Saved By The Bells: A New Look Evangelism Through The Richness Of The Church
Having lived the majority of my life in or near the Bible Belt, I have had a great many opportunities to witness the possibilities of evangelism. Protestants are a very rich field for Catholics to talk to about the Church. Do not be dissuaded or dismayed. Do not your friends bring up conversations about their church? If they do, then I will ask one question, why don’t you? Unlike many of our Protestant’s friends there are two points about Catholics that cause Protestants a great deal of confusion.
First, Catholics can and should believe that Jesus is the Christ and he is their personal savior. Second, being saved is not a one time event on our part. It was a one time event on the part of Jesus when he died on the cross for our sins.
Unlike many people living in communities that were majority Protestant, some Catholics have no idea what it is like to have your ideas so questioned and so hated. Many Protestants will mock individual Catholics for not being saved. They will ask, “Are you saved?” At this point even the best Catholics are confused over what to say next. In this viewpoint, much more will be discussed in great depth to the second point
Remember, being saved is a personal act by an individual-you, correct? However, who really gave up their life for your sins? Was it you? Or was it Jesus Christ? If it was the latter then did this for us, correct? If that is the case, when do we make a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ? Do we only do it once in our life and that is it? Or do we need to live everyday the teachings and precepts that He taught us? Our public professions should be by words and deeds.
In other words brothers and sisters, clearly salvation for us is not a one time event. Rather it is and must be a lifelong process. We are only able to do this process because Jesus Christ did the one time event for us-by dying on the cross-he was the sacrifice for our sins. Let us not confuse or conflate the situation here. We can not or would not be saved without this event but salvation is not done on a group basis, it is worked out individually in a process not a single event. It is done over a lifetime on the teaching of Christ. We must know this. We must do this and we must share this.
The next time you are told the Catholics are not going to heaven because they are not saved, what will you say? What should you say? The simple answer is I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Through His sacrifice on the cross we can and will be saved. Being saved from our sins was Jesus’ gift to us. What we do about it over the course of our lifetime is how we all work out our personal salvation.
The second point we should bring up to our Protestant friends is that being saved is not a one time event- it is a lifelong series of actions. There are four different Bible verses that Protestants like to repeat when trying to prove this concept to be true.
John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”
Please note that his quote doesn’t really address the idea that salvation is a single event- in fact it really addresses only people who have worked out their salvation. If salvation was a single event- then why do we have the teachings of Jesus Christ?
Ephesians 1:13 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”
There is nothing in here about salvation being a one time event.
1 John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
Eternal life is not the reward here- it is the concept that all people will receive an eternal life-one of eternal bliss or eternal torment.
Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This quote from Romans did not address the concept that salvation was a one time event.
St. Paul repeatedly teaches this in his letters that we have to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling”. If we are already saved by simply accepting Christ as Lord and personal savior what part of it is “working out with fear and trembling”?
Therefore, my dearest friends, as you always obeyed me while I was with you, even more, now that I am far from you, continue working out your salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12-13
Brothers and sisters, today, I used words from the Prostestant Bible to explain to Protestants why they were wrong about the Church and how we can help show them the errors of their ways. Why did I do this?
Simply stated, living in the outreaches of the Bible Belt, I know personally that many of my friends and family are believers in the principles of Once Saved Always Saved. This was a heresy that gained a great deal of ground during the Protestant Reformation. When the people protesting the Church rejected the fullness of the Holy Liturgy and to make the church a place for entertainment, the Once Saved Always Saved made it easy for people to believe. These church tenants are the opposite of the Church tenants because they were created by men who were protesting the fullness of the Gospel and the richness of the Church.