Is Protestantism and the Protestant Church Biblical? The History, Beliefs, Myths and Facts

What is Protestantism?

Protestantism encompasses faith and practice that originated with doctrines and religious, political, and ecclesiological impulses of the Protestant Reformation. The term Protestantism has been used in several different senses, often as a general term to refer to "Western Christianity" that is not subject to papal authority, including some traditions that were not part of the original Protestant movement.

Is Protestantism Biblical?

What the Bible Really Teaches:


Protestant and Protestantism

Protestantism is one of the three major divisions in Christendom that claims to be Christian; the others are Catholicism and the Eastern "Orthodox" churches.

Protestantism began in Europe with the Reformation of the 16th century. Early leaders were Martin Luther and John Calvin. King Henry VIII in England led the church in his country out of communion with the Church of Rome after the Pope refused to grant him a divorce with the right to remarriage. Although he opposed Protestant doctrines, his action in ending the Pope's role in England contributed to the advance of Protestantism under Henry's successors.

The exact origin of the term protestant is unsure, and may come either from French: protestant or German: protestant. However, it is certain that both languages derived their word from the Latin: protestantem, meaning "one who publicly declares/protests", which refers to the letter of protestation by Lutheran princes against the decision of the Diet of Speyer in 1529, which reaffirmed the edict of the Diet of Worms in 1521, banning Martin Luther's 95 theses of protest against some beliefs and practices of the early 16th century Catholic Church.

The term Protestant was not initially applied to the Reformers, but later was used to describe all groups protesting Roman Catholic orthodoxy. Since that time, the term Protestant has been used in many different senses, often as a general term merely to signify so-called Christians who belong to neither the Roman Catholic, Eastern or Oriental "Orthodoxy" churches.

Protestant Reformation

The Protestant Reformation was the 16th century movement which led to the separation of the Protestant churches from the Roman Catholic Church. It is usually said to have started when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the cathedral in Wittenburg, Germany calling for a discussion of false doctrines and malpractices within the Catholic Church as he saw them. These included the sale of indulgences and the doctrine underlying them, as well as the powers of the Pope. He had not, however, intended to create a rival church.

The fundamental principles of the Protestant Reformation is known as the Five Solas. Luther was supported by several European leaders and religious provoking a religious revolution that began in Germany, and extending through Switzerland, France, Netherlands, England, Scandinavia and some parts of Eastern Europe, especially the Baltic countries and Hungary. The response of the Roman Catholic Church was the movement known as the Counter-Reformation or Catholic Reformation, that begun with the Council of Trent.

Background of the Protestant Reformation

Moral Corruption in the Leadership of the Church

The years leading up to the Protestant Reformation were plagued by moral corruption and abuse of position by some in the Roman Catholic Church. The priesthood was guilty of several abuses of privilege and responsibility, including simony (using one's wealth or influence to purchase an ecclesiastical office), the selling of relics and indulgences, pluralism (holding multiple offices simultaneously) and absenteeism (the failure to reside in the parish where they were supposed to minister). The practice of celibacy which was imposed by the church on the priesthood was often abused or ignored, leading to immoral conduct on the part of the clergy. Secular-minded, ignorant priests corrupted their position by neglect or abuse of power.

During the fifteenth century the worldliness and corruption by men in the church reached its worst. The problem of corruption reached all the way to the papacy. The Renaissance affected the popes of the period. Many of the Renaissance popes such as Julius II (1441-1513) were humanists who were more interested in classical culture and art than in spiritual concerns. Some, such as Alexander VI (1431-1503), lived notoriously wicked and scandalous lives. Leo X (1475-1521), the son of Lorenzo de' Medici and pope when Martin Luther posted the Ninety-five Theses, once said that God gave him the papacy, so he would "enjoy it."

Among those who spoke out for a reform of the church was the Dominican Giralamo Savonarola (1452-1498) of Florence, Italy. This fiery preacher spoke out against the corrupt morals of the city's leaders and the abuses of the papacy. The people were won over to Savonarola's cause in Florence, but because of religious rivalries and political circumstances, the movement was short-lived. Although innocent, Savonarola was hanged and burned for heresy in 1498.

Early Reforming Religious Movements

During the late middle ages several heretical movements arose that challenged some of the basic doctrines of Scripture and Roman Catholic Tradition. Many of these movements were officially condemned by the Church as heresy and were severely suppressed.

