Protestant by Habit

When Nolan and I were in college, he took a class that used the book, The Holiness of God, written by R.C. Sproul.  The book had a tremendous impact on Nolan and he went on to read more of Sproul’s work.  Sproul is the head of Ligonier Ministries in Pennsylvania and a well-known Reformed theologian.  Later on during our ministry, Nolan ordered a series of videos Sproul had done aimed at youth.  I don’t recall the title of the series, but it was excellent.  However, there was one comment Sproul made in that video that had a very unexpected impact on me.

He said, “I am Protestant by conviction.”

That struck me quite strongly because I had recently started to ask some friends of ours, who were Catholic, a few questions.  My concern was to try to figure out whether Catholics were actually Christians or not.

John and Chris were not just Catholics, but knowledgeable ones.  I also knew from a few conversations with them that they took their faith very seriously.  On one occasion I mentioned to Chris the possibility of someday one of our kids and one of theirs dating.  A strange look passed her face and I said, “Would ours have to be a Catholic to marry one of yours?”   With a look of cautious concern (she didn’t want to offend, but had to be truthful), Chris nodded.  Dating and marrying a non-Catholic was not be an option they wanted for their kids.  Interesting, I thought.  Nolan and I felt the same way about ours.

John and Chris had moved since that conversation, but we kept up through e-mail and I started asking them a few questions about how they viewed salvation, etc.   While Nolan saw this as an evangelization opportunity, I was surprised that they not only gave reasonable and scriptural answers, but asked some questions back that, as I thought them through, didn’t have answers I considered truly solid (I’ll get back to this later.)

Now, here I was listening to RC Sproul talking about being Protestant by conviction.  I turned to Nolan, “I’m not Protestant by conviction; I’m Protestant by habit.  I’ve never considered anything else.”  Nolan and I had our college degrees and a lifetime of studying and memorizing Scripture, but had we ever really looked at anyone else’s beliefs or just assumed our own were correct?  It was a question that stuck in my head for a very long time.

2 thoughts on “Protestant by Habit

  1. That so makes sense… a lot of people never question Why they do something or research the why of something. We took a class back in October that was a real eye opener to the way people worship. I have been fortunate that my life has been full of teachers (ministers, preachers, pastors) that have always said “look it up, what does the Bible say? What does the word say?” But a lot of people never question what is being told to them and never look and see what does scripture say. Some teach that once saved always saved and that you can continue to sin, even though scripture teaches otherwise (Hebrews 10:23-29). Love your conviction and look forward to more


  2. let me clarify the once saved… some people believe and teach that all you have to do to get to heaven is to repent once, and that is it… that once you’ve done that you can continue to live a life of sin and have no consequence (sorry for my horrible spelling ).. Does that make more sense?


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