Catholics are Christians…no?

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was just reading a blog on a celebrity who was rumoured to convert his religion to Christianity from being a Catholic and there were numerous comments made that Catholics are already Christians; so what is the big deal and so on.

my mom is a Catholic, and i’m a Protestant, is she a Christian?

she was brought up that way, her side of the family are Catholics but some of them have converted to being Protestants a few years ago. and because of that, there’s conflict sometimes when they get together. to my mom, she is a Christian because Protestants and Catholics believe in the same God, who is Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity.

as for me, i grew up with what my paternal family believed in (Taoism) and then later i found salvation and became a Protestant when i was 19. it’s nearly a decade now. personally, i’d like to see my whole family saved, so i’d like to think that my mom is a Christian – i’m hoping and praying that she believes and confesses that Jesus is her only Saviour, though i know she still prays to Mary.

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26 responses »

  1. The Roman Catholic Church’s way of salvation is different from the Lord Jesus’s way of salvation.

    They’re not the same, though I don’t doubt for a moment that there are truly born again christians in the Catholic church.

  2. true, just as not all catholics are christians, not all christians are really christians 😛 some ‘christians’ think of christianity as just a religion, a once a year christmas thingy etc. a person is truly christian if he/she is a follower of Christ, who loves Jesus, worships Him alone, obeys all He says, and depends on His word. we don’t have to be denominational about it, but bottomline is what the person believes about Christ and the salvation He gives, that it’s not about works but by grace alone…

  3. Regarding Mary, the council of Ephesus in 431AD decreed that she is Theotokus (in Greek), means God-bearer or the one who gives birth to God. According to this decree, it means Mary is the one chosen by God to give birth to Jesus physically, and it ends here. However, the meaning of Theotokus was lost in translation, when people started to think that she is the Mother of God forever and ever. (look for the articles in wikipedia, my fav source of info). For me, it is mind-boggling how this unfounded doctrine has its hold on millions of Catholics when references to Mary are mainly found in the beginning of the Gospels, and the epistles make no mention of her at all. All scripture (old testament and new testament) draws our attention to the ever living God, to Emmanuel, to our majestic Lord Jesus, and yet, somehow, somewhere in history they manage to turn the eyes of million to worship the human Mary. Unbelievable. To place Mary on the same level as Jesus, to me, is heretical. Isn’t this idol worship?

  4. so it’s not as simple as, you’re saved if you believe and worship Jesus (if you’re a Catholic)?

    The Roman Catholic Church’s way of salvation is different from the Lord Jesus’s way of salvation.

    guna, pls elaborate. i’d like to know.

  5. Hi cliann. I was browsing through our little blogging community and ran across your article. I have to say that I find it very interesting. The thing I find most interesting is the distinction between Catholicism and Christianity. This is actually one of the problems that I’ve always had with Christianity. There are so many denominations, and many times certain denominations claim to have “the answer” when it comes to salvation. It’s interesting how “the answer” always seems to change depending on which denomination you look to. The thing is, Catholics ARE Christians. Of course, as Leonna points out, the term Christian is often a term that should be used loosely for some people, but as the idea goes, Catholicism is just a denomination of Christianity. Also, as far as I can remember from historical research [it’s been awhile since I’ve done much reading on the subject], the Roman Catholic Church was actually the first church to really organize the religion. I could be wrong, but that’s not really the point anyway. Now, I’m not a Catholic and never have been, but this is my take on the subject. In growing up, I was a member of the Lutheran Church and, later, the Baptist Church and have attended many other Protestant church services. My wife and her family are members of a Catholic Church. Surprise, surprise, we get along just fine. I think mostly, it boils down to a misunderstanding between denominations. I don’t exactly subscribe to any of the Christian denominations anymore, but I will say that separation between denominations like this probably does a lot more harm than good among the Christian community. Nothing wrong with having a different opinion on how the Bible should be translated, but everyone should realize that a follower/believer in Jesus and his teachings are, by definition, Christians. Basically, I guess what I’m really trying to say is, your mom is a Christian. I, personally, don’t think that Catholics have the religion down 100%, but I also don’t think that any other denomination does either. By the way, Catholicism’s way to salvation is exactly the same as many Protestant denominations. Believe in Jesus and repent your sins. The method is often different, but the principle is the same. Anyway, I’ve taken up too much space already. This is my opinion, and I’ll leave it at that.

  6. Catholics don’t just worship Jesus. They worship Mary more than anything. “The Mother of God” they say.

    Jesus is the only one a Christian should worship.

    Unfortunately, Catholics are not Christians. Like the first person that commented. There are Catholics that are saved because they don’t adhere to all that the Catholic church does but they attend and call themselves such as it might be a family custom to attend and they don’t want to break that particular family tradition.

    Christianity is not really a religion. It is a relationship with God the Father through his son Jesus Christ and Him only….Not Mary.

