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Puritan Board Professor
Below is a bold response to a RC who believes against the cardinal doctrine of faith alone...any editing tips would be appreciated greatly. :)

Sal Ciresi
During the Protestant Reformation in the early 1500s, a familiar term regarding salvation was "sola fide," Latin for "by faith alone." The reformers, at that time, accused the Catholic Church of departing from the "simple purity of the Gospel" of Jesus Christ. They stated it was faith alone, without works of any kind that brought a believer to eternal life. This is partially true because the reformers believed “eternal life” is a work of The Holy Spirit and He, The Holy Spirit, gives “eternal life” by the grace of preaching Jesus to the unregenerate, or spiritually dead, and that work “bringing life” is done by the Holy Spirit alone. Now when this happens faith is given and that faith is the instrument, or tool, used to connect people to Christ. Now the RC church, like many Protestants today, gets the order of regeneration and faith backwards. Read John 3:3, in context, for this is the direct teaching of Jesus…John 3:3 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” So regeneration or “eternal life” precedes anyone having faith. Now to clear up another misconception in how you are using the word “salvation”. It has many different meanings and one must use precise words to explain the biblical teaching of JUSTIFICATION which is the issue.

They defined this faith as "the confidence of man, associated with the certainty of salvation, because the merciful Father will forgive sins because of Christ's sake." How anybody can disagree with this beyond me, in that to assert salvation from beginning to end is not anything other than for "Christ sake" is a clear repudiation of The Gospel. Isaiah 53:11 "Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities."

This view of salvation is a crucial issue because it strikes at the very heart of the Gospel message eternal life. Allow me to quibble a tad on how the issue is JUSTIFICATION before God and not “salvation” because all Protestants should believe that the ultimate OUTWORKING of salvation is when we are resurrected in the future.
Roman Catholicism teaches that we are not saved by faith alone. Now this IS THE ISSUE
The Church has taught this since 30 A.D. as part of the Divine Revelation. I will let you try to document this statement that is patiently false and I know you have no document that teaches such dated from 30 A.D.

The truth of the Catholic Church's teaching can be demonstrated from Sacred Scripture alone. Catholic yes just not Roman catholic.

All who claim the title "Christian" will be able to agree on the following two truths: salvation is by grace alone (Ephesian2:8) and salvation is through Christ alone (Acts 4:12). These biblical facts will be our foundation as we explain the teaching of the Catholic Church. I will agree and take the title of “Christian”

If we take a concordance and look up every occurrence of the word "faith," we come up with an undeniable fact the only time the phrase "faith alone" is used in the entire Bible is when it is condemned (James 2:24). The epistle of James only mentions it in the negative sense. If one reads James, in context, he is speaking of how men are justified before MEN. Also no Protestant will disagree that goods works will ALWAYS follow those who are justified before God and thus can say with James that a faith without works is not a real faith in God or a DEAD faith.

The Bible tells us we must have faith in order to be saved (Hebrews 11:6). Hebrews 11 is speaking of those who have faith and have been justified already. Read Romans 4 in context and see that any type of work, be it grace produced good works or not, will not justify anybody “before God”….”4 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

Yet is faith nothing more than believing and trusting? Searching the Scriptures, we see faith also involves assent to God's truth (1 Thessalonians 2:13), obedience to Him (Romans 1:5, 16:26), and it must be working in love (Galatians 5:6). These points appeared to be missed by the reformers, yet they are just as crucial as believing and trusting. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) should be heeded by all it's certainly an attention grabber. No reformer would disagree with that one needs to exercise one’s faith. The reformers stated clearly that this “exercise” or “working in love” has NOTHING to do with how one is justified before God. By asserting a person must work to achieve a right standing or to be justified before God is nothing but a works based salvation which is CLEARLY spelled out as being another Gospel. Let us look at one reference cited above, in context, and see if it makes the point that any work merit eternal life……..note the below the role of FAITH.”5 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who [are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.” Now some may say faith is a work but as Ephesians says in context “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” Here we see faith is not a work but a possession given by God’s grace alone and it says specifically one is SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH” and this faith is “9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”, which BTW includes faith “WORKING in love.” Faith is not a work, it is indeed "believing and trusting in Christ alone" as the reformers said.
J.C. Ryle: says:…”Moreover, the Scriptures nowhere teach us that faith sanctifies us in the same sense and in the same manner that faith justifies us! Justifying faith is a grace that “worketh not,” but simply trusts, rests, and leans on Christ (Rom. 4:5). Sanctifying faith is a grace of which the very life is action: it “worketh by love,” and, like a mainspring, moves the whole inward man (Gal. 5:6).”(Holiness, xviii).

Paul speaks of faith as a life-long process; EXERCISING faith is indeed a lifelong process

never as a one-time experience (Philippians 2:12). Here we have scripture that people are called to strive after SANCTIFICATION which is a life log process and Philippians is not speaking justification.