Albigensians

The Albigensians arose in southern France in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. The Abigensians (also called Cathari) held to a strict dualism similar to the ancient gnostics. They believed that the world with all its misery and corruption was created by an evil God (that sometimes is associated with Satan) and that the spiritual and heavenly realm was created by the good and true God. Nonetheless, the Cathars also believed that there are particles of the lost kingdom of God in this world, and they need to be found. They practiced an exaggerated asceticism (they viewed self-starvation as an "assurance" of salvation), considering themselves the only pure and perfect. They also held the New Testament to be the sole standard of authority and completely rejected the Old Testament and the vengeful and angry God described within it. (Not that there ever was a difference between the God of the Old and New Testaments, of course. More weight was simply put on God's justice in the Old Law while in the New, with the coming of Christ, more weight was put on His mercy and love. His justice and mercy have always remained the same though). The sect became the object of a fierce campaign of just persecution when Pope Innocent III launched a crusade against them in 1204.

Waldensians

A movement known as the Waldensians was probably founded in the eleventh century by Peter Waldo. Traveling preachers known as the Poor Men of Lyons emphasized the study and preaching of the Bible. They translated the New Testament into the vernacular, rejected the Catholic doctrines of the priesthood and of purgatory, and of indulgences and prayers for the dead, and advocated a return to the Scriptures as the only authority in religion, seemingly ignoring the New Testament's endorsement of tradition as equal along with scripture (2 Thessalonians 2:15). They denounced all lying as a grievous sin, refused to take oaths and considered the shedding of human blood unlawful. They consequently condemned war and the infliction of the death penalty and even renounced self-defense. Others rejected infant baptism, transubstantiation, and tried to return to "simple apostolic Christianity". They allowed any "believer" to administer sacraments, rejected Catholic feast days with very few exceptions, and they ultimately disassociated themselves from physical paraphernalia including buildings, cemeteries, liturgies, and the like.

John Wycliffe

In England, John Wycliffe (1324-84), a well-known professor at Oxford, also challenged the authority of the papacy. During the Avignon Papacy, he argued that all legitimate dominion comes from God and is characterized by the authority exercised by Christ on earth – not to be served but to serve. During the Great Schism, Wycliffe taught that the true Church of Christ, rather than consisting of the pope and church hierarchy, is the invisible body of the elect. He promoted the study of Scripture over the Tradition of the Church. He taught that the Scriptures ought to be put into the hands of the elect, and in their own language. Wycliffe thus provided an English translation in about 1384.

Wycliffe denied the doctrine of transubstantiation, called the Pope anti-Christ, argued the priesthood of all believers, condemned the saint cult and the veneration of relics. He repudiated the sale of indulgences and masses for the dead. He believed that lordship held by humans is forfeited by mortal sin. He also believed that no monks or clergy, not even the righteous, could hold temporal possessions without sin, and further that it was lawful for kings and princes to deprive them of what they held unlawfully.

Wycliffe was eventually condemned for heresy, but his influence continued. His followers, called "Lollards," spread his teachings as an underground movement in England. They rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation, the veneration of images, clerical celibacy, and other Catholic doctrines as abominations. They were an important influence in England on the eve of the Protestant Reformation.

Like the heretics of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Wycliffe started with an attack on clerical wealth; he then went on to dispute the authority of the Church and, finally, its sacramental system.

John Huss

Another early voice calling for reform was John Huss (1369-1415), a Bohemian preacher and scholar. Influenced by Wycliffe's writings, Huss argued that the true Church was not the institution as defined by Catholicism, but the body of the elect under the headship of Christ. He insisted the Bible is the final authority by which the pope or any Christian is to be judged. Huss was burned for heresy in 1415, about a century before Luther's stand in Wittenberg. The Hussite movement continued to grow after their leader's death, preparing the way for the Protestant Reformation.

Considerations

If the Bible is the only rule of faith for a Christian as the above and many other heretics claim, then logically the Church would not be a rule of faith for a Christian. However, the Bible clearly teaches that one must hear the Church and follow Tradition.

Matthew 18:17 "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

2 Thessalonians 2:15 "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."

Luke 10:16 "He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me."

This teaching of Jesus, that one must hear the Church under pain of being considered a heathen, refutes the entire idea of Scripture alone. This proves that the heretics that denies the Church denies Jesus Christ and the Bible.

Further, the bible teaches that the church, not the bible, is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

1 Timothy 3:15 "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."

As one former Protestant minister (who eventually saw the falsity of Protestantism) put it: "If I were writing that verse [1 Tim. 3:15] as a Protestant, I would have said that the Bible, not the Church, is the pillar and ground of the truth. But St. Paul says it's the Church. This means that the Church must be every bit as infallible as the Bible, and that it must present something unique by way of presenting the truth of Jesus Christ."

The unique role of the Church is that it sets forth the true meaning of Scripture and Tradition in precise terms and dogmas, something the Bible was not intended to do in all of its passages, which should be obvious to any honest person considering the issue. All the different heretical sects that has been created simply because they don't know how to interpret scripture correctly, undeniably proves this notion. Moreover, if the Church is infallible and the pillar of truth, there must obviously be a way of recognizing its infallible teaching by means of a continued succession of authority which would safeguard the truth and exercise its authority (see The Papacy in Scripture).