    Know where in the Bible does it say you can pray to the Father through anyone else but Jesus!

    Matt

  7. The only requirement for salvation is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Rom. 5:1)

    We should not go beyond Scripture and add more criteria. As for your mum, the only way to know is to ask her that foundational question:”Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your saviour? Do you think you need to ‘do’ anything to get to heaven (other than believe in Jesus)?”

    Paul warns: “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:9)

    First, the RCC church believe the the body of Christ IS the Roman Catholic Church. So when you read their documentation and Catcechisms, the Church is spelt with a capital ‘C’, and it refers to the Roman Catholic Church.

    St. Ignatius Bishop of Antioch: “Where the Catholic church is, there is Jesus Christ.”

    St. Ambrose Bishop of Milan: “Where there is Peter, there is the Church.”

    Below is what the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) decided on in the Council of Trent (1547) on the topic of Justification, an important aspect of salvation where God declares one righteous before Him, and the decrees formed in this council form the ‘official’ stand and basis of RCC teachings today.

    Consider these against your bible

    CANON 9.-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.

    Bible says “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,” (Titus 3:5)

    CANON 12:”If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified … let him be accursed”

    The bible says:”But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” (John 1:12).

    Canon 14: “If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema.”

    The bible says:”Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Rom. 5:1).

    Canon 24: “If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.”

    Canon 30: “If any one saith, that, after the grace of Justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise, that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment to be discharged either in this world, or in the next in Purgatory, before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened (to him); let him be anathema.”

    Bible: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross,” (Col. 2:13-14) – there is no Purgatory taught in the bible

    In the end:

    Canon 33: “If any one saith, that, by the Catholic doctrine touching Justification, by this holy Synod inset forth in this present decree, the glory of God, or the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ are in any way derogated from, and not rather that the truth of our faith, and the glory in fine of God and of Jesus Christ are rendered (more) illustrious; let him be anathema.

    In other words, if you disagree with this, may God’s curse be upon you.

    So based on ‘official’ RCC teachings, no, I don’t think their way of salvation is the same as what the bible teaches.
    What I haven’t covered here is that RCC teach that part of getting saved is baptism and communion.

    These days, the RCC church has been heavily involved in the ecumenical movement, and individual RCC churches have ‘watered down’ their stand and suggest that other outside of the church may get saved, including Hindus and Buddhists.

    By the way, I don’t consider myself protestant, coz i’m not protesting against anything. hehe…

  8. allireallywant,
    i agree, i’m completely against denominations. But how come you are attending a ‘Lutheran’ and ‘Baptist’ church and are married to a ‘Catholic’ wife?

    If I could introduce you to a church that despises denominational distinctions and are only interested in following what the bible teaches, would you be interested?

  9. Guna,
    Thanks for the thought, but I’d really rather not be introduced to any more churches. If I tried to explain why, it would completely take away from this discussion and be way off topic, so I’ll leave it at that. As for the different churches question, allow me to clarify. I’m not attending any of them right now. They were mentioned to help sum up my church-going experiences. Are they compatible? Yes and no. It, obviously, depends on the church leaders and congregation. Of course, it also depends on how you look at it. The point was supposed to be that it doesn’t really matter as much as people try to make it matter.
    It may not mean that much, but all I wanted to do was add my opinion. I just think that too much time gets invested in matters like this and causes people to worry way too much about what will happen after we die rather than enjoying the life we have right now and making the most of it.

  10. cliann [and everyone else],
    I do have one more thing I’d like to say about your concerns. The best advice I could give to you, your mother, and anyone else who joins this discussion is this: If you are serious about being or becoming a Christian, read the Bible. Open the book to the first page and read every single page. Don’t stop reading until you get to the last letter of the last word of the last line on the very last page. Don’t get caught up in what denomination you or anyone else is or what that denomination has to offer. Christianity, in my opinion, comes from scripture. The Bible is THE source of information for Christianity. If it is not, then what is? If it is, you should read and understand it.
    As to what someone said earlier, I’m sorry, but Christianity IS a religion. Translations of the religion often state [and yes, you can find it in the Bible] that you should have a relationship with Jesus, and by effect have a relationship with God and be filled with the Holy Spirit, etc, etc. The relationship is not the religion, it is caused by the religion’s teachings which come from the religion’s scriptures. It’s a religion just like any other religion. Sometimes religions have denominations. Christianity, like others, has denominations. So many denominations, in fact, that we have discussions like we’re having right now. There is a reason that these denominations exist, but this is neither the time nor the place to get into that. Not to mention the fact that I don’t have the time or patience to discuss it nor the desire to persuade anyone away from their religion. The best way, in my opinion, to find what Christianity means to you is to read the Bible for yourself. Do your own translation. Do your own research. And remember that you shouldn’t strive to be a part of a denomination. If you want to be a part of the religion, you should find out what it means to be a part of the religion, not a denomination of the religion.
    I leave you now with that. Again, this is just my opinion. Take it or leave it, it’s your choice.

