Tradition of Men Misreads Scripture

Protestants often ding the Catholic Church for holding Sacred Tradition and Scripture as authoritative.

Ironically, Protestants also hold some traditions of their own that actually causes them to misinterpret, misunderstand, ignore or just be blind to what Scripture actually does and does not say.

Not all Protestants will have all of these traditions but they are pretty common among most evangelical Protestants.

Protestant Tradition:All sin is equal in the eyes of God.

James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

This is the verse used to support this tradition. Now the verse does point out that breaking any point of the law constitutes breaking “all of it”. But this verse does not in any way say that all sin is equal in the eyes of God.

Here are a few other verse used to support this tradition.

Romans 3:23-24 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
1 John 3:4-5Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

These verses talk about sin but none of them say anything about all sin being equal in the eyes of God.  There is NO SCRIPTURE that supports this Protestant Tradition. But there are scriptures that talk about an inequality of sin in the eyes of God. How do Protestants miss these? See my post

Is All Sin the Same in God’s Eyes?

Protestant Tradition: Sola Scriptura

The verse used to support the tradition is:

2 Timothy 3:15-17 …you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

And, yet, this verse commends scripture but it does not say anywhere in it or elsewhere in the whole Bible that all Christian beliefs must be found explicitly in scripture. And, this verse was written before the NT was canonized so it could only have been referring to the OT scriptures.

Protestant Tradition: Prayers to the Saints condemned

Here is the verse used to support this Tradition:

 Deuteronomy 18:10 “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

12“For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.13“You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. 4“For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so.

Deut 18:11 condemns those who “call up the dead”, “consult the dead” (NIV), ” practice necromancy” (KJV) So, Protestants reason that since Mary and the Saints are dead, Catholics who ask the Saints for intercessory prayer are therefore “calling up the dead”  which is condemned in the Old Testament. Therefore prayer to the Saints is condemned!

But what they fail to notice because of their eagerness to condemn Catholic practices is that the whole passage is talking about various practices of DIVINATION. Divination seeks occult knowledge from the dead. It seeks information and guidance. It is nothing like asking the Saints in Heaven to pray for us. But the Protestant Tradition blinds them to the context of the passage and the meaning of the actual words used in the Deuteronomy passage.

Protestant Tradition: Peter’s Confession is the Rock in Mt 16.

In Matthew 16:13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”….16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be  loosed in heaven.”

In this passage Jesus clearly renames Simon Rock/Petros/Kepha and declares that on this Rock/Petra/Kepha He will build His Church.

But Protestants who have the Tradition of rejecting the Pope and hierarchy say that Jesus is not saying that He will build His Church on Peter but rather on Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah. But this passage says nothing about Peter’s confession being the Rock/Petros/Kepha.

Pronouns, in all languages must refer to a nearby noun.  The pronoun “this” is in verse 18. Peter’s confession is in verse 16. That is two verses, three sentences and seven nouns away! If pronouns in English or any other language could have seven nouns in between the pronoun and the antecedent it would be incomprehensible!

Protestant Tradition: God only chose some

Limited Atonement is a Calvinist doctrine linked inextricably with another Calvinist Doctrine: Eternal Security. Many Protestants hold to Eternal Security but reject the Reformed doctrine of Limited Atonement. This doctrine declares that Jesus’ salvation is only offered to the Elect. Those who are chosen by God. This doctrine is arrived at by reading Romans 9 out of context of the rest of the book.

Romans 9: 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand:12 not by works but by him who calls—… Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

16It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

Using this passage with others Calvinists assert that God planned for only His Elect to be saved (the objects of His Mercy prepared in advance). The rest were chosen for damnation. Although they don’t talk about that last bit. But it is the only logical conclusion one can come to. This doctrine has God actively choosing some but not others to be saved; as opposed to the idea that Jesus died to save everyone.

Thus based on the Calvinist Tradition of Limited Atonement, the Calvinist finds himself in opposition to the plain meaning of Sacred Scripture in these verses:

I Timothy 2:4  who desires all men to be saved

John 3:17
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

1 Timothy 4:10That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

Titus 2:11
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.

2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

If the Doctrine of Limited Atonement were true then Scripture is lying about God and His plan and desire.

Protestant Tradition: We go straight to Heaven. No Stops in Purgatory.

Because in 2 Corinthians St. Paul says that  “to be away from the body is to be with the Lord.” Therefore, when our soul leaves the body it is with the Lord. No stops in Purgatory–wham!–we will be with the Lord.

So, when this is quoted to Catholics trying to defend the Doctrine of Purgatory it  leaves them speechless. What can a Catholic say to contradict the very words of Scripture?


Ask to take a look at the passage.

Here is what it actually says:

2 Corinthians 5:6-8  Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

St. Paul says that he would prefer to be away from the body and with the Lord. That is very different than saying dogmatically that to be away from the body IS TO BE WITH THE LORD.

The Protestant Tradition, of the rejection of Purgatory, causes them to misquote this passage in support of their Tradition. In fact, I just went to a funeral yesterday where this passage was misquoted. Protestants have been taught and memorized a misquote rather than what it actually says.

I might prefer to be in New York. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a layover in Denver.

2 Responses

  1. Not 100 people in the United States hate the Roman Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly think the Roman Catholic Church is. — Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    I think that’s also generally true of what you think the Protestant tradition is.

    • “I think that’s also generally true of what you think the Protestant tradition is.”
      If that is true, I think that would make for a very interesting point of discussion. Particularly since Protestant traditions are so diversified that it is not easy to grasp what, precisely; these traditions are.
      Could you help us out here?
      Thank you.

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