Is Protestantism a "works based" Salvation Approach


#1

I’ve heard many Protestants, mainly Evangelical and Fundamentalist, claim erroneously that Catholicism is a “works-based faith”, even though the Catholic Church has never taught that we can earn our way to heaven.

But, in thinking about the way these Protestants approach their salvation, I’ve come to the opinion that they tend to be the ones that try to “do it on their own” so to speak.

First of all, Christ instituted the Sacrament of Confession and gave it to the Church. Christians feel they don’t need this Grace so they think they can do it on their own, even though it is a gift that Christ gave to His Church. Why would one reject a gift that Christ personally gave us?

Secondly, Christ instituted the Eucharist and gave it to His Church. Many Christians feel that they don’t need this wonderful Grace and feel that they can get this same “Eternal Life” if it is just between “me and Christ”, even though it is a gift that Christ gave to His Church.

I could go on - praying for the souls of the dead (a funeral without prayers for the soul of the deceased is one of the saddest events I’ve ever attended, IMO), asking the saints to pray for us, and numerous other Traditions that Christ instituted through His Bride, the Church - but the point is, Christ did all this, and in rejecting His Bride, many Christians choose to do it on their own.

Note: Before my brothers like Edwin (Contrarini) pipe in and accuse me of lumping all non-Catholic Christians into the same boat, I know that this is not the case. I’m basically pointing this to the Evangelical and Fundamentalism faiths that rely on Sola Scriptura, OSAS, Sola Faith, and all that.


#2

Yes, because faith without works is dead.

Evangelicals and Fundamentalists often describe “being saved” as requiring one or more of the following:

  1. Confessing “Christ is Lord”. This is a work of faith.
  2. Getting baptized. This is a work of faith.
  3. Having “a valid testimony.” Since one may only have this if one does 1, this is a work of faith.
  4. Saying the Sinner’s Prayer. This is a work of faith.

Moreover, they layer in obligations upon the faithful:

  1. Regular service attendance, often multiple Sunday services + Wednesday or Saturday services.

  2. Abstinence from alcohol.

  3. Abstinence from dancing.

  4. Listening to only approved music.

  5. Watching only approved movies and television programs.

  6. Abstinence from cussing.

  7. Joining “ministries”.

  8. Tithing.

  9. Attending approved schools/universities.

  10. Attending Bible studies/prayer groups.

  11. Not speaking “negativity.”

  12. Publicly confessing one’s sins (sometimes at retreats, sometimes at altar calls)/

  13. Speaking in tongues.

  14. Buying approved products.

  15. Engaging in missionary work.

If one does not do these, one’s salvation is suspect—“never really saved in the first place.”

All of these things are works of faith for that community.

Moreover, one can see how sacraments supposedly rejected as non-salvific get recreated in terminology acceptable for these communities’ particular tradtions. Thus, confessing to a priest is a no-no, confessing to your fellow attendees at a retreat is “Biblical”. Baptizing infants is a no-no, having “dedication ceremonies” is “Biblical”.

This is a function in my opinion of these communities practicing theology by subtraction early in their history only to discover that the sacraments are absolutely necessary to live the Christian life; therefore they reestablish practices that look quite a bit like the real sacraments.


#3

Teflon, that’s interesting. I always thought the draw to return to Catholic “idiosyncrasies” was a result of making ex-catholics comfortable. For instance, in our area, many churches are gravitating to a Lent-like season - “40 days of contemplation” is what they call it.


#4

This is what drives the “good works” of Protestantism - the evangelizing, the tithing, the missionary work, etc. They are seeking to do these things as evidence that they have saving faith that perseveres to the end.

This is the treadmill they are on - and then they condemn Catholics because they mistakenly believe we think we can earn our way into heaven! They attribute this false idea to Catholics because many of them are actually doing that very thing themselves!


#5

Interesting thread.

