Sunday, March 17, 2013


Roman Catholicism and mainline Protestantism teach many of the same doctrinal truths.  Both believe in the Holy Trinity as being one God existing in three persons:  The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.  Both believe in the Virgin Birth.  Both believe in Christ's Crucifixion, His burial in a rich man's tomb, and His Resurrection from the grave.  Both believe in His Ascension and His Second Coming.  Both believe that all men are sinners in need of a Savior.  Both believe that the Father offered Jesus, the Resurrected Lord, to be that Savior.  Etc. etc. etc...

So how do the two "isms" differ, you might ask?  Well, there are many doctrinal teachings which differ, from the less important, such as the religious leaders being priests, calling them "father," and requiring them to remain celibate; to the more serious differences, such as the priest being "able to change the communion elements into the literal flesh and blood of Jesus (Transubstantiation), and the Doctrine of Purgatory.  

But the "deal-breaker," when it comes to reconciling Roman Catholicism with Evangelical Protestantism is over the Doctrine of Salvation!  Here is what the Roman Catholic Catechism (IV. The Sacraments of Salvation) has to say on the subject:   

#1127 "Celebrated worthily in faith, the sacraments confer the grace that they signify." [In other words, one has to be a member of the Roman Catholic Church, in good standing, to receive the sacraments of the church, and thereby, earn or qualify for salvation.]
#1128 "This is the meaning of the Church's affirmation that the sacraments act ex opere operato (literally: "by the very fact of the action's being performed"), i.e., by virtue of the saving work of Christ, accomplished once for all."  [If the "action's being performed was the Crucifixion, then the word would not be plural, as the Lord died once for all - Hebrews 9:12.]
#1129 "The Church affirms that, for believers, the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation." [Again, one has to become a Roman Catholic in order to receive the sacraments of the church, and by so doing, qualify to be saved.]

Now let's look at what the Bible teaches on the subject of a person's salvation: 

1)  The Father and the Holy Spirit draw the lost individual to faith in Christ, not to a church (Jn. 6:44; 16:7-15).
2)  Salvation is by grace (unmerited favor), and it is a gift from God; a gift that requires one to do something is not a gift, but payment for services rendered (Gal. 2:16; 3:2; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7; Heb. 4:3; etc.).
3)  When Jesus or His disciples were asked what they must do to be saved, their answer had nothing to do with joining a church, but was a resounding "BELIEVE!" (Lk. 8:12; Jn. 1:12; 3:15-18, 36; 6:29, 47; 11:25-27; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9-10; etc.)!

Any church that requires one to join in order to be saved, is a false church!
Any Gospel that requires more than faith in Christ, is a false gospel! 

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