Some Interesting Facts About Martin Luther,

The Originator of Protestantism

Protestantism originated with Martin Luther (1483-1546), an ex-Catholic. Even though Protestants would contend that they follow “true biblical Christianity,” and not a man, they are inclined to defend Martin Luther. This is because Martin Luther was the first identifiable spokesman for their version of “Christianity.” Prior to his separation from the Catholic Church in 1520, there was no public defender of what we now know to be Protestantism, the core doctrines of which are justification by faith alone and Scripture alone.

Even though Luther is the central figure in the history of Protestantism, few Protestants know much about him, or about how he came upon his beliefs. I invite the reader to consider the following facts.

PLEASE CONSIDER MARTIN LUTHER’S TRULY MAN-MADE JOURNEY TO PROTESTANTISM

Martin Luther was born in 1483 and baptized as a Catholic the next day. He entered an Augustinian Catholic friary in 1505, and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1507. Therefore, as a young professing Catholic priest, Protestantism was unknown to Martin Luther and indeed to the rest of the Christian world.

On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther tacked his famous 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Most Protestants today cite this date as the beginning of the Protestant “reformation.” They think this represented Luther’s public stand for the Protestant faith, for “true and biblical Christianity.” What they don’t know is that Martin Luther’s famous 95 Theses acknowledged the office of the pope more than 20 times. At the time of the posting of the Theses – and indeed before it and for some time afterwards – Luther claimed to be a Catholic priest and monk. In his 95 Theses, Luther clearly acknowledges the office of the Pope as instituted by Christ, although he detracts from its dignity and powers in the matter of Indulgences.

The formal title for his 95 Theses is the Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, Oct. 31, 1517. In addition to acknowledging the pope, numbers 25-29 of the Theses acknowledge Purgatory. Luther acknowledges the existence of Purgatory, although he departs from Catholic teaching in what he says about it. Luther also declares his belief in Indulgences, although he contradicts traditional Catholic doctrine on the issue. The following is typical of the contradictions exhibited by Luther.

#71 of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, Oct. 31, 1517: “Let him be anathema and accursed who denies the apostolic character of the indulgences.”

The point here is that even on Oct. 31, 1517, the Protestant “faith” was still unknown to Martin Luther and indeed to the rest of the Christian world. There was no statement about justification by faith alone or Scripture alone; there was as yet no repudiation of the papal office or many other Catholic dogmas which Protestants today would reject. What you have, at this point, is a confused and convoluted priest who, while claiming to be Catholic, was clearly falling from the traditional Catholic faith into his own wild version of it (especially with regard to Indulgences). He was no Protestant. Even at this point, the so-called biblical “faith” was unknown to its eventual founder.

In 1518, Luther published a Sermon on Indulgences and Grace, in which he attacked the traditional way of dividing Penance into contrition, confession and satisfaction (Dr. Ludwig Pastor, History of the Popes, Vol. 7, pp. 355-356). Luther claimed it was not found in Holy Scripture. This, along with Luther’s contradiction of traditional Catholic teaching on Indulgences, prompted the Church to summon him to Rome for an investigation. (It should be noted that there were indeed some abuses by Church men on Indulgences. Such abuses represented a departure from Catholic teaching on the matter. Indulgences cannot be bought. Occasional abuses in this area – which were committed by a few Church men of a world-wide Church – in no way justify repudiating the traditional teaching. This teaching on Indulgences is rooted in the treasury of the merits of Jesus Christ and the saints, and the power of the keys given to St. Peter. According to Catholic teaching, Indulgences are given for certain specified good works or pious actions (such as prayers, etc.). They remove only the temporal punishment of already forgiven sins. They are not, as Protestants would suggest, a means to buy one’s way into Heaven.)

At the beginning of July 1518, Luther is presented with an official summons to appear in Rome and give an accounting of his doctrines. While maintaining his new (and heretical) views on Indulgences and Penance, Luther claims “that the Roman Church has always maintained the true faith, and that it is necessary for all Christians to be in unity of faith with her.” (Dr. Ludwig Pastor, History of the Popes, Vol. 7, p. 366) That means that, even after having been summoned to Rome to answer for his new ideas, Luther professes that the Roman Church (the Roman Catholic Church) has the true faith. At this point, Luther is undoubtedly drifting into his own personalized view of “Christianity”; but he is still no Protestant, as his statement about the Roman Church demonstrates. The so-called pure, simple and “biblical faith” was still unknown to its eventual founder in July of 1518.

