Protestantism the earliest christianity?

I was in the car with my brother earlier today and we were talking about how christians in other countries suffer and how there was very little concern about it. Towards the end of it he mentioned in the middle ages that protestants went through many of the same troubles. Now this got me thinking protestants way back then??? I thought what if me and him get into another catholic argument, he could take i further, this would show maybe protestantism was earliest form of christianity and that the catholic church was man made trying to keep them silenced. Though this was nothing of what he implyed, this is what concerned me. Were there really protestants back then and could all this be true???

I don’t think so. They might have agreed with their theology, but they couldn’t call themselves Protestants officially until 1507.

Valtiel

         Before the rebellion of Martin Luther against the church there were no what in today's modern understanding of the term Protestants. That is no Baptists, no Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, etc. 

          Now there were protesters against the church who taught heresies. Such as the Albengensies, the Waldensies, the Arians, the Montanists, the Sabellians, the Docetics and especially the Gnostics. But that was it in a nutshell. The true church has always been the Catholic church, both from the East(Greek Orthodox) and the West(the Roman).

Hi Valtiel!
Your borther has no historical leg to stand on with this idea. This is from a letter to the Smyrnean church from Ignatius of Antioch, who was a close friend and disciple of St. John (the last of the apostles to die) and the Bishop of the church at Antioch.

“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out[through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper(18) Eucharist, which is[administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. … Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” This was written in about 110 AD
The whole letter is here: catholicfirst.com/thefaith/churchfathers/volume01/ignatius06.cfm
Pax tecum my brother.

In most cases the reference is to the heretical factions of the Catholic Church at the time, however, they presume they were “protestants.” It’s an invinceble ignorance of history on their part.

Here is a link to a website that deals with “The Alleged Protestantism of the Early Church.”

catholicoutlook.com/earlycath.php

Fiat

Protestant as the earliest form of church? In a word, no. The catholic church is the one founded by Christ. As has already been referred to, no other church has an historical leg to stand on.

[quote=Valtiel]I was in the car with my brother earlier today and we were talking about how christians in other countries suffer and how there was very little concern about it. Towards the end of it he mentioned in the middle ages that protestants went through many of the same troubles. Now this got me thinking protestants way back then??? I thought what if me and him get into another catholic argument, he could take i further, this would show maybe protestantism was earliest form of christianity and that the catholic church was man made trying to keep them silenced. Though this was nothing of what he implyed, this is what concerned me. Were there really protestants back then and could all this be true???
[/quote]

You can ask Alex Jones, a pentecostal pastor. He went back to the writings of the early Church Fathers figured out they were definitely not pentecostal, but Catholic and so brought half his congregation in to the Catholic Church.

You can ask Ken Hensley, an indepedent Baptist Minister who went back to read the Fathers and told his wife “Honey I’ve been reading the Church Fathers for three months and can’t find a baptist among them.”. BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL CATHOLIC.

You can ask Steve Ray, Scott Hahn, Jeff Cavins, and many others. You can even read the early Church for yourself.

newadvent.org/fathers/

You can find stories of the above mentioned on the web in books and videos.

Blessings

By all means, you should take the opportunity to expose any Protestant to the early Church and get them to read the Early Church Fathers for themselves to see who they were.

The problem with the “Early Church Protestant” theory, is that any group or person that espoused a supposed “protestant” belief, either:

A: Expresses a myriad of Catholic beliefs that protestants would abhor.

or

B: Expresses heretical and bizarre beliefs that protestants would abhor.

