Clinton at Al Smith Dinner: ‘In Order to Achieve Salvation, We Need Both Faith and Good Works’

clinton-102016-compressedNEW YORK — During Thursday night’s Al Smith charity dinner in New York City, which featured speeches from both presidential candidates, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton told those gathered that she shares a belief with Roman Catholics that to “achieve salvation,” a person must have “both faith and good works.”

“I am not Catholic. I’m a Methodist. But one of the things we share is a belief that in order to achieve salvation, we need both faith and good works,” Clinton told those gathered.

She made her remarks while speaking about the legacy of the late Al Smith, a former Democratic governor of New York who was believed to be the nation’s first Roman Catholic nominee for president. He was defeated in the 1928 election by Republican Herbert Hoover after being opposed by some for his Catholicism.

“When I think about what Al Smith went through, it is important to just reflect how groundbreaking it was for him, a Catholic, to be my party’s nominee for president,” Clinton said.

“Don’t forget, school boards sent home letters with children saying that if Al Smith is elected president, you will not be allowed to have or read a Bible. Voters were told that he would annul Protestant marriages,” she continued. “And I saw a story recently that said people even claimed the Holland Tunnel was a secret passageway to connect Rome and America to help the pope rule our country.”

Clinton opined that such statements only cause division and hostility among the people.

“Those appeals to fear and division can cause us to treat each other as the other. Rhetoric like that makes it harder for us to see each other, to respect each other, to listen to each other, and certainly a lot harder to love our neighbor as ourselves,” she said. “I believe the way we treat other is the highest expression of faith and of service.”

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The Democratic nominee then stated that while she is not Catholic herself, she shares the Roman Catholic belief “that in order to achieve salvation, we need both faith and good works.”

“And you certainly don’t need to be Catholic to be inspired by the humility and heart of the holy father, Pope Francis,” Clinton said, drawing applause. “Or to embrace his message about rejecting a mindset of hostility, his calls to reduce inequality, his warnings about climate change, [and] his appeal that we build bridges, not walls.”

While dissent from the view exists among Roman Catholics, some teach that both faith and works are needed for salvation. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 2, paragraph 2010, “Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.”

It also repeats at paragraph 2027, “No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.”

Christians, however, believe that one’s works are not a part of salvation, but rather the evidence of it.

Ephesians 2: 8-9 reads,”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

James 2:18 also states, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”


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  • Amos Moses

    “I am not Catholic. I’m a Methodist. But one of the things we share is a belief that in order to achieve salvation, we need both faith and good works,”

    3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
    3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
    3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
    3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
    3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

    Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us

    God does not need our good works …… our neighbor does ………….

  • petseeker11

    This is in response to the controversy with WikiLeaks saying she didn’t like catholics. And a counter to Trumps remarks at the roast.

    • Amos Moses

      No …. this is in response to Wikileaks REPORTING and REVEALING what HRC said in emails ….. Wikileaks did not say she did not like Catholics ….. SHE did …. and she wrote it …….

  • hytre64✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    To say that you need both faith AND Good Works to “achieve” salvation is to say that Jesus’ work on the Cross was somehow insufficient to save us from our sins, and that by YOUR works, you somehow complete the sacrifice that Jesus, the Perfect, Sinless, Son of God was unable to do. That is both pride and blasphemy.

    The verse in James quoted is really saying that your faith in God and in the salvation He has provided you will produce works as a result. It is not that through these works you will “achieve” salvation.

    • Trilemma

      Ms. Clinton didn’t say salvation is achieved through goods works. She said it’s achieved through both faith and good works. The Bible clearly teaches faith is necessary but it also teaches that good works are necessary. James 2:24 says, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” –NASB What James is teaching is that a person’s faith will be judged by that person’s works. No works means no faith. No faith means no salvation.

      • hytre64✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        The Thief on the Cross had done no “Good Works”, yet by his faith in Him, Jesus said that he was saved.

        • Trilemma

          He publicly rebuked the other thief.

      • IzTheBiz

        She has also been very clear about her view of abortion, and of making it easier for women to have abortions even later. You shall judge them by their fruits. Neither murderers, nor LIARS will inherit the kingdom of God

  • Emmanuel

    It’s sad that both candidates have no Bible knowledge and don’t follow the Biblical teachings but they sure love to talk like they do. It’s better to say “I don’t care for the Bible and it’s teachings” Instead of pretending.

    • Chet

      There is one party proudly functioning entirely as anti God and anti Christ – democrat party…

      • Emmanuel

        I agree 100% but the GOP is getting closer and closer.

        • Chet

          Dear Lord willing, sinner Trump will win. I firmly believe God Almighty will work in and through him for the betterment of this nation and our relationship with our best friend, Israel. So, this sinner casts his lot with sinner Trump over sinner Hillary as far and away the best suited candidate to serve America as her president. Love your Cross icon.