"He never assumes he has nothing to worry about. If he did, his words in (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) would be nonsensical. He reiterates the same point again in his second letter to Corinth (2 Corinthians 13:5). He takes nothing for granted, yet all would agree if anyone was "born again" it certainly was Paul. Our Lord and Savior spoke of the same thing by "remaining in Him" (John 15:1-11). All of these passages are written for believers, who posses eternal life, to gain ASSURANCE AND NOT SALVATION which you know few RC have because of the thinking that they have to indeed merit to enter heaven.

Paul tells us our faith is living and can go through many stages. It never stays permanently fixed after a single conversion experience no matter how genuine or sincere. Our faith can be shipwrecked (1 Timothy 1:19) Indeed one can if they do not heed was was written a few lines above "15 Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief:" This happens when you do not heed The Object of faith, Jesus. departed from (1 Timothy 4:1), disowned (1 Timothy 5:8) wandered from (1 Timothy 6:10), and missed (1 Timothy 6:21). Christians do not have a "waiver" that exempts them from these verses. Men ought to try to harmonize what Jesus said to what you think these verses say for scripture cannot be set against itself. "27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.29 My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." Here you would see that men who have "eternal life" which includes all who have real faith are not able to be snatched out of His hand. This goes in direct opposition of the RC teaching of what and how long "eternal life" or regeneration is. No doubt a RC must think one can be born again and again and again through the sacrament of penance for mortal sin which kills.

Do our works mean anything? According to Jesus they do (Matthew 25:31-46). The people rewarded and punished are done so by their actions. And our thoughts (Matthew 15:18-20) and words (James 3:6-12) are accountable as well. These verses are just as much part of the Bible as Romans 10:8-13 and John 3:3-5. All good Protestants believe that there are rewards but Justification is by THE WORK of Jesus ALONE, as is the reprobation of the unbeliever unto hell is based on the work of ADAM. Believe in the second Adam, Jesus, for the salvation of you soul.

Some will object by appealing to Romans 4:3 and stating Abraham was "declared righteous" before circumcision. Thus he was only saved by "believing" faith (Genesis 15:6), not by faith "working in love" (Galatians 5:6). Isn't this what Paul means when he says none will be justified by "works of law" (Romans 3:28)? No, this is not what he means. He's condemning the Old Covenant sacrifices and rituals which couldn't justify and pointing to better things now in Christ Jesus in the New Covenant (Hebrews 7-10). A close examination of Abraham's life revealed a man of God who did something. In Genesis 12-14 he makes two geographical moves, builds an altar and calls on the Lord, divides land with Lot to end quarrels, pays tithes, and refuses goods from the King of Sodom to rely instead on God's providence. He did all these works as an old man. It was certainly a struggle. After all these actions of faith, then he's "declared righteous" (Genesis 15:6). Did these works play a role in his justification? According to the Bible, yes. With all you just wrote you separates the OT saints from the NT saints, for ALL men OT and NT are saved by faith, read Romans 5 which is talking about us and all men who ever lived.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness.
The Catholic Church has never taught we "earn" our salvation. It is an inheritance (Galatians 5:21), freely given to anyone who becomes a child of God (1 John 3:1), so long as they remain that way (John 15:1-11). You can't earn it but you can lose the free gift given from the Father (James 1:17). So God grants "eternal life" and faith but tales it all back? Also you are not being truthful in saying the RC church foes not say you can earn heaven. You believe The Treasury of Merit is available to those who are in purgatory and that merit can be purchased with indulgences which are a propitiation of sins committed. There is no thing more revolting to any true Christian than to think it is not Christ ALONE who the sins of His children were laid as being The Meritorious One.

The reformer's position cannot be reconciled with the Bible. That is why the Catholic Church has taught otherwise for over 1,960 years. The Catholic Church has and always will be around...just don't think the Roman Catholic church is a true church. The RC rein officially ended with Trent and its contradiction of Galatians.

Where does our assistance come from to reach our heavenly destination? Philippians 4:13 says it all, "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me."
Assistance? I rather have A Savior.

(Sal Ciresi has lectured on apologetics in the diocese of Arlington, VA and has resided in Northern Virginia since his discharge from the Marine Corps in 1991.) Feel free with sharing this with Sal. :)
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Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Just point the person to this:


Good News According to Rome

How Must we be Saved?

Decrees of Trent

(Chapter V)
The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace: in such sort that, while God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight.

Heidelberg Catechism

(Q 60) How are you righteous before God?
Only by true faith in Jesus Christ: that is, although my conscience accuses me, that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them, and am still prone to all evil; yet God, without any merit of mine, of mere grace, grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never committed nor had any sins, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me; if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart.

Westminster Shorter Catechism
(Q 85): What doth God require of us that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?
To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.

