Debate: Are Catholics Christians?

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Absolutely. A Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ in a way that benefits their own personal spirituality. If a Catholic does this, he or she is most certainly a Christian. If he does not, however, then he is not. There are Catholics who are Catholics in name only, just as there are many Fundamentalists who most certainly do not behave in a Christ-like manner. Nevertheless, religion is a personal matter, not one for others to judge. --IlTrovatore 23:18, 21 June 2008 (EDT)

No, Christian is not someone who "follows the teachings of Jesus Christ in way that benefits their own personal spirituality". Just because you follow Christ's teachings doesn't make you Christian. An Atheist could follow the example of Christ because he feels Jesus was moral person, yet deny Christ ever rose from the dead. Is that person a Christian? No. To be a Christian, then you must believe various things. (That Jesus rose from the dead physically, that salvation is by grace through faith alone, etc.) If you don't follow those things, then you're not a Christian. It's not about "behaving" in any particular way. Your own works don't save you. Jesus does. Ultimahero 00:32, 22 June 2008 (EDT)

Christ paid for sins so that we might strive to avoid sin, but realize that forgiveness is always possible if we truly seek it. You seem to make it sound as if we can sin and still be saved even if we don't truly repent, so long as we believe that Christ died for us. Do you believe that this is the case? --IlTrovatore 00:45, 22 June 2008 (EDT)

First, sorry my response took so long. “Christ paid for our sins that we might strive to avoid sin”. No, that’s not how it works. Christ’s death does not open up a window of opportunity, that if we stop sinning, we’ll be saved. That’s not how it works. We’re saved by grace alone. Not by grace and works; just grace. Christ’s death takes away all our sins. All of them, including the ones we haven’t committed yet. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved by faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We see here that it’s not based on our own good merits or our own ability to stop sinning. Salvation comes entirely through Christ.

Yes, salvation is possible for anyone. But it only comes by the grace of Christ.

Repentance is a result of salvation not a cause of it. Repentance by definition is to be worry for what you’ve done and to turn away from it. So, you must feel sorry and turn away from sins to repent. But, as I said before, we’re not saved by our ability to turn away from sin or do god. It’s all about Christ. So, yes, as long as we believe that Christ (God in flesh) died on the cross for sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead, then we can be saved. Regardless of our works. Note, that doesn’t mean we should keep going bad things. The Bible says that we become new creation when we’re saved. So we should strive to do good. But that is because it comes from thankfulness to God for what He’s already done, not because we’re trying to earn our way to Heaven.

But, in theory, you do argue that it is possible for someone who sins repeatedly to be saved, while someone who is virtuous can be damned? --IlTrovatore 23:15, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

Well, I don't believe that anyone is "virtuous". It is my Biblical belief that all people are sinners and all are inherently evil. (Ephesians 2:3). And everyone is a sinner (Romans 3:23). But, in a human sense, yes, there are "good" people, which I assume is what you’re speaking of. I also assume that the multiple sinner is supposed to be someone who has done great dead of evil, like murder, while the virtuous person has done relatively less evil. So, if the person who sins all the time and murder, rapes, steals etc. puts his faith in Christ, then he will go to Heaven and be saved. If the virtuous man who doesn’t sin nearly as much doesn’t trust in Christ, then he will go to Hell. It because it’s only through Christ that one can be righteous. Ultimahero 11:05, 26 June 2008 (EDT)

Jesus's Apostles were the first to be called Christians by Antioch citizens. The Apostle Peter became the founder of the modern day Catholic Church with his successor being Pope Benedict. What Catholic really means is Universal. This became the Universal Church for Gentiles and Jews. Christian denominations are just separate branches of the same tree, Jesus. The main difference being the separate denominations don't adhere to the successor of St. Peter. To believe in Jesus as Lord, that individual has a special Grace from God. To know and believe is called Christianity.--jp 00:01, 5 July 2008 (EDT)

Absolutely. --User:Joaquín Martínez, talk 10:25, 9 July 2008 (EDT)

The only way to sensible classify religions is through factors such as their origins, demographics, characteristics, and self identifications. Theological debate over Catholic interpretation of the bible is completely irrelevant to whether they count as Christians.

