Light from the Reformation


Catholics: Have there been Reformers (in your personal life rather than in your reading life) who have given you exceptionally truthful insights into the Gospel or whose witness by means of lives lived faithfully has shed light on your Christian path?

Would you be willing to share these insights and witnesses with us? Thank you.




Do you mean those men who split from the Church? Your title implies so but your note mentions “in your personal lie rather than in your reading life,” and this implies people contemporaneous with us.

Please clarify




Fantastic question! As a Cradle Catholic (one who was born and raised in Catholic tradition) located in a heavily populated Protestant area of the country I was surrounded by many faithful people from both Catholic and Reformed backgrounds. When I came of age and really understtod what each person was talking about I found more similarities than differences. We were all united in prayer which created the peacful community that i lived in based on faith, and not differences.
i rememeber one in particular who just happens to be my brother in law. He left his Catholic upbringing (which was very shaky to begin with) and has joined a Reformed church. He lived a horrific life filled with as many evils as you can imagine but has turned out to be quite a Christian as he continues to mature.
He challenged me by pointing out the differences between Catholics and Reformers to a point that I was embarrased at my own blind faith and lack of knowledge of my own religion. He had many questions and I looked them up in my Catechism and of course my Bible. Throughout the past year we have had many discussions that led to my own questioning of Catholicism. But everytime a question arises, I find more truth in the answers I find in Catholisicm as opposed to the arguements that he makes to me.
So to answer your question, yes, my brother in law has motivated me to become more knowledgeable of my own faith and has brought me closer to Jesus with every discussion. My only hope that is he would open his own mind so that he can share in the intense truth that Catholics everywhere should belive in.
I was once told that the main reason for every evil in the world is because of bad Catholics. I for one believe this to be true. Because we’ve been given the most light of truth and sadly, as I used to be and still am, there are a lot who truly do not understand their own religious beliefs.
“There probably aren’t more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Faith. However, there are millions who hate what they erroneously believe to be the Catholic Faith.” Bishop Fulton Sheen


[quote=Rbt Southwell]Ani, Do you mean those men who split from the Church? Your title implies so but your note mentions “in your personal lie rather than in your reading life,” and this implies people contemporaneous with us.

Folks who split from the Church can be contemporaneous with us. They needn’t have started the Reformation to be *Semper Reformanda. *So yeah, folks you know personally. I hope this helps.



Ani Ibi, your use of the term “Reformers” is well-intentioned but idiosyncratic and extremely confusing. You will never satisfy the people you are trying to placate–calling them “Reformers” is arguably worse than calling them “Protestants,” since the main reason they don’t want to be called “Protestants” is that they do not identify themselves with the “Reformers” of the sixteenth century. I respect your reasons for using this term, but I ask you to reconsider it–I do not think you are accomplishing anything except confusing people. It’s just not communicating effectively.



when I think of the Reformers I think of the 16th Century protesting leaders such as Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, so obviously I would not meet them in personal life.


I agree. I would go further and deny the title of Reformer to the 16th century men who are more properly called apostates. I commonly refer to that movement as the DEformation.

The heirs of the Deformers --if they ascribe to the 16th century novelties of Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, private interpretation and an invisible Church – are properly called Protestants. There’s no nicer way to state the plain facts. Actually, many of them wear the title with pride, while some who ascribe to the principles of the Deformers (like certain Baptists) deny they are any such thing.

Among Protestants there is such a thing as “Reformed” theology, as opposed to “Evangelical” theology (if there is such a thing that can be agreed upon among themselves), but I don’t think that’s what the OP asking.

I know the appellation is well-intentioned, but it distorts history, disrespects the Catholic Faith, and, in the end, satisfies no one.


How about Non-Catholic Christian folk? Does that satisfy you? Happy now?

:rolleyes: :wink:


There are exceptions but my general rule of thumb is to call groups of people by the label they choose for themselves rather than the label their opposition might pick. Thus, Catholic, Evangelical, Reformed, Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, etc.




:thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Golly, Edwin, many non-Catholics (fill in the denominational blank) and non-Christians make forays every now and then complaining that we are “Roman Catholic” and they are Baptist Catholic or Evangelical Catholic or Universal Catholic (love those superfluous redundancies!)

Protestant explains their RECENT tradition (from whence their sect bi- tri- or penta- sected from Catholicism).

Re-forming is not always an improvement. Look to the Interregnum and the French Revolution for applicable examples

Heck, should we Papists call youse guys “Queenies” since Eliz II is the “Official Head of the Anglican Church”?



Obviously any thinking Protestant with half an inch of roots in traditional Christianity (yes, we do exist) claims to be Catholic. That’s why Protestants traditionally called you guys “Romanists” or “Papists.” It wasn’t just to be rude–that was a handy side benefit. It was that as a matter of sober theological argument Protestants believed themselves to be part of (or even to be) the Catholic Church–that is to say, that Church which exists throughout time and space and proclaims the fullness of the Faith. So this shouldn’t be that surprising to you. “Catholic” is first and foremost a theological claim. It’s a disputed title.

Protestant explains their RECENT tradition (from whence their sect bi- tri- or penta- sected from Catholicism).

I’m not sure what you think you are arguing with. I’m all in favor of using the word “Protestant” for Western Christians whose division from the See of Rome is proximatel or remotely due to the events of the sixteenth century (i.e., Old Catholics are not Protestants, though they have some Protestant influence).

