Help My 15 Year Old With Faith And Works

My son takes a welding class through a local Baptist church. He enjoys his class very much and is fond of his teachers. The problem is some of his classmates there are constantly trying to tell him what the Catholic Church teaches.

Lately, he has been hit with the whole Catholics believe that they are saved by works argument.

I’ve tried to help him. He would like to respond in a charitable manner-remember, these are high schoolers- but still explain his faith well.

He doesn’t want to stop taking the class but he does want to defend his faith. The evanglical attempts of these kids seem to be turning him against any desire to ever be Baptist, so there is a plus there.

I will have him read over this thread tonight. Can you think of some explanations of the Catholic view of faith that 15 year old kids would understand?

Hi Deb1:)

I was reading from the Vatican:Holy See website some information that might help:

The meaning of the Apostolic Journey . . . we have been invited to this world-wide gathering of young Catholics in order to proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ, the light which shines in the darkness, the hope which triumphs over despair, the love that prevails over hatred and the life that conquers death. The pastoral program of the XVII World Youth Day is based on the theme announced on Palm Sunday 2001: “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world” (Mt 5: 13-14). These words from the Sermon on the Mount are an incentive to bear witness in our daily life and in our various activities to the message of the Beatitudes (Mt 5: 3-12), the basis of the Christian life. Jesus’ words are also an encouragement for all Christians, for they show his trust that men, women and young people in every age will radiate his presence in the world. (APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II TO CANADA, PRESENTATION-July 2002)

And that “ Christ is light; Christ is the way, the truth, and the life; in following Christ, by keeping our hearts’ gaze fixed on Christ, we find the right way. . . Following Christ entails being attentive to his commandments - summed up in the twofold commandment to love God and our neighbour as ourselves. Following Christ means having compassion on the suffering, of having a heart for the poor; it also means having the courage to defend the faith against ideologies; it means trusting in the Church and in her interpretation and concretization of the divine word for our current circumstances. Following Christ means loving his Church, his Mystical Body. By moving in this direction we light tiny lights in this world, we dispel the darkness of history." (MASS OF THE EASTER VIGIL, HOMILY OF CARD. JOSEPH RATZINGER, Altar of the Confessio in St Peter’s Basilica, Holy Saturday, 26 March 2005)


Give him some of the CA tracts to hand out.

They should love that [sarcasm] since Catholics are not noted for publishing tracts.

CA may even have the texts of the tracts on line to peruse.

Are they simple enough for 15 year old boys to understand? I have thought about printing out tracts but I wasn’t certain what would be good.

I’ve given my son the book “Prove It” It is a Catholic book for teenagers, and he is reading it. I am hoping that will help him.

Thank you, wildleaf blower. My son read the quotes and responded, “I knew there was a reason I liked Pope Benedict.”:slight_smile:

Today, my son announced that he would only marry a Catholic girl because he had decided, after dealing with evangelical friends, that it would be too difficult to have a marriage to someone who disagreed with you on religion. So, like I said, I am seeing some unexpected and surprisingly positive results of his having to defend what he believes.

If it continues though, I might talk to the teacher about it. My son is taking a welding class not a Baptist apologetic class.

Simple, just have him explain to him in detail what they mean “saved by works”. Everything they claim will almost certainly be wrong, and that will take the wind out of their sails. Remember, the Catholic Church says even baptized babies are saved, and they haven’t done any works. They haven’t partaken of the Eucharist. They haven’t gone to confession.

On a similar tack, have him hand them a pocket edition of the Catechism and insist that they back up their claims by quoting from the Catechism. He can tell them, truthfully, that if it’s not in the Catechism then it’s not taught by the Church.

this is the best beginers apologetic site I know of and all his CDs are free

this is an exert from his page

Q: Many Protestants believe we are saved by Faith Alone and they say Catholic believe they can “work” their way into Heaven. How do you answer that?

A: First of all, I ask them to show me where in the Catechism, the official teaching of the Catholic Church, does it teach that we can “work” our way into Heaven? They can’t, because it doesn’t. The Catholic Church does not now, nor has it ever, taught a doctrine of salvation by works…that we can “work” our way into Heaven.

Second, I ask them to show me where in the Bible does it teach that we are saved by “faith alone.” They can’t, because it doesn’t. The only place in all of Scripture where the phrase “Faith Alone” appears, is in James…James 2:24, where it says that we are not…not…justified (or saved) by faith alone.

