The Instigator
Con (against)
3 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
5 Points

"Salvation ONLY in the Catholic Church?"

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/4/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,410 times Debate No: 27814
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




Seems that you almost win, Congratulations. :) Though, let's see the results. By the way, I had prepared this another debate for you so that, I want to have another tackle about Catholicism, the topic is all about, "Salvation in the Catholic Church".

I take as Con, for sure, you'll take as Pro.

I am waiting, and you can drop the first argument. We have 5 rounds, you can start.

This is actually the continuation of our first debate, however, it deals with, where can we get salvation, In the Catholic Church?

Please point out the following:
-Prove that salvation is in the Catholic Church (You can re-post your argument from the last debate)
-Can non Catholics be saved?
-Should a person be Catholic for us to attain salvation?

I will be glad if you will accept this challenge. God bless you :)


I accept. I will copy and paste my (admittedly poor) argument on why salvation is from the Catholic Church. Since it's kind of lacking, I'll supplement it with quotes from the Early Church Fathers.


'Very truly I tell you, the grace of God is dispensed by means of the Sacraments, which are themselves provided by the holy Church. Read the following verses:


'He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.' - Mark 16:16


'No, I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish.' - Luke 13:13

'Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.' - John 20:23


'He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.' - John 6:55


'Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.' - Acts 8:17

Holy Orders:

'Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophesy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood.' - 1 Timothy 4:14

Extreme Unction/Anointing of the Sick:

'(14) Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (15) And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.' - James 5:14-15

You can see from all these verses that the Sacraments have actual and real effects unto salvation, and the Sacraments are to be administered by the successors of the Apostles, the Bishops. Since the Church provides these, it follows that one cannot be saved without the Church.' [1]

Now I will throw out a wall of quotes from the Early Church Fathers.

'[The Church] is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account we are bound to avoid them… We hear it declared of the unbelieving and the blinded of this world that they shall not inherit the world of life which is to come… Resist them in defense of the only true and life giving faith, which the Church has received from the Apostles and imparted to her sons.' - St. Irenaeus

'Let no man deceive himself. Outside this house, that is, outside the Church no one is saved.' - Origen the Heretic

'He who has turned his back on the Church of Christ shall not come to the rewards of Christ; he is an alien, a worldling, an enemy.' - St. Cyprian

'Where Peter is therefore, there is the Church. Where the Church is there is not death but life eternal. Although many call themselves Christians, they usurp the name and do not have the reward.' - St. Ambrose

'No man can find salvation except in the Catholic Church. Outside the Catholic Church one can have everything except salvation. One can have honor, one can have the sacraments, one can sing alleluia, one can answer amen, one can have faith in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and preach it too, but never can one find salvation except in the Catholic Church.' - St. Augustine


Yes, however it is only possible if they are 'invincibly ignorant', which sadly does not apply to the vast majority of people today.



1.;(Yeah, I used myself as a source. Problem?)
Debate Round No. 1


"Yeah, I used myself as a source. Problem?"

From your argument, you have many source and all of those are from the net. It is normal to sometimes "use yourself" as your source. I sometimes use my own logic in debates, rather than searching in the net.

Anyway, where will I start? I just want to ask about your point number two, what do you mean about "invicibly ignorant"? I have to skip your point two first, so that, I may understand your side. Anyway, we have five rounds for now ;)

Point 1:
a) Faith Alone
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith"and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" 9 not by works, so that no one can boast." - Ephesians 2:8-9

My only stand for now. It is clearly indicated that it is NOT BY WORKS, as seen. It is BY grace THROUGH faith.

To conclude, Faith = Salvation

b) Good works

Now, one question: Where do good works (including Christian practices like Baptism) comes in?
Answer: True Faith.

