Thesis #59 of 95 - All people of good will shall go to heaven when they die regardless of their religious beliefs.
Thesis #60 of 95 - The notion implicit in some Roman Catholic teaching that people of good will are “saved” in the same sense as a Christian undermines the role of the gospel, Church and sacraments.
Thesis #61 of 95 - For the incarnated soul cannot be healed (saved) unless Christ had first been admitted to the vessel and united with the spirit.
Mt5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”
Mt25:40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’
Mt10:41 The one who receives a righteous person in the name of a righteous person shall receive a righteous person’s reward
Jn18:37 “For this purpose I have been born, and for this I have come into the world: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”
1Cor6:17 The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him
Jn6:53 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves
Rom7:24-25 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God; it is through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I with my mind serve the law of God, but with my flesh the law of sin
In many Christian minds, especially those of my former (Evangelical) ilk, people are either “saved” or “reprobate”. Since Vatican II (1960s), the Catholic Church has formally acknowledged a third soteriological category, namely “people of good will”. More dogmatically, “Divine providence shall not deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who without any fault of theirs have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life” (Vatican II – Lumen Gentium 16).
What has been lacking for the last fifty years from the Catholic side is a substantive biblical underpinning for such a proposition. For that cannot be provided without substantial doctrinal deconstruction resulting in contradicting earlier conciliar pronouncements that the Church deems to be immutable. But the main problem with Vatican II’s pronouncement as it stands is stated in thesis #60. It undermines the role of the Church and sacraments, which are indispensable for what the bible actually means by “salvation”.
To whom such “people of good will” refers is defined from Scripture in The Little Book of Providence. As is the case for the Christian, their eventual deliverance from the bondage of sin so as to be united to God will have been made possible by divine grace and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, for these are the core elements of all human salvation.
What is more, whether they realize it or not, such people are contributing even now to the building of God’s Kingdom on earth. For, as Jesus Himself indicated, anyone who seeks to reconcile and bring peace between nations, families or individuals is acting like a child of God (Mt5:9). Anyone who contributes to alleviating the plight of the poor and needy will be judged as having succoured Christ Himself (Mt25:40). Any who accept and acknowledge a righteous person as righteous is himself regarded as righteous (Mt10:41). Those who pursue truth and justice for its own sake show themselves to be of the Truth (Jn18:37b). Indeed, anyone who desires from the heart to do anything good and acts upon it is demonstrating they will one day adore Jesus Christ, the summit and perfection of all that is good.
Yet by no means are all these good people “saved” in the gospel sense, as the next thesis/post shall explain. In the meantime, Rom7:24-25 summarizes what “salvation” really is about. And it is far removed from most Christians’ understanding that gospel salvation determines whether or not one goes to heaven when one dies.