and the flow  of love from God that is freely given to all, not strings attached. The parable of the seeds that fall, some on fertile ground while others fall in unfertile ground, is basically the way I understand grace. That is, God’s grace flows and nurture all of us, the believer and unbeliever, sinner and righteous, yet some of us engage in practices that move us away or towards union with the divine and others through change of self become receptive (fertile ground) to practices that move us towards that divine union.  

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8 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2010 - 11:07PM #3
jane2
Posts: 14,295

Feb 21, 2010 -- 2:56PM, gilg wrote:


Dqualk,


 


There are multiple questions and topics there, perhaps related but I think you might want to consider different threads but since threads sometimes take a life of their own I guess you can lump all the questions together. But regardless, why not present your views, perhaps focusing on grace?


 


I understand grace both as a manifestation of God binding and holding all creation and the flow  of love from God that is freely given to all, not strings attached. The parable of the seeds that fall, some on fertile ground while others fall in unfertile ground, is basically the way I understand grace. That is, God’s grace flows and nurture all of us, the believer and unbeliever, sinner and righteous, yet some of us engage in practices that move us away or towards union with the divine and others through change of self become receptive (fertile ground) to practices that move us towards that divine union.  




Your thoughts are very close to my own. I'm not much on quantifying or qualifying grace. For me that is a very old exercise that has rather gone by the boards.




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8 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2010 - 11:22PM #4
jane2
Posts: 14,295

Feb 21, 2010 -- 11:10AM, dqualk wrote:


Since the time of the Protestant Reformation there has been important distinctions between grace. On the Protestant side there arose Common Grace and Sanctifiying Grace and on the Catholic side there was Actual Grace and Sanctifiying Grace.


How do these different kinds of grace play into you understanding of who goes to heaven, purgatory or hell and why? If you are not up with the theological terms perhaps you can just describe who you think goes to heaven etc.


What basics do you belive are requisite to enter the pearly gates, and do you think the majoirty of people are going to heaven or hell? Bible references, and Church references are nice but not necessary.


Another interesting idea to discuss within this forum would be the teaching of theosis. How do you feel about it? And how does it play into your understanding of the above?


 




Not sure what you are looking for.


The DC board has many advanced theologians. I don't think apologetics is important to many. Many on that board, including me, are Vatican II Catholics. Hewy and Quondamonachus are former priests. Mo spent more than a little time in the seminary. Cheurbino is a former Trappist monk whose family hosted Eugenio Pacelli at their mansion before he became Pius XII. My own degree (1960)  is from a very progressive Catholic college where the thoughts that powered Vatican II were very much under consideration.


Just for fun I looked up "theosis" in my CONCISE DICTIONARY OF THEOLOGY by Farrugia, SJ and O'Collins, SJ and it is not there.

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8 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2010 - 9:55AM #5
dqualk
Posts: 65

Feb 21, 2010 -- 11:10AM, dqualk wrote:


Since the time of the Protestant Reformation there has been important distinctions between grace. On the Protestant side there arose Common Grace and Sanctifiying Grace and on the Catholic side there was Actual Grace and Sanctifiying Grace.


How do these different kinds of grace play into you understanding of who goes to heaven, purgatory or hell and why? If you are not up with the theological terms perhaps you can just describe who you think goes to heaven etc.


What basics do you belive are requisite to enter the pearly gates, and do you think the majoirty of people are going to heaven or hell? Bible references, and Church references are nice but not necessary.


Another interesting idea to discuss within this forum would be the teaching of theosis. How do you feel about it? And how does it play into your understanding of the above?


 





Hmm, I think you are right. Better to start with basics and build up to other more complex issues. I think any of these questions would take too long to even half way answer and therefore I think we will start by talking about grace. However, I think its nice to have a kind of idea as to where this conversation might go, even if it never makes it there.


