Bible Alive: Faith through Christian History


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See how Christian understanding of faith develops over two thousand years, how heresies and struggles shape our theology on faith.

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Bible Alive: Faith through Christian History

  1. 1. Faith Throughout Christian History<br />
  2. 2. The following presentation would be impossible without these resources<br />
  3. 3. Let us Pray<br />Good Father<br />Thank you for your Word.<br />We Praise you for who you are.<br />Help us to listen with the Spirit of Humility. <br />Help us to understand and love.<br />Poor in Spirit, we give you thanks for today and every day, <br />By your Divine Presence, guide our study tonight<br />And in the weeks to come<br />Amen. <br />
  4. 4. Course Breakdown<br />Bible Alive: The Prophets<br />What is faith? <br />Who and what are prophets? <br />What is prophecy? <br />What you need: <br />Bring your Bible and a heart open to prayer.<br />
  5. 5. Old Testament Notions of Faith<br />Describe Faith according to the theologies of the Old Testament:<br />In the Old Testament faith is covenantal. Faith is rooted in God’s fidelity to the Promises and family-bond God shares with the People Israel. Faith is more about “HEARING” than believing. Faith is HEARING the word of God and accepting it with trust and obedience. <br />
  6. 6. New Testament Notions of Faith<br />Describe Faith according to the theologies of the New Testament:<br />In the New Testament faith is acceptance of Jesus Christ and his message, and later of the apostolic kerygma, centered on the Risen Lord. Faith is the principle of life for the just/righteous. As such, faith is DYNAMIC—it is a reality that GROWS and LIVES. Faith is NOT a once-and-for-all act. It is ultimately through the grace of the Holy Spirit that one comes to “know” Christ; but more immediately through signs. <br />
  7. 7. Basic Concepts of Faith<br />Taken from The Handbook of Catholic Theology, Edited by Wolfgang Beinert and Francis SchüsslerFiorenza, p. 250<br />
  8. 8. References of the verb “BELIEVE”<br />We must always consider the context whenever encountering the verb “to believe” in a text. <br />Content of faith is stated when there is a direct object. <br />A warrantor (on whose witness a content is believed) is stated by a dative object. <br />The prepositional use (believe in) is possible only within a context that is theological or religious. The two qualities indicated in the prepositional use are absolute trust and unconditional surrender and are possible in their full sense only toward God. <br />Taken from The Handbook of Catholic Theology, Edited by Wolfgang Beinert and Francis SchüsslerFiorenza, p. 250<br />
  9. 9. Revelation & the Ancient Christians<br />In ancient times faith was understood as a personal surrender to the God of Jesus Christ; this faith became evident by being personally appropriated in ethics (the continual, daily praxis of the Christian). <br />It was in the canon, in the rule of faith, in theological expressions, in doctrines and dogmas, and in the formation of the shepherding authority of the Church—the ecclesial magisterium—where the contents of faith developed. <br />This development happened to a large extent as responses to heresies. <br />Faith took on a canonical aspect by the magisterium placing a ban (anathema) on such heresies. <br />Revelation was understood in these ancient Christian times under what has been called theepiphanic model—meaning that God’s self-manifestation in history is as judge and the giver of grace. <br />The epiphanic model interprets the whole event of salvation as the actualization of the constitutive self-disclosure of God which achieves its summit in Christ. <br />
  10. 10. “Fathers” of the Church & Faith<br />What was faith to the early Christians AFTER the New Testament times? <br />The term “Fathers of the Church” should not be taken as if only men (and not women) witnessed to the faith by kerygma, catechesis, teaching, and even martyrdom.<br />“Fathers of the Church” or “Patristics” are blanket terms for all the ancient Christian authors till the deaths of John of Damascus in the East (749) and Gregory the Great (604) or Isidore of Seville in the West. <br />
  11. 11. The Apostolic Fathers & Faith<br />The Apostolic Fathers (the earliest “Fathers of the Church”) thought that faith was accepting the Christian message or identified it as the knowledge of God and of Christ (McBrien, p 31). <br />St Justin Martyr (d. 165) gives us the first step to a formulation of faith.<br />For Justin, faith is assent given to revealed truths. <br />So a believer would be one who:<br />Assents to certain truths<br />Who knows these certain truths as TRUTHS. <br />
