The Instigator
dsjpk5
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
james14
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The belief that the sacraments convey grace is reasonable based on the Bible and historical evidence

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
dsjpk5
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/3/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,348 times Debate No: 66086
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (23)
Votes (1)

 

dsjpk5

Pro

I would like to thank James14 for suggesting this debate topic. I look
forward to a fruitful discussion.

I will be taking the position that the sacraments are one of the ways
God conveys grace to us. To support my claim, I will be appealing to
both scripture and the testimony of the early Church.

Grace: the free and unearned favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. Grace is also the "stuff" God gives you in order for you to do supernatural acts of love that please Him. We can't do anything without His grace... But with His grace, we can do some stuff.

I NEVER SAID YOU STOLE MONEY

To better illustrate this, I am going to share something I heard
Catholic apologist, Patrick Madrid say once:

Let's say you are at a garage sale and you come across a 100 year old
book. It looks interesting, so you buy it. You take it home and begin
to read it, but find it difficult to understand. Now let's say that the
author has passed away, but you still have access to his son, who was
in the room when the book was written? All things being equal, wouldn't you trust him over someone born 80 years later who didn't know anyone even remotely connected to the author? Especially when trying to interpret the following phrase:

I never said you stole money.

Now, at first glance, this may seem easy to understand, but there may
be more than one way to I interpret it. What if the person who wrote
that meant

I never said you stole money... He said it. Or...

I never SAID you stole money... But I sure thought it. Or...

I never said YOU stole money... I said she stole it. Or...

I never said you STOLE money... I said you borrowed it. Or...

I never said you stole MONEY. You stole a car.

Now take that verse, multiply it by 10,000, and you have the Bible. You
have dozens of different books, written by different authors, for
different audiences, for different reasons, in different languages, at
different times. So you tell me whose interpretations you can count on
to be most authentic? Those who knew the authors personally, or someone doing their best, 2,000 years later?

Development of doctrine.

Now of course, over time, we can understand better some of the
implications of a particular teaching. This is something all Christians
recognize. The doctrine of the Trinity didn't become crystallized until
some 300 years after the death of Christ. The key to determining the
difference between development versus departure is this... Is the
teaching in line with what the original Christians believed? No one
expects an elderly man to look like his baby picture. He's much taller
and has gray or white hair. You expect to see this. What you don't
expect is to see a third eye, or a foot growing from his hip.
Development versus departure.

THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS

1. Baptism,
2. Confirmation,
3.Eucharist,
4.Penance,
5. Anointing of the Sick,
6.Holy Orders and
7.Matrimony
[1]

What I am NOT saying:

I am not saying the sacraments are the only way God gives us grace.
God can give us grace any way He wants. What I am saying is that the
sacraments are biblically instituted ways He has decided to convey
grace to us.

SCRIPTURES THAT SUPPORT THE RESOLUTION:

Baptism:

"In Acts 2:38, Peter tells us, "Repent, and be baptized every one of
you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and
you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." When Paul was
converted, he was told, "And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name" (Acts 22:16).

Peter also said, "God"s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the
building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved
through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not
as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a clear
conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 3:20"21).
Peter says that, as in the time of the flood, when eight people were
"saved through water," so for Christians, "[b]aptism . . . now saves
you." It does not do so by the water"s physical action, but through the
power of Jesus Christ"s resurrection, through baptism"s spiritual
effects and the appeal we make to God to have our consciences cleansed.

These verses showing the supernatural grace God bestows through baptism set the context for understanding the New Testament"s statements about receiving new life in the sacrament." [2]

TESTIMONY OF THE EARLY CHURCH:

"Protestant early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly writes, "From the
beginning baptism was the universally accepted rite of admission to the Church. . . . As regards its significance, it was always held to convey the remission of sins . . . we descend into the water "dead" and come out again "alive"; we receive a white robe which symbolizes the Spirit . . .the Spirit is God himself dwelling in the believer, and the resulting life is a re-creation. Prior to baptism . . . our heart was the abode of demons . . [but] baptism supplies us with the weapons for our spiritual warfare" (Early Christian Doctrines, 193"4). "The Letter of Barnabas

Regarding [baptism], we have the evidence of Scripture that Israel
would refuse to accept the washing which confers the remission of sins and would set up a substitution of their own instead [Ps. 1:3"6].
Observe there how he describes both the water and the cross in the same figure. His meaning is, "Blessed are those who go down into the water with their hopes set on the cross." Here he is saying that after we
have stepped down into the water, burdened with sin and defilement, we come up out of it bearing fruit, with reverence in our hearts and the
hope of Jesus in our souls" (Letter of Barnabas 11:1"10 [A.D. 74]).

Hermas

""I have heard, sir," said I, "from some teacher, that there is no
other repentance except that which took place when we went down into the water and obtained the remission of our former sins." He said to me, "You have heard rightly, for so it is"" (The Shepherd 4:3:1"2 [A.D.
80])."[3]

On the Eucharist:

Luke 22:19-20

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

John 6:51

"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of
this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give
for the life of the world is My flesh."

1 Corinthians 10:16-17

Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of
Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of
Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread." [4]

TESTIMONY OF THE EARLY CHURCH

"The early Church Fathers interpreted these passages literally. In summarizing the early Fathers" teachings on Christ"s Real Presence, renowned Protestant historian of the early Church J. N. D. Kelly, writes: "Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Savior"s body and blood" (Early Christian Doctrines, 440).

Ignatius of Antioch

"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible" (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).

"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2"7:1 [A.D. 110]).

Justin Martyr

"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]). " [5]

Sources:
1.http://www.vatican.va...
2.http://www.catholic.com...
3.http://www.catholic.com...
4.http://bible.knowing-jesus.com...
5.http://www.catholic.com...
james14

Con

Thanks, Pro! I have never debated a Catholic before, but here goes!


I never said you stole money.

I like Pro’s argument, and I agree that those closest to the authors of the Bible would be probably have a good idea of what the authors were talking about. But the “I never said you stole money” argument fails because of context. The argument is basically an argument for examining verses in context. Pro fails to realize that if that phrase had appeared in the Bible (or any other complete literary manuscript), there would be little or no unintentional ambiguity. Context (the rest of the book) would enable us to discover what the author was trying to say.

Pro employs the part-to-whole fallacy here. One sentence can be hard to understand, so the Bible must be hard to understand because it is composed of sentences. This is quite obviously not the case, as I can read blogs and DDO arguments written by people I have never met and still understand the accumulated weight of their sentences. In addition, the same is true of the Bible. If studied carefully, even a man on a desert island who had no access to commentators, scholars, or the Complete Works of Augustine could understand the Bible. As the sentences accumulate, they contribute to coherency and create context, enabling us to understand each of the individual sentences more accurately.

“So you tell me whose interpretations you can count on

to be most authentic? Those who knew the authors personally, or someone doing their best, 2,000 years later?”

Good question. Whose interpretation is more authentic to the original meaning of the author? Well, if the interpreter did know the author personally, it is likely he would have been able to transmit the original meaning best. But, no matter how well he knew the author, if he doesn’t know language very well his interpretation is not going to be very good. But, talking of translations, Jerome started translating the Vulgate in 382 and finished in 405. [1] That makes the gap between his efforts and the authorship of the Bible around 300 years, assuming the Bible was written before 100 AD. That is a long enough gap for the benefits of proximity to dissipate. Translators in our time could quite possibly be doing a better job than Jerome if they paid closer attention to the meaning of Hebrew and Greek words, avoided falling into doctrinally friendly ruts, and did their research.

I wished originally to debate sacramental ramifications on salvation, so that will be my main focus. This is my main, albeit simple, argument:

Grace is the “free and unearned favor of God,” according to just about any definition, including ours. Something is not “unearned” if a state of being must be maintained to keep that object. If one says that grace is “earned,” whether by sacraments or by continuation of good works, they are mistaken as grace cannot be “earned” if defined as a free gift. If I told my daughter (I’m 15 and unmarried but just let me use this example) I would give her a pony, but that the pony would be lost if she did not keep her room tidy, would the gift be free? No, because a condition would be attached.

Having stated my main argument, I will now move on to the rest of Pro’s first post.

Baptism: Pro presents verses in an attempt to prove that baptism is necessary for salvation. I will answer each verse in turn, but first consider whether baptism should logically be considered a condition for salvation. The thief on the cross, to whom our Lord granted salvation, was not baptized. In Paul’s appeal to the jailer in Philippi Paul does not even mention baptism, simply saying, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved and your household” (Acts 16:31). Baptism was intended to be the outward sign of true inward birth, rather than a cause of the new birth. Paul stressed repeatedly that circumcision, the outward sign of the Old Testament, did not guarantee salvation.

Indeed, requiring human rites for the extension of God’s “grace,” (hardly true “grace,” which is defined as unmerited favor) is an attempt to bring believers back to the legalism that Paul condemned.

Galatians 2:15-21: Paul is here speaking of his encounter with Peter concerning the Jewish attempt to conform Gentiles to the Mosaic law:

“[K]nowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we see, to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sins? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Italics obviously added.)

Works truly do not justify us, by adhering to the Seven Sacraments, or by confessing and doing penance for our sins. Christ died once for all of our sins. Listen again to Paul’s words: “For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.” Attempting to justify ourselves by works is trying again to live by “the law,” this time a law of man’s own devising, and doing so only succeeds in proving us transgresors.

Finally, why would Paul say, "I thank God that I baptized none of you . . ." in I Corinthians 1 if baptism were necessary for salvation? If baptism were an integral part of the salvation process, then one would imagine Paul would be quite preoccupied with the subject. Later he says, "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel," (I Corinthians 1:17) indicating that the salvation of men was his main concern and that men could be saved regardless of their further baptisimal condition.

Acts 2:38: The reference to baptism here does not imply that baptism is necessary for salvation. The reference to baptism is, according to C. Gordon Olsen, parenthetical, indicating that those who repent should also be baptized.

Acts 2:16: Commentators agree that this reference refers to baptism as emblematic of the washing away of sins. Barnes says, “It cannot be intended that the external rite of baptism was sufficient to make the soul pure, but that it was an ordinance divinely appointed as expressive of the washing away of sins.” [2]

I Peter 3:20-21: The NKJV renders “(not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God),” indicating that Peter is clearly speaking figuratively and even breaks his line of thought (indicated by the parenthesis) to tell his readers that he is speaking of the regenerate work of God rather than the physical ritual.

