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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Mark Shea: "Concupiscence and the Battle of the Spirit"

Mark writes a thought-provoking piece at Catholic Exchange. He begins thus:

  One of the big differences between Catholic teaching and a great deal of the sort of dilute Protestantism that floats around in our culture is the Church's teaching on temptation and failure after we become Christians. Not a few Protestants have been troubled over the years by the fact that their faith in Christ did not seem to have "fixed" them. That worry can and has taken the form of the question, "If I really believe, why do I keep sinning?" Various approaches are taken to deal with this troubling reality. If the sin is committed by one's self, then the tendency is to wonder if I "really meant it" when I committed my life to Christ. Alloyed with this is an often uneasy doctrine of "once saved, always saved" which attempts to paper over the anxiety by proposing that it is impossible to lose your salvation once you have made a sincere confession of faith. However, the question, "Was I really sincere?" goes on haunting the tender consciences of many Evangelicals whenever they are confronted by the ongoing fact of their weakened will, darkened intellects and disordered appetites.

Yes, he is starting from an Evangelical Protestant angle, but this is relevant to all of us. For concupiscence does not disappear in the twinkling of that altar walk or the sprinkling of baptismal water. There's a reason why the New Testament writers, and the Lord himself, spoke about "patience", "trials", "perseverence" and "tests" that have much bearing on our salvation. This piece is a must read.

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