As Luther’s influence spread, and his commitment to new ideas hardened, the actions against him increased. Pope Leo X dispatched the learned Cardinal Cajetan to handle the case. Cajetan was to examine the situation and, if possible, get through to Luther. This occurred in the fall of 1518, but Luther remained obstinate. Despite his commitment to his new ideas, Luther declared the following at one of these interviews: “The notary read out a declaration on behalf of Luther, that as far as he could remember he [Luther] had never taught anything against Holy Scripture, the doctrines of the Church, the Papal decretals [decrees of the popes], or sound reason. But as he was a man subject to error, he submitted himself to the decisions of the Holy Church and to all who knew better than he did.” (Dr. Ludwig Pastor, History of the Popes, Vol. 7, p. 373.)

Once again, we see that Luther claims fidelity to papal teaching and to all of Catholic doctrine. He also appeals specifically to the pope, and expresses his willingness to retract if the pope decided against him (Ibid., pp. 375, 377). The so-called “biblical faith” (Protestantism) was still unknown to its eventual founder.

Not long after his meetings with Cajetan in November of 1518, Luther’s views underwent another significant development. He came to the conclusion that the pope, to whose decrees he had just claimed submission, is the antichrist. He writes: “I send you my trifling work that you may see whether I am not right in supposing that, according to Paul, the real Antichrist holds sway over the Roman court.” (De Wette, I., 192; Enders I., 317; Pastor, Vol. 7, pp. 378-379.) Numerous utterances from this time show that Luther had “fully formulated his proposition that the pope was antichrist.”

Yet, at this very time that he was calling the pope “the Antichrist,” Luther appealed to a general council from the pope (Luther’s works, Weimar ed., II., 36 seq.). In other words, Luther considered the decisions of general councils to be definitive and authoritative. This of course contradicts one of the pillars of Protestantism: Scripture alone.

Therefore, even at the point that Luther had firmly set his face against the Papacy as “the Antichrist,” he still hadn’t discovered Protestantism. The so-called “biblical faith” was still unknown to its eventual founder. One should consider this fact deeply; for it demonstrates that whenever Luther did come up with Protestantism, it was nothing more than the creation of a confused mind.

THESE FACTS DEMONSTRATE THAT ALL PROTESTANTS HAVE EMBRACED A PURELY MAN-CREATED RELIGION, WHICH LUTHER WAS INVENTING AND RE-INVENTING BY THE DAY

The true faith of Jesus Christ is a deposit. It does not fall out of the sky to a man who lives 15 centuries after Christ. It was revealed by Jesus Christ to His Apostles 2,000 years ago, and it was passed on by the Apostles to the Church.

Jude 1:3 “… it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

The true faith thus has a historical link to the apostolic Church; and it can be shown to have been believed by those who came before in the Church. It is passed on from generation to generation. Martin Luther grew up with the Catholic faith. Protestantism was unknown to him as a child; it was unknown to him as a priest; it was unknown to him when he posted his 95 Theses, and even when he first called the pope the Antichrist and was appealing to a general council. At some point, indeed, Martin Luther came up with Protestantism, and his conclusions had no link with his predecessors or even with what he said or believed before. They were truly the inventions and “discoveries” of a man, Martin Luther.

Protestants have thus submitted themselves to a system which Martin Luther came up with among the rest of his contradictory and ever-changing views. These “discoveries” include the idea that man is justified by faith alone, which word for word contradicts the teaching of the Bible (James 2:24) – a contradiction so blatant that Luther felt compelled to criticize the book of James because it contradicted him. In fact, Luther wanted to throw James out of the Bible and into the stove (i.e., the fire), until his friends persuaded him that such a move would be too radical.

OUTRAGEOUS ACTIONS AND QUOTES OF MARTIN LUTHER –

HE CRITICIZES THE BOOK OF JAMES

Martin Luther, Preface to the New Testament, 1522: “Therefore St. James’ epistle is really an epistle of straw, compared to these others, for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it.”

Here we see the apostate priest, Martin Luther, denigrating the Book of James because it contradicts his new idea of justification by faith alone.

Martin Luther, The Licentiate Examination of Heinrich Schmedenstede, July 7, 1542: “That epistle of James gives us much trouble, for the papists embrace it alone and leave out all the rest. Up to this point I have been accustomed just to deal with and interpret it according to the sense of the rest of the Scriptures. For you will judge that none of it must be set forth contrary to manifest Holy Scripture. Accordingly, if they will not admit my interpretations, then I shall make rubble also of it. I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove, as the priest in Kalenberg did.”

Martin Luther even added the word “alone” to Romans 3:28 in his German translation of the Bible. He made it say “faith alone,” when that is not in the text or what it means.

MARTIN LUTHER SAID A MAN COULD COMMIT FORNICATION AND MURDER 1,000 TIMES A DAY AND NOT LOSE HIS JUSTIFICATION

Martin Luther also said that a man could commit fornication and murder 1,000 times a day and would not lose his justification. He said this to express his doctrine of justification by faith alone: that is, no matter how much a person sins, he is still saved as long as he believes (by faith alone). In the same context, he declared: “be a sinner and sin boldly.”

