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Why I am Proud to be a Protestant

See updated version here.

Protestantism is not perfect. No informed Protestant would claim such. Evangelicalism has major problems. This is nothing new. But Protestants have always thought the strengths of Protestantism outweigh the weaknesses. Otherwise, we would not be Protestant!

While I often write about the weaknesses of our system, sometimes complaining about Evangelical shames, I want to do something different here. I am going to give a short list of what I believe to be the major strengths of Protestantism:

1. Celebration of diversity: Protestants can appreciate and celebrate the diversity in the Christian faith unlike any other tradition. Whether it be in worship style or liturgy, house churches or mega churches, Protestant recognize that all people are not alike in their subjective preferences. Protestantism, as a movement, cannot dogmatize the way people should be in areas that are based in non-essential personal preferences. We can recognize that God has created people differently—and this was intentionally. If people have a personality that does not respond well to one style of worship, they are free to celebrate their diversity without feeling the obligation of adapting their style to some traditional norm. Therefore, to be Protestant is to be able to celebrate diversity.

2. Promotion of true belief: Protestantism is built upon a distrust of one man’s or one institution’s ability to infallibly dogmatize truth to the exclusion of one’s personal convictions. In other words, Protestants hold to the position that belief cannot be outsourced to any human authority or tradition. Protestants believe that truth must be “adduced” by the individual before it can be truly believed. It is not that Protestants don’t recognize or respect authorities other than themselves, but that they understand that belief is ultimately an internal act of an individual’s will which requires true personal conviction. Protestants recognize the risk of “putting a Bible in everyone’s hands.” We recognize that in doing so we are allowing for the possibility of error and heresy. But we also recognize that the possibility of true conviction necessitates the possibility of error. In this, it is worth the risk. The personal conviction, however, should be fueled and feed from trusted outside sources, but, in the end, those outside sources cannot make the decisions for the us. Therefore, in my opinion, Protestantism allows for true belief more than any other Christian tradition.

3. Allowance of true scholarship: Closely connected to the second is the allowance of true scholarship. In other words, Protestants are not under a necessary mandate to conform to a traditional system. The scholarship produced in biblical studies and theology is not an exercise in confirming an established tradition of dogma. If one were simply to enter scholarship to prove what a tradition mandates they prove, scholarship becomes and exercise in confirming prejudice. This is not true scholarship. Protestants are free to question, search, deny, confirm, doubt, and change in a way that other dogmatic traditions are not. Again, this is risky, but, in the end, it does not mandate a certain conclusion and can evaluate the evidence more objectively. In other words, Protestants don’t have to be lawyers defending a client of tradition, but they are investigators of truth. They can be critical scholars. Whether or not we always practice this is a different matter. But the issue is one of allowance. Protestants can be critical scholars who are willing to let the evidence take them wherever it leads, not simply to a predetermined destination. Therefore, I believe Protestants can practice true scholarship to a degree that other traditions cannot.

I think that all of these provide the basis for why I believe Protestantism will always remain strong even in the midst of our weaknesses. Please understand that I respect other Christian traditions. I love the faith and stance of all those who, traditionally or not, are Christocentric, believing Christ—the God-man—is the center of all things. But everyone must understand that I am Protestant for a reason. I simply believe that it offers strengths that are stronger than the strengths of other tradition. I also believe that its weaknesses are not as weak as the weaknesses of other traditions.

Also be aware that I understand that the traditional answers for “Why I am Protestant”—“because it is biblical,” “because it provides personal assurance,” “because I believe in salvation by faith alone,” or “because I don’t believe in the Pope”—are not unimportant in my mind. However, these reasons are primarily methodological rather than theological. They provide the basis for our theological stance, which, indeed, is of ultimate importance.

It is because of this, I am proud to be a Protestant.

86 Responses to “Why I am Proud to be a Protestant”

  1. “Therefore, to be Protestant is to be able to celebrate diversity.”

    Umm.. I think thou doest exaggerate. Protestants have a long and illustrious history of intolerance.

    “Protestantism is built upon a distrust of one man’s or one institution’s ability to infallibly dogmatize truth to the exclusion of one’s personal convictions. In other words, Protestants hold to the position that belief cannot be outsourced to any human authority or tradition.”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Protestantism “outsources” its beliefs to the bible, a book written by less than 40 people, and dogmatizes what is in that book to the exclusion of any contrary personal convictions.

    Well… unless you want to count folks like bishop Spong in your camp, in which case you are welcome to him.

    “If one were simply to enter scholarship to prove what a tradition mandates they prove, scholarship becomes and exercise in confirming prejudice. This is not true scholarship.”

    Uhh…. have you noticed this protestant thing called creation science?

    Have you noticed the harsh reaction protestants have to anyone who dare question the flood, the historicity of the exodus, the genuineness of all the 66 books, etc etc etc?

    I’m not seeing protestants as special in any of these areas. All that is different is that the bounds of their sacrosanct beliefs that MUST be defended, is a little different to other traditions.

  2. Peter, your response does nothing but confirm what was said about diversity. We are allowed to stretch, change, present options, and, even sometimes, conform. The point is that there is not a necessary mandate in Protestantism. The ugliness is going to be there, but, as I said, that is part of the risks that makes all three of these strengths a reality.

  3. I don’t really understand how diversity is a goal in and of itself, or how this is unique to Protestantism. The Catholic, Orthodox, and Oriental Churches are all composed of people and jurisdictions from many different backgrounds, including ethnic backgrounds, but with the added benefit (at least officially) of common belief on many more issues.

  4. This is well stated and packed with truth.

    The down side of Protestantism is that it is an identity based on protest. Historically that is understandable. But listening to Christian talk shows can get tiresome when all they can get excited about is what they are against. Bashing liberals is not constructive, edifying or inspiring. They are wrong and that needs to be clearly stated. But do not stop there.

    SO what are we for?

    Over the years what has greatly helped me is a mental and emotional orientation to the five SOLAs.

    Salvation is
    by grace alone
    through faith alone
    in Christ alone
    based on Scripture alone
    to the glory fo God alone.

    As you know sola is Latin for alone and this was first stated in Latin centuries ago.

    What I have come to appreciate is that the SOLAs relate not only to initial justification in miraculous transformation of rebirth but also on-going personal sanctification.

    I just passed through a very difficult season of financial challenges. I needed to often recall that my deliverance from the impossible cash flow pinch would come only from Christ. I could not save myself. It would be due to His grace that is embedded in the goodness of His nature. I could know this for sure due to His precious promises in the Scriptures. My role was to exercise mustard seed fith with corresponding faith filled actions. And give His glory in my heart and with my tongue both before and after the provision arrived.

    I challenge you to develop two more points by this time next year.

  5. Truth Unites... and Divides September 18, 2008 at 8:19 am

    CMP,

    A very irenic and ecumenical post.

    ;-)

  6. Well Michael, I think you have written a fine article. It is short, succinct, intuitive. I shall use it here where I am “Protestant Chaplain” on a secular university campus that is very Massachusettsean, and in a community that is at the very least 50% Catholic-based. The word “Protestant” has come to mean so little any more, that as Protestant Chaplain, no one is really sure what that is. As an evangelical P.C. I have a wide open opportunity to bring new definition to both the words “Protestant” and “evangelical” while being honest about the imperfections of both. May God bless me to not mess it up. Your article was timely, for me. Thank you! I will send a check for Five Million quatros (ref. Star Trek, “The Gamesters of Triskillion”) to your numbered Swiss account soon.

  7. It’s interesting how diversity now seems to be at the top of the list of Christian virtues. I am not convinced. Yes, diversity is wonderful. God created diversity. Diversity is beautiful.

    But the Apostle Paul reminds us that “There is one body and one Spirit … one hope … one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:4-6).

    Unity is even more beautiful. At the foot of the cross, all distinctions and differences become superfluous. We lay them aside, even as men take off their hats when they enter the sanctuary of a church. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2), we join in one Spirit, one heart, and one voice to worship our God and Savior, the Father of us all.

    Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
    For brothers to dwell together in unity!
    It is like the precious oil upon the head,
    Coming down upon the beard,
    Even Aaron’s beard,
    Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
    It is like the dew of Hermon
    Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
    For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forever.
    –Psalm 133

  8. “The point is that there is not a necessary mandate in Protestantism.”

    Which you’re probably happy about when it doesn’t tread on your sacrosanct turf. But which you probably do get mighty upset about when it does.

    Not everything in Orthodoxy has a mandate either. In fact, many protestants have a bee in their bonnet about for example young earth creationism being a test of orthodoxy that Orthodox probably wouldn’t. So who’s to say it is protestants who let the cards fall where they may?

    Or is someone like Bishop Spong to be held high because no dogma is sacrosanct for him, and since he is a protestant, he shows the ultimate in tolerance and diversity?

    Or is your point that only some protestants have a particular bee? So when you walk into the next protestant church you have the excitement of not knowing if you will be a heretic there or not?

    But then aren’t you having it both ways, claiming protestants to be one group when you want to celebrate diversity, but not one group when you want to ignore the doctrines that won’t be tolerated?

  9. Peter Wrote:
    “In fact, many Protestants have a bee in their bonnet about for example young earth creationism being a test of orthodoxy that Orthodox probably wouldn’t. So who’s to say it is protestants who let the cards fall where they may?”

    What defines “many”? If you mean specifically the likes of Ken Hamm, then yes he (they) would have a bee in his (their) bonnet about OEC vs. YEC. As for the intolerance, I think CMP is talking about Protestant’s in general, not so much Fundamentalists (i.e. KJV only camp). There is nothing in scripture that would determine one’s salvation if choosing either YEC or OEC view.

    I believe the gist of Michael’s OP is that there would tend to be less of a constraint in the non-essentials for the Protestant when in juxtaposition to being dogmatic in traditions. I don’t believe that anyone can speak for all Protestants or Evangelicals for that matter (i.e. we have no Pope). So there would be diversity when it came to the non-essentials, while having unity with the essentials (i.e. agreement in creedal statements). I believe St. Augustine had a popular saying about such things. Unfortunately, some Protestants do not share St. Augustine’s viewpoint.

    I don’t recall CMP being angry about non-essentials if someone would not agree with him? We haven’t even discussed the historical “holding in anathema” statements.

  10. Hawke,

    Thanks. You have said it well about YEC. But also, what I am saying is that we can have a diversity of those who are dogmatic and argue for their positions. We have created an environment where such strong stances are allowed. That way we can have YEC and OEC who together strengthen the faith. It is kinda like freedom of speech. You will have the boneheads out there, but they simply cause us to be more diligent in our studies. If everything was predetermined how we are to believe and argue, then there would be very little ability to have iron sharpening iron. Diversity is necessary for true academics.

  11. I’m sorry about the intended then reinterpreted views spoken here. God speaks plainly in His Word and it is His interpretation through His Spirit and whether or not you can dogmatically believe it is not the issue; it is, rather that you be open to Him teaching you the only truth there is! I KNOW that the use of “iron sharpens iron” in response #10 was misused as the only correct interpretation is one who is mature (as God has given him truth to teach) will “hone” the less mature to the truth of Holy Writ. It is as Paul addressed Timothy or Phillip the Ethiopian. No matter how much fervor you have in expressing your beliefs, it is the Word of Truth that should always be the victor in correct exposition!

