Katholisch Leben!

The Jesus Brothers

USCCB: Faith Works

 

Kein Widerspruch zwischen Glauben und Werken

"Es kann keinen Widerspruch zwischen Glauben und Werken geben: Der Glaube ist in der Liebe wirksam. Er bewährt sich in den Werken und bezeugt so das freie Geschenk der Rechtfertigung in Christus. Zudem gehören wir durch die Rechtfertigung in Christus nicht mehr uns selbst, sondern wir sind zum Tempel des Heiligen Geistes geworden und sollen Gott mit unserem ganzen Dasein die Ehre geben (vgl. 1 Kor 6, 19) in einem Leben, das dem Geist entspricht. Nichts und niemand kann uns von der Liebe Christi scheiden (vgl. Röm 8, 39), die uns in die Lage versetzt, wahre Früchte des Geistes hervorzubringen.“

 Papst Benedikt XVI. bei der Generalaudienz, 26.11.2008

(Quelle: www.kath.de)


 


Glaube & Werke

"Meine Brüder, was nützt es, wenn einer sagt, er habe Glauben, aber es fehlen die Werke? Kann etwa der Glaube ihn retten? Wenn ein Bruder oder eine Schwester ohne Kleidung ist und ohne das tägliche Brot und einer von euch zu ihnen sagt: Geht in Frieden, wärmt und sättigt euch!, ihr gebt ihnen aber nicht, was sie zum Leben brauchen - was nützt das? So ist auch der Glaube für sich allein tot, wenn er nicht Werke vorzuweisen hat. Nun könnte einer sagen: Du hast Glauben und ich kann Werke vorweisen; zeig mir deinen Glauben ohne die Werke und ich zeige dir meinen Glauben aufgrund der Werke. Du glaubst: Es gibt nur den einen Gott. Damit hast du Recht; das glauben auch die Dämonen und sie zittern. Willst du also einsehen, du unvernünftiger Mensch, dass der Glaube ohne Werke nutzlos ist? Wurde unser Vater Abraham nicht aufgrund seiner Werke als gerecht anerkannt? Denn er hat seinen Sohn Isaak als Opfer auf den Altar gelegt. Du siehst, dass bei ihm der Glaube und die Werke zusammenwirkten und dass erst durch die Werke der Glaube vollendet wurde. So hat sich das Wort der Schrift erfüllt: Abraham glaubte Gott, und das wurde ihm als Gerechtigkeit angerechnet, und er wurde Freund Gottes genannt. Ihr seht, dass der Mensch aufgrund seiner Werke gerecht wird, nicht durch den Glauben allein. " (Jak 2, 14 -24 - Einheitsübersetzung)

"Wer meine Gebote hat und sie hält, der ist es, der mich liebt; wer mich aber liebt, wird von meinem Vater geliebt werden und auch ich werde ihn lieben und mich ihm offenbaren." (Joh 14, 21 - Einheitsübersetzung).

"Denn in Christus Jesus kommt es nicht darauf an, beschnitten oder unbeschnitten zu sein, sondern darauf, den Glauben zu haben, der in der Liebe wirksam ist." (Gal 5,6 - Einheitsübersetzung)

"Unablässig erinnern wir uns vor Gott, unserem Vater, an das Werk eures Glaubens, an die Opferbereitschaft eurer Liebe und an die Standhaftigkeit eurer Hoffnung auf Jesus Christus, unseren Herrn." (1 Thess 1,3 - Einheitsübersetzung).

"Herr, bei dir ist die Huld. Denn du wirst jedem vergelten, wie es seine Taten verdienen." (Psalm 62,13 - Einheitsübersetzung).

"Nicht jeder, der zu mir sagt: Herr! Herr!, wird in das Himmelreich kommen, sondern nur, wer den Willen meines Vaters im Himmel erfüllt." Mt 7, 21 (Einheitsübersetzung)

"Was sagt ihr zu mir: Herr! Herr!, und tut nicht, was ich sage?" Lk 6, 46 (Einheitsübersetzung)

Manche Christen sind der Ansicht, wir seien alleine durch den Glauben ("sola fide") gerettet. In dem Moment, wo wir glauben (für manche Christen genügt hierfür ein einfaches Gebet, andere halten zumindest noch an der Taufe als Beginn des Lebens als Christ fest), wäre es unwichtig, welche (guten oder schlechten) Werke wir von nun an vollbringen - wir sind ja schon "gerettet". Gute werke seien höchstens noch als Ausfluss des Glaubens zu sehen. Sie sind ganz in Ordnung, aber nicht unbedingt notwendig.

Katholiken haben hier eine andere Auffassung. Ja, wir werden durch die Gnade Gottes und unseren Glauben gerettet - aber nicht durch den Glauben alleine. Ebenso warnt die Bibel ausdrücklich vor falscher Heilsgewissheit (also der Auffassung, es wäre egal, was wir ab dem Zeitpunkt, wo wir "gerettet" sind, tun).

Für Katholiken heisst "Glaube" aber nicht nur das, was wir verstandesmäßig erfassen (also etwa durch die bloße Aussage: "Ich glaube"). Es umfasst uns als ganze Menschen - mit all unseren Sinnen, mit unserem Verstand, aber auch mit unseren Taten. Am Beginn jeden Glaubens steht immer Gottes Gnade - diese muss aber durch uns beantwortet werden. Durch uns als Menschen im biblischen Sinn (das biblische Menschenbild umfasst den Körper, den spirituellen Teil und die Psyche). Durch unsere Worte wie unsere Taten. Glaube findet also nicht nur im Kopf statt, er findet seinen Ausdruck im Menschen als ganzen.

(Fortsetzung folgt)

 

Glaube oder Werke?

Warum eigentlich "oder"?

Dieses "oder" entspricht dialektischem Denken - eine Denkform, die seit der Reformation sehr populär geworden ist. Jesus - und mit Ihm die frühe Kirche - sah das Verhältnis von Glauben und Werken aber nicht als ein "oder" sondern ein "und" - eine untrennbare Einheit!

(Quelle: Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn)

 

What role do good works play in our salvation?

Ihr mit euren Werken! Jesus hat doch bereits alles Notwendige für unsere Errettung getan!

Sehen wir uns Jk 2,24-26 an: "Ihr seht, dass der Mensch aufgrund seiner Werke gerecht wird, nicht durch den Glauben allein. Wurde nicht ebenso auch die Dirne Rahab durch ihre Werke als gerecht anerkannt, weil sie die Boten bei sich aufnahm und dann auf einem anderen Weg entkommen ließ? Denn wie der Körper ohne den Geist tot ist, so ist auch der Glaube tot ohne Werke." (Einheitsübersetzung). Es bedarf also auch der Werke, wenn man an Jesus Christus glaubt. Die Lehre von der "sola fide" (allein durch den Glauben) ist also nicht biblisch. Im vorliegenden Fall handelt es sich übrigens um die einzige Stelle in der Bibel, wo die Wörter "Glaube" und "allein" in einem Satz vorkommen - und es steht ein "nicht" davor! Wer Glaubt, muss diesem Glauben also auch Taten folgen lassen - er muss aktiv werden und reiche Frucht bringen. Wenn er nichts Gutes vollbringt, ist unser Glaube schlichtweg tot. Was ist nun mit Gottes Gnade? Durch sie glauben wir überhaupt erst - und sie ermöglicht es uns auch, unseren Glauben auszuleben und ihm Taten folgen zu lassen.

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

 

Nochmal: es kommt doch überhaupt nicht darauf an, was wir tun, da Jesus bereits alles für unsere Erlösung getan hat!

Lesen wir Mt 7,21: "Nicht jeder, der zu mir sagt: Herr! Herr!, wird in das Himmelreich kommen, sondern nur, wer den Willen meines Vaters im Himmel erfüllt" (Einheitsübersetzung). Wir müssen also den Willen unseres Vaters im Himmel tun. Einfach nur zu sagen, Jesus ist unser Herr, ist nicht genug! Es reicht noch nicht einmal, Wunder iin Seinem Namen zu vollbringen oder das Evangelium zu verkünden. Es ist einfach eine Irrlehre, zu glauben, wir hätten einen festen Platz im Himmel! Wer so etwas glaubt, setzt tatsächlich seine Errettung auf's Spiel!

Nun zu Jn 14,21: "Wer meine Gebote hat und sie hält, der ist es, der mich liebt; wer mich aber liebt, wird von meinem Vater geliebt werden und auch ich werde ihn lieben und mich ihm offenbaren." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Wir müssen also Gottes Gebote halten! Die "einmal gerettet, immer gerettet"-Theologie ist nicht biblisch! Wie wir hier sehen, müssen wir mehr tun als nur Jesus als unseren persönlichen Herrn und Retter zu akzeptieren und das Sündergebet zu beten. Unsere Liebe zu Gott zeigt sich in dem, was wir tun, wie wir handeln, reden usw. Unsere Erlösung ist kein abgeschlossenenes und besiegeltes Geschäft! Ein Christ hat sein Kreuz zu tragen und Gutes zu tun: "Darum, liebe Brüder - ihr wart ja immer gehorsam, nicht nur in meiner Gegenwart, sondern noch viel mehr jetzt in meiner Abwesenheit-: müht euch mit Furcht und Zittern um euer Heil!" (Phil 2,12 - Einheitsübersetzung).

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

 

Mike Cumbie


"You can't just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk!"

Mike Cumbie (see: http://www.mikecumbie.org/)

Es reicht doch, Jesus Christus als seinen persönlichen Herrn und Retter anzunehmen - alles andere ist eine katholische Erfindung!

Also muss man nicht Buße tun oder glauben? Muss man sich nicht taufen lassen?

Das sind keineswegs nur "eigene Werke" - der Glaube z.B. kann nur durch die Gnade Gottes geschenkt werden, die wir in freier Entscheidung beantworten!

Manche Sprüche klingen erst einmal gut - und sind wohl auch gut gemeint, stehen aber nicht auf der Grundlage der Bibel - und wurden von der Kirche auch nie so gesehen.

(Frei nach Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn)

 

Gott nimmt doch Seine Zusage der Erlösung nicht zurück! Wie kann man denn seine Erlösung verlieren?




