Frustrated Catholic-- the propoganda of "salvation through works"


#1

The Catholic Church does not teach, never has taught, and never will teach that salvation is merited or “earned.” Full stop. Period. Done.

The anti-Catholic propoganda-- “propoganda” being the only word that accurately fits-- regarding what the Church teaches on “works” is simply rhetoric without a target. In almost every instance…and certainly every instance in this forum…those attacking the Faith (pun intended) simply refuse to hear the actual teaching of the Church. It’s as if they are scared, full of anxiety-- no, perhaps even terrified beyond all imagination-- that if they actually take the cotton out of their ears they will find they are actually Catholic at heart. I think many already are and do not know it…

For the sake of intellectual honesty and meaningful discussion: PLEASE do not try to “teach” me about my Church by pointing me to some misquoted, mis-interpreted, completely taken out of context statement (with fourteen elipses, seven abbreviations and four translations) to try and mold my Church into your view of it-- whether it be from the Bible, an encyclical or the CCC. My Church, my God and my Bible catechize me just fine regarding the Truth, thank you very much.

Sorry for the diatribe. It is simply frustrating to have your beliefs continually twisted, misrepresented and distorted beyond all reason, all the while repeating…without honest, intellectual engagement from your opponent (as opposed to simply topic-jumping when confronted)…the foundational, biblical and consistent Church teachings that define your spiritual walk.

Off to “pray to” St. Thomas for strength… :gopray:


#2

It is frustrating but to have to object to Catholic belief is to have to misrepresent it.

No one can honestly object to Catholic belief so, lies are made up such, as we worship Mary or we believe in Salvation by our works.

Unfortunately many people who believe these crazy things about the Catholic Church are not the people who made this junk up and they honestly think they are objecting to the Catholic Church. Heck, I would object to the Catholic Church if we really worshipped Mary, but ask them if they can describe Catholic worship and they wont know.
At that point it is revealed that this just is a canned arguement.

There are thousands of canned arguements out there and the key is to not get impatient with them and to keep charitably correctly the misrepresentations of the faith. They misrepresentations will never stop, but seeing answers to the misrepresentations will change honest hearts to seeing the Catholic Church differently. It wont help with the bigots, but many people convert after seeing that their objections are based upon lies and these are the people we seek to respond to.

God Bless
Scylla


#3

Dont think anyone is denying that Faith (although RC faith is different than what evangelicals mean) is NOT needed, the point of contention is that Faith is not enough and works are added.


#4

James: “even the demons believe - and shudder.”

Faith requires more than intellectual assent. Faith includes walking out what you profess to believe. If you beleive it, you will live it. If you don’t believe it, you won’t. You live out what you truly believe, and that is how it is really seen.

Having faith is not a five minute emotional frenzy at an altar call. Faith is a long obedience in the same direction.


#5

Yes, but its Faith in the Savior that saves, not the works!

Rom 4:4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Rom 9:30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.”


#6

But remember that Faith alone does not save you!

[1 Corinthians 13:2](“http://www.whereinthebible.org/1 Corinthians 13:2”)
And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

[James 2:26](“http://www.whereinthebible.org/James 2:26”)
For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also **faith without works is dead. **


#7

No, it’s the grace of God that saves us. It is only through His grace that we are saved from the damnation that we have unquestionably earned. As for how we go about accepting His completely unearned gift, that’s easy: we must believe in Him and do His will – as He says: we will be judged according to our works; those who fed Him, sheltered Him, visited Him, etc. will join Him with His Father, while those who failed to feed Him, shelter Him, visit Him, etc. will not.


#8

It’s faith, and obedience to the Faith that saves!

We are initially justified by GRACE alone, with faith… Not through works…

However, from that point forward, Our OBEDIENCE to that faith is what will ultimately be judged…


#9

Faith = Obedience


#10

We are saved by the grace Jesus earned through His death and resurrection. We first receive this grace through faith when we are baptized as a free gift.

