How Do Catholics Get to Heaven?

Q. How does a Catholic get to Heaven?

A. By Faith and the Grace of God. Catholics get to Heaven by the power and grace of God. The good works that we do are in obedience to Christ and in order to purify ourselves so that we can become holy as He is holy. But it is all of Grace. We cannot do anything worth while on our own.But specifically GOD communicates His Grace to save and strengthen us to journey towards Heaven, in the following primary ways:

By being born again in baptism:

  • John 3:5 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
  • 1 Peter 3:20-21 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you

By receiving communion in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

  • John 6:50 “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
  • John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.
  • John 6:53-58-So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
  • He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will (CH)raise him up on the last day.
  • “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
  • “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
  • As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.
  • “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

By living life so that at death you are friends with God. This means that you die without mortal sin on your soul and live life so as to avoid mortal sin. But if we sin we must confess mortal sin to a priest in the sacrament of confession with true repentence and avoid it in the future.


  • I John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.


  • John20:22-23And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

16 Responses to How Do Catholics Get to Heaven?

  1. Rob says:

    Go to Purgatory, turn right.

  2. Robert says:


    You forgot.

    Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars. Go directly to Purgatory.

    (You will be let out when you get the same number on two consecutive rolls, or whenever you choose to apply a “get out free” card.)

  3. Becca says:

    I find it truly sad that you would think that your father who was a born again believer would be in a place like Purgatory. The Bible is very clear when it states that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2Cor.5:8). Also when we as believers accept God’s gift of salvation we are sealed in His hand. This is made clear in John 10:29 “No one can pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Also the Bible never makes mention of Purgatory, it states in John 14:6 that “no one comes to the Father, but by me.” Not by Purgatory, not by sacraments, not by confession, not by works but by Christ alone do we get to heaven. I pray that you will come to the knowledge that your father is in heaven. God gave us salvation so that we could have assurance not that we would be uncertain of our eternity. God is a god of absolutes, when He tells us something it is certain.

  4. bfhu says:

    Becca: I find it truly sad that you would think that your father who was a born again believer would be in a place like Purgatory.

    BFHU: No need to be sad. Purgatory is a place where we are totally purified of all residual sin and reparation of sin, in order that we may enter into the Holy Presence of God. I want to be totally pure, don’t you? I don’t want to be a pile of dung for eternity that has been merely whitewashed, as Martin Luther opines.

    It is a time when we, as St. Paul said,

    Col 1:24 “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

    Becca:The Bible is very clear when it states that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2Cor.5:8).

    BFHU:You will be shocked to know that you are actually misquoting scripture. No translation says what you have been taught it says. It does not make a doctrinal type statement that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” The actual verse simply is making the statement that St. Paul is willing to be absent from his body (dead) because then he would be with his Lord.

    2 Cor. 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

    If I say I am flying out of LA tomorrow and going to New York, that statement does not absolutely rule out a stopover in Denver. The Bible is just not a book of systematic theology. Colossians is a letter to a church. Doctrine is not systematically stated, only alluded to. Mutally understood but unwritten doctrine underlies what St. Paul writes here.

    Becca:Also when we as believers accept God’s gift of salvation we are sealed in His hand. This is made clear in John 10:29 “No one can pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

    Of course no one else can pluck us out of God’s hand. But we have the free will to reject Him. How do you reconcile your belief in Once Saved Always saved with the following verses?

    John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
    5″I am the vine; you are the branches. IF a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 IF anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 IF you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. … 10 IF you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends IF you do what I command. … Love each other.

    Romans 11:22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, IF you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

    Hebrews 6:4-6 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, IF they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

    2 Timothy 2:12 IF we endure,we will also reign with Him;
    IF we deny Him, He also will deny us;

    Hebrews 10:26 For IF we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

    And there are many many other “IF’s” related to the promises of God. These warnings and those below are for a purpose. Those who believe that once you are saved you are always saved ignore hundreds of warning verses in the NT.

    Matthew 24:13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

    This exhortation to endure to the end or overcome is repeated over and over again in Revelation.

    Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,

    Why does the apostle say “fear and trembling” if there is no possibility of losing salvation?

    1 Corinthians 9:27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

    In context this prize is eternal life. If Paul mastered his body to avoid disqualification how much more should we?

