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


#1

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.


#2

They’re trying to make logical loops to defend their flawed perception of God’s Laws.

We Catholics believe (and please correct me if I’m wrong everyone) that we are constantly striving to obtain heaven. There are two necessities required to achieve this. First, you must take part in the sacraments (specifically Communion and Reconciliation), and second, you must live in a manner that is in accordance with God’s Laws. Part of this is that we must always strive for the betterment of our fellow man. This necessarily translates into doing “good works” for them.

So, yes, we are constantly trying to work our way into heaven, but no, we have nothing that “Proves” that we are “saved.” That concept is a flaw of Protestantism. No one is saved until their last breath; as a result, there is no way to prove that we are saved.


#3

JS,
No, they can’t. But then, you probably won’t get a response from them here. I know a website where you would, though. :smiley:

Jon


#4

So help me out, then, PA, with the following verses; what do they mean?

I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. (1John 5:13)

And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10)

For by a single offering he has **perfected for all time **those who are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)

(my emphases in all citations)

BTW, I do not deny that fruits are important.


#5

There is a third thing that must not be overlooked…especially when one is engaged in a discussion re: the necessity of works…And Actually it is the first necessary element that makes the other efficacious.

Number one is Faith…Without it participation in the sacraments is just empty ritual. Without it living a life in accordance with God’s Laws gains nothing…

When a person seeks to denounce the Catholic as relying on works, they are, either implicitly or explicitly saying that we rely on on works separate from faith…which of course is not true…
Our foundation is the same as theirs…Belief…Faith first…
And also just like theirs, we expect to have actions (works) that flow from that faith…
Thus - faith and works together…

Peace
James


#6

Different type of works are meant. Here’s an explanation from Menno Simons that explains how Mennonites and anabaptists view the Catholics works verses the fruits of true faith:

Catholic works - "It is true, the papists teach and believe, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that he offered up his flesh, and shed his blood for us, but if we would enjoy them, and be partakers thereof, we must adhere to and obey the pope and his church, hear mass, receive the holy water, perform pilgrimages, call upon the mother of the Lord, and the departed saints, confess at least twice a year, receive papistic absolution, have our children baptized, and commemorate the holy days. The priests must vow chastity; the bread in the mass, must be called the flesh, and the wine, the blood of Christ; besides all their other idolatry and abominations, which are daily practiced by them.

And all this is called, by these poor, ignorant people, the most holy christian faith, and the institution of the holy christian church. Although it is nothing but mere human opinion, self-chosen righteousness, seductive hypocrisy, manifest deception of the soul, ungodly, indecent bodily nourishment and gain of lazy priests, an accursed abomination, an incensing of God, a disgraceful blasphemy, an unworthy despising of the blood of Christ, a self-devised undertaking, and a disobedient, contumacy to the divine word. In short, a false, offensive, divine worship, and open idolatry, of which Jesus Christ (to whom the Father points us) has not left or commanded us a single letter of all these things.

It does not suffice that they practice such abominations; they not only also despise as vain and useless all true fruits of faith, commanded of God himself, the sincere, pure love and fear of God, "the love and service of our neighbor, the true sacraments and divine service, &c., but they also revile them as damnable and heretical, and exterminate and persecute them. I think this may properly be called a sect. (The Complete Works of Menno Simons, THE PAPISTIC BELIEF)""

True Christian works - "Hence it is evident, that where sincere and true faith is, which avails before God, which is a gift from him, and comes from hearing the holy word, through the blossoming tree of life, full of all manner of precious fruits of righteousness, such as the fear and love of God, mercy, friendship, chastity, temperance, humility, candor, truth, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, &c., there is a sincere, evangelical, pious faith; there also are the sincere, gospel fruits of an evangelical nature.

I say gospel fruit, for the strange fruit, such as infant baptism, masses, matins, vespers, caps, palms, crosses, chapels, altars, bells, &c., know not the gospel, for they are neither commanded of God, nor of Jesus Christ, his Son, nor by the apostles and prophets, therefore, are they abominations and not believing fruits, even as the golden calf was with Israel, the worship of Baal, the high places, altars and churches, and the crime of making their children pass through the fire. (The Complete Works of Menno Simons, THE TRUE CHRISTIAN BELIEF)"

Sorry if anything above offends anyone. Those aren’t my works but show how strongly some Christians feel about the differences between the gospel and the fruits of faith and the works Catholics do to work their way to heaven.


