What do Protestants disagree on?


Could someone perhaps inform me about some of the big ticket items Protestants themselves disagree on please? And please do not just say baptism, but something more specific like denomination x believes baptism is abcd whilst denomination y believes it is efg, etc.

I find so many threads and websites on what Catholics and Protestants disagree on but not any on what Protestants disagree on. Maybe I just do not know where to look.



Pretty much everything, since they have no unified central authority. Name pretty much any existing Catholic or Protestant doctrine, and I’ll find you two groups that’ll disagee with each other on it. There’s wayyy too much to coherently address in the space of a single forum post. I could honestly write a book. Or several. God Bless!


While there are lone wolf sorts of congregations, there are many who do have central authority governing bodies.

There are hundreds and hundreds of various Protestant denomination/sects/brotherhoods. They all differ in doctrine in one way or another.

Could you maybe narrow it down to a couple of specific Protestant groups?

For instance, learn about Southern Baptist beliefs here http://www.sbc.net/

Learn about Assemblies of God here https://ag.org/

United Methodists http://www.umc.org/

Nazarenes http://www.nazarene.org/nazarene-glance

United Church of Christ http://www.ucc.org/

United Pentecostal https://www.upci.org/home-main

This only scratches the surface.


I’d say that everything except the Trinity is on the table for debate. Even within denominations you seem to be at some liberty to disagree on doctrine.


Actually, no. The above mentioned United Pentecostals are of the “Oneness” protestant variety.

They do not believe hold belief in a Trinitarian God.


Apostolics are another branch off that do not believe in the Trinity http://www.theapostolicwayupcff.com/the_god_head

Mormonism does not believe in the Trinity, neither do Christadelphians, Iglesia ni Cristo, JW’s, Christian Scientists and that list goes on and on.


This really depends on how limiting you want to be. In general, though, Protestants don’t agree on anything. Even on the two major Protestant doctrines, Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide, different groups have different understandings of them.

On Sola Scriptura, more traditional Protestants may see it as simply stating that Scripture is alone infallible but still respecting and using tradition, but more Evangelical Protestants often take it to mean that Scripture should be the only reference point for doctrine and that skepticism is the only appropriate response to tradition. Many Pentecostal groups throw a further wrench into things by permitting things akin to private revelation in Catholicism.

On Sola Fide, more traditional Protestants tend to see it as including an element of commitment as part of the faith. Many modern Protestants, though, find this commitment to be an addition onto faith, making it contrary to the Sola Fide teaching.

You also can’t get down to a consistent view of God. The Trinity is up for debate. Whether or not God loves everyone is up for debate. Whether or not God is omniscient is up for debate. Whether or not Jesus is God is up for debate.

And then there’s no consistency on morals and spirituality. There’s not even a consistency in how to approach them, with some being incredibly rigid on what is/isn’t allowed while others are considerably more open to different personal moral codes and spiritual practices.

Of course, there’s also no consistency on what is a sacrament, whether there are sacraments, what sacraments do, what the Bible is, in what ways Scripture is reliable, etc. Basically, there’s no consistency.

With all that said, some Protestants do seek to limit the definition of what it means to be Protestant, but of course Protestants can’t agree on who is and isn’t Protestant.


I’m aware of the “Oneness” group, and I had them in mind when I wrote my response. I can’t call them Christians because of their rejection of the Trinity.


I meant in terms of the overall multitude of Protestant churches, since I think this is what the OP is getting at.


Ok, I get it! My original question is along the line of “how long is a piece of string?”

The posts so far have provided me with over enough for what I wanted to know.

Thank you. Appreciated.


It depends on how you are defining Protestants. Lots of people (wrongly in my opinion) use “Protestant” as a catch all term for “any group that claims to be Christian that isn’t Catholic or Eastern Orthodox”. This expansive definition would include groups like Mormons and Unitarians that most people would say are out of bounds of Protestantism.

My definition of “Protestantism” is any church that was founded during the Reformation or descends from the Reformation churches that are Trinitarian in theology and adhere to Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide.

Some issues these churches disagree on are:

  • Methods of determining doctrine (Strict biblicism, Anglican three-legged stool, Wesleyan quadrilateral, etc.)
  • Biblical criticism (Liberal Protestants treat the Bible like any other historical text, more conservative Protestants emphasize its inerrancy, infallibility )
  • Atonement theology (penal substitution, governmental theory, moral influence, etc.)
  • Eucharistic theology (Real bodily presence vs. Real spiritual presence vs. Memorialism/symbolic)
  • Who should take communion
  • Effect of baptism (Baptismal regeneration vs. sign & seal of the covenant vs. outward expression of one’s inward faith)
  • Mode of baptism
  • Timing of baptism (infant vs. believer’s baptism)
  • Predestination and election and whether grace can be resisted/salvation lost (Lutherans, Calvinists and Arminians all have different takes on this)
  • Conversion (Evangelicals tend to emphasize either a single or series of conversion experiences as the beginning of Christian life whereas other Protestants not so much)
  • Church government (Episcopal, Presbyterian or Congregational or a mix of these)
  • Second work of grace (Pentecostals and Wesleyans believe in a second work of grace after conversion called variously Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Christian perfection, entire sanctification, the second blessing)
  • Charismata (Pentecostals and charismatic Christians emphasize the occurrence of miracles and use of the spiritual gifts such as prophecy and speaking in tongues, whereas other Protestants such as hardcore Calvinists would say that miracles and the charismata ceased after the death of the Apostles)


Cough cough oneness pentacostalism…


To be fair most of those you list, particularly the last sentence, aren’t Protestants. Mormons for example are Latter Day Saints/Restorationists.


Since the foundation of protestantism is the ego exploiting the scriptures (and only 91% of the scriptures at that), they disagree on virtually everything.


I think the one thing they all agree with is they love Jesus and they disagree with the Authority of Rome. After that, it is an entire universe of beliefs.


Tongues. Protestants are as divided on that issue as Catholics are.


Calvinism vs armenianism
Baptism affect for salvation vs not
How often is communion?
Dispensationalism vs covenantalism
How is Church leadership structured?
Can women or gay folks be ministers?

I’m just getting started…


No, there are many Protestant cycles believe in different things and interpret the bible in others ways. So it’s are to say what catholics and protestants argee on.


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