The Four Spiritual Laws


#1

Anyone in the mood to do some “creative writing?”

Here is a link to the tract, “The Four Spiritual Laws.”

godlovestheworld.com/

This booklet was created by Dr. Bill Bright, who was the founder and president of Campus Crusade for Christ until his death a few years ago.

Please don’t criticize Dr. Bright. That’s not what this thread is about. Do a Google search and you will see that Dr. Bright was supportive of Catholic Christianity and even worked with Bishop Karol Wojtyla to bring Biblical teaching materials into Poland. He was a good guy.

Ever since I became Catholic, I’ve been wishing that the Catholic Church had a tract that explained the Gospel that the CATHOLIC Church teaches–the full Gospel–as simply and shortly as the Four Spiritual Laws tract.

I think such a tract would be an invaluable tool for many Catholics to use in explaining Catholicism to their Catholic and non-Catholic friends without getting bogged down in two thousand years of teaching and confusing everyone with theology of baptism, justification, regeneration, propitiation, transubstantiation, etc.

I do have a Rosary with different colored-beads that has a “business card” that contains the following color-coded presentation of the Gospel:

Purple: The need for repentance from sin. Romans 3:34

Red: Jesus shed His blood to save us from our sins. John 3: 16

White: Jesus has made us clean. I John 1: 9

Blue: We are baptized into God’s family. Matt. 28: 19

Green: We have new life as we grow in our love for Jesus Christ. II Peter 3: 18

Yellow: Jesus loves us and is the Light that shines for us all. John 8:12.

I think this is pretty good. A little strange in the order, perhaps. I think baptism should come first, but I guess if I was talking to an adult who hasn’t been baptized, it would come later. Or actually, I think that the Yellow should come first.

But this says nothing about the Sacraments, especially Eucharist. Should it?

Perhaps the Rosary could be used as the Four Spiritual Laws of Catholics, only we have Four Sets of Mysteries. I have a little booklet about the size of the Four Spiritual Laws tract that lists the Mysteries and Bible verses.

But how would this work with Catholics who already know the Rosary mysteries and don’t understand exactly what this means to them personally? I think that’s the value of the Four Spiritual Laws–it brings the Gospel home and tells you exactly what YOU have to do to follow Jesus and be a Christian. I think a lot of Catholics would like to know and understand this.

So what would a “Four Spiritual Laws” for Catholics look like? Keep it SHORT and SIMPLE, and provide Scripture (which is the “bridge” that will convince many non-Catholics and Protestants that you really are teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ).

If there already is such a tract, could you please provide a link or information?

Thanks.


#2

I was always attracted to the philosophical depth of the Catholic faith, even in my wayward years. I’ve always considered it to be a “thinking man’s religion”.

That said, it appears that you’re hoping to distill 2000 years of theology, ritual, and morality – all of which is intertwined – into a few “hooks” or catch phrases. I don’t think this can be done effectively, for starters, but I also don’t think it ought to be done.

One of the things that separates so many Protestant denominations from us is the ease with which their theology can be grasped. This ease does not come from the inherent simplicity of the truth; it comes from the shallowness of their version of it. To reduce Catholicism to that level would be a shame, as well as being counterproductive.

Just my opinion, of course.

Peace,
Dante


#3

We actually do!
http://www.grottopress.org/Grotto_Books/Catholic_Tracts/Salvation/a_Salvation.jpg
Grotto Press’s stuff will bury that.

You might also get a bunch of
http://www.catholic.com/images/gl4u_148x369.jpg
from Catholic Answers.:thumbsup:


#4

to be done.

One of the things that separates so many Protestant denominations from us is the ease with which their theology can be grasped. This ease does not come from the inherent simplicity of the truth; it comes from the shallowness of their version of it. To reduce Catholicism to that level would be a shame, as well as being counterproductive.

Just my opinion, of course.

Peace,
DanteI have to agree. It takes much more than a single and simple booklet to explain salvation and Christianity. That’s one reason that we have RCIA classes and Catholic Answers.


#5

So what you’re saying is that if a friend or relative asks, “So what does the Catholic Church believe?” you should just answer, “Join R.C.I.A. or read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

If that’s what you’re saying, I don’t buy it. I think a lot of Catholics do OK in a long-term dialogue situation with non-Christians or non-Catholics because they have the option of saying, “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’ll do some research and get back to you next week, OK? Meet you at Starbucks.”

But I think a lot of Catholics stumble when someone at a family reunion or dinner asks them, “So what DO you guys believe, anyway?” or “How do CATHOLICS say someone is saved?”

