#1 How Do Protestants Worship?
Protestantism is a Christian denomination that began in the 16th century Reformation period. As an outward rejection of the Roman Catholic Church’s beliefs, Protestantism was seen as an individualistic rebellion of tradition at the time, which still holds true today.
The ways in which Protestants worship are:
- Together – In a communal-capacity, Protestant congregations gather together for sermons, worship, and scriptural readings, and community prayer.
- On Sunday – Considered the first day of the week to commence one’s week with a sacred devotion to God.
- Through Scripture – As a denomination centered on Sola Scriptura (the belief that Scripture is always accurate), Protestants believe that the Bible is filled with the undeniable word of God.
- Through Prayer – Communicating directly to God, Protestants deny the necessity for clergy, confessions, or intermediary vehicles for their communication to God.
- Morally – As with all Christian denominations, Protestants live by a moral code of behaving in a Christian-like manner daily. A good Christian is encompassed not only by their prayer, churchgoing, or devotion; but moreover by the way they live in day-to-day life.
Luke 4:8 cites Jesus as saying:
“It is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'”
There is a variety in how each Protestant will worship because a primary reason that they abandoned the Catholic Church was to allow each person autonomy in their relationship to God. Because of this, each Protestant is allowed and encouraged to connect with God in the best ways that they see fit.
- “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24.
- “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” – Hebrews 13:15.
- Khanacademy.org – Introduction to Protestant Reformation; October 30th, 2017.
#2 How Do Protestants Pray?
There are many individual formats for Protestant prayers, as well as many commonalities you will see in their context and themes.
Non-denominational Christians commonly say things such as, “Oh father God, please send your blessing,” addressed by Catholic Truth’s Video: Non-Denominational Prayer – Why Do Protestants Pray Like This?
With autonomy and encouragement of an individualized relationship to God, Protestants are reassured that whatever style of prayer comes most-naturally to them – is correct.
There are many nuances and differing styles of prayer, but some of the consistencies you will recognize in Protestant prayer are:
- Many will say ‘in Jesus’s name, Amen,’ to wrap up a prayer and acknowledge the Son of God
- Most will bow their heads
- Most will place their hands together
- Most will close their eyes in respect
- Most will use the words ‘Lord’ and ‘God’ frequently
- Most will display thanks and gratitude for their blessings
Some common prayers are:
- Grace before meals “Be present at our table, Lord, be here and everywhere adored. Thy people bless, and grant that we may feast in paradise with thee.”
- Peace Prayers “Lord, give me grace to hold righteousness in all things that I may lead a clean and blessed life and prudently flee evil and that I may understand the treacherous and deceitful falseness of the devil. Make me mild, peaceable, courteous, and temperate. And make me steadfast and strong. Also, Lord, give Thou to me that I be quiet in words and that I speak what is appropriate.”
- And other prayers such as for:
- Falling asleep
- And others that can be found on Xavier.edu – JesusResource.org
- “Pray without ceasing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
- “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” – Matthew 6:7.
- Non-Denominational Prayer – Why Do Protestants Pray Like This?; April 24th, 2019.
#3 How Do Protestants Justify Divorce?
Protestant theology allows for a few discrepancies and loopholes surrounding marriage, but most do not support divorce.
Although it may not be encouraged, many Christian denominations have become more accepting in modern-times of the particular cases in which divorce may be necessary. Certainly seeing separation as a last resort, the exceptions and acceptances to divorce may include:
- Jesus talks about adultery being a mitigating circumstance
- A partner that does not believe in God
- A spouse breaking a marriage vow
- An abusive partner
Unfaithfulness is the most justifiable case, but even Luke 16:18 says:
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”
Officially, there is no canon law or priest hierarchy to dictate these regulations, leaving the matter up to the individuals to determine the best course of action.
- “To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.” – 1 Corinthians 7:10-11.
- “But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” – Matthew 5:32.
- Factsandtrends.net – Divorce Threat Hard to Detect for Churches; LifeWay Christian Resources; October 29th, 2015.
#4 How Do Protestant and Catholic Beliefs Differ?
Protestants and Catholics have roughly 500 years of upheaval, heated discourse, and disagreement.
Being that the birth of Protestantism was originated from a rejection of the Roman Catholic beliefs, the only reason that Protestantism exists is to oppose, resist, and contradict Catholicism.
