The Protestants

January 10, 2014

The Protestants

            Who are the Protestants? Sometimes people say, “We aren’t Protestants.  We aren’t protesting against anything.” Perhaps that’s true, but could it be that we should be protesting against some things?

For the most part, the Protestants are all those who aren’t Catholics.  It is a big umbrella that includes evangelicals as well as the most liberal denominations.  It doesn’t tell us much about their beliefs.

Christians were first called “Protestants” back in the days of the inquisition.  According to the Random House Dictionary, the inquisition was “The special tribunal established in the 13th century and active until early modern times, engaged chiefly in combating and punishing heresy.” It was used by the Roman Catholic Church to combat the reformation.  The principle leaders of the reformation were Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-1564).

In 1526, in the Diet of Spires, the leaders of the reformation gained a victory.  It was resolved that “Every state affected by the Edict of “Worms should be allowed to control its own church and civil affairs as it might answer to God and his imperial majesty.”That liberty was short lived, however.  In 1529 “The emperor and the pope came to an agreement whereupon the Catholic party immediately revived its policy of repression.  An imperial edict was read virtually forbidding all progress of the reformation.”2  “The evangelical members of the diet presented a formal protest that the unanimous decision of the Diet of Spires in 1526 could not be rescinded by a majority vote in a second diet.”3 

In volume IV of Merle D’aubigné’s “History of the Reformation” we find the words of that protest.  In conclusion, the protest read “If you do not yield to our request, we protest by these presents, before God our only Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Savior, and who will one day be our judge, as well as before all men and all creatures, that we, for us and for our people , neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatsoever to the proposed decree, in anything that is contrary to God, to his holy Word, or to our right conscience, to the salvation of our souls, and to the last decree of Spiers.” … “Thus, in presence of the diet, spoke out those courageous men whom Christendom will henceforward denominate the Protestants.”

                Granted, we have a glorious positive message.  It is the message of salvation and a glorious hope for all eternity.  We need to be bold in proclaiming it.  We need to be bold also in the defense of the faith.  We are facing growing opposition to the proclamation of the gospel.  Psalm 107;2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” We are derelict in our duty if we remain silent and let our enemy blaspheme the truth, and intimidate us.  Be not weary in well doing.  We shall reap if we faint not.  (Galatians 6:9).

  1.  A History of the Christian Church by Lars P. Qualben  p. 246
  2. Op Cite p. 247
  3. Op cite p 248
  4. History of the Reformation, Merle D’aubigné D.D.

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