Paul's Passing Thoughts

Protestant and Catholic Progressive Justification

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 8, 2016

project-2016-logo-4Both Protestantism and Catholicism hold to progressive justification. This is the idea that salvation is a process, and not a onetime completed event that redirects the believer to focus on representing God’s characteristics in life. Salvation is a gift, life is a reward. Protestantism and Catholicism both make salvation the reward for persevering in church orthodoxy.

With Protestantism and Catholicism, salvation cannot be finished, nor an individual matter between people and God, or the church would have no cause to be supported as an institutional industrial complex. In order for their massive institutions to be supported financially, they must claim God’s authority in overseeing the salvation of humanity.

Protestants claim that the Reformation was necessary because of the issue of “infused grace.” Luther and Calvin believed that all righteousness remains outside of the “believer.” The new birth, as defined by Protestantism, is a mere ability to perceive “truth” while doing no good work. Mortal sin (unforgivable) results if one thinks any person can do a good work. Venial sin (forgivable) results if it is believed that any person, whether saved or unsaved, can do no good work. Venial sin can be forgiven by the “means of grace” found only in the church.

Catholicism believes that the new birth enables the individual to cooperate with the church in finishing salvation. The individual is infused with God’s righteousness and can do good works. Mortal sin is sin committed by those outside of the church. Venial sin can be forgiven through the means of grace found in the church whether Protestant or Catholic. However, in Catholicism, the person actually grows in righteousness. In the end, Purgatory finishes the process, and in fact, makes the person perfect enough to obtain eternal life and enter into heaven. Only members of the Catholic church qualify to enter Purgatory.

Church doctrine is therefore the essence of sin because sin is a master that seeks to control humanity through condemnation (Genesis 4:7). If “believers” still need salvation, they are not free to love without fear of condemnation.

In truth, salvation is finished, and yes, we do “move on to something else” where sin is the exception and not the rule. We are not under law and its demands, but rather under grace and free to fulfill the law through love. The motive of the true believer is love—not law-keeping in regard to orthodoxy.

4 Responses

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  1. Bill said, on February 8, 2016 at 3:30 PM

    As a protestant I do believe Justification was finished and is not an on going thing.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on February 8, 2016 at 5:20 PM


      Unfortunately, what you believe doesn’t make a Protestant what a Protestant is. What defines Protestantism is its orthodoxy. And in our day, the who’s who of mainline Protestantism are stating their progressive justification openly. John Piper states frequently that “Christians” still need to be saved. Where does he get that? Luther, Calvin, the Puritans, Spugeon, Bunyan, ect, etc.


  2. Anonymous said, on February 17, 2016 at 3:26 PM

    Does Romans 8:30 have any bearing on this?


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on February 17, 2016 at 4:09 PM

      Sure it does, but I have no idea in what respect you are referring to, so I will pick one that I like. Though this verse makes it clear that the called are also always justified, Luther and Calvin both said in essence, “not always.” The Augustine/Luther/Calvin election construct had 3 classes or categories of elect: the non-elect, and the temporary elect that fall away because though gifted with illumination, the gift is temporary, and will result in greater damnation. In other words, God preordains some to be initially elected, but also elected to fall away and suffer greater damnation. For his glory and self-love of course. Then there are those who persevere, or the third class of elect. Augustine developed this election construct from an integration of Neo-Platonism with the Bible. This later became Gnosticism.

      Is there another perspective or bearing you would like me to comment on?


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