Both roads are dead ends for them…

[quote=Valtiel]I was in the car with my brother earlier today and we were talking about how christians in other countries suffer and how there was very little concern about it. Towards the end of it he mentioned in the middle ages that protestants went through many of the same troubles. Now this got me thinking protestants way back then??? I thought what if me and him get into another catholic argument, he could take i further, this would show maybe protestantism was earliest form of christianity and that the catholic church was man made trying to keep them silenced. Though this was nothing of what he implyed, this is what concerned me. Were there really protestants back then and could all this be true???
[/quote]

Valtiel,
I’ve had this same discussion with Protestants. Your brother may be referring to the Protestant claim that there was "always a ‘remnant’ of the true Church" throughout history. They say this to discredit the authority of the Catholic Church. Many of my siblings have become Protestants and I’ve heard this claim - along with DOZENS of other whoppers about the Church!
On the Protestant radio show “The Bible Answerman”, Hank Hanagraff has stated this opinion many times when listeners call in asking about the early Church. As many others on this thread have already stated - No, there weren’t Protestant denominations as there are now. Just another anti-Catholic ploy to discredit God’s Pilgim Church - the Catholic Church.

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” - St. Jerome

Interesting enough though he said he got this from the book “Jesus Freaks” and I’m to go check it out right now…

Thanks again ladies and gents, thank you for the gracious help…

I ordered a copy of “The Four Witnesses” by Bennett yesterday from Barnes and Noble. From what I understand this is an excellent book concerning Clement, Ignatius, Irenaus, and Justin Martyr and brings the early Church to light in a very compelling way.

[quote=thessalonian] “Honey I’ve been reading the Church Fathers for three months and can’t find a baptist among them.”.
[/quote]

Truer words have never been spoken by a Protestant. :smiley:

The fundamental theological chasm between Catholicism and Protestantism is authority - who has it and why. It is from this belief that the rest of their creed follows.

Protestants reject Apostolic authority and thus, by definition, you will not find a single Church father, including the Apostles, that was Protestant. Period. The Church fathers are *very *adamant about obeying Bishops - especially the Bishop of Rome - and not deviating from Church teaching.

[quote=Valtiel]I was in the car with my brother earlier today and we were talking about how christians in other countries suffer and how there was very little concern about it. Towards the end of it he mentioned in the middle ages that protestants went through many of the same troubles. Now this got me thinking protestants way back then??? I thought what if me and him get into another catholic argument, he could take i further, this would show maybe protestantism was earliest form of christianity and that the catholic church was man made trying to keep them silenced. Though this was nothing of what he implyed, this is what concerned me. Were there really protestants back then and could all this be true???
[/quote]

The first protestants were about 470 years ago. Here’s a timeline of the various churches.

Do you have any idea when your church was founded and by whom? You may find this enlightening:

If you are a member of the Jewish faith, your religion was founded by about 4,000 years ago.
If you are of the Catholic faith, Jesus Christ founded your Church in the year A.D. 30.
If you are Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk in the Catholic Church, in 1517.
If you belong to the Church of England (Anglican), your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.
If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded when John Knox brought the teachings of John Calvin to Scotland in the Year 1560.
If you are Unitarian, your group developed in Europe in the 1500s.
If you are a Congregationalist, your religion branched off Puritanism in the early 1600s in England.
If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1607.
If you are a Methodist, your religion was founded by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.
If you are an Episcopalian, your church came from England to the American colonies. It formed a separate religion founded by Samuel Seabury in 1789.
If you are a Campellite Christian Church, your religion was started by Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone at a revival held at Bushy Creek.
If you are a Mormon (Latter-day Saints), Joseph Smith started your church in Palmyra, N.Y. in 1830.
If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.
If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year your religion was founded by Mary Baker Eddy.
If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, your religion was founded by Charles Taze Russell in Pennsylvania in the 1870s.
If your Church of Christ, your church broke of from the Campellites in 1906.
If you are Pentecostal, your religion was started in the United States in 1901.
If your organization is “evangelical nondenominational christian” your group started in the 1960s

[quote=Valtiel] Were there really protestants back then and could all this be true???
[/quote]

Here is the line of succession of the Catholic Popes.

