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Need help with an apologetics question re: Old Covenant

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I was talking with a somewhat liberal Catholic who has also attended the Eastern Orthodox for a period of time.  He said that he didn't believe in the Catholic notion that if you commit one mortal sin you go to hell, but that there was certainly greater and lesser sins.  I said that I believed all sins were mortal in a sense, in that we all deserve hell for our sins. He said that if that were the case, then Christians would be worse off then under the Old Covenant where you could sacrifice animals to atone for sin and Gentile God-fearers could be saved.  I asked what was the point of Jesus coming and dying if some of us could be a sinner that was "not really that bad", but beyond that I blanked out on how to answer his point.   Any input would be greatly appreciated if only so I can answer myself in my own mind. 🙂

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21 minutes ago, kunoichi9280 said:

I was talking with a somewhat liberal Catholic who has also attended the Eastern Orthodox for a period of time.  He said that he didn't believe in the Catholic notion that if you commit one mortal sin you go to hell, but that there was certainly greater and lesser sins.  I said that I believed all sins were mortal in a sense, in that we all deserve hell for our sins. He said that if that were the case, then Christians would be worse off then under the Old Covenant where you could sacrifice animals to atone for sin and Gentile God-fearers could be saved.  I asked what was the point of Jesus coming and dying if some of us could be a sinner that was "not really that bad", but beyond that I blanked out on how to answer his point.   Any input would be greatly appreciated if only so I can answer myself in my own mind. 🙂

Pelagianism (semi) is what the Catholic church teaches. Pelagianism was condemned by the early catholic church. Pelagianism teaches that the natural man is basically good and only in need of a good moral teacher. The catholic church originally condemned Pelagianism while holding to the principles of sola Scriptura. It wasn't until sola scriptura was abandoned that the Catholic church contradicted early councils and synods and regressed (semi) towards Pelagainism:


Pelagianism was condemned. Six years after the council of Carthage a general council of African Churches reaffirmed the anathemas of 412 AD. Zosimus sided with Pelagius in 412, he wrote a letter condemning the anathema of Carthage. Of course having the support of Scripture, the leaders of the Carthagian Council disregarded the Bishop and his letter. Philip Schaff noted church historian observes, "This temporary favor of the bishop of Rome towards the Pelagian heresy is a significant presage of the indulgence of later popes for pelagianizing tendencies". It was these later "pelagianizing tendencies" that lead to the works-righteousness advocated by the bishop of Rome that later led to the Roman Catholic belief system. This was a pivotal moment in church history. Cornelius Otto Jansen like Martin Luther believed the early Church of Rome departed from its position that all of life was by the grace of God. And like Augustine Jansen taught that man's spirit was dead in sin, and therefore needed to be regenerated. Jansen understood that this was something that happened to man by God's grace and not something man made happen by his faith. In 1713 Pope Clement the XI issued a Papal Bull denouncing over 100 statements, many of which were actual quotes of Augustine. A Church that once sided with Augustine now sided with Pelagius.


And, with what you are stating, I believe you're absolutely right. James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. To suggest that man is basically good is to convey the unnecessary atonement and propitiation of Jesus. If man is righteous he has little need for Christ.


The OT sacrifices to touch upon a last point were nothing but "temporary" types and shadows which had to be repeated until Jesus' offered Himself up in our stead. They were never meant to be permanent, obviously, as even in the OT they were offered up occasionally.


As far as blanking out, don't worry about that. When approached by the absurd it is a common reaction. It's called being stunned by theological ignorance.


If you wish to read more about Pelagianism:


God bless,


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3 minutes ago, William said:

 And like Augustine Jansen taught that man's spirit was dead in sin, and therefore needed to be regenerated. Jansen understood that this was something that happened to man by God's grace and not something man made happen by his faith. 


I think this is the crux of the problem the person I was talking to has.  He doesn't really believe in original sin, so it makes sense that he doesn't believe in the need for regeneration, and therefore a person has at least some good in them and can be "good enough".  Whereas what I was trying to say and didn't do a good job of is that all men need regenerating.   

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