Protestantism and piety

When I was in the Protestant faith, I don’t ever recall being taught “piety” or making acts of faith. We were taught the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit and doing acts of charity, but things like penance, corporal/spiritual acts of mercy, prayers and novenas, etc were not taught.

All we needed was to have faith in Jesus. There was no doctrinal explanation and guidance for issues of the world.

After coming across some Catholic religious books, I realized there’s more to spirituality than “have faith”. Obviously, faith is required, but there’s more for normal people to do.

Simply put, in the Protestant church, I didn’t know that something more existed other than the Bible and faith. That even little things can “count” and become meritorious in the eyes of God. That we really need to make reparations for our sins, even if it’s a seemingly trivial attempt.

There is a rich spiritual tradition of the Catholic Church (and Orthodox Church): the way to holiness, getting rid of passions, prayers, the intercession of the Blessed Mother, Sacraments (the reality of the physical world and how it is not separated from the spiritual world), inspiring deeds of saints, and Real Presence of Jesus.

Since all Christians have the same goal of being holy and righteous, are not the lives of saints, at least, enough to draw Protestants to the Church? I think it’s perfectly possible to be Protestant and holy, but it seems to be more difficult and more lonesome. But with God, all things are possible and if it be His will, so be it.

But I have this idea, perhaps delusional, that if Protestants can just come across saintly spirituality, the Holy Spirit would lead them to seek and find the Church.

Just wish we could overcome sola scriptura and false claim of Mariolatry and worship of dead people…

/end morning rambling

What “Protestant church” were you in? It doesn’t seem like your “Protestant church” taught much of anything.

“That even little things can “count” and become meritorious in the eyes of God. That we really need to make reparations for our sins, even if it’s a seemingly trivial attempt.”

Can “count”? Become “meritorious”? Please tell me what was the purpose of Jesus Christ’s mission? What merit is there in your works?
So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:10.)
We work because God has given us the gift of faith. Our works are not “meritorious” - Christ has merited for us salvation and all the blessings of God, if we trust in him. But true living faith never comes without good works, even if the faith alone is what justifies.

Let me rephrase. Non-liturgical evangelical church

I have added further to my post above.

That’s interesting - what is your church’s confession of faith?

Human cooperation with God’s grace which is not deserved but given freely.

The Five Solas and the Apostle’s Creed

We were taught the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit and doing acts of charity, but things like penance, corporal/spiritual acts of mercy, prayers and novenas, etc were not taught.

What nonsense.

We are actually supposed to believe that your Protestant faith never asked you to do any of the corporal acts of mercy? Or to say prayers? I am skeptical that you never heard your faith instruct you to “feed the hungry” or “clothe the naked” or “admonish sinners” or “counsel the doubtful”. If they didn’t instruct you to do these things they failed you miserably.

All we needed was to have faith in Jesus. There was no doctrinal explanation and guidance for issues of the world.

What particular issues did you need guidance on and what denomination were you a part of? All denominations I know of have positions on most issues.

We did volunteer at places — that is true. Admonishing the sinner and counseling the doubtful — can’t really recall…

As for prayers — it was just that. Admonition to pray. But how? That would be like telling a beginner, “Here’s a violin. Here’s a music sheet. Make music.”

I was Presbyterian, non-denominational, then finally started going to an Assemblies of God-affiliated church. (Mostly due to moving around.)

As for issues — there was no catechism. No reasoning as to why X is allowed, but Y is not. (Yes, I know the Catechism doesn’t address everything.)

I don’t really understand the point of your post. I’ve been Protestant all my life. Evangelical and Pentecostal. We were always taught to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, give counsel and correction to sinners (in love). We were taught and memorized the Lord’s Prayer as a model for our own prayers. We memorized the 23 Psalm as well. I’m only 24 years old, so the Christian formation can’t have changed that much.

We did volunteer at places — that is true. Admonishing the sinner and counseling the doubtful — can’t really recall…

You DID do corporal acts of mercy, and you cannot remember if you did spiritual ones or not. Why sensationalize in your OP then?

As for prayers — it was just that. Admonition to pray. But how? That would be like telling a beginner, “Here’s a violin. Here’s a music sheet. Make music.”

