The Gospel, the Gospels and Rome – Where Do We Draw the Line?

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One of the most difficult (and seemingly intractible) questions that Protestants must engage with is our common response to the Roman Catholic Church (“RCC”). Anyone with even a limited grasp of the events of the Reformation must acknowledge that there were profound and axiomatic differences between the Protestant Reformers and the Church of Rome, differences that led to a firm and clear break that still exists today.

Bishop Tom Wright
Bishop Tom Wright

These debates are resurrected in each generation when a new catalyst comes along, most recently energised by the work of men such as Tom Wright. Some of our current discussions over this perennial question flow out of the clarity with which Wright has helped us delineate exactly what we mean by “the gospel”. There is certainly some confusion for us as we ask whether “the gospel” is simply the narrative of the life of Jesus contained in the New Testament, perhaps a smaller more compact “kerygma” (declaration) that summarises that narrative, or even a far more comprehensive system of belief that we point people to.

The cutting edge of this discussion for some of us is whether the boundaries we place upon what the authentic gospel is (and therefore who can in any sense be said to “have” the gospel)  are in the right place. Most pointedly for Protestants we must included in this discussion the question of whether Rome “has” the gospel.

So where to start? Well certainly a good place may be with our definitions. Back in 2008 The Gospel Coalition helpfully summarised Wright’s definitions of “the gospel”. These are useful for all of us.

“The gospel is the royal announcement that the crucified and risen Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again according to the Scriptures, has been enthroned as the true Lord of the world. When this gospel is preached, God calls people to salvation, out of sheer grace, leading them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord.” – Christianity Today, June 2009

“The gospel itself refers to the proclamation that Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah, is the one, true and only Lord of the world.”
– from “Paul in Different Perspectives: Lecture 1″

When Paul talks about “the gospel,” he means “the good news that the crucified and risen Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and therefore the Lord of the world.” Now, that’s about as brief as you can do it.

Wright also helpfully reminds us that the language of “gospel”, as well as primarily having solid roots in Isaiah, also had a specific contemporary usage; “it was used in the Roman world of the accession, or birthday, of the emperor.” Thus the New Testament usage of the term is an easily understood subversion – there is a new emperor to be declared to the world!

The Gospel Coalition are right, I think, to commend this understanding to us and I’d recommend you read through all the material they have there. In bringing this reminder to us, Wright has served us well. It is a massive encouragement to ensure that we remember that gospel work necessarily involves telling people “the gospel” and that “gospel” is not simply a life lived in love but a clear declaration about Jesus and who He is. That’s why, of course, so many of us ground our evangelistic efforts in simply reading one of the four gospels with people. We want them to meet the Lord Jesus Christ as He walks off the page – the writers of the gospels are called The Evangelists with good reason.

So far so good. Even the Pope himself would (I’m pretty confident) agree with us up to this point.

But now we begin to engage with some difficulties. The argument some want to make now is that since the Roman Catholic Church points us clearly to the New Testament, which contains “the gospel”, they therefore “have the gospel”. Immediately I need to point out that this is a different question to “can Roman Catholics be saved?” to which I would affirm “yes, but not because of what Rome teaches, rather despite it”. The question here, however, is not about individuals within the Roman Catholic Church but about the official teaching of the the RCC. That being said, there is some impact for individuals in the RCC that arises from our eventual conclusions.

calvinsolafideWe now move into the realm of discussions around the doctrine of “Justification by Faith Alone” – one of the key Reformation doctrines. As they read the Bible the Reformers asserted the motto sola fide, “faith alone”; i.e. faith apart from works is what saves. They understood this from key texts such as Rom. 4:4-5, Phil. 3:8-10 and, perhaps most critically, Gal. 2:16. Rome, in response, anathematised the doctrine of sola fide at the Council of Trent and reasserted it’s sacramental understanding of salvation which it taught was not an immediate forensic/imputed righteousness but, rather, something that was actually infused into the Christian and could be “defused” again. The hope for the Christian under Rome was grace imparted through the sacraments, and in particular through not only repentance but also penitance. Rather than being saved unambiguously by repentance leading to faith in Jesus, Rome insisted that we are saved by repentance, faith and then acts of penance (and that as part of an ongoing cycle wherein reaching a certain state of grace was theoretically possible but practically unatainable). Paul anathematised in one direction. Rome, in startling and stunning clarity, anathematised in the other direction! Trent, of course, still stands today as Roman doctrine.