#7

First off, to JRHK, thank you for the correction, I’ll do my best to remember that next time. :smiley:

Now then, on to Adytum’s post. I apologize in advance, but this is going to be long.

I would like to preface this by saying that this is not an area that I have studied extensively, so I’m going to give it my best shot based on the resources available to me.

Starting with your first verse, which is the most-often cited verse for claims of a “Once saved-always saved” theology.

I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

This verse is referencing the inherit capacity of all of humanity to achieve a state of salvation. Every man and woman on Earth is CAPABLE of achieving salvation. That is the gift which Christ’s sacrifice procured for us. We still have the capacity, as creatures with free will, to reject this gift and therefore lose salvation.

From Catholic.com:

The Greek word for knowledge (Gk. eideitei) in 1 John 5:13 does not necessarily equate to absolute certainty. We use the verb know the same way in English. For example, I may say I know I am going to get an A on my Greek exam tomorrow. Does that mean I have metaphysical certainty of this? Not at all. What I mean and what the verb know can be used to indicate is that I have confidence that I will get an A on my test tomorrow because I have studied the material thoroughly and I know it well.

The context of 1 John makes it abundantly clear that this is how “knowledge” is being used in 1 John 5:13. In the next two verses, John draws a parallel between the certainty we have concerning our salvation and the certainty we have when we petition God in prayer: “And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.”

Does this mean we have absolute certainty we will receive what we ask for when we make requests of God in prayer? Obviously not! John says we can have “confidence,” but not absolute certainty. We cannot always know with strict certainty that our request is truly “according to his will.” Moreover, Psalm 66:18 informs us: “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” And 1 John 3:22 says, “. . . we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” Can we always be certain we have not “cherished iniquity” in our hearts, or that we have not done anything that may have displeased the Lord?

There is more from this same article on the subject which directly relates to the surrounding verses and those in other parts of the Bible which reject the concept of “Once Saved, always Saved.” I encourage you to read through the article and then come back with more questions, we’re more than happy to explain Catholic theology to you and help you to understand the logic behind our stances.

Here is the whole article for you.

Apparently there is a character limit, so I shall continue in the next post.


#8

Continued from the previous post:

The latter two verses you mention can both be dismissed by the same observation.

And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10)

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)

That observation is as follows:

Jesus only had to die for our sins once, and with his death the gates of Heaven were open, granting all those who have earned it passage to Heaven.

In Hebrews 10:10, once and for all references the finality of Christ’s victory over sin and death. Christ will never again have to suffer for our sins because he made a perfect sacrifice to God, making any future sacrifice basically irrelevant and unnecessary.

Hebrews 10:14 is a continuation of 10:10, and references the ongoing process of salvation (sanctification): Note, this references any Bible not derived from the King James version. The King James version sacrificed clarity and fullness for poetic language and appealing imagry. Pick up a copy of the New American Standard Bible which offer a literal translation of the oldest available scripts without making concessions for modern readability (i.e., they do no substitute the translated words for ones which would make more sense in modern language. I’ve included a comparison between an NAS Bible and an NIV Bible, which is translated more for clarity to the reader, at the bottom so you can compare)

“For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:14)

When viewing a direct translation, it is obvious, when considered in conjunction with Hebrews 10:10, that while our sins are forgiven, that does not mean that we don’t need to do anything else. Here is the full text of Hebrews 10 for you to consider, becuase it is quite impossible to derive meaning in Bible verses without the full context in which the verse was stated:

One more post to close everything out…


#9

continued from previous post.. again...

