Teaching old dogs new tricks

Even though I work in the technology field, I am still amazed at the rapid progress of technology. Think of all the new technology words, phrases or meanings you may have added to your vocabulary over the past few years:

apps, avatar, blog, blu-ray, click, cloud, dotcom, emoticon, Facebook, friend, hashtag, Google, HDTV, Hulu, lol, meme, Netflix, post, selfie, spam, stream, surf, tablet, text, thumb drive, troll, tweet, upload, viral, web, YouTube

Imagine talking to your friend at length about the problems with spam, only to realize 5 minutes into the conversation that you are talking about junk email while your friend is talking about a canned meat product.

Now, many of us (particularly when you get to my advanced age and beyond) want to claim we cannot learn new things, but our lives and particularly our use of technology betrays us. We can learn new terms and ideas when we want to. I will say that again – when we want to. Because there is no way we could claim that most of these are necessities of life.

Now, Christian, how many of the important words of the faith do you know and understand? For example,

atonement, grace, justification, propitiation, redemption, sacrament, sanctification, salvation, Trinity

Like the spam example above, when we Christians discuss matters of faith with our Roman Catholic, Mormon, or even liberal pseudo-Christian friends, knowing these terms can help avoid confusion. For example, it is of no use for Christians and Mormons to both say we agree that salvation is accomplished by Jesus when we disagree about the term “salvation.”

As disciples (students) of Christ we should always be learning. So, please spend some time learning what these important terms mean. You can do it! Even if it means you have to spend less time posting selfies to Instagram with your iPhone in hopes that they will go viral via Twitter. Imagine saying that sentence back in 2005!

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Teaching old dogs new tricks

  1. I again think we agree much more than you realize or are willing to admit. We talk past each other because we have different understandings of certain terms — but often the difference is only semantic. We all, despite your insistence to the contrary, believe in salvation solely by the grace of God.

  2. Joseph,

    Our differences are far, far from mere semantics. There is a reason that people have died for these differences over the centuries – because the differences are worth dying for.

    Yes, Roman Catholics may affirm salvation solely by the grace of God, but deny that it is by faith alone. As I posted earlier today over on your blog (and am copying here for those who might be following only this thread), the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2068 provides one simple and relatively modern confirmation of obtaining salvation through faith plus works:

    “The Second Vatican Council confirms: “The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments” (CCC 2068).

    The flip side is the clear declaration from Rome that justification without works is a heretical teaching:

    “If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema,” (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 14).

    In those 2 quotes we have a positive affirmation of Rome’s position and a negative denial of the contrary position.

    So, I would ask you if my sins are forgiven because I believe in Jesus Christ? I have not been baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. I, unfortunately, continue to break the 10 Commandments. I reject the additional sacraments (beyond baptism and Holy Communion) created by Rome. Either my sins are forgiven (I am justified, saved, and can stand as righteous before God) based upon my faith alone, or there is something I need to do to obtain that justification, salvation, righteousness.