Works Salvation According to a Mega Church

I sent an e-mail to Shepherd of the Hills church in regards to a sermon I heard from Pastor Dudley. My e-mail stated this:

"Hello,
A few weeks ago Pastor Dudley was giving his sermon about the end times, towards the end he stated to beware of false teachings, such as health and wealth gospels (I understand who they are) and he also said those that preach works salvation. I am a little confused on who that would be. Does he mean people that think they can earn heaven? And who teaches this?

Thank you"

Notice I didn’t mention anything Catholic but check out the response :

""Hey J****,

Your definition of “works salvation” is pretty close to what Dudley is saying. There are preachers who teach that in order to go to heaven, you have to practice good works. And because you have to practice good works, they build a theology that requires people to earn their way into heaven by doing enough good in their lives.

Now, at Shepherd we would definitely say that a huge component to our faith in God is that we are obeying what He commands us to do. Good works are certainly part of the Christian life. But we also believe, first and foremost, that we are saved only by the grace of Jesus Christ through faith in God (Ephesians 2:8).

I think a good example of a theology of “salvation by works” would be the Catholic Church. For them, salvation is about more than the grace of Christ. Included in grace for salvation is church attendance, consuming the host, confessing sins to a priest, prayer, and others. Without these works, a Christian will be hard-pressed to find salvation.

At the end of the day, we are saved only by grace through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Are we asked to do good works? Of course! But those works do not save us. They aren’t added onto a list that determines whether we can get into or heaven or not. The only thing that gets our names in the Book of Life is God’s grace.

I hope that makes sense. Let me know if I need to clarify anything or if you have any more questions.

(Edited)

I was about to respond but I wanted to see some other opinions on this. Maybe I missed something.:shrug:

The works that the Catholic Church carries out are all commands from Jesus:

Baptism - “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”

Matthew 28:19

Confession - “And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.’”

John 20:22-23

James’ epistle describes the Anointing of the Sick:

“Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”

James 5:14-15

These are just a few examples. We are saved by grace, but we have to cooperate with that grace. “Works salvation” is something that the Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to teach, with their mandatory door-to-door mission work, etc. Catholics are saved by grace, but we can fall from grace as well, so it’s important to have recourse to the sacraments.

Okay - it’s tricky here. The Catholic Church teaches that we are only saved by God’s grace. That’s it. It’s God’s grace and mercy that saves us, nothing else. Faith is our accepting God’s grace and mercy. Yet James states that “Faith without works is dead”. What is it then? It’s this - works are things that we specifically decide to do. One decides to have faith. As such, faith (and the confirmation of the faith) is a work in and of itself. And if we have faith, then we allow God’s grace and mercy - and the Holy Spirit - into our hearts, filling us with God’s love and allowing us to show God’s love to others.

The thing is, even accepting God’s grace and mercy through faith isn’t enough. It’s not enough to say that we believe in God and in Jesus’s saving power - as James says again, “Do you say God is one? You do well. But even the demons in Hell believe likewise, and tremble in fear.” And Paul, in his letters to the Corinthians, condemns the Corinthians for accepting a man living in an incestuous relationship with his step-mother - ordering them to excommunicate the couple! And later, he states that no one who continues living in the flesh will go to Heaven! Jesus Himself stated that works matter when He mentioned that (a) “You will be judged by every careless word you say”, (b) “Depart from me, you evildoers! For I was hungry, and you gave me no food; thirsty, and you gave me no drink, etc”, © "by their fruits (works/actions/deeds) you shall know them, and many other passages.

So, our works matter. We must not only consider Jesus to be our “Personal Savior” (as many born-again groups will say", but our Lord, as well. And accepting Jesus as our Lord means picking up our cross daily, and following Him, by loving God and by loving neighbor. And how do we show that we love our neighbor as ourselves? By what we do - our works. And by our works, we lead others to have faith in Jesus. But we aren’t saved by our works - we’re saved by God’s grace and mercy.