Nein, Gott nimmt Seine Zusage der Erlösung nicht zurück. Wir können uns aber sehr wohl von Gott abwenden und einen anderen Weg gehen! Diese Freiheit lässt Er uns - wir können uns für oder gegen Ihn entscheiden. Wenden wir uns aber von Ihm ab, können wir natürlich unsere Erlösung verlieren - nicht umsonst warnt uns die Bibel immer wieder davor!

(Quelle: u.a. Mike Cumbie: http://www.mikecumbie.org/)

Was ist mit Eph 2,8-9?

Sehen wir uns diese Stelle an: "Denn aus Gnade seid ihr durch den Glauben gerettet, nicht aus eigener Kraft - Gott hat es geschenkt -, nicht aufgrund eurer Werke, damit keiner sich rühmen kann." (Einheitsübersetzung)

Diese Stelle wird oft und gerne gerade von evangelikalen Christinnen und Christen oder Fundamentalisten zitiert.

Ein Großteil der katholischen Antowrt hierzu wird jedoch bereits im Vers 10 gegeben, der - bewusst oder unbewusst - nie mit zitiert wird: "Seine Geschöpfe sind wir, in Christus Jesus dazu geschaffen, in unserem Leben die guten Werke zu tun, die Gott für uns im Voraus bereitet hat." (Einheitsübersetzung)

Und schon löst sich das Argument in Luft auf. Ja, wir sind durch die Gnade Gottes und durch unseren Glauben gerettet - aber nicht durch den Glauben allein (siehe Jak 2,24). Luther musste das Wort "allein" in die Bibel einfügen (bei Röm 3,28), damit es seine Theorie überhaupt erst stützte!

Viele Evangelikale lehren also Eph 2,8-9. Die Katholische Kirche lehrt Eph 2,8-10.

Im übrigen hat die Katholische Kirche 2.000 Jahre lang getreu der biblischen Überlieferung gelehrt, dass wir durch die Gnade Gottes gerettet werden (vgl. Apg 15,11 oder Sektion 1996 des Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche).

Es lohnt sich also immer, zum einen Bibelverse im Kontext zu lesen und zum anderen auch die Position der Katholischen Kirche (so wie sie dies selbst verfasst hat!) nachzulesen, anstatt immer nur das zu wiederholen, was man irgendwo aufgeschnappt hat oder was sich gut anhört - sofern man einen oder zwei Verse der Bibel völlig aus dem Kontext reisst.

(Quelle: www.familylifecenter.net)

 

Nützliche Bibelverse

Zur Rolle von Werken/Taten und der Abwesenheit des Glaubens beim jüngsten Gericht: Matt 7,16-27, Matt 16,27, Matt 25,31-46, 2 Kor 5,10, 1 Petr 1,17, Off 22,12, Prediger 12,14)

Hl. Paulus: Jedem wird vergolten, wie es seine Taten verdienen: Röm 2,5-13

(Quelle: Dave Armstrong, The Catholic Verses, Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, New Hampshire, 2004)

 

Wenn wir einmal gerettet sind, kommt es doch auf unser Verhalten gar nicht mehr an!

Falsch. Lesen wir hierzu Mt 16,27: "Der Menschensohn wird mit seinen Engeln in der Hoheit seines Vaters kommen und jedem Menschen vergelten, wie es seine Taten verdienen." (Einheitsübersetzung)

Wir werden also nach dem beurteilt, was wir getan oder nicht getan haben - klarer lässt sich das wohl kaum formulieren! Einfach nur zu glauben und das "Gebet des Sünders" (das übrigens nirgendwo in der Bibel steht!) zu beten, reicht offensichtlich nicht! "Du glaubst: Es gibt nur einen Gott. Damit hast du recht; das glauben auch die Dämonen und sie zittern." (Jk 2,19 - Einheitsübersetzung) - es reicht also nicht aus, einfach nur zu glauben. Wenn wir tatsächlich glauben und Jesus nachfolgen wollen, müssen wir Seinen Willen und damit Gottes Gebote erfüllen!

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

 

Aber in der Bibel heisst es doch, dass kein einziger gerecht ist und keiner Gutes tut!

Dieser Vers wird meist völlig aus dem Zusammenhang gerissen. Zum Verständnis sollte etwa auch Psalm 14,1-5 gelesen werden ("Die Toren sagen in ihrem Herzen: "Es gibt keinen Gott". Sie handeln verwerflich und schnöde; da ist keiner, der Gutes tut. Der Herr blickt vom Himmel herab auf die Menschen, ob noch ein Verständiger da ist, der Gott sucht. Alle sind sie abtrünnig und verdorben, keiner tut Gutes, auch nicht ein Einziger. Haben denn all die Übeltäter keine Einsicht? Sie verschlingen mein Volk. Sie essen das Brot des Herrn, doch seinen Namen rufen sie nicht an. Es trifft sie Furcht und Schrecken; denn Gott steht auf  der Seite der Gerechten." (Einheitsübersetzung). Oder Mt 25,21: "Sein Herr sagte zu ihm: Sehr gut, du bist ein tüchtiger und treuer Diener. Du bist im Kleinen ein treuer Verwalter gewesen, ich will dir eine große Aufgabe übertragen. Komm, nimm teil an der Freude deines Herrn!" (Einheitsübersetzung).

Offensichtlich gibt es da Menschen, die Gutes tun, sonst würde Jesus ja absichtlich Menschen in die Irre führen. Als María in Mk 14,6 Jesu Füße salbte, sagte Er: "Sie hat ein gutes Werk an mir getan." (Einheitsübersetzung). Wenn wir aber Gutes tun, tun wir das nicht aus uns selbst heraus, sodass wir vor Jesus treten und zu Ihm sagen könnten: "Schau, ich habe etwas Gutes getan!", sondern durch Jesu Wirken in und durch uns tun wir Gutes. Andere Verse über Gutes tun: Mt 5,16, 12,35; Mk 3,4; Lk 6,27.33.

Sehen wir uns noch Lk 1,6 an: "Beide lebten so, wie es in den Augen Gottes recht ist, und hielten sich in allem streng an die Gebote und Vorschriften des Herrn." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Hier geht es darum, dass Zacharias und Elisabet taten, was recht ist. Wenn es also in Röm 3,10-12 heißt, dass es keinen gibt, der gerecht ist und der Gutes tut, so bezieht sich das auf Ps 14,1-4. Hier spricht der Psalmist von zwei Arten von Menschen: die Bösen, die Gottes Volk verschlingen und dann in Vers fünf die Gerechten. Weitere zum Verständnis hilfreiche Bibelverse: Lk 2,25, 5,32, 15,7, 23,50; Röm 5,19; Heb 10,37-38; Gen 6,9, 7,1, 38,26.

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

 

Warum können wir denn überhaupt Gutes tun?

"Ich schenke euch ein neues Herz und lege einen neuen Geist in euch. Ich nehme das Herz von Stein aus eurer Brust und gebe euch ein Herz von Fleisch." (Einheitsübersetzung).

 

Der Glaube ist alles, was wir brauchen. Werke sind nur eine katholische Ergänzung zu Gottes ursprünglichem Plan!

Lesen wir Gal 5,6: "Denn in Christus Jesus kommt es nicht darauf an, beschnitten oder unbeschnitten zu sein, sondern darauf, den Glauben zu haben, der in der Liebe wirksam ist." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Ein übliches Missverständnis liegt in den "Werken des Gesetzes" (Röm 3,28-31) und Werken des Glaubens aus Liebe und im Dienst für Gott. Werke des Gesetzes waren die erforderlichen Rituale des jüdischen Gesetzes bzw. der jüdischen Tradition, die oft ohne aufrichtige Liebe zu Gott verrichtet wurden. Sie wurden zu einer Art Last oder Pflicht, die man eben tun musst, weil es so gefordert wurde. Wir können immer noch diesen Fehler begehen, indem wir etwa die Heilige Messe besuchen, weil "man das eben so tut", also als eine Art Ritual - ohne den aufrichtigen Wunsch, näher bei Gott zu sein.

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

 

Bibelzitate


"Müht euch mit Furcht und Zittern um euer Heil!"
Phil 2,12 - Einheitsübersetzung

"Es kam ein Mann zu Jesus und fragte: Meister, was muss ich Gutes tun, um das ewige Leben zu gewinnen? Er antwortete: Was fragst du mich nach dem Guten? Nur einer ist «der Gute». Wenn du aber das Leben erlangen willst, halte die Gebote!"
Mt 19,16-17. Einheitsübersetzung (Hervorhebungen hinzugefügt)

"Wenn ich in den Sprachen der Menschen und Engel redete, hätte aber die Liebe nicht, wäre ich dröhnendes Erz oder eine lärmende Pauke. Und wenn ich prophetisch reden könnte und alle Geheimnisse wüsste und alle Erkenntnis hätte; wenn ich alle Glaubenskraft besäße und Berge damit versetzen könnte, hätte aber die Liebe nicht, wäre ich nichts."
1 Kor 13,1-2. Einheitsübersetzung (Hervorhebungen hinzugefügt)

Die "Werke" von Katholiken sind doch nur Teil ihrer von Menschen gemachten Traditionen!

Lesen wir Phil 2,12-13: "Darum liebe Brüder - ihr wart ja immer gehorsam -, nicht nur in meiner Gegenwart, sondern noch viel mehr jetzt in meiner Abwesenheit -: müht euch mit Furcht und Zittern um euer Heil! Denn Gott ist es, der in euch das Wollen und das Vollbringen bewirkt, noch über euren guten Willen hinaus." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Die Philipper sollten Paulus' Botschaft gehorchen, indem sie sich mit Furcht und Zittern um ihr Heil mühten. Warum sollten wir das heute anders machen, wenn wir doch die wahren Christen des Neuen Testaments sind? Unser Verhalten hat einen wesentlichen Einfluss darauf, wie Gott uns beurteilt. Das sollte doch in jedem von uns eine heilige Furcht wecken, danach zu trachten, in allem den Willen des Vaters zu tun! Weder Paulus noch irgendjemand der anderen Schreiber des Neuen Testaments erzählen uns von einer furchtlosen Versicherung der Erlösung, so wie es viele Prediger heutzutage fälschlicherweise darstellen!

