The sixth session of the Council of Trent,the Canons Concerning Justification, anathematizes me how many times?
Else where in the meta Dan Phillips mentioned to me that we should have a contest.
“How many Romish anathemas can you rack up?”
I decided to count the number of anathemas that I am under from the 33 canons on justification. My count is 23 anathemas as I understand the canons. I tried to consider any nuances. Keep in mind that this is only 1 of 25 sessions of Trent.
It is a wonder if the doctrines of faith alone and imputed righteousness matter anymore. Trent has not changed so the wondering is of the Protestant side. It would not be difficult to find evidence that the doctrines are minimized today. One example is the upcoming National Conference on Christian Apologetics to be held at a baptist church which includes three (as best I can tell) Roman Catholics presenters. (As James White mentions the speakers may not have known who they were to share the stage with.) Another example comes from one of the observations from a recent evangelical conference on evangelism at the 9Marks blog.
Jonathan Leeman in Beware Your Seminary Professors writes the following.
Most of the speakers seemed only too happy to treat Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox as “brothers and sisters in the faith,” as easily as a Baptist might refer to a Presbyterian. Now, I trust that some RC and GOs are Christians, but such unqualified, unnuanced passing remarks effectively dismiss the Reformation and jeopardize souls. Don’t you realize the effect your passing comments have on sheep?
There are two recent examples from the evangelical side of things that seem to gloss over the differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics. To compromise the theological differences in an apologetics and an evangelism conference makes no sense. In both of these areas the Gospel is central. These mixes are like oil and water.
The canons in question are listed below. Also, here are two resources explaining sola fide: 1 – An mp3 from the Issues, Etc. radio show: The Reformation and Its Theology: Faith Alone. 2 – Justification by Faith Alone: The Relation of Faith to Justification by Dr. Joel Beeke.
Oh Anathema, My Anathema
If anyone says that man’s free will moved and aroused by God, by assenting to God’s call and action, in no way cooperates toward disposing and preparing itself to obtain the grace of justification, that it cannot refuse its assent if it wishes, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that it is not in man’s power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil as well as those that are good God produces, not permissively only but also propria et per se, so that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of St. Paul, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that all works done before justification, in whatever manner they may be done, are truly sins, or merit the hatred of God; that the more earnestly one strives to dispose himself for grace, the more grievously he sins, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and remains in them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that in order to obtain the remission of sins it is necessary for every man to believe with certainty and without any hesitation arising from his own weakness and indisposition that his sins are forgiven him, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that man is absolved from his sins and justified because he firmly believes that he is absolved and justified, or that no one is truly justified except him who believes himself justified, and that by this faith alone absolution and justification are effected, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that a man who is born again and justified is bound ex fide to believe that he is certainly in the number of the predestined, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that the grace of justification is shared by those only who are predestined to life, but that all others who are called are called indeed but receive not grace, as if they are by divine power predestined to evil, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to observe, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that nothing besides faith is commanded in the Gospel, that other things are indifferent, neither commanded nor forbidden, but free; or that the ten commandments in no way pertain to Christians, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that a man who is justified and however perfect is not bound to observe the commandments of God and the Church, but only to believe, as if the Gospel were a bare and absolute promise of eternal life without the condition of observing the commandments, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; or on the contrary, that he can during his whole life avoid all sins, even those that are venial, except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that in every good work the just man sins at least venially, or, what is more intolerable, mortally, and hence merits eternal punishment, and that he is not damned for this reason only, because God does not impute these works into damnation, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that the just ought not for the good works done in God to expect and hope for an eternal reward from God through His mercy and the merit of Jesus Christ, if by doing well and by keeping the divine commandments they persevere to the end, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that there is no mortal sin except that of unbelief, or that grace once received is not lost through any other sin however grievous and enormous except by that of unbelief, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that he who has fallen after baptism cannot by the grace of God rise again, or that he can indeed recover again the lost justice but by faith alone without the sacrament of penance, contrary to what the holy Roman and Universal Church, instructed by Christ the Lord and His Apostles, has hitherto professed, observed and taught, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that the one justified sins when he performs good works with a view to an eternal reward, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that the good works of the one justified are in such manner the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him justified; or that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit an increase of grace, eternal life, and in case he dies in grace, the attainment of eternal life itself and also an increase of glory, let him be anathema.
If anyone says that the Catholic doctrine of justification as set forth by the holy council in the present decree, derogates in some respect from the glory of God or the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, and does not rather illustrate the truth of our faith and no less the glory of God and of Christ Jesus, let him be anathema.
What did I miss? What did I let slip through?