Oh, and by the way - except baptism, none of the sacraments is necessary for salvation (baptism is, by the way, how we are “born again”). The other sacraments are used to fortify us and strengthen us so that we can be Christ to the world - and so that we aren’t consumed by the world.

Technically, Confession is also necessary if we sin mortally. :slight_smile:

Hello Fritz6976.

I would ask Kyle if “ALL” works are “works salvation”. Are ANY works necessary? (more on this later but he will probably ask you “Which works are necessary?” Don’t get into that game. Tell him you are just asking for principles at this point—not specifics).

There is no justification by faith ALONE taught in Scripture.

EPHESIANS 2:8 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God

Kyle said (bold and all caps mine):

QUOTE:
But we also believe, first and foremost, that we are saved ONLY by the grace of Jesus Christ through faith in God (Ephesians 2:8).

Ask him could there be other graces in ADDITION to faith that also by the grace of Jesus Christ save us too? Graces like repentance, hope, and charity?

I suspect when he is using “only” here, he means “only faith” to save you. Yet the verse does not say that.

(And I’d ask him why he did not go on to Ephesians 2:9-10 as long as he was quoting Ephesians 2:8).

NOT EPHESIANS 2:8 (Phantom Verse) 8 For by grace you have been saved ONLY through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God

EPHESIANS 2:8-10 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – 9 not because of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Kyle said:

QUOTE:
Now, at Shepherd we would definitely say that a huge component to our faith in God is that we are obeying what He commands us to do. Good works are certainly part of the Christian life.

Tell him this is great.

But do you HAVE TO “obey(ing) what He commands us to do” . . . OR . . . can we be without law or lawless with respect to our salvation?

(He will try to change the subject to babies or some such thing, or say we WILL OBEY if we are “really” saved, etc. but not directly answer your question. I would insist upon an answer here.)

If he says “yes”, we NEED to obey (he won’t, but if he does), he is contradicting himself.

If he says we DON’T NEED to obey, remember that for the next point.

Keep in mind he would be implying we CAN be “lawless” with respect to our salvation.

You said:

QUOTE:
Pastor Dudley was giving his sermon about the end times, towards the end he stated to beware of false teachings, such . . . those that preach works salvation.

Kyle’s response to this was (among other things) . . . .

QUOTE:
Your definition of “works salvation” is pretty close to what Dudley is saying. There are preachers who teach that in order to go to heaven, you have to practice good works.

Then ask him, if that is the big end times concern, where is that point expressed in the Bible with regard to the end times?

And then ask him WHAT did St. Peter mean when he warned . . . .

2nd PETER 3:15-18 15 And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

St. Peter seems to think that this set of passages has to do with salvation.

He also seems to think (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) that there are some things in Paul’s letters that are “hard to understand”.

And that the ignorant and unstable will “twist” St. Paul’s letters to “their own destruction”.

St. Peter tells us to “beware” of this twisting of Scripture.

He tells us that this is an “error” from these men.

And he tells us what the source of that error is.

He says that these men are LAWLESS. (They will teach No Laws necessary for salvation (!) and use primarily St. Paul’s letters to do it “as they do the other Scriptures” secondarily.)

So St. Peter warns us or tells us to beware of LAWLESS men – law-LESS men who twist scripture, focus on St. Paul’s letters that can be hard to understand, and do this to their own destruction and can lead others to do so too!

Can you think of any situations where this warning would be applicable?

If ever St. Peter had a chance to teach justification by faith alone it would be here. He could have said . .

. . . . NOT 2nd PETER 3:15-18 (Phantom Verse) And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of FAITH-LESS men and lose your own stability, because we are justified by faith ALONE.

St. Peter COULD have said that and THAT would be true too. But St. Peter doesn’t say that here. St. Peter warns us about law-LESS men. Not that faith isn’t utterly necessary – it is!

St. Peter warns us “beforehand” that LAW-LESS men will twist especially St. Paul’s letters and beguile people to their own DESTRUCTION!

Highlight this line and ask if Jesus is one of those preachers? And send him the parable of the sheep and the goats.

