“Faith Alone” Does Not Mean “Intellectually Assenting to a Few Facts about Jesus Alone”, Works Are Important and Indeed Necessary

Sharing this short conversation I had with two protestants (one is Anglican). Both of them agree that Faith Alone should be accompanied by good works. This is in contrast to the belief of many other protestants who say they have been saved by Jesus’ dying on the cross and that once saved they are always saved.

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Protestant 1 posted.

Requiring anything in addition to faith in Jesus Christ for salvation is a works-based salvation. To add anything to the gospel is to say that Jesus’ death on the cross was not sufficient to purchase our salvation.

Comments section:

Protestant 2 Yes, but we need to define terms here. True faith always brings forth good works. The good works don’t in and of themselves contribute to salvation, but they are the necessary fruit of faith.Roman Catholics and Orthdox tend to assume that by “faith alone” Protestants mean “intellectually assenting to a few facts about Jesus” alone. That’s not what we mean. Often we find ourselves talking past each other because our terms are undefined.

  • Jong Esto I was wondering how Protestants interpret this verse? Early Christians never argued about having to work (a lot) to be saved.James 2:24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
  • Protestant 2 Jong Esto The context of the verse is dealing with what true faith means. James is concerned with a faith that does not manifest itself with action. If we assume that salvation is not of works at all, as Paul teaches in several of his letters (e.g. Ephesians 2:8-9), and that there cannot be a contradiction between James and Paul, in my view the Protestant understanding harmonises the two teachings: works are important and indeed necessary, but they don’t save us, but rather prove our faith (“I will show you my faith by my works”, as James says). They are brought forth because of the work of God in us; or, as Luther put it, true faith “doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing”.
  • Jong Esto Protestant 2 Thank you. I am Catholic and agree with you: like C. S. Lewis, he compared grace and works to the blades of a pair of scissors. Both are necessary.In my observation, Protestantism puts more emphasis on faith while Catholicism and Orthodoxy put equal emphasis on both faith and works.
  • Protestant 2 Jong Esto I am a traditional Protestant (an Anglo-Catholic), and to be honest I agree with Roman Catholicism about a lot of things: I think the scriptures teach baptismal regeneration and the real presence. As an Anglican I also think there’s a large role for tradition to play in the modern church (though a subordinate one to scripture). I also think that many modern Protestants misunderstand faith alone. I’m about as Catholic as you can get without actually being Catholic.There are two things that are stopping me from taking the final step and becoming a Catholic: justification by faith and works, and the Mary stuff. On the one hand, I’m prepared to accept that in many cases we are talking at cross purposes (misunderstanding what each side means by “faith” and “works”, for instance), but on the other I am sceptical about joining a church that officially anathematised sola fide at Trent. I’m also reticent to join a church that teaches (if inconsistently) that Mary is co-redemptrix when the scriptures say exactly the opposite.
  • Jong Esto Protestant 2 i appreciate this. Can you share which particular statements/canon/s the the council produced about sola fide that you don’t agree with. I would guess #29? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/…/List_of_excommunicable…
  • Protestant 1 Protestant 2 We are justified ( by faith ) , declared righteous, at the moment of our salvation. After we enter the stage of justification comes sanctification , sanctification is not the act of God declaring a person righteous; rather, it is the continual process by which God is actually making a person righteous. Sanctification is the deliverance from the power of sin and is a present and continuous process of believers becoming Christlike, accomplished by the Holy Spirit’s power and presence. Sanctification represents a believer’s victory over the flesh (Romans 7:24–25), the world (1 John 5:4), and the devil (James 4:7). During sanctification comes works we have to do works so our faith won’t be dead and those works are reading the Bible, picking up your cross daily, basically trying to be more like Christ as you possibly can be
  • Protestant 2 Protestant 1 I don’t disagree with what you say but my main point was that because we are imprecise in our vocabulary, we tend to confuse non-Protestant Christians into thinking we are basically antinomians who don’t care about holiness or obedience. In my experience, we tend to be talking about the same things in a different way, using different vocabulary — leading to all sorts of hostility which is often deeply overblown. That’s my two cents anyway.
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My Conversation with a Protestant Brother Who Said, “I Just Can’t Comprehend How Catholicism Can See Praying to Mary Is Correct.”