The authenticity of these quotes is not disputed, but openly admitted by Protestant defenders of Luther.

Martin Luther, Letter to Melanchthon, August 1, 1521: “If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness, but, as Peter says, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner.”

As mentioned previously, the true faith is a deposit. It doesn’t fall out of the sky for the first time to a man who lives 1,500 years after Christ, and it doesn’t come from the abyss below – as Martin Luther’s teachings on justification, fornication and murder do.

LUTHER’S PREOCCUPATION WITH THE DEVIL AND CRUDE SUBJECTS

Martin Luther also had a preoccupation with the Devil, with the bathroom, and with matters one can only call disgusting. Even Protestant scholars have noted that Luther’s fascination with crude subjects is disquieting. He admittedly had much interaction with the Devil. “These [demons] would haunt the imagination of Martin Luther who had visions, which he believed to be actual physical occurrences, of the devil hurling [excrement] at him and his hurling it back. Indeed, in one of his many anal combats with the devil – in which Luther would challenge the devil to ‘lick’ his posterior – Luther thought the best tactic might be to ‘throw him into my anus, where he belongs.’” (H.W. Crocker, Triumph, Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing, 2001, p. 237.) After he had come to his position against the Papacy, Luther called the “Papal decretals the Devil’s excretals.” He also said that the pope and cardinals should be killed, and that he and his supporters should wash their “hands in their blood.” (Pastor, History of the Popes, Vol. 7, p. 393.)

Luther claims that he came up with justification by faith alone while on the toilet. He claims that it came as “knowledge the Holy Spirit gave me on the privy in the tower.” (Quoted in William Manchester, A World Lit only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, Little Brown & Co., 1993, p. 140.) In fact, Luther’s idea that people need to commit real and “honest” sins seems to have originated from a conversation with the Devil. This is from Luther’s Table Talk.

[Luther said:] When I awoke last night, the Devil came and wanted to debate with me; he rebuked and reproached me, arguing that I was a sinner. To this I replied: Tell me something new, Devil! I already know that perfectly well; I have committed many a solid and real sin. Indeed there must be good honest sins – not fabricated and invented ones – for God to forgive for God’s beloved Son’s sake, who took all of my sins upon Him so that now the sins I have committed are no longer mine but belong to Christ. This wonderful gift of God I am not prepared to deny, but want to acknowledge and confess.”

With these facts in mind, it should be quite clear how those who followed Luther’s eventual conclusions (the core of which are faith alone and Scripture alone) are simply following the machinations, inventions and discoveries of a man. They are following the inventions of a man who was guided and used by the Devil to create a false version of “Christianity” which would lead countless people astray.

  • MORE OUTRAGEOUS ACTIONS AND QUOTES OF MARTIN LUTHER
  • Protestant Theology

    However vague and indefinite the creed of individual Protestants may be, it always rests on a few standard rules, or principles, bearing on the Sources of faith, the means of justification, and the constitution of the church. An acknowledged Protestant authority, Philip Schaff (in "The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge", s.v. Reformation), sums up the principles of Protestantism in the following words:

    "The Protestant goes directly to the Word of God for instruction, and to the throne of grace in his devotions; whilst the pious Roman Catholic consults the teaching of his church, and prefers to offer his prayers through the medium of the Virgin Mary and the saints.

    "From this general principle of Evangelical freedom, and direct individual relationship of the believer to Christ, proceed the three fundamental doctrines of Protestantism — the absolute supremacy of (1) the Word, and of (2) the grace of Christ, and (3) the general priesthood of believers. . . . "

    Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone)

    The first objective or formal principle proclaims the canonical Scriptures, especially the New Testament, to be the only infallible source and rule of faith and practice, and asserts the right of private interpretation of the same, in distinction from the Roman Catholic view, which declares the Bible and tradition to be co-ordinate sources and rule of faith, and makes tradition, especially the decrees of popes and councils, the only legitimate and infallible interpreter of the Bible. In its extreme form Chillingworth expressed this principle of the Reformation in the well-known formula, "The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, is the religion of Protestants."

    Protestantism, however, by no means despises or rejects church authority as such, but only subordinates it to, and measures its value by, the Bible, and believes in a progressive interpretation of the Bible through the "expanding" and "deepening" consciousness of Protestant "Christendom". Hence, besides having its own symbols or standards of public doctrine, it retained all the articles of the ancient creeds and a large amount of disciplinary and ritual tradition, and rejected only those doctrines and ceremonies for which, according to them, no clear warrant was found in the Bible and which seemed to contradict its letter or spirit. The Calvinistic branches of Protestantism went farther in their antagonism to the received traditions than the Lutheran and the Anglican; but all (or most) united in rejecting the authority of the pope, the meritoriousness of good works, indulgences, the worship of the Virgin, saints, and relics, the sacraments (other than baptism and the Eucharist), the dogma of transubstantiation and the Sacrifice of the Mass, purgatory, and prayers for the dead, priestly confession, celibacy of the clergy, the monastic system, and the use of the Latin tongue in public worship, for which the vernacular languages were substituted.

    Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone): An Examination

    According to Protestants, the Bible teaches that Scripture (the written word of God) is the only rule of faith for a Christian. Along with justification by faith alone (sola fide), Scripture alone (sola scriptura) was one of the central tenets of the Protestant reformation.

    However, the truth is that the Bible does not teach that Scripture is the only rule of faith for a Christian. The Bible teaches that both Scripture and apostolic tradition are sources of Christ's revelation, and that one must accept both of them along with the Church. That's why the Catholic Church has always taught that there are two sources of divine revelation (Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition); and that the Church instituted by Jesus Christ was given authority to determine the authentic meaning of Scripture and Tradition.

    If the Bible is the only rule of faith for a Christian, then logically the Church or tradition would not be a rule of faith for a Christian. However, the Bible clearly teaches that one must hear the Church and follow tradition.

    Matthew 18:17 "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

    2 Thessalonians 2:15 "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."

    Luke 10:16 "He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me."

    This teaching of Jesus, that one must hear the Church under pain of being considered a heathen, refutes the entire idea of Scripture alone.

    Jesus' condemnation of the "tradition of men" (Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:8, etc.) had nothing to do with the true apostolic tradition, which the Bible says we must accept. Jesus was condemning the man-made practices of the Pharisees.

    2 Thessalonians 3:6 "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."

    Further, the bible teaches that the church, not the bible, is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

    1 Timothy 3:15 "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."

    As one former Protestant minister (who eventually saw the falsity of Protestantism) put it: "If I were writing that verse [1 Tim. 3:15] as a Protestant, I would have said that the Bible, not the Church, is the pillar and ground of the truth. But St. Paul says it's the Church. This means that the Church must be every bit as infallible as the Bible, and that it must present something unique by way of presenting the truth of Jesus Christ."

    The unique role of the Church is that it sets forth the true meaning of Scripture and Tradition in precise terms and dogmas, something the Bible was not intended to do in all of its passages, which should be obvious to any honest person considering the issue. All the thousands of sects that has been created throughout the ages, and especially after the Protestant reformation, simply because they didn't knew how to interpret scripture correctly, undeniably proves this fact. Moreover, if the Church is infallible and the pillar of truth, there must obviously be a way of recognizing its infallible teaching by means of a continued succession of authority which would safeguard the truth and exercise its authority (see The Papacy in Scripture).

    For a more in depth refutation of Scripture alone (sola scriptura), please consult the following article: The Bible does not teach Sola Scriptura (scripture alone).

    Sola Fide (Faith Alone) and Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)

    The subjective principle of the Reformation is justification by faith alone, or, rather, by free grace through faith operative in good works. It has reference to the personal appropriation of salvation, and aims to give all glory to Christ, by declaring that the sinner is justified before God (i.e. is acquitted of guilt, and declared righteous) solely on the ground of the all-sufficient merits of Christ as apprehended by a living faith, in opposition to the theory — then prevalent, and substantially sanctioned by the Council of Trent — which makes faith and good works co-ordinate sources of justification, laying the chief stress upon works. Protestantism does not depreciate good works; but it denies their value as sources or conditions of justification, and insists on them as the necessary fruits of faith, and evidence of justification.

    Sola gratia is the teaching that salvation comes by divine grace. Protestant reformers believed that this emphasis was in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, though the Catholic Church had explicitly affirmed the doctrine of sola gratia in the year 529 in the Council of Orange, which condemned the Pelagian heresy (which taught salvation apart from grace). As a response to this misunderstanding, Catholic doctrine was further clarified in the Council of Trent—the Council explained that salvation is made possible only by grace; the faith and works of men are secondary means that have their origins in and are sustained by grace.

    Sola Fide (or Faith Alone Through Grace Alone): An Examination

    Catholics believe in sola gratia. But it is a faith that is not separated from works (per James). Faith inherently includes these works (even Luther and Calvin agree with that). But we're not saved by faith alone (that's where Protestantism errs); we're saved by grace alone. That is the Catholic teaching. Grace is primary in the whole process, so in that very real sense we can say "saved by grace alone" (i.e., without separating works of course) -- whereas we can never say "saved by faith alone" (i.e., with works playing no part at all) -- which is classic Protestant heresy, or "saved by works alone" (i.e., without grace) -- which is the Pelagian heresy. The true Catholic position will always include the works alongside grace and faith.