  12. I found Mr Patton’s statement, “Protestantism is built upon a distrust of one man’s or one institution’s ability to infallibly dogmatize truth to the exclusion of one’s personal convictions” reminiscent of something Pere Yves Congar o.p. wrote in his Tradition and Traditions: that the Protestant appeal to the First Seven Ecumenical Councils is always complemented by an evaluation from the vantage point of Scripture. Congar insists that a Catholic would certainly expect exactly this, but the difference lies in the ecclesiology of both Catholicity and Protestantism.
    With all due respect to my Protestant friends, I think that Congar is right: the real point of divergence resides in how the Reformation tradition views the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the teaching authority of the Church. Dr Wallace’s past article about a “Paper Pope” seems to recognise just this, that each believer is a magisterium unto herself or himself. The question, then, becomes: to what charism of truth (an alternate word for “infallibility”) does the Holy Spirit afford to those who bear the gift of “teaching” in the Church?
    I should at least admit that, for Catholics, there are varying notes of “theological certitude” and very few articles of faith bear the category of “dogma.” Among these are the consubstantiality of Christ with the Father (Nicaea I) and the hypostatic union (Ephesus, Chalcedon). Would Mr Patton admire the “distrust” of a Protestant who employs a methodological hermeneutic of suspicion towards these dogmas. A more urgent case would be the divinity of the Holy Spirit, an article of faith only faintly detected in the Scriptures but pronounced as dogma at the First Council of Constantinople (381). Yet denial of such doctrines have wreaked havoc on certain Churches. Even some mainline Protestant communions have abandoned these ancient expressions of the Christian faith. Moreover, I would press, it would be impossible to be a Lutheran and repudiate the Augsburg Confession, or a Christian Reformed and repudiate the Canons of Dort, or even to employ an initial distrust until these doctrines have been verified in the consciences of believers.
    I would be curious as to how these issues are addressed by my fellow-believers, in particular Mr Patton. At the very least, we should admit that his perspective finds a home more among “Free Church” Protestants than those historic communions descended from the Reformation. Luther, certainly, would agree with me.

    In Christ our God,
    M. G. Hysell

  13. I don’t see how having everything except perhaps the bare minimum being up for academic grabs “strengthens the faith”. Au contraire, I think swallowing the occasional error, and accepting it all with childlike faith, is better for the faith than doubting everything until it is proven.

  14. Peter, I don’t think appreciate how much freedom there actually is in the Orthodox faith.

  15. M.G.,

    Great comments. I think that I would be more than willing to qualify these strengths as also producing the greatest weaknesses. The question is as it has always been since the reformation…is it worth it?

    I believe that it is a necessity of belief. Just as freedom is a necessity of love, I believe that freedom is a necessity of belief.

    “Would Mr Patton admire the “distrust” of a Protestant who employs a methodological hermeneutic of suspicion towards these dogmas.”

    In some sense, heresy is good for the church. In other words, we don’t need to live in fear that people will abuse truth…this will happen no matter what. But, this abuse calls on us to take up arms, if you will, and understand our faith to a degree that we would not before.

    This is the same thing I argued in “Doctrinal Disagreement to the Glory of God.” (Although it was lost in the crash :( )

  16. “Peter, I don’t think appreciate how much freedom there actually is in the Orthodox faith.”

    We’re missing some words here. You don’t think I appreciate it? Or you don’t think protestants appreciate it?

    In any case, the issue is not the exact amount of freedom, the issue is whether you think it is good to have clear lines beyond which you must not cross. A lot of protestantism is inching one proposition at a time towards Spong, and it isn’t clear when one has fallen on the wrong side of a line which must surely exist. You do agree there is a line, surely?

  17. You bet!

    But, here is what I would say, the radicals sometimes serve to strengthen the faith. Would you agree that God uses heretics for his glory?

  18. Our ignorance of world history and church history is often very sad.

    Here are three videos of less than two minutes each.

    They give a grand context of history.

    Into this grand context Protestantism arose, spread and was challenged.

    History of Religion
    http://www.mapsofwar.com/ind/history-of-religion.html

    Imperial History of the Middle East
    http://www.mapsofwar.com/ind/imperial-history.html

    March of Democracy
    http://www.mapsofwar.com/ind/march-of-democracy.html

  19. You have to praise the diversity of Protestantism because the protestants’ churches are so self-centred that they will never be able to reach a united faith.

  20. Michael –

    Do you think it better to not label ourselves protestant, eastern orthodox or roman catholic and rather just state where we stand Scripturally? Does claiming protestantism and pitting it (at least somewhat) against roman catholicism/eastern orthodox become unhelpful and divisive?

    If I had to, I would take the protestant title, but that word is loaded – for other Christian traditions and even with non-Christians. Even from Peter’s comments above, it seems he might have in mind a far-out fundamentalist.

    I know we like tags and titles, but maybe we should be encouraged to simply start claiming to be Christians, followers of Christ, followers of the Way (though that one is not familiar), etc, rather than saying I am a protestant, evangelical, reformed, charismatic Christian. If the word ‘protestant’ is loaded with all kinds of implications and prejudices, how much more is 4 words combined together.

    Just a thought to ponder.

  21. Pride? Celebration? Aren’t they a bit emotionally laden?

    On the Bible I doubt it could have been kept out of the hands of people forever, and of course it wound up in the hands of people with questioning minds, including deists. The Protestant Reformation was followed by a time of deistic questioning of the Bible, the Enlightenment, which was followed by liberal biblical theologians, i.e., from Riemarus to Voltaire, Toland, Strauss, Schweitzer, Bultmann, Barth, and Tillich.

    Is Jesus the center of the cosmos? How certain, percentage-wise, are you that that’s true? James D. G. Dunn is one major Christian theologian who argues that the historical Jesus probably didn’t say a word attributed to him in the fourth Gospel.

  22. I too am Proud to be a Protestant. Through Gods grace I was made one of the elect and by his saving grace alone I am now also a Son of the Reformation and staunch avowed Reformed Protestant. A series of circumstances led me to become a Presbyterian. I was Roman Catholic. I became a Presbyterian in February 2007.

    I believe that many Protestants do not appreciate the Reformation roots and our heritage. I was taught as a roman catholic that the Reformers were the ones who strayed from the true church of Christ. I now know and believe it was quite the opposite. The Reformers and especially John Calvin restored the Gospel and the church to its true foundation.

    I am an adult convert to Presbyterianism as well as Protestantism. I was a roman catholic until I was and became interested in the study of the Protestant Reformation and the different branches of Protestantism about 3 years ago. Perhaps that is why I do not take for granted the rich distinctive character of this branch of the Reformation.

    I began doing my extensive study of the Protestant Reformation from the

    perspective of Protestant writers and Theologians. I centered a lot on the

    reformers Luther, Calvin and Knox. I studied Luther’s Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone and I began concentrating on the Reformed Theology of Calvin and Knox. I then read the Westminster Confession of Faith and the short and long catechisms of the Presbyterian Church. I started to attend services at many different Protestant denominations.

    I started the project to discover and know myself better as a Christian. As a Roman Catholic I always thought it was the Protestant fold that strayed,

    I now see that the Roman church strayed. I believe I am born again in the

    Gospel of Christ. I believe I am a better Christian. I now stand for the truth of

    salvation by faith alone, through free and sovereign grace alone, by the

    finished work of Christ alone. I Believe Rome is wrong in not accepting the

    doctrine.

    I DEFINE WHAT I MEAN BY THE TERM “PROTESTANT” not in any denominational way i.e. denoting membership of any one Protestant denomination or with any political meaning. It is used to designate one who believes in the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation i.e. the authority of the Bible alone in all matters of faith and practice and that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

    I studied the Protestant Reformation with fervor and I became convinced and a believer in the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation. When I accepted the authority of the Bible alone in all matters of faith and realized that

    salvation is by grace alone could no longer say I was a Roman Catholic or an

    Episcopalian. I renounced also the ecclesiastical authorities of both churches. I renounced the authority of the Bishop of Rome as Christ’s head of his church on earth. I fully understood that only Christ heads his church. When I renounced the Ecclesiastical structure, I searched and found Calvin, Knox and the Presbyterian denomination. I knew I was a Protestant but not yet a Presbyterian. I wanted to find a Protestant denomination that I believed had the purest form of the Gospel. It was in that search I became a Presbyterian in faith not only a Protestant.

    I wrote it in response to the popes statement in the summer of 2007 that only the church of Rome has the “fullness of truth.” I Left the roman catholic church in January 2006 I was an Episcopalian for a while but in February 2007 I began practicing as a Presbyterian and I am now a confessed and communing Presbyterian Protestant.

    I became a Presbyterian because I believe that Calvin restored the church to its pure and uncorrupted form. I was taught that it was the Protestant reformers who had strayed and defected from the true church, the roman catholic church. I discovered and now am convinced and firmly believe that it was quite the opposite. Rome had strayed from the true Gospel and true authority and true form of Christ’s church. Rome teaches men, accordingly, to rely upon the sacraments and not upon Christ, to stop at the external act — as if water, bread and wine were our Saviors – and the mother of Jesus is the co-redemptress…instead of looking to Him, Christ in whom all the truths of the Gospel center and terminate.

    Roman catholic worship revolves around what they call the mass. Some Protestants mistakenly see the mass as the roman catholic Lords Supper. It is not. I found myself renouncing the mass because it contradicts the nature of The Lords Supper as Christ gave it to us. It’s a commemorative meal where Christ’s suffering for us is remembered as he asked, however the bread remain bread and the wine remains wine. Christ becomes present to us in the supper because of our faith and His grace and His Fathers.

    The false RC teaching of transubstantiation is the view that Jesus is slain/killed every time the communion is performed. That is why I also now believe the roman mass is an abomination and a blasphemy to God and Jesus his son. To “enhance” this belief, roman catholics through the centuries have used the symbol of the Lord still on the cross (crucifix). Protestant Christians will have the cross as a reminder of the finished work of Christ on the Cross. That He is not there, and that He needs never again to die on the Cross.

    Romans 6:10
    For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

    I am now Protestant and Presbyterian because I have joined ranks with those who in this life who have believed the good news and put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, although they too must stand before that throne of judgment, it will be to hear in court what they have been assured already: that they have been acquitted. Not because of any righteousness of their own or atonement they could make; but all because of the Lamb who sits in the midst of the throne. The One they face as Judge is the One they have already known as Lord and Savior. He has taken their place, secured their righteousness, paid their penalty and drawn the sting of death so that for them it is no more.

    I became a Protestant and am Proud to be a Presbyterian Protestant for the same read Michael stated so well in his paper “Why I am Proud to be Protestant.”

    Michael said and I feel the same way now…..
    “I love the faith and stance of all those who, traditionally or not, are Christocentric, believing Christ—the God-man—is the center of all things. But everyone must understand that I am Protestant for a reason. I simply believe that it offers strengths that are stronger than the strengths of other tradition. I also believe that its weaknesses are not as weak as the weaknesses of other traditions”.

    It is primarily why I am now a staunch Reformed Presbyterian Protestant. It is primarily why I left the church of Rome and the roman catholic faith as did Calvin and the reformers.

    God bless our Reformed Presbyterian faith. May more be elected to come out of her and find the truth.

    In Grace,
    Dudley

  23. A thought I had after my previous post is that if you are Proud to Be Protestant as I am than it is also important to have Protestant conviction. I believe all Protestants and Presbyterians need to have and profess a strong Protestant conviction. I believe Protestant conviction means we must take a stand alongside the great Christian leaders of the Protestant Reformation. The two pillars of Protestantism I think are namely a positive witness for Christ, and protest against error. We must cherish and defend our Protestant heritage.

    Many Protestants not just Calvinist Presbyterians have become too lax in defending the principals of the Protestant Reformation and the reformers. I as a former roman catholic see the gross errors. I also see the need to defend and promote the cause of the Reformed faith and Protestantism.

    Protestantism involves protesting against error, but also propagating the Truth. A Protestant, therefore, in the true sense, is one who not only protests against the corruption’s, abuses and apostasy of Romanism, but also bears faithful witness to the fundamental principles of the Gospel as set forth in the Word of God.

