Good works follow salvation not the other way round

The following is a response letter written by Paul Malcomson (23/08/04) challenging the arguments of “Father” Patrick McCafferty who defends the Christian credientials of the Roman Catholic Church.

Three times in Patrick McCafferty’s letter (09/07/2004) he equated opposing the Roman Catholic Church (and its false teaching and many abuses) to being “anti-Catholics” (plural). This charge is naïve, misleading and clearly unwarranted especially in the light of his own criticism of the same church in his letter on 05/08/04. In it, he concedes that “the Catholic Church is in dire need of repentance, conversion, purification and radical reform.” Moreover, Evangelicals are no more “anti-Catholics” for opposing the Roman Catholic Church than they are anti-Orangemen for taking a strong stand against the errors of the Orange Order. Equally, they are no more “anti-Catholics” for opposing his church than fair-minded Catholics are for doing the same. As for your claim on 09/07/2004 that “the Catholic Church does not ‘engage in anti-Christian practices’,” your last letter totally rebuts this ridiculous assertion.

I have repeatedly argued, all men (of whatever creed or upbringing) are the same in God’s eyes, we are all born sinners. Isaiah 64:6 ably declares, “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” This innate depravity is not restricted to one community in Ireland or the other; it is common to all men. Both Catholic and Protestant have inherited that awful sinful nature from Adam and are birthed in spiritual death. Scripture tells us that we are all “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). It is this corrupt nature that ultimately separates man from God.

Ephesians 2:1 reveals how all men “in Adam” are “dead in trespasses and sins.” Colossians 2:13 personalises this truth to the individual, saying, “you, being dead in your sins.” Regardless of how man sees himself or what religious title he bestows upon himself, he is still a vile sinner in need of salvation. Salvation does not come through keeping the man-made traditions of the church like confessions, penance or performing particular religious ordinances (Protestant or Catholic). It doesn’t even come through being an upright person. It comes through placing one’s faith and trust in Christ. Romans 10:9-10 declares, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Through the exercise of faith a man is born again of the Spirit of God. Jesus said in John 3:3, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” It is only through the new birth that men are relieved from the ultimate punishment for sin – hell and eternal wrath. ‘Ballymena Catholic’ is right to quote James 2:20 (27/07/2004) that “faith without works is dead.” However, good works are not the cause of salvation as he seems to imagine but the consequence. Paul testifies in Philippians 3:10, “not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” We are not therefore justified by our own good works (regardless of how honourable they are) or our diligent obedience to a set of church rules or ordinances but by simple faith in Christ. Romans 1:17 says, “The just shall live by faith. ”

Paul Malcomson, Evangelical Truth

Irish News Article by Roy Garland
Evangelical Response by Paul Malcomson
Response to Paul Malcomson by “Father” Patrick McCafferty
Response to “Father” Patrick McCafferty by Paul Malcomson
Second response to Paul Malcomson by “Father” Patrick McCafferty
Second response to “Father” Patrick McCafferty by Paul Malcomson
Response to Paul Malcomson by G. Donaghy
Response to G. Donaghy by Paul Malcomson