I have a couple of short thoughts for the day, so I thought I’d squeeze them both into one post:
1) Is it harder or easier for Catholics to get to Heaven? Or does that question reveal ignorance of God’s salvation plan?
Last night I was perusing through the Catholic news headlines and came across the Q&A column below from Catholic priest, Kenneth Doyle (photo left). Someone sent in a letter to the priest asking if Catholics have a harder time attaining Heaven “because more is given” to them and therefore more is expected. Evangelicals’ spiritual antennae should go up whenever someone discusses merit as being a part of salvation. The priest responds that Catholics definitely have a “head start” over others in the salvation derby because they “have access to abundant graces through the seven sacraments that help us to live as God wants.” Doyle’s comments don’t line up with Scripture. He starts off by claiming “the vast majority of the people God created will wind up in heaven,” which is certainly not in accordance with the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:13-14. He describes salvation as a process that’s ultimately dependent on obedience and charity, but God’s Word says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Salvation is either by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, as Scripture says, or salvation is by sacramental grace and merit as priest Doyle and his church claim. It’s either one way or the other. Both ways cannot be right.
Is it harder for Catholics to get to heaven?
2) Christians and patriotic statues
There’s a lot of turmoil in the nation regarding race relations after the recent incidents in Charlottesville, Virginia, followed by President Trump’s controversial remarks. In light of what happened in Charlottesville, many communities in the South are assessing whether monuments to Confederate political and military heroes are inappropriate. I’ve learned that many of the statues in question were erected in the 1920s as part of Ku Klux Klan-inspired initiatives and during the 1950s and 1960s as a protest against the Civil Rights legislation that was being enacted throughout the nation during that time. I question whether Christians should ever be involved in erecting monuments to men and women. We are certainly grateful to the Lord for raising up individuals who benefit the church and the country we sojourn in, but we must be cautious that we do not idolize them. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All need the Savior. For many Americans, patriotism and nationalism are important elements of a civil religion (see here) that’s not in accord with genuine Christianity. What are your thoughts on statues and monuments to Confederate leaders? Knowing the Bible as you hopefully do, what do you think Jesus would say about such monuments?
I came across the satirical article below from the Babylon Bee, which ties in with the recent toppling/removal of Confederate statues in some cities (photo right). It may not be in the best of taste given the seriousness of the recent debate over said statues, but I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw it. Leave it to the Babylon Bee to boldly go where few would dare!
Angry Arminian Mob Pulls Down Statue Of John Calvin
Absolutely no disrespect meant to my Arminian and Calvinist friends! I’m in the middle of the Arminianism-Calvinism debate.