Judge Not Salvation

6 thoughts on “Judge Not Salvation”

  1. There was a lot of good stuff here and I can’t respond to it all.

    The main thrust of this article was that we should stop judging and condemning other for our differences. Not only is this not helpful for constructive dialog but it is God who issues the ultimate judgment upon us. I wholeheartedly agree to this, although I had some thoughts on your scriptural interpretation.

    On Assurance of Salvation, I often think of the verse: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

    If we believe this verse then we believe we our saved. I agree that there is a subtle difference between believing and being assured, but if we read this verse and agree with it then is there anything stopping us from believing that we are saved?

    My other thought was on Salvation by Works. I’ll use the same quote: “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

    It has been a while since I talked to someone that believes works are required for salvation. Is this what you believe? I could not tell from the article. I feel this verse is fairly explicit that salvation is not of ourselves or our works. What do you believe?

    I enjoy the enthusiasm here. I agree there are many people who turn the Christian life into a simple prayer or step-by-step how-to. There needs to be a much deeper interaction with people. I would like to see a genuine concern for people rather than just trying to “win souls.”

    Watch out that you don’t get caught in some of that same pride. Some of your statements about Catholics being the first Christians, putting together the Bible, and being founded by Christ can be construed as prideful. Although there is truth to your statements these events are in no way exclusive to the Catholic denomination.

    Thanks for putting this up here. I feel in some ways a hypocrite adding that last part about your pride because this article highlights many areas of my own. I checked out your about me section and I hope Stargate Universe doesn’t go belly up next month. Peace.

    1. Ben, I’ll get back to you with a longer response but right now I want to thank you for your comment. A few things I want to mention: Catholics believe that we are saved by grace through faith poured out in loving works (goes back to that Ephesians quote plus James 2:22-24) though there are unfortunately many who do not understand that or falsely believe that Catholics preach a works-based salvation (Pelagianism, a particular heresy that said grace wasn’t worth anything but man had to do stuff to earn salvation was condemned in the early Church). As a Catholic, I am saved by grace but I must cooperate with that grace. It is true that works mean nothing but St. Paul was speaking about works of the law not the works that God has set aside for us, plus the Sermon on the Mount about feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, etc. Assurance of salvation isn’t possible and there are multiple verses which I’ll hunt for and post that support later. Not knowing your theological background, it might be that we actually agree theologically but use different words and expressions to say the same thing.

      The Catholic Church was founded by Christ. Again, not knowing your theological background/religious affiliation, you may not accept that as fact. Denomination, as you may be aware, means new name. Since Catholicism (including the Orthodox) has been around since the time of Christ and the Apostles, it cannot be a new name/group because it is The Church founded by Christ on Peter. The Catholic Church did put the Bible together. If you have not already done so, I suggest checking out the Early Church Fathers (I believe available online, the last time I checked), the Catechism of the Catholic Church (available online), and history in general to understand the history of the Catholic Church. Check Catholic sources. You can even read the Vatican documents online, if you have not already done so.

      Pride is an issue for everyone and it seems that the Internet is a particularly nasty breeding ground for those that, hmm, have issues who use it as a means of attack rather than understanding.

      1. Hey thanks for getting back to me. I think you may have hit it on the head when you said that we may believe in the same thing and just use different terms. I have discovered that from time to time. It is yet another encouragement to engage in honest conversation and not go out and judge, haha.

        I think how I understand works is the same as you. I have come across the “Catholics preaching works-based salvation” generalization. I likewise appeal to James 2. What faith do we have if we do not even act upon it? I think the term “works” has been denigrated in some protestant churches such that I have a small desire to say “Faith without ‘action’ is dead.” Thanks for showing a clearer separation between works set aside for us by God and works of the law.

        You’ll have to find the passage from the Sermon on the Mount about Assurance for me. Again, we may be using different terms for the same thing.

        I recognize all the statements about the Catholic Church as being true. My point may be better expressed by saying that both Baptists and Catholics can argue that they use the true Bible (and I think they are both correct) even though it was put together millennia ago.

        The other two points about Catholics being the first Christians and Jesus founding the Catholic church may be tied into the belief/hearsay that the Catholic church is THE church.

        I don’t know what the official line or your personal beliefs on this are. From my perspective I am part of the body of Christ, his bride, the universal church (I am baptist). It is from this perspective that I sensed pride in your statements: Weren’t the first Christians just Christians; and, aren’t I included in the church Christ established on Earth?

        Thanks for responding. I sometimes feel that my words can convey false emotions and that I represent myself as a jerk online. Actually, rereading my post I did a decent job at representing myself. I still worry sometimes but I guess that shouldn’t stop me from commenting all together.

