Skip to comments.Can Catholics Be Christians?
Posted on 12/08/2009 11:41:52 AM PST by Gamecock
I just came from a funeral service for an aunt of mine who was a staunch Catholic. I came out of that religion about 25 years ago after reading for myself what the Bible had to say. My question surrounds the actuality of salvation for all the millions who still practice Mary worship and so forth. Knowing that one cannot serve two masters, I wonder at how it is possible that the aforementioned can really experience Christ in a saving way, while they continue to believe that the church of Rome is solely responsible for their eternal welfare.
Greetings in Christ Jesus our Lord and only Savior. Thank you for your question.
Unless a person is clearly outside the pale of the Christian faith, I do not believe that you can judge the "actuality" or "reality" of someone's salvation. You may judge the "credibility" of their faith; or you may question the "probability" of someone's salvation. You may also ask, as you have done, "how it is possible that the aforementioned can really experience Christ in a saving way."
None of us, however, can truly say that we are perfect in knowledge or practice. We are always growing both in wisdom and in the grace of God. Is it possible for someone who prays to Mary to be a true Christian? In other words, can someone who is truly saved be in error on such an issue?
Conscious compromise of God's truth can be serious and deadly, but we also see from Scripture that in his mercy God may (and does) choose to accept less than perfect understanding and obedience, even of his own people. (Indeed, isn't the salvation and the perseverance of the saints dependent upon that fact?) There will be growth in understanding and holiness, but perfection must await our going to be with Jesus or His return to take us unto himself (see 1 John 3:2).
In the Old Testament, consider Asa in 1 Kings 15. He removed the idols from the land, but he allowed the high places to remain. The high places were clearly unacceptable. But the text states that Asa was loyal to the Lord his entire life. How could this be? Had he not seriously compromised?
What about the New Testament? Consider the Corinthians. Was the church at Corinth an exemplary church? Did they not have many doctrinal problems, e.g., concerning the Lord's Supper and the doctrine of the resurrection? (See 1 Cor. 11 and 1 Cor. 15.) Did even the apostles fully understand? Even though what they wrote was protected from error, did they not grow and mature in their own understanding and obedience? Wasn't it necessary at one point, for instance, for Paul to rebuke Peter for his inconsistency? (See Gal. 2.)
My point is not to defend the doctrinal aberrations of Rome. I do not believe such is possible. I think, however, that people generally follow their leaders. They learn from them; they consider their arguments rational and coherent.
For example, consider devotion to Mary. I read Jarislov Pellikan's Mary Through the Centuries and I cannot get past page 10 before I am wondering why the author is so blind to the fallacies of his arguments. However, if I were not being so critical and I were already predisposed to the position, then his arguments would perhaps seem irrefutable. So then, we should boldly, patiently, and compassionately discuss these matters with our loved ones, praying that the Holy Spirit will grant them more understanding.
Whatever we may judge in terms of the "actuality" or "probability" or "possibility" of a person's salvation at the end of life is, in the end, academic, for God is the one who can look at the heart and only he can truly judge. (He is the One, in fact, who has chosen his elect.) "It is appointed to man once to die, and after that comes judgment" (Heb. 9:27), but "Today is the day of salvation" (Heb. 3:13). We should work, therefore, the works of him who sent us while it is light and point our neighbors and loved ones to Christ.
For myself, I too was a Roman Catholic. In the past six months, I have attended the funeral of two uncles and one aunt whom I loved very much. I had opportunity at each funeral to speak a word of testimony regarding the Savior. I stood in the pulpit of the church in which I had served mass as a young boy and in my eulogies spoke of my faith in Christ.
Was it as detailed as I wish it could have been? No, but I am thankful for the opportunity God gave. Do I believe that my family members went to heaven? For one I have hope; for the others, I have little hope. Upon what is my hope based? It is always and only grounded in Christ and the Gospel.
We may define Christianity broadly by including as Christians all who confess the Apostles' Creed. We may define Christianity narrowly by including as Christians only those who confess our particular denominational creed. We need to exercise care, because, if we are too narrow, we may find ourselves excluding someone like Augustine. On the other hand, if we are too broad, we may find ourselves including many who should be excluded.
Personally, therefore, I do not judge. I have either greater or lesser hope. For example, I have greater hope for my Roman Catholic family members who ignorantly follow their leaders without thinking. Many times I find these to be at least open to discussion regarding the Gospel. However, I have lesser hope for people who are self-consciously Roman Catholic; that is, they understand the issues yet continue in the way of the Papacy.
I recommend that you read the book Come out from among Them by John Calvin. I found it very helpful and it addresses somewhat the question that you have raised.
I hope that my answer helps. You are free to write for clarification. May our Lord bless you.
Earlier in this thread the very words of your pope were posted and he clearly was worshiping Mary
The faith is not defended by feigning gross insult at publicly stated stupidities.
What if what the Protestants wrongly say about the Church leads folks into error? You know, like this thread?
Then simply stating the truth works for me. Its well enough to just state the Catholic position and leave Gamecock and the his fellows to the name-calling and ridiculous yarn-spinning. Anyone of good will can quickly see the difference.
So let the Protestants say whatever they wish here. In this day and age of the internet and computers, the truth is easily available to anyone who wants it. I learned that 13 years ago in India discussing of all things Fr. Feeney and this dogma and the Christian faith with Hindus in Delhi (for the record, the Hindu's brought up Fr. Feeney and "outside the Church there is no salvation", not me). For all of Fr. Feeney's faults, he managed to get the gospel out to the whole world though his insistent defense of this dogma.
You must be?
Well, if you insist...
...That’s a very flawed take on it...How come Catholics have been kicked out for worshipping Mary, then???!!!