Catholic Popes (Pontiffs)

Reigned
Name Birthplace From To
St. Peter Bethsaida 42? 67?
St. Linus Tuscia 67 76
St. Anacletus (Cletus) Rome 76 88
St. Clement Rome 88 97
St. Evaristus Greece 97 105
St. Alexander I Rome 105 115
St. Sixtus I Rome 115 125
St. Telesphorus Greece 125 136
St. Hyginus Greece 136 140
St. Pius I Aquileia 140 155
St. Anicetus Syria 155 166
St. Soter Campania 166 175
St. Eleutherius Epirus 175 189
St. Victor I Africa 189 199
St. Zephyrinus Rome 199 217
St. Callistus I Rome 217 222
St. Urban I Rome 222 230
St. Pontian Rome 230 235
St. Anterus Greece 235 236
St. Fabian Rome 236 250
St. Cornelius Rome 251 253
St. Lucius I Rome 253 254
St. Stephen I Rome 254 257
St. Sixtus II Greece 257 258
St. Dionysius Unknown 259 268
St. Felix I Rome 269 274
St. Eutychian Luni 275 283
St. Caius Dalmatia 283 296
St. Marcellinus Rome 296 304
St. Marcellus I Rome 308 309
St. Eusebius Greece 309 309
St. Meltiades Africa 311 314
St. Sylvester I Rome 314 335
St. Marcus Rome 336 336
St. Julius I Rome 337 352
Liberius Rome 352 366
St. Damasus I Spain 366 384
St. Siricius Rome 384 399
St. Anastasius I Rome 399 401
St. Innocent I Albano 401 417
St. Zozimus Greece 417 418
St. Boniface I Rome 418 422
St. Celestine I Campania 422 432
St. Sixtus III Rome 432 440
St. Leo I (the Great) Tuscany 440 461
St. Hilary Sardinia 461 468
St. Simplicius Tivoli 468 483
St. Felix III (II)2 Rome 483 492
St. Gelasius I Africa 492 496
Anastasius II Rome 496 498
St. Symmachus Sardinia 498 514
St. Hormisdas Frosinone 514 523
St. John I Tuscany 523 526
St. Felix IV (III) Samnium 526 530
Boniface II Rome 530 532
John II Rome 533 535
St. Agapitus I Rome 535 536
St. Silverius Campania 536 537
Vigilius Rome 537 555
Pelagius I Rome 556 561
John III Rome 561 574
Benedict I Rome 575 579
Pelagius II Rome 579 590
St. GregoryI(the Great) Rome 590 604
Sabinianus Tuscany 604 606
Boniface III Rome 607 607
St. Boniface IV Marsi 608 615
St.Deusdedit(AdeodatusI)Rome 615 618
Boniface V Naples 619 625
Honorius I Campania 625 638
Severinus Rome 640 640
John IV Dalmatia 640 642
Theodore I Greece 642 649
St. Martin I Todi 649 655
St. Eugene I3 Rome 654 657
St. Vitalian Segni 657 672
Adeodatus II Rome 672 676
Donus Rome 676 678
St. Agatho Sicily 678 681
St. Leo II Sicily 682 683
St. Benedict II Rome 684 685
John V Syria 685 686
Conon Unknown 686 687
St. Sergius I Syria 687 701
John VI Greece 701 705
John VII Greece 705 707
Sisinnius Syria 708 708
Constantine Syria 708 715
St. Gregory II Rome 715 731
St. Gregory III Syria 731 741
St. Zachary Greece 741 752
Stephen II (III) Rome 752 757
St. Paul I Rome 757 767
Stephen III (IV) Sicily 768 772
Adrian I Rome 772 795
St. Leo III Rome 795 816
Stephen IV (V) Rome 816 817
St. Paschal I Rome 817 824
Eugene II Rome 824 827
Valentine Rome 827 827
Gregory IV Rome 827 844
Sergius II Rome 844 847
St. Leo IV Rome 847 855
Benedict III Rome 855 858
St.NicholasI(the Great) Rome 858 867
Adrian II Rome 867 872
John VIII Rome 872 882
Marinus I Gallese 882 884
St. Adrian III Rome 884 885
Stephen V (VI) Rome 885 891
Formosus Portus 891 896
Boniface VI Rome 896 896
Stephen VI (VII) Rome 896 897
Romanus Gallese 897 897
Theodore II Rome 897 897
John IX Tivoli 898 900
Benedict IV Rome 900 903
Leo V Ardea 903 903
Sergius III Rome 904 911
Anastasius III Rome 911 913
Landus Sabina 913 914
John X Tossignano 914 928
Leo VI Rome 928 928
Stephen VII (VIII) Rome 928 931
John XI Rome 931 935
Leo VII Rome 936 939
Stephen VIII (IX) Rome 9 39 942
Marinus II Rome 942 946
Agapitus II Rome 946 955
John XII Tusculum 955 964
Leo VIII5 Rome 963 965
Benedict V5 Rome 964 966
John XIII Rome 965 972
Benedict VI Rome 973 974
Benedict VII Rome 974 983
John XIV Pavia 983 984
John XV Rome 985 996
Gregory V Saxony 996 999
Sylvester II Auvergne 999 1003
John XVII Rome 1003 1003
John XVIII Rome 1004 1009
Sergius IV Rome 1009 1012
Benedict VIII Tusculum 1012 1024
John XIX Tusculum 1024 1032
Benedict IX6 Tusculum 1032 1044
Sylvester III Rome 1045 1045
Benedict IX (2nd time) Tusculum 1045 1045
Gregory VI Rome 1045 1046
Clement II Saxony 1046 1047
Benedict IX (3rd time) Tusculum 1047 1048
Damasus II Bavaria 1048 1048
St. Leo IX Alsace 1049 1054

