Ask Doug: Is the Protestant Church Fragmented?



Doug one of the questions you often get are objections to the Protestant church from Catholics is the the claim that from the Catholic perspective they have one universal Church and so the identity of the church is clear but when you look at the Protestant Church you have a myriad of different representations of the church jillion different denomination right it's all broken up how is that not a legitimate tag objection yeah I think it would be a legitimate objection or at least a legitimate point to consider if it were anywhere close to being accurate all right the problem the problem is that it is not accurate it's one of those things that everybody knows that ain't so and you might say well everybody you know I've Drive around I see Protestant churches everywhere et cetera but the in in the polemical exchanges between Roman Catholic apologists and Protestant apologists and so forth the the figure twenty thousand denominations or twenty thousand plus he is a routine sort of claim if you trace the the genealogy of that well you know with so if somebody said where did that number come from by the way you know where does it come from you can trace it back to a world the world Christian encyclopedia which is an exhaustive demographic you know book and it and it's not it's not a polemical book it's just recording data world world Christian Encyclopedia I think it's edited by a guy named Barrett has never Barrett and if you look at that book and you look at apples-to-apples right you find out that you don't have anything close to 20,000 denominations over here and the one true church over there you can count denominations different ways so for example Baptists in the independent fundamental Baptist churches with an independent polity if you're counting it in terms of jurisdiction that you're gonna have a grossly disproportionate number you know the ratchets up also if you look at it the number 20,000 comes from it's over 20,000 but this would include a number of nonprofit entities in any way and and the Protestant grouping that you know according to this rough cut would be closer to 8,000 well somebody might say well that's still bad right yeah it is bad but if you go into the apples-to-apples where you where you group things according to traditions you know like common common practices common liturgy common doctrinal assumptions and so forth and you you drill down into the the data you find that among the Orthodox there are 19 different traditions among Protestants there are 21 and among Roman Catholics there are 16 okay so how do you are you defining traditions within say Lakeland Catholic with in Roman Catholic would be like old Latin Rite Catholics there are set of a contest Roman Catholics a set of a contest is someone who believes the papal seat is currently vacant so you've got the old Catholics and the Latin Rite Catholics and so you've got this Roman Catholic grouping and then you count all the traditions and streams within them and then you compare those traditions and streams to a comparable set with within Protestants where you group the Presbyterians together you know that that kind of thing basically I think it's fair to say that Orthodox Roman Catholics and Protestants are all inhabiting the same basic world there's not a radical distinction between them unless you pull out the trump card that all sectarians always pull out well our body is unified and it's all you guys who are fragmented you know I'm doing okay the rest of the army is out of step if you if you do that then of course the a lonely sectarian Church of Christ can say we're it were it and we're unified and all you guys are fragmented but that's to win the argument by definition that's the argument of the sectarian and I would go a step further when when I said that there were 21 Protestant streams 21 Protestant traditions over against nineteen Orthodox women and 16 Roman Catholic ones that's a that is not taking into account what you might call evangelicalism so the there the Protestantism would include liberal denominations and denominations gone the seed if you if you group the evangelicals together and look at what you might call practical Kath licit II you know where they're holding conferences together there's a great deal of porousness and and crossover yeah among evangelicals in other words the if you the Roman Catholic Church has almost as many subdivisions and traditions as Protestantism almost and significantly more than evangelicalism does and it's an apples to apples sort of thing and then what divisions do exist among evangelicals you find Baptists and Presbyterians and Methodists and people you know people from all different streams showing up at the same conferences and buying the same books and listening to the same radio stations and so forth so there's a great deal of functional Kath lissa tea among evangelical Protestants that you know at having said all this I'm happy to say okay and we want to grow up into the unity of the faith as Paul says in Romans 4 we've got a lot of work to do I'm not trying to hang a bronze plaque on the wall and say the you know we've arrived at the final unity of the faith we certainly haven't but the if you examine the numbers carefully you you're not dealing with this global embarrassment of thousands and thousands of carping snarking Protestants and a unified church over here that's just simply not true Thanks

30 thoughts on “Ask Doug: Is the Protestant Church Fragmented?

  1. seems to fragmented with regards to doug who's fighting with piper who's fighting with mcarthur who's fighting with osteen who's fighting with……

  2. Protestantism leads to stuff like this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oj2u7u7lfW4
    https://puritanbelief.blogspot.com/2007/01/jesus-virgin-birth-mary-surrogate.html
    https://www.christianforums.com/threads/mary-was-a-surrogate-mother.7100038/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieIxQtKogl4 (small minded internet atheism vs small minded fundamentalism)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0PeHg1TVHk (this one is in jest)

    I realize this stuff is not ordinary protestantism but i think such things are what you get when you create a "church" divorced from apostolic succession.

  3. It is bad. How many protestant denominations are due to doctrinal differences? Churches that claim apostolic succession and catholicity you have Eastern Orthodox (many liturgical rites same theology no filioque) Roman Catholics (many liturgical rights same theology and filiouque), Oriental Orthodox aka miaphysites (many liturgical rites same theology) and Nestorians. i feel like there were fewer gnostic sects than protestant theological distinctions.

    But sure the RCC, EOC, and the majority of protestants all believe in the one person of Christ, Christ's dual natures, the Trinity, Salvation through Christ's Incarnation Death and Resurrection and reject docetism. But what else? Baptists and evangelicals have a problem with docetism: i have heard them describe the body as "meat suits" and Mary as a "surrogate mother" who did not provide Christ's his flesh and humanity . . . in other words they are claiming Christ didn't share our humanity. The soccinians and unitarians were they a part of the protestant reformation?

