Top 5 Differences Between Protestants and Catholics

 At the request of my cousin, who is an Assembly of God minister, I wrote a synthesis (as best I could whip together in a few hours) of the top 5 differences between Protestants and Catholics.  It was hard to narrow the list down to 5, because of course I wanted to include every topic, all of the arguments, all of the ramifications.  But I did my best to keep it to a simple presentation of Catholic belief.

The five topics I chose are the papacy, the Eucharist, Mary, Purgatory, and Sacred Tradition.  Thanks to Catholic Answers, I had scriptural references and great explanations at my fingertips through and Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth, a handy little tract.  Thanks be to God, I just happened to have that little book with me, and it came in very handy.  A lot of the explanations below are only slightly modified from that book.  I'll make this a 5-part series for the next Saturdays!

All of Catholic teaching hinges on the doctrine of the Incarnation: that Christ is truly the Son of God, and therefore fully divine, Who came into the world and became man (took on human nature in everything but sin) for the purpose of dying to save us and reconcile us with the Father.  Understanding that fundamental fact, the divinity of Christ, is key to understanding Catholic doctrine.  The scriptural bases on which we rest our belief in the divinity of Christ are as follows: Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 16:16-17, John 1:1, John 8:58, John 10:30, Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 1:1-3, Hebrews 1:8,10.

4.      Mary

 If Christ is truly God, than Mary is truly the Mother of God.  She is fully human, yet God gave Mary a special role in bearing Christ in her womb, and to make her worthy, in His omnipotence saved her from all sin (Luke 1:28, 47).  He made her uniquely blessed among all women (Luke 1:41-43), and made her a model for all Christians (Luke 1:48).  We do not worship her; we give her honor above all other men and women, because of her special privilege and her important role in the story of our salvation, but still less than the worship we give to God.

Mary herself recognizes what miracle the all-powerful God worked in her, when she sings her praise of him in Luke 1:46-49 and the verses following.  We rejoice in the honor given to Mary to be the Mother of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:26).  Christ Himself gave her to us on the cross through the apostle John (John 19:26-27).  He did not just tell John to take care of her, but gave her as a mother – a specific role of caring, nurturing, and everything else that we see from our own mothers.  Thus we Catholics give her honor as the mother of God and as our own mother!