I have been reading a Protestant book on evangelism and it, as well as other books I have read from Evangelical sources, focus greatly on on how their faith practice is in direct opposition to Works-Righteousness.

Coming from the Catholic Prospective of Grace Alone, which is consistent with Gods selection throughout history. I am curious if there is a faith practice who instructs to its followers that we are saved as Payment for the works that we do.

A Good answer would have a official Document or "What we believe" Statement from the denomination that suggest that works somehow bring a person into the family of God.

I feel personally that the context is directed towards those outside the Church, who do not know the Gospel, the Evangelicals seem focused more on those inside the church, who in there minds, are not "REAL" Christians, like themselves.

Is there a Denomination that states that we are saved by Works?

  • I thought Catholic belief of pilgrimage is a form of salvation by works
    – One Face
    Apr 9, 2016 at 15:32
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    @oneface You may be confused with my question, I beleive it is clear that a Saving faith includes works done in Christ, even for a Protestant although they have so many ways of looking at it. I am not addressing Faith Alone, which would be another question that I am sure has already been asked here, but salvation as a result of Works and not Grace. Faith, as Ken Graham points out, is not separate from works of Charity and love, but a result of the Grace of God received working through, rather than rejected by, a Christian (aka Catholic).
    – Marc
    Apr 9, 2016 at 15:56
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    So are you looking for a works alone basis of belief for salvation? If so, I don't think they could be a denomination of Christianity. Apr 9, 2016 at 16:42
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    @JontheArchitect not works alone, why do Protestants always add "Alone" :: laughing::
    – Marc
    Apr 9, 2016 at 16:45
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    @marc. Then what are you looking for exactly? You state above that you already believe that a saving faith includes works, you aren't asking about faith alone, and you aren't asking about works alone. Apr 9, 2016 at 16:55

2 Answers 2


Dr. John Fonville, in the third part of his sermon series entitled Threats To Christian Freedom: Legalism, discusses two types of works righteousness about which Paul warns the Church in Galatia in the 5th Chapter of his Epistle to them, and gives examples of each that include theologies that, by this site's standards, are Christian denominations. He contrasts these types of theological legalism with functional legalism, which he describes as grace-centered Christians who unintentionally judge themselves according to the law.

The first, called simply legalism (nomism), includes Christian theologies and other religions that teach that salvation itself- justification in the final judgement- is not imputed but is earned by works during life. He cites Mormonism, Jahovah's Whitness, and Islam as examples of theological legalism, as well as Christian denominations that teach that a salvific work like baptism or other sacrament is required for salvation. Contrary to what it may seem, this type of legalism actually diminishes the law, since the standard of the law must be lowered in order to be achieved by the individual. Ultimately in this theology, the sacrifice and divinity of Christ are of no consequence, as he becomes simply an example of righteous works and not the source of righteousness.

The second, called covenant nomism, teaches that while the initiation of the salvific process is a result of grace and election, both sanctification and ultimate justification are a result of works. In other words, you get in by faith, but you stay in by works. This is what Paul means when he asks rhetorically, "Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?" Dr. Fonville includes charismatic revivalism with its alter calls for rededication, the Roman Catholic Church with its doctrine of penance, and first century Judaism as examples of this type of works based righteousness. In this theology, the effectiveness of God's grace, the existence of the Spirit in the life of the believer, and the believers unity with Christ are discarded.

A remedy to both of these types of works based righteousness in the Church, Dr. Fonville concludes, is the constant exposure to the sound Gospel of salvation by grace through faith, citing 2 Peter 1:12-13,

Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,

  • This is a great answer, I wonder if his use of nomism here is refers to a kind of "New Covenant momism" Rather than focusing on the old Covenant Nomism of the jews highlighted by E.P. Sanders. Sorry about the long wait.
    – Marc
    Apr 14, 2017 at 12:13
  • I can't find any links to Doctor Fonville, could you give me a source if you have one. just interested.
    – Marc
    Apr 14, 2017 at 12:16
  • Audio of the sermon as well as a text outline can be found here: paramountchurch.com/sermons/sermon/2011-09-25/…
    – Andrew
    Apr 18, 2017 at 16:24

The Catholic perspective on Baptism is works righteousness, because it is a wide belief that it alone saves by literally washing away your sins, though it is an outward act. Baptists refute this of course with

1 Pet. 3:21 "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

In this capacity, Catholics are absolutely works righteous teachers.

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    The Catechism of the Catholic Church that is posted on the Vatican's web site contradicts what you state. See vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P3M.HTM. Although it states that "the Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude", it also provides examples of those for whom it holds that salvation is affirmed without baptism. [I am Orthodox, not Roman Catholic by the way, not that it is relevant.]
    – user22553
    Aug 18, 2016 at 14:00
  • Then that is not my problem even remotely. They argue that only baptism assures salvation, and then provide examples wherein that was not the case, even though it is absolutely absurd to ever assert that someone is saved, unless indicated by the scriptures. They idolize their saints and popes, and dethrone God.
    – user191160
    Aug 18, 2016 at 14:06
  • Your argument is (a) Roman Catholicism holds a "wide belief" that Baptism "alone saves by literally washing away your sins"; (b) "the Catholic perspective on Baptism is works righteousness"; (c) [implied] "works righteousness" is equivalent to being "saved by works"; therefore (d) Roman Catholicism professes that we are "saved by Works". The argument may be valid, but it is not sound since at the very least your premise (a) is not true. The aforementioned Catechism clearly states "God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but He Himself is not bound by His sacraments".
    – user22553
    Aug 18, 2016 at 15:15
  • So now they've created an God who is inconsistent and a Christ with noneffacacious blood.
    – user191160
    Aug 18, 2016 at 15:57
  • The question was whether any particular denomination states that we are saved by works. Whether their position seems incorrect or inconsistent to us would be a different topic.
    – user22553
    Aug 18, 2016 at 16:14

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