Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Salvation: Is it for everyone?

I am friends with a boy from my old high school on facebook, we never knew each other when we were in high school, but we are about the only two who left it with a Christ centered goal for our lives. We chatted over our winter breaks and on a parting note, he mentioned how he wished Protestants (as he is one) and Catholics (me, even though I'm sure any Catholic would be appalled to have to acknowledge me as a believer!) could unite to spread the Gospel rather than bicker over stupid, and truly minor, discrepancies. He slid in a little "I don't know if this is true, but I heard Catholics need confession to be saved..." I laughed a little, obviously thinking otherwise...but then I had to check. I felt a little stupid not knowing 100% what the Church teaches about salvation. I know I am in the process of learning, but that is a basic! So I did a google search and the first 4 sites I clicked on gave me source after source of Catholic doctrine. None of them really mentioned faith or works being a means of salvation, but membership!!!!

This site (*Click me*) had the "entire" listing of sources I gathered from the others more or less. After I read it, my heart just broke. This one especially:
Pope Eugene IV, (1388-1447) Cantate Domino
"It [the Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels' [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."

But then farther down the website, it quotes from post Vatican II documents and the Catechism about how pagans and atheists can be saved...what is going on!?

When it comes to religion, I want to know what I am "Confirming". If I belong to a church, I want to say I can positively agree with it's tenets, though I know some people say it's ok to disagree on certain aspects, I agree. I agree when it comes to minor things like modesty, or confession, or music, etc. But not when it comes to salvation matters and other beliefs that hold a lot of weight. I love the Catholic Church as it has been my home since birth, she created our Bible and has passed down the faith for 2,000 years. That's incredible, however, I just don't know how to reconcile decrees and beliefs that are so contradictory and ridiculous.

A Christian who professes his/her faith in Jesus and believes His sacrifice liberates us from our sins, is saved. Period. in my book. What do you think? For the Catholics out there, have you read these sources before? Thoughts?

Peace & Blessings!


deltaflute said...

What you ask is a complex question.

Here's what the CCC says (Catechism of the Catholic Church)161: Believing in Jesus Christ and the in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. Since 'without faith it is impossible to please (God)' and to attain to the fellowship of his sons therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life 'but he who endure to the end.'

That being said salvation or being saved is an ongoing process. I had a lady call the church that I worked at asking if Catholics were saved and I said yes, of course we are. We are saved through the sacraments (notice I said 'through' and not 'because of' because God and Jesus created the sacraments and can decide salvation outside of the sacraments as well see info on baptisms).

Since we receive the sacraments at various times in our lives, we are constantly 'renewing' (for lack of a better word) our salvation.

No where in the Bible does it say that salvation is instantaneous. In fact, it seems that the Bible emphasizes that it is an ongoing process and a test of faith for believers.

So you're friend is somewhat right when he says that Catholics need Confession to be saved. But I think the word 'need' needs a little bit more explanation. We 'need' confession to come into alignment with God and to renew our faith.

But is confession necessary? Based on what the Church says about baptism, I think the same rules apply. If your intention was to go to confession, when you die than God has already forgiven and saved you. If you don't know about confession yet you feel remorseful, then you obtain salvation. There is baptism by blood (martyrs) and baptism by desire (unborn). I think it's safe to say the same sort of thing about confession: desire and unknowledgable. God isn't bound by sacraments. Plus keep in mind purgatory. You can always be remorseful in the afterlife.

So are Protestants saved? Yes, if they are remorseful. Are other groups saved? Sure especially if they never knew Jesus.

And do you know the date you were saved? (My favorite Protestant question). Of course the first time I was "saved" was the day I was baptized. That's August 15, 19**.

Oh, side note. I don't anyone who is Catholic would be appalled. That's absurd. We're all at different stages of the faith journey. If anyone gets that kind of attitude, I tend to think of them as baby Catholics because they are still on the very earliest part of the journey. Jesus taught us to love everyone no matter what. That's the first and most important thing to learn.

caraboska said...

