Truth be told, Protestants are living in a perpetual state of schism with the Roman Catholic Church. Why? Because of two primary teachings: Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura.
Sola Fide or "faith alone" is a fabrication. Luther added the word "alone" to his German translation of Romans 3:28. While Protestant apologists will say something along the lines of "he did this only for grammatical purposes when translating into German" the issue is that he then used this "grammatical change" to be the basis for forming a theology that allowed him to completely disregard large portions of the New Testament and allowed him to truly believe the bit of heresy espoused below, which he wrote in the Weimar Edition, vol 2, page 371:
"If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner."
In 2 Peter 1:4, we learn that by accepting God's grace we are partakers in the divine nature of God.
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Peter goes on to say that we are to add to our faith: goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance and godliness as you can see in 2 Peter 1: 5-6.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
This is St. Peter, the first Pope, the "rock" upon which Christ established his Church, the arbiter of Church Doctrine and Law, telling us that we are to strive to be Holy, not to defile ourselves as Luther has instructed.
If, as Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:4, we are participating in the divine nature of the Lord, then if we defile ourselves with mortal sin are we not also desecrating the divine nature of God that is indwelled within us?
In the Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that "Cheap Grace" is:
"the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ."
Luther's teaching above, derived from his belief in "Sola Fida", is the very crux of "Cheap Grace". Receiving God's grace is free, but keeping it requires obedience. In fact, Christ calls us to obedience in the book of John, chapter 14, verse 15:
If you love me, keep my commands
Would not completely embracing mortal sin, as Luther suggests, demonstrate that we do indeed NOT love Christ and that we take his sacrifice and his love as cheap tokens of affection?
Furthermore, in Romans 1:5, Paul writes:
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
We are called to share in Christ's suffering by denying our own sinful nature, not let Christ suffer while we go on continuing to fornicate and murder people!!!
I can hear the Protestant apologists saying now "that's not what Luther meant!!", the problem is that Luther is effectively teaching that while Christ bears the ultimate cost of our sins, which is death, he is also teaching that Christ is the only one who must bear the suffering that comes along with denying our sinful nature!
This is clearly at odds with the teachings of the Scripture.
This brings us to Sola Scriptura or "Scripture Alone". Luther taught that it was the Bible that is the sole source of truth for a Christian. Luther believed that every man should read and interpret the Bible for himself.
This sounds great. It's very self-reliant. It's very American. It is of little wonder why it is so popular in America. However, there is not a single verse anywhere in the Bible that says Scripture ALONE is the source of Christian truth.
In fact, Paul says quite the opposite in 1 Timothy 3:15:
...which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
Furthermore, not having a standard interpretation of the scripture creates the very divisiveness in the body that Paul says we are to avoid (1 Cor 11:18).
At present, there are over 33,000 different Protestant denominations. This could only happen because of the false teaching of Sola Scriptura.
Tomorrow I'll do the final piece in this three part series called "Reason & Reconciliation" and in it I'll really hit why all of our objections to these things really don't matter.
Peace Be With You!