The Instigator
Con (against)
The Contender
Pro (for)

Catholicism Is Not a Christian Faith

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/24/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 719 times Debate No: 106106
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
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In this debate, I will take the Con position; that being Catholicism is in fact a Christian religion. Many non Catholics have made the claim that Catholicism is not Christian. Pro must argue that cause.

Catholicism is that religion which holds to the dogmas and traditions of the early Church, including the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and the offering of the sacrifice of the Mass, and has expounded on them, adding to them without diminishing already established tradition and truths.

As Catholicism appears on its face to be a religion with a Christian foundation, the burden of proof is on Pro in this debate.

First round acceptance only.



I do not believe Catholicism is a Christian faith because it does not teach a saving gospel. For me, the issue is not about trivial matters, but about the heart of the gospel itself as I will show. Of course, as a protestant, I am not a fan of the traditions of the Catholic church, but these are minor issues. If the Catholic church does not teach the real saving gospel, it is not Christian, although individual Catholics who do not agree with their church may be saved.

I truly hope that I will lose this debate and be convinced that Catholics are in fact Christians, but I don't see how that is possible at the moment. I hope I am wrong, but if I am right, I hope those of the Catholic church will heed my warning. As the first round is acceptance, I will wait to support what I believe.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank Pro for accepting this debate, providing the opportunity to discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of Catholicism as a form of Christianity.

In Pro’s opening “I do not believe Catholicism is a Christian faith because it does not teach a saving gospel,” we see the heart, apparently, of his conviction that Catholicism is not Christian. Pro does not define what he means to assert by saying the Catholic Church does not teach a saving gospel. Although we assume this will be made clear in the discussion to follow, the words themselves seem to suggest Catholicism does not teach a gospel which can save. Although this is not the crux of the debate, it is an interesting side note.

In rebuttal, the Gospels which the Catholic Church adheres to are not significantly different from those found in other denominations. It seems Pro’s contention would also condemn other denominations for also failing to teach a saving gospel.

In argument, Con points to the Sacrifice of the Mass, the centerpiece of Catholicism, which is the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross. The focus of the Mass is Christ Himself. This in and of itself cannot be seen as anything but Christian. Above the altar must be a crucifix, not a cross, but a cross with a corpus, as Christ is essential to Catholicism and its worship. Upon the altar are the bread and wine, which, as the priest utters the words of consecration, “Hoc est enim Corpus meum” and “Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis mei, novi et aeterni testamenti: mysterium fidei: qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum”, are changed to His body and His blood respectively. (1). These words are a translation into Latin of a compilation of quotes of the words of Christ at the last supper, as recorded in several New Testament books. Matthew 26:26 (2), Mark 14:22 (3), Luke 22:19 (4) After these words He said this was to be done in commemoration of Him. 1 Corinthians 11:25 (5). To repeat in this Christ centered form of worship the words of Christ, along with His command to do it, is hardly opposed to Christianity.

It would seem at the very least that Catholicism, which is Christ-centered, is Christian by that fact alone. Redefining Christianity to mean anything other than belief in Christ and a desire to follow His teachings is gratuitous at best, a contrivance at worst. Pro’s definition that in order for a religion to be Christian it must teach a saving gospel is not only not the definition of christianity, but further Con will argue successfully that Catholicism and its Christ centered teachings and practices are directed toward saving souls by having them earn that right through serving God in the manner Christ taught us to do while on earth. In this way, it will appear that Catholicism is in fact a very Christian religion.

  1. Words of Consecration taken from the Canon of the Mass, Missale Romanum







I thank Throwback for being civil and polite during this debate. Obviously the salvation of Catholic people is a very emotional issue, but it is not my intention to cause any offense. I will first address the points that were brought up, then I will go on to demonstrate exactly what I mean by an usaving gospel.

First, let me address the point that calling the Catholic gospel an unsaving gospel is simply gratuitous. I do not believe this is the case since I apply the same standard to other groups (including protestant denominations) that make the error that I will explain in a bit. I am not only picking on Catholicism.

