Navigating Some Differences Between Christianity and Roman Catholicism

My faith in Christ is vital to who I am as a person. What I believe about God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible is limited by my confession of faith as a Christian and not of the Roman Catholic Church. It would be dishonest of me to call myself a Christian if I had beliefs that run counter to what it means to be a Christian.

A Christian: then is what?

To be a Christian, one must have faith in the Gospel preached by Jesus Christ and recorded in the Holy Bible. The Gospel, if believed, teaches that individual wickedness and sin is so great that no one can enter heaven without receiving Jesus Christ’s righteousness. A Christian is someone who has come to understand that Christ’s righteousness is theirs by grace alone through faith in His atoning sacrifice on the cross.

The Christian faith is based on recognising that human virtue and righteousness is as worthless as pollution and filthy rags in God’s eyes. A person is a Christian when he/she repents sin and has confidence alone in Christ alone for redemption. Christians believe a person’s salvation does not depend on their works to change them. Instead, it is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is imputed to us by God solely based on our trust in His completed work that gets us into heaven . To be a Christian, one must turn away from sin and put all of his trust in Jesus Christ’s spotless life and atoning death on the cross.

Ephesians 2:4-9 — But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! – and he raised us up together with him and seated us together with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.

Romans 1:16-17 — For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, “The righteous by faith will live.”

This is because the righteousness of God is made known from faith to faith in the Bible.

Christians believe that God’s ability to rescue sinners rests only on the merits of Christ’s righteousness. A reduction in faith is an attack on the Gospel. It is contrary to the Gospel to believe more.

To the Contrary

You identify as a member of the Roman Catholic Church. What you believe about God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible defines you as a Roman Catholic. You may no longer confidently claim “I am a Roman Catholic” if your beliefs run counter to the church’s official tenets.

A Roman Catholic is what, then?

One who adheres to the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings on God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible is known as a Roman Catholic. Therefore, a Roman Catholic adheres to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church about God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. Those who identify as Roman Catholic place their whole faith in the teachings of the Catholic Church and its clergy.

A Christian, but not a Roman Catholic?

If a Roman Catholic rejects Catholicism in favour of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ, then the answer is yes. Is the Roman Catholic Church Christian? The Roman Catholic Church does not share the Christian faith in God, Jesus Christ, or the Bible, hence the answer is “no.”

The Infinite Gap That Separates Us

I adhere to the Christian faith, and our similarities pale in comparison to the many ways in which we disagree. These will always be the chasms between us.

1. Authority

Christians believe that the Bible is the last and infallible source of truth. The Bible is made up of 66 books. There are a total of 66 in the Bible, 39 from the Old Testament and 27 from the New. Christians think the Bible is complete and adequate in every way. This proves that the Bible is not merely God’s Word, but the Word itself. Christians also have faith in the Bible’s doctrinal completeness. What we mean is that the Bible’s teachings on salvation and sanctification are crystal clear and simple to grasp.

Sola Scriptura is a doctrine held by Christians as well.   By this, we imply that the Bible alone constitutes God’s revealed word to humanity. We acknowledge that the Lord has provided the Church with wise and capable pastors and deacons. However, they are in addition to the Holy Spirit’s convicting activity, which teaches all Christians the fundamentals of salvation and the Christian life through the Bible.   Through their study of the Bible, all Christians may learn what the Gospel of Salvation entails and what the Lord expects of us in terms of sanctified conduct.

Catholics reject the notion that the Bible consists of just 66 books. They have included writings that were not considered canonical by Christians during the Apostolic Era. The term “apocryphal” is used to refer to these texts. To Christians, they play a supporting role, but to Roman Catholics, they take centre stage.

In addition, a Roman Catholic has little confidence in his or her ability to interpret the Bible apart from the inerrant teaching of the Church. In addition to the Bible, several texts are considered equally authoritative by Roman Catholic authority. It is required of a practising Roman Catholic to place equal value on the teachings of the Magisterium, the Pope of Rome, and the Roman Catholic Tradition. As a result, a Roman Catholic might go to three different sources for guidance. However, the Magisterium of Roman Catholicism has the highest authority since it interprets the Bible and chooses the Pope.

For this reason, the Roman Catholic Church is sometimes referred to as “Sola Ecclesia” (the Roman Catholic Church alone). Christians, on the other hand, believe that the Bible alone should be considered authoritative. There is a huge chasm here between Christians and Roman Catholics, and it cannot be bridged. One will pledge loyalty to the authority that one considers correct. Roman Catholics empower Rome to define and explain matters related to God, Jesus Christ, and Salvation by granting Rome sovereignty over the Bible. It’s a terrible idea that will pit Christians against Roman Catholics for the rest of the time.

2. The Good News of Salvation

According to Christians, the Bible contains God’s message of salvation. Christians who have trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation have been delivered from God’s wrath and promised everlasting life. Those who trust in Christ are safe from God’s wrath.

All who put their trust in Christ alone for salvation will be saved, and this is the heart of the Gospel. Many Christians see the Gospel as an invitation to put their faith in God’s righteousness rather than their own. Christ is freely offered to the penitent sinner who comes to Him in trust.

