Is the Roman Catholic Church Christian?

by Rob Caines

The Council of Trent, in response to the Reformers' doctrine of justification by faith alone, states the following:

And again:

These statements are diametrically opposed to the biblical Gospel. According to the Bible, a Christian is one who believes that Jesus is the Christ (1 John 5:1). A person becomes a Christian through faith (Eph 2:8-9). And the Christian can know that because of this faith he or she has eternal life (John 3:16; 1 John 5:13).

Many hold the mistaken opinion that Vatican II changed much of what Rome had believed. It did not. In fact it reaffirmed all of the main beliefs. This is what was written in Vatican II:

Similarly, Catholic apologist Rev. Anthony Schraner writes this in reply to the question "What is meant by faith?":

We must remember that by far the larger percentage of those professing to be Catholic are not Christian, since most Catholics hold to Roman Catholic doctrine on salvation and have never trusted Christ alone for eternal life. We must reach out to these people. When in a position to present spiritual truths, we should not ask a Catholic if he is a Christian; he thinks he is. Instead we should ask questions like, "What do you believe you must do to go to heaven?" or, "Do you know where you're going when you die?" The answers to questions like these are more likely to tell us most of what we need to know about their spiritual condition.

We should be aware that many Catholics are desperately seeking the truth. We can help them find it. We shouldn't allow them to take us off on a tangent (i.e., Mary, the Pope, and purgatory), but we should stay as best we can on the Gospel that saves.

My greatest success over the years in leading people to Christ has been among Roman Catholics. It is truly rewarding to see them come to know the truth and to watch the truth free them from their bondage to salvation by works.