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Question
Dear Mel and Guyna

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholicism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism

What are the Similarities and Differences in Catholicism and Protestantism ?

Are there different churches for both ?. i.e. Catholics go for worship and praying the all mighty to a different church and Protestants go to a different church ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Answer
Hi Prashant,

You asked about the differences and similarities in Catholicism and Protestantism. You asked if there are different churches for both?

They do attend different churches.  While members of either one are usually welcome to visit the other, membership in either requires "conversion" from one to the other.
In addition, Catholic and Protestant are not just two churches, but both are terms that apply to hundreds of sub-groups, many of which consider themselves to be the "one true church".

An Encyclopedia was compiled, around 2001, listing 33,830 individual denominations.  A few of these claim a history apart from either Catholic or Protestant.

The principal differences are the Catholic acceptance of papal authority, the "adoration" of icons (including the "adoration of Mary"),and praying to dead "saints".  

The Reformation (the origin of the Protestant church movement) was not started with the idea of starting another church, but of "reforming" the Catholic church of priestly abuses and corruption.  There were also disputes over a number of doctrines, but the major doctrines are still basically identical and include a trinity godhead, an immortal soul, a paradise called Heaven, and an everburning Hell.

There are two versions of how and why the Reformation happened, one Catholic and the other, Protestant.†
History shows both sides abusing the other, to the point of killing one another.  They both gave Christianity a bad name (reputation), and the book that they both use (although in slightly different versions), condemns them for that (2Pet. 2:2).

It may be difficult for non-Christians, who are not familiar with the Christian Bible, to separate the religious confusion within Christianity from the Christian Bible.  It appears to be difficult for many who have known no other religion.  To do that, one must understand that modern "Christianity" did not produce the Bible, which predates both Catholicism and Protestantism by hundreds of years.  In other words, modern Christianity is a result of confusion and arguments over the Holy Bible.  As we often explain, God created man.  Man created religions, 10,000 by one count, with the one religion of Christianity dividing into over 33,000 subgroups.

†The Holy Bible (the "Old Testament") is a history of the Creation of man, and God's interaction with individuals and groups of people from the Creation of the world until the coming of the Son of God in the form of Jesus Christ.  It is also known as the Jewish bible, because God used them to preserve it.  It should not be confused with Orthodox Judaism, which is the result of the addition of non-Biblical traditions and rituals from around the 5th century BCE to the 6th century CE.  The Bible's so-called "New Testament" includes the four eyewitness accounts of the birth, life, miracles, preaching, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Acts of the apostles, the letters of Paul to various congregations, and the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Christ's message to the world through the apostle John in about 60 CE), concerning the events at the end of the world as we know it, and the return of Jesus Christ to institute the Kingdom of God on the earth.†

For a list of the subgroups in both, and a list of the internal and external disputes, see our article "The Current State of Christianity" at  http://thechurchofgodinamerica.com/B101.A.2.The%20current%20state%20of%20Christi

For a brief overview of the Holy Bible, see our article "What is the Christian Bible?" at  http://thechurchofgodinamerica.com/B101.A.4.a.%20What%20is%20the%20Christian%20B

For a non-denominational explanation of the message that Jesus Christ came to deliver, see "What is the True Gospel of Christ" at http://thechurchofgodinamerica.com/What%20is%20the%20true%20Gospel%20of%20Jesus%

For a general discussion of mankind's search for divine truth, see article "Introduction to Theology" at  http://thechurchofgodinamerica.com/B101.General%20Introduction%20to%20Theology.h

For a discussion of what happens when we die, see "Okay, I'm dead, now what?" at http://thechurchofgodinamerica.com/B101.C.6.a.Okay_I%27m_Dead_Now_What.htm

If one uses Christ's own example and his teachings, and the standards of spiritual measurement given in scripture, one would be hard put to find a Christian among the majority of groups calling themselves Christian.  Hypocrisy, cliques, snobbery, irrelevancy, and non-Biblical teaching are some of the primary reasons many are leaving Catholic and Protestant denominations, and looking for a spiritual relationship directly with God, through personal Bible study and fellowship with others in their homes or in very small groups.

Jesus himself, prophesied that he would reject "many" who call themselves Christians (Mat. 7:22-23), but not all (verses 13-14). Eventually, all people will worship the true God in the Kingdom of Christ on the earth (Zech. 14, Rev. 21:1-8, 22:1-22).

We hope that this helps in answering your questions.

Sincerely,
Mel and Guyna


(Please note: the Church of God in America is not another denomination.  It is a name we use for publishing, and because it is where we are located.)

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Mel and Guyna Horne

Expertise

Anyone can read the Bible but sometimes it helps to have someone assist with the understanding (Acts 8:26-40). Truth comes from God through his holy spirit of truth (Jn. 16:13, 1Cor. 2:12), which is available to anyone who believes, repents and seeks God fervently and wholeheartedly, with humility, faith and persistence (Mat. 7:7, Deu. 4:29, Isa. 66:2, Jas. 4:1-10, Phil. 2:12). Truth is not limited to, or by, manís religious organizations, church traditions, popular beliefs or personal opinions (Jn. 8:32, 14:6). We will try to help anyone who is trying to understand scripture or Christian living. [Please do not submit homework questions as they will be rejected.]

Experience

Over 50 years of personal study of the entire Bible (Deu. 8:3, Mat. 4:4, 2Tim. 3:16, Deu. 4:12, Rev. 22:18). B.A. in Theology with continuing studies in religious history and education (2Tim 2:15, 1Ths. 5:21). Years of informal counseling of young adults, teens, couples, and prisoners, based on scripture and on actual life experience in the world outside of classrooms and church buildings and including a long and happy marriage. After years of experience with organized religion, we are non-denominational. Publications: http://thechurchofgodinamerica.com/index.htm; http://www.reocities.com/Athens/Forum/1611/books on God's Holy Days, Lying, the Sacred Names Doctrine; articles on Terrorism and Islam, the Gospel of Christ, Preparing Yourself for Life in the Kingdom of Christ; What Happens After Death

Organizations
Organizations are of men, not God. While God may use some of them to facilitate his plan, organizations train their people to follow, not to lead. God was able to create the whole Creation, as we see it, in only six days, because he did not use a committee. Ten years after 9/11, the only thing approved for construction at the New York site was a mosque.

Education/Credentials
"If a man would teach others, he must first teach himself." - Source Unknown. B.A. in Theology, over 50 years of personal study, the last sixteen of which have been full time study and research resulting in publication of several books and many articles.

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