[blockquote quote=”CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.” source=”Canons of the Council of Trent, Session 6.” source_link=””]

For the Reformers this amounted to work added to faith and thus was in clear violation of their reading of the New Testament. So much so that Reformed confessions of faith make particular reference to this issue. So, for example, the Anglican 39 Articles state,

Article XIX

Of the Church

As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred: so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.

The greatest concern “in matters of Faith” was precisely this question of Justification,

Article XI

Of the Justification of Man

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings: Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

For the Reformers this wasn’t just details, it was a fundamental issue and many of them went to their death over it (not least many of the Anglican Reformers).

Nevertheless we hear the argument that since Rome has the New Testament it “has the gospel”. This is more and more popular in our age of renewed ecumenism, particularly in scholarly circles. We want to strive for maximum unity and it’s just not good form to point out differences, particularly profound ones. So, under this way of thinking, who is anyone to challenge the notion that a sincere Roman Catholic is not saved? Surely that’s the height of arrogance; theological nitpicking of a most divisive type? Isn’t it putting boundaries in place that the New Testament with it’s bold and universal gospel proclamation nullifies?

Well no. It’s actually quite the opposite. The same Paul who Wright tells us gives us a clear simple gospel also puts very clear boundaries not only on what the gospel is but also its implications for salvation and how it is appropriated. For the Apostle this was a first-order issue:

Gal. 1:6   I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Paul’s language could not be stronger. The Galatians’ adoption of a new way of thinking is, according to the Apostle

  • a desertion of God
  • a turning to a different gospel
  • troubling the church
  • a distortion of the gospel
  • a matter so serious that the proponents of this “different gospel” should be cursed by God.

As we read on through the epistle it becomes clear what this “different gospel” is,

Gal. 3:1   O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

threecupshuffleThis whole chapter is, of course, one of the key texts used to explicate Justification by Faith Alone. What is incredibly important to observe here is that there is absolutely no indication that the content of the gospel message has changed. If Wright were to comment on the facts being taught about Jesus in Galatia he would have no cause for concern. There would still be a clear announcement of His kingship, His perfect life, His substitutionary death and His powerful Resurrection and Ascension. The problem in Galatia was not that they did not have the testimony to Jesus to call people to trust (“have faith”) in Him, but that the false teachers were insisting that it became efficacious through not just faith but works.
This is, of course, the Reformed critique of Rome. That she may have the gospel proclamation but that she disfigures it by insisting upon works being added to faith. So much so, that it is no longer the gospel. Surely the Apostle Paul is clear – a gospel with works added to faith is not “the gospel” with some unhelpful errors, it is actually “a gospel contrary to the one received”.
For clarity, the content of the declaration about Jesus was identical to the gospel, but the insistence by the Galatian false teachers that works be added to faith in Christ made “the gospel” into “a gospel contrary to the one received”.
Perhaps a brief illustration will help.
Imagine that in the news tomorrow an amazing announcement is made; a cure for cancer has been found (perhaps in the nectar of a rare Amazonian flower). But part of this announcement is a definitive statement by the scientists involved that the nectar will only work when no other drug is used or medical procedure applied. In fact, to enter into any other course of medication or treament will utterly negate the effect of the new cancer cure. This is, of course, exactly how Paul presents the gospel in Galatians. To add works to faith in Christ is to no longer be simply trusting Christ. It is “a gospel contrary”.
scientistplantNow imagine an oncologist, Dr. Vatican. Dr. Vatican receives the news of the new cancer cure with delight and sets about telling as many of his patients as he possibly can. But when those patients visit him to enter into a new course of treatment he tells them that not only must they use the nectar as instructed by its discoverers, but they must also apply a steriod ointment since this will, he insists, enhance the uptake of the nectar.
Could we rightly say that Dr. Vatican “has the cure”? I trust you can see that the answer is “not at all”. He may have exactly the same nectar that all the other oncologists have but he is telling his patients to appropriate that cure in a manner that actually negates it. The tragic reality is that, despite his best intentions, he has “a cure contrary to the one received”. His insistence that he knows the best way to apply the wonder-nectar is actually a terrible blight upon his patients who lose out on any possibility of a cure. The nectar is exactly the same, but Dr. Vatican has presented it to those in his care in a way that utterly distorts it. He ought not to be praised or defended as somehow in the right ballpark, albeit with a few errors, but actually struck off. Paul might very well say,

Vat. 1:6   I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting those scientists who showed you the wonder-nectar and are turning to a different cure— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the cure of the wonder-nectar. 8 But even if we or a Nobel Laureate in Medicine should give you a cure contrary to the one we prescribed to you, let him be struck off. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is prescribing to you a cure contrary to the one you received, let him be struck off.

