[quote="lonnienord, post:1, topic:56138"]
While I believe everyone needs to accept JESUS as their savior, I also know it is a process not a one time thing. And I would want to guide them to the Church JESUS established so they could grow in their relationship with JESUS.
Accepting Jesus as savior is a "one time thing." There must be a moment of assent wherein we believe God's promise to save us through the Blood of His Son. This promise means that God will protect us. The danger of an institutionalized religion is to lapse into a self-made existential view of salvation. This is inconsistent with Catholic teaching and certainly Scripture. The flipside is accounting for free will. Well, the promise takes care of that. When God promises to be faithful to us, it does not depend upon our merit. Period.
It all hinges on God's promise and faithfulness, not ours. The Catechism tells us that man can merit NOTHING apart from God, and that all merit is first attributable to God. Hebrews tells us that God eliminated the old "process" view of salvation in favor of a new Covenant founded in the eternal Blood of Christ. The Catechism also distinguishes between an initial moment of salvation and what comes after:
2027 No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.
The problem with a "process" is that it often involves going through the motions, even religious motions. What should be a wake up call for us is that Jesus specifically and aggressively vilified and condemned a particular class of people: the religious ones who believed they could craft a righteousness for themselves apart from Grace.
The greatest danger therefore for us as Catholics is to lose sight of the simplicity and the evangelical force of the truth that, "while we were still enemies" God sent his only son to die for us. Not to give us piecemeal graces, not to just get us started on our journey, not to give us a little help along the way, not to lead us eventually, someday, to salvation, but to tranform our very existence into a new creation that now has "access into this Grace" which has been "poured out abundantly." For Paul this was never a "process." He was absolutely overwhelmed by the Cross, and could not stop talking about it. He excoriated himself severely for not doing this in Athens.
Just as in Jesus' experience the greatest damage to souls was at the hands of the controlling religious leaders, I believe today it continues to be our greatest danger to view salvation as a self-directed "religious process." Thank God Jesus shed his blood to give us his Grace without measure rather than a "religious process."
Catechism # 2025: We can have merit in God's sight only because of God's free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man's collaboration. Man's merit is due to God.
Curiously, I searched the catechism for the word Process. It Occurs only 7 times. The word Grace occurs 280 times. This is no accident. Here is one of the Process ones:
1489 To return to communion with God after having lost it through sin is a process born of the grace of God who is rich in mercy and solicitous for the salvation of men. One must ask for this precious gift for oneself and for others.
So, even when a process is mentioned, it is predicated on the Grace and merit of God. Our Faith is all about surrendering to God's faithfullness in the Blood of Christ.
So, I have never had a problem interacting with evangelicals, especially with regard to the Catechism sections on Grace and merit. I have not yet found one who disagreed; however, I have found too many Catholics who are surprised or troubled by their own Chruch's teaching on Grace and merit. I even had a guy in a Catholic prayer group check to make sure I didn't have some kind of Protestant tract.