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(Facebook Main post)
Can someone with a deeper understanding of this catholic practice explain it to me more in depth?
I know that there are a few versus that giving praise to mother marry stems from. One big one being Luke 11:27.
But read through 28 as well.
Luke 11:27-28~
“As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
So this was not a correct approach as seen in the last part of the verse.
Also, Marry was a sinful woman. She birthed Christ yes. But he was only Christ because of God’s doing. And neither Joseph nor Marry had any influence in that.
And the Bible also says in 1st Timothy 2:5 that- “ For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
I just can’t comprehend how Catholicism can see praying to Marry is correct.
Have they not read these passages as well? Plus others!
And they also tend to make statues of the different quote on quote “Saints”
But mostly I am asking about Marry.
Is this not idolatry? I cannot compute
(My comment)
You’ll just end up knowing your allies here.
I suggest you take a course in Mariology. Many non Catholics with open mind have done it. Mariology gives you our Catholic views and understanding about Mary and all the titles given to her.
Remember God put an enmity between the woman (Mary) in Genesis and the serpent (Satan) and between Satan’s seed and Mary’s seed (Gen 3:15). We Catholics are obviously on Mary’s side.
She intercedes for us like many other saints living and dead. It’s her main role, she intercedes and lead us to Jesus his son, the one and only mediator between God and humankind.
You can send me a message if you want.
(Messenger chat starts…)
So when you say that Mary is one who intercedes for us and that it her main role, what scripture do you have that speaks on that?
I assume it’s in one of the seven books is protistans don’t use
Hi ***** how are you? I said she “and many other saints” intercede for us. Intercession can be made by a living person (like our pastors) or those who died in the friendship of God (the saints and prophets like Moses, etc.)
Sorry late reply. I appreciate your willingness. So is the intercession by those who are not alive based on scriptures? And also, does that imply that any person who has died but received salvation can intercede? Like a family member? Or do you just refer to saints and figures in the Bible? Also, if that is correct, that would mean the o oh thing special about Jesus is that he took the judgement of God upon himself. And on him we must believe. If your understanding in regards to intercession are correct, then would that not take away the unique attribute of Jesus that he is the one who connects us to the father?
Also, what then do you take from 1st Timothy 2:5? “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”
Sorry also im doing this between my tasks. Appreciate your responses too. Mediation is Christ’s unique role and nobody else can replace our Lord for that. So Paul’s words to Timothy and other verses like Jn 17:3; 1 Cor 8:6 support that. Intercessors can be our family members both living and dead, or simply YOU can be my intercessor. I can ask you to intercede for me. James 5:16-18 says the righteous man’s prayer has great power in its effects. Since our souls are immortal, we Catholic believe the righteous men and women who died can still intercede for us. Yes! We Catholics believe they are alive and are in the presence of God. Try to reflect on 2 Kings 13:21. There’s a miracle there attributed to a dead prophet.
Okay thank you
Let me know what you think about that miracle in Kings.
Romans 15:30 reveals to me that the living can intercede for the living. That is my reasoning for that belief which you also agree with. However I have never found any scripture that speaks on the dead being allowed to intercede. Elisha we are almost certain is in heaven. But as far as our own family goes, we can not be sure. Even if we would like to think so. The instance you pointed me towards is interesting indeed. However just because this was showing us an action taken by someone who had already died, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the dead can intercede. I feel as though this subject is similar to some others. An Example being communion. Some churches take it once a week. Some once a month. Some even just once or twice per year. None of them are wrong or right though since the Bible simply says “as often as ye partake of it” So in the same way is this belief in intercession aside from Christ just kinda a personal belief/choice? I just can’t understand why a person would desire to have someone besides Christ intercede for them when they could just pray directly to Christ.
It’s easy. Christ mediates, the saints can only intercede. And we are informed in the Bible (James 5:16) that the prayers of certain people are more effective than those of others. And there are many other verses that supports intercessory prayers.
Elisha’s intercession and the frequency of the Holy Communion cannot be compared. I agree that the frequency is not really mandated in detail in the Bible reason why we Catholics actually do it every day in many parishes. Elisha’s intercession is clearly stated in the Bible and we cannot not believe in it.
Once again I appreciate your responses. So many people are defensive right from the start of a conversation when someone disagrees with their point of view. Which is sad. Anyway, I see where you are coming from there. It’s a difference in interpretation then I guess? See, I always thought that verse to be referring to men like you or I when it speaks of prayers of righteous people. And as far as Elisha goes, I guess I was more so speaking about intercession specifically to do with prayers. Also another thing that has me thinking is your use of two words. Those being intercede and mediate. I always took that as being the same thing. As in, if Christ is the mediator he is then also the intercessor. I could look it up online but that could very well give me a non biblical definition. So instead I’ll ask your thoughts on it since I don’t have any knowledge of it. What is the difference between mediator and intercessor within your belief? Does Christ being the mediator not also mean he is the one true intercessor? That is what my understanding has always been anyway.
