Thursday, June 28, 2007

Protestant Errors On The Doctrine Of Predestination

Part 1 of a 3 part series: Luther

"Protestantism derived its notion of predestination from its preconceived theory of the consequences of original sin. According to its theory, man in a state of fallen nature no longer has the strength, even after justification, to resist temptation. We know that Luther was thus ensnared into the path of error. The observance of the divine law and resistance against unruly passions necessitated his making great efforts; as humble prayer was something unknown to him, he concluded that concupiscence, since the fall of man, cannot be overcome, and that the command, ‘thou shalt not covet,’ is impracticable, and that God has commanded what is impossible. Thus it is that, through lack of an interior justice, which seemed impossible to him, Luther set out in quest of an exterior justice; not recognizing the necessity of contrition and a firm purpose of amendment, he appealed from these to Christ and said in conclusion that man of himself is always weak, always in a state of sin; but that Christ’s justice covers the sins of sinners. Christ’s justice covers them and is imputed to them.

Continuing on this path of error, Luther rejected free will. Free will is dead, so he said. In consequence of this, the Christian’s faith is solely God’s work.. ‘He operates in us without our co-operation,’ and this faith is formal justification. ‘Faith is the formal justice, by reason of which we are justified. Faith is already the grace of justification.’ The nuptial robe is faith without good works. For salvation nothing more than faith is required. This is how Luther came to conclude one of the fundamental principles of his doctrine, so that he taught not only that eternal predestination is previous to foreseen merits, but also that good works performed or merits acquired in this life are not necessary for salvation. In proof of this he appealed to St. Paul’s epistles, falsely interpreting them, and to the teaching of St. Augustine, which he understood in the wrong sense. It would be a mistake, however, for one to believe that all Lutherans preserved intact Luther’s teaching on this point. Already in 1535, Melanchthon declared good works to be necessary for salvation. Something similar to this was taught by the Interim of Augsburg, and by that of Leipzig."

-Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange from his book Predestination.

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