On September 11, we started a new series on the Protestant Reformation simply titled “Reformed”. There is no way to conduct a series on this topic without discussing the scandals that were prevalent in the Roman Catholic Church at the time and the corruption of the “faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).” It is no stretch to say that Rome does not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as we continue in our series this will become more and more clear.
Given that I have pointed out that Rome does not have the Gospel several times in our church, I have had a similar question posed to me on many different occasions, “Does this mean that all Catholics are going to hell?” This is a valid question as you come to understand what Rome teaches on doctrines such as justification, and as you know doubt know people who are a part of the Roman Catholic Church.
As a means of answering this question let me first say that there are different kinds of Catholics; there are those who are educated on Rome’s doctrines and embrace them whole heartedly, others are simply Catholic because it is their family tradition and they are unaware of how deep the false teaching goes.
For those who know and embrace Roman Catholic doctrines as it has been laid out by the church; yes, you need to be concerned for their souls. They are believing a gospel that does not have a perfect savior that saves his people perfectly, and this will lead to the wrath of God and the separation from God.
For those who are Catholics because it is their family tradition but do not really know all of the depths of the corrupt doctrine within the Catholic Church; they may be Christians. I say, may be, because not believing in Catholic doctrine is not necessarily believing in right doctrine. However it is certainly possible that a person who calls themselves a Catholic may believe properly that they are saved by grace alone through faith alone by Christ alone. In other words, they have a faith that actually saves because they trust in Jesus to save them apart from anything they can do.
The people who are in the Catholic Church and are truly Christians have been saved, not because of Rome’s doctrine but in spite of it. So yes, it is possible for a person who calls themselves a Catholic to be a Christian, but it won’t be because they are a Catholic.
My counsel would be, to get to know the beliefs of your friends and family who are Catholic and learn what it is they actually hold to doctrinally. You may just find an open door to share the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and encourage those who are truly born again to grow up in their salvation.