Should Protestants and Catholics really be arguing over Good Works?

Daniel Peres

Well-Known Member
Sep 24, 2022
327
82
55
Miami
✟4,973.00
Country
United States
Faith
Catholic
Marital Status
Widowed
Sometimes I wonder if it really even makes any sense for Protestants and Catholics to argue over good works. Does it really matter whether one holds the common Protestant belief that our good works are a result of our justification or of someone holds the Catholic belief that there is no salvation if you refuse to do good works for those that are suffering. The fact is that neither side believes salvation can be earned. Maybe the important thing is that Christians on both sides of the argument perform good works as Jesus wants us to. Sometimes it just seems like this argument is exactly like the argument over which came first, the chicken or the egg. It just doesn't matter which one God made as long as we have chickens and eggs in the world. So maybe it doesn't matter, as much as we think it does, where exactly good works fall in God's plan for Salvation. Maybe it's more important that all Christians remain unified in the fight against the Devil. Maybe it just matters that Christians do good works to glorify God.
 

ViaCrucis

Confessional Lutheran
Oct 2, 2011
34,909
24,675
Pacific Northwest
✟648,040.00
Country
United States
Faith
Lutheran
Marital Status
In Relationship
Politics
US-Others
Sometimes I wonder if it really even makes any sense for Protestants and Catholics to argue over good works. Does it really matter whether one holds the common Protestant belief that our good works are a result of our justification or of someone holds the Catholic belief that there is no salvation if you refuse to do good works for those that are suffering. The fact is that neither side believes salvation can be earned. Maybe the important thing is that Christians on both sides of the argument perform good works as Jesus wants us to. Sometimes it just seems like this argument is exactly like the argument over which came first, the chicken or the egg. It just doesn't matter which one God made as long as we have chickens and eggs in the world. So maybe it doesn't matter, as much as we think it does, where exactly good works fall in God's plan for Salvation. Maybe it's more important that all Christians remain unified in the fight against the Devil. Maybe it just matters that Christians do good works to glorify God.

It matters when it comes to how we are teaching and preaching. That is, if ordinary Christians are left thinking that it is up to them to earn their spiritual brownie points rather than to trust in the goodness of the Savior, then it is important that our teaching and preaching be corrected in order that even the ordinary Joe Schmoe Christian hears the Gospel and believes it.

It's not about being fickle about academic minutia but rather about what we are saying to one another to build one another up in faith in Jesus Christ.

In a lot of ways I think Lutherans and Catholics are much closer today than ever before. I know I read a lot of Catholic material that I can agree with, and I've seen lots of Catholics find little objectionable in Lutheran material. That doesn't mean there aren't still differences, even important differences.

Frankly, I think it is modern Protestantism that is more at odds with the Lutheran confession of Justification by grace alone. I see Protestants preach righteousness by works more than I do Catholics. That will likely upset a lot of Protestants, but it's something I've observed and have personally experienced for myself in my own life.

-CryptoLutheran
 
Upvote 0

atpollard

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2017
1,450
694
60
Florida
✟66,116.00
Country
United States
Faith
Christian
Marital Status
Married
I think the issue is an important one.

The real issue behind the argument is one of Monergism vs Synergism. Fancy theological words that are shorthand for what is a simple question:

DOES GOD NEED YOUR HELP/COOPERATION TO SAVE YOU?

The Protestant - Monergism - “no works” View … claims that God saves people “just because He does”. God requires nothing from people and God provides everything that is needed for an individual to have eternal life. Our only possible response is humble gratitude. Because God does the saving, man has no power to unsave himself.

The Catholic - Synergism - “faith AND works” View … claims that man must cooperate with God in being saved. To be clear (because many are not) synergism believes that God saves, however it also believes that man has a part to play in “accepting grace” or “performing good deeds” or some action or belief BY THE PERSON that is a co-requisite to salvation. Because man has a part to play in salvation, man has the power to lose the salvation through action or failure to continue to “believe”.

