Salvation outside the Church?


How difficult is it to obtain salvation outside the Catholic Church?


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

**“Outside the Church there is no salvation” **
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336
847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337
848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338

I would also suggest that you start your study at paragraph 830.


How difficult is it to obtain salvation outside the Catholic Church?

For the woman laboring with great difficulty in birth failure is not an option; delivering life becomes the only purpose and objective.

I am not sure that answering this question, were it even possible to give a quantitative response would be of benefit to anyone since a person asking it is already demonstrating a preformed opinion that its not worth going after if its too hard.

Matthew 13:44
Heaven compared to a Hidden Treasure
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Matthew 13:45-46
Heaven compared to A Costly Pearl
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Somethings are so want to be attained that nothing else should matter in life nor should severity of failure be contemplated least it become a distraction to determined possibility to make failure of attainment a certainty. :wink:

Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Mark 10:27
Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

Matthew 7:13
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.

Matthew 7:21
"Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Matt. 5:14 - Jesus says a city set on a hill cannot be hidden, and this is in reference to the Church. The Church is not an invisible, ethereal, atmospheric presence, but a single, visible and universal body through the Eucharist. The Church is an extension of the Incarnation.

Matt. 12:25; Mark 3:25; Luke 11:17 - Jesus says a kingdom divided against itself is laid waste and will not stand. This describes Protestantism and the many thousands of denominations that continue to multiply each year.

Matt. 16:18 - Jesus says, “I will build my ‘Church’ (not churches).” There is only one Church built upon one Rock with one teaching authority, not many different denominations, built upon various pastoral opinions and suggestions.

Matt. 16:19; 18:18 - Jesus gave the apostles binding and loosing authority. But this **authority **requires a visible Church because “binding and loosing” are visible acts. The Church cannot be invisible, or it cannot bind and loose.

John 10:16 - Jesus says there must only be one flock and one shepherd. This cannot mean many denominations and many pastors, all teaching different doctrines. Those outside the fold must be brought into the Church.

John 17:11,21,23 - Jesus prays that His followers may be perfectly one as He is one with the Father. Jesus’ oneness with the Father is perfect. It can never be less. Thus, the oneness Jesus prays for cannot mean the varied divisions of Christianity that have resulted since the Protestant reformation. There is perfect oneness only in the Catholic Church.

John 17:9-26 - Jesus’ prayer, of course, is perfectly effective, as evidenced by the miraculous unity of the Catholic Church during her 2,000 year history.

John 17:21 - Jesus states that the visible unity of the Church would be a sign that He was sent by God. This is an extremely important verse. Jesus tells us that the unity of the Church is what bears witness to Him and the reality of who He is and what He came to do for us. There is only one Church that is universally united, and that is the Catholic Church. Only the unity of the Catholic Church truly bears witness to the reality that Jesus Christ was sent by the Father.

Rom. 15:5 - Paul says that we as Christians must live in harmony with one another. But this can only happen if there is one Church with one body of faith. This can only happen by the charity of the Holy Spirit who dwells within the Church.

Rom. 16:17 - Paul warns us to avoid those who create dissensions and difficulties. This includes those who break away from the Church and create one denomination after another. We need to avoid their teaching, and bring them back into the one fold of Christ.

1 Cor. 1:10- Paul prays for no dissensions and disagreements among Christians, being of the same mind and the same judgment. How can Protestant pastors say that they are all of the same mind and the same judgment on matters of faith and morals?

Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23-32; Col. 1:18,24 - again, the Church does not mean “invisible” unity, because Paul called it the body (not the soul) of Christ. Bodies are visible, and souls are invisible.

Eph. 4:11-14 - God gives members of the Church various gifts in order to attain to the unity of the faith. This unity is only found in the Catholic Church.

Eph. 4:3-5 - we are of one body, one Spirit, one faith and one baptism. This requires doctrinal unity, not 30,000 different denominations.

Eph. 5:25 - the Church is the Bride of Christ. Jesus has only one Bride, not many.

Eph. 5:30; Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 6:15 - we, as Christians, are one visible body in Christ, not many bodies, many denominations.

Phil. 1:27 - Paul commands that we stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel.

Phil. 2:2 - Paul prays that Christians be of the same mind, of one accord. Yet there are 30,000 different "Protest"ant denominations?

Col. 1:18 - Christ is the Head of the one body, the Church. He is not the Head of many bodies or many sects.

1 Tim. 6:4 - Paul warns about those who seek controversy and disputes about words. There must be a universal authority to appeal to who can trace its authority back to Christ.

2 Tim. 2:14 - do not dispute about words which only ruin the hearers. Two-thousand years of doctrinal unity is a sign of Christ’s Church.

2 Tim. 4:3 - this is a warning on following our own desires and not the teachings of God. It is not a cafeteria where we pick and choose. We must humble ourselves and accept all of Christ’s teachings which He gives us through His Church.