    In grace,
    Dudley

  24. Andrew Marquardt January 13, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Nice words, but as was simply stated by Newman, if you study the history of Christianity sufficiently, you could not help but be Catholic. Having been raised in a Missouri Synod Lutheran home (my grandfather and two uncles were Lutheran ministers), it became apparent the unification of all Christians would make the world a better place. The Protestants are the foot soldiers so to speak, but the Catholics have primarily contributed to the intellectual development of all Christian dogma, even those components Protestants seem to hold onto as their own. All Christians agree on the “basic” essentials, but there are other essentials, if properly learned and understood, would underscore a better community of all believers. I applaud your efforts to create a venue for dialogue, and encourage your continued scholarship of a wonderful Christianity that has never been based simpy on an “individual’s” feelings, but rather what is best for society. There is nothing in the Bible that says Christianity is based on what the Bible says – so there is no basis for “solo-scriptura.” The Bible was compiled over the centuries by generations of Catholic scholarship. Protestants, through individual preferences, have watered it down a little, but the spirit remains the same. It can be a wonderful basis to bolster the dialogue. I certainly hope all Chrisitans can at least maintain composure for meaningful dialogue over the coming generations. My experiences in this regard have caused me to believe it will be primarily the Holy Spirt that brings the unification we all hope and pray for. Best wishes.

  25. Andrew your points are well expressed. When I first left roman catholicism in January 2006 I became an Episcopalian for a brief period. I left the roman catholic church because I believe under the current pope she was moving backward to pre Vatican II mentality. I then began to study the Protestant Reformation while I was still an Episcopalian and before I studied Calvin and discovered the Reformed Faith and attended my first Presbyterian service I did explore the Lutheran church and various synods and attended services on several occasions. Lutherans are theologically in my opinion closer to roman catholicism than the Anglican churches. It is probably why I did not become a Lutheran. It is also why I believe the reformed branch of Protestantism bears closest to the true church that Jesus Christ intended. I became a Reformed Presbyterian Protestant for that very same reason. I began practicing as a Presbyterian in February 2007. I am now a confessed and communing Presbyterian Protestant. I agree when you said:”The Protestants are the foot soldiers so to speak, but the Catholics have primarily contributed to the intellectual development of all Christian dogma” I decided to become a foot soldier, a Protestant and made my profession of faith as a Presbyterian because I believe the reformed faith bears closest in its doctrine and theology to the simplicity of the Christian message that Christ delivered and it expounded in the New testament.

    I welcome dialogue also but the popes letter in the summer of 2007 that only the roman church has the fullness of truth is not the basis of good dialogue, it is a regression to pre Vatican II mentality. It is why I am no longer a Roman catholic. I would accept a Christian unity not under the pope or Rome.

    I as a Presbyterian Protestant am in agreement with the Westminster Confession of Faith that only Jesus Christ heads his church. The roman church may have contributed to immense scholarship and I will not refute that but she is in error on her teaching of papal infallibility and on her teaching of the Lords Supper, and her mass, when she insists all must believe the doctrine of transubstantiation. I as a Presbyterian believe Christ becomes present to us in the Lords Supper but how he does that is Gods mystery, not for us who have finite minds to explain the mysteries of the infinite. I believe Christ makes himself present is a special way to us when we receive communion because of his grace and our faith, but the bread remain bread and the wine remains wine. And the adoration of the bread wafer outside the celebration of the Lords Supper I now believe is blasphemy and a distortion of the sacrament. Even while still a roman catholic I was always uncomfortable with the adoration of her Eucharist, now I find it repugnant as well as her mass. Christ died once for all and only his sacrifice on Calvary was necessary. I believe the services we have and our worship as reformed Presbyterians reflects the Christianity Christ intended.

    I think we should explore Christian Unity respecting 3 major groups of Christian, who are catholic, in the Greek sense of the word (Universal) but we all do not need to be roman catholic. That is also why I do not say I left the catholic church I left roman catholicism and the roman catholic church.

    Christian Unity can be achieved with 23 major divisions the Protestant Catholics, the Roman Catholics, and the Orthodox and eastern Catholics. We can be unified in our common beliefs. But we can learn from each other through the way we profess our Christianity. Rome also does not bear the fullness of truth. None of us have the fullness of truth we are all on a faith Journey and i believe evolving mind, body and spirit to a vision someday after day of the almighty God and becoming part of the Mystical body of Christ as Christians, that as he willed and instructed “that they may all be one” I have chosen to march with the foot soldiers of Christianity, the Protestants, It is why “I AM PROUD TO BE A PROTESTANT.”

    in grace
    Dudley

  26. There were two errors in my first letter. the second to last paragraph should have said 2 not 23. The last paragraph should have said someday after death not someday after day.

    The following is the correction of the last two paragraphs.

    I think we should explore Christian Unity respecting 3 major groups of Christian, who are catholic, in the Greek sense of the word (Universal) but we all do not need to be roman catholic. That is also why I do not say I left the catholic church I left roman catholicism and the roman catholic church.

    Christian Unity can be achieved with 3 major divisions the Protestant Catholics, the Roman Catholics, and the Orthodox and eastern Catholics. We can be unified in our common beliefs. But we can learn from each other through the way we profess our Christianity. Rome also does not bear the fullness of truth. None of us have the fullness of truth we are all on a faith Journey and i believe evolving mind, body and spirit to a vision someday after death of the almighty God and becoming part of the Mystical body of Christ as Christians, that as he willed and instructed “that they may all be one” I have chosen to march with the foot soldiers of Christianity, the Protestants, It is why “I AM PROUD TO BE A PROTESTANT.”

    in grace

    Dudley

  27. Nice words, but as was simply stated by Newman, if you study the history of Christianity sufficiently, you could not help but be Catholic.

    Nice try, but wrong.

    I and many others have studied the history of Christianity sufficiently, and found that we could not help but NOT be or become [Roman] Catholic.

  28. Eric,

    I completely disagree. I was a Roman Catholic my entire life. Three years ago I left the roman church and became a Protestant foot soldier. I and many others have studied the history of Christianity also and found I could not help but become a Protestant and a Presbyterian.

    I also think you would find the following article I am pasting here interesting. You will discover that about 10% of Americans are former roman catholics and half of that number,I being one of them, are now “Proud to be Protestant.”

    The following article is the one I talked to you about earlier.

    The Protestantized American Roman Catholic and the exodus of American born Roman Catholics to the Protestant fold are increasing very much in the last decade.

    Jun 12, 2008
    By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
    Orlando, Florida

    Two experts in religious sociology addressed the U.S. catholic bishops this afternoon, each in a way making a simple point. They might be summarized as follows:

    “Among the ways in which the American Catholic church has Protestantized itself in recent years, the most important has been its transformation into an intentional community. For Catholics now, as earlier for Protestants, religion is a matter of opinion, not of birth; and one may change religion as easily and frequently as one changes one’s mind.

    Around one-third of the survey respondents who said they were raised Catholic no longer describe themselves as Catholic.

    Lugo summarized the widely publicized results of the recent Pew study, which among other things concluded that ten percent of Americans are former Catholics. Of those who have left the Catholic church, nearly half have become Protestant Evangelicals, a good chunk have become part of the country’s burgeoning population that professes no religious affiliation, and a few have become mainline Protestants or have joined other faiths.

    Eight in 10 Americans are Christian: half are Protestant, a quarter Catholic.

    Noting that 2.6 percent of the American population is composed of people who converted to Catholicism as adults, a sizeable pool of some six million adults, Lugo quickly added, “It’s not as if there’s no evangelizing activity going on.” He said a disproportionate share of these converts to Catholicism is concentrated in the Midwest and the South.

    Despite those gains, Lugo said, Catholicism in the United States shows a sharp loss in the transition from childhood to adulthood, with defections substantially outnumbering new recruits.

    “For every four people we interviewed who said they were raised Catholic but who are no longer Catholic,” Lugo said, “we only found one who said he or she was not raised Catholic but later converted.”

    Given that reality, Lugo asked, why is the overall share of the American population that identifies as Catholic holding steady at roughly 25 percent? The answer, he suggested, lies in immigration, especially a mushrooming Hispanic population in America that’s disproportionately Catholic.

    Among native-born Christians, Lugo said, Protestants outnumber Catholics by a roughly 2-1 margin. Among the foreign-born, however, Catholics have the same 2-1 edge. Immigration, therefore, is gradually “tilting the balance in the Catholic direction.”

    Right now, Lugo said, 23 percent of American Catholic adults are foreign-born, a rate four times higher than among Protestants. He said that if children were added into the mix, the numbers would be even higher.

    Lugo said the Pew study found that roughly 30 percent of the Catholic population in the United States is today Hispanic, roughly where the percentage of the overall American population is projected to be by 2050 (up from 14 percent today.)

    Education and income levels of American Catholics are also changing, as Hispanic immigrants are seven times less likely than whites to have completed high school, and two and one-half times more likely to earn less than $30,000 a year. In that sense, as American Catholicism browns, it also becomes poorer;

    Sincerely,
    Dudley

  29. “One additional thought on why I am now Proud to be Protestant.”
    I do now as a Protestant and a Presbyterian believe in the Protestant doctrine of faith by Justification. As a Roman Catholic I always thought it was the Protestant fold that strayed, I now see that the Roman church strayed. I when I was a Roman catholic believed that the reformers protested roman catholic dogma and revolted and left. My study of the Protestant Reformation however made me also realize that to be Protestant you are for something. Protestantism involves protesting against error, but also propagating the Truth. A Protestant, therefore, in the true sense, is one who not only protests against the corruption’s, abuses and apostasy of Romanism, but also bears faithful witness to the fundamental principles of the Gospel as set forth in the Word of God.

    I am now a Presbyterian and a Protestant because the Reformed Protestant Faith bears faithful witness to the fundamental principles of the Gospel as set forth in the Word of God. I believe I am born again in the Gospel of Christ. I believe I am a better Christian. I now stand for the truth of salvation by faith alone, through free and sovereign grace alone, by the finished work of Christ alone. I Believe Rome is wrong in not accepting the doctrine.

    Dudley

  30. Dudley Davis on 18 Jan 2009 at 2:18 am #
    .
    Eric,
    .
    I completely disagree. I was a Roman Catholic my entire life. Three years ago I left the roman church and became a Protestant foot soldier. I and many others have studied the history of Christianity also and found I could not help but become a Protestant and a Presbyterian.

    You wrote: “I completely disagree“? Are you sure you read my comments correctly? Maybe it was my double use of the word “not.”

    I wrote:

    “I and many others have studied the history of Christianity sufficiently, and found that we could not help but NOT be or become [Roman] Catholic.”

    I.e., my study of church history convinced me AGAINST joining the [Roman] Catholic Church.