The details vary from group to group, but these are the two great “camps”: GOD AND MAN or GOD ALONE.

If works are REQUIRED, then one can and should worry about whether one has done ENOUGH. One should worry about whether one is still DOING ENOUGH to maintain their salvation. Frankly, if salvation is up to me, I should be almost confident that I am insufficient to hold up my end of the contract. The nation of Israel never could. Even Adam was unable to be obedient. What hope is there for someone like me?

So I am not sure that we need to “fight” with one another, but I think that this is a question important enough to contend earnestly for the truth.
 
Upvote 0

atpollard

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2017
1,450
694
60
Florida
✟66,116.00
Country
United States
Faith
Christian
Marital Status
Married
Frankly, I think it is modern Protestantism that is more at odds with the Lutheran confession of Justification by grace alone. I see Protestants preach righteousness by works more than I do Catholics.
I agree. At its core, it is not a “Catholic” vs “Protestant” issue but a core SOTIEROLOGY (salvation) issue of the place of WORKS in Salvation … a prerequisite for Justification or a fruit of Justification.

As a Baptist, we have been divided between “Particular” and “General” Baptists over this question for as long as there have been Baptists … and yet most Baptist Churches contain Christians of both views coexisting (and arguing) in every congregation. It is a matter of the “Order of Salvation” (about which only God gets the final word) which Baptists view as a matter of personal conscience that each man answers only to Scripture and God over.

Not too different from when Lutherans run behind their wall of “mystery” to avoid the unanswerable (except Baptists are allowed to “guess” in public.) ;)
 
Upvote 0

Tigger45

Stand by Ukraine
Supporter
Aug 24, 2012
20,497
12,957
E. Eden
✟1,078,605.00
Country
United States
Faith
Christian
Marital Status
Private
Politics
US-Constitution
I think the contentious relationship is amplified more online than IRL. By and large most Catholics and protestants acknowledge each other as Christians but disagree on some doctrines. And although they are not in full communion with each other they will come together for the betterment of society such as things like abortion and caring for their local communities with food pantries and such.
 
  • Agree
Reactions: Der Alte
Upvote 0

Michie

Standing by the Ukraine.
Supporter
Feb 5, 2002
153,785
51,188
Woods
✟3,779,571.00
Country
United States
Faith
Catholic
Marital Status
Married
Politics
US-Others
Upvote 0

Brad D.

A Way Unknown
Supporter
Aug 22, 2022
325
363
Northern Rockies
✟51,266.00
Country
United States
Faith
Christian
Marital Status
Married
I am neither protestant nor catholic considering myself outside the camp of both, so perhaps you will view this as an objective view or one not worthy to waste your time with. I leave that for you to decide.

What I believe is this. The only true Christianity is one in which Christ really dwells. Where Christ is there is Christianity and He is often where we look for Him least. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him (John 1:10-11). It was proven then and it is proven now that we can have all the word of God at our disposal, teach and preach about it everyday, and yet when He finally comes into our midst, Something truly out from the Spirit of the Living God we can look upon it with suspicion and nail it to a cross.

Paul was on the road to Damascus enroute to persecute and perhaps kill Christians and was apprehend by God and came to the saving knowledge of Him. That was divine grace, that had absolutely nothing to do with works. But conversion is only day one of salvation. If we stop at the blood we miss the journey. The blood is for where we are not the cross is for where we are going. So salvation is something that definitely has to be worked out from conversion, but what does that truly mean?

Are works from that day forward good things we do to put salvation feathers in our cap? Heavens no and Christ warned us against counting on that. Many will say to me that day didn't we preach and prophesy and cast out demons and do many wonders in your name? And I will declare to them I never knew you ( Matthew 7:22-23) So we can go to the ends of the earth in His name and feed the poor everyday of our lives and yet still not come into what He is really after.

And what is He really after? He says it in the verse proceeding the ones above. Not everyone who says to Me Lord Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven
(Matthew 7:21)
And thus is the crux of it all. The only thing that will truly matter to Him in the end is that which was done truly out from Him.

