Protestantism is Misrepresented

After reviewing quite a bit of catholic.com and reading many of the posts on this board, it seems to me that protestantism is terribly misrepresented. Many of the posts tend to sway toward identifying all protestants with fringe groups like Pentecostals who blend the line between cult and Christianity.

I have read much about how many Protestants know very little about Catholic doctrine, but the same can be said about Protestants and this site.

The fact of the matter is that many if not most Protestants don’t:

  1. Believe every single word of the Bible to be literal, whether they be evangelicals (like myself) or not. Most protestants take the Bible “seriously, but not literally”. Sola Scriptura simply means that the Word of God is the best authority we have, not that it wasn’t physically written by men and contains mistakes. It was inspired by the Holy Spirit, however, as Catholics believe.

  2. Believe in speaking in tongues or any other strange signs of the Holy Spirit. This is a pentecostal thing, and I am truly offended that some people in previous posts have grouped “protestants” as a whole with the likes of Benny Hinn.

  3. Baptize Adults. Only Baptists, Pentecostals/Charismatics, and non-denominationers practice this. Baptism is a sign, much like circumcision is for Jews, that a Child will be admitted and brough up among a community of believers.

  4. Believe that by saying something along the lines of “I accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior” that a person is then “saved”. For many protestants, growing close to God takes many years and rarely has some sort of epiphany that suddenly makes them become “saved”. As a believer of Reformed Theology, I personally believe that a person is not “saved” through their own personal act, but by God’s choice to elect the to heaven. Augustine taught a similar idea as have many Catholics over the years, unfortunately over the years, the apparent self-serving idea of free-will has developed and taken some of the glory away from the sovereign God. I guess Reformed Theology just isn’t practical to people today, but alas this is a subject for elsewhere.

I also fear that many here have a difficult time telling the difference between anti-catholicism and legitimate theological differences. Please, I would love to hear what your problems with protestantism is and respond to it. Hope this helps.

In Christ,

Andrew

First let me say I understand where you are coming from. That has been my feeling. That said, there are so meany protestant churchs it is hard to know the tradition of each one. It is hard to know how to answer a question if you don’t understand were the questioner stands on the subject. A Lutheren beleives different than a Baptist who beleives different than a Mormon etc. You can’t answer a question to cover all of the bases. Then you have people that are influenced by people like Chuck Schick, James White etc.

[quote=Andyman1517]3. Baptize Adults. Only Baptists, Pentecostals/Charismatics, and non-denominationers practice this. Baptism is a sign, much like circumcision is for Jews, that a Child will be admitted and brought up among a community of believers.
[/quote]

Baptism is something the Catholic Church and all Protestant Christian Churches practice. In some churches it is by sprinkling of water. Even in typical “sprinkling” churches, I think Baptism by Immersion is sometimes allowed and may sometimes happen. As a Baptist (soon going to RCIA / RCIC), I always thought there is nothing like watching an adult Baptism service (adult Christian conversion) in a natural setting. Such as at a river or in the Gulf of Mexico.

If your church does not practice Baptism, it is in clear violation of Christ’s “Great Commission” – St. Matthew 28:18-20. And perhaps it is not a Christian Church (and not Protestant).

[quote=Andyman1517]4. … I personally believe that a person is not “saved” through their own personal act, but by God’s choice to elect the to heaven.
[/quote]

If you haven’t done anything, how do you stand on it?

I’ve attended or belonged to quite a few different types of Christian Churches. Methodist, Southern Baptist, Mennonite, Lutheran, Assembly of God, Non-Denominational (Word Church), and a few predominantly Black Churches. I’ve even been to R. W. Schambach’s tent revival – Glory to God! I’ve never been to a Christian Church that preached a gospel of no personal action.

Andyman1517,
This is actually a good topic and I appreciate your post. In my geographical location the things you mentioned dominate and Christion radio in this area is dominated with those beliefs. Probably that is partly a media bias which distorts things. You are probably correct that these are not the majority view.

Protestantism has two obvious faults. I say obviouse because Jesus himself refuted the Protestant position. First, is the denial of the real Presence of The Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus affirmed this directly 6-7-8 times as does St Paul. Jesus then asked the apostles if they would leave him also since this was a “hard” saying. Therefore Jesus himself refuted the objections. Second is divorce, the destroyer of millions of lives and souls. God says he hates divorce and Jesus says NO DIVORCE 6 or 7 times and then gives the real reason for Protestant divorce - “because of the hardness of your hearts”.

“By their fruits shall you know them”

Thanks
Chris

Andrew,

You are completely right. However as one you came from a Pentecostal church to the Catholic church, I would say you are seriously overstepping by calling them “cult like”. They are very Christian in my experience.