And so it is with Rome. Yes she has the wonder-nectar of the gospel, the declaration in the New Testament of the wonderful Jesus Christ. But she presents it to her flock in such a way as to actually be presenting a different gospel, since she does not present Jesus to be trusted alone as the bringer of justification without works on the part of the believer.
This also means we need to speak clearly about those in the Roman Catholic church who wholeheartedly adopt Rome’s “gospel” of works added to faith. Just like Dr Vatican’s patients, their sincerity will not save them since they have followed their doctor into a purported means of salvation that, by it’s very nature, cannot save.
This does not for a moment, of course, mean that no Roman Catholic can be saved. On the contrary – they have the Scriptures and can read in there “the gospel” and, as a result, place their confidence entirely in Jesus and not in their own works in any way. But the sincere Roman Catholic, following Rome’s prescription of adding their effort and works to their faith, is in a desperate state.
All of this is vitally important because eternity is at stake. It may make us unpopular to state this clearly, we may be less well thought of by those whose approval we seek, but it does mean we will have clarity on what needs to be done. The Reformers understood this clearly. The Apostle Paul understood this clearly, going so far as to rebuke the Apostle Peter over the issue. We Anglicans in our 39 Articles and Homily on Justification take this seriously. Or at least we should do.
The gospel is a wonderful thing. It is the “wonder cure” that we have all been waiting for. It’s a privilege as an ordained Anglican minister to be part of a church that affirms this gospel in its foundational documents. It was no hardship to promise to uphold them when I was ordained, here in Sydney (and in other places) we take this stuff and our vows seriously. But a love for this gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ that it points us to means we also ought to defend it where necessary. This is not being contrary but actually a right and proper quest to get the gospel right. It is not drawing boundaries in far too narrow a way but, rather, simply setting them clearly where the New Testament sets them because outside that boundary the gospel is not an “unclear” gospel but actually no gospel at all. And promoting or defending that is, surely, a terrible thing to do.

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  1. Rick

    Thanks David. Great illustration (I’ll borrow it!).

  2. lach

    I just turned down a gig playing a song while the local roman catholic bishop blessed the new drug and alcohol centre at the hosptial. My reasons were similar to these. I love my catholic friends, but the official positions of the church aren’t something I can promote (especially when those positions say that I’m an anathema for believing in justification by faith alone). So I think that even playing backing music for simple blessings can be syncretism (at least in my estimation).

  3. Daryl

    That was a good read David…. I do believe that you have some errors in your understanding of the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification however. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by the grace of God through faith – our own works do not contribute to our justification but rather to our sanctification in the Catholic understanding. Please see the section on Justification in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the authoritative voice in this case ( ).

    The thing I take issue with is the assertion that Justification is conferred through baptism – that sounds like requiring a work – however it was explained to me that the Catholic view in this is that the ‘work’ of being baptised is not what justifies but the faith in Jesus which leads the person to seek baptism in the first place… A bit like you and I would interpret the works that James refers to as pointing to things resulting from our faith, as being a sign that our faith is genuine – but not in themselves contributing to our justification perhaps?

    I acknowledge as a former Roman Catholic that I have a number of issues with Rome – that is why I left, and am now an Anglican priest – but in my experience they had the core of salvation ok. Its all the bells and whistles that they add – not around justification but in other areas, i.e. demanding acceptance of things such as transubstantiation, the immaculate conception and assumption of Mary, papal infallibility etc.

    My view in summary, every (practising – not nominal) Catholic I have ever met and known understands that they are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and that their own works are about their own journey to a holier state (sanctification) and are not what saves them – therefore I am confident they are saved. Could they do without all the extra baggage, absolutely – that’s why I’m here!

    1. David Ould

      Thanks Daryl. Couple of observations:
      The RCC does use the language of “sanctification” but since in that system the sanctification of a person works towards their final condition to be assessed (ie whether they have attained a “state of grace”) I think the Reformers were right to recognise that it is effectively justification they are speaking about.

      Even so, the Canons of Trent anathematise sola fide.

      1. Daryl

        Thanks again David,

        Again I think you are misunderstanding RCC teaching. RCC teaching is that you attain a ‘state of grace’ the moment you place your faith in Christ. I think perhaps you are thinking on the idea of ‘mortal sin’ and how it removes that state of grace. Essentially a mortal sin is deliberately and knowingly choosing to separate yourself from God through serious sin. i.e. if I decided that whilst I knew it was sinful and would endanger my salvation, I was going to commit murder anyway, the catholic view is that I have chosen of my own free will in that circumstance to sever my relationship with God – hence ‘mortal’ sin. The only way to regain the ‘state of grace’ that I had willingly chosen to give up would be through (genuine) repentance and again placing my faith in Christ.

