This flow chart shows how basic Church doctrines fit together.
Forgive us, we know it looks like a new board game :-) Anyway, the major difference between
Evangelical thought and Catholic Doctrine is that Catholics believe baptism is
the critical moment of salvation. However, baptism brings with it an expectation
that we will truly surrender our lives to Jesus as we mature. Theoretically, that
point is at Confirmation, but for many Catholics, it comes much later, usually during a personal crisis where we really have a "conversion of heart" and surrender to Jesus (Catechism
1428,1430), similar to what an Evangelical would call being "Born Again". Catholics feel we "must endure to the end"
(2 Tim 2:12) rather than the "once saved, always saved" theory. But
Catholics believe God never forgets the indelible seal that is imparted at
baptism and is always calling and waiting for us to turn to Him. I've used the
classic "Evangelical Bridge Diagram" to emphasize similarities. This diagram may seem complicated but Catholics don't think God is afraid of complexity. (i.e., look at a dragonfly) This
diagram is an image map. Simply move your mouse over the picture
and click on any word or box to see an article about that subject.
(also in PDF or in Print Friendly format)
Here's how John Pacheco at www.Catholic-legate.org explains it. This is a good accompaniment to the diagram
Empty Cup: Soul before baptism, lack of sanctifying grace
Water: Sanctifying Grace
Act of pouring water into cup: Infusion of sanctifying grace through the act of baptizing
Commission of Venial Sin: Water in cup becomes dirty
Commission of Mortal Sin: Water is poured out of cup
Act of True Repentance via Sacrament of Reconciliation: Pure Water is poured back into cup
Purgatory: Water is poured through filter and cleansed
Purpose in life: Let Jesus' sanctifying Grace be the water in the cup: no water in cup; no salvation.