  12. 12. The Apostolic Fathers & Faith<br />St Irenæus of Lyon (d. c. 200) spoke less on the act of faith than he did about the OBJECT OF FAITH.<br />The object of faith is proposed by the Church, thought Irenæus.<br />A believer is one who comes to the knowledge of truth, that is, one who accepts the Object of Faith as true. <br />
  13. 13. The Apostolic Fathers & Faith<br />St. Clement of Alexandria (d. 215), head of the Didascalium and teacher to Origen (d. 254), said that the object of faith was God unveiled to humanity in Christ. <br />For Clement, faith was passing from the darkness of ignorance into the light of knowledge. <br />This “knowledge” of faith is sufficient for salvation, according to Clement.<br />But Clement claimed that there was an even higher form of knowledge (gnosis) that one can attain through faith. <br />
  14. 14. The concept of “faith as knowledge” got distorted by Gnosticism, an ancient heresy. <br />The influence of Gnosticism makes faith into a knowledge available only to the few elite. Later Fathers follow Clement in this way, holding that faith is assent to the Church’s doctrines proposed for our belief. They include:<br />Origen<br />St Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386)<br />St Athanasius (d. 373)<br />St John Chrysostom (d. 407)<br />St Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444)<br />St John of Damascus <br />Gnosis?<br />
  15. 15. St Augustine of Hippo<br />St Augustine (d. 430), of all the early Fathers, gives us the most impressive theology on faith.<br />For Augustine, faith is assenting to revelation. <br />The knowledge of faith proceeds into wisdom, an understanding of the divine mysteries. <br />But compared with the Beatific Vision (the ultimate “face-to-face” encounter with God in heaven, without obstruction or mediation, cf. 1 Cor 13:12), Augustine considers the knowledge of faith obscure. <br />
  16. 16. “Believe in God” <br />That faith took knowledge and assent was recognized and insisted on by the Fathers. But by what authority or criterion does one believe?<br />The early Fathers (Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, Ambrose [d. 397], John Chrysostom, among others) were clear on this matter: the only motive or foundation for belief is God.<br />Faith CANNOT be supported by internal evidence, according to Augustine.<br />Faith is established upon the authority of a witness—it is NEVER the result of REASONING. <br />God’s witness is always worthy of faith because God is truthful and is unfailingly omniscient. <br />
  17. 17. Augustine & the Mystery of Christ<br />For Augustine the mystery of Christ is the object of faith.<br />Augustine believed that this “Mystery of Christ” was proclaimed by the whole of sacred Scripture, Old and New Testaments. <br />In Christ, the whole of revelation finds its central unity, for it is in Christ ordered and in him perfected (or consummated) definitively. <br />
  18. 18. Faith is FREE<br />Augustine held that faith is always a free gift from God—it is NEVER earned or merited by us.<br />According to Augustine human beings are free to accept or reject this gift. <br />The Fathers were in concord with this theological opinion until the fifth century. <br />
  19. 19. The Controversy with Semi-Pelagianism<br />Semi-Pelagianism was a heresy that considered for the beginning of faith (initium fidei), grace was unnecessary.<br />Semi-Pelagianism held that God’s grace was given as support for us in the way to salvation ONLY AFTER we have freely chosen to believe, that is, after deciding to pursue a life of faith. <br />For Augustine, the entire process of justification and salvation rested on God’s complete gratuity.<br />Augustine countered the error of Semi-Pelagianism.<br />He insisted that even the initial act of faith (the basis to the whole supernatural life and the start of our justification) is totally UNMERITED by us, and is utterly a FREE GIFT of God. <br />
  20. 20. Free End, Free Beginning!<br />According to Augustine even though we are freely saved, salvation comes about ultimately from God’s own mercy (in Hebrew, chessed) and goodness.<br />This means that salvation AND the beginning of salvation, namely faith, are GRATUITOUS.<br />Subsequent patristic writings, heavily indebted to and influenced by Augustinian theology, focused on certain key New Testament texts:<br />Jn 6:44-46—“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.”<br />Jn 6:65—And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” <br />Eph 2:8—For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God…<br />