The Eucharist:

Luke 22:19-20: Jesus says “do this in remembrance of me.” This is a command, but there is no implication here that those who do not do it are denied grace or salvation.

John 6:51: Jesus says, “ . . .if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever . . .” This is an affirmation that Christ is the living bread that came down from heaven to make and keep men alive to God. In verses 35 and 47 He already established that, so to define the bread as a figurative term for Christ is no large leap of the imagination. Setting up the Lord’s Supper as a ritual that must be performed regularly in order to maintain salvation in an individual is contrary to the Bible’s clear message of Christ dying once for all.

I Corinthians 10:16-17: This verse talks of the fellowship of believers. Barnes states: “The cup of blessing which we bless - The design of this verse and the following verses seems to be, to prove that Christians, by partaking of the Lord's Supper, are solemnly set apart to the service of the Lord Jesus; that they acknowledge Him as their Lord, and dedicate themselves to him, and that as they could not and ought not to be devoted to idols and to the Lord Jesus at the same time, so they ought not to participate in the feasts in honor of idols, or in the celebrations in which idolaters would be engaged; see 1 Corinthians 10:21.”[3] Paul has just been referencing the idolatry that the Israelites who partook of the heavenly bread in the wilderness sinned in doing. The drift of Paul’s words seem to be that one who drinks the symbolic blood of Christ and eats the symbolic body of Christ is engaging in a ceremony of remembrance and that those who eat and drink together are (or should be) the church Body of Christ. Viewing this “sacrament” as a means by which we gain favor with God and possibly entrance into heaven is quite unreasonable.



[2] BibleHub.com—acts 2:16, Barnes

[3] BibleHub.com, I Corinthians 10:16, Barnes

Debate Round No. 1
dsjpk5

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for offering his thoughts. This
should be a fun debate. Unfortunately, however, I do have some
concerns about his response, or lack thereof. I will be capitalizing
for emphasis only.

DROPPED ARGUMENTS

As anyone can see, the resolution mentions TWO subjects we will be
investigating: scripture and history. My opponent responded to the
scriptures I offered, but IGNORED all the historical evidence given.
This is what is known as a "dropped argument" in debate circles, and
isn't taken lightly. A drop means that you didn't respond to the
argument the first time you could have. This results in the dropped
arguments being presumed true for the remainder of the debate. So in
this case, all the quotes last round from church historians and early
Church fathers are accepted as true for the rest of the debate. [1]

REBUTTALS

Last round Con said:

"I like Pro"s argument, and I agree that those closest to the authors
of
the Bible would be probably have a good idea of what the authors were
talking about."

My response:

CONCESSION

I appreciate Con conceding that my approach is a good idea when it
comes to interpreting scripture. But immediately afterwards, he tries
to change what I said about the approach to the.subject of context.
This is not what I was arguing. To say my argument concerned context is inaccurate.

Concerning the context of a work, Con said:

But the "I never said you stole money" argument fails
because of context. The argument is basically an argument for examining
verses in context. Pro fails to realize that "... if that phrase had
appeared in the Bible (or any other complete literary manuscript),
there would be little or no unintentional ambiguity. Context (the rest
of the book) would enable us to discover what the author was trying to
say."

My response:

I would like Con to consider what the Bible says about whether or not
it's easy to understand by itself.

2 Peter 3:16: (referring to Paul)

"He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these
matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand,
which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other
Scriptures, to their own destruction."

So here we see the Bible says the person who wrote 2/3 of the New
Testament wrote somethings that were "hard to understand". So, if 2/3 of the New Testament contains things "hard to understand", I don't see how you could say I am only referring to one verse, or that content
always provides understanding.

On understanding the biblical languages:

If Con believes I offer the words of someone who isn't familiar with
the biblical languages, it is up to him to make such a case. He goes
on to question Jerome' s translations because they took place 300 years after the Bible was finished. Butt if a 300 year old interpretation
can't be trusted, then NONE of Con's interpretations can be trusted
since they all took place nearly 2,000 after the Bible was written.
And if he is claiming Jerome misinterpreted something, I'm going to
have to ask for some evidence. One final issue concerning Jerome... I
DIDN'T QUOTE HIM last round. I quoted from Hermas, who lived during the same time as the Apostles, and I quoted from Ignatius of Antioch, who was ordained by Peter and was a student of the Apostle John. So he definitely falls under the category of someone who has, as my opponent would say, "a good idea of what the authors were talking about."

CON'S MAIN ARGUMENT

"Grace is the "free and unearned favor of God," according to just about
any definition, including ours. Something is not "unearned" if a state
of being must be maintained to keep that object. If one says that grace
is "earned," whether by sacraments or by continuation of good works,
they are mistaken as grace cannot be "earned" if defined as a free
gift. If I told my daughter (I"m 15 and unmarried but just let me use
this example) I would give her a pony, but that the pony would be lost
if she did not keep her room tidy, would the gift be free? No, because
a condition would be attached."

My response:

Con has engaged in a straw man argument. I never said that one must
participate in the sacraments in order to keep the gift of grace.
Having said this, I want to make sure everyone knows I don't think Con
did this on purpose. Since he has never debated a Catholic before it's
highly possible he was simply confused about what the Church teaches on this issue.

MORE STRAW MAN ARGUMENTS BY CON:

Pro tries to undercut my stance on baptism by pointing to the thief on
the cross. Con argues that the thief is saved without being baptized.
It is at this point that I would like to remind my opponent of what I
am NOT SAYING (from round one):

What I am NOT saying:

I am not saying the sacraments are the only way God gives us grace.
God can give us grace any way He wants. What I am saying is that the
sacraments are biblically instituted ways He has decided to convey
grace to us.

Concerning a specific verse of scripture (Acts 16:1) where Paul doesn't
mention baptism, I regret to have to say that Con is engaging in a
logical fallacy called "the argument from silence". "Arguments from
silence, based on a writer's failure to mention an event, are distinct
from arguments from ignorance which rely on a total "absence of
evidence" and are widely considered unreliable; however arguments from silence themselves are also generally viewed as rather weak in many cases; or considered as fallacies."[2]

CON'S BIBLE VERSES

Galatians 2:15-21: Paul is here speaking of his encounter with Peter
concerning the Jewish attempt to conform Gentiles to the Mosaic law:

"[K]nowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by
faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we
may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law;
for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while
we see, to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners,
is Christ therefore a minister of sins? Certainly not! For if I build
again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For
I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been
crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in
me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the
Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside
the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then
Christ died in vain." (Italics obviously added.)

MY RESPONSE:

Thus passage is not relevant to our debate because it is not condemning any of the sacraments, but rather "the works of the law" None of the sacraments fall under that category. Notice how Paul is not condemning all works, but rather only the specific "works of the law". With this in mind, Con's choice of Bible passage (and subsequent argument) is irrelevant.

Con continues:

"Finally, why would Paul say, "I thank God that I baptized none of you .
. ." in I Corinthians 1 if baptism were necessary for salvation? If
baptism were an integral part of the salvation process, then one would
imagine Paul would be quite preoccupied with the subject. Later he
says, "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the
Gospel," (I Corinthians 1:17) indicating that the salvation of men was
his main concern and that men could be saved regardless of their
further baptisimal condition."

MY RESPONSE:

Paul is glad he didn't baptize because, as he goes on to say, his
specific duty was to preach the gospel. God gave the job of baptizing
to someone else.

Con said:

Acts 2:38: The reference to baptism here does not imply that baptism is
necessary for salvation. The reference to baptism is, according to C.
Gordon Olsen, parenthetical, indicating that those who repent should
also be baptized.

MY RESPONSE:

This interpretation doesn't make grammatical sense. The Word closest
to the phrase "for the forgiveness of sins" is "baptism", not "repent". With this in mind, it doesn't make sense to claim this verse is
speaking about baptism parenthetically

Con said:

"Acts 2:16: Commentators agree that this reference refers to baptism as
emblematic of the washing away of sins. Barnes says, "It cannot be
intended that the external rite of baptism was sufficient to make the
soul pure, but that it was an ordinance divinely appointed as
expressive of the washing away of sins." [2]

MY RESPONSE:

I can only assume Con is really referring to my use of Acts 22:16, and
not Acts 2:16. If this is the case, again, "baptism" is immediately
followed up with "and wash away your sins". So it is quite reasonable
to believe that God offers the grace necessary to "wash away sins" via
baptism.

Con said:

"I Peter 3:20-21: The NKJV renders "(not the removal of the filth of the
flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God)," indicating
that Peter is clearly speaking figuratively and even breaks his line of
thought (indicated by the parenthesis) to tell his readers that he is
speaking of the regenerate work of God rather than the physical ritual."

MY RESPONSE:

The parentheses are only found in the NKJV of the Bible when searching biblehub.com. In every other translation, Peter's words are one thought. Peter is saying the water of baptism doesn't wash you
PHYSICALLY, bit rather it washes you SPIRITUALLY. He couldn't be more clear "Baptism... now saves you"

Con said:

"The Eucharist:

Luke 22:19-20: Jesus says "do this in remembrance of me." This is a
command, but there is no implication here that those who do not do it
are denied grace or salvation."

MY RESPONSE:

Again, I never said those who don't receive the Eucharist are denied
grace. This is just one way to receive grace, as Jesus says, "so that
sins may be forgiven."

Con said:

"John 6:51: Jesus says, " . . .if anyone eats of this bread, he will
live forever . . ." This is an affirmation that Christ is the living
bread that came down from heaven to make and keep men alive to God. In
verses 35 and 47 He already established that, so to define the bread as
a figurative term for Christ is no large leap of the imagination.
Setting up the Lord"s Supper as a ritual that must be performed
regularly in order to maintain salvation in an individual is contrary
to the Bible"s clear message of Christ dying once for all."

MY RESPONSE:

My opponent claims Jesus bus being figurative here when He speaks of those who "eat this bread will live forever". With this in mind, I
have a question for my opponent. Did Jesus give his literal flesh or
his figurative flesh "for the life of the world"? Because it is this
flesh that He calls bread and says we must eat.