I also highly disagree with the idea that any group that "centers" around Jesus is really Christian; it isn't really that simple. Mormons belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but they aren't a Christian group because they miss some of the essential truths of the Christian faith. Jehovah's witnesses center their religion around Jesus, but they are not Christians because they do not see Him as God. I believe there are certain non-negotiable truths that are absolutely essential according to scripture itself. With this in mind, I will demonstrate why I believe Catholicism denies one of these essential truths.

Galatians 1:6-9:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel" not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

These few verses in the opening of the book of Galatians provide the basis for my belief that there is another gospel (in fact many false gospels). He says anyone who preaches this false gospel must be accursed. The Greek word anathema as used in this context is the strongest word in the Greek language that Paul could have picked, meaning eternal damnation to hell. The rest of the book of Galatians goes on to explain in great detail exactly what this false Gospel is so that we may not make the same mistake. In this book, Paul is obviously furious since he uses the harshest language in all of scripture to make his point. He nearly exhausts the Greek language to communicate his righteous anger.

Galatians 3-1-14
1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain"if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith" 6 just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"?
7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10"For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." 12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us"for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"" 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Interestingly, verse 3 above tells us that Paul's audience believes faith is required for salvation, but they were adding good works to the equation. The did not believe in salvation by works alone, but by faith plus works. They believed that they needed to have faith, then do something additional in order to be saved, and, because of this, they are condemned and called foolish by Paul. Any version of the gospel in which we contribute anything to our salvation is the false gospel that Paul was speaking of at the beginning of this book. Paul continues to explain how it was faith alone that justified Abraham; he did not do anything to merit his salvation. True faith makes us realize that it is in Christ alone, and not of ourselves, grace is a gift. If works are required for grace, then grace is no longer grace. Of course, one might wonder what good works were added to faith, so, fortunately, Paul tells us:

Galatians 5:2-6
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

The only thing that Paul's audience did was add circumcision as a requirement for justification. Because they added just one thing on top of faith, Paul said that they are severed from Christ, and He will be of no advantage to them. Anyone who adds anything on top of faith believes a false Gospel and is severed from Christ. If you believe such a gospel, as the Catholic church teaches, you are severed from Christ. Therefore, the Catholic church itself is severed from Christ and cannot be Christian.

Circumcision is also noteworthy since it is basically the sign of being a part of the old covenant. Now, after Jesus sacrifice, we have the ability to be a part of the new covenant. The sign of this is baptism rather than circumcision. If one adds baptism to faith, they fall into the same trap as the Galatians. Since the Catholic church teaches that Jesus grace is fused to us at baptism, and that this is a prerequisite for salvation, they teach a false gospel. Of course, one might object and say that James taught works as a requirement for salvation. Before this is brought up, I figure I better address it now:

James 2:14-16
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

The key to understanding Paul and James is to carefully understand the subject of each author. Paul is addressing the issue of what is required for justification, and he concludes faith alone. James is more concerned with what type of faith can save. Is it enough to just say you have faith? Can that faith save? James answer is no. A person who does not do good works does not have true faith, but a person with true faith will do good works. The good works do not justify us (in fact to believe so is to believe a false gospel), they are simply the fruits of true, saving faith. The issue is that this clearly contradicts Catholic teaching:

Council of Trent Canon 24:" "If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema."

The same anathema that Paul applies to the Catholic church is applied to James and Paul by the Catholic church itself. Of course they may use nicer language now, but the theology has not changed. Since the church clearly teaches works contribute to our justification, they teach a false gospel. Anyone who believes this false gospel is anathema and severed from Christ. With that in mind, let's examine a statement you made:

"Catholicism and its Christ centered teachings and practices are directed toward saving souls by having them earn that right through serving God in the manner Christ taught us to do while on earth. In this way, it will appear that Catholicism is in fact a very Christian religion."