Grace is an interesting topic and I believe it does require distinctions to better make sense of how it works. For example, there is some grace that is given to us in the Sacraments which is different than the ordinary grace we have to do good works which is different, at least in source, than the grace recieved upon believing in Chrst.  


The topic of grace and her distinctions brings to mind the problem of original sin and to what measure it has sway in our life. Total depravity is certainly not the Catholic style, but there is some influence of total depravity left from Augustine, even if he never fully embraced the idea.


I think the problem is that any display of charity is a direct reflection of God, and how can unregenerate sinner represent God. Of course God could be using them to bring about His purpose, or perhaps the charity stems from their own free will. And if it does, then they must be saved. If they are not saved, and its hard to say, then the charity must not flow from their free will. I think in this case it would be the working of some grace that does not belong to them but instead is given to them to fulfill God's purpose, which is to love man.


Ultimatly salvation rests upon man responding to God's charity of sanctifying grace with charity. Which is interesting. To what degree is charity a work? Or is it a work at all? It seems a work but then faith might seem a work yet it is generally considered to not be a work. I believe charity is not a work, I believe it is a natural response that we can use because of our sharing in God's image.


For me the best way to make sense of the mess I have laid out above is to bring to mind the parable of talents. It appears that God has given each of us some measure of grace (talents). I do not believe this grace alone sanctifies, so I will call it actual grace rather than sanctifying grace. We are supposed to multiply this grace with charity which results in sanctifying grace. Those who refused to respond in love to what they were given are cast into hell.


As a Catholic I believe that God has given us all actual grace and I believe that Original Sin has only hindered our ability to do good works, as opposed to deprive our will of any good. Therefore any person can respond in love to what they were given which results in salvation. I believe Christians are the ones who were given 5 talents where non Christians were only given one talent.  However, it doesn't matter how many talents we were given, it matters that we multiply our talents.


I still believe that Catholics should assume that non Catholics are going to hell, in general. In particular you should judge case by case, including particularly general cases, like if someone asked me if there family necessarily went to hell because they were say hindu, I would respond by giving them hope by affirming their families potential good works which were a sign that they were perhaps multiplying the grace which was given to them. I am confident that my Protestant friends are going to heaven, and perhaps even my agnostic friend who also does good works. However, I am more obviosuly more confident that my Christian friends are going to heaven than my agnostic friend because they produce certain fruits which have explicit promises attached to them, i.e. whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


I think I will stop here before I confuse myself further. Hopefully if a discussion starts up I will be able to more clearly state some of these thoughts.


Peace

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8 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2010 - 10:32AM #6
TemplarS
Posts: 7,522

Wow, an intense topic.  I'll respond to a few specific points.


Feb 22, 2010 -- 9:55AM, dqualk wrote:


Ultimatly salvation rests upon man responding to God's charity of sanctifying grace with charity. Which is interesting. To what degree is charity a work? Or is it a work at all? It seems a work but then faith might seem a work yet it is generally considered to not be a work. I believe charity is not a work, I believe it is a natural response that we can use because of our sharing in God's image...


As a Catholic I believe that God has given us all actual grace and I believe that Original Sin has only hindered our ability to do good works, as opposed to deprive our will of any good.





Both of these statements strike me as true. 


As far as faith/works goes, I am a James man (faith without works is dead).  I also think of faith as active (that is, faith is what it is that acts as the basis for how we act in life); it is not mere belief.   Any faith must be lived.  I think the Reformation got it partly right, in rejecting things like indulgences which seem to imply that one can be saved by works which do not involve metanoia or a change of heart.  But to imply that charitable works have no value is plain wrong. That being said, it is, at the beginning, grace which gives us the ability to act in a truly charitable manner, it is grace which underlies the metanoia.


We cannot, by anything we do, earn the grace; it is a gift of God, and I like the analogy of the talents- it is what we do with the grace which matters.  The irresistable grace of the Calvinist's makes little sense to me.


