What is the difference between Catholics and Protestants?
Christians in the Bible are called people that love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10). If a person loves the
truth they must hate lies, errors and all distortions of the truth. However,
just as God hates sin, but loves all people even though they sin, Christians should
likewise love all people even if they do, teach or believe something that is not right or
Catholics and Protestant should love one another, even if they
do not agree with or do not like what the other does or believes.
Catholics and Protestants believe and do many of the same things, but they also
believe and do some things differently. Some differences are
trivial, but some differences deal with the foundational issues.
The Catholic Church has a long history over which time it has changed in many
ways, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
Protestant Christianity began in the 1500's when a group of people began to protest against
some of the wrong things they believed the Catholic Church was doing and
teaching. These protesters became separated from the Catholic Church and formed their own
Church which was more inline with what they believed was the truth. Just like
the Catholic Church, Protestant Churches are not perfect, they have also changed
many times in many ways.
The main issue is Catholics have believed and done
some things differently to what Protestants believe the Bible has
instructed. Protestants believe this is a result of Catholics believing
individuals and traditions have said, rather than
what God has said through the Bible. The problem of traditions becoming
important than God's truth is something all religions have at some time
guilty of, including Protestants. The Catholic Church has admitted to
the errors it has been guilty of in the past, and has changed. But there
still some beliefs and practices that Protestants would say are against
An example of change in the Catholic church is, the fact that today, the
Catholic Church does encourage Bible reading. But in the past the Catholic
church has discouraged personal study of the Bible, in fact
reading the Bible was at one time banned by the Church. Only certain people were
allowed to do so. People that did read, or spread the Bible, were even killed by
the Catholic Church, like William Tyndale who was one of the first people to
translate the Bible into English.
The Catholic Bibles include certain books which Protestants say should not be
there. They are called the apocryphal books, which are writings protestants do
not believe have
been approved as inspired by God. Since they are not referred to as Scripture by
Jesus or His disciples.
At one time almost all Catholic Church services were entirely in the Latin
language, and only a few people could understand Latin. This is no longer case.
THE VIRGIN MARY
Mary the physical mother of Jesus is of great importance to Catholics, but the
Bible says very little about Mary. Here is a summary of what the Bible says
The Bible describes Mary as the physical mother of Jesus, and that she was made
pregnant by God. (Matthew 1:16, Luke 1:26-42, Luke 2:5-19) Mary visited her
cousin Elisabeth (Luke 1:39-56) Mary attended a feast at Jerusalem with her
family. (Luke 2:48-51) Mary is present at a marriage feast. (John 2:1-10) Mary
looked for Jesus when He was teaching inside a house (Matthew 12:46-47, Mark 3:31,
Luke 8:19). Mary went to see Jesus at the cross (John 19:25-27). Mary was
committed to the care of Jesus' disciple John. (John 19:27) Mary lived with the
disciples in Jerusalem for a while (Acts 1:14).
So everything Catholics say about Mary that is not in the Bible has been made up
by people, and are based on tradition rather than the truth revealed to us God's
Word. Nowhere does the Bible say Mary was greater than any other Christian,
she was just a human like all of us. The Bible does not say people should
worship Mary or pray to Mary. The Bible does not say Mary prays for us.
Some Catholics may believe and teach that Mary acts as a mediator between people and
God, but this is the opposite to the Bible which says, Jesus is only mediator
between God and mankind. (1 Timothy 2:5)
A mediator is somebody that negotiates a solution between two people that are
divided because of some problem.
Praying to Mary, singing to Mary, and bowing down or kissing statues of Mary,
might even be classed as a form of Idol worship, which Jesus said was wrong. For
He said we must worship and serve God alone (Matthew 4:10). And Mary was a
Mary is not the gate of heaven as some Catholics say, for Jesus Himself said
that He is the way and nobody comes to the Father except through Him (John
14:6). And the Bible also says, there is no other name except that of Jesus by
which we are saved (Acts 4:12).
A popular belief among Catholics is that Mary never did any sin, but the Bible says
everyone has sinned (Romans 5:12-13, 1 Kings 8:46, 1 John 1:8-10, Psalm 53:3).
Mary even admitted she needed a Savior for she called God her Savior (Luke
1:46-47). Jesus is the only person who has not sinned, and Jesus was God.
Catholics believe Mary never had any other children. But the Bible
says Mary did have other children (Matthew 13:55-56).
Some Catholics often call Mary the mother of God, but God does not have a mother, for
God and Jesus already existed before Mary existed (Isaiah 43:10). Mary was not
God's mother, but simply a channel through which Jesus entered this physical
The Pope is a man Catholics have claimed is a mediator between God and mankind.
But as it has been said Jesus is the only mediator between God and mankind (1
Timothy 2:5). Catholics also claim the Pope is the head of the Church on earth,
but the Bible says Jesus is the head of the Church (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians
1:22, Colossians 2:9-10). We should not give to any man the honor that belongs
to Jesus alone.