    And I began my post by stating that Andrew Marquardt’s claim that (per Newman) “if you study the history of Christianity sufficiently, you could not help but be Catholic” – i.e., a study of history would compel one to become Catholic – was wrong, because I and others have studied the history and concluded otherwise. Any number of well-known authorities on the early church and church history did not go, and have not gone, to Rome, from Jaroslave Pelikan, who found Rome wrong and became [Eastern] Orthodox, to Everett Ferguson, who remains Church of Christ, I believe, as well as many others, etc. FYI, here is the probable quote and excerpt from Newman:

    5.
    .
    Meanwhile, before setting about this work, I will address one remark to Chillingworth and his friends:—Let them consider, that if they can criticize history, the facts of history certainly can retort upon them. It might, I grant, be clearer on this great subject than it is. This is no great concession. History is not a creed or a catechism, it gives lessons rather than rules; still no one can mistake its general teaching in this matter, whether he accept it or stumble at it. Bold outlines and broad masses of colour rise out of the records of the past. They may be dim, they may be incomplete; but they are definite. And this one thing at least is certain; whatever history teaches, whatever it omits, whatever it exaggerates or extenuates, whatever it says and unsays, at least the Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth, it is this.
    .
    And Protestantism has ever felt it so. I do not mean that every writer on the Protestant side has felt it; for it was the fashion at first, at least as a rhetorical argument against Rome, to appeal to past ages, or to some of them; but Protestantism, as a whole, feels it, and has felt it. This is shown in the determination already referred to of dispensing with historical Christianity altogether, and of forming a Christianity from the Bible alone: men never would have put it aside, unless they had despaired of it. It is shown by the long neglect of ecclesiastical history in England, which prevails even in the English Church. Our popular religion scarcely recognizes the fact of the twelve long ages which lie between the Councils of Nicæa and Trent, except as affording one or two passages to illustrate its wild interpretations of certain prophesies of St. Paul and St. John. It is melancholy to say it, but the chief, perhaps the only English writer who has any claim to be considered an ecclesiastical historian, is the unbeliever Gibbon. To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.
    .
    6.
    .
    And this utter incongruity between Protestantism and historical Christianity is a plain fact, whether the latter be regarded in its earlier or in its later centuries. Protestants can as little bear its Ante-nicene as its Post-tridentine period. I have elsewhere observed on this circumstance: “So much must the Protestant grant that, if such a system of doctrine as he would now introduce ever existed in early times, it has been clean swept away as if by a deluge, suddenly, silently, and without memorial; by a deluge coming in a night, and utterly soaking, rotting, heaving up, and hurrying off every vestige of what it found in the Church, before cock-crowing: so that ‘when they rose in the morning’ her true seed ‘were all dead corpses’—Nay dead and buried—and without grave-stone. ‘The waters went over them; there was not one of them left; they sunk like lead in the mighty waters.’ Strange antitype, indeed, to the early fortunes of Israel!—then the enemy was drowned, and ‘Israel saw them dead upon the sea-shore.’ But now, it would seem, water proceeded as a flood ‘out of the serpent’s mouth, and covered all the witnesses, so that not even their dead bodies lay in the streets of the great city.’ Let him take which of his doctrines he will, his peculiar view of self-righteousness, of formality, of superstition; his notion of faith, or of spirituality in religious worship; his denial of the virtue of the sacraments, or of the ministerial commission, or of the visible Church; or his doctrine of the divine efficacy of the Scriptures as the one appointed instrument of religious teaching; and let him consider how far Antiquity, as it has come down to us, will countenance him in it. No; he must allow that the alleged deluge has done its work; yes, and has in turn disappeared itself; it has been swallowed up by the earth, mercilessly as itself was merciless.”
    .
    – Introduction, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, by John Henry Newman

  31. Eric W.

    Thank you for clarifying your statement I did misunderstand. I feel badly for ecumenical Protestants like Andrew taht they are for whatever reason seeking to be incorporated into Rome.I believe Anfrew and others like him, ecumenical Protestants have been decieved and as an ex roman ecumenical catholic who is now a Protestant I think they have betrayed the heritage of the Glorious Protestant Reformation. They seek and work and pray for union with the Pope, whom they accept now, or will accept, as the Head of the Church.

    Newman was wrong…”To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.” I sought the historical truth..dug deep into history and I ceased to be a roman catholic. I couldn’t help but become not just a Protestant but a Reformed Protestant.

    As you are aware I am an ex roman catholic and now a Reformed Presbyterian Protestant. I now also detest such Romish rituals as the blasphemous mass, and I as a former roman catholic am grieved that the Roman Catholic people are deceived by their priests into believing salvation is obtained by sacramental works rather than by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone.

    As a former Roman Catholic and I now openly “I renounce the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church and her claim to be the Mother and Mistress of all Churches, and I renounce the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, Benedict XVI who they claim is the Successor to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles and Vicar of Jesus Christ.’

    The reason for the Reformation was that Rome by her domination had
    corrupted the Church, and those who were faithful to the Word of God sought to restore the Church to her true doctrines.

    Protestantism involves protesting against error, but also propagating the Truth. A Protestant, therefore, in the true sense, is one who not only protests against the corruption’s, abuses and apostasy of Romanism, but also bears faithful witness to the fundamental principles of the Gospel as set forth in the Word of God. I am now a Presbyterian and a Protestant because the Reformed Protestant Faith bears faithful witness to the fundamental principles of the Gospel as set forth in the Word of God.

    I reject all the traditions and teachings of the Roman Catholic church and as a Protestant I accept, embrace and believe the following as part of my Christian Reformed Protestant faith

    I believe in the God of the Bible
    I believe that the bible is the inspired word of God
    I believe God is trinity, one God in three persons
    I believe Jesus Christ is very God of very God
    I believe that the Christ has come in the flesh
    I believe in the resurrection of the dead
    I believe in eternal judgment

    I believe in a heaven and a hell and that all who are elected by the
    saving grace of God and accept Jesus Christ as their Redeemer and thus are born again in Jesus Christ as believers of His Gospel and live the life of evangelizing his good news will be with his Father in Gods Kingdom of Heaven for all eternity.

    I believe in justification by faith alone.

    I sincerely receive and adopt the Westminster Confession of Faith and
    Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Presbyterian church as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures and I submit to the teachings of the Presbyterian Protestant tenets and doctrine.

    I believe the Bible as the word of God and the only and final authority and path to salvation I submit in discipline to the doctrines of John Calvin and the teachings of the Presbyterian Church in doctrine and life.

    It is Christ alone who is salvation to our souls, not the Church of Rome or the Pope”

    I believe in the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation, the authority of the Bible alone in all matters of faith and practice and that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

    I believe now as the Reformers who realized as they studied the Scriptures that the great central doctrine of the gospel was expressed in the comprehensive sentence, “Christ died for our sins.” The death of Christ was the great center from which the doctrine of salvation sprung.

    I am PROUD TO BE A PROTESTANT AND A PRESBYTERIAN!

    In grace,
    Dudley

  32. Andrew Marquardt February 11, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Wow Dudley! I just happened to read you and Eric’s replies to my “Catholic” post. It’s great to read how people’s different consciences are actively searching for the truth. Of course given the nature of this site, none seem to coincide exactly with what I believe, but the intense search, I believe, is pleasing to God. The tone of your posts became more polarized as Eric entered the discussion, but that’s to be expected. Your last one sort of devolved into a diatribe of faith as if you were being burned at the stake. That probably plays well on your site, but it lessens your credibility in discussions with people of other beliefs. My immediate family is composed of a Buddhist, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, and some I can only characterize as agnostic and possibly atheist. I couldn’t take your approach with them.
    A point of clarification about your previous post. The Catholic Church doesn’t teach, as your post implies, that the pope is “infallible” in all things. That relates to subjects of faith and morals, not church disciplines and the multitude of other processes you, or I, may find objectionable. But I’m guessing you knew that as a former practicing Catholic. As for the Eucharist, you’ve just chosen, like most Protestants do with whatever particular teaching they choose to take offense with, to pick and choose what resonates with your conscience. It reminds me of Chesterton’s quote:: Since the modern world began in the sixteenth century, nobody’s system of philosophy has really corresponded to everybody’s sense of reality. While staying true to one’s conscience is paramount, not all individual thoughts are true. Protestants’ venue shopping screams for a universal repository of truth. But it will never be found in a loose grouping of individuals’ thoughts percolating around the Protestant movement. If anything, the problem has worsened. I believe your words indicated Christ wanted one true Church on earth. The only historical basis for such a possibility rests in Roman Catholicism, whether you or anyone agrees technically with all of the dogma. While I’d never advocate a kind of “legislative compromise” when it comes to peoples’ consciences, the flag of Christianity through the centuries has been primarily advanced by Roman Catholicism – not to say enormous contributions, sacrifices and martyrdoms haven’t existed in other denominations, or even from great people who aren’t Christian. But if one is to find truth, there needs to be a willingness to accept the possibility the subject himself could be in error. Otherwise, we have a world of individual gods, all making decisions without regard to universally accepted norms. Does that sound or look familiar to you in the Protestant ranks? It does to me. So, where else would you turn for authority if you believe Christ wanted one true Church to “lead” the faithful on earth? To yourself? Convenient, but not universal. To other like-minded people? Too fragmented with no historical evidence of traction. The early Benedictines referred to the early spiritual renegade nomads as “cenobites” who couldn’t come to grips with the practical importance of a universal earthly vessel to carry out God’s work. I suspect most Catholics, even if they may disagree with some of the dogma in social settings, still trust Christ intended that it be found in Roman Catholicism. I think progress is being made simply by the amount of website blogging and conversation I see. That’s a good thing and I hope it continues because Herb Myer, a contributing writer for the Wall Street Journal and former undersecretary to the CIA, said in regards to the United States war in Iraq and Muslim world-wide proliferation, words to the effect “This is a religious war and we are essentially trying to bring the Muslims from the 8th century into the 21st century in a matter of months.” My point is to end by recommending all Christians stand united world wide against forces that represent a threat to the basic principles Christ represented, and from there work to resolve doctrinal differences. I think Christ would like that, don’t you? God Bless!

  33. Wow Andrew,
    Wow Andrew,

    I read with sincere interest your dialogue. I thank you for your comments and I respect some of your positions and I think I as an ex Roman Catholic and convert to Protestantism and Presbyterianism have some understanding of your beliefs now as a Roman Catholic who was a ex Protestant and I believe a former Lutheran.

    I think our dialogue is and can be interesting you Andrew an ex Protestant, Lutheran and convert to Roman Catholicism and me, Dudley and ex Roman Catholic and convert to Protestantism and the Reformed Presbyterian faith and a Calvinist.

    I believe as a Presbyterian that Reformed Protestants need to have and profess Protestant conviction. I also believe that Protestant conviction means we must take a stand alongside the great Christian leaders of the Protestant Reformation.

    The two pillars of Protestantism I think are namely a positive witness for Christ, and protest against error. I am now a Protestant because I saw first hand as a Roman Catholic the abuses of Roman Catholicism against the simplicity of Christian faith of the first three centuries. I left the Roman Catholic church and I believe the papacy of the current Pope Benedict made my decision final in renouncing Roman Catholicism and the Bishop of Rome, her pope, as did eventually all the Protestant reformers who were like me at one point also Roman Catholics. I am now a Protestant and as a Protestant I cherish and will defend our Protestant heritage. I will profess my Christianity as a Calvinist and I am now committed to the Presbyterian Reformed Doctrinal beliefs in sacrament and worship and a church, which is Presbyterian in Government. In matters of faith and practice I now consider and remember that I having been elected to the Reformed faith have become also an heir of the great sacrifices and heroism of the Protestant Reformers. I intend to live my life now as a 21st century Protestant and a Protestant Christian reformer who is Proud To Be a Protestant.

    C. Michael Patton said in beginning his blog “Why I am proud to be a Protestant” “Protestantism is not perfect. No informed Protestant would claim such.” While I agree there are imperfections they are not and do not contain the gross errors of traditions and papal teachings that contradict and transcend scripture.

    I will agree with you that we are all searching for truth and I believe I have found that element of the search for truth in the Protestant fold and not the Roman Catholicism I chose to leave as a necessity in following my faith as a Christian and in good conscience. I am one who now firmly believes in the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation i.e. the authority of the Bible alone in all matters of faith and practice and that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

    As a Roman Catholic I needed to belong to the Roman Church to be saved. I had to do good works and work with much effort and much guilt to save myself. I know now as a Protestant that none of this could save my soul. Salvation was bestowed because of God’s mercy. Salvation by Faith alone…the Protestant doctrine of Justification. I now understand the scripture when it says
    In Titus Ch. 2 v. 11, I read: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”
    These words make it very clear that Salvation is by Grace. It is God reaching down to the helpless sinner, revealing to him that He loves him so much that He sent His Son to the cross. There, He took the sinner’s place by becoming his substitute. He paid the penalty for sin that the sinner should have paid.

