How to Answer Protestants Forum: Faith not Religion
Faith not Religion QUESTION from Wedge Ramos on April 15, 2002 I recently encountered someone who was preaching and what caught my attention is his view that Religion will not save us but rather our Faith.
It does not matter what Religion you are in, so long as you have Faith in God.
Can you please clarify how to answer such?
ANSWER by Mr. Troy Martz on May 12, 2002 Thank you for your question. I always find it interesting that those who claim that it doesn't matter what you believe bother preaching. If it truly doesn't matter, why preach?
Of course, it does matter. First Faith does not save you! As St. Paul says: By Grace are you saved, through faith, not of works lest any man should boast. God's Grace (His free gift of Himself and His Life to us) alone can save us, nothing we do can merit salvation -- even our act of faith. Faith (and Hope, and Love) are necessary but not sufficient to save us.
Now, to his statement: It does not matter what Religion you are in, so long as you have Faith in God.
What God? Does it matter if I believe in Yahweh, Allah, the Great Spirit, Gia, Oden, Ares, the Force, or any other being my mind can imagine? Only if I am interested in the Truth.
If there is a God who revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ, then I should do everything I can to learn about and follow this Jesus. I should also determine if He left any means for me to follow Him. As Catholics, we believe as a matter of faith (aided, not hindered, by reason and history) that Jesus did indeed build a Church as a continuation of His earthly ministry (see Matthew 16:13-19) and entrusted this Church to the Apostles and gave them the use of His Authority to accomplish this mission of saving the whole world (see Matthew 28:16-20).
What does it matter which religion we chose? If we knowingly reject the Church which Christ Himself founded and authorized, how can we claim to have faith? If we have true faith in God, we must have complete faith in Him and accept the gift of the Church which He gave to us.
Many only want faith because it means whatever they want it to mean. Faith is useless (in fact dangerous) unless it is built on a firm foundation of the Truth. Where do we find that foundation:
I for my part declare to you, you are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it. I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:18-19) Although I hope to visit you soon, I am writing you about these matters so that if I should be delayed you will know what kind of conduct befits a member of God's household, the church of the living God, the pillar and bulward of truth.
It only matters if you are interested in salvation. Some try to rely on their own faith because they refuse to submit themselves to the binding and loosing authority rightly exercised by the Successor of Peter as Christ's chosen earthly leader of God's household. We should keep such people in our prayers always.
Pax Christi, Troy Martz
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