Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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You replied once that not all Protestants are heretical. Here's the text of the question and exchange:

"Not all Protestant Churches are considered heretical. The heresies are usually pronounced in the lack of conviction that Jesus Christ is God, which is most evident in cults. Most of the cults stemming from a misunderstanding of Christianity were originally derived from the Protestant Churches. Thus, the Protestant Churches hold no real theology or doctrine, but are vulnerable to becoming cults."

If Protestant churches hold no theology or doctrine, aren't they heretical? I don't understand, but here is the ladder of thinking I used just before my gears completely slipped. Maybe this will help you see where I started misunderstanding:

We correctly regard Protestants as heretical, but what makes them so? A failure to believe belief X, canon Y, council Z? Any two? All three? How many tenets does a person have to believe or not believe before they become heretical, or is heresy a matter of egotistic attitude ("I'm in charge, not the Church."), not numbers/quantities of tenets professed? What makes a heretic a heretic?

Years ago I learned albeit from Rome that all Orthodox are schismatic, yet are apostolic, and therefore have valid sacraments. However, intercommunion is not yet possible; accord is not yet there. Protestants, I learned were heretical as they had replaced magisterial teaching authority with themselves, and dispensed with ecclesiastical authority with "a paper Pope" (the pages and literal words of the Bible) opinions which often mistook truth with emotional fervor.

Conversely, as an Orthodox believer, I know that not all Orthodox are heretical, nor are Roman Catholics, or any Catholic under jurisdiction of the See of Rome. They are merely schismatic. Here's my confusion: Protestants overthrew the priesthood in favor of the priesthood of all believers (a cautious exception being made to the Anglican fold, with caveats), ensconced the human conscience in place of church teaching authority (never mind whether or not the conscience was rightly formed), deified the individual opinion, etc. If Rome finds the Orthodox schismatic and vice-versa and Protestants heretical, wouldn't we also? What would make a Protestant non-heretical save for becoming Orthodox?

Regarding Protestant churches, those who believe in the equal essence of the Holy Trinity are considered non-heretical. However, ever since the Protestant movement, continuous splits have resulted in emerging cults: Mormons; Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists; Seventh Day Adventists, etc., are amongst these cults. These churches deny the Holy Trinity and the deity of Christ. Thus, they fall into the category of heretics, whereas the majority of the Protestant churches have mainly rejected the hierarchical establishment of the church, perceive the Holy Sacraments as only symbolic, dismiss the traditions, ignore all the rules of worship, and/or make up their own guidelines themselves. Faith alone is what the Protestant churches acclaim to be all that is needed for Salvation, and therefore, all else is discarded. There are many books and articles rebuking these erroneous thoughts and self-proclaimed doctrines which some may call heretical. The flawed premises of these churches are riddled with incomplete biblical references which are taken completely out of context. Thus, they straddle the line of heresies, but are still considered as non-heretical in the sense that they do not dispute the deity of Christ as co-essential with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

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