No worries am glad we have this healthy discussion. Jesus Christ is the unique mediator between heaven and humankind. Of course as mediator, he mediates and intercedes between us and the Father. The saints intercedes for us to Jesus. This may seem inefficient for a non-Catholic but it’s very effective in the evangelisation and for individual spirituality too. When we look at Mexico, millions of pagan natives converts to Christianity because of Mary’s apparition there in the 16th century. If you have time in the future, the story of Guadalupe might interest you. Countless miracles happened and still happening because of Mary’s intercession. As a Catholic, I can pray straight to Jesus or to the Father in Jesus’ name. But my spiritual life has been enriched thru asking Intercession from Mary and other saints like Saint John Vianney. What Christian group do you belong to btw?
I see. Well I don’t exactly know if it gets to God still that way but I respect your view and am interested for sure. And what do you mean by what group? I attend a small church in southern Indians in the U.S. It is a Pentecostal denomination. Though even though I attend that church I often attend others. I don’t really have what people would call a “home church” And I consider myself to be non denominational. I do attend the church I mentioned above the most though. And it is part of the restoration movement. Does that tell you anything?
Yeah. I understand now how hard it is for you as a pentecostal or a non denominational to understand the role of saints. For me, easy because I’m born and raised Catholic. It’s something that existed since the beginning of Christianity. Only around early 1600s that strong claims against it started. But there were times when I also doubted about it. But studying both the Catholic teachings and non-Catholics objections cleared my doubts and humbly subjected myself to the teachings of the Church. I hope I have answered some of your questions and hope someday you will find a home church where you could receive the valid sacraments which we Catholics believe are essentials to our souls and for our salvation. If you have questions about Catholic Faith you can ask me I can only share my own experience and understanding. If you want an expert to answer your questions there are a lot of exceptional Catholic apologists in the US. Most of them were not Catholics. Try your luck and call Catholic Answers +18883187884. I listen to their program sometimes.
Thank you! I am less seasoned than you are in my faith being that I am so young. However that does not make it impossible for me to withhold knowledge as well I suppose. So if you ever for some reason would have a question for me I will do the same in answering to the best of my ability. It’s night where I am. I don’t know what it is where you are but have a good day/night regardless.
I’ll sure will ask you a couple of questions not related to this topic in the future. Thanks. For now, I did forget something earlier to ask regarding intercession of saints. Maybe you already encounter this before. What do you think of Rev 5:8? When we pray, it’s always for ourselves and/or for others people right? In this case, Who would benefit from the prayers of the saints in heaven when they are already in glory with God? In our eyes as Catholics, those on earth (and in purgatory – let’s not talk about purgatory :-)) are the beneficiaries of their prayers. By the way, Im in the Philippines. 🙂
So as a catholic, are you required to be subject to ALL of the practices? Like, can you be catholic but not to the Hail Mary’s? Can you be catholic but not use any intercessors? As in, praying to Jesus only. Can you be catholic but be in disagreement with the Pope? Can you be catholic but drink a substitute for the wine instead of wine? Can you be a catholic but be willing to attend Protestant gatherings? Things like that.
Btw, we are 12 hours apart in our time. So when it is 6:00 am for you, it is 6:00 PM for me and etc. So I’ll try to send messages to you with that in mind so that I don’t send you things at ridiculous times.
Yes. I can be Catholic and pray straight to Jesus only and not say the Hail Marys or ask intercession but I feel guilty not to because the sacred scriptures encourage us to do so. Popes are not infallible when their messages is not addressed to the universal Church. So yeah i disagree a lot especially with the current Pope. Not sure what you refer with wine substitute? It’s a sin for us to attend protestant weddings and prayers AND participate in them. But ok to attend as observer only.
Why is it sinful to pray prayers? Could you not meet me in person and pray with me on the fly? Or do you always have to do specific prayers that are practiced? And do you consider me your brother although I am not catholic? Or only if I became catholic? Also, what sacred scriptures encourage it?
Simple prayers are fine. We can pray together no problem. But rituals and ceremonies (like wedding) are a big no. We are brothers as adopted children of God (Gal 4:5). You don’t need to be Catholic if your conscience does not tell you so. Sacred Scriptures = The Holy Bible
Im actually working at night here so going to bed now haha.
Alright haha
-end of conversation-
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Catolicos Ignorantes Futuros Protestantes

