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Joseph Heschmeyer
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HC, The first comment under the post you linked to destroys that thesis. The entire theory that "through" means "through faith in Me," and that "through faith in Me" means explicit knowledge of Jesus Christ would suggest that the following groups could never be saved: (1) Infants, (2) The severely mentally disabled, (3) the Jews before Christ, or who lived in the far-flung expanses of the Empire before the Gospel arrived;(Needless to say, this can't be right. Jesus depicts Abraham and Lazarus in Paradise in Luke 17, and they obviously didn't explicitly know Him), (4) Anyone else who lived before, or never heard of, Jesus Christ, but sought for Him (like Socrates, who died for the idea of a monotheistic God, and refused to worship the pagan gods, yet never heard of the Lord). The early Christians soundly rejected this marring of Scripture. St. Justin Martyr, in his First Apology, argued that Christ, being the Logos of God, was known to many who we might not consider "Christians": "We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; and among the barbarians, Abraham, and Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and names we now decline to recount, because we know it would be tedious."
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2011 on Is Jesus the One True God? at John H Armstrong
John, Great post, as usual. I'm pretty hesitant about your #1, though. Ephesians 4 says that there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." But that doesn't mean that any faith is the One True Faith, or that any god is the One True God. Likewise, there is a possibility of baptisms which aren't the One True Baptism (compared to, say, the incomplete "baptism of John," Acts 18:25). So I don't think Ephesians 4 proves it, but I do think that your other points do. Your #2 came in handy for me in explaining the nature of the sacraments as ex opere operatis this morning, and it's pretty similar to some themes which St. Augustine talks about in On Baptism (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1408.htm), particularly Book I. And your third point was excellent. I've heard of Baptism as the New Circumcision, the spiritual circumcision. St. Paul says as much in Colossians 2:11-12. And there's no question that was done almost exclusively to children. But I'd never heard anyone go the next step, and point out that adult-only Baptism means young children could be part of Israel, but are incapable of being part of the fulfillment of Israel, the Church. I can't say it any better than you did: "we thus make the New Covenant less inclusive than the Old since children were no longer included in the family. But the New Covenant is better, greater, and more inclusive in scope." Which, of course, also cuts against the heavy emphasis on family in the NT. Again, great post! Pax Christi, Joe.
John, Don Bosco is great! Thanks for raising awareness about him, and his compelling life story.
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Jun 2, 2010