True faith bears fruit, which is works (See James)

But, how about if you have that "faith", yet, you sinned, are you heading for hell again?
Answer: No

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit." - 1 Peter 3:18 NIV

You are ensured that by faith, you will go to heaven. Christ died ONCE for sins.

c) IF traditions like what the Catholic church teaches is needed for salvation:

Given the situation:
An atheist was walking in the desert, almost dying, when he realized that He wants Jesus to be with him, that he may go to heaven (He was "miraculously" transformed). IF you need to perform traditions and IF you need the Catholic church for salvation, how will this atheist be saved? No phone, no nearby church, no water to baptize even himself, no priest, no contact to priest, and he is near to death. Poor atheist, then, he can't go to heaven.

But wait, that's not the case. Salvation is FAITH ALONE. In reality, he has the chance. Example is the man hanging on the cross with Jesus. He did NO works of charity or even Christian practices, for he was hanged. But when he PLACED HIS FAITH in Jesus, what did Jesus said? "Amen I tell you, today, you will be with Me in Paradise"

Charity, tradition, church required for salvation? No.

I can't point out point three, for the website you gave me does not open for some reason, unfortunately.

D) Conclusion

Relationship with Christ FIRST before Christian practices


I'm glad to see that my opponent takes no issue with my self sourcing.

I will begin by clarifying 'invincibly ignorant'. As the Catholic Encyclopedia says [1]:

'Ignorance is said to be invincible when a person is unable to rid himself of it notwithstanding the employment of moral diligence, that is, such as under the circumstances is, morally speaking, possible and obligatory.'

For example, a Native American in the year 50 A.D. would probably be invincibly ignorant of Christ. A Gnostic living in Rome in 70 A.D. would probably not be. Today, very few people are invincibly ignorant, as most people can go on the internet and overcome their ignorance, at which point they stray into the territory of heresy, or rejection of the truth as taught by the Church.

Now I will treat with my opponent's arguments.


a) My opponent claims that Ephesians 2:8-9 proves that faith = salvation.

For starters, let's look at Ephesians 2:8-9. What does it actually say? That we are saved by the grace of God, that we cannot work our way to salvation without the grace of God (Pelagianism), and that this is through faith. Certainly, that is true, we cannot save ourselves sine Deo, as it were, but what is a true faith that will save?

'(14) What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?

(15) And if a brother or sister be naked, and want daily food:

(16) And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit?

(17) So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.' - James 2:14-17

The point of Ephesians 2:8-9 is not that we are not to do good works, but that we cannot "earn" our salvation by works (we cannot earn salvation by having faith either, salvation is a gift as Ephesians makes quite clear). By doing good works, we cannot then turn to God and say 'Well, I did these good works for you. Pay up, pal! I'll take some eternal happiness for starters.', despite that God will gift us according to our works (cf. Matthew 25, Romans 2:6-8, Revelation 22:12), but this is not because we are owed anything by Him.

In fact, if you bother to look at Ephesians 2:10, you see this:

'For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them.'


I'll start out with Matthew 24:12-13

'(12) And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.
(13) But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.'

It is clear that we are to always avoid sin, and the reason for it is that to fall away at the critical moment, regardless of how vigorously one has fought up until that point, can be enough to doom you (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:12, Matthew 10:22, Mark 13:13).

To sin is to fail in your faith (cf. 1 John 3:6), and is therefore to be avoided at all costs.


That's certainly an odd hypothetical, however ones not dissimilar to it already have been acknowledged.

Baptism is a normative necessity, however in an absolutely extreme case it may not be required.

While my opponent tries to use the penitent crucified person as an example, that man died under the Old Testament.


As one Orthodox theologian (close enough, eh?) once said:

'We can say where the Church is, but we cannot say where it is not.'


A person who is not Catholic may be saved, but it is certainly highly unlikely unless they are invincibly ignorant. Thus, a person should be Catholic to obtain salvation.


I rest my case.

Debate Round No. 2


"Invicibly Ignorant" is when a person cannot escape his/her "unbelief" against Christianity, therefore, his/her non-beliefs or (when a Christian), his/her sin/s are excluded?

