Is it possible for a Roman Catholic to be a true Christian?
Hi, welcome to this edition of Little Lessons. The previous two we were asking the question, “Can a Mormon be a true Christian?” and so I thought we might as well just go on and examine another group that a lot of people in my group often say can’t be Christians. That would be Roman Catholics.
We all know there was a great schism in the church back during the time of the reformation. That’s when the Protestant movement started and split away from the Roman Catholics over certain doctrinal issues and practices and so forth, and so a lot of people who are Evangelical and Protestants believe that it’s just not possible for a Roman Catholic to be a Christian, because you know, all their spurious doctrines and practices and so forth.
Well before I try to answer that question, I’ll tell you a very quick little funny story. One time I was witnessing to a guy, and I asked him the question, “Are you a Christian?”. He said, “No, I’m a Catholic”. He obviously didn’t understand Catholicism too well, because most Catholics would say, “Well yeah. We’re under the banner. The bigger banner of Christendom, and we are Catholic. Roman Catholic Christians”.
Okay, so to the question now. As was the case when we thought about, “Can Mormons be Christian?”, I shared my particular viewpoint that what a Christian is is someone who believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God. God so loved the world. He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life. And other scriptures would indicate that that belief in Jesus should be reflected in a life that is obedient to the commandments of Jesus Christ. That’s the litmus test of whether you truly believe in Jesus, as He is revealed in scripture as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Son of God, Messiah, etc, etc.
So I allow, because I think God allows, for a degree of spurious doctrine in the minds of some of His true children, because they do, on a fundamental level, believe, truly believe, in the Lord Jesus Christ. Am I saying that all Roman Catholics are Christians because the Roman Catholic doctrine acknowledges and affirms that Jesus is the divine son of God? No, no, no, because it’s just Catholic doctrine. My goodness, I live in a very, very Catholic town here, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Catholic churches all over the place and we’ve just gone through this huge scandal where almost 100 priests have been implicated as being pedophiles, and this is some time ago when all this happened, but different witnesses have come forward and so forth. There’s been a huge investigation.
I don’t think any pedophile is a believer in Jesus Christ. I’m sure if you ask any of those priests, “Are you a Christian?”, they would say, “Well of course. I’m a Roman Catholic Christian. I’m a priest. I’ve been to seminary. Look how devoted I am. I’m a priest, foregone marriage and family and so forth to be a priest,” but they were pedophiles. Yuck. Yuck. That’s perversion. That’s grievous sin. That’s exclusionary from the Kingdom of God. True Christians aren’t pedophiles. Pedophiles aren’t Christians, even if they think they are. So there’s 100 priests who unless they repented since their being pedophiles, they’re not gonna inherit eternal life, they’re gonna inherit eternal death, unless they repent, and I believe God is a forgiving God. The Bishop during that era, when all that pedophilia took place, just recently resigned. He was a revered guy.
So anyways, I’m not asking is the Roman Catholic Church doctrinally sound or the Roman Catholic Church … are they all true Christians? No. Can you be a Roman Catholic and be a Christian? I’m certain that you can if you believe that Jesus Christ, Son of God, and it’s evident by the fruit in your life.
Now, I live in a neighborhood, there’s Catholics all over the place around me and I happen to be friends with a bunch of them, and we talk about the things of the Lord and a couple of them give to the Ministry of Heaven’s Family, which I’m the founder and president of, and they’re helping us serve the least of these around the world. They don’t care that we’re not a Roman Catholic organization, because they just love the Lord and they love His word and they want to do what’s good and they want to be good stewards and they’re more Christian in my mind than some Evangelical Protestants who I’ve met who could care less about the poor, care less about the least of these. By Jesus’ definition they’re goats, they’re not sheep, so they’re not on the road to eternal life, even though they might say, “We have the right doctrine, we’re Protestants and we believe we’re saved by grace through faith, unlike those Catholics who have some works mixed in there.”
Well, when I read the Catholic theology on salvation, to be honest with you, me and a lot of people like me who consider ourselves to be closer to the Protestant genre, find more to be in agreement with than the false grace Gospel that’s been embraced by so many Evangelical Protestants, that you just pray this little prayer and then no matter how you live your life, you’re saved and you can never lose your salvation. It doesn’t matter how obedient you are, you could be a serial murderer, as long as you prayed that prayer, you can keep on serial murdering and you’ll go to Heaven because it’s all by grace and anyone who says anything differently is legalist. See, I don’t agree with that at all. If you watch Little Lessons, you’ve probably figured that out by now.
The Catholics believe that we’re saved by grace through a faith that manifests itself by works. I don’t see in their doctrine that they’re ever saying that any of us can earn our way to heaven. They believe that Jesus died for our sins and so obviously that was necessary, so we’re gonna have to have some grace to be saved. But it’s not just a head knowledge faith, it’s a genuine faith and not just faith in a doctrine, but faith in a person, Jesus, the Son of God. Then that results in you being born again and that results in a transformed life that is characterized by ever increasing obedience and holiness to the commandments of Jesus Christ.
So can Roman Catholics be Christian? Yes. Say what about their false doctrine? What about yours? Gotcha didn’t I? And what about mine? Because nobody thinks they have false doctrine, because if you thought you had false doctrine, then you’d have to change your doctrine, so we all think we’re right and we could be wrong about some things, okay. So let’s be humble enough to at least admit that and let’s not be drawing circles that exclude as many people as possible, but let’s be drawing some circles that try to include people who meet the Biblical criteria for being a Christian. Okay? All right. That’s all for today. Thank you so much for joining me and if you don’t agree with me, I still love you. If you want to be someone’s hero, amongst the least of these, take a look at HeavensFamily.org. That’s what I do when I’m not doing these videos. All right. Hope to see you next time. Bye bye.