Are Roman Catholics Saved?

First, some fun:

  • What is an Evangelical? A nice fundamentalist.
  • How do you tell the difference between an Evangelical and a Fundamentalist? Ask them if they like Billy Graham. If they do, they are Evangelical. If they don’t, they are Fundamentalist (Fundamentalists believe he has compromised).
  • Finally . . . How do you tell the difference between an Evangelical and a Fundamentalist? Ask if Roman Catholics are going to heaven. If they say “no,” they are Fundamentalists. If they say “maybe,” they are Evangelical.

Are Roman Catholics Saved? Short answer: I don’t know. However, don’t read to much into that. I don’t know if Protestants are Christian. I don’t know if many who go to my evangelical church are Christian. By “Christian” I mean someone who has truly been regenerated by God and is, as a result, a genuine disciple of Christ.

Of course, a better question that people are getting at is this: Do I believe that someone who is a committed member of the Roman Catholic Church can be a true Christian? To this I answer “yes.” Now, to be fair, I do not feel that the majority of Roman Catholics with whom I have come in contact are true believers. But, to be fairer, I don’t believe that the majority of Protestants (and Eastern Orthodox for that matter) with whom I have come in contact are true believers either! It is the problem of nominalism. Simply confessing to be a part of any Christian tradition does not mean that one truly embraces the ideals of said tradition. Christians are those who truly believe in who Christ is and do their best to follow him.

I think the most important question that has ever been asked in the history of the world is, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15). The confession of Roman Catholicism, along with that of Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy, has been united concerning this for two thousand years: “Jesus Christ is the God-Man who died for our sins and rose from the grave.” Getting that right is no small thing. In fact, I would say that to have a true belief in such a creed requires the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. Roman Catholicism is to be commended, in my opinion, for being an ardent defender of the Trinity, the resurrection of Christ, and the necessity of belief in such. Though there are many passages I could turn to, I think 1 John 4:2 says more than we often give it credit for. In fact, I would say that this is one of the most neglected passages which could be used to defend the deity of Christ. Notice:

1 John 4:2
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.

Without getting too much into this (as it deserves its own blog post!), this passage teaches that a true belief that Christ is man and God is an indication that someone is “from God.” You may say that it only talks about his humanity (“in the flesh”) and not his deity. But I believe that implied within this is an assumption of Christ’s deity. Why? Because there would be no reason to deny that Christ had come in the flesh were it not assumed that he was God. I mean, how hard is it to deny that someone has come “in the flesh”, if they were only thought of as being human? It is a foregone conclusion that they have “come in the flesh”! This passage makes no sense, unless it is assumed that a person believes that Christ is God. But the point that I want to make right now is that it is a big deal to believe in the humanity and deity of Christ. Think about how rare this really is outside of Christianity. Obviously, atheists do not confess this, but what about Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus, and agnostics? They don’t have as an essential core to their confession (to say the least) that Christ is the God-man. The best of Catholics do. The best of Protestants do. The best of Eastern Orthodox do. It is because of this that I don’t easily dismiss Roman Catholics’ status before God. They get the “Who do you say that I am?” question right.

Not only this, but Catholics believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ. They believe that we are sinners in need of grace.  Even though they lean toward inclusivism since Vatican II, they still believe that there is no other name by which we must be saved. Again, this is significant stuff which, if truly believed, I don’t see how an unregenerate person can confess without salvific implications. All of this can be said about Eastern Orthodoxy as well.

Having said all of this, I am sure that many of my Protestant brothers and sisters are getting hot under the collar right now. I understand. Many of you are saying, “What about their worship of Mary?”  “What about their acceptance of Purgatory?”  “What about the Apocrypha?”  “What about the Pope?”  And, most importantly, “What about their denial of justification by faith alone?”

All of these are good questions and significant differences (some more so than others). I don’t want to undermine the importance of doctrine by saying that Roman Catholics can be saved. I hope you don’t see me doing this (though some will inevitably think I am). I am simply saying that the most central question in Christianity is, “Who do you say that I am?”, and they get this right.