When we obey God through faith, by grace, we receive more of this grace that saves us, as a reward, not as something we earned. Only Jesus can earn the grace of salvation, but He promised more of this grace as a reward when we do His will. If we commit mortal sin and die unrepentant, we rebel against God and thus reject this grace and will end up in hell.

That is why St. Paul wrote to those who had faith in Romans 2.
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.

That is why Jesus said, “if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments”.

Thus Catholics never “earn” their salvation. But obedience and repentance are necessary in addition to faith, in order to have and preserve this grace of salvation and enter heaven.

Some Protestants don’t understand that it is grace that saves us. They think their own faith saves them. If that were true, then Jesus suffered and died for nothing. It is grace that saves us, but at any time we can rebel against Jesus and reject that grace through mortal sin.


#11

We know it. They know it. They aren’t going to stop spreading the lies. The only way we can respond is to speak the Truth with charity and love.


#12

If you commit a mortal sin you are truly rebelling against God. But, and I have several priests who have answered this for me, if you rebel against God you can still repent. Even if you don’t make it to the Confessional, you can still re-enter the saving relationship through Christ in God.

I once believed in the faith evidence of faith, and sola Scripture, and once saved always saved. That is because although I grew up in the Catholic Church, it was during the “excesses”, as Pope John Paul II put it, that I did not learn enough about grace and so I used to hope that I’d die right after a good Confession. No one explained, and so the Protestant belief was very comforting. Well, I don’t believe it any more but in committing that mortal sin, just asking, I’m curious, would our hearts not need to be totally turned off from God? Scripture does say that God will not crush a bruised reed, meaning, I take it, a believer who is not quite right in his relationship with God, and so is rebellious in a sense (also maybe someone who has been hurt and God is gentle with him - both interpretations are plausible to me) so I think that it is awfully hard, if one is truly in Christ, to rebel to the point of damnation. I do believe it can be done, the Bible taken in context indicates that it can be done, but awfully hard. There are too many parables in which Christ seeks the one who got lost and does not stop until He finds him. Pope Benedict phrases it beautifully, that Christ will pursue that lost sheep even to the Cross.

For Protestants reading this, I am Catholic and have discussed this with more learned people than I, and I don’t think I am in danger of losing my salvation. I am saved through grace and the works and faith are so combined that they cannot be separated. In another thread I compare it to a rope - faith and works being combined to the point that if you unravel them, there is no rope. As James said, faith without works is dead. However, I do know that it is POSSIBLE to lose salvation, but it would take an awfully hardened heart to do so. That last opinion is based on the Bible as a whole, but is my opinion. I commit mortal sins, I think on things that I should not and sometimes I find my mom, a good woman but trying sometimes, a pain, which means I am not truly honouring her. Although I do love her, like her and provide for her physical needs. So when she is getting on my nerves and I feel as though I am not honouring her by that, am I going to hell? Or if I think thoughts of other men and dwell on them, I am married so it is as good as adultery, am I going to hell? The thing is, I always come back from it. God brings me back. I am always sorry. So I really think that the person who walks away from salvation, my opinion again, is a very hardened person and an unsual person. I am just re-learning my faith again, so I might be wrong on that.

Instead of trying to convince Catholics that we are wrong in our belief on this, why not concentrate on what we have in common? Jesus called Himself the Way, Truth and Life and the only Way to the Father. We all can agree on that. Why don’t we take that and combine our efforts wasted in trying to convince one another of a technical point in our theologies and use the energy to take the Gospel out to the world. You’ll never change my beliefs. I’ll never change yours.


#13

Truth-

I’m not sure about this. Faith is intellectual assent by Catholic definition. This is why we object to "faith alone’ as a slogan to teach salvation.

Catholics believe in “formed faith” - that is, faith formed by hope and charity - and not “faith alone”.

I discussed this in my thread, “Bridging the Faith Alone Divide”.

Thoughts?


