Are Some Roman Catholics Christians?
By Shaun Willcock
One often hears people within evangelical churches say, “Yes, Roman Catholicism is a false, antichristian religion, and most Roman Catholics are unregenerate; but there are some, at least, who are true Christians, and who remain within the institution, either out of ignorance, or from a desire to serve the Lord from within the system, instead of from the outside.”
Those who speak thus are in serious error. That there are some Roman Catholics who are true Christians is an utter impossibility. And professing Christians who make such statements as the one above, are either abysmally ignorant of Roman Catholicism, or they are abysmally ignorant of the Bible itself.
Either the Roman Catholic institution is Christian, or it is not. There are those within evangelical circles who claim that it is. That Romanism is Christian is manifestly absurd, and it is not the purpose of this article to address the matter. Instead, this is addressed to those who, while admitting that Romanism is not Christian, believe that some Romanists are Christians.
If Romanism is not Christian, then it follows, as certainly as day follows night, that no Roman Catholic is a true Christian. It is impossible.
A Roman Catholic believes that Mary has an important part to play in the salvation of sinners; a true Christian knows that she plays no part whatsoever. A Roman Catholic believes that to `receive Christ,’ one must actually eat him in the `mass’; a true Christian knows that Christ is received by faith. A Roman Catholic believes that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross was insufficient, and that the `sacrifice of the mass’ is necessary too; a true Christian knows that his Lord’s death on the cross was sufficient, and that no further sacrifice is needed. A Roman Catholic believes that, in baptism, one is regenerated and becomes a child of God; a true Christian knows that regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit alone, and that baptism does not regenerate. A Roman Catholic believes that praying to idols is both right and important; a true Christian knows this is idolatry. And so the list could go on. No Roman Catholic is a true Christian; for he denies the true Gospel by his doctrines and practices.
If a person says, “I’m a Roman Catholic, but I don’t believe those things,” he is not a true Roman Catholic; for these are vital doctrines of Roman Catholicism.
If a person says, “I’m a Roman Catholic; I believe in the teachings of Rome, and I’m a true Christian,” he is a Roman Catholic, but certainly not a Christian. For no Christian believes such vile heresy and blasphemy.
Hinduism is not Christian (and on this, both Hindus and Christians would be agreed). Can a Hindu, when he is enlightened by the Holy Spirit to see that he is a lost sinner, and that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour of sinners, so that he repents of his sins, and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ for his everlasting salvation–can such a person, I ask, be both a Hindu and a Christian at the same time? Every Christian knows the answer: it is impossible! He who is “in Christ” (2 Cor.5:17), a new creature, having “put on Christ” (Gal.3:27), having been “joined unto the Lord” (1 Cor.6:17), is no longer a Hindu; he is a child of God!
And so it is with the Muslim who is converted to Christ, or the Buddhist, or the Mormon, or the Moonie. There is no such being on earth as a `Muslim Christian,’ or a `Buddhist Christian.’ For, “what concord hath Christ with Belial?” (2 Cor.6:15).
And just as a `Muslim Christian’ does not exist, and cannot exist, anywhere on earth, so a `Roman Catholic Christian’ does not, and cannot, exist. For the Papal religion is a false, antichristian religion. The difference between Romanism and, for example, Hinduism, is that Romanism employs Christian terminology, such as `Church,’ or `Bible,’ or even the word `Christian.’ But both are pagan; both are unscriptural. Just because Romanism speaks of God, and Christ, and sin, and salvation, and the Church, this does not make it Christian, any more than calling the Mormon religion the `Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ makes it Christian!
One is either a Roman Catholic, or a Christian. One cannot be both.
That a Roman Catholic can be a true Christian, is completely contrary to the Word of God. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Rev.18:4,5). “Her,” in this portion of God’s Word, is the Great Whore, Babylon the Great–the Roman Catholic system. Note the words, “MY people.” This is addressed to God’s people; the redeemed. When the Lord draws a Roman Catholic unto himself, he calls him out of Romanism. For he who says, “Come unto me” (Matt.11:28), says also, “Come out of her.” He who comes unto Christ, being drawn by God the Father, cannot remain within that vile, antichristian religion of Popery. Billy Graham and other blind leaders of the blind are saying, “Come unto Christ, then go back to Roman Catholicism,” but that is not what the Lord says! COME UNTO CHRIST, COME OUT OF BABYLON–that is the language of Scripture. It is a command, not an option. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn.14:15). Does the one who remains within Roman Catholicism, claiming that the Lord “told me to stay and witness from the inside,” truly love him? No; he reveals that he has never been drawn to Christ; he has never been savingly joined to him. The Lord has commanded, “COME OUT!” He who stays in, reveals the truth about his supposed `conversion.’
The Lord calls no-one to `stay and witness from the inside’! Anyone converted to Christ from a false religion is called out of it (2 Cor.6:14-18; Eph.5:11; Heb.13:13). The Lord would have to deny his own Word if he led someone to stay within a false religion; and that is impossible. Those who claim that he does such a thing, either do not know Roman Catholicism, or they do not know Christ and his Gospel.