Con says:

"I Corinthians 10:16-17: This verse talks of the fellowship of
believers. Barnes states: "The cup of blessing which we bless - The
design of this verse and the following verses seems to be, to prove
that Christians, by partaking of the Lord's Supper, are solemnly set
apart to the service of the Lord Jesus; that they acknowledge Him as
their Lord, and dedicate themselves to him, and that as they could not
and ought not to be devoted to idols and to the Lord Jesus at the same
time, so they ought not to participate in the feasts in honor of idols,
or in the celebrations in which idolaters would be engaged; see 1
Corinthians 10:21."[3] Paul has just been referencing the idolatry that
the Israelites who partook of the heavenly bread in the wilderness
sinned in doing. The drift of Paul"s words seem to be that one who
drinks the symbolic blood of Christ and eats the symbolic body of
Christ is engaging in a ceremony of remembrance and that those who eat
and drink together are (or should be) the church Body of Christ.
Viewing this "sacrament" as a means by which we gain favor with God and
possibly entrance into heaven is quite unreasonable."

MY RESPONSE:

Again we see Con claiming the body and blood of Christ referred to in
the passage as symbolic. But again, this leaves me with a question for
Con. In verse 11:27, while referring to the same "body and blood",
Paul says "So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the
Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body
and blood of the Lord." So my question is: How does someone sin
against a symbol? If someone takes a picture of me, that's a symbol of
me. Can someone sin against my picture? Or can someone only sin
against me (the real person)?

NEW ARGUMENTS (penance and confirmation)

BIBLICAL SUPPORT

Penance:

"This sacrament is rooted in the mission God gave to Christ in his
capacity as the Son of man on earth to go and forgive sins (cf. Matt.
9:6). Thus, the crowds who witnessed this new power "glorified God, who had given such authority to men" (Matt. 9:8; note the plural "men"). After his resurrection, Jesus passed on his mission to forgive sins to his ministers, telling them, "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. . . . Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any,
they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained"
(John 20:21"23). "

Testimony of the early Church:

"The Didache

"Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an
evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . . On the Lord"s Day
gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your
transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure" (Didache 4:14, 14:1
[A.D. 70]).

The Letter of Barnabas

"You shall judge righteously. You shall not make a schism, but you
shall pacify those that contend by bringing them together. You shall
confess your sins. You shall not go to prayer with an evil conscience.
This is the way of light" (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D. 74]).

Ignatius of Antioch

"For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the
bishop. And as many as shall, in the exercise of penance, return into
the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may
live according to Jesus Christ" (Letter to the Philadelphians 3 [A.D.
110]). " [3]

Confirmation

"The sacrament of confirmation is found in Bible passages such as Acts 8:14"17, 9:17, 19:6, and Hebrews 6:2, which speak of a laying on of hands for the purpose of bestowing the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 6:2 is especially important because it is not a narrative account of how confirmation was given and, thus, cannot be dismissed by those who reject the sacrament as something unique to the apostolic age. In fact, the passage refers to confirmation as one of Christianity"s basic teachings, which is to be expected since confirmation, like baptism, is a sacrament of initiation into the Christian life.

We read: "Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment" (Heb. 6:1"2) ."

"Hippolytus

"The bishop, imposing his hand on them, shall make an invocation, saying, "O Lord God, who made them worthy of the remission of sins through the Holy Spirit"s washing unto rebirth, send into them your grace so that they may serve you according to your will, for there is glory to you, to the Father and the Son with the Holy Spirit, in the holy Church, both now and through the ages of ages. Amen." Then, pouring the consecrated oil into his hand and imposing it on the head of the baptized, he shall say, "I anoint you with holy oil in the Lord, the Father Almighty, and Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit." Signing them on the forehead, he shall kiss them and say, "The Lord be with you." He that has been signed shall say, "And with your spirit." Thus shall he do to each" (The Apostolic Tradition 21"22 [A.D. 215]).

Cyprian of Carthage

"It is necessary for him that has been baptized also to be anointed, so that by his having received chrism, that is, the anointing, he can be the anointed of God and have in him the grace of Christ" (Letters 7:2 [A.D. 253]). " [4]

Sources:
1.http://en.m.wikipedia.org...(policy_debate)
2.http://en.m.wikipedia.org...
3.http://www.catholic.com...
4.http://www.catholic.com...
james14

Con

Thanks, Pro.

The “Dropped Arguments” charge:

I’m sorry I didn’t say anything about all your historical sources in the first round. I have basically no knowledge of all the sources you quoted, so I wasn’t sure how to respond.

I thought tackling the “I never said you stole money” argument would be enough.

Anyway, apologies. I have been thinking about the subject and I believe I have made some progress in the area. I do not deny the credibility of your sources, but, however, I do deny that all those quotes carry a significant weight of evidence. This ties closely to the “I never said you stole money” issue, so I will do my best to address both here. Note that I am not arguing the validity of the individual quotes; I am arguing that even taken as a group, such witness may not convey the truth.

So, on to Pro’s response to the “money” issue.

Pro quotes 2 Peter 3:16, which says,

"He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these
matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand,
which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other
Scriptures, to their own destruction."

Great. I thank Pro for bringing this up. This is an important issue and we shall do well to address it earlier rather than later in the debate.

First, notice the exact wording. Peter says Paul’s letters contain “some things” that are “hard to understand.” Not impossible, but hard. So, rather than 2/3 of the NT, we have “some” of that 2/3, (some of Paul’s writing is straightforward) and rather than the “I never said you have money” phrase, which would be impossible to understand out of context, we have whole books, which I maintain, given that we have the NT in the original language (Greek) and a valid understanding of the cultural conditions Paul was writing from, would allow us to understand what Paul was saying.

Also notice that this only refers to Paul’s writings. Is Pro conceding the rest of the Bible? :]

This verse not only provides little help to Pro, but it also is of aid to the case I will present. I quote:

“ . . . which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other
Scriptures, to their own destruction . . .”

Very interesting. So, even in the “early days” of Peter and Paul, there were people who distorted Paul’s teachings. This flies directly in the face of Pro’s claim that those who lived the briefest length of time after the writing of the Bible understood it the best.

II John, III John, and Jude all contain references to deceivers and antichrists who try to deceive and who preach false things.

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world . . .”

“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for condemnation . . .”

There is no need for Pro to “refute” these texts, as they are only quoted for demonstrative purposes. My only point is that, even during the lifetime of Peter and John, there were deceivers who appeared to come out of the church and proceeded to teach what was contrary to scripture.

This is corroborated by the church’s own witness. Why do we not accept the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of our Lord, the Gospel of Judas, and all the other extra-biblical texts dating from the time of the early church as reliable and valuable?

The answer should be: they are not in the Bible, and as a result we cannot know that they are accurate. Paul basically said the same, when he said that even an angel preaching a different gospel should not be believed. This would certainly hold true to even Peter and Paul’s peers. Only the Bible is ABSOLUTELY true. As a result, we must judge every other book and early church writer by what the Bible says, rather than the other way round. This allows us to discount all Pro’s “testimony” and focus on exactly what the Bible says.

On understanding the biblical languages:

I didn’t say Jerome wasn’t familiar with biblical languages. I said 300 years was long enough for the benefits of proximity to dissipate. By that point, all the original authors and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren would have all died. Also remember that at this point heresies and wayward doctrines, such as Gnosticism, had been around for a long time.

Understand that I am not making a solid case against the Vulgate. That’s not the issue here. I’m simply saying that when you consider that our translators also have access to the original Greek and Hebrew text, there is no reason to value Jerome’s translation over the KJV or ESV without further scrutiny. Clear enough?

Now, it appears that I have been accused of erecting “straw man” arguments.

Pro says, “ I never said that one must
participate in the sacraments in order to keep the gift of grace.”

Pro is right. He didn’t say that. But I am pretty sure that the Church teaches baptism is necessary for salvation, at least in cases where the person has access to baptism. In fact, I looked this up online and found the following on www.catholic.com:

Thus the early Church Fathers wrote in the Nicene Creed (A.D. 381), "We believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins."

And the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The Lord himself affirms that baptism is necessary for salvation [John 3:5]. . . . Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament [Mark 16:16]" (CCC 1257).” [1]

Later on in the article the writer specifies that baptism is a normative rather than an absolute necessity. There are exceptions. But, in the main, baptism is needed for salvation.

As Pro has very carefully pointed out, all he is arguing is that the sacraments are biblically instituted ways God has decided to convey grace to us. We “do” the sacraments, and we receive grace. But Pro has offered no rebuttal (so far) to my charge that this doctrine is contrary to the very definition of grace and Christianity’s nature as a religion not by works but of God’s free gift to mankind. If we get grace through getting baptized and then presumably more grace through the Eucharist, and so on, then we are earning grace. I levy no “dropped argument” charges, but Pro hasn’t really addressed this.

Galatians 2:15-21: The sacraments are righteous actions, correct? If they are done to gain favor with God and ultimately salvation then I think we can group them in with all other “works of the law.”

Acts 2:38: Pro’s response is dependent on the translation. The “let each of you be baptized” part is in a different person from the “repent” part of the verse, indicating a break in thought between the imperatives.

Acts 22:16: We’re not really getting anywhere here. Again, we can’t rely on English order of words to determine the original meaning, but even from my English Bible there is no indication that the “washing away of sins” directly correlates with the washing by water.

So it is quite reasonable
to believe that God offers the grace necessary to "wash away sins" via
baptism.”

Really? In Ephesians 2:8-9 Paul states that grace is a gift of God, as I’m sure Pro knows and agrees. The entire NT seems to forward a view of salvation as instant and irrevocable.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life . . .” John 3:36.

“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God–“ John 1:12

This one clinches it for me:

“ . . . Anyone who gives heed to what I say and puts his trust in Him who sent Me has hold of eternal life, and does not come up for judgment, but has already passed from death to life.”

No reference to normative baptism, confirmation, or any other official sacraments. He who puts his trust in Christ has already passed from death to life. Nothing else is necessary.

I Peter 3:20-21: Well, what makes the NKJV wrong? The parentheses are reflective of a real break in thought.