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

 

"Works” are necessary for salvation. Tim Staples explains: http://www.catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/are-good-works-necessary-for-salvation

Posted by Catholic Answers on Mittwoch, 3. Juni 2015

Glaube und Gehorsam

Das erste Mal, dass Paulus im Römerbrief das Wort Glaube erwähnt, ist im 1. Kapitel im Vers 5, wo er vom "Gehorsam des Glaubens" spricht.

Das letzte Mal ist es im Kapitel 16 im Vers 26 - und wieder ist es der "Gehorsam des Glaubens"!

Solte uns das nicht zu denken geben?

(Frei nach Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn)

 

Ohne Liebe?

"Und wenn ich prophetisch reden könnte und alle Geheimnisse wüsste und alle Erkenntnis hätte; wenn ich alle Glaubenskraft besäße und Berge damit versetzen könnte, hätte aber die Liebe nicht, wäre ich nichts." (1 Kor 13,2 - Einheitsübersetzung)

Hier steht doch tatsächlich, dass uns all unser Glaube nichts hilft, wenn wir nicht auch Liebe haben! Wenn also der Glaube alleine zu unserer Errettung ausreichen würde, wozu bräuchten wir dann noch die Liebe?

Nein, der Glaube ist ein Gnadengeschenk Gottes, das von uns in freier Entscheidung angenommen und beantwortet wird - der Glaube alleine aber hilft uns nichts.

Und wenn Jakobus sagt, dass Glaube ohne Werke tot sei, so ist es nicht ein "anderer Glaube", eine "andere Rechtfertigung", die er hier meint, sondern andere Werke - er meint nicht das levitische Gesetz (Beschneidung usw.), sondern aus dem Zusammenhang geht klar hervor, dass er von guten Werken der Nächstenliebe spricht.

Ein Glaube ohne diese Werke der Liebe ist wert- und fruchtlos Es kommt darauf an, "den Glauben zu haben, der in der Liebe wirksam ist." (Gal 5,6 - Einheitsübersetzung)!

 

 

Solidarität mit den Armen und Ausgegrenzten

Eine der folgenschwersten Tendenzen sowohl in Pfarrgemeinden als auch was jeden Katholiken und jede Katholikin angeht: Wir haben die Sorge für Arme, Notleidende, Alte, Einsame, Gefangene, Obdachlose, Flüchtlinge usw. professionellen Hilfsorganisationen überlassen. Die können das ja viel besser als wir.

Das Problem hierbei: so einfach geht das nicht. Wir können nicht jemand anderes dafür bezahlen, unseren Nächsten zu lieben und dies in Werken der Nächstenliebe zum Ausdruck zu bringen. Jeder Mensch und jede Pfarrgemeinde ist gerufen, hier selbst aktiv zu werden.

Sehen wir uns die Bergpredigt an: das erste Mal, als Jesus Seine zwölf Jünger - Fischer, Zöllner und andere infache Menschen - zusammen sitzen hatte, brachte Er ihnen in der Bergpredigt mit einfachen Worten bei, worauf es ankommt. Was, wenn Jesus wirklich gemeint hatte, was Er damals sagt? Die Hungernden ernähren, Kranke und Gefangene besuchen usw.? Er sagte, dass wir das, was wir dem Geringsten Seiner Brüder tun, Ihm selbst tun. Jesus sprach nicht davon, einen Teil unseres Überflusses irgendwelchen Organisationen zu geben, die das besser können. Er wandte sich an jeden einzelnen von uns.

Natürlich sind professionelle Organisationen gut und wichtig, das spricht aber niemanden - weder Einzelpersonen noch Pfarrgemeinden - davon frei, selbst in dieser Richtung aktiv werden zu müssen. Die Grundvollzüge jeder Pfarrgemeinde sind untrennbar miteinander verbunden:

- Martyria (Glaubenszeugnis und Glaubensweitergabe)
- Leiturgia (Liturgie)
- Diakonia (Werke der Nächstenliebe)
- Koinonia (Gemeinschaft als Glieder des einen Leib Christi)

Wir können uns nicht eines herausnehmen (etwa die Liturgie) und den Rest anderen überlassen. Ohne Liturgie, ohne die Eucharistie als lebensspendende Quelle, macht alles andere keinen Sinn. Ohne Werke der Nächstenliebe aber wird auch Liturgie zu einer leeren Hülse.

Wir zeigen Solidarität mit Armen, Ausgegrenzten und Notleidenden jeglicher Art, indem wir auf gleiche Augenhöhe mit ihnen gehen, nicht indem wir ihnen eine Münze hinwerfen. Wenn wir ihnen nicht mit Liebe begegnen und wenn wir ihnen nicht selbst begegnen, macht alles andere keinen Sinn.

Katholiken glauben doch, sie können allein durch ihre guten Werke gerettet werden!

Kurze Antwort: Das hat die Katholische Kirche in ihrer gesamten Geschichte nie gelehrt. Für uns sind der Glaube und die guten Werke aber eine untrennbare Einheit.

Vielleicht sollten die, die solche Vorurteile haben oder verbreiten, erst einmal den Katechismus lesen, um sich davon zu überzeugen, was wir wirklich glauben!

 

"Werksgerechtigkeit" und Kindstaufe

Die Lehre der Kindstaufe, so wie die Katholische Kirche sie praktiziert, beweist, dass wir keineswegs an eine "Werksgerechtigkeit" glauben, also dass wir nicht denken, man könne sich die Erlösung durch Werke verdienen. Ein Kleinkind verdeutlicht doch wie nichts anderes, dass wir mit leeren Händen vor Gott stehen und sein Gnadengeschenk empfangen!

 

Jer 17, 10

"Ich, der Herr, erforsche das Herz und prüfe die Nieren, um jedem zu vergelten, wie es sein Verhalten verdient, entsprechend der Frucht seiner Taten."

(Einheitsübersetzung)

 

A lot of good things get done when Catholics work in faith

Worauf kommt es bei Werken der Liebe an?

Auf die Anstrengung, die man hierfür aufwendet und die Motivation, die einen bringt, Werke der Liebe zu tun.

Beides wissen nur wir selbst und Gott.

(In Anlehnung an Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn)

 

Im Supermarkt

Stell dir vor, du bist mit deinem Sohnemann im Supermarkt und er tollt herum, obwohl du ihm mehrmals gesagt hast, bei dir zu bleiben - und schließlich wirft er dabei ein Glas Orangensaft vom Regal herunter.

Die Scherben und der Saft sind über den ganzen Boden verstreut.

Zuerst schimpfst du ihn vielleicht, aber er entschuldigt sich und du vergibst ihm.

Soweit "Sola Fide".

Das Problem hierbei: die Scherben und der Saft sind immer noch auf dem Boden. Außerdem möchtest dur gerne, dass dein Sohn beim nächsten Mal auf dich hört und nicht hin und herspringt...

Genauso ist es mit Gott: Allein zu sagen, es tut uns leid, ist nicht genug. Allein zu glauben, uns wurde aufgrund unseres Glaubens und des kostbaren Blutes Jesu vergeben und alles ist wieder in Ordnung, ist nicht genug. Wir müssen den angerichteten Schaden soweit als möglich wieder gutmachen und auch in unseren Herzen und in unseren Taten eine Änderung unserer Einstellung zu erreichen suchen!

"Glaube" im katholischen Sinn ist nicht einfach nur die Erklärung, dass man glaubt. Er ist wie eine zip-Datei, in der sehr viel enthalten ist.

Ein Beispiel von Stephen K. Ray: Wenn du im Imbiss um die Ecke ein Hot Dog bestellst, und die Bedienung bringt dir ein tiefgefrorenes Hotdog und wirft es auf deinen Tisch, dann wirst du dich beschweren. Theoretisch aber könnte die Bedienung dir antworten, dass du ja genau das bekommen hast, was du bestellt hast! Warum regt man sich auf? Weil jedem klar ist, dass ein Hot Dog heiß sein muss, dass eine Semmel und Senf dazu gehört, ebenso ein Teller und Besteck.

Ebenso ist es mit dem Glauben aus katholischer Sicht: Dazu gehört nicht einfach nur die formelle Erklärung, dass man glaubt. Er muss sich auch in dem zeigen, was man sagt, tut und denkt sowie in der Art und Weise, wie man Gott anbetet - ob man Jesu Fleisch isst und Sein Blut trinkt, welche Liturgie man hat und in welcher Kirche man Glied ist! Ebenso gehört dazu eine Änderung der inneren Einstellung und das Bekennen von Sünden, die Buße und Wiedergutmacheng!

 

Faith, Works and Abraham: What do Catholics Really Believe? Galatians 3:1-14

Once Saved Always Saved - Ist unsere Errettung sicher?


Sehen wir uns an, was die Bibel dazu sagt (alle Zitate aus der Einheitsübersetzung):

Etwa: Matthäus 7,21: "Nicht jeder, der zu mir sagt: Herr! Herr!, wird in das Himmelreich kommen, sondern nur, wer den Willen meines Vaters im Himmel erfüllt."

Oder Matthäus 24,13: "Wer jedoch bis zum Ende standhaft bleibt, der wird gerettet."

Dann noch Römer 11,22: "Erkenne die Güte Gottes und seine Strenge! Die Strenge gegen jene, die gefallen sind, Gottes Güte aber gegen dich, sofern du in seiner Güte bleibst; sonst wirst auch du herausgehauen werden."

Und Philipper 2,12: "Darum, liebe Brüder - ihr wart ja immer gehorsam, nicht nur in meiner Gegenwart, sondern noch viel mehr jetzt in meiner Abwesenheit -: müht euch mit Furcht und Zittern um euer Heil!"

Paulus schreibt in 1 Korinther 9,27: "vielmehr züchtige und unterwerfe ich meinen Leib, damit ich nicht anderen predige und selbst verworfen werde."

Wiederum Paulus: 1 Korinther 10,11-12: "Das aber geschah an ihnen, damit es uns als Beispiel dient; uns zur Warnung wurde es aufgeschrieben, uns, die das Ende der Zeiten erreicht hat. Wer also zu stehen meint, der gebe Acht, dass er nicht fällt."

Und noch einmal: Galater 5,4: "Wenn ihr also durch das Gesetz gerecht werden wollt, dann habt ihr mit Christus nichts mehr zu tun; ihr seid aus der Gnade herausgefallen."

