Scripture on Salvation and the Eucharist

I’m talking with a protestant friend of mine and I wish that he truly hears me out, but I want to make sure that I am saying the right things. Please help me out and see if I can make my case for Catholic teaching stronger through Scripture.

He truly believes that works take away from grace. I’ve always said first by Grace are we saved, but that faith AND works are necessary for salvation (our way of responding to Grace), but no matter how many times I refer to James, he says I take everything out of context. I particularly quote the “You see a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” He says you do works because you have a true faith therefore you only need faith, but I respond that if all you needed was “true faith” why does James divide the two at the end of chapter 2? I also quote 1 Corinthians 13:3 for St. Paul compares faith, hope, and love…if the a “true faith only” leads to everything else being correct…why did St. Paul then say love was the most important (a work)? Is this correct?

He also denies the Eucharist because we Catholics “re-sacrifice” the Lord when Hebrews talks about one sacrifice. I tell him he is correct about one sacrifice, but that Catholics don’t believe in a re-sacrifice, but a presentation of the sacrifice that is eternal and transcends through time. He argues that the sacrifice does not transcend through time, but I didn’t know how to defend this teaching in Scripture. I only quoted Malachi 1:11 to defend it, but of course my “interpretation was all wrong.” I quoted 1 Corinthians 11:29 and John 6 to further prove that it is not a symbol, but the Real Presence, yet he says verse 11:26 of 1 Corinthians says you simply proclaim and that 11:29 means you aren’t proclaiming, therefore just not believing. Does that even make any sense?

To be honest I think he is the one taking everything out of context and instead ignoring what I say. I don’t plan on talking to him much anymore since he disregards everything I tell him. I decided to stop wasting my time and instead spend that time evangelizing to someone else. But from this I would just like to know what I can say to make my case stronger and especially for what I wasn’t able to defend from Scripture…I know you don’t have to prove everything in the bible but I just want to show how much deeper Catholicism is in Scripture than these “bible christians.” Thank you

Hey rben,

Generally speaking, it is my observation that all Christians believe in the importance of both faith and works, it’s just that some are not willing to admit it. What the disagreement is actually about is the exact nature of the works that are supposed to be done. Ask your Protestant friend how a person is saved, and he will inevitably respond by describing certain actions that the person is to perform. For example, “Trust in the promises of the gospel”, “Accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior”, “Confess that Jesus is Lord,” etc. Well, these are actions, and are also actions that a person is free to do or not do. I can either trust in the Gospel or not, I can either confess that Jesus is Lord or not, etc. So according to such beliefs about salvation, these are simply the “works” that are undertaken in order to receive the salvation offered by Jesus. If your Protestant friend still dismisses the importance of works then the challenge is for him to respond to the question, “How is a person saved?” without stating something that the person is expected to do.

He also denies the Eucharist because we Catholics “re-sacrifice” the Lord when Hebrews talks about one sacrifice. I tell him he is correct about one sacrifice, but that Catholics don’t believe in a re-sacrifice, but a presentation of the sacrifice that is eternal and transcends through time. He argues that the sacrifice does not transcend through time, but I didn’t know how to defend this teaching in Scripture.

As you know, the Eucharist is the sacrifice of calvary, and is a divine event, and therefore eternal. Something that is eternal obviously transcends time. Does your friend actually believe that the sacrifice of Christ does not transcend time? If it does not transcend time then it can’t offer remission for the sins of all humanity. It would only provide salvation for those who died up until that moment when Jesus died on the cross. In other words, the Good Thief would be the last person covered. That’s bad news for those of us living today!

And now for two final thoughts concerning your discussion with your friend.

