Generalizations of Protestants

This is a continuation from another thread but it is worth discussing. Just to play catch up, some of our Protestant friends on CAF do feel that too many times Protestantism is too often lumped all together, especially by Catholic Apologists. As a former Protestant myself that grew up in a liberal United Methodist Church, left that and then spent a number of years in Charismatic non-denominational Churches, I’ve been around the block. For our Protestant friends on CAF, do you think too many times Protestantism is too often generalized? do you think that Catholic apologists spend too much time with evangelical or fundamentalist issues? Do you think you can even generalize Protestantism at all? Do Catholic apologists answer your questions based on your faith background? I don’t want this to turn into lets bash our Protestant brothers and sisters, I hope that our Protestant friends on CAF will answer.

I think when Catholics say “Protestant” they have my beliefs in mind. Often though it’s a fundamentalist street corner preacher with a microphone spouting anti-Catholic babble.

The amount of misinformed Catholics there are here on what Luther really believed, taught, and his actions is ridiculous. But I can’t point a finger because we are all just as bad.

Yes. Protestantism runs the gamut , so its impossible to generalize.

The most frequent misconception is that sola Scriptura means the scriptures are the only authority in Protestantism.

thank-you for your reply. One type a generalization that keep cropping up on CAF which does bother me is about church services and worship. Usually, it’s on threads that are questions about something with the Mass. All too often, someone that has a more “traditional” Catholic bent will say that this is some “protestant” import. I wonder which so called Protestant service are they thinking of which run the gamut from liturgical such as Anglican or Lutheran and even some Methodist or Baptist or even Charismatic which really has no form. I think too many ideas about a “protestant” service come from watching TV preachers like Joel Osteen which does give an appearnce of a giant pep rally.
But to blame things one dislikes about what is happening at their local Church in Mass on some mythical un-named Protestant import boarders on ignorance than real information.

It is interesting that, for a Lutheran, I feel akin to Protestants on this forum yet my worship life and faith experience are akin to Catholics. It seems that Protestants on CAF are more sensitive to the shades of difference within Protestantism and justifiably annoyed at being lumped together. On the other hand, I appreciate the Catholics being so precise in dogma that allows a Lutheran to understand their point of view as a way of convergence. I would likely have never studied the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue until I began reading/ posting on CAF.

The Catholic Apologists frankly remind me of some Lutherans like the LCMS who seem so preoccupied in pointing out differences in order to maintain separation in a world demanding Christian influence.

Well, if they didn’t blame them, they’d just have to keep bashing those liberal liturgists…

But I get what you’re sayin…I agree Robwar.
Peace to you!

I don’t give Protestantism any meaning as to belief structure until I talk to the individual.
There are just too many little sects cropping up everywhere. This diaspora of doctrinal difference is due most certainly to the loss of the Shepherd. I think it is insulting to generalise the teachings of say the Lutherans, and even the poor Anglicans that still retain some sense of priesthood to say the vast majority of American evangelicals.
I was brought up to respect everyone in their religious beliefs, but to give special reverence to orthodox priests whom I will always call Father, and to religious Jews as they are still the chosen people of my God.
I always invite people who come to my door to bring me the Good News, and always speak respectfully to them as Irish hospitality demands. However I resent the anti-catholic rubbish that is found on youtube, but find that I am tempted to watch for a good laugh.
We should not generalize as each man deserves our respect when he speaks of his God, as he is offering us a gift even if we cannot accept it.

There are too many different types of Protestants to even make speaking in a general sense easy, I think we paint in broad stokes with the main line denominations that our the most popular in the US. If anything, I would think it gives reason to pause and think we can’t all be claiming the same thing and coming up with thousands of different answers. God isn’t confusing man on the other hand is.

Going to Catholic schools at least in my era, you were led to believe that your non-Catholic Christianity options consisted of a suited man shouting a sermon at you for an hour or the antics of any number of ridiculous TV preachers. The idea of high church/liturgical denominations was thoroughly downplayed, if not entirely ignored.

Generally ignoring generalizations is genuinely hard on general, you know?

But I divide protestants into two camps, there are the Calvanists, Lutherans and anglicans and then there are the Baptists, presbyterians and fundamentalists. I think this helps when approaching certain topics. Lutherans are probably going to take what Athanasius says a bit more seriously than a fundamentalist Baptist might, the latter saying that is the traditions of men.

