Defining Christianity


Simply put a Christian is someone who believes in Jesus Christ. I recently had a very good friend of mine who is Catholic and went to a Catholic school until the 9th grade say to me that she wasn’t a Christian, she was a Catholic. She said that the nuns told her she wasn’t Christian. I explained to her that Catholics were Christian. At a later time in a conversation she said that Christians chastise Catholics. I again told her that she being a Catholic was a Christian. She looked at me perplexed.

So I broke it down for her. Christians consist of Catholics, Protestants, Mormons and Muslims. Catholics in the beginning were split between orthodox and Roman. Upon the ‘protest’ by Martin Luther when he wrote is 93 complaints against the Catholic Church Protestants were born. Lutherans being the first ones. Today there are several denominations of Protestants including Methodist, Presbyterians and Baptists. Then there are Mormons and yes Muslims.

Let’s look at the fundamental differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants.

Roman Catholics recognize 7 sacraments; Baptism, Communion, Penance, Holy Matrimony, Ordination and Last Rites. Protestants recognize only two; Baptism and Holy Communion.

Roman Catholics worship the Virgin Mary and believe in the Immaculate Conception. Protestants don’t worship Mary and don’t believe she was sinless. Roman Catholics worship Saints, Protestants don’t.

Roman Catholics believe that the Bible and Church tradition equally are the laws of God. Protestants believe that the Bible alone is what dictates God’s Law. This is called “Sola Scriptura”.

Roman Catholics recognize the Pope as the Head of the Church; Protestants do not acknowledge the Pope at all. Catholicism teaches that only the Church can correctly interpret the Bible while Protestants believe that individuals may read and interpret for themselves.

Roman Catholics believe that salvation comes from belief in Jesus Christ and through meritorious works. They believe that Christ’s righteousness is imparted to the believer by ‘grace through faith’ but that alone is not enough. Essential to salvation are the Seven Sacraments. Protestants believe that belief in Christ alone is salvation.

Roman Catholics believe in the doctrine of purgatory. They believe that time in purgatory or through penance along with their definition of salvation are how one gets into heaven when they die. Protestants believe that upon death believers go straight to Heaven.

For a comparison chart of the differences between Orthodox Catholic, Roman Catholic and Protestants go to christianityinview.com/comparison.html

Lastly let’s look at Mormons and Muslims. Mormons believe that Jesus came to America and they see Joseph Smith as a prophet. Muslims believe in Jesus but believe Muhammad was a second prophet.

The main point of this is to clear up confusion for those Catholics who believe they are not Christians and for those Christians who don’t understand what Protestants are

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  14. My ‘issues’ if you will have never been with or about Jesus. They are with the Judeo Christian God.

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  15. A Christian should be a follower of Christ and believing in Jesus. This believe in Jesus may be different by many Christians. Serious Bible Students for example shall keep onto the sayings in the Holy Scriptures that Jesus was a man born out of a virgin and as son of men also son of God and not god the son (a big difference) As such Muslims often forget that there are also a lot of Christians who take Jesus to be a man, a prophet and master teacher, like he is presented in the Bible. We can understand that they think lots of Christians do have an other God, because for many Christians (the majority) Jesus is God. But all Christians and Muslims should also know that there are enough Christians who think Jesus is not God, but they believe in his sons-ship and his willing to give his body for the sins of all. For those sincere Bible Students it is clear that Jesus broke with the death and that human sinners have paid for their wins with their dead, so no other penalty should come over them, with a torturing in a purgatory or hell. We have the Grace of Christ and the Grace of God which brings salvation for all those who believe in the name of Jesus. (Yes even when they may be one of the so many denomination, called Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Messianic Jew, Bible Student, Christadelphian or Jehovah Witness.) All those looking for the return of Christ should get to see what they have in common with each other and should try to come to live according to the Holy Scriptures, being able to present them worthily to enter the Kingdom of God.

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