Nestor C. Rilloma presently serves as the dean for academic affairs of the Adventist Medical Center Manila (AMCM) and Manila Adventist College (MAC) and the incumbent founding president of the Adventist College Research Association (ACRA). He has served the Adventist Church as president of Northern Luzon Adventist College and Editor in Chief of the Philippine Publishing House. He holds a Doctor of Theology major in historical-systematic studies from the Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary (ABGTS) at Baguio City.

Nestor C. Rilloma

Manila Adventist College


This investigation revisits the parting of understanding of the traditional Filipino Catholic view about saints in contrast with the New Testament perspective. The word “saint” originates from the Greek word meaning “holy” or “set apart.” The New Testament uses the word saint or saints 67 times. In every instance, the reference is to all believers. Never is the word used of a special group of believers who serves God better than others. This paper argues the understanding of Scripture is clear that all Christians are saints. This biblical view is much different from the traditional Roman Catholic view of saints. In Catholic theology, saints are a special class of believers who have been canonized. Canonization is the process by which the Catholic Church confers sainthood upon a person based on that person’s special deeds. It is an honor bestowed posthumously. In contrast, the Bible views every Christian as a saint, as someone set apart for God’s work while living. Christians are called saints because they are called to live set apart from the corruption of the world. Followers of Christ are called to be holy. Another interesting observation regarding the biblical view of saints is that they are almost exclusively referred to in plural form—”saints.” Even the one exception, found in Philippians 4:21, has more than one believer in mind: “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus.” The church is a team.

Keywords: saints, holy, traditional notion, church, saved