Catholics Think of Non-Denominational Churches

Catholics generally think that non-denominational churches preach a very simplistic Gospel message. They don’t give enough emphasis to spiritual issues and tend to focus more on moralism.

They also don’t take holy communion as seriously. To Catholics, it’s more than just a symbol and they must attend specific classes to be able to receive it.

1. The Holy Bible

While non-denominational churches do not have the same doctrine as Catholic or Protestant Churches, they usually share a belief in the Holy Bible as Scripture. They may also believe in Jesus Christ and Salvation.

Those who start non-denominational churches are generally dissatisfied with a particular denomination. They want to reform the church they are in or create their own. They think that starting a new church without the association of an existing one is the best way to go about this.

The problem with this is that they often have the same doctrinal issues as denominations do. This opens the door to many disagreements and conflicts.

In the book of Acts and the Apostle Paul’s letters, it is clear that the churches communicated regularly with each other. They worked interdependently when there was a need, such as a collection for the famine in Jerusalem.

The biggest issue with non-denominational churches is that they do not have any classic doctrine to fall back on. They can argue that their interpretation of the Bible is the right one, but this is a slippery slope. The Bible contains many teachings that have been argued about for thousands of years. The Catholic Church believes that the interpretation of the Bible must be done within a framework of the church’s authoritative teaching.

2. The Eucharist

Among Catholics who attend Mass weekly, about six-in-ten agree with the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist, which says that during Communion the bread and wine become Christ’s body and blood. However, a large majority of Catholics who do not attend Mass weekly—and even some of the most observant Catholics—think the bread and wine remain just ordinary bread and wine after they leave the altar.

This is a serious error that affects the very nature of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist. The 11th century theologian Berengarius, for example, thought that Christ was present in the Eucharist only as a symbol, and that it would be impossible for him to be “re-killed” on the altar during the mass. But Christ’s living body and blood really are transubstantiated during the mass, just as He was re-killed for us 2,000 years ago on the cross.

While the Catholic Church maintains tight restrictions on receiving Holy Communion, it does allow members of other Christian churches who have not yet achieved full communion to receive the sacraments, including penance and the Eucharist, from a validly ordained Catholic priest. These cases must be approved by the bishop of the diocese and meet other requirements outlined in Canon Law (canon 844.2). This allowance is based on the belief that the Catholic Church is the “pillar and ground of truth” and the “source and summit of Christian life.” It is, therefore, the only one authorized to teach the complete truth about the Eucharist.

3. The Sacraments

The sacraments are sacred rituals that Christ instituted to nourish and sustain his Church. They are “visible signs” of what God has done to bring us salvation, and they confer grace upon those who receive them worthily (CCC 1116). In the case of the Holy Eucharist, it conveys not only sanctifying grace but also the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ Himself. As such, only a Catholic can receive the Eucharist worthily and it is necessary that one be baptized and have faith in order to receive it.

Two sacraments, Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders, confer a special grace that imbues the recipients with a specific mission in the Church to serve and build up Christ’s people. The sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the sign and seal of a union between a man and woman that expresses their love for each other and their dedication to each other as partners in marriage and the procreation and education of children. The sacrament of Holy Orders confers the grace to lead Christ’s Church through his sacraments, his word, and other spiritual works.

Despite these differences, there is no sin in visiting a non-Catholic church. It is, however, important to note that attending a non-Catholic service does not fulfill a Catholic’s Sunday obligation. This obligation can only be met by attending a Mass and receiving the Eucharist.

4. Salvation

One of the main reasons that Catholics dislike non-denominational churches is because they teach salvation differently. Non-denominational churches tend to be more moment based in their beliefs, while the Catholic Church believes that your eternal life is determined by how much you love Jesus.

The Church also teaches that it is not possible to know who will be saved or who won’t, except through Christ and His body, the Church. Nonetheless, it is possible to know that one can become saved if they are willing to recognize sin in their lives and live a life of repentance.

Salvation is a process, not an event. It starts with the grace of God that touches a sinner’s heart and calls him to repentance. He may accept or reject it, but it is impossible to earn salvation by good works or by the performance of certain rituals (Sess. VI, v-vi).

The Church also teaches that people who are not members of the Church may be saved through the work of Christ and His Church. This is not a gnostic doctrine, but rather a result of the biblical teaching on the unity of the Church and the universality of its mission (Acts 18:27; Romans 16:16). In fact, in the Church document Dominus Iesus, the Pope acknowledged that non-Christians can be saved “through a divine grace obtained by Christ’s Church, which has a particular responsibility for such persons.”

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