Difference Between Orthodox Christianity and Protestant Christianity (With Table)

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based upon the life and learnings of the Jesus of Nazareth, having approximately 2.4 billion followers worldwide, making it the world’s largest religion. There are multiple versions of the Bible. These are based on different theologies, cultures, traditions, and groups or denominations. Orthodox Christianity and Protestant Christianity are two of the major groups.

Orthodox Christianity vs Protestant Christianity

The difference between Orthodox Christianity and Protestant Christianity is that they follow different divine inspirations. The Orthodox follow the ‘Holy Inspiration of Church’ along with the Bible. Whereas, protestants follow only the Bible. There are many other differences in their foundations, beliefs, views, and opinions.

The word ‘Orthodox’ is a combination of the two words, Ortho- right/ correct/ true and Doxa- glorification. The meaning of which is the proper worship or the correct belief. The faith and practises defined by the first seven ecumenical councils are followed by Eastern Orthodox Christians.

A Protestant is an adherent of the Christian bodies or their descendants that separated themselves from the Roman Church during the Reformation Movement in the 16th century. The word Protestant was hardly used outside of German politics during Reformation. The followers of the Reformation believed that it was a movement against the flaws in the Catholic Church.

Comparison Table Between Orthodox Christianity and Protestant Christianity

Parameters of ComparisonOrthodox ChristianityProtestant
OriginIt originated around the 1st century CE.It originated around the 16th century CE.
Divine InspirationTheir divine inspiration is the ‘Holy Inspiration of Church’ and the Bible.Their divine inspiration is only the Bible.
MaryThey believe the Virgin Mary is the bearer of god.They reject this concept.
HierarchyThere is a hierarchy in the church.There is no such hierarchy in the church.
CelibacyCelibacy is obligatory for Bishops.Celibacy is not obligatory.
Old TestamentOld Testament based upon Septuagint.Old Testament based upon Judaism. 

What is Orthodox Christianity?

Orthodox Christianity, the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members worldwide. It is an Eastern Christian church with a communion structure. The faith and practices that were defined by the first seven ecumenical councils are followed by its members. They consider the path that they follow is the original and the right one or correct one. Orthodox Christianity follows the Bible consisting of 27 New testament books and 39 Old Testament books. The material of the old testament is based upon Septuagint. Simultaneously, several quotes in new testament books are also based on the old testament books.

It originated approximately around the 1st Century in Judea, Roman Empire. According to ‘Holy Tradition’, it is believed that the founder of Orthodox Christianity is Jesus Christ. The divine inspiration of Orthodox Christianity is the Holy Inspiration of the Church and the Bible. They believe that the Virgin Mary or Mother Mary is the bearer of god and a virgin. There is a hierarchy in the working of the church: Christ- High Priest, Bishops- Overseers, Priests- presiding ones, Deacons- servants of the church. Celibacy, the vow of abstaining from marriage and sexual relations, is compulsory for Bishops but optional for priests and deacons. 

What is Protestant Christianity?

Protestant Christianity is also famously called Protestantism. Protestantism is a religious movement that took place in the 16th Century reformation. The protestant reformation was started by Martin Luther in 1517, Germany, after he published his books Ninety Five Theses. The Christian movement was to mark the errors in medieval roman catholic doctrines and practices. They also had opposed certain beliefs and practices in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

It began in the late medieval ages around the 15th century, and many religious wars took place in Europe in the early 16th century. Later from the 17th to 19th century, it spread all around the world. And now, Protestantism is one of the major forms of Christianity. 

The divine inspiration of Protestant Christianity is only the Bible. In protestant Christianity, the old testament books are based upon the official canon of Judaism. In the Roman Catholic church, there are biblical references that suggest that Mother Mary is the bearer of God, a virgin and ‘Queen of Heaven. These ideas are rejected by the Protestants.  There is Clergy in the Protestant Church, but there is no Hierarchy as such. Celibacy in Protestantism is optional.

Main Differences Between Orthodox Christianity and Protestant Christianity

  1. Orthodox Christianity originated somewhere around the first century, whereas Protestant around the 16th century.
  2. Protestants follow the bible as their divine inspiration and the orthodox church holy inspiration of the church along with the bible.
  3. Orthodox Christians believe in the Virgin Mary as the bearer of God, but the protestants reject this belief.
  4. There is no such thing as a hierarchy in Protestantism, but the orthodox church follows hierarchy among the clergy.
  5. Celibacy is compulsory only for the bishops in Orthodox Church but not in the protestant.
  6. The scripture- the old testament books in Orthodox Christianity are based upon Septuagint. On the contrary, the old testament books in Orthodox Christianity are based upon Judaism rather than Septuagint.

Conclusion

The origin of Christianity goes back in c. AD 30–33, in Jerusalem in the Roman province of Judea, by the ministry of Jesus, a Jewish teacher and healer who proclaimed the coming kingdom of God and was crucified. Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism, and Protest Christianity are the three primary forms of Christianity that people worldwide follow.

Initially, there was only one church, and the religion was known as Christianity. But after various reformations, there are now multiple forms of Christianity. These Denominations groups have further subgroups. One such example is Anglicanism. But as they were a whole in the beginning, they also have certain similarities between them. They all have differences in their clergy, working, hierarchy, practices, scriptures, views, opinion and beliefs.

It is rather challenging to determine if a specific group is the ideal or perfect one to follow. But every individual must have respect for the other forms of Christianity and other religions in existence.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=YuwLA0p9ozcC&oi=fnd&pg=PA7&dq=Orthodox+Christianity+and+Protestant+Christianity&ots=zY_4y-GCaH&sig=ayVYWzXzvEcEunI6hiGO2ogklp8
  2. https://ixtheo.de/Record/619489243

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