What's Wrong About Being a Protestant? (Part One)
Did you ever try to explain something that seems so clear to you, but somehow those that hear you keep getting a different view than you had? Well, if you said yes then perhaps you can begin to understand how an apologist feels almost every day. This month, I thought that I'd take you through some of the pre-programmed types of misunderstandings that are presented quite often by those that are anti-protestant, and I'll try to enlighten you with the correct Biblical replies as well. Many of these misinterpretations can be seen in Cardinal Ratzinger's article called "33 Multifarious Errors of Protestantism." Incidentally, Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI.
First on his list is "The Protestant Personal Opinion Error," where he says that there are 36,000 different sects going their own way. And we seem to ignore Biblical verses such as 2 Peter 1:20,21 where it says no Prophecy of Scripture is made by private interpretation or Deuteronomy 12:8 that tells us that: "You shall not do as we are now doing; here, everyone does what seems right to himself." The error seems to be based upon the fact that God is not concerned with anyone's personal opinion, but only for those who speak His Doctrinal truth. Since GOD never changes, who would have the audacity to be so bold as to deny that GOD does the same today as He did then, by giving the pope, His one representative of authority on earth, the fullness of doctrinal truth?
Biblical rebuttal - If we are to be truthful then we must begin by addressing the first error, the subtle implication of professing your faith as if it's either Roman Catholicism or it's the wrong way. Let's begin by placing all faiths on the same level to be examined equally for the truth. The truth is the importance of knowing what God's ways instruct us. That God never changes is true. The whole Bible is written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through man. If someone is hungry for this Word, then we should be able to grow by reading it (1 Peter 2:2) to see what the truth is and thus be sanctified by reading it for "thy word is truth," (John 17:17) The Bible has, "the power unto salvation to everyone that believeth. (Romans 1:16) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) As a matter of fact, Paul encourages Timothy that he "study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15) Any believer can be guided by the Holy Spirit if they have the right attitude just as the Lord said, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26) Furthermore, God is not the author of confusion, Satan is. Many of these Churches might have different names, but when one gets down to it, it only matters whether or not they have the one truth about salvation. That is why we study Scriptures so that we know who is telling the truth. And this is why despite the claim of being "the one true Church," one can discern that for themselves just because they can check Scriptures for themselves.
The Protestant Rejection of Authority Error is the next claim, referring the word "authority" here to be understood as the pope and the Roman Catholic Church. "He who hears you, hears me; and he who rejects you, rejects me and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me" is the thinking behind the claim that the writer makes from Luke 10:16. He goes on to say that, "Rejection of authority is anti-Christian and anti-Bible," using the arguments from Scriptures that tell us to submit to higher powers, and because if we don't we'll have to face damnation.
Biblical rebuttal - Many protestants do not reject authority; however, they do reject false authorities such as what many religions claim to own. God's Church does not have a name or denomination. That is why there are Christians in many of the estimated 36,000 protestant churches. And Scriptures prove themselves to be the inerrant word of God. So if a Church of whatever name it is, follows God's word as the Bible is meant, you will there find the true Church - the people of God. The Bible is "THE AUTHORITY" in which we follow. When any church places their traditions equal to God's written word, they are then pushing a false Gospel. And our Church ancestors are indeed due our respect, but as Paul once wrote, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9) So it may be that a person does not know any ancestors or what you claim they say, if they carefully examine God's word as their authority, then the truth will be known.
Cardinal Ratzinger also wrote, "Protestants who claim to follow Holy Scripture literally, practice a false man-made doctrine which they have labeled Sola Scriptura." This grace limitation exposes them to increased and compounded error, because for them to believe in anything, therefore, they must find it in the Bible. Since Scripture is not
self-authenticating and is not self-teaching, and does not specify which books are inspired, how can the protestant know that the book to which he holds is inspired at all? It is certainly not historical before the Protestant revolt. It could not possibly have worked before the invention of the printing press when Bibles became plentiful. It could not possibly have worked when 95% of the masses were illiterate."
Biblical rebuttal - This is wrong because the Holy Spirit is the source of Scripture and all believers are given him to interpret what he wrote. The New Testament writings were done by the end of the first century, copied and preached upon each Sunday. These books were read and distributed as Scripture for over 300 years by individual Christians and Churches long before their church councils claimed to give us the Bible. The Scripture is God breathed, its origin is with God, it is not man given. Furthermore, Sola Scriptura is Biblical for at least three reasons. First let's look at 2 Timothy 3:15-17, "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." So we see that Scriptures can make a person "wise unto salvation." And then it says that the man is made perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Secondly, Jesus guarantees that everything in it will happen and is truth. And thirdly, when Jesus needed to point out a fact or establish as a statement of truth, He'd quote Scriptures saying, "It is written..." What more proof does one need or what could man add to God's word that the creator of the mind would have forgotten? The whole idea that Scriptures aren't self-sufficient or self-self-supporting is ridiculous.
So we see this month just three of the false ideas that are expressed about a Christian Protestant with more coming next month.