We are living in a time when the real distinction between Catholicism and Protestantism means very little in the minds of most people. If the real difference is only sentiment and prejudices as it is in the case of most Catholics and Protestants – we could well afford to demolish what little remains of the wall of separation.
The vast majority of Catholics and Protestants do not know the real difference between Roman and Reformation doctrine. In fact, the vast majority of Protestants are quite Catholic in their religious outlook without knowing it.
A church historian has said: “You can compromise about different doctrines; you cannot compromise about different religions. Either you have a Protestant relation to God or you have the Catholic, but you cannot have both; you cannot make a compromise. *
Yet churchmen are now talking of compromise! Dialogue with Rome is the fashion with many of the Protestant bodies. Some theologians are even saying that the central Reformation doctrine of justification by faith is no longer a barrier to prevent union with Rome.
The central issue of the Reformation of the sixteenth century was justification by faith. Luther stated many times that if this article of justification is lost, everything is lost. This issue of Present Truth Magazine defines the vital contrast between Roman and Reformation doctrine, and illustrates why no compromise is ever possible between the two streams of thought. The studies herein presented were given by the editor in a recent lecture tour of North America.
* Paul Tiulich, A History of Christian Thought, p.228