|John 17: 20-21|
Is the entire body of Protestant (non-Catholic / Orthodox) doctrine heretical?
No, but history shows that effort originated out of rebellion, protests and accusations.
The issues were major that gave rise to that dissent, but is any issue so big that it demands rebellion and faction?
Consider the relationships in a family unit, and one of the parents in the family going astray or becoming a hypocrite.
Would their hypocrisy automatically dismiss or delegitimize the previous work they've done as a parent, or what has been provided by them to the family?
Would that parent's hypocrisy be cause to dismiss the character of their forefathers, or the family name?
If not, then why would the various issues in Catholic doctrine be reason to question everything else, or what previously existed prior to the Catholic church being labeled “catholic”?
The teaching of righteousness calls the faithful to keep the unity, to continue to love whomever, and forgive them although they may never realize their waywardness.
'Bless and do not curse' is the Way of righteousness, but people have drawn lines in the ground and have called wicked fellow believers in the risen Christ, all I think, according to suspicions and ignorance... but not according to God.
Is the entire body of Catholic / Orthodox (including the earliest branches) doctrine perfect in sound doctrine?
No, for some teachings / traditions have been taught in contravention to the Apostle's practices as taught by Christ, revealed by the Holy Spirit and uniformly established in the early church.
War, strife, capital punishment and a long list of sinful activities have been applied, justified and defended by both camps that call themselves 'catholic' and 'protestant' and others (and their subsequent fractures) of the theological divide.
Yet we read somewhere:
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; One Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
- Ephesians 4: 1-6We read here in Ephesians that despite the various perspectives and ideas religious men have, there is only “one” in the several descriptions of oneness.
The “one body” is speaking of the church, the invisible kingdom of God living in the believers, is it not?
And instead of working towards a reform through love, patience and unity, factions sprouted.
Yet the physical factions of men did not cause God's oneness, and His establishing of one body, to splinter off.
There is still one, and men cannot perceive according to labels or group association, although men vacant of insight may argue this point tirelessly.
One of the issues that those who accuse and protest against Catholic legitimacy is infant / adolescent baptism.
The baptizing of children is never contested in any record, or writing, until the era of rebellion (attempted reformation) over 1500 years after Christ appeared!
The argument is that since what became the canonical Gospel and letters to the churches doesn't implicitly or specifically have children / infants and baptism in the same sentence, such a practice was never endorsed or allowed by God.
All early church branches (including Rome, Syria, Egypt, Eastern Orthodox, etc.) uniformly practiced the baptism of infants and children.
This reality is a dilemma for those who have desired to contest every single doctrinal point the Catholic church has made.
What needs to be studied is “loosening and binding” authority practiced by the Apostles, and looking to the list of such things that have been loosened and / or bound.
If the early church was incorrect, as many protesting groups claim, some conclusions would then be:
- God allowed the early church to be 'wrong' for 1500 years
- millions upon millions of people never entered the kingdom of God according to specific theological arguments, and thus perished outside of God's grace despite living their entire lives believing they were sanctified and forgiven
- God was unable to clarify that baptism was only for believing adults / those of the age of reason for 1500 years
- Only new converts, not those born to believing parents, were legitimately 'saved'...meaning actual church / kingdom members would diminish over time to a drip rather than continual exponential growth
- men overcame God and defeated God's plan of salvation for 1500 years
These conclusions show how inept a human argument is against God.
Such arguments seem to undermine what God had long promised to establish, and is a perception based not on faith, but doubt, not on God's providence, but on an idea that man has the ability to undermine God (as if that was even a possibility).
The counterargument also reveals pride in those who continued to write their ideas and demanded those ideas become dogmas, instead of simply feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and clothing the naked.