Cafeteria Protestants

Catholics have been accused of picking and choosing from the bible. This is what I see Protestants doing. For example, many are not concerned with confession when the bible calls for it. Another example, they say Mary was born a sinner completely disregarding what the Angel told her. Any thoughts?

Try getting a self-labeled “Bible Christian” to explain Matt. 16:28, “Thou art Peter and upon this rock …”

He’ll make it sound like Jesus and Peter were having a scholarly discussion about the shades of meaning of Greek nouns. “The masculine noun petros means one thing, you see, but the feminine noun petra means something subtly different !”

It seems to me that Protestantism is by its very nature “cafeterian,” to coin a term. Stories of people looking for a congregation based on their own personal beliefs are legion. I have done that myself.

Well said. :thumbsup:


Thank you, Mary !

“Thou art Peter” cropped up in a discussion with a “Bible Christian” on another website. Unfortunately this answer didn’t occur to me until a day or two after it was all over, but next time it happens I’ll be ready for them !


Yes, i have run into this one. The interpreting on this one leaves you to think our Lord changed his mind mid sentence. Thanx for the reply

I think perhaps there is a difference between the way a certain tradition or denomination interprets Scriptural verses and the priorities that their theology emphasizes. For instance, most UCC churches are very active politically and in social justice. They are going to emphasize the call to feed the poor and take care of those who are needy. That is how they interpret the Gospel (not in it’s entirely, of course, but that is the lens through which they interpret Scripture.)

Reformed churches are less so, and use the lens of the sovereignty of Jesus Christ and personal holiness and obedience. That is what they will emphasize in Scripture teachings.

The Bible is filled with many teachings. Even Orthodox Jews cannot keep all 600+ commandments. One always has to pick and choose, as it were.

Roman Catholics have their own way of doing just that.

Can you give me an example of Catholics doing just that?

Two examples come to mind where the Roman Catholic Church just glosses over Scriptural texts and commandments. One is the commandment of Jesus in Matthew 19 to sell all you have, give everything to the poor, and follow Jesus. The early church did just that. If you read in Acts 4, followers of Jesus lived together in common, shared what they had, ‘each according to his need.’ That is socialism/communism. Or at the very least a 1960’s version of communes.

Today it’s not something that most churches teach. So we just interpret it as something the early Christians did, not knowing it was a commandment of Jesus Himself.

Another example is the way different churches teach apocalyptic Scripture. I guess it’s on my mind because one church says that the world is going to end today. Some churches are VERY keen on end times theology. I would imagine that the Book of Revelation made the canon because Christians then were also keen on end times.

Roman Catholics - and others - interpret Revelations and the end times much more metaphorically. We don’t know. We can’t know. So don’t spend time worrying. And we certainly don’t try to identify all the figures as precursors to the end times. But many do. Thus the ‘whore of Babylon’ identifier that is so common.

One other example came to mind. Seventh Day Adventists are accurate in obeying the commandment to keep the Sabbath. Most of us don’t. There is a reason for that, in breaking away from Jewish practices, but still we are breaking one of the ten commandments there. Most of chose to mark the day of Resurrection to worship. But that is very different from the rules of Sabbath.

It’s all in the interpretation. And we pick and choose all the time.

Divorce is the big one.

Yes, I think I can. Matt 13:59, Mark 6:3, Gal. 1:19. James and the others named as the “brothers” of Jesus. Adelphos can mean full brother, and it can also mean half-brother, stepbrother, or even (possibly) a more distant kinsman. All of these interpretations are consistent with the words of the New Testament. The assertion made by some (not all) Protestants that James, Joses, and the others were the offspring of Joseph and Mary cannot be incontrovertibly disproved on the basis of the Biblical text alone.

I think both sides pick and choose. I personally give the advantage to the Protestants here, at least the old fashioned ones who read the Bible (though they certainly have no advantage over us in terms of living out the Bible). Many newer, younger Protestants seem to be less Biblical, more secular, modern, at least in the non-evangelical/denominational (or liberal) Churches. I think Catholics tend to follow elements of Church teaching *based *on Scripture, almost in a fundamentalist way - I see this in conservatives and progressives (social justice). IMHO. Look at the Synod - that is why the clash of views is so intense - what the Church says drives the Catholic view - more often than not. (Would the Synod be where it is at if we followed Scripture?)

Thank you alll for the replies.

Jesus had male and female cousins, not brothers and sisters .

Mary is a sinner , what part of for all have sinned ( except Jesus) don’t you get , second we do accept Holy Absolution as the third sacrament.
Keep the faith Michael , Starwars :slight_smile:

The Semitic languages (including the Aramaic that Jesus, his family, and his disciples spoke) used “brother/sister” for near non-sibling relatives.

I agree with you that James and the others mentioned in those verses were probably not the offspring of Joseph and Mary. The most convincing arguments point in that direction. But it isn’t something we can have certain knowledge of, as I said in my post #11. There is no conclusive, unchallengeable Biblical evidence.

Which communion are you speaking of? Protestant isn’t a communion, or a denomination.


As Bartholomew pointed out, we cannot prove from Scripture that those described as adelphoi of Jesus were cousins and not full brothers and sisters. :shrug:

But the text of the New Testament is written in Greek which is an Indo-European language, not a Semitic language.

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