  21. 21. Faith—Human Cooperation??<br />Just because faith is whole and entire the gift from God DID NOT make the Fathers reject the notion that it still required some element of human cooperation.<br />Only if there seems to be some basis or reason for believing, can one believe.<br />So, some early Fathers like Justin pointed out the various ways in which Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. So did the later Latin (Ambrose, Jerome [d. 420], and especially Augustine) and Greek (Origen, Basil [d. 379], and John Chrysostom) Fathers. <br />Crucial note: these Fathers DID NOT ague that one could establish the credibility of faith based on evidence and reason! This is particularly true for Augustine.<br />Even though signs as miracles and prophecies show that the Christian faith has some support and credibility, for Augustine, one can NEVER demonstrate the internal truth for the mysteries of faith. <br />
  22. 22. UNDERSTANDING:The Second Council of Orange <br />When we approach the Bible, we cannot divorce our interpretation from the historical context, the particular situations in which they were written: <br />Please see the 1943 encyclical of Pope Pius XII, DivinoAfflanteSpiritu; also the 1964 Instruction of the Pontifical Biblical Commission; the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation of Vatican II, 1965; the 1993 Pontifical Biblical Commission’s “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church”. <br />The same is true when we seek to understand the official teachings of the Catholic Church, whether by popes or councils. <br />When approaching the official texts of Church documents, we do a severe violence to our understanding dare we employ the fundamentalist style of a naïve, “nonhistorical orthodoxy.” <br />
  23. 23. The Second Council of Orange<br />Begun July, 529, in southern France.<br />This was a local council which condemned semi-Pelagianism. <br />Augustine’s theology had direct influence over the Second Council of Orange. <br />Pope Boniface II confirmed the council’s decision in 531:<br />“He is an adversary of the apostolic teaching who says that the increase of faith as well as the beginning of faith and the very desire of faith … inheres in us naturally and not by a gift of grace.”<br />(Council cites) Phil 1:6—And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. <br />(Council cites) Phil 1:29—For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake … <br />(Council cites) Eph 2:8—For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God …<br />
  24. 24. So IMPORTANT, yet RARELY KNOWN<br />This declaration of the Second Council of Orange is so important and perhaps one of the least regarded or even known Catholic teachings.<br />St Augustine first and then the Second Council of Orange insisted that even the beginning of faith is a gift from God. <br />But this FLIES IN THE FACE of most of the Twentieth Century Christian Apologetics which tends to base itself on the unstated assumption that reason alone may demonstrate the truth of Christian faith, and that “grace is only necessary to make such reasoned ‘faith’ a saving faith” (McBrien, Catholicism, p. 34). <br />
  25. 25. Twentieth Century Apologetics<br />Taken from McBrien, p 34<br />The Twentieth Century Catholic Apologetics argument goes as follows:<br />The Bible is a historical document. Its purported authors can be shown reliably to be who they are. The events and persons recorded with it can on the foundation of independent historical evidence be demonstrated to be real events and persons.<br />The story of Jesus Christ is recorded in the Bible. This Jesus claimed for himself to be divine and he proved this claim by his miracles, most especially the primary miracle of his resurrection. <br />In the Bible we learn how Jesus founded a Church, and how he invested it to teach, rule, and sanctify with full authority.<br />ONLY the Catholic Church can trace back its history to the Apostles and to the Lord Jesus himself. Therefore, our conclusion is… <br />
  26. 26. Twentieth Century Apologetics<br />For Protestant Fundamentalist Apologists, the argument goes like this (Source, Ravi Zacharias): <br />Truth as a category does exist. <br />It is possible in a majority of claims (i.e., philosophical and historical statements) to verify the truthfulness of those affirmations. <br />There are also existential realities from which one cannot run which drive one to find the answers to the existential struggles one must live with. Everything is on the line—it is crucial to find the answers! <br />This raises the question of the Bible and what it proposes. <br />One sees in the Bible (Ravi Zacharias claims) 66 books, by nearly 40 different authors, composed over 1500 years—these are works on history, philosophical thought, theological thought, etc. <br />Unlike any other source of proposed truth, the Bible makes a series of assertions (historical, philosophical, existential, etc.) that are unfailingly accurate. and demonstrably so. This is especially true of its “prophetic schema,” seen all the way to its fulfilled predictions of Christ. <br />When one compares the enormous and consistent prediction-fulfillment correspondence between centuries-old prophecies and Jesus Christ in whom these are fulfilled, immediately one sees the supernatural. <br />Therefore, one can trust the Bible and Jesus Christ whom it proposes. <br />
