Diff bw Catholic and Protestors

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INTRODUCTION:
Allah has not created anything better than Reason. It is by our God’s gifted
faculty of reasoning that we are so uniquely distinct from other creatures. It is by
exercise of this very faculty that we can reorganize His existence. Our material and
spiritual progress or degeneration is based also on how we use this unique faculty.
World of Human is divided into numerous religions, but unfortunately the
discrimination between the same religions is being increased day by day. Now the
prevailing emerging situation has given impetus to it.
In Christianity, differences between Catholics and protestors is also significant problems
History:
In understanding the history of Christianity and the claims of apostolic
succession, as well as the Roman Catholic Church’s claim to being the one true Church
with unique authority, it is important that we realize a couple of key points.
First, we must realize that even in the days of the apostles and the first century
church, false teachers and false teachings were a significant problem. We know this
because warnings against heresies and false teachers are found in all the later New
Testament writings. Jesus, Himself warned that these false teachers would be like
“wolves in sheep’s clothing”, and that there would be both “tares and wheat” that would
exist together until the day of judgment when He separates the saved from the lost, the
true “born again” believer from those that have not truly received Him.
This is important in understanding church history, because from almost the very
beginning false teachers and false teachings have been invading the church and
leading people astray. Despite this, there have always also been true “born again”
believers who held fast to the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith
alone in Christ alone, throughout all ages, even in the darkest period of the dark ages.
The second thing we must realize to correctly understand church history is that
the word catholic simply means “universal.” This is important because in the early
Christian writings of the first and second centuries, when the term “catholic” is used, it is
referring to the “universal church” or “body of Christ” that is made up of “born again”
believers from every tribe, tongue and nation (Revelation 5:9; 7:9). However, like many
words over time, the word “catholic” began to take on new meaning, or came to be used
in a new sense. Over time, the concept of a “universal” or “catholic” church began to
evolve into the concept that all churches were thought of as forming together one
church, not just spiritually, but also visibly, extending throughout the world. This
misunderstanding of the nature of the visible church (which always has contained both
“wheat and tares”) and the invisible church, (the body of Christ which is only made up of
born again believers) would lead to the concept of a visible Holy Catholic Church,
outside of which there is no salvation. It is out of this misunderstanding of the nature of
the universal church that the Roman Catholic Church evolved.
Prior to the Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in 315 A.D., Christians had
been persecuted by the Roman government. With his conversion Christianity, became
an allowed religion of the Roman Empire (and later became the official religion), and the
thus “visible” Church became joined with the power of the Roman government. This
marriage of church and state led to formation of the Roman Catholic Church, and over
time caused the Roman Catholic Church to refine its doctrine and develop its structure
in a way that best served the purpose of the Roman government. During this time,
opposing the Roman Catholic Church was the same as opposing the Roman
Government, and carried with it severe penalties. Therefore, if one disagreed with some
doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, it was a serious charge that often resulted in
excommunication, and sometimes even death.
Major Differences Between Protestants and Catholics:
There are several very important differences between Catholics and Protestants.
While there have been some attempts over the last several years to find common
ground between the two groups, the fact is that the differences remain, and they are just
as important today as they were at the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
Following is brief summary of some of the more important differences.
One of the first major differences between Catholicism and Protestantism is the
issue of the sufficiency and authority of Scripture. Protestants believe that the Bible
alone is the sole source of God’s special revelation to mankind, and as such it teaches
us all that is necessary for our salvation from sin. Protestants view the Bible as the
standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. This belief is commonly
referred to as “Sola Scriptura” and is one of the “Five Solas” (sola being Latin for
“alone”) that came out of the Protestant Reformation as summaries of some of the
important differences between Catholics and Protestants.
Another major but closely related difference between Catholicism and
Protestantism is over the office and authority of the Pope. According to Catholicism the
Pope is the “Vicar of Christ” (a vicar is a substitute), and takes the place of Jesus as the
visible head of the Church. As such he has the ability to speak “ex cathedra” (with
authority on matters of faith and practice), and when he does so his teachings are
considered infallible and binding upon all Christians. On the other hand, Protestants
believe that no human being is infallible, and that Christ alone is the head of the church.
Catholics rely on apostolic succession as a way of trying to establishing the Pope’s
authority. But Protestants believe that the church’s authority does not come from
apostolic succession, but instead is derived from the Word of God. Spiritual power and
authority does not rest in the hands of a mere man, but in the very Word of God
recorded in Scripture. While Catholicism teaches that only the Catholic Church can
properly and correctly interpret the Bible, Protestants believe that the Bible teaches that
God sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all born again believers, enabling all believers to
understand the message of the Bible.