Ziemlich deutlich wird es hier: 2 Timotheus 2,11-13: "Das Wort ist glaubwürdig: Wenn wir mit Christus gestorben sind, werden wir auch mit ihm leben; wenn wir standhaft bleiben, werden wir auch mit ihm herrschen; wenn wir ihn verleugnen, wird auch er uns verleugnen. Wenn wir untreu sind, bleibt er doch treu, denn er kann sich selbst nicht verleugnen."

Oder hier: Hebräer 6,4-6: "Denn es ist unmöglich, Menschen, die einmal erleuchtet worden sind, die von der himmlischen Gabe genossen und Anteil am Heiligen Geist empfangen haben,die das gute Wort Gottes und die Kräfte der zukünftigen Welt kennen gelernt haben, dann aber abgefallen sind, erneut zur Umkehr zu bringen; denn sie schlagen jetzt den Sohn Gottes noch einmal ans Kreuz und machen ihn zum Gespött."

Nochmal Hebräer 10,26-27: "Denn wenn wir vorsätzlich sündigen, nachdem wir die Erkenntnis der Wahrheit empfangen haben, gibt es für diese Sünden kein Opfer mehr, sondern nur die Erwartung des furchtbaren Gerichts und ein wütendes Feuer, das die Gegner verzehren wird."

So etwas wie einen Moment des Christ-werdens, ab dem man dann für alle Zeiten "gerettet" ist, gibt es also nicht. Ganz im Gegenteil...

The Catholic Response to "Are You Saved?"

The Catholic Christian answers this question in three stages or levels corresponding to the three meanings the words "saved" and "salvation" have in the Bible. (These meanings are found in the previous section, "Salvation: A Biblical Portrait." )

Catholic Christians can respond that they have been saved. This acknowledges the first meaning of "saved" and "salvation" in scripture--Jesus Christ, Savior, by whose act of salvation we are objectively saved--He died, rose from the dead, saved them from sin.

2 Cor 5:17
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation

Catholic Christians can also respond that they are being saved. This acknowledges the second meaning "saved" and "salvation" have in scripture--the present experience, God's power delivering constantly from the bondage of sin.

1 Cor 15:2
Through it (the gospel) you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

Catholic Christians also respond that they will be saved, that they have hope and confidence that God will give them the grace of perseverance; that they will respond to it; and accept his gift of salvation until their death. This acknowledges the third meaning the words "saved" and "salvation" have in scripture--the future deliverance of believers at the Second Coming of Christ.

Rom 5:9
How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath.
 

(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

Faith & Works

There is perhaps no greater confusion among Roman Catholic Christians and Evangelical Protestant and Pentecostal Christians than that held over the controversy of faith versus good works. This controversy best warrants the balance of scriptures necessary in reading the Word of God to understand what God means for us to know.

The Bible is clear that faith holds a first and prominent role in the salvation of every person.

Heb 10:38
But my just one shall live by faith ...
Heb 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him (God) ...

The Bible is equally clear on the saving role of good works in the lives of the faithful.

1 Pet 2:12
Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that if they speak of you as evildoers, they may observe your good works and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Rev 2:2
I know your works, your labor, and your endurance ...
Mt 5:16
Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
Mt 16:27
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.
Mt 25:34-36
Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'

The Bible makes it clear that there must be a balanced relationship between our faith and its expression in good works.

James 2:14-18
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
1 Cor 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Heb 6:10
For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.
James 2:20-22
Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works.
Mt 16:27
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.
1 Cor 3:8
The one who plants and the one who waters are equal, and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor.
Col 3:23-24
Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance.

The Bible indicates that it is wrong to disturb the balance of works expressing a life of faith. Man is not saved by faith alone.

James 2:24
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
James 2:26
For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Nor is man saved by works alone.

Rom 9:31-32
Israel, who pursued the law of righteousness, did not attain to that law ... because they did it not by faith, but as if it could be done by works.
Gal 3:11
And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear, for "the one who is righteous by faith will live."

The Bible declares that salvation is a gift of God alone and constantly reaffirms that faith has a primary role in that salvation.

Eph 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.
Heb 6:1
Therefore, let us leave behind the basic teaching about Christ and advance to maturity, without laying the foundation all over again: repentance from dead works and faith in God,
Heb 9:14
... how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
2 Tim 1:9
He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
Titus 3:4-5
... the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy.
Rom 3:27-28
What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out. On what principle, that of works? No, rather on the principle of faith. For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Gal 2:16
(We) know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

The constant teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on these Scriptures was clearly restated on January 13, 1547.

Council of Trent, On Justification, Ch. VIII
When the Apostle says that man is justified by faith and freely, these words are to be understood in that sense in which the uninterrupted unanimity of the Catholic Church has held and expressed them, namely, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, "without which it is impossible to please God" and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification. For, "if by grace, it is not now by works, otherwise," as the Apostle says, "grace is no more grace."

The Council also reiterated the relationship of good works to man justified by faith.

Council of Trent, On Justification, Ch. XVI
Therefore, to men justified in this manner, whether they have preserved uninterruptedly the grace received or recovered it when lost, are to be pointed out the words of the Apostle: "Abound in every good work, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. For God is not unjust, that he should forget your work, and the love which you have shown in his name"; and "Do not lose confidence, which hath a great reward." Hence, to those who work well "unto the end" and trust in God, eternal life is to be offered, both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Christ Jesus, and as a reward promised by God himself, to be faithfully given to their good works and merits.


(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

Wer sagt, man solle seine gottgeschenkten Gaben ("Charismen") zum Wohle der Kirche einsetzen, macht doch daraus einen Leistungsbegriff! Außerdem begrenzt man hier doch die Gaben allein auf die Kirche! Somit geht es doch dann nicht mehr um die Mensche

Das mag alles so sein, wenn man den christlichen Glauben aus einer rein weltlichen Perspektive sieht. Christen jedoch wissen, das sie "arm im Geiste" sind, dass alles, was sie haben, können und sind von Gott kommt. Gott will aber auch, dass wir diese Gaben so einsetzen, dass sie reiche Frucht bringen.

Bei o.g. Argumentation wird ein Konflikt konstruiert, den es für Christen nicht gibt. Es kann nicht heißen, entweder zum Wohle der Kirche oder zum Wohle der Bedürftigen außerhalb der Kirche. Das eine schließt das andere nicht aus, sondern ergänzt es. Christen haben ihr Glaubensleben jedoch in den letzten 2.000 Jahren immer nur in Zusammenhang und in Verbindung mit der Kirche, mit dem Leib Christi gesehen, dessen Glieder sie sind (abgesehen von einigen protestantischen Splittergrupen oder Einzelpersonen in jüngster Zeit, die den christlichen Glauben auch getrennt von der Kirche für möglich halten).

Natürlich muss das, was wir als Christen tun, nicht auf die Kirche beschränkt sein, jedoch ist alles, was wir tun, auch Kirche. Wieso? Weil wir Teil und Glieder dieser Kirche sind und in allem, was wir tun, auch als solche handeln, ob wir nun wollen oder nicht.

Abgesehen davon ist es ja nicht so, dass die Kirche ein reiner Verwaltungsapparat ist, den zu erhalten unser Bestreben sein sollte. Die Kirche ist der Leib Christi, ein lebendiger Organismus also. Und wenn wir etwas für den Bettler auf der Straße tun, tun wir damit nicht etwas außerhalb der Kirche, sondern in der Kirche, da alles, was wir für den geringsten unserer Brüder tun, wir auch für Christus selbst tun. Und die Kirche als Leib Christi, als unsere Familie, in der Jesus gegenwärtig und erfahrbar wird, umfasst ja all dies, was wir an Werken der Liebe tun (was ja auch ein Ausdruck des Wortes "katholisch" ist).

Auch sehen wir die Verpflichtung, die das Gnadengeschenk unserer Gaben mit uns bringt, nicht als "Leistungsdruck", sondern als Ausdruck unserer Liebe zu Gott, zu unseren Mitmenschen allgemein und zu unseren Brüdern und Schwestern in der Kirche.

Eine Liebe, die bedingungslos ist und nichts fordert. Eine Liebe aber auch, ohne die christlicher Glaube nicht vorstellbar ist.


Many Protestants believe we are saved by Faith Alone and they say Catholic believe they can “work” their way into Heaven. How do you answer that?

First of all, I ask them to show me where in the Catechism, the official teaching of the Catholic Church, does it teach that we can “work” our way into Heaven? They can’t, because it doesn’t. The Catholic Church does not now, nor has it ever, taught a doctrine of salvation by works...that we can “work” our way into Heaven.

Second, I ask them to show me where in the Bible does it teach that we are saved by “faith alone.” They can’t, because it doesn’t. The only place in all of Scripture where the phrase “Faith Alone” appears, is in James...James 2:24, where it says that we are not...not...justified (or saved) by faith alone.

So, one of the two main pillars of Protestantism...the doctrine of salvation by faith alone...not only doesn’t appear in the Bible, but the Bible actually says the exact opposite - that we are not saved by faith alone

Third, I ask them that if works have nothing to do with our salvation...then how come every passage in the N.T. that I know of that talks about judgment says we will be judged by our works, not by whether or not we have faith alone? We see this in Rom 2, Matthew 15 and 16, 1 Ptr 1, Rev 20 and 22, 2 Cor 5, and many, many more verses.

Fourth, I ask them that if we are saved by faith alone, why does 1 Cor 13:13 say that love is greater than faith? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

As Catholics we believe that we are saved by God’s grace alone. We can do nothing, apart from God’s grace, to receive the free gift of salvation. We also believe, however, that we have to respond to God’s grace. Protestants believe that, too. However, many Protestants believe that the only response necessary is an act of faith; whereas, Catholics believe a response of faith and works is necessary...or, as the Bible puts it in Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumsion is of any avail, but faith working through love...faith working through love...just as the Church teaches. 

(Source: Bible Christian Society / John Martignoni. http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/apologetics/two_minute#1. Used with permission)

Catholics say that faith and works are necessary for salvation and that one has to be baptized in order to be saved; yet, the Good Thief did no works and was not baptized, and still Jesus told him he would be in paradise. Doesn’t this prove Catholic

No, it does not. Luke 23:42-43, “And he [the Good Thief] said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power.’ And He [Jesus] said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’”

Is the Good Thief saved? Obviously he is, based on Jesus’ words. Does this prove that works and Baptism have nothing to do with one’s salvation? Definitely not. Let’s consider first the “works” part of this.