1 So, since the Law contains no more than a reflection of the good things which were still to come, and no true image of them, it is quite incapable of bringing the worshippers to perfection, by means of the same sacrifices repeatedly offered year after year.
2 Otherwise, surely the offering of them would have stopped, because the worshippers, when they had been purified once, would have no awareness of sins.
3 But in fact the sins are recalled year after year in the sacrifices.
4 Bulls' blood and goats' blood are incapable of taking away sins,
5 and that is why he said, on coming into the world: You wanted no sacrifice or cereal offering, but you gave me a body.
6 You took no pleasure in burnt offering or sacrifice for sin;
7 then I said, 'Here I am, I am coming,' in the scroll of the book it is written of me, to do your will, God.
8 He says first You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the cereal offerings, the burnt offerings and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them;
9 and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to do your will. He is abolishing the first sort to establish the second.
10 And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ made once and for all.
11 Every priest stands at his duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking away sins.
12 He, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his seat for ever, at the right hand of God,
13 where he is now waiting till his enemies are made his footstool.
14 By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all who are sanctified.
15 The Holy Spirit attests this to us, for after saying:
16 No, this is the covenant I will make with them, when those days have come. the Lord says: In their minds I will plant my Laws writing them on their hearts,
17 and I shall never more call their sins to mind, or their offences.
18 When these have been forgiven, there can be no more sin offerings.
19 We have then, brothers, complete confidence through the blood of Jesus in entering the sanctuary,
20 by a new way which he has opened for us, a living opening through the curtain, that is to say, his flesh.
21 And we have the high priest over all the sanctuary of God.
22 So as we go in, let us be sincere in heart and filled with faith, our hearts sprinkled and free from any trace of bad conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us keep firm in the hope we profess, because the one who made the promise is trustworthy.
24 Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works.
25 Do not absent yourself from your own assemblies, as some do, but encourage each other; the more so as you see the Day drawing near.
26 If, after we have been given knowledge of the truth, we should deliberately commit any sins, then there is no longer any sacrifice for them.
27 There is left only the dreadful prospect of judgement and of the fiery wrath that is to devour your enemies.
28 Anyone who disregards the Law of Moses is ruthlessly put to death on the word of two witnesses or three;
29 and you may be sure that anyone who tramples on the Son of God, and who treats the blood of the covenant which sanctified him as if it were not holy, and who insults the Spirit of grace, will be condemned to a far severer punishment.
30 We are all aware who it was that said: Vengeance is mine; I will pay them back. And again: The Lord will vindicate his people.
31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Remember the great challenge of the sufferings that you had to meet after you received the light, in earlier days;
33 sometimes by being yourselves publicly exposed to humiliations and violence, and sometimes as associates of others who were treated in the same way.
34 For you not only shared in the sufferings of those who were in prison, but you accepted with joy being stripped of your belongings, knowing that you owned something that was better and lasting.
35 Do not lose your fearlessness now, then, since the reward is so great.
36 You will need perseverance if you are to do God's will and gain what he has promised.
37 Only a little while now, a very little while, for come he certainly will before too long.
38 My upright person will live through faith but if he draws back, my soul will take no pleasure in him.
39 We are not the sort of people who draw back, and are lost by it; we are the sort who keep faith until our souls are saved.

I hope this helps, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask, like I said, we're more than happy to help and explain things.

Also, here are the comparison verses for you:

The NAS reads: "None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness. . . . You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. The nakedness of your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born outside, their nakedness you shall not uncover. The nakedness of your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, their nakedness you shall not uncover; for their nakedness is yours."

The NIV reads: "No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. . . . Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father. Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere. Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you."


#10

No problem…I would do the same thing in the past…I’d get into a discussion about the necessity of works and allow the other guy to frame the argument as a false dichotomy of faith versus works which, of course, it is not…
Having learned that lesson, now it is a simple matter to disprove their position by:
1)) Demonstrating that Catholics believe we have nothing without faith first (a position they will readily agree with)
2) Pointing out the letter of St James which says faith without works is dead…
The upshot of point number two is that the faith alone person looks for, or expects, works to flow from their faith…And amazingly enough…So does a Catholic…
And - - - Eureka - - - no problem…except some minor details in expression…

Peace
James


#11

This might be a long one too, we’ll see… I would like to preface this by saying that the person who wrote that book / quote obviously has a passing understanding of Catholic theology at best, and at worst is purposefully ignorant of our teachings.

