Protestantism and Anglicanism are sects of Christianity with roots in Europe. The two have some similarities and differences. In the Anglican vs. Protestant debate, most people want to understand whether they are similar or have different beliefs.
Protestantism and Anglicanism share much in common but still have different beliefs. One of the significant differences between Protestantism and Anglicanism is their origin. Protestantism was established in 1517, while Anglicanism was established in 1534. Also, another difference is that Martin Luther founded Protestantism, while King Henry VIII is considered the founder of the Anglican Church. Taking on the similarities, both use the Hebrew Bible; in both, Celibacy is not mandatory to qualify as a member of the clergy. Last but not least, both reject Purgatory.
What is the difference between Protestants and Anglicans? What are the similarities between Protestantism and Anglican? Which came first between Protestant and Anglican? What do Anglicans think of Protestants? Can Anglicans attend Protestant churches? Keep reading to learn more!
What is the difference between Protestants and Anglicans?
Founder and year established.
Martin Luther is viewed as the founder of Protestantism. In 1517, Luther challenged the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. He instigated a global reformation that saw the Roman Catholic Church divide into several Churches. It is from the Protestant Reformation that most Protestant churches today were born.
Conversely, King Henry VIII is the founder of the Anglican Church. The term Anglican refers to the Church of England or other Churches in communion with it. The Church was declared independent from its parent Church, the Roman Catholic Church, in the 1534 Act of Supremacy.
Meaning of the name
The name Protestant comes from the Latin term Protestari, which means to bear witness. Those who participated in the Protestant Reformation protested certain practices and doctrines promoted by the Roman Catholic Church.
Conversely, the name Anglican is derived from the Latin term Anglicanus, which means England. The term was first used in the 1215 Magna Carta, which stated that Anglican Church shall be free.
The early influencers of Protestantism were Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin. On the other hand, the early influencers of Anglicanism included Queen Elizabeth I, Thomas Crammer, King Edward IV, and King Edward VI.
Significant writings used outside the Bible
Significant writings used by the Protestants include the Nicene and Apostles Creeds, the sermons of Martin Luther, mainly the 95 Theses, and John Calvin’s The Institutes of the Christians Religion.
On the other hand, significant writings in the Anglican Church include the Nicene and Apostles Creeds, The 39 Articles of Religion, The Bible Challenge, and The Book of Common Prayers.
Way of thinking
Protestants view the Holy Scriptures as the only source of divine inspiration and direction. On the other hand, Anglicanism embraces a way of thinking that brings together tradition, the Holy Scripture, and reason.
What are the similarities between Protestant and Anglican?
Both believe in the Holy Trinity.
Protestants believe in the Holy Trinity; God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Similarly, Anglicans also believe in the Holy Trinity. Anglicans emphasize the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Second Person in the Holy Trinity.
Both use the Hebrew Bible.
After moving away from the Roman Catholic, Protestants decided to use the Hebrew Bible (66 books) instead of the Greek Bible (73 books). The 7 deuterocanonical books are omitted in the Hebrew Bible. Martin Luther chose to omit these books, saying they promoted doctrines and practices that contradicted the teachings of other books in the Holy Scripture. Similarly, the Anglican Church, which was part of the Protestant Reformation, uses the Hebrew Bible.
Both have the same views about Christ.
Protestants believe that Jesus Christ is the Second Person in the Holy Spirit. They also believe that He lived a pure life, died so that we could be forgiven, and was resurrected on the third day, as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Similarly, Anglicans believe that Jesus Christ is the Lamb or Son of God; He was sinless and died so that our sins might be forgiven. They also believe that He resurrected on the third day.
In both, Celibacy is not mandatory.
Clerical marriage is allowed in Protestantism. Therefore, in Protestantism, Celibacy is not mandatory for those wishing to become clergy members. Similarly, the Anglican Church allows priests to marry. Therefore, in both churches, Celibacy is not necessary to be a clergy member.
Both do not have a hierarchy.
There is no hierarchy in Protestantism. Protestants believe in the universal priesthood of all baptized believers. Therefore, Protestantism accords the same power to all baptized Church followers. It was one of the most innovative ideologies of the Protestant Reformation Group. Pastors are not accorded any special status in the Protestant Church. According to Protestantism, the only thing that differentiates the clergy members from the followers is that the former study Theology at the university level.
Similarly, in the Anglican Church, there is no binding authority. Although the Anglican Churches are joined in a worldwide communion, the Church has no international juridical authority. Anglican Church provinces are fully self-governing. Each province operates autonomously and has its own Bishop and governing structure.
Both do not affirm Purgatory.
Protestantism rejects Purgatory. The book of Maccabees implies that Purgatory is a place between heaven and earth where people go to be purged off their sins. In Protestantism, the belief is that the death of Jesus Christ was enough to cleanse us of our sins every time well call on Him. Similarly, Anglicanism rejects Purgatory.
Both affirm only two Sacraments out of the seven.
Protestantism affirms only two of the seven sacraments; the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper/Holy Communion) and Baptism. Similarly, the Anglican Church embraces only the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.
Both practice open communion
Protestantism embraces open communion; therefore, members and non-members can partake in the Holy Communion, provided they have been baptized and confirmed. Similarly, the Anglican Church practices open communion.
Both do not accept the Pope as the leader of all Churches.
Protestants’ standpoint is that the Roman Catholic Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church but not all churches worldwide. Therefore, they do not accord him the power to speak on their behalf. Similarly, Anglicans do not view the Pope as their leader. According to them, their leader is the British monarch. Also, although he does not have any powers outside the Dioceses of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Canterbury is a symbol of unity and the spiritual leader in Anglican.
Which came first between Protestant and Anglican?
Protestantism came before Anglicanism. Protestantism was established in 1517 by Martin Luther, citing corruption and other malpractices in the Roman Catholic Church. On the other hand, Anglicanism can be traced way back to the 2nd century. However, Anglican Church became independent of the Roman Catholic Church in 1534. Therefore, born in the same period, Protestantism came before Anglicanism.
What do Anglicans think of Protestants?
Anglicanism is a part of Protestantism. Protestantism is a movement; therefore, although all Anglicans are Protestants, not all Protestants are Anglicans. The only Protestants who are Anglicans are those who attend the Anglican Church or those in communion with it.
However, most Anglicans like to identify themselves as the middle way between Protestantism and Catholicism. They do not like being considered Protestants. This is so because although many churches were born during Protestant Reformation, few like to identify as Protestants. Protestants are regarded as heretics.
Can Anglicans attend Protestant churches?
Protestant churches are open to everyone; therefore, Anglicans can freely attend any Protestant Church they like. They can also partake in the Holy Communion in those churches, provided they have been baptized and confirmed.
Although Anglicans consider themselves a middle way between Protestantism and Catholicism, it has many similarities with Protestantism.
anglicansonline.org. (n.d.). Anglicans online essays: Pierre Whalon: Differences between Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism. Retrieved December 15, 2022
blueletterbible.org. (n.d.). Why were the books of the Old Testament Apocrypha rejected as Holy Scripture by the Protestants? Retrieved December 14, 2022
GotQuestions.org. (2009). What is the Anglican Church, and what do Anglicans believe? Retrieved December 15, 2022
Museeprotestant.org . (2015). Protestant faith. Retrieved December 14, 2022
thegospelcoalition.org. (2014). 9 things you should know about Anglicanism. Retrieved December 14, 2022
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.