So the question becomes, “How can someone believe and confess that their works contribute to their salvation and be saved?” (as Roman Catholics do). My answer is this: perfect doctrine does not save anyone. Sufficient doctrine is an indication that someone is saved. I believe deeply that justification is by faith alone (sola fide). However, I don’t think that justification comes through a belief in justification by faith alone. Put it this way: Heaven will not be inhabited by anyone who contributed to their justification. Some will get to heaven and they will find out how radical grace really was. In fact, I think all Christians will be overwhelmed by grace. The sanctification process, in some ways, can be summed up as this: the progressive realization that grace (undeserved and unmerited favor) is our only hope. I don’t think any of us really grasp this. Therefore, both Protestants and Roman Catholics will stand before God with a greater realization and confidence that our works had nothing to do with our present state of eternal blessedness. Roman Catholics will have a bigger learning curve than Protestants, in my opinion, but both of us will be overwhelmed by what grace really is. Most Roman Catholics will have a sudden realization that it truly was their faith in Christ alone that justified (Eph. 2:8-9).

So, where does that leave us? Does this mean that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is not important? Most definitely not. Paul exhorted the Galatians (who were justified, yet were replacing grace with the burden of law and works) not to “get saved,” but to live out the benefits of their salvation. The degree to which we are preaching justification without works is the degree to which we are preaching the grace of God. So we continue, as Paul did, to encourage people to take the burden off their backs…it is not ours to carry. I encourage Roman Catholics to do the same: realize how crazy, insane, radical, and beyond belief grace really is.

Protestantism is not perfect by any means. I believe we have a “fuller” Gospel understanding than Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox (otherwise, I would not be Protestant!), but this does not mean we have a perfect understanding of the Gospel. However, we need to continue to spread the message of the Gospel that grace is only realized once we see that it is completely undeserved.

Romans 11:6
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

192 Responses to “Are Roman Catholics Saved?”

  1. Just to throw it in there – no one (at that time) was denying that ‘Jesus’ came in the flesh. That Jesus was ‘the Messiah from God’ was more the point that was getting stuck in the throat of the Pharisees. ‘Christ’ isn’t a surname ;)

  2. Ooh, You hit the nail right on the head!

  3. The answer is “no”.

    By praying to Mary (the mother of the Lord Jesus) as well as the other “saints” they are engaging in idolatry. Ephesians 5:5 strictly warns against this. In fact, Revelation 21:8 teaches that those who do so will have their part in the lake of fire.

  4. In the end, it doesn’t matter what we say about others’ salvation. It isn’t our judgment. As such I have stopped asking that question about anyone. I don’t see it as a biblical question. If anyone leaves this life claiming they belong to the resurrection because Matt A. said so, there will be a lot of heavenly raised eyebrows and comments of “He’s lucky he’s here.” Now I may look for spiritual fruit and growth, because God did give us that responsibility with one another. And our conversation should always be filled with grace, and then it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and regenerate.

  5. Great Post Michael! You have covered all the bases well! In the end, Christ and Christology, which includes the Incarnation, and His redemptive Death, Resurrection & Ascension are Salvation. Thank God for such mercy, grace and love, ‘In Christ’! And here lives the entire Body of Christ Redemptive: Catholic, Protestant & Orthodox; and all those true Christians in between.

  6. Here is a wrinkle for @Marc Taylor, does 2 Tim. 1:16-18 refer to praying for the dead Onesiphorus? Many Christians, say yes! Of course R. Catholic, Orthodox, and some Anglicans, etc. I will not comment myself now.

  7. I think that the most important question that has ever been asked in the history of the world is this: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15).
    I think you are right on here. However, rightly discerning Christ’s person is not the only defining factor of redemptive truth. The second most important question is “How can I, a sinner, escape the judgment of the holy God and receive a place in His heavenly kingdom?” Roman Catholicism fails to give the Biblical answer. And in so doing fails in understanding who He really is.