Rev. 7:9 - the heavenly kingdom is filled with those from every nation and from all tribes, peoples and tongues. This is “catholic,” which means universal.

1 Peter 3:8 - Peter charges us to have unity of spirit. This is impossible unless there is a central teaching authority given to us by God.

Gen. 12:2-3 - since Abram God said all the families of the earth shall be blessed. This family unity is fulfilled only in the Catholic Church.

Dan. 7:14 - Daniel prophesies that all peoples, nations and languages shall serve His kingdom. Again, this catholicity is only found in the Catholic Church.

1 Cor. 14:33 - God cannot be the author of the Protestant confusion. Only the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church claims and proves to be Christ’s Church.

More here: The Church



How difficult is it to obtain salvation apart from the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ? Impossible!!

Peter inspired by the Holy Spirit stated the following truth;

let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12

Salvation is found in Christ Jesus alone, the Church is the body of Christ and not the Savior of sinners.

23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Eph 5:23-27



Absolutely right! **Christ is the Saviour **of the body, the Catholic Church, and I was not implying anything else. What my question implies is whether it is possible (if so, how difficult is it) to be saved when you are not of a member of Christ’s body, the Catholic Church.


The only way into the Lord Jesus’ Church (not the Roman Catholic Church) is through the Lord Jesus Himself. Therefore anyone who is in Christ Jesus is in His Church and they are saved.

Salvation is in the person of the Lord Jesus and everyone who is saved by Him is in His Church, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.



News flash, emerald. Jesus makes no distinction between Himself, and His Holy Bride. The two have become one.

Eph 1:22-23
22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.


That’s not exactly the entire teaching of the RCC; there is the possibility of salvation outside the RCC under certain circumstances, as in Church Militant’s post.


If you find yourself in heaven you will be Catholic and it will have come through the one, holy Catholic and apostolic church which Christ Himself initiated for this very reason.


That’s a great answer.


If the Catholic Church is not Lord Jesus’ Church then which is Lord Jesus’ Church?


The “Catholic Church” has many meanings. It’s the building in town where “Catholics” worship. It’s the congregation of people who worship together. It’s the dioceses, under the leadership of a Bishop. It’s all of the dioceses of a country, under the leadership of group of Bishops. It’s all the countries together under the leadership of the all the Bishops who are under the leadership of the Pope. In it’s broadest terms it is all of mankind since He came to save all of us. Protestant denominations, and their congregations, belong to the Catholic Church but in a partial or incomplete or imperfect way. As has been posted anyone who makes it to heaven, makes it there thru the Catholic Church, even if they were a Protestant. It is however more difficult since they do not hold the fullness of the Church that Jesus established. How difficult would depend on how far from the Sacraments the denomination and person has wandered. Some denominations have gone so far from the truth it’s difficult to call them Christian. I’d say a member of one of those denominations will have a very difficult time. Take any current issue, abortion, homosexuality, and see the teachings of the denomination, compare it to the teaching of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church teaches what it has always taught, it doesn’t change. Denominations teach what they “feel” is right. They put their morals above the Word of God and attempt to find Scripture to support their ideas. Often times they can find Scripture, taken out of context, to convince their congregations they are correct. Unfortunately they are taking their congregations away from the truth only found in the Catholic Church under the Bishops and Pope. Keep in mind whom Jesus promised would be led to all truth, it was the Apostles, the Bishops, the leadership of His Church. It was not every Christian, just the leadership of His Church. Protestant erroneously feel since they have the Holy Spirit they can’t be in error. Jesus never promises everyone who has the Holy Spirit would be led to truth, only the leadership of His Church. There is one Spirit but many gifts.


To get the whole story, go to:

Who belongs to the Catholic Church?
836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God. . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God’s grace to salvation."320


Well to answer your question directly, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE." Outside the Church there is no salvation. If someone is invincibly ignorant of the true faith then they can be saved. Provided they have no other mortal sins on their souls and have the virtue of faith. If they knew the truth they would believe it. Pius XII in Humani Generis warned against making the teaching “Outside the Church there is no Salvation” meaningless. There is a clear danger for non catholics. They certainly run the risk of going to hell for not being in the one true church.


Everyone who is born again of the Spirit of God is in the Lord Jesus’ Church. The Roman Catholic Church is a man made institution, the Lord Jesus’ Church is not a man made institution.



emeraldilse, what is your purpose in being here? It seems clear that you are not interested in learning about Catholicism.On the other hand, it does seem clear that you jump at the opportunity to pander your anti-Catholic rhetoric. CAF is not a venue created for you to post your detractions and misinformation. If you feel compelled to do this, then it would be appropriate to take elsewhere.

May God heal all of us from ignorance and hostility. :highprayer:


Then a man made institution gave you your bible and it profits you nothing.