  27. 27. Easy Explanations & Mental Gymnastics<br />If the truth of Christianity (whether Catholic or Protestant) is so clear, so EVIDENT, why then are there myriads of people indifferent about it?<br />The neo-orthodox, nonhistorical and fundamentalistic apologists have an answer for us. Either…<br />These people are too lazy to examine the evidence with proper care and time, or…<br />… they have indeed given it a proper examination and have recognized the veracity of Christianity, but alas, they cannot conform to the truth they now see clearly as it is too difficult to change their lives. <br />But is it really that simple??<br />
  28. 28. Initium Fidei<br />To these modern “apologists,” it was as if nonbelievers are utterly free, even without the grace of God, to start the process of examining and exploring the evidence and then to either accept or reject it.<br />But the ancient teaching of the Church is clear: even the beginning of faith is a gift of God. Since absolutely certain and free is the assent of faith, NO process of reasoning can give birth to it. <br />God calls all to salvation.<br />1 Tim 2:1-6—First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. <br />Salvation is not possible without faith. (Later ratified by the Council of Trent in the 1500s, originally a Pauline teaching)<br />Therefore, there must be saving faith of which Christ is not the explicit center. But even THIS FAITH must be God’s own gift! <br />Thus, God’s call to salvation for some happens through communities, institutions, and agencies other than the Church or even explicitly Christian groups. <br />
  29. 29. Signs & Miracles??<br />Miracles, signs, prophecies, etc., are the signs of divine revelation. <br />But when these are known solely by the light of reason, they CANNOT be the cause of faith.<br />Again, faith is certain and free absolutely—it does not come out of a process of reasoning.<br />Therefore the foundation for faith cannot be motives of credibility! The point of departure for faith cannot be rational proof that there exists a divine revelation (Hey! This MUST be God! NOW I believe! See D 1799, 1813).<br />Such signs of credibility ARE presupposed by faith, but ARE NOT faith’s formal motive.<br />Signs of credibility ARE NOT the cause of faith—rather, they are a condition of faith. <br />Cf. Jn 2:23—Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did; but Jesus did not trust himself to them…<br />Jn 20:29—Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” <br />
  30. 30. Faith in the Middle Ages<br />Faith was conceived of as an intellectual assent (“hold-to-be-true”) to truths pronounced by the shepherding authority of the Church in the Middle Ages.<br />This was in correspondence with the prevailing model on revelation at the time, the doctrinal-theoretical model.<br />Due to the focus on the conceptual form of revelation’s contents (dogmas), the doctrinal-theoretical model, formed within Scholasticism got forwarded. <br />Faith becomes a topic for reason—as for Anselm of Canterbury, “fides quaerensintellectum,” which means “faith seeking understanding.” <br />Faith, seen this way (theologically), is deemed capable of offering reasons for it that are convincing.<br />
  31. 31. The Height of Medieval Thought<br />Whereas the psychological-affective element of faith was emphasized by monastic, and afterwards Franciscan, theology, especially that of St. Bonaventure, Scholasticism stressed the rational moment of faith. <br />It was the great Saint Thomas Aquinas who attempted to synthesize both the psychological-affective and rational elements of faith. <br />For Aquinas, faith was a speculative-intellectual consent to revealed truths, born by the will of the person. <br />
  32. 32. Thomas Aquinas<br />Of all theologians in the history of the Church, no one has helped shape the Catholic Tradition or impacted Catholic thought as St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274).<br />The Christian faith’s biblical, patristic, and medieval understandings were given the most comprehensive synthesis in Aquinas’ Summa Theologiæ. Significantly shaped by it has been the interpretation and articulation of the Christian faith since its writing. <br />Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical AeterniPatris(1879), accorded Aquinas a special theological status. <br />