          • Emmanuel

            Thanks, I had to have it as my pic. Chet, I understand what you are saying but I’m having a hard time with this election. I can’t go with either so third option might be my only way out. As for Christian principles, these two lack the basics.

          • Chet

            I have a very hard time envisioning the continued “fundamental transformation” of America under duress resulting in more of the anti God anti Christ, Constitution ignoring, Israel snubbing, racially divisive, economy plundering, ally bewildering, enemy animating, millennial deceiving, law enforcement decrying, nation debt compounding, energy independence denying, military diminishing, gender perplexing, inner city neglecting, Mother Earth Worshipping dems running this nation into the ground. No more, not for me, no Sir… Trump need prayer and encouragement as he makes his peace with God Almighty and his family via the Lord Jesus Christ. He owes me nothing, as I too am but a sinner saved by grace, cleansed in the precious blood of Jesus and kept by Hi power, alone. Any third candidate you might consider is just a throw-away vote which will ensure queen Hillary’s victory and the country’s suffering and that of Israel…

          • Emmanuel

            I agree with you about being a sinner that NEEDS Christ’s forgiveness. No question. We all need Jesus.
            A third candidate is legal, my right and my voice. You are saying that I have no voice or my voice does not count. My voice is as loud as yours and anyone’s. We live a country with options. We live in a county with many rights and privileges. If we only have two options, we are only one step better than Cuba. Also, if the GOP wanted my vote, they would have produced a real leader. They would have worried about the supreme court, taxes and so on. But, they failed. Failed miserably.

          • Chet

            No, brother Emmanuel, you somehow misunderstood my point. I agree with all you just said, however, no third party candidate can win, period. And a vote for such merely makes queen Hillary’s ascension to the throne all the more attainable. I am not of the mind that God cannot work in and through Trump with his feet of clay just as my own. The lord used many sinners in Hid =s Word for His good-will and purpose and each and every one had to be prepared via His Holy Spirit. Man, you recall He even use a donkey. Trump just might be the man the Lord will work wondrously through. And I’m willing to take the chance as I fully know the wickedness of the alternate option, i.e,. abortion and homosexual marriage and dividing of Israel and willful failure to recognize Jerusalem as her capitol. And much, much more reasons abounding to not continue America in this godless “fundamental transformation” under duress. I’l continue to pray for Trump/Pence and their families and for the salvation of this once God fearing, Christ honoring nation. God bless…

          • Emmanuel

            I agree with you. God uses the most unlikely. I know that a third candidate will not win today but if we start pushing it, we can win later. But, the move needs to start today or it will never happen. I want change, good change and it has to start some time.

          • Chet

            I’me very concerned that with a queen Hillary and dems running this nation into the quicksand, well, there’s not likely going to be a chance for a win later. The country will quickly deteriorate into Socialism/Communism with even more anti God anti Christ, non Constitution abiding fanatical haters…

          • Emmanuel

            Yes, I agree. Who do we blame for this? GOP.
            They did not produce a leader worthy of GOP, independents and other party voters to stop the Dem Diva. Obama handed them the WH and their incompetency messed it up. If many of us vote third party, I hope GOP wakes up, throws out all the liberals in the party and reinvent themselves as a Christian, conservative and honorable party. I will pray for that.

          • Chet

            And I think what you’ve stated is indeed possible following this soon election. One thing Trump is standing for is Term Limitations, something no other repub has stood for in the recent past. And for sure, no repub anywhere has ever made such a strong appeal to end abortion and defunding of current abortion provider, PP. Trump’s case against partial birth abortion has never been quite so communicate in public. God bless, Emmanuel, God with us….

          • Emmanuel

            Chet, thanks for this discussion. It’s good to have an adult conversation. I want term limits and limited spending. But, congress will never cut their own pay check. They will never limit themselves.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Hillary’s infanticide is evil, and nothing good.

  • james blue

    Regardless of your beliefs about the path to salvation isn’t good works something we should aspire to just as human beings?

    • Bacchus

      You atheists do nothing for charity, you just bash Christians.

      Never met a compassionate atheist, never expect to.

      People who build gulags do not give to charity.

      • james blue

        “You atheists”?

        I’m guessing you have never met an Atheist knowingly.

        • Leftistan

          They all sck. Just alike.

      • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

        They like to come to Christian sites to bash Christians.

    • JLH

      James blue, you are right. Just as a human, we should be caring for one another. But it will never reconcile you to God. You can do all the good you want, but in the end, your reward for all that is only while you breathe this air.

