You need an in depth study of Catholicism before being too critical.

Dear Ralph:

Bless your heart, but as a former Catholic, I would encourage you to get an indepth study of catholicism before being too critical. You trip alot on symantics. Apologetics is not really a very good title for you to use as your writings do not reveal a person who is well versed in the true meaning of Apologetics. Stick to the gospels of Christ and bond the Body of Christ instead of dividing it. Don't set yourself up as a judge with comments like If Mother Teresa did not accept Jesus------------------give God a break. Jesus saved the thief on the Cross without him saying "I accept you as Lord and Savior"------------ man the devil likes for God's people to get caught in the trap of "words". Mother Teresa loved Jesus and said she did what HE TOLD HER TO DO. You have to be very careful of how you judge by "your perspective"------------- THANK GOD FOR THE SCRIPTURE THAT TELLS US THAT "WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE". Do you think that everything that quacks is a duck? Do you know that not everyone that calls himself a Christian is one. Oooodles of people can say they are saved or say the sinners prayer but if you read the epistles of John, you will get a good dose of who is and who isn't. FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD!!!!!! I am so happy that the Lord gave me a foundation in catholicism before entering the non-denominational church for it has given me a richness in Christianity that I cannot express. Everyone has their doctrinal shorthcomings and you are no exception. My mother became more involved with the Catholic Church because of Jimmy Swaggarts bashings and everyone must realize that we are all colored by our backgrounds. Only the Holy Spirit can lead us into all truth and if a persons heart is bent that way, He will guide them. HE WILL GUIDE THEM. PRAY FOR THEM, DON'T BASH THEM by arguing doctrinal issues. If they are in error, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth, but also realize that you too may be in error on some of your perspectives and hope the Holy Spirit has mercy for you as well as he does for any of us that think we may have or know the whole truth and be off a degree. PRAISE GOD FOR THE BLOOD OF JESUS. We all fall short in more ways than one. You speak and share what you have been taught. They speak and share what they have been taught. Where does it get any of us to keep running around these mountains. We may not be able to meet on a religious or doctrinal level, but by gosh we should be able to meet one another on our knees. Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I have to live at the foot of the cross everyday working out my own salvation like Paul exhorts each one of us to do. When we stand before the Lord, we stand alone, answering for ourself only.

Like you, I have a fire for Jesus and though we may see it as our responsiblity to share the gospel with others, we need to do just that "share the gospel" and not allow the enemy to get a foothold by distracting us from the real issue and that is that "GOD IS LOVE". 1John 4:16. We need to be wise in sharing that Love!!!

Forgive me if I appeared harsh, it is not my intent, but if you are proclaiming to be a minister of the Word of God as I do, for that is the area my Degree is in, then we need to exhort one another in Love and my motive for sending this email is in God's Love.

Love in Christ

My response is in Green:

You know I get quite a few messages like yours about many different subjects. I have a question. You tell me not to bash anyone by arguing doctrinal issues, yet isn't that what your whole message to me was? Why is it wrong for me to speak out but it is okay for you?

Maybe you did not understand my analogy about Mother Teresa, so let me restate my point. In the article you got that from I stated that I was not trying to say whether Mother Teresa did or did not have Christ as her Savior, I was only using her as an example because she is the one person that almost everyone would agree has done many good works. What I said was that even with all the good things that Mother Teresa did in her life, if she did not have Jesus Christ as her Savior she is not in heaven today. I was referring to Christ's own words: John 14:6 (NIV) Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Nothing we as humans do will reconcile us with God, only the Blood of Jesus Christ can do that for us. So either He is our way into heaven or we are lost. It does not matter who we are. So I repeat, if Mother Teresa did not have Jesus Christ as her Savior the moment she died, she is in hell at this very moment. To deny that is to deny what Jesus said. One more time, let me say that I am not trying to say anything about Mother Teresa personally, I am trying to make a point about all of us. Either we are saved by believing in the perfect sacrifice Christ made on the cross for us, or we are lost.

You mentioned the thief, he just proves my point. How was he saved? By believing in Christ. He did not say any certain words, but he did accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. That is evident by his own words when he asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. The thief knew that Jesus was going to die on the cross just like he himself, but by saying that he was acknowledging Him as the Messiah, the Christ, the Redeemer, the perfect Lamb of God.

I don't need to take an in depth study of Catholicism, all I need to know is in God's word. If it does not line up with that, then it is wrong.

I will admit I am not sure what your point was about faith and works, but I will try to answer it as I understand it. I take it you are trying to tell me that our salvation is not by faith alone. Well I think you are wrong. There are many passages which state that our salvation is by faith alone. Here are just two such passages: Acts 15:9 (NIV) He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. and Romans 3:28 (NIV) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. Here is another passage which is even more clear: Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- {9} not by works, so that no one can boast. Now if those are clear then what about the passage you quoted above. Which by the way is not in John, but is rather found in James: James 2:26 (NIV) As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

We know that God does not contradict Himself, so we need to figure out why these seem to be contradictory statements. Either we are justified by faith alone, or the Bible is wrong because that is what Ephesians 2:8-9 says. We are saved by God's grace, through faith,... not by works. That is clear so we should go look more carefully at what James is saying, 'faith without deeds is dead.'

James does not say that it takes deeds to be saved, he just says that faith without deeds is dead. What he is saying is that if you place your faith in Jesus Christ your life will show evidence of that faith. This goes against what many teach these days. They claim that you can be a Christian and yet live the same kind of life as any other sinner. That is not true and that is exactly what James is telling us. If a person claims to be a Christian yet their deeds don't show evidence of that faith, then that faith is dead and is worthless. It can't save the person. That is a far cry from saying that we have to do works to be saved.

Here is a passage from John: 1 John 2:3-6 (NIV) We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. {4}The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. {5} But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: {6} Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Notice the very first part of the passage; "we know we have come to know him if." It does not say this is how we come to know Him, no it says this is how we know we have. In other words, we are not justified by what we do, but what we do testifies of our justification. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone, aside from works, but from that point on our lives will show evidence of that Salvation, through the works or deeds we do.

There is no contradiction between the passages which say we are saved by grace through faith alone and what James was saying.

You told me that I should not call my site an apologetic site, because that is not what it is. You may have noticed that at the beginning of my page on Apologetics I quote a dictionary definition of what the word Apologetics means. Here is the very first meaning: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines. When I answer questions about my faith and doctrinal issues that is exactly what I am doing, defending the faith.

We are all ministers of God's word if we are Christians. It does not matter if we have degrees or not. I don't have a degree, but I can still read and understand the Bible and witness to others. You made the statement that if someone is in error I should let the Holy Spirit show them that. I take that to mean that you don't believe in pointing out anyone's error? Again I wonder why you wrote me then? But aside from that, it is not biblical to keep quiet if you think a brother is in error. God's word tells us that we should defend the faith: 2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV) Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. and Titus 1:13 (NIV) This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith So I will continue.

You are right I am certainly capable of being wrong and I pray that if I am someone will rebuke me in love, however, the rebuke has to line up with the Bible or I will not listen to it. God's word comes first in my life, no matter what anyone things of me or about me.

I will continue to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to obtain eternal life. He paid the debt in full on the cross, there is nothing we must or can do to add to what He has already finished. I will also continue to proclaim that once a person is saved by grace through faith in Jesus, their life should show evidence of that salvation.

If your message to me what truly written in love then I thank you for it, even though I think you are mistaken.

In Christ,

Ralph

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