Ive been trying to explein the Catholic concept of salvation (regarding the relationship of works and grace) to evangelicals, but I haven’t been able to get the point across very well. Maybe the problem is that I don’t really understand their perspective, since I converted from paganism rather than evangelical Christianity. For those of you who converted to Catholicism from “Bible Christian” beliefs, what helped you understand and accept the Catholic doctrine on salvation? Thanks a lot!
That is a very hard question to answer. The reason being there are so many protestant churches. Each denomination has it’s own plan of salvation. Some believe “once saved always saved” that means that once you accept Jesus, you can NEVER lose your salvation no matter what you do! Some have a belief that you need to work for your salvation. That you have to ask for forgiveness for every sin or if you die in sin straight to hell you go. Some are the Penecostal types that believe that God talks to them directly everyday and they follow the voices that come to them. I was of the more balanced Evangelical type.
[quote=BlindSheep]Ive been trying to explein the Catholic concept of salvation (regarding the relationship of works and grace) to evangelicals, but I haven’t been able to get the point across very well. Maybe the problem is that I don’t really understand their perspective, since I converted from paganism rather than evangelical Christianity. For those of you who converted to Catholicism from “Bible Christian” beliefs, what helped you understand and accept the Catholic doctrine on salvation? Thanks a lot!
What sort of pagaism did you convert from?
Hello dear BlindSheep,
with regards to your question, I will give you these two threads,
Both are on the relations between Faith and Works in Salvation. Both are rather incomplete “Transcrepts” if you will. I am working on the second one (which I am set to reply but, I wish to make this a good reply so it will proboly be late tonight or sometime tommorow before I reply to the gentleman). I hope this helps.
Church Militant is the local genius so if anyone knows what to say it would be him.
May I also suggest scripturecatholic.com/justification.html
I am looking at them now myself. I am sorry that they are so blasted long but, that is how it roles. I hope this helps.
Good luck on your endevors, My prayers will be with you.
Just came to my mind, Catholicism And Fundamentalism: The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians” Chapter 13 “Salvation” by our very own Karl Keating and Mr. David B. Currie Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic Chapter VII “Salvation”.
Hope this also helps.
Some have a belief that you need to work for your salvation. That you have to ask for forgiveness for every sin or if you die in sin straight to hell you go
Who might this be?
If this is supposed to be a summarization of catholic belief…it isn’t correct.
Here’s a link that might help.
What is important to do if you are talking with Protestants is get them to state what they believe. If you start defending the Catholic position without understanding their position then you can just go in circles when you ask them questions.
Always start with some definitions of understanding, or else you will waste a whole bunch of time. I have run into the problem in which if I have a question about faith alone with someone once saved always saved they argue with others on their forum, or they change part of their position. You really need to focus the thread and not allow it to stray.
Catholics can be summed up like this, we are saved only by God’s Grace by faith working through love.
You wont find just one text to sum it up as the Bible is to be read in context, not just prooftexted. The Catholic understanding takes the whole Bible and is harder to quote as you can’t just say “The New Testament” says, that is why it is easy to define a belief off of a couple verses.
A good illustration of this is Ephesians.
Many people argueing against Catholics will quote Ephesians 2:8-9 ignoring 10.
Here is a sample of what I have encountered,
NonCath. I believe that faith alone saves.
Me. So does that rule out any other thing we do such as love?
NonCath. No Love will naturally expressed once we have faith.
Me. Is it your understanding that if you have faith then you will love., What if you dont love?
NonCath. Yes, if you don’t love then you were never saved to begin with.
Me. So is it faith alone or faith with love?
You can work from there unless they deny it and then you just keep going in circles.
Foundational for me was the initial acceptance of the Catholic doctrine of authority (Scripture/Tradition/Magisterium), as opposed to the Protestant assumption of Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”). Once one embraces Catholic authority, he’s obliged to affirm all that the Church teaches, including the Catholic teaching on salvation.
The best popular-level book on the subject is probably The Salvation Controversy by James Akin, available for sale at catholic.com.
Hope this is helpful,
[quote=Lorarose]Who might this be?
If this is supposed to be a summarization of catholic belief…it isn’t correct.
It’s not about Catholic belief. The topic was about Protestant beliefs. The belief stated was of The Church Of Christ (non-instumental type) They also believe that the use of musical instruments in the church is a sin!
I’m a Baptist who wishes to be Catholic. I was OSAS, Sola Fide, and the rest. This is what helped me.
