Protestants are the believers that “protested” against the papacy and its un-biblical doctrines. Protestant churches uphold the principles of the Protestant Reformation as given by Martin Luther’s 95 theses in 1517. And their beliefs present the five solas: faith alone, Christ alone, grace alone, Scripture alone, and God’s glory alone.
The five solas stress the following three major doctrines:
A- Protestants uphold the Bible as the sole authority in matters of faith and doctrine using the term sola scriptura or “Scripture alone” (2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:20–21). The Papacy regards the traditions of the church and the authority of the Pope (who claims infallibility) as equally authoritative.
B- Protestants hold that salvation is by grace through faith alone in Christ and not by works: “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). Works are merely the fruit of the Spirit working in the believers. The Roman Catholic Church requires the keeping of the seven sacraments and regards works as part of salvation.
C- Protestants believe in living for God’s glory alone and in the priesthood of all believers: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Protestants teach every believer can posses the gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12:1–8). The Roman Catholic Church teaches obedience to the Church and its spiritual leaders and the apostolic succession.
Because the Roman Catholic Church did not hold the Bible as the final authority, many pagan false doctrines crept into the church which led to the corruption of faith. This straying from the truth led to the spiritual, cultural and economic deterioration of the Dark Ages.
In the sixteenth Century, A Roman Catholic monk named Martin Luther opposed the Roman Catholic Church and its false teachings when he posted his 95 propositions (or theses) against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on the Castle Church door at Wittenberg, Germany.
Luther’s intention was not to leave his beloved church but only to bring reformation. But the Roman Church took this as a challenge to its authority. And when the Papacy utterly rejected the call to reform its doctrines to the biblical standard, the Protestant Reformation started and tens of millions of saints shed their blood to defend God’s Word.
The Protestant Reformation in the 1500s drastically changed the history of the world and liberated Europe out of the Dark Ages, the tyranny of the Catholic Church, and led to the rise of true religious freedoms. And its original principles found expression in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America which teaches that when it comes to religion, no man or government has the right to control the conscience.
Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.
In His service,
Thank you for visiting BibleAsk – an online ministry dedicated to providing Bible based answers to your questions. If you enjoyed and agree with this answer, please like and share! If you don’t agree, please leave a comment below, and we’ll be sure to respond! If you have another question you would like to ask, please click here and someone from our team will personally answer it (don’t worry, your email address will never be shared). Check out our Bible Answers page to see just Bible verses answering thousands of questions. If you feel impressed to support this ministry, kindly visit our donate page to send a tax-deductible love gift to BibleAsk. Any donation size helps .