Christ did nothing out of His own initiative. And this is how He taught us to live. We thus have to be emptied of all of our ideas of how to serve Him, pick up the cross, die to self, and learn what it means to live by the Spirit from that day forward. If we just sit in the blood and play a lot of uplifting music, and continue to talk about grace, grace never going onward by desiring the Holy Spirit to apply the cross in our lives so that we may be conformed to the image of Christ what have we really done? Likewise, if we are like the Pharisees and boast about all that we have done comparing ourselves to others boasting about our works and the one "true church" then that may not stand the litmus test at the end.

I would say we all need to fly to cross, be emptied like Paul was of everything, and find out by the Spirit what He is really after and leave our church's and ideas at the door. It will only be those things on the other side of that which will really matter to Him in the end.



 
Upvote 0

Daniel Peres

Well-Known Member
Sep 24, 2022
327
82
55
Miami
✟4,973.00
Country
United States
Faith
Catholic
Marital Status
Widowed
I understand everyone's point of view. It certainly does matter. I guess my question is better framed in a different way. What is more dangerous, a different Christian Church view about good works and salvation, different views on Baptism, etc or the battle that we are facing against evil in this world? While we have been spending our time fighting each other over our differences, we have all been getting our buts kicked by the Atheist as well as Christian Progressives. This fighting amongst ourselves is hurting our churches as well as our society. No Christian Church is safe. No church has been able to avoid the infiltration of immoral beliefs in our churches. Unlike Protestant churches, the Catholic Church has safeguards that prevent traditional Christian morality from being altered in an official sense. This is in contrast to churches such as the Anglican/Episcopalian, United Methodist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America whose moral teaching has been officially changed to include immoral teachings. And even though the Catholic Church and its schismatic brothers like the Eastern Orthodox are protected from ever having to officially accept and teach immorality, it's happening anyway.

Frankly, a Protestant who believes in Sola Fide but remains loyal to Christian morality doesn't give me any reason to worry. If any Protestant wants to believe in Sola Fide, I say knock yourself out, as long as you maintain Christian Morality. I believe we need each other to be unified in this horrendous battle we are facing from the Atheist and Christian Progressives. For God's sake, am I the only Christian the is horrified that so many males are getting their genitals removed. And what about all the women getting their breasts removed. Have you ever read the dystopian novels like 1984, Animal Farm, and A Brave New World. Much of the predictions in those books have come true. A great example is a prediction found in A Brave New World where author Aldous Huxley predicted that in the future small children would be expected by the society to engage in erotic play. Have you seen the news lately? This is already happening!

Please give me comfort and tell me that my fellow Christians are as horrified as I am.
 
Upvote 0

Tigger45

Stand by Ukraine
Supporter
Aug 24, 2012
20,497
12,957
E. Eden
✟1,078,605.00
Country
United States
Faith
Christian
Marital Status
Private
Politics
US-Constitution
I understand everyone's point of view. It certainly does matter. I guess my question is better framed in a different way. What is more dangerous, a different Christian Church view about good works and salvation, different views on Baptism, etc or the battle that we are facing against evil in this world? While we have been spending our time fighting each other over our differences, we have all been getting our buts kicked by the Atheist as well as Christian Progressives. This fighting amongst ourselves is hurting our churches as well as our society. No Christian Church is safe. No church has been able to avoid the infiltration of immoral beliefs in our churches. Unlike Protestant churches, the Catholic Church has safeguards that prevent traditional Christian morality from being altered in an official sense. This is in contrast to churches such as the Anglican/Episcopalian, United Methodist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America whose moral teaching has been officially changed to include immoral teachings. And even though the Catholic Church and its schismatic brothers like the Eastern Orthodox are protected from ever having to officially accept and teach immorality, it's happening anyway.

