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Question: What are the main differences between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Church?

Answer: The chart below lists the main differences on several points of doctrine. The definitions are admittedly over-simplified; so we invite you to contact us if you need more detailed information.

AuthorityScripture, sacred tradition, and MagisteriumScripture alone is the final authority
ScriptureApocrypha included in canonApocrypha excluded
JustificationReceived by faith and good works Received by faith alone
SanctificationLeads to justificationA result of justification
Good WorksMeritorious for salvation Evidence of salvation
PriestsHuman mediators between God and man Christ is the only mediator, Priesthood of all believers
The ChurchAbsolutely necessary for salvationOrdinarily necessary for salvation
The PopeVicar (substitute) of Christ and Head of the churchChrist alone is Head of his church
InfallibilityEx cathedra teachings are without errorOnly scripture is without error
SacramentsConvey grace by their very operationConvey grace when received with faith
BaptismRegenerates at the moment of administration Initiates one into the visible church
Lord’s SupperChrist is physically present (transubstantiation)Christ is spiritually present to worthy partakers
AssuranceOrdinarily unavailable during this lifetimeReceived at the point of conversion
PerseveranceSalvation may be lostSalvation is eternally secure
MaryVenerated, forever virgin, co-redemptrix with ChristHighly honored, had other children, cannot save us
PurgatoryA place to have sins purged after deathDenied
IndulgencesMay be paid by the living to benefit the dead Denied
Prayer to SaintsAffirmedDenied

Answered by Pastor Christian McShaffrey