Will a believer in "faith alone" who dies enter heaven?


#1

There are many, many good Protestant people in the world who love the Lord and trust in him for their salvation and yet have not become Catholic or intend to. Why? Because they believe in the teaching of "faith alone"secures their salvation, rather than the works of faith secures one’s salvation.

                                  So many do not hold to Jesus' words that one MUST be 'born of water" to enter heaven. Let alone do they consider continued penance a necessity either, because they have been taught the blood of Christ automactically cleanses their sins as they walk by faith alone.

                                   So my question is, what becomes of these people when they die? Does God say, "you didn't know any better and excuse their ignorance?" This truly puzzles me. For I'm sure all of you have god fearing, loving, family members,  who are probably not Catholic and attend Protestant churches. Will they be allowed to enter heaven? I like to hear your answers on this. I frankly don't know. My deceased Mom and Dad were wonderful people and were both Lutheran. My own sister is Pentecostal and my deceased brother was a Baptist. What do you say?

#2

I think if they are truly Christian, they are trying to follow Christ and so are doing ‘works’ whether they realize it or not. If they see Christ in others and try to help people because of it, that is a ‘work’.

Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners, sheltering the homeless…these are all works that our seperated brothers in Christ do.

So have no fear and trust in God’s mercy. Only He can judge them and us.


#3

[quote=rarndt01]There are many, many good Protestant people in the world who love the Lord and trust in him for their salvation and yet have not become Catholic or intend to. Why? Because they believe in the teaching of "faith alone"secures their salvation, rather than the works of faith secures one’s salvation.

So many do not hold to Jesus’ words that one MUST be 'born of water" to enter heaven. Let alone do they consider continued penance a necessity either, because they have been taught the blood of Christ automactically cleanses their sins as they walk by faith alone.

So my question is, what becomes of these people when they die? Does God say, “you didn’t know any better and excuse their ignorance?” This truly puzzles me. For I’m sure all of you have god fearing, loving, family members, who are probably not Catholic and attend Protestant churches. Will they be allowed to enter heaven? I like to hear your answers on this. I frankly don’t know. My deceased Mom and Dad were wonderful people and were both Lutheran. My own sister is Pentecostal and my deceased brother was a Baptist. What do you say?
[/quote]

I can sense that you are concerned and really need an answer to your question. I understand because I’ve wondered the same thing about family members and even myself. I really believe we have to leave that in the hands of our sovereign God. Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead and we know his judgement will be just.

I think the important thing to do is not dwell on the question, because in my case dwelling on this led to weakened faith. We need to act on the light shown to us by God and leave the rest up to him.

I wish you peace.


#4

Good Question. I’ve pondered it too. The comfort I find is in knowing that God is justice in perfection. If it would be unfair that a person be condemned for genuine ignorance, then it will not happen. If it would be unfair that a person enter Heaven after living in willful disobedience, then it will not happen.

It comforts me (and others in my experience) to say, “what will happen will be what is fair and right, for God is justice in perfection.” What makes people fret about these things is the discomfort that comes from worrying that something unfair will happen.

Hope that makes sense. :o


#5

Does God REALLY wink at ignorance? I don’t believe so. Notice carefully the words of our Lord in John chapter 3. He said unless a man is born of water and the spirt he CANNOT enter the Kingdom of God.No exceptions. Also in Matthew 7 our Lord said unless you DO the will of my Father I NEVER knew you. The apostle Paul says to WORK OUT you salvation WTH TREMBLING AND FEAR.

                                  If these sacred words are not to be taken seriously, then just what do they mean? What happened to the unfaithful children of Israel who journeyed with Moses all those years? They were NOT allowed to enter into the promised land. Is this not true? Why? Because they were disobedient.

                                  This is why my soul is troubled for my deceased loved ones who did not come into the Catholic faith. They did NOT obey all the commands a person is required to do, to become a Catholic Christian. 

                                   Also if one goes by the premise that all sincere, God loving believers of OTHER faiths will enter heaven anyway, then is the Catholic faith just "another religion" or the ONE true faith? You tell me?

#6

[quote=rarndt01]Does God REALLY wink at ignorance? I don’t believe so. Notice carefully the words of our Lord in John chapter 3. He said unless a man is born of water and the spirt he CANNOT enter the Kingdom of God.No exceptions. Also in Matthew 7 our Lord said unless you DO the will of my Father I NEVER knew you. The apostle Paul says to WORK OUT you salvation WTH TREMBLING AND FEAR.

If these sacred words are not to be taken seriously, then just what do they mean? What happened to the unfaithful children of Israel who journeyed with Moses all those years? They were NOT allowed to enter into the promised land. Is this not true? Why? Because they were disobedient.

This is why my soul is troubled for my deceased loved ones who did not come into the Catholic faith. They did NOT obey all the commands a person is required to do, to become a Catholic Christian.

Also if one goes by the premise that all sincere, God loving believers of OTHER faiths will enter heaven anyway, then is the Catholic faith just “another religion” or the ONE true faith? You tell me?
[/quote]

Friend, the topic of salvation is very extensive. You have catholic teaching, the teaching of calvinism, arminianism and universalism as far as “systems” of belief on salvation. That’s why I posted what I did before. All have good points and bad points.


