Are Protestants really Protestant?


#1

Are today’s Protestants really Protestant? Are they really “separated brethren”? Consider: in the 1500s the community of protest was somewhat liquid, and anyone adhering to the new ways of sola scriptura and the right of kings to govern the church was in living memory of adhering to the Pope. Their beliefs generally reflected this proximity: Luther famously “still” believed, for example, in the importance of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Gradually, the beliefs of “Protestants” have changed quite a lot, and it’s not clear that they are really protesting anything anymore. They are just comfortable in their respective, highly variegated beliefs. Also, they don’t regard themselves as separated brethren: instead, they believe in something called the primitive church, which they naively believe they have returned to (each in their own respective and diverse ways); they believe that the Catholic Church is an accretion of erroneous beliefs that diverge from the true faith. If two brothers have a dispute, after years of ignoring each other they would still subjectively acknowledge the objective fact of having the same parents. But Protestants don’t subjectively acknowledge that they are separated from the Catholic faith. They genuinely consider their faith to be correct and to go back to the time of Our Lord. Indeed they consider their faith to be a correction in Christianity. As such, the term “Protestant” may have become an artificial category. The different ecclesial groupings should be known by their chosen names–the doctrine of Name Alone, perhaps.

Protestants, then, aren’t really protesting anything anymore: they are happy with the shifting sands of their fragile houses in their earthquake-prone neighborhood. And, they aren’t really separated brethren, as they have got so far afield, and do not subjectively recognize a common heritage except perhaps in the most abstract terms, the details of which they emphatically dispute. I think today’s real protestants are the “Catholic” theologians, bishops, and others, who are constantly trying to subvert tradition and weaken the acceptance and understanding of dogmas and moral truths among the faithful, and who otherwise behave as wolves among sheep. If we don’t watch out, we may get more earthquakes ourselves. (1)


#2

But they most certainly are “separated brethren” because they claim to be Christians but do not share the beliefs of the only Church directly descended from Christ and His apostles–i.e., the Catholic Church. Protestants or any group can call themselves anything they want, but that doesn’t make it the TRUTH. Anyone can deceive themselves but everyone else doesn’t have to share in their self-deception.


#3

I think you bring up an interesting point. As a former “non-denominational” Evangelical, we never referred to ourselves as “Protestant.” We didn’t see ourselves as “protesting” specifically against the Catholic Church, as the early Protestants did. Being “non-denominational,” we considered Catholicism as just one denomination among others, all of which were misguided in certain respects. It is only since I have become a Catholic that I have heard non-Catholic Christians all lumped under the heading “Protestant.”


#4

I couldn’t agree with you more. I only refer to myself as Protestant when I’m speaking to Catholics. Otherwise it’s just Christian. I was certainly not protesting the Catholic church and I too felt it was just one more “type” of church like Methodists or Lutherans, although more hokey with the saints and statues & incense etc. Not only that, but I never in a million years thought that the Catholic Chruch was the original chruch. I thought the early Christians were much like the non-denom/Bible type Christians of today. So if anything I thought you guys were the one “protesting” the original faith/way of doing things. And I agree that people in the Catholic Church who knowinginly teach against the Pope & Magisterium (sp?) are the true “Protestants” of today.


#5

Today’s Protestants(you are right) have nothing to Protest. Their forefathers did all the protesting. Protestants today see what their particular congregation teaches and omits the parts they think are not essential. People do not question for the reason of why question the Word of God. If you really look at the Timeline of Christ and the Catholic Church, you will see that the Catholic Church has been here since Christ where as the others were put together in the 1500’s and later. The Catholic church follows the Word of God to extremes and do not altar course. Are we wrong, I do not think so, but the protestants are not wrong, just uninformed. :DLet’s face it, people want to hear what they want to hear and see what they want to see.


#6

[quote=carol marie]I couldn’t agree with you more. I only refer to myself as Protestant when I’m speaking to Catholics. Otherwise it’s just Christian. I was certainly not protesting the Catholic church and I too felt it was just one more “type” of church like Methodists or Lutherans, although more hokey with the saints and statues & incense etc. Not only that, but I never in a million years thought that the Catholic Chruch was the original chruch. I thought the early Christians were much like the non-denom/Bible type Christians of today. So if anything I thought you guys were the one “protesting” the original faith/way of doing things. And I agree that people in the Catholic Church who knowinginly teach against the Pope & Magisterium (sp?) are the true “Protestants” of today.
[/quote]

The term “Protestant” is more like a term of identification nowadays, a matter of convenience to simply refer to people outside the jurisdiction of the Catholic Church, rather than a term of description. A “true” Protestant is one who protests, and nowadays, those whom we refer to as Protestants no longer protest anything. When they are dissatisfied with their church, they don’t nail their own version of Luther’s 95 theses on their chapel’s doors, or publicly burn papal bulls. They just hop from one church to another or if they prefer, establish their own denomination or “synod”.

Gerry


#7

I wholeheartedly concur with Richard Phillips, DRE and one of the RCIA teachers at St. Helen Catholic Church, Georgetown TX, he indicated it’s long past the day when Catholics can accurately call the vast majority of nonCatholics “Protestants” [Protestors] - because the vast majority of nonCatholics have long long since gotten past protesting anything Catholic; most of their entities have come into being because of desired Belief Sets.

If interested, can give more details concerning larger context of our visits :slight_smile:

Roland
non-align
[meaning not formerly with either of the Big3]


#8

[quote=csr]Are today’s Protestants really Protestant? Are they really “separated brethren”?
[/quote]

Yes, they are protestants (and separated brotheren). They cannot coopt the term “Christian” much as they’d like to. The thing is, if you are a christian there are only a few choices; if you’re not Catholic or Orthodox, then you are Protestant. Unless they want to come up with some other term. How about NonCatholicAndNonOrthodox Christians?


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