What are you actually protesting?
Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic Priest started the reformation by nailing his 95 treatise to the doors of the church. This resulted in the "reformation" and the beginning of the "Protestant" churches. For a little background, here is what Martin Luther stated:
"Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen."
I am not going to go into any discussion or details on each of these points, that is not the intention of this discourse. Here is a link to the 95 points if you want to read each one. The intention or focus is primarily on how, though they call themselves "Protestant" as they are protesting against the Roman Catholic Church, all of the Protestant denominations are still themselves "Catholic" by tradition and heritage.
The protestant denominations include but are not limited to the Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Adventists, Calvinists etc; the Anglicans and Methodists will admit they are still a part of the Catholic tradition(s) though they are certainly not Roman Catholic or are associated to or with it. So too the Eastern Orthodox Churches, though are not Catholic as in part of the Roman Catholic Church, they are still "Catholic" by traditions and heritages. All may appear different on the surface but one will find similar and even exact duplication in parts of the liturgies, hymns and hierarchies.
So, what do I mean then by proclaiming they are all still "Catholic"? I am not referring to the concept of the definition of "catholic" as in "universal", but directly linking them all with the Roman Catholic Church itself, its traditions and heritages. They all sprang from the RCC at different points in history. The Eastern Orthodox were the first to break away around 1054. The reformation happened later, with Martin Luther.
True, none of the mainstream "Christian" denominations recognize the authority of the Pope or the Roman Church as a final authority on matters of theology, society, morality and so on. But they do still follow many of its early edicts and practices. Even those who consider themselves "Bible based" churches do not follow the Bible as much as they follow early Roman Catholic doctrines. Some of these early doctrines include what is commonly referred to as "replacement theology".
This is where the church or a denomination in particular ascribe to the doctrine that the "Christians" have replaced Israel (the Jews) in God's promises or covenants. Paul's letter to the Romans (ch.11) speaks directly against such a notion, so too a variety of prophets of the "Old Testament". This teaching flies in the face of the "grafted in" analogy taught by Paul in that chapter. It assumes God is a liar for breaking His promises; or a failure for having chosen the wrong people by not knowing ahead of time they would break the covenants. If you believe in the replacement of Israel in God's Covenants and plan, then by default you are attesting to those two points.
By edicts of Emperor Constantine, he formed the basis for the Roman Catholic Church. He mandated it to be illegal to practice anything which was of Jewish (hence Old Testament) origins and practice. This would include such God instituted days such as Passover (the day of the Crucifixion), First Fruits (the day of the Resurrection), Shavuot (sha voo ote; "Pentecost) and so on. He mandated that Easter should be celebrated instead of Passover and First Fruits, even though Easter is the English variant of the name of the goddess Ishtar. His edicts forced believers away from those holy festivals that God Himself mandated; making it punishable by death to do otherwise.
If someone thinks they are not "Catholic" because they don't go to Sunday Mass or follow the Pope's dictates, all they have to do is ask themselves some basic simple questions.
1) Do they celebrate "Easter" or the Passover and First Fruits as our Lord did?
2) Do they celebrate "Christmas" instead of the feast of the dedication of the great Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus did not celebrate His birthday (which was not on Dec.25), but the Bible tells how at that time He did celebrate the Feast of Dedication, which we know as Hanukah.
3) Do they celebrate ANY of the Holy days that Jesus, the Disciples and Apostles themselves actually celebrated; those days commanded by God or instead those commanded by "man"?
4) Are you listening to the commands of Jesus or continuing the "teaching as doctrine the traditions of men"?
Adonai, my strength, my stronghold, my refuge in the day of affliction, to You will the nations come
from the ends of the earth and say:“Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, futility and useless things.” 20 Will man make gods for himself? Yet they are not gods. 21 “So I will surely make them know—this time I make them know My hand and My might— they will know that My Name is Adonai.” (Jer 16:19-21 TLV)
Now, I am not trying to convert someone or anyone to Judaism per se. What we today call "Judaism" is not the same as what was practiced and taught by Jesus. What is practiced today is primarily traditions built up over the centuries as taught and directed by the Rabbis. Today's Rabbis are a direct theological lineage to the Pharisee and Sadduccees to the days Jesus walked during the first century. Their writings and teachings are what is commonly referred to as the Talmud which is made up of a wide variety of commentaries, theological teachings, traditions, practices and so on.
I am suggesting to look at what Jesus actually taught and practiced. The New Testament tells of Jesus obeying the commands to practice the appointed days such as Passover, Yom Kippur and Tabernacles, even the practice of Hanukah which started during the time of the Maccabees. The New Testament tells of how these will continue through the thousand year reign of Jesus as King Messiah.
So who changed all that Jesus taught and did?
The Roman Church as mandated under Constantine. Whether or not one thinks they are not Catholic, if they celebrate Christmas, Lent, Easter, they are practicing Catholicism. Most certainly not what Jesus, the Apostles, Disciples (Paul inclusive) practiced. Those are strictly the pagan practices as instituted by the Roman Church via Imperial edict.
It is repeated in Scriptures how after Christ's return, we as believers and more importantly FOLLOWERS, are to celebrate the Biblical festival of Tabernacles (Sukkoth). The Bible tells how the ancient ways will once again be followed AFTER His return and during His millennial reign.
I would guess the next question is if you consider yourself more than just a believer, but truly a follower of Jesus, are you actually following Him? He would go to synagogue on the Sabbath, the seventh day (are you following behind him?). He would celebrate Passover and First Fruits, not Easter; Sukkoth not "Pentecost", the 1st of Abib not January 1st, Yom Kippur and Tabernacles not "Halloween". Jesus, the Apostles and Disciples practiced those regularly and faithfully, they are the "Moedim" or Appointed Days of the LORD and as the Bible clearly states they are HIS appointed days.
It was not until the creation of the Gentile Catholic Church things began to change. First the translation into Greek of the New Testament, this filtered away many of the Biblical underpinnings of the New Testament. Then when the church split East and West, the Greek church to the East retained the Greek version, whereas the Western Church translated the Scriptures once again, only this time into Latin. Many of the New Testament documents in their original Hebrew are now coming to light. They are being discovered in museums and collections. the errors and misunderstandings in translations are showing up. Some not much different, others drastically different.
As in the words in Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail, "It's time to ask yourself Dr. Jones, just what it is you believe" So who do you believe, who do you follow? Are they the same? Do you believe Jesus but follow the teachings of men, or do you believe Jesus AND follow Him?
Thus says Adonai:“Stand in the roads and look. Ask for the ancient paths—where the good way is—and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16 TLV)
“Beware of the false prophets!They come to you wearing sheep’s clothing, but underneath they are hungry wolves! 16 You will recognize them by their fruit. Can people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every healthy tree produces good fruit, but a poor tree produces bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, or a poor tree good fruit. 19 Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire! 20 So you will recognize them by their fruit. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants.22 On that Day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?’ 23 Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’ 24 “So, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on bedrock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the winds blew and beat against that house, but it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the wind blew and beat against that house, and it collapsed — and its collapse was horrendous!” (MT 7:15)