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Protestant vs. Christian: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 16, 2024
All Protestants are Christians, but not all Christians are Protestants. Protestantism is a branch of Christianity that began in the 16th century.

Key Differences

Christianity is a major world religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, encompassing various denominations including Protestantism. Protestantism emerged in the 16th century, reforming aspects of Christian doctrine and practice.
Protestants follow the Christian Bible but interpret certain aspects differently from other Christian denominations, like the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Christianity, as a whole, includes all who follow Christ, regardless of denominational differences.
Protestantism emphasizes individual reading and interpretation of the Bible, a principle not confined to but emphasized in this branch of Christianity. Christian beliefs, in general, focus on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as central to faith.
Key figures like Martin Luther and John Calvin were instrumental in shaping Protestantism, which is a part of the broader Christian tradition. Christianity predates Protestantism, having existed since the 1st century AD.
Protestant churches often have different organizational structures compared to other Christian churches, such as the hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church. Christianity encompasses a diverse range of beliefs and practices across various denominations.

Comparison Chart


Began in the 16th century as a reform movement within Christianity
Originated in the 1st century AD, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ


Emphasizes individual interpretation of the Bible
Encompasses a range of beliefs across various denominations

Key Figures

Martin Luther, John Calvin
Jesus Christ, Apostles, Church Fathers

Denominational Structure

Generally less hierarchical than Catholicism
Varies widely across denominations like Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism


Varies among Protestant denominations but generally includes practices like communion and baptism
Includes practices like communion, baptism, and others, varying among denominations

Protestant and Christian Definitions


Belonging to a branch of Christianity that opposes certain teachings of the Catholic Church.
Protestant churches often have different styles of worship compared to Catholic ones.


Pertaining to the religion based on Jesus Christ's life and teachings.
Christian ethics are grounded in the teachings of the New Testament.


A member of a Christian church founded on the principles of the Reformation.
As a Protestant, she valued reading the Bible personally.


Involves practices like prayer, worship, and reading the Bible.
Daily prayer is an important part of his life as a Christian.


Includes various denominations like Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans.
His family was Protestant, specifically attending a Lutheran church.


A person who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
As a Christian, she follows the teachings of love and forgiveness.


Emphasizing the authority of the Scriptures and salvation by faith alone.
The Protestant doctrine highlights salvation through faith, not works.


Encompasses various denominations, including Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant.
The Christian community in her city included many different denominations.


Often characterized by the rejection of the papal authority.
The Protestant Reformation was partly a response to the abuses of papal authority.


Focused on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The core of her Christian faith is the belief in Jesus Christ's resurrection.


A member of a Western Christian church whose faith and practice are founded on the principles of the Reformation, especially in the acceptance of the Bible as the sole source of revelation, in justification by faith alone, and in the universal priesthood of all the believers.


Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.


A member of a Western Christian church adhering to the theologies of Luther, Calvin, or Zwingli.


Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings.


Who is considered a Christian?

Anyone who believes in and follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.

What is a Protestant?

A member of a Christian denomination that originated with the Reformation.

Are all Protestants Christians?

Yes, all Protestants are Christians.

What are the key beliefs of Protestants?

Key beliefs include the authority of the Bible and justification by faith.

Can a person be both Protestant and Catholic?

No, as these are distinct branches within Christianity with different beliefs and practices.

What started Protestantism?

The Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, led by figures like Martin Luther.

What are some Protestant denominations?

Denominations include Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, and Presbyterian.

What do Christians believe?

Christians believe in the teachings of Jesus, including his divinity, death, and resurrection.

How do Protestant and Christian views of the Bible differ?

Protestants generally emphasize personal interpretation of the Bible, while this varies in other Christian denominations.

Do Protestants celebrate Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas?

Yes, Protestants celebrate major Christian holidays.

What is the largest Christian denomination?

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest single denomination.

How diverse are Christian beliefs?

Christian beliefs are diverse, with variations across different denominations.

Are Protestant services different from other Christian services?

Yes, Protestant worship services can differ significantly from Catholic or Orthodox services.

What is ecumenism in Christianity?

Ecumenism is the movement promoting unity among Christian denominations.

Is the Pope important to Protestants?

No, Protestants generally reject papal authority.

What sacraments do Protestants observe?

Protestants commonly observe two sacraments: baptism and communion.

Do Protestants believe in saints?

Protestants honor saints but don’t pray to them as intercessors as in Catholicism.

Why did Protestantism separate from the Catholic Church?

Due to differences in doctrines, practices, and issues like the authority of the Pope.

Do Protestants follow the Old Testament?

Yes, but with a focus on the New Testament teachings of Jesus.

How does one become a Christian or Protestant?

Typically through faith in Jesus Christ; baptism is common in Protestantism.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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