Catholics and salvation

General discussions about Christianity including salvation, heaven and hell, Christian history and so on.
cubeus19
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Catholics and salvation

#1

Post by cubeus19 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:06 pm

Hi all, I was wondering about a few things regarding Catholics and salvation.

From what I currently know Catholics either believe or at the very least, many Protestants think that Catholics believe that salvation is not fully based on grace through faith but on a ambigous combination of faith and works.

Now my first question to anyone here who is either Catholic or knows alot about Catholics is, is that true? Do Catholics really believe that salvation is earned or merited by faith plus works?

My second question regards assurance of salvation in the Catholic church. Do Catholics or can Catholics even have assurance of salvation like what most Protestants claim to have?

If so, then how does a Catholic know if he or she is doing enough good works or has the right ratio of faith and works to assure themselves that they are indeed saved?

I'm mostly just curious about these things, please let me know if you can help me out. Thanks.

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#2

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:33 pm

I think you'll find that there can be as much range within Catholicism in terms of individual Catholics on some of these issues as there is within Protestantism, but the official position of the church is laid out fairly clearly. I think too that the Catholic Church clarified some of these issues with the Second Vatican.

I can say more, but since we do have a few Catholics who are active on the board or on our moderating team I'll let them offer an explanation before I weigh in further.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#3

Post by Ivellious » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:33 pm

I personally know a few Catholics and ex-Catholics that, among other things, take issue with this particular part of the faith. But like Canuckster I'll let someone more knowledgeable start before sharing more.

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#4

Post by Silvertusk » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:23 am

Byblos - over to you. :ebiggrin:

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#5

Post by RickD » Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:21 am

Cubeus19,

As Bart said, there is a HUGE range of beliefs among Catholics, as to what they believe about what part "works" have, in regards to salvation. But the key, is to see what the Catholic Church itself teaches. Not what differing Catholics believe. I'm sure Byblos will help you out here.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
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Re: Catholics and salvation

#6

Post by Echoside » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:11 am

cubeus19 wrote: From what I currently know Catholics either believe or at the very least, many Protestants think that Catholics believe that salvation is not fully based on grace through faith but on a ambigous combination of faith and works.
As far as I know, Catholics believe that we are saved through faith alone. However, works necessarily follow every case of faith. You cannot be saved by faith without works not because God's grace isn't enough, but because such a faith's validity in the first place is under question. Does a person who "accepts" God then undergoes no sanctification really saved? Did they have grace to begin with?

That's what I've gathered. By no means does this apply to all Catholics, as everyone else said I'd take my answers with a grain of salt for now.
cubeus19 wrote:If so, then how does a Catholic know if he or she is doing enough good works or has the right ratio of faith and works to assure themselves that they are indeed saved?
No such ratio exists, you have faith or you don't.

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#7

Post by domokunrox » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:33 am

I am not Catholic, but in order for this thread to even go anywhere everyone needs to define quite a few things.

Define faith
Define works
What has Jesus commanded?
What constitutes that you KNOW Jesus? What is the criteria for KNOWING him?
What constitutes that you BELIEVE in Jesus? What follows NECESSARILY to PROVE you BELIEVE something?

They are indeed philosophy questions, but unless you guys are willing to look hard at philosophical implications and come to terms with each others views the topic discussion won't be helpful.

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#8

Post by Byblos » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:03 am

I was away for a while and just got back yesterday. I doubt I will have time this week to address this and other issues as I will be swamped at work trying to catch up. I will say this as a quick summary, there might be varying beliefs among Catholics but the official Catholic Church's position is what matters so one cannot say they are Catholic then disagree with the official position of the church.

1. We are saved by God's grace alone, nothing we do to earn it
2. Salvation is an active, life-long process and not a one time event
3. Faith without works is dead
4. We have a moral assurance of salvation, not an absolute one (and as I've argued many times before, most non-catholics do as well, they just don't know or don't want to admit it).

That, in it a nutshell, is the official Catholic position on salvation and assurance.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#9

Post by domokunrox » Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:43 am

Again, not a Catholic, but I agree with every single point you've made in these regards, Byblos.

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#10

Post by CeT-To » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:38 am

Hey Byblos, could you quickly go through number 2 and 4 for me?

Thank you!
But joy and happiness in you to all who seek you! Let them ceaselessly cry,"Great is Yahweh" who love your saving power. Psalm 40:16

I Praise you Yahweh, my Lord, my God!!!!!

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#11

Post by Byblos » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:15 am

CeT-To wrote:Hey Byblos, could you quickly go through number 2 and 4 for me?

Thank you!
Certainly.

