That man is a fallen creature in need of salvation is acknowledged by Roman Catholics and Protestants alike. It is also agreed that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. This may appear to be an all-important area of agreement, but unfortunately Roman Catholicism must be charged with having distorted the biblical doctrine of salvation to such an extent that in fundamental respects it has departed from the pure Gospel of the New Testament. This is a serious charge to make against an ecclesiastical system; but it is made in a spirit of charity, not contentiousness, and in the hope that Roman Catholic friends will be prepared, as befits Christians, to reconsider their position in the light of the teaching of Holy Scripture.
In the first place, Rome teaches that the fall of man involved only the loss of original righteousness, which is explained as a gift added to man after his creation; this loss therefore leaves him in the state in which he was created—a purely natural state, and a supposedly neutral state, in which he is predisposed neither to good nor to evil. This in turn permits man the ability to incline himself either to good or to evil and to cooperate with God in the achievement of his salvation.
Thus we find the Council of Trent both pronouncing an anathema on all who teach that man is justified by faith alone, and declaring that man must cooperate in obtaining the grace of justification, that his justification may be increased by good works which he performs, and that a man once justified can lose his justification.
These official Roman Catholic pronouncements are still in force today and are aimed directly against the Reformed doctrine, consciously formulated from the apostolic teaching of the New Testament, ...1
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