Recently, I have considered which religions claim to be "Christian". The Catholic, or Roman Catholic Church, is one in particular that comes to mind. After researching many publications, having one on one conversations with Protestants and Catholics, and observation done on my own, I have come to the conclusion that one who belongs in the Roman-Catholic Church, and lives it, is not a Christian. Before I delve into my reasoning, I feel I must define a few things for you so that we are both thinking on the same terms. Then I will share my reasoning and discoveries.
First I must clarify why I called it "Roman-Catholic", instead of just "Catholic". If you look in the dictionary, you will find that "catholic" (not capitalized), means the Universal Church. This is the idea that all Christians form part of a single body. Let me give you a definition of "Roman-Catholic" from the dictionary: "of, relating to, or being a Christian church having a hierarchy of priests and bishops under the pope, a liturgy centered in the Mass, veneration of the Virgin Mary and saints, clerical celibacy, and a body of dogma including transubstantiation and papal infallibility". This is the group that I am addressing. One small thing I want to point out is that they are addressed as "Christian" in this definition. To be a Christian basically means to be a follower of Christ and His teachings. I will show you that this definition got that part wrong later. Now that you know I am speaking of the Roman-Catholic Church, not the Universal Church, and what a Christian is, we shall move along.
The first thing I discovered that their teachings go against is in John 14:6 where it says this: "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." The Roman Catholic church attempts to contact God through appointed "Saints", praying to them so that they might pray for them also. Although saints are mentioned, nowhere in scripture does Christ or anyone else say to pray to the saints for help. I did find scripture in Ephesians chapter six, verse 18, that tells us to pray for the saints, but not to them. What the Bible tells us is that we as believers are the saints (see Romans). Also, Heaven is supposed to be a place of joy and reward, from what little you can gather about it. If it is a place like that, why would the souls in Heaven have to worry about praying for the troubles here on earth? Would they not be praising the Father in Heaven? I must conclude that the problem is not the fact that they have saints, but the pedestal that they have put them on so that they are given honor that is due to God only.
One of the biggest flaws in the Roman-Catholic doctrine is "Marian devotion". Let me share this quote with you: "The very fact that God has elected her proves that none was ever holier than Mary, if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary." This was said by Jacob of Sarug in AD 521, a bishop and writer. The first thing I will say is that there is no proof that Mary was sinless. We do know that she was a virgin, and Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit through her, but not that she was sinless. I will be specific here to make myself clear. The Roman Catholics pray a certain prayer to Mary that calls for her intercession. The parts of the prayer come from two scriptures (Luke 1:28-32, 42-48,) and the last is from the Roman Catholic Church (I am not certain of the person or exactness of it). Christ teaches on prayer in Luke chapter 11 verses 1-14. He does not say to pray to saints, or anyone else for that matter. We are supposed to follow Christ's example, and He did not pray to anyone but the Father. I do not know why God selected Mary, and I probably never will. But I am for certain that only One is perfect in all ways (Matthew 19:17), and that is our Lord, Jesus Christ. From what I have found, the Roman Catholic treatment of Mary is idolatry. It is just like the idolatry of the saints. Our God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14).
There are other flaws in the Roman Catholic doctrine (the position of the pope, image idolatry, and purgatory) I have only mentioned the ones I feel necessary. If you are to be a follower of Christ, you should follow His teachings. The Roman Catholics do not do this. In honoring the "saints" and Mary, they are dishonoring God. Or, in other words, by following a doctrine made by man, they are not following Christ. It is quite simple. I am not saying that a Roman Catholic is condemned to Hell, for that is not my judgement. But I will go as far to say that the laws for being saved are not the same as the Roman Catholic standards. But once again, it is not my judgement. I must say here that there are also good things about the Roman Catholic beliefs. They embrace the Apostles Creed, which is a wonderful way to say what you believe. I do not disagree with this.
The above statements were made to pose a question, and present on of many possible answers. A thought provoking post, as it were. Another purpose would be to state what I believe is the truth. This is not meant to provoke arguments, debates, or the likes of them...though this may happen. It is a statement of faith, that probably not all will agree with. You must come to a conclusion on your own. I hope I have aided you in just that. Have a blessed week!