Did you ever ask your ministers how to pray? How about the Lords Prayer? Did you ever use that? Luther’s “A Simple Way to Pray” is great AND from a Protestant source.

I was Presbyterian, non-denominational, then finally started going to an Assemblies of God-affiliated church. (Mostly due to moving around.)

As a Presbyterian you never looked at the Book of Confessions?

As for issues — there was no catechism. No reasoning as to why X is allowed, but Y is not. (Yes, I know the Catechism doesn’t address everything.)

Presbys have one. It’s called the Westminster Catechism. What issues were you confused about what is allowed and not allowed?

You need to remember that the Lutheran church is very close to being Catholic in what is taught - especially when compared to non-denom Evangelical churches. So it isn’t “nonsense” - it’s what happens in different churches.

I also was not taught about the spiritual life. We were expected to tell others about how to be saved, we were to read the Bible, we were to have faith (which was never really defined - I had a bad definition of faith that haunted me for years), and if we spoke in tongues, all was well.

Jesus also says this in Mathew chapter 9 verse 14 through 15

“14Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast (much), but your disciples do not fast?”
15Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

May God Bless you

Absolutely! We fast because our Lord is not yet with us. We fast because we are to remind ourselves that, although saved and citizens of the kingdom of heaven, we yet live in a fallen and sinful world, with judgement looming. We fast as a reminder of these things, just as we feast as a foretaste of the great feast to come when our Lord Jesus Christ returns in his glory.

The idea of “offering reparation” to the Blood of Christ is itself a contradictory thing. We do not offer reparation to Christ, because He is the one who offers reparation for us to God the Father, that which we receive by God’s grace alone.

The idea that we “co-operate” with grace in order to be saved makes us the authors of our own salvation, and makes the Blood of Christ of none effect.

Could you explain what your “Protestant church” meant by the word “faith”?

The Blood of Christ is necessary for salvation. Our cooperation to at least try and attempt to walk on the road to repentance/purification/sanctification/holiness is also necessary. We use our will to reject evil and choose good (God).

“Eternal Father, I offer You the merits of the Precious Blood of Jesus…” goes the prayer.

Faith is that Jesus saves. I don’t think acts of charity and mercy have to be understood in theological terms to be pleasing and acceptable to God. I also think those who believe in faith alone probably also perform good deeds without “categorizing” or labeling them.

Is it required for salvation? Who knows. Only God judges the heart.

But why should it not be desired to offer meritorious acts and prayers to God as sacrifice?

You have not given a definition of “faith”. What is “faith”? Jesus saves? How? From what? By what means? Why do we need saving? Whom does Jesus save? When?

By God becoming man to redeem humanity that rebelled and sinned against God and caused a rift that only Infinity can bridge. Without such a Bridge, humans are destined for separation from God and damnation. Bearing our sins instead as Sacrifice.

Then there are the Sacraments you deem to be erroneous. In which case, well, there’s not much more to discuss.

Yes, exactly. I should have been more specific and said “modern, evangelical church”.

The foundations of Christian faith are taught, but other important, beneficial, helpful things are removed.

Speaking as one who used to attend “modern, evangelical church” I can identify with what you’re saying. At the church I attended for several years, not even the foundations of Christian faith were taught. Going to church was like going to a too-loud rock concert and then listening to a brief message. The message was biblically-based, usually a discussion about a Scripture passage’s modern-day application. Or, all too often in our church, the message was a thinly-veiled attack on those church members who were getting under the pastor’s skin. :slight_smile:

The idea of “piety” is often negative in today’s church. It’s perceived as being self-righteous and judgmental.

It seems like there was no real goal. You go to church, believe, and you’re all good and well.

Our acts are not meritorious in and of themselves. I just saw a Vine clip of a shiba inu trying its best to gather water for fish and keep them hydrated as they laying dying on the floor. It was to no effect, but how precious the effort is. I believe God completes what humans cannot. If we do them for the love of God and for the intention of helping our neighbors because God loves them, then what we cannot do ourselves will result in merit, not that we are the cause/source of merit.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.