For your success in AP U.S. History and AP European History.

Protestantism vs. Catholicism PDF Print E-mail

Contrasting Protestant and Catholic Doctrine


Protestants Catholic
Role of Bible emphasized Bible + traditions of Middle Ages + papal pronouncements
"Priesthood of all believers" – all individuals equal before God. Sought clergy that preached. Medieval view about special nature and role of the clergy.
Anglicans rejected pope’s authority – monarch became Supreme Governor of the church.

Lutherans rejected authority of the pope but kept bishops.

Most Calvinists governed church by ministers  and a group of elders, a system  called Presbyterianism.

Anabaptists rejected most forms of church  governance in favor of congregational democracy.
Medieval hierarchy: believers, priests, bishops and pope.
Most Protestants denied efficacy of some or all of sacraments of the medieval church – the Eucharist (communion) most controversial. All seven sacraments
Consubstantiation – Lutherans: bread and wine did not change but believer realizes presence of Christ is in the bread and wine. (Real  Presence)

Zwingli saw the event of communion as only symbolic – memorial to the actions of Christ, or thanksgiving for God’s grant of salvation (main reason for break with Luther)
Transubstantiation – bread and wine retain outward appearances but are transformed into the body and blood of Christ.
Lutherans believed in Justification by faith – salvation cannot be earned and a good life is the fruit of faith.

Calvinsts: predestination; a good life could provide some proof of predestined salvation – "visible saints" or the "elect."
Salvation through living life according to Christian beliefs and participating in the practices of the church -- good works
Lutherans and Anglicans believed state controls the Church.

Anabaptists believed church ignores the state.
Catholics and Calvinists believed church should control and absorb the state – theocracy.
 Services emphasized the sermon Services emphasized the Eucharist