By Victor Ochieng
There are so many churches on earth, with most of them preaching different gospels, despite all claiming they’re getting their teachings from the Bible. While many people believe that church doesn’t matter when it comes to entry to heaven, the question of whether a Catholic Church member, who observes the church’s form of worship, will inherit the Kingdom of God, has been coming up on several platforms.
Here we’re talking about a Catholic Church member who believes in Jesus Christ; one who is repentant of his or her sins; a person who believes in the Triune God; one who believes Jesus Christ is Lord and that He died and rose on the third day.
One of John Piper’s listeners asked him whether his friend, a member of the Catholic Church who died recently, would enter heaven.
“Hello, Pastor John. A close friend of mine passed away recently. He was a great man, a good friend, a mentor to many young men like myself, and a devout Roman Catholic. My questions for you are these. Will I see my friend in heaven? Or do his theological views make this impossible?”
Some 500 years ago, the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church worried many reformers. The same concerns are still alive today among Protestants. There are several teachings of the Catholic Church and some remarks by the Pope that raise eyebrows among the church’s critics.
This is why many people keep asking whether or not a devout Catholic Church member can be saved, remain in the church and eventually inherit the Kingdom of God.
In his response, Piper lined out some of his concerns about the Catholic Church.
1. The Catholic Church puts the decisions of the Pope and the church’s councils in the same level as that of the Holy Scriptures, something that makes most of their followers not to be concerned about the Bible and instead focus on the utterances of their leaders.
2. Elevating Virgin Mary to the position in which she’s mediating between the people and Jesus Christ, something not seen anywhere in the scriptures.
3. Their kind of baptism that doesn’t embrace complete immersion is worrying.
4. The church’s indulgences granted by the Pope in the name of forgiveness of sins isn’t biblical and it brings to question the role of Christ in forgiving of sins.
5. Their justification somewhat says we play a role in our salvation, which brings the question as to whether grace is 100% or not. If we’re first justified by our works, it kind of makes it look like we play a role in our salvation.
6. The church takes the Lord’s Supper as a literal entry of Jesus’ physical blood and body into our body, which, according to their teachings, results in a true power of salvation. This isn’t what the Bible intended for the practice.
7. Purgatory becomes a teaching that misleads many, considering that they say someone already dead still has a chance of doing penance and entering the Kingdom of God. That kind of teaching is not anywhere in the scriptures.
But even after highlighting these concerns, Piper clarified that if a Catholic Church member gets to have a genuine encounter with Jesus Christ and is repentant, they can still enter the Kingdom of Heaven.