My wife and I (both practicing Catholics) are considering placing our daughter in a good, local evangelical Protestant school. (There are no Catholic schools anywhere in the vicinity.) However, the school apparently requires that we sign a Statement of Faith which among other things reads: “We believe salvation is by grace through faith alone.”
It seems to me that the question of whether we can sign this statement may turn on the question of what is meant by “faith.” Can we sign the statement? Or, alternatively, can we sign the statement and add an additional statement indicating something to the following effect: “We understand “faith” in this context to be what we consider a living faith, manifested by, among other things, good works.”
…consider this… (as far as I know) not once in Church history has there been a claim against the Church for withholding education, training, medical assistance, or assistance to the poor, infringed, refugees (expatriated or not) on the grounds that she failed to help because they would not sign an agreement to convert to Catholicism.
…from my perspective, this is what you are being asked to sign.
‘Relinquish the hold of your previous religious convictions and your child can get an education with us!’
Rather than being concerned about how to go around it, have you considered what your daughter will be expected to accept as a tenet of Faith?
…will she be forced to accept: 66 books as opposed to 73? or no such thing as church hierarchy? or no Purgatory? or the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon? or Catholics are going to hell because they are lead by the anti-Christ? or no such thing as Seven Sacraments? or fluid sex/gender? or symbolic Lord’s Supper? or ASOS? or contraception, abortion and divorce are right by God? or the Church Founded by Christ was forced into hiding by Catholics?..
…if you have not done so, I suggest a one to one with the school’s director/administrator to figure out what your daughter will be exposed to and what will be demanded of her… children are already being bombarded by enough conflicting information by the “entertainment” and mass medias, we don’t need to place them in an environment that will actively engage them in a faith-base system that will compete with (sad, but true) the little Catholic training that they may receive at home.
Well, I understand, Angel, and those are good questions. Of course, we would never send our child to a school which is truly anti-Catholic, or which harbors an animus toward Catholics.
The difficulty is that in many areas of the country there simply is no Catholic alternative other than home schooling – which works well in some, but not all cases (e.g., where both parents work outside the home). So we’re left with the options of either secularized government schools, secularized private schools or Christian / Protestant schools. All else being equal I would prefer that last option, provided that the teachers and administration harbor no animus toward Catholics and will not aggressively proselytize against our Faith. That does not, however, mean we’d take that option “come hell or high water” – thus my post.
In context, it is clear that the school wants you to affirm that you accept the doctrine of “Sola Fide”. As Trent condemned this doctrine in very strong terms, I could not personally sign such a statement.
Maybe you could talk to them personally and get a better understanding of what they are looking for. I know some people who are born again who go to a Catholic school and they are required to take the Catholic religion class. They would be remiss if they did not hold to their beliefs as an evangelical. I think a public school would be much worse.
…I understood your query… that’s why I ventured to offer my twos–you know, the ole “cooler head prevails.”
…if you sit down with the administrator you may find that they are simply covering themselves against anti-Christian assaults as non-Christians may seek to enroll their children in a Christian school only to breach and destroy from within (legal attacks).
One caveat that could be worked into the contract is that you (the parents) will be responsible for teaching your daughter about the Faith so that she may be excused from religion classes that may conflict with the Catholic understanding of the Faith.
Protestants often say they think Ephesians 2:8-9 (which excludes works apart from Grace) teaches justification by faith alone.
You and I (and maybe even our Protestant friends) know Ephesians 2:8-9 does NOT teach justification by faith ALONE.
EPHESIANS 2:8-9 (NIV) 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ask the Protestant school principle to change . . . .
“We believe salvation is by grace through faith alone.”
Into . . . .
We believe salvation is by grace we have been saved, through faith—and this is not from ourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
for YOUR “contract of faith”.
They may or may not not go for that, but if not, at least you will know THEY don’t believe that Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches justification by faith alone either.
Please keep me posted of what happens with all of this as I think it is very interesting and have been through that type of situation a couple of times myself - once when I was asked to give a talk to a Protestant college student group. The other time, I won’t go into details on here (Keep me updated either through here or PM me.)
I have a couple of acceptable other appropriate ideas if they reject this.
To other readers, that say you shouldn’t be there in the first place, I get it.
I might not consider putting my children in this situation either.
But Valley Catholic is the parent here and has the charism to know what is best for his (her) own children too.
Valley Catholic. You are going to HAVE TO not only teach your children to become very good Catholic apologists, but YOU are going to have to become one yourself. You are going to have to be pretty comfortable with sitting down with their Minister at some point to defend the Faith too.
Tell them you’re confused because nearly a thousand years before the Reformation, Saint Maximus the Confessor wrote:
“For Jeremiah warns us: Do not say: “We are the Lord’s temple.” Neither should you say: “Faith alone in our Lord Jesus Christ can save me.”* By itself faith accomplishes nothing. For even the devils believe and shudder.
No, faith must be joined to an active love of God which is expressed in good works.** The charitable man is distinguished by sincere and long-suffering service to his fellow man: it also means using things aright.*”
Remind them that Maximus was tortured, having his tongue cut out, so he could no longer speak the true Christian faith, had his right hand cut off, so that he could no longer write letters, and cast into prison, where he died shortly thereafter.
That’s contrary to scripture, and it’s contrary to what the Church Jesus established believes and teaches.
