For over 50 years, Jack T. Chick has been creating cartoons that convey his Fundamentalist Christian views. These “Chick Tracts” cover controversial topics such as abortion and gay marriage, scientific matters such as evolution and global warming, and even tracts geared more towards teenagers. With eBooks, audiobooks, apps, and having been translated into over 100 different languages, Chick Tracts have been made readily available in today’s technological world. No matter the topic, all of the tracts are related to how one can reach salvation; whether it is setting the guideline for what one should be doing, or should not be doing.
Often times, when the tracts are specifying what one should not do, it is in relation to Catholicism or Catholic views. In the cartoon “Are Roman Catholics Christian? “, Jack T. Chick explores all the reasons why he believes that Catholicism is not a suitable means to reach salvation. Using scripture, amongst other sources, one can understand what the tract is saying, formulate a Catholic response, as well as understand why Catholics believe what they believe through tradition and history. This can be done by looking at the important topics in the tract: infant baptism, the Eucharist, purgatory, and the popes.
Baptism is one of the seven sacraments that Christians recognize as a way to begin one’s journey towards eternal life with God. However, according to the tract, “Are Roman Catholics Christian? “, the baptism of infants is not. Chick goes on to explain how infant baptism is not a viable means of salvation. Nowhere in the Bible does it state that baptizing infants is an adequate way of bringing new members into the faith. Being a Fundamentalist, Jack T. Chick takes the Bible literally. This leaves little to no room for interpretation of the written text on the Bible’s pages. Baptism is for the believers in
Christ. How can an infant, unable to reason, believe in Him? Acts 8:35-38 is an account of, what seems to be, a rational man, wanting to be baptized after learning of the Good News about Jesus. Once he had learned about Christ, the man, Philip, was able to decide for himself that he desired baptism. Holy Communion is one of the next sacraments to be received after baptism. Roman Catholics believe that during the consecration of the bread and wine, the gifts become the actual body and blood of Christ. For Catholics, the Eucharist is not just symbolic or merely a reenactment of the Last Supper.
The transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, known as transubstantiation, is to be taken literally. The Bible says in Corinthians 11:23-25, “… the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took a piece of bread, gave thanks to God, broke it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in memory of me. ‘ In the same way, after the supper, he took the cup and said, ‘This cup is God’s new covenant, sealed with my blood. Whenever you drink it, do so in memory of me. ” Christ Himself states that whenever people are gathered to share bread and wine in His name, it is in remembrance of Him.
Yet Roman Catholics believe that this is not symbolic, but literal. Worldwide, Catholics have Holy Communion is going on continuously. Hebrews 9:12-14 reads, “Christ, however, offered one sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective forever, and then he sat down at the right side of God. There he now waits until God puts his enemies as a footstool under his feet. With one sacrifice, then he has made perfect forever those who are purified from sin. ” With his one sacrifice, Jesus saved all those who believed in Him from their sins and ensured their eternal life with God.
Fundamentalists believe, as shown in the tract, that Catholicism’s understanding and approach to the Eucharist is entirely wrong. The fact that Catholics believe in transubstantiation, and that mass is being celebrated numerous times a day all around the world suggest to them that Christ’s one sacrifice was not good enough. Fundamentalists see this as Christ is magically being pulled out of heaven by the priest during the consecration and put back on the cross in every mass. This in turn makes Holy Communion seem as though Catholics are trying to repeat His passion and death all over again.
Not only does this contradict the concept of Christ’s single sacrifice but it also makes it seem inadequate, as it is done time and time again. Another topic Fundamentalists believe to be inadequate, at least when it comes to it’s relevance Christianity would be purgatory. Like infant baptism, nowhere in the bible is the existence of purgatory mentioned. By definition, it is a place and state of punishment in which the soul suffers for a time in order to be cleansed before going to heaven.
Be that as it may, there is no direct mention of such a place in the bible. Your words will be used to judge you- to declare you either innocent or guilty,” Matthew 12:36. This passage depicts a clearly black and white scenario of what is to come on Judgement Day. There are two options, either heaven or hell. The way one chooses to live their life determines whether they receive eternal life with God, or eternal damnation. According to Chick, a Roman Catholic lifestyle, believing in purgatory and other falsities will get you nothing other than eternal damnation. Furthermore, Papal Infallibility is yet another concept that Fundamentalists believe Catholics to have conjured up as a way of deceiving their followers.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, titled “The Wicked One” the author gives a warning not to be fooled by those trying to trick others into thinking he is god. “He will even go in and sit down in God’s Temple and claim to be God. ” How can a man claim to be infallible without also claiming to be God? As stated by Jack T. Chick, only God is infallible; thus when one says to be infallible they are in return claiming to be God. Believing that Roman Catholics have a man claiming to be god as the head of their Church, Fundamentalists have a hard time buying into the authenticity of Papal Infallibility.
Over the years, Catholicism has been scrutinized with the goal of being discredited by many individuals and groups, Fundamentalists being one of them. Yet in the end, Catholics almost always seem to be able to stand strong and give a scriptural backing to their beliefs. In this case, the issue of infant baptism is no different. In Acts 2:38-39, Peter is addressing a group and essentially saying that the people he is speaking to should go out and get baptized in the name of Jesus. Once this happens, their sins will be forgiven because God promised it to them and their children.
Acts 22:16 states, “And now, why wait any longer? Get up and be baptized and have your sins washed away by praying to him. ” Granted, neither of these two Bible passages directly mention baptizing infants, but they do not condemn them either. Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that baptism is strictly for adults. Through baptism, one’s original sin is washed away and grace is received. This grace fulfills one’s baptismal promise and allows the one being baptized to be able to fully appreciate heaven. To paraphrase, Jesus once said nobody can enter heaven unless they have been born again of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5).
According to this, infants or even children that die before being baptized will not go to heaven. Since Fundamentalists also do not believe in purgatory or limbo, this leaves only one other option for the unbaptized children; hell. “Let the children be, do not keep them back from me; the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” Matthew 19:14. Some Fundamentalists believe this quote to be speaking about children that are able to approach Jesus on their own. These would be the children around or at the age of reason.
However, again it is not specified whether or not this is about children able to find Jesus on their own or about infants. Luke 18:15 says, “Then they brought little children to him”. In this passage the “him” is Jesus and little children are being brought to Him. Unlike the verse above, Luke depicts a scene where the children that are unable to approach Jesus themselves are brought to Him. Some translations of this text, Greek unmistakably, actually use the term “infant” instead of children. While scriptural evidence is not absolutely conclusive, it most definitely seems to be implicit throughout Gospels.