      2. Ben, actually your original comment was articulate and pretty straight forward. It didn’t come across, to me at least, full of emotion or jerky. If it had, I wouldn’t have approved it.

        As for the Sermon on the Mount, oops, wrong passage. (I’ve started a new job and until today, I had early morning and long days of training so I’ve been tired.) I was thinking of the whole if you fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, etc. The Sermon on the Mount is the Beatitudes, i.e. blessed are the merciful for mercy shall be theirs, etc. The passage is Matt 25:31-45 where Jesus is talking about the coming of the Son of Man and separating the sheep from the goats by what they did (feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned) and doing it for the least they did it to Jesus.

        As for the Bible, the Catholic Church put it together in four councils starting with the Synod of Hippo on 393 which confirmed the cannon of the New Testament. (Don’t quote me on that. I’m still looking things up to make sure because I don’t want to give you false information and I don’t want to lie to you.)

        As for the first Christians being just Christian, look at St, Ignatius’s quote from 110 saying that “where there is Christ, there is the Catholic Church.” Now, I can’t stop you from saying you are a part of the Body of Christ (not that anyone can; it’s not loving one’s neighbor). And actually, if you’ve been baptized in the Trinitarian formula (In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit) you are in imperfect communion with the Catholic Church and part of that Body. I bet you didn’t realize this. I didn’t know that either until recently. The Catholic Church has the fullness of truth while you, as a Baptist, have some of the truth. You are still a Christian but your relationship to the Catholic Church is there is there as well (okay, I may not have explained that very well).

        As for the works, think of it like this (in a flawed analogy kind of way) (though you already understand what I was getting at): a husband doesn’t just tell his wife he loves her and leave it at that. He does things for her, not to gain favor or awards but because he loves her. That’s why we do “works,” not to gain something but because we love God and want to show our love for Him.

        Thanks again for the reply. It’s nice responding to someone who is willing to accept that not everyone agrees with them or believes as they do and do so with charity. (If I’ve come off rude or what not, I apologize. Sometime I write things that aren’t the best way to write them.)

      3. That’s cool about being a part of the Catholic church. I can jive with what Ignatius was saying. I think I was brought up to recognize a difference between the catholic, with a lowercase ‘c’, church and the Catholic Church.

        That very well could be descendant from early Protestants assuring their congregations that they were still part of the church universal (whether they were or were not). I think ultimately the difference may be that some Protestants are catholic just not under the leadership of the Pope. That may be both the historical and contemporary difference?

        I recognize that for myself I don’t have the whole truth, but I wonder what the manifestation of the Catholic Church having the “full truth” is? Does this mean that the Pope knows all, or that all Catholic’s do, or that collectively the Church knows all? I know the bridegroom knows all, haha.

        I’m not sure what you were citing. My current belief is that as the bride of Christ the church has access to the Truth (Christ) and that Christ/God/the Spirit may thus bless the church, in any number of possible capacities, with truth (and grace). So, I don’t conceive of a difference in my access to the truth if the church I attend is guided by the Pope or not.

        I will agree that poor doctrine in a church can certainly mislead the people of that church, but conversation on all the little things that entails may not be worth the effort. I’ll default to whatever the Bible says if ever I have a doctrinal issue with a friend, haha.

      4. Sorry I’m so late getting back to you Ben. I have a new job and I work Fridays and Saturdays and so can’t get to the library to use the Internet. Now I have to go back to what I wrote to see what I was getting at. I know of this is going to require more research on my part to even attempt to articulate an answer. That’s not a bad thing but I am working and adjusting to a new schedule so it’s a matter of finding time (sleep ranks a bit higher than WordPress :p). “Fullness of truth” which the Catholic Church has is that all of the revealed truths, either implicit or explicit, are contained in the Deposit of Faith. Non-Catholic Christians have a significant portion of that truth but what they reject (papal infallibility, the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Christ,etc) limits how much of the truth they actually have. They still very much follow Christ but it’s a much more limited relationship. It’s like showing up to a banquet and only getting a dinner roll, a little dab of butter, a leaf of lettuce, and a half full glass of water and saying that’s a eight course meal. It might satisfy but it’s not everything.

        I’m not doing this the justice it deserves. Again, I’m trying to get used to a new job and schedule (I work swing and graveyard shifts) so I’m caught up in that.

        I do suggest, if you get a chance, to read the Early Church Fathers (you should be able to find them online), the Catechism of the Catholic Church (definitely online; just Google Catechism of the Catholic Church), and if you can find a copy of it, Catholicism for Dummies. It’s an easy introduction to the Catholic Faith. There are other books and sources I can recommend but those are the best to start with. If you have any questions, just ask. I’ll do my best to answer them or point you in the right direction.

        Have a good week.

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