CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.
CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema
CANON XIII.-If any one saith, that it is necessary for every one, for the obtaining the remission of sins, that he believe for certain, and without any wavering arising from his own infirmity and disposition, that his sins are forgiven him; let him be anathema.
CANON XV.-If any one saith, that a man, who is born again and justified, is bound of faith to believe that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; let him be anathema.
CANON XX.-If any one saith, that the man who is justified and how perfect soever, is not bound to observe the commandments of God and of the Church, but only to believe; as if indeed the Gospel were a bare and absolute promise of eternal life, without the condition of observing the commandments ; let him be anathema
The Bible gives us many warnings about who will get saved and who won't be saved. John 3:36 tells us, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." There are also places such as 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 which says, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." On the other hand, Romans 10:15 tells us, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!." This gospel of peace means little to someone that isn't even aware that they are lost. The fact is that unless someone is aware of this danger of Hell, they'll not see the need for repentance or to be cleansed from sin in their lives.
What does the word anathema mean? Webster's dictionary has 1) a thing or person accursed or damned. 2) a solemn ecclesiastical condemnation of a teaching judged to be gravely opposed to accepted church doctrine, or of the originators or supporters of such a teaching.
Above, I have given 5 examples from the possible 100 anathemas given by the Council of Trent. Naturally after reading these anathemas, I have to wonder why Dave Armstrong, a Catholic apologist, would write on his website. "The Catholic Church however makes no presumption as to the eternal destiny of any individual whatsoever (not even Martin Luther, whom many Protestants might suspect was on our 'damned' list). Most emphatically: neither anathema nor excommunication 'proclaimed damned (by the Church),' as many Protestants mistakenly suppose. The more literal meanings are 'out of the Church' (in the sense of divergence from its doctrines) or out off 'communion' (with the sacraments and christian fellowship of believers)." Be that as it may, let's look at Scriptures to see if these anathemas are to be taken seriously as if they wer given by God.
In the Bible, anathemas are far and few to be found. Paul states the facts in Galatians 1:8,9, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." Aside from this verse and those mentioned above, God doesn't give out anathemas against people usually, but He does give us the plain and simple gospel. He says in John 3:16, "whosoever believes will be saved." going on to say that there is no other way to get saved. Those that don't believe it are already damned. The problem with the five samples given in the beginning of this article is that they actually go against Scriptures.
Looking closer at His Word, John 6:28,29 tells us that whosoever believes in the finished work of Christ would be saved. What was His work? To save sinners by His shed blood. It’s a free gift, one that cannot be earned, but rather imputed to the believer's account when they first accept it. It (our salvation) cannot be for something we do, because that would make it a wage. (see Romans 4:4) As 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, it's the great exchange, His righteousness for our sins! Galatians 2:16 says, "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified." And add in Titus 2:14: "That He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works." and Titus 3:5, "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit."
When a church pronounces an anathema against you, it cannot keep you out of Heaven. They only have the power to kick you out of their church and forbid you to take part in their rituals and services. However, when the Bible holds you to be under an anathema, then you would have cause to be concerned.
While trying to bring "the truth in love" to the world, I am often asked the question, "Who are you to judge?" This question stems from those of whom are aware of the Scripture verse that says, "Judge not, that you be not judged." (Matthew 7:1) The problem is that they do not know of the Scriptures that tell us, "The spiritual man makes judgments about all things," (1 Corinthians 2:15 ) and "Test all things; hold fast what is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21) The only difference is that they are judging the person to be saved and they would never say such a thing to someone whom says "good things" about another. So now one might question "who is really judging whom?" Being politically correct is not as important as being Biblically sound when you stand before Jesus on Judgment Day. We should heed Paul's writings in Colossians 2:8, " Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." Knowing the Bible to be God's inerrant word and to acknowledge it to have the authoritative place that it was meant to have when God gave us this book, will help you to discern what the truth is or isn't, and thus, you'll be free from any anathema or the power of an anathema to scare you. Praise God for His Holy Word!