The Right Kind of “Protestant”


“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

I’ve been silent in this blog for a little bit of time, mainly because lately I’ve reminded myself of a blog post entitled “Being a Critic” written by Alan Yu almost 2 years ago. His blog post has been a great reminder for me that there’s a great responsibility whenever I try to be a critic of other people, especially against the church. And I do have the problem of sometimes taking this responsibility too lightly. So lately I’ve been telling myself that if I don’t have anything positive or constructive to say, I should just keep quiet.

I also recall something I read from Brian McLaren about Protestantism. The word “Protestant” is derived from the word “protest”, and it has been said that Protestants always tend to be protesting something or someone ever since the Reformation. Our divisions and dis-unities are a sad testimonial of how we unrighteously protest against each other. Even worse, we blame the world for all the problems, when we fail to live as salt and light.

If I want to be the right kind of “Protestant”, my main target of “protest” should be aimed toward myself. “Repentance” is the first call to action in the kingdom of God (“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” – Matthew 4:17). Also, God’s Word constantly asks us to examine ourselves, and most of those passages are targeted toward Christians, e.g. the letters to the seven churches in Revelation.

So, love the church, and even love the world (at least the love-the-world way in John 3:16), but be suspicious of self.

My new favorite Christian band “downhere” has a song called “The Problem” in their latest album and in it are apt lyrics that should be quoted here:

The Problem
by downhere

There’s got to be some reason for all this misery
A secret evil corporation somewhere overseas
They’re pulling strings, arranging things
It’s a conspiracy

Or what about the ones who shape the course of history?
What if we petitioned for one grand apology?
I’ll write to my prime minister
You, write your president

Everybody’s wondering how the world could get this way
If God is good, and how it could be filled with so much pain
It’s not the age-old mystery we made it out to be
Yeah, there’s a problem with the world
And the problem with the world is me

Some will say the devil and his legions
They put us in a headlock of submission
But they lost all power over me
A long, long time ago

And since I was a kid, you know, I’ve caused a lot of hurt
And no one ever taught me how to put myself first
It came so very naturally
But I’m not a prodigy

Everybody’s wondering how the world could get this way
If God is good, and how it could be filled with so much pain
It’s not the age-old mystery we made it out to be
Yeah, there’s a problem with the world
And the problem with the world is me

So I will look no further than a mirror
That’s where the offender hides
So great is my need for a redeemer
That I cannot trust myself

No, I cannot trust myself
I dare not trust myself
So I trust in someone else

The sooner you can sing along
The sooner you can sing this song
The happier we’ll be
The problem with the world is me

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2 thoughts on “The Right Kind of “Protestant”

  1. Yeah, I can’t agree more. We need to build up this positive energy (正能量) in our generation. Let us not be consumed by disgruntlement at the church and our brothers and sisters we are supposed to love.

    I also remember this story that goes along with the downhere song. G. K. Chesterton was once invited by The Times newspaper, along with several distinguished authors to write essays on the theme: “What’s Wrong with the World?” Chesterton’s answer at that time was the shortest of those submitted. He simply wrote:

    Dear Sirs,… Read More

    I am.

    Sincerely yours,

    G. K. Chesterton

  2. Yeah, I can’t agree more. We need to build up this positive energy (正能量) in our generation. Let us not be consumed by disgruntlement at the church and our brothers and sisters we are supposed to love.

    I also remember this story that goes along with the downhere song. G. K. Chesterton was once invited by The Times newspaper, along with several distinguished authors to write essays on the theme: “What’s Wrong with the World?” Chesterton’s answer at that time was the shortest of those submitted. He simply wrote:

    Dear Sirs,

    I am.

    Sincerely yours,

    G. K. Chesterton

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