        The grace received through good works after salvation only serves to strengthen you in the state of grace that you already attained when you were justified through faith.

        As for Canon IX of the Council of Trent, note the language, the ‘in such wise as to mean’ is very important. In my understanding it is referring to the idea that we are justified apart from the free exercise of our will to place our faith in Christ – perhaps a reference to the unconditional election view of predestination? Also we need to consider the entirety of the Council’s teaching on justification. Chapter seven deals specifically with the causes of justification – and all are rooted in the the action of God.

        I am in no way a theologian, nor do I claim to be writing this with any authority other than my (no doubt flawed, and fallible) understanding of RCC theology as a former member of that church. I am also not looking to get into a lengthy debate on the issue – despite appearances – and am happy to conclude that we might just have a differing perspective on this issue should you wish David.


    2. David Ould

      one more important one: “saved by faith” is not the same thing as “saved by faith alone

  4. Joshua Bovis


    When the RCC says that “Salvation is through Christ, it is by the grace of God that we are saved, you cannot earn your salvation” this is true, but only up to a point.In official Roman documents I have seen, all aspects of salvation are linked to the Lord Jesus Christ, however as David said above, Rome teaches that no one is saved by trusting Christ alone. Salvation is a joint effort. A way I have heard it explained to me is like this:
    “Unlocking the gates was Christ’s role. Making it through those open gates by living a good life is our part. Also it is important to note that the when the RCC talks about ‘grace’ it means something very different to that the Scriptures mean when it defines ‘grace’.

    1. Daryl

      Hi Joshua,

      Thanks for the response. As I said in my latest response to David, I am not an expert and am responding largely from memory of my time as a Catholic however, I would be cautious about so called ‘official’ Roman documents. The only truly authoritative document that teaches the Catholic doctrine of Justification is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The analogy you gave is a clear demonstration of a false gospel – but in my experience and by my reading of Catholic doctrine it does not demonstrate the Catholic doctrine of justification. The Catechism holds the official teaching and it clearly states that justification is achieved by the grace of God through faith.

      It also defines grace: “Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.”

      As I said to David I am happy to leave this conversation with us having differing opinions.


      1. Mark

        I’m enjoying the discussion between you and David, Daryl.One thought.

        The Catholic church combine Justification and Sanctification into the one concept. This can be seen in the Catholic Encyclopaedia available online in it there is no entry for Sanctification, just Justification. This is because in Catholic teaching God only Justifies those he has already Sanctified. Sanctification in Roman Catholic teaching also carries the sense of moral purity rather than being set apart.
        An example where you see this logic articulated is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church also available online
        In the section on Grace and Justification it states;

        2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God’s wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.

        Catholics believe that someone goes to heaven when they die only if they deserve to. The Catholic is sanctified by co-operating with the graces that come through the sacraments so that when they die they will be Justified or righteous. This process depends not only on the work of Christ but also on the co-operation of the individual.

        1. Daryl

          Thanks Mark. My only comment before leaving tjis thread is that the quote you gave from the Catechism demonstrates that your understanding of Catholic theology is incorrect. The key part is “Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion.”

          Let me make it clear Catholic teaching is that justification can NOT be earned or merited through our own intitiative. You might also like to note the order of justification and sanctification in the Catechism which you linked to above. The Catholic view is that when one is justified THEN they are sanctified. The Catholic view is that sanctification is the result of justification not the other way round as you and others here have posited.

          As I said it is not my intention to enter into a lengthy debate (mostly because I have more important things to focus on – like actually preaching the Gospel and serving the people of God rather than debating whose view of theology is best) so at this point I will happily step back and agree to disagree.


          1. David Ould

            Thanks Daryl.
            There isn’t any dispute about your repeating the claim of the catechism that ” no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion.”

            The key word there is “initial”.
            I think your distinction between sanctification and justification is one that is not set out as clearly in the catechism itself. The ongoing sanctification of the Roman Catholic (according to the scheme) is their justification. Further, the catechism in clause 2010 which you quote goes on to state:

            Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.

            I note “we merit for ourselves” and “for the attainment of eternal life”.

            The catechism is quite clear. The Roman Catholic merits for themselves attainment of eternal life on an ongoing basis.

          2. Daryl

            Thanks David,

            I keep trying to walk away, but you keep dragging me back in… 🙂

            The important thing we must do when we are looking to any document is read it in its entirety – not just snippets as we have been. You rightly highlight a part of the catechism that taken on its own would cause anyone to believe that Roman Catholics think that people contribute to their salvation through their own merits. However in the very next article in the catechism we read this:

            “2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. the saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.”