  1. It seems like he was trying to drag you on to what I call the “Sola Scriptura playing field.” In other words, he was requiring you to prove the validity of Catholic doctrine using only the Bible. When I defend a Catholic doctrine, I start off by saying that because it is a doctrine it is given to us by God and therefore does not have to be proven by Scripture. I will happily give scriptural evidence to back up Catholic doctrine (as you did, and I think you gave him some good biblical citations) but it has to be understood that the validity of Catholic doctrine does not have to be proven with the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

  2. Your friend seems to believe that he is his own Magisterium, empowered by God to tell other people what is and is not a valid interpretation of Scripture. After all, you gave him Bible quotes along with Catholic interpretations, to which he replied that your “interpretation was all wrong.” When someone says that to me, I ask them, “With what authority have you been given by God to make such a statement? You act as if your personal interpretation of Scripture is the one that all Christians are to follow, or else their interpretations are wrong.” Protestants deny that the pope is infallible, and yet many act as if they, themselves, are infallible. In order for a Protestant to flat out tell people that a particular interpretation is wrong, the only honest way they can back this up is to show that the interpretation is a clear contradiction of something else taught in the Bible. So, yes, in this sense he can honestly tell someone that their interpretation “is wrong” without having to claim any special authority. But no Catholic doctrine clearly contradicts the Bible, but only contradicts some peoples’ personal interpretation of the Bible. Such people just seem to act as if their personal interpretation of Scripture is “God’s own.”

Couple of things:

First, it sounds like Catholic roulette. As soon as you touch on one topic, it’s off to another! You may very well be right that he not going to listen and take things out of context. In cases like that, it is important to remember that you cannot change him. Only the holy spirit can do that.

Second, it sounds like you are hitting the right parts of the right arguments. Try to focus on one item and really drill it. You could talk for a week just on the Eucharist. I like to hit the Church Fathers for these, particularly the Eucharist.

people who are that stubborn or pride filled would have to witness a eucharistic miracle to change their way of thinking. even some of his followers at the time had a hard time accepting this teaching.

For a recent discussion on this forum that covers the faith alone issue go here:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=459790

For part of the answer to your friends objections to the Eucharist go here:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=6869883#post6869883

Thank you all for your input! Yes, it has very much turned into Catholic Roulette. I did my best, but I guess if he wishes to blindly reject everything I say then I should just move my case somewhere else and pray for him. Thanks again

Ask a Protestant this: Is Christ our eternal High Priest?
Of course he/she will answer yes.
Then ask: “How can there be (or continue to be … “eternally”) a High Priest without any sacrifice? How can there be a true/eternal High Priest without a true/eternal sacrifice?”
It’s intriguing how some Protestants deny the re-presentation of Christ’s eternal sacrifice in the Eucharist, but then have “altar calls” in their own assemblies. “Altar?” What altar? Where’s the sacrifice?

From what you’ve written, I reckon you’ve exhausted your (scriptural) arguments for your case with this particular person, given that you’ve used the best arguments (at least that I know of) to no avail. You’re right: it’s time to proclaim the Good News to someone else, while praying for those who are so hard of hearing.

God bless.

Francis

P.S. Did you ever notice that those who rejected Jesus’ teaching about the Eucharist (the very source, centre and summit of authentic Christian faith) and “no longer followed him” are the subject of John 6:66! Yikes! :o

I’m really sorry you are dealing with this, but it sounds like you handled it very well. From what you said I don’t think your friend really wants to have an honest debate but was trying to indoctrinate you with his beliefs. One thing that I think is worth pointing out is that our translation of the Bible is older. The protestant versions were revised to fit protestant theology which is why books are missing from their Bibles. Look up St. Jerome!

Good for you in asserting the faith through Scripture!

It is indefensible, from a Scriptural standpoint, to say that works take away from Grace. We are called to good works in so many places in Scripture (Eph 2:10, 4:12, Lk 12:33, Ac 9:36, Jn 5:29, Rom 2:7, Rom 12:21, Rom 13:3-4, 2 Cor 9:8, Gal 6:9-10, Phil 4:8, Col 1:10, 1 Th 5:15, 2 Th 3:13, 1 Tim 2:10, 1 Tim 6:18, 2 Tim 2:21, Ti 2:7, Ti 3;4, He 10:24, He 13:16, 1 Pt 3:11, etc.) that we cannot think they are some form of “automatic” result of having faith.

