Dear Protestants: Before you read this article, please note that it sounds harsh. OK, I agree that it is harsh. But know that I love you as fellow people in search of God and of truth. I hold no animosity toward you. I accept you as friends, and I believe that you are good and well intentioned. I also have no problem working with you in worldly affairs where our religious differences do not conflict with each other. Where they do conflict, I still love you and desire to work with you as we strive to make the world a better place. What I write here is strictly from a Catholic perspective based solely on that faith.
We all like to think that believing in the Name of Jesus, believing in the power of Jesus, believing in the Love of Jesus, believing in the salvation that Jesus won means that one is a Christian. But to believe in these things is not the same as believing in the person of Jesus, who He is, what He taught, and what He did. That is to believe in the FULLNESS of Christ.
Protestantism neglects aspects of Jesus. They do not believe in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as established by Jesus as the only means to salvation (there is no salvation outside the Church). They do not believe in transubstantiation and that our Lord is really, truly, substantially present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist, just as Jesus said. They do not believe in Confession as a sacrament that one must receive from a priest. They do not believe in praying to Mary as the great intercessor. They do not believe in the Pope as the Vicar of Christ. Their bibles have eliminated whole books and parts of books in Sacred Scripture. Depending on the denomination, there will be various other differences. Yet these are all part of Who Jesus is, what He taught and what he did.
For this reason Protestantism is a heresy. They do not teach truth in its fullness and even teach error and lies about Christ. In spite of this fact, the Church does all She can to try to reach out to these lost souls by extending the grace She receives to them. All grace comes through the Church and our prayers apply that grace to ourselves, our loved ones, family and friends, and to the world, including people of other religions, governments, world events and so forth. We even extend the sacrament of baptism to them so that they at lest have the opportunity for the grace to come fully into the family of God.
And so many believe that by simply saying they know Christ, love Christ and turn their life over to Christ is enough. But are they really turning their lives over to Him? Some go as far as to say, “Once saved, always saved,” though neither Christ nor the Scriptures say that.
I watched a movie last night. It was produced by Protestants and it was good over all so long as you view it from the Catholic perspective. Protestants do have some truth, by extension that they took it from the Catholic Church when their forefathers in faith left the Church in a schism. So, to the extent that the movie portrayed truth, it was good. One point was clearly Protestant heresy though. One of the characters (the antagonist in the movie who openly hated God) was actively dying, only seconds left to live. The Protestant minister was leaning over the man and asked him to accept God and turn everything over to Him. The man did and so the impression left was that his soul was saved. We do not know if he was baptized, which is necessary for salvation. But leave that aside for now.
There was no repentance of sin, only accept God and turn everything over to Him. That is part of the heresy of much of Protestantism that speaks of “Faith without works” when Scripture says that faith without works is dead. They believe that God did all the work on the Cross for salvation and that all we have to do is “accept it.” No further “work” is necessary. And if you do bad things, just apologize straight to God and all is well. I say “bad things” because I am not sure that they believe in sin as a separation from God in the Catholic sense of mortal sin. The most they believe they can do is offend God in the Catholic sense of venial sin. Denial of mortal sin is another heresy. Mortal sin is real and it needs a doctor of the soul, a priest, to heal that rift created in their relationship with God. No amount of “I’m sorry” can fix it. It needs the sacrament and penance.
Did this man go to heaven? Not by any Catholic standard as established by Christ. We like to think he did. We like to think that all the prayer services that Protestants have give glory to God. But do they? Are they worshiping God for who He is or are they worshiping their false image of God (an idol if you will, fashioned after their own self, their own will)?
This is the insidiousness of Satan. He does not need to get people to deny God or to do terrible evil things. He is happy that they are going to services on Sunday and proclaiming their abridged bible, shouting “Alleluia,” and making music with their bands. Satan is happy because they are not in the one true Church where there is real grace and a real encounter with God and the chance to receive Him physically, just as the disciples did. Therefore there is less chance for real conversion, less chance fore real repentance, and so no real reconciliation and little chance of salvation. While they may do good works and offer them to their version of God, they are not offered to the one true God as He truly is.
I understand that the Protestants of today are not the ones who committed the crime of schism, that was Luther and his followers. Rather, they are the product of their upbringing and may have never known better. They have been taught that Catholics are pagans because we supposedly worship God and Mary. They have been taught horrible things about our Pope, some of which is deserved (some popes have been bad). Scandals in the Church have not helped Protestants to see our true nature and we will be held accountable to God for those scandals. Satan loves this fact. He loves that we have been a bad example of what it means to be a Christian. He loves that we have scandals that keep people from wanting to enter the Catholic Church. And he loves the fact that these problems have caused so many Catholics of today to leave the Church in favor of Protestantism or no faith at all. WOW! Do we ever have some accounting to do before God! Many of us will not survive the day of Judgment.
I have a saying when I teach or preach. “I have enough sins of my own to burn for, I will not burn for yours.” What I mean by this is that I will not teach less than the truth to make people happy and feel comfortable and empower you to live a sinful life. If I do, Scripture makes it very clear that I will burn for their sins because I lead them astray. Imagine the price people like Luther are paying for the souls they lead astray. OUCH!
If this is true, then why does God bless so many protestants? Good Question! He does bless them. In part as I described before, that we are praying for the Protestants and directing His grace toward them. Another is Gods divine providence. He chooses to bless them. He is God, He can do that. It is not a reflection on their goodness as people. God blesses bad people too. His ways are bigger than ours. Through His blessing, God empowers people to come to know Him, love Him and serve Him. Whether they avail themselves of that grace or not is up to free will. In the end, no one will be able to say, “But you did not give me enough grace.” God is more than generous with that gift. All will be accountable for not accepting God through His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church also known as the Bride of Christ.
I also want to address another heresy that comes in many forms, but you might know it as the Prosperity Gospel. “I know that I am a good person because God has blessed me with prosperity.” People can appear to be blessed by God but in reality are allowed to do well by Satan. This is not to say that they directly worship Satan, I am sure they do not. And if they knew, I am sure they would make new choices. But Satan will set people up to do well and so they think they are good with God. With that, they believe they are among the saved. In fact, they may be lukewarm at best. Not much salvation there either. The devil leaves them alone; he has them right where he wants them.
As Catholic we must see Protestantism as a heresy and that what they worship is not God as we worship Him. It is but a faint image of our God. We must never see Protestantism as an alternative Christian life style. If we do it would be like seeing sodomy as an alternative life style and that is just disgusting and evil. They are not an alternative because the god they worship is faults as their faith does not have the fullness of truth and even contains errors. Very similar I know, but the differences can damn you especially when you have been taught the fullness of truth in the Catholic Tradition.
So to Catholics that have left, I say please come on back to the Church that you know in your heart has the true Faith. Do not let the sins of individuals in the Church damn you also. Let them burn for their sins and you come and worship and be saved.