Religion is in the news lately, Christianity and Catholicism in particular, with the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. But what is Christianity? Is it merely a religion? Judge Barrett is a “Charismatic Catholic”. What’s the difference? With so many “Christian” denominations which one is right? Is everyone who calls themselves a Christian really a Christian? What does it mean to “need Jesus”? Is everyone who says they’re Christian really saved and going to heaven when they die? Should someone who calls themselves Christian be involved in politics and should they let their beliefs guide their vote? Should Christian celebrate Halloween? What about Christmas? Isn’t it based on a pagan holiday?
All these questions are important and I’ll be writing and talking about them over the next few weeks. Let’s start with the big question…
What is Christianity?
A Christian believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, part of the Holy Trinity or Triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Christian believes that Jesus suffered and died on the cross carrying our sins forever, once and for all. A Christian is born again when he or she repents of ALL their sins, in other words, stops sinning, and surrenders his or her whole life to Jesus. The new Christian believer is then baptized showing themselves and others that they are dying to their old sinful lives, or nature, and are born into a new life in Jesus Christ. All our sins are forgiven.
The reborn person then receives the Holy Spirit in their heart. Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to be with His believers on earth to guide them, comfort them, and intercede for them. We believe that Jesus went to heaven and is sitting at the right hand of God, the Father and He is preparing a place for us believers. When Father God says it’s ready, Jesus will come back for His born again believers to snatch them all up to be with Him in heaven. That’s the Rapture. He told us this in John 14…
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”John 14:1-3 NLT
“For nonbelievers, life on Earth is as good as it will get. That’s it. If Jesus Christ isn’t a part of their lives, it will get a lot worse. But for the Christian, life on Earth is as bad as it ever will be, because the best is yet to come.”Pastor Greg Laurie
Christians Worship Jesus Only.
Venerating or worshiping anything or anyone else is idolatry and a sin. Christians believe that Mary was the mother of Jesus and that’s it. They pray to God, the Father in Jesus’ name, not to Mary or the saints or anyone or anything else. They don’t light candles or burn incense in honor of Mary or any of the Saints, even Jesus! That’s paganism and idolatry and God hates that!
Christians Read the Bible as Much as They Can
Because the Apostle Paul told us….
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
Here’s a nice, short video that explains what Christianity is…
Why Do We Need Jesus?
Because Adam and Eve wouldn’t obey God’s one rule, we have the “fall of man” and everyone is born a sinner. We are innocent as babies and children until the age of accountability — around the ages of 11-13. (Some kids raised in a Bible-believing church may understand the salvation of Jesus sooner.) If a child is aborted or dies before the age of accountability, he or she goes directly to heaven. They don’t need to be baptized. They could be dedicated to God — that’s where the parents, family and church vow to raise the child to know Jesus in a Christ-centered home.
Youths and adults may come to know Jesus as their savior later on in life. At that time, when they admit to believing that Jesus is the Savior, they repent and are baptized, then they become born again and are guaranteed a one-way, non-stop ticket to heaven.
Are Catholics Christians?
I am sure there are some born again Christians who still attend Catholic churches. There’s also a whole separate denomination of Charismatic Catholics, of which I’ll cover in my next post. However, having been raised Catholic, attended Catechism class, and after all the research I did, I can’t in good conscience call Roman Catholics, Christians.
I did a whole, well-researched series, of blog articles and podcasts: Where the Roman Catholic Church went Wrong. Check out the summary and the series here.
In my research I discovered this timeline from Dr. John Barnett which shows how, since the 6th century (I actually found proof that it started in the 3rd!), the church started veering from the truth of the Gospel…
When Were the Followers of Jesus First Called “Christians”?
The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke, the historian, tells of the birth, start and growth of the Christian church. At first, they called themselves “believers”, “brethren”, or “brothers”. Then were known as “followers of the Way”. That comes from this passage where Jesus said…
6 … “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”John 14:5-7 NLT
But they weren’t called “Christians” until Acts 11. Let’s read that story…
Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God. 2 But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers criticized him. 3 “You entered the home of Gentiles and even ate with them!” they said.
4 Then Peter told them exactly what had happened. 5 “I was in the town of Joppa,” he said, “and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me. 6 When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of tame and wild animals, reptiles, and birds. 7 And I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’
8 “‘No, Lord,’ I replied. ‘I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean.’
9 “But the voice from heaven spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’ 10 This happened three times before the sheet and all it contained was pulled back up to heaven.
11 “Just then three men who had been sent from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. 12 The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles. These six brothers here accompanied me, and we soon entered the home of the man who had sent for us. 13 He told us how an angel had appeared to him in his home and had told him, ‘Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. 14 He will tell you how you and everyone in your household can be saved!’
15 “As I began to speak,” Peter continued, “the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning. 16 Then I thought of the Lord’s words when he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?”
18 When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.”
The Church in Antioch of Syria
19 Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. 20 However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. 21 The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.
22 When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. 24 Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26 When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.)Acts 11:1-26 NLT
Are You a Half-way Christian?
I was, for a very long time! I was walking around with a false sense of salvation. God was trying to reach me, but I wanted to keep doing what felt good and going with the cultural flow. My testimony is below.
The point is that many people who go to church regularly — be it Catholic or Protestant
— are not really saved!
They are going to Hell!
(And Purgatory Doesn’t Exist!)
“Be prepared to meet God today, for you may meet God today.”Dr. Jim Denison
Once you’re dead, there are no second chances! Are you walking around with a false sense of salvation? That’s easily fixed! Just invite Jesus into your heart! Like me, you probably…
- Believe in the Trinity and that Jesus is the Son of God
- Understand that Jesus died on the Cross, was resurrected and is now in heaven with the Father.
- Know that God forgives sins if one is sorry — repentant.
- Attend church faithfully every Sunday. Maybe even sing hymns and songs, listen to Christian radio, wear a cross, and volunteer.
- Have not, for whatever reason, totally surrendered YOUR LIFE to Jesus Christ, been baptized as an adult believer and received the Holy Spirit in your heart.
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
- From Catholic to Prodigal: Surviving College
- From Prodigal to Progressive: Surviving Hurricanes
- From Progressive to Born Again Christian: Surviving Unemployment
I want to end with a special prayer for President Trump…
Jehova Rapha, the God who heals, Father, I come to you right now knowing that you are the Great Physician. Thank you, Lord, for the complete and total healing over the lives of President Donald Trump, his wife, Melania, Hope Hicks and everyone else sick with COVID-19. Heal them quickly. I pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.