Protestants using 2 Corinthians 5:21 (Imputed Righteousness)

I often see Protestants (typically Calvinists / Reformed) quoting 2 Corinthians 5:21 to prove “the Imputed Righteousness of Christ,” and yet there appears to be no Catholic apologetics out there opposing this. Given that this is one of their absolute favorite verses, Catholics should be going at them hard with this.

THIS ARTICLE covers 2 Corinthians 5:21 and how a Catholic should respond to a Protestant.


The Title should say “Imputed Righteousness,” not “Imputated Righteousness”. :o

LOL, the first error in the Title was corrected…but now the Title says (Imputed Righteousness Righteousness) instead of (Imputed Righteousness). I wish there was a way to edit this. :shrug:

Those Protestants who use “impute” see righteousness as an external perspective not an internal reality. The snow covered dung hill kind of idea. Jesus condemned that view when He excoriated the scribes and Pharisees for being whitewashed tombs, outside they look clean but inside they are full of rot.Matthew 23:27 Jesus is looking for internal realities

or, perhaps you could accept the faith of non-catholic christians and stop picking theological fights? you know, that unity thing that jesus mentioned once or twice.

why do you have to consider us your opponents to be “gone at hard”? here i was thinking we were all on the same side.

He means to address a flawed interpretation that actually has very serious ramifications on how someone should conduct their life. Jesus never said to accept heresy.

call me a heretic all you want, i’m used to the usual anti-protestant rhetoric. i’d rather be insulted for my faith than trust in my own righteousness for salvation, god-given or not, rather than that of jesus.

all i’m saying is that catholic non-acceptance of us as fellow christians makes me sad. but then again i suppose the concept is nothing new; the judaisers couldn’t accept believers not in lockstep with their tradition and dogma, either.

honestly, you as a group should really consider dropping the “separated brethren” label. your opposition of us is anything but brotherly.

probably time i checked out of here. the hostility towards christians whose local congregations don’t have the word “catholic” on the sign just makes me hurt.

I understand what you’re saying, but if you step back and see the bigger picture you will see that you’re actually guilty of the very thing you’re accusing Catholics of being guilty of. Let me explain.

By choosing to be Protestant, what you’re saying is that Catholics are wrong on some important issues. This means you’re making a judgment against Catholics, effectively saying they are not as Christian as you are. This is the very ‘judgmental’ attitude that Catholics are (incorrectly) accused of having towards Protestants.

What Catholics are simply saying is that Christianity has specific teachings that you must accept to be Christian. It’s just like any other group/school/job/club you join in real life: there are rules you must follow to be a member, otherwise you’re not a member. If a Protestant is not following the official rules, they’re outside the Church.

The problem is, the Protestant is basically saying they don’t have to follow any rules or accept any specific teachings, but at that point the Protestant has made themselves the rule-makers and have effectively said Catholics are outside the Church for making rules.


Who ever said that Catholics “trust in their own righteousness”? Certainly not the Catholic Church!

all i’m saying is that catholic non-acceptance of us as fellow christians makes me sad.

Who says that the Catholic Church embraces a “non-acceptance of fellow Christians”? You’re Christian, all right, and the Catholic Church recognizes that fact. On the other hand, if the Church teaches something that’s different from what a Christian denomination teaches, are you suggesting that Catholics should just say, “hey, it’s all good – go ahead and believe something that we see as different from what Jesus had in mind”?

but then again i suppose the concept is nothing new; the judaisers couldn’t accept believers not in lockstep with their tradition and dogma, either.

And look what the Church did in that case – they tried to correct the error of the Judaizers… precisely what we’re doing in this case, too! :wink:

your opposition of us is anything but brotherly.

Hmm. How so? Because we’re attempting to teach what we believe the Truth of the Gospel is? That’s eminently Christian! :shrug:

the hostility towards christians whose local congregations don’t have the word “catholic” on the sign just makes me hurt.

I’m saddened that you feel that hostility is being leveled your way. Perhaps some have mistaken your assertions as hostility toward Catholicism, and have responded in kind. Perhaps some are lumping you in with Christians who are hostile toward Catholics. In any case, ‘separated brethren’ is exactly what we are; that being the case, who would leave their brother in error, when there’s the hope of reconciliation in the Truth?