What is Faith?

Decrees of Trent

(Canon IX)
If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

Heidelberg Catechism
(Q 21): What is true faith?
True faith is not only a sure knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word, but also a hearty trust, which the Holy Spirit works in me by the Gospel, that not only others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ's merits.

Westminster Shorter Catechism
(Q 86): What is faith in Jesus Christ?
Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

What are Justification & Sanctification?

Decrees of Trent

(Chapter X)
Having, therefore, been thus justified, and made the friends and domestics of God, advancing from virtue to virtue, they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day; that is, by mortifying the members of their own flesh, and by presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification, they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified, as it is written; He that is just, let him be justified still; and again, Be not afraid to be justified even to death; and also, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. And this increase of justification holy Church begs, when she prays, "Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope, and charirty."

Heidelberg Catechism
(Q 33): What is justification?
Justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.
Westminster Shorter Catechism
(Q 35): What is sanctification?
Sanctification is the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

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Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It is very good..You are welcome to share the following piece which I wrote with him. Let him know I am an ex Roman catholic and now a Reformed Protestant.
The strong dividing line between being Roman Catholic and being Protestant.
April 26, 2013 at 8:08pm
The Roman catholic view of Justification and the Protestant view is a strong dividing line between being Roman Catholic and being Protestant.

“Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner. It is unique in the application of the work of redemption in that it is a judicial act of God, a declaration respecting the sinner, and not an act or process of renewal, such as regeneration, conversion, and sanctification. While it has respect to the sinner, it does not change his inner life. It does not affect his condition, but his state, and in that respect differs from all the other principal parts of the order of salvation. It involves the forgiveness of sins, and restoration to divine favor.” Louis Berkhof

Justification is by faith alone.
"The Roman Catholic view of justification [is that] God declares a person to be just when justice (or righteousness) inheres in the person. The person, under divine analysis or scrutiny, is found to be just. God justifies the just. ...By stark and radical contrast the Reformation view of justification is that God declares a person just based upon something [external to them], something not inherent in the person: the imputed righteousness of Christ."
R. C. Sproul

Justification is the process of transforming us from what we were: dead in sin, to what we will be: Like Christ. Justification does not make us good; it imparts Christ’s goodness to us.

I now believe that the Protestant doctrine of Justification which is that we are eternally secure in Christ because we have contributed nothing towards our redemption is biblically sound and correct. The beauty and awesomeness of this doctrine is that we are secured and saved by our faith alone. We do good works because we are in Christ but we can not save ourselves through works as Roman Catholicism teaches.

II Cor. 5: 21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

God counts the people He has called as righteous by means of their faith and not their works. This does not mean the elect are counted righteous on the basis of their faith. Since faith is itself a gift from God, no one can boast of this as if he has done anything to merit it.

Eph. 2: 8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Christians are counted righteous on the basis of Christ’s righteousness which has been applied to us through the vehicle of faith.

Rom. 3: 21-24 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all] who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Paul uses a legal term to explain how and why the elect are justified. The Greek word to justify is diakioun. Whenever a Greek verb ends in –oun, it means to treat someone as something. It never means to make someone something. When we stand before God, as we all will some day, we need to recognize that in us, there is nothing which makes us worthy of God’s grace; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God treats us as righteous because of what Jesus did on the Cross.

Heb. 9: 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

When we stand before God, as we all will some day, we need to recognize that in us, there is nothing which makes us worthy of God’s grace; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God treats us as righteous because of what Jesus did on the Cross.

The beauty and awesomeness of the Protestant doctrine of Justification is that we are eternally secure in Christ because we have contributed nothing towards our redemption.

I am a Protestant today because I believe completely in the Protestant teaching of Justification.

God counts the people He has called as righteous by means of their faith and not their works. This does not mean the elect are counted righteous on the basis of their faith. Since faith is itself a gift from God, no one can boast of this as if he has done anything to merit it.

Eph. 2: 8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.


Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The following is from a post i amde on facebook.
I am now completely Protestant in doctrine and conviction. I believe it is Grace alone, that we receive Faith alone in Christ alone which is the true message of the Gospel of salvation. It is Scripture alone which is our only and final authority.