Eucharist:

Again, PRO never said the Eucharist was needed for salvation, but someone else did:

The Basic Catholic Catechist Home Study Course says:

“Like Baptism, the Eucharist is necessary for salvation to be received either sacramentally or in desire.” [2]

John 6:51: Jesus literally died for the life of the world. But I still maintain that He was speaking figuratively. Jesus says, “if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever . . .” If Jesus IS the bread, then even a nonbeliever can live forever just by eating the bread. Question: Was Jesus speaking literally when He said He was the “bread come down from heaven”?

I Corinthians 10:16-17: How does one sin against a symbol? By desecrating that symbol. Why do we view flag-burnings as an offense against our national honor? Desecrating the symbol (or treating it disrespectfully) indicates we disrespect the object of the symbol. Blasphemy is a sin. Why? Is God’s name somehow “God”? No, but it is His title and what represents Him.

Penance:

The Bible clearly teaches that only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:10-11). Making God’s forgiveness conditional upon a priest’s decision would clearly be wrong. In fact, this verse seems to be referencing church officials’ power to mete out punishment and forgiveness in that sense, rather than heavenly forgiveness.

Of the early church references, the Didache speaks of confessing of sins being important, which I would agree on, but does not mention grace or salvation. The Letter of Barnabas is similar. Ignatius seems to make confession of sins a necessary part of salvation, which is obviously contrary to the free nature of grace.

Confirmation:

I thank Pro for introducing me to the Catholic rationale for this Sacrament. However, while the Bible does endorse the “laying on of hands,” it states that this laying on of hands is for the purpose of receiving the Spirit, not grace or salvation, as is obvious from the Hebrews passage Pro quoted.

I have no knowledge of Hippolytus or Cyprian, and as I pointed out before their words cannot take precedence over scripture.

Debate Round No. 2
dsjpk5

Pro

Again, I capitalize for emphasis only.

CON'S CONCESSION:

I would like to thank my opponent for admitting he didn't
respond/dropped some of my arguments from last round. That shows a lot of integrity on his part. I accept his apology. EUnfortunately for
him, however, dropped arguments are considered true for the remainder of the debate, which puts him at a disadvantage when trying to garner argument votes.

MY FAVORITE PART:

I also appreciate Con saying, "I do not deny the credibility of your
sources..."

Con went on to say that he disagreed with the beliefs of the early
Christians. Well, that's to be expected since he took the opposite
position of me, but it leaves me with a question: Where is his counter
evidence? Remember, one of the things we are debating is whether
historical evidence suggests such a belief is reasonable. If my
opponent isn't going to offer his own historical evidence, and isn't
going to"deny the credibility" of my sources... he's basically conceded
the "historical evidence" part of the resolution.

On 2 Peter 3:16, Con says:

"First, notice the exact wording. Peter says Paul"s letters contain
"some things" that are "hard to understand." Not impossible, but hard.
So, rather than 2/3 of the NT, we have "some" of that 2/3, (some of
Paul"s writing is straightforward) and rather than the "I never said
you have money" phrase, which would be impossible to understand out of
context, we have whole books, which I maintain, given that we have the
NT in the original language (Greek) and a valid understanding of the
cultural conditions Paul was writing from, would allow us to understand
what Paul was saying."

MY RESPONSE:

But most people who read the Bible can't understand Greek, nor do they
have a "understanding of the cultural conditions" of those times.
But I'll tell you who did have a knowledge of those things... the very
people Con said he disagrees with.

Con then asks if I am saying all other books of the New Testament are
easy to understand. The answer is "no". The book of Revelation is
very difficult to understand. All the more reason to look to the first
Christians to get an understanding what the authors of the New
Testament really meant.

Con then inexplicably claimed this verse hurts my claim:

" . . . which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other
Scriptures, to their own destruction . . ."

MY RESPONSE:

This verse SUPPORTS my claim. It shows we shouldn't read the Bible
without first being taught how to understand it. And who better than
someone who was a student of John, and ordained by Peter? Sure there
were people misinterpreting Paul's letters... ignorant people who read
the Bible for themselves without consulting learned people. On the
other hand, I quoted educated people (some of whom were taught the
faith directly by the Apostles and were chosen by the Apostles to be
their replacement). So, it's doubtful they would be considered
"ignorant" of the true faith. They should also not be compared to the
Gospel of Thomas And other Gnostic gospels because none of them were
Gnostics. When determining if a belief is orthodox or not, the
question.should always be: "Is this a brand new doctrine that no one
has ever heard of before now or is this in line with what.has been
taught from the beginning?" And since I have offered biblical evidence
that agrees with their belief, it is reasonable to call such beliefs
"biblical". And since Con has been unable to provide any historical
evidence to support his claims, his is the one that should be doubted.

On understanding the biblical languages:

Con continues to denigrate the testimony of Jerome and the idea that
300 years is too long... but I HAVEN'T EVEN QUOTED JEROME. Every
source I have offered is much earlier than that. Some were written
during the Apostolic age (the Apostle John was still alive when the
Didache was written).

CON CONTINUES HIS STRAW MAN ARGUMENTS:

Con said:

"Pro is right. He didn"t say that [baptism is necessary for salvation].
But I am pretty sure that the Church
teaches baptism is necessary for salvation, at least in cases where the
person has access to baptism. In fact, I looked this up online and
found the following on www.catholic.com:

"Thus the early Church Fathers wrote in the Nicene Creed (A.D. 381),
"We believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins."

MY RESPONSE:

Con is misinterpreting the quote. All that it's saying is that one
should be baptized ONCE for the forgiveness of sins. It's not saying
that baptism is the only way to have your sins forgiven. We know this
because if that's what Catholics believed, then we wouldn't have the
sacraments.of penance or anointing of the sick. Later, Con even ADMITS
his source says baptism is simply the normative (normal) way one
initially receives grace. And if that's the cars, that implies there
are other ways God can give us grace. I acknowledge and accept all the
biblical passages Con has offered and will offer that mention how God
can give us grace in other ways, BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT WE ARE DEBATING.
We are debating whether or not ONE of the ways God gives (conveys) us
grace is through the sacraments. If anyone doubts that, I refer them to
the debate resolution:

"The belief that the sacraments convey grace is reasonable based on the
Bible and historical evidence"

As anyone can see, the resolution DOESN'T say the sacraments are the
only way. It just asks if they convey grace or not.

I NEVER DROPPED ANY OF CON'S ARGUMENTS:

Con insists on doubling down on straw man arguments:

Notice what Con said about earning grace:

"If one says that grace is "earned," whether by sacraments or by
continuation of good works, they are mistaken as grace cannot be
"earned" if defined as a free gift."

MY RESPONSE:

Well, I'm not saying that, and neither is the Catholic Church, so
there's no need to respond to something I didn't say. Let me be clear,
you can't earn grace. It's not possible. You dint earn grace through
the sacraments, or in any other way. The sacraments are simply one way
God has chosen to deliver grace to us. He does so freely. He does not
owe it to us because we don't earn it.

Con tries to defend his claims:

Galatians 2:15-21: The sacraments are righteous actions, correct? If
they are done to gain favor with God and ultimately salvation then I
think we can group them in with all other "works of the law."

MY RESPONSE:

No you cannot "group them in with the works of the law" Paul was
addressing those who thought believers had to keep the Jewish rituals.
The sacraments aren't Jewish rituals. We know they're not because no
Jew practices them.

On Acts 2:38, Con says:

"Acts 2:38: Pro"s response is dependent on the translation. The "let
each of you be baptized" part is in a different person from the
"repent" part of the verse, indicating a break in thought between the
imperatives."

MY RESPONSE:

My opponent makes a claim (different person) without offering any
evidence, and as such, it should be rejected as baseless. I challenge
him to show me a translation that does what he claims... to which I
will respond with 10 that don't.

On Acts 22:16, Con says:

"Acts 22:16: We"re not really getting anywhere here. Again, we can"t
rely on English order of words to determine the original meaning, but
even from my English Bible there is no indication that the "washing
away of sins" directly correlates with the washing by water."

MY RESPONSE:

No correlation? How about right after telling them to be baptized, it
says "and wash away your sins"? How's there no correlation? Do you
have an English translation that says otherwise, or are you saying that
every single English translation of the Bible is wrong?

Con then quotes a number of verses that say how God can give us grace
in other ways other than baptism (or any sacrament for that matter).
Again, I don't deny this. As I said before, God can give us grace any
way He wants to. We're not debating if there are other ways besides
the sacraments. What were debating is if the sacraments are ONE way He
gives us grace. We're also not debating if one can lose their
salvation. That's a different subject.

Con asks:

"I Peter 3:20-21: Well, what makes the NKJV wrong? The parentheses are
reflective of a real break in thought."

MY RESPONSE:

The problem IS the.parentheses. The fact that no other translation
uses them is an indication that the parentheses were added for purely
doctrinal reasons.

On the Eucharist Con said:

"Again, PRO never said the Eucharist was needed for salvation, but
someone else did:"

Con quotes from an unofficial source. No reference is made by the
source to any magisterial document. With this in mind, there's no need
to respond to what it says. Con is debating me, not The Basic Catholic
Catechist Home Study Course. I can't be expected to defend the private
beliefs of every individual Catholic.

On John 6:51, Con says:

"John 6:51: Jesus literally died for the life of the world. But I still
maintain that He was speaking figuratively. Jesus says, "if anyone eats
of this bread he will live forever . . ." If Jesus IS the bread, then
even a nonbeliever can live forever just by eating the bread. Question:
Was Jesus speaking literally when He said He was the "bread come down
from heaven"?"

MY RESPONSE:

Who am I to question our Lord Jesus? Maybe a non believer does receive
grace when he receives communion. Sounds like Con has a problem with
what Jesus said, and mot with what I'm saying. Doesn't God want all
non believers to come to Him? And doesn't He give everyone enough
grace to choose Him?

On 1 Corinthians, Con said:

"I Corinthians 10:16-17: How does one sin against a symbol? By
desecrating that symbol. Why do we view flag-burnings as an offense
against our national honor? Desecrating the symbol (or treating it
disrespectfully) indicates we disrespect the object of the symbol.
Blasphemy is a sin. Why? Is God"s name somehow "God"? No, but it is His
title and what represents Him."

MY RESPONSE:

I don't view flag burning as an offense. It's a matter of free speech.
Are you really saying that burning a flag is sinful? Would burning a
picture of me make you guilty of my body and blood (as verse 11:27
mentions)? That sounds like the language of homicide to me.

