The Way of Salvation

The Way of Salvation

At the heart of the controversy between Rome and historic Protestants is a dispute over the way of salvation. In speaking of salvation, we note that the term “salvation” encompasses a wide range of important topics, and it is important to distinguish between various aspects of redemption. 

Since the fall of mankind, the human race stands in need of salvation (or deliverance): deliverance from the guilt of sin, and also deliverance from the power of sin. From the biblical doctrine of justification, we learn the divine provision whereby sinners are delivered from the punishment due to the guilt of their sins. From the doctrine of sanctification, we learn the means whereby God delivers sinners from the reigning power of sin.

Of course, there are other facets of redemption, such as election, effectual calling, glorification, etc. Obviously the subjects of redemption are interrelated to one another; but they are not identical, and should not be confounded. Even though the various aspects of salvation bear a close relationship to one another, the scriptures clearly distinguish between them. In several places within Paul’s epistles, the apostle maintains a clear distinction between justification and sanctification. For example: “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11; cf. Rom. 8:30; 1 Cor. 1:30). [1]

Another closely related topic is the nature of regeneration, or the new birth. Those whom God regenerates are given repentance, faith, and inward renewal so that they strive for godliness.

With the foregoing considerations in view, we wish to assert several important truths which bear on the state of Roman Catholicism and modern evangelicalism.

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4 thoughts on “The Way of Salvation

  1. Hello, Roman Catholic here; I felt obligated to correct a few misconceptions. First of all, salvation is NOT at the heart of the Protestant/Catholic debate. The True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is.

    Second, Catholics created the Bible (well, not created– put it together). Our doctrines and teachings have not changed since then. You cannot claim that the Bible is the infallible Word of God without also giving credit to those who have compiled it.

    Third, we believe that all salvation comes through Christ, and Christ alone. We cannot work our way into heaven. We are entirely dependent on his mercy. That being said, it is not enough just to say ‘I believe that Jesus is the Lord’. What about serial killers and rapists who profess Jesus to be the Christ? Are they automatically saved by their belief? Of course, we do not get to judge who goes to Heaven and who to Hell, but it seems like common sense to say that active rapists who believe in Jesus, and yet still live a deplorable lifestyle will not go to Heaven– because although our God is merciful, He is also just.

    Last, I’d like to point you to James 2:24: “You see then that a man is justified by his works and not faith alone”. This directly contradicts the entire doctrine of sola fide, you just can’t get around it. Works DO matter. I could give you more Bible verses reinforcing this, but I feel that this verse in James is the simplest and most direct.

    At any rate, I would appreciate it if you– and this website in general–stopped portraying the Catholic Church (please don’t call us ‘Rome’ or ‘Romans’. Anyone who knows even a shred of history knows the Catholic Church was severely persecuted by the Romans) as some sort of weird cult religion. We’re Christians, too, you know. We recognize Protestant Baptisms as valid, and do not judge or condemn you. I would appreciate if you extended the same courtesy to us.

    God bless!


  2. Not a wolf,

    You claim Catholics gave us our bible, I recommend this link for you As for this prideful statement, ‘You cannot claim that the Bible is the infallible Word of God without also giving credit to those who have compiled it.’ So you believe your denomination has some right to rob God of glory? God gave us His word, your erroneous thinking will be corrected if you read the link I provided, which correctly states ‘The Roman Catholic Church was not fully developed until several hundred years after the New Testament was written. It is not the same institution as disclosed in the New Testament. The New Testament books were written by members of the Lord’s church, but they are not its author. God Himself is the author of the New Testament’.

    You state ‘The True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is’. This borders mysticism, how can Christ be in a wafer and sitting at the right hand of God as well? The Bible tells us we must believe in His finished work, you state we must partake of the Eucharist. Who’s right?

    Why is it your church insists it is the true church and twists the word of the Lord to fit their traditions? For example, in Matthew 23:9 the Lord Jesus commands us not to call anyone on earth our father, and yet, the RCC insists you call your pope ‘holy father’?

    I encourage you to open your bible and cry out to God to grant you understanding of His word.


  3. Not a Wolf,

    First, thanks for stopping by. We welcome all who truly wish to learn of true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Second, there is so much that you address, but I will try to cover a few points and others may pick up and add to it.

    1) I will start at the bottom because this is the crux of your argument or our disagreement. We cannot both be Christians simply because of where you stand on the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If the Roman Catholic Church is right and the mass is a biblically sanctioned sacrament that MUST be obeyed in order to (in the words of EVERY priest) receive Christ physically into their body and in so doing, receive Him spiritually, then Protestants, Evangelicals, and Baptists cannot be Christians. The words of your popes speak contrary to your words here. If salvation is by grace, through faith alone for our salvation as Paul states in Ephesians 2, then Roman Catholics cannot be true believers in Christ for they are adding to the finished work of Christ on the cross at Calvary.

