Compare Christian Denominations' Practices


This chart compares the similarities and differences between the rituals and practices of major denominations in Christianity. Please note that the brief summaries and excerpts provided here do not reflect all individuals or churches in each denomination, but they are believed to represent the majority practice and are taken from official statements where available.

 AnglicanismCatholicismLutheranMethodismEastern OrthodoxPresbyterian
clergy Priests and bishops. "The historic episcopate is locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of his Church." (CofE) "To the apostles and their successors Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing in his name and by his power. But the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly office of Christ." (Catech 873) All believers are priests, in that they have direct access to God. Clergy are "pastors" or "ministers." (ELCA) Priests, bishops and patriarchs.
marriage of clergy "Bishops, Priests, and Deacons are not commanded by God's Law either to vow the estate of single life or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness." (Article 32) Priests are celibate, except in Eastern Rite Catholicism or for priests who were already married when ordained. Clergy may be married. Yes. "The ministers of Christ are not commanded by God's law either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage; therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christians, to marry at their own discretion." (UMC) Yes. Ministers may be married.
female clergy Yes. (ECUSA)
Some parishes. (CofE)
No. (Catech 1577) Yes. (ELCA)



No. (LCMS)
Yes. (UMC) No, but the role of deaconness is being considered. (GOAA) Yes.
sacraments "The two sacraments ordained by Christ himself are administered with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution, and the elements are ordained by him." (CofE) convey grace by their operation (ex opere operato) Means of grace only if received with faith. "Certain signs of grace and God's good will toward us, by which he works invisibly in us, and not only quickens, but also strengthens and confirms, our faith in him." Only beneficial when received worthily. (UMC) "Special experiences when the perception of God's presence and actions is heightened and celebrated." (GOA) "Through the Sacraments, God seals believers in redemption, renews their identity as the people of God, and marks them for service." (PCUSA)
baptism "By baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a person is made one with Christ and received into the fellowship of the Church." (CofE) "A sign of regeneration or the new birth." (UMC)

"A symbol of the new covenant of grace... acceptance of the benefits of the atonement of Jesus Christ." (WC)
infant baptism Yes. (CofE) (Art. 27) Yes. Yes. Yes. (UMC)

No. (WC)
Yes. (GOAA) Yes. (PCUSA)
view of eucharist/communion Symbolic. "In this offering of prayer and praise, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are recalled." (CofE) Transubstantiation "Real Presence" Symbolic. "The body of Christ is… eaten in the Supper only after a heavenly and spiritual manner." (UMC) Transubstantiation. GOAA "Real Presence"
other sacraments "Other important rites, commonly called sacraments, include confirmation, holy orders, reconciliation, marriage and anointing of the sick." (CofE) Extreme Unction (Anointing); Marriage; Holy Orders; Confession; Confirmation None. None. Holy Chrism (Anointing) None.
veneration of the saints Rejected. practiced
prayer to saints Rejected. (Article 22) Accepted. No. Yes. GOAA No.
religious images Allowed. Allowed. Mostly rejected. Emphasized. GOAA Strongly rejected.
veneration of icons and images Rejected. (Article 22) Accepted.
evangelism and missions "Following the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Churches are committed to the proclamation of the good news of the Gospel to the whole creation." (CofE) "It is our privilege to tell the good news about Jesus." (LCMS) "Missionary activity is an essential part of the life of the Church." "Orthodox do not... actively seek to cause the disaffection of others from their non-Orthodox Christian faiths." (GOAA)
gifts of the Holy Spirit Not emphasized. "The relative value of the gifts of the Spirit is to be tested by their usefulness in the church and not by the ecstasy produced in the ones receiving them." (WC 15) "The Greek Orthodox Church does not preclude the use of Glossolalia, but regards it as one of the minor gifts of the Holy Spirit." (GOAA)