On Penance, Con said:

"The Bible clearly teaches that only God can forgive sins (Mark
2:10-11). Making God"s forgiveness conditional upon a priest"s decision
would clearly be wrong. In fact, this verse seems to be referencing
church officials" power to mete out punishment and forgiveness in that
sense, rather than heavenly forgiveness."

MY RESPONSE:

I would assert that.the passage Con references actually supports MY
position. Notice the verse refers to Jesus forgiving sins as the Son
of MAN. It was in His HUMAN nature that He forrgave sins. We know
this by reading Matthew's account of the same story:

Matthew 9:8

"But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God,
which had given such power unto men." So we see that the Bible says
that more than one man (men) have the authority to forgive sin.

On the testimony of the early Church, Con said:

"Of the early church references, the Didache speaks of confessing of
sins being important, which I would agree on, but does not mention
grace or salvation."

MY RESPONSE:

The Didache says to confess your sins IN CHURCH, so this isn't some
private confession.

Con says:

"The Letter of Barnabas is similar."

MY RESPONSE:

In what way? That's not really a response.

Con said:

"Ignatius seems
to make confession of sins a necessary part of salvation, which is
obviously contrary to the free nature of grace."

MY RESPONSE:

Not if penance is just a channel of God's grace. Again, no one is
saying this grace is earned.

CON DROPS THE ARGUMENTS MADE BY.HIPPOLYTUS AND CYPRIAN:

All he says is that he is unfamiliar with them. Well that's no reason
to ignore their historical testimony.

On cofirmation, Con said:

"I thank Pro for introducing me to the Catholic rationale for this
Sacrament. However, while the Bible does endorse the "laying on of
hands," it states that this laying on of hands is for the purpose of
receiving the Spirit, not grace or salvation, as is obvious from the
Hebrews passage Pro quoted."

MY RESPONSE:

Are you really saying that when you receive the Holy Spirit that He
comes without grace? You can't be serious.

ANOINTING OF THE SICK

James 5:14-15New International Version (NIV)

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to
pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And
the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord
will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

John Chrysostom

"The priests of Judaism had power to cleanse the body from leprosy"or
rather, not to cleanse it at all, but to declare a person as having
been cleansed. . . . Our priests have received the power not of
treating with the leprosy of the body, but with spiritual uncleanness;
not of declaring cleansed, but of actually cleansing. . [9]

Sources:
9. http://www.catholic.com...
james14

Con

Part III

Concerning the accuracy of the early Christians’ beliefs:

Many of the epistles were written to correct the misconceptions of the early Church. As a result, I maintain that we cannot just look at what the “early church” said, especially after the death of Peter and Paul, to find the truth. There is simply no way of knowing whether the quoted “early church members” were doctrinally inerrant or not, a very real possibility that they were wrong, and we have the Bible to determine which is the case. That was all I was trying to say and I don’t see how a reasonable person could disagree.

So can we leave the early church sources and just focus on the Bible?

Baptism:

Con is not misinterpreting the quote. Catholic.com did clearly state that baptism was usually necessary for salvation. In other words, for the average person, baptism is necessary for salvation.

In addition, look at Pro’s verses:

Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, and I Peter 3:20-21. I have been trying to refute them, but now I realize Pro refuted them himself! Pro denies that baptism is necessary for salvation in one part and then maintains that these verses say that baptism is necessary for salvation in the very next section!!! So I need not try any longer. If Pro is right about the verses he is wrong about salvation and baptism, and vice versa.

Now, Pro continues to deny that grace by sacraments is equivalent to “earning” grace.

Earn: “to receive as return for effort and especially for work done or services rendered.”[1]

If I rake the lawn and then receive money for my efforts, then I have earned that money. In any case in which a person does something and then receives something from someone else because he has done that action he can be said to have earned it.

Ephesians 2:8-9: 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”

We are obviously saved by grace, which Paul makes plain is a gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.

Concluded: Grace is unearned. This is also obvious from the very definitions of grace commonly used.

Can the sacraments be classed as “works”? That is the real question.

Pro says no, as:

Paul was addressing those who thought believers had to keep the Jewish rituals.
The sacraments aren't Jewish rituals. We know they're not because no
Jew practices them.”

They’re not Jewish, so they’re fine? Really? These verses cannot be applied to any other rituals but the Jewish rituals, because Paul was originally speaking to Jews? Not so. The Jews believed in animal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. Catholics believe in penance for the forgiveness of mortal sins. Jews believed in circumcisions; Catholics (quite obviously by now) believe in baptism. The similarities are clear: both sets of rituals require us to participate in ceremonies that give us, at the least, favor with God (grace). That said, I conclude that Paul’s denouncement is highly applicable here and encourage the reader to revisit it in my Round II.

If a Catholic does not confess his/her mortal sins, he/she will go to hell. [2] This is contrary to the once-for-all-time forgiveness the Bible shows to occur at salvation. See John 5:24 and John 3:36.

John 10:28: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (Italics show word added by translators.)

The Catholic doctrine that mortal sins lead to damnation without repentance directly contradicts this verse, as it would allow the devil to snatch believers out of God’s hand.

Pro says: “Con then quotes a number of verses that say how God can give us grace
in other ways other than baptism (or any sacrament for that matter).
Again, I don't deny this.”

The issue is that if God truly forgave all our sins at the moment of salvation, (as is clear) then there is no need for several of the sacraments and they are in error. Here is my position: The sacraments are unnecessary, as Christ died once for all for our sins (1 Peter 3:18) and no further works or rituals are required.

Is Jesus the bread controversy:

I question Pro’s interpretation of Christ’s words, nothing more. Pro says: “Maybe a non believer does receive grace when he receives communion.”

Wow. I didn’t expect that. Look at 1 Corinthians 11:29, where Paul says that judgment will come as a result of drinking the cup the wrong way. That aside, Ephesians 2:8-9 (as well as Pro’s own position on baptism) make it clear that simply drinking the “blood” cannot save us. As Pro’s position on the Eucharist would require that, his position his wrong.

Again, Pro’s interpretation of the Bible is at odds with other aspects of his position.

Flag-burning controversy:

Pro hasn’t yet addressed my point about blasphemy. Flag burning is offensive even if it is not a crime.

Penance:

Only God can forgive sins. That is beyond dispute. That God forgave sins while in a human body does not support Pro’s position. Pro has not addressed the issue that I brought up earlier: making forgiveness conditional upon confession and a priest’s forgiveness is contradictory to the once-for-all nature of salvation as well as to the definition of grace.

Matthew 9:8: “"But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God,
which had given such power unto men." So we see that the Bible says
that more than one man (men) have the authority to forgive sin.”

So men can forgive sins? Obviously not. These catholic doctrines amaze me. Our sins were forgiven at the cross. If a church leader refused to forgive someone, would they not be forgiven? Pro would have you believe so. The verse just point out that Jesus’ actions amazed the people, who were surprised that a man could forgive sins.

All these historical sources: I don’t really want to debate them. Our arguments are barely fitting the size limit as it is, so can we just focus on the biblical portion of this debate? If my position is more biblical, the bible trumps any historical sources. If Pro’s is more biblical then he doesn’t need historical sources.

This whole debate comes down to one issue:

Can sacraments be said to constitute an “earning” of God’s grace? If so, then they are unbiblical.

First of all, according to the portion of Galatians 2 I quoted earlier:

“[K]nowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we see, to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sins? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Italics obviously added.)

We see that Paul considered the “works of the law” to be futile and unnecessary. What are the works of the law? For the early church, the works of the law were circumcision and the Mosaic Law. Certain Jews claimed that to be Christians believers had to follow their rituals.

Those rituals required believers to go through a certain process to have their sins forgiven. In addition, Mosaic Law required believers to be circumcised to become part of the people of God. Animal sacrifices earned Jews favor with God.

Catholicism also requires an initial ritual (at least normally) for salvation: baptism.

The ritual of the Eucharist gives the eater favor with God, if not salvation. Penance provides for forgiveness of sins, very similar to the Jewish requirement of animal sacrifice in principle.

The parallel is clear: Catholicism involves the “earning” of grace, God’s unearned favor. If grace truly does come through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or Ordination, then one cannot deny that it is earned. The priest-to-be dedicates himself to the work of God, and as a result is given grace. Baptism is the New Testament version of circumcision. In fact, I see all of the sacraments as “earning.”

I only need, however, one sacrament to be proven as unbiblical to win this debate. Penance, baptism, and Ordination all qualify. I also contest marriage.

Look at what Paul says in I Corinthians 7:

Verse 27-28: “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But even if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.”

Verse 32-33: “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord–how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world–how he may please his wife.”

Does it look like Paul is endorsing marriage? He is endorsing the state of singleness as being more efficacious for the service of the Lord.

In addition, a priest cannot be married (perhaps for this very reason). Catholics must give up earning (or “receiving”) grace in one way in order to receive it in another way! If marriage distracts from serving the Lord, then why is it a means of receiving grace?

Thank you Pro. I appologize for any unintentionally dropped arguments.

Debate Round No. 3
dsjpk5

Pro

Thank you Con for your timely response. Having said that, I do have a
few concerns about some of them. As always, I capitalize only for
emphasis.

MORE DROPPED ARGUMENTS

Last round, I offered scriptural and historical evidence to support the
claim that the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was a channel of
grace. Con made no attempt to refute this argument. Debate.org makes it clear that dropped arguments are to be considered true for the remainder of the debate. " Drop - An argument is dropped when it is not responded to. Arguments that are dropped are usually considered true for the remainder of the debate. You must respond to an argument once it is made, you cannot wait until the next round." [13] My opponent is digging quite a hole for himself.

SHOTGUN BLAST OF BUCKSHOT

After reading my opponent's last response, I can't help but feel like
someone had just shot a huge blast of buckshot out of a gun. Buckshot
is great if your trying to hit several targets at once, but is less
effective if your attempting to hit the bullseye of a single target.
Unfortunately for Con, we're only supposed to be shooting at ONE
target... And here it is:

"The belief that the sacraments convey grace is reasonable based on the Bible and historical evidence."