Faith is fed by works
Works increase one in faith
Faith increases the works that one does as a response
Works are evidence of faith
Works are an appeal to intrinsic morality for the purpose of witness and ministry

Which leads us to James. Here’s the thing with James - James makes no distinction between faith and works. He considers one inseparable from the other. It is correct to say that you have works because you have faith, but it is incomplete to leave it at that.

First, we acknowledge that all things - faith or works - derive from God directly, ie they are received by Grace (Ja 1:17). Works do not intrinsically follow from faith, at least in James’ view, as he argues that one who is not a “doer” of the Word but just a “hearer” is like one who forgets who he really is (Ja 1:23-25). Now we can bicker about whether it’s a “true” faith or not, but in a practical sense no one can judge this because we cannot perceive the internal relationship that any other person has with the Lord. Instead, we can relate this passage of James to the parable of the seeds and acknowledge that faith does not hold in all who receive it.

To head off any confusion on this, let me be clear that James does not support a Calvinist notion that the elect - those who are predestined to faith - are also predestined to do good works. James declares faith without works (“being by itself”) to be dead (Ja 2:17, 26). There’s no room here for a discussion of “true faith” - James distinguishes between a dead faith (like the man who looks in a mirror and forgets who he is as soon as he looks away) and a living faith (ie, the “perfected faith” of Abraham as in Ja 2:22).

I suppose one good approach would be to ask him to define a “true faith” by the standard of Scripture - and pay attention where he looks. There is constantly a balance sought in the epistles between faith and action. Never are these severed from Grace, but the audience changes and so the focus of the Gospel changes.

Take one example: the Jews at Rome had the idea of faith down very well but clung to the Law. Paul wrote at length in Romans refuting the need to hold to the Mosaic Law, though at no time did he dismiss the necessity of doing good works. Where he condemns following the strictures of the Law (Rom 3:20), he first exhorts “perseverence in doing good” (Rom 2:7,10) and he also upholds the substance of the Law (Rom 13:9-10). So while we do not need to ritually clean our cups, we must “clothe ourselves with Christ” and have clean hearts (Rom 13:13-14). But his focus was on faith apart from the Mosaic Law since the Law had been fulfilled by Jesus Christ, not on ending the substance of the Law itself, since the Law of Moses is how Israel had lived its faith. The focus on works is not as necessary because it’s not an issue that needs to be discussed.

Contrast Romans to the Epistle to Titus regards the Cretans, who were not a Jewish community but rather a community in dissension with many rogue ideas going about. Here you did not have a community used to the discipline of the Mosaic Law, and so commands about sexual purity, avoiding licentiousness and ceasing debauchery are necessary.

By the time we get to James’ epistle, the picture is very different. James seems to very much be trying to tie works back to faith, perhaps even because someone much like your friend is arguing that only a “true faith” is necessary. I hear echoes of this when James writes “Show me your faith without works”.

There are some protestants that will come so close to actually denying God to keep from admitting that the Catholic Church is right on any point. Rben, this seems to be one of them. Everything you’ve pointed out has been good and sound so stand on that. Don’t try and add or subtract anything more because that one is trying to wear you down until you can’t come up with answers and therefore you can’t be right. If this one doesn’t want to listen to sound theology then just “shake off the dust from your feet” (MK 6:11).

"To be honest I think he is the one taking everything out of context and instead ignoring what I say. I don’t plan on talking to him much anymore since he disregards everything I tell him. I decided to stop wasting my time and instead spend that time evangelizing to someone else. "

rben, I understand your frustration, and you have used Scripture very accurately. I know from personal experience that distrust of catholic teaching can go very deep in some devout protestant Christians. It may take years for your respectful explanations to bear visible fruit. Ongoing acquaintance and respectful conversations with practising Catholics may be the most important witness for him. By all means engage others in dialogue about the Faith but do not “drop him” because he disagrees with you. God bless you.

Thank you all for all your posts. I read every single one of them and feel I at least got something out of talking to a “wall” this past week. I haven’t been approached, but I will continue to do my best to defend the Church scripturally when the opportunity arises:thumbsup:

I think it is very important to understand first what Protestants mean when they say we are saved by grace.