My question to anyone who says the Good Thief did no works is this: If he had not opened his mouth in defense of Jesus, would he have still been saved? Maybe, but we don’t know for sure. However, we can say with great confidence that he would not have received Jesus’ promise of Paradise if he had remained silent. So, the next question is: Was verbally defending Jesus while hanging on a cross, which prompted Jesus’ promise of Paradise, a work?

Indeed it was, especially when you consider what the Good Thief was going through. Many people do not realize that when one is crucified, they usually die by asphyxiation. Fluid slowly collects in their lungs making it harder and harder to breathe, until it gets to the point where they literally suffocate. In order to breathe, one must lift themselves up from their hanging position and take a breath. Well, to do that, you have to push up on two feet that just happen to have this huge nail sticking through them. This is why they broke the thieves’ legs to make them die quicker. By breaking their legs, it prevented the thieves from lifting themselves up to get air.

In other words, the mere act of breathing is something that is extremely painful. So the Good Thief, in order to speak, had to first press up on his feet to get air, which caused excruciating pain, and then he used some of this very precious breath to speak in defense of Christ. I consider it an incredible work for someone with nails through his hands and feet - struggling to breathe because of the fluid building up in his lungs - to use some of his precious breath to defend Christ. In spite of all his misery and pain, he thought of someone else before himself. How can anyone claim the Good Thief did no works?

Finally, let’s address the Baptism issue. The most important thing to remember here is that the New Covenant had not yet been instituted - the Old Covenant was still in effect. The Old Covenant equivalent of Baptism was circumcision (Col 2:11-12). This thief being a Jew, he was undoubtedly circumcised. Therefore, the fact that he wasn't baptized, as far as we know, is not relevant in this situation. Was Moses baptized? Was David? Was Abraham? No, but they were all circumcised and they were all saved - under the Old Covenant.

(Source: Bible Christian Society / John Martignoni. http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/apologetics/two_minute. Used with permission)

Be a Doer!

It says in James 1:22 "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (King James Version)

This chapter of James talks in length about temptations. The general gist though we need to understand is that it does you no good to read the word of God only. You and I also need to apply the Word of God into our lives. Otherwise it is worthless. You may as well throw your Bible away if you do not be a doer. Be a doer, follow the words of God and be obedient to God. Then and only then will you have freedom and victory .
 
Andre

ESV Audio Widget

James 2:14-26

James 2:26

I have your CD, “Apologetics for the Scripturally-Challenged,” and I really liked the “Twelve Questions for Protestants” at the end of it. Do you have any more questions along those same lines?

Indeed I do...many. One question, in particular, that I like to ask folks who believe in the dogma of Sola Fide - salvation by “faith alone” - has to do with James 2:26. James 2:26 reads as follows: “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.”

With someone who believes in salvation by faith alone, I take them to this verse and simply ask: “Would you please explain to me what this verse means?”

And I point out to them that this verse is drawing a parallel between the body and the spirit on the one hand, and faith and works on the other hand. Faith is analogous to the body, and works are analogous to the spirit. The verse clearly expresses a simple truth, both body and spirit are necessary in order to have life - physical life. So, and I make sure to emphasize this point, for the analogy to hold, both faith and works are necessary to have life - spiritual life.

Which means the Protestant dogma of salvation by faith alone - Sola Fide - is one that will not lead to life. As the body alone, without the spirit, is dead, so faith alone, without works, is dead - as Scripture explicitly states in James 2:17. And dead faith does not lead to salvation.

Now, some defenders of the Sola Fide dogma will say that this verse, as well as all of the 2nd chapter of James, is simply saying that faith without works isn’t really faith. They will tell you that a “true” faith is a faith that works, but that the works have absolutely nothing to do with your eternal salvation. They say that works “show forth” your faith, but that it is faith alone that saves you - works have no impact whatsoever on your salvation.

If you hear that argument, then simply take their interpretation and try to plug it into this verse. Let’s try it: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works isn’t really faith.” What happened? The analogy between body/spirt and faith/works broke down. By plugging in the “sola fide” interpretation, you have radically altered the verse. In order to fix the analogy, we have to change the verse yet again: “For as the body without the spirit really isn’t a body, so faith without works really isn’t faith.”

By plugging in a sola fide interpretation, the verse becomes nonsensical. Are the bodies down at the morgue not really bodies? Of course they are! But they are dead bodies - without life. Just so, faith without works is really faith, but it is dead faith - without life. In other words, there is no such thing as salvation by faith alone - works are necessary to complete faith (James 2:22).

Another way you could read James 2:26, using a sola fide interpretation, is: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so works show forth faith.” Huh? No matter how you try to do it, forcing a sola fide meaning into this verse just doesn’t work. Faith and works are both necessary for spiritual life, just as body and spirit are both necessary for physical life. 

(Source: Bible Christian Society / John Martignoni. http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/apologetics/two_minute. Used with permission)

Introduction


Okay, this is a continuation of my analysis/rebuttal/rebuke of Matt Slick's article entitled, "The Gospel for Roman Catholics."  In the last two newsletters, I took on the first part of his article, which he described as  explaining and documenting the Roman Catholic Church's position on justification.  In actuality, it was a butchering of Catholic teaching that would be right at home in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."  Mr. Slick  substituted a gross caricature of Catholic teaching for authentic Catholic teaching.  He gave his readers the teachings of the Catholic Church according to Matt Slick, rather than the teachings of the Catholic Church according to the Catholic Church. 


In this newsletter, I am going to analyze/rebut/rebuke the 2nd part of Mr. Slick's article.  In the second part of his article, Mr. Slick purports to: "Present the true gospel in contrast to the Catholic Church's position."  What he is actually doing is presenting the The Slick Interpretation of the Bible vs. the Slick Interpretation of Catholic Teaching.  I intend to show that his interpretation of both, leaves a lot to be desired.


I will first present the 2nd part of his article in its entirety, and then take it apart piece-by-unholy-piece.  I will present my response as if I was corresponding with him personally, which I have not been.  And, no, in response to some questions I have received, he has not responded to me and I have no idea if he is aware of my doing this.  Although, I know he receives these newsletters because his email address is in our database.  And, yes, please feel free to let him know this is happening if you are so inclined.


Challenge/Response/Strategy


Matt Slick


The Gospel for Roman Catholics


The Gospel for Roman Catholics is the same as for anyone else and it is obtained by grace through faith in believing and trusting in Jesus alone, who is God in flesh, for the forgiveness of sins.  Salvation is not found in a true church.  Salvation is not found in being good.   Salvation is not found in good works.  Salvation is not found in a sincere heart.  Salvation is not found in making up for past sins by efforts of restoration, or penance, or indulgences.  You can never do enough to please God.


Because God is so infinitely holy and righteous, and because we are sinners, we are incapable of pleasing God by anything that we do.  In fact, our righteous deeds are considered filthy rags before God (Isa. 64:6).  You can do nothing to earn forgiveness or keep forgiveness.  Salvation before God is not administered to us through an earthly priest in the Catholic church by the sprinkling of water, or giving of penance, or recitation of formula prayers.  Salvation for the Christian is not kept through the effort of the person who hopes and tries and worries about being good enough to stay saved.


Such error can only lead to despair and hopelessness and a desperate and unwarranted dependence on the Roman Catholic Church as the only means by which salvation can be distributed and maintained.  In this error, people far too often seek to work their way to heaven by being good, by doing what the Catholic church teaches them to do, by prayers to Mary, by indulgences, by the Rosary, and by a host of other man-made works.  Remember, in the RCC, salvation is through the Church and its sacraments, not through Jesus alone, by faith alone.  This is exactly how the cults of Mormonism and the Jehovah's Witnesses work who both teach that true salvation is found only in their church membership and in following the revelation and authority of their church teachers and traditions.


Are you tired of the works requirement?


In great contrast to the position of the Roman Catholic Church, if you want to be forgiven of your sins, once and for all, then you need to come to Christ (Matt. 11:28).  You need to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior (John 1:12; Rom. 10:13).  You need to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins (John 14:14), and trust in Him alone and in nothing that you can do.  Remember, your good deeds have no merit before God (Isa. 64:6).  Furthermore, if you have faith, it is because that faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29).  If you believe, it is because God has granted that you believe (Phil. 1:29).  It is not because you were baptized, or have been good, or have been sincere.  It is all of God.  The Lord must receive all the glory for salvation because it completely and totally rests in Him.  Salvation rests in Christ alone and it is received by faith apart from works.


Please read the following scriptures carefully.


        "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Rom. 3:23).

        "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Rom. 6:23).

        "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed," (1 Pet. 2:24).

        "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him," (2 Cor. 5:21).

        "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it," (John 14:14).

        "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29"Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls," (Matt. 11:28-29).

        "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name," (John 1:12).

        "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (Gal. 2:21).

        "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28).

        "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3).

        "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).

        "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life," (1 John 5:13).


A suggested prayer


This suggested prayer is not a formula, but a representation of biblical principles by which you might better understand the true gospel and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior.  It is not a formula derived from Sacred Tradition or Stamped with the seal of the Roman Catholic Church's approval.  Its principles are derived from scripture:  we are sinners; God is Holy; we cannot earn salvation; salvation is a free gift; prayer to Christ; Jesus is the only way; receiving Christ; faith; etc.


    "Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner and that I have offended you by breaking your Holy Law.  I confess my sins to you Lord and ask forgiveness from you and do not ask anyone else to be forgiven of my sins against you.  I acknowledge who you are, God in flesh, creator, humble Lord, who bore my sins in Your body on the cross and I come to you alone and trust you alone, by faith, that you will forgive me completely of my sins so that I will have eternal life.  I ask you Lord to come into my heart, to be my Lord, to forgive me of my sins.  Lord I trust in you alone, in the work of the cross alone and not in any church, not in any saint, not in Mary, not in any priest, but in you alone.  Lord, Jesus, I receive you, and come to you, and ask you to forgive me and justify me by faith as I trust in you alone.     Thank you.


If you are a Roman Catholic and have trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins, then welcome to the body of Christ.  Welcome to salvation and the free gift of forgiveness in Jesus.


