[quote=DaMaMaXiMuS]Greetings, and peace unto you all.
It’s my understanding that the term Christians means; one who believes in Christ and follows his teachings. Also it’s my understanding, that when you read the scriptures there is only one way to follow Christ.
So if the Catholic Church is the church established by Christ through Peter, then the way to follow Christ would be through the teachings of the Catholic Church, which were establised by Christ. Therefore, anyone who believes in Christ and follows these teachings would be a, Christian.
So technically speaking, anyone outside of this can not really be called Christians.
So I’m wondering if the reason its commonly accepted to call other faiths outside of the Catholic Church christians, is because this would probably be a hinderance for people to even to sit and talk about the Catholic faith with an open mind.
Would anyone like to begin a discussion on this?
God Bless You All,
There are many Christian beliefs - but one Christian Faith. All Christians, Catholic or not, share in this faith: which is one reason why one cannot speak of Protestant faiths, but of Protestant beliefs or doctrines. To talk of Christian Faiths", would imply that their beliefs, however Christian, had nothing to do with that of Catholics. Since there is only one Christ, & one Baptism, & one God and Father of us all, & one Spirit in whom all are baptised and in Whom all have access through the one Christ to the one Father - to speak of “Christian Faiths”, in the plural, is impossible.
The real bond of Christians is Christ; Christ and His work - that is where the emphasis must lie; when it doesn’t, we will find ourselves defining Christianity by what we do - when it should be defined by what He is and does and has done. Otherwise, Christian believing and living becomes “our project”, something we make up as we see fit - it ceases to be something we receive from God in Christ, something traditional. If we over-emphasise the importance of man’s part in the setting-up of the Church, we may forget that the initative is with God, Who does not need the gifts He gives to us, Who is always greater than His gifts. The Church is for our benefit - not His. He comes to men as He wishes - within or without His Church. Historical facts don’t give grace - God does.
Our first encounter is with Christ - not with the Church, in any form. The Church is a consequence of our encounter with Christ - it is secondary, not primary. The initiative by which God is gracious to us is never with the Church - it is always with God; for it is God, not the Church, Who is the Lord of all Creation and the Unique Saviour. Men are his agents, not his replacements.
Which are probably some of the reasons that the CC regards Protestants as Christians
What complicates things is that being “in the Church” is a far more complex, far richer reality, than being a purely nominal Catholic. There are many ways of being in the Church, and of being related to it, and they don’t all require explicit visible membership (which is probably what most of us think of as “being in the Church”). There are many ways of being in union with Christ - they don’t all require explicit visible membership: a Catholic in mortal sin is “in the Church” - but not as fruitfully as a Baptist whose sole desire is to do the Will of God. Even to desire this, is itself a grace - for God’s grace is not confined to Catholics: not many things are. “Being in the Church” is useless if it is not “being in Christ” - take away being “in Christ”, and membership in the Church is no different from being a member of a club; it becomes a purely earthly thing.
Being in Christ & being in the Church - His Church; not ours - aren’t two successive stages of a process: it’s more that the Church is in Christ, and that we can come to it, and bear fruit in it, only by union with Him. So Protestants who know Him are far from being heathens. Being in the Church in some sense, fills in the detail of knowing Christ - it can’t give that knowledge; only He can.