Hi! So I’m Cheyenne and I am a Protestant.
A little bit of backstory: I’ve spent most of my time as a Christian at some Evangelical Free church or another. My home church is EFC with Reformed theology and most people there do not believe that Catholicism is legitimate Christianity, though they believe some Catholics can be saved if they aren’t “true Catholics” and essentially believe in Sola Fide. I used to hold this view as well. However, while I was at college, I took a Christian Wisdom and Vocation class, a Christian Classics class, and did my senior project on beauty, with a main thinker being Hans Urs Von Balthasar. I saw the depth, reverence, love, beauty, and life in many writings by people who were definitely Catholic, and was forced to question whether or not I believed they were Christians, and if they were, was it because of or in spite of the Roman Catholic Church. This questioning really came to a head when I got back home and resumed attending my home church. They had a lot of theological arguments, and I figured I owed it to see what was right.
I’ve been researching Roman Catholicism for several months now, along with Eastern Orthodoxy, as it also claims to be the one, holy, apostolic Church. At this point, I no longer believe in Sola Fide, and my understanding of Sola Gracia is more in line with the Catholic perspective. I found that the dichotomy Protestants typically make between faith and works is incorrect and theologically harmful; it unnerves me to think that while Protestants affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, we have no reason for its infallible canon, as we don’t hold to Church Councils unless it is convenient or we think they got “at least something right;” I love the way that the physical and spiritual are seen as good, and are both important ways of knowing God, whereas Protestant spirituality usually has little to do with the body and is rather nebulous at times; and redemptive suffering has fundamentally transformed how I view suffering and how I experience it. I believe it is likely that Mary was sinless and assumed, and do believe in the communion, intercession, and veneration of saints. I believe and love the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Reading some Church Fathers and having a better understanding of what Catholics actually believe, I found myself hard pressed to claim that “my brand of Christianity” that started 500 years ago (and for Evangelicalism, 200-ish years ago) had more wisdom than Christians who were disciples of the Apostles, or living within a few generations of them.
In short, the reason I am still Protestant is because I am still researching between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, and because there are certain Protestant objections to Catholicism that I am having a hard time getting past. To be honest, I want to be Catholic, but I want to research with fairness the different branches of Christianity and not just convert because it felt good in a given moment.