Why then point the finger in the first place? If you don’t want to point the finger then don’t.

The overwhelming majority of protestants would not even know who Luther was, let alone what he believed taught and how and why he acted. Most of protestantism is derived from Calvinism (eg puritan armish presbyterian reformed) or Anglicanism (anglican episcopal methodist) and not from Luther (which is primarily of german origin hence the prominent american content).

The problem with Luther is not the Catholic, the problem with Luther is that for some reason his “what he meant to say or imply” meaning needs to be interpreted in the light of “what we think he meant to say or imply”, and that becomes very confusing rather than misinformed.

I will take that as a compliment. Thank you.

I was saying that we’re all guilty. For me to say anything about my impression of Catholics and ignore that similar generalizations can be made by anyone would be hypocritical. However, this is the impression I get.

I know this may sound smug to some, but let me build on an analogy I heard on CAL.

If you think of a large sailing shop as the Catholic Church, and all these mutineers who left it to build ships of their own, they’re still mutineers.

We are all sailing in the same direction. Some vessels are closer to the mother ship than others. But those who aren’t in the main ship are mutineers, no matter the name of their boat or who their captain is.

Aren’t all human beings, as captives to sin, mutineers against our Captain? We’d all be sinking if it weren’t for Him, regardless of whether the boat we’ve chosen has fewer leaks than others. We just can’t stop poking holes in the hull. Thankfully, our Captain fills them – when we don’t refuse Him, that is.

Yes. I see it as deriving from multiple factors.

First, most people don’t really have a good definition of Protestantism. In America, the term has become simply a catch-all term for any church that is not Catholic or Eastern Orthodox.

Second, Protestants have divided, multiplied, duplicated, merged, consolidated, federated, denominated, and non-denominated to infinity and beyond. This situation doesn’t favor simple definitions.

Third, people are lazy. To many times, we just don’t care enough to learn what terms are most appropriate and accurate.

I have no idea.

Maybe I’m too conservative, but I was always taught that words had meaning. From what I understand, the term Protestant does have a particular meaning. It is a broad term, but it is not a term absent of any meaning.

Historically, Protestantism meant Christianity that stressed the priesthood of all believers, the supremacy of Scripture’s authority over the Church, and the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

There are different denominations within Protestantism, and these different denominations will differ in how they understand the above points. Nevertheless, a Protestant will affirm these principles.

Groups that can’t affirm all of these principles are not Protestants. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) would be one example of a group that is not Protestant because it falls well outside of historical Protestant theology.

Of course, there is another issue. Many liberal Protestants have openly repudiated doctrines such as sola fide (many have gone so far as to repudiate the entire idea of personal salvation!) and sola Scriptura. These people continue to label themselves as Protestants, and everyone else continues to label them Protestants as well. I’m not sure what they are, but they are not Protestants by any historical definition.

Some of them do. Others, however, like to argue with me based off of their own definition of Evangelical Protestantism, which they appear to think is simply a theologically unsophisticated version of Baptist theology.

Not for anything I have yet to meet a Protestant that understands Catholicism correctly. The biggest lie ever told it seems to be that we worship Mary which couldn’t be further from the truth. We exalt her above all other creatures like ourselves precisely because that is what God does in choosing her to be His own mother and she even proclaims in quite a radical statement that all generations will call her blessed–that is 100% in the Bible. The fact that there are groups out there that find her creepy is just shameful and they do so while proclaiming to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I dare anyone to tell their best friend they find his mom creepy and see how that goes over.

Protestants don’t find Mary creepy. The fact that you think so says more about you than it does Protestants.

The truth is that many (not all) Protestants find Catholic beliefs/dogma about Mary to be creepy. That is radically different than actually thinking that Mary herself is creepy.

What a beautiful analogy. Yes.

I don’t know any Pentecostals but the of Protestants I know, some go so far to reduce the Mother of God so far and literally call her just a vessel. You wouldn’t even call your own mother just a vessel! Mark Shea goes into his journey into Catholicism in Mary Mother of the Son and he says a lot of Protestants find Mary weird and creepy. If you watch the Journey Home Mary is always the last stumbling block or hurdle for a lot of Protestants coming into the Church.

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