(Popes list continued)

Victor II Germany 1055 1057
Stephen IX (X) Lorraine 1057 1058
Nicholas II Burgundy 1059 1061
Alexander II Milan 1061 1073
St. Gregory VII Tuscany 1073 1085
Bl. Victor III Benevento 1086 1087
Bl. Urban II France 1088 1099
Paschal II Ravenna 1099 1118
Gelasius II Gaeta 1118 1119
Callistus II Burgundy 1119 1124
Honorius II Flagnano 1124 1130
Innocent II Rome 1130 1143
Celestine II Città di Castello 1143 1144
Lucius II Bologna 1144 1145
Bl. Eugene III Pisa 1145 1153
Anastasius IV Rome 1153 1154
Adrian IV England 1154 1159
Alexander III Siena 1159 1181
Lucius III Lucca 1181 1185
Urban III Milan 1185 1187
Gregory VIII Benevento 1187 1187
Clement III Rome 1187 1191
Celestine III Rome 1191 1198
Innocent III Anagni 1198 1216
Honorius III Rome 1216 1227
Gregory IX Anagni 1227 1241
Celestine IV Milan 1241 1241
Innocent IV Genoa 1243 1254
Alexander IV Anagni 1254 1261
Urban IV Troyes 1261 1264
Clement IV France 1265 1268
Bl. Gregory X Piacenza 1271 1276
Bl. Innocent V Savoy 1276 1276
Adrian V Genoa 1276 1276
John XXI7 Portugal 1276 1277
Nicholas III Rome 1277 1280
Martin IV8 France 1281 1285
Honorius IV Rome 1285 1287
Nicholas IV Ascoli 1288 1292
St. Celestine V Isernia 1294 1294
Boniface VIII Anagni 1294 1303
Bl. Benedict XI Treviso 1303 1304
Clement V France 1305 1314
John XXII Cahors 1316 1334
Benedict XII France 1334 1342
Clement VI France 1342 1352
Innocent VI France 1352 1362
Bl. Urban V France 1362 1370
Gregory XI France 1370 1378
Urban VI Naples 1378 1389
Boniface IX Naples 1389 1404
Innocent VII Sulmona 1404 1406
Gregory XII Venice 1406 1415
Martin V Rome 1417 1431
Eugene IV Venice 1431 1447
Nicholas V Sarzana 1447 1455
Callistus III Jativa 1455 1458
Pius II Siena 1458 1464
Paul II Venice 1464 1471
Sixtus IV Savona 1471 1484
Innocent VIII Genoa 1484 1492
Alexander VI Jativa 1492 1503
Pius III Siena 1503 1503
Julius II Savona 1503 1513
Leo X Florence 1513 1521
Adrian VI Utrecht 1522 1523
Clement VII Florence 1523 1534
Paul III Rome 1534 1549
Julius III Rome 1550 1555
Marcellus II Montepulciano 1555 1555
Paul IV Naples 1555 1559
Pius IV Milan 1559 1565
St. Pius V Bosco 1566 1572
Gregory XIII Bologna 1572 1585
Sixtus V Grottammare 1585 1590
Urban VII Rome 1590 1590
Gregory XIV Cremona 1590 1591
Innocent IX Bologna 1591 1591
Clement VIII Florence 1592 1605
Leo XI Florence 1605 1605
Paul V Rome 1605 1621
Gregory XV Bologna 1621 1623
Urban VIII Florence 1623 1644
Innocent X Rome 1644 1655
Alexander VII Siena 1655 1667
Clement IX Pistoia 1667 1669
Clement X Rome 1670 1676
Bl. Innocent XI Como 1676 1689
Alexander VIII Venice 1689 1691
Innocent XII Spinazzola 1691 1700
Clement XI Urbino 1700 1721
Innocent XIII Rome 1721 1724
Benedict XIII Gravina 1724 1730
Clement XII Florence 1730 1740
Benedict XIV Bologna 1740 1758
Clement XIII Venice 1758 1769
Clement XIV Rimini 1769 1774
Pius VI Cesena 1775 1799
Pius VII Cesena 1800 1823
Leo XII Genga 1823 1829
Pius VIII Cingoli 1829 1830
Gregory XVI Belluno 1831 1846
Pius IX Senegallia 1846 1878
Leo XIII Carpineto 1878 1903
St. Pius X Riese 1903 1914
Benedict XV Genoa 1914 1922
Pius XI Desio 1922 1939
Pius XII Rome 1939 1958
John XXIII Sotto il Monte 1958 1963
Paul VI Concesio 1963 1978
John Paul I Forno di Canale 1978 1978
John Paul II Poland 1978 2005
Benedict XIV Germany 2005