So, one of the two main pillars of Protestantism…the doctrine of salvation by faith alone…not only doesn’t appear in the Bible, but the Bible actually says the exact opposite - that we are not saved by faith alone

Third, I ask them that if works have nothing to do with our salvation…then how come every passage in the N.T. that I know of that talks about judgment says we will be judged by our works, not by whether or not we have faith alone? We see this in Rom 2, Matthew 15 and 16, 1 Ptr 1, Rev 20 and 22, 2 Cor 5, and many, many more verses.

Fourth, I ask them that if we are saved by faith alone, why does 1 Cor 13:13 say that love is greater than faith? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

As Catholics we believe that we are saved by God’s grace alone. We can do nothing, apart from God’s grace, to receive the free gift of salvation. We also believe, however, that we have to respond to God’s grace. Protestants believe that, too. However, many Protestants believe that the only response necessary is an act of faith; whereas, Catholics believe a response of faith and works is necessary…or, as the Bible puts it in Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumsion is of any avail, but faith working through love…faith working through love…just as the Church teaches.

also I like to use this It tends to shut people up real quick

James 2:18

“I will demonstrate my faith to you by my works.” THAT’S WHAT CATHOLICS LIKE TO DO! But yet people for some reason have a problem with us doing what the Bible clearly wants us to do.

and it also says vs 19 “You belive that God is One you do wll Even the demons believe that and tremble”

Jesus said (Mt 7:21) “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

hope this helps

What an effective and concise argument you make, Odell!

I will be sure to refer back to this thread if ever I am having difficulty with any of my Protestant friends regarding faith and works.

God bless you all!

I apologize if this seems too remedial for your 15 year old, but this a simplistic analogy I like to use to explain Faith, Grace, and Works. If it helps, great! If it doesn’t help, then simply disregard. I only hope I can put it into clear, concise words. It works out well in my head! :smiley:

I, as a human, am like an Ferrari (As I get older, I’m like a Plymouth!). I have a purpose but I require some components in order to achieve the goal to which my purpose is for. An automobile cannot run (works) without an engine (faith) or the high-octane gasoline (grace) given to me by my Father.

If there is no automobile:
The engine (faith) can run on the gasoline (grace), but it won’t get anywhere while hanging off the ground, suspended by those chains in the auto shop. --How do you know your faith is working if it doesn’t accomplish God’s work? “…faith without works is dead.”

If the engine is missing:
The Ferrari (at least I like to think so!)(good works) can be on the road of life with a full tank of high-octane gasoline (grace), but without the engine (faith) it is a really expensive (but gorgeous) paper weight, not going anywhere. --How can you do the work of God with the grace God grants if there is no faith in the efficacy of God’s plan?

If there is no gasoline:
That beautiful Ferrari (or Plymouth)(good works) can be on the road of life with its massive V-12 engine (faith), but without a tank full of high-octane gasoline (grace), then it won’t be able to go anywhere. --How can you faithfully perform the work of God if you don’t receive the Grace of God through the Sacraments?

OK, so this might be too simplistic, but for a young adult, it might be just simple enough to, not only understand, but to explain it. I hope you and your 15 year old can use this to your advantage.

Dominus vobsicum

Here are two reletively straightforward and short posts I made:

Thank you! I will show this response to Christopher tomorrow.:thumbsup:

Irishmac, I don’t think that your analogy is to simple. I will show that to my son.

Catholic Dude, thank you also.:slight_smile:

This was my post on this from awhile back.

Also, they may get into this. If they do, make sure he knows what the opposite of belief is according to the Bible. It’s not unbelief, it’s disobedience.

John 3

31 The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven (is above all).
32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.
33 Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
34 For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift 16 of the Spirit.
35 The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.

My post from awhile back.

The Church also teaches that we do not earn our salvation. Grace is a free gift that we do not earn. We are saved by GRACE ALONE! HOWEVER, when you receive a gift you have one of two choices, you can accept the gift, or reject it. God’s gifts always require a response from us, like all gifts do.
Jesus told us that if we LOVE Him we will OBEY the commandments. Love is an action. When you love someone you DO something for them. You don’t just sit ad-el by. We are told to LOVE the Lord with all our heart, all our minds, and all our strength (think of how you make the sign of the cross ) and our neighbor as ourselves. For what we do to them we do to Jesus. After all as St Paul teaches love is the greatest NOT faith or hope but love! If you have faith enough to move mountains but have not love, you have NOTHING! For God IS love!

At the final judgement what we will really be judged by is how well we have LOVED one another.

You might want to check out sola dei verbum
As far as salvation goes. It is a process it is not a one time deal and that’s it. This is a good basic summary of how we as Catholics see salvation.

I’m saved (Eph 2:5–8), being saved (1Cor 1:8), and hope I’ll be saved (1Cor 3:12–15). I’m working out my salvation in fear (Phil 2:12), with hopeful confidence in Christ (Rom 5:2).

continued below with some Scripture verses that helped me understand this.

