What is Evangelical?
Evangelicalism is a movement within Protestant Christianity that emphasizes personal relationships with Jesus Christ. It is a diverse group that includes believers from many churches, denominations, and nations. The term “evangelical” comes from the Greek word “euangelion,” which means “good news” or “gospel”. Historian David Bebbington identified four primary characteristics of evangelicalism: conversionism, biblicism, activism, and crucicentrism. Biblicism refers to a high regard for the Bible, while conversionism emphasizes the need for a personal faith experience in Jesus Christ. Activism refers to the belief that Christians should actively share their faith with others, and crucicentrism emphasizes the cross’s centrality in Christian theology.
Evangelicals are in nearly every Protestant denomination and tradition, including Reformed, Holiness, Anabaptist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, and non-denominational churches. They are united by their core theological convictions, which provide unity amid their diversity. These convictions include the triune God, the Bible, faith, Jesus, salvation, evangelism, and discipleship.
Evangelicalism is a term that has been misused and misapplied over time. Traditionally, it has been theologically conservative, but its current use is no longer limited to actual born-again Christians or those considered to be conservatives or fundamentalists. Unfortunately, it is now most often equated with conservative politics, although politics is not the focus of true Evangelicalism.
What is Catholic?
Catholic refers to the Catholic Church, the largest Christian church in the world with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide as of 2019. The Catholic Church is among the world’s oldest and largest international institutions and has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization. The core beliefs of Catholicism are found in the Nicene Creed, and the Catholic Church teaches that it is the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission. The Catholic Church consists of 24 sui iuris churches, including the Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, which comprise almost 3,500 dioceses and eparchies worldwide. The pope leads the Catholic Church, as the bishop of Rome, and the Holy See forms the church’s central government, making decisions on faith and morality for the some 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide.
In addition to its religious significance, the term “catholic” can also be used broadly to describe something universal or broad in sympathies, tastes, or interests. For example, a person with a “catholic taste in music” has a broad range of musical interests.
Catholicism is a complex and multifaceted topic, and many resources are available for those who wish to learn more about the Catholic faith. Catholic Answers is a media company dedicated to sharing what the Church teaches, and it is the world’s largest source of reliable information about the Catholic Church’s doctrine, tradition, and beliefs. Catholic Online is another resource that provides a wealth of information about the Catholic faith, including articles, books, daily readings, and educational resources.
Comparison Table Between Evangelical and Catholic
|Parameters of Comparison||Evangelical||Catholic|
|Definition||A movement within Protestant Christianity that emphasizes having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ||The largest Christian church in the world that recognizes the authority of the Pope|
|Salvation||Evangelicals believe in justification by faith, so accepting and having faith in Jesus is all that is necessary to be saved||Catholics believe in the importance of sacraments and the intercession of saints|
|Authority||Evangelicals believe that the Bible is the primary extension of God’s authority because it affirms God’s wishes and is the “Word of God”||For Catholics, the church is the primary extension of God’s authority because Jesus founded the Christian church through St. Peter. For Catholics, the Bible supports what the church teaches|
|Bible||Evangelicals believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible||Catholics have a more nuanced approach that includes tradition, reason, and scripture|
|Sacraments||Evangelical churches vary on the reasoning for sacraments||Catholics believe in seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony|
|View of the Pope||Evangelicals do not recognize the authority of the Pope||Catholics recognize the Pope as the leader of the Catholic Church|
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