The Catholic Church advocates the ecumenical slogan “Agree where you can, disagree where you must, all in the spirit of love” We have to overcome hostilities, or things that appear hostile, but are not. Any prejudices, or biases have to be eliminated, and a true spirit of openness must be maintained. There is a lot of history that brought about these hostilities, or apparent hostilities. There has to be a lot of patience and understanding on the part of those involved in dialogue. The Church’s motivation is truly love, salvation for everyone, and truth, and we have a lot of enemies both spiritual and physical that will try to disrupt these ecumenical efforts.

The quote you’re thinking of comes from St Augustine:
In Essentials, Unity;
in Non-Essentials, Liberty;
in all things, Charity

Thanks Catholic dude :thumbsup:

“supposedly” that quote often credited to Augustine, didn’t come from Augustine

I say supposedly, because I couldn’t refute what was said in that link, because I too tried to find that quote in Augustines’s writings and coundn’t.

What gets me interested in this, is when for example a quote is given in the following way

**In Essentials, Unity; in Non-Essentials, Liberty; in all things, Charity (**Augustine)

[size=2]That [/size]as we know is not a proper way to reference a quote. So thinking, if I was challenged on that quote or any quote, could I give a proper reference? I tried to find it in Augustine’s writings and couldn’t. To be fair to Augustine, maybe he said something like that, but those exact words, even taken individually, I couldn’t find the phraseology. But maybe someone has found it.

The Church in her efforts to fulfill the desires of Jesus Christ that there be one fold, and one shepherd implements ecumenical dialogue with our separated brothers. We hold differences in our beliefs, and these differences can be discussed openly always with the truth as the main objective. If we are united in the truth then barriers can be torn down that prevent our unity.

Agree where we can: main idea is to come to agreement on essentials of Faith eg, God. Jesus Christ which many Faiths can.

Disagree where we must: Committed on the essentials of our Faith, we find opposition to these essential, we must disagree, eg. We believe in the Trinity, some faiths do not,

All in the spirit of love; We acknowledge these differences even if we do not agree with them in the spirit of Christian charity

In essentials unity, truth unifies, falsehoods and misunderstandings separate
In non-essentials, liberty: eg. the freedom to express one’s worship in the manner of their culture, eg. In Africa drums are used in their liturgy, singing is used in others, and even dancing. The essential is worship of God, the manner is subjective to the worshiper

In all things Charity: A love for all humanity expressed in understanding, acceptance of the fact that people have their own convictions. This is how I see it, others may differ.

He probably didn’t use those terms, but it does sound like something he would have said. It’s kind of like how Augustine didn’t really say “Rome has spoken, the case is closed,” but he did indeed convey that very concept (using different words).

If I recall correctly, he (supposedly) said it in reference to a group of Christians who had fallen into error, and he was trying to show that some doctrinal issues are not Church-dividing issues.

As you know, Protestants try to use this quote to support denominationalism, but that’s not what the quote is saying at all. Protestantism doesn’t have “Essentials,” so there isn’t anything to rally around. Only Catholics do, in the form of Dogmas.


… i’m used to the usual anti-protestant rhetoric. i’d rather be insulted for my faith than trust in my own righteousness for salvation, god-given or not, rather than that of jesus.

As if some Protestants don’t insult Catholics for their faith. Isn’t being called the “Whore of Babylon” and the “anti-Christ” insulting to a Catholic?

all i’m saying is that catholic non-acceptance of us as fellow christians makes me sad. but then again i suppose the concept is nothing new; the judaisers couldn’t accept believers not in lockstep with their tradition and dogma, either.

Catholics do accept you as a fellow Christian. But I’ve heard some Protestants ask if Catholics are Christian. Do you accept Catholics as Christian?

honestly, you as a group should really consider dropping the “separated brethren” label. your opposition of us is anything but brotherly.

Is Protestant opposition to Catholicism brotherly?

probably time i checked out of here. the hostility towards christians whose local congregations don’t have the word “catholic” on the sign just makes me hurt.