But that is part of the problem. There are so many branches off of the Protestant theology. That is what Sola Scriptura leads to. It is fine to say you only believe what has been written. The problem is that what has been written is not always self explanatory. And if you bring in Traditions to help guide you, why are your Traditions, less than 500 years old more right than Catholic ones? (Sorry that is a thread all unto itself!)

But, Yes. People tend to lump. I do. I make mistakes when I think I have a handle on what they believe, make an assumption and am wrong. But I also try to make threads that are more targeted to Solo Scritura, the Bible alone crowd since that is what I am familiar with. Others would do well to do the same. Identify which Proteatant group you are referring to.

Do you want a discussion along the lines of Luther, Calvin or the Bible alone Crowd? Do you want to talk about Mormon, JW, or someone who won’t claim any title at all? Are you looking for dialogue with Church of Christ which will affect how history itself is recorded. I think we all would do better to try to identify what the target audience of the thread is. Instead of lumping all Protestants together, I think us Catholics need to take the extra time to present which groups theology we are discussing. All would be welcome to the discussion, but it will help with misunderstanding and hard feelings if whose beliefs they are, are identified to begin with. Protestant does identify belief.

God Bless and I apologize if anything I said has in any way hurt you.
Maria

When there are different branches of protestantism, it is only natural that people would feel misrepresented when one tries to lump all the groups in one for the sake of showing the general differences between catholicism and protestantism.

As for me, I like listening to some protestant preachers because I find them closer to catholicism whether they realize it or not. It reminds me of a game my kids play. They hide a toy and direct the seeker by shouting cold, warm, hot depending on how far or close they are from the hidden toy. I feel like I am standing on the hidden toy and just watch who is closer and further. I personally believe (and this is a personal belief) that if Catholicism was to disappear from this earth, protestantism would continue to be true to itself and keep on protesting against itself to perdition. The thing is, there would still be churches but unrecognizable as christian institutions.

The conversation between a catholic and a protestant in terms of understanding each other’s faith is very difficult because a Lutheran for example, who does not accept the teachings of Luther can still call himself a protestant in good standing something that a catholic can not get away with. That’s why the dialogue between protestantism and catholicism is beyond difficult.

May God bless you

Having been Protestant, I feel much sympathy for Andrew’s statement. Though much truth has been exposed regarding the disunity of Protestantism, it takes little to actually ask a certain Protestant what his or her denomination is, or, in the course of the dialog, actually obtain information about the other’s beliefs without making assumptions. Ask and respond. Don’t presume and respond.

God bless all,
Greg

Hi jmm08, I didn’t mean to imply that all protestants and catholics don’t baptize adults. I was simply stating that Baptists, Pentecostals etc… only baptize adults.

As for divorce, Protestants have long been oppossed to divorce, however, at the same time they tend not to pass judgement on one who is divorced. It is interesting that if you look at the statistics, Catholics and Protestants tend to divorce at the same rate, as well as have abortions at the same rate. The sad truth of the matter is that most Protestants and Catholics disregard the teachings of their church.

And now we arrive at the idea of the true presence of christ in the Eucharist. This seems like a very sticky issue. I feel that Biblically, both Protestants and Catholics have legitimate claims about their teachings.

God Bless.

When I said in may post that it is not by a person action that they are saved, I didn’t mean to imply that it is okay for a person to sit back and relax in the fact that they know they are saved. The type of theology I’m talking about here is reformed theology and is supported throughout the Bible and by many early Catholic scholars.

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30 (NAB)

There are countless other passages along these lines. The fact of the matter is that you must personally love and believe in Christ to be saved, but at the same time it is important to remember that he has chosen you to be saved, and that is why you have oppened your heart to him. Also, good works are a sign that you have been saved, so it is still extremely important that if you have been truly saved and profess Jesus to be divine, that you also perform good works.

Many Protestants believe in this sort of thing, it just so happens that the denominations you listed are arminianists who believe the opposite. Wesleyanism (Methodism) and it’s counterpart theologies seem to me to have become very self-serving over the years and preach that an individual has much more authority over their salvation than God does. This has led to them preaching a self-centered Gospel or “health and wealth”.

Hope this helps.

In Christ,

Andrew

  1. Baptize Adults. Only Baptists, Pentecostals/Charismatics, and non-denominationers practice this. Baptism is a sign, much like circumcision is for Jews, that a Child will be admitted and brough up among a community of believers.

Andy,
When we were babies in the Baptist Church we were 'dedicated’
a prayer ceremony as I recall from my younger brother’s.
Then at 11 or 12 we were baptized and I remember being asked, “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Personal Savior”. So from the above are you saying it wasn’t really a baptism as Christ taught? One that took away our sins? Maybe this is why I had to have a ‘conditional baptism’ when I became a Catholic? BTW, nice thread!

Annunciata:)

Thank you Andyman…:tiphat:

Thank you for speaking up.

