Why We Don’t Consider Catholics to Be Christians (in as polite and simple terms possible)
BY NEWS DIVISION · FEBRUARY 18, 2016
Scalia is in Heaven.
Rubio is saved.
At least, evangelical leaders have asserted both of those things and ostensibly for the same reason. Both men have held to conservative principles and have promoted Christian values. Both men have professed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
And yet, we (that is, Protestants) have consistently groaned in annoyance each time a fellow evangelical pronounces a recently departed or politically engaged or virtuous Roman Catholic a Christian. When evangelicals cite Mother Teresa as an example of Christian virtue, we inwardly – or outwardly, if we’re brave enough – groan in agony. It hurts our conscience to sit there quietly as more and more evangelicals speak of Romans Catholics as though they are, indeed, fellow Christians.
When Pulpit & Pen writes about evangelical leaders citing Roman Catholics as Christians as though it is scandalous, as we’ve recently done, we want you to know why it is scandalous. So many fellow Protestant evangelicals look with bewilderment at such a fuss, thinking, “Well, just because someone isn’t exactly like us doesn’t mean they’re not in Heaven/saved/a Christian.”
We (that is, Protestants) agree. In one sense, the Door is not as narrow as how some may characterize our perceived religious bigotry. That Door is hinged upon the doctrine of justification, and it swings open for those with any number of schismatic beliefs on secondary or tertiary issues. Essentially, we (that is, Protestants) confess that those who believe in justification by faith alone in the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ (who is the second person of a Triune God) is a fellow Christian, is born again, and will be in Heaven. That sounds terribly narrow, as that excludes a great many people who hold to conservative principles, promote Christian values, and profess Christ as Savior. And yet, it is wider than what some might give us credit for or how they might characterize us, as refusing to acknowledge the salvation of anyone who’s not a Reformed 1689 Confessional, ESV-reading Baptist who like the color green and vote Libertarian.