    Luke 8:12-14 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

    2 Peter 3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.

    Why the warnings NOT to FALL AWAY if it is not possible?

    This I John verse supports the Catholic doctrine that there are two types of sin–mortal/deadly and venial. And many of Paul’s epistles also mention deadly sins which deprive one of attaining Heaven or eternal life. Through willful and full knowledge a person who commits a mortal sin/grave sin loses their salvation and is dead in their sin.

    1 John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death There is a mortal sin; I do not say that he should make request for this.

    Becca:Also the Bible never makes mention of Purgatory, it states in John 14:6 that “no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

    BFHU:Of course we agree that Jesus is the Way to the Father. But you are basing your belief in Christ Alone on a Protestant tradition and not on the whole Bible. This is prooftexting.

    Becca:We are not saved by Purgatory,

    BFHU: You might want to take a look at my post here–>Where is Purgatory is Scripture?

    Becca:We are not saved by sacraments,

    BFHU:How about the sacraments of:


    1 Peter 3:21

    Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you…

    Eucharist: In order to attain eternal life:

    John 6: 47“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
    48″I am the bread of life 49″Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
    50″This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
    51″I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” 52Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”
    53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
    54“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
    55″For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
    56″He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
    57″As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.
    58″This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

    Becca: We are not saved by confession,

    BFHU: Then why do you think Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive or not forgive sins? Why did He institute the sacrament of confession then?

    John 20: 21 So Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23“If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

    These men cannot pronounce forgiveness ….or not, without audibly hearing a confession of sin.

      Becca:We are not saved by works but by Christ alone do we get to heaven.
      Your statement above flatly contradicts St. James:

      BFHU: James 2:14-25 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

      20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and NOT by faith alone.

  5. Andrea Benito says:

    Would you explain to me the Catholic belief concerning the book of Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8-9.
    Thank you

  6. Aysu says:

    You are NOT saved by deeds or by baptism. Those things are what people SHOULD DO if they want to live a Christ-like life. If you have accepted Christ as your personal savior then you are saved and will go to heaven. If you want to live the way God and Christ want you to, then you will do good deeds. baptism is to symbolize to the congregation that you are saved and are starting a new life. Deeds will NOT get you into heaven. God tells and asks us to be good though. It’s very simple. God bless you all!

  7. bfhu says:

    You are correct that good deeds alone will not get you to Heaven. We need Christ. But
    As Ephesians says:

    2:8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
    9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

    James 2:17 faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

    and a bit later it says “even the demon believe, and shudder”

    Since a faith without works is dead it would seem they are a necessity not to earn Heaven but as a component of true faith.

  8. thefrenchchick says:

    Well said!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Summary of the Parable of the Sheep and Goats

    Jesus says, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.

    All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,” (Matthew 25:31-32)

    The sheep will be put at the right hand (of the Son of Man / king) and the goats will be put on the left.

    “Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;

    For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'” (Matthew 25:34-36)

    Then these sheep, called the righteous, will ask the king about when they have done these things for him.

    “And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'” (Matthew 25:40)

    The king will then tell the ones on the left that they are accursed and didn’t take care of him when he needed it.

    “Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’

    Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

    And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:44-46)

    Meaning of the Parable of the Sheep and Goats

    We can clearly see in this parable of the sheep and goats that it is “actions” that determine who are the sheep and who are goats.

    It goes along with Jesus saying, “You will know them by their fruits…every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.

    A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:16-19)

    Of course, salvation cannot be obtained through ‘works’ and good deeds, but such things are expected of the saved.

    Works and good deeds are the fruit of those who have been saved by God’s grace.

    Essentially, one’s acceptance of salvation through Jesus Christ is seen through one’s actions.

    Those who accept God’s gift of salvation will repent (permanent change in action and thoughts), and will serve God with their actions.

    Basically, this means you can “see” who is saved and who isn’t by their actions, which is why many who have recently been saved will get comments like, “What happened to you? It’s like you’re a different person.” or “Who are you and what did you do with my friend?”

    Their sudden change in lifestyle and decisions, which is a direct result of their acceptance of salvation, causes people to be surprised.

  10. Anonymous says:

    11. Faithful and Wise Servant
    (Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servants)
    (Matthew 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-48)

    The parable of the faithful and wise servant, also called the parable of the faithful and unfaithful servants, is told by Jesus to illustrate the seriousness of being ready for Jesus’ return by truly acting like a Christian.