Annunciata,
I don’t know a whole lot about the Baptist denomination in general, but I do know that for them, Baptism is more akin to a saving act than it is to wash away someones sin. This maybe why you were conditionally baptized. Any church where only adults can be baptized (typically by submersion) believe that baptism is more of a statement of who you are, than an act of taking away sin. At my church (Presbyterian USA) catholic baptisms for both infants and adults are fully accepted, and Presbyterian baptism by sprinkling, pouring, or submersion is fully accepted by Catholics.

God Bless.

[quote=Andyman1517]…I would love to hear what your problems with protestantism is and respond to it…
[/quote]

With regard to protestants as a group: I don’t have any problems with protestants. Some of my best friends are protestant. Some are wonderful people, some are not, but that is true of Catholics as well.

With regard to protestantism (in whatever its form): I believe that Catholicism represents the fullness of Truth and that to a greater or lesser degree, protestants have strayed from that truth. I pray that they will find their way back.

Blessings.

Andyman,

Your basic point is well taken. I have pleaded with uninformed Protestants to stop accusing us of beliefs that we do not hold. In turn, I recognize that there exist many different views in Protestant circles and that Catholics need to know what a person believes before they assume anything. Even within reformed theology there are variations.

I would recommend James Akin’s book The Salvation Controversy to all interested parties. It explains very even handedly Reform theology and Catholic theology quite well. One of the great things about this book is that it shows our common ground, and defines our differences for what they are without prejudice.

Anyway, keep posting and enjoy the boards. There is much to be gained from our mutual discussions.

Andyman, of course you are correct in that Protestant Christians hold a wide range of views.

But the sad fact is that those who beleive in the “sinners prayer” for “gettin saved”, that the Bible is literal, in adult baptism by immersion only are the loudest group of Protestants, and the ones who are most vocal in condemning Catholics here, even though they often don’t have a clue as to what Catholics really beleive and so.

Main-Line Protestants (like Catholics) are often not considered “real Christians” by these people with their fundamentalist schools, bookstores, and media outlets. These institutions should honestly be called fundamentalist schools etc, but they consider themselves to be the only Christians.

Perhaps it would help if Main-Line Protestants spoke up a little more, instead of allowing their voices to be drowned out by the always loud fundamentalist cacaphony.

After all, Catholics and main-line Protestants have more in common with each other, than we have with fundy “Christians”.

I thought it means that the written word of God is the ONLY authority we have, rather than merely the best we have.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:

[quote=Andyman1517]I would love to hear what your problems with protestantism is and respond to it.
[/quote]

In Christ,

Andrew

Thanks Andrew!!

For me the main issue is authority. Protestantism seems to be without an objective one making truth, the thing that makes us free, impossible to know with any certainty.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:

I’ve attended a presbyterian (USA) church for 13 years (was raised catholic). I’m now on my way back to Catholicism. One issue with reformed theology specifically is the absence of the real presence ( no transsubstantiation). Also, the lack of the other sacraments bothers me.

Another big issue for me is their handling of the concept of pre-desitination. I’m more in line with Catholic thinking where one might be pre-destined for “initial” salvation, but not for “final” salvation. God gave us free will (remember adam and eve?). We can choose to turn our backs on God.

Just my thoughts to answer your original question directly. Good luck on the journey…

Joel

I think its very safe to say that most of us are incredibly ignorant of other traditions. We assume we “know” about them based upon what we’ve heard second or third or xth hand. The sisters who taught me in parochial school painted protestantism with a broad brush, overgeneralized and in the end, misrepresented a lot. On the other side, protestants for years have feared Catholic practices and traditions, because of the same type of religious “education” in Sunday school. We have a dickens of a time getting folks to bless themselves. Those over forty fear it’s “too catholic” - like that’s something bad, LOL.

If you want to make statements, research the traditions and beliefs. The internet is full of resources. Go to a denomination’s website and read “what we believe” as a starter. Then do some scholarly reseach. btw, the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia, which is an excellent reference for many Catholic issues and questions, is the 1911 version; so beware - the bias is very much pre-ecumenism.

If you don’t want to do some serious research - Then don’t assume anything.

Better off not pursuing a bad line of reasoning half baked.

The fact is, we all share a wonderful faith and salvation. All of us are seeing that faith through the fragmented lens of human frailty. Be kind, be sensitive,be… “Christian”

Peace,
John

Amen to that! Thank you, John for being a voice of reason in the chaos!..we need to understand the differences that keep us “separated brethren” yet find a way to celebrate our common beliefs! If we are not working towards that common understanding then we are contributing to the problems. I am not saying anyone should waterdown their beliefs, but how do we ever hope to gain the unity Jesus himself prayed for if we only pick at each other for what we don’t share instead of building upon what we do? Just imho…I don’t want to get into a theological argument here, I just want all of us who bear the name Christian to be somewhat worthy of it…

Thanks for sharing everyone, and listening…

Peace…

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