Let me first preface this by saying that most objections to Catholic understanding of salvation stem from the fact there are differences in understanding as to what exactly constitutes a 'work'. Some might consider baptism a work, confession, the Lord's supper, etc. In Catholic theology those are not works, they are sacraments instituted by Christ himself to keep our faith active and make it grow in God's grace. So when Catholics are accused of believing in a works-based salvation, of course, we do not see it that way.
2. Salvation is an active, life-long process and not a one time event
It simply means that one has to walk the walk, not simply talk the talk. When we are baptized into Christ we move from being in Adam and become heirs to the kingdom. Salvation becomes available to us through Christ and through his blood, the new covenant, instead of through the old covenant (the old law) which did nothing but highlight our utter inability to follow it. Through faith that, in and of itself, is a gift from God, and through his graces as instituted in the sacraments, we are able to nurture our faith in Christ in the hope of attaining the kingdom at the end. Catholics believe that a covenant is still in effect. That is basically how God has chosen to deal with his people from the beginning of age: through covenants. This is evident throughout the old testament, culminating in the new and everlasting covenant which is the blood of Christ. But make no mistake, a covenant is still in effect more than ever. The nature of covenants is such that each party has certain responsibilities. God promises to guide, protect, and save us and we promise to abide by his graces through the sacraments. They are no more works than giving a mental assent to a proposition. They are done through the prompting of God Himself, and not through us.
4. We have a moral assurance of salvation, not an absolute one (and as I've argued many times before, most non-catholics do as well, they just don't know or don't want to admit it).
To say that Catholics believe that salvation can be lost is a misnomer since one cannot lose what they do not actually have. Hence why we have a moral, not an absolute assurance. We trust God's promise that he will never go back on His word. Looking inwardly, however, we can never be sure the promise we have is not a false promise. This is due to our fallen nature. It is through perseverance in the faith that, again, looking inwardly, gives us the moral assurance of salvation until the end.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#12

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:35 pm

Byblos wrote:To say that Catholics believe that salvation can be lost is a misnomer since one cannot lose what they do not actually have. Hence why we have a moral, not an absolute assurance. We trust God's promise that he will never go back on His word. Looking inwardly, however, we can never be sure the promise we have is not a false promise. This is due to our fallen nature. It is through perseverance in the faith that, again, looking inwardly, gives us the moral assurance of salvation until the end.
You are a very bad man, Byblos. You are destroying all our reasons to belittle Catholicism. How are we to continue feeling superior to you scum-eating Catholics? You must be taken care of quickly.

FL :guns:
Hold everything lightly. If you don't, it will hurt when God pries your fingers loose as He takes it from you. -Corrie Ten Boom

+ + +

If they had a social gospel in the days of the prodigal son, somebody would have given him a bed and a sandwich and he never would have gone home.

+ + +

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#13

Post by Canuckster1127 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:43 pm

This isn't a sole statement by the Catholic Church but I found this interesting. It's a joint statement from Lutherans and Catholics.

It might be helpful in clarifying things (or it may muddy the whole works ... I don't know) ...

http://bit.ly/1Cy7g4
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#14

Post by Byblos » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:25 am

Furstentum Liechtenstein wrote:
Byblos wrote:To say that Catholics believe that salvation can be lost is a misnomer since one cannot lose what they do not actually have. Hence why we have a moral, not an absolute assurance. We trust God's promise that he will never go back on His word. Looking inwardly, however, we can never be sure the promise we have is not a false promise. This is due to our fallen nature. It is through perseverance in the faith that, again, looking inwardly, gives us the moral assurance of salvation until the end.
You are a very bad man, Byblos. You are destroying all our reasons to belittle Catholicism. How are we to continue feeling superior to you scum-eating Catholics? You must be taken care of quickly.

FL :guns:
Lol, it's all out of love FL, you know that :twisted: .
Canuckster1127 wrote:This isn't a sole statement by the Catholic Church but I found this interesting. It's a joint statement from Lutherans and Catholics.

It might be helpful in clarifying things (or it may muddy the whole works ... I don't know) ...

http://bit.ly/1Cy7g4
Definitely a great source I quite often reference, thanks Bart.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Catholics and salvation

#15

Post by Glen » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:35 pm

Byblos wrote:I was away for a while and just got back yesterday. I doubt I will have time this week to address this and other issues as I will be swamped at work trying to catch up. I will say this as a quick summary, there might be varying beliefs among Catholics but the official Catholic Church's position is what matters so one cannot say they are Catholic then disagree with the official position of the church.

1. We are saved by God's grace alone, nothing we do to earn it
2. Salvation is an active, life-long process and not a one time event
3. Faith without works is dead
4. We have a moral assurance of salvation, not an absolute one (and as I've argued many times before, most non-catholics do as well, they just don't know or don't want to admit it).

That, in it a nutshell, is the official Catholic position on salvation and assurance.
We are saved by God's grace "alone", nothing we do to earn it, seems like you have a contradiction with that in 2 through 4.

Just the works to reach a state of being worthy to be water baptized is a long process is it not? The sinner Just can't hear the gospel and be saved in the Catholic religion. I guess Luther is being de-fanged by this new improved version of grace alone theory.

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