Catholic apologist says you can and must achieve spiritual perfection in order to merit Heaven

There’s all kinds of questions out there in the world, but I would argue that the most important question is, “How does a person get to Heaven?” Bible Christians would quickly and confidently answer, according to Scripture, that we are all hopeless sinners and the only way to Heaven is by repenting of sin and accepting Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. Evangelical Christians may disagree on various secondary beliefs, but we can agree that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. We have no righteousness of our own, but it is the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ that is imputed to us when we accept Him as Savior that alone justifies us before a Holy God.

However, Roman Catholics unabashedly DO NOT believe the above. They claim without equivocation that salvation is through the administration of their church’s sacraments followed by obedience to the Ten Commandments and church rules aka merit. The Roman church teaches its members that they must become subjectively and intrinsically holy enough, via its sacraments and good works, to merit heaven.

These two views are irreconcilable. One is Jesus-based and one is self-based. One is right and one is wrong. They cannot both be right.

Two weeks ago, I was listening to Catholic talk radio, and a segment vividly illustrated the Catholic view on salvation:

Called to Communion – EWTN Radio
Moderator: Thom Price, Director of EWTN radio programming
Host: David Anders, Catholic apologist (photo above)
Episode 2/20/19 beginning at the 44:00 mark:

Thom Price: “Here’s (an email) from Mark: ‘Recently I’ve been thinking about the purpose of striving for holiness. By nature, we’re all sinners and the only way any of us are going to get to heaven is by the mercy and grace of God. But that being said, what is the point of striving for holiness when we’re always going to fall short?’”

How would you answer Mark’s question, evangelical Christian? Let’s see how Catholic apologist, David Anders answered.

David Anders: “Okay. Well, actually, the Catholic faith teaches that we’re not always going to fall short. We’re not always necessarily going to fall short. And the aim of Christian life is perfection. Jesus Christ says, ‘Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.’ And we have a doctrine of Christian perfection. And some attain it and they are called saints. The canonized saints achieved Christian perfection before they died. That’s why they’re saints. They exhibited heroic charity and the form of Christian perfection is charity. So it’s possible. It’s not easy.”

Catholicism shares many terms and phrases with Bible Christianity, but its basically a religion of works. When a Catholic mentions “grace,” “faith,” and “Jesus the Savior,” they mean something entirely different than from what a Bible Christian understands. Poor Catholic souls, like Mark, are on a religious treadmill of constantly, constantly, constantly trying to merit their salvation, but there is no assurance in that as he admits. Their hope is in their own efforts, NOT in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” – Romans 10:1-4

For more information on the false gospel of striving to be good enough to merit heaven, see the article below:

What does the Bible say about perfectionism?

Postscript 1: Catholicism invented purgatory as a safety-net for those who allegedly have no major/mortal unconfessed sin on their soul at the moment of death, but are still not quite perfect.

Postscript 2: Ecumenical evangelicals should spend a little time studying what Catholicism actually teaches before embracing it as a Christian entity.

38 thoughts on “Catholic apologist says you can and must achieve spiritual perfection in order to merit Heaven

  1. Good post, and a good reminder. I like how you mentioned Romans 10: 1-4, for it reminds me that we must submit to God’s righteousness in order to be saved.

    Tom, I was wondering if you would consider doing some of your own broadcasts, or podcasts? It seems to me that there is a next step for you that is coming, but the details are something that the Lord can share with you. Whatever, it is, may you be encouraged to follow His leading.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. David, thanks for the good encouragement in the Lord! I would be open to the Lord’s leading if He would have me use some different approaches.


      1. Hi brother he’s wrong yep. Is it a fair question to ask if we could do what the Catholic said said then why did Jesus come to die?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. RE: then why did Jesus come to die?

        Absolutely, my brother! That is the crux of the entire debate. If a person could merit their way to Heaven via the sacraments and obedience, then Jesus would not have had to die on the cross! That truth occurred to me as an 11-year-old Catholic grammar school student, but it would be another 16-years before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, no thanks to Catholicism.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s a long time and I would ask that question to anyone Mormon or anyone else in religion if we could do it our way to Heaven Frank Sinatra song I did it my way would be accurate.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The song I mentioned was played at one of the funeral’s I had last year that song is arrogant would anyone who claims to be a Christian play that song based on what Colossians 3:1-3 says.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes, the attitude of that song is arrogant and defiant. A person who admires the words of that song doesn’t know Jesus Christ. Sinatra was singing for unbelievers.


      6. Yes said person liked the song now I was told they either received and or knew Jesus as their Savior and Lord so I don’t know how they could have liked that song. By the way when we talked about comic books last week and I mentioned Romans meant Romans 8:8 not 8:9.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Yes I agree I was told they are in Heaven when all my life I heard them take Jesus name in vain and I don’t think they ever talked about the Gospel and yet I said they are in Heaven because they believed that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again 3 days later.
        but Only God knows.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Yes it is. Your welcome how many more of these comic book news stories do we need before we say enough is enough and get rid of everything comic related where the line?

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I politely disagree with you on this one as we’ve discussed before. We would have to also get rid of all other media and live in a cave because the unsaved will behave like the unsaved.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. We can anticipate these attacks getting worse with scoffers and atheists becoming more radical and society becoming more secular.


      11. It gets fired up they blaspheme the One Who died to save them it’s pure insanity. How can we keep comic book stuff knowing what they do?

        Liked by 1 person

      12. When we Received Jesus as our Savior and Lord we don’t do it our way anymore we die to self take up our cross and follow Him. I really dislike that song that Frank Sinatra did.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to believe that! I threw the proverbial towel in all the time! And I pretty much see people that practice Catholicism still do that…

    Praise the Lord for showing me different!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Right, he clearly differentiates between Rome’s gospel and the Gospel of grace. He also constantly bad mouths the Reformers. Everything he teaches contradicts the Gospel, but I appreciate his clarity.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Whenever I write these kinds of posts I think of ecumenical evangelicals and what they would think of the anti-Scriptural teachings of this Catholic straight-shooter.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah, yes! I have heard of that book for decades but haven’t yet read it. I highly regard Dave’s study of Scripture and look forward to meeting him when the Lord brings me home.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I also appreciated Dave Hunt’s ministry very much (although I’m non-committal about the Arminianism-Calvinism debate). Unfortunately, many of the most popular “evangelical” apologists today (Zacharias, Lane Craig, Strobel, McDowell) embrace Catholicism as a Christian entity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s