Sadly and ironically, in trying to prove that Catholicism is Christian, you actually go on to prove my point. We do not earn a right to anything. We do not have the right to anything, nor do we earn, merit, or contribute to our salvation, that is why it is called grace. While we should serve God, this serving grants us the right to nothing. The only wages we earn is death, so if we rely, to any extent, on ourselves, we will receive that death. If you really believe what you said above, you have missed Christ.

We could have wasted a lot of time talking about Papal infallibility or praying to the saints, but the heart of the issue is nothing less than the gospel. By missing the essential doctrine of salvation by faith alone, the Catholic church has lost precisely everything.

Sorry for such a rather depressing post, although I suppose that is the nature of this debate. Regardless, have a very merry Christmas!
Debate Round No. 2


I sincerely believed Pro that he wished to be shown that Catholicism is truly a Christian faith. I did not expect, and I have no desire to engage, the concept that faith without works is not only acceptable, but it is the only way to salvation. And turning the teaching of St. Paul and the writings of Holy Scripture inside out, changing his meaning to substantiate this horrible claim is not what I intended to debate. It is an abominable creation of Martin Luther that sin is encouraged by Protestantism, it is promoted, we are to sate our desire for sin, because we are saved by belief alone. The notion is horrifying to anyone who truly loves God, and desires to serve Him and avoid offending Him.
I am vacating this debate. I was very desirous of entering into it with Pro after he expressed a willingness to learn that he was wrong. Yet he has simply repeated the condemned errors of Luther and his followers, giving no regard to the Christian teaching and knowledge of the faith and what is required that existed for 1500 years prior to that apostate. All of Christendom understood the proper interpretation of St. Paul for 15 centuries. Suddenly an apostate monk comes and redefiines what is to take the easy path and everyone happily sees it as he did, because it is easier to follow one who encourages sin without consequence than to follow one who said "If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me." It's too hard to do good, so I choose to deceive myself and believe and can do evil all my life without consequence, as long as I believe. This was not an argument I have or had any desire to counter. It's devotees are too stubborn to listen to the truth, including the truth of the meanings of the things in Scripture which are misquoted, misapplied, and misinterpreted to serve a humanistic christianity, a protestant christianity.
I won't argue with one who isn't listening. There are people I know personally who are intersted in hearing the truth. I will focus on them. I misunderstood you, Pro, to also be one of them. I don't argue with flat earthers. I don't argue with the adherents of the absence of free will. I don't argue with those who insist we need not do good works to serve our Creator. It's just too off center and too stiff necked for me.
I hope one day you will earnestly seek the Truth, and, when you are willing to hear, I hope you find someone who will tell you. It lies within the one, holy, catholic, apostolic faith. For now, I know you are not listening. For that, I am truly sorry for you.
God bless. May He bring you one day to His Eternal Truth.


Let me get this straight. The my position was to show that that Catholicism is not Christian faith, so I did that. Because you didn't like my answer, you decided to leave. That isn't exactly a convincing argument. Seeing as this will probably be the last post on this thread, I will clarify some of the vast misunderstandings you seem to have regarding what I believe.

I neither encourage sin nor think it is okay. You completely slander Protestantism and what I believe, so let me clarify. It is only true faith that saves. This true faith is the kind of faith that will produce good works. We do good works out of faith and love, not because we have to earn anything. I am no fan of those who believe faith is a golden ticket to heaven that you just have to punch once and your in. Those of true faith will deny themselves as Christ taught. If you are a backsliding, careless sinner, you do not have true faith, and you will not be saved. The issue is not whether the presence of good works is necessary, but whether these good works contribute any merit to our salvation. If we believe such, we are diminishing Christ's sacrifice.

Also, don't misunderstand the length of my arguments with an unwillingness to be convinced. I used to believe that Catholics were saved, but the evidence against it was just too strong. I went down kicking and screaming but eventually realized that, if the book of Galatians is true, Catholicism does not teach a saving gospel. I'm sorry if the facts offend you, but that was not my intent. Please, if you can show me that Catholicism can save, I would be so relieved. On the other hand, I cannot compromise scripture to come to that conclusion.
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by buildingapologetics 2 years ago
@theta_pinch Sorry I was away and unable to reply to your debate challenge. If you still want to do that, I'm up for it.
Posted by FollowerofChrist1955 2 years ago
Titus 3:9
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

Seek to mature is Christ, turn away from the human nature of immature Christians as we all begin as they.
All denominations who profess Jesus Christ as Lord are both Christian AND SAVED.

