Catholics say: You can’t earn it, but it’s possible to blow it once you have it. (1)

Evangelicals say: You can never lose it once you have it.



1. Salvation is by grace alone (Evangelicals agree).

2. One cannot earn salvation (Evangelicals agree).

3. There is no work an unjustified man could possibly do to become justified (Evangelicals agree).

4. Once justified, it is possible to lose justifying grace, which is needed for salvation. (Evangelicals disagree, saying not even the worst imaginable sin could cause one to lose their saving grace, even for one moment)


No need to repeat the contents of the articles listed below, but note that the Early Church, including Augustine and the other Church Fathers, agreed with the 2,000-year-teaching of the Catholic Church that it is, indeed, possible to lose one’s gift of salvation through mortal sin. (Bible: "There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death." - 1 John 5:16-17) (also see www.catholic.com/library/Mortal_Sin.asp )


On the justification topic, three must-reads are: 1) Salvation Controversy by James Akin    2)  Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie    3) A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, by Dave Armstrong.


Oh, one more thing…..Evangelicals hold that justification and sanctification are completely separate things, with justification happening at one instant in time, and sanctification occurring gradually afterwards. Catholics, on the other hand, have never separated justification & sanctification, believing they are virtually interchangeable.


What many Evangelicals do not realize is that separating justification and sanctification, as they do, goes against all Christian teaching from the first 1,500 years of Christianity. This is admitted even by noted Protestant scholars such as Alister McGrath who calls the separating of justification and sanctification a “theological novum” of the Reformation.


www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/JUSBYFAI.htm      Justification by Faith

www.catholicculture.org/docs/most/getchap.cfm?WorkNum=212&ChapNum=20      Do We Contribute to Our Salvation?

http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mischedj/ct1_salvation.html       salvation & justification

http://library.saint-mike.org/Apologetics/Justification.html      justification debates

www.cin.org/users/james/files/justcath.htm       Justification in Catholicism

www.cin.org/users/james/files/james2.htm       Justification

www.cin.org/users/james/files/christ_a.htm       Justification by Christ Alone

www.cin.org/users/james/files/grace_al.htm      Justification by Grace Alone

www.cin.org/users/james/files/faith_al.htm      Justification by Faith Alone

www.cin.org/users/james/files/loss.htm          Possible to Lose Salvation?

www.cin.org/users/james/files/pastpres.htm      Salvation: Past, Present, Future

www.cin.org/users/james/files/temporal.htm      Temporal and Eternal Salvation

www.cin.org/users/james/files/paul_law.htm       Paul and the Law

www.cin.org/users/james/files/work-law.htm      The works of the Law

www.cin.org/users/james/files/cooperat.htm      Resisting and Cooperating with God

www.cin.org/users/james/files/penance.htm       Doing Penance

www.cin.org/users/james/files/boasting.htm      Jewish and Christian Boasting in Romans

www.cin.org/users/james/files/abraham.htm      The Justifications of Abraham

http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/justif.html      Justification…..in-depth

www.catholic-legate.com/qa/sanctification.html       justification/sanctification

Finally…..when Luther realized he had previously taken on a mistaken understanding of the Greek meaning of Paul’s word “faith,” which served as the basis for his new doctrines, Luther logically should have said “Oops” and humbly put a halt to the tragic divisions that were spiraling out of control.

Father William G. Most describes the tragic mistake in his book Catholic Apologetics Today: Answers to Modern Critics:

“The Council of Trent condemned this idea of faith as heretical. Even many Protestant scholars today modify the old notion of faith substantially. A standard Protestant reference work on Scripture, the Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Supplement Volume, tell us “Paul uses pistis/pisteuein [Greek words for faith and believe] to mean, above all, belief in the Christ kerygma [proclamation or preaching], knowledge, obedience, trust in the Lord Jesus. “Note the word obedience. The Interpreter’s Dictionary admits St. Paul includes it in an important place in his idea of faith.

             In fact, Paul sometimes identifies faith and obedience when he speaks of the “obedience of faith.” Here, the of has the same sense as it does when we say the “city of Chicago.” We mean: the City that is Chicago (see Rom. 1:5; 16:26, and in a similar sense, Rom. 10:16; 6:16; 15:18; 2 Thes. 1:8). Similarly, Vatican II says, “the obedience of faith” is “an obedience in which man entrusts his entire self freely to God, offering ‘the complete submission of intellect and will to God who reveals.’”

             Clearly, such a concept of faith as that given in the councils of Trent and Vatican is radically different from Luther’s concept. So sadly, Luther’s “discovery” is not really a discovery but a mistake, since he did not get the true Pauline meaning of faith in the words “salvation by faith.” [ p. 108-109 Catholic Apologetics Today: Answers to Modern Critics  by Rev William G. Most]

         The Root of Luther’s Mistake (by Rev. Wm. G. Most)

             “Luther taught justification by faith - but did not know what St. Paul meant by that word faith. He thought it meant confidence that the merits of Christ apply to me -- there is no scholarly support at all for this. Instead Paul means: 1) belief in God's revelation' 2) confidence in
              His promises; 3) obedience to His commands (Rom 1:5) , all done in love. Very different from Luther. So the very basis of his church is gone.
Luther rejected the teaching authority of the Church. Luther taught, in "Epistle" 501: "Even if you sin greatly, believe still more greatly." One need not do anything if he has sinned, just believe it is all paid for. These are not small or honest errors. Objectively all outside have an obligation to investigate and find the truth.” (Rev. William G. Most: http://www.ewtn.com/library/SCRIPTUR/SCHRECK.TXT)

SOURCE WORK: To read the full chapter in which the blue excerpt appears, go to:


To read the entire book online, go to:


Footnote #1: Fr. William G. Most: (“The Most Theological Collection”)


Back to StillCatholic.com










QUICK LINKS;  Vatican Website     Vatican Radio    Pope Francis twitter   Jesus Christ   EWTN  Catechism of the Catholic Church    Bible (NAB-RE)    Bible (RSV-CE)    Catholic Encyclopedia     St Pauls Publishing (St Pauls facebook)   U.S. bishops     National Catholic Bioethics Center    Live Christian Radio (K-LOVE)   Catholic Answers    Catholic Answers Forums    National Catholic Register     ZENIT (Pope News) Catholic News Agency    Catholic News Service   Catholic World News   Our Sunday Visitor    Catholic Information Network   www.MassTimes.org   Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology    Dr. Scott Hahn   Jimmy Akin    Mark Shea    Patrick Madrid   Amy Welborn    Purgatory   Heaven   Hell  Lent    San Juan Catholic Seminars   Catholic Reformation     Natural Family Planning    Today’s Mass Readings   Doctors of the Catholic Church   Real Presence Association    Eucharist     Catholic Resources   How to Say the Rosary   The Seven Sacraments   “The Confessions” by St. Augustine    “City of God” by St. Augustine     G.K. Chesteron    Summa Theologica” by St. Thomas Aquinas    The Existence of God    Catholic Blogs    Catholic Culture    Scripture Catholic      Biblical Evidence for Catholicism     Catholic Apologetics Network    Fathers of the Church    The 21 Ecumenical Councils    Saint Peter    Saint Augustine    Pope John Paul II     Pope Benedict XVI    Pope Francis    Saints   Mother Teresa of Calcutta   St. Padre Pio    Famous Catholics    www.ThousandMiracles.com

Back to www.StillCatholic.com