Roman But Not Catholic – Part 2 – What We All Have in Common
The authors (Collins and Walls) point out, that even though this book is mostly on the differences between Catholics and Protestants, the truth is that there are monumental similarities in the essentials of the faith. The major difference however, is that the Roman Catholic Church adds a few extra ‘essentials’ that have not typically been viewed as essential, either in the Bible or in the earliest centuries after the apostles. In part, this is the hint at the meaning of the title, “Roman But Not Catholic.” The word catholic means “universal” or “according to the whole.” Perhaps in Roman Catholicism, there are pieces that are not all that catholic after all. That the Roman Catholic Church is just one tradition that is part of the actual catholic church.
What C.S. Lewis called “Mere Christianity” is something we all hold in common. Largely, we could term this Creedal Christianity, or even the church of the first 500 years. The main or essential teachings were first laid out in “rules of faith” and became official Creeds through the centuries. These are what we hold in common!
That means that the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is held in common by both Catholics and Protestants. Moreover, the Incarnation of Christ, namely that God the Son added flesh to His divinity. Even more, the Trinity, that there is one God, three persons, and each person is fully God, is all held in common among all Historically Biblical Christians.These wide contours of the faith are often what I and others have called the essentials.
It is for this reason, that Roman Catholics believe in the Essentials of The Faith, that they are to be considered Christians. There are certain Protestant groups that constantly try to paint the picture that Catholics are not Christians. This cannot be affirmed from the standpoint of their beliefs. Even if they have added more beliefs to the essential beliefs, the bedrock beliefs are present in the one Savior Jesus Christ.
The authors point out that the book is largely on what might not be accurate or is questionable in Roman Catholicism and how, because of the accretions over the centuries, that these accretions make them a little less than truly catholic (universal). That being said, what unites us is certainly more than what divides us. Again and again we can call each other back to the Creed, which is the correct development of beliefs as is found in the Bible.
Chapter 1 on unity is done. Chapter 2 is on Tradition in both Protestant and Catholic understandings.