Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 8, 1956
NUMBER 27, PAGE 2-3b

"Are Catholics Christians?"

Luther W. Martin, St. James, Missouri

One of the widest read of the Roman Catholic publications in the United States, Our Sunday Visitor, in its edition of April 15, 1956, carries an editorial on page two, which asks the question and which is also entitled . . . . "Are Catholics Christians"? Inasmuch as this is a question that has been asked, we assume that the editor will be interested in reading this reply.

First, a definition is in order. By the term "Catholics" we assume that the editor refers to the religious sect known as "Roman Catholicism" and that 'Catholics' as such are members or communicants of that sect.

Second, we may be in error, but we assume that the editor means by the term 'Christian,' one who 'professes' to believe generally in what the world calls 'Christianity' . . . . which by the way, may be construed to mean any multitude of things or beliefs. If we have assumed correctly, we need to ACCURATELY define the meaning of the designation "Christian"; therefore, we go to the word of inspiration, the New Testament, for our information as to just what a person must be, in order to be a Christian.

Centuries before Christ, the prophet Isaiah had stated ......thou shalt be called by a NEW NAME, which the mouth of JEHOVAH shall name." (Isa. 62:2.) Thus, it was to be a God-given name. In the same prophecy, the term (Gentiles) or NATIONS was to be included among those to whom the NEW NAME would apply . . . not just the children of Israel, but also those concerning whom the Jews sometimes spoke of as 'heathen.'

The prophet Amos mentions "all the NATIONS (Gentiles) that are called by my name." (Amos 9:12.) The apostles relate that this was fulfilled at Antioch. (Acts 15:14-17.) Luke wrote, "And it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called "Christians."

Paul the apostle had urged King Agrippa to become such as was Paul, religiously, except for his imprisonment. (See Acts 26:29.) Agrippa said, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a CHRISTIAN."

The apostle Peter wrote .....If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed." (1 Peter 4:16.) These THREE instances of the use of the name "Christian" are the ONLY ones recorded in the entire Bible. The name "'CATHOLIC" is not ONCE mentioned.

Obviously, there were Christians, in New Testament days, since they are mentioned. But if such a sect as Catholicism existed, the Bible fails to mention it by name. Therefore, the name "Catholic" is not the God-given name promised by the prophets!

Who Is A Christian?

Perhaps in answering our initial question for the editor of Our Sunday Visitor, we should approach it with the idea of who — what type of person — qualifies, to be called a "Christian."

A Christian is an individual who has rendered faithful obedience to the word which Christ taught. (See John 15:2-8.) A Christian is one who manifests his love for God and Christ by keeping Christ's commandments. (See John 15:10.) A Christian is one who expects to be judged by the word which Christ taught, therefore, so lives as to meet that judgment. (See John 12:48.)

Saul of Tarsus was a devoutly religious man, bat was not a Christian until he changed his manner of life. (Acts 22:3-5.)

Cornelius was a very devout man, and a good man ... yet he too, required a change in worship before he became a Christian. (Acts 10:1-6.)

By the above examples, we have shown that a person may be extremely devout, religiously, one who gives much alms, etc., and yet ... not a Christian!!

How Does One Become A Christian?

First, one must HEAR the facts of Christ's gospel set forth from God's word. (Rom. 10:17.) How that... "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures . . . ." (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.)

Second, in order to become a Christian, one must BELIEVE the facts of Christ's gospel, without reservation. (Acts 8:12; Acts 8:37; Acts 4:4.)

Third, in becoming a Christian, one must REPENT . . . make the mental decision to quit practicing sinful things, and determine to live in accord with Christ's commands. (See Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30.)

Fourth, the person who becomes a Christian must willingly CONFESS his faith or belief in Christ as God's Son. ('See Acts 8:37; Romans 10:8-10; Ads 19:18.)

Fifth, the individual who becomes a Christian must be immersed into Christ, in order to the remission of his or her past sins. (See Acts 2:38; 10:47-48; Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:12.)

When one has obeyed the foregoing commands of Christ, then he or she has been born into the Lord's family ... and thus, has a right to wear His Name. (John 3:5; Acts 2:41 and 47; 4:10-12; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 3:14-15.)

The person who becomes a Christian must continue in obedience throughout life to Christ's teachings. (See Hebrews 10:23-27; James 2:22 and 24; 2 Peter 1:5-10.)

Anyone who fails to embark upon this effort of faith in Christ and obedience to his commands, will receive the vengeance of God's wrath. (2 Thess. 1:7-8.)

Does The Roman Catholic Church Practice This?

Although she 'professes' to be a Christian communion, the mere 'profession' does not make it so.

Catholicism does not wait for a person to reach the age where they have developed the ability to believe... but forces a rebelling infant to submit to what the Roman Church calls baptism. Thus, Mark 16:16 is violated: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved . . . ." Catholicism would have it read . . . "He is baptized, and must later believe."

Catholicism requires the confession of one's sins to a priest . . . which is NOT the confession set forth in rendering initial obedience to the gospel. However, the Bible teaches that Christians must confess their sins one to another ... thus if Mr. A sins against Mr. B, Mr. A should then go to Mr. B and acknowledge his wrongs, and ask both God's and Mr. A's forgiveness.

Catholicism does not follow Christ's commands nor the apostles' teaching in relation to the subject of baptism. In New Testament days, baptism was a BURIAL in water, a being PLANTED in the likeness of Christ's burial. (See Acts 8:38; Romans 6:3; Colossians 2:12.)

Catholicism consists of vain worship . . . "In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the precepts of men." (Math 15:9.) "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up." (Matt. 15:14.) "If anyone preach a gospel to you other than that which you have received, let him be anathema." (Gal. 1;9.

The teaching of Catholicism is basically foreign to the Scriptures. It is ANOTHER gospel . . . therefore, according to Paul's terminology, let it be anathema! It is a religious plant which God has not planted, therefore it shall be uprooted. The worship of Catholicism is based upon the precepts of men, therefore its worship is VAIN.

An active Roman Catholic cannot be a Christian, one is the antithesis of the other. A fallen Christian may become a Roman Catholic, or a fallen Roman Catholic may become a Christian, but "no man can serve two masters"!