What is the minimun amount of knowledge that one must have to be saved?

I know that different protestant backgrounds will answer this question differently. But let’s see what we get:

What is the minimun amount of knowledge that one must have to be saved?

How do you quantify knowledge? Is there an exam to get into heaven?

I don’t think so, but I keep hearing protestants argue that without a shadow of a doubt you must know the gospel, i.e., nobody is off the hook. So I want to know how they quantify that. For example do they need to know all of 1 cor 15? OR some of it, or more than that, before their salvation kicks in?

My opinion…

You could have almost no knowledge: Children and the mentally-injured can instinctively love Jesus, trust in him, and be forgiven in him.

You could almost have too much ‘knowledge.’: Knowing the perfect way to worship, but having an wrathful and un-contrite heart could put you in jeopardy.

So it’s not knowledge that saves. It’s faith in our lord, and grace from our lord.

Well putting your faith in the Lord, requires that you at least need some knowledge right?

It is God’s grace that works our salvation with our cooperation, not knowledge. As benjohnson cited, very young children and the mentally disabled can hardly have much knowledge, but they can be baptized into the faith, which is all that is required for them. As for those of us with sound mental capabilities, we are to grow in grace, as we are able. Only deliberately going against God’s grace damns a person. As for those who have never heard the Gospel, the Church says this:

Possible salvation of non-Christians: #s 846-848.

“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

So, it is not knowledge that one needs, but cooperation with the grace God gives us. For those who have been given all the sacraments and all means of salvation, they are more accountable before God. That is, perhaps, the only knowledge one needs, AFAIK, for our redemption has already taken place with the death and resurrection of Christ, in whom and by whom we are saved.

Infants are saved by grace through baptism, they probably don’t know too much :wink:

The catechism does say “to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience”

So knowledge is in play there.

All points considered then we are talking the objective truth of a formed conscience and what one believes this to be, depending on where in Christianity they happen to be within what is unidefined as Protestant.

“we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word” Westminster Confession of Faith, 1.6

I find the idea rather shocking in its implications, but implications are things about which too few people think.

IIRC it is exactly half of the minimun amount of knowledge, that if possessed, would disqualify one from being saved by way of invincible ignorance (as the same is defined by the CC)

There is no knowledge that’s necessary to be saved. Only charity and God’s grace. Without that all the knowledge in the world is just a banging cymbal or clanging gong.

There are some protestants believe all you need to do is recite the sinners prayer and your “saved”, nothing more to say. That is what’s called “once saved always saved”. :bigyikes:

That you are a sinner in need of God’s grace and that Jesus died for your sins. What you need to do with that knowledge is to repent, confess Christ as your savior, be baptized, then grow in grace and knowledge.

How can it be otherwise? We are saved by God’s Grace not our knowledge.

This is the wrong question. Knowledge, at least intellectual knowledge, does not save. We are saved by grace through faith. What matters is how we respond to the knowledge that we do receive, no matter how little.

We definitely know from the biblical tradition that people can lack knowledge of God:

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30)

“Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” (1 Cor. 15:34)

“They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” (Eph 4:18)

“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.” (Galatians 4:8)

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But what does it mean to “know God”? In the biblical tradition, the “knowledge of God” is distinguished from the idea of intellectual knowledge. God can be known through his works, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20). And it is precious to know the will of God, to walk in the way that pleases him and to come to know him, “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10). To know God is to be known by him, “But if anyone loves God, he is known by God” (1 Cor. 8:3, see also Galatians 4:9).

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All the promises of the Old Covenant are fulfilled in “knowing Christ” (Phil. 3:8,10, see also 2 Cor. 1:20) “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). The “light of the knowledge of the glory of God” that shines in our hearts emanates from “the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Eternal life is knowing God and growing in that knowledge of him and Jesus Christ, who he has sent. Jesus said, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7). It is when we come to know Jesus that we come to know the Father. This knowledge is the fruit of faith, “You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69). Similarly, Paul writes that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

But it would be a mistake to think that cerebrally hearing and understanding the “word of Christ” (whose words are those of eternal life) is the same thing as “knowing Christ”. The Christian religion is a revealed religion. Knowledge of God comes by revelation. We don’t get it from reading words on a page or hearing a sermon expounding on biblical truth. As Paul said, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). Paul goes on to tell us the nature of this knowledge in 1 Cor. 2:6-13,

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

Whatever saving knowledge we have is revealed to us by the Spirit of God. This same sentiment is expressed 1 Cor. 13:8-12,

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

This entire passage is framed by the Corinthian Christians’ misunderstanding of knowledge. Many in the church at Corinth who were knowledgeable about intellectual and religious matters thought such knowledge made them superior to the more ignorant Christians around them. Paul rebukes them. The knowledge of this world will pass away. Right now, we only see dimly, but when the perfect comes, we will see face to face. We will know God fully, even as he fully knows us.

When it comes to people who have never heard the Gospel proclaimed and do not even know the name of Jesus, there is not much that we can say definitively. We cannot say that they automatically are damned to hell because they never heard and therefore never could respond to the proclamation of the Gospel. Likewise, we cannot say that they automatically go to heaven out of the abundance of God’s love and justice. But we can say that God is a god of justice, mercy, and love. We do know that he is righteous, and holy, and perfect in all his ways. We know that God has impressed upon all his creation the fingerprints of who he is and that he has instilled within the heart of man the knowledge to know what is right and what is wrong. We can only say that in whoever is a spark of the knowledge of God, then that person is known by God. In that, there is hope.

For those who have heard the Gospel proclaimed, we can speak with more accuracy. We can certainly say that the “minimum amount of knowledge” one needs to be saved is to recognize that one needs to be saved in the first place. It is this knowledge that makes us cry out to God and seek his love and life. Knowing that we need to be saved leads us to the Savior.

As I said above, saving knowledge is revealed to us by the Spirit. We are held responsible for what knowledge we do receive, however, little that may be.

But if charity is necessary to be saved, then that implies SOME knowledge. You have to at least have a definition of charity as well as a good idea on how it is played out.

Maybe for you it is the wrong question, but there are some protestants who insist that at least a knowledge of the gospel is necessary, it is just that I cannot get them to quantify what exactly is necessary.

We definitely know from the biblical tradition that people can lack knowledge of God:

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30)

To be honest, I am surprised to see how many non-catholic folks, some being protestants, actually agree with the catholic view on this.

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