Ian Paisley on Protestantism
True Protestantism is Bible Christianity, the Christianity of the Bible.Ian Paisley, “Are We to Lose Our Protestant Heritage Forever.” August, 2004. Online: http://www.ianpaisley.org/article.asp?ArtKey=heritage.
Protestantism is Christianity, the Christianity of Christ.
Protestantism is Christianity, the Christianity of the Apostles.
Protestantism is Christianity, the Christianity of the Early Church.
Protestantism is nothing less and nothing more than that Holy Religion revealed supernaturally to mankind in the pages of the Inspired Word and centered and circumscribed in the glorious adorable Person of the Incarnate Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is a quotation I found in Joshua Searle's forthcoming book on apocalyptic and the Northern Ireland Troubles.
Wow! I am almost speechless. Every line of the quotation is simply wrong. On a positive "benefit of the doubt" interpretation one can happily concede that Protestantism aspired to conform its faith and practice to the teachings of the Bible — a noble aspiration indeed — so the words could be taken as aspirational.
But as a simple matter of brute fact the various versions of Protestantism are not to be identified with any of the things above, and emphatically not to be exclusively identified with them (to the exclusion of non-Protestant versions of Christianity).
I think that Jesus of Nazareth, the apostles, and believers in the early church would find many aspects of Protestantism in its many guises to be very alien to the "Christianities" they knew. And that's fine — the church develops over time. But to collapse the gap between then and now and to imagine that what we do is no different from what they did is simply self-deluded.