Questions for Protestants


Hey guys,

I’m trying to come up with a list of stumpers for Protestants; somewhat rhetorical questions that force a Catholic answer. I’ve found some around the Internet that I’ve compiled here and I’m asking you all to try and come up with more. Obviously this is a great apologetic tool so I’m hoping this thread gets plenty of support so we can expand the list.

Thanks guys!

Here are the collected questions I’ve found from around the web (I think most come from Steve Ray’s catholic-convert site):


  1. Where in the New Testament do the apostles tell future generations that the Christian faith will be based solely on a book?

  2. Some Protestants claim that Jesus condemned all oral tradition (e.g., Matt 15:3, 6; Mark 7:8 13). If so, why does He bind His listeners to oral tradition by telling them to obey the scribes and Pharisees when they “sit on Moses’ seat” (Matt 23:2)?

  3. Some Protestants claim that St. Paul condemned all oral tradition (Col 2:8). If so, why does he tell the Thessalonians to “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thes 2:15) and praises the Corinthians because they “hold firmly to the traditions” (1 Cor 11:2)?

  4. How do we know who wrote the books that we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Hebrews, and 1, 2, and 3 John?

  5. Where in the Bible do we find an inspired and infallible list of books that should belong in the Bible? (e.g., Is the Bible’s Table of Contents inspired?) How do we know, from the Bible alone, that the individual books of the New Testament are inspired, even when they make no claim to be inspired?

  6. How do we know, from the Bible alone, that the letters of St. Paul, who wrote to first-century congregations and individuals, are meant to be read by us as Scripture 2000 years later?

  7. If the books of the New Testament are “self-authenticating” through the ministry of the Holy Spirit to each individual, then why was there confusion in the early Church over which books were inspired, with some books being rejected by the majority?

  8. Who may authoritatively arbitrate between Christians who claim to be led by the Holy Spirit into mutually contradictory interpretations of the Bible?

  9. Since each Protestant must admit that his or her interpretation is fallible, how can any Protestant in good conscience call anything heresy or bind another Christian to a particular belief?

  10. Protestants usually claim that they all agree “on the important things.” Who is able to decide authoritatively what is important in the Christian faith and what is not?

  11. How did the early Church evangelize and overthrow the Roman Empire, survive and prosper almost 350 years, without knowing for sure which books belong in the canon of Scripture?

  12. Who in the Church had the authority to determine which books belonged in the New Testament canon and to make this decision binding on all Christians? If nobody has this authority, then can I remove or add books to the canon on my own authority?

  13. Why do Protestant scholars recognize the early Church councils at Hippo and Carthage as the first instances in which the New Testament canon was officially ratified, but ignore the fact that those same councils ratified the Old Testament canon used by the Catholic Church today but abandoned by Protestants at the Reformation?

  14. Why do Protestants follow post apostolic Jewish decisions on the boundaries of the Old Testament canon, rather than the decision of the Church founded by Jesus Christ?

  15. How were the bishops at Hippo and Carthage able to determine the correct canon of Scripture, in spite of the fact that they believed all the distinctively Catholic doctrines such as the apostolic succession of bishops, the sacrifice of the Mass, Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, baptismal regeneration, etc?

SPLIT: Answers from Protestants to "Questions For Protestants"
SPLIT: Answers from Protestants to "Questions For Protestants"
SPLIT: Answers from Protestants to "Questions For Protestants"
SPLIT: Answers from Protestants to "Questions For Protestants"
SPLIT: Answers from Protestants to "Questions For Protestants"
SPLIT: Answers from Protestants to "Questions For Protestants"
  1. If Christianity is a “book religion,” how did it flourish during the first 1500 years of Church history when the vast majority of people were illiterate?

  2. If Jesus intended for Christianity to be exclusively a “religion of the book,” why did He wait 1400 years before showing somebody how to build a printing press?

  3. The time interval between the Resurrection and the establishment of the New Testament canon in AD 382 is roughly the same as the interval between the arrival of the Mayflower in America and the present day. Therefore, since the early Christians had no defined New Testament for almost four hundred years, how did they practice sola Scriptura?

  4. If the Bible is the only foundation and basis of Christian truth, why does the Bible itself say that the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim. 3:15)?

  5. Jesus said that the unity of Christians would be objective evidence to the world that He had been sent by God (John 17:20-23). How can the world see an invisible “unity” that exists only in the hearts of believers?

  6. The Koran explicitly claims divine inspiration, but the New Testament Gospels and Paul’s Epistles do not. How do you know that these New Testament books are nevertheless inspired, but the Koran is not?

  7. How does a Protestant know for sure what God thinks about moral issues such as abortion, masturbation, contraceptives, eugenics, euthanasia, etc.?

  8. Where does the Bible tell us how we know that the revelation of Jesus Christ ended with the death of the last Apostle?

  9. Christ told the apostles to go forth and preach. Only five of the twelve apostles wrote books of the Bible. So why didn’t Christ tell them to go forth and write His gospel so all future generations could read it? That is what Mohammed did.

