Catholic Apologetics Space : Christians: Is it ok to question someone else’s salvation? What does the Bible say about questioning someone’s salvation?
The answer is by one "Christian Blogger/Author. Studied Bible and Religious Study Thu" [25.VIII.2022, St. Lewis IX of France] and his handle on quora is Brandon C. He also describes as "Following God's Mission, Entrepreneur, Investor, Economist, Counselor, Author" which clearly shows he is not a clergyman. If he wants to speak up for the Bible, he should rely on clergymen, including writers of catechisms, including old ones, from before Vatican II (not sure how many real Catholic Catechisms have been actually written after that). If the subject is at all dealt with, and correction of sinners, unlike Babel = Ziggurat or Eridu vs Göbekli Tepe, is so.
I'll not cite all, if you want to read all, click the link, but only the conclusion and it's "proof text", as that is where my answer started, here:
Although we shouldn't judge on our accord, Paul tells us that we can use the Bible to judge the behaviors and actions of others.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ (2 Timothy 3:16–17)
As you can see, it is not only ok to question someone else's salvation but it is also our DUTY as Christians if we see someone who is contradicting the teachings and laws of God.
Hope that helps.
Now for the dialogue:
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- Two observations. Starting with the first.
II Timothy 3:16–17 with the words “for correction, for instruction in righteousness” are adressed to a man St. Paul set up as a bishop.
It doesn’t mean laymen should go around and judge other laymen, whenever they see them.
And there is a certain procedure here, which is meant to avoid that kind of nagging.
- 1) talk in private
- 2) talk with witnesses
- 3) take it to the Church
- 4) ignore them if they will not even hear the Church.
Once it has been taken to the Church, nagging has to stop, either the sinner agrees or one agrees to ignore him as no longer a brother.
Seeing a man in situations like:
- 1) begging in the street
- 2) drinking small quantities of alcohol
- 3) doing no work when you watch
- 4) finding him in an “awkward situation” while no one including yourself was meant to watch
… none of these things, not even if repeated multiple times, over years, can warrant your considering him a sinner.
- Brandon C.
- You Said:
“II Timothy 3:16–17 with the words “for correction, for instruction in righteousness” are adressed to a man St. Paul set up as a bishop. It doesn’t mean laymen should go around and judge other laymen, whenever they see them.”
Says who? Could you imagine Paul saying the Bible is only good for bishops and church leaders but if laypeople read it it's not sufficient?
As readers of the Bible, we should understand that God holds everybody on the same level. Remember, God is no respecter of persons (See Romans 2:11). What you are suggesting is like borderline “elitist" thinking which is not of God.
Do you think when God was teaching his apostles in the Bible that it was only meant for them? Do you think when he told them to go into the world and preach the message and baptize, that it was only meant for them? Do you think he intended for all his teachings to die with the apostles and those they taught in the new testament?
Of course not. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Jesus views all people as equals and his teachings to his apostles directly apply to all of us…just as the teachings of Paul and others God called is meant to apply to everyone as well.
“And there is a certain procedure here, which is meant to avoid that kind of nagging.
talk in private
talk with witnesses
take it to the Church
ignore them if they will not even hear the Church.”
Agreed…but do you notice the first step starts with us as individuals. In other words, the first step is for one believer to correct another. How do we do this? By using the teachings of the Bible as our source. The rest of the procedure is mainly for the benefit of the one committing the sin in question. If they don't believe us, maybe they will believe others. If they don't believe others, maybe they will believe the church. If they still don't want to believe or listen by then, then we should treat them as they are…a non-believer.
“Seeing a man in situations like:
begging in the street
drinking small quantities of alcohol
doing no work when you watch
finding him in an “awkward situation” while no one including yourself was meant to watch … none of these things, not even if repeated multiple times, over years, can warrant your considering him a sinner.”
The Bible also teaches us not to judge on our own accords. We should only use Biblical teachings and laws to determine if someone else is in violation of those teachings. In this way, we ourselves are not doing the judging but it is the Bible (God's teachings) who is judging them. In other words, we are just the messengers (As the Bible asks us to be) but it is ultimately God that has judged them.