    The following also attests to the Protestant doctrine of Justification. It also attests to me why the Church of Rome is wrong in condemning the Protestant doctrine and distorting the truth. It is why I am now a Protestant and why I renounced the Roman Catholic Church and her pope.

    In Titus Ch. 3 v. 4 – 5, I read: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…”

    The words of Romans Ch. 3 v. 24 summed it all up. They read: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” I could now see that God gave Salvation FREELY to sinful man. The sinner was not required to work for it.

    I decided to become a Protestant and a Presbyterian because I asked myself “Either the Roman Catholic Church is very right, OR if it’s not, she is very wrong?” I knew and found I now believed she was wrong and a false teacher of the true Gospel of Christ and there can no in-between on this issue. I now believe that the RC teaching of Transubstantiation denied the sovereignty of God. The Reformed theology I believe is the only Protestant theology that fully praises the sovereignty of God and the governmental structure of Presbyterianism I believe is biblically sound. I believe the Presbyterian Fold is the pure and true Christian church. It’s why I want to profess my faith as a Presbyterian. I’m now a Protestant and a Presbyterian because of that sincere belief. Some Protestants and I believe some Presbyterians don’t understand that we are both Protestant but also Presbyterian. That is very important for Presbyterians to understand. As a former Roman Catholic who searched hard for that truth I cherish it! I am so happy that I have found the truth of salvation. It is why I left the Roman Catholic Church and its distorted teaching of tradition along with the Bible. I renounced the Roman church and its view of the Bishop of Rome as the final authority and head of the church. As a Protestant I believe the Bible is the final Authority. As a Protestant I believe Christ alone is head of his church. As a Presbyterian we are all members of the Priesthood of Christ. It is why I am now an evangelizing Protestant who looks forward to professing my faith publicly as a Presbyterian.

    Also while I will agree with you that none of us have the fullness of truth it appears that Pope Benedict in July of 2007 declared that the Roman church did. In a public letter that summer Benedict had the audacity to say and unfortunately reaffirm the pre-Vatican II teaching that Protestant churches are Ecclesial communities without the fullness of truth. Only the Roman Catholic Church says Benedict has the fullness of truth. His statement is of course not infallible even by the very definition of papal infallibility, which I now, as a Protestant do not accept “Speaking on matters of faith and morals, ex cathedra from the chair of Peter.” That thankfully he did not claim to do. Truth is the doctrine of papal infallibility has only been used twice since it was defined in the first Vatican council in the 1860’s. The two times it was used was on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and the doctrine of the Assumption, which are not doctrines of faith for Protestants. While we Protestants have a special reverence for Mary the mother of Christ of the Gospel we have not added attributes to her place in the divine plan of salvation for salvation, as has Rome. Of course the protestant concept of Mary and the Roman Catholic and Orthodox concept of Mary is another whole discourse of discussion. I have always leaned more with the Protestant position on this subject even while I was still a Roman catholic. My position in this area is also profoundly now Reformed Protestant.

    I disagree with the pope who I also now renounce as did all the Protestant reformers that his church only has the fullness of truth. That statement alone convinced me that I was thankful I was no longer a Roman Catholic. It made me all the more Proud to say that I am a Protestant. We Reformed Protestants may not be perfect but we don’t claim to be perfect in truth as does Benedict!

    I as a Protestant believe I stand for a sincere search for truth. I do not claim to have all the truth; I believe we are all evolving towards that truth in mind body and spirit. I pray that someday we will all be one in the mystical body of Christ.

    Sincerely and in good Christian dialogue and faith as your Protestant separated brother,
    Dudley

  34. Andrew Marquardt February 12, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Thanks for your post Dudley. It may be worth noting, I had concerns about the Catholic Church’s “alleged” claim that you can only be save through the Catholic Church. But, that is not the Church’s position. John Paul II made it quite clear in his 1992 Book, Crossing the Threshold of Truth, that neither he nor any other human being can say who will enter heaven. That’s God’s domain alone. John Paul II even indicated those who haven’t had the benefit of receiving the Word, but live decent lives, are no doubt within the purview of what God may deem worthy of heaven. And no one is perfect, the Catholic Church simply believes it contains a more comprehensive repository of the Christian truth than the alternatives, not that it is perfect. God bless, Andrew.

  35. Andrew,

    Rome implies and likes roman catholics to think that Salvation is with Rome alone.

    In January I celebrate my 3rd anniversary of my conversion to the Protestant fold and in February I celebrate My 2nd anniversary of being born again as a Presbyterian in the Reformed Protestant faith. I left the roman catholic church in January 2006.

    To be a Roman Catholic is to give allegiance to a pope, Mary and the sacraments among many other things. Simply read the Catholic Catechism and see for yourself. So, when one forsakes the Roman Catholic religion and gives allegiance to Jesus Christ through His Gospel then one is no longer a Roman Catholic. You cannot have it both ways. If you are a Christian who believes in faith alone-Bible alone, etc. then you are no longer a Roman Catholic. I am no longer a Roman catholic but I am also now a very staunch Reformed Protestant and a communing and devout Presbyterian Calvinist.

    Rome’s salvation is by grace but declares that the church alone (the roman catholic church) can dispense that grace. ‘No Salvation Outside Roman Catholicism’ is implied in many ways. Roman Catholic salvation is also an installment plan, where one must continue to receive the “sacraments,” go to weekly mass, and continue receiving the Jesus wafer from a priest as well as confessing your sins to the roman priest.

    If one continues to have the slightest belief that without the mass, the papist wafer bread that they worship and without that church and its pope he might not be saved, one cannot truly become a Biblical Christian and Protestant. When I was able to see and understand the lunacy of the doctrine of transubstantiation, the abomination of the mass and the fact that the papacy itself is evil and the pope is and has been on many occasions the anti Christ, I was able to openly renounce roman Catholicism and experience what I call as did Calvin a True Protestant conversion.

    I was an Episcopalian for a brief time after I left the roman catholic church. However after a thorough study of Protestantism and the Protestant reformation I discovered the Reformed branch of Protestantism and became a Presbyterian. I rejected the traditions of the roman church after I studied the reformers especially Calvin, Knox and Zwigli, I knew I was going to be either a Baptist or Presbyterian. I attended services at both the Baptist and Presbyterian congregations in my area. I liked the form of worship in both denominations. I decided to become a Presbyterian because I liked the Governmental set up of the Presbyterian fold and I believed the Presbyterian teaching on the sacrament of the Lords Supper to be correct.

    I follow and confess to the Westminster Confession of faith as a Presbyterian Protestant but I also concur with the Baptist Confession of faith.

    I adhere to the authority of the Bible and the doctrines of he early creeds. and as a Protestant I follow the emphasis on the doctrines of “justification by grace alone through faith, the priesthood of all believers, and the supremacy of Holy Scripture in matters of faith and order.”As a Presbyterian Protestant I now recognize only two sacraments directly commanded by the Lord – baptism and communion – as opposed to the seven sacraments accepted by the Catholic Church.. Rome enslaves you to her 7 sacraments, her mass, and makes her roman priests necessary to obtain salvation.

    I like Calvin have renounced her sacramental system and her mass which I now see as a blasphemy and an abomination and distortion of the Lords supper.

    I also now see the Lords Supper, communion in a different light than when I was a roman catholic.

    The doctrine commonly called transubstantiation which maintains that in the supper the substance of bread and wine is changed into the substance of Christ’s body and blood through consecration by a priest or in any other way, I now concur is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason. Furthermore, it overthrows the nature of the sacrament and has been, and is, the cause of all kinds of superstitions and gross idolatries.

    In this sacrament Christ is not offered up to His Father, nor is any real sacrifice made in any sense of that term for remission of sin of the living or the dead. The supper is only a memorial of the one offering up of Christ, by Himself, upon the cross, once for all. It is also a spiritual offering up of all possible praise to God for the once-for-all work of Calvary. Hence the popish sacrifice of the mass, as it is called, is utterly abominable, and injurious to Christ’s own sacrifice which is the sole propitiation for all the sins of the elect.

    The outward elements in the Lord’s supper-bread and wine-duly set apart for the use appointed by Christ, bear such a relation to the Lord crucified that, in a true sense although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, namely, the body and blood of Christ, even though, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before being set apart for their special use.

    While we Presbyterians reject the liturgy and the mass that roman catholics follow we have a beautiful form of worship and liturgy that was ordained by the early church and free from the corruption’s of popish and some pagan traditions that have crept into roman catholicism over the last 1500 years.

    Our service is also a beautiful form of the Reformed Protestant liturgy. Our congregation celebrates the Lords Supper on the first Sunday of each month. Some Protestant churches and even some Reformed churches celebrate it every week. However our elders and our congregation choose to celebrate communion once a month. In the rc church you celebrated communion every Sunday. We however like to see it as a special service and having it only once a month emphasizes that aspect. I am a former roman catholic but I believe as do my elders now that the Lords Supper once a month is better because it makes it more important and not just a mote routine that it can be in the roman church.

    Martin Luther because he was an ex roman catholic like me at first felt some guilt. Roman Catholics live and breathe on guilt. I went to Catholic grade school, public High school and then at the time a roman catholic college. The problem Roman Catholics make is that they do not have a remedy for it even though the Bible does! Many RC’s didn’t have any hope to get directly into heaven and hoped that purgatory wouldn’t be too bad. This is what drove Martin Luther almost crazy until he read the Bible and found all kinds of false superstition in Roman catholic doctrine.

    As for communion as a Presbyterian I now believe that is that it is the Lord’s Table…not ours. I believe that as long as you are a baptized Christian in good standing with a Reformed church, you should be welcome to commune.

    When I was a roman catholic it was even considered a sin for me to receive communion at a Protestant church. And Protestants were asked to refrain from communion if visiting a roman catholic mass.

    The Episcopal church I attended before becoming a Presbyterian also welcomed all to receive communion. I received the Lords Supper with them for several weeks before I officially joined their church. The liturgy or worship service was very much like the roman catholic mass as I also found St. Thomas Lutheran services to be like that too when I visited and explored the Lutheran church.

    As a Presbyterian I now believe that at Communion, Christ gives us the assurance of pardon in the physical symbols but I don’t believe that they are changed into the literal body and blood as I did one time when I was a roman catholic, I think that is a misguided teaching from the Council of Trent. I now believe that Christ graciously uses these earthly symbols of bread and wine or grape juice to impart to us a heavenly good…in a real way, I now believe that it is WE who are transformed into the Body of Christ (the church) — not the elements (bread and wine) while we celebrate communion in the Presbyterian church.

    The sacramental system and the teachings of the Church of Rome I now believe as a Presbyterian wounds Christ, and robs Christ of His glory. I now believe it also wrongly puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement, and then lifts a piece of bread in the place of Christ and worships the bread outside the Lords Supper. The roman church even distorts the true nature of the sacrament of the Lords Supper by adoring the bread wafer outside the celebration of the supper.

    I have also come to find that Methodists and Presbyterians are very diverse and also very similar. I had attended the Methodist church in Pt Pleasant while I was still an Episcopalian in early 2006 after leaving the Roman catholic church a few months earlier in January 2006. I explored all the major Protestant denominations.