I’ve broken this into points, which I will refute in turn.

I’m just going to start with 11 and say that this is absolute rubbish and nonsense, and uses language design to incite emotion rather than logical discussion, reflection and learning. The use of this type of language suggests not that the author has made a valid point, but rather that they recognize the weakness of their argument and wish to make the person they are debating appear to have some contrived flaw which prevents them from being right. The same method is used by people who expound the homosexual agenda when they call someone who disagrees with them a homophobe. You should learn to look for this in your literature, and avoid people who use it because it signifies that their arguments are incapable of holding up on their own. Just a bit of advice for going forward.

Now then, on to the points: I don’t do this very often, because the people I am debating usually won’t recognize the Bible as a viable source. However, as a Christian, I have to assume that you will, so I am going to use verse from the bible to justify my arguments.

1: We adhere to the Pope because Jesus instituted the Papacy prior to his ascension.:

“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.” Matthew 16:18

This verse it be taken quite literally, because the language which was used in it’s writing was literal language. I reference you to this article to read up on it, because It’s too long to write here in addition to everything else that’s going to be written.

2.We are called to hear mass Because it is only in mass (baring special arrangements) that we are able to receive Communion. Further, we attend mass for our own benefit, because it is through mass that we not only receive communion, but also that we are placed int he presence of our Lord as a community of faith, to hear his teachings anew as on the day he first revealed them to us.

  1. I honestly don’t know what he means by this one. We use Holy water to re-signify the sanctifying qualities of baptism, but as far as I know no one is compelled to make use of it.

  2. Again, not sure what he means by this one. Catholics, I believe, are encouraged to make pilgrimages to holy sites, assuming we are capable of doing so safety and it is not an undue burden on us or our families, but again, I don’t believe any Catholic is compelled to go in the same way a Muslim is compelled to make a pilgrimage to mecca.

  3. We pray to Mary that she may intercede on our behalf. The Bible has multiple instances where it was Mary’s decision to intercede on behalf of humanity that lead to action on Jesus’ part. The most famous of these is likely the Wedding at Cana, where through Mary’s intercession Jesus converted the water to wine. We recognize Mary for the pivotal role she played int eh life of Jesus, and we pray to her in order to ask for her help through her prayers to God on our behalf. Similarly, we pray to the Saints, who were people of extreme religious fiber, to pray for us to God so that something for which we pray is more likely to be granted.

I refer you to these readings / recordings for more information:
Why do we pray to Mary? (Audio)
Is Mary and the Saint’s intercessoin unbiblical?
Praying to the Saints

  1. We got to confession because it is necessary to receive absolution, and that is only way absolution can (normally) be obtained.
    Confession

There is a lot more information on the subject on the site, this is just the one that I have saved in my favorites. I encourage to look around and read more on the subject, it’s very fascinating.

  1. Baptism provides the removal or original sin. This is done first off so that if the child dies they are more likely to receive the fullness of Heaven, and secondly, as an outward sign of the parent’s devotion to raising their child Catholic. The child is later given the chance to reaffirm these vows for themselves at their conformation.

  2. We commemorate the holy days because through them we are reminded of the many sacrifices that were given for us and for our salvation. They are tangible commemorations of the history of the Christian faith.

Continued in the next post.


#12
  1. I don’t know enough about this one to make a logical argument on my own, so instead I refer you to these quick questions:
    Why can’t a preist ever marry?
    Why does the church continue to call its priests to celibacy?

  2. This is the fun one. It is not that we must call it that, but rather that it IS that

60 After hearing it, many of his followers said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’

61 Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, 'Does this disturb you?

62 What if you should see the Son of man ascend to where he was before?

63 'It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

64 ‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset who did not believe and who was to betray him.

65 He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me except by the gift of the Father.’

66 After this, many of his disciples went away and accompanied him no more.

67 Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’

68 Simon Peter answered, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life,

69 and we believe; we have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.’

At the beginning of this chapter, Jesus has just made the proclamation that it is necessary to eat of His body and drink of His blood in order to obtain salvation. From this verse it is painfully obvious that he was not being metaphorical or symbolical. Had it been either of those he would have called back the disciples who were leaving, and reassured them of its symbolic nature. Instead, he allowed those who could not accept it to leave, thus affirming the literal nature of the proclamation.

