Catholicism Isn't Christianity

It is with pleasure that I present this first article written by a young man from the small local home fellowship where I am pastor. The Lord allowed me the privilege of leading seventeen year old Ryan to Christ about a year and a half ago. We had begun discussions about Christianity while I was working as a substitute teacher in the local high school, and he has since already graduated.

This is offered as an example of what happens when we challenge our young with the truths of Holy Scripture and then let the Lord take it from there. How sad it is to see so many churches hiring youth “ministers” who don’t have near the grasp of Biblical doctrine that Ryan possesses already. The Lord is my witness that I did not have anything to do with this paper, nor did I even suggest the topic of his submission for his College Composition 1 course. It is also with great joy that we announce that Ryan has felt called to enter the ministry/mission field. We do covet your prayers.

Catholicism Isn’t Christianity

By Ryan Patterson

This issue is one that has been in dispute for a very long time. Facts about why Catholicism isn’t Christianity mean nothing if one does not first define Christianity and establish what Catholicism believes. Catholicism denies sound Biblical doctrine that Christians believe in and that Catholics claim to uphold. Catholicism is a religion based on the opposite of the one true Gospel from Jesus Christ of Nazareth. From these reasons alone, it is plain to see that Catholicism isn’t Christianity.

Christianity isn’t a religion as most people call it. Religion is man seeking God, but according to the Bible, man was sought by God since man can do nothing good on his own without the guidance of God. So with this, Christianity is a relationship with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ of Nazareth who died on the cross and, in a sense, the risen Christ is reborn in the flesh. I know this may sound like a grammatical error but I assure you “is” is the proper wording. Using the word has leaves one open to dispute on the subject of whether or not Christ Himself lives in us, His believers. The truth is, Christ comes to live in each Christian who becomes a Christian. As a Christian, one is a new creation through rebirth by faith in Christ. Christians live because He lives in them (in the Person of the Holy spirit Whom is part of the three Persons of the Godhead.) As a Christian, one believes in the true gospel and that is that one is Saved through Grace alone, by faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. This simply means that when one has faith that Jesus Christ (who died on the cross to sanctify our sins so that one actually may be saved) is our Lord and Savior, and that one is Justified by the Grace of Jesus Christ and thus one is saved from the quite real place of Hell. (“He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy… having been justified by his grace.” Titus 3.5a). Now that the definition of Christianity is known in its basic terms, we can understand more of why Catholicism denies this doctrine.

Catholicism believes in the traditions they hold being as sacred as the Bible they read.“In the supremely wise arrangement of God, Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others.”(Vatican Council II) Jesus plainly says in the Bible that there are people whose hearts are far from Him even though these people claim to worship Him. He says that these people follow the traditions of men instead of their own Lord. (Mark 7.6-9) So from this, one can see a denial of a decree from Jesus Himself that traditions will take away from the word of God. Catholicism is based on a few things though: The Bible, Tradition, and the works that Catholicism has added. These traditions that Catholicism follows range from how they proceed with their church service to the kissing of the pope’s hand to catechism. With tradition defying God in Mark, we can also see it in Matthew: “Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” (Matthew 15.6b). Catholicism not only adds tradition to the Bible, but it also adds works.

In Catholicism, you are to work toward salvation, forgiveness for sins is through another sinner (called priest), and that the pope is the representative for God on earth. This is where Catholicism is denying sound Biblical doctrine again and the Gospel itself. The Bible clearly says how it is that a Christian is saved and from this salvation, reborn through Christ Jesus: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2.8–9), but from Catholicism we can clearly see a denial of THE GOSPEL. “The Sacrament of Baptism…Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life…through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn [born again] as sons of God…” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sec. 1213, p.342). Catholicism has added the Baptism as a requirement for, and the basis for, salvation when clearly Holy Scripture tells us that it is our Lord and Savior’s Grace alone by our faith alone that caused salvation. This isn’t the only work that the Catholic church has added to the Bible.

According to Catholicism you need to be constantly doing good works in your life to be saved but, from previous scripture, one can see this is Doctrinally wrong. To be forgiven of one’s sins, one has to talk to a priest and he can forgive them.“The forgiveness of God can be obtained only through the supplication of priests.” (Pope St. Leo the Great) A great question arises here as a Christian and it was asked in the Bible. “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2.7b) This is a great rhetorical question which also leads one to question priesthood as well, but the Bible has a distinct answer in just who priests are.“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood… a people belonging to God…”(1 Peter 2.9, a referring to the Christians). The pope claims to be THE representative for God on earth, “The entire body of society is sick; all it’s most noble parts are infected; the very sources of life have been tainted. The one refuge, the one remedy, is the Pope.”(Pope St. Pius X), but according to sound Biblical Doctrine, one can learn something quite different. “he that hath seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14.9) Here, Jesus says that he is the form of God walking the earth. That if you have seen God, you have seen Jesus, and that if you have seen Jesus, then you have seen God. This would make him the representative of God, and God, on earth whom the pope claimed to be. Claiming to be the representative of God sounds mildly all right until you realize that it means you are claiming to be God.

When looking at the beliefs of Christianity compared to Catholicism, one can see the difference in the two. Denial of the Gospel should have been a key sign. Claiming to be the representative of God, a role placed only for Christ Jesus, should have been another sign. Traditions taking away from the word of God can be seen as yet another indicator. With these reasons out in plain sight with sound Biblical Doctrine to earnestly contend for the faith of Christianity, one can see why Catholicism isn’t Christianity.