Baltimore Catechism – 61, 9, 10 (Who is our Redeemer, What must we DO and How shall we know?)

The first two issues brought up are Q & A #9 and #10 in the Baltimore Catechism.  The issue is underneath in italics…and my answer is after each question/issue.  Clear as mud?

OK.  Here we go:

9. Q. What must we do to save our souls?
A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity;
that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our
heart.

*What must WE do to save OUR souls? Sounds like works to me. No mention of Jesus at all in this section.*

In Acts 2, we find the question asked of Peter, “what must we DO to be saved?”  And Peter doesn’t hesitate with his answer, check it out!

38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

It’s important to note that these  questions and answers are not an end all/be all;  remember, this format is for the sake of educating young children in the basics of Church doctrine; let’s take it for what’s it’s worth in it’s context, and not fail to recognize the whole of the Church’s teaching.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.458

619      “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3).

620      Our salvation flows from God’s initiative of love for us, because “he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4:10). “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19)

Look further down in the BC:

61. Q. Who is the Redeemer?
A. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of mankind.

Because of this knowledge, the answer to what must we do, is accurate and true.  We have a choice, and we must make a response.  We can either choose to accept this gift of salvation, or reject it.  I don’t see this as a “works of righteousness” dilemma at all.  I see it more as a “His gift/My response” dynamic.  The gift of salvation is offered, but never forced on us, right?  And if I accept it, or rather, because I’ve accepted it, I must (and do) worship God by faith, hope and charity, and believe in Him, hope in Him and love Him with my whole heart.  (Which is the first and greatest commandment).

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10. Q. How shall we know the things which we are to believe?
A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us.

*No Bible reading?* 

Where did the Bible come from?  The Bible as a collection of books came FROM the Church, not the other way around.  And before there was a Bible, God’s Word was passed on orally.  Incidentally, this is one area where Catholics and Protestants disagree.  I was taught as a Protestant that God’s Word, the Bible is the source of all truth.  This is not biblically accurate, not according to St. Paul anyway.  Consider this:

1 Timothy 3:15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

He teaches us here it’s the Church, not the Bible that is the pillar and bulwark of truth.  The answer in the catechism is true and accurate…and it includes a vital phrase, did you see it?  “…through which God speaks to us”.  We can trust God to speak through His Church, just as He always has from its start.  God spoke through His Church in matters of doctrine, in the bringing about of the Bible, and He speaks through His Church in how to properly interpret the Bible.  Of course, we know what we believe through God’s Word, and through the Church.  My husband stresses one of his favorite phrases here, “it’s not either/or, it’s both/and“, and states that separating the two would be like trying to have a KFC without having the chicken.

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To sum up.  We are saved by grace through faith in The Redeemer of mankind, Jesus Christ.  Apart from Him, there is no other way to get to heaven.

 

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