    2) Catholics did NOT create the Bible any more than Baptists did. The Word of God was inspired by the Holy Spirit who also made it possible for it to be divinely preserved by His power. Whether He chose to use heathens, true believers, or even apostate monks is not the issue. What is at stake is that God Himself created the Bible and it shall forever endure. Now, was it compiled in chapter and verse format by a Roman Catholic priest, yes, we acknowledge that God again allowed this to take place for His honor and glory alone.

    3) You say that salvation comes through Christ alone, yet you rely on the traditions and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches that in order to gain instant access to heaven, you MUST follow ALL seven sacraments. Problem here is that two of them are 1) the priesthood, and 2) marriage. Both of which are currently incompatible, not because of Scripture, but actually because of the greed of the Catholic church who instituted the rule of celibacy during the Middle Ages in order for all property and wealth of monks, friars, and popes to revert to the Catholic coffers upon their death. Even at the funeral mass for John Paul II, the prayers were given in order that he might soon be freed from the fires of purgatory and go quickly to his reward in heaven. Sad that there is absolutely NO hope for Roman Catholics to be able to go to be with the Lord at their death if even the pope has no chance of doing so.

    4) As a Baptist, I do NOT believe that a person can live any way they wish to live and still be a true believer. This is where Paul and James meet. There is no true contradiction. Paul is saying that you cannot work in order to gain your salvation. James is saying that a person who is a true believer will evidence fruits of that salvation in their lives. James does not say that salvation comes through works. A person who remains in their sin evidences that the fruit of the Spirit does not abide in their life.

    5) Finally, let’s address true church history. Yes, Roman Catholics were persecuted by the Roman Empire under some of the emperors who came after the first pope Constantine. However, persecution does not equate to being a true believer. The Roman Catholic Church has hunted down what they term as “heretics” for centuries. According to Roman Catholic dogma, ALL who are outside the church of Rome are to be considered apostate. This cannot be overlooked for it is and remains the teachings of even the current pope. Sadly, you are also incorrect in that you recognize Protestant Baptisms as valid. This is not, and never has been true. I would point you to the time of the Inquisitions for proof of this, and even in current history to what is happening in places like South and Central America where the Roman Catholic Church continues to endorse hatred and persecution against those who claim faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone APART from the church of Rome.

    Thank you again for stopping by though. We hope and pray that one day more Roman Catholics will see the truth of Scripture and be led by the Holy Spirit to escape from her clutches. We do NOT speak this in hatred, but in great love for those who are trapped.

    With kindness,


  4. Thank you both for your reply, and I appreciate the kindness.

    1. I do not know any Catholic who believes that in order to be Christian, you must receive the Eucharist. To be Christian, you must simply accept Jesus as Lord, and be baptized (though there is such a thing as baptism by desire, where people who are unable to be baptized still receive that sacrament’s graces). In order to be in full communion with the Church that Jesus established, though, you must be Catholic. That is what we believe.

    Additionally, the Eucharist was instituted by Jesus in the Bible, during the Last Supper. I would also point you to John 6 as proof of Jesus’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, where he flat out says ‘I am the Bread of Life’. There is so much more that supports the True Presence, but it’s far too much for me to get into here. I just wanted to clarify that the True Presence and the Bible are not incompatible.

    2. TJM, I suppose that is the point that I was trying to make– that the Catholic Church did compile the Bible, though it is the inspired Word of God. The Church was not called Catholic at the time, though, as there was only one Christian Church. I guess I don’t understand how to credit the Bible and not those who compiled it, since obviously they had the authority to proclaim that it was the inspired Word of God.

    3. Not all 7 sacraments, silly! Of course not! Of course Holy Orders and Marriage are incompatible! If that was all it took to prove the Catholic Church wrong, I wouldn’t even be here right now. 😉 I don’t know where you learned that the Sacraments provide instant access to Heaven, as that is not their purpose whatsoever. The Sacraments are a way for us to be filled with God’s grace, not a free pass to heaven. Also, purgatory is temporal, not an eternal thing– a person in purgatory will eventually go to heaven. We don’t know if the popes went to purgatory or not, since only God knows their heart.

    4. Alright, that makes sense. We’re in agreement here.

    5. Constantine was not the first Pope! Peter was! Constantine declared Christianity to be a valid religion, which of course is great, but there is no Catholic who acknowledges him as a pope. While I won’t deny or defend the Inquisition or other persecutions, it is important to remember that those were the works of men, not of the Church. She teaches that people outside of her are ‘apostate’ in the sense of not being in full Communion with her… so basically, that means “if you’re outside the church, you can’t be fully in the church!” Pretty simple. She does not teach that we should harm anyone– of course not! We are called to love, not to harm. It is only when men twist these doctrines that people are persecuted.

    Lastly, all Baptisms are valid in the Church, as per her teachings, even if at times, men within the Church (ie. the Inquisition) forget that, or refuse to recognize it.

    In any case, I don’t come on this website often enough to respond frequently, but if you’re interested in continuing this conversation further, please email me at God bless!


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