  11. thanks allireallyneed. i know what you mean about not getting concerned about trivial things. but it’s good to know these facts and where they come from, esp if a person’s salvation depended on it let alone my mother’s.

    next thing i’d like to know is why there are so many denominations and how it came about. but i think i’ll do my own research on this. otherwise, i can always look up to Guna the guru on this subject.

  12. oh… i nearly forgot…:)
    thanks guna! this shed some light.

    i can recall my mother telling me about baptism, and when i was 7 or 8, i used to attend catechism class. don’t remember a thing from there now, sadly.

  13. Protestantism cannot be the religion of Christ; because, if the Church of Christ required reformation, a God of purity and holiness would never have chosen such an immoral character—an apostate, a wholesale vow-breaker, a sacrilegious seducer—for that purpose.

  14. Attitudes About Mary

    There are areas in which Protestant theology doesn’t fully honor Jesus as a perfect man. One example concerns Mary. If we imagine the perfect way in which Jesus as God would obey the commandment to honor His father and mother, we see that Protestant theology has neglected to consider this.

    I present two analogies to illustrate what Protestant theology thinks about Jesus in relation to Mary (Note: these are exaggerated to make the point):

    Jesus as test tube baby — In this analogy Mary’s womb is merely a “test tube;” she is merely a receptacle to give birth to God. There was no emotional or spiritual bond between her and her baby. God merely needed a womb to “borrow” for a period of time and then to discard when He was finished with it.
    Alien invasion / parasite — That the Holy Spirit came to earth looking for a human womb to “impregnate,” much as an evil space alien would do. He picked Mary seemingly at random, and like a parasite used her womb to give birth to Jesus with no regard for the bond between mother and son.
    The Catholic view of Mary considers two truths:

    Mary, as Jesus’ mother, would love Him in a unique way with a mother’s love. Any mother can understand the depth of this love.
    Jesus, as a perfect man, would perfectly obey the command to honor His father and mother. He would not abandon her when He started His ministry nor would He dissolve the relationship upon His death. He would honor His mother throughout eternity.

  15. thanks for the info christian. but why focus on martin luther alone for being ‘imperfect’?
    how about king david, or moses or abraham; other characters in the Bible which are also imperfect but whom God had used to do His will?

    re Mary, we do acknowledge that she is Jesus’ biological mother. however, God also says not to build any idols and bow down to worship them.

    IMHO, Catholics seem to emphasize Mary more than they do Jesus, which shouldn’t be the case. the Bible doesn’t say that we should pray/worship her as well coz Jesus is the only way.

  16. Christian,
    Some comments Pt1:

    Protestantism cannot be the religion of Christ

    you’re right. Christ had no religion, He did not need one. He is the true and Living God. He is the Head, the church His body. I don’t think He was Roman Catholic either.

    if the Church of Christ required reformation, a God of purity and holiness would never have chosen such an immoral character—an apostate, a wholesale vow-breaker, a sacrilegious seducer—for that purpose

    who would you have chosen?
    You do realize that Luther was an up and coming Roman Catholic priest who excelled in all matter of RC theology? and unless you’ve met each and every Roman Catholic priest and you know the goings on in their hearts, can you confidently say that RCC priests are free of any or all of the list that you mentioned?
    and I’m sure you realize that Peter (the RCC’s first pope), was the very one whom Jesus told “get behind me, Satan, you do not have the things of God, but the things of man”. Hmmm why would Jesus want him to be the pope? (answer: there was never meant to be the pope)

    Yes, Luther was less than perfect. But he was right about what he wrote in is declaration. The Holy Spirit revealed some significant truths to him. Not all, but important distinctives which he had to act upon.

    The perception people have the ‘protestant’ churches ‘came out of’ the RCC is wrong. Throughout history, there have always been groups of Christians who met in simple manner and in accordance to new testament teachings. These were usually branded heretics and persecuted severly by the RC church for not submitting to the authority of the papacy. The RCC had ‘monopolized’ and married religion and state, causing non-believers to have positions of influence and power within the church, and in many places, citizenship and jobs required submission to the pope. Individuals within the Church had vast political powers. to maintain the sway of the people through religious means, the idea of ‘clergy’ and ‘laity’ came about. The great truths of the bible were hidden and made unavailable to ‘laity’. Bibles were burnt and made illegal to possess.

    Luther is the beginning of a story of the Holy Spirit’s moving in rediscovery of biblical truth.
    I’m not thankful for luther. But I’m thankful to the Holy Spirit who began revealing biblical truth gradually to individuals who sought the truth. Luther was one of them.
    Imperfect, but he was saved by God. The Holy Spirit gave understanding and luther realized the RCC teachings (of which he was a priest) was wrong and could not take continuing in that body of belief. So he left the church and made known its wrongs. Yet, he still held on to some erroneous beliefs, like infant baptism. As more people read their bibles, they in turn realized that infant baptism is not biblical, but luther won’t budge, so they had to leave, hence the baptists.

