Religious Tyranny: A Case Study; Chapter Eight, The Protestant Gospel of Authority
If most Protestants knew what the Protestant gospel is they wouldn’t be Protestants. Whether Baptists, Methodist, Presbyterian or some other stripe of Protestantism, few Protestants know what a Protestant is. This was demonstrated by this author and his wife at a Neo-Reformation conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Attendees were presented with seven yes or no questions about Protestant soteriology. In every case, and in regard to all seven questions, documented Protestant orthodoxy, even its primary tenets, were rejected as being true.
Once saved always saved is not a tenet of Protestant orthodoxy. A change of nature or state of being in regard to salvation is not Protestant orthodoxy. In addition, almost everything rejected by Protestants who think they know what a Protestant is—is in fact, Protestant orthodoxy. Examples include salvation by church membership, pastoral absolution, and baptismal regeneration. Again, while most Protestants reject these tenets intellectually, their functionality reflects true Protestant orthodoxy. This is because the Reformers were primarily concerned with function anyway; the fundamental Protestant worldview holds that the commoner cannot understand spiritual truth or reality to begin with.
Consequently, we constantly hear Protestants, and Baptists in particular, boasting about the simplicity of their faith! The incessant mantra, “I know nothing but Christ and him crucified” is worn as a badge of honor. Also, theological ignorance is deemed synonymous with “humbleness.” This is by design.
The testimony of a friend who converted from Protestantism to Catholicism, and a conversation with some of his Catholic compatriots says it all:
I absolutely trust the authority of the Church that has endured 2,000+ years, despite all the attacks on it, and I trust it way more than a denomination that branched off of Catholicism because they didn’t like what the Church taught. I’m not insulted by the fact that my knowledge pales in comparison to 2,000 years of theologians, church doctors, and scholars. There is nothing in Catholic Church teaching that contradicts Scripture.
No argument at all from me as you agree with my thesis in broad daylight. You don’t trust your “own knowledge” as set against ancient orthodoxy. This despite the indwelling of the Godhead bodily. Which, apparently, only enables you to agree with the Catholic Church. Bingo.
Paul, the Catholic Church was started by Jesus Christ and the apostles, popes, and church doctors carried on Jesus Christ’s mission. YOU believe in the authority of the Catholic Church—otherwise what you call scripture is nothing!
“YOU believe in the authority of the Catholic Church—otherwise what you call scripture is nothing!” Well said Irene—we agree on the premise. Your authority is the Pope and not reason. When God said, “Come, let us reason together” He assumed the Pope would be present. Look, life is about choices—it’s between you and God.
Yes, Jesus is the ONE sole mediator, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be other (lower, subordinate) mediators who, through grace, were sent forth to also mediate (intercede, teach, represent).
Look at what you just wrote: Jesus is the “ONE sole” mediator, but there are others as well [“one” doesn’t mean “one”?]. And others somehow equal authority, and then their authority is passed on to the popes because a bunch of popes say so. Really? Look Debbie, I am not your judge. Everyone one will give an account for their own choosing.
If everyone would just be obedient to one authority there would be unity and not all of these denominations and confusion.
But, to cite even more Protestant confusion in context, the Reformation fathers NEVER left the Catholic Church. Martin Luther never left the Catholic Church, and John Calvin never left the Catholic Church. And, on what authority did they disagree with the Church? The Church had drifted away from Augustinian principles. Therefore, both, I repeat, both churches, Catholic and Protestant, claim Augustine as their Doctor of Grace and doctrine. This is by no means ambiguous church history; it is blatant fact.
Perhaps no book documents this more thoroughly than Dave Hunt’s “What Love is This?” But Hunt, like everyone else, failed to draw the proper logical conclusions. How so? While assuming that Protestant denominations all share a common salvation by faith alone accompanied by secondary disagreements, the focus is the predestination controversy. Hunt’s motive was to discredit predestination by showing John Calvin’s connections to Augustine and the Catholic Church. But the problem is; Protestantism at large shares the same connections. Calvinism is not a misbehaving passenger on the church bus of salvation; it is the bus’s charter.
Hunt sought to discredit Calvinism by showing his connections to a works salvation as opposed to the Protestant salvation by faith alone which is just not true at all. Both religions propagate the same gospel of authority fathered by Saint Augustine. This is why both have displayed the exact same religious tyranny throughout church history. Splinter groups who advocated individual interpretation of the Scriptures were persecuted in unspeakable ways by both Churches at the same time. This is historical fact: teaching against Protestant orthodoxy was no less punishable by death than refuting Catholicism.
And plainly for any Protestant that cares to partake in a cursory observation, both religions advocate progressive salvation through sacraments that can only be obtained in the institutional church. Both are clearly works salvation via obedience to an authority other than Christ. When one obeys any “truth” that contradicts the plain sense of Scripture and personal conscience, they are participating in a false gospel. A gospel that advocates any mediation or authority other than Christ is a false gospel.
Think for a moment. Even if the Bible advocates “subordinate mediators/authorities,” at what church counsel did Christ himself appear and confirm the right mediators before men? We only have the claims of men themselves to consider if we believe this.
The gospel of authority necessarily requires institutions. It also requires supply and demand. An institution must sell something in order to stay in business. The church sells salvation, and people will pay very large amounts of money to obtain it. In contrast, if your salvation is a finished work, that does not bode well for RMR, that is, reoccurring monthly revenue.
There is a better way. That way is a real and living family, not “When you’re here, you’re family.” Nobody buys that. Christ’s body is not “just like family,” it is family.
Chapter Nine: The True Gospel: “You Must Be Born Again”