And because you have to practice good works, they build a theology that requires people to earn their way into heaven by doing enough good in their lives.

Actually, I don’t have to do anything. I have free will.

I personally, have never thought I was earning salvation. I have never worried if I have done enough. At the end of our lives, no matter how much we do, we will realize we could and should have done more.

Ask him if you can have faith and do nothing?

:thumbsup: I especially like asking him if Jesus is one of those preachers. I wonder what his response would be.

Mary,

I’d recommend listening to Steve Ray’s “Born Again, Faith Alone” presentation because he makes so VERY awesome points about the “faith alone” mentality/belief. I believe you could use some of his points in replying.

Our response to even grace is not forced. And faith, as the first response to grace, is the beginning of a relationship where God begins to do a work in us, a work we can cooperate with, remaining faithful to, or can abandon at any time. This work involves more grace, the grace to not only believe but to act in many other ways. “The only thing that counts is faith working through love” Gal 5:6. Read Matt 25:31-46 to see how faith is meant to work through love-and how we’ll be judged accordingly. And Eph 2:10:
"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

The Parable of the Talents gives a good overview of how this all works, how we’re expected to cooperate with grace given, and what can happen when we “bury” it. Also reference Luke 12;48

I for one would be very interested in his response to that. :slight_smile:

This is PART 1 of the response I got from Shepherd’s Church. I had to put it in two parts due to its length:

"Hey ***,

I must admit I’m a little surprised by your response. If my mentioning the Catholic Church was offensive to you, I apologize, but please know I have good reason to reference it in relation to your question. I hope I show that with my response below.

But before we get to my response to your email, allow me first to ask: What was the reason for asking your question? Did you disagree with something Dudley said in his message? Were you confused by what he said? Were you looking for someone to disagree with? Did you already have an example of works-based righteousness in your head and were disappointed when I didn’t answer with it?

Because to have any further dialogue, I really would need to know what you’re seeking. If it’s a debate, that’s fine, but I don’t think either of us will change the other’s mind over email. If it’s clarification, I can provide that, and I hope I do below. If it’s someone to listen, I can do that. If it’s a person to bounce ideas off of, I can do that, too.

In any case, I’m not quite sure what you’re seeking, which really does prevent me from giving you an adequate response. So in lieu of that, let me just give you a basic response to your issues with what I wrote which I hope will clarify my way of thinking and why I perceive the Catholic Church as one who largely preaches a works-based salvation.

Let me quote again what I wrote previously concerning the Catholic Church: "For them, salvation is about more than the grace of Christ.”

That’s the key idea. No Christian ever really says that the works we perform are more important the grace of Christ. With maybe a few exceptions, pretty much every major Christian denomination across the board preaches the grace of Christ is what saves. However, many Christian denominations teach that something must be added to grace in order for salvation to happen. I believe the Catholic Church is one of those denominations, and that’s why I referenced them.

Let me quote a little bit from the Catechism (and from the Council of Trent) to show you what I mean:
— “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation,” (CCC, par. 1129).
— “And this sacrament of Penance is, for those who have fallen after baptism, necessary unto salvation,” (Council of Trent, Session 14, Chapter 2).
— “The specific precepts of the natural law, because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation,” (CCC 2010).
— " . . . the Second Vatican Council confirms: ‘The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments,’” (CCC 2068).

Listen, I’m not downplaying the importance of the sacraments or penance or the natural law or the observance of the commandments. A fruitful Christian will be practicing each of these. However, my issue is that the Catholic Church is teaching, directly in the Catechism, that they are necessary for our salvation.

Here’s why I have an issue with that: As soon as they are necessary for our salvation, then there is some element of our salvation that must be earned. And that thinking is against the whole concept of grace.

Now, there are plenty of other quotes from various councils and catechisms that will not support my point, and you could quote any number of them at me. Here’s one I found from the Council of Trent:

— “If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or by the teaching of the Law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema” (Session 6; can. 1).

