Misconceptions, beliefs, teachings

I've been both: Protestant and Catholic. And I've learned the hard way about the misconceptions they have about each others' faith, beliefs, and teachings.

Misconceptions by Protestants . . .

None of these are true; the Catholic Church doesn't teach it.

Misconceptions by Catholics . . .

Links to Articles. . .


Two Perspectives

Protestants and Catholics have weirdly different perspectives. As an example, consider the biblical duty of Christians to share their faith, to proclaim the gospel. But what if God places an unsaved person before us, we fail to witness to them, and they end up in hell?

The Protestant perspective . . .

Three views . . .

  1. Their fate is our responsibility. We will lose rewards in heaven for disobeying God.
  2. The Holy Spirit indwells us and empowers us. Ignoring the Spirit's prompting indicates we are not saved
  3. The Charismatic version of the previous: We disobey the promptings of the Holy Spirit if we are not filled with the Holy Spirit — we are baby Christians, immature, perhaps unsaved.

The Catholic perspective . . .

The two key factors . . .

  1. Christians are called to a life of virtue.
  2. Christians can lose their salvation through mortal sin. (Read more: Culpability, Sin, and Mortal Sin.)

Those who live out the theological virtue of love (charity) will seek the salvation of others and share the gospel. By the cardinal virtue of fortitude they will be courageous of heart and overcome fears. They will conquer the capital sin of sloth. With the cardinal virtue of wisdom they won't waste time "casting pearls before swine".

All Christians are obliged to obey Christ and to strive to become perfect in the virtues as he was . . .

This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare. (1 Timothy 1:18)

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

After salvation concupiscence (tendency to sin) remains and we struggle to become perfect. We must call out to the Holy Spirit for strength or our faith is weak.

The key attitudes of true Christians: (1) they are repulsed by sin, (2) they call out to God.

Salvation is not required for virtue; even non-Christians are capable of virtue. But virtue does not earn salvation; faith with grace is required.

My conclusion . . .

The Catholic perspective makes sense; I accept it as biblical and true.


Links to Articles

In this article . . .

Overview | Two Perspectives | Pros and Cons of Various Forms of Christianity | Protestants and Catholics | Catholics and Protestants | Protestants Should . . . | Protestants Should Not . . . | Catholics Should . . .

Other . . .

 *Protestantism vs. Catholicism*    Protestantism vs. Catholicism: Introduction | The Church | Church History | How Are We Saved? | Living A Holy Life | Sacraments | The Early Church | Doctrines | The Protestant Reformation | Protestant Objections | Protestant Variations | How to Know What's True | Liberal Christianity

 *Why I Became Catholic*    Why I Became Catholic


Pros and Cons of Various Forms of Christianity

As a fundamentalist evangelical Protestant I knew nothing of Catholicism and Orthodoxy — except the false notion that Catholicism was bad.

Catholic

Pros

Cons

Orthodox

Pros

Cons


fundamentalist evangelical Protestantism

Note: I reject liberal Christianity and don't discuss it. My only interest is on-fire, radically-saved, and born-again Protestantism.

Pros

Cons


Catholic Bashers

These Protestants misrepresent the doctrines, teachings, and practice of the Catholic Church. Their objections are based on bad Catholics (including priests, bishops, nuns, monks, etc.) Categories of bad Catholics . . .

"Catholic bashing" Protestants exaggerate the numbers of these poorly-formed Catholics.


Catholic Ignorance about Protestants

Catholics often think Protestants believe such and such when they don't. This is not surprising considering the infinite variety of Protestant views. Some errors:

The Protestant Reformation of the 1500's was a schismatic revolution bringing disunity. Martin Luther and John Calvin were called heretics: Luther for dividing the church, Calvin for teaching total depravity (Catechism, 406). But today's Catholic Catechism welcomes Protestants as fellow Christians:

Serious dissentions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church. . . . One cannot charge with sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers. . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church. . . . Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities [found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church] as means of salvation. (Catechism, p. 216, sects. 817818819)

Some Catholics wrong-headedly attempt to convert Protestants to Catholicism.


Protestants Should . . .

How do we know whether someone is saved? To be fair, only essential Christian doctrines should be considered, not non-essential traditions and practices. Catholics are saved if they emphasize Christ in faith.

Protestants should, but don't, consider the origin of their own doctrine and practice. In splitting away from the Catholic Church the Protestant Reformers (revolutionaries) invented new doctrines. It is hard to justify the idea that a single man such as Martin Luther could have gotten right what centuries of church theologians had missed, especially those early Church Fathers who learned the faith first-hand from the apostles. It is easier to accept the notion that although the church needed reform, it had a correct doctrinal foundation.

Protestants should consider whether the Bible really teaches we are saved merely by the simple act of believing the gospel message; after all, John the Baptist and Jesus both preached the necessity of repentance from sin.


Protestants Should Not . . .

Some Protestant missionaries in predominantly Catholic countries believe it is their mission to convert Catholics. This is no different than Baptists trying to convert Presbyterians into becoming Baptists.

The salvation of souls is the key issue, not the denominational distinctives of the various Protestant denominations. Yet missionary programs are often focused on converting those who are already saved and the conversion is often merely a conversion from Catholicism to Protestantism.

Protestants who sincerely desire to help Catholics can best help them by encouraging them to regularly read and study the Bible. The Catholic Church encourages all Christians to do this . . .

The study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. (Catechism, 132)

The Church forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. (Catechism, 133)


Catholics Should . . .

The scriptures (especially the gospels) are read and emphasized in every Catholic mass. Every faithful Catholic who pays attention will hear the scriptures often, since Catholics are required to attend mass weekly and on Holy Days (a half-dozen per year) and to be fully attentive with a worshipful, prayerful attitude.

The Catholic Church teaches that Protestants are missing out on the many blessings (especially the sacraments) that come only from active membership and participation in the Catholic Church. These Protestants do not have the Teaching Magisteriumto properly interpret the Bible and to teach the faith passed-on from the apostles.