I also now believe that the way that I understand the Gospel is that we are saved by faith alone apart from any works. I think that is the way that the Gospel needs to be preached and understood
I realize now as an ex Roman catholic that I was brainwashed with teachings which were not biblical and defied the true message of salvation. I found tonight the following list of verses about being saved by faith. I took note that faith and works are contrasted. In other words, we are saved by faith "not by works" and "apart from works", etc. The point is that there are only two options. We are saved by faith alone or we are not. Since we have faith and works (both conceptually and in practice), then we are either saved by faith alone or by faith and works. There is no other option.
If we see that the scriptures exclude works in any form as a means of our salvation, then logically, we are saved by faith alone. I took a look at what the Bible says about faith and works. We are currently studying Romans in our bible class. Saved by faith alone is all throughout Romans. Roman Catholicism uses as the argument for faith and works James statement in James 2:24 I also looked again at James' statement about "faith alone" which was always used by the RCC a an argument against the Protestant doctrine of Justification by faith alone.
Rom. 3:28-30, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one."
Rom. 4:5, "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,"
Rom. 5:1, "therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"
Rom. 9:30, "What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith."
Rom. 10:4, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."
Rom. 11:6, "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace."
Gal. 2:16, "nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified."
Gal. 2:21, I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.
Gal. 3:5-6, "Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."
Gal. 3:24, "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith."
Eph. 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. 9Not by works, lest any man should boast."
Phil. 3:9, "and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith."
Again, works/Law is contrasted with faith repeatedly and we are told that we are not justified by works in any way. Therefore, we are made right with God by faith, not by faith and our works; hence, faith alone.
James 2:24, not by faith alone
The scriptures clearly teach that we are saved (justified) by faith in Christ and what He has done on the cross. This faith alone saves us. However, we cannot stop here without addressing what James says in James 2:24, "You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone."
There is no contradiction. All you need to do is look at the context. James chapter 2 has 26 verses: Verses 1-7 instruct us not to show favoritism. Verses 8-13 are comments on the Law. Verses 14-26 are about the relationship between faith and works.
James begins this section by using the example of someone who says he has faith but has no works, "What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?" (James 2:14 ). In other words, James is addressing the issue of a dead faith, a faith that is nothing more than a verbal pronouncement, a public confession of the mind, and is not heart-felt. It is empty of life and action. He begins with the negative and demonstrates what an empty faith is (verses 15-17, words without actions). Then he shows that type of faith isn't any different from the faith of demons (verse 19). Finally, he gives examples of living faith that has words followed by actions. Works follow true faith and demonstrate that faith to our fellow man, but not to God. In brief, James is examining two kinds of faith: one that leads to godly works and one that does not. One is true, and the other is false. One is dead, the other alive; hence, "Faith without works is dead," (James 2:20). But, he is not contradicting the verses above that says salvation/justification is by faith alone.
The Roman catholic church so sadly distorts the true message of salvation. I can now say as John says: “I confess that through my faith in Jesus Christ I have full assurance of salvation” (1 John 5:11-13).
I know now “I am saved” not that I will be saved. I think I am beginning to shed some of the last false teachings of Roman Catholicism which had lead me to almost loosing faith altogether.


Puritan Board Professor
It is very good..You are welcome to share the following piece which I wrote with him. Let him know I am an ex Roman catholic and now a Reformed Protestant.

Dudly were you a "priest" at one time I can't remember? You may enjoy our "conversation" if so do tell and I will show you where. :) Get's rather interesting and a couple of reformed brothers chime in now and then. What has been the most disapointing is that the other protestants go missing because I think they realize they are more RC than protestant in many of the views expressed.

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Clark's chart is a useful tool for ongoing discussions:

View attachment Catholic vs. Reformed.pdf

Do not buy into the Romanists “the RCC has been the one true church for two thousand years” rhetoric.

The RCC today is four or five generations removed from its beginnings. The ancient form held to Nicene orthodoxy and was in fellowship with other churches. The medieval version insisted on Roman supremacy, embraced transubstantiation, and thusly separated itself from other Christian churches. For example:

"Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff." (Unam Sanctam, Pope Boniface VIII, 1302)

At that time justification and the place of tradition were still open to discussion. At Trent, the Tridentine form (1545–1563) of the church moved it beyond its medieval form by condemning views that had remained open to discussion and adding many more. Next came Vatican I (1868–1870) and Vatican II (1962–1965). These post-Tridentine versions of Rome theoretically are to be upholding the decisions of Trent, but when one examines the practices of Rome, they have moved outside the bounds and against Trent. For example, rather than supplementing Scripture with tradition, post-Tridentine Rome uses tradition to usurp Scripture.

In other words, Rome's claims are their own mythologies, not the reality of history. Sadly, many Protestants and Romanists swallow Rome's public relations machine outputs without careful scrutiny. Don't take the bait.


Puritan Board Professor
Reformated with a couple of additions.
Yes, "Reform-ated" is exactly what is needed. ;)

This was one of my edits

The Church has taught this since 30 A.D. as part of the Divine Revelation. I will let you try to document this statement that is patiently false and I know you have no document that teaches such dated from 30 A.D.

Of course the only responses have been ad hominem attacks so far with no attempt to discus the post or response at all. What keeps me going is that this is a large fishing forum, with a politics and religion section, that has many lurkers and I hope they will learn something other than how to bait a hook and vote Republican or Democrat.
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