A very long 🧵 on why I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is a Christian Church and does preach the Gospel.



For the past year and a half I’ve been trying to study Catholicism a bit more so that I can serve as a Minister of the Gospel in a predominantly Catholic...
context. The more I’ve studied Catholicism, the more I’ve grown to see that there is more that we have in common than I thought. Especially in Reformed circles, a very strict condemnation of Catholicism is common. I have found this condemnation to be very rash and based on...
simplistic evaluations of the doctrines that the RCC represents. To be clear, there are significant and important differences between the Reformed tradition and the Roman Catholic tradition, differences that seriously influence the christian life of parishioners in these...
traditions. Yet even though these differences exist, I’ve come to the conviction that the Roman Catholic Church is a Christian Church which preaches the Gospel and administers the Sacraments. Yes, I believe that the Gospel is often not central in the life of the Church and...
that the theology of the Sacraments taught in the RCC has its errors, but I believe the same to be true of many evangelical Church bodies and sadly also some historic Protestant Churches as well. The most common objection levelled against Catholicism is that it does not preach...
and believe the Gospel that is presented in Holy Scripture. I would like to deal mainly with this objection in this thread, as I believe this to be the most important issue in the discussion on whether or not the RCC is a Christian Church. The difference that is closest to...
the Gospel itself would be the difference in the understanding of justification. Many equate the doctrine of justification with the Gospel itself, which I believe to be a serious mistake. Nevertheless, I think it is necessary to generally state the difference so that it is...
later clear why I think the doctrine od justification is not the Gospel and why the Catholic doctrine of justification is not necessarily incompatible with the Gospel of grace. Protestantism historically has taught that justification is a declaration of perfect righteousness...
of a sinner by God and that it is based on a double exchange (double imputation). Not only is all of the sinners guilt and punishment for sin taken by Christ to the cross, but also Christ’s perfect righteousness is imputed to the sinner at the moment of regeneration. Therefore...
the sinner who believes is completely justified right away. There is no process of justification.
The RCC doctrine of justification on the other hand is a view of justification as ontological transformation. That is, the more the sinner is made holy, the more he is justified.
Justification and sanctification are not so easily distinguishable in this view, as far as I can tell. Now, I want to move on to, why I believe both of these views can be compatible with the Gospel. I believe the Gospel is something more basic than our understanding of...
justification. I believe that the Gospel is the person and work of Christ for sinners as summarised perfectly by the Nicene Creed. Furthermore, I believe that both Protestants and Catholics believe in what the Nicene Creed teaches about the person and work of Christ.
Obviously it is important how Christ and his work can save sinners. And here I would stress that the salvation offered by Christ must be completely by grace. And again both Protestants and Catholics can agree on this points as well. I believe the Gospel issue to be sola gratia...
and not sola fide. If someone (Protestant or Catholic) attributes some part of their salvation to themselves, I think this would be a different Gospel. Yet both Protestant and Catholic alike can believe is a Gospel of pure grace. One believes he is justified at one moment...
purely by grace and receives Christ’s perfect righteousness at that moment, the other believes he receives Christ’s perfect righteousness purely by grace as a process of ontological transformation (the process us Protestants would call sanctification). Both can hold to a...
Gospel of pure grace, taught clearly by all of Scripture. This is why I believe both doctrines of justification are compatible with the Gospel. To give an example, Josef Ratzinger’s treatment of the tax collector praying in the temple perfectly illustrates what I believe to be...
the essence of the Gospel of grace:


‘The tax collector, by contrast, sees himself in the light of God. He has looked toward God, and in the process his eyes have been opened to see himself. So he knows that he needs God and that he lives by God’s goodness, which he cannot...
force God to give him and which he cannot procure for himself. He knows that he needs mercy and so he will learn from God’s mercy to become merciful himself, and thereby to become like God. He draws life from being-in-relation, from receiving all as gift; he will always need...
the gift of goodness, of forgiveness, but in receiving it he will always learn to pass the gift on to others. The grace for which he prays does not dispense him from ethics. It is what makes him truly capable of doing good in the first place. He needs God, and because he...
recognizes that, he begins through God’s goodness to become good himself. Ethics is not denied; it is freed from the constraints of moralism and set in the context of a relationship of love—of relationship to God. And that is how it comes truly into its own.’
@_matthewpearson , @DumbProt , @Hasan22821492 , @_JorgeCardenas ,
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More from @firstthesisstan

