Identify the Beliefs of Protestants and the Beliefs of Catholics

Identify the Beliefs of Protestants and the Beliefs of Catholics.

According to a recent U.South. Religious Landscape Survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, there are about half every bit many Catholics every bit Protestants in America today. Only why practice so many brand this distinction?  Don’t both groups concord to essentials of the Christian faith, similar the deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus? What’south the difference between what Protestants believe and what Catholics believe?

While both Protestants and Catholics agree on who Jesus is, there are 7 key issues which go along to distinguish their beliefs and practices. In a new Table Podcast series, Dr. Darrell Bock, Dr. Scott Horrell, and Dr. Michael Svigel discuss important distinctives of both traditions.

Here is a summary of the conversation:

one. The Magisterium

The term “magisterium” refers to the official education body of the Roman Cosmic Church building. Dr. Horrell explains,

“Usually, it’s related to… the large house of cardinals and the leading theologians in the movement; but finally, that all comes under, of course, the pope himself.”

Besides providing a trusted, unified voice to guide Catholics, this trunk also allows the church to brand official pronouncements on contemporary issues which Scripture might non straight address.

Although at that place is no equivalent to the magisterium for Protestants, it’south possible to compare Cosmic and Protestant views of the office of tradition.

2. Tradition

While Protestants don’t view tradition as equal in authority with the Scriptures, the Roman Cosmic Church has a different perspective—one which clearly distinguishes itself from Protestant churches. As Dr. Horrell notes:

“The issue of
Sola Scriptura…versus ‘Scripture plus tradition’ is maybe the fundamental departure between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism…(what) you’re talking nearly it’s a hermeneutic, a way of doing theology.”

While Protestants only view the Scriptures as authoritative, the Catholic Catechism clearly states that Church building:

“…does not derive her certainty nigh all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”

3. Salvation and Grace

Protestants frequently express the idea that salvation is by faith alone, through grace solitary, in Christ lonely. This assertion views justification as specific point upon which God declares that y’all are righteous—a point where y’all enter into the Christian life.

In dissimilarity, the Roman Cosmic Church views justification every bit a process, dependent on the grace you receive past participating in the Church—which is seen as a repository of saving grace. Dr. Svigel explains the Cosmic perspective:

“Grace is treated almost as if it’southward a substance, something that tin can be dispensed through various avenues of change and ways… Yous’re saved by grace, but how you receive that grace and what that grace does and whether it’s a one-time entrance into the Christian life or if it’south a constant movement toward salvation—that’south actually the big difference betwixt Protestantism and the Roman Catholic Church.”

4. The Eucharist

When it comes to the Eucharist, which most Protestants telephone call ‘The Lord’southward Supper,” or “Communion,” the Roman Catholic Church holds to the doctrine of
transubstantiation—the idea that the edible ritual elements used during the mass literally become the body and blood of Christ. Dr. Svigel explains:

“At the moment that the priest says, ‘This is my torso,’ the invisible, unperceivable essence that…you couldn’t see (with) an electron microscope, (is) there in a miracle. It contains the trunk, claret, soul and divinity of Christ. And that becomes the spiritual and physical nourishment. Every bit you partake of it, it becomes part of yous, transforms y’all, and makes you more than and more righteous.”

In contrast, some Protestants, similar Lutherans, hold to perspective chosen
consubstantiation, where Jesus’ body and blood are seen as coexisting with the bread and the vino. Martin Luther likened this to the thought of a ruddy-hot iron in a burn—united, just non changed. Dr. Bock says:

“I similar to phone call it ‘the over, nether, around and through’ view. Jesus Christ surrounds the elements. He’due south spiritually present, only he’southward not in the elements themselves; the elements don’t get the body and blood of Christ.”

Still, other Protestants concur to the memorial view—the idea that you’re commemorating Jesus’ decease. In this understanding, the elements are symbols which remain ontologically unaffected past the ritual.

5. Justification

Equally previously discussed, protestants view justification as the moment God declares that a guilty person is righteous because of what Christ has done.
Sanctification, then, is the process of being made more than righteous throughout your life.

However, Dr. Horrell notes that Catholics view justification as both a indicate and a process:

“What the Roman Catholic rejects is that there is an imputed righteousness of Christ to us at the moment of conservancy, that we are counted every bit fully righteous in the sight of God”

6. Priesthood of All Believers

Rather than a vertical construction, Protestants see the church equally having a horizontal structure. Dr. Svigel contrasts the role of the Cosmic priest with the Protestant idea of the priesthood of all believers:

“That which was reserved simply for the magisterium, the ability to bind and loose to forgive and withhold forgiveness through the sacraments and through penance and such, that was just the part of the priest. From Luther on, we accept the ability to confess our sins to one another, pronounce forgiveness as the scripture says.”

vii. Veneration of the Saints and the Virgin Mary

Roman Catholics see veneration, non as praying
the Saints and the Virgin Mary, but equally praying
them. This is seen as like to asking a brother or sister in Christ to pray for you. Dr. Svigel adds that departed saints are also “able to spill over their overabundance of grace to united states.”

Furthermore, Dr. Horrell notes that the Virgin Mary is seen every bit “the mother of our Lord, and therefore she is the mother of his body, and his torso is the church building, so she is the female parent of the church. He is the creator of all things. So she is the female parent of angels. She is the mother of humanity, every bit is sometimes said.”

Moreover, the Catholic Church building has likewise called her the Queen of Heaven. Historically, Mary was given a less prominent position in Protestantism as a reaction to this emphasis in the Catholic Church. In that location is no equivalent to this kind of veneration in Protestantism, equally Protestants emphasize straight access to God.


While both Protestants and Catholics agree on many essentials of the historic Christian religion, in that location are key issues which continue to distinguish their beliefs and practices. Get the full chat by listening to the Table Podcast series: Comparison Protestantism with Catholicism

About the Contributors

Mikel Del Rosario

Dr. Mikel Del Rosario is Project Director for Cultural Engagement at the Hendricks Center, Adjunct Professor of Media Arts and Worship at Dallas Theological Seminary and Adjunct Professor of Apologetics and World Organized religion at William Jessup University. Mikel co-authors The Table Briefing articles in Bibliotheca Sacra with Darrell Bock, manages the Tabular array Podcast, and helps Christians defend the religion with courage and compassion through hisapologeticsministry. He holds a PhD in Biblical Studies with an Emphasis in New Testament Studies from DTS, a Main of Theology (ThM) from DTS and an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola Academy.

Identify the Beliefs of Protestants and the Beliefs of Catholics