Protestant beliefs differences


I know the main differences between Catholic and Protestant, but can someone briefly describe what the main differences in beliefs are between the main protestant branches (Pentecostal, reformed, anglican, lutheran, methodist, bapist)?

I know there are differences in style and emphasis, but are there any major differences in their beliefs?


I can only speak for Anglican, in which case the answers to your questions depend on if the church is “low-church” or high church. Basically many of the beliefs are the closest to Lutheran, but the liturgy is more like Catholic. (I had very little trouble getting used to the Catholic Mass.) They don’t have many of the beliefs in common with the Pentacostals and few with the Reform. It is changing now tho’ with allowing women and gays to be ordained (and to the Bishopric too).

You’re probably going to have to get more specific as far as exact info you are looking for, as whole books could be written on the differences between all the denominations you listed… even within a denomination you are going to have subtle (and not so subtle) differences.

For Lutherans, one starts with the Augsburg Confession. Some of our disagreements with other protestants become rather apparent there: the sacraments being a major example.


Pentecostal/Charismatic: believing in gift of the Holy Spirit: speaking in tongue. My experience is if you have been baptized in (other) Protestant church, or RC Church and you want to be Pentecostal, you must get baptized again. Their baptism, though, is not recognized by RC Church.

Dutch Reformed: wearing black from top to teen and veil, God only loves His chosen people.

CMIIW though i’m Dutch, i was born and baptized in Dutch Reformed Church, when i was a teenager, mom brought me to Pentecostal church so these two are just my experiences and i have attended RCIA last year - this year, hence i said the baptism in Pentecostal church is not recoqnized by RCC because the RC pastor said so

Kinda like the same as the ones we have in Catholicism.

Traditional Catholic vs Regular Catholic

Molinist vs Thomist

Ultramontanistst vs Gallicanist

High Petrine vs Low Petrine

Latin Rite vs Byzantine Rite (and many other rites, 23 to be exact - I think)

We just have a central authority in the Pope and a common confession of faith. The children of the reformation are just all over the place…

But we are extremely varied, do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

I beg to differ. I was baptised by an Assembly of God minister and my baptism was accepted by my catholic church. Holy Rosary Church in NH

See, thanks for letting me know about AoG. And there is another Pentecostal/Charismatic movement which is Foursquare Gospel, which i just found out to be the root of Pentecostalism in the land where i was born (Indonesia).

Reformed Church itself here is divided again:

  • reformed church made-free
  • heavy reformed church (we called them zwartekousenclub for their black outfit from top to teen. These people don’t even have tv, etc, just like Amish)
  • freewill reformed church
  • confessional reformed church

I dont know what they really believe :rolleyes:

Hi Vanez . Yes, I believe that the Foursquare Gospel Churches began in the state of California in the USA.It is there that the vPentecostal churches had their start.

Anglicanism is Reformed as well…except when it isn’t.

The 39 Articles are from a Reformed perspective, yet you will also have those who believe traditional Roman Catholic teaching fully except for Universal Jurisdiction (The Pope having authority over all Churches / Clergy). But then you can add the Charismatics which might appear to be Pentecostal in worship, if not belief.

No wonder we are jumbled…:confused:

It’s impossible to give a complete and comprehensive answer to your question in just one post in one thread on one internet forum site when libraries worth of books have been written about this. Nevertheless, I will attempt to give a very, very abridged answer.

Of the Protestant traditions you mentioned, Anglicanism and Lutheranism come closest to approximating Catholicism in doctrine, liturgy, and church government. The differences stem from acceptance (at least historically) in these churches of the Protestant doctrines of sola fide (faith alone) and sola scriptura (Scripture alone). There are also differences in how these churches understand the Eucharist and the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome.

At the same time, both Anglicanism and Lutheranism has within it a spectrum. This spectrum generally moves from extremely “Roman Catholic” to extremely “Protestant” in orientation and everything in between. In Anglicanism, those who are extremely Roman Catholic in doctrine, style and liturgy are termed “Anglo-Catholic” while those who are just extremely liturgical are termed “High Church” and those who are doctrinally and liturgically the least similar to Roman Catholicism are termed “low church.”

The Reformed/Presbyterian churches are (or were in some cases) historically Calvinist. Calvinism is known for the doctrine of Predestination (the idea that human beings do not have free will and have been chosen by God for either salvation or reprobation). It rejects church government by bishops in favor of elders governing the church in a series of courts: church session, presbytery, synod, and General Assembly. It’s view of the Eucharist is that the bread and wine spiritually (not physically) become the body and blood of Christ.

Many Anglicans on the Protestant end of the spectrum are Calvinists.

Methodism emerged out of Anglicanism in the 1700s. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was an Anglican priest all of his life. Methodism combined Evangelicalism (the movement that emphasized personal conversion, holiness of life, and actively working to make society more Christian) with Anglicanism but was ultimately rejected by the Anglican hierarchy and became its own church.

Baptists are extremely diverse. They believe that each congregation should be independent and able to decide for itself what it believes. The congregation chooses its own pastor and votes on major decisions. Baptists believe in Believer’s Baptism-that only adults or children old enough to make a confession of faith should be baptized. Baptism and the Eucharist are symbolic, but many Baptist churches require you to be baptized before you can become a member of the church.

Pentecostals believe that there is an experience separate from conversion called the Baptism in the Holy Spirit that empowers the Christian to be a witness for Christ. With Spirit baptism comes spiritual gifts, commonly the gift of speaking in unknown tongues or languages. Pentecostals also believe that divine healing is included within the atonement; therefore, just as we can be confident that Christ will save us spiritually, we can also be confident that Christ will heal us mentally and physically.

The Eucharist, the statues, the Pope. Most believe in Jesus.

As to Anglicanism, I render you a snappy salute.


I know there is a Pentecostal group called United Pentecostal Church. They teach there is no trinity but one Person of God who plays three different rolls Father Son and Holy Spirit. They do not baptize in the name of Father Son and Holy Spirit. Their baptism is not recognized by the Church.

Oh that is Oneness Pentecostal, i think. From what i have read, they also use snake (there is a Bible verse telling about snake bite, i don’t remember the Bible verse).

I’m Episcopalian (TEC = The Episcopal Church). That’s the American branch of the Anglican Communion. We’re much the same as regular Anglicans, except for a tendency to be theologically and socially liberal… which is cool with me, because I prefer that.

I’m also Lutheran (ELCA). I only belong to one church, but it has both affiliations. As with TEC being like other Anglicans but generally more liberal, so ELCA is much like other Lutherans but more liberal,

TEC and ELCA have a full communion agreement. Both ordain woman and gays, and practice open communion. Both also generally believe in Real Presence, but not in transubstantiation, preferring to leave it as an unexplained holy mystery.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit