Thursday, June 26, 2008

Are Catholics Christians? Why not?

Let’s first talk about the major difference between Catholics and Protestants. There is some common ground, both would agree that we are saved by grace and this grace is free. But there is a difference on how that grace is gained. A protestant believes that grace is through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Catholics say that while grace is free, and it is only available because of Christ’s death, it is only received through the sacraments. The sacraments are baptism, Eucharist (communion), confirmation, confession, holy orders, matrimony, and last rites. These sacraments are said to be salvific or meritorious. This means to a Catholic that the sacraments actually convey grace, or act as a conduit transferring grace from God to the person participating in the sacrament.

So at the very core of your question, “are Catholics Christian?”, the answer is anyone who believes in the completed work of Christ on the cross for salvation is a Christian. If anyone thinks that the way to God is through their own effort, either through good works or the Sacraments, then I believe they have missed the whole point our need for a savior and the gospel itself. As to whether individual Catholics or Protestants are truly Christians, only the Holy Spirit knows.

(I have simplified the concept of sacramentalism using Catholics as the example of sacramentalists and Protestants as non-sacramentalists. Please understand I have simplified this for this question

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