Frankly, a Protestant who believes in Sola Fide but remains loyal to Christian morality doesn't give me any reason to worry. If any Protestant wants to believe in Sola Fide, I say knock yourself out, as long as you maintain Christian Morality. I believe we need each other to be unified in this horrendous battle we are facing from the Atheist and Christian Progressives. For God's sake, am I the only Christian the is horrified that so many males are getting their genitals removed. And what about all the women getting their breasts removed. Have you ever read the dystopian novels like 1984, Animal Farm, and A Brave New World. Much of the predictions in those books have come true. A great example is a prediction found in A Brave New World where author Aldous Huxley predicted that in the future small children would be expected by the society to engage in erotic play. Have you seen the news lately? This is already happening!

Please give me comfort and tell me that my fellow Christians are as horrified as I am.
I actually agree, after seeing time and time again churches slowly transitioning to societal norms I made the move from a moderate Lutheran (sorry no offense) to a confessional Lutheran church in hopes of shuring up traditional Christian practices to weather the storm if the Lord taries.
 
Upvote 0

Brad D.

A Way Unknown
Supporter
Aug 22, 2022
325
363
Northern Rockies
✟51,266.00
Country
United States
Faith
Christian
Marital Status
Married
I understand everyone's point of view. It certainly does matter. I guess my question is better framed in a different way. What is more dangerous, a different Christian Church view about good works and salvation, different views on Baptism, etc or the battle that we are facing against evil in this world? While we have been spending our time fighting each other over our differences, we have all been getting our buts kicked by the Atheist as well as Christian Progressives. This fighting amongst ourselves is hurting our churches as well as our society. No Christian Church is safe. No church has been able to avoid the infiltration of immoral beliefs in our churches. Unlike Protestant churches, the Catholic Church has safeguards that prevent traditional Christian morality from being altered in an official sense. This is in contrast to churches such as the Anglican/Episcopalian, United Methodist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America whose moral teaching has been officially changed to include immoral teachings. And even though the Catholic Church and its schismatic brothers like the Eastern Orthodox are protected from ever having to officially accept and teach immorality, it's happening anyway.

Frankly, a Protestant who believes in Sola Fide but remains loyal to Christian morality doesn't give me any reason to worry. If any Protestant wants to believe in Sola Fide, I say knock yourself out, as long as you maintain Christian Morality. I believe we need each other to be unified in this horrendous battle we are facing from the Atheist and Christian Progressives. For God's sake, am I the only Christian the is horrified that so many males are getting their genitals removed. And what about all the women getting their breasts removed. Have you ever read the dystopian novels like 1984, Animal Farm, and A Brave New World. Much of the predictions in those books have come true. A great example is a prediction found in A Brave New World where author Aldous Huxley predicted that in the future small children would be expected by the society to engage in erotic play. Have you seen the news lately? This is already happening!

Please give me comfort and tell me that my fellow Christians are as horrified as I am.


I see your name is Daniel. A good name, for in the end I believe what will matter most to the Lord is not who has a C or a P or a ND or a Mess or an O on their shirt or anything else but rather who is in their prayer closet like Daniel who really knows their Lord and is known by Him. All of creation waits for these to be revealed ( Romans 8:18-21) What matters to me most is not who you are outwardly, but who you are inwardly. And I think the Lord looks at it the same. My bookshelves are filled with both Catholic and Non Catholic writers who have meant something to me because the Spirit they wrote in witnesses to the Spirit within me. I think the Lord grieves at all these things we have built up supposedly in His name that only divides and disintegrates us more. But the Lord has always known who His people are, and He has always allowed it it seems to get down to the thinnest of hopes, but He has always prevailed, and He will so in the end. If you are interested I wrote a writing in the discipleship forum that you may find comforting that pertains to this. The link is below. Blessings Daniel. You have a good heart to pursue this.

