How does a Protestant get "saved"?

I have had a question on my mind for a little while, and I mentioned it at the end of another thread, but no-one saw it. :o I would like to resurrect it here and throw out the question again to see what response I get. I am looking mainly for a protestant reply, but anyone is welcome to have a go.

I only hope I can articulate it well. Here goes…

In Evangelical theology, a person “gets saved” by hearing/reading the Word and responding to it by faith. So far, so good, more or less. How is it then that they can understand and respond to the Word by faith, when at the time of hearing it they did not yet have the Holy Spirit in them?

Or to put it another way, one learns of Christ through the Bible alone, but before one believes, it takes some reading and study of scripture in order to “get saved”. Now the person is saved, they have the illumination of the Holy Spirit necessary to understand the Bible.

How did they ever get to first base, that is, the ability to believe and understand the scriptures, when in the process of getting there, their “natural mind was darkened, and could not discern the things of the Spirit?” (my paraphrase of 2 Cor 2:14).

Catholic theology explains this perfectly, by actual grace.

How does anyone from an Evangelical/Protestant view think this through?

Before reverting to the Catholic Church, I struggled with this, among many other beliefs I held to, in the Baptist denomination.

I will be interested to see the replies.

Thank you for taking the time :slight_smile:

[quote=captaincoog]How did they ever get to first base, that is, the ability to believe and understand the scriptures, when in the process of getting there, their “natural mind was darkened, and could not discern the things of the Spirit?” (my paraphrase of 2 Cor 2:14).

Catholic theology explains this perfectly, by actual grace.

[/quote]

More specifically, Catholic theology explains this by a species of Actual Grace which is called “Prevenient Grace.” By this form of Grace, God kinda “nudges” us in the right direction. This is an ancient Catholic teaching (St. Augustine called it “gratia praeveniens” when debating the Pelagians; refer to the Second Synod of Orange), and it was dogmatically affirmed at Trent.

However, many protestant denominations (especially those of Anglican origin) also recognize and understand the idea of Prevenient Grace. Calvanists generally don’t care for the doctrine, but I think most other protestant denominations either accept it outright or would not object to it.

So if you asked most protestants, “hey, how do you explain how someone get motivated to become a protestant in the first place,” s/he could respond “the same way you explain how someone gets motivated to become a Catholic - by Prevenient Grace.”

[quote=captaincoog]I have had a question on my mind for a little while, and I mentioned it at the end of another thread, but no-one saw it. :o I would like to resurrect it here and throw out the question again to see what response I get. I am looking mainly for a protestant reply, but anyone is welcome to have a go.

I only hope I can articulate it well. Here goes…

In Evangelical theology, a person “gets saved” by hearing/reading the Word and responding to it by faith. So far, so good, more or less. How is it then that they can understand and respond to the Word by faith, when at the time of hearing it they did not yet have the Holy Spirit in them?

Or to put it another way, one learns of Christ through the Bible alone, but before one believes, it takes some reading and study of scripture in order to “get saved”. Now the person is saved, they have the illumination of the Holy Spirit necessary to understand the Bible.

How did they ever get to first base, that is, the ability to believe and understand the scriptures, when in the process of getting there, their “natural mind was darkened, and could not discern the things of the Spirit?” (my paraphrase of 2 Cor 2:14).

Catholic theology explains this perfectly, by actual grace.

How does anyone from an Evangelical/Protestant view think this through?

Before reverting to the Catholic Church, I struggled with this, among many other beliefs I held to, in the Baptist denomination.

I will be interested to see the replies.

Thank you for taking the time :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Faith comes through hearing, as scripture says. So if someone responds to the message it is because the Holy Spirit has drawn them. Or actually he has regenerated them and thus their hearts are turned to Christ and ale to respond in saving faith.

Mel

[quote=DavidFilmer]More specifically, Catholic theology explains this by a species of Actual Grace which is called “Prevenient Grace.” By this form of Grace, God kinda “nudges” us in the right direction. This is an ancient Catholic teaching (St. Augustine called it “gratia praeveniens” when debating the Pelagians; refer to the Second Synod of Orange), and it was dogmatically affirmed at Trent.

However, many protestant denominations (especially those of Anglican origin) also recognize and understand the idea of Prevenient Grace. Calvanists generally don’t care for the doctrine, but I think most other protestant denominations either accept it outright or would not object to it.

