One of the bad transmutations to result from this spawning [from the Enlightenment of the skepticism of the mind’s ability to know truth, and secularism that replaces authentic devotion] is that spirituality can represent easily someone’s mental creations instead of true religious devotions. Today the religious person is able to study, take programs in, experiment with a variety of different “spiritualities,” and at the same time never once learn how to make an act of love of God, which is the hallmark of all true devotion.
(Father Romanus Cessario, OP, lecture at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC.)
Yes indeed the true interior life of the Christian must be a reality, from the very beginning. This is sadly lacking today in far too many Christian places today. When the Christian finds himself/herself standing before the “Christ publicly portrayed as crucified” (Gal. 3:1) over and over. With certain faith and repose, this is the reality itself of a Christian life. And to quote another great Catholic: Sr. Elizabeth of The Trinity (now Blessed)… the Christian life, [It is] “another humanity wherein Christ renews all his mystery.”
It makes one wonder if someone doesn’t come to know the love of God if there is any justifiable reason to call it “spirituality”. As Fee had pointed out many times, you can have true spirituality without the Spirit.
Indeed true “spirituality” for the Christian is simply “Christ”, but Christ known & loved, this is faith and the real interior life.
The mystical union between the faithful and Christ has been described as the heart of St. Paul’s piety, or godliness.
Fr. Robert: Yes, genuine and active devotion to Christ is always central for Christian spirituality.
Brian: What does Fee mean by “true spirituality without the Spirit”?
I think spirituality is a journey of transition. Take the story of Cornelius for example when an Angel appeared to him saying “Your prayers have been answered” …and then Peter was called to go and share the gospel with him.
Paul talks in Romans about those who don’t have the law doing what the law required as having the law written on their hearts…. So I would say that someone who is truly seeking God…is actually a spiritual person because Gods word promises us that if we seek him we will find him…
Yeah John, … Brian,
I was wondering about that Fee quote also? Almost an oxymoron?
Oops! Can’t!!! Can’t!!! Stupid WP app. 🙂
Btw, this subject is a real door to see the whole reality of the doctrine and nature of the Christians Union with Christ. And this is true of all real Christians without exception. It is both position and presence. Calvin can speak of an efficacious knowledge “by which we are engrafted into Christ and made one with God.” Here is the “work of faith”, etc. (1 Thess. 1:3).
I think the essence of Johns post is talking about self indulgence of works; where one isn’t really interested in the things of God, rather is more interested in the self.
Robert I see an interesting dichotomy taking place. On one hand there is the position of being grafted in the body. On another hand there is the presence of the Spirit who draws us / positions us into the body. Using the 5 tenses of salvation is there any real positional difference between those who are now in Christ and those who will yet are to accept Christ.
There simply can be no “Union” or engraft-ment ‘In Christ’ without the Spirit! And I can only see three tenses in salvation: past, present & future. And sometimes they are seen altogether.
Sproul makes note there is 5 tenses
1) were saved
2) were being saved
3) are saved
4) are being saved
5) will be saved
Therefore in God’s economy those who are not yet saved but will be- stand equal with you and me in regards to a position of salvation in the present. Therefore the question asks if we are saved before the creation of the world… and will be saved at the end of times… where was / is the Spirit placed in the context of that salvation?
I still see only “three” real tenses in salvation, biblically. Sproul really agrees I think?but adds a bit of Protestant Scholasticism perhaps.
The Spirit seems to be also in all three tenses. Note, 1 Peter 1:2 / 2 Thess. 2:13, etc.
This is exactly what I am getting at. So while it may appear someone isn’t saved to us… nor indeed to the person in question… The Holy Spirit is still actively drawing that person into Christ….therefore the question needs to be asked… “Are those whom the Spirit is drawing; “Spiritual?”
Perhaps only the doctrine of prevenient grace can be seen here? True spirituality seems to come only after the presence & sealing of the Holy Spirit, in the life of the believer.
Brian: I know what you mean. I have to watch for those “auto corrections” all the time!
Fr. Robert: I agree that most other things are peripheral to love of God. Cessario continues in his lecture that for Dominicans (and I think this applies to all Christians), the greatest penance is to love deeply. Deep love can also be deeply painful.
Craig: Yes, I wanted to highlight here the contrast of devotions that can self-centered versus love of God which is Christ-centered. Cassario goes on to speak of over-rationalization or falling into mythical romanticization. I sometimes fear that scholarship can fall into either of these.
On the subject of Sproul, I am not sure I understand the difference between (1) and (2) and between (3) and (4), but more particularly the former. Does “were saved” and “were being saved” imply “saved no longer” in either one?
I think my WP app thinks spirituality can exists without the Spirit, therefore it “corrected” me. I will have to have a discussion with my app about this. It has been a bit rebellious.
John, Interesting questions about the tenses of salvation.
Sproul is saying what the Bible says about the tenses of salvation. I don’t have his book with me at the moment to quote the verses. To
1) Was saved before creation of the world.
2) Was continually being saved
3) Are saved
4) Are continually being saved
5) Will be saved
So from the Biblical perspective we can see that salvation is not a once of event…rather its a continual event.
However I do disagree some what with the use of the Ephesians passage that says we were chosen before the creation of the world… I think there is terrible miss use / understanding of that passage for I think Paul is saying that it was the Jewish nation chosen before the creation of the world through and in which Christ would be born into the world.
But Paul also says of the Gentiles that we too were included in Christ and so in a round about way… this understanding of was chosen before the creation of the world is correct.
Brian… maybe you need to show your program the 4 ways to live and get it to repent……
I think the app is totally depraved in a way that even Theodore Beza couldn’t imagine!
Theodore, would have had it excommunicated by now and possibly alongside with Calvin had it burnt at the stake for being possessed or being unruly and heretical.
Ha! Very true.
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