Are There Any Protestants?


April 7, 1529, the papal party secured a majority vote in the Diet for a resolution providing that: In all places where the Edict of Worms could not be enforced, there should be no new reform; the reformers should not touch any controverted point; they should not oppose any celebration of the mass; they should not permit any Catholic to embrace the doctrines of Luther; they should acknowledge the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic church; and should not tolerate any Anabaptists nor any Sacramentarians. ATAP 2.16

This on its face was a proposal for the positive smothering of the Reformation; for it stopped every activity of the reformers, and gave full scope to every activity of the Catholics. The evangelical Princes contended that “This Diet is incompetent to do more than to preserve the religious liberty agreed upon in the former Diet, until the council shall meet according to the original agreement. Therefore we reject this decree. We reject it also because, in matters of faith the majority have no power.” ATAP 2.17

The evangelicals were then ordered to submit to the majority. They retired, according to custom, to deliberate. In their absence the imperial commissioners adjourned the meeting, declaring, “All is over. It is a settled affair. Submission is all that remains.” When the evangelicals returned from their deliberation, to present their answer, and found the meeting adjourned, and the whole matter decided against them, and all in their absence, then, from this arbitrary and unjust course, those true Princes decided to “appeal to the Word of God, and from the Emperor Charles V to Jesus Christ the King of kings and Lord of lords.” And the statement of this appeal formed the Protest that put the word “Protestant” in the world, and gave to the Reformation the name and title of Protestant. ATAP 2.18

They said that they could not consent to the action and course of the majority in the Diet, “because it concerns the glory of God and the salvation of our souls, and that in such matters we ought to have regard, above all, to the commandment of God, who is King of kings and Lord of lords; each of us rendering Him account for himself, without caring the least in the world about majority or minority.” ATAP 3.1

Also they said, “What! we ratify this edict! We assert that when Almighty God calls a man cannot, however, receive the knowledge of God! ...For this reason we reject the yoke that is imposed upon us.” ATAP 3.2

“Moreover, the new edict declaring the ministers shall preach the Gospel, explaining it according to the writings accepted by the holy Christian church; we think that, for this regulation to have any value, we should first agree on what is meant by the true and holy church. Now, seeing that there is great diversity of opinion in this respect; that there is no sure doctrine but such as is conformable to the word of God; we are resolved, with the grace of God, to maintain the pure and exclusive preaching of His holy word, such as it is contained in the biblical books of the old and new testament, without adding anything thereto that may be contrary to it. ATAP 3.3

“This Word is the only truth; it is the sure rule of all doctrine, and of all life, and can never fail or deceive us. He who builds on this foundation shall stand against all the human vanities that are set up against it shall fall before the face of God. ATAP 3.4

“For these reasons, most dear lords, uncles, cousins, and friends, we earnestly entreat you to weigh carefully our grievances and our motives. If you do not yield to our request we PROTEST by these presents, before God, our only Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Savior, and who will one day be our Judge, as well as before all men and all creatures that we, for us and for our people, neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatsoever to the proposed decree, in anything that is contrary to God, to His holy word, to our right conscience, to the salvation of our souls, and to the last decree of Spires.” ATAP 3.5

Thus, in the presence of the Diet, “spoke out those courageous men whom Christendom will henceforth denominate ‘the Protestants. ’ And that is the origin of the word “Protestant.” That is the true story of the word “Protestant,” as dealt with and repudiated by the federal councils of churches, thirty denominations, “a membership of more than seventeen millions!” ATAP 3.6