Despite my opponent's attempts to the contrary, here's what we're NOTdebating:

1. Can one lose their salvation?
2. Can God give us grace in an additional way?
3. Is flag burning offensive?

If my opponent would like to debate me on these topics, he is free to
send me a debate challenge as soon as our current debate is over.
Until then, however, I will only be debating the topic he and I agreed
on before the debate began.

STAR WARS

To put it in another way, my opponent's last offering reminded me of
the scene from Stat Wars when Luke and the rebels were trying to blow up the Death Star. Remember when they were flying down that trench, and the squad leader kept saying, "Stay on target. Stay on target."? Well that's how I feel now except I feel like I should be saying, "Stay on TOPIC, STAY ON TOPIC."

HISTORICAL EVIDENCE

Concerning the accuracy of the early Christians" beliefs, Con decides
to reject them all, because in biblical times, some people
misunderstood the Apostles. He says we can't know if they early Church
were doctrinally inerrant. But my question is, where is his counter
evidence? Remember half of the resolution says we're basing our
decision on "historical evidence". So far, I'm the only one who has
offered any. Con says we have the Bible, but really all he has is his
fallible INTERPRETATION of it. And remember what I said in the first
round (which my opponent didn't refute) concerning the development of doctrine. The way you tell if a proposed doctrine is true is by
checking if it can be traced to the early Christians. My claims can
be.. Con's cannot. And since Con dropped that argument, we must
presume what I said is true.

IT'S NOT JUST A CATHOLIC THING

As proof that it's reasonable to believe the sacraments convey grace, I
would like to point out the protestant denominations who believe this
to be true:

Remember, protestants get their doctrines from the Bible ALONE:

1. Lutherans
A. Believe that baptism conveys grace.
1. Lutherans hold that Baptism is a saving work of God,[119]
mandated and instituted by Jesus Christ.[120] Baptism is a "means of
grace" through which God creates and strengthens "saving faith" as the
"washing of regeneration"[121] in which infants and adults are
reborn.[10]

B. The Eucharist conveys grace.
1. For Lutherans, the means of grace include the Gospel (both
written and proclaimed), as well as the sacrament of Holy Baptism, and
the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Some Lutherans also include Confession and Absolution as sacraments and as such a means of grace, [11]

2. Methodists

A. According to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, the means of
grace can be divided into two broad categories, with individual and
communal components:

Communal Practices--
Holy Communion
Baptism [11]

3. Anglicans

When the Thirty-Nine Articles were accepted by Anglicans generally as a
norm for Anglican teaching, they recognised two sacraments only "
Baptism and the Eucharist " as having been ordained by Christ
("sacraments of the Gospel" [1]) as Article XXV of the Thirty-Nine
Articles describes them) and as necessary for salvation. [12]

Con asks:

"So can we leave the early church sources and just focus on the Bible?"

Answer: No, because the resolution calls for BOTH.

On Baptism, Con said:

"Con is not misinterpreting the quote. Catholic.com did clearly state
that baptism was usually necessary for salvation. In other words, for
the average person, baptism is necessary for salvation."

MY RESPONSE:

The quote never uses the phrase, "usually necessary". It does say
baptism is the "normative" way of being initially justified, but that
means there are exceptions. And if there are exceptions to something,
then that something isn't NECESSARY. It may be the standard, but it's
not necessary.

MORE STRAW MAN ARGUMENTS

Con claims I said there are verses that say baptism is necessary for
salvation. I never said any such thing. I challenge him to show
otherwise. Baptism is the normal way one is justified, but as I keep
saying, God is free to give grace any way He wants too. It's not
absolutely necessary.

WE DON'T EARN GRACE OR SALVATION

If we are going to have a fruitful discussion,we're going to have to
stick with what each of us ACTUALLY believe. The Catholic Church
doesn't teach we earn salvation.

Cons lawn mower analogy is not preferable. Let's try a different one.
Let's say my son wants to buy me a birthday present, but asks me to
give him $50 s he can buy it. Who really bought that present? Me,
the father. Did my son earn the money? No, I gave it to him as a free
gift. God is like that. He gives us the grace to want to seek Him,
then we seek Him. It's not our works, it's HIS work. The sacraments
aren't our works, they're HIS work.

WORKS OF THE LAW

Con asks a good question. Basically he asks if Paul meant "all works"
when he condemned "works of the Law". Well I would assert if he meant all works, he would have said "all works", but he didn't do that.
After all, "works" is easier to say than "works of the Law". But he
specifically singled out "works of the Law". Also, we see in Romans
2:6-8Revised Standard Version (RSV)

6 For he will render to every man according to his works: 7 to those
who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality,he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

Also in Philippians 2:12

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

So we clearly see that Paul was specifically condemning Jewish rituals.

HOW DO WE RECEIVE GRACE?

Con is right to say that Jesus died once for all sins. I agree, but
even Con wouldn't say that everyone is going to Heaven, so the question remains... Since Christ died for our sins, how do we receive the grace from Him? I have shown that it is reasonable to believe that ONE way He does this is through the sacraments.

ON THE SUBJECT OF JESUS'S BODY AND BLOOD

Con says:

I question Pro"s interpretation of Christ"s words, nothing more. Pro
says: "Maybe a non believer does receive grace when he receives
communion."

Wow. I didn"t expect that. Look at 1 Corinthians 11:29, where Paul says
that judgment will come as a result of drinking the cup the wrong way."

MY RESPONSE

How did Con ever first come to believe in God? I bet he would say it
was by the grace of God. God offers His grace to all humans. The only question is how and when. I submit that one possibility is through the sacraments.

Con continues:

"That aside, Ephesians 2:8-9 (as well as Pro"s own position on baptism)
make it clear that simply drinking the "blood" cannot save us. As Pro"s
position on the Eucharist would require that, his position his wrong."

MY RESPONSE

But the Bible says that we are saved by the blood of Christ (Romans
5:9) so grace must be involved. "Since we have now been justified by
his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him?" So this belief is NOT in conflict with.Ephesians 2:8-9.

On Penance, Con said:

"Only God can forgive sins. That is beyond dispute. That God forgave
sins while in a human body does not support Pro"s position."

MY RESPONSE

Con seems to have.forgotten where I pointed out the Bible says the
power to forgive sins was given "to men" (Matthew 9:8). Having said
that, certainly it's God who forgives sins, but the question is HOW? I
would suggest that John 20:23 suggests Jesus gave His first priests the authority to forgive sin in His name:

"If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not
forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Again, were not debating if we can lose our salvation.

Com continues:

"So men can forgive sins? Obviously not."

MY RESPONSE

Again, my opponent seems to have a problem with the Bible, and not with
me. Matthew 9:8 couldn't be any clearer: "to men"

Con continues:
"Our sins were forgiven at the cross."

MY RESPONSE

I would like to ask Con a question: Is everyone going to Heaven, or
must we confess in order for our sins to be forgiven?

Con asks:

"If a church leader refused to
forgive someone, would they not be forgiven?"

MY RESPONSE

That's what the Bible says (John 20:23).

CON INTENTIONALLY DROPS.HALF OF THE.RESOLUTION
He says:

"All these historical sources: I don"t really want to debate them."

THINGS I'VE ALREADY COVERED IN THIS ROUND

1. We don't earn grace.
2. We don't participate in "works of the Law".
3. Baptism is NORMALLY what one does to be justified, but it's not
necessary.
4. The sacraments are God's work, not ours.

On marriage, Con said:

"Look at what Paul says in I Corinthians 7:

Verse 27-28: "Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are
you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But even if you marry, you
have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned.
Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare
you."

Verse 32-33: "But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried
cares for the things of the Lord"how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world"how he may please his wife."

Does it look like Paul is endorsing marriage? He is endorsing the state
of singleness as being more efficacious for the service of the Lord.

In addition, a priest cannot be married (perhaps for this very reason).
Catholics must give up earning (or "receiving") grace in one way in
order to receive it in another way! If marriage distracts from serving
the Lord, then why is it a means of receiving grace?"

MY RESPONSE

Paul isn't disparaging marriage. He's simply saying it's not for
everyone. Well, that's what I've been saying all along! The
sacraments aren't the ONLY way God gives us grace, but they are ONE way He does.

God gives Grace through the sacrament of matrimony:

Proverbs 18:22

"He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD."

HISTORICAL EVIDENCE

"How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice. Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. - Tertulian 202 A.D. [14]

Sources:
10.http://en.m.wikipedia.org...
11.http://en.m.wikipedia.org...
12.http://en.m.wikipedia.org...
13. http://www.debate.org...
14.https://www.crossroadsinitiative.com...
james14

Con

This is the longest debate I have ever had. I will be impressed if anyone actually reads the whole thing and understands all the arguments. If you have, please comment and I will personally congratulate you.

We are debating whether all seven sacraments convey grace. Providing evidence that Protestant churches hold to one or two of them is simply not enough. Historical evidence is not enough, as I have already shown. We need to focus on the Bible.

The resolution does mention both. However, if Pro neglects to prove one, he loses. If I neglect to disprove one but disprove the other, I win. As a result, I would like to focus on the Bible, given the vast amount under debate already.

Catholic.com quote concerning Baptism: is it necessary for salvation?

Pro believes I misinterpreted Catholic.com. He believes that saying something is “normative[ly]” necessary for salvation basically means it isn’t necessary for salvation. This is obviously not the case. If something is usually (normatively) required, it is usually required. That means that it is required for most people. Do not be fooled by Pro’s word games. Read the article. http://www.catholic.com...

Or just read this–a direct quote–:

And the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The Lord himself affirms that baptism is necessary for salvation [John 3:5]. . . . Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament [Mark 16:16]" (CCC 1257).

Pro WAS trying to prove baptism was necessary for salvation.

If this is the case, again, "baptism" is immediately
followed up with "and wash away your sins". So it is quite reasonable
to believe that God offers the grace necessary to "wash away sins" via
baptism.

Pro basically said that we receive the grace needed for salvation at baptism. In other words, grace is needed for salvation, and we get that grace through baptism. This constitutes a clear endorsement of salvation by (or through) baptism.

Peter is saying the water of baptism doesn't wash you
PHYSICALLY, bit rather it washes you SPIRITUALLY. He couldn't be more clear "Baptism... now saves you"

There. He said it! Pro clearly stated that he believed Peter was saying that baptism was a means of salvation. I am very suspicious that Pro is not actually debating what he believes but rather what he believes is defensible.