Where did these bad Catholics learn to worship Mary??? What could they have done or said that anything differnt than what the pope said in his discourse???
I'd guess that they knew they were worshiping Mary and admitted it, while doing nothing different than other Catholics do...
You have a significant proof problem.
You have much more faith in the internet than I do. I say stick up for the Church when you can and I think counting on folk’s google-fu to sort out the errors is stupid.
Why are you even posting on this thread if you don’t care?
Why not, I'm a villain for Jesus...
“Where did these bad Catholics learn to worship Mary???”
Not the Church, thet kicked them out for doing so!!!
“What could they have done or said that anything differnt than what the pope said in his discourse???”
I have no idea what this means!!!
“I’d guess that they knew they were worshiping Mary and admitted it, while doing nothing different than other Catholics do...”
...I reckon you would be guessing wrong!!! The Church kicked them out for worshipping Mary because they were worshipping Mary!!!
You better go back and do another Google search about Catholic dogma. The Church holds that sin is a willful act. It presumes a knowledge of the difference between right and wrong and a rejection of right. The Church does not presume to know what is in the hearts and heads of any individual. It even holds that those who have never heard the Word of God or never known of Jesus Christ (i.e.; pagan babies) are not denied the Kingdom of Heaven if they have not rejected what is Good.
I would also add that your false Catholicism is bleeding through in your presumption that the TULIP (5 points of Calvinism - Total hereditary depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints) apply to Catholic teachings.
I wonder how many Buddhists admit to worshipping statues of Buddha.
Denial is a very handy psychological defense in all RELIGIONS.
Not sure how that holds up theologically, but its interesting to look at it that way.
Sounds like a rather heretical position to me. After all, being a "convert" implies a change in position.
Whats wrong with going straight to the One who made us, and paid a dear price for our souls?
INDEED . . .
—Welllllll uhhhh . . .
Jesus is soooo . . . welll so God . . . and all . . .
Mary is so much more . . . accessible . . . all Motherly and all . . . nice lap all nurturing and all . . .
[COME UNTO ME all you that labor and are heavy laden . . . ]
Yeah, wellllll . . . that’s all nice and good and all but . . . MUMMY JUST BEATS OUT GOD HANDS DOWN, every time . . .
[Which part of HAVE NO OTHER GODS (icons, images, personages, idols, priorities . . .) BEFORE ME (do Roman Catholics/Vatican affiliates not get???)
OH, WELL! [ruffling feathers] MARY’S NO GOD—WE JUST TREAT HER (memory, personage, image, fantasies about her) LIKE ONE errrrr uhhhh strike that . . . uhhhh . . .
Mary and her warm lap are ALWAYS SOOOOOOO WELCOMING [in our fantasies] . . . we just never know when Jesus might get the whip and drive us out like the money changers given that we are so imperfect at all our necessary obligations and all . . . .
And Mary always has such nice smelling white hankies and spiritual candy for us. All Jesus has is yokes and a daily cross and troubles to rejoice in and lots of other refining unfun stuff.
Jesus and THE FATHER . . . Goodness . . . Daddy was strict and stern enough. Who needs a daily session with eternal GOD-STRICTNESS! No thanks. Mary’s nurturing sweetness and warm shoulder or warm lap are just what my bruised ego needs several times a day. So many people just don’t get how angelic I am so I NEED Mary’s comfort to get over the pain of it all. I don’t need more Christ or Father’s conviction about my imperfections and more exhortations about towing the line more strictly. /sar
Mary’s soooo much more . . . . wellll Motherly. And I always did better lobbying Mummy. So Mary helps me feel like I have more of a useful level of INFLUENCE, that’s it, INFLUENCE in high places. My lobbying skills just kind of pick up with Mary where they left off with Mummy. It feels all quite normal and . . . productive. I was very good at lobbying Mummy compared to Daddy.
And Mary’s empathy is sooooo familiar and Mummy-like. So comforting and conventional.
[He was touched with the feelings of our infirmities]
Yeah but the Goddess’s, I mean Mary’s warm feminine smile; her nice ageless face; the soft magicsterical kosherness of her Roman Catholic clothing . . . it’s all sooooo familiar and comforting.
. . .
. . .
The Vatican—particularly when considering even a hundred years—is all over the water front on any number of issues. Within it’s ranks are a plethera of competing perspectives on a long list of theological issues.
Oh, right, the magicsterical . . . and the official dogma . . .
What a cop-out. There are Bishops and Cardinals . . . not to mention Priests in more or less right standing . . . claiming almost everything under the sun as Good Christian thought and practice
EVERY BIT AS DIVERSE AS ‘CONFUSING’ ALL THOSE DENOMINATIONS.
I’d think that Good Christian integrity would have an easy time admitting that.
There ya go again . . .
trying to CONFUSE folks with unshredded HISTORIC FACTS.
I think COULD is a poor choice of words . . .
He DID NOT. SCRIPTURE IS CLEAR THAT HE DID NOT.
HE CHOSE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON.
HE SET HIM ABOVE ALL. WITHOUT HIM WAS NOTHING MADE. BEFORE HIM EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW.
One COULD get the hint that THE FATHER considers THE SON IMMEASUREABLY ABOVE ALL ELSE . . . INCLUDING MARY.
There is that alright.
Nevertheless, the worst of our “nagging”
doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of their relentless IN-YOUR-FACE
ROMAN CATHOLIC/VATICAN THREADS BY THE DOZENS WEEKLY . . . SEEMING TO VERY VAINLY BE TRYING TO TURN FR INTO AN ARM OF THE VATICAN PROPAGANDA MACHINE. Sheesh.
Joya cuteness fix ping
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