  8. Marc, Catholics don’t “pray to Mary.” We ask her to pray for us. That’s a really, really important distinction that most Protestants get wrong over and over again. Neither Mary nor the saints answer our prayers – God answers our prayers. Mary and the saints intercede for us, just as my pastor or my friend might intercede for me. That’s all there is to it.

    To suggest that asking others to pray for us means that we are not “saved” is completely baseless.

  9. Catholics are saved by the waters of Baptism. But it doesn’t end there. We are saved, we are being saved and we hope to be saved. It is a past, present and future reality.

  10. Michael,
    Thank you so much for posting this. Just last night my husband and I were discussing this very subject! I have a good friend who is as Catholic as the pope! I have made her aware a few times of the serious issues in Catholic doctrine. I want to make sure she knows the truth and experiences the freedom in Christ that I do. She loves the Lord, and believes, but she also works very hard to be a “good Catholic”. So last night I asked my husband if he thinks Catholics are saved if they have faith PLUS works.
    Thanks for the timely post. I tend to agree with you.

  11. Editing to say…I asked my husband if he thinks Catholics are saved if they ARE TRUSTING IN THEIR WORKS along with their belief in what Christ has done.

  12. We are saved by grace, but what about those scriptures that say we shall be judged and rewared according to our works? Also do Catholics “worship” Mary, as distinct from merely asking her to intercede on their behalf?

  13. Begging your pardon, Mr. Patton, I don’t think you understand Catholic theology quite as well as you ought if you are to comment about the validity of our Church. Nor do many others here. We do NOT worship Mary, nor do we practice idolatry. We afford Mary the honor that is due to the woman who had such faith and trust in Jesus that she willingly laid down her body and soul to be used in bringing the Christ into the world for salvation. Purgatory is widely misrepresented in non-Catholic circles as a “second chance” or a “chance to work for salvation.” Neither is true. Purgatory is only the final and ultimate removal of all sin from our souls by the blood of Jesus, a necessary thing since we are all sinners (Rom 3:23) and nothing unclean can enter heaven (Rev 21:27). If we die as sinners and enter heaven as saints, there *must* be some process to change us from one to the other. Purgatory is Jesus’ work, not ours. Catholics added *all* the New Testament books to the Bible, which you seem to use without qualms. As for our use of the Septuagint for the Old Testament, Jesus used it as Scripture, too, and I’d much rather follow His lead on this than use the Hebrew canon determined by anti-Christians in 91 A.D. We only deny justification by faith alone because Jesus did (Matt 7:20), and when every other Christian denomination has a human leader speaking for them and issuing doctrine – sometimes with no accountability in non-Denominational churches – why object to the pope?

  14. @Matt Anthony & @Fr. Robert, AMEN!!!

    1 Corinthians 4:5
    Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.

  15. I did not mean to imply that Roman Catholicism worships Mary. It was just meant to comprise on of the common Protestant objections. Catholics just ask Mary and the Saints to pray for them (not unlike we ask others to pray for us). However, it must be admitted that some do elevate her status to a place reserved for God as Protestants sometimes elevate the Bible as an object of worship. Hopefully there can be some internal discipleship in both traditions so that straw men are not retained in these discussions on either side.

  16. Ah this will be a lively debate and fill my In Box.

    I come from a Russian Molokan family. Sometimes called Spiritual Jumpers. I never got into their beliefs, kind of hard to since all the services were in Russian. As I poke around and pick up tidbits here and there I’m surprised what I find, but they explain a comment my mother would occasionally make, “He or she (an individual) knows Christ.” She meant that despite being Molokan or Catholic or whatever denomination, they were saved.

    Very few are “as Catholic as the Pope.” I’ll bet even the Pope isn’t that Catholic. Few actually agree, follow and know every bit of doctrine and practice of the denomination or organization they are a member of. Very few.

    And outsiders often have misconceptions. It was fairly recently that I discovered that the Immaculate Conception was about Mary’s conception, not Jesus’.

    As I said, this will be a lively one.

