Christian Unity and the Truth
Question: I have read your story. I feel you still have a lot of homework to do. Instead of shooting down the Catholic Church, why not work with all Christians to unite as one? The Catholic Church is not your enemy. I feel you should read Paul's Letter to the Romans where St. Paul says that you should not judge your brother (Romans 14).
Answer: I share your concern for unity among Christians. Sometimes divisions arise because of a judgmental attitude on matters of secondary importance such as abstaining from certain foods, drinking wine and observance of holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Paul elaborates on this theme in Romans Chapter 14. In these matters Christians would do well not to judge (or be offended by) their brethren who may have different convictions.
I am also concerned very much about the truth of the Gospel revealed by God in the Holy Scriptures. Here we are not speaking about food, drink and holidays, but about the core truths of God's saving message. We cannot afford to mistaken here. I am convinced that there could not be genuine unity among the churches unless it is founded on God's Truth. The true Gospel gives eternal life to lost sinners, forgiveness and entrance into God's family, whereas false "gospels" only deceive people and give them a false hope.
I do not consider Catholics as my enemies. Far from it! I love Catholics dearly. On the other hand, I cannot consider Catholics who follow the official teaching of Rome as brothers and sisters in Christ. Rome's "gospel" is fatally flawed; it cannot save! That's why I dedicate much time to minister to them. My purpose is not to shoot down the Roman system, but to communicate the Gospel to my Catholic friends that they might be saved.
You suggested that I should read Paul's letter to the Romans. Before speaking about the relationship between Christians, the apostle Paul explains who the real Christians are. The apostle teaches that a sinner is justified before God by faith alone apart from the deeds of the law. "Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works" (Romans 4:4-6). Only he who accept this Gospel is true children of God. Only he who "does not work but believes" is justified by God.
How I pray that Roman Catholics would take Paul's letter seriously! Historically, the Roman church has drifted to a message of human merit and works for justification. If you are following the Roman Catholic religion, you hope to be justified at the end on the basis of your good deeds, obedience to the law, and penance. That is a false gospel! Let me say this plainly: If you continue to depend on your own righteousness for justification, you are still lost and you are not a Christian in God's sight. Only if you repent of your self-righteousness, and wholly trust in Christ Jesus alone, would you become a true Christian. Then we would be spiritual brothers, members of the same body of Jesus Christ, the church. Only then we would be united together, and with all Christians worldwide, because we would be united to God by the Gospel.
Copyright Dr Joe Mizzi. Permission to copy and distribute this article without textual changes. < BACK TO Q&A