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Take that Evangelicals — you’re not real…Protestants!

January 17, 2009

So, I’m normally used to seeing all kinds of definitions of Christianity that exclude Mormons from it for whatever reason or another…and I recently heard that Mormonism no longer counts as Protestantism (although…I guess we never claimed to be Protestant? “Restorationism” never caught on with my vocabulary, I guess…)

Anyway, I was looking at a highly reputable source for a definition on Protestantism (haha, I couldn’t say that with a straight face — perhaps wikipedia is a more reputable source), and I found something amusing. Scroll on down to definition 7:

One who is a member of the collective churches of Christian Protestantism. He/she rejects the man-made authority, power and abuses of the Roman Catholic Church and its “infallible” papacy. As Christians in the universal Church, no one is taught to hate Catholics (or anyone else). Many Protestants are taught that judgment is God’s domain and may not be passed onto others. On the other hand, Catholicism teaches that non-Catholic Christians do not belong to “the One True Church— the Holy Roman Catholic Church”. Furthermore, they teach that salvation may be obtained but non-Catholics will not go to Heaven (or Purgatory) but a place known as “Limbo”.

Protestantism does NOT include Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Mormons and Baptists or any other Christian group under the umbrella of Fundamentalism. These are the ones most associated with being judgmental, ultra-conservative and interpreting the Bible literally.

The mainline authentic Protestants belong to Lutheran, Episcopalian (Anglican), Methodist, Congregationalist (United Church, UCC), Presbyterian (Calvinist, Reformed), Moravian, Quaker (Friends) and Unitarian churches. Often in these distinctly and historically Protestant denominations, one will find educated, affluent and politically liberal to moderate members.

Gay people are welcome in the majority of these churches. Within Protestantism, there are same-sex blessings, holy unions and, in some cases, same-sex marriages offered to them. Many minorities are (or become) members of these churches after having been disenfranchised or disillusioned by Catholic, Baptist and Evangelical churches. Additionally, women may be ordained in the priesthood/ministry in many branches of Protestantism. One significant distinction between Catholics and Protestants is that Protestants may use birth control. Catholics may not, according to their Church. In addition, Protestants are not required to confess to clergy because Protestant Christianity teaches them to be guided by conscience and faith in order to make their own peace with God and receive forgiveness directly through prayer. These are just some of the allowances permitted in Protestantism that are either forbidden or discouraged in Roman Catholicism (as dictated by the Vatican/Holy See).

The media in North America, which is 65-75% Jewish-owned, often portray Protestants and/or Protestantism as an oppressive, stoic power structure in Western culture. Protestants, particularly in the USA and Canada, are often negatively referred to as WASPs, even if one has no Anglo-Saxon heritage whatsoever. The media tend to avoid or conveniently overlook accurate historical accounts of Protestants being branded heretics, burned at the stake, exiled, tortured, persecuted, plotted against and murdered by members of the Roman Catholic Church and its hierarchy.

“As Protestant Christians, let us give thanks to the Lord for Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, John Wesley and the many countless heroes and heroines who stood up to a corrupt church power structure. Let us remember those who died or risked their lives in order to make the Church a more pure (not perfect) vessel of the Christian faith. Amen”

This one is a long one, but I didn’t want to delete anything essential. Sometimes, I think UrbanDictionary is a joke site, and indeed, many of its definitions are veritably hilarious. But it’s funny how someone, in the spirit of trying to make protestantism seem so open and accepting, would end up rejecting some of the majority groups of Protestantism (at least, if Christian denominational growth patterns are to be believed.) Not to mention the hint of anti-semitism. -_- Even better (and just a bit shorter, replacing length with heightened vitriol, I think) is this author’s definition of Catholicism.

But, in the end, I think we should go back to the Protestant page and look at definition 3.

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3 Comments
  1. As one of the Catholics. I’d argue that Mormons are Protestants regardless of wikipedia entries. Mormonism was not created in whole cloth in a vacuum, but results from Joseph Smith, who was influenced by the Protestant faiths of his day. As Mormons do protest the Catholic faith, then they meet the qualifications of “Protestant”.

    I’d also take a lot of salt with the wikipedia entry as it was clearly not written by a Catholic or anyone very familiar with Catholicism. The author erroneouslt states that Catholics may not use birth control when they may, but may not use artificial means of birth control. The author also slips between Roman Catholic and Catholic and clearly is unaware that there are 23 Catholic Churches, the largest of which is the Church of Rome. I suspect the author would be surprised to meet a Melkite Catholic or a Chaldean Catholic.

    I prefer to think of Mormons in the terms of the Catechism as seperated brothers and sisters.

    God bless… +Timothy

  2. Thanks for the comment, Timothy!

    The interesting (and I suppose awkward) thing about the Mormon church…is that while they ‘protest’ the Catholic church, they also propose to be a restoration of the original church…so I don’t know if that is taken to be a restoration of pre-Catholic Christianity or a restoration of Catholicism before some point in time, or something like that. It makes a weird kind of distinction which is why I can see the title of “Restorationism” being given to the movement.

    So, I don’t know how substantiated it is, but I have heard members of the LDS church say things like, “If I weren’t Mormon, then I’d be Catholic.” (But then again, I’ve heard other people say “If I weren’t Mormon, then I’d just not be anything.” and of course, my sampling is superbiased.) The reasoning would be, I think, that their current faith is based on the idea of an “apostasy” of churches that the LDS church “restores” and corrects. If this apostasy didn’t happen (or if they no longer believe that it did), then I think certain members would have reason to think that the apostolic tradition fits more with Catholicism than with Protestantism.

    I *definitely* take this urbandictionary entry with a lot of salt. It is VERY clear that it was not written by someone familiar with Catholicism at all — someone who is especially biased against Catholics. I really just wanted to comment on the humor from the hypocritical attitude of this author, in how he denounces other groups (mischaracterizing them and their beliefs unfairly in the process), but then says that his brand of protestantism is somehow more “open” and “accepting”.

  3. Timothy, early Christianity was not created in a vacuum either.

    So, does that make you Jewish?

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