Doctrinal differences are often not spoken about. In fact, it is a topic that most pastors would avoid so as to prevent conflicts of beliefs within the church. This led to the lack of teachings about core beliefs of each denomination as well as the Reformation that led to the establishment of modern-day Reformed Churches. In this post, I will explore the differences in the three main denominations that I am exposed to with references to the theology of John Calvin.
It is important to note that Anglicanism is not “Protestant” in the sense of Lutheranism or Calvinism. Rather, Anglican is more inclined towards Catholicism but reformed (Doctrine, n.d.). Most of the Anglican core beliefs are founded upon the Thirty-Nine articles that became the Anglican statement of faith (A building with foundations, n.d.).
Presbyterianism follows the Calvinist interpretation of the Bible. Hence, it is also correct to say that “Presbyterianism” is equal to “Calvinism”. It is also important to note that the Calvinism of Presbyterian is based on the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechism (Taylor, 1960).
Methodism is inclined towards Arminian theology with John Wesley identifying his understanding of salvation with the theology and writings of Jacob Arminius (Edwards, n.d.). Hence the foundations of modern Methodism is more closely related to Arminianism than Calvinism.
A Building with Foundations. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.anglicancommunion.org/identity/doctrine/foundations.aspx
Bass, M. (2010). Calvinism Vs. Methodism. Retrieved from https://reapthevision.com/2010/08/19/calvinism-vs-methodism/
Calvinism. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinism
Doctrine. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.anglicancommunion.org/identity/doctrine.aspx
Edwards, T. B. (n.d.). Do United Methodists believe “once saved, always saved” or can we “lose our salvation”? Retrieved from http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/do-united-methodists-believe-once-saved-always-saved
Taylor, G. A. (1960). What Presbyterian Believe. Retrieved from http://www.pcahistory.org/documents/believe.html
Thirty Nine Articles of Religion. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/109014/Thirty-Nine-Articles-of-Religion.pdf
Wesley, J. (1872). On Predestination. Retrieved from https://www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/John-Wesley-Sermons/Sermon-58-On-Predestination
Image taken from Christianity Today.