    I know from my study of Protestantism and the Protestant Reformation that there were many basic differences between the two denominations at one time. I know Presbyterians came from the 15th century, Methodists from the 18th. I know Presbyterians emphasize the Sovereignty of God and Methodists emphasized human volition or free will. Presbyterians government is by elected elders, presbyteries and Methodist is by bishops like the Anglican and Episcopalian and Roman Catholic Churches. I was attracted to the Reformed faith and Presbyterian particularly because I came to believe that the elder presbytery structure of Government is more biblically based and also democratic. I also after studying John Calvin. Knox and Zwigli realized I was a Reformed Protestant.

    Two weeks ago when staying in NYC with friends I attended their Methodist church service with them on Sunday. I discovered that they are or at least perhaps some Methodists are more like Presbyterians than I originally thought. The church service was very much like the Presbyterian church services I have become accustomed to. The only major difference was they used “trespasses” instead of “debts and debtors” form of the Lords Prayer as we Presbyterian do.

    I believe Protestantism is not perfect but it is more pure than the church of Rome and it is why I am a Presbyterian and proud to be a Protestant!

    Dudley

  36. Andrew,

    One additional thought I wish to share with you. I am a reformed Protestant because I believe that Luther did not take the reformation far enough; Calvin, Zwigli and Knox did. I became an Episcopalian at first because they were in form and liturgy like roman catholicism but not in communion with the pope who I initially rejected. I found Lutherans to be theologically closest to roman cathoics.

    I became a reformed Protestant and a Presbyterian because we are the least like roman catholicism in liturgy, sacrament, worship and government. I believe the Reformed branch of Protestantism is the most purely just Christian like the early church. We are the most Protestant of the other Protestant denominations.

    You are probably easier to find roman Catholicism acceptable because theologically Lutherans are close to roman catholics. I am not at all now close to roman catholicism, I had like John Calvin described a “True Protestant Conversion”

    The following is a letter I received in June from a Baptist friend. I did worship for a while with a Baptist congregation mostly while I was studying Zwigli and reading many of CH Spurgeons sermons. The Baptists are also Reformed Protestant and they see the sacrament of the Lords Supper as an ordinance strictly symbolic of the Lords Supper. I joined them also for the service of the supper on several occasions but I prefer the Presbyterian position and returned to Presbyterian services. I also believe as Presbyterians do that while the bread remains bread and the wine remains wine the almighty allows the presence of his Son Jesus Christ to become present to us as individuals and as a congregation when we celebrate the Lords Supper, because it is He who invites us to his table. I came close to being baptized by immersion in the Baptist church but did not. I was tempted to because I had questioned the validity of the roman sacramental system for along time. But I am satisfied that my baptism was recognized by God and the important thing was my becoming born again and confessing myself as a Reformed Presbyterian Protestant and accepting only Jesus Christ alone as my Savior and Lord.

    I am reading the counterpoints book he recommended. It is also an excellent presentation of why the roman catholic teaching of transubstantiation is such a ludicrous and abominable heresy and falsehood.

    In grace,
    Dudley Davis

    Dudley,

    May I recommend the new Counterpoints book by Zondervan called 4 Views on

    the Lord’s Supper. My professor, Russell Moore, does an excellent job

    capturing the Baptist understanding of Communion.

    I also recommend a book of essays called Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New

    Covenant in Christ. It is a terrific book on baptism from the Baptist

    perspective.

    As a Baptist, I would encourage you to be baptized, as the RCC baptism is

    not a valid baptism. It was not performed on you as a believer and neither

    was it by immersion. Of course, I understand that my Presbyterian friends

    differ with me on the issue of baptism. But I encourage you to check out the

    Baptist perspective to carefully see which one better aligns with the

    Scriptural witness. The book I recommended is a good place to start.

    Blessings,

    Trevin

  37. Andrew,

    You said in an earlier post” I believe your words indicated Christ wanted one true Church on earth. The only historical basis for such a possibility rests in Roman Catholicism, whether you or anyone agrees technically with all of the dogma.”

    All Christians do not believe the dogmas of the roman pope and his church. However we are united in many essential beliefs, even the roman catholics, when you strip away the additions that they have made to Christian faith.

    I believe that all Christians are “catholic” not just the Christians who belong to the church of Rome. If you are a western ‘Christian” (Christians in the West, including the church of Rome) say the Nicene Creed, and when we as Protestants say “we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church we do not mean Roman Catholic we mean Universal. The world and Rome has incorrectly fostered a misunderstanding of what the word catholic means. It does not and should not mean Roman Catholic only. We Protestants are truly “catholic”!

    All Protestants are aware or should be aware that Protestantism was a movement in Western Christianity whose adherents rejected the notion that divine authority is channeled through one particular human institution or person such as the roman catholic pope. Protestants look elsewhere for the authority of their faith. Most of us stress the Bible – the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament – as the source and the norm of their teaching. Roman catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians also stress the authority of the Bible, but they also look to tradition, and, in the case of roman catholics, to the pope as a source of authority.

    We who are Protestant also know that reform movements were a feature of the Christian church throughout its history and were very evident in the 14th and 15th centuries. However we Protestants date the beginning of the Protestant Reformation to 1517, when the German monk Martin Luther posted for debate a series of theses that challenged Roman Catholic teaching. Our name “Protestant” and “Protestantism” however took its name from the “Protestatio” issued by reformers at the Diet of Speyer in 1529.

    Separation of church and state, a principle that other Protestants came to hold late in the 18th century, began to break the purely Protestant hold on northwest Europe. In the latter part of the 18th century and throughout the 19th century into the present, Protestant missionaries spread the movement into most of the new world. Those of us who are American citizens and a believer in our democratic principals can also see the connection and positive influence and know the Presbyterian Protestant fold has what we believe to be biblically correct of church government. A system of Presbytery’s and elected Elders.

    We Protestants are also catholic as those who belong to the church of Rome, we are not roman catholic, we are catholic as part of the universal church but we are Protestants, because we protest the errors of the roman church and the authority of its pope, who is the bishop of Rome.

    Those of us who are Presbyterian Protestants and catholic… as part of a universal Christianity… also know that we are not only Protestant but Reformed and authentically Protestant because we believe in justification by faith alone.

    We sincerely receive and adopt the Westminster Confession and Larger and Shorter Catechisms as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures and we submit to the teachings of the Presbyterian Protestant tenets and doctrine.

    We believe the Bible as the word of God and the only and final authority and path to salvation we submit in discipline to the doctrines of John Calvin and the teachings of the Presbyterian Church in doctrine and life.

    We believe it is Christ alone who is salvation to our souls, not the Church of Rome or the Pope”

    We believe in the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation i.e. the authority of the Bible alone in all matters of faith and practice and that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, not the church of Rome and its pope and cardinals.

    We believe as the Reformers who realized as they studied the Scriptures that the great central doctrine of the gospel was expressed in the comprehensive sentence, “Christ died for our sins.” The death of Christ was the great center from which the doctrine of salvation sprung.

    As Protestants we believe the Reformation was establishing and returning the Church and the Gospel to the way it was in the early church and before the corruption’s done by the Roman church and the governmental system of the papacy.

    Reformed Presbyterian Protestants because of our democratic governmental system are and always will be anti-papist. If we are authentically Protestant we cannot be otherwise.

    However I think I am correct in saying that all Christians, Protestant, the church of Rome (Roman catholic), and orthodox (Eastern catholic) all do believe in common the following.

    Thus we are one in the following essential beliefs of Christianity:

    WE believe in the God of the Bible
    WE believe that the bible is the inspired word of God
    WE believe God is trinity, one God in three persons
    WE believe Jesus Christ is very God of very God
    We believe that the Christ has come in the flesh
    We believe in the resurrection of the dead
    WE believe in eternal judgment

    But we do not need to be “catholic” universal under the bishop of Rome. He is the so called Vicar of Christ for the church of Rome only.

    Your separated Protestant brother,
    Dudley

  38. following the essential beliefs of crstianity will not save anyone – the “demons believe and shudder” it is written in Scripture, remember? or did you ever even hear and know (that belief alone will not save you)?
    protestants supported adolf h. in germany (as did all of the licensed churches except pentacostal and also the true believers/martyrs).
    protestants supported bush in the u.s.a. (much to their shame and loss).
    (a lot of) protestants supported billy g. in the usa and around the world…(they just don’t know what’s right, do they?)…
    so, being protestant is light years better than being a devil worshiper like the romans (rcc) (remember EVERY reformer truthfully exposed the rcc as ‘other than’, that is, ‘anti-‘ truth – another way instead of truth, totally depraved and deceptive, yes, totally depraved and deceptive(rcc).
    ….
    no matter ones birth and upbringing, no matter ones social circle or country, no matter ones religion or history or heritage – only the Truth will set someone free, only Yahshua, Yahvah’s Salvation, gives real life.
    check out david bercot’s books to see how the believers lived and what they did(simply) living in obedience to Abba Elohim by grace in Yahshua.

    I was born Lutheran, raised Lutheran in st.louis/ferguson, mo…
    Like bercot, I had no idea that not everyone in my family and church was saved (in fact, almost no one was/is). Not once in a church service in 22 years, nor in any grade in lutheran grade school and high school, no, not once, did i hear the gospel from anyone, especially poorly not from the ‘preachers’ nor ‘ministers’ (they didn’t know it!).
    miraculously Yahveh moved me 1000 miles and introduced me to Himself quite unexpectedly – I didn’t even know I didn’t know Him !

    ..
    .

  39. Jeff Amen! when you said: “so, being protestant is light years better than being a devil worshiper like the romans (rcc) (remember EVERY reformer truthfully exposed the rcc as ‘other than’, that is, ‘anti-’ truth – another way instead of truth, totally depraved and deceptive, yes, totally depraved and deceptive(rcc).” I am an ex roman catholic and now a Communing and confessed Presbyterian. I left Roman Catholicism in Jan 2006 and became an Episcopalian. It took courage for me to leave the roman catholic church and become a Protestant. I had to follow however what my conscience said was right. My conversion was a gradual process. It didn’t happen over night. It was a Journey in faith and I Truly believe that God elected me to the Reformed Protestant position I was adopted by the Lord to have a view of salvation and understood that I was and cannot save myself. Its Gods amazing grace alone that saves us. His redemptive act on Calvary is salvation for all who put their trust and faith in him alone Jesus Christ.

    I discovered and now truly believe that roman Catholicism is so corrupted with traditions and accommodations that church made over the centuries which really started with the so called conversion of Constantine to Christianity. When Rome made Christianity the religion of the empire the pagan corruption’s and roman accommodations began to corrupt the true Gospel and clear and simple message of salvation Christ brought to all who accept him and the Gospel.

    I left roman Catholicism became as I explained and at first began to worship as an Episcopalian however after a deep study and exploration of all the Protestant denominations and the Reformers I have come to believe the Reformed branch of Protestantism is the church as Christ intended and which John Calvin restored which Luther did not. I believe John Calvin was one of the greatest theologians who ever lived and thus I am a Reformed Protestant and have decided I want to make an affirmation of faith as a Presbyterian.

    I have discovered that Protestant denominations differ in the degree to which they reject Catholic belief and practice. Some churches, such as Anglicans and Lutherans, tend to resemble Catholicism in their formal liturgy, while others, like Baptists and Presbyterians, retain very little of the liturgy and tradition associated with the Catholic church. I never thought I would leave Roman Catholicism and become a Protestant. As a Roman Catholic I always thought it was the Protestant fold that strayed. A series of circumstances led me to become a Protestant. Primarily at first I no longer accepted the authority of the roman pontiff the pope. The current pope is old pre Vatican II mentality. I became an Episcopalian also because I felt at home with its sacramental structure, its governmental system and its liturgy, which is done at an altar and like the roman mass. In many ways they are very similar to the Roman Catholics. Anglicans and Episcopalians while Protestant are simply not in union with Rome and the Pope. At first that was fine for me because I too was no longer in union with the pope and it made sense for me to become an Episcopalian.

