The Catholic Church is essential for salvation and obtaining the Kingdom of Heaven (Part 1)

(Scriptural references are noted in parentheses in the text itself. References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church are footnoted and found at the end of the text as “CCC.”)
Opening Statement
The following is true. It is the most important thing I have to say. This Testament will speak to the Church, which is the only means given us by God to reach His Kingdom.
Introduction
  1. Jesus spoke often of His Kingdom. It is my mission to give testimony to this Kingdom, though I have neither arrived there fully myself nor can claim any authority with regard to it. I did not merit this mission, nor did I even seek it. It was handed to me to simply fulfill. It comes as a duty born of gratitude for the journey on the trail of the Dogmatic Creed with Sts. Thérèse and Joan of Arc to the Heart of Mary, which is the Kingdom where the true Jesus is found. It is also born of love that is the direct result of being confronted by Jesus Christ, Who challenged my self-made opinions, life style, and philosophy for living and whose challenge kept motivating me to move forward on the trail with my saintly sisters and heavenly Mother.
  2. Furthermore, by virtue of the earthly measures of wealth, prestige, power, and influence, I confess that there is no reason at all that you should pay attention to me. I have none of these attributes and can do nothing to help you acquire them. Even within the spiritual and religious realm, I have no authoritative credentials, being neither priest, nor pastor, nor theologian. Finally, none of my academic credentials relates to this subject matter. Nevertheless, though I stand with no credentials or authority, like a bystander witnessing a magnificent event, I offer this testimony to you now. It is simply what I am supposed to do.
The Church is Essential for Salvation (Part 1)
  1. The only person, power, or sovereign in my life to be perfectly faithful to His words, claims, and promises without any deception whatsoever is Jesus Christ. He claimed to be God (“The Father and I are one.” John 10:30), and, after voluntarily and innocently suffering a brutal execution for the redemption of mankind, He proved this claim by rising from the dead. He was seen alive in resurrected glory by hundreds of eye witnesses after His death (1 Cor 15:3-6). He ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father (Mk 16:19). He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. His Kingdom will have no end.
  2. While with us in space and time, He founded neither a merely “man-made” religion nor a purely spiritual movement. He did establish an institutional Church (Matt 16:18-19; Acts 1:20-26; 1 Tim 3:1; 1 Tim 3:15; Titus 1:7 and 2:15), founded on the Apostles (Eph 2:20), which is authoritative (Luke 22:29-30), dogmatic (Mark 16:15-16), with singular teaching authority (Matt 16:19; John 21:15; Acts 15:7-12 and 23-29; Titus 1:9-13), administrative and disciplinary authority within its domain (Matt 18:15-18), seven sacraments[1] (e.g., 1 Cor 11:23-27; John 20:23; James 5:14-16), and a priestly hierarchy[2] (Isa 61:6; 1 Pet 2:5; Rev 1:6 and 5:10; Heb 5:4) through which he would maintain a sacramental (a visible sign of a spiritual reality) presence on earth until the end of time. Through this sacramental Church, He would give us His real and substantial Presence in the Eucharist[3] (John 6:51-56; 1 Cor 11:23-27), instituted at the Last Supper and handed down to each generation through this priestly hierarchy in the sacrifice of the Mass (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor 11:23-27).
  3. The Mass makes the one, and only one, sacrifice of Christ on the Cross present to each generation.[4] God is beyond space and time. This one sacrifice is eternally present to Him (Heb 7:25-27). The Mass brings each generation into that same, one, glorious, eternally present reality of the sacrifice at the foot of the Cross.[5] The Mass is the most glorious privilege we can fathom. It is through this Mass alone, along with the Church alone who prays it, that the Kingdom can be found. This is most important.
  4. One of the first actions Jesus took after His resurrection from the dead was to offer Mass (Luke 24:27-32). This is an astonishing fact for many who do not understand the early Church. Jesus opened the disciples minds and hearts to the Liturgy of the Word in Scripture (Luke 24:32) and then demonstrated His Real Presence in the bread through the Liturgy of the Eucharist (Luke 24:30-31). He “vanished from their sight” after the breaking of the bread. That is because He is now to be found really and substantially in the Bread itself just as He proclaimed in the sixth chapter of John. And, as a side note, this claim of Real Presence is what led many to turn away from Jesus out of disbelief (John 6:66). On any account, the first Mass was offered by the High Priest Himself. If you wish to be in His Real Presence, go to the nearest Catholic Church you can find and kneel before the tabernacle which holds the Sacred Bread.
  5. Anyone who says that the Mass is merely an errant, man-made doctrine seeking to sacrifice Christ over and over in opposition to the clear proclamation in Scripture that His sacrifice was made one time, either does not understand the true faith, refuses to listen due to an obdurate heart, or does know better and is a liar.
  6. The description above is how the early Christians practiced Christianity. To say otherwise demonstrates little understanding of history, Scripture, or of Christianity itself. As early as the 2nd century, St. Justin Martyr wrote to the pagan emperor Antoninus Pius explaining the celebration of the Eucharist which has stayed the same in substance throughout the ages.[6] The early Christians were, as a historical, Scriptural, and Traditional fact, Catholic. If you seek the Kingdom and the true faith of the early Church you must follow the Catholic faith.
  7. This Church was first called “Catholic” by the 2nd century martyr Ignatius of Antioch who was a Bishop of the early Church and a personal disciple of the apostle John.[7] This makes him what is known as an Apostolic Father. He was among the first line of the Church’s apostolically-based hierarchy after the original Apostles. He exhorted Christians to obey Bishops and the Church hierarchy in general as they would obey Christ. The Roman Catholic Church today is the only institution on the face of the earth to have maintained this authentic apostolic succession while adhering to proper obedience to its head (Peter). Eastern, Orthodox Churches have authentic succession but do not submit to the Pope’s authority. Protestants, as a matter of historical record, have no such apostolic authority.
  8. This is important. Jesus did not found a Bible. He wrote nothing for posterity and did not even instruct the Apostles to write. He instructed them to teach (Matt 28:20). The Bible, while being the true Word of God,[8] was born from the Church over the first few centuries, not the other way around.[9] Nor did Jesus found a mere “spirituality” that is “not religious,” for He came not to bring souls to some form of relativistic nihilism but to save them. He commanded ritual (“Do this in memory of me” Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor 11:23-26). Divine revelation through the Church is taught through both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition[10] (2 Thess 2:15; 1Cor 11:1 and 15: 3-6). To think otherwise is to demonstrate little understanding of history, Scripture, or Christianity in general.
  9. Jesus founded a Church. This Church is His own institution and Body (Eph 2:19-22; and 1:22-23; 1 Cor 12:27-31). To lose the Church is to lose the fullness of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. This is precisely why every person on earth needs the Church. “No one can lay a foundation other than the one that has been laid, namely Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11).
  10. Only in this Church, with Peter as its head, do we have the fullness of God’s revelation to man in Jesus Christ. Salvation can come only through the graces flowing from this divinely founded Church (John 14:6; Matt 16:18-19; Luke 10:16). Thus, the rightful perspective of the teaching authorities in the Church is, “Hence, they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.”[11]
  11. The Church and her sacraments are necessary for salvation, i.e., for our transformation in grace that allows us to enter the Kingdom.[12] This is an astonishing and even incredulous fact for Protestants who are subjected to modern day defective and schismatic doctrines born particularly over the past five hundred years since the Protestant Revolution (Reformation).
  12. Those outside the Church can enter the Kingdom only by virtue of the power of sanctification and truth flowing out from Jesus’ Catholic Church. “Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as a means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church.”[13] Therefore, if one outside the Church receives graces, they are effective due to the grace that overflows from Christ through His Church. If you are blessed in your local, independent Bible church, thank Christ in His Catholic Church. This astonishing prerogative of the Church comes not from any mere mortal, be that Priest, Bishop, or Pope. That prerogative comes directly from Jesus Christ as the Divine Founder who promised to never abandon her through the ages (Matt 28:20).
  13. This is why Jesus founded the Church; that is, to save souls for eternity. This is why the Church is so important. It is Christ’s own institution for salvation. There is no other. This is why the world hates her (John 15:18-21). This is why Satan never ceases to attack her. The evil one knows where the heart and soul, the real Body and Blood (John 6: 51-56) of Christ is found. He knows that those who faithfully follow the Church will reach the Kingdom.
  14. Jesus Christ is true man and true God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He is the Savior of the human race. His Church is the only fully authentic and authoritative institution and system of belief in the world. There is no other Savior. His Church has no equal. Through Him we can find the heavenly Kingdom, while without Him we end up in hell by our own free decision and our own willfulness to refuse God.[14]
  15. There is an important caveat. Just being a “card-carrying” member of the Church and kneeling in the pew each Sunday is not sufficient. To be truly Catholic one must have a change of heart in accord with the “obedience of faith” (Rom 1:5; 4:3; and 6:16) that sanctifies (Rom 6:22). Mortal sin separates us from Christ, and we must not be thoughtless with regard to sin or presumptuous about our ability to stay free from it. Being a routinely careless “drunk on Saturday night, in confession on Sunday” Catholic is not an advisable life style for attaining heaven (1 John 2:15-16).
  16. My life’s testimony is that this, and more, is all true.

