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Are Catholics Christians?

Updated on April 2, 2011

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.


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      Bill Scudder 5 years ago

      dear former Charismatic pastor who is now a Cathoilic. I do not call myself a Charismatic. I am a classical Pentecostal. There is a diference. As far as your quot of John, you have to take the whole book of John in context and not just one or two scriptures. John clearly teaches that works is a result in true faith in Charist and follows after you are born from above. To put your faith in works for your salvation is fatal. I have a friend that is a devoit catholic and he always says "if I live good enough, I will get to heaven" I feel so sorry for him tht he does not undertand what Christ did for sinners and that we are saved by grace through faith and that not of ourselves. I don't know what kind of "Charismatic" you were but im sorry you decided to go down the wrong path to Rome. Bill

    • profile image

      baldonebear 6 years ago

      To Bill S.

      I am a former Charismatic pastor. I am now Catholic.

      There is much in what you post that is out of whack.

      First, the Charismatic movement has many issues of abuse with the spiritual gifts.

      As the Catholic faith is rooted in antiquity, and terms and phrasing changes with time, the term "Born Again" must be explained.

      The Greek word for again is better translated "anew" or "from above". This is the phrasing in the CC.

      Historically, Being Born from above took place at Baptism. Thus, the Evangelical buzz words, many from the 1800's are not going to be present in the CC.

      Second, we are Justified by faith apart from the works of the Law. It is important to get the entire, and correct, statement and the context of Paul's words.

      We are saved by Grace, through faith. In other words, through our faith, we gain access to the Grace of God. This is the only sense in which faith alone is biblical.

      James teaches us about works (fruit of our faith) that must be present. These fruits are a result of us being in grace through faith.

      James tells us that we are Justified by our works and not by faith only (2:24)

      Paul speaks of works of the Law and is refuting the teachings of the Judaizers.

      James speaks of works that are fruit of our faith.

      Thus, be careful when you talk about something not being biblical.

      What you describe is not the CC, rather, a small minority of those who are not rooted in their faith.

    • profile image

      Bill Scudder 6 years ago

      by Bill Scudder

      My Testimony of Working with Charismatic Catholics

      and other thoughts on the subject of tongues/

      Bill Scudder Dayton, Ohio, USA

      I would like to say first of all that I am not a Cecessionist. I do not believe the Gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased with the New Testament Apostles. They are available to the Church of God today.

      For those who do not believe the above, you are still my brother or sister in the Lord if you believe that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone on account of Christ alone. What I am about to tell you is not 'politically correct' and I will be labeled as 'intolerant' or maybe even a 'basher' by some people. I love Catholics, as I do anyone else, but it is the doctrine's of Rome that are deceiving the Catholics.


      President of the FGBMF-Peoria, Illinois

      It started when I was voted in as President of a local chapter of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International. We had a dinner meeting once a month and a breakfast meeting once a month. At the dinner meeting we would usually invite a Christian businessman to give his testimony. I also held a Bible study and prayer meeting in my home.

      Catholics began to come to my home prayer and Bible study meeting, including a priest. I sat down with him and the scriptures and tried to explain to him the plan of salvation. My words and scriptures seemed to address deaf ears. His "religion" seemed to have a shield around him so the "Gospel" could not be heard.

      I became a friend with this Priest and we began to attend other meetings together. More Catholics started coming to all of our meetings and I invited a Catholic professor from Ball State University to come and speak to our fellowship.

      It wasn't long until many of these Catholics were seeking and receiving tongues. At the time I just took it for granted that they were already saved and were receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit Priests, nuns and others were beginning to receive tongues. I was guilty of believing that tongues was an indication that we shared the same Holy Spirit experience, and the same Jesus. This was due to my ignorance of the 'Gospel according to Rome,' for which I have no excuse.

      I was invited to teach a course one night a week for six weeks in a Roman Catholic Parish, St. Monica In East Peoria, Illinois. Priests, nuns and others were present. I taught on the gift of Salvation. At the time I was not prepared for what I was confronting and because all present at the meetings deemed themselves already saved because of the Roman Catholic religion. I don't believe I addressed the subject in the right way. There was a spirit of bondage given to them by Rome and they had a dependence on their infant baptism and other doctrines of Rome which nullify the Gospel.

      I was invited to attend Catholic Charismatic prayer meetings at Bradley University as the only non-Catholic present.

      One of the Catholic prayer groups were speaking in tongues and receiving unbiblical interpretations of a sinful nature, supposedly coming direct from Mary, 'the mother

      of Jesus'. Which was further proof that the unsaved were receiving 'tongues' from a spirit other than God. Charismatic Catholics often become more devoted to Mary after receiving a tongue that was not from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit only glorifies Christ.


      Many Catholic Charismatics have migrated to Mary, whom they see as the Holy Spirit's 'more interesting spouse.' The Catholic Charismatic fellowship at Dayton University reported to the news media that since their 'experience' they have been giving more devotion to Mary. In the statement nothing was said about Christ.

      That does not mean that we do not honor Mary at all for her physical part in the birth of Christ but we cannot venerate her more than the scriptures allow or make her in any way Spiritually responsible for our salvation.


      contrary to popular expectations, the sign of tongues that Catholics recieved brought back to Catholicism those who had fallen away, reviving their idolatrous practices. Some typical comments from Catholic charismatics illustrate this:

      --"Our devotion to Mary was filled with sanctification."

      --"The sacramental life of the church has become richer in meaning."

      --"I came to a better understanding of the eucharist as a sacrifice, and I came back to frequent confession."

      --"At that time I discovered a profound devotion to Mary."

