Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Salvation and the Catholic Church: Part 2

In my earlier post on salvation and the Catholic Church, I stated at the end that I would answer the question of how a Buddhist could get to heaven without an explicit knowledge of Christ. Well, come to find out, I've answered it already. I write and think about a lot of things and sometimes it's hard for me to remember what I've already blogged about. Anyway, you can read it here.

I would really appreciate your comments on my answer to this question. It didn't get a lot of comments when I originally posted it. Also, note that I consider my answer to be a theological exercise that is open to correction, especially regarding my use of various Scripture passages. I don't consider this to be the definitive resolution of the matter at hand.

Pax Christi,


  1. It depends on what you think of exclusivism/inclusivism, Rahner, and preveniant grace (I know that's the Wesleyan term, but I can't remember Augustine's). And it also goes to what you were saying in the earlier post on when someone knows enough that it is necessary that they join the Church. The earliest Christians were converted on one fact: the Resurrection (Peter's speech in Acts 2). They didn't have the Bible, they didn't have inquirers [sic?] classes, they didnt have RCIA. The Resurrection provided all the conviction they needed. So if we were choose that as our standard, the bar is really low for having a knowledge requirement for joining the Church.
    But many people in the world who would convert if they heard the Word, haven't been able to hear it. It is in these people I believe Jesus works a way to their salvation without them even knowing about it. I think, however, we should have the zeal for mission work as if exclusivism was the truth.

  2. I think in a world where the choice is not between different types of Christianity but between Christianity or paganism, the Resurrection rightly becomes the benchmark. But, the choice now is not just for Christ but also for different ways of worshipping Him. I think this raises the amount of knowledge a person must have before he can be considered culpable for not joining the Church.

    I've read in many places that what is required is a knowledge that the Catholic Church is the Church of Jesus Christ AND a belief in that truth. So, if you know in your heart that the Catholic Church is the Church of Christ and you fail to join her, then you sin. But, since the majority of the Protestants we debate with have never come to that knowledge, or to believing it when it is told to them, they would not be culpable for their rejection of the Church.

    I don't know if I agree with that or not, but it's a position that I have read often.


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