    The majority of Protestants not only believe in faith alone, but also in eternal security, which means that according to them, a true believer cannot lose his salvation. These doctrines contradict both the natural law and reason which says that every man shall be rewarded or punished for his deeds. It also contradicts, word for word, the teaching of James 2 in scripture, which teach that faith without works is dead, and that man is not saved by faith alone. A person who believes in faith alone or eternal security is a heretic, because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions, and that faith alone does not justify a man only, but our deeds also.

    Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God."

    How clear does it have to get? You can lose your salvation if you do certain things.

    For a more in depth refutation of faith alone and eternal security, please consult the following article: Justification by faith alone and eternal security refuted by the Bible.

    Solus Christus (Christ Alone) and Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)

    Solus Christus ("by Christ alone"), is one of the five solas that summarise the Protestant Reformers' basic belief that salvation is through Christ alone and that Christ is the only mediator between God and man.

    The Protestants characterize the dogma concerning the Pope as Christ's representative head of the Church on earth, the concept of works made meritorious by Christ, and the Catholic idea of a treasury of the merits of Christ and his saints, as a denial that Christ is the only mediator between God and man.

    Soli Deo gloria is a Latin term for "Glory to God alone". All glory is due to God alone, since salvation is accomplished solely through his will and action—not only the gift of the all-sufficient atonement of Jesus on the cross but also the gift of faith in that atonement, created in the heart of the believer by the Holy Spirit. The reformers believed that human beings—even saints canonized by the Catholic Church, the popes, and the ecclesiastical hierarchy—are not worthy of any glory, prayer, praise or veneration.

    Solus Christus (Christ Alone) and Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone): An Examination

    The Catholic Church teaches that there is one God, the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three divine persons in one God. Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity, true God and true man. God alone is adored and worshipped. This adoration or worship, which is given to God alone, is called latria.

    Saints in Heaven are not adored, but are venerated as holy men and women of God in Heaven. The veneration which is given to saints, which is not adoration, is called dulia. The veneration which is given to the greatest of all the saints, the mother of God, is called hyperdulia. Hyperdulia is also veneration, not worship or adoration.

    There are biblical reasons why the Catholic Church has always recognized the importance and the necessity of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the new Eve, the new Ark, the pure vessel, the sealed gate, and the Mother of God. To fail to have devotion to her is equivalent to a man in the Old Testament who would refuse to venerate the Ark of the Covenant or would refuse to march behind it to a battle. Such a man would fall prey to the enemies of God and would be separated from the camp of God's people (see The Biblical basis for praying to Mary and for Catholic teachings on Mary)

    Jesus is the only mediator between God and men, protestant say, so you can't include saints or prayers to them. This objection is false for many reasons. Just because Jesus is the only mediator does not mean that others do not mediate as part of the one mediation of Christ. For example, in John 10:16 Jesus says that He is the one and only shepherd; but He appoints Peter to shepherd His sheep in John 21:15-17. Ephesians 4:11 also teaches that there are many pastors or shepherds. The point is that these other sub-shepherds all work under and by the institution of the one shepherd, Jesus.

    Another example is that Jesus says He is the supreme judge. We read this in John 9:39 and in many other passages. Certain men of God, however, will also act on His behalf as judges in Heaven, even of angels. We read this in 1 Corinthians 6:2, Matthew 19:28, and elsewhere. Yes, Jesus is the unique mediator, because the mediator is the one who unites man to God. Jesus alone did this by His passion and death. We read this in 2 Corinthians 5:18. But that does not mean that within the one mediation of Christ there are not others who participate in His mediation. In fact, the Bible clearly teaches it.

    If Jesus' unique mediation excluded prayers to saints, then it would also exclude asking a fellow man to pray for you. There is no way around the logic of this argument. For when you ask a fellow man to pray for you, instead of going to Jesus directly, you are asking another person to act as a mediator with Jesus for you. That's what Catholics do when they pray to saints. Therefore, if prayers to saints are excluded by the unique mediation of Jesus, then asking others for prayers is definitely excluded as well.

    Not only do most Protestants accept the concept of asking others to pray for them – thus contradicting their rejection of prayers to saints – but, in the New Testament, St. Paul himself repeatedly asks others for prayers.

    Romans 15:30 "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me."

    Paul also tells others that he is praying for them.

    Colossians 1:3 "… praying always for you…"

    Paul even says that the prayers of others bestow gifts upon him.

    2 Corinthians 1:11 "Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf."

    The Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse also gives us a glimpse of how the saints and their prayers intercede for men.

    Revelation 8:3-4 "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."

    We see another example in Revelation chapter 5.

    Revelation 5:8 "… elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints."

    For much more biblical proof on the intercession of the saints from the Bible, please consult the following file: The Bible on praying to and venerating Saints.

