No big deal you guys but…
I just fixed the Protestant Reformation.
According to Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, John Calvin and all the major Protestant Reformers, the big issue of the Protestant Reformation is faith and works. The Reformers said that we are not justified by works, rather we are justified by faith alone.
“If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (Romans 11:6)
Except the Catholic Church has never taught that we are saved by works.
She has only ever taught that true faith, understood as believing, hoping, and loving God, will always be united through and result in love for others. Real faith is faith working in love. It’s not faith or works, it’s not really even faith and works. It’s just that faith works.
This diagram shows you what I mean:
Except I have a confession to make.
That’s not the original graphic. I changed it on Microsoft Paint…
This is the original graphic.
It’s identical except for the quote below… which isn’t from the Council of Trent but from Martin Luther.
Both Catholics and Protestants believe that we do not and cannot justify ourselves. Only God can save us by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. We also both believe that such justifying faith will bear fruit in good works of love as we walk by the Spirit.
It’s perfectly possible to agree with both Martin Luther and the Council of Trent on this issue of faith and works. In 1999, the World Lutheran Federation and the Catholic Church issued the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which “articulated a common understanding of our justification by God’s grace through faith in Christ.”
It confirmed that the condemnations of the Lutheran Confessions don’t apply to the Catholic Church and that the anathemas of Trent don’t apply to Protestants who believe in faith alone. As Pope Benedict XVI later stated,
Luther’s phrase: “faith alone” is true, if it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love. Faith is looking at Christ, entrusting oneself to Christ, being united to Christ, conformed to Christ, to his life.
Mark Noll, one of the leading Evangelical scholars, concurs. In his book, Is the Reformation Over?: An Evangelical Assessment of Contemporary Roman Catholicism he writes that,
If it is true that, as once was repeated frequently by Protestants… that iustificatio articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae (justification is the article on which the church stands or falls), then the Reformation is over.
If I can use the same diagram to show the Catholic teaching on faith and works as a Protestant can, then the Reformation is definitely over.