The idea that the corrupt Catholic Church of the renaissance was not, and could not ever be conducive to providing for and maintaining a personal relationship with Christ pure pandering to the emotionally obsessed. You will see it all the time with people asking “Have you accepted Christ into your heart as your personal Lord and savior?” At the heart of it, Protestantism is the religion of emotional experiences devoid of any objective means to place any trust in the doctrines it proposes. What does it even mean to say one has accepted Jesus into their heart as their personal Lord and Savior? It is true that we will all be judged separately, but it is not true that we will be saved based solely on a personal relationship with Christ. Our Lord tells us that He and His Church are one. He does not look at his Bride in multiplicities. He has one body by which we as people enter into through Baptism. This Baptism is not had apart from His Bride. Baptism is not just a indivual act. We cannot baptize ourselves. St. Paul puts it this way
20 But now there are many members indeed, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand: I need not thy help; nor again the head to the feet: I have no need of you. 22 Yea, much more those that seem to be the more feeble members of the body, are more necessary. 23 And such as we think to be the less honourable members of the body, about these we put more abundant honour; and those that are our uncomely parts, have more abundant comeliness. 24 But our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, giving to that which wanted the more abundant honour,25 That there might be no schism in the body; but the members might be mutually careful one for another. 26 And if one member suffer any thing, all the members suffer with it; or if one member glory, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members of member. We as individuals are brought into the Church and sanctified through Her. This is done with the help of the sacraments and in unison with the prayers and intercessions we make in Christ on behalf of one another.
Martin Luther and Glenn Beck both have something in common, they are addicted to the notion of rugged individualism. That understanding God will save us apart from others and that all he wants us to do is say we believe and that is all we need is a passing of the buck.
If we fail to do the spiritual works of mercy when they are justly presented to us we fail to observe the order that has been presented us in this world by God who has put His Order (will) into His creation to observe. If we willfully choose not to observe this ordering we create disorder, in other words sin. And we do this of our own free will. Luther, like Calvin, ultimately denied free will. By saying the individual is more important than being part of the One Body, Christ’s Church – the Catholic Church – Beck and Luther fail to observe the virtue of Humility, falling to pride. I did it my way is the song of those in Hell, not those that are humble in observing the virtue of obedience. Great, know Christ personally, but realize that Christ does not leave us to our own means to know who he is and how he wishes to bring us into a family relationship with him. Left to our own rugged individualist desires we will most assuredly seek after means that will placate the senses like warm feelings and agreeable ideas to the way we currently live our lives. So like the Ethiopian Eunuch, we are not just called to say we have faith and be content in our personal interpretations. God has placed in his Church authorities over us as Paul relates later in the same verse. To know this authority we are not left with warm feelings like the Mormons and Lutherans ultimately have to appeal to when declaring their doctrines to be true. Through the laying on of hands we have an objective means that can be traced to the Apostles themselves who appointed and gave their authority to others to continue on until the end of time teaching the faith and confecting the sacraments.
We are saved through the Church who is one with Her Bridegroom. And no one comes to the Father but through the Son. As the Apostolic Fathers and all others that were taught by the Apostles themselves taught the Bishops are the successors to the Apostles and in them is Christs authority to loose and bind. Christ said to them “He who hears you hears me, and he who despises you despises me”, I will be with you until the end of time”, the spirit of Truth which he granted to the Apostles “will lead you to all truths”. This is not a subjective matter but a reality that can be known objectively. That Luther struggled with the understanding that the sacraments are not dependent on his own ability to deserve or merit their graces clearly shows his distaste for anything objective. Everything was determined by feelings. He felt it right not to obey a Pope if he did not personally give his consent to him… like a Pharisee to Christ. Because Luther was nothing more than a Pharisee in his own day, unable to see the gift given regardless of the person, and to submit in humble gratitude for the gift.
Gratitude, Humility and obedience – these are gifts a Catholic possesses because he realizes he is not his own.