And from there, together with your quote from the Catechism, we could potentially put to rest the idea that the Catholic Church believes works are necessary for salvation. However, you’d be ignoring the four quotes I posted earlier as well as the history of the quote. The Council of Trent existed as a reaction to the growing Protestant Reformation, which accused the Catholic Church of among other things teaching a works-dependent salvation. That’s why the Protestant Movement went the opposite direction and started preaching the doctrine of sola gratia, salvation only by grace. The Catholic Church heard that accusation and responded by restating what they believed in the Council of Trent, from where we get the line.

But here’s the issue: Why would they need to state that truth in that historical setting if that was what they had believed and taught the entire time? The answer is that they wouldn’t. The reason why they needed to say it all was because they had been teaching something entirely different and needed to correct themselves.

Now you might say, “Listen, pastor, the Council of Trent was back in the 1500s. It’s a little different now."

You might be right, but here’s what I cannot ignore: The large numbers of Christians I’ve personally met and spoken with who have come out of the Catholic Church and believe that they must earn their salvation through works.

Beyond anything it says in a Catechism or Councils, I cannot ignore what everyday Christians are telling me they have been taught in the Catholic Church. That, for me, is the most telling sign.

Does every Catholic believe in a works-dependent salvation? Probably not, especially the more biblically informed. But is it being taught in the Catholic Church? Yes. Without a doubt…"

This is PART2:

Now let me take a step back: Aren’t there also pockets within the Protestant Movement or the Charismatic Movement or the Orthodox Movement who are teaching a works-dependent salvation? Sure, but I couldn’t think of any of them off the top of my head. That’s why I referenced the Catholic Church. They’ve been a repeat offender throughout history as far as works-dependent salvation goes and everyone has heard of them.

Now, my misquotation of Ephesians 2:8. You’re nitpicking me a little bit there, and you’re probably right to, since I’m talking about pretty important theology. But having read Ephesians 2:9-10, I must disagree with your view of what Paul is saying there. It doesn’t seem to me that Paul is talking about both faith and works as necessary components of salvation. Because in verse 9, he clearly states that we are not saved by works. We are saved by grace through faith, not by works.

Now, you could counter by going to James and say that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). That is true. But Paul has a very important reason for what he says in Ephesians. He is dealing with the fight between the Jews and Gentiles in the Ephesian church. The Jews were saying that the Gentiles had to be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses in order to be saved, not unlike the argument they were making in Acts 15:1-5. So Paul had to settle the matter between the two groups by offering a basic truth: We are saved by grace through faith, not by anything we do.

Did I add the word “only”? Yes, I did. But before you throw Revelation 22:18 at me, please know that I was only referencing the verse to support my point. I wasn’t quoting it directly, hence my lack of quotation marks in the sentence. It was not my intention to add anything to Scripture.

Do I think that a good interpretation of Ephesians 2:8-10 would be that we are saved only by grace through faith and not by works? Yes, I do. If we went to Romans 3-4, we’d see the same thing.

Now, you brought up an excellent, excellent verse to support your point: Matthew 25:31-46. Those who are saved did good works. Those who were condemned did not.

In the Christian life, we are asked to obey God. We are asked to confess our sins to one another (not necessarily to priests, nowhere in any of the verses you referenced is the word “priest" ever used or even referenced) and to take communion and to love and serve others.

But those “works” do not earn salvation. I cannot make that point clear enough. The story of Matthew 25:31-46 is not about those who have earned their way to heaven by doing enough good in their lives. It is a challenge from Jesus to his disciples to do good for the least of these, for this is the mark of a person who has been saved.

Even though they might sound the same, the difference between these two sentences is huge:

  1. Good works are necessary for salvation.
  2. Good works are the mark of a saved person.

The first sentence is centered upon our own ability. The second sentence leaves room for God and His ability. The first sentence places salvation in our own hands. The second sentence places salvation in God’s hands.