  33. 33. Thomas Aquinas & Faith<br />For Aquinas, faith is thinking with assent. <br />Aquinas says that faith in essence is an act of the intellect (thinking). <br />But it is not just any common intellectual action! (“with assent”).<br />Aquinas asks:<br />What do we believe? God<br />Why do we believe? On the authority of the God who reveals.<br />For what purpose do we believe? That we might be united forever with God in heaven (Summa Theologiæ II-II, qq. 1-7).<br /><ul><li>Faith gives us access to the invisible yet real world of grace, even NOW. </li></li></ul><li>Grasping God<br />No matter how great be our scientific reasoning, logic, and demonstrations, we never come to God through these. Sorry, Neo-orthodox Christian apologists and fundamentalists! <br />Any arguments employed for our Christian faith either…<br />Demonstrate that our faith is at least not impossible or absurd, or<br />Show that they are arguments taken from sources and authorities (e.g., especially the Bible) the divine authority of which we accept ON FAITH. <br />Reality is never disconnected from our faith:<br />“Our faith does not end in propositions but in the realities themselves.” (Summa Theologiæ, II-II, q. 1, a. 2, ad. 2)<br />
  34. 34. Faith, Hope, & Charity<br />Aquinas never was blind to the truth that hope and charity were closely bound with faith, and thus that faith was not only related to the intellect but also to THE WILL. <br />This was true despite his emphasis on faith as an act of the intellect.<br />Heb 11:1—Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for.<br />Faith has no direction or perfection without hope.<br />Faith is dead without charity (II-II, q. 4). <br />Faith is not only directed toward “the True” (via the intellect); faith is likewise directed toward “the Good” (via the will).<br />
  35. 35. Supernatural Faith<br />The source of faith is God. <br />Faith’s motive and goal is God. <br />Without the indwelling Holy Spirit, the internal cause of belief, miracles, prophecies and other external signs of the truth of faith are powerless to transform us (II-II, q. 6).<br />We are helpless to believe in God unless the human intellect gets elevated above the limitation of its own finite natural capacities in the Spirit’s presence. <br />Faith is absolutely and in essence above every created order (supernatural).<br />
  36. 36. Faith & the Reformation<br />The center of the Protestant Reformation was faith, that is, faith in Jesus, “the man on the Cross.” <br />Martin Luther (d. 1546) began the Protestant Reformation on October 31st, 1517. <br />
  37. 37. Man of His Day<br />Martin Luther was shaped by his time. <br />Luther’s philosophical studies gave him no satisfaction. He was influenced by Aristotle, William of Ockham, and Gabriel Biel. Luther thought that experiencing a loving God was more important than human reason. Luther believed that only through Divine Revelation could we learn about God. <br />Luther therefore had a love-hate relationship with Aristotle because of his emphasis on reason, but he overreacted against Medieval theology by depreciating critical reason in it. <br />Luther also too strongly emphasized the Cross, something never to be separated from the Resurrection. The heart of the Christian faith—along with HOPE—is the Resurrection of the Crucified.<br />
  38. 38. Martin Luther & Faith<br />“Faith is not that human illusion and dream that some people think it is. When they hear and talk a lot about faith and yet see that no moral improvement and no good works result from it, they fall into error and say, ‘Faith is not enough. You must do works if you want to be virtuous and get to heaven.’ The result is that, when they hear the Gospel, they stumble and make for themselves with their own powers a concept in their hearts which says, ‘I believe.’ This concept they hold to be true faith. But since it is a human fabrication and thought and not an experience of the heart, it accomplishes nothing, and there follows no improvement.<br />“Faith is a work of God in us, which changes us and brings us to birth anew from God (cf. John 1). It kills the old Adam, makes us completely different people in heart, mind, senses, and all our powers, and brings the Holy Spirit with it. What a living, creative, active powerful thing is faith! It is impossible that faith ever stop doing good. Faith doesn’t ask whether good works are to be done, but, before it is asked, it has done them. It is always active. Whoever doesn’t do such works is without faith; he gropes and searches about him for faith and good works but doesn’t know what faith or good works are. Even so, he chatters on with a great many words about faith and good works.