  17. This topic is on my mind almost every day. I worry about relatives who go to church, but have never read their Bibles or barely have ever mentioned Jesus in any conversation. They go to church because of tradition. My wife once told one of her family members Jesus is God and the family member who had been going to church for 50 plus years didn’t know Jesus is deity. I have come to the conclusion we don’t need to go outside of the church to evangelize we can evangelize to people sitting around us in church!

  18. “I am sure that there are many of my Protestant brothers and sisters are getting hot under the collar right now. I understand. Many of you are saying, “What about their worship of Mary?” “What about their acceptance of Purgatory?” “What about their other books they add to the Bible?”’

    Michael, what jumped out at me from your article was this quote and how ignorant so many of your Protestant brothers & sisters are of Roman Catholic doctrine (or at least, that is how you are portraying them).

    Other commenters have addressed these issues well, but the most egregious to me is the “added books to the Bible” argument, which is indeed the belief by the vast majority of American Protestants. In fact, the 2nd generation Reformers REMOVED books that Christians had used for 1500 years, not the other way around.

    Jesus Christ read from the Greek Septuagint Old Testament in Luke 4. (If this is news to anyone, please look it up!) Most of the quotes in the New Testament (at least 2/3) can be traced back to the Old Testament that the Roman Catholic Church uses. The churches of Antioch, Phillippi, Ephasus, Crete, Thessalonica, etc. used the Greek Septuagint Old Testament in all of their readings and worship!

    For American Protestant folks who consider their churches to be “based upon the Bible”, you would think that they would want to learn the basic facts about where their Bible came from. The hard truth is that the RCC uses the Bible of the Early Church, not them!

  19. P.S. the family member was going to a Protestant church. Terribly sad and frightening to think about the awful surprise some people will receive after death who have been going to church most of their lives.

  20. Hello Robert,
    Please explain more about 1 Timothy 1:16-18. I don’t see anything about praying for the dead.
    By asking Mary anything you are praying to her. RC theology has no qualms in praying to her as long as she isn’t receiving latria. Furthermore, the fact that RC’s believe she can hear and properly respond to all what is asked of her would mean that she knows the hearts. Kardiognwstes (heart-knower in Greek) is the same thing as being omniscient. Thus RC theology has placed her on equality with God in this area which is indeed frightening.

    The false dichotomy between prayer and worship as seen in 1 Kings 18:26.
    O Baal, answer us – prayer/worship
    O Mary, answer us – prayer/worship
    Praying to Baal is worshiping Baal and praying to Mary is worshiping Mary.

  21. Mr. Taylor, to be more accurate, Catholics do NOT believe that Mary can hear our prayers on her own. We believe that God enables her to know our prayers somehow. Being God, you know, He is perfectly capable of enabling Mary to know our prayers just like He is perfectly capable of equipping somebody on earth with the gift of prophesy. As for her response, it’s only prayer. Catholics do not believe that Mary can generate miracles independently. We only believe she can take our needs before the Lord, much as she did in John 2. Above all, please know that Catholics DO NOT put her on an equal plane with God. We do not believe that Mary is our Lord, our God, our Savior. We do not believe she is a deity of any kind. If you don’t believe me, please take the time to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (you can find it free on line) and then you can read it for yourself.

  22. But why would we need a dead person to intercede for us when we have Jesus and why would a man or woman’s intercession carry more weight than God’s only begotten Son?

  23. Sparki,
    I love the fire and conviction behind your posts but I just wanted something straightened out for me. You said that Catholics don’t pray to Mary, but she’s just an intercession from us to God. In other words, you ask her (for example) to heal a friend, she then takes that request to God for him to do with it as he pleases. Correct? You then defended your position saying that God enables her to hear our prayers since she doesn’t know our hearts and she’s not omniscient. But tell me this, if God can hear us and needs to, in a way, tell Mary what we asked for, then why is she needed? Before Christ, sacrifices were needed as an intercession. Christ was the ultimate intercession for us so that we have direct access to him and longer need a sacrifice or a veil in the temple. Because Christ died for us, the veil was torn down and there is no need for intercession from us to him, so Mary has a no job when you think about it. Matthew 12:47-50 makes a really good point.