It is often believed among Catholics that a certain group of people called
priests, have the power and authority to forgive sins. So sins must be confessed
to priests. But such beliefs are the opposite of what is found in the Bible,
which says Jesus has the power to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6). Also, no human
priest is a mediator between God and man. The
Bible also teaches we can ask God ourselves for forgiveness, and He promises to
forgive us and cleanse us (1 John 1:9). Peter also said in the Bible, that
through Jesus name, whoever believes in Him will receive forgiveness of their
sins (Acts 10:43). The Bible does not teach that today there should be a
special class of people called priests, for God sees all Christians as priests
(1 Peter 2:9).
Catholics generally believe sin causes spiritual penalties, and not all of these penalties are removed even
if the guilt of a sin has been forgiven. They believe these remaining penalties
can be removed or reduced by penance, which involves doing good works. What
these good works are is decided by the priest after a confession. According to
Catholic beliefs any remaining penalties will be paid by suffering in a place
called purgatory after death.
However the Bible does not say anything about penance, God does not demand such
things for the forgiveness of sins. God's forgiveness is a free gift we receive
by turning away from our wrong ways and accepting it through believing in Jesus
as our Lord (Galatians 2:16, Romans 1:17). According to the Bible good works do
not make a person a Christian, but good works should be the sign of a person who
is a Christian. Good works are the result of becoming a Christian. And we become
a Christian by turning away from sin and turning our lives over to Jesus.
Purgatory is a place Catholics believe they will go if they die with unpaid
penalties, there they will pay for their penalties by suffering. This imaginary
place keeps many Catholics in fear all their life, because they can never be
sure of how long they will spend there. A fear of purgatory causes many
Catholics to miss out on the joy and peace that
comes from knowing Jesus has paid the full price for sin. Catholics often teach
that time spent in purgatory can be reduced by gifts of money, the prayers of
priests, and by doing other things. Through such teachings the Catholic Church
has collected billions of dollars, making it one of the richest institutions in
However nothing about purgatory can be found in the Bible. Jesus said in the Bible, that He who hears His word and believes
in Him who sent Him, has everlasting life, and will not be judged, but has
passed from death to life (John 5:24). The Bible also says God does not remember
sins that have been forgiven (Hebrews 10:17). The Bible also says that once
Christians die they will be present with God (2 Corinthians 5:8-9), there is no
place in between.
Catholics also teach that the unpaid penalties can cause individuals to be
punished in this life also, in various forms of sufferings, and what remains
unpaid by suffering on earth will be paid in purgatory. Catholics also believe
these penalties can be reduced with what Catholics call indulgences, which
involve doing good works, saying certain prayers, going to confession, going to
communion, or doing something else. Catholics also believe indulgences can be
gained for people that have died and gone to the imaginary place called
The whole concept of Indulgences goes against the Bible, which teaches that
God's Gift of life is free, for the whole punishment for all sin has been paid
for by Jesus once and for all (Hebrews 10:10).
NEVER SURE OF BEING SAVED
Because of beliefs about purgatory, No Catholic person is sure they will go to
Heaven when they die, they might go to purgatory. But the Bible says if we walk
in the light, as Jesus is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and
the blood of God's Son Jesus cleanses us of all our sin (1 John 1:7). So Jesus
cleanses us of ALL our sin.
Catholic beliefs do not allow certain men to have a wife because they are
leaders in the Church. However in the Bible we read Christian leaders were
married, such as the Apostle Peter (Matthew 8:14, Mark 1:30, Luke 4:38) Paul who
was a Christian leader and wrote most of the New Testament also allowed marriage
(1 Corinthians 9:5). The Bible even makes it clear that it is wrong to forbid
marriage (1 Timothy 4:3).
Catholics often repeatedly say the same prayer over and over again. But this is
a practice that the Bible says is wrong. For even Jesus told His followers to
not vainly repeat themselves in prayer, like some do thinking they will be heard
because of their many words. Jesus went on to say, we are not to be like
them, for our heavenly Father knows what we need, before we ask him (Matthew 6:7-8).
A common Catholic tradition involves the kissing and bowing down to images and
statues of Mary, Jesus, dead people and angels. The Bible says that is wrong,
and such objects should not even be made (Exodus 20:4-5). Jesus told us to
worship God in Spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). There are many other Catholic
practices and beliefs that can't be found in the Bible, such as saying prayers
for the dead. Generally Church services involve intricate rituals and ceremonies
that are not found in the Bible, but have been invented by people. God has said
in the Bible He is more interested in what is in
peoples heart than rituals and ceremonies.
As a Protestant, I believe the Catholic belief system has complicated the simple
Gospel message. I protest any religion that teaches that to receive spiritual
salvation involves a lot of hard work. I believe we have eternal life when we
put our faith in Jesus, as the Scripture says: "He that believes on the Son has
everlasting life" (John 3:36)
The Bible warns against those that seek to
complicate and corrupt God's simple plan of salvation (2 Corinthians 11:3). The
simple truth is God's gift of life has been fully paid by Jesus on the cross. We
receive it in this life by turning from our wrong ways and accepting Jesus as our Lord,
it is not something we can get by
doing good works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
So if you want to get right with God, you have to go to Jesus directly, not any
Church, religious organization or human individual. Jesus said, come to me all
you that labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew
11:28). We are not saved by belonging to a Church either Catholic or Protestant.
There are only one kind of Christian, those that have made Jesus Lord of their
life, and the simplest definition of a "true" Church is any group of people that
is united by a shared love of Jesus Christ.
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