In this post I seek to explain my position on the Gospel as a Protestant. I understand salvation to be by faith alone in Christ alone. Further, my understanding is that any Gospel that adds works to faith in order to achieve salvation, is not a saving Gospel. Matt Slick states in his article titled Can Roman Catholics be Saved?:
“…in Roman Catholicism salvation is not by faith alone in Christ alone. In Roman Catholicism, that which is necessary for salvation includes the church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 846), baptism (CCC 1257), penance (CCC 980), sacraments (CCC 1129), service and witness to the faith (CCC 1816), keeping the ten commandments (CCC 2036, 2068, 2070), and detachment from riches (CCC 2556).”
In Galatians 1:6-9 Paul says:
6 ¶ I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
People who believe false Gospels are going to Hell. So we must ask, what is the Gospel that Paul preached? Romans 3:19-28 says:
19 ¶ Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
This is the Gospel that Paul preached, this is the true Gospel. The Roman Catholic Church has added works to the Gospel of Christ, as I quoted above from Matt Slick’s article.
In Galatians 2:3-5 Paul says:
3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage),
5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
He continues in Galatians 2:11-16:
11 ¶ Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;
12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.
13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?
15 “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16 “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
Paul says, “if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” The Roman Catholic Church preaches another Gospel, their Gospel is that human works plus faith in Christ saves. The Gospel Paul preached is that faith in Jesus apart from human works is what saves. Therefore everyone who believes the Roman Catholic false Gospel is “accursed.” Catholics are all going to Hell.
I’m sure at this point if you are Catholic, you may be thinking about all the arguments you’ve heard in favor of Catholicism. I would like to say first, that whatever arguments there may be for Catholicism, since Catholicism teaches a false Gospel, it is a false religion and no one should be Catholic. But secondly, I would like to point out that Protestants have good answers to all the arguments for Catholicism, as well as good arguments of our own for Protestantism. If you would like to learn those answers, you can start for free online with CARM’s Roman Catholicism articles, or with these debates on Protestantism vs. Catholicism. And if you would like to go further, you can read Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences.
Thank you for reading this post, I pray that it is helpful.