The question of whether Catholics are considered Christians or not is always a bit of a hot potato! Whereas the Roman Catholic church has always been quick to label all non-Catholic sects of Christianity as heretical (not Christian), most Protestant denominations stop short of saying the same thing about Catholicism. In many cases, the answer to the question depends on who you ask!
There are some major differences in the doctrinal beliefs of Catholics and Protestants. A lot of blood was shed over those differences in the early days of the Protestant Reformation (just do a Google search for the “St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre”).
For example, Protestants rely on faith in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation, which is what the Bible teaches. In Romans 4:6, God credits righteousness (salvation in Jesus Christ) apart from works. Catholics believe in salvation by faith, with the addition of good works and Roman Catholic church sacraments. Without the additional good works and sacraments, the Catholic belief is that a person is not saved.
Another major difference is the Catholic belief in papal infallibiity — the belief that the Pope speaks directly from God and without error when he delivers doctrine to the Catholic church. For example, the current Pope has issued numerous statements indicating that he believes that global warming is real and that Catholics have a duty to “fight” climate change. The previous Pope urged all Catholics in America to vote for Barack Obama in 2008, because of Obama’s plans to force all Americans onto a European-style health care system. Protestants recognize these edicts as utterly antithetical to anything taught in the Bible, and therefore, non-binding on Christians.
So, what’s the answer? Are Catholics considered Christians? Watch the video below to learn more about the difference between Catholic and Protestant beliefs, as well as the answer to that burning question!