If you wish to discuss the issue that bares discussion , explore positions within the body of Christ?
Are YOU (emphasis) A Christian who recieves reward only! Or are YOU A son/daughter (granted to DISCIPLES Alone) Kingship and authority to SHARE Christ Throne! Or are You A christian who WILL BE SAVED ONLY?

Refer to 1 Corinthians 3:13-15
12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person"s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved"even though only as one escaping through the flames.

Revelation 3:21
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

To nurture the truth of it ... ask yourself ... Why should a person subject or servant who refuses to submit to themself to Christ to the LEVEL of Disciple be granted roght to share in Christ thrown?

Requirement for Discipleship? Luke 9:2, Mark 8:34, Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus told His disciples, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.

Luke 14:27
And whoever does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.
Posted by buildingapologetics 2 years ago
@theta_pinch I'm up for it, as long as we can remain civil. Also, I might copy and paste a lot from this debate for my first argument since that took me 2 hours to write.
Posted by theta_pinch 2 years ago
@buildingapologetics would you be willing to do a debate with me on that topic?
Posted by Throwback 2 years ago
@theta_pinch...if you're interested, knowing what he wants to argue, maybe you would want to debate him. There are points of view I find insufferable. The Protestant notion that we need not do good works is one of those points of view, taken from a corruption of Scripture by the heresiarch, Martin Luther. That was not the intended topic of my debate. I don't have tolerance for that kind of contempt for God. It's foul, corrupt, a trick of hell to encourage sin. I can't handle people who fall for Luther and his ilk turning the word of God into a weapon with which to attack Him. If you have the fortitude to engage him, by all means, do so. But the obstinacy that goes with that point of view won't allow the truth to break through. Why would anyone with a superficial love of God be convinced to leave off a religion which doesn't punish the refusal to do good works for one which demands good works? Protestantism is a series of loopholes to avoid consequences. It is insincere, superficial love of God. It is sad to see. I wish he had not gone there and we could have debated Catholicism's christianity on the merits, rather than heretical abuses of the Bible.
Posted by buildingapologetics 2 years ago
@theta_pinch I left that unclear because to clarify it would be to make my argument. Since I was in the acceptance round, it would have been unfair for me to post my argument. But now, to clarify, the Catholic gospel is unsaving because it teaches that works and faith are required for salvation, when we are actually saved by grace through faith alone. Adding works to faith is condemned as an unsaving gospel according to Paul in scripture.
Posted by buildingapologetics 2 years ago
@Throwback I suppose I have a low bar. I just like to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Posted by Throwback 2 years ago
Throwback doesn't apply yet???
Posted by buildingapologetics 2 years ago
@Throwback He really just seems angry to me. I don't know what happened to him, but as soon as I saw he listens to Richard Carrier, I realized he rejects Christianity based on emotional reasons. There is no other way to come to the conclusion that Jesus does not exist. Thank you for your kindness in debating me; it is a quality that is desperately needed today. Regarding my debate with backwardseden, I'm just waiting for the point where Matthew 7:6 will apply.
Posted by Throwback 2 years ago
@buildingapologetics, I see backwardseden took one of your debates recently. I'm sorry to see that. I believe he is one of the most stupendously ignorant people roaming the planet. A debate sort of insinuates a discourse with an intelligent being and, as he is not, he has effectively ruined that debate. You will come to understand the level of ignorant he suffers over time. I hope you and I can have an effective debate and just ignore that idiot. He's nothing but a hater of himself and everyone else along with it. Sometimes his stupid is humorous, but at the moment I just am not amused by that thing, or its hateful stupidity.
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