Those of you who have been following this blog have probably noticed that I frequently interchange the words Christian and Catholic in my posts.
This is not carelessness on my part. It is deliberate. For Catholicism and Christianity are one and the same, and I treat them as interchangeable. Roman Catholicism is the faith founded by Christ, and its teachings are those set forth by Christ. All other types of “Christianity” do not possess the authentic teachings of Christ in fullness – and their followers cannot be considered true Christians.
It is for this reason that I do not consider Protestants true Christians. (There, I said it!)
This is not to say that I believe that Protestants don’t believe in God or Christ. They do, and many Protestants have love and reverence for the person of Christ, and honestly believe that they are doing His will.
But to be a Christian, one must follow the teachings of Christ completely – the actual, full body of Christ's teachings, and not merely a part of them. And Roman Catholics are the only people who follow Christ’s teachings as He set them forth 2000 years ago. Protestants, despite their laudable belief in Christ and in the validity of Scripture, only profess and believe the truth of Christ’s teachings in part, and not in whole.
Christ demands complete allegiance of his followers. He laid out a firm body of teaching for His followers – and He demands that they fully accept the teachings and guidance of the one true Church that He established. And humans are not free to pick and choose which teachings of His we wish to follow. He demands our full and complete love and attention – and will not be satisfied with anything less. Only those who follow Christ's faith - i.e. - Roman Catholics who believe in and practice the teachings of the one true Faith - are worthy of the name Christian.
It is for this reason that Christ states: "Not everyone who calls to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 7:21) Many who claim to follow Christ – many who even believe that they are following Christ – do not in actuality follow Him. St. Cyprian's famous dictum "Outside the Church there is no salvation" remains just as true today as it was 1700 years ago.
This does not mean that all Protestants are condemned to Hell. But it does mean Protestants cannot truly and completely follow Christ so long as they remain Protestant.
And in that sense, Protestants cannot truly be called Christians.