Do understand that I am generalizing here, seeking to lay hold of what comes across rather than what may be found in exhaustive doctrinal statements. Many churches today are far from what their founding father’s proposed. Pastor Bruce
Baptist: There are many types of Baptist churches (American, Southern, Conservative, etc.) some in the Afro-American culture are actually ‘Pentecostal.’ However, what Baptist churches hold in common is the necessity of “baptism” by “immersion” (dunking). (Have you ever been to a Baptist church that does not have a baptismal pool? ‘Not!’ Smile!) Most Baptist churches believe “once saved always saved.”
Methodist - The Methodist church was founded by an Anglican priest by the name of John Wesley. They were called “Methodist” because of the ‘method’ in which they approached prayer and living a holy life. By persuasion, Methodists are “Arminian” in doctrine, that is, they believe you are saved by grace but maintain (or prove) your salvation by the life you live. Arminians believe that a person can lose salvation – that is be “saved” and then “lost.”
Lutheran - I’m not sure what the Lutheran church upholds today. For all intent, Martin Luther, its founder, was a Roman Catholic priest who believed in “salvation by grace” and opposed the church’s position on “indulgences” and “salvation by works.” Today the Lutheran church contains a small “reformed” movement which seeks to return to a theology that maintains there is a “born-again” experience which places a person into the body of Christ. Most Lutheran churches still hold that a person is placed into the Kingdom through “infant baptism” and then “confirmed” by the individual as an adult. However, this varies from church to church. Lutheranism, in its order of worship is much like the Episcopal, Anglican and Catholic churches – from which it stemmed -- without recognizing the Pope or all seven sacraments.
Protestant - Basically, a protestant is anyone who is not Roman Catholic who believes in the trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – each being God. Protestants got their name because they “protested” the wrongs in the Roman Church, hence they became know as “reformers” and “Protestants.” The Greek Orthodox Church would not consider itself “pro-test-ants” because they believe they are the first and true “church.” Some may consider them protestant only because they are not “catholic,” but they would look at themselves only as “the one true church.”
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