Where were the Protestants before the 1500's?

Why is it that your sets of belief didn’t even exist before ‘Reformers’ like Martin Luther were born?

Complex question. I have some ideas. Not all Christians were Catholic but I guess there are no Protestants per se until the Reformation.

Actually Protestant beliefs go back further than old Martin Luther. There had been reform movements for centuries prior to Luther including the Waldensians, Lollards, Hussites, etc.

Not modern Protestantism, though. The sects you mentioned all have different beliefs.

Yes, but they were not “Protestants.” There have always been Heresies since the 1st century.

To one degree or another, all “Protestants” believe in the teachings of sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”—the idea that we must use only the Bible when forming our theology) and ***sola fide ***(“by faith alone”— the idea that we are justified by faith only).

The Waldensians for example, did not believe in sola scriptura and sola fide until after John Calvin helped them. They did believe in a number of ideas that most of the reformed Protestants believe in, but they were not truly protestants until after they embraced sola scriptura and sola fide during the reformation.

You are correct that these reform movements all existed before the reformation, but they were not “protestant” because non of them taught sola scriptura or sola fide. However, they did inspire some of the protestant reformers and sects which were still around (like the Waldensians) embraced Protestantism.

But Protestantism itself (the belief in sola scriptura and sola fide) did not happen until the Reformation.

I hope this makes sense.

Modern Protestantism has different beliefs as well. There is no unit called “Protestantism”. There is several different movements within the overarching label.

It doesn’t.

If you are defining a “Protestant” as someone who believes in sola Scriptura and sola fide/gratia. Then we have been around since the very beginning.

Yes, from the Catholic point of view, the “Great Heresy of Protestantism” is the belief of sola scriptura and sola fide.

I’m not sure why you say that “the belief in both sola scriptura and sola fide” have been around since the very beginning? I’m not aware of any major (or minor) sects believing in both sola scriptura and sola fide until the Protestant Reformation.


interesting question…

No one could believe in sola scriptura before the printing press, because the average person could not get his or her own copy of the Bible before the printing press and most could not read back then either. The only reason protestantism was able to flourish after Martin Luther was because of the printing press invention which allowed the mass production of the Bible which allowed people to believe the Bible was all they needed. How could people be protestant in earlier times and believe in sola scriptura when most could not get their own copy of the Bible to read for their self and most could not read? The genuine ones had no choice but to be a part of the Catholic church. But like someone said, heresies have been around since before Jesus died. People have to be able to have their own copy of the Bible and be able to read it in order to believe in sola scriptura which most people didn’t have till after the printing press and after Martin Luther. That’s why all Christians up till Martin Luther, needed the church to learn the word of God, they could not get their own Bible to read.

That’s not possible. That bible that you rest your faith solely upon didn’t even exist until the 4th century when the Catholic Church sorted and settled those writings as canon.
Jesus Christ did not found a “biblical” church. He founded an Apostolic Church.

And now comes the interesting part of the thread where we ask that famous question:

Where is sola scriptura in the Bible?

Near as I can tell, Scripture does not say Scripture alone. There is a superiority about Scripture - “All Scripture is inspired and profitable for teaching” - but no one would say it operates* alone*. And having spoken with some of your Lutheran brethen, even they do not really believe in sola scriptura, strictly speaking, because they weigh their beliefs against the Church Fathers as well!

Now, if you wanna say that, too, is “sola scriptura”, you may want to talk with the Calvinists about that, because John Calvin had no respect for the Church Fathers. And you bet modern Calvinists and other Protestants believe, often in contrast to the Fathers, that they, too, follow “sola scriptura”.

Now we’re both smarter than to say that what Calvinists believe, particularly about free will among other things, is Scriptural. But without the Church Fathers and common sense to back you up - it sure doesn’t back them up! - you’re kinda up the creek without a paddle, my friend.

So you, too, my friend, being a good, orthodox Lutheran, subscribe to Tradition, just like us Catholics. You do not adhere to “sola scriptura”. And so, therefore, you’re not really much of a Protestant, now are you? (Or at least some of the other Lutherans like steido are not.)

Whatever happened to them?

Even after the printing press, most people couldn’t read for several hundred years. Even here in America most couldn’t read till about 150 or so years ago. Till after the Catholic Church started schools for the young.
How do you think the first Christians learned their faith for over 400 years before the Catholic Church put the Bible together as we know it today. Why some think they can slide in anywhere in History and take over, is a mystery to me. Long after the other denominations have faded into ‘history’ (and they are fading fast), the Catholic Church will be here, strong and faithful to Our Lord, as it has been for over 2.000 years and will till the end of TIME. God Bless, Memaw

Is that a picture of Rasputin on your profile?

I believe the Apostles were the first. They wrote what they believed. They didn’t believe anything outside of the letters they wrote, which once compiled, became the Bible.

If they believed what they wrote, did they believe anything outside of it? If so, why wasn’t it recorded? I believe the Apostles were the fist ‘Bible only’ believers! Why because that which was written was what they believed.

First, Sola Scriptura is not heresy. That doctrine merely claims that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and sanctification. It does not throw out the baby with the bathwater (i.e. Church Fathers, local Church Leaders, or what can be gained from seeking counsel from other Believers) that wouldn’t make sense in practice.

Second, Sola Scriptura sprang to life from within the Church. Priests and Church Scholars began to find increasing conflict between the practices of Catholic leaders and the teachings of Scripture. They tried to reform within the Church but met with resistance (sometimes losing their lives for their beliefs) and began to be understandably cautious, though perhaps over cautious, about who they would accept as spiritual leaders after the ordeal.

Third, Sola Fide has as strong a Scriptural basis as does working out your salvation. Reformers believed that with true faith came the desire to do the works of God. If they had not, we would not have the many schools, hospitals, and charities that sprang up under Protestant auspices.

I wouldn’t have thought Catholics would see these as Protestant heresies from what I’ve seen on EWTN. They may disagree with what they see as abuses within these doctrines if taken to extreme but truly a heresy? On par with what Athanasius fought against?

Can you provide a verse in the Bible to back up your claim?

If they believed what they wrote, did they believe anything outside of it? If so, why wasn’t it recorded? I believe the Apostles were the fist ‘Bible only’ believers! Why because that which was written was what they believed.

Still curious what happened to the Waldensians, Hussites and people who didn’t recant of beliefs on the Eucharist that Barengar of Tours had?

Papal Bull against Luther #33?

What does owning a bible have to do with the practice of sola Scriptura?

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.