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Difference Between Catholics And Methodists

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Understanding the spectrum of Christian denominations can be a complex task, given the numerous interpretations and practices based on the Bible. This article aims to dissect two major branches of Christianity - Catholicism and Methodism, highlighting their differences and similarities.

The main difference between the two lies in their understanding of church authority, the sacraments, and the role of grace in salvation, shaped by their individual historical and theological journeys.

Who Are Catholics?

pope francis
Pope Francis

Catholics belong to one of the oldest Christian denominations, tracing their beliefs back to the apostles and Jesus Christ. The word "catholic" is derived from the Greek word "katholikos," which translates to "universal." This term represents the Catholic belief in their Church being the one universal church instituted by Jesus Christ.

Catholics acknowledge the Pope as the highest earthly authority and spiritual leader, who maintains apostolic succession dating back to Saint Peter. The Catholic Church practices the Seven Sacraments: baptism, eucharist, confirmation, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and marriage.

Central to Catholic belief is the concept of salvation through grace, a divine gift from God, obtained through faith and good works. Catholics also uphold doctrines such as the Immaculate Conception, Assumption of Mary, and the existence of Purgatory.

Who Are Methodists?

John Wesley
John Wesley

Methodism, a branch of Protestant Christianity, was founded in the 18th century by John Wesley, an Anglican cleric. It began as a revival movement within the Church of England, focusing on the methodical study of the Bible, which led to its name - