I love Roman Catholics. I spent the first 18 years of my life as a Roman Catholic. I was baptized as a baby for the removal of Adam's sin. I participated in the church's confirmation classes, the eucharist, and Catholic youth group. Many of my friends and family members profess Roman Catholicism. I love Roman Catholics, and desire for them to see the abundant life-giving beauty of the gospel of grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).
I now live in a land with some historically deep Roman Catholic roots. Fellow protestant Christians, pastors, and ministry leaders today often wonder where we can find common ground and where we differ theologically and in practice. In the name of unity, crucial questions regarding salvation, justification, sanctification, the authority of Scripture and the necessity of the reformation are often cast aside.
I believe each of these issues have eternal ramifications. I believe there are significant theological differences that should not be brushed aside, but rather discussed in an atmosphere of love and the pursuit of truth. I want to avoid any kind of 'Catholic bashing'. Yet, differences make a difference, and I don't think pointing these out is unloving.
While there is much common ground between Catholics and Protestants, we differ on the most important issue of the gospel - How does a person attain salvation?
Perhaps, in the future, I will write five more brief articles which correspond to the five solas of the Protestant Reformation:
- Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
- Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
- Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
- Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
- Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.