I hope I’ve clarified myself a little more with that response. If there’s anything you have questions about or need further explained, let me know. I will probably not be able to write another broad response like this do to my workload, so the more specific the question, the better. Also, let me know what kind of dialogue you’re seeking. I won’t be able to respond as well if I’m not sure what kind of conversation you’d like to have.

In any case, I hope that all makes sense. I pray this message finds you well. Peace to you!

K***** W*****
Pastor & Research

He’s taking a valid point and using it to reach an illogical conclusion. That is, to say “the sacraments are necessary for salvation” is not to conclude “salvation must be earned (by works).” A Catholic will (reasonably) say both that sacraments are necessary and salvation is by the grace of Christ alone.

A counter-example to the pastor’s argument (which, as an analogy, is not perfect, because it does not attempt to deal with the distinction between ‘works’ and ‘grace’, but rather, simply points out the error in conflating ‘necessity’ with ‘earning’):
(1) it is necessary to graduate medical school in order to get a job as a surgeon.
(2) one gets a job as a surgeon by convincing the hiring doctor that he is qualified for the job.

In other words, “graduating medical school” is a necessary pre-condition; however, what gets one hired is the judgment of the doctor making the hiring decision.

Similarly, sacraments are necessary (for Catholics) to be saved as a precondition for salvation, as attested by Jesus in Scripture. However, our salvation is contingent on Jesus’ grace. If, as He instructs us in the example of the ‘sheep and the goats’, His decision is based (at least partly) on the actions of our lives, it is still nevertheless the case that our salvation is purely based on Christ’s freely willed decision to give us salvation. Christ does not say “you earn salvation based on works”, but He does say that his judgment of salvation will be based, in part, on His judgment of our actions. Big difference between these two…!

But here’s the issue: Why would they need to state that truth in that historical setting if that was what they had believed and taught the entire time? The answer is that they wouldn’t. The reason why they needed to say it all was because they had been teaching something entirely different and needed to correct themselves.

No: he misunderstands how Catholic councils work. They aren’t convened to “cover the Church’s tracks”; they’re convened in order to respond to an assertion about faith and morals that has been made and which has been being debated by the faithful. Therefore, since some were saying, “hey! the Church believes in works salvation!”, the council naturally took up the question and provided a definitive answer. It’s not at all that they’d historically taught something different: it’s because they were being accused of teaching something different. :wink:

You might be right, but here’s what I cannot ignore: The large numbers of Christians I’ve personally met and spoken with who have come out of the Catholic Church and believe that they must earn their salvation through works.

That’s an extraordinarily weak argument. One does not achieve a reasonable, accurate description of an organization and its principles by surveying only those who have left the organization. One could validly argue that those who have left the Church have done so specifically because they misunderstand what the Church teaches. At best, he could claim that we do a poor job of teaching what the Church believes; but, he cannot use the anecdotal evidence to prove that the Church teaches something that it does not teach. :shrug:

Paul has a very important reason for what he says in Ephesians. He is dealing with the fight between the Jews and Gentiles in the Ephesian church. The Jews were saying that the Gentiles had to be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses in order to be saved, not unlike the argument they were making in Acts 15:1-5. So Paul had to settle the matter between the two groups by offering a basic truth: We are saved by grace through faith, not by anything we do.

Scripture scholars would counter that the ‘works’ that the Judaizers were championing were works of the Mosaic Law. Therefore, Paul is asserting that the works of the Law are what are not necessary. Not good works in general – rather, the works of the Law (which is what the Judaizers were explicitly arguing for.)

Fritz6976. K’s response to you was pretty typical.

There were so many errors from K, I wasn’t sure where to start.

Here are a few suggestions (but I might ask them more “diplomatically” than I am putting forth here. I am laying this out so explicitly as there may be “lurkers” here reading this that need a more “undiplomatic” explanation. If you use these arguments in your follow up letter to K, I’d probably tone the rhetoric down slightly (but not too much):

K. Do you HAVE to have “faith” to be saved? Why isn’t faith “adding to the work of Christ?”

Can Christ “work” IN YOU and THROUGH you? If He does isn’t that “grace”.