Re-forming is not always an improvement.

I completely agree.

Heck, should we Papists call youse guys “Queenies” since Eliz II is the “Official Head of the Anglican Church”?

Well, as it happens she isn’t. She’s the “Supreme Governor” or something like that of the Church of England, and has no authority over the Episcopal Church. (That being said, I don’t expect a guy who was tortured and killed by the first Queen Elizabeth to be unduly courteous to the second:D )

More to the point: in religious nomenclature I think there are two things to be observed:

  1. Clarity of communication. I.e., you should use words that will convey the meaning you intend with as little confusion and need for explanation as possible. This generally means abiding by historically established nomenclature, however inaccurate you may think it is in some cases. However, sometimes you may think that the historically established terminology really is fundamentally misleading, and you may wish to substitute some other term (I tend, for instance, to use “evangelical” of what became Protestantism for its first few decades, until the formation of some sort of confessional identity; I also avoid using “Anglican” to distinguish some members of the state Church of England from others, thus using it as a confessional designation only after 1662).

  2. Respect for the people being described. Generally speaking, people should be called whatever they want to be called unless it conflicts hopelessly with principle 1. So, for instance, I generally say “Catholics” because that’s what you guys want to be called. However, when the term might be taken to imply acceptance of your Church’s claims I use either “Roman Catholic” or “Christians in communion with Rome,” depending on exactly what meaning I’m trying to convey and how likely it is that the former term will cause offense.

My own suggested compromise on the case at hand would be to use “Protestants” in its conventional sense (all Christians not in communion with Rome because of the Reformation, even if many removes down the road–and I would throw in the Moravians and Waldenses even though they are pre-Reformation in origin, since both have assimilated to Protestantism since the Reformation) when speaking in general, but to call specific individuals and groups whatever they may wish to be called.



What about the Orthodox? TheOld Catholics?

I really think we can’t get away from “Protestants,” when speaking of Christians-not-in-communion-with-Rome-because-of-the-events-of-the-sixteenth-century. When people protest, you can always explain that you’re using the term in a broad historical sense, and you can call them whatever they want to be called when you are talking about them specifically.

People can’t be allowed to get away from their history.

How about PADs (Protestants and Derivatives)? What I’m mainly trying to avoid is enabling the fiction of many radical Protestants that they are continuations of some “Trail of Blood,” or that they do not deserve any historically rooted name because they are just following the NT.

That being said, if people have a radically ahistorical view of themselves, perhaps that should be reflected in the way we describe them. . . . :mad:

It’s very confusing. But I’m afraid “Reformers” really won’t do–it has all the problems of “Protestant” and a bunch more besides (except for the allegedly negative connotations of “protesting,” which I always find to be a silly play on etymology).



Just wondering if folks could start a new thread on what names they propose for each other’s faith?

Can we get back to the topic of this thread now? :slight_smile:


It’s fun to see Edwin go ballastic on us Catholics;)


ps Did the separated churches during the 15th and 16th centuries call themselves the “Catholic Church of England” and the “Scot Catholic Church” and the “Catholic Church, Lutheran Rite, of the German principalities”??


Most extended digressions are a lot more interesting than this one has been. :smiley: Anyway, to get back to the OP: I do think I want to mention my reading life, just to compare it to my personal life. In my Christian life, I have known very few Catholics, except some aunts and uncles; I mean, I’ve had very few Catholic friends. So virtually everything good in my personal Christian life has come through Protestants. And it HAS been quite good; wonderful, in fact. Most of my best friends are in groups most other Christians would make fun of: Charismatic Word of Faith people, to be specific (followers of Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Hagin, etc., in “Word of Faith” churches). Before that it was Pentecostal Assembly of God folks.

HOWEVER, as they say. I would add that virtually everything good in my Christian READING life has come through Catholics. I could make a list that would go on and on. The only major exception is C.S. Lewis, and he was Catholic in everything except actual conversion.

So socially I have been Protestant my entire Christian life up until now. Intellectually I have been Catholic for years and years. Now I’m making the actual “church affiliation” move. It has been a most interesting trip so far.

P.S. “Reformed” theologians and philosophers really do have it going on, intellectually—Alvin Plantinga springs to mind. However, there is just no way I could possibly embrace that. It might seem odd, considering some of the other problematic doctrines I’ve embraced, but I just can’t stand Calvinism. :nope:


Come to think of it, you people on this forum are my first Catholic friends.


Ah, now I’m getting all misty.


How on earth am I going ballistic on Catholics? You call this going ballistic?

ps Did the separated churches during the 15th and 16th centuries call themselves the “Catholic Church of England” and the “Scot Catholic Church” and the “Catholic Church, Lutheran Rite, of the German principalities”??

No. When they had to give their local churches distinguishing adjectives (i.e., beyond “the Church of Geneva” or “the Church of England” or “the Saxon Church”), they would have used “evangelical” or “reformed.” Eventually “evangelical” came to be associated with those who followed Luther, and “reformed” with everyone else. The terms “Lutheran” and still more the terms “Calvinist” were usually applied by outsiders and were not terms of choice at the beginning. “Protestant” was originally primarily a political term.

But Richard Baxter in the 17th century did call himself a “mere Catholic,” I believe (he was a Puritan).


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