      Sadly, not all can sense the power of God. Those of us who can, cannot explain to you how we know, yet you do not. That’s because, as God’s Word says, His presence is not intellectually attained. God says, in His Word, this: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him; and he cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned;” That’s I Corinthians 2:14.

      So, yes, doing good things for others is always the better path, but it gets you nothing beyond this life, if you have never once allowed yourself to consider the possibility that there is something – someone – beyond ourselves that puts into us the ability to be good, or to be evil. Being a believer takes great courage nowadays. The easy way out is to deny God exists, and just do your own thing, as you see fit.

    • JLH

      James blue, P.S.: Don’t let those who spew unkindness toward you get to you. We who truly, genuinely know our Lord cannot do such things with such cold, callous hatred as is displayed here. We are not all like that. Some of us still love and care about those who cannot sense God’s presence or believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We are in sorrow for the eternal souls of those who reject God, because we sense, with spiritual discernment that they cannot manufacture a belief they do not have.

      I pray that God will reveal Himself in your life in tremendous ways, so much so that you must consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there is something to the belief in Jesus as our only hope. I pray that you are given yet another chance to escape the damnation that awaits those who lie to you, cheat you from knowing the real truth, and steal your soul, for the sake of their own power.

      • james blue

        Perhaps you should consider if you are making assumptions about my faith.

    • Lloyd Peacock

      Amen James, I was wondering how long it would take for the so-called Christians to come out and try to destroy Mrs. Clinton over these remarks. She spoke correctly as the Catholic Church spoke regarding faith and good works and grace. Thank Heaven she has more grace than most of what I am reading here and a follower of Jesus Christ also more than what I am reading here. If you look at the good works that Mrs. Clinton has done over the years., it was and is her faith that inspires that and she knows. The other, unfortunately wouldn’t know grace and good works if it hit him in the face.

  • michael louwe

    Salvation is solely thru faith in Jesus the Christ/Messiah. Good works will not save people from hell. Only Jesus the Christ/Messiah can save people from hell.(GAL.2:16)
    …….Good works will only give people a good n long life on earth = good-doing Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, etc who hv enjoyed a good n long life on earth will still be bound for hell when they die bc their inborn Adamic/satanic/evil/dirty hearts hv not been atoned for or cleansed by sacrificial blood.(LEV.17:11, ROM.5:12)

    OTOH, the faithful in Christ do not intentionally do evil works or commit sins. If they hv ignorantly done evil works n then got cursed/punished by God, they will repent like Job n Paul/Saul of Tarsus.(1JOHN.1:5-2:6 & 3:4-10 & 5:16-21)
    ……. IOW, good works should always follow after faith in Christ. This is what identifies true Christians from false Christians, similar to the evil works of vote-pandering identifying the liberal Democrats n Hillary. …

    MATT.7 = 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
    .
    .
    .
    P S – Since the 1960s, to pander for votes in order to defeat the conservatives of the Red/Southern States in US Federal elections, the liberals of the Blue/Northern States hv given the Blacks special legal protection, affirmative-actions, easy welfare benefits, etc; hv given the Hispanics legal protection from Federal immigration laws(= Amnesty or the Dream Act); hv given the unions huge pay packets; hv given feminists women-power n abortion-rights; hv given the LGBTQs legal same-sex marriage n spousal benefits, etc.

    • Trilemma

      But Matthew 7:21 says that both faith and good works are necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven. Doing the will of the will of the Father means doing good works.
      Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ (by faith) shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does (good works according to) the will of My Father in heaven.

      • michael louwe

        MATT.7 = You Will Know Them by Their Fruits

        15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
        .
        .
        JOHN.3:16 = 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
        _ _ _ _ _ _ _

        Only for true Christians, will their true faith in Jesus/God brings forth good works. For false Christians, misguided Christians n false prophets, they bring forth evil works/fruits of lawlessness bc of their false faith in Jesus/God.

      • hytre64✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        The FRUIT produced by a saving faith is evidenced in the works produced. The works themselves DO NOT SAVE YOU.

        Eph 2:8-9For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

        or in the Ampified

        For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]

  • Chet

    I heard her utter those words. And she is wrong and those who know their own Holy Bibles know faith saves the soul, alone, while good works follow thereafter as a testament to such, not to supplement and/or increase one’s chances with the Holy One of Israel…

  • JLH

    I’m not a Catholic, but I have read God’s Word carefully, and thoroughly. I always wondered where the asinine belief came from that says WE humans can earn our own salvation, by doing good, or lose it by doing bad. That is clearly not what the Word says.

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    This very clearly says that if one can BELIEVE, that is what saves from perishing. There is no mention of works, here. John 5:24 says this: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

    Clearly, if you are capable of believing that Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God, you never come up for judgment. If you can truly grasp what that belief means – to cling to, to rely on, to adhere to all His teachings – to TRUST Him, then you are a believer. That means you are changed, and sin no longer controls you.