Next, I strongly recommend that you read the Bible regularly, talk to Jesus daily in prayer, and seek to find a church that teaches and focuses on Jesus as Lord, Jesus as Savior, and sticks to the Bible alone.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------


Mr. Slick


The Gospel for Roman Catholics


The Gospel for Roman Catholics is the same as for anyone else and it is obtained by grace through faith in believing and trusting in Jesus alone, who is God in flesh, for the forgiveness of sins.  Salvation is not found in a true church.  Salvation is not found in being good.   Salvation is not found in good works.  Salvation is not found in a sincere heart.  Salvation is not found in making up for past sins by efforts of restoration, or penance, or indulgences.  You can never do enough to please God.


My Response


Mr. Slick, you have 7 sentences in the above paragraph.  Let's take them one at a time:


Sentence #1: "The Gospel for Roman Catholics..."  I can generally agree with this sentence.  After all, Scripture tells us, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved," (Acts 4:12).


Sentence #2: "Salvation is not found in a true church."  Got a problem with this one.  Mr. Slick, could you give me the book, chapter, and verse for this statement?  I ask because, what you are saying is that salvation is not found in the Church established by Jesus Christ, which is the only "true church."  I find that a rather odd statement to make.  If such is the case, then why did Jesus found a church?  Furthermore, what you are also saying is that salvation is not found in the Body of Christ.  For what does Scripture tell us about the "true church," except that it is the Body of Christ: "...and He has put all things under His feet and has made Him the head over all things for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."  So, Mr. Slick, could you please explain how it is that salvation is not found in the Body of Christ? 


Sentence #3: Salvation is not found in being good.   Same question: Book, chapter, and verse?  I ask because the Bible doesn't seem to agree with you: "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even tax collectors do the same?  And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even Gentiles do the same?  You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect," (Matt 5:46-48).  "His master said to him, 'Well done, GOOD and faithful servant...enter into the joy of your master," (Matt 25:21).  Why do the "good" servants receive salvation and the un-good servant doesn't, if salvation is not found in being good? 


Sentence #4: Salvation is not found in good works. Same question, same reason.  "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of  judgment," (John 5:28-29).  "For He will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing [good works] seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life," (Rom 2:6-7).  Why does the Word of God say that those who have done good will receive salvation, when you say "salvation is not found in good works?"  And, why does the Word of God say that those who do good works will receive eternal life from God, when you say, "salvation is not found in good works?"  Eternal life and salvation are the same thing, aren't they?


Sentence #5: Salvation is not found in a sincere heart.  Well, again, it seems you and Scripture just don't agree on a whole lot: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God," Matt 5:8.  Isn't seeing God the same as being saved?  I mean, you can't see God if you aren't saved, right? 


Sentence #6: Salvation is not found in making up for past sins by efforts of restoration, or penance, or indulgences.  "And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt.  So also my heavenly Father will do to everyone of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart," (Matt 18:34-35).  Hmmm...the Lord delivered him to his jailers till he "should pay all his debt."  What on earth could that mean, Mr. Slick? 


Restoration: "And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, 'Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I RESTORE it fourfold.'  And Jesus said to him, 'Today, salvation has come to this house..." (Luke 19:8-9).  I'm confused, Matt, since you state that restoration and salvation have nothing to do with one another...could you explain, please?


Penance: From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we see that "interior penance" is "a conversion to God with all our heart," (CCC #1431).  So, is it your claim that salvation is not found in a conversion to God with all of our heart?  Furthermore, the Catechism states that this "interior penance" finds its expression in three forms: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving (CCC #1434).  And what does Scripture say about these three exterior forms of penance?  "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father Who is in Heaven.  Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you...so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will REWARD you...And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites...and your Father who sees in secret will REWARD you...And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites...and your Father Who sees in secret will REWARD you," (Matt 6:1-6, 16-18).  Scripture says God will reward us if we do penance - fasting, praying, almsgiving - under the right conditions; yet, you say penance and salvation have nothing to do with one another.  We also see, from the Catechism, that penance - the satisfaction we make for our sins - "...is not so much ours as though it were not done through Jesus Christ.  We who can do nothing oursleves, as if just by ourselves, can do all things with the cooperation of 'him who strentgthens' us.  Thus man has nothing of which to boast, but all our boasting in in Christ...These fruits [of penance] have their efficacy from Him, by Him they are offered to the Father, and through Him they are accepted by the Father," (CCC #1460).  Can you really say we're wrong when all we do is from, by, and through Him? 


Indulgences: "Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins," (1 Peter 4:8).  Covering a multitude of sins is basically what an indulgence does.  So, the concept is clearly found in Scripture.  We see it again in James 5:20, "Let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins."  Now, an indulgence does not constitute forgiveness of sin, but it constitutes being freed, in Christ Jesus, of the reparation due to sin.  So, in that sense, an indulgence "covers a multitude of sins."  And all indulgences flow from love - our love for God, our love for our neighbor, and - most importantly - God's love for us.  So do love and salvation have anything to do with one another or not?  And, what does "covering a multitude of sins" mean in your theological system?


Sentence #7: You can never do enough to please God.  Actually, you can.  Now, you can never do enough to "deserve" God being pleased with you, or to "deserve" God's mercy and grace; however, we can indeed do enough to please God.  Just look at Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in Heaven."  In other words, Matt, doing the will of the Lord is pleasing to the Father in Heaven.  If it wasn't, why would He let those who do His will into His Kingdom?  So, we can indeed do enough to please Him, by obeying Him and doing His will. 


The thing is, all of these things here mentioned - being good, doing good, having a sincere heart, offering reparations for past sins - all of these things are able to be done only by the grace of God, through faith.  Now, they must be done to the best of our abilities - in accord with the grace that God gives to each one of us (as Scripture clearly teaches us) - but they must be done.  To one servant the master gave 5 talents, to another 2, and to another 1, in accord with their abilities.  The first two servants did the most they could with what their master had given them, and they both entered into their master's rest, even though the amounts they returned to their master were not equal.  The 1st servant had more.  The third servant did nothing with what his master gave him, and what happened?  Did he, too, enter into his master's rest?  Absolutely not.  He was tossed into the outer darkness.  So, even though the Master gives freely, He still requires from us a response to do something with what we have been given.  Did faith alone in his master save the 3rd servant?  Nope.


Your problem, Mr. Slick, is that you take a verse of Scripture here, and a verse there, and you forget about a whole lot of verses over there and there, and then you, on your own, with no authority whatsoever, devise an out-of-context, fallible, man-made, interpretation of God's Word that fits your pre-set beliefs...and thus you have: "The Gospel According to Slick."  Compounding your problem, as it relates to the teaching of the Church, is that you simply do not understand what the Catholic Church teaches and why it teaches it.  You take a snippet of Catholic teaching here, and a snippet there, and you put it together in your head, according to your own imagination...and thus you have: "The Catechism of the Catholic Church According to Slick."  And then you take your twisted Scriptures and put them side-by-side with your twisted Catechism, and say, "See, the Catholic Church teaches things contrary to Scripture."


Strategy


Respond to his false claims by: 1) Giving him Scripture that throws a monkey wrench into his interpretations; 2) Ask him to explain those Scriptures I've given in light of his twisted interpretation of the Scriptures he cited; and 3) Give him the proper understanding of Catholic teaching (citing the official teaching of the Church - the Catechism).  Always, always, asking questions.  Keep asking questions.  Respond to questions with questions.


Folks, most all of these people who attack the Catholic Church do so out of ignorance - whether it be willful ignorance (sometimes with a bit of malice thrown in) as in the case of some, or just plain ol' ignorance as is the case of many - but ignorance nonetheless.  And, they are not just ignorant of Catholic teaching, they are, first and foremost, ignorant of the Scriptures, regardless of how many verses they can quote.  Our duty is to plant the seeds of truth with them, by trying to get them to examine Scripture in a new light, to examine Catholic teaching in a new light, and, to examine their own beliefs in a new light.  And the latter step is actually many times the first step needed to get them to do the other two.  So many times the non-Catholics we talk to about God have examined their own beliefs only a little more than they have examined our beliefs, which isn't much.  By learning to ask them questions, you will put the onus on them to explain what they believe and why they believe it.  And, when they have to start answering questions about what they believe, it will hopefully cause them to ask themselves questions that they have never asked before.  It will hopefully get them to examine what they believe, deeply, for maybe the very first time.  Then, they might be open to looking at Scripture and Catholic teaching in a new way.  If you have someone who believes 2+2=5, you have to first get them to understand that 2+2 does not = 5, before you can help them to see that 2+2 actually = 4.   


Summary


Well, responding to that one paragraph actually took a whole lot longer than I thought it would, and I have to get out of town.  So, I will leave the rest to the next issue (or issues).  I hope all of you have a great week!


(Source:Bible Christian Society / John Martignoni http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/home.php Used with permission)

The Slick Gospel (cont'd) - Apologetics for the Masses #217

Introduction


Okay, this week I am going to wrap up with Mr. Matt Slick and "The Gospel of Roman Catholics."  This is the 2nd half of his article, which I've been dealing with in the last two newsletters, having dispatched the first half of the article in Issues #213 and #214.  I will pick up with my analysis at the part that begins with, "Are you tired of the works requirement?"

Challenge/Response/Strategy


Matt Slick


The Gospel for Roman Catholics


The Gospel for Roman Catholics is the same as for anyone else and it is obtained by grace through faith in believing and trusting in Jesus alone, who is God in flesh, for the forgiveness of sins.  Salvation is not found in a true church.  Salvation is not found in being good.   Salvation is not found in good works.  Salvation is not found in a sincere heart.  Salvation is not found in making up for past sins by efforts of restoration, or penance, or indulgences.  You can never do enough to please God.


Because God is so infinitely holy and righteous, and because we are sinners, we are incapable of pleasing God by anything that we do.  In fact, our righteous deeds are considered filthy rags before God (Isa. 64:6).  You can do nothing to earn forgiveness or keep forgiveness.  Salvation before God is not administered to us through an earthly priest in the Catholic church by the sprinkling of water, or giving of penance, or recitation of formula prayers.  Salvation for the Christian is not kept through the effort of the person who hopes and tries and worries about being good enough to stay saved.