As a christian, it is necessary that you believe that there is a physical reality to everything as well as a spiritual reality. When the priest says the prayer and blesses the bread and wine, the spirit of Christ becomes one with them, and as such they are transformed into Christ Jesus through His spirit and will. It is true that they retain the physical characteristics of bread and wine, and this is because as humans, we are not designed to ingest the body and blood of our fellow man. (There are probably other theological reasons for it, but that’s my understanding.)

When you state that it is impossible for the bread and wine to become Christ Jesus, you are placing limitations on God and are therefore engaged in Heresy. I reference you to the following for a better understanding:
The Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith
Clearing up misunderstanding about the Eucharist

I beg of you to listen and read, and to become more informed about the amazing gift that God has given humanity.

And all this is called, by these poor, ignorant people, the most holy christian faith, and the institution of the holy christian church. Although it is nothing but mere human opinion, self-chosen righteousness, seductive hypocrisy, manifest deception of the soul, ungodly, indecent bodily nourishment and gain of lazy priests, an accursed abomination, an incensing of God, a disgraceful blasphemy, an unworthy despising of the blood of Christ, a self-devised undertaking, and a disobedient, contumacy to the divine word. In short, a false, offensive, divine worship, and open idolatry, of which Jesus Christ (to whom the Father points us) has not left or commanded us a single letter of all these things.

Again, the writer has not made a single decent point which is even capable of being refuted. That entire paragraph does not contain a single argument, and is instead nothing by language designed to incite emotions. I offer you the chance to actually provide arguments for any of those statements, at which point I or someone else will happily engage in debate with you.

It does not suffice that they practice such abominations; they not only also despise as vain and useless all true fruits of faith, commanded of God himself, the sincere, pure love and fear of God, "the love and service of our neighbor, the true sacraments and divine service, &c., but they also revile them as damnable and heretical, and exterminate and persecute them. I think this may properly be called a sect. (The Complete Works of Menno Simons, THE PAPISTIC BELIEF)""

…umm… same problem as the paragraph above…

One last post


#13

True Christian works - "Hence it is evident, that where sincere and true faith is, which avails before God, which is a gift from him, and comes from hearing the holy word, through the blossoming tree of life, full of all manner of precious fruits of righteousness, such as the fear and love of God, mercy, friendship, chastity, temperance, humility, candor, truth, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, &c., there is a sincere, evangelical, pious faith; there also are the sincere, gospel fruits of an evangelical nature.

Salvation is a gift from God, but it is not a gift freely given, as supporters of this theology would like to believe. Fear and love of God are not enough, however, and it is necessary that we work for our salvation. I offer this article to you to read. It covers the fact that the works we Catholics proclaim are necessary are merely an extension of God’s will and law.
God’s will is our work
Also, this article is basically refuting the entire premis of this topic:
What is the Catholic understanding of the Biblical plan of salvation?

I say gospel fruit, for the strange fruit, such as infant baptism, masses, matins, vespers, caps, palms, crosses, chapels, altars, bells, &c., know not the gospel, for they are neither commanded of God, nor of Jesus Christ, his Son, nor by the apostles and prophets, therefore, are they abominations and not believing fruits, even as the golden calf was with Israel, the worship of Baal, the high places, altars and churches, and the crime of making their children pass through the fire. (The Complete Works of Menno Simons, THE TRUE CHRISTIAN BELIEF)"

This paragraph is, once again, devoid of any actual arguments to be refuted, aside from one. To say that Catholicism is the worship of Baal is to say that Christianity is the worship of Baal; because all of Christendom is derived from Catholicism; therefore, if we Catholics worship Ball, then you Christians must worship Baal by extension.

Sorry if anything above offends anyone. I thought you’d want to know how strongly many Christians feel about the differences between the fruits of faith and the works Catholics do to work their way to heaven.