  4. There are NOT 16 Catholic "traditions." Nor are there "streams." A Roman Catholic goes to a church where there is a properly ordained priest who says the Mass. That is the Roman Church. Period. Protestants are based on "personal" interpretation of the Bible. The Holy Spirit would come each reader and tell him the truth. That obviously didn't work.

  5. Fragmented? 2 things here:

    1. No protestant denomination, cult or sect can ever be classified as a church.

    Jesus isnt a polygamist. He established ONE Church, not churches.

    2. Fragmented isn't a correct term for the CHAOS contained within Protestantism.

    The Holy Spirit is not the Spirit of DISUNITY and CHAOS. So cross out Protestantism from being possible candidates in the definition of Christian.

  6. Apparently Doug is something of a Pope for one of Protestantism's many streams.
    They look to him for definitive answers.

  7. You are lawyering and doing a poor job of it. Once there is no magesterium – just as is the case in protestantism – you can't even begin to identify who is in agreement with who. That is a fact. Where I live, there are so many independent groups some Christian only because every now and then the pastor might invoke Jesus. That is the Spirit of Protestantism – the notion that the Bible alone is the source of truth.

  8. Roman Catholicism has 16 different streams? Here, my friends, you see ignorance of actual Catholic structure and belief. There is a little over a BILLION Roman Catholics/Eastern Catholics who are alive right now…He mentioned "Sedevancatists" who deny the Pope's authority because they think he is not legitimate. This is a few thousand,
    and they are not included in the count, nor in communion at all with Rome. Of course there are differences in opinion in mostly subtle areas, and different "rites"…but these do not resemble other churches with autonomy in ANY way. All are subject to the Pope and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  9. Hilarious. Doug talks about Protestants buying the same books, listening to the same radio stations, going to the same conferences and there in lies the catch. Those things don't matter, it is what they believe that matters. Some of those Protestants believe in infant baptism, some believer, some are secessionists some aren't, some believe you need to speak in tounges to be saved, others don't. In contrast, all Orthodox believe the same core doctrines, and a similar thing can be said for Catholics. The problem with Protestants is that you can have two Baptist Pastors down the street from each other that completely disagree. Whereas you take an Orthodox Priest in Georgia America and Georgia in Eurasia and they will teach and conduct themselves the same. That is the difference.

  10. He references "the Protestant church." There is no Protestant church. Jesus never claimed he made multiple churches.

  11. Full Communion has to be understood to understand what Catholics and Orthodox are saying about fragmentation. That's why you could have sedavantists who reject the papacy not be part of the Catholic Church and not be included as a sect of Catholicism.

     Sects do not  exist in Catholicism.    Rites do.  Various Catholic Rites may have varying liturgy and local customs. There are married priests in the Eastern Catholic Rites, but these 20+ Rites are in Full Communion with Rome and remain unified as One.      A Maronite Catholic in the Eastern Church  is just as Catholic as  Roman Catholic in the West.   Our Dogmas are the same, we can receive Communion in both Rites. The reason why you don't hear the word 'denomination'  in Catholicism is it does not exist, nor will it ever. Denominations fragment and cause division in beliefs and teachings.

    Authority, and being in Full Communion is what keeps Catholicism from fragmenting,.  There is diversity and unity.  This is what we'd want our protestant brothers and sisters to understand.

  12. The christians may have different denominations which are divided by differing doctrine but have the same creed.On the other hand the catholic church has many offshoots(like protestants) also with differing beliefs.So whats the difference.There is many different beliefs in the catholic church.Way more than he brought up.

  13. I think the definition of unity should be spoken of here. When Catholics and Orthodox talk about the unity, they are talking about Communion – i.e. whether or not we can share the Eucharist together. For Protestants, because their theology of the Eucharist differs not only from the RC/Orthodox but from each other, Communion is not how they view unity and disunity. The Church has always seen those who sign up to the great creeds and councils as being Orthodox and part of the true Apostolic tradition. That includes the Council on Icons that Reformed confessions specifically deny. The fact is, despite groups splitting from the RC and Orthodox Church, there is clearly demonstrable continuity of teaching, doctrine and worship via apostolic succession. We pray that the RC, EOC and OOC churches can reunite fully and enter in Communion with one another again. There is real possibility of that between the EOC and OOC. There is literally no possibility that the Evangelical world can reunite with the Traditional Christian Churches. They have strayed too far. Soon I believe that all Protestant Churches will be explicitly considered non-Christian in the way that cults are now – Especially Calvinists who are so far away from the Traditional Churches on the sacraments, iconography and worship.

  14. In history,''Catholic''a.k.a Gothic Roman church want to get rid of Orthodox using crusaders and Muslims.Just to be consider as the original and gain more supports because they have no more rivalry.As a Catholic I'm deeply sorry for that.I hope that the Orthodox people will forget the fast and move forward.

  15. The Orthodox Church has deserted the chair of Peter and is in schism, which would also make them heretics.The OC is outside the church, outside of which there is no salvation, as St Cyprian states it cleary.

  16. I pray you may find the truth, and that you may be united into the Church of Apostles, the Church founded by Christ, holding onto those original doctrines: The Orthodox Church.

    It is time to educate ourselves, and realize that Protestantism was noting but an attempt to reconstruct the Ancient Church, as if a mass apostasy had occurred, that was conducted by Western European men, utterly divorced from the Early Church, who were influenced by the Renaissance and Humanism.

  17. The teachings of Protestant confessions are so varied and radically different, this video is refuted from the get-go. The Protestant mindset generates various differing, antithetical outcomes.

    Furthermore, the video is factually incorrect in stating that there are "16 different traditions of Orthodoxy." This is quite simply untrue, whether you intentionally lied or not. It is false in that there is an implication of differing faith and doctrine, which of course is a lie.

  18. Who is this Doug character and why should I ask him anything? He obviously has NO IDEA what he's talking about.

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