We will be judged by how will we have shown love to one another.

Matt 25:31-46
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.
’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Loving someone means showing compassion and care for them. When you feed, cloth, take care of the sick, and visit someone you are showing care. Showing care means showing love. You will be judged by how well you have loved your neighbor. This is the second commandment that Jesus gave us.

Galatians 5:6
For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything,** but only faith working through love**

Faith alone will not save us it HAS to work though love. This is what is called a “working faith”.

The two greatest commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your mind, all your heart and all your soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. First three of the Ten Commandments are about God. The next seven our about our neighbor.

Faith, hope and love are the three great virtues but the greatest is love.

1 Cor 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,** but have not love**, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. **So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest is love. **

If you have faith enough to move mountains but have not love (God) you have nothing, for even the demons believe and tremble. But they do not have love and they do not obey.

1 John 4:8
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.

It’s nice that his classmates have faith but they better make sure that their faith is one that **works **though love. That requires action on their part.

Honestly, it wasn’t until I looked at this topic “though the eyes of love” that I truly understood it. Ones I realized the importance of love in this topic I came to see how faith and works complemented each other.


He can use this too:

The biggest problem that I have with the argument that we are saved by faith “alone” is as follows:

First of all scripture never says that we are saved by faith alone, but it does say that we are “not saved by faith alone”.[James 2:24]

Beyond this we can see from scripture that arguments can be made that we are saved by means other than faith. I will present a number of arguments using scripture that follow the pattern of the argument for salvation by faith “alone.” All of the arguments have similar logic in that they focus on only one item and they all depend on selective use of scripture.

So how are we saved?
faith? grace ? baptism? hope? works? obedience? Love? sanctification?]

1 Cor 1:21
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.

Rom 3:28
For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.

Rom 10:10
For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.

Eph 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God–not the result of works, so that no one may boast.

Rom 3:24
they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

Eph 2:4-6
the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ

Matt 16:24-27
Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? "For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.

1 Tim 4:16
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

James 2:24
You see that a person is justified by works…

James 1:21-22
Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

James 5:20
you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Acts: 2:40-41
And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

Rom 6:4
Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

1 Peter 3:21
And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you-not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ

John 3:5
Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.

Rom 8:24
For we are saved by hope:

Eph 1:11-12
In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.

Col 1:5-6
You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.

Titus 3:6-7
This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Heb 3:6
Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belong to hope.

Heb 6:11 And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end,

Deu 7:9-10
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and who repays in their own person those who reject him.

John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.

Acts 5:32
And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."

Heb 5:9
and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,

Matt 7:21
"Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

1 Peter 1: 2
to the exiles…who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood:

Rev 12:17
Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus.

cont. on next post

cont. from prior post

1 Cor 8:3
…but anyone who loves God is known by him.

2 Thess 2:10
and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

1 Cor 16:22
Let anyone be accursed who has no love for the Lord. Our Lord, come!

Jam 1:12-15
Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 2:5
Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?

Luke 10:25-37
"Teacher," he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

1Cor 2:9
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”

1Cor 13:1-2
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

1 Cor 13:13
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Luke 21:19
By your endurance you will gain your souls.

Heb 10:36
For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

Matt 24 :12-13
And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Heb 13:12
Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood.

Acts 20:32
And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified.

1Cor 1:2
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

Rom 6:22
But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life.

Heb 2:11
For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters,

HEB 10:9
And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

1Peter 1:2
who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood:

2 Thess 2:13
But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

It is quite clear that all of these passages are speaking about salvation and they cannot be ignored. While all of the arguments contain truth about salvation none of them is complete. Attempting to say that we are saved by faith “alone” using scripture is no more valid than saying that we are saved by love “alone” or that we are saved by obedience “alone.” Each argument has some truth in it about salvation, but none of the arguments can be used to establish a doctrine that includes the word “alone.”

Hi Deb1:)

You are very welcome. I’m thrilled to learn that your son has a special place in his heart for Pope Benedict. May his journey through llife always be filled with the light of LOVE. I’m confident that you are a fantastic Mother with wisdom to know what is best for him. I hope he likes the welding class and takes advantage of this unique opportunity to share his zest for life. :smiley: JESUS opens every door.:smiley: May God bless you and yours with endless days of joy, Deb. :slight_smile:

I am sorry that my analogy wasn’t as simple as I like to think it is. I hope that your son can find sometyhing to relate to with this analogy. Like I said earlier; if you or he gets something from this, great! If not, then I hope you find another great way to relate these concepts to him. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

Dominus vobsicum,

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