Considering this is the basis of a lot of the disagreement in our discussions (or at least it seems that way to me, a Catholic), I went looking and found this very informative article detailing the differences. Here is a basic chart, with more detail at the link.
**I had to spend quite a bit of time searching for a comparison that even came close to being unbiased. I also gave up on formatting. This is the best I could find/do.
***Please note this isn’t intended as a platform to discuss the validity of Christianity. Of course people will discuss what they want to discuss, but know that I will not participate in it. Almost every other article on this channel encompasses a part of that debate. I’m not supporting it here.
|Theological Belief||Roman Catholic Church||Conservative Protestants|
|Apostolic succession||Believe that present-day priest ordinations can all be traced back to the original apostles and thus to Jesus.||Concept rejected as historically invalid; it simply didn’t happen.|
|Attitude towards each other||The church considers Protestants to be Christians, but possessing only part of the truth.||Some consider Catholics to be non-Christians|
|Authority within the church||Vested in the hierarchy of the church.||Within the believer (soul freedom), the congregation and the denomination, according to their interpretation of the meaning of the Bible.|
|Baptism, significance of||Sacrament which regenerates and justifies.||Testimony of a prior regeneration after trusting Jesus as Lord and savior.|
|Baptism, timing||Usually done in infancy; may be done later in life when the person joins the church.||Usually done later in life after person is “born again.”|
|Bible, status of||Historically teaches that the original writings by Bible authors are inerrant. This is being debated.||The original writings of the biblical authors’ writings are inerrant. They are the Word of God.|
|Bible, content||The church includes the original 73 books in the Bible as specified by the Councils of Hippo and Carthage late in the 4th century.||Some Anglicans include all 73 books. Other protestants delete the 7 books of the Apocrypha.|
|Changing of beliefs, practices||Debate and dialogue is sometimes forbidden — particularly on human sexuality topics.||Relatively free discussion allowed, except, in some denominations, on matters related to homosexuality.|
|Church, structure||Hierarchical.||Usually democratic, except among some new religious movements (NRMs).|
|Clergy, selection of||Appointed; all male; almost all unmarried.||Elected; mostly male; single or married.|
|Discipline of members||Pressure from the clergy and laity. In serious cases, errant members can be denied the sacraments or excommunicated.||Pressure from the clergy and laity. Various denomination have formal policies of shunning, disfellowshipping and excommunication.|
|Ecumenical action||The Church views the fragmentation of Christianity into thousands of faith groups to be a sin. They want non-Catholic Christians join the Catholic Church.||Some view Catholics as non-Christian. Thus they are to be treated as other lost souls, on a par with Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Wiccans, etc. Others view Catholics as brothers in Christ and engage in joint projects on social matters.|
|Forgiveness of sin||Achieved through personal repentance to a priest, and — in emergencies — sometimes in a public communal ritual.|
In some Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, confession is done to one’s spiritual advisor. However, only an ordained priest may pronounce the absolution.
|Normally achieved through prayer to God the Father or Jesus directly without any human intercessor. However, many Lutherans confess to their the pastor. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes confess to their priesthood leader:|
|Hell||More than a physical place, hell is a state of being involving “the pain, frustration, and emptiness of life without God.“||Many conservatives believe that it is a real physical place of unbearable torture which lasts for all eternity with no hope of mercy, relief or cessation. Others define it as a place where one is separated from God.|
|Homosexuality, nature of||A homosexual orientation is generally unchosen and thus is not, in itself, sinful. It is a disordered state. However, all homosexual behavior is sinful. God and the church expect lesbians and gays to remain celibate for life.||They generally downplay the concept of sexual orientation, and concentrate on homosexual behavior which they consider to be a major sin. They differ from gays, lesbians, religious liberals, and the vast majority of human sexuality researchers, and therapists by viewing homosexuality as chosen, unnatural, abnormal & changeable behavior.|
|Immaculate Conception of Mary, circa 20 BCE. (Note 1) [See also: virgin birth]||The Church requires belief that at the time of Mary’s conception circa 20 BCE, she was conceived without sin.||Denied.|
|Infallibility of the Pope||in rare circumstances, members are required to believe in matters of religious doctrine and faith as stated by the Pope.||Denied.|
|Limbo||A place for infants who die before being baptized, and for Old Testament saints. 6 Concept is not officially taught. 8 Most Catholic theologians have abandoned belief in limbo. 7||Existence denied.|
|Lord’s supper/Eucharist||A sacrifice. Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity are physically present and are consumed by believers.||Memorial meal. Christ’s body and blood are present symbolically only.|
|Mary’s status||Mary’s status is below Jesus’, but above that of the saints. Some regard Mary as co- redemptrix with Jesus; this is not currently taught by the church.||The Virgin Mary plays a relatively minor role. Only trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior saves a person.|
|Non-Christian religions||Have some value for the truth that they contain. However, some rituals can inhibit salvation.||Some consider them worthless, dangerous, and demon-led.|
|Prayer||To God. Also may ask Jesus, Mary, or a saint to intercede on their behalf.||Prayer is addressed to God, not to saints.|
|Purgatory||A state of being in which souls are cleansed by purifying punishments before they can enter heaven.||Does not exist.|
|Sacraments||The means of grace.||The symbols of grace.|
|Saints||Saints form a major part of the religion. People can pray to saints and ask them to intercede with God.||Saints do not form a major part of the religion. One prays to God the Father and/or Jesus, not to saints.|
|Salvation, achieving||Dispensed by God; dependant on faith, and church sacraments.||Dispensed by God; dependent only on an individual’s repentance and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.|
|Salvation, losing||It is lost whenever a responsible person knowingly commits a mortal sin via free choice. It can be regained through repentance and church sacrament.||Usually, once a person is saved, they cannot lose their salvation. Some denominations teach that one can lose one’s salvation.|
|Salvation among non-Christians||It is possible that those outside the Roman Catholic Church can be saved in spite of the errors in their religious beliefs. However, some religion’s beliefs and practices make this unlikely.||Opinions differ. Most feel that all those who have not been saved are lost and will spend eternity being tortured in Hell.|
|Statues, venerating||Statues and images of Jesus, Mary and of individual saints are commonly found in Catholic sacred spaces. However, believers are expected to venerate the persons represented by the statues, not the statues themselves.||Many consider the mere presence of statues in sacred spaces to be a form of idolatry — a violation of the “graven images” prohibition in the second of the Ten Commandments.|
|Truth||Mainly found in scripture, as interpreted by the church. It is also found in church tradition, and the valid findings of scientific research.||Most believe it is found only in scripture, as interpreted through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit within the saved individual, their congregation and denomination.|
|Virgin birth (actually virgin conception; circa 5 BCE) See Note 1.||Required belief.||Nearly universal belief.|
|Visibility of the Church||The hierarchy of the Church, including the laity, plus the Church’s Spirit, referred to as the “Spotless Bride of Christ.”||Invisible fellowship of all saved individuals. Only God knows who is saved and thus the exact makeup of the Church.|
Note 1: Many people confuse the Immaculate Conception with the virgin birth. The former is a Roman Catholic belief that in about 20 BCE when Mary herself was conceived, she was without original sin. The latter is a generally held belief among all conservative and most mainline Christian denominations that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived about 6 BCE. Religious liberals generally consider both to be mythical events that never happened.
So there we have it. Is any of this new to you? What parts? There is an awful lot…