Churches Of Christ/Catholicism and Protestantism.


QUESTION: Dear Ernie

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,

Here is a chart that should provide a clear basic comparison.  Catholic belief is first, then Protestant then the church of Christ (which is neither).

1. Authority (Source)     
-- Catholics = Church and Scripture        
-- Protestants = Councils, Synods, or other legislative bodies and Scripture.
-- Church of Christ = God is the ultimate source of authority.  God through Christ by inspiration of the Holy Spirit authored the Bible which is God's Word and it is all sufficient for man.  He speaks to man today through the scriptures alone.

1a.  Authority (Organization)
-- Catholics = God ==> Pope ==> Christ ==> Cardinals ==> Archbishops ==> Bishops ==> Etc.
-- Protestants = God ==> Christ (not yet king) ==> Councils, Synods, other legislative bodies ==> Pastor ==> Deacons
-- Church of Christ == God ==> Christ (currently reigning as king) ==> Elders ruling over local autonomous congregations.

2. Books of Apocrypha          
--  Catholics = Includes apocrypha          
-- Protestants = Excludes apocrypha
-- Church of Christ = Excludes apocrypha   

3. Results of Fall  
-- Catholics =  Corruption and tendency to sin; pass on guilt of sin via Adam's "Original Sin"
-- Protestants = Total hereditary depravity and guilt
-- Church of Christ = Corrupted environment but sin is a learned behavior; sin and its guilt are not passed on through conception; man is sinless until he reaches an accountable age then commits his first sin

4. Free will
-- Catholics =  Free to do good or evil          
-- Protestants = Free only to do evil
-- Church of Christ = Free to do good or evil

5. Predestination
-- Catholics =  Related to God's foreknowledge
-- Protestants = Related to God's decrees
-- Church of Christ = Relates only to groups with regard to salvation, not to individuals (e.g. the church was predestined to be saved, but individuals choose to become part of that body)

6. Atonement        
-- Catholics =  Death of Christ created merit that is shared with sinners through sacraments -- Protestants = Death of Christ was a substitutionary sacrifice that satisfied God's justice
-- Church of Christ = Death of Christ and the Bible constitute God's plan of salvation, the means by which man is saved, but man must choose to follow the plan for the means to take effect.  See my blog on Cause and Conduit here: http://

7. Divine grace     
-- Catholics =  Prevenient grace helps one believe; efficacious grace cooperates with the human will to do good  
-- Protestants = Common grace enabling good works given to all; sufficient grace for salvation given to elect only; i.e. grace = salvation itself
-- Church of Christ = Grace is God's plan of salvation, the giving of His Son as the sacrifice for man's sins and the inspiration of the Bible as the pattern to follow; Grace is the means of salvation, but man must actively receive that Grace through obedient faith to be saved and stay saved.  Grace is not salvation itself, but is its cause.

8. Good works       
-- Catholics =  Meritorious          
-- Protestants = Results of divine grace and unworthy of merit
-- Church of Christ = Neither of the above; Good works are works of obedience required by God to obtain the Grace freely given.  Salvation is the result of God's Grace operating through our obedient faith.

9. Salvation        
--  Catholics = Received at baptism; may be lost by mortal sin; regained by penance. Those who have never heard of Christ may be saved. (Catech 847)
-- Protestants = Result of divine grace; unconditional. Those who have never heard of Christ may be saved.
-- Church of Christ = Received after hearing the gospel, believing it, confessing that faith in Christ, repenting of those sins, and being immersed in water into Christ to contact His blood and receive cleansing from those sins.  May be lost again through disobedience; regained by repentance and prayer.  Those who have never heard of Christ are lost.

10. The Church    
-- Catholics = The Catholic Church is "the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation" (Catech 845) but those baptized in other Christian denominations are in communion with the Church (Catech 838).    
-- Protestants = There is a distinction between the visible and invisible church. God saves anyone he chooses, or anyone with proper faith, regardless of church membership.
-- Church of Christ = There is only one body (Eph. 4:4) and that is the church (Eph. 1:22-23) so there is only one church of Christ, which is also the kingdom of Christ.  All other organizations are man made and salvation is not found in them.  While it may be that not all members of the church of Christ are going to heaven, only those who are members of the church of Christ will be going to Heaven (this includes Abraham and other OT figures who were "translated into the Kingdom" - Luke 13:28).

11. Sacraments    
-- Catholics = Convey grace by their operation (ex opere operato).    
-- Protestants = Means of grace only if received with faith.
-- Church of Christ = No such word or concept taught.

12. Priests    
-- Catholics = A special vocation for some believers; mediators between God and man    
-- Protestants = Priesthood of all believers.
-- Church of Christ = Priesthood of all members.

13. Transubstantiation    
-- Catholics = Affirmed
-- Protestants = Rejected
-- Church of Christ = Rejected

14. Purgatory
-- Catholics = Affirmed
-- Protestants = Denied
-- Church of Christ = Denied

15. Millennial reign
-- Catholics = Denied
-- Protestants = affirmed (mostly)
-- Church of Christ = Denied

16. Prayer to saints    
-- Catholics = Accepted
-- Protestants = Rejected
-- Church of Christ = Rejected

Catholicism has its super-organization world wide and has specific locations to meet to worship under the authority of their clergy (Pope-priests).  Protestantism includes many other older denominations as the name implies a protest against the Catholic church.  They meet under various names and organizational structures in different locations, but generally are ecumenical in their approach.

