I want to make something perfectly clear before I delve into this topic, because it's a topic that is going to keep coming up for the next five to eight years as we approach the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. I am NOT attacking the faith of Protestants. I know the faith of Protestants. I know their zeal. I know how much they love our Lord Jesus Christ, and so I am not in any way attacking their personal faith, fidelity or sincerity. I do not doubt these things at all. In fact, if I did doubt them, I wouldn't even be writing this article, because I wouldn't consider it worth my time. It is precisely BECAUSE of Protestant faith, zeal and sincerity, that I write this article and others like it. It is because I know they love Jesus Christ, and because I know they love him, I believe there is a chance they will listen to reason.
Now before I go on, let's pause for a word from Michael Voris, who has so succinctly laid out the foundation of this article for me in two Vortex videos...
NOTICE: RealCatholic.tv is now ChurchMilitant.tv in case you didn't know.
What Michael has set up for us here is the underlying foundation of what is wrong with Protestantism in general. To be clear, I'm not talking about Protestants the people. I'm talking about Protestantism the religious system. I want to make this crystal clear so everybody reading this understands. Protestants who still practice their faith are good people. They are Christians, and yes, they are our brethren, whether they accept that or not. In many cases, those Protestants who still practice often put us Catholics to shame. They often display more love, more compassion, more charity in general, as well as more zeal, more devotion (especially to Sacred Scripture) and in many cases more courage than we Catholics. Remember that next time you meet one. For this many Protestants should be admired, especially since their exemplary Christian lives are based on an understanding of the truth that is much more limited than the Catholic understanding, and they are missing many of the key truths that we Catholics not only have, but often take for granted. Yes, in many cases, they do put us to shame.
Having said that, there is a problem with the Protestant religious system that has been slowly playing out over the last 500 years, and most rapidly during the last 80 years. The problem with Protestantism is at the root of what it's all really about.
You see, there is basically only one thing that separates Catholics from Protestants, and from this one thing, every other issue that separates us can find its origin. That one thing is the doctrine uttered by Martin Luther in 1520 -- Sola Scriptura.
Sola Scriptura is Latin for "Scripture Alone," and what that means has been interpreted a little differently by different Protestants throughout the ages. After all is said and done though, the final definition is what many Protestants today think it means. That is simply this. If a Christian teaching cannot be found written plainly in the black and white pages of the Bible, then it need not be believed or accepted by Christians. Furthermore, Christians themselves have the authority to interpret the Scriptures for themselves without need of any authority outside of Scripture. Now some Protestants take this principle more seriously than others. Some take it more literally than others, but at the end of the day, all of them embrace this principle in some form. Therein lies the problem.
Now I could waste a lot of space here disproving the principle doctrine of Protestantism -- Sola Scriptura -- but alas I've done it before, and many others have done it too. So it will just have to suffice to say that Sola Scriptura is both un-Biblical and illogical. The doctrine can nowhere be found in the Bible, therefore based on its own premise, it disproves itself. Furthermore, plenty of Biblical texts can be referenced that call upon Christians to believe in oral Tradition as well as written Scripture (1st Corinthians 11:2; 2nd Thessalonians 2:25; 2nd Thessalonians 3:6; John 21:25). The Scriptures plainly condemn personal and private interpretation of the Bible apart from the established Tradition of the Church (2nd Peter 1:20; 2nd Peter 3:15-16). Finally, it is the Bible itself that calls the Church, not the Scriptures, the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1st Timothy 3:15). This should be enough for any level-headed Protestant, not emotionally attached to Martin Luther or his teachings, to see that something is wrong with Sola Scriptura. However, it is rare to find such a Protestant, for most will become highly defensive before getting this far into this article. We have to remember that Protestantism is also at its core a very emotional religion. It is founded on the highly emotional and prideful state of "who are you to tell me what to believe!" and "no man but Christ Himself has spiritual authority over me!" This is the emotional state it takes to embrace Sola Scriptura. In the end, Protestantism is a highly individualist religion, and it is this very thing that gave it birth, that will ultimately be it's end. For I do not believe Protestantism will survive the 21st century.
Not survive the 21st century!?! How could Protestantism be dead within 88 years? Yes, that is what I am saying. Within 88 years, by January 1st, 2100, there will be nothing left of the Protestantism we know today. It will essentially be extinct. What will have killed it? The answer is simple -- moral relativism. You see, in a religion where there is no real authority other than an inanimate object (a book) that can no more interpret itself than it can read itself, the final authority on any religious matter is none other than the individual practitioner himself. In previous centuries, Protestants primarily fought over doctrinal issues, related to such things as: salvation, predestination, ecclesiology, eschatology, etc. But as Michael Voris pointed out in the second video above, something happened in 1930 that shaped the rapid decline of Protestantism, and in my opinion, ultimately sealed its fate. That something was artificial birth control. In 1930, the Anglican Communion led the way toward accepting what had previously been condemned by all Protestant denominations as a moral evil -- contraception. Within just 30 years, every single Protestant denomination had followed suit, and artificial birth control became accepted within the Protestant world.
