Proper Attitude Towards Protestant Theology


#1

I know that the proper way to address Protestants is as “departed brethren.” However, although I recognize that Protestants share with Catholics many beliefs, I cannot help but recognize that Protestants are very hostile to Catholic beliefs.

In the first few centuries the Church showed little respect towards those who were not Christians who followed the apostolic faith. St. Polycarp, when asked by the heretic Marcion whether or not he recognized him, responded: “Of course I recognize the offspring of Satan.” A famous story tells of Peter fleeing a bathhouse when he finds out that the heretic Cerinthus is inside. In fleeing, Peter is recorded to have said, “Let us flee lest the roof fall in…for within is Cerinthus, enemy of the truth.”

The fact that Protestants are slightly different than the Gnostics may be the reason that we should call them “departed brethren” instead of “enemies of the truth,” as the early Christians called the dissenters in the early Church. Ok, my big question is somewhat connected with all this: If Protestants are simply our “departed brethren,” how should we view Protestant theology? When I say Protestant theology, I mean mostly the ideas that are not shared by the Catholic Church in any way: sola scriptura, sola fide, invisible church, only symbolic (as opposed to sacraficial) Eucharist, premillenialism, dispensationalism, etc.


#2

Some day their theology will die… then they will be departed.

For now, the term is separated brethrenhttp://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon10.gif


#3

[quote=Madaglan]I know that the proper way to address Protestants is as “departed brethren.”
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[/quote]

they are not dead, I believe the term is “separated brethren” the separation having been of their own choosing. there is another thread that discusses the pros and cons of that term


#4

I have been a Protestant always, and now I am in RCIA. I was raised in Tulsa, OK, the buckle of the Bible belt, in a foot-stomping, tongues-speaking, slain-in-th-spirit kind of church. I knew nothing of Catholicism, but as I studied the Bible I drew away from the dancing in the isles kind of church. I then found my way into the Methodist church, which felt much more right, and through study of theology, I am now in RCIA. I never rejected the Catholic Church because I never knew anything about it. I couldn’t be a separated bretheren, because I never knew what a Catholic was.


#5

How should we view Protestant theology?

View it as a well-intentioned attempt through the exercise of faith to know the truth of Jesus Christ completely but which fails to do so. The degree to which it fails depends on the particular doctrine and denomination you are dealing with. And remember that it originally came from a movement which was aimed at restoring the Church during a time when it needed it, but which eventually spinned out of control. Be nice.


#6

yeah, I meant “separated” brethren, not “departed” brethren. Knew something was wrong there. :smiley:


#7

As noted above, the term is seperated brethern

CCC 1271 Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” “Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn.”

Also, protestants today are not held personally responsable for the tradgedy of the seperation

CCC 818 “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers. . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”

Some protestants are hostile to Catholicism, some viruently. Others are so wrapped up in their own faith they know little or nothing of Catholicism and are ambivlent to it. Others, particularly in recent times, are friendly and respectful of our beliefs, even if they cannot agree with them. The other thing to remember is that protestants often hold incorrect beliefs about what the Catholic Church is and teaches, which contributes to all of the attitudes towards Catholics detailed above.

Views towards Protestant theology? Where it agrees with Catholic theology (which is where it came from anyway) it is a focus of our bond as Christians. Where it disagrees it is to be (respectfully) rejected.


#8

If Protestants are simply our “departed brethren,” how should we view Protestant theology?

That word “simply” is a problem for me. It tends to make the schism and it’s resulting division seem very small. It is not small. Some differences are the Immaculate Conception, the veneration of Mary, the Mass, the infallibility of the Pope ( the Magisterium), the real presence in the Euchrist, confession to a priest, the sacrament of extreme unction, Purgatory and some I can’t remember just now.

Doe this sound like the Protestant’s theology is just slightly removed from Catholic theology? No. Since they are so different what can one’s attitude be toward Protestant Theology?

  1. Ignore it…yes
  2. What can we learn from it?..nothing
  3. Feel sorry for them…yes
  4. Burn Luther in efigy…no
  5. Ignore them…yes

#9

[quote=Philthy]How should we view Protestant theology?

View it as a well-intentioned attempt through the exercise of faith to know the truth of Jesus Christ completely but which fails to do so. The degree to which it fails depends on the particular doctrine and denomination you are dealing with. And remember that it originally came from a movement which was aimed at restoring the Church during a time when it needed it, but which eventually spinned out of control. Be nice.
[/quote]

The original intent of Luther was to reform the Church from within, which as you say, it needed, but regretably events unfolded differently :frowning:


#10

Yeah, I don’t mean to be a jerk in this post. I know that there were some early Protestants who intended to return to the early Church, as the present clergy in different areas of Europe were corrupt. Martin Luther, I truly believe, wanted this. However, many people messed things up by using people like Luther to loot wealth from Church property and to murder those who sided with the Church. Luther actually complained about these vicious people who cared little for Truth. Nontheless, I do think that there were a few people who, however misled, attempted to create order in chaos.


#11

[quote=Exporter]If Protestants are simply our “departed brethren,” how should we view Protestant theology?

That word “simply” is a problem for me. It tends to make the schism and it’s resulting division seem very small. It is not small. Some differences are the Immaculate Conception, the veneration of Mary, the Mass, the infallibility of the Pope ( the Magisterium), the real presence in the Euchrist, confession to a priest, the sacrament of extreme unction, Purgatory and some I can’t remember just now.

Doe this sound like the Protestant’s theology is just slightly removed from Catholic theology? No. Since they are so different what can one’s attitude be toward Protestant Theology?

