Why Do You Refer to Christians as Protestants?


Q. I consider myself a Christian but you seem to refer to non Catholics as Protestants. Why?

A. Well, because Christian refers to followers of Jesus Christ. There are three major groups of Christians:

  1. Catholic Christians-Founded by Jesus Christ
  2. Eastern Orthodox Christians-Break away the result of schism 1000’s
  3. Protestant Christians-Break away the result of the Luther’s Reformation 1500’s

All Christians have the majority of their beliefs in common with each other. But, of course, there are differences. The differences between Catholics and Orthodox are very few. The primary difference would be that the Orthodox Churches reject the Primacy of the authority of the Pope.

All the various denominations of churches resulting from protests against the Catholic Church in the 1500’s are called Protestants. At first there were Lutherans, then Presbyterians and Baptists. These have continued to split and multiply, until today there are over 40,000 different denominations born of the Protestant Reformation. Although Catholics and Protestant share many of their beliefs in common they have many more differences between them than between Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Most Protestant denominations have carried forward the traditions begun by Luther, Calvin, and Henry VIII in opposition to Catholic doctrine. For this reason, it is easier, when addressing these differences to speak about Protestant beliefs rather than Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, or Calvary Chapel, etc. beliefs.

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3 Responses to Why Do You Refer to Christians as Protestants?

  1. You forgot the Lesser Eastern Churches, often lumped together with the Orthodox by Westerners. They have the same polity as the Orthodox and may well reunite relatively soon so common knowledge is sort of right. But they have different rites from the Byzantine used by Orthodox and, more important, their separation from the main church was far older. The Assyrians (Nestorians) left after the Council of Ephesus; the Oriental communion (Copts, Ethiopians, Armenians and Syrians including Indians) after Chalcedon. A popular view today is they weren’t really heretics as long thought; it was all a misunderstanding fuelled by politics (the Copts didn’t want to be ruled by the Greeks). Rome recognises their bishops and Eucharist as it does the Orthodox.

  2. Nicole says:

    Protest is the verb of the Protestant. Protest against the authority of the Chair of Peter. That is why if you are Christian, but not Eastern or Western (Catholic) you are Protestant. Meaning you don’t no leader to answer to or submit.
    They claim no man other than the GodMan holds the Keys of Heaven given by Jesus.
    You can’t start another Catholic Church on your own. You can’t build a Church and call it Catholic under the Holy See.
    But, you can build a Church and call it a Church called Protestant. Baptist or anything you wish. It is done.

  3. DavidLeong says:

    Sound like the main & sole problem with Chrsitians but not the Jesus Christ himself, right?

    Do you really mean that intially it was power/authority problem then & later the Eastern Orthodox & Protestant & hence the rest… breaking away from Catholic originally founded by Jesus Himself?

    What is schism 1000’s & Luther’s Reformation 1500’s mean here?

    It seems that Christianity is always subjective for change or evolution as time goes by… If so, why is it so?

    I hope I can learn something here! Can I or shall I? Thanks!

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