DO CATHOLICS EARN GRACE?

Pro’s birthday present analogy: “Let's try a different one.
Let's say my son wants to buy me a birthday present, but asks me to
give him $50 s he can buy it. Who really bought that present? Me,
the father. Did my son earn the money? No, I gave it to him as a free
gift. God is like that. He gives us the grace to want to seek Him,
then we seek Him. It's not our works, it's HIS work. The sacraments
aren't our works, they're HIS work.”

If we ask, and God gives us grace (as I would argue happens at conversion), then that is obviously a gift. The $50 is also obviously a free gift. But what if the father demanded that the son do 50 pushups to get the $50? The son could honestly say, in some sense of the word, that he “earned” the $50. The sacraments are quite similar. Devout Catholics will spend thousands of hours doing the sacraments. If God gives grace conditionally based upon the fulfillment of the sacraments I believe we can really say that that grace is earned, which is obviously unbiblical. Think of it this way: if I spent five years serving God in Tasmania and in the sixth year God gave me salvation, then I would have earned that salvation. Grace is a free gift, and spending thousands of hours in pursuit of receiving that free gift sounds a lot like “earning” it to me.

Remember, the debate basically hinges on this issue, at least for Pro. If he loses this, he loses the debate. I am disappointed he did not devote more space to it.

Pro then proceeds to discuss why he thinks works are necessary. He quotes Philippians where Paul commands “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Whatever the interpretation, it is obvious that “good works” are important for a Christian. However, I did not say that Paul was referring to all good works. Paul did not say “works” because he did not mean all works. He was speaking to the Jews with their pronounced system of rituals. I believe he would have similar words to say about Catholicism’s rituals. I spent several paragraphs drawing parallels between the rituals of Judaism and the rituals of Catholicism. There is a marked similarity, strong enough to equate Catholicism’s grace-by-sacraments policy with Paul’s words.

Last round Pro made the troubling statement that a nonbeliever could be saved (possibly) by having communion. This round, all he says concerning that is:

How did Con ever first come to believe in God? I bet he would say it
was by the grace of God. God offers His grace to all humans. The only question is how and when. I submit that one possibility is through the sacraments.

Salvation is through grace, which is through faith. Skipping the step of faith short-circuits the process. I came to salvation through grace, through faith. A nonbeliever who (without faith) drinks communion is obviously not saved if he disbelieves Christ’s sacrifice. If communion (and baptism) is a valid method of receiving grace towards salvation regardless of prior belief then we would do well to do what some priests have done and splash people with baptismal water or slip ground-up communion wafers into their meals.

Such an obviously ridiculous position is the logical conclusion to Pro’s position, yet another result of what can reasonably be said to be the earning of grace. If grace is transmitted as the result of an action without even belief, then how can it not be said to be earned? If my son mows the lawn and doesn’t even ask for money, but I pay him anyway because of his work, then he obviously has earned the money.

Pro also says: “But the Bible says that we are saved by the blood of Christ (Romans
5:9) so grace must be involved. "Since we have now been justified by
his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him?" So this belief is NOT in conflict with.Ephesians 2:8-9.”

The blood of Christ on the cross, yes. As Pro admitted, Christ saved us once for all on the cross. His sacrifice is already completed; no further bleeding is necessary.

PENANCE:

Pro: “Con seems to have.forgotten where I pointed out the Bible says the
power to forgive sins was given "to men" (Matthew 9:8). Having said
that, certainly it's God who forgives sins, but the question is HOW? I
would suggest that John 20:23 suggests Jesus gave His first priests the authority to forgive sin in His name:”

Pro seems to have skimmed over my response.

How does God forgive sins? Directly. As God, He can obviously forgive sins without human help. If the priest refused to forgive a confessor, then would that penitent person not be forgiven? Pro would have you believe so based on his position regarding a certain verse, which I already addressed. In fact, he admits it later on. However, 1 John 1:9 says that whoever confesses his sins will be forgiven by God. Period. Look it up. God’s forgiveness is not conditioned upon human prejudice.

IS EVERYONE GOING TO HEAVEN?

No. Grace, through repentant faith, is needed. Requiring confession for salvation, however, is, firstly, impossible as some people can’t remember even all their mortal sins, and secondly, far too similar to the sacrificial system of the old testament.

MATRIMONY

Proverbs 18:22: "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD."

No mention of grace. Grace is unearned favor, not favor bestowed as a result of doing a particular approved action. One verse is not much of a basis for a sacrament. Even the historical evidence does not mention grace, just peace.

I believe we are getting somewhere. This debate has been a lot of work, but I am glad we had it anyway. Over to you, Pro. I’m sorry if I dropped any more arguments.

In the last round I will summarize and present what I believe is a strong case for the contention.

Debate Round No. 4
dsjpk5

Pro

Capitalization for emphasis only.

DROP, DROP, DROP

Simply saying something "is not enough" is not a valid rebuttal. If it
were, instead of this debate being Cons longest debate it could be his
shortest. We both could simply say: " What you offered is not
enough.", and be done. If you're going to say my evidence is "not good enough" you need to explain why, or else it's just empty words.

But Con did not do that, so everything he ignored is considered true.

WHAT WE'RE DEBATING

Con says we should ONLY discuss the Bible, but apparently he has
forgotten the debate resolution we are debating. The resolution is:

"The belief that the sacraments convey grace is reasonable based on the Bible AND historical evidence." So there are two pieces of evidence we are considering, not one. We both agreed on this resolution before the debate. It's too late for Con to change his mind just because he doesn't feel like it.

IRRELEVANT SIDE ISSUES

1. Whether or not the.sacraments are necessary for salvation.

Although I have been willing to discuss this interesting question, for
the purpose of this debate, it's irrelevant. If they are necessary,
they must convey grace, but even if their not necessary, (as my
opponent and I AGREE), that doesn't prove whether or not they give us
grace. But just for fun, I will continue to discuss this side issue
showing that my opponent is mistaken:

CON'S CONFUSION:

He said:

"Pro believes I misinterpreted Catholic.com. He believes that saying
something is "normative[ly]" necessary for salvation basically means it
isn"t necessary for salvation. This is obviously not the case. If
something is usually (normatively) required, it is usually required.
That means that it is required for most people. Do not be fooled by
Pro"s word games. Read the article. http://www.catholic.com...;

MY RESPONSE

If it's (as Con says) required for MOST, then not everyone has to do
it. Therefore, it's not necessary. If it were necessary, then
EVERYONE (not most everyone) would have to do it.

CON MISUNDERSTANDS THE CATECHISM:

Con said:

"And the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The Lord himself
affirms that baptism is necessary for salvation [John 3:5]. . . .
Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has
been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this
sacrament [Mark 16:16]" (CCC 1257)."

MY RESPONSE

Again notice, only a specific group of people are expected to partake
(for those to whom the Gospel has
been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this
sacrament )

"[Pro WAS trying to prove baptism was necessary for salvation."

NO I WASN'T. CON MISUNDERSTANDS ME

It's is true that I said baptism washes away sins, but it's not the
ONLY way.this can happen. As I have said OVER AND OVER in this
debate, the sacraments are ONE way this can happen. No the only way. If there are other ways, then baptism, and the others, are not
NECESSARY.

DO PROTESTANTS EARN GRACE?

Last round, Con asked if Catholics are trying to "earn" grace because
we receive it by doing something. But despite his claim to the
contrary, Con admitted that Protestants do something in order to
receive the grace of salvation. I asked him if we need to confess in
order to be saved. His response?

"...whoever confesses his sins will be forgiven by God."

So Com says we must DO SOMETHING to be saved (confess). So if
Protestants aren't earning grace when they have to do something to get it, then it's unfair for them to accuse Catholics who "do something" to receive grace. If it's not earning when they do it, it's not earning
when we do it.

Con ADMITS we must do some works:

" Whatever the interpretation, it is obvious
that "good works" are important for a Christian."

So I guess some works are ok for my opponent, but too many is bad?
Well why does he get to decide how much is too much?

NO SHORTCUTS

I never said the sacraments replace faith. Faith is involved I
everyone of the sacraments. I.the non believer example, it was assumed he/she would receive have faith that ONE WAY God gives us grace is through the sacraments.

CONCERNING THE EUCHARIST, CON SAYS

"The blood of Christ on the cross, yes. As Pro admitted, Christ saved us once for all on the cross. His sacrifice is already completed; no
further bleeding is necessary."

MY RESPONSE

Clearly Con doesn't really understand what Catholics believe about the
Eucharist. I say that because he seems to think we believe Christ
bleeds again in the Eucharist. We don't. As I've said before in this
debate, the only way we can have a fruitful discussion is if we stick
to what we ACTUALLY BELIEVE. Straw man arguments don get us anywhere.

PENANCE:

Com says:

"How does God forgive sins? Directly. As God, He can obviously forgive sins without human help."

MY RESPONSE

Sure He COULD, but He chooses not to. John 20:23 makes it clear:

Talking to the Apostles, Jesus said

"If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not
forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Matthew 18:18 provides further insight:

Jesus said:

"Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Clearly Jesus gave His first priests His authority. And even Jesus
wouldn't forgive you if you confessed but weren't really sorry.

MORE STRAW MAN ARGUMENTS BY CON

"Grace, through repentant faith, is needed. Requiring confession for
salvation, however, is, firstly, impossible as some people can"t
remember even all their mortal sins, ... "

We don't require people to remember them all. [15] Let's make sure we
stick to what each of us ACTUALLY believe.

MATRIMONY

Proverbs 18:22: "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives
favor from the LORD."

On Proverbs 18:22, Con surprisingly said:

"No mention of grace.. Grace is unearned favor, not favor bestowed as a result of doing a particular approved action. One verse is not much of
a basis for a sacrament. "

MY RESPONSE

Again, the married couple isn't earning grace. God is simply deciding,
on His own, to bless the couple with His grace/favor. As for the
number of verses supporting a teaching, I have to ask a question: How many times does the Bible have to teach something before Con believes it?

"Even the historical evidence does not mention
grace, just peace."

MY RESPONSE

If we have His peace, we have His grace.