    Context of the Parable

    In context, Jesus has just been discussing the fact that he will be returning at an unexpected time.

    For this reason, he urges them to be ready and watchful for his return.

    In order to further illustrate this seriousness of his return, he tells his disciples the parable of the faithful and wise servant, although also called the parable of the faithful and “unfaithful” servant for good reason.

    Summary and Meaning of the Parable of the Faithful and Wise Servant (Faithful and Unfaithful Servants)

    Jesus says, “Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions.” (Matthew 24:46-47 and Luke 12:43-44)

    However, Jesus then immediately warns them about the unfaithful servant.

    He says that if the servant says to himself “My master is delayed” (Matthew 24:48; Luke 12:45), and thus begins to mistreat his fellow slaves and drink (instead of working), then:

    “the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know.

    He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:50-51)

    The point?

    God will not be fooled. Those who are hard at work, serving their master (God), will be rewarded.

    However, those who pretend to be God’s servant, but do not serve their master while he is not present, will be put with the hypocrites and the unfaithful.

    Context After the Parable

    Jesus also says, “That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating.” (Luke 12:47)

    Of course, as already said, we can’t fool God.

    We might be able to pretend like we don’t know what he wants, but God knows we know. (We at least know that God wants us to learn how to serve and obey him.)

    As for those who truly don’t know, Jesus says, “But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating.” (Luke 12:48)

    However, ultimately, it’s better to know and obey, than it is to not know and accidentally disobey (although the worst is to know and disobey).

  11. Anonymous says:

    A lot of ministers say that works are useless as regards getting into heaven. But does the Bible really say what they say it says? They say that works are useless despite what James says in James 2:26 – “Faith without works is dead”. These are good works (Ephesians 2:10), of course, and not the useless Jewish works of the law (circumcision, ritual handwashing, no pork, etc.) that Paul condemns (Galatians 3:10).

    God freely gives us grace, which increases our faith in Jesus, which in turn leads to good works, justification, and salvation. The reason Jesus cursed the fig tree is because it bore no fruit (Mark 11:21). Good works are the fruit of our faith (Colossians 1:10). Having faith in Christ without performing good works as a result of that faith is like having a full tank of gas in the car but never starting it up to go anywhere. It just sits there doing no one any good.

    True faith in Christ means being a doer of the word, and not just a hearer (James 1:22). So if you want to get into heaven, read the following scripture quotes and go out into the world and imitate the life of Christ by performing as many good works as you can, out of love, of course. It may be your cross to bear (Mark 8:34), but that’s OK. We are commanded to do them by Jesus –

    John 14:12:”Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.”

    Matthew 18:3: and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

    (**NOTE – Being child-like is not the same as being child-ish. Being child-like means being innocent, meek and humble, and having total trust in God Your Father that He will take good care of you, no matter what. What infant worries about money, clothes, or promotions at work? Then neither should we. (Luke 12:22-31)).

    Matthew 25:31-46:”When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

    John 5:28-29: Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.

    Romans 2:6: For he will render to every man according to his works.

    Galatians 5:19-21: Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

    Revelation 20:12-13: And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done.

    (**NOTE- Notice that you are not judged by your “faith alone in Jesus Christ”, nor in “faith alone in the Bible”. You are judged according to what you have done with the graces that God gave you in this life. Remember the parable about the Master receiving back interest on his investments? (Matthew 25:14-30)) .

    Revelation 21:22-27: And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day — and there shall be no night there; they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

  12. Anonymous says:
    The Five Solas
    During the Protestant Reformation, the Reformers invented five Latin solas (sola means only), that summarized their protestant belief system about getting “saved”. They are :

    Sola fide (“by faith alone”)

    Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”)

    Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)

    Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone”)

    Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”)

    Let’s take a look at these and see if they are still viable today. The first thing that is striking is that if they are all “alone”, then why do the other 4 even exist? In other words, if we are saved by scripture alone, then why do we even talk about grace or faith? Why do we need scripture when we are saved by grace alone? And are any of these “alones” in the Bible? A quick search shows that only one of the solas, the words “faith alone” does appear in the bible, as follows:

    James 2:24:You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
    Strange that the one sola that does appear in the bible contradicts the very sola itself. Works (good works, not useless Jewish works of the law) are part of being justified. The Catholic Church teaches that justification begins at Baptism, when the Holy Spirit comes to us, even while we are infants. And “being saved” is a lifelong journey that doesn’t end until we die and are allowed into heaven. A lot of Protestants talk about “when they were saved”, as if it’s in the past tense. Catholics would agree that whenever you began taking your faith in Christ seriously was certainly a great time, but it was only a first step, not the entire journey. What really counts is your faith at the time of death, not your faith when you first started believing 20 years ago.