  24. Mr. J. David, Jesus came to save us and give us eternal life. Mary’s not dead, nor is anybody else who resides in heaven. Jesus Himself said that a “good and faithful servant” is “put in charge of many things” (Matt 25). The saints who have left this world LIVE with Jesus, and they are still part of the Church and still praying for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Mary’s intercession does not replace Jesus as mediator. Her prayers are merely added to our own. Now, I am sure you are a follower of the teachings found in the New Testament. There, we read that we are to pray for one another and carry each others burdens. Do you say that this idea is wrong? Do you say there is no need to pray for each other because we have Jesus and no man or woman’s intercession carries more weight than His? I hope not! So it is with the prayers of Mary and the saints in heaven, except they have been made perfectly righteous by the Blood of Christ. The Bible says that the prayers of the righteous are extra-good (James 5:17). It never hurts to have as much prayer as you can get for any need you take before the Lord.

  25. This blog gets more ecumenical by the day! Throw out the whole Reformation while you’re at it. 400+ martyrs were burned at the stake to reclaim the gospel, not to get a “fuller understanding” of it.

    What is saving faith? Can a person really have saving faith if they are trusting in their own works for salvation? Does Satan believe God became a man?

    What’s next, a denial of the need for full repentance of known sins at conversion?

  26. Michael you said:

    “….Paul exhorted the Galatians who were justified yet were replacing grace with the burden of law and works not to get saved, but to live out the benefits of their salvation. To the degree that we are preaching justification without works is the degree that we are preaching the grace of God. So we continue, as Paul did, to encourage people to take the burden off their backs…it is not ours to carry. I encourage Roman Catholics to do the same: realize how crazy, insane, radical, and beyond belief grace really is.”

    Paul did not merely exhort the Galatians. He questioned whether or not they were even regenerate. He questioned if he had given them the Gospel in vain. And to those bringing the false Gospel of works? He called accursed.

    People who were under the impression that their works contribute to their justification were somehow suspect in Paul’s mind. And those who propagated a system that encouraged such thinking … well it would seem he had no doubt as to what they were. He certainly didn’t think them to be bearer of a true Gospel. He didn’t suggest they didn’t have a full Gospel, he said they had a false one.

    But this is nothing different than I have said for years now.

    I was wondering what was up today when you and Tim were joking about what my reaction would be to this post. You got off easy… I didn’t read it earlier!

  27. Sparki,
    So God created an omniscient being (Mary) who knows our prayers? Only God is omniscient.

  28. Michael,

    Good to see you. How would you explain that the church for nearly 1600 years believed that works contributed to their salvation? We’re all those who believed in baptismal regeneration not saved? If so, does this mean that for 1500 years people did not have justification?

  29. M. Adriel, thanks. I answered part of your question above in my response to Mr. David. I think I define “intercessor” and “mediator” differently than you do. Christ is the sole Mediator, meaning He is the One who repairs our individual relationships with God, which we compromise with sin. An intercessor is not somebody who can repair a relationship. An intercessor stands beside you and speaks on your behalf. So I don’t think that Mary or anybody else is “out of a job” because Jesus died for our sins. In fact, as I pointed out above, the NT has plenty of exhortations to pray for each other well after the veil was torn. So there is obviously still a need to intercede for each other. And remember, we Catholics do not believe that Mary replaces Jesus in any way. Rather, Mary (and any other saint, living on earth or living in heaven), stands beside us and prays to Jesus with us and for us, and Jesus mediates on our behalf to the Father. Two very different roles. I also want to point out that Catholics and non-Catholics typically have a different definition of sanctification. Most non-Catholics tend to think that sanctification is being readied for heaven, while Catholics look at sanctification as God’s invitation to us to become participants in His Divine Will, meaning that He will use us to further His Kingdom on earth and in heaven, as we offer ourselves to Him for that purpose. (I was evangelical once and I find the Catholic definition far more appealing and Biblical.)

