You don't need to believe in Christ to be saved?


#1

I was watching Sunday Night Live on EWTN and a caller asked if non-Christians can be saved. The priest basically said everyone who is saved is saved by Christ BUT he then went on to give the example of a virtuous Jewish Rabbi friend of his who he believes is saved. This blew my mind because I can understand (at least for the sake of argument) that some pagan, or Jew or whatever who has never heard of Christ or been exposed to the Gospel can be saved by God’s amazing grace as an exception to the rule. But this priest was basically saying those who have access to Christians, as this Rabbi obviously did with Fr. Groeschel, can reject Christ and still be saved by living a virtuous life.

Please tell me this is not Catholic teaching, but merely this priests opinion. This faltly contradicts the teachings of Christ in John 3 and elsewhere.

Mel


#2

The Churchs teaching is that non-christians can indeed be saved. Here’s the pertinet section from Vatican II documents:

  1. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126); But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”,(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html


#3

Bob,

This does not address my question because in your quote is this:

Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church

The specific question I was asking was regarding someone who did in fact have access to the Gospel. As most Americans do. So the ignorance argument doers not really apply.

Plus, where was this priests concern for the soul of this Jewish friend. Jesus and the Apostles made converting Jews a priority. This disconnect is alarming. I mean it takes the very teeth out of Christianity. I cannot believe that this is the traditional Catholic view. It cannot be reconciled with the most basis reading of the New Testament.

Frankly, what he said smacks of Universalism.

Mel


#4

[quote=Melchior]The specific question I was asking was regarding someone who did in fact have access to the Gospel. As most Americans do. So the ignorance argument doers not really apply.

Plus, where was this priests concern for the soul of this Jewish friend. Jesus and the Apostles made converting Jews a priority. This disconnect is alarming.

[/quote]

I was watching Fr Groeschel last night. I believe the point he was making, is that we cannot and must never judge who may or may not be saved. That is up to God alone. An individual may believe on his/her deathbed in the eleventh hour. Remember the parable of the laborers in the vineyard?

Blessings,
Mickey


#5

#6

Mickey,

That is not what he said. He basically gave reason to not evangelize.

Mel


#7

Obviously Fr. Groeschel does not know if this man is or is not saved, only God knows this. Fr. Groeschel can hope he is and can pray for his soul.
Can a non-Christian be saved? Yes Will any specific person be saved, no one knows except God.

Br. Rich,

Then why did the Church bother with Evangelization for hundreds of years. Why did Jesus say that he who does not believe is condemned already?

Obviously, know one knows but God. But this does not excuse us from what is revealed does it?

If there ever was a good reason for a non-Catholic Christian to remain non-Catholic this seems to be it. It flatly contradicts the entire message of the New Testament.

Any Catholics out there disagree with the previous responses? Do all roads lead to Heaven for those who try to be good?

Mel


#8

[quote=Melchior]Bob,

The specific question I was asking was regarding someone who did in fact have access to the Gospel. As most Americans do. So the ignorance argument doers not really apply.

Plus, where was this priests concern for the soul of this Jewish friend. Jesus and the Apostles made converting Jews a priority. This disconnect is alarming. I mean it takes the very teeth out of Christianity. I cannot believe that this is the traditional Catholic view. It cannot be reconciled with the most basis reading of the New Testament.

Frankly, what he said smacks of Universalism.

Mel
[/quote]

Let’s remember that Jews who “hear” about Christ do so with a cultural and religious filter that may not allow them to “hear” with their hearts. They have 2000 years of animosity and suspicion, and of course the Holocaust, as a wall between them and the truth. Same with Muslims raised as devout followers of Islam. They have cultural and religious prejudices that may not allow them to “hear” the truth even though they’ve “heard” of Jesus.

With your religious and cultural upbringing, would YOU convert to Judaism or Islam or Mormon? You reject it out-of-hand. You probably never have given SERIOUS consideration to their claims to have the one true religion. You dismiss it as impossible b/c you are confident you KNOW the truth. You’ve “heard” of Joseph Smith is a prophet that has restored the true religion, you’ve “heard” of Mohammed is a prophet who has restored the true religion, and you’ve “heard” that Jews believe Trinity is blasphemy to the One True God. Yet you choose to believe in Jesus, the prophet who restored the one true religion.

So, the Rabbi’s position seems quite reasonable in light of culture and religious upbringing. Invincible ignorance is a real thing in this world. It’s very hard to break through the cultural and religious filters that many people have. Not impossible, but more difficult than you probably realize.

I didn’t see Fr. Groeschel’s program, but I do know what the church teaches and doesn’t. It does not teach Universalism. And, neither does Fr. Groeschel.


#9

[quote=Melchior]That is not what he said.
[/quote]

I beg to differ. That is exactly what he said. Watch it again if you can.


#10

[quote=Melchior]Br. Rich,

Then why did the Church bother with Evangelization for hundreds of years. Why did Jesus say that he who does not believe is condemned already?

Obviously, know one knows but God. But this does not excuse us from what is revealed does it?

If there ever was a good reason for a non-Catholic Christian to remain non-Catholic this seems to be it. It flatly contradicts the entire message of the New Testament.

Any Catholics out there disagree with the previous responses? Do all roads lead to Heaven for those who try to be good?

Mel
[/quote]

Though I did not see it you are correct in that in contradicts Catholic teaching. Although in the post V2 era there seem to be wave upon wave of liberals who hope to change the Church with such thinking, do not think that is what the Church teaches.

It is a case of “do as i say, not as i do”. Unfortunately, the current modus of thought present today ( even going up so far as the pope possibly) is that we dont need to evangalise.

No wonder we have a growing number of sedevacantists in light of such programs.

In Christ.

Andre.