I don't know a whole lot about catholic doctrine, but I think so. Obviously only God really knows. --Ben Talk 10:57, 3 December 2008 (EST)

As someone with a half dozen first cousins, all catholic, and two uncles, both devoutly catholic, and a devoutly catholic grandmother and grandfather who has attended several catholic funeral rites, marriages, and dozens of Catholic masses (I have never taken communion, just sit and respectfully watch), I think the honest answer--the horrifying truth--is being a Catholic does not in fact guarantee that one is a Christian. The majority of Catholics, I truly believe, are Christians, but ultimately a Christian relationship (a covenant) with God can only be known to the individual. --RickD 11:16, 3 December 2008 (EST)


This is a ridiculous question. Catholics believe a number of things that are completely contra-Biblical, like prayer to Mary or the ability to work for salvation. Salvation is by faith in Christ alone, and anyone who believes otherwise is doomed to spend eternity with Satan. --JosephG 23:21, 21 June 2008 (EDT)

Some individual Catholics might be saved, but it's in spite of the Catholic Church. The official church theology is un-Biblical and not Christian. Jesus paid for all sins on the cross and we are saved by grace through faith lone. We're not "infused with grace" and able to work our way to Heaven. It's entirely through Jesus. Ultimahero 00:35, 22 June 2008 (EDT) Ultimahero 14:38, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

Agreeing with the previous two comments. Some Catholics are saved, but in spite of their church rather than because of it. They may have been truly Christian once, but they have buried Christ beneath a mountain of doctrine, dogma, papal rulings, procedure, ritual, saints, demons and angels so thick that He can no longer be seen through the thicket of false teachings. Even the existence of a Pope is completely unbiblical. - NewCrusader

Read the book of James in the New Testament. Then you bigots will understand that you are saved by both faith and works.--RianB


Yes because of their willingness to follow Jesus Christ.

No when they don't express God's love to all--saying God hates someone because they live a homosexual lifestyle... but that's mainly just the ultra-conservative Catholics. Nate 23:30, 21 June 2008 (EDT)

Personally, I think Christians are losing their ability to hate, and this is a bad thing. Hate, unpleasant as it is, can be a tool for good. Rightous hate drives people to fight evil, to oppose sin. Hate of sin is one of the things that gives Christians the will to try to end it. Without hate, there can only be tolerance or acceptance. - NewCrusader
Are you trying to be ironic!!??? That's excactly what Jesus wanted us to do! --Nabroon 10:07, 9 July 2008 (EDT)

Nate, that is an excellent point. Incidentally, the official doctrine of the Catholic Church does not condemn homosexuality, but merely indicates that homosexuals are called to a life of celibacy. As a Progressive Catholic myself, I prefer to believe that a person's most powerful spiritual compass is his own conscience, and that doctrine is nothing more than a codification of established belief. --IlTrovatore 23:36, 21 June 2008 (EDT)

A willingness to follow Jesus doesn't save one. Our willingness to do good works or say a set number of prayers or go to church doesn't save us. Jesus does by His death nd resurrection. It's ll about Christian. And saying hmosexuality is wrong can be expressing God's love to people. God makes it clear from His word that He doesn't approve of homosexuality. Telling them it's wrong and warning them of the consequences can be very loving. It's like pushing someone off the trin tracks when the train is coming. They might not always like it, but it's for their own good. Christians can certainly be unloving in there presentation; we shouldn't insult people or call them names. But we do need to stand up for what's right.

Official Catholic doctrine might not condem homosexuality; but the Bible does. It mke it clear that it's wrong. The most powerful moral compass a person has is the word of God. He tells us what's right and what's wrong. Ultimahero 00:40, 22 June 2008 (EDT)

I know I've had a debate with you before over placing stock in Biblical authority, but on what grounds do you believe what you do about what the Bible really is? --IlTrovatore 00:48, 22 June 2008 (EDT)

Because the Bile is extremely reliable. There were 5600 New Testament manuscripts written within one hundred years of the original copies. That far exceeds anything that you would find in the ancient world. The New Testament is the most reliable document that we have from ancient times. In fact, the New Testament that we have today has been estimated to be 99.5% accurate compared to the original. And most of those difference are simple grammar errors. (Spelling errors, etc.) So I have extreme confidence in the Bible. Besides, we learn about Christ in the Bible. There is no where else to go. So believe contrary things about Jesus would be based on assumption, not our historical evidence. Ultimahero 14:47, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

I trust that copyists have been quite careful in their reproductions of the Bible, but the presence of spelling errors or grammar errors has nothing to do with whether or not we ought to place trust in the Bible as an historical source. I agree that historical evidence does support many claims made about the life of Christ, but this does not mean that it is exempt from the problems faced by any other historical documents. Most scholars agree that the Gospels were written many years after Christ actually lived, and that some of the Evangelists may have drawn on the work of the others in constructing their accounts. While this is not a reason to doubt general conclusions about the time in which Jesus lived, the places that he visited, the messages he preached, etc., it does not mean that we can treat the statements made as verbatim quotes. The dialogue in the New Testament is largely comprised of recollection, a notably unreliable function of the human psyche. --IlTrovatore 23:08, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