Neither the Catholic Church nor the various Protestant churches are the church that Jesus built and one cannot be saved in any of them.  Salvation is only found in the body of Christ, the church He built...the church of Christ.

Hope that answers your question.

In Truth and Love,

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

QUESTION: Dear Ernie

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: Regarding Mary
The Bible teaches that Mary was blessed in that she was chosen to be the earthly mother of Jesus, the Annointed Savior born into the world in human form.  Beyond that, though, Mary is nothing special.  Just a woman.  She sinned like any other.  Married (at least once that is recorded in scripture, possibly twice since Joseph is supposed to have died early).  She had at least six more children after Jesus and the sons names are recorded for us: James, Joseph (Joses), Simon, and Juda (Jude).  So the Catholic view Mary is erroneous in that it lifts her up far beyond what the Bible indicates.  They literally worship her, but she is just a woman and not worthy of worship.

Regarding worshipping at other churches/denominations.
As far as ecumenicalism goes, Catholics visiting Protestants and vice verse makes no difference to me.  They are all lost, all not part of the church Jesus built.  Each and every denomination in the world with very rare exception teaches falsely on  the nature of sin and how one is saved from that sin.  Since the doctrine of salvation is directly related to what it means to be be in the church, which is the body of the saved, if one teaches the incorrect method for becoming part of the church that Jesus built, how can one be in the church that Jesus built?

The Bible teaches that there is only one body (Eph. 4:4) and that the church is that body (Eph. 1:22-23).  The Bible is also very clear on how one becomes a member of that one church.  It is a simple, progressive pattern that God commands us to conform to before He will add us to His church (Act 2:47).

1.  Hear the gospel.  Faith comes by hearing the gospel of Christ (Romans 10:17).  It is the source of our information from God.  Not the church, not some clergy system, not the Pope.  The gospel, the written word, which is all sufficient to complete man spiritually (1 Tim. 3:16-17).
2.  Believe that good news.  Faith saves (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10) and without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).
3.  Repent of sins.  This means to turn from doing sin and toward God doing righteousness.  Repentance is ALWAYS required before God forgives sins (Acts 2:38; 2 Cor. 7:10).
4.  Confession of faith in Christ as the Son of God.  (Matt. 10:32; Romans 10:9-10)
5.  Immersion in water into Christ.  It is at this point that the soul comes into contact with the blood of Christ (Romans 6:3-5; 1 John 5:8), that the old man dies and the new creature is made (Romans 6), that we are freed from sin (Romans 6:17-18), that we are saved (1 Pet. 3:21), that we are put into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27), washed (Eph. 5:26).

It is this 5th step that most folks get wrong thinking that baptism is a sprinkling or a pouring of water rather than a full burial (Romans 6).  Thinking that a child has sins to be remitted because of the false doctrines of Original Sin or Hereditary Depravity.  A child cannot believe, repent, or confess and so cannot follow God's pattern to be saved.  All they do is get wet and later, when they are capable of following that pattern, they have been lied to and so think they are saved when they are not.  Many think that immersion is just a symbolic gesture a person who has already been saved by faith alone does to show others they have already been saved, rather than believing that immersion does the saving as an act of obedience that actually puts us into Christ.  The Bible does not teach faith alone or salvation by anything alone.  There are more than 50 things that save a human.  Faith, hope, Christ, immersion, the engrafted Word, and so on.  To say anything alone is sheer lunacy.

There is only one church Jesus built.  All others are man-made (Matt. 15:9) and will be rooted up (Matt. 15:13), thrown into the furnace of destruction.  They are blind leaders of the blind (Matt. 15:14) and will all perish.  Instead of chosing the church of YOUR choice, you should be seeking the church of God's choice, the bride of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  That is the church of Christ.

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

QUESTION: Dear Ernie

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 your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

I am unsure what the numbers would be to answer this question.

I do disagree with the premise:

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

This is simply not a true statement.

Also, in regard to this topic generally I would keep in mind what Jesus said as recorded in Matthew 7:13-14 - "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The more people in a group, the more it bears close scrutiny.  Popular things are not usually the right things.

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Ernie Laurence, Jr.


I am capable of answering any questions concerning doctrines of the church of Christ. I specialize in Creation vs. Evolution topics, the book of Revelation and other Biblical prophecies, and other apologetics related topics such as distinctions from denominational doctrines.


My experience in this area includes: having been raised by members of the church of Christ from infancy, having been immersed into the church of Christ at age ten, having taken an active role in worship/service leadership (song leading, teaching, preaching, youth ministry) since age fourteen through the present, and participating in numerous formal debates, research projects, and online discussions.

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I hold a bachelor's degree in computer information systems (CIS) from Tarleton State University which focuses on business communication and management. This provided training for how to deal professionally with individuals and organizations if not direct training in the field of religion. See experience section for informal education experience.

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