I’ve found it interesting–and disconcerting–that in many evangelical circles there is a high degree of suspicion regarding Roman Catholicism. “Are Roman Catholics even Christians?” I’ve heard some ask, “Isn’t the Roman Catholic Church kind of like a cult?”
I’ve noticed quite a few misconceptions about Roman Catholic belief and practice among my friends and acquaintances, so this series will be an attempt to set the record straight and establish that yes, the Roman Catholic Church is indeed a Christian Church1, and Roman Catholics are Christians. We will also examine some of the more misunderstood and/or controversial Roman Catholic doctrines together.
As human beings, we naturally tend to be afraid of things that are unfamiliar or that we do not understand. We must not allow fear to play any part in our interactions with any person or group, whether they are Christian or not. Fear has nothing to do with love! “Perfect love casts out fear” (John 4:18). Coming to this and all conversations with humility and charity is key to honoring our Lord Jesus and fellow human beings made in the image of God.
I enter into wholehearted agreement with Alan Schreck when he says, “Satan as been able to use…lack of understanding (both among Catholics and others) to divide Christians from one another and to divert their attention and energies away from proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and advancing his kingdom on earth.”2
A few myths that need to be dispelled right off the bat:
In reality, evangelicals and Roman Catholics have these basic beliefs of Christianity in common:
Dive deeper by reading this essential ecumenical document, authored by evangelical and Catholic leaders together:
Over the next several weeks we will look at some of these issues in more depth.
As we continue to discuss those things we have in common with Roman Catholics as well what does separate us, remember the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, “that they all may be one” (John 17:21) and the Apostle’s words,
"There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:4-6, ESV)