[1] CCC, paragraph 1114.
[2] CCC, paragraph 1554. St. Ignatius of Antioch, 2nd century, “Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishop as the image of the Father, and the presbyters as the senate of God and the assembly of the apostles. For without them one cannot speak of the Church.”
[3] CCC, paragraphs 1357 and 1358.
[4] CCC, paragraphs 1364 and 1366.
[5] CCC, paragraph 1367.
[6] CCC, paragraph 1345.
[7] CCC, paragraph 830.
[8] CCC, paragraphs 105 – 108.
[9] CCC, paragraph 120.
[10] CCC, paragraph 78. “Through Tradition, the Church, in her doctrine, life, and worship perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes.”
[11] CCC, paragraph 846.
[12] CCC paragraph 1129.
[13] CCC, paragraph 819.
[14] Though we must clarify that “This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church.” CCC, paragraph 847.

About S.T. Martin

S.T. Martin is my nom de plume which stands for "Ste. Thérèse Martin." Martin was Ste. Thérèse's surname before entering Carmel. Professionally, I am an educator and experienced business executive. Academically, I hold an A.B. in Economics from Princeton University and a Masters Degree in Public and Private Management from Yale University. Raised as a Methodist, I joined the Catholic Church on Easter of 1985, just prior to marrying my wife of nearly 30 years. My works are personal testimonials to the sublime benefits of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin as formulated by St. Louis de Montfort as well as to "Le Royaume," the kingdom blessed of St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Le Royaume is the mystical Kingdom of France belonging to Jesus Christ as King of Kings, to the Virgin Mary as our heavenly Queen who holds the Fleur-de-lis dear to her heart, and to Sts. Joan and Thérèse, who are the secondary co-patronesses of France. "To Jesus through Mary in the friendship and sisterly care of Sts. Joan and Thérèse!"
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2 Responses to The Catholic Church is essential for salvation and obtaining the Kingdom of Heaven (Part 1)

  1. Andrew Goddard says:

    I think you’re absolutely right.

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