So if you asked most protestants, “hey, how do you explain how someone get motivated to become a protestant in the first place,” s/he could respond “the same way you explain how someone gets motivated to become a Catholic - by Prevenient Grace.”
[/quote]

This is the belief in my own Methodist tradition. John Wesley taught Prevenient Grace very clearly…

[quote=Zooey]This is the belief in my own Methodist tradition. John Wesley taught Prevenient Grace very clearly…
[/quote]

You get saved by coming home to the true Church which is the Catholic Church - the Deposit of Faith.
I’m 57 and was born and brought up a Methodist but God gave me grace and finally called me home and I converted to the Catholic Faith in the early 1990’s.

Thanks one and all for the replies. It was a curious question which I don’t remember happening upon the answer to in my Baptist days.

I did not know about the Wesleyan and Anglican views, so that has broadened my understanding a little.

I must say I like the previous post quite a bit, although I’m sure it must be taken a little less rigidly than it comes across in writing to be consistent with Church teaching. However, to resist the call that God gives you could be fatal…

God Bless :slight_smile:

I attended a very fundamentalist church for three years and I was told that faith comes from hearing scripture. Perhaps I am misunderstanding this particular pastor, but he seemed to believe that your salvation could only come through someone quoting scripture to you. His instructions for witnessing to people was to take your bible, open it up and read verses. That was one of the reasons why we were encouraged to memorize bible verses. This might help with others who believed in the bible but I often wondered how he responded to atheist or nonChristians who have no belief in the bible.

I never thought, even at that point that he was correct. Luckily, I had contact with other protestants who believed that a person could respond to God’s grace, so I know that this is not the belief of the majority of Protestants.

In my own life it was not scripture that decided me on becoming a Christian, but the example of a sweet woman who lived across the street from me. There was something good, kind, humble and loving about her.

Our Lord himself started His Church through His Apostles and clearly stated that those who do not believe will be condemned (in other words NOT saved). Since the Protestant Reformers chose to discard the key elements of the true Church of Christ such as the Church’s authority, the Sacraments etc, that clearly indicates that the Protestant denominations that followed are not following that which was insitituted from the start and are NOT true Churches of Christ, therefore it’s members cannot be saved. This is not the opinion of earthly people, this is from the words of Our Lord in Scripture; if you do not follow His teachings, you are condemned.

bhlincoln
www.protestanterrors.com

[quote=bhlincoln]Our Lord himself started His Church through His Apostles and clearly stated that those who do not believe will be condemned (in other words NOT saved). Since the Protestant Reformers chose to discard the key elements of the true Church of Christ such as the Church’s authority, the Sacraments etc, that clearly indicates that the Protestant denominations that followed are not following that which was insitituted from the start and are NOT true Churches of Christ, therefore it’s members cannot be saved. This is not the opinion of earthly people, this is from the words of Our Lord in Scripture; if you do not follow His teachings, you are condemned.

bhlincoln
www.protestanterrors.com
[/quote]

Your comments are funny really because by trying to be more Catholic than the Church you yourself are putting yourself outside the very Church you think you are defending. :eek:

I think you’d better read the CCC on this issue instead of using the Protestant method of personal interpretation of the Bible to form one’s own doctrines apart from Christ’s Church. :wink:

[quote=Della]Your comments are funny really because by trying to be more Catholic than the Church you yourself are putting yourself outside the very Church you think you are defending. :eek:

I think you’d better read the CCC on this issue instead of using the Protestant method of personal interpretation of the Bible to form one’s own doctrines apart from Christ’s Church. :wink:
[/quote]

No where in Scripture do we see Our Lord offering multiple interpretations or saying it is acceptable to follow multiple interpretations of the law He laid down…

So if Our Lord sets down the law on how we are to be saved, and someone takes it upon themselves to change that law to what suits them, are you saying this is acceptable to Our Lord and that the person doing this will still be saved??

BH

[quote=captaincoog]I have had a question on my mind for a little while, and I mentioned it at the end of another thread, but no-one saw it. :o I would like to resurrect it here and throw out the question again to see what response I get. I am looking mainly for a protestant reply, but anyone is welcome to have a go.

I only hope I can articulate it well. Here goes…

In Evangelical theology, a person “gets saved” by hearing/reading the Word and responding to it by faith. So far, so good, more or less. How is it then that they can understand and respond to the Word by faith, when at the time of hearing it they did not yet have the Holy Spirit in them?

Or to put it another way, one learns of Christ through the Bible alone, but before one believes, it takes some reading and study of scripture in order to “get saved”. Now the person is saved, they have the illumination of the Holy Spirit necessary to understand the Bible.

How did they ever get to first base, that is, the ability to believe and understand the scriptures, when in the process of getting there, their “natural mind was darkened, and could not discern the things of the Spirit?” (my paraphrase of 2 Cor 2:14).

Catholic theology explains this perfectly, by actual grace.

How does anyone from an Evangelical/Protestant view think this through?