    The next one is “Scripture Alone”, which does not appear anywhere in the bible. The text most often used by protestants to back this one up is:

    2 Timothy 3:16: All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

    However great this passage is, the word “alone” does not appear in it anywhere. The word profitable does not mean only. If it did, then Titus 3:8 below would mean that good deeds are all we need to be saved:

    “The saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men.”

    Applying the word “alone” to scripture also means that anyone can properly interpret it, without the Magesterium and Sacred Tradition. In other words, the Catholic Church only claims infallibility with the official documents of the Church, spoken “ex cathedra” (“from the chair”) by the Pope. This sola claims that anyone and everyone who interprets scripture on their own is infallible! And how wrong is this today, with over 30,000 Protestant denominations, with some even claiming that homosexuality is no longer sinful!

    The next one, “Grace Alone”, isn’t found in the Bible either. Catholics would agree that we are indeed saved by grace, which is a free gift from God. Where we differ is the method of how we receive that grace. The Catholic Church regularly dispenses sanctifying grace through the sacraments. The protestants believe that God just gives them grace whenever He wills it, sacraments or not. The Catholic version of this one would be that we are saved by grace, which increases our faith, and leads us to do good works as a very necessary fruit of our faith.

    The fourth one, “Christ Alone”, also sounds great. Who could argue with the fact that we are saved by Christ alone? The problem with this is that the 3rd person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, also plays a HUGE role in our salvation. According to the bible, we are temples to the Holy Spirit. Peter and the other apostles all followed Jesus and ate with him, talked with him, and tried to follow him. It wasn’t until Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon them that they received power (Acts 1:8). Catholics receive the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, and can receive Him again and again through the laying on of hands by charismatics (to reinvigorate your faith). And what about the role that the Communion of Saints plays in our salvation? They lead us to Christ, as do our parents, our friends, and our fellow Catholics. The whole problem with this particular sola is that it isolates us into a “Me and Jesus” scenario, where I don’t really need a Church or a family telling me what to do. And that is so wrong. Jesus set up His Church for a reason, to be His Kingdom on earth. And this sola allows for no glory to God our Father, who we pray to each and every time we say the “Our Father” prayer.

    The last one is Soli Deo Gloria, or “Glory to God Alone”. This one also sounds like a winner. However, there is one problem with it. Jesus Himself said in John 17:22 that He gave His glory to his apostles (at the Last Supper, when He gave them the Eucharist). And while none of the apostles’ lives or works will save us in and of themselves, they are indeed one with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17) and they are partakers in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). It really is okay to venerate the saints, which is not the same glory and honor we need to give to Christ. A lot of protestants confuse veneration of the saints with glory to God. Mention the Communion of Saints to a Protestant who says the Apostles’ Creed every Sunday, and you will usually get a blank stare back. In other words, most Protestants who recite the Apostles’ Creed say they believe in the Communion of Saints, but they do not know what it means. What it means is that the saints in heaven are our brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before us, and who help us in our journey in this life. After all, Jesus says that they are ALIVE (Luke 20:38). And since they are partakers in the divine nature, according to 2 Peter 1:4, that means that they can hear us and help us.

    Catholics could come up with a lot of these solas. Since the bible says that we must eat and drink the body and blood of Jesus to have life within us (John 6), then we could say that we are saved by “The Eucharist alone”. And since Paul talks about the value of personal suffering for the Church in Colossians 1:24, we could say that we are saved by “Suffering alone”. And since the Bible says that the Church is the pillar and bulwark of Truth (1 Timothy 3:15), then we could formulate the doctrine of being saved by “The Church alone”.And since we have to be forgiven for our sins before we can enter heaven, we could come up with the doctrine of “Confession alone”. And how many more of these could we invent if we had the time? Lots. But to no purpose whatsoever. The Bible was meant to be taken as a whole, and to not be broken down into parts for convenience’ sake.

