Thank you for persevering with us to the end of this conversation. This is the final and fifth part of a dialogue between Michael (LCMS Lutheran) and Benjamin (Roman Catholic) on the subjects of faith and works, sin and holiness, and salvation. To get caught up, read Michael’s opening statement, along with parts II, III, and IV. In this last part, we have decided to revisit the major points of the topics we have discussed,
“What must I do to be saved” (Acts 16:30)? It all comes down to this. In the end, this is the primary question upon which Lutherans and Catholics are (perceived to be?) in disagreement. In this final “question-and-answer” section of the dialogue between Michael (Lutheran) and Benjamin (Catholic), we address various concerns that arise over salvation. To get caught up, read Michael’s opening statement, along with parts II, III. As always, we hope that others
A seemingly less discussed source of controversy within Christendom is the topic of prayers for the departed. In fact, I had never even heard of such a practice until more recent years. I believe that this is primarily due to a gaping paradigmatic difference in the understanding of soteriology [doctrines of salvation] from East to West that eventually led to the dispensing of this historically Christian practice from the memory of contemporary low-church Western traditions.
In this desire to love, humans work with that grace that is given them—in the vocations within which they are placed and using the gifts of the Holy Spirit they have received (1 Cor 12:4–11). Our humanity does not disappear when we do good works: it becomes more evident. Nourished by the Word, the Sacraments, and the Church, we grow in loving God and our neighbors. This very growth in love, for Catholics, cannot be divorced from our salvation.
When I was 13-years-old my dad challenged me to do 40 situps every day for two weeks. I informed him after the two weeks that I successfully completed his challenge and planned to continue the exercise. And I did. I kept it up for quite some time. When I began to see the slightest definition in my 13-year-old abdomen muscles I was ecstatic. I naively thought that I could take it easy for a while