What’s the Difference? Catholicism vs. Protestantism
We are starting a new series called, “What’s the Difference?” We will be going over the basic differences of the major religions in the world, in comparison to what is often taught here at EBC, or a general belief of Protestantism. The reason I added EBC in that is because even Protestantism has over 40,000 different branches with various beliefs.
With this new series, I want to address a few things:
- As we approach this series, this does not mean you will know absolutely everything about each religion, nor about each person who says they are of that religion. For example, if someone says they’re Catholic, that does not necessarily mean they pray to Mary or believe in confession to a priest.
- That leads to my next hope. As you hear about these differences and you hear someone state they are of that religion, I encourage you to get to know them on a personal level to find out exactly what they believe, rather than assuming you know everything about them and their beliefs.
- Lastly, this series, just like apologetics in general, is not to learn how to debate and condemn, rather it is educational so you can learn how to share the Gospel and defend what the Bible teaches.
Tonight, we are going to be starting on Catholicism. Now this again is not necessarily what every Catholic believes, rather these are the basic beliefs that the head of the Catholic church teaches. We will be covering the earthly mother of Jesus, Mary.
What are the basic beliefs or teachings from the Catholic church regarding Mary?
Well, they teach that she was perfect just like Jesus was. They teach that in order for her to conceive a perfect Son, then she too must be perfect.
They teach that Mary is an intercessor for us to God. In other words, they believe that Catholics can pray to Mary, and she will send our prayers to God.
They teach that just as God is our Heavenly Father, Mary is our spiritual mother.
They teach that Mary never died, rather she was assumed up into Heaven the same way that Enoch and Elijah were.
Lastly, The Catholic Church teaches that Mary is not only the spiritual mother of everyone, but the Queen of Heaven and earth.
Now contrasting that with what is taught in the Bible:
According to Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” therefore, Mary was NOT perfect as she is part of the “all” in that statement.
According to Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25, and 1 John 2:1, Jesus is our intercessor or advocate. There are no Bible verses that establish that Mary is or is also our intercessor.
There is nothing in the Bible that calls Mary our Spiritual mother or the Queen of Heaven. The idea came forth in the 19th century when Pope John XXIII wrote the Second Vatican Council. In other words, this was established by the mouths of fallible men, rather than the infallible Word of God.
It is clear that those who have been assumed into heaven, which means they never died, rather God took them up into Heaven without experiencing death, were all notated in the Bible. Catholics try to take a verse in Revelation 12, which will be on the handout saying that Mary was assumed. In that text, the only one who was “caught up to God” in that text is the woman’s CHILD, NOT the woman.
There are a few other ideas that the Catholic church teaches regarding Mary that I left out due to lack of information I could find. For example, they also teach that Mary was a virgin her entire life, but the document they receive that from had a confusing timeline.
Please take a look at the following chart – General Beliefs of Protestantism vs. General Belief of the Catholic Church.