    To sum up, all of this shorthand abbreviation for our faith in the 5 solas leads us away from the rest of what is necessary for salvation, like the Church, the Sacraments, prayer, helping the poor, performing good works, etc. After all, why do all of that if it’s just me and my bible, me and Jesus, me and whatever….

  13. Anonymous says:
    The Sinner’s Prayer:
    “Modern apostasy and false teaching that prevents men from being saved.”
    The earliest notion of sinners prayer is less than 500 years old. It wasn’t formalized as a theology until around the time of Billy Graham.

    No one in the Bible ever prayed for their initial salvation. They did however believe, repent, confess Jesus and be immersed in water for the forgiveness of their sins. The sinners prayer is a an innovation that thwarts God’s plan of salvation. First they replaced believers baptism by immersion with infant baptism by sprinkling. Second they later replaced baptism altogether with the “sinners prayer” so that baptism is no longer even part of the plan of salvation. If you prayed the “sinners prayer” for your salvation, you are still lost in your sins, because it is not what God said to do.

    The Sinner’s Prayer

    C.S. Lewis used the term “a great cataract of nonsense” to describe how people use a modern idea to construe Bible theology. One such example, perhaps the best example, is a conversion method called the Sinner’s Prayer. It is more popularly known as the Four Spiritual Laws.

    Lewis used this term to describe what happens when someone looks backward at the Bible based only on what he or she has known. Instead, an evangelical should first discern conversion practices from Scriptures and then consider the topic in light of two thousand years of other thinkers. As it is, a novel technique popularized through recent revivals has replaced the biblically sound practice.

    Today, hundreds of millions hold to a belief system and salvation practice that no one had ever held until relatively recently. The notion that one can pray Jesus into his or her heart and that baptism is merely an outward sign are actually late developments. The prayer itself dates to the Billy Sunday era; however, the basis for talking in prayer for salvation goes back a few hundred years.

    Consider the following appeal:

    “Just accept Christ into your heart through prayer and he’ll receive you. It doesn’t matter what church you belong to or if you ever do good works. You’ll be born again at the moment you receive Christ. He’s at the door knocking. You don’t even have to change bad habits, just trust Christ as Savior. God loves you and forgives you unconditionally. Anyone out there can be saved if they … Accept Christ, now! Let us pray for Christ to now come into your heart.”

    Sound familiar? This method of conversion has had far-reaching effects worldwide as many have claimed this as the basis for their salvation. Yet, what is the historical significance of this conversion? How did the process of rebirth, which Jesus spoke of in John 3, evolve into praying him into one’s heart? I believe it was an error germinating shortly after the Reformation, which eventually caused great ruin and dismay in Christendom. By supplying a brief documentation of its short, historical development, I hope to show how this error has served as “a great cataract of nonsense”.

    Billy Graham, Bill Bright
    Billy Graham and his crusades were the next step in the evolution of things. Billy Graham was converted in 1936 at a Sunday-styled crusade. By the late 1940s it was evident to many that Graham would be the champion of evangelicalism. His crusades summed up everything that had been done from the times of Charles Finney through Billy Sunday except that he added respectability that some of the others lacked. In the 1950s Graham’s crusade counselors were using a prayer that had been sporadically used for some time. It began with a prayer from his Four Steps to Peace with God. The original four-step formula came during Billy Sunday’s era called in a tract called Four Things God Wants you to Know. The altar call system of Graham had been refined by a precise protocol of music, trained counselors and a speaking technique all geared to help people ‘accept Christ as Savior.’

