[quote=JGC]“Are you saved?” asks the Fundamentalist. The Catholic should reply: “As the
Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5-8), but I’m also being
saved (1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be
saved (Rom. 5:9-10, 1 Cor. 3:12-15).” “I am redeemed,” answers the Catholic,
“and like the Apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling
(Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2,
2 Tim. 2:11-13)–but not with a false “absolute” assurance about my own
ability to persevere (2 Cor. 13:5). And I do all this as the Catholic Church has
taught, unchanged, from the time of Christ.”
Yes, I agree that this is a good quote, and worth sharing with our evangelical/fundamentalist friends.
But when they ask us, “Are you saved?” more often than not they are asking us whether we have a living, vital, and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Is He more than just a concept to us, more than just an historical example? Is He in fact our living and loving Lord and Savior? How do we express our relationship with Him? Is He an intimate Friend, or a passing acquaintance? These are very valid questions, and our answer to them might be a little more personal than the above quote would indicate. Catholics might be unaccustomed to verbalizing the answers to these questions, but as one who grew up in an evangelical Protestant home (and who still lives in the Bible Belt), this is really what “enquiring minds want to know!”
As Catholics, we should allow ourselves to be challenged by the question, not dismiss it out of hand. We should be more comfortable in “giving a reason for the hope that is in us, with gentleness and respect.” We should be able to openly talk about how we experience the presence of Christ in our lives through prayer, through Scripture, and especially through the Sacraments (most notably the Holy Eucharist). In doing so, we will convince our evangelical friends that our faith in Jesus is real and heart-felt.