  30. Michael, the issue is whether works contribute to our justification. I, as a Protestant, do believe works contribute to my salvation (in respects to sanctification.)

    I don’t know enough of church history to speak to whether people fully held to a works based justification, but I do know enough of history that for 1600 years, you can’t find anyone repudiating the doctrine of sola Fide. No, we only see that at Trent with a formal anathema proclaimed against justification by faith alone and anyone holding to it.

    There is a difference in embracing error out of ignorance and embracing error out of willful rebellion. The early church I believe did the former where as a post-Trent Roman church did the latter.

    Another thing, there is a difference between saying belief in the doctrine of sola Fide is required for justification and stating that a system which repudiates the doctrine is corrupt. There is a huge difference.

  31. Mr. Taylor, I already answered your question above. We do NOT believe that Mary is omniscient or equal to God. We believe that God enables Mary to know our prayers, much like He enables a person on earth to know things through the gift of prophesy. Do you not believe that God has given certain people a gift of prophesy? It’s in the Bible.

  32. Also Satan cannot trust in Christ as there is nothing for him to trust in Christ for. Christ did not become the God-angel who died on a cross for the sins of angels. He became the God-man.

  33. Also, we don’t get more ecumenical all the time. In fact, one of the first ever blog posts on this site made this same argument in 2007. The is why I was on James White’s Dividing Line. He did not agree with me then. I figure he still does not agree.

  34. BTW: I just had a professor from John MacArthurs seminary write me and say he agreed with this post. So, I suppose, it can’t be TOO far out in Protestant left field.

    Remember, our roots as Protestant go *through* the Reformation. They are not *in* the Reformation.

  35. CMP,

    Works salvation was not present in every “Christian” for the first 1600 years. The doctrines of the RCC were developed mostly from 500 to 1500, and are still changing today. Even during that time there was a remnant: pre-reformers, Waldensians, etc.

    Baptismal regeneration does not save. If some believed their baptism saves them, then by default they do not has faith ALONE in Christ ALONE. A person is not saved by their belief in sola fide, but by actually exercising sola fide.

    To be clear, the discussion is not whether an attendee of a RC church can be saved, but whether a person who actually follows RCC teaching can be saved.

  36. Our roots are ultimately in Scripture. So when history departs from that, we have to go with the measuring rod God has deemed to be worthy.

  37. Carrie, it is unlike you to call into question your own tradition.

  38. Michael,

    I gave that line of thinking up when I started reading the Church fathers. It is hard to miss that the church and the members therein believed that, at least, baptism was necessary. This was more assumed than developed. And there were not many pre-reformers that I know of who disputed this. They mainly disputed the papacy. So unless you want to say that the Gospel was completeltly lost for nearly 1600 yrs (a problem which would be much more significant in my opinion (not to mention placement with the likes of Joseph Smith) I think it is best to say the Gospel was obscured, though not enough that Gods saving power was not found.

  39. Yes my Lordship position is just dripping with Roman Catholicism.

    I am glad you are around to remind me that I am the token Roman Catholic here at Credo otherwise I would be under the delusion you and Tim were!

  40. Mr. Michael, Catholics believe that baptism is Jesus’ work, not our own. So when a Catholic says they were saved from sin at baptism, they are not referring to the work of human hands, but the work that Jesus performs at baptism.

  41. As a Roman Catholic by birth, baptism, education and upbringing; and an Evangelical Protestant by choice, I would just like to say that some of these comments remind me that balance, moderation and Christian love are paramount to many of these discussions.

    To Sparki: I didn’t read where CMP said RC’s worship Mary as you accuse him of doing. I know RC’s don’t… CMP is educated enough to know this as well.

    To Mark Taylor: Please be kind to your fellow Christians. And yes, you do not get to decide who they are. God does. Just give them the benefit of the doubt. And read up a bit before commenting. It serves us all well. ;-)

    To CMP: Thank you for writing this.

    As I get older, I tend to realize more and more that many of these discussions unfortunately have a tendency to become accusatory and vitriolic even amongst Christian Brothers and Sisters.

