Church history records that today there are three major “church clusters”, namely the Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Protestant Church. In contrast to the Orthodox and Roman Catholic clans which have remained solid, the Protestant clan has been the most divided in its history. From this Protestant family, various churches emerged with their own style, which in this paper are referred to as “church sects”. Today there are approximately 13 church sects that emerged from the Protestant family.
|One of Christianity’s three main subgroups||One of the numerous Protestant groups|
|Usually places a strong emphasis on spiritual growth||Typically holds to total conversion|
|Some people might view the Bible as a book of history that contains God’s words.||The Bible is an infallible truth.|
Christianity has more than 45,000 denominations worldwide. Followers of Jesus are spread all over the world. But the 2 billion Christians are separated into thousands of denominations. Estimates suggest there are more than 200 Christian denominations in America and 45,000 globally, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.
The many different schools of thought in Christianity have led to a lot of debate. A cursory glance suggests that differences in beliefs, power struggles and corruption all have a role to play. But to some degree, difference and diversity have been a hallmark of Christianity from the very beginning. The two streams that we will discuss are Protestant and Evangelical.
Let’s discuss the difference!
What is Protestant?
Protestantism developed in Europe during the Reformations, and Protestantism shares 3 fundamental convictions: the Bible is the final authority on matters of religion, people are eternally blessed and all Christians are priests.
When he tried to persuade a majority of influential Protestants to vote against some important reforms in 1529, the minority of Protestants that were victorious became known as “Protestants.” Protestants soon started to reject the teachings and practices of the pope, whom they called “the Antichrist” by some Protestants.
They do certainly think that popes do have the right to command the priests to do certain things, like bringing in bread and wine at a mass or arranging for priests to take the body and blood of a fallen Christ to be presented as an offering. Many Protestants agree that it is important to be able to communicate with God directly by praying, but some Protestant groups think that it is not necessary for Christians to speak to God in order to do that.
Various religious groups claim that every Christian can communicate directly with God by praying to him. The meaning and implications of the phrase “forgive me if you sin” and “forgive me if I forgive you” vary greatly according to the particular Protestant group. Protestants think that sinful people are forgivable only by believing in God, and not by doing what is right. Protestants believe that the Word of God is the final authority in matters of faith and morality.
What is Evangelical?
Evangelicals consider the Scriptures to be very important and sincerely love and respect God.
Evangelicals become the subject for many research studies, but the results of those studies can differ dramatically depending on the methods by which they are identified. In order to address this challenge, NAE and LifeWay Research collaborated to develop a useful tool to help people identify whether they believe in God or not. Evangelicals believe that God’s people are redeeming people through His work in them.
Evangelicals adhere to four fundamental principles. The first is that everything the Bible says about God, essence, and the world is unquestionable and without error. The second is that only through faith in Christ is salvation possible. One of their most widely held convictions is that a person of faith must personally accept salvation, also known as being “born again.” The significance of evangelization in advancing the gospel is the fourth conviction.
Evangelicals believe that God has saved sinners by the work that Jesus Christ did for them. Americans and Scots-Irlandaises experienced great organizational renewal in their communities. This experience shaped the emerging sense of a broader trans-atlantic awakening to the gospel. Many people have been saved by the “works” of God, and many people have praised God for His wonderful gift of enabling them to do what is needed to convert them.
How are They Related?
The early church dates back to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, in AD 27 to AD 325, divided by geography. Worship styles and interpretations of Jesus’ teachings varied based on regional culture and customs, according to Bruce Gordon, a professor of ecclesiastical history at Yale Divinity School.
But there have also been major breaks or divisions over Christian theology over the years. One of the most prominent early schisms, the Arian controversy of the early fourth century, divided the church about Jesus’ relationship with God.
In 1054, Eastern Orthodox Christianity split from Western Roman Catholicism in what became known as the Great Schism. The two groups disagree about partaking of the sacrament – a religious symbol believed to transmit divine grace to believers.
While schisms can be seen as schisms or even leading to violent conflict between rival denominations, they do have a positive side. “There is a kind of anti-corruption mechanism in fragmentation,” because this division can offer agency to people in lower social positions.
What are the Differences?
Some Protestant leaders strongly affirm the inertia of the Bible, but others regard it more as a very valuable document whose authors have taken care to bring to light many of their beliefs. Evangelicals believe that the Bible is the only true thing that can ever happen.
Protestants firmly hold that people should experience a life-long transformation as a result of becoming saved early and living a good life. Evangelicals are very concerned with conversion, and believe that it is possible to achieve this by actively evangelizing others. Protestants prefer to share more widely what they believe, because doing that will enable others to understand more about the Christian faith.
Evangelicals hope to convince others to believe what they believe. Protestants think that people should work hard to be redeemed. They think that if someone works hard, he will be redeemed. Evangelicals are fervent believers that it is only by living these four convictions or being religious that one can be saved.