    To believe you can earn or lose your salvation by your own good or bad behavior is a spit in God’s eye, when He clearly says, it comes only from accepting the sacrifice His own earth-born Son made, so we could ALL be saved.

    Now I know that the Catholic teachings are very flawed. I have always believed so, simply because of what I have read in the Word.

  • Theophilus1

    I had the great joy of seeing both Italian grandparents living in the shadow of the Vatican come to know Christ through the gift of faith granted to them. My grandfather saw the hypocrisy and didn’t believe in this so-called Christianity while my grandmother did good works for the poor and prayed on her knees to statues of saints. They both came to true faith in their late 80’s before they died.

  • Trilemma

    In Order to Achieve Salvation, We Need Both Faith and Good Works.

    This is what the Bible teaches so Ms. Clinton is correct and clearly knows her Bible.

    In the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25, both the sheep and the goats had faith but they were judged by their works. The sheep achieved salvation because they had both faith and works. The goats didn’t have works so they were condemned.

    • hytre64✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Good works are evidence that your faith is real, they are not the source of your salvation.

      The thief on the cross has NO good works, yet Jesus said that he would be with Jesus in Paradise.

      • Trilemma

        I’m not saying good works are the source of salvation. Faith is not the source of salvation either. What I’m saying is that good works are necessary evidence of real faith. You need both the faith and the evidence of that faith.

        The thief on the cross was kind of limited in his ability to do good works. But he did rebuke the other thief.

        • hytre64✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          Acts 29-31And he (the jailer) called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? ” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.

          We are saved by faith – and even that was a gift from God (lest any man should boast) [Eph 2:8-9]. Once we are saved, our faith and our new nature will become evident by the works that are produced. What then, is the order of things?

          1) Jesus died on the cross as a payment for the sins of all mankind
          2) We receive the gift of faith from God actually have faith in Jesus and accept Him as Lord and Savior and receive the forgiveness of our sins. This is called being “Saved”.
          3) With #2, we become a New Creation [2 Cor 5:17] and put the old self to death & receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
          4) Being a new creature, empowered by the Holy Spirit, our faith is made evident through the works done in our lives. If your life does not have fruit, then see if you actually have any faith. You might need to repent and go back to step #2.

          • Trilemma

            How do you reconcile what Paul taught with what James taught in James 2:24 which says, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” –NASB.

            Personally, I take James at face value and interpret Paul’s idea of faith as an active, works producing faith. For Paul, good works are an attribute of faith and not something separate from faith as James addresses them. I think James was trying to correct a misinterpretation people had concerning Paul’s teachings.

          • hytre64✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Justification is not the same as Salvation

            Salvation – Being saved from sin, its slavery and its consequences / becoming an co-heir Jesus / Eternal Life / being empowered by God to do His will… (I don’t have the full list of 31 attributes of salvation from my School of Ministry class in front of me).

            IIRC, Salvation can be broken into three stages
            1) Justification – is a pronouncement to clear the guilty
            2) Sanctified – is a continual process that conforms us into the image of the Son of God
            3) Glorified – The completion of our Christian life on earth, at the end of the sanctification process and occurs when we get to Heaven.

            I believe that both James & Paul were trying to show the full meaning of being saved.

            Faith without the evidence of Works is dead.
            Works without Faith is a religious spirit – and also dead.

            First you have faith in Jesus for your salvation and are saved. You then put your first Work to that Faith by confessing Him before men as your personal Lord and Savior. Throughout your Christian walk, your faith is challenged and should continue to grow – by exercising your faith through doing the works – this Paul calls, “working out your salvation with Fear and Trembling”.

          • Trilemma

            I had never heard of the three stages of salvation before so this is new to me. I found a website that explains it more fully.

            1) Justification. According to James, justification is by works and not by faith alone.
            2) Sanctification. If sanctification is achieved by exercising faith through doing works then that seems to say that works are needed for sanctification.

            If works are needed for both justification and sanctification then works must be necessary to achieve salvation.

            Faith without the evidence of Works is dead.
            Works without Faith is a religious spirit – and also dead.

            I agree which is why I claim that both faith and works are needed to achieve salvation. Either one without the other won’t do it.

          • hytre64✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Rom 4:1-3 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

          • Trilemma

            Romans 3:28 – NASB
            For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

            James 2:24 – NASB
            You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            How do you reconcile this contradiction?

  • Amos Moses

    Join Me, Christians. I Promise To Grant Your Religious Liberty A Quick, Clean Death

    • Trilemma

      If you like your religious liberty, you can keep your religious liberty ~ BHO

      • Amos Moses

        OUCH …. that is a good one ………..