Differences in Major Religions

Outline of major differences between Catholic and other major faith traditions

Lutherans

Major differences:

  1. Authority in the Church
  2. The way a person is saved
  3. Eucharist...the Presence of Jesus is added to the Bread and Wine during the celebration but does not remain after the celebration is complete
  4. Have some understanding of Confession, but do not consider it sacramental
  5. The Bible alone is the source of doctrine
  6. Faith in Christ is the only way to obtain personal salvation
  7. Reject prayer to Mary and saints as well use of icons and images
  8. Reject the notion of Purgatory, but have recently included prayers for the dead in their prayerbooks (ELCA)
  9. Their ministers may marry
  10. Women can be ordained (in ECLA)
  11. Divorce is tragic but sometimes the best option
  12. Accept remarriage

They believe in:

  1. Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, Augsburg confession, Formula of Concord
  2. Trinity
  3. Christ is truly human and truly divine

There are two main branches of Lutheranism in the U.S.:

  1. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ECLA]
  2. Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod [LCMS] - tends to be more fundamentalist

Catechesis required:

  1. Ecclesiology including:
    1. justification by faith and good works
    2. church as Body of Christ
    3. church as community
    4. church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic
    5. hierarchical structure of the Church ... and authority in the Church
    6. infallibility
    7. Communion of Saints, Mary and the Saints
  2. Eucharistic theology ...our understanding of:
    1. Transubstantiation
    2. Real Presence
    3. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
  3. Holy Orders and Marriage

Also necessary for them to become part of the community and to participate with the community in its missionary activities.

 

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Baptists

Major differences:

  1. Justification by faith alone
  2. Jesus Christ is not really present in the Eucharist
  3. Reject transubstantiation and real presence

Other differences:

  1. Operate on a Congregationalist Governance system in which every local church has sutonomy - therefore there are differences from one congregation to another
  2. Officers are the elders or bishops and the deacons who are elected by members of the congregation
  3. Reject infant baptism - only those become members who make a profession of faith
  4. Baptism by immersion is the only mode accepted
  5. No creeds
  6. "Priesthood of all believers"...that every Christian has direct access to God and the truths found in the Bible without help
  7. Only two ordinances {sacraments): Baptism and the Lord's Supper...both are mere symbols
  8. Tend to be fundamentalist (especially Southern Baptists)
  9. Ministers may marry
  10. In some congregations women may be ordained

Baptists believe in:

  1. The divinity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit
  2. The Trinity
  3. Literal Second Coming of Christ

Their worship services consist of the proclamation of the Word of God through the weekly sermon.

Catechesis required:

  1. Ecclesiology including:
    1. justification by faith and good works
    2. Scripture, Church tradition and reason form
    3. the foundation of our faith and practice
    4. church as Body of Christ
    5. church as community
    6. church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic
    7. hierarchical structure of the Church ... and authority in the Church
    8. infallibility
    9. Communion of Saints, Mary and the Saints, prayers for the dead
  2. Eucharistic theology ...our understanding of
    1. Transubstantiation
    2. Real Presence
    3. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
  3. Sacramental theology and our understanding of Holy Orders and Marriage, Infant baptism
  4. Introduction into liturgical worship
  5. Deutero-canonical Books of the Bible

Also necessary for them to become part of the community and to participate with the community in its missionary activities.

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Episcopalian/Anglican

Major differences:

  1. Celibacy is not required of clergy
  2. Permit the ordination of women*
  3. Eucharist is open to all baptized Christians and is offered in both bread and wine
  4. Democratic structure of the church
  5. Prayers to the saints is not common, but they are recognized and commemorated
  6. The diocese is the primary unit of governance

They believe in:

  1. Scripture as the revealed Word of God
  2. The historical creeds of the Church (the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed) as sufficient statements of Christian belief
  3. The celebration of the seven sacraments with special emphasis on Baptism and Eucharist
  4. The use of Scripture, Church tradition, and reason in matters of belief and practice
  5. The apostolic ministry of bishops, priests and deacons in the life of teaching and service in the Church
  6. The "Branch Theory": an understanding that the Church of Christ is present in different "branches" such as the Roman, the Orthodox, the Anglican, all of whom are considered "Catholic"
  7. The Trinity....three persons in one God
  8. That Jesus Christ is fully human, and fully divine
  9. Salvation by faith not good works

There are different branches of Episcopalians with varying understandings of Eucharistic theology.

Catechesis required:

  1. Ecclesiology including:
    1. justification by faith and good works
    2. church as Body of Christ
    3. church as community
    4. church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic
    5. hierarchical structure of the universal Church and authority in the Church
    6. infallibility
    7. Communion of Saints, Mary and the Saints
  2. Eucharistic theology - our understanding of:
    1. Transubstantiation
    2. Real Presence
    3. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
    4. Eucharist as the sacrament of unity
  3. Holy Orders and Marriage

Also necessary for them to become part of the community and to participate with the community in its missionary activities.

* Some Episcopalians (Anglicans) do not recognize women bishops. The recent election of a woman as presiding bishop in the Episcopal Church has caused much friction. Many Episcopalians interested in becoming Catholic may be coming from a more conservative or traditional mindset.

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Presbyterians

Major differences:

  1. Holy Scriptures are the only rule of faith and conduct....stress the importance of scholarship re. Scriptures
  2. Only two sacraments: baptism and the Lord's Supper {Holy Communion}
  3. Eucharist...Jesus is spiritually present in the elements; physical elements do not change; Jesus is genuinely present there
  4. Justification by grace through faith
  5. Church is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike
  6. There are no bishops but rather the office of elder...commissioned non-clergy elected by the congregation who take part in local pastoral care and decision-making at all levels
  7. Mary is not the mediator between man and God; she is honored as God-bearer and model for the Christian
  8. Deny Purgatory
  9. Believe in Predestination
  10. Women can be ordained
  11. Variety of positions on eschatology

They believe in:

  1. Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, Westminster Confession
  2. Trinity
  3. Christ is truly human and fully God
  4. Strong commitment to missionary activity

Catechesis required:

  1. Ecclesiology including:
    1. justification by faith and good works
    2. church as Body of Christ
    3. church as community
    4. church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic
    5. hierarchical structure of the Church ... and authority in the Church
    6. infallibility
    7. Communion of Saints, Mary and the Saints
  2. Eucharistic theology - our understanding of
    1. Transubstantiation
    2. Real Presence
    3. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
  3. Holy Orders and Marriage and other sacraments

 

 

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