Sola Fide isn’t really claimed in scripture. James 2 flat out rejects it. Being a “Bible Christian” I had to follow the scripture.
I realized how close the Protestant/ Catholic concepts of Salvation are. I believed that true faith always included love, Catholics believed that faith was not enough to save without love. Seems almost redundant. Once I realized that we were simply defining many of our terms differently, the transition became a lot easier.
Above all, I saw Christ in the Catholic salvation. **Christ alone ** and grace alone. Focusing on works will not get you anywhere. Always make Jesus the emphasis. The Christocentric nature of the Church stunned me.
Beat them to the chase and quote Ephesians 2:8-10 before they do. This is the first verse in their arsenal, and showing that you not only know it but believe it will gain some respect for you and the Church; it certainly helped me.
Hope this helps.
[quote=BlindSheep]Ive been trying to explein the Catholic concept of salvation (regarding the relationship of works and grace) to evangelicals, but I haven’t been able to get the point across very well. Maybe the problem is that I don’t really understand their perspective.
Before I do any apologetics, I have them explain their point of view and how it relates to the bible.
You have to know as much about what they believe, before you can be really affective.
Have them define it, write it down… whatever… Have them explain it rationally why they believe that way and how it relates to sacred scripture.
Have them answer most of the questions, and then explain the Catholic view in detail.
I have a friend who is evangelical, and he knows scripture… which most protestants do… I give them props for that, but having them explain it and relating it across all scripture… they will soon find out they doctrine doesn’t make sense.
Lay scripture side by side and make it come in communion with each other.
However, usually what you will run into is the protestant telling you that you took it out of context.
I WOULD TOUCH SOLA SCRIPTURA FIRST, before any doctrines. Covering specific doctrines aftering covering sola scriptura will be a clean up operation.
Good point… I would follow up directly with:
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good WORKS, which God prepared beforehand, that we SHOULD walk in them.”
Matthew 7:21 tells us that not everyone who calls, “Lord, Lord” shall enter Heaven, but he who DOES the will of the Father.
Well, if the Father created us for good works, which He prepared for us beforehand that we should walk in them, then isn’t it the will of the Father that we do these good works? And, if we don’t, how can we enter Heaven if we don’t do the will of the Father?
As good as Matthew 7:21 is, I would suggest not quoting it till later. There are ways around this verse, and it will only feed the controversy. Most Protestants think that Catholics believe in works salvation through Mary. Prove them wrong. Focus on Grace through Christ.
[quote=trumpet152]As good as Matthew 7:21 is, I would suggest not quoting it till later. There are ways around this verse, and it will only feed the controversy. Most Protestants think that Catholics believe in works salvation through Mary. Prove them wrong. Focus on Grace through Christ.
There are different strategies to use, and it very well might be best to leave it alone… However, for them to understand what “works” actually means, they need to understand what works is not.
If they already have the thought that we believe in a works only salvation, then they are more uneducated than I thought.
My strategy if a protestant believes in faith alone, is to immediatly bring them to the place in the bible where Faith Alone has a NOT BY in front of it.
James 2:24 “You see that a man is justified by WORKS, and not by faith alone.”
The only place in the whole Bible where the words “faith” and “alone” appear together, and it is to say NOT by “faith alone.” Who goes by what the Bible says and who doesn’t? Meanwhile again saying Catholics believe in God’s Grace, but we must respond by Faith and works.
If Noah had Faith and didn’t have obedience in doing a work… YOu think he would have built his arc?
POint being is have scripture side by side and have it come into communion, is the only way.
Unless you’re talking to a Reformed Christian, there probably won’t be too much actually separating the two of you.
Your friend may say he/she believes in “faith alone”, but when probed will redefine ‘faith’ as to entail good works as a necessity.
When we peel back the veneer of different terminologies we’ll see that there was no substantial disagreement. Take them thru this process and allow them to see this.
The only real point of disagreement that you are likely to encounter is once-saved-always-saved. This can be quickly answered with a few good scriptures (I’ve found Hb 6:4-6 & 2 Pt 2:20 to be most helpful). Then point out how much it makes faith a subjective matter–how do we know if anyone’s a Christian? We all know people who once seemed like stalwart believers & later rejected it all outright. For as any of my seemingly stalwart Christian mates could fall away (thus proving their lack of faith from the start), how do I know if any of them are really fair-dinkum*?
(Fair-dinkum: an Australian term that means ‘genuine’, ‘bona-fide’.)