    In the late 1950s Bill Bright came up with the exact form of the currently popular Four Spiritual Laws so that the average believer could take the crusade experience into the living room of their neighbor. Of course, this method ended with the Sinner’s Prayer. Those who responded to crusades and sermons could have the crusade experience at home when they prayed,

    “Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”

    Later, in 1977 Billy Graham published a now famous work entitled, How to Be Born Again. For all the Scripture he used, he never once uses the hallmark rebirth event in the second chapter of the book of Acts. The cataract (blind spot) kept him away from the most powerful conversion event in all Scripture. It is my guess that it’s emphasis on baptism and repentance for the forgiveness of sins was incompatible with his approach

    The Living Bible and Beyond
    By the late 1960s it seemed that nearly every evangelical was printing some form of the Four Spiritual Laws in the last chapter of their books. Even a Bible was printed with this theology inserted into God’s Word. Thus, in the 1960s, the Living Bible’s translation became the translation of choice for the crusades as follows:

    “Even in his own land and among his own people, the Jews, he was not accepted. Only a few welcome and received him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them. All those who believe this are reborn! –not a physical rebirth resulting from human passion or plan–but from the will of God.”(John 1:11-13, Living Bible, bolds mine)

    The bolded words have no support at all in the original Greek. They are a blatant insertion placed by presuppositions of the translator, Kenneth Taylor. I’m not sure that even the Jehovah’s Witnesses have authored such a barefaced insertion in their corrupt Scriptures. In defense of Taylor’s original motives, the Living Bible was created primarily with children in mind. However, the publishers should have corrected the misleading verse in the 1960s. They somewhat cleared it up in the newer LB in the 1990s, only after the damage has been done. For decades mainstream evangelicals were using the LB and circular reasoning to justify such a strong ‘trusting moment’ as salvation, never knowing their Bible was corrupted.

    A whole international enterprise of publishers, universities and evangelistic associations were captivated by this method. The phrases, “Receive Christ,” and “Trust Jesus as your personal savior,” filled airwaves, sermons, and books. James Kennedy’s Evangelism Explosion counselor-training program helped make this concept of conversion an international success. Missionaries everywhere were trained with Sinner’s Prayer theology. Evangelicalism had the numbers, the money, the television personas of Graham and Kennedy and any attempt to purport a different plan of salvation would be decried as cultic and “heresy.”

    Most evangelicals are ignorant of where their practice came from or how Christians from other periods viewed biblical conversion. C.S. Lewis regarded it as chronological snobbery when we don’t review our beliefs against the conclusions of others:

    “Most of all, perhaps, we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village; the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.” (Learning in Wartime, 1939)

    While most do this unknowingly, evangelicals are skewing church auditoriums all over the world from a clear picture of conversion with a nonsensical practice.

    Written and copyright by Steven Francis Staten. This article is an overview of a book being written on the origins of the Sinner’s Prayer.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The Sinner’s Prayer

    I have noticed a rise in criticism of the Sinner’s Prayer. Critics usually cite the absence of an example in the Bible, and refer to neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever having used it. This then becomes the precedent to argue against using it. “Well, if it’s not in the Bible, it’s not scriptural, therefore it should not be done”. Another statement I have read, and heard says that “just by saying one prayer does not automatically make someone a Christian”, or similar. It sounds so “right” that one could be excused for agreeing with this view.

    Whilst I fully understand where this idea could be seen as correct, I also see it as very limited, and extreemly narrow in its scope. I agree, that a simple prayer such as this can not save a person, I have to say that it is also true that it can. It does and it always will. It worked for me. Now, I don’t base my assertion on JUST my own experience. That would be way too subjective, and even narrow minded. But I will say that there are conditions to saying the sinners prayer.

    For those who don’t know what the sinners prayer is, here is a sample of it.

    “Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son. I believe He died on the cross for my sin. I repent of my sin, and ask you to forgive me. I believe You raised Jesus from the dead, and I receive Him now as my personal Savior and Lord. Thank you that My name is written in the Lambs Book of Life, and I know that when I die, I will be with you in Heaven for all eternity. Amen”

    Now the words are not ritualistic in the sense that these are EXACTLY the words to use. One can just cry out “God , HELP!”, “Jesus save me”, or whatever expresses a cry from the heart to God.

    Argument against

    The argument against the prayer, as outlined above, seems to be two-fold.
    1.There are no examples of it in the Bible, and
    2.One simple prayer cannot save someone.

    I will deal with these in order.

    1. There are no examples of such a “model” prayer, so it should not be implemented. This is not exactly correct. True, there is no actual example, but the word “repent” is used. Jesus started His Earthly ministry with the cry “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand …” (Matt. 3:2 as just one example) It is found in several places. It is a call to ACTION. Repent simply means stop, turn around and go in the opposite direction. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a specific moment in time. A call to action, NOW. Not gradually, over a long period of time.