In conclusion, I almost agree with you, BUT

First point:
Salvation through faith

As a former Catholic, I was thought to do good works for me to save. In my recent argument with some Catholics, I was thought that faith alone can save but MUST be accompanied by works, actually I agree. But something I disagree is this: Salvation can be lose if we sin

I believe that faith should have works, but failing to do so, or to sin does not remove salvation.

Let me give you a formula:

Salvation+Nothing = Faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) WHICH RESULTS to works (James)

I did not remove works in Christian life. I had pointed it out on my "b)" statement.

Before I proceed to my next point, do you believe that breaking one commandment means to break all of it?

"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" James 2:10

Matthew 10:22 talks about faith and works. God knows that we are weak, that's why we need GRACE.

In the end, God will not look for your works, but for Jesus in you, or else:

"Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"" Matthew 7:22-23

Last point:
"Thus, a person should be Catholic to obtain salvation."

Let us go back to Ephesians 2:8-9. To have faith IN JESUS means salvation. An atheist does not need to be a Catholic for him/her to be saved.


Salvation is faith in Jesus alone. God WILL transform your heart to work for Him, and never to burden yourself with works. Even when you don't watch porn, said foul words, and did all charity. In the end, God will look at your faith, not works. Or else, He will say, "I will never knew you, depart from Me, EVILDOERS!"

Jesus GUARANTEES salvation, and works will give you rewards. A church can NEVER be a way for salvation


The matter of invincible ignorance is one that I myself do not fully understand, so I shall not comment on it further lest I say something heretical.

Salvation can certainly be lost, and to believe otherwise is to subscribe to the heresy often found among Calvinists known as 'Perserverence of the Saints'.

I'll start with 1 John 1:7, which I just conjured out of nowhere.

'But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.'

While my opponent would say that you merely need faith, you must also 'walk' (action) in the light, lest you not be cleansed from all sin. I'll quote Mark 13:13

'And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake. But he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved.'

To claim that one cannot lose salvation would render this and the other verses I provided moronic. Why mention that someone must endure to the end if it's impossible for them not to? This clearly implies the possibility of loss of salvation should one fail to endure to the end; that is, should they sin.

I also provided verses on God rendering to each according to his works, which were ignored.

The verses my opponent quotes argue against him if one is to read Matthew 7:21

'Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.'

Who is one who says Lord, Lord? One who believes that Jesus is Lord, believes in God, and has faith. Yet, not every one with faith shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of the Father shall.

My opponent keeps asserting that faith = salvation, in defiance of all the evidence I've provided to the contrary and even though Ephesians 2:8-9 does not say faith means salvation.

I also wonder how an atheist could have faith in Jesus.


My opponent has failed to respond to Mark 16:16 or John 6:55, which are more topical than this dispute on whether or not one can lose salvation.
Debate Round No. 3


Pro had provided me that salvation can be lost. I will tackle about it later, but I have to point out that Pro failed in defending his stand that salvation can be attained through the Catholic church.

A lot of atheist had come to know Christ and be Christians.

Salvation can be lost if faith is lost, but Con's stand is that, "failing to do good works means losing salvation".

No wonder, he try to post verses that shows us that, we'll lose salvation by failing (committing sins)

To all people here, I do not encourage you to commit sin, but the point here is, we are not yet strong to face temptations. That's why Christ gives us power,

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ"s power may rest on me." - 2 Cor. 12:9

Salvation can be lost by losing faith, not my failure to do good works

" It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." - Hebrews 6:4-6

Failure to do good works but have faith:

" Then he adds:

"Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more." - Hebrews 10:17

Now, Pro, what is your stand that salvation can be attained through the Catholic Church? Through Baptism?

Baptism is the proclamation that you are a Christian, but the verses that proofs that faith alone is in John 3:16, John 14:6. No church ever needed.

"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6


I'm done with this 'salvation can be lost', because to be honest, it has nothing to do with the resolution and I don't feel like arguing about it still.

When it comes to topical things, my opponent has failed to address the arguments I raised originally. He has not responded to the early Church Fathers. He has not responded to my verses on Confession, Communion, Baptism, or Extreme Unction.

