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Catholics and Salvation

In the following email exchanges, the emailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.


>Subject: Catholic views on salvation

Gary,

I have spent the afternoon reading through some of the material on the DTL website. I find your responses and comments on many of the topics related to Catholic and Protestant differences to be some of the most intelligent and thought out that I have found on the internet.

I was raised Catholic and remain a Catholic, I have however attended numerous Protestant churches with friends and family members at different times. I also work for one of the largest Southern Baptist organizations in the country. I had never given much thought to the debate over who is "right or wrong" when it came to denomination, after all we all love the Lord and try to walk with him daily right. In recent years however I have been more interested in learning and understanding those differences as I seem to be bombarded more and more by members of various Protestant churches who feel it necessary to help my find God and be saved.

I consider myself a Christian and someone who is saved because I believe in and love the Lord. Can you help me understand why it is that so many people of Protestant denominations think I am less saved then they. I have read various webpages and books which discuss what is wrong with the Catholic doctrine and most of it just does not hold water with me. Maybe I am a liberal Catholic but I can count the times on one hand that I have even thought about the Pope in my life, he has little to no effect on how I live my life or how I pray. I don't pray to Mary, sure I may have done so as a child when I learned traditional prayers but I give Mary very little thought as an adult. I go to confession to confess my sins to God and to seek the council of a Priest not to confess my sins to that Priest. Maybe I am a little unusual when it comes to Catholics but I find that hard to believe and many of my Catholic friends feel the same way.

Thank you for your time,
Jason
4/26/2002<

Thank your or your email. It sounds like your Catholicism is about like my parent's. They also do not give undo attention to the pope, Mary, and other distinctly Catholic practices. For my dad, he goes to the Catholic church more out of "tradition" than anything else, and my mom does because of my dad.

That said, the reason you Protestant friends are trying to get you "saved" is that Protestants strongly believe in salvation by grace alone, meanwhile the RCC officially teaches salvation by grace plus works. I document this amply in my article on Salvation in the RCC posted on my site.

Now maybe you are trusting in Jesus Christ and Him alone for your salvation, and if you are I praise God for it. But I think the difficulty with your friends is that they just "assume" that you are not since you are Catholic without even asking. You could try explaining to them the basis for your faith and salvation. Maybe that would help to clear things up some.

Since I know that my parents are trusting in Christ for their salvation I make no effort to "get them out" of the Catholic Church. Salvation and not where one attends church is what is important, and I think you friends should have the same attitude towards you.

There are probably still many things we disagree on, but we should be able to discuss those in a spirit of love as brothers in Christ.


>Subject: Thank you.

Dear Gary,

I have just visited your site and want to thank you for the time and thoughtfulness you have put forth discussing the differences between Catholics and Protestants. I am a born again Christian who has been happily married to an Italian Catholic for 18 years. I received the Lord two years ago, and at that time, I found it difficult to accept the teachings of the Catholic Church to which my children and husband faithfully attended. This caused great strife between me and my family.

After several months in prayer, and the same amount of time faithfully in Scripture, the Lord laid on my heart that faith in Jesus Christ for salvation can be obtained by all who ask no matter what denomination they belong to. My husband is comfortable attending his traditional church, and I am comfortable attending a Protestant church. We both love the Lord and place Him above all else. Our hearts are in the right place and it's nice to see someone recognizes that there are Catholics who are saved.

Not all Catholics pray to idols or pray through saints. They recognize Mary for being a special chosen one in God's plan, but also in need of a savior herself due to her sinful human nature. Many Catholics now know they can go straight to the Lord with their prayers and confessions. Many know their salvation is based on faith in Jesus Christ's atonement on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. A personal relationship with God can be obtained by Catholics, Protestants and all who seek.

I think the biggest problem is that many Christians, no matter what church they attend, do not spend faithful daily time reading Scripture. Thus, they are really ignorant to who God is and what He expects from us. It becomes too comfortable for many to make up a god in their own minds who they can be comfortable with and continue to act in whatever way they have come to accept. This includes believing a certain religion or church will save them. They attend church on Sunday and sit in judgment of those who do not.

Tolerance is a word often overused in today's society. I think it would surprise many to learn that God is merciful, but not tolerant. All should remember, God created everything and He is the only one able to set the rules and He does expect us to abide by them. We need to learn these rules by faithfully praying & reading Scripture and then lovingly obeying them. God's will for us will always be so much better than anything we could try to do on our own. I pray peace to all, especially those still searching for the Lord. He is there knocking, open your heart and invite Him in. And to those who believe, I pray they will spend some time in God's presence today simply thanking Him for all and enjoying just being in His presence.

God Bless.
Janet
9/18/02<

Thank you for the comments. They are very well thought out.

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