#7

No, I respectively disagree with you. When our Lord established his church, he did so through Peter. He spoke of ONE church. And the apostles, including Paul taught ONE faith and certain BASIC beliefs to become a Christian and a member of the church our Lord established.

                                     I FIRMLY believe that one church and one faith our Lord established is the Catholic faith, because it not only follows the New Testament pattern, but it truly identifies with the early church teachings AFTER the death of the apostles as well. No church who claims to be Christian, can make such a claim. Not the Lutheran, not the Baptist and not any post reformation Protestant denomination.

NONE!

                                       I was a DIE HARD Baptist for thirty years and somewhat of a Calvinist. I held to salvation by faith ALONE. What changed my thinking? Was it another church? No! Was it a TV show ? No! It was the early HISTORY of the church after the death of the apostles that did!  I discovered basic truths through reading the writings of the early church fathers. Baptismal regeneration and the REAL presence of Christ in the Eucharist were what made me begin to realize,  that I was believing A LIE of great proportions. I as a Baptist was taught that baptism was not a saving sacrament, but a symbol of an inward grace saved Christians do after they are saved. Also the Eucharist was looked upon as just a memorial occasion of remembering the death of Christ. NOTHING MORE!

                                        So does it make a difference what you believe? You bet. Because what you have been taught by good religous leaders may not agree AT ALL with what the early church taught and practiced. When one really examines early church beliefs one WILL cease to be a Protestant. I am an old man of 62, but I thank God, the blessed holy Mother and the saints in heaven must have been praying for me all that time. I rejoice in my Catholic faith. Truth can only be found in the church Christ founded and in none other.

#8

It all depends on how alone the “alone” is.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Conclusions
Mountain-moving Faith alone (without Love) is nothing.
Faith with Charismatic Gifts of the Holy Spirit (without Love) is nothing.
Faith with works including sacrificial giving (if it is all done without Love) is nothing.
It takes Faith and Works and Love and these must come from a Christian Heart. A true Christian Heart starts producing Good Works within a split second. It begins working immediately with prayer. How can somebody have a Christian Heart without the Holy Sacraments? Somebody with a Christian Heart (sent from above) but without the Holy Sacraments will have the desire for the Holy Sacraments.

Don’t forget what kind of Love 1 Cor 13 is talking about. Agape Love. Sacrificial Love. A love that is impossible for humans to have without a Christian Heart.

I’m in RCIA.


#9

doesn’t most Protestant denoms baptize? I know they don’t believe that it holds any bearing on their salvation but when they convert we recognize their baptism. So clearly in our mind it was valid even if they didn’t understand the full benefit of their baptism.
D


#10

[quote=Catholicforlife]doesn’t most Protestant denoms baptize? I know they don’t believe that it holds any bearing on their salvation but when they convert we recognize their baptism. So clearly in our mind it was valid even if they didn’t understand the full benefit of their baptism.

[/quote]

True. Baptism is a start. It removes the stain of original sin. But it isn’t enough because we continue to sin.


#11

[quote=rarndt01]No, I respectively disagree with you. When our Lord established his church, he did so through Peter. He spoke of ONE church. And the apostles, including Paul taught ONE faith and certain BASIC beliefs to become a Christian and a member of the church our Lord established.

[/quote]

so therefore you must believe what that one church tells you and that is that people can be saved outside of the catholic church but they will be saved (eventually) through the catholic church. i know it says that “outside the church, there is no salvation” but what that has been taken to mean is that anyone who is saved is saved through the church. ignorance can be an excuse (we cannot expect a perfectly just God to condemn based on laws the perpetrator was unaware of, it is not like our legal system where ignorance of the law is not a defense). on the other hand, paul writes that God has written His law on our hearts so that no one is without excuse. bottom line is, the church teaches that it is possible to be saved and not be (in name) catholic. now whether that exception applies to your beloved, i cannot say. and no one on earth can unless it is proven through miracles that their intervention in heaven proves they are in heaven (i.e. canonization).


#12

[quote=rarndt01]. . . .When our Lord established his church, he did so through Peter. He spoke of ONE church. And the apostles, including Paul taught ONE faith and certain BASIC beliefs to become a Christian and a member of the church our Lord established.

I FIRMLY believe that one church and one faith our Lord established is the Catholic faith, because it not only follows the New Testament pattern, but it truly identifies with the early church teachings AFTER the death of the apostles as well. No church who claims to be Christian, can make such a claim.
I was a DIE HARD Baptist for thirty years and somewhat of a Calvinist. I held to salvation by faith ALONE. What changed my thinking? . . . . It was the early HISTORY of the church after the death of the apostles that did! I discovered basic truths through reading the writings of the early church fathers.
When one really examines early church beliefs one WILL cease to be a Protestant. I am an old man of 62, but I thank God, the blessed holy Mother and the saints in heaven must have been praying for me all that time. I rejoice in my Catholic faith. Truth can only be found in the church Christ founded and in none other.
[/quote]

Ah! But it would be so much easier to just believe and not have to do anything else. But that is not what Christ taught, is it?