Well that's an assumption. We have the Bible and have the words of Jesus Himself. Now, you can say that He didn't really say things like that or that the Bible is just a recollection of what Christ said as opposed to actual quotes, but that's a baseless claim. There is absolutely no evidence to support your claims that Jesus didn't really say that. You are making a tremendous assumption. Ultimahero 11:09, 26 June 2008 (EDT)

There is, however, a great deal of evidence to support the belief of many scholars that the books of the New Testament were written several decades after Jesus lived. I don't doubt that the spirit of Jesus' teachings was faithfully preserved by whoever authored the Gospels, but I think that it is also "making a tremendous assumption" to claim that we must believe these are actual quotes of Jesus unless proven otherwise. Historians must always keep in mind the circumstances surrounding the authorship of a document when evaluating its content. Now, many will argue that this is not the case with the Bible because it was divinely inspired, but on what grounds can one make that claim? Because the Bible says so? That seems to be an incredibly circular argument. --IlTrovatore 13:36, 26 June 2008 (EDT)

Are there scholars that say that the New Testament was written long after the time of Christ on the Earth? Certainly. But there are also scholars which say that the New Testament was written not long after the time of Christ on the Earth. Scholars debate many things, so just to say, "many scholars claim..." doesn't prove anything, since I can give scholars that will argue the alternative. Ultimately, a very good case can be made for the New Testament that it was written within a generation of the time of Christ on the Earth, by the disciples who knew Him, and in the places that Jesus traveled and preached. And, even if that you would dispute that, it is a fact that the New Testament is the most reliably translated document of the ancient world. So to claim that Jesus really didn't say those things verbatim, well, you have no proof of that other than your assumption that He didn't. Ultimahero 13:59, 26 June 2008 (EDT)

Alright, assuming it was written shortly after the time of Christ, how does this guarantee that the quotes are authentic? I am not "making the assumption" that they aren't, I am just wondering how you are making the assumption that they are. Historians generally err on the side of skepticism, not unwarranted acceptance. --IlTrovatore 14:07, 26 June 2008 (EDT)

Because the New Testament (and I suppose that were focusing on the Gospels in particular since we're talking about what Jesus said) were written by the people who knew Christ. His Apostles, like in the cases of Matthew and John, or those who were disciples who worked under the Apostles, like Mark and Luke. Because they traveled with Jesus and knew Him, they knew what He taught. Now, on top of that, you have to consider where the Gospels were written and who they were written to. They were written in the same places that Jesus had taught at. They were written in those same areas; Jerusalem, for examples. And they were written to the people who lived there, who had also been alive in the time of Christ. They had heard his teachings, too. So if the Apostles went around claiming that Jesus had said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), then it had better be true. Why? Because they were telling it to the same people who had already heard Jesus speak at previous times. They would know if the Apostles were lying or not, or if the teachings had stretched into fabrications. So these facts would necessitate that the Apostles quote Jesus accurately. Ultimahero 14:22, 26 June 2008 (EDT)

Two points: firstly, you are making the assumption that the Gospels were in fact written by the people that tradition purports wrote them. I will go ahead and invoke the opinion of "many scholars" once again (I can provide sources if you feel this debate has become too insubstantial) that the Gospels were not even written by those whose names are attached to them. Secondly, much of the doctrine that I have seen you invoke comes from other parts of the Bible, such as the letters of Paul. These do not even claim to be quotations of Jesus. How is it then that you base your vision of salvation on such a text? --IlTrovatore 14:36, 26 June 2008 (EDT)

Please do provide sources. Now, the unanimous opinion of the early church was that the Gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Now, why would they lie? Three out of the four were minor individuals with no great reputation. If they wanted to lie about their authors, they would only do so if it was an attempt to improve their standing and bolster their reputation. So, if you were going to lie, you would attribute their authorship to more well-known individuals. Peter, Thomas, Judas, etc. That’s what later people tried to do. When the later “alleged” Gospels were written, they attributed their authorship to Peter, Thomas, Judas and other bigger figures. But that’s not what the earl Christians did. They attributed the Gospels to minor figures. The only logical reason behind this would be if they were really truly written by these people.