  10. Why do Protestants claim that they are justified by faith alone when the Bible clearly says we are justified by faith and works? “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2 : 24)

  11. Today’s Protestant Bibles are based on the King James version. King James was a political leader not an ecclesiastical authority. What authority did he have to produce a Bible? Absolutely none! So the question arises, suppose the President of the United States decided to produce a Bible. Would you trust your salvation to the Bill Clinton version of the Bible?

  12. Provide the verse(s) which say(s) Scripture is the sole infallible authority (i.e., there is no other authority for learning about God and/or salvation). If sola scriptura is true, this should be by far the most clearly and explicitly spelled out teaching of the whole Bible.

SPLIT: Answers from Protestants to "Questions For Protestants"
SPLIT: Answers from Protestants to "Questions For Protestants"

Hey, I just thought of another one:

28. What good would the constitution be without a government to interpret and apply it? Is it really reasonable to assume that God would leave us with such a large body of text without an infallible interpreter?

  1. On first reading, this was a little ambiguous. You see, while King James I and VI (I of England, VI of Scotland) called for a council of scholars to work on a definitive Bible, he himself was a figurehead, not one of the scholars himself. The Bible is called the King James version only because James was the King of the time, not because he authored it (much as the Douay Rheims version of the Bible could have been called I believe the Henry IV version as Henry IV reigned in France until 1610 and the Douay Rheims was compiled I believe by 1607. 1610-1643 was Louis XIII).


Atheists are constantly amused by christians trying to come up with “stumpers”. If fact it makes them dig in even deeper because the person trying to “stump” has no credibility.

If there was a “stumper” that would convince a atheist, catholic, or a protestant it would have been said by now.

Its a matter of discussion and planting seeds and letting the Holy Spirit convict people.

Stumping is stumbling. Maybe I will think oh I see the atheists were right and christians and catholics are all nuts and cannot agree so it must all be lies invented because they are not strong individuals.

ps not all protestants believe in bible alone and those that do, it was because they were lied to all the time and decided to cut out anything else. Because they dont want to risk something, can anyone understand its a “survival” tactic on their part??


I agree with Kitty Chan. Of course our arguments are better, but good arguments never convince anyone against his or her will. If you want to “stump” Protestants, live as Godly a life as you can, letting the love of Jesus Christ shine through you. No one ever has an answer to that one! :thumbsup:



Phew…these are excellent questions…i just wish i had read them yesterday when i logged on to Protestant leader Ian Paisleys’ website. As most of you are aware he is the foremost anti-catholic leader in Northern Ireland , and his site is so vehemently anti-catholic that i was gasping for fresh air by the end of it !!! It’s full of half-truths ; as well as very barbed and confrontational accusations against catholics. Talking about questions …his site cleverly makes all kinds of wild statements against ‘romanism’ , yet does not afford the general public the democratic opportunity to respond by asking pertinent questions. That’s what i like about this site and most pro-catholic sites on the web. Please keep adding to your list…Blessings and please pray for understanding and better communication between the different denominations…i believe our Lord wills unity for the body of Christ.:thumbsup:


ps not catholic

but ya know, you just blessed me and warmed my day.

The true stump to a atheist, they will not ague if you are honest and claim Faith.

Of course catholics have good arguements, sure they figured out the scriptures. Theres alot of good things they know, Ive learned alot when there is no stumping going on. Maybe protestants will never come to the catholic church physically, I notice that no one seems to want to meet half way, and meeting half way is the end to any arguement. I think with those announcements from various Popes they are trying, different protestants state things at times, but its hard and everyone wants to remember the hurt.

But if we all started figuring it out, what a witness it would be to the world.

While it hates ALL of us, it also secretly longs for us to get it together, then even though they may not like the feeling, they will have genuine hope.


You really don’t think you will ever convince Ian Paisley to believe anything differently, do you? It would take a “Damscus Road” incident to convince him, and I’m not sure that would even work! :banghead:


These are John Martignoni’s “Top Twelve” questions, many might overlap some of yours but here you go:

  1. Question: If everything that we need to know as Christians is in the Bible, then where in the Bible does it give us the list of books that are supposed to be in the Bible? How do we know all of those books are supposed to be in the Bible if there is no list in the Bible?

  2. Question: If we are saved by faith alone, then we don’t need to love anyone - even God! - in order to be saved, right?

  3. Question: If you have faith, but have not works, can your faith save you?

  4. Question: If salvation by faith alone is the most central and most important Christian doctrine, then why does the phrase “faith alone” appear only once in all of Scripture…and that is to say that we are not justified by “faith alone” (James 2:24)?

  5. Question: If God alone can forgive sins, and we are to confess our sins only to God, and not to men, then why does Matthew say that God gave the authority on earth to forgive sins to “men”…plural (Matt 9:6-8); and why does James tell us to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16)? And why does Jesus give His disciples the power to forgive or retain sins (John 20:23)?