The Davids of the WorldThe Davids of the World
 
Upvote 0

Maria Billingsley

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Oct 7, 2018
7,713
6,372
62
Martinez
✟669,771.00
Country
United States
Faith
Christian
Marital Status
In Relationship
Sometimes I wonder if it really even makes any sense for Protestants and Catholics to argue over good works. Does it really matter whether one holds the common Protestant belief that our good works are a result of our justification or of someone holds the Catholic belief that there is no salvation if you refuse to do good works for those that are suffering. The fact is that neither side believes salvation can be earned. Maybe the important thing is that Christians on both sides of the argument perform good works as Jesus wants us to. Sometimes it just seems like this argument is exactly like the argument over which came first, the chicken or the egg. It just doesn't matter which one God made as long as we have chickens and eggs in the world. So maybe it doesn't matter, as much as we think it does, where exactly good works fall in God's plan for Salvation. Maybe it's more important that all Christians remain unified in the fight against the Devil. Maybe it just matters that Christians do good works to glorify God.
What is most important is regeneration through His Holy Spirit so He can make His Home in us. This can not happen through good works it happens with love and faith for Jesus Christ of Nazareth. From our faith we will perform good works. Blessings
 
  • Like
Reactions: QvQ
Upvote 0

Michael Collum

Everything began with a voice, use yours
Supporter
Dec 20, 2009
27,438
7,422
Canada
✟578,573.00
Country
Canada
Faith
Christian Seeker
Marital Status
Married
Sometimes I wonder if it really even makes any sense for Protestants and Catholics to argue over good works. Does it really matter whether one holds the common Protestant belief that our good works are a result of our justification or of someone holds the Catholic belief that there is no salvation if you refuse to do good works for those that are suffering. The fact is that neither side believes salvation can be earned. Maybe the important thing is that Christians on both sides of the argument perform good works as Jesus wants us to. Sometimes it just seems like this argument is exactly like the argument over which came first, the chicken or the egg. It just doesn't matter which one God made as long as we have chickens and eggs in the world. So maybe it doesn't matter, as much as we think it does, where exactly good works fall in God's plan for Salvation. Maybe it's more important that all Christians remain unified in the fight against the Devil. Maybe it just matters that Christians do good works to glorify God.
Jeroboam and Rehoboam may have had separate territories over the workload dispute (I will whip you with scorpions), but there was more to it than that.

Even if protestants and catholics could agree on Jesus, they wouldn't be able to agree about Mary, and issues related to the following image.

upload_2022-9-28_17-22-27.png
 
Upvote 0

Daniel Peres

Well-Known Member
Sep 24, 2022
327
82
55
Miami
✟4,973.00
Country
United States
Faith
Catholic
Marital Status
Widowed
What is most important is regeneration through His Holy Spirit so He can make His Home in us. This can not happen through good works it happens with love and faith for Jesus Christ of Nazareth. From our faith we will perform good works. Blessings
The problem I see in your argument is that you say that we must love Jesus, and I agree. But, how can we know we love Jesus. Fortunately for us, Jesus taught us how he we
are to love him. He very clearly said, “Those who love me will keep my commandments.” This is where your argument gets problematic. Following Jesus’ commandments entails doing good works. Look at the parable of the sheep and goats. There goats were not pagans, they were Christians who had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. So, the goats had faith in Jesus but went to hell anyway. And why why did they go to hell. Jesus was very that it was for one reason only, the goats had not done any good works (not works of the law). By not loving people who needed help and doing good works for them, they were refusing to do the good works to Jesus.

You want to call me evil for being a sheep? Go ahead and call me evil. And you can go ahead and be a goat and receive everything that comes with it.
 
Upvote 0

Landon Caeli

Patience is a Virtue
Staff member
Red Team - Moderator
Supporter
Jan 8, 2016
13,096
5,048
45
OC california
✟360,341.00
Country
United States
Faith
Catholic
Marital Status
Married
Politics
US-Others
Sometimes I wonder if it really even makes any sense for Protestants and Catholics to argue over good works. Does it really matter whether one holds the common Protestant belief that our good works are a result of our justification or of someone holds the Catholic belief that there is no salvation if you refuse to do good works for those that are suffering. The fact is that neither side believes salvation can be earned. Maybe the important thing is that Christians on both sides of the argument perform good works as Jesus wants us to. Sometimes it just seems like this argument is exactly like the argument over which came first, the chicken or the egg. It just doesn't matter which one God made as long as we have chickens and eggs in the world. So maybe it doesn't matter, as much as we think it does, where exactly good works fall in God's plan for Salvation. Maybe it's more important that all Christians remain unified in the fight against the Devil. Maybe it just matters that Christians do good works to glorify God.