As far as salvation goes, I see it as a process.  I do not like the Evangelical notion of salvation as a single act, after which once-saved-always-saved.  Salvation is a process of getting closer to God and Jesus, which begins in this life.  If your faith and what you do with the grace God gave you does not bring you close to God in this life, it will not do so in the next.  Sanctification is a key part of this which cannot be overlooked. God's grace is capable of making us better people; it does not (as with some Protestants) merely cover up our sins in order to make us acceptible to God.


 

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8 years ago  ::  Feb 25, 2010 - 11:35AM #7
David
Posts: 287

as my grandmother would say...and she was a devout Catholic...we get to Heavan by the grace of God and the help of 10 policemen!Smile  Seriously, with God's Grace..all things are possible..and it is possible to recieve His Grace after death...we actually have a chance to repent and ask for His Mercy when we die...


 


He gives us so many chances...as Christ Himself said..."with man, nothing is possible...with God, all things are possible!"


 


AMEN!!


 


God bless and keep you all, especially during this Holy Lenten Season. 

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8 years ago  ::  Feb 25, 2010 - 11:55AM #8
Pensive
Posts: 139

Feb 22, 2010 -- 10:32AM, TemplarS wrote:


Wow, an intense topic.  I'll respond to a few specific points.


 


 


As far as salvation goes, I see it as a process.  I do not like the Evangelical notion of salvation as a single act, after which once-saved-always-saved.  Salvation is a process of getting closer to God and Jesus, which begins in this life.  If your faith and what you do with the grace God gave you does not bring you close to God in this life, it will not do so in the next.  Sanctification is a key part of this which cannot be overlooked. God's grace is capable of making us better people; it does not (as with some Protestants) merely cover up our sins in order to make us acceptible to God.


 




And that in a nutshell is what Theosis is about.  The tern is more common in Eastern-Rite Catholics and among the Orthodox than among Roman-Rite Catholics.  There is a pretty good discussion On Theosis and Salvation over on the Orthodox board: community.beliefnet.com/go/thread/view/4...


 


Here is a quote I borrowed from Kerygna, the former board moderator:


 


It is a life-long process... a journey. Liken it to the Israelites leaving Egypt. They are God's chosen being lead to the Promised Land. First they must pass through the Red Sea (our baptism). This is the first step on the way to our salvation. Then they wander in the desert (our pilgrimage here on this earth). They are miraculously fed manna (heavenly bread) from heaven (our holy communion). Throughout this time of wandering they are tempted and they must resist. Those who remain faithful (i.e. Caleb, Joshua) enter the Promised Land. St Paul uses this as an illustration of our salvation.

It is not a static, one-time intellectual assent... an "I believe, Lord" type of thing. There is no support for such a notion as this in antiquity... in the history of Christianity. This is easy-believism and it has no support in the scriptures. Acts 2:38 says, "Repent and be baptized every one of you for the remission of your sins." It's active. We are "being" saved... not simply "saved".

Ultimately the Lord will determine this. It's not our call but His. He will do what is right in His eyes. Perhaps it is best for you to work out your salvation where you are at present. Perhaps not. The Lord will lead you if you follow Him in obedience and faith.


 

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8 years ago  ::  Feb 25, 2010 - 8:46PM #9
jane2
Posts: 14,295

David


...we actually have a chance to repent and ask for His Mercy when we die...


 I first heard this at an archdiocesan seminar for RCIA teachers here in Atlanta. It makes sense within our understanding of who the Father is and why He created us.


Sometimes I think we can forget the most basic belief when we construct our definitions, etc.

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8 years ago  ::  Mar 07, 2010 - 3:08PM #10
Shaner
Posts: 1,596

 


Very interesting Topic David, I  wish I had been here to participate in it!  I really hope we'll see more of you around here! 


As well, a warm welcome to the Forum,


God bless,


Sandy


Beliefnet Community Host,


Ave Maria Cafe Forum


 

"Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the Words of Eternal Life"
"Philippians 4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
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