Before reverting to the Catholic Church, I struggled with this, among many other beliefs I held to, in the Baptist denomination.

I will be interested to see the replies.

Thank you for taking the time :slight_smile:
[/quote]

You are saved by responding positively to the conviction of the Holy Spirit (through God grace) to repent from your sin and to submit to the lordship of Christ. Simultaneously, you are saved by accepting the redemptive work of Christ as the atonement of your sins. You must believe two things that you Jesus Christ work on the cross redeems your sins and that Jesus Christ is Lord, but of course, no one would be able to do this if it were not fo the grace of God.

Kendy

Actually, I suspect this would be the Protestant response. Rom 10: 4-17

4 For Christ is the end 2 of the law for the justification of everyone who has faith. 5 Moses writes about the righteousness that comes from (the) law, “The one who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will go up into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 or ‘Who will go down into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we preach), 9 for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11 For the scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? 15 And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring (the) good news!” 16 But not everyone has heeded the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?” 17 Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

How is it then that they can understand and respond to the Word by faith, when at the time of hearing it they did not yet have the Holy Spirit in them?

They would argue that, according to Paul’s formula, that there are those who are sent, those who are sent preach, those who preach cause people to believe, and someone who believes and has faith is justified.

Or to put it another way, one learns of Christ through the Bible alone, but before one believes, it takes some reading and study of scripture in order to “get saved”. Now the person is saved, they have the illumination of the Holy Spirit necessary to understand the Bible.

According to Paul, one does not learn of Christ from the Bible, but from the preaching of those who are sent, whose word is the word of Christ.

Hrm, I’m confusing myself now. Have fun.

[quote=bhlincoln]No where in Scripture do we see Our Lord offering multiple interpretations or saying it is acceptable to follow multiple interpretations of the law He laid down…

So if Our Lord sets down the law on how we are to be saved, and someone takes it upon themselves to change that law to what suits them, are you saying this is acceptable to Our Lord and that the person doing this will still be saved??

BH
[/quote]

This really belongs in another thread, so let’s do that. Okay? I’ll get it started if you want to respond.

[quote=captaincoog]In Evangelical theology, a person “gets saved” by hearing/reading the Word and responding to it by faith. So far, so good, more or less. How is it then that they can understand and respond to the Word by faith, when at the time of hearing it they did not yet have the Holy Spirit in them?
[/quote]

First of all one can get saved by reading Scripture, since the Scriptures contain the message of the cross. But Scripture itself states emphatically: "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). That’s not “Evangelical theology,” that’s Biblical (Divine) Revelation.

In Acts chapters ten and eleven it is recorded how the first Gentiles heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them and were saved. Peter was told by the Holy Spirit to go to the house of Cornelius (Acts 11:12) because they were told that he would SPEAK to them words by which they would “BE” saved; not hope to be saved; not one day be saved; not partially saved; not potentially saved; but “BE SAVED” (Acts 11:14). Nor were they told that Peter would baptize them so that they could be saved. But he would speak words to them by which they will be saved. They listened to his words concerning Christ and the cross, believed, were saved, and the Holy Spirit subsequently fell upon them just as He did on them on the Day of Pentecost, evidenced by their exercising the gift of tongues and exalting God (Acts 19:45; 11:15-16).

When the Philippian jailer ask the Apostle Paul, “what must I do to be saved?” Paul responded simply with, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Acts 16:31). Clearly that does not mean believe that He exists, but what He accomplished for them, eternally, on the cross.

And Jesus Himself said “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16).

I think the Scriptures clearly teach us that all men are capable of believing the Gospel message concerning Christ before being regenerated by the Holy Spirit (though Calvinists would beg to disagree). For this reason unbelievers die in their sins and must stand judgment (Jn 8:24; cf. Jn. 5:24).

According to God’s immutable Word, the exercise of simple faith in Christ and what He accomplished for them on the cross is how ALL people are saved. People can call themselves Catholic or Protestant, but being either one cannot save you, anymore than being baptized either one can save you. Salvation, according to God’s Word, is by grace through faith in the Person and work of His beloved Son - “that no one should boast.” Apart from such faith one dies in his sins and must stand judgment.

What about infants and very young children, you might ask? There’s just no revelation on this issue, however, based on divine revelation God is infinitely holy and just in all His ways and we can trust them to Him.

