Since I was raised Presbyterian, which is Protestant, I really don't learn anything about the Catholic Church. So this past year I decided to do some research. And like a lot of things in Christianity, it tends to be confusing, even to people to who think that they know. I'd like to see if I can clear some stuff up.
Let's start with the word Protestant. I've heard that word ever since I was a kid, but I was in my forties, doing my genealogy, before I realized that it simply means someone who is protesting. You know, protest-ant. And the thing that my family, the Puritans, were protesting, along with people like Martin Luther, was the corruption of the church.
Now waitaminute, I'm not dissing the church. But if you know your history, you know that things had gotten way out of hand by the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Christianity had become a way for Kings and Clergy to really throw their weight around. There were a LOT of people in the 16th Century who were interested in having the church get back to what it was supposed to be, following the words of Jesus. Those were the Protestants.
Of course, protesting a power structure like that could get you in big trouble. The Spanish Inquisition is the extreme of it, but even my family in England felt the pressure. That's why they left. And you didn't even have to go around posting your protests on a church door, pretty much anything, like a raised eyebrow, could get you in real trouble with the church. Here's how it worked - you agreed with everything. That's it.
So that explains why my family left England. They disagreed, and their lives were in danger. They were Puritans, so they didn't want to separate from the Church of England (those people were called "Separatists"), but they were still protesting, which didn't make people like the King of England very comfortable.
So nowadays, I see a lot of secret Protestants. This is how it works - the Catholic Church (which is considered by many people to be the only true Christian Church) tells you what you should follow. If you follow it, then by definition you are Catholic. If you don't, even if you protest a small point or two, then guess what, you're protestant. A secret Protestant.
No, I'll never say anything to anyone. That's why I write this blog. I'm a Protestant, as are most of the people I've met in a longish life.
Posted by Brad Hall