By sending her to a Protestant school, She will be spending 8 hrs a day learning Protestant theology. How much time/day will she be spending with you learning her Catholic faith?
I’m sure this school has a tuition. Do you really want to pay big money for your daughter to unlearn her Catholic faith so she can learn how to be a Protestant?
If you sign that, it shows you agree to their terms.
Look, regarding that teaching
“Faith alone” appears once, legitimately, in all of scripture. Guess what’s in front of it? NOT is in front of it James 2:24
There is no such thing as “faith alone” except in Protestantism. By sending her there you are agreeing for them to train her in one of the great heresies of the world. Are you prepared for that? [FONT="]Great Heresies[/FONT]
No. It’s a false statement they want you to sign, and you know it won’t stop there. Our responsibility as parents, going back to the apostles, is to bring our children up in the Catholic Church. Outside of which there is no salvation #34
Quote: “In fact, in TRADITIONAL WORKS OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGY, one regularly encounters the statement that FORMED FAITH IS JUSTIFYING FAITH. If one has formed faith, one is justified. Period. End quote. Emphasis mine.
**Sola fide formata = (formed) FAITH ALONE
THE COMPOSITE OF GOD’S GIFT OF FAITH:
a. BELIEF (Unconditional BELIEF in what God says.)
b. HOPE (Unconditional TRUST in God.)
c. CHARITY (Unconditional LOVE for God.)**
HOW TO READ THE NEW TESTAMENT By Etienne Charpentier
Nihil obstate: Father Anton Cowan
Imprimatur: Monsignor John Crowley, VG Westminster, 28 May 1985
Quote: “There is ONE CENTRAL QUESTION here: how can we become RIGHTEOUS and be SAVED?
We NOT justified by what we do (works, observing law) but by FAITH IN CHRIST.
Salvation is NOT a matter of achieving but RECEIVING IT FREELY from God hands, in faith.” End quote. Emphasize mine.
JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church
3/17 Justification is SOLELY due to the forgiving and renewing mercy that God imparts as a gift and we RECEIVE IN FAITH, and NEVER CAN MERIT IT ANY WAY.
4/25 We confess together that sinners are justified by faith in the saving action of God in Christ. WHATEVER in the JUSTIFIED PRECEDES or FOLLOWS the free gift of faith is NEITHER THE BASIS of justification NOR MERITS it.
4/27.The Catholic understanding also sees faith as fundamental in justification. For without faith, no justification can take place. Thus justifying grace never becomes a human possession. While Catholic teaching emphasizes the renewal of life by justifying grace, this RENEVAL in FAITH, HOPE, LOVE is always dependent on God’s unfathomable grace and contributes NOTHING to JUSTIFICATION.
4/37 We confess together that good works - a Christian life lived in faith, hope and love - FOLLOW JUSTIFICATION and ARE ITS FRUITS. Emphasize mine.
JUSTIFICATION: “BY FAITH ALONE”? James Akin
Quote: On the subject of the kind of justification discussed in James 2:24, Trent quotes this verse only once and then applies it to progressive, not initial justification, so one does not have to do good works to get into a state of justification; good works are fruits of the state of justification, not causes for entering it.
The fact this passage does not refer to initial justification should be obvious since the justification of Abraham it refers to occurred years after Abraham was first justified by faith in Genesis 12, when By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go (Heb. 11:8).
Thus James 2:24 refers to later, progressive justification, by which one grows in righteousness, not initial justification, when ones sins are forgiven. End quote.
“Luther would have been amazed at the efforts of the Vatican today to put the Bible back into the heart of the Roman Catholic Church,” writes Jeff Fountain of Christian Today.
Fountain reports that during Pope Benedict XVI’s recent weekly public addresses in St. Peter’s Square, he quoted Martin Luther in declaring “Sola fide,” that salvation is by faith alone.
According to this report, Benedict affirmed that Luther had correctly translated Paul’s words as ‘justified by faith alone’ – the well known sola fide.
It was disagreement over the doctrine of salvation by faith that sparked the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, splitting Christianity in Western Europe. “Yet, said the Pope, it was indeed biblical to say, as did Luther, that it was the faith of a Christian, not his works that saved him.”
According to Fountain, the Pope highlighted the fact that prior to his Damascus Road conversion, Paul had strictly adhered to all the Pharisaical laws and rules. However, after meeting the Lord Jesus in his vision, Paul began leading a lifestyle of faith alone. End quote.
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
818 “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers. .
All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”
819 “Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth” are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.” Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.”
1271 “Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” “Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn.”
In my opinion, you could sign it with clear consciousness.
They are our brothers and sisters in Christ and we should love and respect each other.
We believe that salvation is by grace alone. Other virtues and responses to that grace besides faith are required, however, in order to be considered* just *in the eyes of God. Faith, in the Reformed view, actually replaces the need for authentic justice in man, and this ends up with their theology presenting a stunted and distorted version of the gospel. This doesn’t mean that their actual faith isn’t valid and productive, and that they cannot help your child grow towards the knowledge and love of God, but you’ll need to do some important supplementation of her training. Having said that, I wouldn’t sign such a statement in any case, even though typically the word “faith” is increasingly qualified to at least encompass more than merely believing nowadays. The real question involves knowing God’s nature and His will for man.