As if Catholics don’t feel hurt when their faith is directly preached against in many non-Catholic pulpits. Have you seen the Jack Chick comic books? Read “The Great Controversy” by Ellen White?

You see, ordinary Catholics have somewhat belatedly picked up the challenges hurled at them by so many anti-Catholics, and that is a lot of what you are seeing here. What you see is only one side, the response to centuries of anti-Catholic polemic. Of course, if you are personally unaware of this long polemic, it may seem as it does to you, a one-sided attack.

And that is the whole point of these forums, to discuss theological ideas. Of course, it must be done in a charitable manner.

As a Protestant convert to Catholicism, I am embarrassed and frankly surprised (okay, not really surprised. unfortunately) by the attitudes and words being directed towards a Protestant Christian.

If I’d met some of the personalities on here when I began inquiring seriously into the Catholic Church, I would’ve remained a Protestant. As an ex-Protestant with your Catholic interests at heart, I strongly encourage you to reconsider your behavior.

**Wounds to unity
817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ’s Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:

Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271

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."272

819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 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."274 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,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

**Toward unity
820 "Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time."277 Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: "That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you have sent me."278 The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit.279

821 Certain things are required in order to respond adequately to this call:

  • a permanent renewal of the Church in greater fidelity to her vocation; such renewal is the driving-force of the movement toward unity;280

  • conversion of heart as the faithful “try to live holier lives according to the Gospel”;281 for it is the unfaithfulness of the members to Christ’s gift which causes divisions;

*- prayer in common, because “change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name 'spiritual ecumenism;”'282

  • fraternal knowledge of each other;283

  • ecumenical formation of the faithful and especially of priests;284

  • dialogue among theologians and meetings among Christians of the different churches and communities;285

  • collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to mankind.286 “Human service” is the idiomatic phrase.*

822 Concern for achieving unity "involves the whole Church, faithful and clergy alike."287 But we must realize “that this holy objective - the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ - transcends human powers and gifts.” That is why we place all our hope "in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the love of the Father for us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit."288

837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but ‘in body’ not ‘in heart.’"321

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist."324

We do. The fact that we don’t consider your theology to be in agreement with what the Apostles believed and taught does not mean your faith is not valid and affirmed. You stand in the tradition of Apollos, which is a very good reason for you to be here on CAF. :thumbsup:

We have received an apostolic command to “contend earnestly” for the faith.

" Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." (Jud 3).

To contend, ἐπαγωνίζεσθαι, is to earnestly struggle/fight. We are not trying to pick fights with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to content for the One Faith that was delivered once and for all to the Saints.

The faith was whole and entire before any of it was written in the New Testament. It was most certainly whole and entire before Luther and Calvin “discovered” imputed righteousness.

Unity is something that comes from adherence to the Truth.When we all embrace Truth, we will be unified.

It is wrong for us to stand by and allow others to embrace errors when we know the truth. The loving thing to do is to “earnestly contend” for the Truth.

No one is calling you a heretic, Lantheria. In fact, you do not qualify for the title. In order to be a heretic, one must have first known and accepted the Apostolic faith. This is not the case for most modern Protestants who have never been exposed to the One Faith handed down from the Apostles.

You appear to have been misinformed about the Catholic faith.

Clearly you have been misinformed about the Catholic faith.

While it is true that some of us may fail at times in our charity, none of us are at liberty to change the Teachings of the Church. We can’t just pick and choose what aspects of it are easy or fit well for us. It is one, seamless garment that cannot be unraveled.

Yes, you are clearly in great pain due to your misperceptions of what Catholics believe. I will add you to your prayer list, and pray that God will grant you the patience and desire to learn what Catholics really believe, rather than continuing to be in pain over falsehoods.

HI, I’m sorry that your feelings were hurt on this forum. Its open to anyone who is sincere about share their faith. I hope that you don’t “check out” of this forum. You are one of the few non-catholic that I read online with a sincere tone. I have joined forums that when I identify myself as a catholic. I instantly get bombarded with anti-catholic attitudes. So I understand where you are coming from. The only thing I can say is pray for the individual who offended you. Maybe he was hurt by a non-catholic saying bad things to him and now he wants so to show his enmity towards non-catholics.
God Bless.

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