On a personal note; my own Evangelical tradition in Calvary Chapel had a very profound teaching on this. My wife and I, as Calvary Chapel Evangelicals, were actually taught that God WANTED us to use contraception in our marriage. We were taught that God wanted us to be "good stewards" of our finances, and that meant that we had to limit our family to what we could afford. We were told to "act our wage" and not have more babies than we knew we could financially care for. Thus we were encouraged to use whatever form of contraception was available to us, and failure to do this would be a sin. Now I'm not saying that every Calvary Chapel teaches this, because not every Calvary Chapel is the same. I am however saying that my wife and I were taught this, and so were hundreds of other couples (if not thousands) at the Calvary Chapel we attended. This had a profound effect on our marriage, and resulted in us delaying a family for ten years. It was only after we became Catholic that we finally began to appreciate the value of children in a marriage. We are still trying to overcome the heretical poison of this teaching that was implanted into our minds by Calvary Chapel Evangelicalism. (Your prayers would be appreciated on this.)
Even the most conservative Protestant denominations (the Evangelical Fundamentalists) have fully embraced artificial contraception, and this is the beginning of their downward spiral toward oblivion. Remember, Christianity existed for 1,500 years before Protestantism, and Christianity will do just fine after it's gone. Evangelical youth are already beginning to see the hypocrisy of the Sola Scriptura argument, which is why a growing number of them are beginning to rationalise the acceptance of pre-marital sex (fornication) and homosexuality (sodomy). Of all the Protestant movements throughout history, Evangelicalism seems to have enjoyed the fastest rise and the highest success. I predict this will be complemented by the fastest fall and the hardest failure in the not-too-distant future. By the time it is complete, Evangelicals will be left with nothing but bad sermons and drums in the sanctuary. They will be crying out for something with more substance. Few, if any, will turn back to mainline Protestantism. Some will return to Catholicism. Most will give up on religion entirely, or else embrace some other form of spirituality, such as the Occult, Buddhism or Islam. Before Protestantism fades away however, there will be one final gasp that will shock the world.
What is the last gasp of Protestantism? Well, it's a form of Evangelicalism that has enjoyed wide popularity in recent years. It is called the Messianic Jewish Movement, or just Messianic Judaism. What is this? It is nothing short of Protestantism's dying gasp. You see, modern Evangelicalism is the pinnacle of the Protestant religion. It is the final stripping away of all Catholic traditions and customs. In fact, Evangelical Protestants have a near phobia about traditions, which they view to be "dangerous and mindless rituals" that have no redeeming quality. Simply pull out a rosary and show it to any Evangelical and watch their response to it. To them, it represents everything that is wrong in the world. However, in this phobia against tradition, they do in turn make their own traditions, which they keep quite ritualistically. They pray a certain way. They worship a certain way. Sometimes worship services follow a very set and defined order, which can only be described as ritualistic. Nevertheless, you'll be fortunate of you ever get one of them to see it for what it is. However, there is a growing number of younger Evangelicals who recognise the emptiness of a tradition phobia. They know there is more to Christianity than just a praise and worship band with drums and a base guitar. They recognise that something went wrong with the Reformation, and perhaps the proverbial "baby was thrown out with the bath water." Maybe there is something to say for tradition, identity and custom. So in keeping with the Protestant code of rejecting all things Catholic, they have instead turned to modern Judaism for the answer. They have embraced modern Jewish culture, rituals, prayers and dress and commandeered them for themselves. They have created a new form of Protestantism, the last and final form, before it fades way from the earth. They don't even call it Protestantism, nor to they even call it Christianity. It is Messianic Judaism! Simply take all of the culture and traditions of modern Rabbinical Judaism, and artificially insert an Evangelical Protestant theology, and poof! You have a whole new religion! In the coming weeks I hope to give you some examples of this, and demonstrate just how popular it is becoming. It is in every sense the final conclusion of Protestantism, and it is ultimately the last gasp of Protestantism before it goes the way of the dinosaur.
In the end, Protestantism is madness. It's a relatively new religious phenomenon, only 500 years old, and it will eventually go extinct, just as many other heretical movements before it. The only hope for any Christian involved in Protestantism is to turn to the traditions of ancient Christianity, and there he will find the Catholic Church faithfully keeping them throughout the centuries, right up until the modern time. As Michael Voris pointed out in his videos above, there must be sanity. Christians need an authority outside of Scripture to teach us what the Scriptures mean, and Jesus Christ set up that authority for us in the Catholic Church. Either we accept it, or we reject it, but we will find no stability in our Christian lives until it is fully embraced.