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5 Ways Protestants Differ From Other Christian Denominations

By    |   Wednesday, 01 April 2015 11:34 AM

While there are many Protestant denominations, Protestant Christians share some common refutations of Catholic beliefs.

Here are five ways Protestants differ from other Christian denominations:

1. The Sufficiency of Scripture: One of the main problems reformers had with the Catholic Church is its reliance on "sacred tradition." Catholics believe that the oral teachings of Jesus, passed down through the centuries, help clarify and provide context for scripture, whereas Protestants believe that the Bible is sufficient in and of itself. Protestants believe that it takes away from the authority of the Bible to believe in any other source of scriptural truth.

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2. The Nature of Salvation: Protestants believe that all that is necessary for salvation is faith in Jesus Christ and acceptance of his crucifixion as payment for our sins. Catholics, on the other hand, believe that, while Jesus' death on the cross made it possible for people to enter heaven, everybody must still "work out their own salvation in fear in trembling."

Protestants believe that it's impossible to earn your way into heaven through good works. Instead, they believe that the only means of attaining heaven is Jesus's death and resurrection and that any good works are a result of, rather than a means to, that salvation. Protestants also believe that once you're "saved," there is nothing you can do to jeopardize your salvation.

3. A Literal Interpretation of Scripture: While not all Protestant denominations believe exactly the same thing, Protestants in general believe that the Bible is the literal word of God. In other words, most believe that the events described in the Bible, including the Old Testament, happened just as written.

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This includes things like the creation of the world in seven days and Jonah being swallowed by a whale. Some Protestants and most Catholics believe that some Old Testament stories are just that –— stories told to illustrate a theological truth, much like the parables Jesus told.

4. The Rapture: Some Protestants — in particular evangelists and fundamentalists — believe that Jesus' return at the end of time will be preceded by seven years of some of the most horrific events in human history. They believe, however, that the faithful will be spared that suffering through the Rapture: being gathered to Jesus without having to go through physical death.

5. The Belief That All Sin is Equal:
Many Protestants believe that all sin is equally bad. That doesn't mean that they believe that stealing a piece of candy is the equivalent of committing murder. Rather, it means that disobeying God is disobeying God. The emphasis is put on the disobedience itself rather than the particular form it takes.

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For the first thousand years of Christianity, there was only one denomination: Roman Catholicism. Then came the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, which was initially an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic church.
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Wednesday, 01 April 2015 11:34 AM
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