I’ve seen it happen. Catholics stutter and mumble out a few words like “baptism, confirmation, Eucharist,” and have no knowledge whatsoever of where these truths are in the Bible, and then they get torn to shreds by evangelicals who have the Four Spiritual Laws and other evangelicism tools memorized, including all the Scripture passages.

And then the Catholics start doubting their own Church.

I agree that the Catholic Church is rich. But I think it’s possible to distill the Gospel into a short, easy-to-remember set of sentences that ANY Catholic, even someone who doesn’t spend hours every day studying apologetics and theology, can remember well enough to share with an inquiring friend or relative.

And once the friend or relative realizes that the Catholic Church indeed teaches a full Gospel of Christ, THEN he/she can begin delving into all the richness.

But every meal begins with just ONE bite.


#6

Hi Cat,

I’m pretty sure there are such pamphlets - I just don’t know the titles.

A couple that are more apologetic in nature are “Pillar of Truth, Pillar of Fire”, and “Confession of a Roman Catholic” by Dr. Paul Whitcomb (a convert). They’re probably available on Amazon.

My suggestion would be to go into a good Catholic bookstore and check out their booklet and pamphlet section. If you don’t have one near you, consider writing to some Catholic publishers and requesting a catalog that includes such booklets. (eg TAN books; Ignatius Press)

Nita


#7

I agree with you that many folks don’t know how to share their faith. I’m not one of those. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think the flaw in 4SL is that it is a flawed Gospel anyway, leaving out the balanced aspect of real Christian conversion.

The Sound Bites on Salvation tract presents it this way.
Man’s Purpose, The Problem, God’s Solution, Necessity of Faith, Conversion, Our Mother, the Church, Baptism- the Port of Entry, An Ongoing Process.

God’s Love for You tract presets it this way.
S

omething is wrong with the human race. We all sense it. Things aren’t the way they should be. Not in the world. Not in our neighbors. Not in ourselves.

We aren’t as kind, as generous, or as loving as we should be. We do things we shouldn’t. We are selfish, arrogant, sometimes even cruel. We use other people for our own ends. We fall short even of our own low standards.

The Bible has a word for this: sin.

WE CAN’T ESCAPE
THE LOVE OF GOD
THE CROSS
WHAT WILL YOU CHOOSE?
WHAT TO DO NEXT

Having and using them both, I don’t see a problem.

One of the worst problems with 4SL is that it’s presented as complete and the fact is that anyone who isn’t willing to invest themselves in a friendship with the person they share their faith with is really just making themselves feel good while they play at evangelism and add another notch to their spiritual “gun”.

Look at Matthew 28:19 & 20.

19: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20: **teaching them **to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

Real Christian evangelism is far more involved than just handing out tracts. IMO they are nothing more than information useful to open a door for discipleship. Most n-C evangelism is shallow and impersonal. I have to actually invest myself in the person I am sharing my faith with.

As for the scenario that you offer. What else is new? :shrug: We’re not going to turn every Catholic into some kind of instant apologist/evangelist, but so what…most n-Cs are no better than the standard Catholic either.

Part of sharing our faith has to be directed to proper catechesis of our own. That’s one reason that most of the 4SL type “witnesses” flip out when they encounter a Catholic like me. :smiley:


#8

Cat

Is there something wrong with the tract? is there a mistruth or is it just the accepting part?

just asking, I was thinking you could add to it or something :shrug:


#9

Hi Cat,

If you haven’t spotted it yet, check out this thread. Gives a site where you can download small tracts explaining Catholic teaching.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=166134&page=1

Go to the fourth post by Church Militant to get a link to the list of tracts available on the site given by the OP.

Nita


#10

:confused: There is no verse 34 in Romans 3.

But this says nothing about the Sacraments, especially Eucharist. Should it?

“Red” is all about the Eucharist, without explicitly saying so.

Those six color coded bullet points are pretty good.


#11

Sorry, Angainor, Romans 3: 23.

Thanks for the suggestions of tracts, everyone. I’ll take a look.

Kitty Chan, no time now. But for starters, in spite of the fact that the Bible consistently discusses the need for baptism for salvation, the Four Spiritual Laws doesn’t mention it.

There are Protestants who criticize the FSL because it doesn’t emphasize the need for a “changed life” and “repentance from sin.” (It mentions repentance, but doesn’t emphasize it.)

Finally, the tract implies that since these are “laws,” this is all that is needed. Just pray the prayer and you’re in.


#12

I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t invite you to also review this sort-of-short summary of Christian faith.


#13

This thread is really old, but since I just stumbled on it while doing some research, I thought I would offer this quick reply.
A short and simple tract that compares to the "Four Spiritual Laws" is the Apostles Creed!

