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Dear Catholic Exchange:
Could you please give us a Catholic rendition of the “Good News” similar to the Protestant version of the four spiritual laws? I think it would really help many Catholics understand the essentials of the Gospel!
A Friend in Christ
As you know, “The Four Spiritual Laws” is the name of the booklet many Protestants use to bring people to Jesus. In accord with this method, the Christian approaches a non-believer, presents the four laws, and then invites him to pray the ‘Jesus Prayer.’ Here are the four laws and the prayer:
1. God Loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.
4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
“Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Amen.”
What makes the “Four Spiritual Laws” “Protestant” is not so much their content, but their context. For the “evangelizer” the goal is the praying of the ‘Jesus Prayer.’ The belief is that once a person sincerely prays to bring Christ into his heart, he is saved, for always.
Hence, a Catholic version of this model could perhaps be called the “Five Laws,” or at least would surely involve the following:
1) Belief in an existing transcendent God who is Creator of the Universe and holds all persons and things in being.
2) Man in the person of our first parents fell from grace to become spiritually dead, and needed Redemption to reach heaven.
3) The Only-begotten Son of God, the 2nd Person of the Blessed Trinity, had mercy upon His sinful creatures and became man in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This was the fulfillment of God’s Plan of salvation as revealed in the Old and New Testaments and culminating in the Divine Person of Our Savior dying on the Cross in expiation of the sins of mankind. By His death, heaven was again opened to mankind.
4) We are saved by faith in Christ Our Savior and His doctrines (basically outlined in the ancient Apostles’ Creed) and by the good works performed with the help of Christ’s grace flowing from devout prayer and the sacraments He instituted in His Catholic Church. One becomes a Christian by being incorporated into the Church by the sacrament of Baptism and will be saved by continuing to live with His divine life.
5) The whole Christian life is summarized by the goal of becoming a saint, to reach Christian perfection and to give God glory by becoming holy. The chief occupation of the Christian now and in eternity is to give glory to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. He does this by observing God’s Ten Commandments, the precepts of the Church, participation in the sacraments and worship of the Church, which are all grounded in the love of Christ who sacrificed Himself for our salvation. Those who love Christ to the end, dying in the state of grace, will be saved and resurrected to forever join the angels and Saints in heaven. Those who do not die in the state of grace and the love of Christ will be damned body and soul in hell forever.
This is simply an outline of what a Catholic model of the “Four Spiritual Laws” might look like, but it provides many essentials of our Faith within it. Thanks for contacting Catholic Exchange and Catholics United for the Faith with your question.
Blessings in Christ,
Catholics United for the Faith
827 North Fourth Street
Steubenville, OH 43952