A Protestant’s Response to Catholic Beliefs

If you ask a Catholic if they are a Christian, they will tell you yes. If you ask Protestant like me the same question they will give you the same answer. Which is really Christian? Are they both? Let’s dive into what some of the Catholic teachings are and how they compare to my Protestant belief system.

They do not know if they are going to heaven. Catholics can only hope to go there. Yet when I see a passage such as 1 John 5:13 and it says to me that we can know. Other verses (John 3:16; Mark 1:15) tell me as long as we believe in Jesus we will go to heaven.

We now come to the issue of sin. Catholics believe that infant baptism takes away original sin and gives grace for all other sins. There are little sins that are not that big of a deal and others that are a big deal but are often hard to prove. Those big deal sins are to be taken seriously. Often sins are forgiven through ritualized confession. If there are too many sins, they go through a period of time in purgatory before going to heaven. In Romans 3:23, we are told we all have sinned. Nowhere does the Bible put sins in categories or levels. As a matter of fact the Bible in James puts adultery and murder on the same level and in another part does the same with lying and murder. There is nothing about purgatory of even anything that would resemble it.

In the Catholic belief system, Jesus has done His part and the majority of work for forgiveness. Yet, they still have work to be done for forgiveness. Every sin has incurred a temporal punishment which is the person’s responsibility to earn forgiveness. This can be done by suffering here on earth or in purgatory. It can also be done by building merit from Mary and the saints. The Bible teaches in 1 John 1:9 forgiveness is given to those who ask. Forgiveness is part of grace that is given not earned (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Mary is viewed is believed to always be a virgin. The brothers and sisters of Jesus were Joseph’s from a previous marriage. She is seen as the mediator between Jesus and man. Mary was also sinless. They are called Jesus’ brothers when they came to Jesus not stepbrothers. James calls himself Jesus’ brother. Nowhere is it mentioned about Joseph being married before hand. In Hebrews, it says there is one mediator and that is Jesus. Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and since there was no exception listed it includes Mary.


McCarthy, James G. Talking with Catholic Friends and Family. Eugene, OR, Harvest House Publishers, 2005



The Holy Bible, King James Version

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