Anti-Catholics: Catholics 'work their way into Heaven', but 'have no fruits (or works) proving their salvation. Which is it? (Edited Title)


Anti-Catholics say Catholics are trying to ‘work their way into Heaven’, and then in practically the same breath say we ‘have no fruits (or works)’ to prove our salvation.
So, which is it? You can’t have it both ways.


Excellent point. Makes it seem like they are just throwing out whatever they can think of and not really sincerely searching for the Truth, doesn’t it.


Paul commanded us in holy scripture to “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”!

Anyone who wouldn’t do that would be hating the Bible and disobeying it!

If God wants us to do that–who can argue with it?

And isn’t it silly not to think that ll good comes from god/

Catholics believe that.

Why do some Proteasnts tell the lie that we don’t believe that about salvation?


Hi JustAServant,

Lots of times people have the incorrect notion that Catholics believe that they can earn their way into Heaven through good works. No good deed that we do can earn our place in Heaven. Nor can good deeds make up for bad things we do.

Because of our first parents’ disobedience, humanity incurred an infinite debt against God, and the only way to atone for that debt would be through the obedience and sacrifice of another infinite being, namely Jesus. Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven and that we may have the hope, but not the guarantee of Heaven.

In order to be saved and to go to Heaven, faith and good works must go hand in hand. When we “work out our salvation” as scripture tells us to do, we do it with faith. It’s not enough to simply acknowledge Jesus is God. Even the devil believed that, but he’s not in Heaven.

The life of a Christian is not just about believing that Jesus is God and that He died for our sins, it’s embracing the life of a Christian in which we are all called to “take up our crosses” and to do good works for others such as “feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. etc.” We also do good works out of love for our Lord. Remember, He tells us that whatever we do to the least among us, we do unto Him. So what better way to show our Lord that we love Him than by our actions? By caring for and loving others? By doing acts of mercy and charity? “Working out your salvation” means letting your actions match your words and your beliefs about Christ. It’s not about earning/working your way to Heaven.

Even in the sacrament of Confession, the prayers or deeds we do for penance aren’t to “make up” for the sins we did. Rather, it is an act of good will toward God. We know we can’t make it up to Him, but by this deed or prayer we show Him our resolve in trying not to commit the same sins again.

Hope this helps!


:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

I agree!

Also, on the one hand, they tell us that we all blindly accept whatever comes from Rome and then in the next breath we have no unity because we discuss it and may even have difficulties understanding or believing some things. :shrug:


Two interesting illustrations I have heard about faith and works come from non-Catholic sources:
One is of a fellow in a rowboat with two paddles. One paddle is faith, the other works. If only one paddle is used, the rowboat will go in circles, but when both are used, the boat goes foreward. Faith and works must go together.
The other concerns (and I am unsure whether Paul meant it this way) “Working out our salvation with fear and trembling” is like a math problem. The answer is there, within the problem, but it must be worked out. Take this salvation that is yours and work it out in your life every day. When faith and works go together, life is as simple as a math problem.


Faith and justification are never discrete events from sanctification and the perfromance of God willed and god-initiated works.

That is why faith alone does not save!


Faith alone creates a lazy christianity. I stuggled for years to try to make it work. I would stand in a pulpit and say: what does your christianity LOOK like? Until I abandoned faith alone, it never made sense.


Or what about

Catholics believe they have to work there way to heaven but go to confession so they can do what they want the rest of the week “all they have to do is go to confession”


Agreed. When one thinks about that statement, it makes no sense whatsoever.


“all they have to do is go to confession”

hee hee i love this statement… I always want to say… “Try it sometime so you can see how difficult it is”

It gets easier over time as you get used to it, but who in their right mind would go do deplorable things and then want to go ‘report’ them to a priest…

Not many…

The whole “Confess to others” becomes really difficult when the rubber meets the road and you actually HAVE to do it…

In Christ


I kinda liked the original title.


As a Lutheran, I think I know enough about Catholic teachings to say I know that Catholics don’t believe they can “work their way to heaven”. Those that do say that, however, have no way of understanding the second part or what you quote them as saying. Their statement is not only ignorance of Catholic teaching, but also of what I know “faith alone” really means.
For me, I will state that I am justified by grace through faith. The good works I then do, are a result of the grace I have received. My good works, therefore, in no way merit salvation. My salvation was merited completely by Christ on the cross.
I have received justification by grace through faith, then respond to Christ’s gift of salvation by trying to follow his teachings and doing what he asks of me.
Beleiving that we are not expected to do His good works is cheap grace, which is just as dangerous as believing you can “earn salvation by good works”.

How different is what I believe about faith and works from what you as Catholics believe?



Well, I’m done for.


I hear you. My wife is the math whiz. I barely made it past algebra.


Quite frankly, very little in the long run. I think many times the devil is in the details.
The problem with anti-Catholics (not all Protestants), is that they lump Sacraments in with works without understanding what a Sacrament is, as you well know being a Lutheran.
The OP is not directed at all Protestants, but specifically anti-Catholics who de-emphasize works to such a point that it becomes non-existent. Fundamentalism builds no hospitals, soup kitchens, or homeless shelters. They become proud of the fact they have no works, which I find disturbing.




Chesterton has a great chapter title, "The Paradoxes of Christianity’ in *Orthodoxy * about the inconsistencies of critiques of the Church. No sooner had one person said that it was far too dark and pessimistic, that another is claiming that it is far to optimistic and only a fool could believe it.

It was attacked on all sides and for all contradictory reasons. No sooner had one rationalist demonstrated that it was too far to the east than another demonstrated with equal clearness that it was much too far to the west. No sooner had my indignation died down at its angular and aggressive squareness than I was called up again to notice and condemn its enervating and sensual roundness…But the extraordinary thing is this. They did prove to me in Chapter I. (to my complete satisfaction) that Christianity was too pessimistic; and then, in Chapter II.,they began to prove to me that it was a great deal too optimistic…One great agnostic asked why Nature was not beautiful enough, and why it was hard to be free. Another great agnostic objected that Christian optimism, “the garment of make-believe woven by pious hands,” hid from us the fact that Nature was ugly, and that it was impossible to be free. One rationalist had hardly done calling Christianity a nightmare before another began to call it a fool’s paradise. Chesterton Orthodoxy**

God bless


Quite frankly, very little in the long run. I think many times the devil is in the details

Think of the implication of your statement! That a Lutheran and a Catholic could agree even to this point. Unheard of not long ago!
The devil is in the details. Interesting choice of words. Pray we can get the devil out of the details so we can agree further.

…they lump Sacraments in with works without understanding what a Sacrament is,

Ironically, many of them then won’t baptize children because they expect a statement of faith (a work of sorts) first.

Fundamentalism builds no hospitals, soup kitchens, or homeless shelters. They become proud of the fact they have no works, which I find disturbing

As I said, cheap grace is as dangerous as believing you can earn salvation by works alone.


I once encountered a woman who was having an affair with a married man encourage her lover to ‘say the sinners prayer’ so they could ‘be together in Heaven’.
I heard one preacher speak of ‘saved pediphiles’ and ‘saved serial killers’. Not making this up.
These are a few of the countless examples I can give of the ‘cheap grace’ I encountered in fundamentalism.
Salvation as a ‘crisis event’ that occurs when I mouth a few words is indeed a work. To lean on that ‘crisis event’ for ones free ticket to Heaven creates a presumption in a persons mind that is difficult to break through. It leads to a flippent attitude toward sin and no interest in works.
But when salvation is viewed as it is in the New Testament, as lifelong, it creates a right attitude toward sin and works.
I was saved, I am being saved, I hope to be saved.

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