#13

we can’t forget the role of the Sacraments in salvation.
It is in the Sacraments that we become in Christ. We become partakers in Christ’s nature as St Peter says.
When we talk about these theological formulas salvation by grace through faith… we have to understand how that grace is given to us.

We are physical spiritual beings, so it makes sense that the means by which God gives us the graces unto salvation are not merely spiritual (by accepting and trusting Christ). Those graces are given by the Sacraments in which Christ’s saving action is made present to us. It is in the Sacraments that we really and trully have a personal encounter with Christ.


#14

Apparently the Council of Trent does not hold that “faith alone” types will be saved (see canon 9).


#15

[quote=GrzeszDeL]Apparently the Council of Trent does not hold that “faith alone” types will be saved (see canon 9).
[/quote]

There are only a few Protestants who go so far as to fulfill the heresy described in canon 9.

“Faith alone in Christ alone”

Go to faithalone.org and click on “HOW CAN I BE SAVED?” (under “AREAS OF MINISTRY”). It is shocking, but I think “the grace movement” fulfills what the Council of Trent Canon 9 is all about.

I am a member of a predominantly-Black Baptist Church (and I am in RCIA so I think of myself more as a Catholic). Predominantly, Protestants do not go to the extreme of this new Faith Alone heresy. Protestants (such as Lutherans) are simply trying to say somebody gets saved by faith and works follow. They try to say the moment of salvation is when they first believed. The vast majority of Protestants think that “getting saved” does involve some learning, preparation (including a desire to repent and change) and it is commenced by a personal action of the will. For example, Billy Graham talks about decisions for Christ – people firmly deciding to commit their lives to Jesus Christ (an act of the will). And I think Billy Graham would be the first one to say he has never made anyone a Christian. Only God can work the miracle of spiritual regeneration.

So I do not think that the majority of Protestant denominations belong with the Council of Trent Canon #9.


#16

CCC 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

CCC 838 - The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."[322] Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.”[323]


#17

[quote=jmm08]There are only a few Protestants who go so far as to fulfill the heresy described in canon 9.
[/quote]

I am broadly inclined to agree with you JMM. My only point was to respond to the initial question of whether “faith-alone” types can be saved. I make no claims about the relative prevalence of such folks.


#18

First, God has brought death to many a people and has no problem withholding salvation from us. Not all who call upon His name will be saved and in the OT it says only 1/3 will pass the test of fire. So the way I read Scripture is that most will not see heaven but those who endure to the end will.

Faith alone as all that is needed for salvation is a myth. Jesus made numerous commandments for us to follow. He also said He will judge us. Why would He need to judge us if we saved ourselves with ‘faith alone?’ Now if someone has ‘faith alone’ and they try to follow His comandments then I am sure Jesus will take that into account at judgement as works that prove ones faith. Remember a fig tree is known by its fruit and 'F’aith is known by its works. Works don’t save but 'F’aith in God has good works flowing out of it. A living 'F’aith is proven by works that come out of it. A dead 'f’aith has no works coming from it.

How many NAZI guards in the concentration camps believed in Jesus Christ as their personnal Lord and saviour and also believed in saved by faith alone or once saved allways saved? Are they still saved while burning bodies or killing Catholics and Jews?

Good works/deeds come from a living Faith. Faith without works/deeds is dead. A person may deny works but if they have Faith then they will have good works or a desire to perform them and Jesus will see the desire in their hearts and the deeds left behind. Works prove Faith. Works alone will not save you. Only a living Faith which containes all you believe and do and the way you follow His Gospel.

This was short but gives some good points.


#19

[quote=Malachi4U]First, God has brought death to many a people and has no problem withholding salvation from us. Not all who call upon His name will be saved.
[/quote]

then why does the new testament say the opposite?

acts 2:21- “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord on that day shall be saved.”

romans 10:13- “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

[quote=Malachi4U] So the way I read Scripture…
[/quote]

that could be your problem…the way you read scripture is not a good way to start an argument. yes there will be people who thought they “believed” but it will turn out they truly didn’t for if they had believed they would have obeyed Jesus’ commands. there will be people who did miracles in His name and not be saved (see sheep and goats parable), but to say that not everyone who calls on His name will be saved is wrong. if some one truly calls on His name (and i am not saying i can distinguish between those who truly call and those who don’t) they will be saved. the church teaches that even she cannot say for sure who will be saved and who won’t (aside from those we know to already be in heaven…i.e. canonized saints) but only that anyone who is saved will be saved through Jesus and the church He established on earth.


#20

[quote=bengal_fan]then why does the new testament say the opposite?

acts 2:21- “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord on that day shall be saved.”

romans 10:13- “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
[/quote]

Not everyone whw calls Lord, Lord will be saved. See these Scriptures.

Mark 7:21 Not every one that calls Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

and

Luke 6:46 And why call you me, Lord, Lord; and do not the things which I say?


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