No offense taken, your simply misunderstand Catholic Theology. Considering what you’ve been reading, its understandable. You should, however, learn about the Catholic faith from Catholics, not from people who’s only goal is to defame the Catholic church. Nothing can be learned by only listening to the dissenters and detractors.

God Bless, sorry the post is so long.


#14

You should, however, learn about the Catholic faith from Catholics, not from people who’s only goal is to defame the Catholic church. Nothing can be learned by only listening to the dissenters and detractors.

It’s funny how often I read stuff like that here. The problem is that most of the stuff we Protestants learn about the Catholic Church comes from Catholics. For example, why do Protestants think Catholics worship Mary? Well, I recently talked to two born-again Christians who were Catholic for over 20 years and both of them told me the Catholic Church told them to worship Mary. The Bible is clear that Christians are to worship God alone. Worshiping Mary is idolatry. That’s one of the reasons they left the Catholic Church.

I guess you haven’t heard of Menno Simons. The Mennonites get their name from Menno Simons so he was an important person. He’s not some ignorant Protestant who doesn’t know anything about the Catholic Church. He was a Catholic but not just a Catholic. He was an ordained priest in the Roman Catholic Church for 20 YEARS! It’s hard to believe he had a poor understanding of Catholicism.

Here’s some info. about him from Wikipedia:

"Menno Simons (1496 – 31 January 1561) was an Anabaptist religious leader from the Friesland region of the Low Countries. Simons was a contemporary of the Protestant Reformers and his followers became known as Mennonites.

He was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1515 or 1516[4] at Utrecht. He was then appointed chaplain in his father’s village Pingjum (1524).

Around 1526 or 1527, questions surrounding the doctrine of transubstantiation caused Menno Simons to begin a serious and in-depth search of the Holy Scriptures, which he confessed he had not previously studied, even being a priest. At this time he arrived at what some have termed an “evangelical humanist” position.

Menno Simons rejected the Catholic Church and the priesthood on 12 January 1536,[4] casting his lot with the Anabaptists.

“For true evangelical faith…cannot lie dormant; but manifests itself in all righteousness and works of love; it…clothes the naked; feeds the hungry; consoles the afflicted; shelters the miserable; aids and consoles all the oppressed; returns good for evil; serves those that injure it; prays for those that persecute it.”

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menno_Simons

If you look at the dates above, you will see that Menno Simons was a Roman Catholic priest for 20 years. If the priests don’t understand Catholic teaching, then how are the lay people supposed to understand?

I will read the rest of your posts and check out the links. I think the main point Menno Simons was trying to make is that the Catholic system seems similar to the Pharisees that Jesus condemned. They were trying to work their way to heaven by obeying the Sabbath, praying long prayers, giving to the poor to be praised by men, wearing special clothes to appear holy before others, loved being called Rabbi, and had numerous unbiblical traditions of men while completely ignoring the more important points of the Law like loving God and loving their neighbor and being honest, humble, caring, patient, merciful, etc.

When I read Matthew 23 where Jesus condemns the Pharisees, I see many similarities between the Pharisees and the Roman Catholic hierarchy and some Catholics I’ve known.

I personally don’t think some superstitions or rituals are that bad but I think salvation is more about how we live our lives and whether we love God and our neighbor and not something that can be earned by sprinkling holy water on ourselves or helped by bowing to statues or praying to Mary.


#15

[quote="ProdglArchitect, post:13, topic:297800"]
Salvation is a gift from God, but it is not a gift freely given, as supporters of this theology would like to believe. Fear and love of God are not enough, however, and it is necessary that we work for our salvation. I offer this article to you to read. It covers the fact that the works we Catholics proclaim are necessary are merely an extension of God's will and law.

[/quote]

That's not what supporters of this theology believe. I believe that works are a necessary part of true saving faith. There is nothing wrong with works. The problem is relying on the wrong kind of works for salvation. Here's what he wrote about Lutherans who believe in faith alone:

THE LUTHERAN BELIEF

The Lutherans teach and believe, that we are saved by faith alone, without any regard to works. They maintain this doctrine as firmly as though works were not at all necessary; yea, that faith is of such a nature that no work can be suffered or allowed beside it. And, therefore, had the highly important, zealous, and earnest epistle of James (because he reproves such a frivolous, vain doctrine and faith), to be esteemed and considered as straw. O presumption! Is the doctrine straw, then must also the chosen apostle, the faithful servant and witness of Christ, who wrote and taught it, have been a man of straw; this is as clear as the meridian sun. For the doctrine shows the character of the man.

