Trying to Understand Catholicism

The last three days I have gone back and forth with my Catholic friend, Greg, on the subject of baptism, and salvation. Not really in a debate format, but more in a ‘help me understand your position’ format. He is a good guy, and very knowledgeable, and I appreciate his friendship.

The biggest thing I learned, which I kind of already knew, but now understand more completely, is that Catholics do not believe in ‘works righteousness’. You may disagree with the position that baptism saves, (I do) but neither does intellectual agreement with God or the Bible. The fact is that both Catholics and Protestants believe that you need to react to Christ’s saving work on the cross. They with the sacraments, and us with some intellectual rigor. (confess with your mouth, believe in your heart)

Do you want to point out that infant baptism is unscriptural, ok, but then consider why you believe that infants don’t go to hell. You’ll end up with a concept called ‘age of accountability’. And what exactly is baptism from a protestant perspective? An ‘outward sign of an inward reality?'. That's the 'right' answer, yet neither of these two concepts are in the Bible, (which dosen't make them wrong) rather they are an outgrowth of our systematic theology, (which I affirm) just as infant baptism grows out of Roman Catholic theology.


David Baxley said...

Well summerized and well said.

the Humble Devildog said...

The more I read the Bible, and study the theologies of Catholicism and Protestantism, the more I believe they BOTH have it wrong.

Salvation quite simply comes from accepting Jesus the Christ as your Lord. Baptism is a method of "washing" away the sins. It doesn't save by itself. Baptising infants is a requirement for Catholicism, because Catholicism doesn't hold that Jesus' Sacrifice is sufficient to save a person. Adult baptism by many mainline Protestant denominations is required because Jesus' Sacrifice isn't sufficient to save a person. Which is funny, because The Lord says His Grace IS sufficient.

By the way, the fastest way to lose touch with Jesus is to attend a seminary. Most of them don't even require Bible classes to graduate. Even more don't believe in the Bible as Truth. Oh, well. Hope you make it through with your Christianity intact. Most don't.

David Best said...

Not all seminaries are created equal, I don't know anyone that is about to lose their faith here at Fuller, and we require around 5 or 6 bible classes, depending on your degree. But non-the-less, it is wise advice to stay close to Christ.

Dr J said...

I am a Catholic and would like to join in your discussons. Perhaps I can clarify some issues. May I join?

David Best said...

dr j,

By all means, join in, though it may be better if you e-mail me. Aesthetically speaking I don't really like long comments, but it's up to you, e-mail or comments.