The only thing he has provided are two verses that don't respond to my argument. Sure, we're saved by believing in Jesus, but under what circumstances? Not just any old circumstances, as Mark 16:16 shows.

Since I feel my topical arguments have gone mainly unaddressed, extend them all.
Debate Round No. 4


I respect Pro for not responding too much, but I am somewhat disappointed that he does not defend his claims that the "Catholic church is the only way for salvation"

The Bible verses Pro give I did not ignore, but I used another Bible verses to proof my claims.

I am not a Catholic, how come I would listen to the "Church father's writings"?

Agreed, don't mind the "salvation can be lost". Pro, I challenge you to defend on why salvation is only in the church?

My stand verses are John 14:6 - Jesus is the ONLY Way to the Father, not a church. John 3:16 - Believe in Jesus to attain eternal life, not a church.

Works are not part of the requirement of salvation, but faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), works will follow after faith, but not "forcing" yourself to do good works - works are the fruit of our faith (James)

Committing a sin is bad, but as a Christian, we won't lose salvation, for God will not remember our sins anymore (Hebrews 10:17)

If a person feels the need of God, and is in near death, and he's in the desert, how will he be saved if he needs to be a Catholic?

The Catholic church has some counterfeits, claiming that they can save even without knowing Jesus

"Don't go to God for forgiveness of sins, come to me." - Pope John Paul II
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9


The reason I didn't defend my claims is because most of them were hardly even attacked, and even for the ones that were, the attack came in a roundabout way that hardly addressed it at all, so I figured my arguments must have been too strong for you to deal with.

The problem that I see is that my opponent didn't address my arguments, he just threw out verses he liked and didn't even show how they addressed the ones I provided.

My opponent for some reason claims that faith alone is enough, but the verses I provided disagree (cf. Mark 16:16, John 6:54), and seeing as his verse doesn't even say that faith alone is enough, I think my interpretation is preferable.

I honestly don't care if my opponent wants to listen to what the early Church Fathers said or not, but they haven't been addressed in any way, and as he said this debate was a continuation of the first one, in which he failed to prove sola scriptura, I feel fully justified in showing how the tradition of extra ecclesiam nulla salus was present in the Church since the earliest times by means of quotes from the early Church Fathers.

John 14:6

'Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.'

It's the perogative of Jesus how he desires to give grace. He decided to use the Sacraments. The Sacraments are administered by the Church. The Church is the body of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:27). It is not the Church that saves you, but Christ operating through the Church.

John 3:16

'For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.'

So... all you have to do is believe? Even if you don't do penance (cf. Luke 13:5), aren't baptized (cf. Mark 16:16), and don't eat the flesh of Jesus (cf. John 6:54)? Jesus instituted the Sacraments for a reason. You have to believe, but you have to do more than just say 'I believe' or something.

Done arguing about salvation.

I don't know why my opponent keeps getting so hung up on this person near death in the desert, but I already quoted Bishop Kallistos Ware (he's an Orthodox Catholic, but the theological concept is pretty much the same) addressing this issue.

Pope John Paul the Great never said the quote that you're attributing to him, as far as I can tell. Additionally, since neither source nor context has been provided, it ought to be disregarded.


As some of my arguments have pretty much been dropped, I urge a vote for Pro.
Debate Round No. 5
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2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Well this was a pretty easy vote. First of all, Con either didn't respond or failed to adequately rebut the early Church Fathers and their stance on salvation through the Church. Pro's exegesis of the Scripture passages provided were far more convincing than Con's? in particular, the salvation only through "me" (Jesus) was better explained by Pro with respect to the Church rather than Con's exegesis of Jesus OR the Church. In the end, most of Pro's case was dropped and Con upheld the Burden of Proof through his detailed explanation of the Biblical nature of the Sacraments and attestation by Early Church Fathers. I gave Pro sources because of Con's misquote, which I also failed to find.
Vote Placed by The_Master_Riddler 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: A person who is not Catholic may be saved- this contradiction throws off Pro's debate. Con provided better arguments