It was recently Q&A night at theMILL (For an audio of Q&A nights at theMILL click here). Over the course of 45 minutes I answer as many questions as I can on-the-fly taken from those in attendance. I encourage people to not be afraid of doubt as it is a part of faith and to not shy away from questions as they can lead us to truth and faith. I only get through a small percentage of the stack of questions so for a while I have committed to answer a question a week on my blog. This is question #3.
I AM A CATHOLIC AND ABOUT A WEEK AGO A GIRL TOLD ME THAT BECAUSE OF THIS, I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN. I HAVE NEVER FELT SUCH A DEEP HURT IN MY HEART AND AM CONFUSED. CAN YOU HELP? SHED SOME LIGHT? PLEASE.
It is a tragedy that anyone would believe that a person’s salvation is determined by the church they attend or the denomination with which they are associated.
Ephesians 2:8 clearly states that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. So to dismiss all Catholics as non-Christians is as naïve as saying all Baptists are faithful followers of Jesus just because they attend church on Sunday.
I Samuel 16:7 says that God sees something different than what we see: He looks at the heart. It is not for us to know the condition of another’s heart, so what you were told was completely unfounded.
It is vitally important that we recognize that the difference between close-handed and open-handed issues of faith. Close-handed (non-negotiable) issues are what bind the Church together. These issues are the absolutes of Scripture, clearly stated in the Nicene Creed, (note: when 'catholic' is used in the creed it refers to the universal/ global Church) that deal with the submission of our heart to the one true God.
It is because of the differences on the non-negotiable issues that we can say that a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon is not from another denomination but actually not a part of the Body of Christ.
The differences of denominations are most often over open-handed (responsibly debatable) issues. These issues are not salvation issues and are frequently interpretations, deductions, cultural traditions and personal preferences. They make for interesting discussion and debate but they are not dividing lines of faith and salvation.
I know plenty of Catholics who have a wonderful, vibrant relationship with Jesus and I love the diversity of faith expressions found within the family of God.