Roman Catholic Sacraments, Protestant Reformation, and Radical Reformation
To fully compare and contrast these three popular religions, one must first understand the principals behind each and the factors that make each religion unique. Subsequently, one must examine the differences between each religious facet and draw conclusions based on the doctrines and community surrounding each.
In the Roman Catholic Sacramental Religion, Catholics trust their priest to perform rituals called ‘sacraments’. In fact, in the Roman Catholic religion, sacraments are 100% necessary in order to obtain salvation. “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” (New Catholic Catechism)
The Magisterial Protestants believe that man has no free will to accept or decline salvation. This religion split from the Catholic Church to combat corruption therein. However, they too believe that salvation requires and internal cleansing that can be achieved by baptism at birth (similar to the Catholic religion wherein faith is not a requirement for salvation).
And finally the Radical Reformation believers maintain that ‘sacraments for salvation’ are in direct rebellion against scripture and that they are NOT necessary for salvation, instead faith is basis for salvation. In the Protestant religion, Christians “trust in the Bible alone for salvation and sanctification, understand that heaven is given to lost sinners on the basis of faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone.” (cwrc-rz.org) The radically reformed use biblical scripture to support this belief.
These fundamental differences make up the initial contrast between the three religions. The subsequent comparison is based solely on the “community” of each religion.
The community in which each religion worships and practices differs in both relationship to each other and to society in general. Within the Roman Catholic religion, there is a certain hierarchy of authority that is undisputed. It was a dispute of this authority that led to the formation of the Protestant Reformation. As of now, the Magisterial community holds a hierarchy, but maintains more personal interaction with one another. And finally, the Radically Reformed believers treat their religious practices as a family structure. Radically Reformed believers hold to the scriptural description of being the “children” of God and they treat their relationship with Him as such. In the ‘family’ there are authority figures but each family member is treated equally. There is no undisputed hierarchy and leaders are elected by the ‘family’ as whole.
As you can see, there are a variety of fundamental differences between these three religions. These differences are exhibited in both religious practice and relationally. The congregates’ relationships and even their salvation is directly affected by their religion of choice.
“A Christian Witness to Roman Catholics; a ministry founded by Robert M. Zins.” A Christian Witness to Roman Catholics; a ministry founded by Robert M. Zins. 6 May 2009 <http://www.cwrc-rz.org>.
Berkery, Patrick J. A new Catholic catechism,. New York: Stein And Day, 1970.