Saturday, 22 June 2013



It is a common portrayal by Roman Catholic apologists who usually provide statistics from America in general or California in particular to show that Protestantism cannot succeed or be the true religion of Jesus Christ because she is "hopelessly divided."  The implication is that each sect or group is at the throats of all the rest - plenty of paint being dashed on to make the overall picture so engaging. However it is easily answered:
We might argue that not all who are called Protestant are actually Protestant nor even identify themselves are such. In one list produced in a book designed to subvert Protestants to the Roman faith, the Church of the Latter Day Saints were not only listed as Protestants but were listed again under their more common identity as Mormons. This is disingenuous. 

But to come to the fact that there are many real, genuine Protestant groupings, I use the illustration of one camp but different tents. Although Protestantism finds itself dispersed into different tents yet there is no breaking of fellowship where those in another tent hold to the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.

This is clearly witnessed in various situations: Protestant hymnbooks where the writers come from a fairly wide spectrum of denominations. Not all hymnbooks are denominational - "Grace Hymns" - "Redemption Songs" etc., were not compiled by any one denomination and are to be found right across the board.

It is seen in the books in the library of Protestant ministers where again many denominations are represented. The contents of these books will invariably find their way into quotations from the pulpits.

We quote with general approval each others confessions of faith. Although Presbyterian, I am happy to quote the 39 Articles of the Anglican Church when appropriate etc., I find the "Westminster Confession of Faith" being quoted by others. Indeed the Baptist Confession and the Congregational Savoy Confession practically quotes the WCF verbatim on many subjects - the differences being relatively minor i.e. baptism and church government.

We have many interdenominational missionary societies, Bible societies etc., where again many denominations are represented. Various publishing houses exist who publish books from a wide spectrum of denominational writers e.g. Banner of Truth/Evangelical Press etc., Many Bible Colleges are non denominational. Spurgeon's Baptist College, although strictly believing in baptism by immersion for believers only, engaged the services of a paedo Baptist as the Principle. Spurgeon's biography quotes this as "another instance of the catholicity of spirit that Spurgeon manifested" (The Full Harvest p168)

It is not uncommon even in denominational conferences to bring speakers from other denominations.

We do not deny that within the broad spectrum of Protestantism, there can be squabbles over minor doctrines. This is human nature. Don't let the Romanist pretend that there is unity within his church. Rome too is split into many varied movements i.e. liberals and conservatives etc., Protestantism enjoys a unity that is spiritual. We do not look for organisational unity as Rome insists on. There is unity of fellowship among Protestants of differing denominations. We see ourselves as "All one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28) This is the unity for which Christ prayed (John 17) and which is already in existence in answer to His prayer (See present tense in Ephesians 4:3)

The writer once engaged a Legion of Mary devotee in debate. He pointed to the many divisions within Protestantism and said that we could not agree among ourselves except on the point that the Pope was wrong. Talk about blanket statements! When I pointed out that the liberals and conservatives in his church were busy "gutting each other" as witnessed in the Catholic press, he simply replied that this was "healthy debate!" Can there not be such healthy debate within Protestantism too - or must Rome denigrate every other system of theology which dares to rid itself of allegiance to her Pope?

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