Do you believe that works can be sown in the flesh. Do you believe that there are other “works” not sown of the flesh that can come from Christ?

St. Paul seems to see the difference between works done on your own (in the flesh) and works done in grace.

GALATIANS 6:7-8 7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Do you believe K, that he who sows to the Spirit, will from the Spirit reap eternal life? Or is this merely a “signpost” for others to see?

Is it “optional”?

QUOTE:
K No Christian ever really says that the works we perform are more important the grace of Christ.

Can’t they go hand in hand? Why divorce grace from works?

And if “works” are so unnecessary, WHY bother “accepting Jesus into your heart as “personal Lord and Savior”?

And why K, did you say in your original letter to me that . . . .

'QUOTE:
K - Now, at Shepherd we would definitely say that a huge component to our faith in God is that we are obeying what He commands us to do.

WHY bother with “works” being a “huge component to our faith”. (If faith is necessary, is it “biblical” to divorce faith from “works”? If it is "Biblical, why does St. Paul talk of the OBEDIENCE of faith in Romans 1:5 and Romans 16:26?)

K. You also said:

QUOTE:
K - For them (the Catholics), salvation is about more than the grace of Christ. Included in grace for salvation is church attendance, consuming the host, confessing sins to a priest, prayer, and others. Without these works, a Christian will be hard-pressed to find salvation.

Regarding “Church attendance” if we fail to meet together “as is the habit of some” does the Sacrifice of Christ remain for me?

HEBREWS 10:23-27 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For** if we sin deliberately** after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries.

You pointed out about Catholics “consuming the host”.

But what if Catholics say, “Consuming the Host” IS a grace? Does that do away with grace too?

K said:

QUOTE:
K - The Council of Trent existed as a reaction to the growing Protestant Reformation, which accused the Catholic Church of among other things teaching a works-dependent salvation. That’s why the Protestant Movement went the opposite direction and started preaching the doctrine of sola gratia, salvation only by grace.

If this is true, why do the Eastern Orthodox religions also teach the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Why do THEY have Confession to a Priest. Why do THEY (at least) claim Apostolic authority? The Eastern Orthodoxies are not “Papists”.

When did they invent these teachings?

K said:

QUOTE:
K - Now, my misquotation of Ephesians 2:8. You’re nitpicking me . . .

No. I called you on your faith ALONE invention.

K said:

QUOTE:
K - But having read Ephesians 2:9-10, I must disagree with your view of what Paul is saying there.

Even pretending you are correct K, don’t you need “repentance” to get to Heaven? (if you need repentance, then it isn’t“faith ALONE” is it?) How about “hope”? Don’t you need to have a hope to get to “Heaven”.

If the answer is “yes”, why hold to a doctrine of “justification by faith ALONE?”

If the answer is “no” why would St. Paul tell us in “hope” we are saved? Why would St. Peter on Pentecost tell people to “repent!”?

ROMANS 8:24 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

K said:

QUOTE:
K - Now, you could counter by going to James and say that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17).

I don’t need to go to James here. We can see from using only St. Paul’s writings, that we are not justified by faith ALONE K.

Why say something St. Paul never says?

WHY would St. Paul say (in 1st Corinthians 13): Of faith, hope, and love (charity), the greatest of these is “love”?

If St. Paul affirmed justification by faith ALONE, he should have said: Of faith, hope, and love (charity), **the greatest of these is “faith” **because that’s ALL you need to be saved!

But St. Paul doesn’t say that. Why not K?

K made a big deal about allegedly no Confession to a Priest (but seemed to admit some sort of “confession”). (Since K alluded to James here too [implicitly], I’ll temporarily break with the St. Paul’s letters only for a moment)

But K, you forgot to mention James specifically mentions Confession to “one another” in the context of the “presbyteroi” (the Priests).

And WHY should these presbyteroi in James 5 anoint the people for “forgiveness of their sins”. What about “faith ALONE”? (What about sharing truth" for the forgiveness of sins too in James 5? James 5:19-20) Is it now “faith ALONE . . PLUS anointing”? How about faith ALONE . . . PLUS sharing truth concerning James 5:19-20?