    Then, even within lutheranism, the Holy Spirit gradually revealed more doctrines that was wrong, and other individuals that read their bibles and realized some of luther’s teachings are wrong, could not continue, and left the lutheran church, and so on and so forth.

    The net effect is the Holy Spirit gradually but surely leading individuals to rediscover wonderful biblical truths that was hidden and lost by the dominance of the RCC.

    Why gradual?

    the same reason we don’t teach algebra to Year One children. Its too much.

    It was not the Holy Spirit’s design that there be many denominations, that is the unfortunate effect of the hardness of man’s heart, too proud to admit they are wrong, and choosing to gather to names and practices of men, instead of Christ himself, hence some chose to stay ‘aligned’ with Luther, some ‘wesley’, some ‘baptists’ and resulted in denominations as we know it.

    Yes, catholic means universal, church means called out. But the ‘universally called out church’ – the body of Christ, is a spiritual one. You can’t see it. But you can see its representations in the local, non-denomination churches, hence the letters of Paul that address the ‘church in Thessalonica’, ‘Philipi’ etc…

    But there is a different meaning when early church fathers called the ‘catholic church’ and what was later known as the ‘Roman Catholic Church’. There was no denominational distinctions before the RCC church became a national and political body.

  17. Christian,
    Some comments Pt2: attitudes toward mary

    Attitudes About Mary

    This entire comment was plagiarized copied (unless ‘christian’ is the original author) from:
    http://www.northforest.org/CatholicApologetics/MaryBible.html#attitudesmary
    So I’m not sure if these are results of your own study of the Bible or just parroting some else’s opinions.

    I present two analogies to illustrate what Protestant theology thinks about Jesus in relation to Mary (Note: these are exaggerated to make the point):

    Seems to be an exaggeration to illustrate a point that isn’t there in the first place.

    Jesus as test tube baby — In this analogy Mary’s womb is merely a “test tube;” she is merely a receptacle to give birth to God. There was no emotional or spiritual bond between her and her baby. God merely needed a womb to “borrow” for a period of time and then to discard when He was finished with it.

    1. There WAS a deep spiritual bond between Jesus and Mary – in many occasions, after Jesus did something spiritual, “mary kept those things in her heart” and “pondered these things”
    2. The Lord never discarded his mother. I can’t find it anywhere in scripture,

    Alien invasion / parasite — That the Holy Spirit came to earth looking for a human womb to “impregnate,” much as an evil space alien would do. He picked Mary seemingly at random, and like a parasite used her womb to give birth to Jesus with no regard for the bond between mother and son.

    1. God did not pick at random, Luke records that she was ‘favoured’ and ‘blessed among women’. His birth time and place were prophesied before hand and there was no random-ness in it.

    While there may be such teaching in circulation, i cannot be sure, but it surely isn’t representative of what many ‘protestants’ believe. the author has obviously been unfair in his apologetics, taking the extreme view and presenting it as norm.

    As the person who has posted the comment as your own, the onus is on you to prove that the majority of protestants believe in what you have posted.

    As far as I know, and I’m a non-catholic, the Lord Jesus always gave honour to His earthly mother, except when she was trying to act as a mediator between men and Him (the very reason we don’t have to pray to Mary). The Lord cared for his mother, right down to his death, when at the cross, he looked at His mother and said “behold your son”, and to John, “behold your mother”.

    Please don’t think non-RC’s don’t believe in the blessed position Mary had to mother the Son of God. No one can take it away from her. But the bible does not give her a higher position than any of the disciples, and Lord Himself mentions this, that But he answering said to him that spoke to him, Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?And, stretching out his hand to his disciples, he said, Behold my mother and my brethren;for whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in the heavens, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.Mat 12:48-50

    This was not an insult to his mother and family, He was making clear that his earthly family was not more important than His spiritual one permanent and who was in that family.

    He would honor His mother throughout eternity

    Which part of the bible gives you this idea?

    It is true, many non-RCs base what they know without really understanding and reading what RCs believe, but the same mistake is made by RCs. Ultimately, we must come back to the Word of God and ask ourselves if we follow what it teaches, and if what our churches teach is based on it.

  18. it’s always nice to read your comments Guna. please, always feel free to share ya.

    kau pernahkah berfikir untuk jadi peguam? kau manyak bagus berbahas lah!

  19. Goon, sometimes it’s good to be long winded; it’s the only way to get some points across. I enjoy your thoughts and arguments. Keep it up.

    When are you going to post new stuffs on your blog? Sulah manyak lama la…

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