God's commands and teachings aren't suggestions. They are instructions that we as disciples must follow. Loving God and loving others also means aiding our brothers and sisters to do the same.
The Bible gives us instruction on what God expects of people. It is simple enough for anybody to understand. God even gave parables to reiterate his teachings. All TRUE followers of Christ should be equipped with his message and as long as we are equipped with his message, than we are equipped to help others follow that message as well.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- First things first. The Bible.
“the Bible is only good for bishops and church leaders but if laypeople read it it's not sufficient?”
You know, the things said in II Tim are in fact adressed primarily to precisely bishops and church leaders.
2 Timothy 1:6 is adressed to people who hold a clerical dignity by the imposition of hands. The link is in Latin, but if you click DRBO in the top field where it’s next to Vulgate, you will get it in English.
We laymen are when reading II Tim overhearing what God is telling someone else than us, namely bishops and by extension other clergy.
“Jesus views all people as equals and his teachings to his apostles directly apply to all of us”
Not the least. Above the general disciples, He set the 72. Above the 72, He set the 12. Above the rest of the 12, He set St. Peter.
The words in Matthew 16:18–19 are important for all of us, but very certainly do not apply directly to all of us. They apply directly to St. Peter and his successors, the Popes (last of whom so far died Aug 2, Pope Michael).
“do you notice the first step starts with us as individuals”
Indeed. How long do some people continue with this “first step”?
At what point is the refusal to go on to next step and the ones after that a harrassment, that Christ precisely by this procedure was giving the Church a means to avoid?
“How do we do this? By using the teachings of the Bible as our source.”
What about using the Church as your source for limits? The Bible clearly condemns drunkenness and as clearly recommends a little wine. It does not state whether “tipsy” is an acceptable side effect of “a little wine” or whether “tipsy” is a light but even so offense of the sin of drunkenness. It also does not state what to think of people who drink without getting tipsy a quantity that might make you tipsy. Such limits are not for a lay Bible reader, but for the Church to keep track of.
And the Church has stated that the mortal sin “drunk” is when speech or mind is affected, that is when you start thinking or saying things you wouldn’t want to say when sober. Tipsy is either a venial sin, if intended as primary goal of drinking, or not sinful if it happens when one has another reason to drink. And yes, the calling out of someone else is about mortals, not venials.
“God's commands and teachings aren't suggestions. They are instructions that we as disciples must follow. Loving God and loving others also means aiding our brothers and sisters to do the same.”
The instructions are very definitely not detailed enough for a lay Bible reader to know when some things are overstepping the commandments OR NOT.
- Brandon C.
- “The instructions are very definitely not detailed enough for a lay Bible reader to know when some things are overstepping the commandments OR NOT.”
Now, keep in mind, I was never suggesting that ANYBODY can accurately interpret scripture. What I was implying is that anybody who is filled with the Holy Spirit can interpret scripture and use it for correction/etc as Paul tells us.
If a believer is not filled with the Holy Spirit, then they should make sure that they full well understand the complete interpretation of the Church before attempting to correct others.
St Paul makes clear who is able and unable to interpret scriptures:
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny.” (1 Corinthians 2:13–15)
Those filled with the Holy Spirit should likewise understand the church's interpretation in its entirety as well. The understanding of a person filled with the Holy Spirit would correlate to the understanding of the Church as long as the Church's interpretation was also derived from the Holy Spirit. It is ultimately the Spirit that does the correcting/rebuking and not the “layperson".
“Indeed. How long do some people continue with this “first step”? At what point is the refusal to go on to next step and the ones after that a harrassment, that Christ precisely by this procedure was giving the Church a means to avoid?”
I am in agreement with you that we should follow the instructions as laid out. We should attempt to correct somebody just once on our own. If they refuse to listen, we should confront them with others. If they refuse to listen to them, then we should take it to the Church.
In all actuality, that's like “3 strikes you're out". Each strike involves the aid of more and more believers. By the third step, it would only be their pride and closed hearts that prevent them from seeing the truth. This is a direct resemblance to the non-believer…which Jesus tells us they are.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- And as today there are more than one option on which is Christ’s Church and who are the real unbelievers, there may come a day when Puritans should definitely cease to try to correct a Catholic trying to live a Catholic life.