Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Sermon, September 17 -- The Catholic Approach to St Paul (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish - Sermons on Romans, Part 9)

We come to the conclusion of the Church's reading of the Letter of St Paul to the Romans which has continued for the past three months from the last Sunday of June to the second to the last Sunday of September. St Paul directs our focus entirely to Jesus Christ.

Looking back over the Letter, we revisit the question of faith and works, of grace and free will. Martin Luther's fundamental philosophical error of thinking that an action cannot be both fully of God and fully of man -- but, in truth, God is fully the primary cause of our good works and we are fully the secondary cause of our good works. When we cooperate with God's grace, we merit our salvation.

The protestant doctrine of "grace alone" leads quickly to the idea of "double predestination."  If a man is saved without any reference to his good works, but simply by God's choice; another is damned without any reference to his sins, but simply by God's choice. This is precisely what John Calvin taught, and this is where protestant theology ultimately leads.  However, as Catholics, we believe that human choice really makes a difference -- and we are saved by our good works, or damned by our sins.

Fundamentally, Martin Luther and the protestants approach Scripture in a way very different from how all Christians have always read the Bible. Luther starts with St Paul, and then forces all of the rest of the Bible to "fit" into his interpretation of Romans. However, Christians have always given priority to the Gospels, and then the rest of the Bible (including St Paul) is interpreted in light of Jesus' preaching and ministry.

Listen online [here]!


Terri said...

Love this explanation!

Terri said...

Love this explanation. Thank you!

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