In principle, confession of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is necessary for salvation - although there is also a principle that if one did not know about something, then it cannot be held against one. So that if a person did not confess Christ in their lifetime due to ignorance, if they do not end up in heaven it will be for some other reason. And God knows their heart to make that judgment.

There are Protestants who claim that that confession of
Christ is still necessary even then, that God would have arranged for the gospel to be preached to them so they could receive it, if they were meant to be saved. The problem I have with this is that it makes salvation in some way contingent on the works of human missionaries who preach the gospel - which I view as idolatry.
For the Bible also clearly teaches that salvation is not by works. Therefore no human work (including baptism or the celebration of communion or even missionary efforts) can materially affect our salvation status. The Bible, quite the contrary, teaches that salvation is by grace through faith. That the one who receives the Holy Spirit is the one who believes. Salvation comes at the moment one believes. And baptism is spoken of only in terms of being for those who already have believed. The Bible also teaches that the Church is not an organization, but rather an invisible body comprised of those who believe. Any other ideas besides these can only be come to by referring to tradition, which we have already discussed elsewhere so I shall not repeat myself here.

Lucy said...

"So are Protestants saved? Yes, if they are remorseful."

But why should a Protestant be remorseful (for not being Catholic) to be saved?The bible is clear, there are no denominations in Christianity just Christians and non-Christians.

To claim that one group out of thousands is the one is wrong and nasty.I grew up in a sort of low Protestant almost Anabaptist group that insisted that it too was the one true church.I left that church as soon as I was old enough.

Now any group that believes in God, the trinity and that Jesus died for their sins & rose again is a Christian.That is all!This means that no one group can claim to be "the one" (oh how i hate that bigoted, self religious, Calvinist expression).

Of course all Christians must strive to obey God's commandments to remain Christian but in doing so that is what caused the many denominations.One group believes chapter X means doing X, another believes chapter X means a minor thing and prefers chapter Y & so does Y.

deltaflute said...

Lucy, I think that you misunderstood what I meant. I wasn't talking about Protestants being remorseful because they aren't Catholic. I was talking about sin and confession.

The remarks were based on RA's post about a friend of her's saying that "Catholic's need confession to be saved." I was explaining how in some ways this is true and someways not. And then explaining how this applys to the salvation of others.

I don't think people are saved because of their religious affiliations. I've never ever ever thought that. And that was the point that I was trying to make, but must have failed to.

The lady who called the church did so because her brother had recently become an Evangelical. He was telling her that he didn't think Catholics were saved. So I was explaining to her how Catholics view salvation as an ongoing process and some Protestants (Evangelicals especially) view salvation as a moment in time.

If a Protestant sins and is remorseful, he is saved. Showing remorse for Catholics is going to Confession. For some Protestants it's praying to Jesus or talking to a minister or publically announcing that they've sinned and asking the congragation for forgiveness.

And because Catholics view salvation as an ongoing process, Catholics feel that confession or being remorseful for sins as part of salvation because it is a sign of faith. Therefore if a Protestant is remorseful of their sins, then in the view of the Catholic Church, they are saved too. Same thing with those who don't know Jesus. If they kill someone and feel remorseful, than the Catholic Church (at least from what I think) also views them as being saved because they don't know Christ but can "feel" that what they did is morally wrong.

This applies to all sacraments which are a part of the salvation process for Catholics. For example, Catholics view baptism as the washing away of sin, and acceptance into the the church of God. Some Protestants view baptism as the same thing and other's view it as a symbol because they were saved before baptism took place. And those who don't know Jesus who weren't baptized are saved simply because God called them.

I could go through all the sacraments this way but I won't. It suffices to say that Catholics view the sacraments as being a part of being saved but are not neccessary for salvation. And it suffices to say that some Protestants view being remorseful and baptism as a part of salvation but are not necessary as well. We're both in agreement in this regard.

Lucy said...

delfaflute my apologies.

I grew up in a church that insisted on being the only, true church so it's left me quite skeptical about churches that do that.Its quite damaging because it teaches people that they will go to hell if they dare leave even to another church.