Way of the Master: What is the Church?


#1

After reading this post, about Being a Good Person, etc… – which led to an explanation about the poster of the original topic possibly being of the Way of the Master persuasion, I went to the Way of the Master website (it’s the main site for Kirk Cameron’s show about witnessing and Christianity) – and started digging through some of the “how to witness to various groups” tools. I found one that didn’t say “Catholic” outright, but said something like “how to witness to someone from a certain congregation if you fear they don’t know Jesus.” (that is not word for word.)

So I emailed someone at Way of the Master asking if they believed it was okay to be Catholic. After half a day, I got a personal response. Some of it is this:

"Thank you for writing. Here is some information that I have copied for you
from CARM (Christian Apologetics Research Ministries). I hope this is
helpful

Roman Catholics are Christians if they trusted in Jesus alone for the
forgiveness of their sins. However, if they believe that the are saved by God’s grace and their works, then they are not saved–even if they believe their works are done by God’s grace–since they then deny the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice.
Even though Roman Catholic Church affirms the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and His physical resurrection, it greatly errors in its doctrine of salvation by adding to salvation.

No one can say whether a Roman catholic is truly a Christian or not since we cannot know people’s hearts. But, if anyone, Catholic included, openly denies essential doctrines 2 then he is not saved, and this is the problem. It appears that the Roman Catholic church is denying the essential doctrine of justification by faith. If a Roman Catholic believes in the official Roman Catholic teaching on salvation, then he is not a Christian since the official RCC position is contrary to scripture. Therefore, as a whole, Roman Catholics need to be evangelized. They need to hear the true Gospel. They need to hear that they are not made right before God by being in a church, or by being baptized, but by receiving Christ (John 1:12), believing that Jesus has risen from the dead (Rom. 10:9), and that justification is by faith (Rom. 5:1) and not by our deeds (Rom. 4:5). It is only true faith that results in true works (James 2), not the other way around. Roman Catholics, like anyone else, need to trust in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of their sins and not the Catholic sacraments, not the words of the priest, not the pope, not Mary, not the saints, not penance, not indulgences, not the rosary, etc. Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life ( John 14:6).
Jesus alone saves. Jesus alone is Lord. Only Jesus’ sacrifice can cleanse us. Only by faith are we made right before God. Justification is by faith, not by anything we do."

What is the Christian Church?

How would you answer this kind of apologetic? It seems to be reasonable, and I know several people who believe according to this idea.

Thanks.
Cherub


#2

Does anyone have a good refutation for this view of Catholicism?


#3

There is a banner that often pops up at the top of this page… It is for a publication called Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth. I think it is thirty pages or something like that.

Karl Keating (founder of Catholic Answers extrodanaire) has several publications which deal with basic apologetics.

And if you cannot find or don’t have access to these publications, take the email apart and answer it yourself, using apologetic tools.

Catholic Encyclopedia


DouayRheims Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

There is hardly any better teacher than experience. I finally decided that to answer these questions properly to people in my own circles- I needed to have the tools, and a good general understanding of many basic issues myself.

I would say this is one of those basic issues.

I do not mean to be cold, or to shut you down- but as Catholics we tend to be very lacking in bible study and knowledge of our own religion! This is a shame, and will only pass when people take the time to explore.

Good luck to you!


#4

This is another restatement of the protestant doctrine of Sola Fide or the belief that faith alone in Jesus Christ is all that is required for salvation. There are some very good tracts discussing this issue on the Catholic Answers website under the heading “Salvation.”

The best response to this argument is that the concept of faith alone being all that is required for salvation is not supported by the bible. You can read the following to support the idea that it is more that just faith in Jesus Christ that is required for salvation:

Jam 2:24 - a man is justified by works and not by faith alone;
Jam 2:26 - faith without works is dead;
Gal. 5:6 - …only thing that counts is faith working in love;
1 Cor. 13:2 - faith without love is nothing;
Jn 14:15 - if you love me, keep my commandments; and
Mt 19:16-17 - if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.

I think that the protestant doctrine confuses “justification” with final “salvation.” Which is pretty clear from the language in the response you posted. Both Catholics and Protestants believe that we are not justified by any act we do, but solely by the grace of God. Catholics believe that when one repents of their sins, believes the gospel and receives baptism, they are justified and are from that point in a state of grace (Ii.e. they are “saved” as the protestant would say.) Where we differ from protestants is in our belief that the gift of salvation that comes from being justified can be lost by our own sins. If we die while not in a state of grace, salvation will also not be ours, but we can regain that state of grace - and the hope of ultimate salvation - by repenting of our sins and receiving the sacrament of reconciliation (confession). We also believe, as Catholics, that when we are in a state of grace we do participate in salvific works - but only through the grace of God, and not by any merit of our own.

This is all my understanding of a very difficult topic, but I hope it helps. Again, I recommend you take time to read the tracts on the CA website.

Peace,


#5

Thanks for both of your replies. I’m pretty well grounded in our apologetics, and have read all of the tracts here at Catholic Answers – but sometimes people put things certain ways, and there just doesn’t seem to be a ready way to answer them, and this was one of those times for me. It seems that when someone is convinced of something like this, nothing you can say or do or show them will do the trick. It’s especially hard when I do find the arguments from the other side to be at least reasonable and defensible. I’ll go back and do some review reading and see if anything rings a bell. Thanks again. :cool:


#6

Cherub posted the following saaying that it came from an anti Catholic site, I think.
"They need to hear that they are not made right before God by being in a church, or by being baptized, but by receiving Christ (John 1:12), believing that Jesus has risen from the dead (Rom. 10:9), and that justification is by faith (Rom. 5:1) and not by our deeds (Rom. 4:5). It is only true faith that results in true works (James 2), not the other way around. Roman Catholics, like anyone else, need to trust in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of their sins and not the Catholic sacraments, not the words of the priest, not the pope, not Mary, not the saints, not penance, not indulgences, not the rosary, etc. Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life ( John 14:6).
Jesus alone saves. "


Cherub asks how would one Apologise to this man. If you wanted to take the enormous amout of time required to do the job, go phrase by phrase. This man is a POLITE JACK CHICK.

In a nutshell, I have to say he wraps Christianity up in one sentance. He misses out on the fullness of the faith.

How is it that this man has figured out all of Christianity in a short lifetime and the Magesterium in 1900 years did get the job done? How can that be? It can’t be.


#7

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