Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


HEAVEN CANNOT BE EARNED – AN EVIL DOGMA


Heaven is the state of being saved permanently from sin and enjoying eternal life with God.  It is often called salvation.

The Catholic and Protestant Church both agree that salvation cannot be earned. Their Bible says that salvation is not of ourselves or a result of paying for it by works (Ephesians 2:8-10). It says that salvation and Heaven are free gifts (Romans 6:23; Romans 4).

 

The crux of Paul’s argument that faith saves without good works is in Romans 4:4, 5 which says that anybody who works deserves a wage but God saves the one who works not and just believes. Catholics say that he does not mean the works of repenting and turning to him and co-operating with his grace are futile for salvation. But only other works like helping the sick when they are used to try and earn forgiveness from God are meant in their view. They think Paul is referring to people at the point when they are choosing God and repenting so they don’t have a chance to do good works yet – but then why is that not clear in the text? 

 

Paul made no definition of what he meant by works before he wrote all that which he would have done if the Catholics were telling the truth. Works means any human activity be it willing or whatever. Paul said that Abraham was saved by faith and had no grounds for boasting meaning that he could not say that God saved him because he did good works with the right intention for only works done with the right intention are good works before God and only such are meant to be good. Abraham could not say he was saved by the good work of repentance. 

 

Protestants and Catholics both agree that Paul said good works contribute nothing to salvation and only faith does. The Protestant says good works refers to all human effort even when it is believed to be assisted by God. The Catholic says it is not works so much as is mean as earnings – trying to earn your salvation without grace and says that Paul didn’t contradict the view that good works done with the assistance of God are meritorious for salvation. 

 

The distinction between works and earnings is totally nonsensical. 

 

Paul didn’t say he meant earnings by works. 

 

It is only the intention accompanying the work that makes it good. The intention to do good is more important before God than doing the good for you might not be always able to do the good you want. Paul then also meant works that were nothing more than intentions or acts of willing without any exterior display of the intention or will as well as acts that were accompanied by good will.  He meant that holy intentions cannot save even with the help of God.
  

Paul said that to him who does nothing but believes in God who justifies the ungodly his faith gets him counted as righteous (Romans 4). The Catholic Church says that God does not justify the ungodly or those who have turned away from God for he only justifies those who repent and believe which makes them cease to be ungodly. The only way God can justify the ungodly is if he applies what Jesus did to please him to their account. They are still ungodly but they are justified. 

 

If we merited salvation without God the Catholic Church says we would be buying salvation from God. Since he helps us he doesn’t owe us anything. “Catholics know that, strictly speaking, God never owes us anything” (The Catholic Church Has the Answer, page 26). The Catholic Church tells us to merit salvation. But it holds that God enables us to have these merits so they are really his merits.

 

You cannot win your way into Heaven by doing good. The only thing that will get you there is simply renouncing your sins and getting God’s forgiveness. This is simply accepting the gift.


The Christians say that you cannot earn it because you have sinned. Sin insults God infinitely because he hates it as much so only an infinity of good works can atone for your sins. But if you do one genuinely good work then God must be infinitely pleased by it for he loves good infinitely. Being infinite it must pay off your infinite debt.

 

You may ask how one work could make amends for your countless sins. The answer is simple. If the good gives God infinite happiness that happiness is the same in greatness as the offences offered for infinite is the same as infinite. It is what you intend not what you do that merits are decided upon. For example, if you would do all the good you are unable to do that is sufficient to deserve reward. When you do good you want to give infinite appeasement to God. You would be your own saviour from sin meaning that Jesus was a fraud. You would be earning your place in Heaven and God’s forgiveness. In this scheme, there is no place for God’s grace. God would have no right to send you to Hell to suffer for eternity for you have paid for your sins already.

