The chart below provides a quick-reference guide to the major differences between Catholic and Protestant theology, especially at the time of the Reformation. As is always true with charts and other summaries, the information is oversimplified for the sake of brevity and should be used alongside more complete explanations.
The Protestant positions listed here are based primarily on the historical Lutheran and Reformed perspectives. The beliefs listed for both Catholics and Protestants by no means represent those of all churches or individuals within that tradition.
|Authority||The Church||Predestination||Salvation||Purgatory||Grace||Good Works|
|Catholicism||Bible, church fathers, popes, bishops; Seven Ecumenial Councils; Trent, Vatican, and other Catholic councils||"The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him." (Catech 870)||Predestination to heaven only, and related to God's foreknowledge. "God predestines no one to go to hell." (Catech 1037)||Received at baptism; may be lost by mortal sin; regained by penance. "Mortal sin cuts us off entirely from our true last end." (CE) Perseverance to the end is a gift of God, but we must cooperate with God's gift. (CE)||" All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified. after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven." (Catech 1030)||Prevenient grace helps one believe; efficacious grace cooperates with the human will to do good||Create merit before God.|
|Protestant||Sola Scriptura - Scripture alone||There is a distinction between the visible and invisible church. God saves anyone he chooses, or anyone with proper faith, regardless of church membership.||Affirmed, and understood by most denominations as God's decree.||Result of divine grace; unconditional. Those who have never heard of Christ may be saved.||Rejected.|
On a mobile device? You can scroll right to see more columns, but you'll probably have to use a larger device to have a decent view of the chart. Sorry about that.
For sources, please see linked articles.
|Title||Comparison Chart: Catholic and Protestant Christianity|
|Published||June 3, 2004|
|Updated||November 21, 2016|
|MLA Citation||“Comparison Chart: Catholic and Protestant Christianity.” ReligionFacts.com. 21 Nov. 2016. Web. Accessed 21 Jan. 2017. <www.religionfacts.com/|