Catholicism and Protestantism

According to the Encyclopedia Britanica the difference between Catholic Christianity and Evangelical Christianity (Protestantism) is as follows:

    "Catholicism differs from other Christian churches and denominations in its beliefs about the sacraments, the roles of the Bible and tradition, the importance of the Virgin Mary and the saints, and the papacy."

Even the Encyclopedia Britanica admits that:
    "As a branch of Christianity, Roman Catholicism can be traced to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in Roman-occupied Jewish Palestine about 30 CE. According to Roman Catholic teaching, each of the sacraments was instituted by Christ himself. Roman Catholicism also holds that Jesus established his disciple St. Peter as the first pope of the nascent church (Matthew 16:18). Centuries of tradition, theological debates, and the wiles of history have shaped Roman Catholicism into what it is today."

What are Protestant Traditions?
    Evangelical Protestants traditionally criticize the Catholic Church for promoting the Traditions of Men. And even though Catholic doctrines are always backed up by scripture, Protestants always label them as false.

    However, Protestants also have traditions, which were truly instituted by men and have either a very scant scriptural basis, or none at all. Of course, Protestants do not call them traditions, but generally refer to them as doctrines.

Protestant Traditions or Doctrines
  • Salvation by Faith Alone (Sola Fide) primarily by Martin Luther
  • Eternal Security (Once Saved, always Saved) by Martin Luther
  • Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura) by John Wycliffe & Martin Luther
  • Interpretation of Predestination by John Calvin
    Protestants have also decided that, on their own authority, they could ignore or change any Christian traditions, no matter how long-held. if they either don't like them or no longer agree with them.

Traditions changed by Protestants
  • The 16th century reformers, led by Martin Luther, claimed they had discovered the previously suppressed, true doctrine of Jesus Christ, which was summed up in the doctrine of Sola Fide (Salvation by Faith Alone). This opposed the long-held Christian teaching that faith devoid of charity and good works is a dead faith.
  • In his translation of the New Testament into German, Martin Luther added the word "alone" (allein in German) to Romans 3:28. In Luther's translation it read - ("So now we hold, that man is justified without the help of the works of the law, alone through faith.")
  • In his translation of the Old Testament, Martin Luther removed the deuterocanonical books and placed them between the New and Old testaments calling them 'Apocrypha'. These translations were authorized by the self-proclaimed authority of Martin Luther alone.
  • The British Foreign Bible Society excised the deuterocanonical books in 1825 that had been included in every King James Version bible since the first one in 1611.
  • Contraception had been considered gravely sinful by all Christian churches until the Church of England's Lambeth Conference of 1930, which broke with Christian tradition by accepting contraception as morally correct.
  • Ignoring both Paul's and Jesus Christ's words in the New Testament as recorded in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 and Matthew 19:3-6, Martin Luther decided that it was morally and lawfully acceptable for married couples to divorce. Since then, nearly all Protestants hold that divorce is acceptable.
  • Breaking with a nearly 1900 year Christian tradition, a woman was ordained as a protestant minister in 1853, opening the floodgates to more and more protestant women being ordained, some even as bishops.
  • John Calvin's doctrine of predestination held that only a relatively few persons would be saved and that it would have been better for most people if they had never been born since they are predestined for damnation. This was opposed to the teaching of the Catholic church whose teaching is essentially that, "Salvation is open to every person willing to reach for it." St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo Regius stated as early as the 4th Century: "God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us."
    Belief in and adherence to these 'exceptions' is not universal in Protestantism. Some agree and some don't, even to the most basic Christian tenants, such as the necessity of Christian Baptism for salvation.

What is the bottom line?
    For all of this and much more, we have Luther's Protestant tradition of Scripture Alone to thank. A non-scriptural doctrine that has effectively separated Christians into opposing (occassionaly warring) camps and divided Christians into thousands of denominations, sects, and belief systems.

The Great Deception
    In the 16th century, Martin Luther claimed that God declares us justified when we accept Jesus as our savior and that we will never lose this justification, therefore we will be saved without any further act on our part. Luther also avowed that Sola Fide is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls.
    However, Sola Fide is a novel invention of the 16th century. The Christian church did just fine without Sola Fide for 1,500 years. And the Christian church would do just fine if Sola Fide went away tomorrow, because no one in the Christian church ever taught that we were both justified and Once Saved, always Saved by their faith alone before Luther.

Nothing is Greater than Love
    While it is true that without faith it is impossible to please God Hebrews 11:6, it is also true that whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love 1 John 4:8 and it is also true even if a person has a great faith in God, but does not have love, he is nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2 and Faith is never alone, it must work thru Love Galatians 5:6.

    The true teaching of the Christian Gospel is summed up in John 3:36 "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him."

    In Luke 6:46 Jesus asks us, "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' but not do what I command?"

    Jesus Christ commands us to: "Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:30-31

For more information see: Justification: Protestant and Catholic from New Advent, read or listen to The Doctrine That Didn’t Exist podcast by Joe Heschmeyer at Catholic Answers, and read "The Reformers’ Distorted View of Salvation" - by Tom Nash at Catholic Answers. Also see: How are we Saved? by Christopher Mirus from EWTN