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Catolicos Ignorantes Futuros Protestantes” is a famous Spanish expression widely used in Latin America. It means that Catholics who do not study their faith are easy candidates for Protestantism. This is a reality. So far, in my circle, I have not encountered any learned ex-Catholic (in theology or apologetics) who left Catholicism and embraced another belief.

Every non-Catholics I know left the Church either by ignorance or by force renunciation of faith due to inter-religious marriage. Once they become non-Catholics, especially the Protestants, many of them begin to hate the Catholic Church because of their lack of knowledge of her. They would attack her from all sides directly and indirectly.

For the benefit of my non-Christian friends let me differentiate the two. Catholicism, of which I am a member, is by sacred tradition the first and the only assembly of faithful (church) founded by Jesus in the 1st century. Jesus Christ is God himself who took our form (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus is the founder and the current head of the Church. After fulfilling his mission on earth he returned heaven leaving a vicar or representative on earth to lead his church with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis is the 266th vicar of Christ.

On the other hand, Protestantism is a movement that started in the 16th century in the person of Martin Luther, a Catholic monk. Luther developed his own views or interpretations of the Sacred Scriptures and convinced many of his reformed views. Since then, hundreds of Protestant sects sprouted. While most of them, like Catholics, believe in Jesus Christ as God and savior; there are many groups who refer to the Sacred Scriptures but do not confess the same faith.

All these groups disobey God who desired a “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” aiming for one body, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Ephesians 4:5). The Bible also says that “no prophesy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). This is in order to keep the same Gospel handed to us by Jesus and the apostles. The apostles exhorted us all to “stand firm and hold to the traditions which was taught… either by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 11:2) As Paul said, “even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach other Gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8) “Accursed” or “anathema” means “under a divine curse” or “set apart for destruction”.

But many Catholics listen to their preaching. Many follow them to the point of leaving the Church and her life-giving sacraments that Jesus instituted for our salvation. They choose not to avail of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation that gives new life and sanctify their souls. Without the sacraments, they risk their souls towards eternal damnation.

So we Catholics should continue to practice and study our faith. We are supposed to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13) to bear witness to Jesus Christ according to what the apostles preached to us. If we listen and support any other preaching than what the Catholic Church received from the Apostles, then we bear false witness to Jesus Christ. And we all know that bearing false witness is such a grave sin Jesus himself equates it with murder, adultery, fornication, theft, and slander as many times repeated in the Bible (Matthew 15:19, 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20).

We do not have to be experts in apologetics, theology, or similar disciplines to bear witness to Christ. We only need to learn the basics so we are not easily deceived. By doing so, we protect our own families and friends safe from destructive teachings. This is a real challenge for all of us especially to parents.

There is another famous expression in the Latin world that says “Catolico Instruido Jamas Sera Confundido“. It means that Catholics who study their faith will never be confused. This is a reality too.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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