Debating with Protestants


I debate with Protestants on a online forum here is the post how should I respond? Right now I am trying to focus on the Sacrament of the Eucharist with them.

Key to this discussion is an understanding of the difference between sanctification and justification. You are correct, recent Catholic apologists have argued in a manner which creates a confusing blur between the two. These teachings about the “race” and the sacraments purposes in them, that the sacraments give us the ‘grace’ we need to continue in the ‘race’ which is set before us, are themselves contrary to what Catholic doctrine teaches.

Thiessen defines justification:

Quote from: Lectures in Systematic Theology
…that act of God whereby he declares righteous him who believes in Christ.

As Thiessen points out, justification is declarative. It is God choosing willfully to set aside our sin from our accounts.

What then is sanctification? (And yes, my definition will be inherently progressive)

Quote from: Lectures in Systematic Theology
Broadly speaking, we may define sanctification as a separation to God, an imputation of Christ as our holiness, purification from moral evil, and conformation to the image of Christ.

Catholic apologist would confuse the two. Justification deals with how man’s sin debt to God is dealt with, sanctification deals with man’s moral nature itself, both how it is viewed by God (Christ’s imputed holiness), and how it is itself transformed through the Christian’s life.

So let’s look at the core issue rather than allowing ourselves to be confused by common language used differently.

According to Catholic doctrine, how is the sin debt between God and man dealt with?

What role does baptism have in dealing with sin?

According to the Council of Trent baptism is salvific in nature in that it baptism which deals with one’s original sin. That sin debt which we as ancestors of Adam incur and are born with.

What role does the viaticum (‘last rites’) have in dealing with sin?

In essence, the viaticum is a last participation in Communion before one passes over in death. As such can it be expected that its effect is the same? The forgiveness of sins?


Can one claim that they are saved by the work of Christ, and then also believe that their sins are only forgiven if they are baptized and then participate in communion, penance, reconciliation, etc?

This is the fundamental problem and it is not simply a semantic one as some of the apologists would try to make it seem.

Catholic doctrine teaches that man must deal with his sin debt by placing his faith in Christ, but that that man may only partake of the salvific, effectual grace of God through the sacraments performed by the Church. They have, in effect, made the agent of salvation the Church itself.

Per Catholic doctrine, man’s sin debt (that gap between he and God) is not, in effect, resolved by faith in Christ’s death on the cross, but is rather resolved first by a start of faith in Christ’s work, plus faith in and partaking of the sacraments which the church has mandated as the mechanism by which God’s grace is granted to men.




Why did He let them walk away?

1 Kings 17


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