23 Nov
For some time now I've noticed that evangelicalism often has no idea about how the Christian is to become holy in this life. All that is often taught is "try harder, do more and pray for strength from the Spirit". Yet St. Paul the Apostle constantly talks about the Christian...
life as being lived in Christ. This language is all over St. Paul's writings yet it is rarely addressed in evangelical sermons. This passage from Grant Macaskill's book on living in union with Christ summarises the problem I've seen too often, very well:

(1/7) 'To put this...
(2/7) claim in the starkest of terms, the way we think about Christian morality—even within those parts of the church that self-identify as “evangelical”—is often functionally Christless. Too frequently, when we think about Christians as moral agents who act within the church...
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22 Nov
(1/4) St. Augustine on our blessed heavenly state:

‘I implore you to love with me and, by believing, to run with me; let us long for our heavenly country, let us sigh for our heavenly home, let us truly feel that here we are strangers. What shall we then see? Let the gospel…
(2/4) tell us: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. You will come to the fountain, with whose dew you have already been sprinkled. Instead of the ray of light which was sent through slanting and winding ways into the heart of your…
(3/4) darkness, you will see the light itself in all its purity and brightness. It is to see and experience this light that you are now being cleansed. Dearly beloved, John himself says, we are the sons of God, and it has not yet been disclosed what we shall be;
Read 4 tweets
22 Nov
(1/5) C.S. Lewis union with Christ which is created and maintained by faith and the Sacraments:

‘And let me make it quite clear that when Christians say the Christ-life is in them, they do not mean simply something mental or moral,” he says. “When they speak of being…
(2/5) ‘in Christ’ or of Christ being ‘in them’, this is not simply a way of saying that they are thinking about Christ or copying Him. They mean that Christ is actually operating through them; that the whole mass of Christians are the physical organism through which Christ acts..
(3/5) that we are His fingers and muscles, the cells of His body. And perhaps that explains one or two things. It explains why this new life is spread not only by purely mental acts like belief, but by bodily acts like baptism and Holy Communion. It is not merely the spreading…
Read 5 tweets
22 Sep
🧵 Augustine on the efficacy of infant baptism
Often it is said that baptismal regeneration (in which the efficacy of the sacrament is tied to the moment of administration) was universally acknowledged in the Early Church. Yet Augustine seems to hold to a proto-Reformed position. Image
(2/8) 'still we can form a true conjecture of the value of the sacrament of baptism in the case of infants, from the parallel of circumcision, which was received by God's earlier people, and before receiving which Abraham was justified, as Cornelius also was enriched with the...
(3/8) gift of the Holy Spirit before he was baptized. Yet the apostle says of Abraham himself, that "he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith," having already believed in his heart, so that "it was counted unto him for righteousness."
Read 8 tweets
4 Sep
A 🧵 on the difference between a baptized and an unbaptized child as seen from the perspectives of the Presbyterian and Baptist tradition respectively:

I will try to present this difference first from a practical perspective, and then also from a theological perspective.
(2/8) First, a child who is baptized has a clear status in the Church. It is part of the Church of Christ, it is a member of the Church, and is formally and bindingly subject to the discipline of the Church and pastoral care. His identity is clear, he is a Christian.
(3/8) an unbaptized child has an unclear status in the Church. He is supposed to be part of the Church in a sense, not only a sympathizer, but yet, not a member of the Church. He is not baptized, so it is also difficult to say whether he can call himself a Christian, a Baptist
Read 8 tweets
4 Sep
(1/4) Polycarp’s prayer before being burned alive:

‘O Lord God Almighty, the Father of thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of Thee, the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and of the whole race of the righteous who...
(2/4) live before thee, I give Thee thanks that Thou hast counted me worthy of this day and this hour, that I should have a part in the number of Thy martyrs, in the cup of thy Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and body, through the incorruption...
(3/4) [imparted] by the Holy Ghost. Among whom may I be accepted this day before Thee as a fat and acceptable sacrifice, according as Thou, the ever-truthful God, hast foreordained, hast revealed before hand to me, and now hast fulfilled. Wherefore also I praise Thee for all...
Read 4 tweets

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