The True Catholic
In the Catholic Encyclopedia, the entry for the term “Catholic” begins, “The word Catholic (katholikos from katholou -- throughout the whole, i.e., universal) occurs in the Greek classics….”
We agree that the term catholic simply means “universal.” In the early church, before the Roman Catholic Church, the terminology catholic Church was used by Christians to distinguish the true Church from those who held to the heretical teachings of Gnosticism and pantheism.
The true Church is comprised of all believing individuals… regardless of their race, gender, denomination, or other religious affiliation… who place their faith in the finished Cross-work of Christ (Eph. 1:12,13), who He died for their sins, was buried, and rose again the third day (cf. I Cor. 15:1-4).
According to the Word of God, the true Church of this age is called “the Body of Christ” (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18).
22 And hath put all things under his [Christ’s feet, and gave him to be ‘the head’ over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1:22-23 (KJV)
18 And he is ‘the head of the body, the church:’ who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he [Jesus] might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18 (KJV)
The Roman Catholic Church, as we know it, technically did not come into existence until 325 A.D., during the reign of The Roman Emperor Constantine, the ruler of the Roman Empire at the time. He adopted Christianity as the state religion of the empire and with that he adopted all the pagan based trappings that came with it to comfortably win over the already pagan people of Rome into a paganized form of so-called Christianity.
While Rome has always touted itself as being the “true Church,” which is universal, the very title, Roman Catholic Church is a contradiction of terms. Roman is a “specific term,” referring to those who align themselves with her unsound unbiblical teachings and her pope, while the term catholic means universal.
In reality, it is the Protestants who believe that “the Church, the Body of Christ” is genuinely catholic or universal. This universal Church would include our Roman Catholic brethren who have placed their faith solely in the finished work of Christ, and not in works or rituals and rites of the organized church.
Rome has often tried to say the beliefs of Protestantism are something relatively new. It claims they are merely the fruits of the Reformation, which is far from the case. We certainly agree that the Reformers were used of the Lord to confront the indiscretions and outright errors of the organized church of their day and to encourage believers to return to the Scriptures as their final authority. The Reformers, to their credit, were simply returning to biblical Christianity.
Essentially, the recovered beliefs of the Reformers were essentially the same as the early Christians during the first three centuries of Christianity before Constantine establish the ‘Roman Catholic Church’ as a wing of the Roman Empire.
Some of those recovered Bible’s truths of the Protestant Reformers the include;
- the sole authority of the Scriptures, (without a pope)
- justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ's finished work alone, (without organization, manmade religious laws, ritual, rites, icons, or a priesthood)
- that there is only “one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Tim 2:5), etc. (thereby having no need for Priests or saints)
Most genuine Bible believers today, hold to these doctrines to be among ‘the fundamentals of the faith.’
- Portions adapted from Kevin Sadler -