  1. Ignore it…yes
  2. What can we learn from it?..nothing
  3. Feel sorry for them…yes
  4. Burn Luther in efigy…no
  5. Ignore them…yes
    [/quote]

Ignore it? No, you dialogue and work towards unity, e.g
vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html

Much can be learned from them, with discernment, esp people like Anglican CS Lewis
CCC 819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.

Feel sorry for them. A bit condescending surely…

Ignore them ? Again, no, dialogue.


#12

[quote=Madaglan]Yeah, I don’t mean to be a jerk in this post. I know that there were some early Protestants who intended to return to the early Church, as the present clergy in different areas of Europe were corrupt. Martin Luther, I truly believe, wanted this. However, many people messed things up by using people like Luther to loot wealth from Church property and to murder those who sided with the Church. Luther actually complained about these vicious people who cared little for Truth. Nontheless, I do think that there were a few people who, however misled, attempted to create order in chaos.
[/quote]

The reformation was highly complex and countless books have been written about it. My own view is that the initial (admirable) intentions of internal reform careered out of control resulting in schism and bloodshed. Tragic.


#13

[quote=JGC]The reformation was highly complex and countless books have been written about it. My own view is that the initial (admirable) intentions of internal reform careered out of control resulting in schism and bloodshed. Tragic.
[/quote]

That sad thing is that what started as a reform of discipline from inside the Church ended up being a rejection of doctrine from outside the Church.

As for my poll response, I took the 2nd choice (heresy, but educate ourselves against it), because it was close to what I believe. I do believe it is heresy, but I also believe we should work to bring our “separated brethren” back into the fold.


#14

JGC, My post was written from a real world prospective.

You wrote well, I think you got away from the question. It seems to me that you are talking about having a conversation with Protestants with the faint hope you will convert them.

Tha question was not about people at all. It was about "What should our proper attitude be towards Protestant Theology."

I am sorry, but that is not a practical question it is an intellectual exercise. What is our proper attitude…that is how we think about something…not how we Dialogue with a person.

About 240 years ago one of my ancestors left Scotland and came to the U.S.A. I don’t envy you your winters there in Scotland. Do all the cows have that long hair?


#15

I assume you mean serious protestant theology rather than protestant apologetics/popular theology?

Serious, academic Protestant Theology should be taken seriously as another Christian attempt to follow theological methods in thinking about God and related matters.

An example of this would be Hans Urs von Balthasar’s study of Karl Barth, the great Lutheran theologian of the 20th century.

You have to understand that much of Prot theology today goes far beyond the polemics of the Reformation. Thus, their contribution, if studied with prudence, can be considerable.

Having said this, most Catholics should stick to reading Catholic theology (and by the way, most of the material seen on an apologetics forum like this is not representative of what is going on in the world of Catholic Theology).


#16

I would agree that Protestant theology has some valuable insights, because it sometimes offers us new ways of viewing truths that are still acceptable within Catholic theology. However, I still chose the first option because those things which are heretical (and the list is rather long) need to be eliminated. Stamped out might conjure up images of Crusades and Inquisitions, but I felt the proactive connotations were closest to what needs done - not just make sure the Catholics don’t fall for it, but also work to eliminate Protestantism altogether by bringing our separated brethren home to Holy Mother Church.


#17

[quote=FelixBlue]I assume you mean serious protestant theology rather than protestant apologetics/popular theology?

Serious, academic Protestant Theology should be taken seriously as another Christian attempt to follow theological methods in thinking about God and related matters.

An example of this would be Hans Urs von Balthasar’s study of Karl Barth, the great Lutheran theologian of the 20th century.

You have to understand that much of Prot theology today goes far beyond the polemics of the Reformation. Thus, their contribution, if studied with prudence, can be considerable.

Having said this, most Catholics should stick to reading Catholic theology (and by the way, most of the material seen on an apologetics forum like this is not representative of what is going on in the world of Catholic Theology).
[/quote]

:clapping:


#18

According to Hillaire Belloc’s “How the Reformation Happened”, the main point (which has been obscured due to the proliferation of texts and teaching of the PROTESTANT perspective) is that the Reformation STARTED from an ANTI-CLERICAL perspective, NOT a DOCTRINAL perspective. Luther was at first against the excesses of clergy (which were greater in some areas, lesser in others) and indeed had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin which is almost forgotten by his followers today. Calvin’s DOCTRINAL errors came later. If it weren’t for MILITARY PROBLEMS (the Muslims were advancing on Vienna and nearly succeeded in capturing it, as well as Hungary, Bohemia, and potentially western Europe as well) which kept the Popes of that period from convening to DEAL with the problems in the various states, the Reformation might never even have happened. And, for much of the early reformation in England, it was about the gaining of loot from the dispersal of the monasteries and the subsequent enrichment of the nobility that led them to continue Protestantism, with again doctrinal perspective coming much later.

Nowadays you’ll find most people thinking that the majority of the English people, say, were all for the “new learning” and were being persecuted by the big bad Catholics, or that the “spirit of the Renaissance” was being throttled by Catholics and Protestantism just LEAPED OUT to PROTECT humanity. What nonsense! The Reformation was one of the biggest tragedies to occur to humanity. It destroyed the Renaissance, wounded Catholicism AND Protestants alike, contributed to temporal and spiritual misery and death for millions, and its effects are seen in the incredible “ME” attitudes (as opposed to BE attitudes, if you’ll forgive the pun) that pervade our Western civilization to this date.

(Of course, with respect, I am neither accusing any individual Protestants of causing these terrible things in themselves, nor am I EXCUSING any individual Catholic who in reaction causes more or even worse things).


#19

The correct CHRISTIAN attitude would be respectful disagreement (and prayer). Calling them names and harranging them is no way to win them to the Church.


#20

If Catholics were more educated in their faith, then there would be no need for Protestant Missionaries in Latin America and other Catholic 3rd World Countries, their “mission” would be fruitless.


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