I hope this helps clarify things for you.
You might want to ask him for a list with the dates of the leaders of his church.

Here’s another interesting take. Protestants claim that the papacy didn’t start until the time of Constantine in the 4th Century. Yet they also love to point out that there were anti-popes so people supposedly didn’t know who was Pope. Well two of the first atnipopes listed were Hippolatus and Novation in the third century. :smiley: So it would seem difficult to say the papacy didn’t start until the fourth century when there were people trying to usurp the authority of it 100 years earlier. By the way, the anti-popes are also strong evidence for the primacy of Rome, since there were few anti-bishops of other dioceses.

Blessings

The Greek Orthodox are not part of the Catholic Church. There are Eastern Catholic churches in the Catholic Church however.

God bless.

Protestantism as a distinct visible movement didn’t come about until the 16th century - but it contained & contains a great deal of what had existed earlier, both Catholic, & “other”. So much of Protestantism was part of Catholicism. Which can be take to show that Catholicism had Protestant tendencies - or that Protestantism had some Catholic tendencies. Which interpretation one chooses, is a matter of perspective: neither is wrong, both are right.

Go back to the beginnings of Christianity, & you have the head-waters of a river which divides into separate but intermingling streams & currents: there are Christianities which are different now, & sometimes opposed; but they can all trace their origins to the same head-waters, no matter how different they may have become in the meantime. In this sense, the Apostles were as Anglican & Calvinist & Orthodox & Lutheran & Baptist as they were Catholic. All Christianities are Apostolic in some way: but - theologies apart - no single one can claim to be the complete & only successor of the Apostles today. Whether the Apostles would agree with the claims of their successors to be Apostolic, is anyone’s guess - they aren’t around for us to ask them :slight_smile:

And some forms of Christianity are more faithful to certain parts of the Apostolic Teaching than others: election tends to be ignored by Catholics, but it’s as much a part of Christian revelation as the Church. Reformed Christians give much attention to the Church, & to election - & much less, to the Petrine function, which is very important in Catholicism.

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.