#14

I think this is a semantics problem. To Catholics, “faith alone” means intellectual faith without followup. I’ve always regarded faith as obedience. If you believe, you are faithful. Not faith-full.
If you don’t believe, you are unfaithful. I don’t see a difference between this and Catholic belief.


#15

[quote=byrdele]Scripture does say that God will not crush a bruised reed, meaning, I take it, a believer who is not quite right in his relationship with God, and so is rebellious in a sense (also maybe someone who has been hurt and God is gentle with him - both interpretations are plausible to me) so I think that it is awfully hard, if one is truly in Christ, to rebel to the point of damnation.
[/quote]

Welcome to Catholic Answers. I found your post to be very cogent, thought-provoking, and helpful. Thank you.

Yes, I do believe that God is gentle with the bruised reeds and so we should find ways to help them or, if they don’t want to be helped, to just let them be here with us.

But I do distinguish between bruised reeds and folks whose differences with and rebellion against the Church is branch growing from a whole other kind of root.

[quote=byrdele]I do believe it can be done, the Bible taken in context indicates that it can be done, but awfully hard.
[/quote]

Yes, it’s hard.

[quote=byrdele] There are too many parables in which Christ seeks the one who got lost and does not stop until He finds him. Pope Benedict phrases it beautifully, that Christ will pursue that lost sheep even to the Cross.
[/quote]

[quote=byrdele]However, I do know that it is POSSIBLE to lose salvation, but it would take an awfully hardened heart to do so.
[/quote]

And that is a matter of their free will. The danger though is the influence that those folks have on the innocent. Where will the innocent go as a result of being misguided?

How many young Catholics are being taught OSAS, SF, SS, women’s ordination, pro-choice, anti-Pope propaganda, and so on?

[quote=byrdele]So when she is getting on my nerves and I feel as though I am not honouring her by that, am I going to hell? Or if I think thoughts of other men and dwell on them, I am married so it is as good as adultery, am I going to hell? The thing is, I always come back from it. God brings me back. I am always sorry.
[/quote]

God brings you back because you are repentant. Others are not repentant: they are their own magisteria.

[quote=byrdele]So I really think that the person who walks away from salvation, my opinion again, is a very hardened person and an unsual person.
[/quote]

:yup: Impervious.

[quote=byrdele]You’ll never change my beliefs. I’ll never change yours.
[/quote]

Actually I don’t go round to my neighbours knocking on their doors and shouting through their keyholes to repent for the end of the world is coming. I hole up in my place, minding my own business.

But folks come out looking for attention, bellowing Jack-Chick propaganda in lobbies, banning religious symbols from buildings (against our Constitution), running down the Cathedral aisle in the middle of Mass raging against the Pope, and so on.

And it’s always strawmen irrationality.

You know, I feel that the Catholic Church in Canada is manning the wall not just for Herself but for all religious groups for religious freedom and against secular humanism. We have allowed Catholic education to backslide to the point where it is barely distinguishable from public education.

At Scarborough Missions, non-Catholics do work together with Catholics for peace and justice. But with very strict understandings: they don’t do apologetics.


#16

:yup:


#17

[quote=Truthstalker]Having faith is not a five minute emotional frenzy at an altar call.
[/quote]

Understanding this concept, I believe, is so important. so many non-Catholics do not understand why RCIA takes such a long time. Some even think we are trying to make it hard for them; make them run the gauntlet, or any number of zany things.

But God does not force. God does not trick. God does not rush. And neither should we. And neither do we.

By the same token, I will concede that evangelist crusades where the Holy Spirit comes upon tens of thousands who are fervently worshipping God and begging for salvation – those Crusades are a first step for so many.

Do I believe that the Holy Spirit comes on evangelist crusades? Some. God does not choose the qualified. He qualifies the chosen. And often the chosen are those who hear God and say “Here am I.”

Ah, but the point is the qualification part. The first step should not be the last step. Salvation is one thing. Sanctification is another.


#18

Ah! Very nice move. :slight_smile:

Catholicism is relationship-centred. Witness the Real Presence. John 6 after the Sermon on the Mount.

