Are Catholics Christians?
Looking into the Scriptures
Who is a Christian according to the Bible?
Let find out. . .
Acts 11:22-26 KJV Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. (23) Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. (24) For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. (25) Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: (26) And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
The Apostle Peter later used the name again for those who believe and follow the teachings of the Christ.
1 Peter 4:15-18 KJV But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. (16) Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (17) For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (18) And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
So basically are Christian is a disciple, a follower of Jesus Christ, not a pick and choose, windows shopping lips service deception that so many are involved in, especially in this generation of ours.
Now, the next logical step is to find out if Catholics historically have followed the teachings and lifestyle of Christ from whom the word Christian originates.
Let do some digging here. . .
In Church history, a Christian bishop named Ignatius from Antioch in Greece has some interesting comments to make. He was the first person to use the word Catholic according to historical records. Let see what he wrote:
"Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110])
This is becoming very interesting. Further digging showed some shocking and most interesting views of how the early Christian writers considered themselves not only Christians but much more Catholics in order to differentiate themselves from the many false cults that have already sprung up. Let see what their writings reveal.
Cyril of Jerusalem: "And if you ever are visiting in cities, do not inquire simply where the house of the Lord is--for the others, sects of the impious, attempt to call their dens 'houses of the Lord'--nor ask merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the name peculiar to this holy Church, the Mother of us all, which is the Spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God" (Catechetical Lectures 18:26 [A.D. 350])
Another bishop from Spain called Pacian made quite an interesting comment on the word Catholic. I first taught this was a play on words but it is not. He gave some good points why the early Christians i.e. the followers of Christ were called specifically Catholics at his days and even earlier. Quite informative in my opinion.
"And shall the Fathers rather follow our authority, and the antiquity of Saints give way to be emended by us, and times now putrifying through their sins, pluck out the grey hairs of Apostolic age? And yet, my brother, be not troubled; Christian is my name, but Catholic my surname. The former gives me a name, the latter distinguishes me. By the one I am approved; by the other I am but marked." (Epistle to Sympronian 7 [A.D. 375])
I humbly must admit from these authoritative sources that yes Catholics are Christians. But like any other persons, only God knows those who live according to His will and those who pretend in the midst of others.
Hope this was of some help to some brethren out there. Jesus bless us all. Thank you.
Helpful resources for further investigation
- CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Catholic
The combination 'the Catholic Church' (he katholike ekklesia) is found for the first time in the letter of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, written about the year 110
- Catholics Christians?
A Scriptural and historical response to those who wonder whether Catholics are actually Christians. Is the Catholic Church authentic, authoritative and apostolic? Are Catholics Christians?
- Is the Catholic Church the whore of Babylon?
In search of the biblical Whore of Babylon. . . According to some Fundamentalists, the book of Revelation chapter 17 in the Bible draws a clear picture of whom/what the Whore of Babylon is.
- Is the Pope the Antichrist?
What the Bible really says about the highly controversial and often misrepresented issue of the Antichrist.