As with any cult of Christianity it’s important to discern whether or not those professing a certain Christianized belief system are in fact Christian. In order to make this critical determination one must define orthodox Christianity – from inspired scripture alone! – and then compare the competing system of thought to orthodox Christian theism.
Not unlike the Mormons, Catholics place a high value on works, appearances and ritualistic ceremony. To compare the “good works” – by the measure of men – of Catholics (and Mormons) to the nominal professing Protestant church we often find cases where the Catholic (and Mormon) appear to act more Christian than do the true Christians!
But the critical question isn’t “How do my works measure up?” but rather “Am I saved?”. This leads us to an excellent article I found over at CARM discussing this subject.
Are Roman Catholics Christian?
Are Roman Catholics Christians? They are if they have trusted in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of their sins. However, if they believe that the are saved by God’s grace and their works, then they are not saved — even if they believe their works are done by God’s grace — since they then deny the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice.
Being a Christian does not mean being a member of the Roman Catholic Church. It means being a member of the body of Christ which is accomplished by faith and trust in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of your sins. It means that you do not add your works to His work. Sincerity doesn’t forgive sins. Membership in a church doesn’t forgive sins. Doing works of penance doesn’t forgive sins. Praying to Mary doesn’t forgive sins. Forgiveness is received in the faithful trust and acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. You must trust Jesus, God in flesh, for the forgiveness of sins, not a man made ritual and certainly not the catholic saints. Even though Roman Catholic Church affirms the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and His physical resurrection, it greatly errs in its doctrine of salvation by adding works to salvation.
The official Roman Catholic doctrine of salvation is that the grace of God is infused into a baby at baptism — making him/her justified before God.1 This justification can be lost through sin and must be regained by repeated participation in the many sacraments found in the Roman Catholic Church. These sacraments increase the measure of grace in the person by which he or she is enabled to do good works which are in turn rewarded with the joy of heaven:
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