What is Heresy? According to Mariam Webster it is: adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma.
Which Catholic Church dogma do Protestants hold a contrary opinion of? That depends on who you ask.
According to the Catholic Church hierarchy it refers to anything at variance with Catholic Church tradition.
According to Protestants themselves it is Sola Scriptura which is Latin for “Scripture Alone” which is the greatest issue.
What this means for the Protestant faith as a whole and to each individual Christian is that if a Christian teaching cannot be found written plainly in the black and white pages of the Bible, then it need not be believed or accepted by Christians.
Furthermore, Christians themselves have the authority to interpret the Scriptures for themselves without need of any authority outside of Scripture.
Church tradition and papal authority are not recognized at all by Protestants as having any authority. The Bible is the final authority for all life.
Catholics hold to the church traditions and place the utterances of their pope above the word of God.
Protestants believe that anyone can (and everyone should) read the word of God and decide for themselves what it says to them. The Holy Spirit of God is given to every believer to help us understand God’s word.
Some in Catholic leadership believe that the Scriptures plainly condemn personal and private interpretation of the Bible apart from the established tradition of the Church.
I agree that the new testament does say that the Christians were instructed to follow the tradition handed down to them by the apostles. However the apostle never said those traditions should be the authority for all their actions. Indeed, the Barean’s were praised for searching the scriptures daily to make sure what they had been taught was true according to God’s word.
Catholic leadership says the Bible itself that calls the Church, not the Scriptures, the “pillar and foundation of truth” (1st Timothy 3:15).
What the commentaries say of this passage is that the Church is the house of God and God dwells in each of us and leads us into all truth.
And then there is the subject which the Catholic leaders avoid. The armor of God found in Ephesians 6:12 and following.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
And there at the end we find the one item which sticks in the heart of the Catholic accusation of Protestant heresy. The word of God.
This is the only offensive weapon a Christian is given with his armor. Everything else is built for defense.
The sword of the Spirit which is the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, being able to penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The Catholic Leadership fail to see us as it is written in 2 Corinthians 2:17 “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”
Unfortunately the Catholic leadership also fails to understand that the word of God IS GOD. Jesus is the word of God as it is written in John 1:1, 14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus was with God, he was God and he came as a man to proclaim the Godhead to man. The word of God will live forever.
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness his only weapon was the word of God that he quoted to Satan. Jesus quoted the words and promises written in God’s word, the bible.
Therefore we believe that we also must study the Bible in order that we may know and understand the truth. When faced with various trials and temptations we should be prepared with a biblical answer just as our savior was. We should recognize our own limitations and not rely upon our own understanding, reasoning skills or our own wisdom.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Follow in the footsteps of our Lord as you walk in the spirit and not in the flesh. When things go wrong, call upon him. When you have success in life, give him the glory.
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