Let every one take heed, how, and what he teaches; for with this same doctrine they have led the reckless and ignorant, great and small, citizens and the common people; into such a fruitless, wild life, and have so much unbridled them, that we would scarcely find such an ungodly and abominable life among the Turks and Tartars, as we see among them. Their open deeds bear testimony; for the excessive eating and drinking; the superfluous pomp and splendor, the whoring, lying, cheating, cursing, swearing by the wounds, sacraments and sufferings of the Lord, the shedding of blood, fighting, &c., which exist among many of them, and, alas, have neither measure nor bounds. In many carnal things, both the teachers and disciples are the same, as may be seen. I well know, what I write, and what I have heard and seen, I testify, and I know that I testify the truth.

If any one can simply say with them, Ah! what dishonest knaves and villains these desperate priests and monks are! They wish them the venereal or some other disease; the ungodly pope with his shorn crew, say they, have deceived us long enough with purgatory, confession and fasting; we now eat as we have hunger; fish or flesh, as we desire; for every creature of God is good, says Paul, and is not to be rejected. But what follows they do not want to understand or know; namely, to (live as) the believing, who know the truth and enjoy it with thanksgiving. They further say, How shamefully they have deceived us poor people, they have robbed us of the blood of the Lord, and directed us to their mummery and to their enchanting works. God be praised, we now know that all our works avail nothing, for the blood and death of Christ alone must blot out, and pay for our sins. They begin to sing a psalm: Der Strick ist entzwei and wir sired frei, &c., i.e. The cord is cut asunder and we are at liberty, while the smell of beer and wine issues from their drunken mouths and noses. Any one who can but read this distich, if he live ever so carnally, is a good evangelical man, and a fine brother. And should some one come, who would, in true and sincere love, admonish or reprove them, and direct them to Jesus Christ, to his doctrine, sacraments and unblamable example, and show that it does not become a christian to carouse and drink, and to revile and curse, &c., he must from that hour hear, that he is a legalist (Werkheiliger), one who would take heaven by storm, or a, factionist, a fanatic or hypocrite, a defamer of the sacrament, or an anabaptist.


#16

Does it start with a “C”?
:wink:


#17

Very important point.
Catholics HOPE for salvation, we do not proclaim we already “have it”.
For the Catholic works are:

Corporal Works of Mercy

Feed the Hungry
Give Drink to the Thirsty
Clothe the Naked
Welcome the Stranger
Visit the Sick and Imprisoned
Bury the Dead

Spiritual Works of Mercy

Counsel the Doubtful
Instruct the Ignorant
Admonish the Sinner
Comfort the Sorrowful
Bear Wrongs Patiently
Pray for the Living and the Dead


#18

A very large part of the problem between the views is really seen in the "extremes" of each.

(here comes the gross over simplications ;))
The Catholic strenuously objects to the rather extreme views that we sometimes see in the faith alone, OSAS type communities...That all sin is forgiven and it doesn't matter what they do, they can't lose their salvation....A presumptuous view from the Catholic perspective.
The Non-Catholic objects to the equally extreme view that they see in many Catholics - sort of a sackcloth and ashes fear of embracing and assurance of salvation as our own....A sort of hopelessness in their eyes.

Of course, as is often the case, the truth lies in the middle.

As Catholics we DO need to embrace salvation as our own. Our belief, our Faith and our commitment to Christ gives us great assurance because of the Promises of our Lord and savior. This must be tempered though with the realization that we, imperfect creatures that we are, might still fall away...
And this is the thing that our non-catholic Brothers need to embrace....Assurance is not "Guarantee"...
Someone mentioned earlier the verse in 1 John 5:13
I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
This is often presented as evidence of "faith only" assurance. But what is not mentioned when this verse is proposed is what the "this" is that John has written to them....Not just that verse, but the entirety of the Letter...All of the "If's....Chapter 5, which contains the above verse starts off saying...
1 Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent loves the child. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
So We have eternal life - not just by our belief (faith) alone but by "Keeping God's commandments...Shortly after the cited verse is this one - again, this is in the same chapter...
18 We know that any one born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.
So the question can then be asked...If one sins can one claim to be "born of God"?