Christians believe that God gives people faith and understanding of the Gospel of salvation at the same time. Being “born again” or “born from above” are Christian terms for this experience. The Lord spoke these things to Nicodemus in John 3.

John 3:3 — Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

God initiates the experience of salvation by opening the person’s eyes to see, ears to hear, and heart to trust the Gospel of redemption by faith alone in the completed work of Christ alone. Those who are conceived and raised in God’s grace are guaranteed everlasting security. He promises that He won’t abandon them.

Romans 8:38-39 — For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

3. Distinction Between Us

Roman Catholics reject the idea of an instantaneous moment of Salvation. They reject the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Roman Catholics reject the idea that being “born again” guarantees salvation and entry into Christ and heavenly places. The Roman Catholic faith also includes additional tenets.

For example, Roman Catholics believe that Adam’s sin may be cleansed by the use of water blessed by a priest. In addition, Roman Catholics see justification as something that happens through time through the sacraments. Catholics who attend “Mass” and do “Penance” are said to have their sins forgiven by God. Catholics reject the idea of a certain place in heaven.   Purgatory is the afterlife where Roman Catholics believe sinners endure punishment.  Holy living is rewarded with more justification in the eyes of Roman Catholics. In the end, good acts done in faith, rather than Christ’s righteousness ascribed to the poor sinner, are the basis of justification in the Roman Catholic Church.

These are insurmountable obstacles to cooperation. Christian ideas and those of the Roman Catholic Church on the subject of salvation are opposed. There is no way to make the two agree. They directly contradict one another.

4. Jesus Christ as a Person

Christians believe that Jesus Christ was both God and Man. Christians believe that the Trinity is one God existing in three persons. According to Christian doctrine, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons who share the same divine nature. The Roman Catholics have this view as well. However, Christians believe that Jesus Christ, in His resurrected body, dwells forever in heaven as God incarnate.

As far as Christians are concerned, Jesus Christ cannot be summoned from heaven and turned into some bread and wine. Christians detest the teaching of transubstantiation. For Christians, there is no need to re-enact Jesus’s sacrificial death on an avenging, bloodless altar.

Roman Catholics believe that at the altar, Jesus’ death on Calvary is “represented” without the use of blood by being “transubstantiated” into the wine and bread. This sums up the Roman Catholic Mass perfectly.

The gap between Roman Catholicism and the Christian faith is thus wide and can never be bridged. Christians believe that Christ’s sacrifice was final and can never be re-enacted. Christians believe that repentance is unnecessary for salvation because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Christians do not believe that the Bible teaches the Roman Catholic Sacrament of Mass or any of the other sacraments of the Catholic Church. The beliefs and faith of a Christian stand in stark contrast to the practises and meanings of the sacraments.

5. Promises To Be Upheld

Christians put their faith in Christ’s promise. Those who put their faith in Him will live forever.

John 3:16 — For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:36 — The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.

John 5:24 — “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.

John 6:40 — For this is the will of my Father – for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:47 — I tell you the solemn truth, the one who believes has eternal life.

Acts 13:48 — When the Gentiles heard this, they began to rejoice and praise the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed for eternal life believed.

Romans 6:23 — “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

1 Timothy 1:16 — But here is why I was treated with mercy: so that in me as the worst, Christ Jesus could demonstrate his utmost patience, as an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life.

1 John 2:25 — Now this is the promise that he himself made to us: eternal life.

To Believe in Jesus—What Does That Mean?

If you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you will get forgiveness of sins as a gift. To believe in Jesus Christ is not the same as to believe that He has established a priesthood through which believers might be gradually justified by participating in a Sacramental religion.

Too little faith in Jesus may lead to eternal damnation. If you think Jesus was a decent guy, a prophet, and an example, but you nonetheless end up in hell, that’s an example. Alternatively, one may go to hell if they have unrealistically high expectations of Jesus. To think that Jesus came and proclaimed a gospel to Indians in the Himalayas, that Jesus is a spirit sibling of Lucifer, or that Jesus may be found in a loaf of bread and slaughtered afresh on an altar are all examples of presenting another Jesus.

It is important to remember that there is only one true Jesus and one true Gospel. In the end, trusting in Jesus does not mean putting your faith in what He will do with your life, even if Christians have faith that God will finish the good job He started in them. But this is not the assurance we have in going to heaven, because we are persuaded from Scripture and experience that God builds a new creature inside each redeemed sinner. Instead, we put our faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice, which we believe makes us acceptable to God. God, in Christ, fulfilled His demands on humanity.

Disqualified

Roman Catholicism cannot be considered Christian since it begins with the incorrect Authority and ends with the wrong gospel message and presents a different Jesus. It also leads to a range of doctrines which blatantly violate the principles of the Christian Faith. Some examples:

The Romans had a strong faith in the afterlife. In Christian theology and the Bible, there is no concept of Purgatory.

It is widely held in Rome that purchasing an Indulgence will shorten a person’s stay in Purgatory as punishment for misdeeds. In Christian theology and the Bible, the concept of indulgences does not exist.

