As Reformation Sunday approaches, most of us will be dwelling on the issues that divide Catholics and Protestants. “Catholics believe one thing, and Protestants believe something completely different!” – this is where the emphasis will be. I think it is beneficial to try to be fully aware of the many, many areas in which Protestants and Catholics are in agreement, and then go from there in explaining our differences. The following is a partial list of some of those areas:
WE AGREE that we as Christians have been saved! (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8)
We also believe, in accordance with 1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12, Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15, Mt 10:22, Mt 24:13, Mk 13:13, Lk 21:19, Rev 2:26, and Phil 2:12 , that we who are working out our salvation with fear and trembling are being saved and will be saved if we persevere to the end.
WE AGREE that we are saved by grace through faith, not by works, that none should boast! (Eph 2:8-9)
We also believe, in accordance with James 2:17 and 2:24, that we are justified by our works, and not by faith alone, because faith without works is dead.
WE AGREE that there is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus! (1 Tim 2:5)
We also believe, in accordance with 1 Tim 2:1, James 5:16 and Heb 12:1, that the saints in Heaven and on earth can intercede for us.
WE AGREE that only God can forgive our sins! (Mt 9:2-3, Mk 2:7)
We also believe, in accordance with John 20:22 and 2 Cor 5:18, that God forgives sins through His priests.
WE AGREE that the Holy Scriptures are inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness! (2 Tim 3:16)
We also believe, in accordance with 1 Timothy 3:15, that the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth.
WE AGREE that Jesus Christ is the Foundation of the Church! (1 Cor 3:11)
We also believe, in accordance with Eph 2:20, Acts 1:15-26, and 2 Tim 2:2, that the Apostles are also the foundation, and that they passed on the authority of their office to their successors.
WE AGREE that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth! (Gen 1:1)
We also believe, in accordance with 2 Peter 3:8, that one need not embrace 6-Day Creationism to be a real Christian.
WE AGREE that relics possess no magical powers!
We also believe, in accordance with 2 Kings 13:21, Acts 19:11-12 and Acts 5:15-16, that God can and does use relics to effect miracles.
WE AGREE that marriage is a very, very good thing! (1 Cor 7)
We also believe, in accordance with Mt 19:12 and 1 Cor 7, that celibacy is even better.
WE AGREE that it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment! (Heb 9:27)
We also believe, in accordance with Heb 12:14, that after death comes purification (Purgatory) so that we can see God.
WE AGREE that the writings of the Church Fathers were not divinely inspired nor were they infallible!
We also believe that they are the best witness to the earliest Christians’ understanding of the teachings of the Apostles.
WE AGREE that the Church of the 16th century was in need of reform!
We also believe that the Reformers introduced novel doctrines that have led many Christians into serious error.
WE AGREE that Jesus Christ suffered, died and was buried, rose again on the third day, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, from whence He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His Kingdom will have no end.
Deo omnis gloria!