1) That is a gift from God
2) That it is accomplished by Christ’s death
3) That there is nothing we can do to be worthy of salvation.
The main difference, in a nutshell, is that salvation is a [b:3j1yo3wu]process[/b:3j1yo3wu] and not simply an [b:3j1yo3wu]act[/b:3j1yo3wu].[/quote:3j1yo3wu]
Well the problems are many. You can’t lump all Protestants into the same mold. They teach a wide variety of doctrines. There are those who take one verse from scripture and build an entire theology from it. They believe in Absolute Predestination, these follow the “Orthodox Calvinist” or “Orthodox Presbyterian” camp. According to them there are those that God has already saved (the elect) and already damned. The Elect will find it totally compelling to be Christians, and the damned will be either non-religious or join a church but not be fully Chrisitan. You can tell the elect because they will be properous, and the damned will have illness and poverty as their lot in life.
Other Protestants say that Once you say “Jesus is my Lord and Savior, I accept Him alone” you are saved, going to heaven, and nothing can undo that. These Once Saved, always saved people, also seem to be able to look at someone and tell you that their conversion was or was not real. If someone they like “backslides” or lives a sinful life after accepting Jesus, they are either “saved anyway by Jesus” or “never really accepted Jesus” and are damned. I knew a guy who was raised Baptist, “got saved” at 13, and then went on to live a homosexual lifestyle. His old pastor said that he knew his family, and they were a good churchgoing family that tithed, so the guy was always saved. Another member of the congregation who had a similar story the family brought him into their home when he was diagnosed with AIDS. The Church shunned the family and the pastor said that all of them made an false acceptance of Christ and were not saved.
There are any number of theories among Protestants that vary between the two.
Can the Catholic position be supported? We do believe God is the author of salvation. It is a free Gift, and it is by the Passion, Death, and Rising from the dead of Jesus, nothing we do on our own makes us worthy for salvation. But is the rest of the Catholic position (which differs from most Protestants) rally true.
Biblically we see that Jesus does say say to those who He healed, that their faith had saved them. He told the thief on the cross, who recognized Jesus for who he was that he was assured of heaven. But Jesus and the Apostles also lay down other conditions, baptism, (which many Protestants deny has anything to do with salvation, but is just a ceremony to express our commitment, and not a rite that God uses to change us) and contiuing to live a life of holiness, we see Jesus giving the Apostles the authority to forgive sins. St. Paul tells us about “running the good race”. St. James about how Faith without Works is useless. Most importantly when we read the New Testament in the original Greek the word used for salvation is not a finished or completed salvation but as Jon mentioned a transitional verb, something not yet completed on our part, something we are in the process of doing, or participating in.