Roman Catholics believe that Mary was conceived without original sin, had a perfect life, was assumed into heaven, and was made a co-redemptrix.   Neither the Bible nor Christian theology has any evidence of such glorification of Mary.

When it comes to questions of faith and morality, the Pope in Rome is considered infallible by the Roman Catholic Church. Christian theology and the Bible do not even hint at such a tyrannical stance.

Rome not only accepts the possibility of redemption via her own religious practises, but also accepts the possibility that non-Christian faiths provide salvation to their dedicated followers. However, non-Christian faiths such as Roman Catholicism or Romanism, Mormonism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity do not have a place in Christian theology.

What about folks who claim the Roman Catholic label but don’t adhere to the church’s teachings?

This is the worst possible scenario. It may be worse than accepting the wrong of a non-Christian religion to pretend to be a member of that faith while rejecting its core tenets. It’s a double fallacy to publicly disobey a religion while also proudly wanting to be identified with falsehood. Is God’s punishment for hypocrisy the same as it is for the fervent heretic? The Gospel has been rejected in each scenario, and with it, all chance of everlasting life.

Synthesising the Whole Thing

At least some of the “Big Deal” should be clearer to you now. Roman Catholics are very mistaken if they believe they can claim the Christian name while rejecting the essential tenets of the Gospel as laid forth in the Bible. For Christians to assume that someone who has all the same beliefs as Roman Catholics can yet call themselves a Christian is just as naive.

One is correct while the other is incorrect. This has nothing to do with word choice. This has nothing to do with how you feel. This is not up for debate. It’s not a question of perspective. It’s not as simple as just having a few points of disagreement. It has nothing to do with semantics. This is not a question of quibbling over semantics in theology. Tolerance of individuals who are different is not the issue.

It boils down to a simple case of right and wrong. There are two schools of thought: correct and incorrect. Accurate belief and erroneous belief are at issue here. Simply saying, “O, he or she believed in God and Jesus in his or her way” is not an adequate explanation. There is just one Gospel message, and it won’t help to say things like “I think, despite our differences, we all love God and all will see God, regardless of religious persuasion.” The road to paradise is a single one.

In the Old Testament, Elijah visited those Israelites who had turned away from God’s revelation and were listening to the false prophets of a false god and false gospel. Elijah pressed them to choose a side. He never entertained the idea that two faiths might coexist as true.

And Elijah approached the whole congregation, saying,

1 Kings 18:21 — Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long are you going to be paralyzed by indecision? If the LORD is the true God, then follow him, but if Baal is, follow him!” But the people did not say a word.

Similarly, in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul was always guarding the Gospel against the additions and modifications made by those who imported Jewish law. He was quite dissatisfied with individuals who added their religious trappings to the Gospel of justification by faith alone and salvation by grace alone.

Galatians 1:6-8 — I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel – not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell!

It’s all about where people’s souls end up for all time. We are condemned to eternal punishment for our false beliefs about God and His Gospel. Being born again is shown by holding beliefs about God and His Gospel.

This article was produced with the prayer that you will accept Jesus Christ and the Gospel seriously. You have not accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ if you are a Roman Catholic. Your trust is not in the Gospel of Christ, despite how you may feel. Your beliefs in Roman Catholicism are incompatible with those of Christianity.

Turn from your sin and embrace Christ. If you refuse to give up on your false hope, you will perish in your sin. Get to Christ. Do not let it be said of you, as it is of them,

Romans 10:2 — For I can testify that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with the truth.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

I come before You with a humble and contrite heart. I recognize that I have fallen short and have sinned against You. I ask for Your forgiveness and mercy for all the times I have strayed from Your perfect path. Your love and grace are my refuge, and I seek Your cleansing and renewal.

Lord Jesus, I acknowledge You as my one true Savior. I accept Your sacrifice on the cross as the ultimate gift of redemption. I place my trust in Your finished work and surrender my life to You. Wash away my sins with Your precious blood, and lead me into a deeper relationship with You.

I choose to renounce practices that may have diverted my focus from You. I renounce idol worship, recognizing that You alone are worthy of worship. I turn away from any devotion that might overshadow Your role as the central figure in my faith.

I also renounce any worship that has been directed towards Mary, saints, or any other human figures. I acknowledge their significance in the Church’s history, but I commit to direct all my prayers and devotion solely to You, Jesus.

Furthermore, I acknowledge that my faith is a personal journey, and I choose to approach You without reliance on sacraments. I believe in Your grace as the source of my salvation, not bound by rituals or sacraments.

Lord, I ask for strength and discernment to walk this path faithfully. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit to guide me, comfort me, and empower me to live a life that reflects Your love and teachings.

I thank You for Your boundless love, forgiveness, and the opportunity for a renewed relationship with You. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

In the upcoming posts, we will go through some important aspects of differences, similarities, belief systems and how one comes out of blindness and deception. Stay tuned.

Blessings,

Godwin.


Discover more from Apostolic Wisdom House

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Share your love
Godwin Shon Sequeira
Godwin Shon Sequeira
Articles: 140

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blessings to you.

Discover more from Apostolic Wisdom House

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading