SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
ARE CATHOLICS GOING TO HEAVEN?
There are so many differences between Catholics and Protestants that some on one side wonder if the other side is going to heaven. What do these two branches of Christianity have in common and where do they differ?
First we must make mention that there are some important doctrinal similarities that both Catholics and Protestants share in common such as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and the death and bodily resurrection of Christ. Both groups also strongly uphold marriage and family as well as the rights of the unborn. As far as practice is concerned, Protestants must admit that Catholics possess the exemplary characteristics of a strong faith, deep devotion, lifelong loyalty, and propensity for good works. However there are some doctrines and practices of the Catholic faith that diverge from the Bible and need to be pointed out with a scriptural response:
- THE POPE is the head of the church on earth. (Col 1:18) And He (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church…that in all things He may have the preeminence.
- MARY may act as a mediator between God and man. (1 Tim 2:5) For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.
- PRAYER TO SAINTS to intercede for them: (Heb 7:25)…He (Jesus) always lives to make intercession for them.
- PRIESTS have the power and authority to forgive sins. (Mat 9:6) But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”
- PENANCE: Penalties for sin can be removed or reduced by penance, which involves doing good works prescribed by the priest after a confession. (Eph 2:8-9) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works…
- PURGATORY is a place of cleansing and preparation for heaven and where the punishment due to venial (forgivable) sins may be expiated (atoned for). (2 Cor 5:8) We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
- PRIESTLY CELIBACY: Catholic priests may not marry. (Mat 8:14) Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever.
- REPETITIOUS PRAYERS are common for Catholics. (Mat 6:7) And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
- STATUES as aides in worship. (Exo 20:4) You shall not make for yourself a carved image…
- SALVATION through baptism and sacraments. (Rom 3:24) being justified freely by His grace…
In asking the question ARE CATHOLICS GOING TO HEAVEN we come back to the basics of our core beliefs from the Bible. And that’s always a good thing to do! Let’s let Jesus answer the question: (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. So it’s not through a church or through a creed. It’s through the cross! Now the real question becomes…are you going to heaven?