Why K, do you hold to a man-made tradition of men of justification by faith ALONE?

K said:

QUOTE:
K - . . . we are saved only by grace through faith and not by works? Yes, I do. If we went to Romans 3-4, we’d see the same thing.

(In the words of the late Ronald Regan, “There you go again” K.

You K, are using the word “only” when it is not in the verses that you are alluding to albeit not quoting. You are going to say [again] it is just the way you are communicating, but if I did this “alone” stuff in the context of “works” you’d let me hear about it too K.)

K. In Romans 3, St. Paul was explicitly talking about “works of the law” such as “circumcision” which he exemplified.

In Romans 4, St. Paul talked of Abraham being justified by faith (not “faith ALONE”) because St. Paul was trying to tell the Romans that Abraham was justified BEFORE he was circumcised. So therefore your circumcision is not salvific. That’s all. St. Paul did not teach in Romans 4 that Abraham was justified by “faith ALONE” K.

K. Would you say in the context of justification that faith WORKING through love, avails us of something. Or would you say faith in the context of justification avails something but NOT “love”?

GALATIANS 5:4-6 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.

(Here in Galatians 5, St. Paul is contrasting Old Covenant works of the law such as circumcision. vrs. some sort of other works that he SPECIFICALLY says “avail” something in the context of justification!)

Also K, you forgot about Romans 2 when talking to me about Romans. How do you reconcile what St. Paul said about obedience . . . .

**
ROMANS 2:5-8, 13** 5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 For he will render to every man according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. . . . 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

If nobody (by grace) can do “the law”, how can God render to them? Is this “really” is null set K? Or how else do you reconcile these verses with your tradition?

You also seemed to forget about Romans 8:17 where we are fellow heirs with Christ, provided we . . . . suffer with him!

ROMANS 8:17 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Is it now justification by "faith ALONE . . . PLUS our suffering being united to Christ’s suffering?

I guarantee you, if St. Paul would have used the word “faith” in Romans 8:17, we’d never hear the end of how “clearly” this verse really teaches justification by faith ALONE.

Yet since the word is “suffering” is in Romans 8:17. . . we hear not a peep from K about that. (I wonder why? It doesn’t fit into his tradition that’s why.)

NOT ROMANS 8:17 but a Phantom Verse 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we have faith ALONE in him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

K went on . . . .

QUOTE:
K - Even though they might sound the same, the difference between these two sentences is huge:

  1. Good works are necessary for salvation.
  2. Good works are the mark of a saved person.

This is a false dichotomy. There is a third option K.
Good works done in, by, and through the grace of Christ.

Regarding the last two posts and the response to K, please consider going back to post 5 (here), and re-reading 2nd PETER 3:15-18.

Then keeping in mind St. Peter’s warnings . . . ask yourself WHO could these false teachers be who confuse St. Paul’s writings, lead other men to do so, and are . . . . (you know what I am going to say) . . . lawLESS.

K said . . . .

I will probably not be able to write another broad response like this do to my workload, so the more specific the question, the better.

What does this mean from K? I don’t know but I suspect it means . . . .

Translated:

I will probably not be able to write another broad response like this due to the fact that although this “evangelism” IS my workload, I realize interiorly I am not able to come up with satisfactory answers to your questions. I have only a few more partial truths and fibs that I can say about Catholicism on this justification subject, and I want to get out of this conversation before it begins to effect ME as justification is so foundational of an issue.

My other alternative would be to avoid your questions altogether Fritz6976 and start “birdshotting” you with more anti-Catholic whoppers at you. I would attempt to change the subject like: “What about Mary, Purgatory, the Saints, tradition, the Pope, etc. etc. etc.” You DO know that the word “Purgatory” isn’t in the Bible don’t you Fritz6976? You DO know Fritz6976, that the word “Pope” isn’t in the Bible right?

