The Engine that Couldn’t

Armour of Christ

What happens when you mix the passions of the Old Adam with Christianity? Well, these things cant really be done. You end up with either one or the other, the theology of glory or the theology of the cross. The theology of glory states that God is all about you, He has a wonderful plan for your life, He is going to prosper you, He is going to lead you through whatever challenge or difficulty that life throws at you. Many different teachings fit into this category; the prosperity gospel, seeker driven movement, etc. The theology of the cross is the true biblical theology; its Christ crucified for you. It’s really that simple its either God as a cheerleader or God as a savior. It can even be defined further than that because the theology of glory is the glorification of yourself. Your life, your will, you, become the gospel…

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4 thoughts on “The Engine that Couldn’t

  1. I think gets into @njb4725 and my discussion on Original Sin. And the more I think about it the notion of the theology of the cross and Original Sin firmly predates St. Augustine’s terminology and categorization of terms within Christian thinking. Athanasius ties it nicely up with Genesis 3 prior to Pelagian writings of Augustine; however, St. Justin Martyr speaks as early as 151 in the First Apology of the need of regeneration.

    Also Irenaus of Lyons, disciple of the Apostles wrote in his last writings uses an analogy of leprosy as our state prior to baptism “for we are lepers in sin,…we are spiritually regenerated as newborn babes.”

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    1. Or the Mystic St. John of the Cross speaks in this manner:

      “Wherein are expounded the remaining lines of the aforementioned stanza.

      . . . oh, happy chance! —
      I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest.

      THESE lines take as a metaphor the miserable estate of captivity, a man’s deliverance from which, when none of the gaolers’ hinder his release, he considers a ‘happy chance.’ For the soul, on account of205 original sin, is truly as it were a captive in this mortal body, subject to the passions and desires of nature, from bondage and subjection to which it considers its having gone forth without being observed as a ‘happy chance’ — having gone forth, that is, without being impeded or engulfed206 by any of them.
      2. For to this end the soul profited by going forth upon a ‘dark night’ — that is, in the privation of all pleasures and mortification of all desires, after the manner whereof we have spoken. And by its ‘house being now at rest’ is meant the sensual part, which is the house of all the desires, and is now at rest because they have all been overcome and lulled to sleep. For until the desires are lulled to sleep through the mortification of the sensual nature, and until at last the sensual nature itself is at rest from them, so that they make not war upon the spirit, the soul goes not forth to true liberty and to the fruition of union with its Beloved.”

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  2. St. Athanasius writes in On the Incarnation: “just as Wisdom says, “God created the human being for incorruptibility and an image of his own eternity; but by envy of the devil, death entered the world (Wis 2:23-24). When this happened, human beings died and corruption thenceforth prevailed against them, becoming even stronger than its natural power over three whole race, the more so as it had assumed the threat of the Deity against them through the transgression of the commandment.” On the Incarnation 5.

    And this document was written before the Birth of Augustine. So, the idea is the transgression against God and the punishment that followed over humanity clearly predates Augustine significantly in Christianity.

    In fact, looking more into it, I’m only going to state from now on that he only coined the terminology; not even the concept of it.

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  3. Then there is the confused talk of Merit as though it was not a gift. He speaks of Grace being a gift when Grace is “gift”. So is he saying that the gift is a gift? Seems redundant to say the least?

    I find the lack of talk about the ‘reward” which is promised by Christ detached from the idea of merit and likewise Charity or Love is left out of the equation as well. The CCC has this subject clarified in this statement:

    III. Merit

    You are glorified in the assembly of your Holy Ones, for in crowning their merits you are crowning your own gifts.59

    2006 The term “merit” refers in general to the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment. Merit is relative to the virtue of justice, in conformity with the principle of equality which governs it.

    2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.

    2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. the fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.

    2009 Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God’s gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us “co-heirs” with Christ and worthy of obtaining “the promised inheritance of eternal life.”60 The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.61 “Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due…. Our merits are God’s gifts.”62

    2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God’s wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.

    2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. the saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.

    After earth’s exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for your love alone…. In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself.63

    59 Roman Missal, Prefatio I de sanctis; Qui in Sanctorum concilio
    celebraris, et eorum coronando merita tua dona coronas, citing the “Doctor
    of grace,” St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 102, 7: PL 37, 1321-1322.

    60 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1546.

    61 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1548.

    62 St. Augustine, Sermo 298, 4-5: PL 38, 1367.

    63 St. Therese of Lisieux, “Act of Offering” in Story of a Soul, tr. John
    Clarke (Washington Dc: ICS, 1981), 277.

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