The reason I Highlighted the above is because it reminded me of Jesus teachings regarding doing things for show.
Regardless of what faith community we are in we are always faced with this need to follow Christ’s teaching and example. Some of the strongest teachings are the need to do for others. Love, Give, Forgive, Do unto others etc. Regardless of How we define our faith journey we must do these things.
The trick comes in how they are done. What drives the doing?
Works done for Show? = No Salvic Benefit
Works Done for Praise? = No Salvic Benefit
Works done to Make One Feel Good? = No Salvic Benefit
Works done from fear (of hell) = No Salvic Benefit
Works done for Obligation? = No Salvic Benefit
Works done for Pure Love of God? = Salvic Benefit

Unfortunately very few have come close to performing works purely for the Love of God. All our works are, to one degree or another, tainted by one or more of the “wrong reasons”.
I would dare say that, even in such works that we do perform only for the love of God, we tend to question our own motives and thus convict ourselves in one or the other impure motive.

Thus we are never fully free of some kind of taint in our works. This, of course, is where Christ’s “Perfect Sacrifice” comes in. It serves both as an example for how we should live, and as a perfection of all our efforts to Live and Love God as we should.

Regardless of the importance or name one applies to physical activities and character changes that must naturally occur in ones journey with Christ, it cannot be denied that these actions/changes must occur and be made manifest. To ourselves as proof of our own improvement and to others as witness to God’s healing Power.

Peace
James


#6

This is VERY Good :thumbsup:


#7

Can it be said that protestants believe in “Works Alone” don’t they believe that they are saved by the sacrifical “work” of Christ.

Works Alone!!!:smiley:


#8

If love is a conscious decision, and requires active participation, is it not a work? In deciding to love Jesus Christ, is not the act of accepting Him into your heart, accepting Him as personal Lord and Savior not also a work? Is not fanning out and spreading your version of the Gospel, especially to those who have already heard it, not a work? Is not a service which has singing, dancing, clapping and shouting also not a work? Especially if you break a sweat while so doing?


#9

Of course Protestantism is a works based salvation. How can anyone be an idle Protestant? They have to constantly work to remain Protestant and explore ever more bizarre arguments against Catholic teaching as we apologetics keep showing them their errors. It also takes a lot of perspiration regularly driving around to find the “next” bible-church pastor that it going to preach to them what they want to hear. And finally it takes a lot of work to pay for all the fund raisers necessary to build the new church roofs, buildings, stage and sound production equipment, and church day care centers and that are up and above the tithes necessary to hire the most entertaining and articulate preachers.

The ironic thing is there is not one shred of evidence that a single Protestant has ever been saved…
:smiley:
James


#10

Let’s pray they do. Let’s pray that they become so Catholic-like that the emptiness of simulated Sacraments will draw many home!

The story of Deacon Alex Jones is just such a story. He was a Pentecostal Evangelical pastor in Detroit. He became drawn to the Apostolic nature of the early church and slowly became, in his own words more “Apostolic”. Eventually, he and 50 (now 54 I believe) members of his congregation converted en masse to Catholicism. How mysterious the workings of the Holy Spirit!


#11

The reason prostestants work so hard is because we are so greatfull that God has chosen us for life, eternal life that is


#12

You also claim that tradition as your own?! If you listen to protestants, they will eventually claim they received everything from God directly 1500 year after God gave it to his Church.:smiley:


#13

Well, the postal service to northern Germany wasn’t so good for the first 1520 years of the Christian era…


#14

Do you know ithat most things in that list are BIBLICAL instructions? That is what Christians are supposed to be doing! If you aren’t doing these things then I have to ask why not?

Also, we don’t do these things to “earn” salvation we do these things because we are “saved” and we have a heart for the lost and we want to see people come to Christ, and we want to glorify Jesus by following Him.

We aren’t working to “earn” salvation at all.

PS We are “allowed” to dance and we are “allowed” to have fun! We just choose to not be like the world and listen to music that glorifies God. There are no such rules against dancing or listening to a particular kind of music etc etc and we are totally allowed to drink in moderation. Some choose to not drink as they feel that if they do it leads to drunkeness, which is something God doesn’t like obviously.


