“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” - 2 Thessalonians 2:15
As it has now been over 11 years since my conversion to the Catholic Church, the length of time has provided me with a different perspective on my Evangelical Protestant roots. I look back fondly on my years as a “Bible Christian”, as this was the context in which I first fell in love with Our Lord. However, I now see even more clearly the many shortcomings of the Protestant view of Christianity.
Protestants boldly profess that the Bible is their only authority for their doctrine and practice. In view of this, several questions could be asked:
1) Where in the Bible does it teach that the Bible alone is our sole authority in matters of doctrine and practice in the Christian Faith?
2) Where in the Bible does it tell us which books belong in the Bible?
3) Where in the Bible does it tell us who wrote the four gospels named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? What about who wrote the books named Acts, 1 2 3 John, or Hebrews? Again, how do we know that these books are Scripture?
4) Where in the Bible do each of the New Testament writers state that their writings are inspired by God and are to be considered as Scripture?
5) Where in the Bible does it tell Christians to have their main day of worship on Sunday, and not on the Saturday Jewish Sabbath as taught in the Old Testament? Where does the Bible tell us to change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?
6) Where in the Bible does it tell Christians to construct buildings to meet and worship in, instead of in believers’ homes? Where are steeples on church buildings mentioned in Scripture? What about crosses displayed in the sanctuary?
7) Where in the Bible does it tell us to have wedding ceremonies, where vows are exchanged before a minister? What about the wearing of wedding rings?
8) Where in the Bible does it tell us to celebrate the Birth of Jesus every year on December 25th? Where is the word “Christmas” found in the Bible? What about the season of Advent leading up to Christmas?
9) Where in the Bible does it tell us to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus every year? Where does it tell us how to determine the date of Easter every year? Where is the word “Easter” found in the Bible?
10) Where is the word “Trinity” found in the Bible? Who coined this term?
11) Considering this Scripture found in the book of James: "You see that a person is justified by what he does, and not by faith alone" (James 2:24 NIV), where does the Bible say that salvation is by faith alone? Why do Protestants use the language "we are saved by faith alone", when Scripture clearly states the opposite in James: "not by faith alone"?
12) Where in the Bible does it authorize individual Christians to break away from the One Church which Jesus founded when he was on Earth if they do not agree with its doctrine and practice and to set up rival churches of their own?
After considering all of the above questions myself during my journey to the Catholic Church, it became clear to me that none of these traditions are found in the Bible at all. Yet Protestants accept and follow each of them without considering why, all the time denying that they are following tradition and firmly insisting that they are relying on the Bible alone. Many of these questions demonstrate that Protestants even in their bedrock basics are adhering to Catholic sacred tradition, without which they would have nothing. They oppose the Catholic Church with vehemence, without realizing how many of their own beliefs and practices, including the very Bible itself, rely upon the Catholic Church to exist. It is like people who prefer the light of the Moon, and despise the Sun. But if in their zeal they pull down the Sun they would lose the light of their precious Moon as well.
May the Holy Spirit continue His mighty work in these days, of granting His Light and Grace to us all and restoring Unity to the Body of Christ, to prepare for the end of the age, when Christ our One Head returns to be united with His One Body the Church forever! Amen.
Coming Soon: Part 3 of My Conversion Story: “The Loss of Initial Fervor and Faith”