In many ways, the Protestant view of Catholic theology, especially at a popular level, has not advanced beyond caricatures which emerged in the polemically-filled debates of the sixteenth century. Many nuances of early modern Catholic doctrine have been lost to those whose forefathers broke with Rome, while the breadth of Catholic thought early modern era is often ignored and the Roman church judged monolithically, first through the lens of those thinkers with whom the Reformers took issue and later through the magisterial response set forth at the Council of Trent. There were, however, numerous theologians who, while remaining within the Roman church, espoused teachings which became central to the evangelical upheaval of the Reformation. In this comment on Romans 10:9 from the commentary of Spanish Catholic exegete Juan de Valdés (1500/10-1541), we see a treatment of the centrality of Christ’s resurrection for the Christian faith that would be at home in the teachings of any of the major Reformers and in any orthodox church today.
This Paul states to be the word of faith that dwells in the Christian’s mouth and heart: what is preached in the gospel. . . . I understand this profession to consist in confessing that Christ is the Word of God, by whom God created all things, agreeing with the passage, “All things were made by him.” He is the Son of God, according to the Father’s declaration: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He is the head of the Christian church. He is King of God’s people, agreeing with those words, “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth.” And a person is saved by believing, not by merely confessing with the mouth but with the heart, thus consenting with the mind “that God has raised him from the dead.”
Now I understand St. Paul not to state that one should believe that Christ died, because this was generally known and obvious; instead one should believe that Christ rose from the dead, for this is what was called into question, and this is what confirms Christ’s authority. It is thus by his resurrection that he has demonstrated the wretchedness, the humility and the poverty in which he lived. And he has illustrated, too, the ignominy with which he died, since he is the first that has risen from the dead not to die again.
Here it is worthy of deep consideration that St. Paul establishes all Christian faith in one’s belief in Christ’s resurrection. And rightly so, for once this is believed one easily submits oneself to everything else, the resurrection being, as it were, a voucher for everything that Christ said and did throughout his life.
Romans 9-16, ed. Philip D.W. Krey and Peter D.S. Krey, Reformation Commentary on Scripture NT vol. 8, p. 72.
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