#15

Then you misunderstand the tone of the thread. These things ARE things Christians should do. But when Catholics feel that we need to do them, we are often told, “Why do you do these things, you can’t EARN your Salvation”. This is something that Catholics never teach in the first place.

Also, we don’t do these things to “earn” salvation we do these things because we are “saved” and we have a heart for the lost and we want to see people come to Christ, and we want to glorify Jesus by following Him.

Amen!!! You’re becoming more Catholic than you think!

We aren’t working to “earn” salvation at all.

Amen!!!

PS We are “allowed” to dance and we are “allowed” to have fun! We just choose to not be like the world and listen to music that glorifies God.

Well, “you” are not a spokesman for the Southern Evangelical fold, for the Baptists faiths certainly don’t do this, for it is sinful.

There are no such rules against dancing or listening to a particular kind of music etc etc and we are totally allowed to drink in moderation. Some choose to not drink as they feel that if they do it leads to drunkeness, which is something God doesn’t like obviously.

Again, I have numerous Christian faiths that will tell you that you are preaching heresy.


#16

Sorry but I’m definately not going back Catholic… don’t hold out much hope in that department.

I can only speak for my faith, it’s not heresy in my church to get up and dance.


#17

Not eating unclean beasts is a Biblical instruction as well. Do you eat pork?

If these things are Biblical, provide the specific verses for each.

Also, we don’t do these things to “earn” salvation we do these things because we are “saved” and we have a heart for the lost and we want to see people come to Christ, and we want to glorify Jesus by following Him.

You may follow him by coming to Mass and consuming his flesh and blood as he commands you to do in John 6.

If someone does none of the things in the list, are they saved?

We aren’t working to “earn” salvation at all.

See above question.

PS We are “allowed” to dance and we are “allowed” to have fun! We just choose to not be like the world and listen to music that glorifies God. There are no such rules against dancing or listening to a particular kind of music etc etc and we are totally allowed to drink in moderation. Some choose to not drink as they feel that if they do it leads to drunkeness, which is something God doesn’t like obviously.

It depends upon your community, as I noted. There is nothing wrong with those with a propensity toward drunkenness to avoid the near occasion of sin which alcohol is for them. When you say, “we just choose” you are referring to your tradition. Knowing which parts of your tradition are commanded by Christ and which are simply customs of your community is important. In the Pentecostal Church of God community I attended for a few years, the pastor routinely “corrected” Scripture references to wine in favor of that community’s strict prohibition of alcohol. This was clearly wrong; Scripture is not ours to modify on a whim. In this instance, he elevated his manmade tradition—temperance—over Scripture, thus distorting it and trying to make it sound as though God commanded abstinence from alcohol for any but the Nazarites.

This may not be the case in your community, but it is not an uncommon occurrence, if the testimony of our friends still in such communities is indicative.


#18

Yeah, I know. Lumping all Protestants “Scripture Only” beliefs into one doctrine is a lot like herding cats.

I’m sorry to hear that you’d never go back Catholic, though. I couldn’t imagine ever walking away from the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It boggles the mind.


#19

myreederlives,

You state:

Sorry but I’m definately not going back Catholic… QUOTE]

Not even if your Living Reedemer demands it of you? Not even if you are so moved by the Holy Spirit that the nature of His Church is revealed to you and you find that it is only found in a unified, worldwide body of believers that seek holiness, and teach only that which is apostolic in nature? Not even if you prove to yourself that the one Catholic Church today is the same church which Christ said He would build, lo those 2000+ years ago?

:shrug:


#20

I love the fact that you tell him “You are not a spokesman for the Southern Evangelical fold” (whatever that is), but then you appoint yourself as spokesmen for Baptists.

I don’t know where you’re getting your ideas from, but what myredeemerlives says is true.

We can dance, we can go to movies, we can drink in moderation, etc.

In fact, we just had a concert at our church last Friday night and there was much dancing.


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