Many more examples can be seen in this letter that call for action and right attitude. In chapter 4 we find this...
If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
So ...... When John writes "I write this so that you know you have eternal life"...he is not writing simply of belief, but of belief that has action, conviction, and even struggle attached...If you Love God, you do not sin...If you hate your brother you do not Love God...If you love God you obey his commandments.

The Catholic may go a bit overboard on the side of caution, knowing how imperfect and sinful we are, but personally I'd rather not test our Lord by being too cocky and presumptuous....
I will go before Christ saying, "I am an unworthy servant, I have done only that which is required Luke17:10), in the hope that His response will be, "Well done Good and faithful servant...Now enter into the joy of your master (Mt25:21)

Peace
James


#19

Thank you because you have highlighted my biggest problem with regards Roman Catholics etc. In that it seems like that believe in God because by doing so, gets you the sacraments and the right behaviour to get you to Heaven. Heaven is what you want the most and you will do anything to get to Heaven.

Where as I myself, and I am not talking from any Anglican perspective, just my own outlook. I just simply believe in God fullstop. Rightly or wrongly by any church teaching, God loves us all and will give everyone a chance to enter Heaven and its not just about what you done or not done on Earth but what you say to God as such when you die. The worst criminal, etc if there is one, will have the same opportunity of going to Heaven as those who have really tried all their lives to maintain all the teaching of church etc. This is my deep personal view on God and entry to Heaven. Yes, I can go to Church every day and take part in the sacraments 100% faithfully but that does not give me any more guarantee to Heaven than somoene who has objected to God all their lives but at the moment of Death - or even later are granted entry to Heaven. This may spark a lot of feelings for Catholics because I know from many posts on here you believe that how you live your life as a Catholic and church attendence etc, is important for entry into Heaven but for me being a catholic christian is my lifestyle and I am not buying my way into Heaven at all. I believe in God. I feel God. I worship God. I enjoy the Church and allow the Church to speak to me. But I am not doing any of it for entry into Heaven. I am doing it because I like it. That simple I believe in God and like it.:slight_smile:


#20

Yes, you can–logically I mean (I’m not saying the position is correct, only that it’s consistent).

According to the “classic” Protestant understanding of faith and works, it’s vitally important to get them in the right order. Truly good works flow from faith as a fruit comes from a tree. You can only have truly good works if you have faith first, and if you are not relying on the works to save you. Works that you do in order to be saved are not good at all–it would be like making a fake apple out of wood in order to get recognized as an apple tree.

So both things can be true: that Catholics rely on good works, and that they don’t have good works at all.

The problem is that fundamentalists often slide from the traditional Protestant “you can’t do good works without grace” position and say silly things like “you can be a good person but that won’t get you into heaven.” Of course they could be–and charitably one should assume that they are–using “good” with implied scare quotes, to mean “apparently good.” But some fundamentalists have indeed fallen into such an antinomian stance that they don’t care to make that distinction any more. I agree that that’s a pretty incoherent theology.

But it is in fact quite possible to maintain both that Catholics err in thinking they can work their way into heaven and that this error makes them incapable of producing truly good works. In fact that’s key to the original Protestant critique of “works righteousness.” If you don’t understand this paradox, you don’t get what it is Luther and other early Protestants thought was wrong with Catholic soteriology in the first place.

There are two ways you can go with this, though. One is to say “what look like good works aren’t really good works because the motivation is wrong.” That was Luther’s position for the most part, and it’s also where a lot of fundamentalists are coming from (if they think about it that carefully at all).

The other approach is to say, “Catholics are lacking in real good works, because what they think are good works are really just ritual actions.” That’s the approach I heard a lot growing up in the Holiness tradition. But one can of course combine this two critiques without inconsistency.

Edwin


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