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Churches Of Christ/Catholicism, Protestantism, or the Church of Christ


QUESTION: Dear Scott

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: Dear Prashant,

The similarities between Catholicism and Protestantism are few. Catholics and Protestant believe Jesus to be the Son of God meaning that God the Father begot Himself, the Word, in the flesh. The title "Son of God" refers to the Messiah, the Anointed King presented in Psalm 2 within the Bible and depicted in predictions throughout the Bible. Both strive to follow Jesus as the Christ, which means Anointed One. Catholics and most Protestants believe Jesus to be God eternal, who came in the flesh. Catholics and most Protestants believe in one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Most agree and accept the Apostles' Creed. This basic belief and their focus in following Jesus Christ are their similarities. Note that there are other churches that are neither Roman Catholic or Protestant like the Eastern Orthodox Church and the churches, who trace their heritage through the Lollards, Waldensians, and Vaudois.

Catholics and Protestants are very different according to their traditions surrounding the Christian scriptures. The Roman Catholic Church venerates Mary and prays to saints whereas most protestants do not. Roman Catholics believe that the bread and wine of the Eucharist meal is blessed and its substance becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and Protestants reject this teaching of "Transubstantiation". Their forms of worship in church vary according to tradition. The Roman Catholic Church is officiated by a Priest and it is highly ritual and the Protestants are very ceremonial too, but some have a simpler or celebration style. The Catholics have only male priests whereas the Protestants now have women, who officiate. The Roman Catholic Church affirm 7 sacraments and the Protestants usually maintain 2 sacraments, the Eucharist and Baptism.

One distinguishing point between the Protestant and the Catholic are their governments. Each denomination has its own government, which most of the bodies believe that they have the church government that is Apostolic, which means from Jesus Christ's Apostles. For example, the Catholic Church has a hierarchy with the Pope as the Visible Head of the Roman Catholic Church followed by tiers of their hierarchy. The Handbook of Denominations states,

“The government of the Roman Catholic Church is hierarchical, but lay members of the perishes assume much responsibility. The trend since Vatican II has been toward more and more lay participation. At the head of the structure stand the pope, who is also Bishop of Rome and ‘Vicar of Christ on earth and the Visible Head of the Church.’ His authority is supreme in all matters of faith and discipline.

Next is the College of Cardinals. Although laypeople once were appointed as cardinals, the office has been limited to priests since 1918. Many Cardinals live in Rome, acting as advisers to the pope or as heads or members of the various congregations or councils that supervise the administration of the church. When a pope dies, cardinals elect the successor and hold authority in the interim” (Mead, P.93).

The Protestant churches reject this. Yet, they are various now in separate and different forms of government, but agree in rejecting the Pope to be the Visible Head of Christ's Church. Protestant Churches consist of the mainline denominations originating from the heritage of the Reformation like Episcopal Church, Lutheran, Wesleyan, Congregationalists (Reformed, UCC), Presbyterian, and Methodists. Being of the Reformation Movement, these churches are called protestant for protesting the Pope and various additions to the Christian faith.

I would be very happy to expand upon these points,

Thank you,
Scott Shifferd Jr

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Scott

Thank you.

Christianity Religion is broadly divided into two different Divisions  or Communities viz Catholics and Protestants.

This are my views mentioned below from my side.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God has founded the religion Christianity. Mother Mary is Mother of the Lord. Both are Great. The Holy Churches are open to all whether Catholics or Protestants and not only Catholics or Protestants but to all other religions.

I personally born Hindu religion by birth visit Different churches
St Lewis Church, Mount Mary Church, St Michael Church. The Dear Friends, Brothers and Sisters of those churches allow me to enter the church, pray and worship before the All Mighty. I get mental peace. They do not stop me to enter the church just because i am from a different religion.

I personally feel Catholics should be allowed to visit the Protestants Churches and Protestants should be allowed to enter the Catholics Churches and they should do this.

I also personally feel there should be a common church for both the communities and not different churches for the Catholics and Protestants communities.

Note : Mother Mary is Mother of the Lord itself. Both are Great.
God is Great. Regarding my above opinion and views, can you please reply me with your views ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Prashant,

Thank you for the question.

Personally, I am neither Protestant nor Catholic. I am not Orthodox either. I guess I could be considered of the heritage of the Vaudois and "Lollards". I am member of the churches of Christ, who are throughout the world.

Since Jesus prayed that we be one (John 17:21), I desire that there neither be Protestant nor Catholic, but that we all be simply Christians. We must all start with the teachings of Jesus Christ and follow those words that He gave to His Apostles and prophets in the scriptures. Those words do not lead to Protestantism or Catholicism, but to being Christians in the Church that He built (Matt. 16:18). Jesus only built one church (Eph. 1:22-23, 4:4). Jesus said that we are being able to observe all that He commanded (Matt. 28:20). The Apostle Paul taught that we should be united in the same mind and the same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10).

The words of Christ do not lead me to a historical tradition not found in His words. Both Catholicism and Protestantism have forms of church government that I cannot find or led to by the words of Christ and His Apostles and prophets as written in the scriptures (John 6:63, 15:20, 16:12-13, 17:8, Eph. 3:3-5, 1 Cor. 2:13, 2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Pet. 3:2). With Christ being the Head of the Church, I cannot put myself under a church hierarchy that cannot find. Therefore, I do not enter the churches of Protestantism or Catholicism to worship in praising God under their hierarchy, which is apart from Christ. I will enter to teach His words. In the churches of Christ, our congregations are self-governed by married men from among the congregation, who are qualified to be our church elders (Acts 14:23, 20:17, 28-30, Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Pet. 5:1-4).

If find that if we were agreement of the authority of Christ and conform to His death, burial and resurrection by dying to our sins, being buried in baptism, and being resurrected in the newness of life (1 Cor. 15:1-4, Rom. 6:3-7, Col. 2:12-13), then we can be united in His love and grow together being of the same mind and same judgment.

Thank you and may God bless you in diligently following Christ's words,
Scott J Shifferd Jr.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Scott

Thank you.

Statistically if we take a count of Total Number of Catholics and Total Number of Protestants in all countries, which will be more in number ?.

This can be calculated by the simple mathematical formula of summation.

Just As a example,

1. Country : USA Total Number of Catholics : 2000000. Total Number of Protestants : 1500000.
2. Country : United Kingdom Total Number of Catholics : 1500000. Total Number of Protestants : 2000000.

Total Number of Catholics in the world = Sum of Catholics in every country.
Total Number of Protestants in the world = Sum of Protestants in every country.

As we know, Every Christian baby born in a family will be either a Catholic or a Protestant.

Note : The above example does not show any real figures, the numbers shown are taken just for computation.

Awaiting yout reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Dear Prashant,

I am sorry for the delay.

The total of adding Protestants to Catholics equals all the believers who are Protestant or Catholic. This excludes Eastern Orthodox and New Testament Christians.

I did not understand where you were going with this, and I did not know how to reply.

May God bless you in your studies,
Scott Shifferd, minister, Dean Road church of Christ, Jacksonville, FL

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Scott Shifferd


My education and experience allows me to answer most questions related to the Bible by giving scripture and other supporting sources usually without giving the standard response. I prefer to allow the inerrant scriptures to interpret themselves, and I encourage you to take the scriptural understanding of scripture over any of my interpretations. I am very capable of addressing matters in the Greek New Testament.


Over 10 years in the ministry teaching and preaching Minister at the Dean Road church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL

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BA in Biblical Studies from Faulkner University Fifteen college hours in Koine Greek More than 15 hours in History

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Bible Award from Faulkner University in 2004

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