IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH A CULT?- Introduction
Roman Catholicism — some say it’s a cult, while others believe that it is a bona fide Christian denomination. So, which side is correct?
IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH A CULT?- A Mixed Bag
While Protestants continue to disagree over the issue, CRI firmly maintains that Roman Catholicism is a religious system which includes both orthodox biblical Christianity and elements of unbiblical or “cultic” doctrine and practice. In other words, we recognize that Roman Catholicism historically has affirmed the essential teachings of the Bible, while also teaching doctrines which are inconsistent with that affirmation and which seriously compromise the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We acknowledge in Roman Catholicism the presence of many genuine brothers and sisters in the Lord, while also recognizing that many of those within Roman Catholicism worldwide appear to be lost.
IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH A CULT?- Not Cultic, but Heretical
Although certain doctrines and practices in Roman Catholicism might properly be termed “heretical,” we would not label them as a cult — for example, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. The errors of Roman Catholicism are heretical in that sense that they compromise or undermine the orthodox confession of the church. In short, we regard Roman Catholicism as neither a biblically sound Christian church nor a cult, but a Christian church with a mixture of orthodox and erroneous teachings.
IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH A CULT?- To Speak the Truth
We take this stand fully aware that many are going to criticize us for it. In fact, Catholics will take issue with us because we are critical of many of their teachings. Protestants label us because we don’t strongly criticize Roman Catholicism. In fact, there have been some Protestants that have even accused CRI of being Jesuit-controlled! Well, our concern, is not to please men, but to speak the truth in love. Obviously we are not in any way controlled by the Roman Catholic church, but on the other hand, we are not afraid to speak out against its heresies either. One thing we are unwilling to do is to misrepresent Roman Catholicism or to exaggerate its faults. That would be patently unfair, at CRI we’ve always striven for balance. On Roman Catholicism, that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.