Faith Alone


Q. I am a Catholic. I teach CCD/PSR to 4th graders.
I teach them what the bible says and that is that if you believe in 
Jesus Christ,you will live with him in his kingdom for eternity. 
There are dozens of scripturepassages to back up this thought.

A. That is too minimal for several reasons. God may, MAY make that judgment for some people, but the Church cannot teach that authoritatively.

The ordinary and secure method for salvation has been given to the Catholic Church.

Baptism

John 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.4″How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

I Peter 3:21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you


Eucharist

John 3:50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”

Attend mass as a minimum to obey the commandment.

Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.

It is a mortal (as in deadly) sin to knowingly and willfully, without a good reason, skip mass or any other holy day of obligation.

Confession

For the forgiveness of a mortal sin one needs to go to confession to a priest and receive absolution. Dying with a mortal sin on your soul would bring condemnation.

I John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. 17All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

CCC 1472 To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin.

Remarriage

Mark 10:11 He (Jesus) answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.

Adultery is a mortal sin and is not a good thing to have on your soul. Now, let me be clear. A person would have to know first of all that remarriage is adultery and do it anyway for it to qualify as a mortal sin for that person. Nevertheless, adultery is always objectively a grave sin.

In closing, as a catechist who earnestly desires the salvation and safety of souls, or you wouldn’t take the time to teach CCD, I hope you can now see that it is risky to teach that belief in Jesus is all you need to go to Heaven.

I realize you can’t get into a lot of detail at the level you are teaching, but they need to hear a little more about what the Bible actually says we need for salvation. What if they never have the opportunity of receiving more advanced teaching and they honestly have been convinced that they can live any way and do any thing and still go to Heaven as long as they believe in Jesus. Sola Fide, Faith Alone, is one of the errors or the Protestant Reformation.

CCC 816 “The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. . . . This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.“267

The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.” UR #3

Wounds to unity

817 In fact, “in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church – for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame.” The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ’s Body – here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism 270 – do not occur without human sin:

Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.

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7 Responses

  1. I have to disagree with this post. If you strip everything away, the one thing that is left at the core is a persons faith in Christ. It’s a yes or no question that is simple enough to get into heaven.

    Romans 10:9-11

    9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

  2. Ryan,

    James 2:24
    You see that a man is justified by works and NOT BY FAITH ALONE.

    This is the only place is scripture that faith and alone appear together.

    Once again, this is standard Protestant proof texting to make a point without considering how this verse needs to be in harmony with other verses in scripture. So when we find verses that seem to contradict each other it is our understanding that fabricates the contradiction. Our understanding must be expanded in order to assimilate all of scripture in such a way that contradiction is dissolved.

    The Romans passage Ryan quotes is emphasizing a point about Justification. But Salvation is a multifaceted concept. We need to take all of Scripture into account so that we can comprehend all of its many facets. Otherwise our understanding may be accurate up to a point but get the big picture totally wrong.

    This reminds me of the six blind men who described an elephant. One man found the tail and said an elephant is like a rope. Another found the leg and said an elephant is like a tree. A third found the trunk and said an elephant is like a snake. A fourth felt the ear and said an elephant is like a fan. The fifth insisted that an elephant is like a wall b/e he felt the side and the sixth, feeling its tusk said that an elephant is like a spear.

    Since I was a Protestant for forty years and a diligent Bible student I am convinced that the Catholic Church gives us the big picture, the whole TRUTH. Below is more of the James 2 passage that does not fit well with Protestant Calvinism.

    SCRIPTURE:

    James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

    19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder (Are the demons saved by Faith alone?) 20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and NOT by faith alone.

  3. I understand how you can justify doing works. Any Christian should not only feel obligated to do works, but should be actively participating in them to strengthen their walk with Christ and encourage and lead others. But I believe that we disagree in the fact that works can save a person from hell. If there is anything more that one must do besides believe in Christ and His resurrection, it completely takes away the purpose of Christ. Why would he come to save us if we can do it ourselves through works?

    Eph 2:8-10
    8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

  4. Ryan,

    James clearly says that we are NOT justified by faith alone. Jesus alone has atoned for the eternal consequences of our sin.

    Ryan: But I believe that we disagree in the fact that works can save a person from hell.

    BFHU: We DO NOT believe that our works save us. Christ saves us by his death and resurrection. The concept that Catholics believe they must work their way to Heaven is not true at all. So, we do agree on this after all.

    Ryan: If there is anything more that one must do besides believe in Christ and His resurrection,

    BFHU:We believe that our works help to purify us and help us to become more Holy by the grace of God. But we do not believe that our works are able to make God indebted to us and obligated to save us. NO. It is all of grace. The Protestant concept of Sanctification is very close to the Catholic idea of the necessity of Good works.

    Ryan: it completely takes away the purpose of Christ. Why would he come to save us if we can do it ourselves through works?

    BFHU:You have been taught to believe a false dichotomy. The fact that there is more that we must do does not in any way take away the purpose of Christ. He DID have to save us. We cannot do it ourselves. So, once again we agree that we are unable to save ourselves. But that does not mean we DO nothing.

    Could David have defeated Goliath without God? Did David do it by himself? What would have happened if David did not DO anything?

    The Israelites were saved from the angel of death in Egypt. How? By the grace of God. But what happened to those who did NOT DO anything? did not kill and eat a lamb and put its blood on the doorpost. Just like eating a lamb and putting blood on the doorpost is not a cause and effect slam dunk way of warding off the angel of death in general, their action DID effect their salvation by the command and grace of God.

    Christ has done all that is necessary to offer salvation to ALL MEN. But not all men will be saved. Why? Because not all men will DO & Be what they must in order to access this great gift of salvation.

    Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

    God does His part and we have our part to do.

  5. I really don’t discuss this stuff much with Catholics only because it’s not as beneficial as we’d all like it to be. But, i still have a large problem with Mass and the way it is carried out. Now, there are many dead in my protestant church no doubt, but I cannot help but to know how many so-called “Catholics” that even know what the Gospel is. I meet too many who have no idea, but go to church.

    I do however have Catholic brothers who love Jesus and serve Him, so this sort of arguing gets us no where. We’d rather be talking to the unbelievers.

  6. We most definitely have to be baptized in order to be saved, as well as keep commandments such as Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. 1 John tells us we must keep all his commandments. If we say we know him and keep not his commandments, we are liars and the truth is not in us.

  7. I agree with witnessing to the unbelievers as Daniel says, totally agree. We should also agree that these discussions should continue so that we can have some type of reconcilition with our brother Christians so we can unify our churchs. You can see through recent news that a big reconcilition is happening with in the churchs, the Anglican church has had mass amounts of members join the Catholic Church even their bishops, and the Eastern Churchs are starting to reconcile and seeking communion with the Roman Pontiff.

    Now talking of Sola Fide. Catholics truly believe faith is necessary for salvation just as some non-Catholics believe. But we dont only believe that faith justifies us. You have to take the Gospels as a whole, you can’t just read Romans 10:9-11 and say that faith is the only thing we need for salvation. We believe in Romans 10 just as everyone else, but what happens when we read James 2:24 with it. Could the Apostles of Jesus be wrong and contradict eachother? No. There are many passages that involve faith and just as many that involve works. So thats why we have to accept Salvation involves faith and works, which is a Catholic doctrine. Its simple, reasonable, and logical belief.

    Even with little work you can be saved, look at 1 Cor. 3:10-15 which is often used to reference Purgatory. Even with the one person building little “works” on Christ’s foundation is saved on the Day. Painfully I may say.

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