Blessings,
Bene

**
I think the Scriptures clearly teach us that all men are capable of believing the Gospel message concerning Christ before being regenerated by the Holy Spirit (though Calvinists would beg to disagree). For this reason unbelievers die in their sins and must stand judgment (Jn 8:24; cf. Jn. 5:24). **

Oh, just what we need. Evangelicals disagreeing with each other on on evangelical theology is in front of the catholics HEHE!. Not that I have not made a note of the catholic disagreements on this board so if you say anything, I have got my eyes on you :stuck_out_tongue: (J/K)

Ok, Bene. I was not aware that I am a calvinist, but I must say, I disagree with this. I heard a message at Moody once, and I don’t think they are calvinist over there for those of you who know Moody, but they would disagree too. Using the 'Faith comes by hearing passage," the minister preached that the hearing refered to in this passage refers to the hearing that happens through the Holy Spirit. Anyway, perhaps, you may want to consider this verse: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” – 1 Cor 12:3

Kendy

[quote=Kendy]**Anyway, perhaps, you may want to consider this verse: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” – 1 Cor 12:3

Kendy**Who would say *Jesus is Lord * (not just the words but for all that it means) but one who IS saved. And all who are saved have the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,
Bene
[/quote]

[quote=bene7]Who would say *Jesus is Lord * (not just the words but for all that it means) but one who IS saved. And all who are saved have the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,
Bene
[/quote]

But isn’t saying Jesus is Lord necessary to being saved? So, you couldn’t do this without the Spirit…even the first time. Am I misunderstanding you?

Kendy

[quote=Kendy]But isn’t saying Jesus is Lord necessary to being saved?
[/quote]

No. Confessing with the mouth Jesus as Lord is the result of a heart conversion through personal faith.

ROM 10:8-10 "But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart"-- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation…

The above verse is, in context, soteriological. The believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth (as a result of one’s inward belief) RESULT in salvation. So obviously one is not saved (regenerated) prior to belief or confession, but belief and confession (confession is based on a true inward belief) result in salvation. They are not the result of regeneration. Although it is true that after one is saved and regenerated he will certainly confess publicly that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Now don’t get this contextually confused with what Paul says to the Corinthians:

1COR. 12:3 “Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of
God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by
the Holy Spirit
.”

This verse, in context, is not soteriological. Its context is the exercising of true spiritual gifts. Those which are given by the Holy Spirit to believers. No one speaking “by” the Spirit (i.e, when exercising a spiritual gift) can say (by the Spirit of God) that Jesus is accursed. Nor can one say (i.e., when exercising a spiritual gift) “Jesus is Lord,” except BY the Holy Spirit. The context has nothing to do with salvation. It is instruction to the saved Corinthians, who just came out of pagan rituals, on spiritual discernment. Not on how one gets saved (as in Romans 10).

Those who try to (logically?) harmonize the Romans ten verse with the 1Cor. 12 verse must first rip them out of their original context.

Blessings,
Bene

[quote=bene7]No. Confessing with the mouth Jesus as Lord is the result of a heart conversion through personal faith.

ROM 10:8-10 "But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart"-- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation…”

The above verse is, in context, soteriological. The believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth (as a result of one’s inward belief) RESULT in salvation. So obviously one is not saved (regenerated) prior to belief or confession, but belief and confession (confession is based on a true inward belief) result in salvation. They are not the result of regeneration. Although it is true that after one is saved and regenerated he will certainly confess publicly that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Now don’t get this contextually confused with what Paul says to the Corinthians:

1COR. 12:3 “Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of
God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by
the Holy Spirit
.”

This verse, in context, is not soteriological. Its context is the exercising of true spiritual gifts. Those which are given by the Holy Spirit to believers. No one speaking “by” the Spirit (i.e, when exercising a spiritual gift) can say (by the Spirit of God) that Jesus is accursed. Nor can one say (i.e., when exercising a spiritual gift) “Jesus is Lord,” except BY the Holy Spirit. The context has nothing to do with salvation. It is instruction to the saved Corinthians, who just came out of pagan rituals, on spiritual discernment. Not on how one gets saved (as in Romans 10).

Those who try to (logically?) harmonize the Romans ten verse with the 1Cor. 12 verse must first rip them out of their original context.

Blessings,
Bene
[/quote]

Ok, I didn’t mean to imply that one is regenerated before the confession, but that the Holy Spirit acts to convict you of your sins and speaks of the Lorship of Christ so that you can confess that Jesus is Lord. While you are not saved until making this confession, you cannot bring yourself to make this confession without the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, we are blind to the truth of the gospel.

Kendy

[quote=Kendy]Ok, I didn’t mean to imply that one is regenerated before the confession, but that the Holy Spirit acts to convict you of your sins and speaks of the Lorship of Christ so that you can confess that Jesus is Lord. While you are not saved until making this confession, you cannot bring yourself to make this confession without the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, we are blind to the truth of the gospel.

Kendy
[/quote]

Agreed.

JOHN 16:8 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment;”

Blessings,
Bene

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.