      Is the spirit that is active in the Roman Church, the Holy Spirit? In speaking of Him, Jesus said, "He will guide you into all truth". This is the particular characteristic of the Holy Spirit. It is characteristic of an evil spirit to lead one into only part of the truth.

      Now, one of the most marked effects of the Catholic charismatic movement is to lead its followers into part-truth, part-error as, for example: spontaneous prayer AND the rosary; the adoration of Christ AND the Holy Sacrament; reading the Bible AND the veneration of Mary.

      There are several testimonies from people who had been baptised by the "Holy Spirit", one while reciting his rosary, another while singing a hymn at mass, and yet another while on her knees praying to the Holy Virgin. These testimonies are quite sufficient to prove that the spirit who baptised these people is in contradiction with the Scriptures and cannot, in any way, be the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit consists, not of doubting His work, but of attributing such error and such dreadful idolatry to His divine person. To quote Charles Foster, "When the experience of the Holy Spirit is put before doctrine and salvation, seduction is certain..."



      A Catholic Priest who was a sought after speaker in the Catholic Charismatic movement and spoke at many FGBMFI chapters, was speaking one night to a large group during one of our FGBMFI conventions. After his talk he gave an altar call to come and be 'born again.' I had an uneasy feeling, and after the service was over, I approached to ask him some questions. I asked him if Jesus was the only way to be saved, and he said very plainly, 'NO.' I asked, 'Do you have to be born again and believe in Jesus Christ to be saved and he said 'NO.' What did he mean by 'born again'?

      It was obvious he meant that if you received tongues or any kind of subjective feeling, that this was proof of being born again, having nothing to do with being born from above by the Spirit of God or believing in Christ alone for salvation.

      At that point I rebuked him for what he said and he got very angry and began to shake. I reported him to FGBMFI but nothing came of it. There are several kinds of Roman Catholics. The Catholic church is not as united as they would like everyone to believe. There is the liberal that believes God is the Father of all and no-one is lost and the one that believes that if you do good works and are baptised you will be saved and the traditional pre-Vatican 2 Catholic that believes that only through the Roman Catholic church can you be saved. Then there are all those in between.

      ((The Roman Catholic religion in its quest for ecumenism is now playing both sides as is seen in Vatican II. ""....

      An article published by the Dallas Morning News on Saturday March 20th, 1999 of an ecumenical meeting held in Dallas, Thanksgiving World Assembly, shows the other side.

      What is important about this meeting is that it was attended by a Nigerian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic religion named Francis Arinze.

      Many people think that Arinze, the Pope’s Deputy for Outreach, is heir apparent to John Paul II. But even if he is not, his comments are chilling and revealing.

      An illustration of Roman Catholic ecumenism, which ices out the Gospel and makes mockery of the ministry of Jesus Christ, is found in Arinze’s answer to the question, "Can you still get to heaven without accepting Jesus?"His answer, not surprising, but chilling and ominous, is: "Expressly, yes!"

      He says"".....Gods grant of salvation includes not only Christians but Jews,Muslims, Hindus and people of goo

    • Paulipopo profile image

      Paulipopo 6 years ago from Abuja, Nigeria

      Catholics are christians certainly and they have an unbroken history that dates back to the time of christ

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      apologetics: As you have proven through Holy Biblical proof Christians are truly followers of Jesus Christ, as they have with their own mouths and by their actions, declared themselves as faithful believers and followers of Jesus Christ the Son of Almighty God.

      There is no Holy Bible scriptural proof, documentation, substantiating the religion known as Roman Catholic, none whatsoever exists.

      This is a "Sub-Christian culture or religion developed by man to service man, not a God Created religion like the Hebrew's Judaism created by God, or Christianity created by the Son of God to incorporate all peoples, not just the Jews.

      The moment that the Jews denied Jesus and the Chief Priest Caiaphas sought Jesus death, the Jews, the Hebrew nation became no longer "The Chosen People of God" and all people Jew, Gentile, Heathen, alike became God's people.

      This is a lesson that even Jesus Himself had to learn from Our Holy Father as is witnessed in the story told in MATTHEW: 15: 21-28, When Jesus first ignores the Cannanite woman because she was not of Jewish Faith, then He looks upon her as a "Dog" but her humility and humble pleading softens his heart and he then realizes the error of his ways not seeing her as a human in need and by her insistant faith and pleading he heals her child.

      Jesus demonstrates Christian humility as he himself is humbled and Christian Compassion.

      Truly Catholics have adopted the Bible to their faith, but in many instances they have also managed to twist scripture to suit thie own agenda and purpose, inorder to establish their church.

    • Sun-Girl profile image

      Sun-Girl 6 years ago from Nigeria

      Great stuff but i don't think is wise for me to judge those that are Christians and those that are not.

    • apologetics profile image

      apologetics 7 years ago

      Thanks for your comments Trish.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 7 years ago from The English Midlands


      Yes, Catholics are Christians. Indeed, I would say that there are almost as many definitions of what being a Christian is as there are Christians ~ and Bible verses to support them.

      In the early days of 'Christianity' there were various rivals to 'Jesus' ~ alternative messiahs, miracle-makers, etc. Since 'Catholic' means 'universal', those describing the church thus may have meant the church for everyone, and not one of, what they considered, the minor cults.

    • apologetics profile image

      apologetics 7 years ago

      Thank you for your feedback Dave and GD.

    • GD Nunes profile image

      Glen Nunes 7 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      I agree with you, and Dave, that Catholics are indeed Christians.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      I see catholics as members of the Christian Community.