<br />“Faith is a living, unshakeable confidence in God’s grace; it is so certain, that someone would die a thousand times for it. This kind of trust in and knowledge of God’s grace makes a person joyful, confident, and happy with regard to God and all creatures. This is what the Holy Spirit does by faith. Through faith, a person will do good to everyone without coercion, willingly and happily; he will serve everyone, suffer everything for the love and praise of God, who has shown him such grace. It is as impossible to separate works from faith as burning and shining from fire. Therefore be on guard against your own false ideas and against the chatterers who think they are clever enough to make judgments about faith and good works but who are in reality the biggest fools. Ask God to work faith in you; otherwise you will remain eternally without faith, no matter what you try to do or fabricate.” <br /> (taken from the Preface to the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans by Martin Luther)<br />
  39. 39. The Council of Trent<br />The Council of Trent, 1545-1563, was a major ecumenical council held in response to the crisis of the Protestant Reformation. <br />As the Second Council of Orange had been influenced by the theology of St. Augustine, so the Council of Trent was influenced by the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas. <br />It was against the Protestant, especially the Lutheran, idea of trusting faith (fides fiducialis) that Trent’s decrees on faith were formulated.<br />Both Karl Rahner (d. 1984) and Hans Küng, 20th century Catholic theologians, held that the disagreements between Trent and the Reformers were less in substance and more in terminology—alas, this was not seen at the time, and not for the centuries that followed. <br />
  40. 40. Luther’s Impact on Trent<br />It is important to point out that some of the demands of reform of Martin Luther were both acknowledged and accepted by Trent:<br />That the granting of indulgences be separate from almsgiving <br />That it be required that proper education and training for ministry be given to all candidates for the priesthood <br />That bishops have but one diocese at a time and that they live IN their diocese <br />That we are justified by the grace of God and not by good works alone.<br />
  41. 41. Understanding Trent<br />Trent’s teachings on Faith, DS 1528-34, 1561-64.<br />It is in Trent’s Decree on Justification where we see its teachings on faith. <br />The Decree on Justification was formulated during the crucial sixth session, which took place from June 21, 1546, until January 13, 1547. <br />Justification there was described as “a passing from the state in which man is born a son of the first Adam, to the state of grace and adoption as sons of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ our Savior.”<br />Trent sees that completely unmerited is the call of justification.<br />Trent sees that God’s grace through Jesus Christ initiates the process of justification—faith is an integrating component of justification and thus is necessary for salvation.<br />Without divine grace justification and salvation would be impossible (echoing the Second Council of Orange); yet we remain free even to reject divine grace. <br />
  42. 42. Understanding Trent<br />Trent also insisted that faith has an objective content.<br />Unlike what Luther had implied, faith was not exclusively fiducial.<br />Faith also includes assent to revealed truths. <br />Trent followed the spirit of the Epistle of James which held that faith without works of charity is dead.<br />Separated from hope and charity, trusting belief is not a saving faith. <br />
  43. 43. Understanding Trent<br />Trent also clarifies the statement “the sinner is gratuitously justified by faith.” <br />We may be said to be justified freely, in the sense that nothing that precedes justification, neither faith nor works, merits the grace of justification; … otherwise … grace is no longer grace.” <br />
  44. 44. Trent Summarized <br />Trent never gives a formal definition of faith, nonetheless…<br />The council taught that faith is both strictly supernatural while simultaneously being a free act<br />The council taught that faith was not merely a intellectual acceptance of truths and that it was necessary for justification and salvation.<br />The council taught contrary to what some sixteenth century Protestants held that faith CAN coexist with sin. <br />