HOLY ORDERS

2 Timothy 1:8 Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of
me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of
God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of
our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, 10 and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 and therefore I suffer as I do.

So here we have grace and appointment to the ministry.

Hyppolytus

"Over a deacon, then, let the bishop speak thus: "O God, who have created all things and have set them in order through your Word; Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom you sent to minister to your will and to make clear to us your desires, grant the Holy Spirit of grace and care and diligence to this your servant, whom you have chosen to serve the Church and to offer in your holy places the gifts which are offered to you by your chosen high priests, so that he may serve with a pure heart and without blame, and that, ever giving praise to you, he may be accounted by your good will as worthy of this high office: through your Son Jesus Christ, through whom be glory and honor to you, to the Father and the Son with the Holy Spirit, in your holy Church, both now and through the ages of ages. Amen"" (The Apostolic Tradition 9 [A.D. 215]).

Sources:

15.http://christianity.stackexchange.com...

16.http://www.catholic.com...
james14

Con



Simply saying something "is not enough" is not a valid rebuttal. If it
were, instead of this debate being Cons longest debate it could be his
shortest. We both could simply say: " What you offered is not
enough.", and be done. If you're going to say my evidence is "not good enough" you need to explain why, or else it's just empty words.

Pro refers to what I said in the last round: We are debating whether all seven sacraments convey grace. Providing evidence that Protestant churches hold to one or two of them is simply not enough. Historical evidence is not enough, as I have already shown. We need to focus on the Bible.

Historical evidence is not enough, as is the argument from popularity that would be the corroboration of other churches, because churches can go off in doctrinally errant directions. John warns in 1 John 2 that “antichrists” have gone out into the world. How can we tell who the antichrists are? By comparing their teachings to the Bible. That is why I keep bringing this back to the Bible. If Pro loses the Bible’s side of this debate, he loses, period. I already explained most of this.

I am debating Pro, and he maintains that baptism is not necessary for salvation, so I’ll leave that issue.

PRO SAYS: So Com says we must DO SOMETHING to be saved (confess). So if
Protestants aren't earning grace when they have to do something to get it, then it's unfair for them to accuse Catholics who "do something" to receive grace. If it's not earning when they do it, it's not earning
when we do it.

I don’t believe confession is necessary. Not for salvation. Pro obviously doesn’t completely understand what I believe. That is fine, but it means his point is moot.

This quote adequately explains the two kinds of forgiveness, only one of which is necessary for salvation:

At the same time,1 John 1:9 does indicate that somehow forgiveness is dependent on our confessing our sins to God. How does this work if all of our sins are forgiven the moment we receive Christ as Savior? It seems that what the apostle John is describing here is “relational” forgiveness. All of our sins are forgiven “positionally” the moment we receive Christ as Savior. This positional forgiveness guarantees our salvation and promise of an eternal home in heaven. When we stand before God after death, God will not deny us entrance into heaven because of our sins. That is positional forgiveness. The concept of relational forgiveness is based on the fact that when we sin, we offend God and grieve His Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). While God has ultimately forgiven us of the sins we commit, they still result in a blocking or hindrance in our relationship with God.

So, forgiveness at the cross is total. Read this article for more information: http://www.gotquestions.org...

Pro’s claim that I admitted works were necessary is also false. I said works were IMPORTANT, not NECESSARY. As believers, righteousness is imputed to us by Jesus’ death. This means that good works are not a factor in determining salvation. This is the view held by both my church and me. However, I still believe good works are important.

All that is necessary for salvation is faith. That’s it. See Ephesians 2:8-9.

By jumping onto the offensive and employing a failed tu quo argument, Pro is tacitly admitting that works are needed for salvation, or at least for grace.

So I guess some works are ok for my opponent, but too many is bad?
Well why does he get to decide how much is too much?

If it's not earning when they do it, it's not earning
when we do it.

Since Pro didn’t actually counter any of my arguments, I’ll just copy and paste them here.

DO CATHOLICS EARN GRACE?

Pro’s birthday present analogy: “Let's try a different one.
Let's say my son wants to buy me a birthday present, but asks me to
give him $50 s he can buy it. Who really bought that present? Me,
the father. Did my son earn the money? No, I gave it to him as a free
gift. God is like that. He gives us the grace to want to seek Him,
then we seek Him. It's not our works, it's HIS work. The sacraments
aren't our works, they're HIS work.”

If we ask, and God gives us grace (as I would argue happens at conversion), then that is obviously a gift. The $50 is also obviously a free gift. But what if the father demanded that the son do 50 pushups to get the $50? The son could honestly say, in some sense of the word, that he “earned” the $50. The sacraments are quite similar. Devout Catholics will spend thousands of hours doing the sacraments. If God gives grace conditionally based upon the fulfillment of the sacraments I believe we can really say that that grace is earned, which is obviously unbiblical. Think of it this way: if I spent five years serving God in Tasmania and in the sixth year God gave me salvation, then I would have earned that salvation. Grace is a free gift, and spending thousands of hours in pursuit of receiving that free gift sounds a lot like “earning” it to me.

Remember, the debate basically hinges on this issue, at least for Pro. If he loses this, he loses the debate. I am disappointed he did not devote more space to it.

In the end, it comes down to this: The Catholic idea of “grace” is conditional, based on the fulfillment of the sacraments (although, as Pro has pointed out about 10 times, God can give grace any way He pleases). If you get married, you get grace. If you get baptized, you get grace. If you drink wine and eat a cracker (even if you aren’t saved) you get grace. However, the very definition of grace (“unconditional”) invalidates this ideology. Grace is unearned. Unearned = Unconditional. We receive grace through faith, true. But what is faith? Faith is the realization that we are sinners, that we need God’s love. It isn’t a ritual. It isn’t a mandatory dunk in the water. It’s basically a change in heart, a request for God’s grace as the sinner realizes that he desperately needs it. Once the believer has believed, grace is his. To set up sacraments by which one might receive grace is to make it conditional and hence earned.

REGARDING CONFESSION:

What if the priest decides not to forgive someone? Confession makes God’s forgiveness conditional upon man’s forgiveness when it should be other way round: We should forgive others BECAUSE God forgives them.

Colossians 2:

13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

The point here is that God has forgiven all our sins already. This is in accordance with the doctrine of positional forgiveness I mentioned earlier. God’s positional forgiveness of the Christian is unconditional. The Catholic doctrine hence makes confession a condition on salvation, which results in the earning of grace–all wrongly.

PRO SAID:

MATRIMONY

Proverbs 18:22: "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives
favor from the LORD."

On Proverbs 18:22, Con surprisingly said:

"No mention of grace.. Grace is unearned favor, not favor bestowed as a result of doing a particular approved action. One verse is not much of
a basis for a sacrament. "

MY RESPONSE

Again, the married couple isn't earning grace. God is simply deciding,
on His own, to bless the couple with His grace/favor. As for the
number of verses supporting a teaching, I have to ask a question: How many times does the Bible have to teach something before Con believes it?

"Even the historical evidence does not mention
grace, just peace."

MY RESPONSE

If we have His peace, we have His grace.

I should have done more research the last time. I looked at several commentaries, and they all seemed to view the “favor” received from the Lord as the actual wife. E.g., if you find a wife, God has given you something good: the wife. If this was what Pro believed, I wish he’d made it more clear. So we are not speaking of a spiritual blessing but rather the wife.

But what if the wife is a criminal who later poisons all the husband’s kids (and him too)? Obviously in that case the wife is not a manifestation of God’s grace. What about the Moabite wives that drew the Israelites into idolatry? (Num. 25) Even Christian wives can draw their husbands astray. As a result, this verse should be construed to mean just that wives are usually a blessing. Paul seemed to think otherwise, as I mentioned earlier. Marriage doesn’t always convey God’s favor. As a result, it cannot be considered to consistently “convey grace,” even letting the point about earning grace slide. As the resolution included no qualifiers, this means that Matrimony must fall.

The wife being the blessing, we must also consider whether God deliberately withholds his grace from ugly men. After all, ugly men find it harder to find a wife (let alone a good one :}). So if a wife is always God’s gift, then God must be biased toward handsome men!

Holy Orders:

2 Timothy 1:8 Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of
me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of
God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of
our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace . . .

This verse clearly means that God calls us to “holy orders” because of grace, not that those who become priests receive grace. The debate resolution concerns the conveyance of grace, not what the grace of God might do. This is Pro’s only supporting reference and hence Holy Orders falls along with Matrimony.

Even if I only prove two Sacraments do not convey grace, I still win the debate. In fact, I have proved that the Sacraments constitute "earning" grace, which makes them invalid, earlier, so I win on that basis too.

The historical side is irrelevant. It removes one barrier to Pro’s victory, true, but if he fails the Biblical portion, (as he has) then he fails, period.

Debate Round No. 5
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
I want to thank my opponent for an interesting debate. He should be commended for taking on such a complex issue.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
You're welcome. I completely agree! Thanks.
Posted by james14 2 years ago
james14
Yes. I just didn't want you to start. Thanks.

Thanks for the debate. It was long but worth it.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
I wasn't debating. I was pointing out a fact, not a matter of opinion.
Posted by james14 2 years ago
james14
O goodness. If you have refuted all my claims, then it should be obvious to readers. PLEASE don't continue the debate in the comments section. You made a good case, as did I. Leave it up the voters now, okay?
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
Again, you say something that is untrue. I completely refuted all of your claims.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
This is a fun debate. I'm learning a lot about what you believe. However, it will be even more fun if you stop putting words in my mouth. I challenge you to show me even one time when I said baptism is necessary for salvation. Thanks in advance!
Posted by Raistlin 2 years ago
Raistlin
James14, don't forget pro must defend all of the sacraments. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--" Ephesians 2:8. Matrimony should be pretty easy to rebut. You are doing a good job so far. Don't underestimate pro though; he is a pretty good debater.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
I look forward to reading your response!
Posted by james14 2 years ago
james14
I'm ready!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 1Credo 2 years ago
1Credo
dsjpk5james14Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a very interesting debate. Conduct, S&G, and sources are all tied. Arguments go to Pro for 2 reasons: (1) Con didn't really provide any sort of justification for rejecting Pro's arguments. It's fine to reject an argument, but reason for the rejection ought to be provided. (2) Con dropped several of Pro's arguments. All in all, it was a very good debate.