I came out of Roman Catholicism and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior way back in the early 1980s. I can still vividly remember the intense joy of knowing all my sins had been forgiven by my wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ. I was finally able to step off of that religious treadmill and find spiritual peace and acceptance with God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.
One thing bothered me, though. In leaving Catholicism and accepting Christ, many would say I had become a “Protestant.” Protestant? I didn’t like that at all. It seemed as if, in using that term, Protestants were identifying themselves in respect to their opposition to Roman Catholicism. I saw myself much more as a proclaimer of the genuine Good News of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone rather than a protester of Catholicism’s works gospel. I wanted to be known as being “for” Christ rather than being “against” Catholicism. How did this “Protestant” label get started, anyway?
In 1526, the Diet of Speyer (a meeting of the “parliament” of the Holy Roman Empire) issued the Edict of August 27th, which granted each principality the freedom to choose Catholicism or Christianity. This was the first step towards freedom of religion. Unfortunately, the pro-Catholic Diet of 1529 rescinded the previous edict. Christians immediately lodged a protest with the Diet (see photo) and non-Catholics have been labeled as “Protestants” ever since.
These days, I’m not nearly as sensitive about being labeled a Protestant. The Lord used the Reformers and early Protestants in a great way and it’s a heritage all genuine Christians should be familiar with. However, as we’re all aware, many of the mainline Protestant denominations (Episcopalian, United Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian USA, American Baptist) drifted into liberal apostasy long ago. I’m certainly blessed to be called a Christian, a follower of Christ, although the term has become a catch-all, which includes a whole lot of people who teach an unbiblical gospel of works or who have never accepted Christ. Because of that, I also like the term evangelical, one who proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ, because it’s a little more distinguishing. It was generally understood that evangelical Christians proclaimed the genuine Gospel, but now we’re even seeing that term losing its distinctiveness (e.g., Joel Osteen, TBN).
“He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” – Luke 13:18-19
There’s probably a number of people who dislike the title of this blog, excatholic4christ. I even thought about changing it a few times to something more “positive.” But I AM an ex-Catholic and I AM for Christ. Both Catholics and Christians need to know the Catholic church does not teach the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Everyone who reads the New Testament knows that the Lord Jesus and the apostles weren’t patronizing and accommodating in regards to wrong doctrine. They confronted false religion and heresy. In this era of advancing ecumenism with its idols of accommodation and compromise – led by the church of Rome – I will continue to protest error and compromise and uphold the Gospel of grace.
“…And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” Acts 11:26
For more on the “Protestation at Speyer,” see here.