Do Protestants Think Catholics Are Saved?

Do Catholics believe Protestants aren't saved? I can't answer that, but let me attempt to answer whether Protestants think Catholics are saved.
I'm an evangelical Protestant Christian, and I've written about several Catholic people whom I consider great examples of faith:

✔ Father Placid, a man I met in person, a Hungarian priest who suffered 10 years for his faith in a cruel Russian gulag. (Read Here.)

 Blaise Pascal who shared his faith and his incredible wisdom to glorify God. (Read Here.)

✔ Father Damian who gave up his life and health to help those who had leprosy. (Read Here.)

When I've written about these men I've had readers write and ask if I think Catholics are saved. So let me explain why I think these 3 men were saved.

As a Bible-believing Protestant, I believe what Scripture teaches about salvation:
✔ We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). 
✔ Faith is more than mere words. It's a heart decision (Romans 10:9-11; 1 Corinthians 4:20). 
✔ We must believe that there is no way to heaven except through belief in Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; John 3:36). 
✔ We are not saved by good works and obedience, but good works and obedience are signs that we are saved (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14-26; John 14:21; 1 John 3:6).
✔ The way we come to faith is through the knowledge of these things as presented in God's inerrant Word, the Bible (Romans 10:17; 2 Corinthians 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21). 

Do Catholics believe Protestants aren't saved? I can't answer that, but let me attempt to answer whether Protestants think Catholics are saved.
If a Catholic embraces the essential doctrines of faith in Christ, but also believes some doctrinal errors, does this mean he can't be saved? 

It depends on what errors he believes and it depends on the sincerity of his faith.

We cannot know a person's heart. We can only examine their words and their behavior. 

I personally spoke with Father Placid several times, and not only did he suffer for his faith, all that he explained to me was in keeping with sound doctrine. Did he believe some things I don't consider sound doctrine? Probably. Could I be wrong about his salvation? I could. 

But let's put this in perspective with a Protestant example: Protestant churches don't agree in some major areas. Calvinist denominations believe God chooses beforehand who will be saved and who will go to Hell. Non-Calvinist denominations believe each man and woman have a genuine opportunity to make a decision to follow or reject Christ. 

Both views cannot be right, so does that mean that only one of these groups will go to heaven and the other go to Hell? 

Some harsh legalists might believe this, but most people on either side of the debate, agree that as long as a person believes in the essentials of salvation, they are saved.

In reality both Calvinists and non-Calvinists are probably a little bit right and a little bit wrong. Bible-believing Christians have debated this issue for hundreds of years. 

If perfect doctrine is required for salvation, very few people would make it to heaven. Deuteronomy 29:29 and 1 Corinthians 13:12 help us understand we cannot fully understand every detail of the infinite wisdom of God. But we can know those things essential to our salvation (2 Peter 1:3).

I'm glad that God looks at our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7).

The Bible teaches that Christians are saved by grace alone but we are saved to do good works. The Catholic doctrine says we are saved by grace but we must also participate in certain church rituals and do good works. 

If a Protestant and Catholic repent of their sins and fully trust Christ, will the Catholic be sent to Hell because he believes he also needed to do good works?

If your answer is yes, can you be sure that you are saved? What if you believe an error? What if you've misunderstood the gifts of the Spirit or the method of baptism or the meaning of submission? Will you go to Hell for a misunderstanding even if you've genuinely asked Christ to be your Lord and Savior?

I believe Father Placid, Blaise Pascal, and Father Damian genuinely asked Christ to be their Savior and deeply desired to live for Him. But it's very likely that they all held some doctrinal views that were wrong.  

Do Catholics believe Protestants aren't saved? I can't answer that, but let me attempt to answer whether Protestants think Catholics are saved.
Martin Luther was the great Protestant reformer, but Bible scholars have disputed elements of his doctrine as well. However, few would doubt that he was saved even though he didn't hold the same beliefs as evangelical Protestants today.

Bottom line: We cannot know a person's heart, but if they believe what Scripture teaches about the character and deity of Christ, the atoning death of Christ, the validity and inerrancy of God's Word, the other errors may affect their faith but they won't prevent them from serving God and living with Him in eternity. 

Please note that the Mormon (LDS) church and the Jehovah Witnesses are in a completely different category from the Catholics. They not only have enormous errors in their doctrine, they also claim that Jesus is not God. Believing Jesus is God is an essential element of salvation, a non-negotiable. If they want to be saved, they will realize they must leave their churches and denounce their church doctrines. See Articles on Mormonism.

For other insights into this question, see Are Catholics Saved by Got Questions and a more detailed explanation by John Piper in Can a Devout Roman Catholic be Genuinely Born Again?  You also might want to watch this 2 minute video by Dr. Al Mohler: Millions of Believers... 
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