    You have to be able to say, “I turned at midday, on the 3rd of January, and started my journey following after Jesus” It is SPECIFIC. In another incident, Jesus taught Nicodemus, that a man must be born again. That certainly is not a gradual process (relatively speaking). We all have a birthday. Our mother will usually remember the hour. So, it is not against logic and reason to conclude that though there is no example, it is consistent with the overall teachings of the Bible. To ask someone to pray, which should include the action of repentance will therefore be a specific event in their life. They will be able to look back and “point to the day” it happened.

    There are other doctrines and teachings that are also NOT mentioned in the Bible, yet we do not challenge them as wrong. (of course some do challenge these as well).These would be. the Rapture. That word is often used, but it’s not mentioned in the Bible. The Trinity is another. We talk about, and teach about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, (the Trinity), without having ever seen the word in the Bible.

    2. One simple prayer cannot save.

    This also has some merrit, but is incomplete. I agree that a person mouthing some form of the sinners prayer is way too simplistic to “assure” salvation. There are two aspects to this. One is the assumption that it is not possible, and the other is that it requirers a change in the person for it to be real. I say, it is indeed possible.

    I am an example of the prayer working. Before I prayed, I was one person, and after I prayed, I was another person. Not that my individual personality changed, but that I become something/someone on the inside that was TOTALLY new. I was Born of the Spirit, and I KNEW it. Now, this is not an isolated example. I am surrounded and accompanied by millions of individuals who all have a story that may be unique, but share the same commonality.

    Though the prayer was very short, the result was (and still is) a long, and ongoing walk. It was merely the STARTING POINT. Change does come, and fruit of salvation begin to develop, but the point is that there was a starting moment. It was at the time of praying the prayer. Suppose that a person does not have time to somehow grow and display the virtues of Christian character needed, for them to be “recognised” as born again, or a true follower of Christ. Would salvation be unavailable to them. Of course not. If an old person, on their death bed, repented, and said the sinners prayer, would they not be saved?

    The reality is that they WOULD be saved, because of the heart attitude.

    In Conclusion

    The heart of the matter is this.

    Salvation is God’s business. He is the One who does the saving. Not you, not me, not the pastor or the evangelist. We are merely vessels that God uses to bring others closer to Himself. In doing so, we lead those who are ready to make the decision to follow after Jesus Christ, to Him. We lead them in prayer. We should also continue to lead and disciple, and train and teach after that. It does not stop with just praying.

    But then there are things that we cannot do. We cannot make that person believe, nor make them be genuine. We can’t make them “mean it”. It’s something only they alone can do. But, at the same time, we can’t really know what IS going on inside them. But God does. He is the One who decides whether or not the pray-er of the simnners prayer is actually born again, or “faking it”. Not our business anyway. It’s between God and the other person.

    Now, time will (usually) demonstrate to us, whether or not they were genuine. But that’s another issue.