(There are answers to all of these possible and common objection-canards of K but I would stay on the sola fide issue as long as possible. Even with less of a “broad response” from him).

Ask him what “grace” is.

He will say God’s favor for us undeserving human beings (that’s a partial truth). You will then respond to that partial answer (we will discuss that later on the thread if you get that far with him).

The sola fide issue is the heart and soul of his tradition. You touched on “Doctrine #1” with your questions to him. It is his foundation. In Protestantism, many ecclesial communions will talk about this issue almost every Sunday (or every Saturday, depending upon what invented “denomination” they are in). And they MUST keep preaching and teaching this partial justification truth over and over. Because since the Bible does NOT TEACH sola fide (in the sense that many anti-Catholics use “sola fide”), the people will wise-up unless this is reiterated constantly. And it IS reiterated constantly in Protestantisms. At least it was in my Baptist Sunday school. And in many other Protestant venues I’ve seen (really all of them that I have seen).

Don’t stop at this point Fritz6976. But share this stuff prayerfully and in a loving manner.

Couple your evangelization of K, with an hour of Eucharistic Adoration before you write or talk to him next time and/or some other “works” for K’s sake. Do this because you care about K’s soul. Ask God to help you be humble too as the Church is going to be doctrinally right, this COULD translate into you thinking YOU are doctrinally right and pride. Ask God to help you so this is not the case. Frequent the Confessional and be sure to Confess “pride” if even a squeak of pride slips in to you interiorly.

Give him a copy of Scott Hahn’s conversion testimony (here) or his “Evangelizing the Baptized Series (here) and Steve Ray’s “Born Again. Faith Alone” (here) talks. K will listen to them and a couple of audios won’t break the bank either.

Here is a sample of Steve Ray’s talk on justification and here on being “Born Again.”

If the subject of Justification gets exhausted, I would suggest talking about sola Scriptura—his tradition’s invention that the Bible ALONE is our only authority concerning faith and morals. And start a thread on that here too then. K won’t have any answers for that foundational doctrinal issue either.

Their whole doctrinal house is built on straw. That is why it keeps crashing down in constant Church splits and thus needing foundational re-building.

The whole thing is a false dichotomy, that the sacraments and named works are somehow not done by grace. CCC1821 …God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ…

Please correct me if I’m wrong bit aren’t the sacraments channels of God’s graces? K is creating an adversarial position between grace and the sacraments. The sacraments ARE grace imparted to us via matter/physical elements. The best explanation/illustration shown to me, as a Protestant, was when Jesus healed the blind man. He didn’t just declare him healed. He spat into mud, made a salve, and applied it to the man’s eyes. IOW, Jesus used “matter” to impart the grace of healing, just as the sacraments impart grace to those who partake. God is not bound by the sacraments, obviously, and can work however He sees fit, but the sacraments are a beautiful assurance of His gifts to us. I wish K could “see” this :slight_smile:

Right. We are saved only by God’s graces - yet it is through the sacraments that we are able to increase in grace. The sacrament of baptism is the ordinary way which God pours out His grace to us. Yet after baptism, we can reject God’s grace in the committing of sin, which requires the sacrament of reconciliation to repair. The sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders impart more and more of God’s graces through the Holy Spirit. The sacrament of Holy Matrimony is so that God’s grace can strengthen the couple and any children they may have as part of their union. The sacrament of the anointing of the sick imparts the graces needed to deal with a life-threatening ailment. Finally, the Eucharist - Jesus giving Himself to us as ordinary food under the accidents of bread and wine - gives us the graces to be Jesus’s hands & feet in today’s world.

And yet, the sacraments are just one way God imparts His grace. What is one deciding to convert to Christianity in general (Catholicism in particular) other than an urging on by God’s grace? What is one feeling sorrow for one’s sins (required for a valid confession) other than a reaction to God’s grace? And it is only by God’s grace that some of the Christian martyrs were able to be baptized by blood through martyrdom before being able to be baptized by water - and how we can have hope for implicit baptism by desire for those who are never baptized.

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