Are You Catholic or Christian?

Pope Francis is often in the news these days.   Reading about him may cause people to reflect on their own spiritual condition, and that’s a good thing.  A young woman even asked me, “Are you Catholic or Christian?

I said, “I am a Christian. But Catholics consider themselves Christians as well.”

She said, “No, I’m Catholic. I’m not a Christian. It’s different.”

I said, “Yes, there are differences, but both Catholics and Christians agree with the five most important truths about Jesus Christ and Christianity.”

[BTW I remember years ago when church-goers were either Catholic or Protestant. It seems many young people these days are unfamiliar with the word Protestant.]

So I explained to this young person what the five most important truths are:

  1. The Virgin Birth – Jesus was born of a virgin.
  2. The Blood Atonement – Jesus’ death on the cross was full payment for our sins.
  3. The Resurrection – Jesus rose bodily from the dead on the third day.
  4. The Trinity – The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three Persons in one God.
  5. The Deity of Christ – Jesus is not only the Son of God, He is God the Son.

With these five most important truths, both Catholics and Christians (or Protestants) agree.

So what’s the difference?   In a nutshell:

  • Christians believe the Bible is the only foundation for their faith.
  • Roman Catholics have a three-fold foundation for their faith: (according to the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1995 edition, page 34).
    1.  The Sacred Scriptures (Bible)
    2.  The Sacred Traditions
    3.  The Magisterium of the Church (authority of the Pope and Bishops)

                                                         *       *       *

  •  Just a few of the Scriptures showing the deity of Christ:  John 1,  Colossians 1, Hebrews 1 and Revelation 1.
  • It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.   Ephesians 2:8-9
  •  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.    2 Timothy 3:16
  • SONG: GOD IS READYWords & Music by Kathleen; Robin Poem by Elizabeth Cheney, circa 1931

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:   http://www.godlife.com/gospel/  and  http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity

[To leave a comment or prayer request, simply click on the TITLE of this post and scroll to the bottom.]

About Kathleen

God delights in working through His people as they submit to Him. Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone (Mark 16:15). No matter where we live on this planet, people are separated from God because of sin. We ALL need a Savior, and there’s only ONE. It brings me great joy to share Christ with the lost and lonely. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal while facilitating Bible studies. I’ve found myself on college and university campuses, the beach, the streets, the hospital, the jail and the juvenile facility for incarcerated teens sharing God’s message of love. I also serve as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach. I’ve seen countless lives transformed when people turn away from sin and turn to Jesus. The changes God makes are real and lasting. These are some of my experiences. NOTE: My stories have been altered, removing any and all identifying factors. This includes names and other particulars in order to protect confidentiality and anonymity.
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8 Responses to Are You Catholic or Christian?

  1. DIXIE says:

    Excellent clarification….thanks!!

  2. Frank says:

    I appreciate the clarity with which you wrote this post, Kathleen. That was an interesting encounter with the young Catholic. It does seem as if we don’t use the word Protestant as much these days. That’s fine with me; I prefer the term Christian.

  3. frank says:

    I was raised Catholic…As a born again believer there are many differences between Protestant and Catholicism….The Eucharist….Confessions…Transubstantiation….Salvation is by GRACE ALONE….Catholics teach works + faith.

    • Kathleen says:

      Dear Frank, What you say is true. Your examples would fall under the Traditions of the Catholic Church or the Magisterium of the Church.

  4. Mel says:

    THANKS Kathleen for pointing out the truth! We can be so dogmatic at times, thinking our own doctrine is the only truth. Yet, only real truth is JESUS! That said, we also have to be careful in not lining up doctrinal teaching with the truth found in God’s Word, our
    Bibles. Men and women, that includes pastors and Popes, have ‘milked-toast’ the Truth, to fit their own misguided beliefs.

    • Kathleen says:

      Amen, Mel! Jesus is the only truth. He even said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

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