Does the Bible teach "Salvation Outside the Church"?


#1

I’ve looked around www.catholic.com and saw no Biblical proof of possible “Salvation Outside the Church”. How would a Catholic be able to talk about this to a Protestant when the Protestant would ask, “Where in the Bible does it teach that you don’t need Jesus to be saved?”.

Thanks. :slight_smile:


#2

Hi MarkA16,
I think the problem is that you aren’t defining the Outside the Church the way Catholics do. The Church is all Christians, the Catholic Church is the original True Church, as Christ established this church and all other churches were established by men. The only exception is the Orthodox Churches, but that is another matter. Anyway, as I was saying, most Protestants would be surprised to realize that Catholics consider Protestants as a part of the Catholic Church, but not in full communion with them and therefore they are missing what we refer to as the fullness of the faith. The fullness of the faith encompasses all the teachings and all the sacraments and relies on Tradition in addition to Scripture. We maintain that salvation is possible for our Protestant brethren, but, it is more difficult to understand and follow without the complete Bible and without the traditions.


#3

On the question of not needing Jesus to be saved, Romans 2 is very helpful in this regard, specifically:

10 But glory, and honour, and peace to every one that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.12 For whosoever have sinned without the law, shall perish without the law; and whosoever have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law. 13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature those things that are of the law; these having not the law are a law to themselves: 15 Who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them, and their thoughts between themselves accusing, or also defending one another, 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. (Rheims)

In other words, salvation is only because of Christ; but for those who have not heard of him, if they follow the laws of nature inscribed on their hearts, they won’t be judged simply on their ignorance of him.

So that question of yours, “Where in the Bible does it teach that you don’t need Jesus to be saved?” must be answered with nuance. Jesus is the savior of the world, but those who do not know this aren’t held accountable assuming they live a life according to God’s plan which they’d glean from natural law.


#4

Acts 10:[34] And Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, [35] but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.

This “fears him” and “does what is right” saves only because of the redemptive sacrifice of Christ. Jesus redeemed the whole world, thus salvation is open to the whole world because of him. It is not necessary for everyone to have heard of Christ to be saved, since salvation is a result of the redemption. And since the redemption has already happened, anyone may be saved through it. So, no one who is saved will be saved without Christ.

If you have not read the Catechism, here is the passage that addresses this issue:

Possible salvation of non-Christians: #s 846-848.

"Outside the Church there is no salvation"
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336
847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337
848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338


#5

MarkA16,

In regards to your specific question asking for Biblical backing for “salvation outside the Church,” see:

  • Matthew 11:20-24

  • Matthew 19:26

Let me know if you have any questions.


#6

Protestants usually quote John 3:16:

[quote=John 3:16]For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
[/quote]

When it says believeth is it talking to the people who have already heard of Christ? For if it’s talking about the people who have heard Christ, they can either believe he is who he says he is, or not. Is that right? :slight_smile:

If that is right, then there must be so many people going to hell because Christianity is widely known and so is Jesus. Now that they have heard of Jesus and who he is, are they part of the people that must believe or not believe?

Confused a bit. :slight_smile:


#7

My personal opinion: the “believeth” refers not only to those who have heard/accepted Christ, but also those “who [fear] Him and [do] what is right”, even if they have not ‘heard’ Christ.


#8

John 3:16 says “whosoever belieth” (or, more plainly, “whoever believes”). This verse does not say what happens to those who do not believe. It only addresses what should happen to those who do.

John 3:18, on the other hand, explains who is condemned more explicitly: “[H]e who does not believe is condemned already… .” As with all Bible verses, we must read this verse in context. If we continue to read verses 19-21, it is clear that Jesus is telling us that believing is accomplished by doing. It is not a matter, then, of sheer believing and not believing, but rather Christ shows us that doing, by the grace of God, “what is true” will lead us to the light (i.e. “Christ”).


#9

St. Paul also discusses this issue in Romans 10, especially in verse [18] But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

He is quoting Psalm 19:[3] There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; [4] yet their voice goes out through all the earth,and their words to the end of the world.

IOW, all are accountable before God since they know the natural law he has implanted in their hearts. It follows then that all may be saved who strive to please God in their words and actions.

This does not dismiss our responsibility to evangelize. Not in the least! God will hold us accountable if we don’t evangelize.

What it tells us is that God extends his mercy to whom he pleases. For us who know Christ it means we must all the more live the Gospel message before others since we will be judged by what we know as well as by how we put that knowledge into practice.


#10

What if someone denies Jesus (as in not believe he is divine, existed, etc.) but does what’s good. Does the person become like a hypocrite because he says he does not believe but his actions show that he does believe according to Scripture?


#11

Only those who know the truth but don’t practice it can be termed as hypocrites. Those who do not know Christ do not know the whole truth, although they may be hypocrites within their own faith if they do not do what is right according to own their beliefs.

And, many who “reject” Christ really know next to nothing about him. They have been taught all their lives that he is not divine, that he did not teach the truth or that his death was not redemptive, etc. If they do what is right, in spite of all that, then they might more properly be termed as saintly, not hypocrites (using your logic).


#12

There’s no salvation outside the Church. But there can be members who are members by their desire, even implicit–this desire is implicit in their total submission to God and the law He has placed in all hearts (even if they do not know of His Gospel):

Rom. 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For whosoever have sinned without the law, shall perish without the law; and whosoever have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law. 13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature those things that are of the law; these having not the law are a law to themselves: 15 Who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them, and their thoughts between themselves accusing, or also defending one another, 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.


#13

What is the opposite of lack of faith (that is, of lack of belief)? It is obedience. To believe is to obey. To disobey is to not believe. Those who obey the law of God written into each human heart have a living belief in the one who wrote that law.

*Jn 3:36 He who **believes **in the Son has eternal life; he who **does not obey *the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him


closed #14

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