The purpose of this post is to show the scriptural basis of the statement “Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation”!
Since the Protestant reformation, we have had two categories of Christian believers – Catholic and non-Catholic (Protestant). In Mark 16:16, our Lord tells us: “whoever believes, and is baptized, will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned”. In this statement there is a hidden question – “What exactly are we to believe”? This verse does not say. However, if we go to the end of Matthew’s gospel our Lord does tell us that we are to believe everything - everything He told the Apostles. “…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:18-20).
If the apostles were commanded to teach us everything, then it is reasonable to expect that we are to believe everything they proclaim to us, Christ commissioned the apostles to teach everything, and He made it clear that we are to listen to them. Christ said “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you, rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me” (Luke 10:16).
From the foregoing discussion we see that to be saved we must believe everything that Christ taught. Recall the second half of our lord’s statement from Mark 16:16. “…but whoever does not believe will be condemned”. Looking at the things Protestants do not believe (or incorrectly believe). They do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (John 6: 40-59; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29), they do not believe in five of the seven sacraments that Christ instituted, including confession of sins - John 20:19-23, and 2 Corinthians 5:18-12. They wrongly believe in private interpretation of scripture, which the Bible condemns (2 Peter 1:20, and 3:16). They do not believe in Purgatory, etc. They may claim to be believers, in reality they are not. So what will be the fate of these non-believing “believers”? Objectively speaking, they will not be saved!
Notice I said objectively speaking. In the end, only God can know what a person understands. The point I am making is why take a chance on a man-made church, a man-made system of theology that for the last 500 years has produced one error upon another, an accumulation of hundreds of errors that has splintered into thousands of Protestant churches (see attached chart by Time-Life Magazine), teaching ideas that were never taught by the early church, or the apostles. For 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has always taught the same unchanging truths of Christ, from the time of the apostles till today - free from error as Christ promised - “And know that I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Also see Matthew 16:18.
If we are to be saved, we must accept all of Christ’s teachings, not just the ones we like. We cannot be cafeteria Christians – picking and choosing what we will believe or not believe. We cannot be Burger King Christians – having it our way. The last thing we should want to do, is leave this life singing “I Did It My Way”.