Because of the ecumenical movement, a growing number of Roman Catholics are familiar with biblical terminology about salvation, such as born again, and some have been trained to reply affirmatively to the question, “Are you saved? Have you been born again?”
The problem is that they do not mean by this what the Bible means. Rome’s doctrine of salvation is not the the true gospel of complete and sure salvation through personal faith in Christ. It is a gospel of works that is sometimes presented under the guise of grace.
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH’S DOCTRINE OF SALVATION CAN BE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:
1. Rome teaches that Christ, having purchased redemption by His blood and death, delivered it to the Catholic Church to be distributed to men through her sacraments.
Rome’s gospel centers in the Catholic Church, the pope, and the sacraments. While Catholicism teaches that Christ died on the cross to purchase man’s salvation, it is not satisfied simply to invite men to receive this salvation by faith directly from the resurrected Christ.
Consider the following quotes from the Vatican II Council:
“For ‘God’s only-begotten Son ... has won a treasure for the militant Church ... he has entrusted it to blessed Peter, the key-bearer of heaven, and to his successors who are Christ’s vicars on earth, so that they may distribute it to the faithful for their salvation. They may apply it with mercy for reasonable causes to all who have repented for and have confessed their sins. At times they may remit completely, and at other times only partially, the temporal punishment due to sin in a general as well as in special ways (insofar as they judge it to be fitting in the sight of the Lord). The merits of the Blessed Mother of God and of all the elect ... are known to add further to this treasury’” (ellipsis are in the original) (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Apostolic Constitution on the Revision of Indulgences, Chap. 4, 7, p. 80).
“For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fulness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God” (Vatican II, Decree on Ecumenism, chap. 1, 3, p. 415).