Such error can only lead to despair and hopelessness and a desperate and unwarranted dependence on the Roman Catholic Church as the only means by which salvation can be distributed and maintained.  In this error, people far too often seek to work their way to heaven by being good, by doing what the Catholic church teaches them to do, by prayers to Mary, by indulgences, by the Rosary, and by a host of other man-made works.  Remember, in the RCC, salvation is through the Church and its sacraments, not through Jesus alone, by faith alone.  This is exactly how the cults of Mormonism and the Jehovah's Witnesses work who both teach that true salvation is found only in their church membership and in following the revelation and authority of their church teachers and traditions.


Are you tired of the works requirement?


In great contrast to the position of the Roman Catholic Church, if you want to be forgiven of your sins, once and for all, then you need to come to Christ (Matt. 11:28).  You need to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior (John 1:12; Rom. 10:13).  You need to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins (John 14:14), and trust in Him alone and in nothing that you can do.  Remember, your good deeds have no merit before God (Isa. 64:6).  Furthermore, if you have faith, it is because that faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29).  If you believe, it is because God has granted that you believe (Phil. 1:29).  It is not because you were baptized, or have been good, or have been sincere.  It is all of God.  The Lord must receive all the glory for salvation because it completely and totally rests in Him.  Salvation rests in Christ alone and it is received by faith apart from works.


Please read the following scriptures carefully.


        "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Rom. 3:23).

        "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Rom. 6:23).

        "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed," (1 Pet. 2:24).

        "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him," (2 Cor. 5:21).

        "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it," (John 14:14).

        "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29"Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls," (Matt. 11:28-29).

        "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name," (John 1:12).

        "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (Gal. 2:21).

        "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28).

        "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3).

        "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).

        "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life," (1 John 5:13).


A suggested prayer


This suggested prayer is not a formula, but a representation of biblical principles by which you might better understand the true gospel and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior.  It is not a formula derived from Sacred Tradition or Stamped with the seal of the Roman Catholic Church's approval.  Its principles are derived from scripture:  we are sinners; God is Holy; we cannot earn salvation; salvation is a free gift; prayer to Christ; Jesus is the only way; receiving Christ; faith; etc.


    "Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner and that I have offended you by breaking your Holy Law.  I confess my sins to you Lord and ask forgiveness from you and do not ask anyone else to be forgiven of my sins against you.  I acknowledge who you are, God in flesh, creator, humble Lord, who bore my sins in Your body on the cross and I come to you alone and trust you alone, by faith, that you will forgive me completely of my sins so that I will have eternal life.  I ask you Lord to come into my heart, to be my Lord, to forgive me of my sins.  Lord I trust in you alone, in the work of the cross alone and not in any church, not in any saint, not in Mary, not in any priest, but in you alone.  Lord, Jesus, I receive you, and come to you, and ask you to forgive me and justify me by faith as I trust in you alone.     Thank you.


If you are a Roman Catholic and have trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins, then welcome to the body of Christ.  Welcome to salvation and the free gift of forgiveness in Jesus.


Next, I strongly recommend that you read the Bible regularly, talk to Jesus daily in prayer, and seek to find a church that teaches and focuses on Jesus as Lord, Jesus as Savior, and sticks to the Bible alone.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Matt Slick


Are you tired of the works requirement?


In great contrast to the position of the Roman Catholic Church, if you want to be forgiven of your sins, once and for all, then you need to come to Christ (Matt. 11:28).  You need to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior (John 1:12; Rom. 10:13).  You need to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins (John 14:14), and trust in Him alone and in nothing that you can do.  Remember, your good deeds have no merit before God (Isa. 64:6).  Furthermore, if you have faith, it is because that faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29).  If you believe, it is because God has granted that you believe (Phil. 1:29).  It is not because you were baptized, or have been good, or have been sincere.  It is all of God.  The Lord must receive all the glory for salvation because it completely and totally rests in Him.  Salvation rests in Christ alone and it is received by faith apart from works.


My Comments


My first thought, Mr. Slick, upon reading this was: Yes, I am tired of it...I am tired of people claiming that Catholics believe in a "Works Salvation!"  I am tired of seemingly intelligent people claiming that the teaching of the Catholic Church is opposed to the teaching of Jesus Christ...opposed to the teaching of Scripture.  When, in truth, the teaching of the Catholic Church is not opposed to the teaching of Jesus Christ, as it IS the teaching of Jesus Christ.  When, in truth, the teaching of the Catholic Church is not opposed to the teaching of Scripture, as it IS the teaching of Scripture.  In truth, what the teaching of the Catholic Church is opposed to is the twisted scriptural interpretations of men who answer to no authority other than themselves...men who grant themselves the authority to essentially declare their own private, fallible interpretations of the Bible as being infallible.  Such as you have done.  Let me ask you, Mr. Slick - could any of your interpretations of the Bible possibly...just possibly...be wrong?  Any of them?  You won't answer me, will you?  You won't answer because if you say, "Yes, they could be wrong," then you open the door to the possibility that the Catholic Church is right.  And we can't have that, can we?  But, you can't say, "No, none of my interpretations of the Bible could be wrong," because then you would be saying you are infallible in your interpretation of Scripture, yet you believe no man to be infallible.  What is one to do, Mr. Slick, when one is presented with a question from a Catholic that one cannot, or will not, answer?


Now, turning to the specifics of your argument, if it could be called such, you state that if you want your sins forgiven, you need to "come to Christ," and that you need to "receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior," and that you need to "ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins," and "trust in Him alone and in nothing that you can do."  First of all, for someone who believes in salvation by faith alone, that's a whole lot of things that you laid out there that we have to "do," isn't it?  I thought we didn't have to "do" anything...that God did everything for us?  Yet, you say we need to "come" to Jesus, "receive" Jesus, "ask" Jesus, and "trust" Jesus.  I guess it's not salvation by faith alone, is it?  It's salvation by faith, and by coming, and by receiving, and by asking, and by trusting, right? 


Furthermore, you state these things in such as way as to make your readers think that this is something contrary to Catholic teaching.  Yet, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting the Council of Trent, says the following: "The satisfaction that we make for our sins, however, is not so much ours as though it were not done through Jesus Christ.  We who can do nothing ourselves, as if just by ourselves, can do all things with the cooperation of 'Him who strengthens' us (Phil 4:13).  Thus man has nothing of which to boast, but all our boasting is in Christ (1 Cor 1:31; 2 Cor 10:17; Gal 6:14)...in whom we make satisfaction by bringing forth 'fruits that befit repentance,' (Luke 3:8).  These fruits have their efficacy from Him; by Him they are offered to the Father; and through Him they are accepted by the Father," (CCC #1460).  Paragraph 1470 of the Catechism: "In converting to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death to life and 'does not come into judgment,'" (Jn 5:24).  How, after reading those paragraphs - and many, many others that say the same things, and more, about our dependence on Christ - from the official teachings of the Catholic Church, can you dare to say that Catholics do not believe we do not need to come to Christ, or receive Christ, or ask Christ, or trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and for our salvation?  Have you bothered to read very much of the Catechism, or do you simply grab a quote here and one there and rip it from its context to make it say what you want it to say?


Regarding your statement that our "good deeds have no merit before God (Isa 64:6), I dealt with that gross misinterpretation of Scripture in my last newsletter and will not repeat myself here, except to say that you are wrong.  I would like to focus for a minute, though, on the next Scripture verse you cite - John 6:28-29.  "Then they said to Him, 'What must we do, to be doing the works of God?' Jesus answered them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'"  Are you not aware that Scripture is calling the act of faith a "work"?  Yes, it is a work that we do by the grace of God...it is indeed a "work of God"...but it is a work that "we do," according to verse 28.  God does not have faith for us.  WE have to cooperate with the grace He sends us, and WE have to have faith.  It is a work WE do.  It is also a work of God in that it is a good work done by His grace.  That is what separates the saved from the unsaved, not something that God does for us, because God wants all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4), and since He wants all men to be saved, He would have faith for all men if it was something that He alone did without our cooperation, but it's not.  It is something that the saved person does, by the grace of God, that the unsaved person doesn't do - he believes.  Believing is a work that WE must DO.  A work that has merit before God. 


You then go on to say that we do not have faith because we were baptized, or because we are good.  That is absolutely true.  The problem is, the Catholic Church nowhere teaches that one will automatically have faith just because he has been baptized, or that he will have faith because he is "good."  You have created a strawman argument. We do believe, however, that one is saved through Baptism, just as it says in the Bible: "Baptism, which corresponds to this, now SAVES you," (1 Ptr 3:21).  Do you believe what the Bible says, Mr. Slick, or not?  "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit [Baptism], he cannot enter the Kingdom of God."  Do you believe that, Mr. Slick, or not?  What does being "born of water and the Spirit" mean, if not Baptism, where Jesus was baptized with water and the Spirit descended upon Him?  You also stated, "The Lord must receive all the glory for salvation because it completely and totally rests in Him."  I agree with the statement on the surface of it, but I have to disagree with your intent, as you seem to be saying that we are completely passive in our salvation; yet, you just stated a sentence or two earlier that there are several things we have to do in order to be saved.  So, Mr. Slick, do we need to trust, to ask, to repent, to receive or not?  I don't think you really have thought this all out very well. 


Finally, you said that salvation "is received by faith apart from works."  First of all, the entire quote is "by faith apart from works of law," (Rom 3:28).  You seem to want to leave out that last phrase, "works of law."  But, either way, as Catholics, we agree with that statement.  The works of law cannot now, nor could they ever, save a man.  Nor can a man be saved by simply doing good works...of any kind.  No one can "work" their way to salvation.  And that it is through faith that we are saved, but nowhere does the Scripture say that salvation is by faith "ALONE," which is the false teaching you are trying to peddle here.  I recommend, Mr. Slick, that you go back and read through the Catechism...all of it...before you try to tell Catholics, and others, what it is we believe and don't believe.  Furthermore, I suggest that instead of deciding for yourself, and all by yourself, what a particular word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph from the Catechism means, maybe you just might want to ask a Catholic if you are interpreting something in their belief system in the correct way.  That would be an honest and fair and just thing to do, wouldn't it, Mr. Slick.  That would be the Christian thing to do, wouldn't it?  I would be happy to help you understand what it is we teach, and why we teach it, should you ever be interested in actually seeking understanding, rather than casting stones. 