    After practicing as an Episcopalian for a while I began to do a study of the Protestant reformation. I also began to attend services in the fall of 2006 at several other Protestant denominations. I explored the Lutheran church, all 3 synods. They too are very similar to Roman Catholicism. I then explored and attended services at a Methodist church. I joined them also for the service of the Lords Supper and was welcome even though I was an Episcopalian. That did impress me as a Roman catholic Protestants were not welcome to receive at a Catholic mass and it was considered a sin for roman catholics to receive communion in a Protestant church. In February 2007 I decided to explore the Reformed branch of Protestantism, Presbyterians and Baptists. I never even at that point thought I would become a reformed Protestant.

    It was then I began doing an extensive study of the Protestant Reformation from the perspective of Protestant writers and Theologians. I centered a lot on the reformers Luther, Calvin and Knox. I studied Luther’s Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone and I began concentrating on the Reformed Theology of Calvin and Knox. I then read the Westminster Confession of Faith and the short and long catechisms of the Presbyterian Church. I started to attend services a few different Presbyterian churches. The minister at one Presbyterian church invited me to join an inquirers class and I did. It was then I was introduced to the reformed theology, and an in depth look the Westminster Confession of faith and the catechisms of the Presbyterian church.

    My studies have led me to believe that I needed to reject the traditions and teachings of the Roman Catholic church which were contrary to the Gospel. As a Protestant I began to accept and embrace and believe the Reformed Protestant faith was the true church which was restored by John Calvin to its early foundations and freed from the corruption’s and abuses of Romanism. I came to believe in a heaven and a hell and that all who are elected by the saving grace of God and accept Jesus Christ as their Redeemer and thus are born again in Jesus Christ as believers of His Gospel and live the life of evangelizing his good news will be with his Father in Gods Kingdom of Heaven for all eternity.

    When I was born again and prior to making my public affirmation of faith in the Presbyterian church I renounced roman catholicism totally and her pope. To be a Roman Catholic is to give allegiance to a pope, Mary and the sacraments among many other things. Simply read the Catholic Catechism and see for yourself. So, when one forsakes the Roman Catholic religion and gives allegiance to Jesus Christ through His Gospel then one is no longer a Roman Catholic. You cannot have it both ways. If you are a Christian [faith alone-Bible alone etc.] then you are no longer a Roman Catholic.

    I continued to believe the following as I did when I was a roman catholic.

    I believe in the God of the Bible
    I believe that the bible is the inspired word of God
    I believe God is trinity, one God in three persons
    I believe Jesus Christ is very God of very God
    I believe that the Christ has come in the flesh
    I believe in the resurrection of the dead
    I believe in eternal judgment

    However I also now believe the following…..

    I believe in justification by faith alone.

    I sincerely receive and adopt the Westminster Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Presbyterian church as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures and I submit to the teachings of the Presbyterian Protestant tenets and doctrine.

    I believe the Bible as the word of God and the only and final authority and path to salvation I submit in discipline to the doctrines of John Calvin and the teachings of the Presbyterian Church in doctrine and life.

    It is Christ alone who is salvation to our souls, not the Church of Rome or the Pope”

    I believe in the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation, the authority of the Bible alone in all matters of faith and practice and that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

    I believe now as the Reformers who realized as they studied the Scriptures that the great central doctrine of the gospel was expressed in the comprehensive sentence, “Christ died for our sins.” The death of Christ was the great center from which the doctrine of salvation sprung.

    I do not any longer believe Christ’s body and blood are physically present in the elements of Holy Communion, but I do affirm that Christ is spiritually present and that the sacrament is one of the means by which His grace and love are available to all persons of faith. Important to me is the belief that Christ’s table is open to everyone who is willing to repent of their sins, to live in love and charity with their neighbors, and to follow the commandments of God.

    Regarding sacrament and worship I now believe as a Presbyterian that the mass and the roman concept of the Eucharist, the Lords Supper is a blasphemous idolatry because it mocks Christ’s finished work on Calvary. Calvin, Knox and even Zwigli reformed Christianity by returning it to the simple foundations based on biblical truth.

    I believe we reformed Protestants have the correct teaching of the Lords Supper, Anglicans and Lutherans are similar to Rome.

    I hold to the following now as a Presbyterian.

    I believe The Lord’s Supper is a Sacrament wherein by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’s appointment, His death is showed forth, and the worthy receivers are not after a corporal or carnal manner but by faith made partakers of His Body and Blood with all His benefits to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.’However the bread remains bread and the wine remains wine, and the command of Christ is: ‘Do this in remembrance of Me.’

    I am now a Calvinist Presbyterian Protestant, you cannot become so untill you renounce and reject the false teachings of roman catholicism and her pope!

    I am proud to be a Protestant!!!

  40. I am glad to be protestant too, although I do not define that in terms of a particular denomination, or in terms of being a Calvinist or Arminianist, but in terms that I belieive most closely follow the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, as outlined in the Bible.

  41. Amen also and very well said :”I belieive most closely follow the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, as outlined in the Bible”. I say Amen and I also agree with you.

    I choose to become a Presbyterian for the following reasons. However The authority of the bible alone makes us Protestants]

    I believe a true Protestant confesses anew the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord, and acknowledges Him Head over all things to the Church, which is His Body. Jesus Christ is the only and sole head of his church here on earth, no human man or woman can ever claim this position.

    I believe all true all proud Protestants need to have and profess a strong Protestant conviction. I believe Protestant conviction means we must take a stand alongside the great Christian leaders of the Protestant Reformation. The two pillars of Protestantism I think are namely a positive witness for Christ, and protest against error. We must cherish and defend our Protestant heritage.

    I believe that we must remain authentically Protestant, as a people who profess and who believe in the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation i.e. the authority of the Bible alone in all matters of faith and practice and that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

    I believe like Zwigli that Baptism and the Lords Supper Are Symbols, and not at all the actual body and blood of Christ. I do believe as Calvin taught that Christ comes to us spiritually in communion. Luther was still too roman catholic in his theology, he did not move far enough from the false roman catholic teaching of transubstantiation.

    I believe that that salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone, not by works or ritual (Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore, that baptism and the Lord’s Supper, while very important they are not necessary for salvation.

    They are important because of their divine origin. The 2 sacraments we reformed Protestants profess as ordained by Christ and in Scripture are not human creations like the sacraments of the roman catholic church. It is why I became attracted and converted to Calvinist Reformed theology and faith. It is why I am now a Presbyterian and staunch Protestant.

    As symbols commanded by the Lord Jesus I think it should be as he did in scripture. I am not a Lutheran or Episcopalian because they serve the Lords Supper as a sacrifice like the catholics. I think it should be a meal at a table, not a pagan altar.

    I think that baptism should be as Christ and John the Baptist did it only after one is mature and is born again first. It is why I questioned my rc baptism last summer and wanted to be re baptized as a Presbyterian. I questioned the validity of the roman catholic baptism received as a baby in an apostate and corrupt church like roman catholicism. However I was convincedby my presbyterian elders and minister that my baptism was valid and i was re affirming it when i made a public confession of faith in my Presbyterian congregation. I believe I became a Christian when I left the catholic church. I am now satisfied that I am saved by Justification and the grace of God and Jesus Christ. However its why I found it necessary to renounce the roman church and her pope and only then was able to born again and made a confession of faith as a Presbyterian.

    Again I am proud to be a Preotestant! I am a Presbyterian Calvinist Reformed Protestant because I believe we are authentically Protestant, we are heirs of the glorious Protestant reformation and we have the true Christian faith and pure gospel, restored to its uncorrupted form by John Calvin.

  42. Andrew Marquardt April 9, 2009 at 9:23 am

    The problem with the previous “Protestant” comments is none of them seem to recognize each is founded on some man’s personal viewpoint that he just happened to make up. No Protestant can point to a credible foundation back to Christ Himself. Only Roman Catholicism can, and its breadth of scholarship not only dwarfs anything found in any Protestant denomination, it specifically debated and rejected points adopted by the Protestant groups. There is nothing unique about what Calvin proposed: it was previously rejected. And even within each Protestant denomination there is no univeral doctrine; rather, each doctrine is so broad and nebulous that no leadership really exists in those churches. That naturally will cause each denomination’s demise. By the way, nothing in your Bible (the one assembled by Catholics) says the Christian fatih is based on the Bible alone. Grapple with that fact in conjunction with the historical origins of each of your Protestant beliefs. The basis for your belief is likek me saying “You know, I don’t like what that priest has to say (you know the one, the one that can point to Christ who gave Peter the keys to his Church on earth), no in fact, I like what the guy in the next pew says, its easier to swallow and makes my life easier. I think I’ll go with him, instead of Jesus’s surrogate on earth.” You can spend the rest of your days convincing yourself of your position (and I would never ask you to violate your own conscience), but nothing will ever change the fact Christ gave Peter the keys to his Church (as stated in your Bible), and that Church, like it or not, with all of its faults, is the Roman Cahtolic Church.

  43. Yeah, Marquardt , nothing will change it except that there is another side to that story. Protestants can make a good case (obviously persuasive to us) for the fact that the RC interpretation of that verse is incorrect. By having only God’s words as infallible and authoritative, protestants don’t have to buy into contradictions or inconsistencies in theology, to interpretations based on exegesis that predated a good understanding of the greek and the cultural and philosophical world of Jesus, or into theological positions arrived at by political means, by popes who had illegitimate children or were drunkards (on alcohol, not the Spirit) and thus do not meet the Biblical criteria for a bishop or other leader of the church.

    Up to at least the split with the East, protestants would consider that early period of church history to be the common heritage of all Christians, and not uniquely RC. There is also quite a divergance in theological positions within RC church, as evidence by many of the works put out by priests at (nominally) RC universities who have not been excommunicated for their views. Protestants also don’t have to be embarrassed about the wrongful inquisition of Galileo. So it cuts both ways. Protestant scholars prefer to see God’s Spirit working through his people so that the interpretations of his word that are accepted are those that find a broad base for acceptance among his people on grounds that are appropriate to the nature of what we are dealing with: the written text of God’s words, communicated in human language according the rationality that God designed into us.

    It is fundamentally problematic that the RC church is the continuing source of the two biggest divisions in Christ’s body: the excommunication of the Eastern Orthodox (yeah, they did it too but Jesus does command us to forgive the ones who wrong us), and the rejection of Protestants. Protestants, for their part in current times, do not for the most part reject Catholics as unsaved and going to hell (e.g., Evangelicals and Catholics Together, etc.), do not refuse a Catholic taking communion in their protestant churches (unlike RC’s), and do not require a Catholic to convert to protestantism in order to accept him/her as fully a member of Christ’s body. Of course, one can still find protestants like Dudley and Jeff (earlier posters), who believe that “Amen! when you said: “so, being protestant is light years better than being a devil worshiper like the romans (rcc)”; their abrasive zealotry is an embarrassment to most of us. I see it as a fundamental strength of protestantism that it can accept anyone as a member of the body of Christ, and worship and share His supper with them, who holds to the essentials of faith in Christ. That is true unity, is what glorifies Christ, and is why the protestant understanding of Christ’s body will outgrow more narrow understandings.

    Re Peter’s comments on young earth creationsim. The historical position of the protestant church was not and exclusively young earth position, nor has it been seen as a fundamental tenet except for a rather small section of the protestant church located in America. Apart from a few mouth breathers who embarrass their doctorates, the worldwide protestant church isn’t hung up about it. So I don’t really see that issue as a weakness.

