I was talking last night about what we were talking about in the liturgy yesterday at the Parish. Protestants pretty much reduce God to an academic level. Of course, my dad got all defensive about this (he’s a hardcore Protestant) and didn’t like that the priest was calling out Protestantism for reducing God to an academic level and argued that there do exist Protestant denominations who maintain to creeds.
I hate to break it to the Protestants though but while there are Protestant Churches that do accept and comply with certain creeds of the Christian faith, this is always based on the way they read and understand the Bible. In addition to that, they don’t always hold to the creeds faithfully and can’t decide which creeds to follow. So saying that Protestants try and forge an “historic” faith just shows an utter contempt for Church history and general and the way Protestants read and understand the Bible.
Then of course, my dad brought up the way the Bible is read in a cultural, historical, or Christocentric context as a way of countering the charge of Biblicism put on Protestantism. Sorry, but I can’t take hermeneutical methodologies of Protestantism based on sola scriptura all too seriously. Why? Because the hermeneuticist has to go into the text looking to explain their ideas.
But what about liberal Protestants who claim to reject sola scriptura? I would contend that if you are a Protestant, by definition, you embrace your own private interpretation of scripture whether that is based on reason or not. So while most Protestants are actually pseudo-sola scriptura, I would argue that all Protestants are Biblicists and I would lump liberal Protestants into this mix.
What is so wrong with liberal Protestantism? I mean I used to be one. The problem with them is that they only attempt to appear better than other Christians claiming they use “rational thinking skills”. These Protestants use an historical-critical method and claim to be opposed to Biblicism. I don’t buy it though. The reason is because they define Biblicism as “Biblical literalism”. But that’s not what Biblicism is.
Biblicism is when you read the Bible without a fortified sense of tradition and only use particular favorite creeds to back you up on this. Biblicism is when you scoff at creeds. Biblicism is when you assert the Bible is the only measure for doctrine. Biblicism is when you claim your private interpretation of the Bible to be some sort of “new and improved correct” view of Christianity.
Liberal Protestants are just as much Biblicist as fundamentalist Protestants? How would I back this up? I used to be in the Evangelical Covenant Church. We ordained women. We practiced believers baptism and baptismal regeneration. We didn’t care what your eschatological views were. We only had six doctrinal confessions based on our reading of the Bible. And we called ourselves “Biblicist”.
“WHAT?!?” says the liberal Protestant.
“You got it!” says I.
What needs to change before I’m convinced of the reality of liberal Protestantism or “progressive” Protestantism is that a) I need to see a need for throwing mystical values out on the carpet to trample beneath my feet and b) I need to see the liberal Protestant get their heads out of the sky and stop acting like their the innocent ones.
When the liberal or “progressive” Protestant can show how this “new and improved” correct version of Christianity is based on a fortified tradition or something like that, then I’ll come back to Protestantism. Good luck though.
If the Catholic Church isn’t the true Church, then I will kindly and quietly remove myself from the face of the Earth so that Protestantism can no longer feel my wrath.