With a great deal of differences between the two, some of the distinctions and similarities between Protestantism and Catholicism are:
|Population||800-million to 1-billion||1.2-billion|
|Date of Origin||Began in Germany in 1517||Traced back to 30 CE, sacraments being traced back to Jesus Christ, 1st Century AD|
|Hierarchy within the Church||No||Yes|
|Communion as Literal||No||Yes|
|Communion as Symbolism||Yes||No|
|Praying to Saints||No||Yes|
|Free Will||Yes, towards evil only||Yes, towards good and evil|
|Outcome of the Fall of Man||Guilt and Depravity|
|Authority||Sola Scriptura – only Scripture||Tradition and action over Scripture, (still acts as a guide)|
|Bible||New and Old Testament||Same but the Catholic Bible holds seven books that are not included in the Protestant Bible|
|Predestination||God’s decree||God’s foreknowledge|
|Symbolism, Statues, Art||No||Yes|
|Jesus on Crucifix Symbol||No||Yes|
|Prayer||Directly to God||Through a Priest or clergymen|
|Latin in Prayers or Service||No||Yes|
- “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” – 1 Timothy 2:5.
- 10 Differences Between Catholic and Protestant Christians; FTD Facts, June 5th, 2020.
#5 How Do Protestants Celebrate Easter?
There are many ways in which Protestants celebrate Easter, including:
- A Church services
- Scripture readings
- Collective and personal prayers
- Honoring Jesus’s death and sacrifice for humanity
- An egg hunt for children (some consider a pagan ritual)
- An evening feast or late-lunch together to provoke community-bonding over God
- Since the 1970s, Lent observance has become more popular in Protestantism
- Some Protestant denominations will wash each other’s feet, a symbolic gesture of humility
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” – 1 Peter 1:3.
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16.
#6 How Do Protestants Vote?
According to Pewresearch.org, through a preliminary analysis of the most recent elections, Protestants voted:
Proving that (at least for the past two decades), Protestants have leaned towards the Republican and Conservative candidate.
- “But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” – Titus 3:9.
- “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” – Romans 13:1-7.
- Why Do White Christians Vote Republican? Phil Vischer; October 11th, 2020.
#7 How Do Protestants View Marriage?
Protestants view marriage as an incredibly holy and sacred bond.
Scriptures such as Genesis 2:24 state:
“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
With marriage being an honor that is held above most else, the union is taken very seriously in most Christian denominations. Protestants would see divorce as a last resort, hoping to make marriage a life-long commitment.
The ways in which Protestants typically view marriage are:
- As a life-long commitment
- As a union ordained by God
- As a Solemn covenant
- As the only suitable route for sexual relations
- As an entanglement meant for a man and a woman
Typically rejecting homosexual marriages, Protestant establishments and denominations tend to discourage gay unions. To this point, Aflc.org writes:
“We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen. 1:26-27) Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.”
- “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.” – Ephesians 5:25-33.
- Pbs.org Protestants and Gay Marriage; May 21st, 2013.
#8 How Do Protestant and Catholic Bibles Differ?
The main differences between these denominations are listed above, but one of the main distinctions is that each has its own Bible.
A Protestant would not use a Catholic bible; nor vice-versa.
The ways in which the Protestant and Catholic Bibles differ are:
- Protestants will embrace the New or Old Testament (New Testament is most common)
- The Hebrew Bible has 24 books, while the Protestant Bible takes on more (39 books)
- Catholic have these 39, plus 7 more
- Catholics will utilize these 7 additional books that Protestants do not use:
- The Protestant Bible is shorter than the Catholic Bible
- Protestants rejected the additional texts, viewing them as unnecessary because they were in the Hebrew Bible
Besides specific prayers to saints and practices that include these seven additional books in Catholicism – Most of the scriptural context will remain the same for both Catholicism and Protestantism.
- “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105.
- “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17.
- Catholic Bible Versus the Protestant Bible; November 2nd, 2011.
#9 How Are Protestants Baptized?
While some Christian denominations believe in infant baptism, Protestants do not support this, instead deeming that a person should be of mature-age to determine if they are ready for a baptism.
Seen as a life-long commitment to God, baptism is a sacrament by which one devotes themselves to a specific denomination. Each faith has its own practices for how this sacrament should be executed, many of which are reflective of Jesus’s personal baptism.
The ways in which Protestants are typically baptized are:
- Through full-immersion baptism (as opposed to being sprinkled with water)
- In the same underwater method as was used on Jesus
- Adult Baptisms; discouraging infant baptisms
- Distinctly from the Sacramental Baptism of the Catholic Church
Another distinction from the Catholic Church is that Catholics believe baptism is necessary for entrance into heaven, known as salvation (or being saved).
Contrarily, Protestants may have a more abstract notion of salvation, not seeing baptism as a substitute for a life of Christian-devotion.
Due to this, a Protestant could argue a case for entrance into heaven without ever being baptized.
- “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5
- “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” – Matthew 28:19.
- Baptism – Just a Symbol in Protestantism; William Spencer; May 19th, 2015.