Rather than ignoring every comment I make to you can you please quote scripture that tells you that the Catholic Church is a man made institution?

For the record Jesus himself started the Catholic Church when he made Peter head if it. It was the Catholics St. Mary and St. John who sat at the foot of the cross not Luther, not Calvin not Wycliffe not Jan Hus not John Smith not Joseph Smith not anyone but the descendants of the true Catholic Apostolic Church. None of these men who bring you teachings and traditions of man are Christ’s disciples - they are schismatics and heretics. None of the people who turned their back on Jesus’ most difficult teaching about eating His body and drinking His blood in John 6:66 are marked with salvation.

I know you Protestants would wish that John’s gospel and writings did not get into the bible since you clearly do not beleive him. Since we Catholics assembled the bible and you trusted us to get it right why would you now arrogantly try as student to teach the teacher? You need to listen John. John is not the friend of Jesus’ enemies and this is why Protestants are uncomfortable quoting John’s teachings because he places all who reject all of Jesus’ message in the same group of losers that turned their back against Jesus in John 6:66.

You need to mediate and contemplate what these verses mean to you personally.

John 15:16
You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

You need to pray to Jesus that you are chosen.

Luke 10:16
The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.

You are rejecting Christ’s only authorized Church leadership - therefore you are rejecting Christ and joining the crowd that only payed lip service to Jesus and turned their back on him in John 6:66.



To offer a different perspective from what I consider to be a reliable source.

Nelson’s Bible Dictionary states the following…


A local assembly of believers as well as the redeemed of all the ages who follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

In the four gospels of the New Testament, the term church is found only in Matt 16:18 and 18:17. This scarcity of usage in those books that report on the life and ministry of Jesus is perhaps best explained by the fact that the church as the body of Christ did not begin until the day of PENTECOST after the ASCENSION of Jesus (Acts 1:1-4).

That the church began on the day of Pentecost may be demonstrated in various ways: (1) Christ Himself declared the church to be yet future; (2) it was founded upon the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, and such an accomplished fact was not possible until Pentecost (Gal 3:23-25); (3) there could be no church until it was fully purchased with Christ’s blood (Eph 1:20).

Nature. The Greek word for church is ekklesia. This word is used 115 times in the New Testament, mostly in the Book of Acts and the writings of the apostle Paul and the general epistles. At least 92 times this word refers to a local congregation. The other references are to the church general, or all believers everywhere for all ages.

When the church general is implied, church refers to all who follow Christ, without respect to locality or time. The most general reference to the church occurs in Eph 1:22; 3:10-21; 5:23-32. Since the church general refers to all believers of all ages, it will not be complete until after the judgment; and the assembly of all the redeemed in one place will become a reality only after the return of Christ (Heb 12:23; Rev 21:1-22:21).

Because the church general will not become a tangible reality until after Christ’s return, the greatest emphasis in the New Testament is placed upon the idea of the local church. The local church is the visible operation of the church general in a given time and place.
(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers) emphasis mine

As noted the word translated church is *ekklesia *. This literally means “a calling out”. A calling out of what one may ask? Quite simple. Called out of a life of sin to serve the one and only being capable of making them a member of the Church.

That individual is defined by Scripture as not being an institution, or even a building but a person who Himself if the real Head of the Church.

Acts 4:11-12
Jesus is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.'
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved."

Col 1:18
18 And he (Christ) is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

When a person has repented of their sinful lifestyle and has made Jesus Christ the Lord of their life that person at that moment is baptized not by man but by the Spirit of God into the body of Christ and becomes a member of the universal church. (1 Cor 12:12-31) Their salvation is not dependant upon membership to a particular institution but their relationship with the Lord who saved them. Never does the New Testament teach submission to one congregation in one locality. Ie. Colasse was not over Phillipi. Phillipi was not over Rome. Rome was not over Ephesus and Ephesus was not over Laodecia (even though Ephesus was the last congregation to have a living Apostle, John). God is no respector of persons and does not esteem one congregation over or better than another and this is the example the Apostles and the New Testament church followed.

In the Biblical sense of the term and considering the 115 times it is used in the New Testament the simple answer to your question is no. There is no salvation outside of the New Testament church as defined by Holy Scripture. Paus says rather clearly in the book of Romans… Rom 8:9-10
9 You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but are in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

It is however the church’s responsibilty to bring the gospel message of salvation to those who are lost so they can become real members of the living body of Christ.

Regards in Christ,


You didn’t answer my question. I asked, “Which church is Lord Jesus’ Church if not the Catholic Church?”

If, as you say, the Catholic Church is man made, then what happended to Lord Jesus’ Church for 1500 years before Martin Luther came? It disappeared or what?


And why is it actually called the body of Christ in scripture the right? :thumbsup:

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