When they talk of grace - they refer to the legal declaration that God makes that we are justified.

Because they believe that justification is forensic, then they can conclude that works take away from grace.

But this notion of forensic justification is an invention of the reformers. The Church from its birth has never believe in forensic justification. Forensic justification means that God says you are clean but deep inside you are still the same putrid, foul smelling creature as before.

On the other hand, the Catholic understanding believes that grace has this nature changing effect on the soul. When God declares us just, it is because He has completed this process of sanctification. We are declared clean because we are clean, not merely covered up with the justice of Christ. In short, in the Catholic understanding to be saved by grace means that it is a free gift but that this gift effects a change in the soul such that are “Christified”. And this Christification involves "works’ because this transformation is a transformation in to love and love IS WORK.

So I think the first thing you should ask your friend is "what does he think it means to be saved by grace?"

And then you can slowly wheel him in. It is important to keep asking questions. Some of them do not really have well a thought out concept of what grace, salvation mean and the nature of the Fall.

=fxcc;6895183
Contradicting these pointed facts is the Father of Protestantism who wrote:
“I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word ‘alone’ is not in the Latin or the Greek text …” Martin Luther (Stoddard J. Rebuilding a Lost Faith. 1922, pp. 101-102)

You’re right, Mr Luther, the word ‘alone’ was never in the Bible and never will be, for very good reasons as explained above. Your doctrine is, and always will remain, a rank falsification of the true faith, based on your “will” versus God’s “Word”!

You need to finish the thought.
“I know very well that in Romans 3 the word solum is not in the Greek or Latin text — the papists did not have to teach me that. It is fact that the letters s-o-l-a are not there. And these blockheads stare at them like cows at a new gate, while at the same time they do not recognize that it conveys the sense of the text – if the translation is to be clear and vigorous [klar und gewaltiglich], it belongs there. I wanted to speak German, not Latin or Greek, since it was German I had set about to speak in the translation.”
Luther here makes clear without (well, with less of) the sarcasm and hyperbole of the quote you present why, in his translation, “allein” is included in Romans 3:28. In English, where it isn’t needed in translation, “alone” is not in any translation that I know of.
bible.cc/romans/3-28.htm

Jon

=benedictus2;6897987]
I think it is very important to understand first what Protestants mean when they say we are saved by grace.

When they talk of grace - they refer to the legal declaration that God makes that we are justified.

Because they believe that justification is forensic, then they can conclude that works take away from grace.

No, they can’t, Cory. You need to be specific when referring to “Protestants”. Scripture is clear regarding the requirement, by the command of Christ, that we do good works.

[quote]2. We reject and condemn as offensive and detrimental to Christian discipline the bare expression, when it is said: Good works are injurious to salvation.

18] For especially in these last times it is no less needful to admonish men to Christian discipline [to the way of living aright and godly] and good works, and remind them how necessary it is that they exercise themselves in good works as a declaration of their faith and gratitude to God, than that the works be not mingled in the article of justification; because men may be damned by an Epicurean delusion concerning faith, as well as by papistic and Pharisaic confidence in their own works and merits.

[bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#IV. Good Works.](“http://www.bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#IV. Good Works.”)

Originally Posted by rben20
I’m talking with a protestant friend of mine and I wish that he truly hears me out, but I want to make sure that I am saying the right things. Please help me out and see if I can make my case for Catholic teaching stronger through Scripture.

rben,
The Catholic posters here can help you much more from a Catholic perspective than I can. I just wanted to make the point that it is important to know what kind of “Protestant” your friend is. If he/she is of a Calvinist persuasion, your approach will have to be different than if Lutheran.
If Lutheran, you need only to show your friend the Lutheran Confessions which I quoted and referenced above.

My only other point would be that your friend needs to be sure what he/she is disagreeing with. For example, by saying Catholics of “resacrifice”, it is clear your friend needs to hear what Catholics actually believe.