Works for me anyway.

A Blessed and Merry Christmas to you all.


#14

There is a clear and simple 100% Catholic material that does a great job explaining our faith. It’s called the “Ultimate Relationship” booklet. You can find it here: cco.ca/UR/ENG/book.swf

It’s a great material being used by Catholic missionaries who work for an Apostolate called Catholic Christian Outreach.


#15

[quote="Cat, post:1, topic:78173"]
Please don't criticize Dr. Bright. That's not what this thread is about. Do a Google search and you will see that Dr. Bright was supportive of Catholic Christianity and even worked with Bishop Karol Wojtyla to bring Biblical teaching materials into Poland. He was a good guy.

[/quote]

Just to clarify, Bright was late in coming to this view about the Catholic Church. I was involved with CCC in the mid-1970s and they were very anti-Catholic.


#16

In 2003, the American Tract Society (persuasion: evangelical) released a fascinating tract entitled "The Road to Heaven: According to Catholic Sources." It closely mirrors the famous "Four Spiritual Laws." Perhaps this might respond to the years-old post of the original poster. I have no opinion on it thus far....but what do you folks think?

American Tract Society, "The Road to Heaven: According to Catholic Sources"

Our purpose is to present the plan of salvation clearly and succinctly, using official Catholic sources. All scriptural quotations used are from an accepted Catholic version, The New American Bible (NAB). We pray that this tract may be used to bring many to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

*** Recognize that God is Holy*

“The holiness of God is the inaccessible center of his eternal mystery (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC] 2809).” As to the absolute holiness of God, the Scriptures are very clear: “To whom can you liken me as an equal? Says the Holy One (Isaiah 40:25).” “Therefore, men of understanding, hearken to me: far be it from God to do wickedness; far from the Almighty to do wrong (Job 34:10)!”

Moses declared: “Who is like to you among the gods, O LORD? Who is like to you, magnificent in holiness? O terrible in renown, worker of wonders (Exodus 15:11).”

[II] Acknowledge that Man is Sinful

“Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile (CCC 386).”

Sin separates us from God. The Bible declares “...All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” King David said, “Indeed, in guilt was I born, and in sin my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:7)” and “From the womb the wicked are perverted; astray from birth have the liars gone (Psalm 58:4).”

St. Paul stated, “You were dead in your transgressions and sins...All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh...and were by nature children of wrath....(Ephesians 2:1, 3).”

[III] Believe that Christ Alone Paid for Your Sins

“The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ’s sacrifice as ‘the source of eternal salvation’ and teaches that ‘his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us’ (CCC 617).”

It is only through Christ that we can be reconciled to God: “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures....(1 Corinthians 15:3,4).”

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...(Romans 5:1).” “But when one does not work, yet believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness (Romans 4:5).”

[IV] Repent and Trust in Christ Alone for Your Salvation

“For a Christian, believing in God cannot be separated from believing in the One he sent, his ‘beloved Son,’ in whom the Father is ‘well pleased;’ God tells us to listen to him (CCC 151).”

“Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away (Acts 3:19).” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life (John 3:16).”

“There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved (Acts 4:12).”

Salvation is a personal decision and results in a personal relationship. As Léon Joseph Cardinal Suenens put it, “A Christian is a changed person, a convert: he has turned away from himself, so as to adhere to Jesus of Nazareth who, for his sake, died and rose from the dead (A New Pentecost?, p. 115).”

[V] Live Your Faith by Good Works

“Produce good fruits as evidence of your repentance...(Luke 3:8).” “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one, who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work (Philippians 2:12b-13).”

“All Christians...are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity....In order to reach this perfection, the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ’s gift.... Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance…(CCC 2013).”

“I want you to insist on these points, that those who have believed in God be careful to devote themselves to good works; these are excellent and beneficial to others (Titus 3:8).”

One manifestation of our faith is the desire to be baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).”

For all those who agree with the points listed above and wish to affirm their faith in Christ, we suggest the following prayer:

Our Father who is in heaven, because of the work of the Holy Spirit of God, through the Word of God, I recognize that You are holy and confess that I am a sinner, falling far short of Your righteous standard. But I believe that Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, paid the price for my sins when He was crucified, shed His precious blood, died on the Cross, and rose again for my salvation. I do now repent of my sins and trust in Christ and His work on the Cross alone as the basis for receiving Your righteousness. Work in me by Your grace so that I may manifest my faith in doing what will glorify You. I thank You for Your gracious salvation and the assurance based on the Word of God, that I am Your child. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.**


#17

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