If I love Jesus and Jesus directs me to the Church and I then disobey and heed my own teaching, then what good is my feel-good, sweet-talking profession of love for Him?

Actions speak louder than words. Disobedience is indifference in action.


#19

One of the very first times I ever discussed religion with my wife to be was when she was explaining to me that her sister and brother-in-law were ‘Christian’. It became apparent that she meant more than that they simply went to church on Sundays, so I asked what she meant. She explained to me that they were involved in their church, helping people out in their church and spent several days a week doing things in their church. Helping out at funerals, cleaning the church, organizing bible study, visiting sick people, helping people move, and any number of things that people in their church needed help with. Apparently my wife, when she described them as ‘Christians’, meant more than just that they believed in Jesus, more than that they were just Baptists.

My reply to her was “yeah, I was raised catholic. We do that stuff too.” She seemed puzzled. After a few questions, it became apparent that she had some image in her mind that these ‘Christians’, (or protestants to catholics), were more than just people who went to church. They lived a good, moral life and helped those in need and did things for their church and their people. To me, that’s exactly what Catholics do, and you did onto others and performed acts of mercy, helped others out, etc.

So imagine my suprise when I talking with other baptists and protestants, when I hear all this protesting about ‘works’. I kept hearing that these ‘works’ weren’t part of salvation, that catholics believed ‘works’ got them to heaven, that catholics ‘earned’ their way into heaven, etc. Yet from many of these same people that were saying that, these were also the same people who were involved with their church and doing for people in their church as I described above.

What do they think ‘works’ are? It’s exactly all these things that ‘Christians’ are described as doing. Helping out in the church, helping others, volunteering, performing acts of mercy. The same stuff that ‘Christians’ are credited for doing, credited for being. Yet they object to the very idea that Catholics believe that ‘works’ are part of receiving God’s grace and a part of salvation! Why do these ‘Christians’ bother with that stuff if it’s not a part of salvation? Why don’t they just show up to church, sing and pray, believe, read the bible and go home? Why are these ‘Christians’ bothering to be involved with their church and helping others, like Jesus said we should?

The point is, protestant ‘Christians’ spend all this time objecting to the Catholic ideas of ‘works’, which they mostly don’t understand correctly, all the time while doing the exact same thing Catholics aspire to when they are doing ‘works’. It’s stupid. It’s being protestant for the sake of being protestant. Because all those things that ‘Christians’ do for the people in their church, friends, family, whoever, is all the same as the stuff Catholics try to do when they talk about ‘works’.

Jesus said to treat others the way you want to be treated. Love your neighbor. Do acts of mercy. Help each other. These are works. Whether you call them ‘works’ or ‘being Christian’, it’s the same thing.

I know protestants that love being involved and doing for others. My in-laws are the kind of people that never say no to helping others. Yet it kills me that these people rail against the Catholic idea of doing ‘works’ all the while they do more Catholic ‘works’ than many Catholics I know.

:shrug:


#20

I like the spilled orange juice example that I’ve read here before:

A Mom gives her four year old a glass of orange juice and the four year old drops it on the kitchen floor…on purpose. Huge mess. Mom gets upset. Child cries and apologizes. Mom forgives. All is well, right? Well, what about the mess on the floor? It’s still gotta be cleaned up.

Jesus saves. We sin. He forgives. Who cleans up the mess we have left behind? What happens if the mess never gets cleaned up?

Cleaning up the mess “earns” us nothing, “merits” us nothing. It is simply what must be done. And He commands us to do it-- not as “proof” of our faith or faithfulness, but because Faith in Him through Love is, in fact, the only definition of Faith.

Put another way, BELIEF alone is not Faith. That is where most protestants either fall off the boat or misinterperet the Teaching of the Church.

And before you call it “semantics” (e.g., what is “faith,” after all?) it was the Reformation that made it so-- not the other way around.

Keep the Faith.

G.


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