Originally Posted by glass_of_merlot
Martin Luther protested against the catholic church and his followers were called Protestants
Martin Luther protested against the catholic church? Or did he protest against the organisation that called
itself the catholic church? At least we can describe this body as the Catholic Church, or the Roman Catholic Church, to avoid giving the impression that there is no church other than a papist one.
Unless, of course, that is what we actually believe to be the case.
But Protestants are not Protestants merely because they protested. Many people protested against the 'church' of the Vatican, and very strongly, and they were certainly not Protestants. They were humanists, even atheists, and very many were Catholics. There was very much to protest about then, indeed, to fail to protest was arguably to be rather less than civilised. Protestantism was and remains adherence to three tenets- sola fide
, sola Scriptura
, and the exclusive priesthood of all believers. In the 16th century and later, the word 'protest' meant 'declare'. Poets would lovingly protest, or declare, a woman's beauty, for instance- not
say that she was ugly! And Protestantism went beyond complaining about the scandals allowed or promoted by popes- it made a positive statement about how a person was to be saved- by the gospel of salvation through faith in the finished work of Christ. If the RCC vanished entirely, the word 'Protestantism' would be just as valid as it is now.
And indeed the German language equivalent of 'Protestant' has the same declarative meaning- Evangelische,
meaning 'promoting of the gospel', or evangelical (and yes, all real Protestants are evangelicals).
Before anyone takes it into their heads that Luther was a Protestant, well, sorry, he wasn't. He only tinkered with the old system (and his tinkering actually caused the rise of evangelicalism which found his compromise wanting). He said
that he was a new creation, and there are millions today who say the same. To find someone today who really believes that faith in Christ's righteousness justifies is pretty uncommon, in denominations, anyway. Many believe that one must speak in tongues, believe in literal Genesis, believe in a trinity, believe in the power of water baptism to save, believe that only the King James Version of Scripture is acceptable, believe that one must attend church regularly, especially 'Eucharist', believe that one must observe a seventh day as a sabbath, believe in sacraments; or, one must believe in the heresy of Calvin, or one must witness to five persons every day, or belong to one particular organisation such as Mormons; and many other things invented by Satan and fondly believed as necessary, other than simple faith in the perfect sacrifice of Christ that needs no additions whatever.
This puts many 'Protestants' in the same category as Roman Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Eastern Orthodox, Hindus and Rastafarians, and indeed Mafia
members. Unsaved, because they do not place all their hope in the righteousness of Christ.