Difference Between Catholicism and Protestantism
There are many cases where the question of what is the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism arises. It can come from classmates, fellow students or work colleagues. Maybe pop theme on ecumenical meeting places. In our secular society, we experience more and more what we have in common with Christians from other denominations. But that challenge also for the differences. And there are many known and obvious things that distinguish Catholicism from the Protestant faith – the doctrine of the Virgin Mary, saints, purgatory, sacraments, and more – which also is reflected in the life of the Church. The differences between Protestant denominations and directions are also sometimes very large. But why do we so different? What is the controversy really comes from? The purpose of this article is to address some key factors that may contribute to further reflection.
The reality we face in the Christian world today has a long and complex history. It is above all the Reformation in the 1500s that formed the basis for the diversity of denominations and churches that we see now. Actually, it’s not about a reformation, but more reform missions that took place at various locations in Europe. In those who have been supporters of the Reformation has been the idea that the Church through the centuries had developed beliefs and practices that were not in accordance with the tradition of Jesus and the apostles. Martin Luther’s criticism of indulgences, the trade is probably the most famous example of this.
It is not difficult to imagine that the Protestant direction has a different view of what the Church is, than the Catholic Church has. While it is for us Catholics is an outward, visible Church as instituted by Christ himself, with offices that will be continued by the apostolic succession, according to most Protestants that the Church is a spiritual, invisible size – which consists of all believers, everywhere, and to all times.
In the Lutheran context has often thought about the church’s external organization as a human designed system, but that it is God’s will that there should be an outward church, a church congregation in every place. There is also thought that God calls people to serve in the external church. In the more charismatic churches thinks that churches occurs (or “plant”) in that God calls and equips individuals with special gifts of the various services that belong in a church.
In the Catholic tradition
For us as Catholics give it meaning, historically, to say that tradition is something fundamentally different from Scripture, or something foreign to Scripture. The New Testament shows that the gospel of Christ began as an oral tradition, or tradition. We must be able to say that the essence of the Christian faith is written in the Bible’s books. But we are still left with the question of how to understand what is written.
Is it important to focus on the differences? Should not we rather be concerned with what we have in common? We share the Christian faith, and there is good reason to be increasingly concerned about it. It is also our duty to work for Christian unity. But precisely why I think we also need to consciously make ourselves the fundamental question that the many differences arising out of – not to object to others, but so that we can explain our faith. I think it is easier to deal with disputes if they are safe on their own standpoint.