A third major difference between Catholicism and Protestantism is how one is
saved. Another of the “Five Solas” of the reformation was “Sola Fide” (faith alone),
which affirms the biblical doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone
because of Christ alone. However, according to Roman Catholicism, man cannot be
saved by faith alone in Christ alone. They teach that the Christian must rely on faith plus
“meritorious works” in order to be saved. Essential to the Roman Catholic doctrine of
salvation are the Seven Sacraments, which are: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist,
Penance, anointing of the sick, Holy Orders, and matrimony. Protestants believe that on
the basis of faith in Christ alone, believers are justified by God as all their sins are paid
for by Christ on the cross and His righteousness is imputed to them. Catholics on the
other hand believe that Christ’s righteousness is imparted to the believer by “grace
through faith,” but in itself is not sufficient to justify the believer. The believer must
“supplement” the righteousness of Christ imparted to him with meritorious works.
A fourth major difference between Catholics and Protestants has to do with what
happens after men die. While both believe that unbelievers will spend eternity in hell,
there is significant and important differences as to what happens to believers. From
their church traditions and their reliance of non-canonical books, the Catholics have
developed the doctrine of purgatory. Purgatory, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia,
is a “place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in
God’s grace are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the
satisfaction due to their transgressions.” On the other hand, Protestants believe that
because we are justified by faith in Christ alone, and that Christ’s righteousness is
imputed to us - when we die we will go straight to heaven to be in the presence of the
Lord. While there are numerous other differences between what Catholics and
Protestants believe, these four should be adequate to establish that there are serious
differences between the two.
Arguments between a Protestant and a Catholic:
Thus, many of the arguments between a Protestant and a Catholic will revolve
around one's “private interpretation” of Scripture as against the "official teachings of the
Roman Catholic Church." Catholics claim to successfully avoid the legitimate problems
of private interpretation by their reliance on their tradition. But this merely pushes the
question back a step. The truth is that both Roman Catholics and Protestants must, in
the end, rely upon their reasoning abilities (to choose their authority) and their
interpretive skills (to understand what that authority teaches) in order to determine what
they will believe. Protestants are simply more willing to admit that this is the case.
Both sides can also be fiercely loyal to their family's faith or the church they grew
up in without much thought to doctrinal arguments. Obviously there are a lot of possible
reasons, and while we should not divide over secondary issues, both sides agree that
we must divide when it comes to primary issues. Beyond that, we can agree to disagree
and worship where we find ourselves most in agreement. When it comes to Roman
Catholicism and Protestantism, the differences are just too great to ignore. However,
that does not give license for caricatures or ignorant judgments - both sides need to be
honest in their assessments and try not go beyond what God has revealed.
Important and fundamental doctrines of the Protestant Reformation:
Five important and fundamental doctrines are the reason for the Protestant
Reformation. They are at the heart of where the Roman Catholic Church went wrong in
its doctrine, and why the Protestant Reformation was necessary to return churches
throughout the world to correct doctrine and biblical teaching. They are just as important
today in evaluating a church and its teachings as they were then. In many ways, much
of Protestant Christianity needs to be challenged to return to these fundamental
doctrines of the faith, much like the reformers challenged the Roman Catholic Church to
do in the sixteenth century.
They are:1- Sola Scriptura
2- Sola Gratia
3- Sola Fide
4- Solus Christus
5- Soli Deo Gloria
1 - “Sola Scriptura,” or Scripture Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that the Bible
alone is the sole authority for all matters of faith and practice. Scripture and Scripture
alone is the standard by which all teachings and doctrines of the church must be
measured. As Martin Luther so eloquently stated when asked to recant on his
teachings, "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason - I do not accept the
authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my
conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to
go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen."
2 - “Sola Gratia,” Salvation by grace alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that
salvation is by God’s grace alone and that we are rescued from His wrath by His grace
alone. God’s grace in Christ is not merely necessary, but is the sole efficient cause of
salvation. This grace is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ
by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual
life.
3 - “Sola Fide,” Salvation by Faith Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that
justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. It is by faith in
Christ that His righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s
perfect justice.
4 - “Solus Christus,” In Christ Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that salvation is
found in Christ alone and that His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are
sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to God the Father. The gospel has not
been preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared, and faith in Christ and His
work is not solicited.
5 - “Soli Deo Gloria, For the Glory of God Alone: This affirms the Biblical doctrine that
salvation is of God, and has been accomplished by God for His glory alone. It affirms
that as Christians we must glorify Him always, and must live our entire lives before the
face of God, under the authority of God, and for His glory alone.
CONCLUSION:
In conclusion, having discussed the lack of scriptural support for some of the
foundational doctrines necessary for the existence of indulgences, it must also be stated
that there is not a single scriptural example of, or teaching about, an apostle or
church leader doling out an “indulgence” to a fellow believer. Not one! From its
foundation to its summit the whole structure of the doctrine of indulgences is
unfounded biblically.
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