  6. Question: Is whether or not we have faith, God’s sole criteria for judging us worthy of salvation?

  7. Question: For a Christian, what is the pillar and ground…in other words, the upholder and foundation of the truth…is it the Bible?

  8. Question: Is God’s revelation to men ongoing, or did it end with the death of the last Apostle?

  9. Question: Jesus tells us in John 6:27 to “labor for the food that leads to eternal life” which He will give us. In John 6:55, Jesus tells us that His Flesh is real food and in verse 54 He says that whoever eats this flesh (this food) has eternal life. What does Jesus mean when He tells us to “labor” for the food that will lead to eternal life and that by eating this food (His flesh) we will have eternal life?

  10. Question: Christ redeemed all men with His death on the cross. In other words, He paid the price for all men’s sins. Yet, not all men are saved. What is the difference between those who are merely redeemed and the subset of those who are redeemed and saved? Is it something Jesus did, or is it something each saved individual did?

  11. Question: Do we have to forgive others in order to have our sins forgiven by God?

  12. Question: Where in the Bible does it say:
    A) Scripture alone is the sole rule of faith for Christians?
    B) We are saved, or justified, by faith alone?
    C) Baptism is a symbolic gesture that the already saved believer makes to show his commitment to God?
    D) That every individual, Christian or not, has the right to interpret every single passage of Scripture on their own in order to determine, by their own authority, what is true doctrine and what is false doctrine?
    E) That you are to have altar calls?
    F) That you are to meet at your church every Wednesday night?
    G) That it is okay to disagree on the “non-essential” doctrines as long as you agree on the “essential” doctrines?
    H) That there is even such a thing as a non-essential doctrine…a non-essential part of the Word of God?


All very good.

#17 needs work: books were scrolls and, beginning in Late Antiquity (perhaps earlier) codices (i. e., hand-made and lettered books). So, it’s an unfair question: since literacy was restricted in the first place, presumably the literate are not to be blamed for the means they had to produce ‘books.’ Anyway, they had books in Christ’s time, and in the Church. Printed books antedate the Reformation, but the Reformation soon extolled the press as an instrument of Godly learning.


Are you saying that Protestant do not live Godly lives, letting the love of Jesus Christ shine through them. I am sure that they do and maybe they will “stump” some Catholics. :thumbsup:


I am definitely ***not *** saying Protestants do not live Godly lives. I was very much a part of the Protestant Church for many years, and I know many devout and dedicated Christians from those years. And certainly that is what the Holy Father has said as well. But what we are talking about here is trying to convince Protestants that the Catholic Church is the Apostolic authority here on earth and has the fullness of Christ in a way that the Protestant churches do not. There was a time in my life when I would have never entertained such an idea, as I am sure you, as a Baptist, think you could never agree with the Catholic Church.

But the Catholic Church got me, and I thank God constantly for that! :wink:


P.S. Do you live in West Allis (that is where the old Allis Chalmers factory was)? I lived there most of my childhood.


No, I live in the east, but I have always used Allis Chalmers tractors on the farm.


Before people get too into offering answers here. Please post responses to these questions on SPLIT: Answers from Protestants to "Questions For Protestants"


right; interested in questions (for the use of apologists), not answers – in *this *thread.


I was going to give you this question:
Why do we accept the Gospel of Luke as a gospel when we know for certain that he was not an apostle? Who made that decision and why did he not write the intro to Luke’s gospel rather than Luke explaining that he wrote down what others told him? That doesnt sound like inspiration to me, it sounds like journalism. Why iss Luke any more authoratative than the earliest ECFs?


Awesome questions…keep them coming, guys! I think this will end up being very, very useful in the apologetics toolbox.

 As a Catholic, I appreciate this question, greatly.  You made me stop and think.  I had used John 16:13 to show that the New Testament is inspired.  By posing that question as a "stumper" to Protestants, however, when I felt that I could answer it as a Catholic, you made me reexamine my own thoughts on this matter, which I appreciate.  In reality, it was the Church who decided which books were inspired, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  John 16:13 didn't merely apply to the writing of the New Testament and early Church Fathers, but it also applies to the canonization of the New Testament.  I knew that, but I didn't really associate it in the context of the question you posed.

 I want to caution everyone on this thread, however, that when we are looking for "stumpers," it MUST be done with the sincere loving intentions of leading our separated brethren to the fullness of Christianity in the Catholic Church, and should NEVER be done with a prideful, antagonistic, "I'm going to defeat you," mindset.  We are called to love.  Also, we must remember to praise and thank God for leading us to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and remember that it is all by His grace, not by anything that we merited, so we should not look down on those who have not yet come to the same fullness and unity of faith that we have, but instead, pray that they, too, may join us as we all praise God together, with one voice, as that shining city on a hill.


I use “stumpers” only when a Protestant proselytizes or challenges me. It is actually a way to avoid negative or bitter confrontations, as well as the frustration that follows.

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