    Regarding the Pope as Christ representative on earth. The Bible contains irrefutable evidence that Jesus made St. Peter the first pope. Among other things: the change of Peter's name; the keys of the kingdom – The striking similarity between Matthew 16 and Isaias 22; who is the Rock of Matthew 16? It's Peter; Peter's unfailing faith; Jesus entrusts all of His sheep to Peter; the prominence of Peter's name in Scripture; Peter takes the prime role in the replacement of Judas; Peter's primacy in the Acts of the Apostles and more. In addition, the early Church recognized the Bishop of Rome as the successor to St. Peter's authority (see The Bible teaches that Jesus made St. Peter the first Pope).

    25,000 Different non-Catholic Denominations –

    Doctrinal Chaos is the bad Fruit of Man-Made Religion

    2 Peter 2:1 "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there shall be among you lying teachers, who shall bring in sects of perdition, and deny the Lord who bought them: bringing upon themselves swift destruction."

    Following Martin Luther's excommunication from the Catholic Church in 1520, which marked the beginning of the Protestant movement, over 20,000 different denominations have been created in about 500 years. In 1980, David A. Barrett's World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford University Press) gave the number of different denominations as 20,780. He projected that there would be 22,190 denominations by 1985.

    This would mean that there are approximately 25,000 (or possibly 30,000) different denominations today. Even if, for the sake of argument, one were to take a conservative estimate, and give the number as only 15,000 different denominations, this equates to more than one new sect having been created every two weeks.

    When we consider the fact that the original founders of Protestantism didn't even agree with each other on major points of doctrine, such denominational chaos shouldn't be a surprise. Protestantism is man-made religion, in which each person ultimately determines for himself what he thinks the Bible teaches. Martin Luther (the initiator of Protestantism) condemned the doctrinal views of John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli, two other leading Protestant figures. They all claimed to follow the Bible.

    Basically all of these thousands of non-Catholics sects purport to be Christian and claim to follow the Bible, even though they disagree with each other on crucial doctrinal matters, such as: the precise nature of justification; whether human works and sins are a part of salvation; whether men have free will; predestination; whether infants need baptism for salvation; what Communion is; whether it's necessary to confess to the Lord; which books of the New Testament apply to us today; the structure of the Church's hierarchy; the role of bishops and ministers; the Sabbath; the role of women in church; etc. ad nauseam. Most of these groups even claim that the individual "Christian" will be led by the Holy Spirit when privately reading the Bible. The disunity of these sects constitutes an irrefutable proof that their doctrine is not of the Spirit of Truth; and that their principle of operation (i.e., Scripture alone apart from the Church and Tradition) is not the doctrine of the Bible and the Apostles.

    Ephesians 4:4-5 "One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism."

    How Old Is Your Protestant Man-Made Church?

    If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in approximately 1520.

    If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII (an ex-Catholic) in the year 1534. Henry VIII decided to create his own church when Pope Clement VII would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.

    If you are a Mennonite, Menno Simons (an ex-Catholic) created your religion in 1536.

    If you are a Presbyterian, John Knox (an ex-Catholic) founded your sect in Scotland in the year 1560.

    If you are a Congregationalist, your religion began with Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.

    If you are a Baptist, John Smyth created your sect in Amsterdam in 1605.

    If you are of the Dutch Reformed church, your church began with Michaelis Jones in New York in 1628.

    If you are a Quaker, your religion began with George Fox in 1652.

    If you are a Protestant Episcopalian, Samuel Seabury created your sect in the American colonies in the 17th century, as an offshoot of the Church of England.

    If you are Amish, Jacob Amman created your religion in 1693, as an offshoot of the Mennonites.

    If you are a Methodist, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.

    If you are a Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your sect in London in 1774.

    If you are a Mormon ("Latter Day Saints"), your religion comes from Joseph Smith, who revealed it in Palmyra, N.Y. in 1829.

    If you are a Seventh Day Adventist, your religion was created by Ellen White in 1860.

    If you worship with the Salvation Army, William Booth started your sect in London in 1865.

    If you are of the "Jehovah's Witnesses," your beliefs came from Charles Taze Russell in 1872.

    If you are a "Christian Scientist," Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy devised your religion in 1879.

    If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as "Church of the Nazarene," "Pentecostal Gospel," "Holiness Church," "Pilgrim Holiness Church," "Assemblies of God," "United Church of Christ," etc., your religion is one of the thousands of new sects founded by men in the last century.

    If you are Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, true God and true man; and that this one Church, to which people must belong to be saved, will exist until the end of time.

    Jesus promised, "I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). This means that his Church will never be destroyed and will never fall away from Him. His Church will survive until his return, it means that the Church will, until the end of time, remain essentially what she is. One must belong to the one true universal Church Jesus Christ established to be Saved, for he who refuses to hear the Church is like the heathen and publican (Matthew 18:17).

    Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history.

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