Matt Slick


Please read the following scriptures carefully.


        "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Rom. 3:23).

        "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Rom. 6:23).

        "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed," (1 Pet. 2:24).

        "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him," (2 Cor. 5:21).

        "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it," (John 14:14).

        "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29"Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls," (Matt. 11:28-29).

        "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name," (John 1:12).

        "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (Gal. 2:21).

        "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28).

        "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3).

        "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).

        "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life," (1 John 5:13).


My Response


As a Catholic, I agree with every single one of those Scripture verses.  Every single one!  However, you will please forgive me, Mr. Slick, if I disagree with your private, man-made, fallible, non-authoritative interpretation of those verses.  And, I would ask that you please read the following Scriptures carefully:


John 5:28-29, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”


Ezekiel 33:13-16, “Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and commits iniquity , none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered; but in the iniquity that he has committed he shall die.  Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right...and walks in the statutes of life, committing no iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.  None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right, he shall surely live.”


Rom 1:5, “Jesus Christ our Lord through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name."


1 John 2:3, “And by this we may be sure that we know Him, if we keep His commandments."


Rom 2:13, “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”    


James 2:24, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”


James 2:20, Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? 


Mt 7:21, “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father…”


Mt 19:16-17, “And behold, one came up to [Jesus] saying, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?...If you would enter life [Jesus said], keep the commandments.”  


Heb 12:14, “Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord…”  


Phil 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…” 


Eph 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”


Lk 9:23, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up His cross daily and follow me."


Rev 22:12, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every man for what he has done.”


Mt 3:10, “Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”


Mt 7:19, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”


Mt 25:31-46,  “...Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me..."


1 Ptr 1:17, “And if you invoke as Father Him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.”


Rom 2:6, "For He will render to every man according to his works...”


James 2:12-13, “So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.  For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy...”


Rev 20:13, “And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done.”


Mt 16:27, “For the Son of Man is to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay every man for what he has done.”


Mt 12:36-37, “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”


2 Cor 5:10    “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.”


Some Scripture verses emphasize faith when it comes to salvation.  However, that does not necessarily imply that it is faith alone that saves us.  Some Scriptures emphasize works when it comes to salvation.  However, that does not necessarily imply that it is works alone that save us.  Your twisted interpretations of Scripture, Mr. Slick, result in an either-or scenario.  Either faith, or works.  You cause Scripture to contradict itself.  Whereas the Catholic Faith's understanding of Scripture, in perfect harmony with Scripture, results in a both-and scenario.  Both faith, and works...all by the grace of God.


Matt Slick


A suggested prayer


This suggested prayer is not a formula, but a representation of biblical principles by which you might better understand the true gospel and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior.  It is not a formula derived from Sacred Tradition or Stamped with the seal of the Roman Catholic Church's approval.  Its principles are derived from scripture:  we are sinners; God is Holy; we cannot earn salvation; salvation is a free gift; prayer to Christ; Jesus is the only way; receiving Christ; faith; etc.


"Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner and that I have offended you by breaking your Holy Law.  I confess my sins to you Lord and ask forgiveness from you and do not ask anyone else to be forgiven of my sins against you.  I acknowledge who you are, God in flesh, creator, humble Lord, who bore my sins in Your body on the cross and I come to you alone and trust you alone, by faith, that you will forgive me completely of my sins so that I will have eternal life.  I ask you Lord to come into my heart, to be my Lord, to forgive me of my sins.  Lord I trust in you alone, in the work of the cross alone and not in any church, not in any saint, not in Mary, not in any priest, but in you alone.  Lord, Jesus, I receive you, and come to you, and ask you to forgive me and justify me by faith as I trust in you alone.     Thank you.


If you are a Roman Catholic and have trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins, then welcome to the body of Christ.  Welcome to salvation and the free gift of forgiveness in Jesus.


Next, I strongly recommend that you read the Bible regularly, talk to Jesus daily in prayer, and seek to find a church that teaches and focuses on Jesus as Lord, Jesus as Savior, and sticks to the Bible alone.


My Response


I love it!  This formula prayer I'm about to give you is not a formula.  Really?!  You can be sadly comical, Mr. Slick.  But, I do agree with the scriptural "principles" that you have laid out - we are sinners, God is holy, we cannot earn salvation, and so on..  Every Catholic, who is truly Catholic, agrees with them.  Now, I know it is some sort of slap at the Catholic Church, but I have no idea what you are talking about, Mr. Slick, when you say, "...and [I] do not ask anyone else to be forgiven of my sins against you."  What?  You do not ask anyone else to be forgiven of your sins?  How could someone else be forgiven of your sins?  What crazy idea about Catholicism do you have that prompts you to put such a statement in a "prayer?" 


Finally, I will close by commenting on two last things that you include in your prayer.  First, you state that you do not trust in "any church."  That is exactly right.  You do not trust in any church.  By your own words you condemn yourself.  You trust in yourself and you yield authority to no one over you.  You have set yourself up in the high places to judge all others as condemned who disagree with you.  Does not Scripture tell us that the church is the Body of Christ?  And that it is the Bride of Christ?  Yet, here you are saying you have no trust in any church, not even the church founded by Jesus Christ.  If you don't trust the Church Jesus founded, then how can you honestly say you trust in Christ?  And if you do not trust the Church founded by Jesus Christ, pray tell why would you expect anyone to trust you? 


Second, I find it exceedingly sad that you would include an insult directed against the Virgin Mary in a supposed "prayer" to Jesus.  You do not "trust" Mary?  Really?  Let me ask you this, Mr. Slick, did Jesus trust in Mary or not?  Do you believe Jesus did not trust in His own mother?  Your hatred of all things Catholic causes you to say things that you have apparently not thought through very clearly.  I would ask you to take some time to really think about, and pray about, the points that I have made here.  And I am sincere in my statement that if you truly wish to understand what the Catholic Church teaches and why it teaches it, so that you may honestly agree or disagree with any given teachings, rather than your gross caricatures of Catholic teaching, I would be happy to help you with that process.  But if you choose to simply throw stones...if you choose to hate...then please know that I, and my readers, will be praying for you.   

Summary


Alright, that's it for my treatment of Mr. Slick's article.  Hopefully, it has been of some use to many of you.  Next issue we move on...have a great week!

 

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(Source:Bible Christian Society / John Martignoni http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/home.php Used with permission)


Is it enough for a Christian to just “do something good”?


A question that seems to be up-to-date. And has not even Jesus Himself said that we shall acknowledge them by their fruit? So if the fruit are good, is the plant good too?


Unfortunately, Christians today seem to have a tendency to throw everything in the “love pool”. If it’s “love” and/or if it includes doing something good for others, it is alright. Or is it.


Not so fast.


Somebody that “does something good” is – at best – a “good” person, but not automatically a Christian. Neither does the end (“good fruit”) justify the means.


Both in the Old and the New Testament God made it very clear that the heart matters. It is in the heart where evil begins and it is the heart that has to be in when “good works” are done. Without love, all is nothing.


God knew about our confused hearts and minds that get distracted very easily, so he gave us a plan, a guide line of what we should do and what we should abstain from. Yes, it is all about love and “doing good”, but God’s way, not ours.


It is in the Bible that we get a solid definition of what is love and what it means to ”do good”.


“The traditional enumeration of the corporal works of mercy is as follows:

To feed the hungry; To give drink to the thirsty; To clothe the naked; To harbour the harbourless; To visit the sick; To ransom the captive; To bury the dead.


The spiritual works of mercy are:

To instruct the ignorant; To counsel the doubtful; To admonish sinners;To bear wrongs patiently; To forgive offences willingly; To comfort the afflicted; To pray for the living and the dead.


Any material favour done to assist the needy, and prompted by charity, is almsgiving. It is evident, then, that almsgiving implies much more than the transmission of some temporal commodity to the indigent. According to the creed of political economy, every material deed wrought by man to benefit his needy brother is almsgiving. According to the creed of Christianity, almsgiving implies a material service rendered to the poor for Christ's sake. Materially, there is scarcely any difference between these two views; formally, they are essentially different. This is why the inspired writer says: "Blessed is he that considers the needy and the poor" (Psalm 40:2) — not he that gives to the needy and the poor.

The obligation of almsgiving is complementary to the right of property"which is not only lawful, but absolutelynecessary"“

(Source: www.newadvent.org)


If you truly love someone God’s way, you want the best for him. The best according to God’s standards. This also includes “tough love” if necessary – telling someone the things he or she needs to hear and not only what he or she wants to hear.


Moral relativism where everybody defines for himself or herself what is good, right, truthful and morally acceptable is the virus that has inflicted our society. When we want a godly definition of “good” according to God, we need to agree on a common Christian basis and common Christian beliefs though, else this “good” is just a wishy-washy term.


The corporal and spiritual works of mercy also imply the principle of subsidiarity – we should only help someone if he or she cannot help himself/herself, and only so they can restore their own functioning. If someone needs help, the next upper level has to jump in, and only if this level is unable to, the next higher one and so forth.


If we accept the notion that somehow doing something good is enough, then this might lead us to absurd consequences. To lead that train of thought to the extreme: If a fascist organization helps building a kindergarten, we need to reject that offer, however “good” the result might be. The end does not justify the means - the means have to point to the end. Accepting something unacceptable means condoning it and making it socially and religiously acceptable, if we want that or not. The worst case scenario so to speak.


Finally our motivation: We need to constantly check our heart whey we do something good: Why are we doing it? Are we doing it so WE feel better? Then we would abuse of the person in need.


Even if we have a pure and godly motivation and do the corporate and spiritual works of mercy, we should never forget that grace and truth need to be at an even level. If you have too much grace, you are prone to believe in superstition. If there is too much truth, you forget about the object of truth and the reason thereof.


Robert


Links National

Bibliothek der Kirchenväter: Über gute Werke und Almosen

St. Josef: Wer an Christus glaubt, wird gerecht

 

Links International

Catholic Information Network: Salvation

Bible Answers for Bible Christians: Salvation

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Faith vs. Works

Coronum Catholic Apologetic Web Page: The Church Fathers on Faith & Works

Coronum Catholic Apologetic Web Page: Salutary Works Require Grace (Church Fathers)

 

 

Resources

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Faith Works

Steve Ray: Abraham - Father of Faith & Works (CD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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