#11

[quote=Melchior]Then why did the Church bother with Evangelization for hundreds of years.
[/quote]

What is your definition of evangelization?


#12

[quote=Magicsilence]Though I did not see it you are correct in that in contradicts Catholic teaching.
[/quote]

It would probably be wise to hold your opinion of Fr Groeschel until you have heard what he actually said.


#13

[quote=Melchior]Bob,

This does not address my question because in your quote is this:

The specific question I was asking was regarding someone who did in fact have access to the Gospel. As most Americans do. So the ignorance argument doers not really apply.

Plus, where was this priests concern for the soul of this Jewish friend. Jesus and the Apostles made converting Jews a priority. This disconnect is alarming. I mean it takes the very teeth out of Christianity. I cannot believe that this is the traditional Catholic view. It cannot be reconciled with the most basis reading of the New Testament.

Frankly, what he said smacks of Universalism.

Mel
[/quote]

Well I didnt see what he said but the doctine does not say that anyone who has been exposed to the Gospel and rejects it is going to Hell. I believe the term used is invincible ignorance and if through invincible ignorance one still rejects the gospel that does not man they are condemned to hell.

I have a very good friend who is Jewish. His family has been Jewish going back thousands of years. There is no way he is going to convert to Chrisitanity. IMO there is also no way he is automatically condemned to hell. he and his family have the kept the Covenant God made with Noah, Abraham, Moses et al 1,000s of years ago.


#14

Mickey,

He did not say anything about death bed conversion regarding his Rabbi friend - that is what I was refering too when I said he did not say what you think he was saying. He specifically said he could be saved by being a good Jew and dying a good Jew. I listened very carefully and DVRed it, rewinding to make sure I heard right.

Mel


#15

1ke,

I don’t see how this makes modern Jews any different from first century Jews. They had plenty of room to claim invinsible ignorance.

Scripture makes it clear then we are without excuse when we reject Christ.

I am not speaking as someone cold and detached. On the contrary, I am half Jewish. My dad lived and died a Jew and his entire extended family (grnadparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) was slaughtered in the Holocaust. I am intimately aware of the cultural obstacles. But the Holy Spirit trancends culture. Believe me I have shed many tears over this. The idea of half my family being lost is painful beyond words. But are you going to tell me they are not responsible for their sins because others sinned against them?

Scripture and tradition do not give us acceptable categories and unnacceptable ones for rejecting Christ. He Himself was pretty clear on the matter.

Mel


#16

[quote=Melchior]Mickey,

He did say anything about his Rabbi friend and death bed conversion - that is what I was saying he did not say. He specifically said he could be saved by being a good Jew and dying a good Jew. I listened very carefully and DVRed it, rewinding to make sure I heard right.

Mel
[/quote]

All you needed to hear was the part about leaving judgement up to God. :wink:


#17

[quote=Melchior]1ke,

The idea of half my family being lost is painful beyond words. But are you going to tell me they are not responsible for their sins because others sinned against them?

Scripture and tradition do not give us acceptable categories and unnacceptable ones for rejecting Christ. He Himself was pretty clear on the matter.

Mel
[/quote]

No-I am going to tell you that the Doctrine of the Church we belong too does not teach that your Jewish family members are condmened to hell-regardless of whether they have been exposed to the Gospel.

I would think that would be a cause of joy for you.

Since we are not a Sola Scitura Church you views on what Scripture says on this subject are irelevant .( What matters (if one is Catholic) is what our Church teaches.


#18

[quote=estesbob]Since we are not a Sola Sciptura Church, your views on what Scripture says on this subject are irelevant .( What matters (if one is Catholic) is what our Church teaches.
[/quote]

We don’t know what God will do for those outside the Church, so it’s best not to presume to judge. We can only hope and pray that God will have mercy on them. That’s why I said that the Catholic Church’s position on this matter is not contradictory. On the one hand, we know that the usual and expected means of salvation is being united with Christ (cf. Rom. 6:1–5), but we also know from the Bible that “the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Ps. 103:8). We hope that those who, through no fault of their own, never know the gospel in a conscious way may be united to Christ in a way known only to God. We believe that God is sovereign and loving. He will judge people according to their knowledge. If they live in a way that accords with their best knowledge of God, we trust that he will be merciful to them.

Catholic Answers


#19

Since we are not a Sola Scitura Church you views on what Scripture says on this subject are irelevant .( What matters (if one is Catholic) is what our Church teaches.

Bob,

So what scripture says doesn’t matter? It can be contradicted. Please don’t insult me with a “Well you are Protestant so you cannot possibly understand anything that Jesus said nonsense”.

No-I am going to tell you that the Doctrine of the Church we belong too does not teach that your Jewish family members are condmened to hell-regardless of whether they have been exposed to the Gospel.

I would think that would be a cause of joy for you.

Then why should anyone believe in Jesus if they can be saved without Him? I don’t know who is in Hell or not. But I do not that Jews do not, in fact, keep the Covenant God made with Abraham unless they accept the New Covenant. Why was St. Paul so concerned with seeing His Jewish brethren accepting Jesus as Messiah if they did not need him? You can say the Church says so. But that does not answer my question or the apparent contradiction.

I did not come here to fight. I had an honest question. “Because I said so” is not an answer to my question. And I could quote many Catholic fathers and Church documents that contradict your understanding of what the Church teaches.

If one can be saved under the Old Covenant than there was no need for a New one. How you can reconcile this is beyond me. Christ came to save sinners. He also said those who do not believe in Him are condemned. Can you address that directly?

Mel


#20

no one can be saved without Jesus…

no one can be saved without Jesus’ intervention with the
Father…

Jesus decides who he will speak for, and why…

Luke 23:
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what
they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

i’m not saying this will satisfy your concerns, but just think about
who and why Jesus said what he said…

:slight_smile:


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