 

The doctrine of a saving Jesus is blasphemy for it is untrue. Moreover, it is insulting your good deeds refusing to see how good they really are. A God who punishes sin with infinite torture when he has got compensation is evil. He makes evil stronger than good, for he treats it as infinite and good as finite. He knows nothing of gratitude or justice.

 

If our choices for God were our own we would deserve something from him for these choices are good intellectual acts. Since we deserve nothing the merits the Catholic gains are caused by God and are really not the Catholic’s merits at all. If this is true then God must program us to make holy choices. They are his choices not ours for we make them by force. Prayer is not opening oneself to grace but God opening one to grace. Strictly speaking, we do not pray for only God prays in us. God forces you to do his will and contradictorily does not force you. If we cannot deserve salvation then we are puppets. And if we are puppets there is no God for then the blame for sin and evil can be laid at his doorstep. In fact, he would be a liar for saying there is such a thing for he is not offended by it and it is not free. Sin is an offensive act that is committed freely. 
  Grace is undeserved. If a good work that pleases the Lord is all the work of grace and the only input we make is choosing to go along with his grace then that choice is a good work and deserves a reward. If God is infinite good then any act of ours that is done for him is infinitely good for it pleases him infinitely and so deserves an infinite reward. You cannot give a gift to a person who deserves it and value that person. If John suffers terribly to save your child from the fire and you bring him a gift not a reward are you not putting your desire to give a gift above rewarding and acknowledging his goodness properly? If you think you can give the gift and do it then you are insulting that person by refusing to reward her or him and by inferring that she or he does not deserve it. The doctrine of grace transforms God into a lick.

WORKS CONSULTED

A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1985 
A Summary of Christian Doctrine Louis Berkhof, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971 
A Withering Branch, Joseph H Harley, John English and Co, Wexford, 1956 
All One Body – Why Don’t We Agree? Erwin W Lutzer, Tyndale, Illinois, 1989 
An Examination of Tulip, Robert L Sumner, Biblical Evangelism Press, Indiana. 1972 
Apologia Pro Vita Sua, John Henry Newman, JN Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1955 
Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, David B Currie, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1996
Can a Saved Person Ever Be Lost, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1943 
Christian Answers About Doctrine, John Eddison, Scripture Union, London, 1973 
Doubt The Consequences Cause and Cure, Curtis Hutson Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1983 
Eight Gospel Absurdities if a Born-Again Soul Ever Loses Salvation John R Rice Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1946 
Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982 
Four Great Heresies, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1975 
How to be a Christian without Being Religious, Fritz Ridenour, Regal Books, California, 1970 
HyperCalvinism, John D Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1970 
Is it necessary for you to be baptised to be saved? Hoyt H Houchen, Guardian of Truth, Bowling Green, Kentucky 
Legalism – A Smokescreen, Mike Allison, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1986 
Radio Replies, Vol 1, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul Minnesota, 1938 
Radio Replies, Vol 2, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul Minnesota, 1940 
Radio Replies, Vol 3, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1942 
Reasons for Hope, Editor Jeffrey A Mirus, Christendom College Press, Virginia, 1982 
Saved For Certain, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1953 
The Catholic Church has the Answer, Paul Whitcomb, TAN, Illinois, 1986 
The Catholicity of Protestantism Ed R Newton Flew and Rupert E Davies, Lutterworth Press, London, 1950 
The Eternal Security of the Believer, Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1982 
The Grace of God in the Gospel, John Cheeseman, Philip Gardner, Michael Sadgrove, Tom Wright, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1976 
The Great Acquittal, Tony Baker, George Carey, John Tiller and Tom Wright, Fount, London, 1980 
The Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin, Hodder and Stoughton, London,1986 
The Other Side of Calvinism, Laurence M Vance, Vance Publications Pensacola, Florida, 1991 
There is no Difference for all have Sinned, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1939 
Unitarian Christianity and Other Essays, William Ellery Channing The Bobs-Merrill Company Inc, Kansas, 1957 
Why I Disagree with All Five Points of Calvinism, Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1980