Questions for Protestants
The idea of probing ones beliefs by being honest enough to look at the question allows one to say for certain, ‘Yes, I believe in this doctrine and now I have a better understanding of why’ or perhaps to say, ‘I never saw or thought about this before. Perhaps I need to look further into this’ which is greater still. I think probing into ones beliefs by being able to ask and answer questions about ones own faith allows one to develop a thought process behind that faith and not just blindly believe it because that’s what we were brought up to believe.
I think believers from both sides of the aisle, Protestant and Catholic, do themselves and their faith a great disservice by taking a stand-offish position of, ‘I don’t want to take on any challenge to my beliefs because I know what I believe and that’s enough for me.’ I believe it is a very limiting mentality which inhibits your own faith and those trying to understand it. This harkens back to the great Scriptural verse which is the motto of apologists everywhere, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence.” 1 Peter 3:15,16
Another challenge is to prevent yourself from giving a pre-fabricated answer to the question. For instance, the first question on the questionnaire says, “Who compiled the Bible?” A knee jerk response might be, “The bible tells us which books are inspired. We can know by reading the Bible. God’s Word inspires us to know which books should be in there.” I would encourage anyone who gives an answer to think about the question and really examine it, perhaps even research it, before giving a response. These questions aren’t meant to be answered with a pre-fabricated response that doesn’t really answer the question, but simply emphasizes a belief. What I’m asking for is an examination of the question from a Protestant viewpoint and an answer that truly tries to supply an understanding and not just a memorized response. Honestly, I don’t think the aforementioned answer really answers the question. I’d like a real answer to the question. Just as, if asked, “Why do Catholics worship Mary.” You wouldn’t want to hear, “We don’t worship her.” You’d like an honest, clarifying explanation from the individual.
*Most importantly, if you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” You’re not going to go to hell because you don’t. It’s an opportunity to go find out. That’s all. It’s okay not to know every answer.
*I’m not doing this is order to “lash out” or “attack” Protestantism, Protestant beliefs, or Protestant ideas. A response from you is not going to garner an “argument” from me. I don’t intend to argue with you once I get your answer. In the most honest and sincere way, I simply want to hear what you have to say on the matter. I hope you’ll take it that way and not look at these questions as an opportunity to “fight” about it. I really just want to know the answer from a Protestant perspective.
EDIT – (*I also need to make an additional addendum to these notes. When I speak of “Protestants” I need to clarify that I’m normally aiming my thoughts, ideas, questions, and opinions almost solely at the sect of Protestantism identified as Evangelical. Mainline Protestants usually fall more into the line of thought very similar to Catholic theology and beliefs. These questions are directed at the more Evangelical expressions of Protestant Christianity.)
1. Who compiled the Bible?
2. In Christianity what is the pillar and foundation of truth?
3. Where does the term ‘Trinity’ come from and how was it first defined?
4. What did Paul mean when he said that he had to fill up what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ? (Col 1:24)
5. After the Apostles died who or what lead or acted as the authority for Christianity?
6. Is there any method of interpreting Scripture with infallible certainty? In other words, can there be any absolute certainty about the meaning of Scripture? If so, how?
7. If men are justified by faith alone (Sola Fide) then what does James 2:24 mean when it says, “See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”?
8. What does it mean in the Bible when it says, “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27). “For a man puts himself in danger, if he takes part in the holy meal without being conscious that it is the Lord’s body.” (Bible in Basic English [Protestant] – 1 Cor. 11:28) “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” (NIV)