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Chris Hughes wrote:

Hi, guys—

I had a round two with my Protestant friend and I must admit his points seemed more legit and I'm struggling on how to defend my Catholic faith.

I, as a Catholic, find the Protestant view on the Roman Road to salvation is hard to argue.

  • How, as a Catholic, can we say it is wrong?

It seems so simple that anyone can do it and it gives the Christian seeker all the more reason to be inclined to take this road.

It seems the Roman Catholic view of salvation is a process with many steps:

  • Actual Grace
  • Faith
  • Good Works
  • Baptism
  • Participation in the Sacraments
  • Penance
  • Indulgences, and
  • Keeping the Commandments.

Basically, salvation is attained through baptism and good works. It is maintained by good works and participation in the sacraments. If lost, it is regained through the sacrament of Penance which only a Roman Catholic priest can administer. Add to this purgatorial cleansing after a person dies, and you can see that the Catholic view of salvation is an arduous process.


  { How is the simple Protestant view of salvation wrong compared to the arduous Catholic view? }

Bob replied:


I think you are looking at a false simplification as set up by the Protestant opposition.

The Catholic faith is just as simple. They say salvation is a simple as accepting Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior:

  • accepting His Grace
  • receiving Him in your heart, and
  • being Born Again.

But that is a lot more complicated that it looks, as well as neglecting a whole bunch of questions. It implies once saved, always saved, no ifs, ands, or buts.

The Catholic view is just as simple. We are saved by grace, through faith that works in love. Faithfulness and perseverance are involved, and as a theme, are all over Scripture — just read Hebrews especially Chapter 6 and Chapter 10.

The rituals you mentioned (the sacraments) are rituals that Christ promulgated. They are simply the normative covenantal rites He established; simple in essence, though two thousand years of history has colored their trappings. Still, organized religion has ceremony, and the greater the history, the greater the ceremony.

They want you to get the impression that the Church wants you to be dependent on Her for salvation (that you can only be forgiven by a priest etc.), but that is another falsehood. Christ is the Church, it is His Church:

  • Would they suggest you can be saved apart from Christ?

None of us are an island, we need each other, but still one can always approach Christ directly in prayer, and with perfect contrition, one can receive forgiveness even for the most grave sins. Confession is normative, but not exclusive. Jesus is the one who set it up in John 20:21-23. To suggest that we can do anything apart from Christ is errant. Everything the Church does is because Jesus commanded Her to do it.

The Eucharist is the perfect answer to the Protestants. They reject Christ's clear teaching, just as the many disciples abandoned him in John 6:60, 66 when they couldn't digest this hard teaching.

If you get swayed by their errant doctrine, come back to This Anchor and see how undisputable it is, yet they don't have it. Peter anchored the Church, and trusted in the impossible (John 6:67-69) when so many were ready to walk away. (John 6:60, 66) The same holds true today.


Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Hi Chris,

Bob gave a very good answer.

You said:
I, as a Catholic, find the Protestant view on the Roman Road to salvation is hard to argue.

  • How as a Catholic can we say it is wrong?

It seems so simple that anyone can do it and it gives the Christian seeker all the more reason to be inclined to take this road.

I'm a little confused by your first statement.

  • If you are a Catholic, why would you go to a Protestant web site for a Catholic answer?

The web site links in the original e-mail you sent to us go to CARM, which is an openly Protestant web site. They tell their visitors what we believe as Catholics but they are not Catholic.

  • Does that seem fair and just?

When we answer a question about the Catholic faith that delves into another faith, we have to share to the best of our ability what we know about other faiths but there is never any malice in any of our replies. Anything we said about someone elses faith is based on undisputable faith facts that congregation adheres to. We only say what we have to in order to provide a Catholic answer to the question asked.

While I appreciate your desire to reach out to other non-Catholics, and share with them the full Gospel found in the Catholic Church, when a group starts speaking for beliefs they do not adhere to, they can mistakenly misrepresent what those other faiths believe.

I would stick with the Catechism and reading postings in our knowledge base by searching on key words. Though the Church, Herself, is the foundational source of all truth, you can still share the Biblical support for many Catholic teachings from my Scripture Passages page:

Now let me address your question.

In their simplicity, there is an implied rejection of teachings Jesus wants them to believe. It is their slimmed down version of salvation which is totally Biblical-based and as you know from our previous conversations, we didn't even have a Bible until 382 A.D. at the Council of Rome. For this reason, if they base their private theology on Sola Scriptura, they will never be able to explain how those from 33 A.D. to 382 A.D. were saved after Jesus' glorious Ascension — they had no Bible.

  • Have you shared with your Protestant friends who the Early Church Fathers are?
  • Do you know who the Early Church Fathers are?

Because I know a little bit about you from the questions you have asked, I would encourage you to study the faith more before getting into debates with Protestants.

Send your Protestant friends to our site. We love dialoguing with sincere Christians. Encourage them to read Karl Keating's book: Catholicism and Fundamentalism.

Don't waste your time with insincere Protestants.

They can AskACatholic or search for answers in our database.

Both of you can learn about the Early Church Fathers from my other web site:

On the issue of salvation, our differences can be explained in that we use two different questions for the basis of our salvation theology.

The Protestant asked:

  • What must I do to be saved?

The Catholic asked:

  • Who is Jesus Christ?

Happy Easter,


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