    In regard to “diversity”, CMP seemed to be referring to expressive rather than theological diversity. And while there is far more of that diversity in the protestant world, it is not absent in the Catholic world. And, in any event, I don’t think that CMP would diss the greater Catholic consistency in liturgy as a weakness; consistency can also be seen as a strength and some people prefer that. The benefit of the protestant diversity in that regard, however, is that one worship in a more liturgical church, or in a more free church, which would be in line with the freedoms Paul notes in his writings on seasons and days of the week and festivals. I do find, though, that “celebration” is a bit strong. Some protestants do celebrate that, but many are quite parochial about that (how many anabaptist churches would require rebaptism if one were baptised as an infant; how many worship wars are still being fought out there?).

    regards,
    John

  44. I will begin by saying to Andrew Marquardt that Once God removes the veil from the eyes of the Roman Catholic and gives him/her eyes to see and ears to hear and new heart of trust in the real grace of God there is no more Roman Catholicism left in the soul. Hence, to be born again by the Spirit puts an end forever to Roman Catholicism. I really did not leave the roman catholic religion I was no longer a roman catholic. One cannot believe in salvation through the Roman Catholic system of sacraments, etc., and salvation by grace through faith alone at the same time. It is one or the other. I am a Reformed Protestant because I believe that all Christians are catholic, and I made an affirmation of faith as a Presbyterian Protestant because I chose the other as the truth once I was born again.

    I say Amen to John and disagree with Marquardt. I confirm as a person who is now “Proud to be Protestant” what John said: “Yeah, Marquardt , nothing will change it except that there is another side to that story. Protestants can make a good case (obviously persuasive to us) for the fact that the RC interpretation of that verse is incorrect. By having only God’s words as infallible and authoritative, protestants don’t have to buy into contradictions or inconsistencies in theology….or into theological positions arrived at by political means, by popes who had illegitimate children or were drunkards (on alcohol, not the Spirit) and thus do not meet the Biblical criteria for a bishop or other leader of the church.” I know both sides I am a former rc and now a born again Protestant.

    To believe the Roman Catholic Gospel and the Christian gospel all at once is a complete oxymoron. It is impossible. I realized that the word ‘Catholic’ means ‘universal’ and is a good term to describe the universal body of Christ. But we are dealing here with the Roman Catholic religion and not the ‘catholic’ or ‘universal’ body of Christ.

    There is nothing outrageous in believing that all true Christians are justified by faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone and that the Bible is our only source of authority. To challenge these twin pillars of Christian faith is to challenge the heart of the Gospel. Those who set aside these basic Christian tenets are themselves ‘outrageous’ and stand against the Gospel.
    Leaving the Roman Catholic religion is the natural fruit of coming to Jesus. One does not become a Christian by leaving Rome. I was born again first and no longer a roman catholic in the process I became a Protestant when I left Rome.

    When my eyes were opened by being born again by faith alone in Christ alone. When I was born again my allegiance was now only to Jesus Christ, not to a religion, a pope, Mary, or the sacraments.

    To be a Roman Catholic is to give allegiance to a pope, Mary and the sacraments among many other things. Simply read the Catholic Catechism and see for yourself. So, when one forsakes the Roman Catholic religion and gives allegiance to Jesus Christ through His Gospel then one is no longer a Roman Catholic. You cannot have it both ways. If you are a Christian faith alone-Bible alone, etc., then you are no longer a Roman Catholic.

    I renounced the roman pope because I became convinced that no man is above the Gospel. Anyone standing for the sovereignty of God as well as the sufficiency of Scripture cannot do other than to renounce the roman pope and roman Catholicism.

    When Christ gave peter the keys he did not crown him pope. That of course is the papist and roman catholic position. The pope and the papacy evolved after the first 3 centuries of Christianity and became increasingly corrupt and misguided after the conversion of Constantine and the Roman Empire.

    I do not apologize for the anger brought about by my stand against the Roman Catholic religion. The simple truth about Roman Catholicism it denies the Protestant belief in Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide. These two rallying points of the great Protestant Reformation are being reversed by men who cannot see the point. I believe we are still in the battle today. I cannot help but hope that the Lord would bring conviction and courage to those who are His own as He did for me.

    Dudley

  45. I also applaud John when he said “It is fundamentally problematic that the RC church is the continuing source of the two biggest divisions in Christ’s body: the excommunication of the Eastern Orthodox (yeah, they did it too but Jesus does command us to forgive the ones who wrong us), and the rejection of Protestants. Protestants, for their part in current times, do not for the most part reject Catholics as unsaved and going to hell (e.g., Evangelicals and Catholics Together, etc.), do not refuse a Catholic taking communion in their protestant churches (unlike RC’s), and do not require a Catholic to convert to protestantism in order to accept him/her as fully a member of Christ’s body.”

    I believe now as a Protestant that The Lord’s Supper is a Sacrament wherein by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’s appointment, His death is showed forth, and the worthy receivers are not after a corporal or carnal manner but by faith made partakers of His Body and Blood with all His benefits to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.’ However the bread remains bread and the wine remains wine, and the command of Christ is: ‘Do this in remembrance of Me.’ I also believe Christ becomes present in the sacrament to all partakers spiritually because of our common faith in Him.

    However how Christ makes himself present in the Lords Supper is a mystery of the infinite and should not be defined by finite men. The council of Trent made official a theory by some Christians up to the 16th century that the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus. They call that transubstantiation. I no longer accept that teaching. However I do not condemn those who do accept it.

    I think that the irony that is caused by Rome’s Trent teaching divides Christians in the one sacrament which we should share together, The Eucharist of the Lords Supper. Christ also prayed that “They all be one.” as a Roman catholic Protestants were not welcome to receive at a Catholic mass and it was considered a sin for roman Catholics to receive communion in a Protestant church.

    When I was a roman catholic I was taught that the Protestants abandoned the true essence of the sacrament of the Eucharist, and particularly Reformed Protestants, Baptists and Presbyterians. My study of John Calvin opened my eyes that it was the roman catholic church that abandoned and then corrupted the true nature of the sacrament. I was never comfortable with the adoration of the catholic wafer bread even when I was a roman catholic. However as a Protestant I believe all Christians should be welcome at the at the Lords Table, for it really is His Table not ours and does not exclusively belong to Roman Catholics only!

    Dudley

  46. Andrew please consider the following points I make to you as a fellow Christian who is proud to be Protestant. I respect your roman catholic position I too at one time believed as you do. But My faith has grown and I believe now as a born again Protestant.

    Regarding the papacy and Peter:

    Once Jesus asked what the disciples thought about Him. The apostle Peter answered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus commended Peter, saying, “Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:16-18).

    What is “the rock” upon which the Church is built? Some say it is Peter; others think it is Peter’s confession, “Your are the Christ.”

    In a sense, the church is built on Peter, the other apostles, and the prophets (as Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:20) because it is founded on their teaching about Christ. The Roman Catholic claim that the church is built on Peter because he was made the universal bishop of the church is false. Even though he was a prominent apostle, Peter was not considered the head of the whole church. The Vatican teaches that Peter is “the Church’s supreme pastor (shepherd)” (Catechism paragraph 857); but Peter himself would disagree because he identifies Jesus Christ as “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4).

    The rock could refer to Peter’s confession about Christ, the Son of God, as St. Augustine and other Fathers taught. Even the Catholic catechism admits that this meaning is correct. “Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ On the rock of this faith confessed by St Peter, Christ built his Church” (paragraph 424). In either case, the papacy is not proved from Matthew 16.

    Dudley

  47. One of the reasons I am now a Protestant and Proud to be a Protestant and no longer a roman catholic is that we Protestants are an Easter people. We are saved by Gods amazing grace and the one time only sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ on Calvary 2000 years ago for all who place their faith in Him alone.

    Protestant Christians will have the cross as a reminder of the finished work of Christ on the Cross. That He is not there, and that He needs never again to die on the Cross. Roman catholics and the eastern orthodox have the crucifix with the dying Christ. It is because the sacrifice with them is continual. With Protestants we are saved by His dying once for all who place their faith in Him alone.

    Romans 6:10
    For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

    Hebrews 9:28
    So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

    Hebrews 10:10
    By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    1 Peter 3:18
    For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

    A Protestant is one who believes in the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation i.e. the authority of the Bible alone in all matters of faith and practice and that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

    I believe now as the Reformers who realized as they studied the Scriptures that the great central doctrine of the gospel was expressed in the comprehensive sentence, “Christ died for our sins.” The death of Christ was the great center from which the doctrine of salvation sprung.

    I am “Proud to be To be a”Reformed Protestant” because it means several things. Historically, it means that we trace our roots to the Reformation, when John Calvin and others led the movement to reform the Church according to Scripture. Theologically, it means belief in the absolute sovereignty of God and that the highest good is God’s glory. This historical and theological heritage is often expressed in the “solas” of the Reformation-God’s grace alone as the only way to be reconciled to God, faith alone as the only means of receiving God’s grace, Christ alone as the ground of God’s saving grace, Scripture alone as the only infallible authority for belief and God’s glory alone as the ultimate purpose for the lives of men and women.

    I am Proud to be Presbyterian Protestant because we are governed according to the pattern of elders seen in the Old and New Testaments. We are ruled neither by bishops in a hierarchical model nor by members in a congregational model. Biblically qualified elders are recognized through congregational election and, along with ministers, rule the church corporately. It also means being connected in mutual accountability and responsibility. Just as individual Christians are connected to one another as members of the body of Christ, so also individual congregations are connected under Christ as the great Head of the Church. AS PRESBYTERIANS REFORMED PROTESTANTS WE BELIEVE THAT ONLY CHRIST HEADS HIS CHURCH.

    I am Proud to be a Protestant because we are an Easter people.

    Dudley

  48. Our salvation is a daily process not a singular event. Yes Jesus did die for our sins but we are always one sin away from falling out of Grace. Just think Adam and Eve fell from Grace over a piece of fruit.

    If we are saved through Sola Fide then why are the “goats” admonished by Christ in Matthew 25:31-46? They are sent to hell. Yes they sinned by leaving Christ unattended, but the mechanism that effectuated the sin was the failure to do works. One can make the argument that a certain physicality is required to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty or clothe the naked. These corporal acts of mercy are not abstract concepts. If the “Goats ” on Jesus’ left lost salvation because they failed to see Christ in the least of His brethren, then the antithesis must be that the “Sheep” on Jesus’ right hand side were saved through their salvific works of mercy.

  49. Ref. post #23.

    Dudley no Catholic that I know believes that we recrucify Christ at each Mass. The finite mind is bound by the strictures of time and space. How can we then comprehend the sheer mystery of God?

    We re-enter into Calvary. Christ died once and for all.

    Let’s debate the Bread of Life Discourse in John 6. Are you up fpr it?

    Alain

  50. Alain de Long wrote: Our salvation is a daily process not a singular event. Yes Jesus did die for our sins but we are always one sin away from falling out of Grace. Just think Adam and Eve fell from Grace over a piece of fruit.

    WTF (i.e., “Where’s The Faith?”)?????

    Paul specifically uses the phrase “fallen from grace” to refer to those who would be circumcised and would thus be seeking to be justified by Law (Galatians 5:4).

    How in heaven’s name do you turn the gospel of God’s grace into a “one-sin-away-from-falling-out-of-grace” religion?

    What kind of Good News is that?!?!?!?!

    Why does Paul use the perfect tense in Ephesians 2:5,8 if believers are constantly one sin away from falling out of this grace?

    Your statement baffles me.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  2. “Woe to those who call evil, good….’ « Thewhitechrist’s Weblog - June 11, 2010

    […] follows, as well as the sincere but ultimately useless ‘responses’ that also follow this post: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2008/09/why-i-am-proud-to-be-a-protestant/#more-1104 . The author of this post both is insufferably proud – on his own merits – (for, you see, […]

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