And take note, too, of the words of Rev.18:5, where it says that “God hath remembered her iniquities.” To the TRUE child of God he says, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb.8:12). Since God remembers the iniquities of those within the Great Whore, it follows that those within her are NOT true Christians. Their sins are remembered!
The command to “come out,” to separate from the temple of idols, is also found in 2 Cor.6:17,18: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” The true sons and daughters of God are the separated ones. By this they give evidence that they are the children of God. No true Christian is under any obligation to receive, as a brother, one who professes to be a Christian while remaining within `Babylon.’
The Scripture says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom.8:14). Every believer has received the Holy Spirit. He does not lead the believer deeper into error! For anyone to believe that a true Christian can be a Roman Catholic, they would have to believe that the Holy Spirit failed to lead that person away from gross error! That is simply impossible.
I have said emphatically that no Romanist is a Christian. This, however, is not to deny what does at times happen: a Romanist is converted to Christ (and at that point ceases to be a Romanist); but, being a new “babe,” he may, if not properly instructed, attend the services of the Roman Catholic religion for a while, out of ignorance. For, as a new convert, knowing almost nothing as yet of the Word of God, a “newborn babe,” and knowing the Christian-sounding terminology of Romanism (and often misled by professing evangelicals who speak of Romanism as if it were part of the body of Christ), he may, in confusion, continue to attend for a time.
But the Holy Spirit will not leave him there! It will not be long before his eyes are opened to its errors and blasphemies, and he obeys the Lord’s command and comes out! To deny this, is to deny that the Holy Spirit is at work in sanctification and separation. This is a fact so certain, that, if a person is still attending the Roman Catholic institution long after his supposed `conversion,’ he was quite clearly NEVER converted to Jesus Christ. For the Lord he professes to serve is blasphemed at every mass, is mocked by every prayer addressed to Mary by the people there, is denied by every false doctrine that drops from the priest’s lips. The blasphemies of Romanism are so obvious in every service, that any child of God, being taught by the Holy Spirit, will spend very little time there before he separates from it.
I said that, from the time of his conversion, one who was previously a Papist, ceases to be a Papist. This is true, even if he subsequently attends the services of the Roman Catholic institution for a short while out of ignorance. That person, sitting in the pew beside all those Papists, listening to the priest, is not himself a Papist any more. He is a new babe in Christ, confused and uninstructed. Oh, what a tragedy that so many professing `believers,’ ignorant of the nature of Popery, and blinded by the ecumenical overtures of the Great Whore, cannot assist that new convert in any way! And what a responsibility rests upon TRUE believers to see to it that, when a Papist is converted, he is taught to observe all things, whatsoever Christ has commanded (Matt.28:20)!
Yes, if truly saved, the Holy Spirit will soon lead them out; but how much better if they never had to set foot in a Roman Catholic service again, because some faithful Christian showed them immediately, from the Word of God, that they must separate! I remember one woman, an ex-Romanist herself but, I fear, not savingly joined to Christ, writing to me and saying that we should not tell Roman Catholics who come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that they must leave the institution. Evidently she felt that this would alienate and upset them. Indeed it will upset those not given eyes to see–but those ordained to eternal life will receive it.
The Lord draws every Roman Catholic whom he saves, out of the institution. Any who remain within it, claiming all the while to be saved, are deceivers, and have themselves been deceived. The evil of the Romish religion is too obvious to an enlightened soul. And the glorious testimonies of the many who have been delivered from that bondage, attest to this fact. No true Christian could worship the wafer, or Mary, or idols; confess to a priest; believe that priests can forgive sins; etc. For when the Lord opened his heart to attend the Gospel (Acts 16:14), he “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess.1:9); he was enabled by grace to see that Christ is the only Saviour and Mediator (Acts 4:12; 1 Tim.2:5); he was taught by God’s Spirit that the Lord alone can forgive sins (Matt.6:12; Acts 13:38). If never taught these truths by the Holy Spirit, he was never saved. No saved soul goes on in Roman Catholicism. To do so would be to deny Christ, and his Gospel.
And therefore I say to all professing believers who claim that some Roman Catholics are Christians: you either do not know Roman Catholicism, or you do not know Christ and his Gospel. If you do not know Romanism, that is bad: for then you will fail to proclaim the truth to those lost souls within that evil system. You need to become well-acquainted with this greatest of all false religions, or you will never effectively proclaim Christ to those in bondage to it. If, however, you know not Christ and his Gospel, that is even worse: you yourself are then deceived, even while claiming to be enlightened. If you, with a good knowledge of Romanism, can maintain that there are Romanists who are true Christians, I fear for your own soul; you clearly do not know Christ or his Gospel. I exhort you to “search the scriptures” (Jn.5:39); for the “Gospel” you have embraced is not the Gospel of Christ.
And to those Roman Catholics who claim to be “born again,” “saved,” etc., even though you remain in the Roman Catholic institution, I say this: you have been deceived. You are still dead in trespasses and sins (Eph.2:1). Repent! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! And come out of Babylon!
Shaun Willcock is a minister of the Gospel. He lives in South Africa and runs Bible Based Ministries. For other pamphlets (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, tapes, news articles, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website. If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ electronic mailing list, please send your details.
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