Jehovah’s Witness Vs. Protestant: What is the main difference?

As a bible study teacher, it has always been my aim to understand how other Christian denominations interpret the Bible and Christianity in general. My High School best friend was raised in a Jehovah’s Witness home. While she identified as a Jehovah’s Witness, she often talked about how exposure to a protestant like myself made her question some of their doctrines. To help her make up her mind, we often talked about the main differences between Jehovah’s Witnesses Vs. Protestants. So, what is the main difference?

The differences between Jehovah’s Witnesses and Protestants are many. First, the protestant movement began in the 15th century to counter the Roman Catholic Church. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses are relatively new, having been established in the 19th century to challenge all other Christian groups. Secondly, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Protestants have different beliefs concerning various issues. These include the identity of Jesus Christ, His return, and the Holy Trinity, among other key philosophies in the Christian faith.

In this article, you will gain lots of insight into the Jehovah’s Witness and Protestant denominations. I invite you to join me as we study the numerous disparities between these Christian groups. We will also look at some similarities and decide which is more popular between the two denominations.

Jehovah’s Witness Vs. Protestants: difference in definition

Jehovah’s Witness Vs. Protestant
Jehovah’s Witness Vs. Protestants. Image source: Pixabay

Though both denominations are founded on Christianity, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Protestants are quite different. The Jehovah Witnesses is a denomination that subscribes to a restitutionism idea of Christianity. That means they believe that the church should go back to the doctrines of the earliest church established by the apostles. The Jehovah’s Witness denomination is governed by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. What’s more, they are extremely fixated on the impending end of the world. This denomination believes that it is the only legitimate Christian group in the world.

The protestants are simply defined as all other Christian groups that broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and its beliefs. They include Methodists, Lutheran, Presbyterian churches, and Non-denominational churches, among others. Unlike Jehovah’s Witnesses, Protestants are far more accommodating of other Christians despite any differences in beliefs.

What’s the difference between Jehovah’s Witnesses and Protestants?

The following table shows a summary of the major differences between protestants and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Comparison Parameter

Jehovah’s Witnesses



The Jehovah’s Witnesses was started by Charles Taze Russel in 1872

The group was started in 1517 by a monk named Martin Luther.

How the refer to God

They refer to God as Jehovah

God is the primary name used to refer to the creator.

Earthly Leadership

The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe In worldly governments

Protestants recognize the authority of earthly leaders.


They are governed by a single organization known as the Watch Tower and Tract Society.

Each protestant group chooses its form of leadership and organization

Interactions with other believers

Jehovah’s Witnesses prohibit members from exposing themselves to “unclean” environments.

They mix freely with people of alternative beliefs.

Identity of Jesus

They believe that Jesus was the Archangel Michael

Protestants do not believe that Jesus was an angel.

Jesus’ Death

They believe that Jesus met His death on a stake.

They believe that Jesus was crucified on the cross.

Names of the places of worship

Places of worship are called Kingdom Halls

Places of worship are known as Churches.

What are the differences in the beliefs between Jehovah’s Witnesses and Protestants?

Jehovah’s Witness Vs. Protestant
Beliefs between Jehovah’s Witnesses and Protestants. Image source: Pixabay

The Trinity

The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in one God only, and they denounce the Trinity. They teach that Jesus is only the son of God. Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Jesus was the archangel Michael. According to them, the holy spirit is not God. They teach that it is an impersonal force that performs God’s will.

On the other hand, Protestants strongly believe in the Holy Trinity, which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is, as illustrated in 2nd Corinthians 13:14. They believe that the Father is God the Creator. Secondly, protestants teach that Jesus is the son of God and He is also God in human form, as evidenced in John 10:30. Thirdly, they believe that the Holy Spirit is God in spirit.

The Return of Jesus

According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus is not coming back in the flesh. They claim that Jesus returned invisibly in 1914, after which His reign began in the Kingdom of Heaven. All Protestants share the trust that Jesus will return in the flesh.

Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that when Jesus comes, only a select 144,000 people will make it into heaven. They back this claim with Revelations 7:4. Here, the Bible talked about the 1444,000 people from the 12 tribes of Israel. They will be the first to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Protestants are of a different opinion which is supported in the book of John 3:15-16. This scripture teaches that whoever believes in Jesus is guaranteed eternal life and a home in heaven.


When Jesus returns, Protestants teach that He will come to judge the living and the dead. The Lord will send the sinners to hell, and the righteous will go to heaven. This is written in the book of Revelations 20: 7-15. Here the Bible says that the devil, the antichrist, and the demons will also burn in hell with unbelievers.

According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is no actual hell. They do not believe God would be so cruel as to condemn people to an everlasting fire in hell. Instead, they teach that the grave acts as hell and sinners remain in their graves forever.

What are the similarities between Jehovah’s Witnesses and Protestants?

Protestants and Jehovah’s Witnesses only have a few similarities. First is that they both identify as Christians who worship the living God. They also use the Bible as a guiding tool in their worship. However, they interpret its content differently from other Christians. Still, both protestants and Jehovah’s Witnesses practice evangelism by spreading the gospel in public. The only dissimilarity is that Jehovah’s Witnesses practice door-to-door evangelism, while Protestants mostly hold public gatherings to spread the gospel. Finally, Protestants and Jehovah’s Witnesses agree that Jesus is the son of God.

What are the misconceptions about being a Jehovah’s Witness?

Jehovah’s Witness Vs. Protestant - What is the main difference?
Misconceptions about being a Jehovah’s Witness. Image source: Pixabay

Most people believe that Jehovah’s Witnesses belong to a totalitarian organization that forces them to adhere to stringent rules. This is not entirely true since people are taught the doctrines of this denomination and encouraged to choose it as opposed to being outwardly forced. The idea of the looming end of the world has motivated many to join the Jehovah’s Witnesses hoping to be among the 144,000 people who will rule with Jesus upon His return.

There is also a notion that Jehovah’s Witnesses force congregants to do door-to-door ministry. On the contrary, they do this willingly, believing that it was Jesus’ way of onboarding the first disciples. They support this type of evangelism with bible verses such as Matthew 10:7 and Matthew 10:11-13.

Another misconception is that the Jehovah’s Witness Society is banned in Europe. This is untrue because there are many people in this denomination all over Europe and the U.S. However, Russia passed a ruling in 2017 banning Jehovah’s Witnesses for extremism. It’s also important to note that Jehovah’s Witness activity is banned in many parts of the Middle East and some parts of Northern Africa. Some of these countries include Afghanistan, Burma, Djibouti, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, and others.

What do Protestants think of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

The rest of the Christian community is very distrustful of Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of their greatest misgivings is the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ translation of the Bible. Protestants disagree with ideas pushed in JW’s New World Translation Bible. Some peculiar beliefs, such as Jesus being the Archangel Michael, have rubbed many protestants the wrong way. Protestants do not agree with the idea that only Jehovah’s Witnesses Worship God the right way. They view this church as a sect that controls its congregants with fear and misconstrued facts in the Bible.

Which one is more popular between Jehovah’s Witnesses and Protestants?

For obvious reasons, the protestant movement is far more charismatic and popular than the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most Christians are looking for unconditional acceptance and a conducive place where they can worship God. On issues such as LGBTQ rights, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are firm in their disapproval. On the other hand, some Protestants, such as the Methodists and Lutherans, are warming up to the idea of same-sex marriages. Such divisive issues make the Jehovah’s Witness society less popular than Protestants.

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