It makes absolutely no difference either way. It has no effect on my life or salvation at all.
 
Upvote 0

BNR32FAN

He’s a Way of life
Supporter
Aug 11, 2017
19,072
6,528
Dallas
✟687,950.00
Country
United States
Faith
Non-Denom
Marital Status
Married
Sometimes I wonder if it really even makes any sense for Protestants and Catholics to argue over good works. Does it really matter whether one holds the common Protestant belief that our good works are a result of our justification or of someone holds the Catholic belief that there is no salvation if you refuse to do good works for those that are suffering. The fact is that neither side believes salvation can be earned. Maybe the important thing is that Christians on both sides of the argument perform good works as Jesus wants us to. Sometimes it just seems like this argument is exactly like the argument over which came first, the chicken or the egg. It just doesn't matter which one God made as long as we have chickens and eggs in the world. So maybe it doesn't matter, as much as we think it does, where exactly good works fall in God's plan for Salvation. Maybe it's more important that all Christians remain unified in the fight against the Devil. Maybe it just matters that Christians do good works to glorify God.

Well then there’s the idea that it’s not the works themselves that play a role in our salvation but the motivation behind the works that is actually taken into consideration.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:1-3‬ ‭NASB
 
Upvote 0

Daniel Peres

Well-Known Member
Sep 24, 2022
327
82
55
Miami
✟4,973.00
Country
United States
Faith
Catholic
Marital Status
Widowed
Jeroboam and Rehoboam may have had separate territories over the workload dispute (I will whip you with scorpions), but there was more to it than that.

Even if protestants and catholics could agree on Jesus, they wouldn't be able to agree about Mary, and issues related to the following image.

View attachment 321351
This always amazes me. How can honoring the woman that taught us to ,”Do whatever he says” be idolatrous. This idolatry accusation also comes from ignorance. For some reason, there are many Protestants that actually believe the words worship and prayer are synonyms. Of course they have completely different meanings. You would think that Americans would know the definition of common English words, but apparently that’s not the case. Because of this ignorance of the English language, they naturally believe that when a Catholic prays to Mary to ask for her prayers to God, they are worshipping Mary. The good news is that the problem is easily solved by using a dictionary. Then again, Protestants are probably so committed to the idea that Catholics worship Mary that I wouldn’t be surprised if they said the dictionary was wrong. But that’s what happens when you believe false dogmas. You can’t see the truth even if it slaps you in the face.
 
Upvote 0

Landon Caeli

Patience is a Virtue
Staff member
Red Team - Moderator
Supporter
Jan 8, 2016
13,096
5,048
45
OC california
✟360,341.00
Country
United States
Faith
Catholic
Marital Status
Married
Politics
US-Others
This always amazes me. How can honoring the woman that taught us to ,”Do whatever he says” be idolatrous. This idolatry accusation also comes from ignorance. For some reason, there are many Protestants that actually believe the words worship and prayer are synonyms. Of course they have completely different meanings. You would think that Americans would know the definition of common English words, but apparently that’s not the case. Because of this ignorance of the English language, they naturally believe that when a Catholic prays to Mary to ask for her prayers to God, they are worshipping Mary. The good news is that the problem is easily solved by using a dictionary. Then again, Protestants are probably so committed to the idea that Catholics worship Mary that I wouldn’t be surprised if they said the dictionary was wrong. But that’s what happens when you believe false dogmas. You can’t see the truth even if it slaps you in the face.

For a lot of people, proving the Catholic Church wrong is the only means to justify their religion. It all hinges on Catholicism being wrong.

It's sad.
 
  • Agree
Reactions: Michie
Upvote 0