    May I ask all to re-read what you just wrote before you hit the “submit” button and wonder… would I say this to this particular person face-to-face if Christ was physically standing next to me. If you wouldn’t say it, ask yourself this: isn’t He here, present in the Spirit and reading over your shoulder anyway ? If you don’t believe that… we’ve got a bigger issue.

    I will now do as CMP said in his FB post… run and hide ;-)

    In Him

  42. CMP,

    The question is not whether the gospel could be found or not. Of course it could, the Bible was still around wasnt it. Setting the tangent on church history aside (see Calvin, et. al.), are you saying that a person can believe that they are justified by faith plus works, and that qualifies for having faith alone? Doesn’t “alone” mean without anything else? I’m not talking about being justified by belief in sola fide (so no NT Wright doublespeak).

  43. Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

    What was the gospel the Galatians received? If it was faith alone in Christ alone, then it was not faith + works, which is a contrary gospel, and those who preach it are accursed, anathematized. Can one be considered anathema by Paul and still be saved?

  44. It is unfortunate for a person to have faith in Christ and believe that this faith somehow energizes their works which play a role in their justification, but some people do. I wish we all had perfect faith, pure and undefined by doubt and pride, but I am afraid that this is reserved for glory. So can people be saved who believe they can lose their salvation, that obtaining from suicide will add a “just in case” work, or thinking that baptism contributes to their justification? Of course. We all have imperfect faith due to a chronic inability to accept Gods grace for what it really is. Some say “Christ saves me . . . I don’t know how exactly he saves me, I just know he does.” these may think Christ works through our works. But ignorance about how Christ saves will not de facto keep people from being Children of God. And it does not Always amount to a rejection of Christ.

  45. I think the Curse that Paul put them under (not just the teachers is further stated here:

    You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated by Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal 5:4).

    This, IMO, does not mean that they had lost their salvation but that they were rejecting the very power by which they were saved: grace. Hence, so lOng as one tries to live by works, they are not living by the Grace which they were saved by. The Gospel is not just an initial message about justification, but, as Paul argues, the means by which the entire Christian life is lived. Christians can be alianated from Christ and “fall from grace” to the degree that we don’t live out by means of the grace by which we have been saved. This is to be accursed.

  46. Sparki,

    Having the gift of prophecy is far different from knowing the entire sum of thoughts of all the hearts. Tell me any prophet (besides Christ) who is able to know the hearts of all?

    Do you believe that by praying to Baal (1 Kings 18:26) the prophets of Ball worshiping Baal?

  47. Mick,
    The Bible makes clear that those who commit idolatry are not saved. I pointed this out in post #3.
    Read up a bit? Yeah nice when you didn’t address that issue that I raised.

  48. RC has half of Christ: “Who do you say that I am?” It is a damnable heresy to get the other half wrong: What has Jesus done/is doing? If the reality of His perfect life imputed wholly as the only righteousness needed and available is denied, then you begin to have people trusting in their own contribution to salvation. This is a fruit of darkness, and it is ensconced firmly in the RC catechism. I love my RC friends, and indeed some may be saved in spite of all they are taught, (just as some evangelicals may be saved in spite of how poorly they are taught), but the RC Church and her doctrine are so twisted so as to be beyond orthodoxy… high Christology is only a part of the right and saving Jesus.

  49. Truth Unites... and Divides March 29, 2012 at 6:20 am

    CMP: “Now, to be fair, the majority of Roman Catholics with whom I have come in contact I do not feel are true believers. But, to be fairer, the majority of Protestants (and Eastern Orthodox for that matter) with whom I have come in contact I don’t believe are true believers!”

    Dear CMP, you have impeccable judgment as a fruit-inspector. This is surely helpful to you in fulfilling the Great Commission that Jesus gave His disciples.

  50. Truth Unites... and Divides March 29, 2012 at 6:22 am

    CMP: “BTW: I just had a professor from John MacArthurs seminary write me and say he agreed with this post.”

    That’s huge.

    Not sure whether John MacArthur would agree with his professor, but that’s huge nonetheless.


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