Hi there, SP,
I find your thoughts interesting, but I don’t think they are accurate reflections of where many protestants are in their faith journey.
If every protestant actually looked into their church history and studied theology then there wouldn’t be any protestants. The only problem is that they get their understanding from their bible studies and whatever their parents and pastor so and so tells them is absolute law.
There are many protestants who are quite familiar with church history and theology who are convinced that they are on the right path. If anything, it is a characteristic of protestants to resist accepting a teaching just because someone in authority tells them it is so. This is a blessing and a curse. Questioning of doctrine or authority is not a bad thing as it leads to greater understanding. Of course, we can certainly find examples where it has led to error.
They have nothing credible to fall back on because historically speaking, spiritually speaking and theologically speaking, protestantism has no foundation. It crumbles in the light of Truth and reasoning.
It’s probably good to remember that the basis for what most protestants believe is what has been taught by the church from the beginning and which is summarized rather well in the three ecumenical creeds. The first fifteen centuries of Christian history have not been erased from protestant memory.
For some people they are just ignorant of the Truth and it’s our job to try and find a way to break through that programming that was instilled in them as children to share the light of Christ with them and call them to Communion with the Lord. For others they are too full of pride to acknowledge they are wrong (keep in mind pride is hardly exclusive to protestants, many Catholics suffer from this as well as I’m sure everyone would openly agree too).
I appreciate your zeal for bringing protestants to the Truth, but there are probably many from the protestant side who are equally zealous for bringing Catholics to the Truth. For the present, my hope is that we can all find a common ground, perhaps in the creeds, and work from there. There is truth in all expressions of Christianity, even though we don’t always see it. I recall a quote from a Lutheran theologian who was asked if Lutherans had the Truth – his response was something like “yes, but we aren’t the only ones who have it.”
It’s a long battle and a slippery slope but we have Christ and the Holy Spirit on our side guiding our actions. They are seeking Christ as much as any one of us. We just have to pray that in their life time they can find a way to break through the block of protestantism they are stuck at, that they might freely come to Christ and join His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, as was His will.
I’m sure you are aware that protestants, of every stripe, are equally convinced that they have Christ and the Holy Spirit on their side and guiding their actions. And, you are right, all protestants are seeking Christ just as all Catholics seek him. None reject him.
Just a few thoughts from a Lutheran who holds the Catholic Church in respect even as I live out my faith where I am.