Are you saying that you don’t consider Paul’s work to be part of the New Testament? Luke, who wrote the Gospel by the same name, also wrote the book of Acts. And Acts details Paul’s early persecution of the church, his meeting Jesus and conversion, and his ministry. Throughout the book we see him working with Peter, James etc. Major figures in the church. Peter authenticates Paul’s writings as scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). So Paul is a very legitimate figure to quote.

Oh, and just as a side-note, are you not going to further comment on the above "YES" section? I just ask because I keep looking at it and want to stop wasting time if we're not going to debate that anymore. Ultimahero 14:57, 26 June 2008 (EDT)

"his meeting Jesus..." Where is this mentioned in the bible please? BetsyNewson 10:26, 11 September 2008 (EDT)

Paul's encounter with Christ and conversion on the way to Damascus is detailed in Acts 9. Ultimahero 15:25, 18 October 2008 (EDT)

Apostolic Succession

Iread somewhere that the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches are the only two that claim to be valid Christian Churches because they trace their history to one of the original apostles. Of that is true then they would be the only Christian churches, the others being formed by men who may be considered heretics of their original faiths Markr 11:46, 3 December 2008 (EST)

Agreed. All Protestants were (still are?) considered heretics by the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. But I thought Martin Luther was originally an ordained Catholic priest. So I always believed that most protestants could easily and legitimately trace a successesion back to Christ, either through Luther or through another originally ordained Catholic priest who broke with the Church during the Protestant formation (not sure if formation is the right word here).--RickD 12:08, 3 December 2008 (EST)
The Anglican and Methodist churches certainly claim apostolic succession, and I don't think it's widely disputed. I'm not sure about United Reformed or other protestant branches.--CPalmer 12:13, 3 December 2008 (EST)

Luther rejected the Holy Orders as a sacrament and instead taught the equal priesthood of all believers. Apostolic Succession does not exist in Lutheranism because they rejected the Catholic doctrines of the priesthood. Anglicans also modified the form of ordination and destroyed their apostolic succession, although many Anglican priests and bishops today have received valid Succession from small churches like the Polish Catholic Church. Methodists do not claim the same sort of historical Succession as Catholics and Anglicans, and their ordination process also differs from the Catholic. Reformed and other Protestants have fundamentally different doctrines about the priesthood than Catholicism, and they do not even claim a historical Succession. User:AddisonDM 20 December 2008

Turning the tables: What does the Catholic Church think of Pentecostals?

(An apology) It was simply wrong of me to use such colorful terms as "bipolar", "schizophrenic", and "corrupt" in the way I did. It was thoughtless to do so and I should have been far more careful. This is a sensitive debate topic and comments like those could lead to conservapedia being less than friendly place to be--for anyone. Above all, I am sorry to have disrespected User:Jpatt, a fellow Christian.

As a non-Catholic (as far as my acceptance and confirmation of Sacraments go at least), I decided to find out what the Catholic Church thinks of Pentecostals. To do so, I read Father Killian McDonnell’s April 2000 paper “The Pros and Cons of Dialogue With Roman Catholics”, Journal of Pentecostal Theology, Volume 8, Issue 16, pages 90-101. In that paper Father McDonnell states that Pope John Paul II refers to Pentecostal Christians among others when he wrote that in "other Communities" "certain features of the Christian mystery have at times been more effectively emphasized" (Quote from Paragraph 14 in Unum Sint (That They May Be One)). On the other hand, Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) has stated "Salvation only in the Catholic Church". I am puzzled and dismayed by this statement. At least on its surface, it seems to be a condemnation of those claiming to be saved, who are outside the Catholic Church and its sacramental system. Yet, I have read a paper by Catholic priest who engaged non-Catholic Pentecostals for 20 years, founded an institute on Catholic-Pentecostal dialoge, and wrote a peer-reviewed paper about it. All that along with a statement by Father McDonnell (written in his paper cited above) "For over 20 years the Catholic Church was the only international church to recognize the significance of the Pentecostals and to enter into formal dialogue with you" is positively promising. Then again, "Salvation only in the Catholic Church" seems less than promising. RickD 10:50, 10 December 2008 (EST)
I agree. As a Catholic I was absolutely in love with John Paul II, he really made me proud to be Catholic. Benedict XVI on the other hand...while it may not be proper of me to question the decisions of the Vatican or God...I can't ignore my misgivings regarding him. I felt a palpable sense of love for all peoples and ideas from John Paul II (something I think should be central to any Christians mind set). Benedict XVI seems to focus more on what he perceives as the inadequacies of others. Suffice to say: I dearly miss John Paul II.--NicholasT 08:42, 24 April 2009 (EDT)