Jon
[/quote]

So, isn’t Luther saying that he is conveying **his **sense of the text by adding a word (“allein”) to St Paul’s letter - a word which the latter himself could have, but never, used to describe the sufficiency of faith for justification? By what authority does any man add to Scripture? And, in any case, why should anyone accept any disputing Catholic’s personal “sense” of Scripture (and a whole doctrine that follows therefrom) when it contradicts the Church’s authoritative interpretation of it for 2010 years?

P.S. I don’t know that the additional bit you’ve quoted actually consists of less sarcasm and hyperbole. I’d left out the references to “blockheads” and “cows”! :frowning:

=fxcc;6899853]So, isn’t Luther saying that he is conveying **his **sense of the text by adding a word (“allein”) to St Paul’s letter - a word which the latter himself could have, but never, used to describe the sufficiency of faith for justification?

To be honest, I don’t know as I don’t know German. I do know that others before Luther used sola in regards to faith and how we are justified, the Nuremberg Bible of 1483, if I’m not mistaken, for example. As I said, in English, alone is not needed to convey St. Paul’s belief that justification is the work of the living God - His grace alone through faith in Christ.

By what authority does any man add to Scripture?

Any man who translates from one language to another is going to have to, as you say, “add” words, as languages don’t always have directly corresponding words that mean the same thing.

And, in any case, why should anyone accept any disputing Catholic’s personal “sense” of Scripture (and a whole doctrine that follows therefrom) when it contradicts the Church’s authoritative interpretation of it for 2010 years?

You certainly don’t have to accept Luther’s translation, and probably don’t if you don’t speak German. In addition, I don’t expect you to accept his “sense” of the meaning, and it is not my intention to encourage you to do so.
I would encourage you to look at more recent Catholic scholars say about the Lutheran sola fide. There are probably, in the past (and perhaps now), bomb-throwers on both sides that are best ignored.

P.S. I don’t know that the additional bit you’ve quoted actually consists of less sarcasm and hyperbole. I’d left out the references to “blockheads” and “cows”!

It certainly consists of some. I’m happy you left it out, but if I had, I could have been accused of editing. I personally find this kind of insulting language, which went back and forth in the Reformation era, unnecessary and harmful in today’s dialogue.

Jon

Thank you for your good comments.

Here’s all the proof **I **need to reject sola fide. And it’s so simple!

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”
He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

The priest and the Levite both (assumedly) had faith, but **principally **because Jewish law did not permit touching of corpses, they did not stop to help a man they suspected could be dead. Indeed, they both passed him “on the other side of the road”, to avoid any risk of defilement. Contrasting this, the Samaritan - a “faithless” man, arguably - under no strictures of the law, undertook a work of love. Jesus uses this parable to teach a man who Scripture tells us “wished to justify himself” - i.e. someone who wanted to be (or at least be seen to be) right with God. In this lesson on true justification, Jesus clearly emphasises the good work of the Samaritan - without giving any noticeable credit to the faith (and adherence to works of law) of the priest and the Levite.

The other day, I was reading Matthew 25 when a word jumped straight out at me - the word “righteous”. The ones who did the good works are described as “righteous” (verses 37 and 46). They are led into heaven, while the rest are described as “accursed”. Pretty strong stuff, eh? There’s nothing in the entire story about the ones who had faith (let alone “faith alone”) also being led into heaven along with the doers of works of love.

Jesus came to earth principally to do. We too are here principally to do. The man who has little or no faith but instinctively does the will of God (which is the natural law of love, written on every human heart) has a far better chance of being found just before God than someone who believes that by a mere confession of faith (which is sadly, all too often, just cheap or emotional self talk) one is guaranteed to be viewed by the Father as just and deserving of heaven. Of course, all the believing &/or doing of good works are made possible only by grace, a free gift from God to **all **men. This is why the Church teaches that even those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ, can be saved. Precisely the Good Samaritans, the doers of good works. Their **actions **testify to grace led beliefs which they themselves probably don’t always know they have!!! :confused: :smiley:

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

If I’m not mistaken, Martin Luther thought about removing the book of James from the
bible but in the end left it in.

This may or may not apply to your situation, but some people enjoy being obnoxious like
this person.

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