I’m the only writer in the entire blogoshpere that hasn’t said anything about Pope Benedict XVI being in the United States. Half the internet is devoted to this topic. There’s more pics of him this week than Brittney Spears; well, maybe not.
I’m still not going to blog on the Pope, but will take this occasion to say some things about the Catholic Church while everybody’s talking about it right now in America. I grew up in a Baptist tradition that taught us Roman Catholics were not Christians. I still meet people that are surprised when Catholics are referred to as Christians, so it’s still floating around out there. In the first place, a Christian is a person who believes in and/or worships Christ. Catholics do that. Mormons, Jehovah Witness, Seventh Day Adventists and perhaps many others you don’t agree with are Christians also, in that they believe in Christ. The issue my Baptist teachers had was being a converted or born-again believer. They taught that Catholics were not saved, and that’s the issue I wish to take up at this time.
Whatever else they believe about the Pope, the Bible or Church tradition, this is what Roman Catholics believe about Jesus Christ:
- Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary.
- He lived a life without sin, although he was tempted to sin.
- He was crucified, dead and buried.
- On the third day, he rose again.
- He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father.
- He will one day return, and judge all persons.
Regardless of anything else, there’s no way one can correctly believe these things about Jesus, his relationship to God and man, and the work done on the cross and there be no possibility for salvation. There will be Catholics in heaven, because they have been washed by the blood of the Lamb. There will also be, I believe, Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians in heaven; and in hell. No one church claims exclusive rights on salvation with God. And on that statement, Catholics would disagree with me. Update: I was wrong; read the first comment.