What’s really interesting in the soteriology you present here is that it’s really close to what the Catholic Church teaches!!!
Yes, and no. I’m following you, but then you seem to go off the rails. I get why you’d call the good works of a non-believer “meaningless good stuff”, but why would you equate that with “a lifelong church member’s good deeds in the church and in the world”? Why would you characterize his good works as works “apart from faith”? That doesn’t make any sense… unless you’re simply attempting to make the case that works mean nothing. After all, you’re going all ‘apples and oranges’ with your comparison here…
Again, you seem to be moving the goal posts. I would completely agree with you if you had said “just as ‘only believing’ cannot atone for sin, neither can ‘only doing good deeds’ atone for sin.”
Yet, that’s not what you wrote, and in doing so, you weaken your argument.
Fair enough, except that I’d quibble that you’ve got too many unScriptural ‘alones’ in that sentence.
Yep, Catholics believe that, too.
Right. Our good works are merited by Christ, whose grace operating in our hearts allows us to do these good works. However, here’s the place where Catholic theology diverges from yours: Catholics believe that Jesus shares the merit due to Him from our good works with us. Therefore, good works do figure into the equation. (After all, if not, then you’d be saying that the grace Christ gives which enables good works, is sterile – it is of no effect. That dog just don’t hunt.) Good works do merit salvation – but only inasmuch as Christ shares that merit with us. It’s still “all grace” – that is, “all gift” – but there is giftedness in works motivated by faith in Christ, too.
Again, you’re moving the goalposts. “Good works alone do not earn or cause or produce or merit salvation”? Absolutely. Once you remove the ‘alone’ from the statement, though, you’re saying something completely different – and something that Scripture doesn’t say, either!