  45. 45. Time Passes, BIG Changes<br />Bythe nineteenth century the doctrinal-theoretical model reached its zenith. <br />Recall again that in the doctrinal-theoretical model, wherein revelation is seen as a process of planned actions. <br />In an exceptional manner God communicates specific truths that can be expressed in propositions, and thus, are able to be acknowledged by reason. <br />Faith corresponds to an act of intellectual submission in this model with its intellectual medium of salvation. <br />Catholic theology of the nineteenth century attempted to use this doctrinal-theoretical model to counter the challenges of modernity.<br />
  46. 46. Modernity & Revelation<br />Modernity and the idea of historical revelation did not mix well.<br />Either because it rejected any activity of God in this world aside from creating it (deism), or because it thought that through reason alone all of God’s activity was knowable (the Enlightenment), or because it considered that human beings only had access via the external senses to experienceable phenomena (empiricism, rationalism), modernity had denied historical revelation. <br />Baruch Spinoza (d. 1677), G. E. Lessing (d. 1781), Denis Diderot (d. 1784), and Immanuel Kant (d. 1804) had laid the philosophical groundwork—all held that as a concept divine revelation was a conservative strategy to immunize the world from and to impose upon the autonomy of human reason. <br />Under G. W. F. Hegel’s (d. 1831) rationalism, faith dissolved into knowledge.<br />
  47. 47. Irrational Reactions<br />Movements of irrationalism arose under extreme reaction to these positions. <br />For some like reformed theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (d. 1834) and Lutheran theologian Rudolf Otto (d. 1937), faith became an experience solely of feeling. <br />For those French Catholic thinkers like H. F. R. de Lamennais (d. 1854), L. E. M. Bautain (d. 1867), and AugustinBonnetty (d. 1879), fideism was supported, a system which rejected rationality in favor of nonrational intuition and inner experience, and traditionalism, which holds that without revelation it is impossible for human reason to comprehend ethical and religious truths. At the beginning a primordial revelation must have been present, so thought these people. <br />And there were those like Austrian Catholic Anton Günther (d. 1863) and German Catholic J. Frohschammer (d. 1893) who held semirationalism which sought for a mediating position where human reason could fully recognize historical revelation once it occurred. <br />
  48. 48. Catholicism & Modernity, Round One<br />Meanwhile, Catholic theology developed the fundamental treatise on revelation in reaction to these views and guided by the doctrinal-theoretical model and Scholasticism. <br />It distinguished supernatural revelation from natural revelation (which meant the recognition of God by use of human reason to consider the course of creation). <br />Supernatural revelation was founded on the infallible authority of God who communicates truths. Miracles attest to these truths; they lead to the knowledge of many truths that are recorded in Scripture and tradition. <br />The church, the proximate authority for human beings, infallibly interprets these truths. <br />Here, the content of church teaching becomes revelation which gets transmitted externally to human beings in an authoritative form (the extrinsic concept of revelation).<br />
  49. 49. The First Vatican Council<br />Rationalism, as well as Fideism and Traditionalism to a lesser extent, challenged Catholic theology on the nineteenth century, stimulating a response at the First Vatican Council (convoked June 29, 1868, and adjourned October 20, 1870).<br />Rationalism—any system of thought that gives reason a privileged role in pursuing truth, even religious truth. <br />Fideism—any system of thought that sees faith being without rational content or support.<br />Traditionalism—(NOT to be confused with so-called “traditionalist” Catholics opposed to the Second Vatican Council’s reforms) the nineteenth century view that because religious truth is conveyed only through the revelation that has been “handed down” to us, reason can know nothing at all concerning religious truth.<br />
  50. 50. Vatican I & Faith<br />Vatican I’s teachings on Faith, DS 3008-20, 3031-36.<br />In the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, April 24, 1870, Vatican I promulgated its doctrine on faith. <br />Contra Rationalism—Vatican I taught that our accepting revealed truth is “not because its intrinsic truth is seen with the light of reason, but because of the authority of God who reveals them,” and that without “the enlightenment and inspiration of the Holy Spirit,” saving faith is impossible. <br />Contra Fideism and Traditionalism—Vatican I taught that “consonant with reason” must be the “submission of faith,” this being why God gave various signs, especially miracles and prophecies, whereby we might recognize as having divine origin the revelation. <br />A blind impulse is not the assent of faith. <br />
