Forgive my clickbaity title for my post. If you want to nickname me Tim “Click” Bates, then so be it. I won’t stop you.
My son’s name is Calvin and my wife almost divorced me when I asked if we could name our daughter “Lutherina.” In hindsight I should have asked her about Lutherina before I asked her about Geneva, but hindsight, like Barbara Walters, is 20/20. I am not Catholic. I have no interest in becoming Catholic. That’s not what this post is about.
Atheists identify themselves by what they are not. In doing this they tacitly concede that they are rebelling against conventional knowledge. Conventional knowledge though, unlike God’s word, is not infallible. What I am proposing, if you’ll kindly hear me out, is that atheists and protestants are, by virtue of the rebellious nature of their nomenclature, giving credibility to the authority with whom they disagree.
I was raised in a Bible-believing Christian home by 2 Christian parents. I have attended a Bible-believing church that taught sound theology for as long as I’ve known how to read. I didn’t know what Catholicism was until I was in junior high.
America has had 1 Catholic president in its history. None of the popes have been Americans. Non-Catholic churches in my area outnumber Catholic churches by about 10:1.
Why, dear friends, would I call myself protestant? I am not protesting the Catholic Church anymore than I am protesting Hindu or Islam or Health and Wealth! The Catholic Church’s influence on my life is virtually non-existent.
I understand why Martin Luther was protesting the Catholic church. I understand why the other reformers were, too. They were in the thick of it. The Catholic church was the church and the state. 500 years later and halfway around the globe in a country that’s been heavily influenced by Puritan thinking, I don’t see the sense in holding onto the term, especially because if I were to use that term (based upon what I said a few paragraphs ago) then I believe I’ve conceded that I’m rebelling against the authority.
Protestant is a temporally and geographically restricted term. Insisting on the label of protestant in 21st century middle-America makes as much sense to me as someone in California rebelling against the governor of Maine. Sure you may disagree with the governor of Maine, but the governor of Maine has no real influence over the state of California! By insisting on being identified as someone who is not from Maine, you actually give Maine’s governor more power than he/she had before (I really should just do a quick search for who the governor of Maine is but I don’t want to give that power hungry barbarian the satisfaction that I know his/her name).
2 Timothy 1:12-14 (NASB)
12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.
“Retain the standard of sound words.” That’s our duty. Luther and Calvin needed to stand in direct opposition to the Catholic Church because of its vast influence — in order to retain sound words. They, for a time, were protestants. They are no longer protestants and neither is anyone else in Heaven. They are Christ worshipers.
Anyone today who teaches (as Roman Catholicism does) that Christ’s death and resurrection are inadequate for salvation, but that you must contribute your own works, pay penance, or pray through an intermediary is protesting the authority of Christ. Christ’s authority (Colossians 1:18; Colossians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23) is the standard we ought to use to judge everything. Those who deny Christ are the ones rejecting THE authority. My not being Catholic is not a rejection of an authority. The Catholic church has zero authority over anyone who is not Catholic. Christ has authority over every man and woman regardless of their religious affiliations.
Revelation 19:11-13 (NASB)
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
Who is the real rebel? You for opposing Pope Francis? Is anyone intimidated by that guy??? Or is the real rebel, the real protester, the one who scoffs at the King of Kings who has eyes of fire, diadems, and a robe dipped in blood?