non-denominational Christian friend, who is very interested in becoming aCatholic, has been corresponding with his fellow non-denominationalist and Christian author, Jim Fowler, but has been very disappointed with Mr. Fowler's rather evasive responses.  Fowler claims not to be a Protestant, but merely a "Christian" who does not subscribe to any theological tradition.  And so, my friend writes
Thanks for the response.  I have already written a response to Fowler.  But I was curious as to what kinds of questions you personally would ask a Christian who claims to be neither Protestant, Orthodox or Catholic.  In your opinion, what would be a good question to put to a Christian who truly believes he is not associated with any tradition of the Faith?
Are you, by any chance, familiar with the Southern comedian Jeff Foxworthy?  Forworthy is famous for his stand-up routine (which was also a series of books) called "You Might Be A Redneck".  The gig consisted of lines like…
If you mow your lawn and find a whole car …… You might be a Redneck.
If your dad walks you to school 'cause you're in the same grade …… You might be a Redneck.
… etc., etc. …
So, in response to your question, I'll pose my challenges to so-called "non-denominational" Christians in the form of "You Might Be A Protestant":
1)
If the Bible (i.e., your reading of the Bible) is your final source of authority and final criterion for Christian orthodoxy …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
2)
If you do not recognize the existence of any extra-Scriptural Apostolic Traditions which you are bound to adhere to as a Christian (as Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
3)
If you do not consider yourself bound by the ancient ecumenical Councils or the ancient Creeds of the Church (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
4)
If you do not recognize Apostolic succession – that is, an unbroken line of bishops who descend directly from the Apostles and possess the Apostles' own, Christ-given episcopal authority over the Church (as Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
5)
If you do not believe that your Church can speak infallibly in the Name of God (as Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do) and issue dogmatic teachings which no man can disobey or disregard without incurring sin …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
6)
If you deny that there is a ministerial priesthood in the New Covenant, which replaces the Levitical ministerial priesthood of the Old Covenant (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believe) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
7)
If you do not recognize the existence of seven Sacraments (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
8)
If you believe that the Eucharist or Lord's Supper is anything less than the real and substantial Presence of Jesus Christ and His one and only Sacrifice of the Cross made literally present in our midst today (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believe) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
9)
If you deny that infants can be Baptized or that Baptism is a regenerating Sacrament (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believe it is) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
10)
If you see no need to confess your sins to a priest or to experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation / Confession (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox practice it) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
11)
If you do not see a need for the Sacrament of Confirmation/Chrismation (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox practice it) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
12)
If you do not believe that Marriage between a Christian man and a Christian woman is a Sacrament (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believe it is) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
13)
If you do not recognize the lifelong sinlessness of Mary, or her perpetual virginity, or her role as Theotokos/Mother of God, or her physical Assumption into Heaven (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
14)
If you oppose praying to the saints in Heaven – that is, asking your fellow Christians in Heaven to pray for you (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
15)
If you believe in salvation by faith alone (sola Fide), or hold to a forensic understanding of justification (i.e., imputed justification) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
16)
If you do not believe in the mystery which Roman Catholicism calls "Purgatory" or see any need to pray for those who have died physically in Christ (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
17)
If you have no place for the principal of reparation in your soteriology (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
18)
If you have no place for the mystery of Deification in your theology (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
19)
If you deny the reality of Original Sin (which both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox recognize) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
20)
If you deny the reality of free will or think that God overrides man's free will in any way …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
21)
If you believe in the so-called "Rapture" or any species of Millenarianism …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position, at least as far as modern Christianity goes.
22)
If your church has no Liturgical tradition or practice, and you do not worship Christ in the context of an ancient, Apostolic Liturgy (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
23)
If your church has no Sunday obligation – that is, if you do not incur serious sin for intentionally missing church services on Sunday (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
24)
If your worship of Christ does not permit or involve relics or icons (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox worship does) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
25)
If you are of the opinion that venerating statues or icons (as both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do) amounts to 'idolatry' …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
26)
If your church tolerates and indulges divorce and re-marriage (even among its ministers) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
27)
If you think that artificial contraception is okay and not sinful, and especially if your church has no opposition to it whatsoever …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
28)
If the Old Testament of your Bible does not include the seven Deuterocanonical books found in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
29)
If you describe yourself as "saved" (as if your salvation is a fully-completed process or foregone conclusion) …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
30)
If you are of the opinion that it's okay for Christians to disagree on major doctrines, and that a unity of doctrine is not mandated and not necessary for believers in Christ to be true and orthodox Christians …… You might be a Protestant …… 'cause that's a uniquely Protestant position.
So, there are 30 "indications" of Protestantism, just off the top of my head .  I'm sure there are a lot more.  If the so-called non-denominational churches are not "Protestant", then why do they subscribe to so many positions/doctrines that are totally unique to the Reformation and its aftermath, yet totally alien to Christianity as it existed before the Protestant Reformation???  This is what must be recognized and admitted by the willfully oblivious "non-denominational" Christians – i.e., that they do, in fact, subscribe to a uniquely Protestant form of Christianity.
Indeed, in addition to the list of things above, the overarching (and ridiculously obvious) trait of the "non-denominationalists", which clearly identifies them as "Protestants", is their very choice to attend (or form) a "non-denominational" church to begin with!  For, in doing this, are they not "protesting" against their particular Christian background, whether it be Catholic or Protestant??  This is all, of course, based on a desire for doctrinal "purity" and "simplicity" – a desire to avoid the perceived 'complications' or 'abuses' of more established Christian bodies; and this desire of course stems from and repeats the legacy of the Protestant Reformation itself! …A legacy of supposedly justified "protestation" and radical "reform" which simply did not exist (in either Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christianity) before the Protestant revolt.  Ergo, by necessity, a non-denominational Christian is a "Protestant".  He cannot be otherwise…whether he wishes to recognize it or not.
God bless…
Mark Bonocore
March 12, 2011