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INSIDE THE MIND OF BENEDICT XVI
By Shawn Patrick Thornton
PART THREE-THE THEOLOGY OF SALVATION
/24-7PressRelease.com/ - April 26, 2005 - This is Part Three of a three part series on the mind of recently elected Pope Benedict XVI. This section assumes that the reader has the information imparted in Parts One and Two. Parts One and Two are available in the 24-7PressRelease.com archives.
Part Three will demonstrate that the Roman Catholic theology of salvation is just what St. Paul and other New Testament writers warned against. It is why the Protestants broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. Where the Catholic Church claims that a person's salvation depends upon obeying the Law of God, as well as Church Law, St. Paul warned: "You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace". Gal. 5:4 (RSV) And, since Pope Benedict XVI has demonstrated his believe in the infallibility of traditionally held doctrines, he will continue to place heavy legal burdens on the backs of the naÃ¯ve faithful. Worst of all, these traditional legalistic Catholic doctrines will continue to cause countless hours of guilt and fear to defenseless children and seriously interfere with their normal sexual maturation process.
GRACE VS. WORKS OF LAW
Classic Pauline, New Testament, salvation theology holds:
For being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God (by the gift of grace implied), and seeking to establish their own (by trying to obey the law implied), they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified. Rom. 10:3 4 (RSV)
. . . what shall we say, then? That the Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is righteousness through faith; but that Israel who pursued the righteousness which is based on law did not succeed in fulfilling that law? Why? Because they did not pursue it through faith but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stone . . . Rom. 9:30 32 (RSV)
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would not be grace. Rom. 11:6 (RSV)
. . . So it depends not upon man's will or exertion but upon God's mercy. Rom. 9:16 (RSV)
Central to Paul's theology of salvation by faith alone was God's (mythical) promise to Abraham in Genesis. Understanding this promise is necessary in order to understand Christianity.
Now, God gave some promises to Abraham and his child, and notice that it doesn't say the promises were to his children, as it would if all his sons all the Jews were being spoken of, but to his child and that, of course, means Christ. Here's what I'm trying to say: God's promise to save through faith and God wrote this promise down and signed it could not be cancelled or changed 430 years later when God gave the Ten Commandments. If obeying those laws could save us, then it is obvious that this would be a different way of gaining God's favor than Abraham's way, for he simply accepted God's promise. Gal. 3:16 18 (LB)
And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise. Gal. 3:29 (RSV)
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. Jas. 2:10 (RSV)
. . . but sin is not counted where there is no law. Rom. 5:18 (RSV)
No one born of God commits sin; for God's nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. 1 Jn. 3:9 (RSV)
Assuming that all men share the one spirit of God they must have an intuitive knowledge of that oneness. The principal thing that blocks that knowledge is the religious belief that they are under 'God's Law' and will be punished for their human failing that religious leaders call 'sins'. It is too frightening to know that a punishing God is with them 24 hours a day. It is far more comfortable, due to man's human failings, to believe in a separate God up in the sky and to apologize to him once a week at church! Paul's theology solved that fear problem by stating that, "sin is not counted where there is no law". John confirms that by writing that, "no one born of God commits sin". John is not claiming that a person "born of god" (which means Spirit baptized through faith in the promise to Abraham) does not have failings. He is simply confirming, that to a person free from the law through their faith, that those "failings' or "sins" are not counted by God. Thus, a person with such a belief is no longer afraid of having God constantly present; accordingly, that person's intuitive knowledge that they share one spirit with God becomes available to them. This process is referred to as Spirit baptism
James also points out that anyone who has broken the Law once is condemned. So, since all men have broken the Law, according to the New Testament, it would be impossible for a person to be saved even if they were able to obey the Law perfectly for the rest of their lives, as the Catholic Church teaches them to do.
Pope Benedict XVI, as a traditional Roman Catholic theologian, believes that one must obey both the laws of God, and of the "Holy Catholic Church", in order to be saved. And, this is in direct opposition to Biblical teaching. How can the Catholic Church continue to claim the New Testament is infallible and that the Catholic Church is also? Obviously the Catholic Church has a very large credibility problem. And, so does the mind of Pope Benedict XVI who supports this unsustainable Catholic position.
And, how did the Catholic Church get so far away from the New Testament? One of the reasons was Mt. 16:18, 19 (RSV).
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
One of the problems with the Church's justification in over-riding the New Testament using Mt.16 is that just a few lines later Christ is quoted as saying that any two individuals can bind heaven!
Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Mt. 18:18, 19 (RSV)
The primary reason however that the church departed from Biblical theology was its gradual return to Jewish legalism. Once Church leaders believed that all men were under law, as explained above, they were unable to understand that all men were one spirit with God. Thus, they were denied Spirit baptism and as St. Paul said, "the unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God for they are folly to him".
Was Paul's theology well founded, or does it simply work to help men discover their oneness with God? Paul's theology definitely will work for people who believe that they are under Mosaic Law and the Laws of the Catholic Church. Martin Luther, as well as this author, were both freed by believing Paul. However, Paul's theology is as fraudulent as that of the Catholic Church. To start with, the alleged promise of God to Abraham is in the mythical Book of Genesis. This same book tells us that the world was created in a week, that man was created instantly and about 2000 years before Christ (based upon the ages of the Biblical characters), and that a snake talked and reasoned! Another major problem is that the Old Testament states that the promise was made to Abraham and "his descendants". Paul however changed that, to the promise being made to "Abraham and Christ". Paul no doubt reasoned that if the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants then he could not explain God putting the Jews under the Mosaic Law hundreds of years after God made the promise that salvation was without price. God would be breaking his promise that salvation was a free gift! Paul solved this credibility problem by claiming that the promise was to Abraham, to Christ and to anyone "one with Christ". So that meant that the Jews needed to wait for Christ and then accept Christ to be saved. So all of Christian salvation doctrine is based upon a mythical promise that has been altered by Paul! In other words it's based upon fraud.
The ultimate solution to this salvation theology problem is the personal knowledge that if a person is one with God they are inherently righteous and could never have been put under law in the first place. It also helps to realize that no one became one with God at a point in time. Man either always was one with the eternal God, or he never will be! Neither St. Paul, the Evangelist, nor Martin Luther, progressed this far in their understanding of their Spirit baptism. Thus, they both remained mired in religion and never fully realized what had happened to them.
Society generally believes that religion is a good thing as it keeps people in check with fear of God's punishment. However, based upon on all of the above, it appears that monotheistic religions such as Pope Benedict's Roman Catholicism are actually a scourge upon mankind, especially upon innocent and helpless children. And, that the advice of the spiritual masters, "To stop walking you are already there" is the best advise of all. And, this is no doubt why Christ is alleged to have said that heaven is already spread all over the earth but men do not see it!
ABOUT SHAWN PATRICK THORNTON
Shawn Patrick Thornton is the author of a 2005 published book entitled, In Defense of the Christ: Why Jesus would Disown Christianity (www.christbestseller.com). Shawn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Shawn spent 14 years in Catholic schools including a Jesuit high school and university. On February 13, 1978, after a long spiritual odyssey Shawn experienced Spirit baptism and writes from the creative 27 year expansion of that spiritual awakening.
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