What is a Protestant?

What is a Protestant?

Welcome to the community. Depending who you ask, you will probably get different responses to this seemingly easy question.

Some define a Protestant as a member of one of the mainstream Christian Churches who have split from the One, Holy, Universal, and Apostolic Church, though most of these would prefer to use the term “reformed.”

Joshua Charles on Twitter recently tweeted: “Perhaps the greatest joy of being Catholic is the one true faith stands on its own. It does not define itself in opposition to the various heresies and schisms that have departed from it.”

I used to attend a non-Denominational Church and we did not split off from the Catholic Church. We were church-planted (which is becoming quite trendy these days) based on the Bible alone, we would say.

Others might define a Protestant as anyone who actively opposes the teachings of the Catholic Christian Faith.

If you ask some Christians if they are Protestant, they might say no, because they do not see Catholics as a threat to what they believe and therefore they might say that they are not in protest to Catholic Christians generally speaking.

And some might define a Protestant as any Christian who does not practice the Catholic/Orthodox Christian Faith.

Jesus founded a church in the Apostles, many of whom were martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ and for sharing the Gospel message. Eventually these Christians and their successors began writing things down and writing letters to one another.

It was the Church (made up of validly ordained successors to the Apostles) who determines which books and letters were to be included in the Bible. The canon of the Bible was affirmed by the Council of Rome (in 382 AD), the Synod of Hippo (in 393 AD), the Councils of Carthage (in 397 AD & 419 AD), the Council of Florence (1431-1449 AD) and finally, as an article of faith, by the Council of Trent (1545-1563 AD).

We also have other writings from the Early Church Fathers that describe some of the challenges they faced in the early church. The Didache was written around the late first or early second century and proclaims many of the things found in the Gospels and describes how some of the early Christians worshiped.

Sometimes Protestants are referred to as our separated brethren. The Catholic Church tends to recognize their Baptisms as valid (assuming it was done in the trinitarian form and using the proper matter, being water). However, not all Protestants recognize infant Baptisms as valid (these Protestants are often referred to as Anabaptists). The early Christians baptized entire households (including babies). In the Old Covenant, babies would be circumcised by day eight, but under the New Covenant, circumcision was no longer the way in which we become members of God’s family. In Baptism, Christ is doing the work in us and we become reborn in the holy Spirit. There are some Protestants who believe that Baptism is unnecessary or worse, a work condemned by Scripture. But, Catholic Christians believe in Baptism, because it is not only in the Bible, but Jesus commanded the Apostles and their successors to do so.

Not all Protestants hate Catholics and not all Christians consider themselves to be Protestant. I hope this helps : )

The synchronicity is real! I’m catching up on past weeks’ podcasts and Trent Horn had on a guest to discuss this very topic.