Evangelical Christians and Catholics are two of the most dominant sects of Christianity worldwide. While both share a common ground of faith in Jesus Christ and believe in the Holy Trinity, there are some fundamental differences between them. In this article, we will look at the differences between evangelical Christians and Catholics and analyze their commonalities and distinctions.
Evangelical Christians are known for their emphasis on faith, Bible-centered preaching, and personal religious experience. They believe in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ actively, not only through preaching but also through actions such as sports, music, and community service. They tend to focus more on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his salvific work on the cross.
Evangelical Christians either practice congregational or non-denominational worship. They emphasize the need for salvation on a personal level and believe that trusting in the salvation of Jesus Christ is the only way to achieve that.
Catholicism is widely known for its rich cultural and traditional heritage, liturgical worship, and sacramental life. The Catholic Church regards the pope as the Head of the Church and sees the teachings of the New Testament and the Sacred Tradition as equal authorities of faith. The Catholic Church recognizes seven sacraments that encompass a believer’s lifetime from baptism, confirmation, penance, Eucharist, marriage, holy orders, and last rites.
Catholics emphasize the whole life and teachings of Jesus Christ, including his earthly ministry, the role of the Church in the world, and the moral code Catholics must follow. They believe in purgatory and pray for the intercession of Mary, Saints, and Angels.
Doctrine: Catholics make use of the Sacred Tradition that emphasizes the teachings and practices of Christ that the apostles passed down to the Church. Evangelical Christians do not follow a particular tradition; instead, they look to the Bible scriptures as the sole authority on faith.
Worship: Catholics’ worship style is liturgical, with the eucharistic celebration being the central sacrament that holds the entire faith together. Evangelical Christians either practice congregational or non-denominational worship, where music is the centerpiece of their worship.
Liturgy: The Catholic Mass is a sacred liturgy that goes over a prescribed set of prayers, scriptures, and memorial acclamations. In Evangelical Christian worship, the liturgy is based on individual expressions of belief and religious piety.
View on Authority: Evangelical Christians rely on the scriptures as the only authority and counselor of faith, while Catholics look up to the pope, as the head of the Church, to guide them on spiritual matters.
The Holy Eucharist: Catholics believe in transubstantiation—a Catholic term for sacramentally transforming the bread and wine into the real body and blood of Christ. Evangelical Christians do not accept this doctrine and instead view the bread and wine as purely symbolic.
Mary and the Saints: Catholics believe in the intercession of saints and Mary, who they deem as mediators between man and God. Evangelical Christians view this practice as unbiblical and go straight to God in prayer.
Purgatory: Catholics believe that the dead can still receive prayers from mortal beings and that they can be held in purgatory, which is an intermediate state of purification after death. The Evangelical believe that once a person dies, they either ascend to heaven or descend to hell with no in-between.
Although Evangelical Christians and Catholics differ significantly in their beliefs, both share a common ground of faith in God and strive to follow his teachings. While each sect has its unique ways of interpreting scriptures, rituals, and practices, they all share the love for Christ and the desire to spread his good news. Either way, people’s choice on what sect to follow should be based on their internal preference, spiritual objectives, and personal beliefs.
Q: Do Evangelical Christians have sacraments?
A: No, they do not have sacraments.
Q: Is the Holy Eucharist the most important sacrament in the Catholic Church?
A: Yes, the Holy Eucharist is the central sacrament in Catholicism.
Q: Can Evangelical Christians pray to saints?
A: No, they consider this practice as unnecessary.
Q: Do Evangelical Churches have ordained priests or ministers?
A: No, they do not have ordained priests or ministers.
Q: Do Catholic Churches have music during Mass?
A: Yes, the Catholic Church emphasizes music on the sung parts of the liturgy.