  51. 51. A Wider Understanding of Faith<br />The Scholastic view of faith was focused so heavily on its intellectual aspect.<br />But Vatican I expanded that idea.<br />Here, as a self-offering to God in “free obedience,” is how an act of faith is illustrated.<br />Vatican I repeats Trent’s teaching that faith and justification are essentially linked and that faith comes first in the supernatural order.<br />
  52. 52. Fundamentalist Apologetics<br />Vatican I was far more forceful against Rationalism than against Fideism.<br />It is perhaps surprising that 20th century Catholic neo-orthodox apologists adopt a somewhat rationalistic path, giving Catholics the false notion that a good argument makes inevitable conversion to the Church, with the only exceptions being indifferent folks and the perverse frozen in depravity.<br />This rationalistic fundamentalism is a far cry from the theology of Vatican I and the entire Catholic tradition. <br />
  53. 53. The Twentieth Century <br />Vatican I had, more or less, sanctioned the extrinsic concept of revelation—again, revelation became the content of church teaching that to human beings is transmitted EXTERNALLY in an authoritative form. <br />Because modernism opposed this extrinsicism with its idea of revelation as psychological immanentism (an articulation of the religious need that is inherent in the subject), theology had to discover a new place to start.<br />Already stressing the mysterious and dynamic character of revelation were founders of the Catholic School of Tübingen, J. A. Möhler (d. 1838), and J. S. Drey (d. 1853), along with mystic M. J. Scheeben (d. 1888), and John Henry Newman (d. 1890).<br />With his “method of immanence” (knowing revelation must be initiated externally, yet it remains a possibility of reason), Maurice Blondel (d. 1949) tried bridging neo-scholasticism and modernism. <br />
  54. 54. New Theology<br />This gave rise to the communicative-theoretical model of revelation. <br />According to this model, revelation is God’s self-communication to human beings in history. Through this the redeeming and liberating reality of God is made present to us. We are therefore brought into salvation-bringing community with God and with one another.<br />Before the questions of reason revelation must be elucidated, for revelation is communication.<br />Any perceived opposition between revelation and reason is thus eliminated.<br />Romano Guardini (d. 1968), Hans Urs von Balthasar (d. 1988), Karl Rahner (d. 1984), along with the Théologie Nouvelle (those who emphasized the historical character of revelation), all essentially contributed to the development of this model. <br />
  55. 55. The Second Vatican Council<br />The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)<br />Although it took up the communicative-theoretical model of revelation, the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on faith is consistent with what we have already examined—it does not contradict or revolutionize the tradition.<br />Vatican II holds faith to be supernatural in essence.<br />Faith requires a surrendering of oneself to God in the “obedience of faith” as well as assenting to revealed truth.<br />Although faith is supernatural, signs and wonders exist (DV 1, 5) which, under the impulse of divine grace always, can lead us to faith.<br />
  56. 56. Vatican II—The First New Emphasis<br />Vatican II’s teaching on faith gives new emphases prompted by awareness and appreciation for pluralism.<br />Vatican II recognized the depth behind the truth that the act of faith is free.<br />As a gift from God, faith is free; as a human response to that gift, faith is free. <br />Neither the gift or human response can be forced.<br />We must learn to respect the consciences and motives of those in our world of diverse convictions, some religious and some nonreligious, who do not, or cannot, accept Christian faith (Declaration on Religious Freedom, n. 2).<br />We cannot socially or politically penalize persons about religious matters. <br />
  57. 57. Vatican II—The Second New Emphasis<br />Vatican II also respects the diversity within the Body of Christ.<br />That Christian faith exists outside the Catholic Church, that it is a justifying faith, and that it relates one not only to Christ but to the Church also, is acknowledged by Vatican II in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (n. 15) and the Decree on Ecumenism (n. 3). <br />