  15. Anonymous says:

    Click to access ten_reasons.pdf

    Ten Reasons To Not Ask Jesus Into Your Heart
    Todd Friel
    The music weeps, the preacher pleads, “Give your heart to Jesus. You have a God shaped hole in your heart and only Jesus can fill it.” Dozens, hundreds or thousands of people who want to get their spiritual life on track make their way to the altar. They ask Jesus into their heart.
    Cut to three months later. Nobody has seen our new convert in church. The follow up committee calls him and encourages him to attend a Bible study, but to no avail. We label him a backslider and get ready for the next outreach event.
    Our beloved child lies in her snuggly warm bed and says, “Yes, Daddy. I want to ask Jesus into my heart.” You lead her in “the prayer” and hope that it sticks. You spend the next ten years questioning if she really, really meant it. Puberty hits and the answer reveals itself. She backslides. We spend the next ten years praying that she will come to her senses.
    Telling someone to ask Jesus into their hearts has a very typical result, backsliding. the Bible says that a person who is soundly saved puts his hand to the plow and does not look back because he is fit for service. In other words, a true convert cannot backslide. If a person backslides, he never slid forward in the first place. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (II Cor.5) No backsliding there.
    Brace yourself for this one: with very few if any exceptions, anyone who asked Jesus into their hearts to be saved…is not. If you asked Jesus into your heart because you were told that is what you have to do to become a Christian, you were mis-informed.
    If you have ever told someone to ask Jesus into their heart (like I have), you produced a false convert. Here is why.
    1. It is not in the Bible. There is not a single verse that even hints we should say a prayer inviting Jesus into our hearts. Some use Rev. 3:20. To tell us that Jesus is standing at the door of our hearts begging to come in.
    “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” There are two reasons that interpretation is wrong.
    The context tells us that the door Jesus is knocking on is the door of the church, not the human heart. Jesus is not knocking to enter someone’s heart but to have fellowship with His church.
    Even if the context didn’t tell us this, we would be forcing a meaning into the text (eisegesis). How do we know it is our heart he is knocking at? Why not our car door? How do we know he isn’t knocking on our foot? To suggest that he is knocking on the door of our heart is superimposing a meaning on the text that simply does not exist.
    The Bible does not instruct us to ask Jesus into our heart. This alone should resolve the
    issue, nevertheless, here are nine more reasons.
    2. Asking Jesus into your heart is a saying that makes no sense. What does it mean to
    ask Jesus into your heart? If I say the right incantation will He somehow enter my heart?
    Is it literal? Does He reside in the upper or lower ventricle? Is this a metaphysical
    experience? Is it figurative? If it is, what exactly does it mean? While I am certain that
    most adults cannot articulate its meaning, I am certain that no child can explain it. Pastor
    Dennis Rokser reminds
    us that little children think literally and can easily be confused (or frightened) at the
    prospect of asking Jesus into their heart.
    3. In order to be saved, a man must repent (Acts 2:38). Asking Jesus into your heart
    leaves out the requirement of repentance.
    4. In order to be saved, a man must trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).
    Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of faith.
    5. The person who wrongly believes they are saved will have a false sense of security.
    Millions of people who sincerely, but wrongly, asked Jesus into their hearts think they are
    saved but struggle to feel secure. They live in doubt and fear because they do not have the
    Holy Spirit giving them assurance of salvation.
    6. The person who asks Jesus into his heart will likely end up inoculated, bitter and
    backslidden. Because he did not get saved by reciting a formulaic prayer, he will grow
    disillusioned with Jesus, the Bible, church and fellow believers. His latter end will be
    worse than the first.
    7. It presents God as a beggar just hoping you will let Him into your busy life. This
    presentation of God robs Him of His sovereignty.
    8. The cause of Christ is ridiculed. Visit an atheist web-site and read the pagans who
    scoff, “How dare those Christians tell us how to live when they get divorced more than
    we do? Who are they to say homosexuals shouldn’t adopt kids when tens of thousands of
    orphans don’t get adopted by Christians?” Born again believers adopt kids and don’t get
    People who ask Jesus into their hearts do. Jesus gets mocked when false converts give
    Him a bad name.
    9. The cause of evangelism is hindered. While it is certainly easier to get church
    members by telling them to ask Jesus into their hearts, try pleading with someone to
    make today the day of their salvation. Get ready for a painful response. “Why should I
    become a Christian when I have seen so called Christians act worse than a pagan?”
    People who ask Jesus into their hearts give pagans an excuse for not repenting.
    10. Here is the scary one. People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment. How tragic that millions of people think they are right with God when they are not. How many people who will cry out, “Lord, Lord” on judgment day will be “Christians” who asked Jesus into their hearts?
    So, what must one do to be saved? Repent and trust. (Heb.6:1) The Bible makes it clear that all men must repent and place their trust in Jesus Christ. Every man does have a “God shaped hole in their hearts,” but that hole is not contentment, fulfillment and peace. Every man’s heart problem is righteousness. Instead of preaching that Jesus fulfills, we must preach that God judges and Jesus satisfies God’s judgment…if a man will repent and place his trust in Him.
    If you are reading this and you asked Jesus into your heart, chances are good you had a spiritual buzz for a while, but now you struggle to read your Bible, tithe, attend church and pray. Perhaps you were told you would have contentment, purpose and a better life if you just ask Jesus into your heart. I am sorry, that was a lie

  16. HamsterCutie says:

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph 1446 that, “Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.””

    According to Pope John Paul II the Catechism of the Catholic Church “is given as a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine.”

    If anyone wants biblical proof read Galatians 5:19-21 on mortal sin.

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