            Whilst stating clearly that our merits count towards our sanctification the catechism also makes clear that those merits actually find their source not in our own efforts, but rather in the efforts of Christ. Our actions (‘works’) after justification, which I already established above the RCC attributes solely to God, are solely the result of the grace of God that is active in us and thus are not something that we ourselves contribute to our own salvation – that is what the ‘moved by the holy spirit’ in 2010 refers to. In my understanding this is similar to our understanding of the works that James in his letter refers to – they are the things which the spirit leads us to do – things which are worthless apart from the grace of God, but which are accounted ‘good’ due to the grace of God active in us.


          3. David Ould

            hi Daryl,

            Dare you to keep away! Glad, however, that you find this a place you want to come back to 🙂

            Again, I think you and I understand what the catechism says in the same way. The difference between us is that I am not convinced by Rome when they tell us that the meritorious works of the penitent, since they are “all of grace” are really not works at all.
            It’s a bit of a misdirection. If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, p**ps like a duck and quacks like a duck … well then it’s a duck. Doesn’t matter if you call it an aardvark. It’s a duck.

            Same with works. If they’re your effort and they merit you eternal life then they’re a work. We can put as large a sign as we want all over it saying “it’s all of grace, REALLY IT IS” but if it’s a work then it’s a work.

            I think I’m right in saying that this was the position that the Reformers took too. They recognised that Rome said “it’s all of grace” but they recognised it for it really was – works meritting salvation and they rejected it (as I do) on that basis.

  5. Lucy

    I think that unless you have studied catholic theology, (from a catholic apologist) you cannot really say that your own protestant views are correct with regards to salvation or anything else. I went to a Bible college that mainly taught reformed theology and obviously this affects how doctrine and church history are taught. I came to a personal realisation a few months ago that Christianity started just over 2,000 years ago not in the 16th century. So much of how we interpret scripture and teach history is of course affected by the Reformation. If you look at some of the writings of early church Fathers you see that they believed in things like the literal presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I also find it discouraging that there are literally thousands of protestant denominations which have sprouted up since the Reformation. I think that the doctrinal differences can be down played by many protestants too. Within protestanism there are differences with regards to things like baptism, eschatology, versions of the Bible, predestination and freewill etc… Within denominations there are further splits too… I don’t think that Luther ever intended this but rather wanted to reform what he believed to be the true universal church.

  6. John Smuts

    Thanks David. This is interesting. I often wonder if one of the driving forces of the NPP is an attempt to cut the gordian knot separating Catholics and Protestants.

    I was struck by your quotation from Trent though – "and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will" … wouldn't Protestants agree with that? I'd never noticed this before. Without some similar clarification doesn't sola fide become either universalism or some form of particular redemption that, ironically, does not need faith? Grace may be prevenient but it does not by pass our own volition. Or have I missed something?

    1. MichaelA

      John Smuts, that is an excellent point. Pope Benedict XVI made a famous comment on this in one of his audiences: “Luther’s expression sola fide is true if faith is not opposed to charity, to love”

      He could have added that the expression “Sola Fide” is not Luther’s – there are many examples of it in the Church Fathers, and later. In the 4th century Hilary of Poitiers wrote in his commentary on Matthew: “This was forgiven by Christ through faith, because the Law could not yield, for faith alone justifies”, and Jerome wrote in his commentary on Romans: “Deus ex sola fide justificat” God justifies by faith alone.

  7. James Dawes

    David, thanks for this post. This is an issue I’ve thought about for a while, and you’ve framed it very well. Whether the RCC does in fact deny justification by faith alone is not necessarily clear, as a few people have stated. I suspect the RCC has changed its position on it, even while denying that it has. But the ‘application of the cure’ concept is a very useful one.

  8. Daryl

    My last comment – really this time.. is that the only reason I commented on this post at all was because David expressed concern about the salvation of those who adhere closely to the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification. I have expressed in other comments why I don’t think David’s concern is justified. However even if all I have said is wrong (and of course in my own arrogance I don’t think it is) I am still confident that all practising Roman Catholics are saved. Why? Because St Paul says this:

    “9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13 NIV)

    The Roman Catholic Church unashamedly preaches that Jesus is Lord, that he was raised from the dead, that he is the saviour of the world. Roman Catholics daily call on the name of the Lord – I know because I was one once. It was in that church that I became a Christian, yes I have moved on, for several reasons – but I am confident that those who remain are saved.

    God bless all of you who have engaged with me – and those who have just tagged along for the ride.


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