Are There Any Protestants?
ORIGIN OF “PROTESTANT”
Now what is the meaning of such a transaction as that? What is the meaning of the word “Protestant”? How came it into the world? How came these people to bear it as a religious distinction? And since it should now be repudiated, was their bearing of it a mistake from the beginning? And if not a mistake from the beginning, and in the beginning, then when did it become such a mistake that it should be so incontinently repudiated? ATAP 1.9
The word “Protestant” as expressing a religious distinction, the word “Protestant” with a capital P, the word “Protestant” as dealt with by the Chicago Council of the Federated Churches, came into the world with the word “Protest” that was used in the Protest that was made at the Diet of Spires in Germany, April 19, 1529. ATAP 1.10
That Protest was made against the arbitrary, unjust, and persecuting, procedure of the papacy in that Diet. This procedure in the Diet of Spires of 1529, swept away the religious liberty agreed upon and established in the Diet of Spires of 1526. This religious liberty guaranteed by the Diet of Spires of 1526, was the result of a deadlock in that Diet over the enforcement, by all the power of the then papacy, of the Edict of Worms that had been issued in 1521 commanding the destruction of Martin Luther, his adherents, his writings and all who printed or circulated his writings, or who on their own part should print or circulate the like. ATAP 1.11
Thus is will be seen that the Protest in which originated the word “Protestant” was against the effort of the papacy to destroy the Reformation, and was in behalf of the Reformation and its principles. And now for anybody to repudiate the word “Protestant,” is to repudiate the Protest. To repudiate the Protest, is to repudiate as unworthy the cause in behalf of which the Protest was made. And that cause was the Reformation. Therefore, to repudiate the word “Protestant” is nothing less and nothing else than to repudiate the Reformation. And the Federal Council of Churches at Chicago, December 5, 1912, did unanimously repudiate the word “Protestant.” ATAP 1.12