Protestantism today has thousands of denominations. That’s because they’re are a free people. Those inside the Roman or Orthodox beliefs say they’re heretical. It’s true, some denominations are. That’s the price we pay for freedom. Some will stay with the Word and some will not. Of course they’ve only added and subtracted from the Scriptures like the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches have done.
For those who don’t know these two church’s were once one with some rivalries between them until early in the 11th Century. The Roman Church in the Western Roman Empire proposed giving the pope absolute authority but there were those in the Eastern Empire who opposed this. The two sides couldn’t be reconciled so the dissenters went their own way thus forming the Orthodox Church. The Great Schism eventually, irreversibly came about 200 years later when crusaders sent from the Western Empire by Pope Innocent III (one of the most corrupt Popes ever) dished out payback over the split by authorizing the sacking of Constantinople, the Eastern Empire’s capital. Forever done with each other they still then and now remain near identical twins in beliefs (except for papal authority).
Sola Scriptura, Latin for “by Scriptures alone” is the belief that God’s word is infallible and necessary for every day living in a manner pleasing to God. Followers of Jesus of Nazareth in the first century were taught to believe in trusting the Holy Scriptures and testing all things against them. Given the rampant paganism at large in the 1st Century world these early Believers were in a way the very first Protestants! But being the oldest faith doesn’t make it the intended faith. The Orthodox faith claims to be the oldest but I think it would be hard to find where the worship of Mary as a divine being, or the idolatrous worship of icons was expressly taught by Christ, or anywhere in the New Testament!
Cults like Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Church can believe in the essential scriptural doctrines like Protestants. For example they can believe in the Holy Trinity; Christ’s immaculate conception; his birth; life; death and resurrection on the cross and ascension. But Protestants part ways with Catholicism and other cults over things they embrace but are not in the Scriptures. For instance they believe in: purgatory; Mary as a go between us and God and Christ; indulgences; penances; the priesthood and papal authority. Another indicator of a cult is its leadership that declares itself, not Christ, as the final authority. Remember Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite and David Koresh?
Naturally in the Roman Catholic world only the Pope can interpret scriptures as simple as “Jesus wept” as ridiculous as that sounds but that’s the absolute domination this cult demands. Catholics consider the sacraments the actual blood and body of Christ leading to the logical conclusion that Christ committed cannibalism at the Last Supper! They say baptism is mandatory for salvation making Christ a liar to the thief on the cross. They say Mary is divine making the Scriptures where she called Jesus “her Savior” and described herself as “His maidservant” wrong. The truth of the matter is Christ didn’t lie! The scriptures are accurate and so many of the dogmas contrived at the expense of the scriptures qualifies Catholicism (and the Orthodox Church) as cults!
There were wars and atrocities over Sola Scriptura from the Apostolic Age up to and thru 1517, straight to the modern era. No matter who did them all are regrettable. However, it is undisputed historical fact that the carnage at the hands of Protestants is far, far outnumbered by the sustained, deliberate, systematic acts instigated and carried out by the Catholic Church and its European wide government cronies for centuries!*
Protestants care about the salvation of Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians. We beg them to give up their rituals, icons and traditions and stand with God’s inspired word only. However , we respect their freedom to choose but we will always be reaching out to them, encouraging them come home; come home to the faith as it truly was inspired and written.
*David A. Plaisted. Estimates of the Number Killed by the Papacy in the Middle Ages and Later, 2006. http://www.cs.unc.edu/~plaisted/estimates.html#_Toc135810586
Images courtesy of wikipedia.org