Thoughts on protestantism and the doctrine of salvation

It seems clear that a large part of protestantism holds to the doctrine of true saving faith by grace as biblically described. Clearly, the world is largely ecumenical and individual are syncretic in their religious experience, but the simplicity of the view of saving faith is general for many different protestants alike. At least “on paper”.

Especially so when one considers that the dogmatic differences within general protestantism are of such sort that quite rarely has any soteriological implications.

For example, a baptist might belive that his saving faith is the decision of his individual will, a lutheran accredits the same faith to God through election, a presbyterian might do the same and further also believe in an election for some unto damnation, but all three will ultimately claim to posses the same salvific faith through the grace of God wholly apart from works.

Whereas the orthodox and catholic church bodies will openly attribute works merit in combination with faith as a necessity for salvation. This is certainly accurate for foreign religions as well, and even some revivalist-type denominations.

The issue is not belief in Christ, that is a universal scale-matter, as a predominant part of the religious world claims such to some degree. Within larger christendom Christ is certainly believed and preached, while the specifics of his salvific work in relations to it’s human recipient differs. So where can a line be drawn? Where does one distinctly move away from biblical salvation to the point where it is no longer there?

The overall foundational dogma of protestantism is, in the mind of the believer, sola fide. This is particular for protestantism and heresy for both orthodox and catholics.

One could say that there are essentially three international church bodies or camps; the orthodox, the catholic and the protestant. Perhaps a fourth being cults. One could also simplify and say that there are only two; the papist faith/works-camp and the faith alone-camp. Because again, realistically the doctrinal differences within these have no actual effect on salvation. (At least in theory)

Of course, many baptists and pentecostals will burst out saying “We are not protestants!” and claim succession from some unnamed true underground church movement throughout the ages. Nevertheless, if this is in fact the case then it is remarkable that they hold the majority of belief as the protestant churches, aside from american dispensational ideas.

Understandably, churches as well as individuals will differ in their faith and practise, simply due to the human factor and having different history and influx of ideas and culture. But largely, with an overall view of christendom, there should be no reason to doubt that biblical salvation is present here and there, all throughout the protestant church.

Thoughts on protestantism and the doctrine of salvation