Arther F. Holmes asks, "Is doing good all that counts in a Christian ethic?" What does this mean?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two main components to ethics, an internal one consisting of intentions and an external one consisting of acts. Different Christian denominations weight these two differently. Roman Catholicism , Jewish Christianity, and the Epistle of James emphasize salvation by works, while most Protestant denominations and the Pauline epistles argue for salvation by faith. Most systems of practical Christian ethics combine some elements of action and intention in evaluating any action, so that, for example, finding and returning a lost kitten would count as a good act, but not if your sole motivation was that there was a reward involved.