Question: I heard where you denied you were a Protestant. The word we use derives from Pro-testari, meaning to testify for or in behalf. To then deny that you are a Protestant is to inadvertently affirm that you are not a witness for Christ. How terrible! I affirm that the history of Protestantism is the history of the true Church.
Response: We seem to have a serious misunderstanding. So far as I know (and as the dictionaries and encyclopedias affirm), the words Protestant and Protestantism never existed until the sixteenth century, when the Protestant movement was birthed at the Reformation. The term refers specifically to those former Roman Catholics who protested against the evils and heresies of Rome and as a result were excommunicated or came out for the sake of conscience. While the term was used thereafter of those who followed in the footsteps of the Reformers and who belonged to so-called Protestant churches, it was never used of Christians who had previously existed apart from Rome and who had comprised the true church which for centuries before the Reformation had been persecuted and slaughtered by the millions by the Roman Catholic Church. Those Christians never called themselves Protestants because they had never been part of the Roman Catholic Church. Nor have I ever been part of it, nor do I call myself by any other name than “Christian,” as the disciples were designated.
I am astonished, therefore, that you would suggest that not to be a Protestant is to fail to be a witness for our Lord. Jesus told His disciples, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts:1:8). Such witness had nothing to do with protesting against the Roman Catholic system, which didn’t even exist at the time. Therefore I conclude that being a witness for Christ need have nothing to do with protesting against Rome today—though it is only proper for any true Christian to stand firmly against apostasy and error of every kind.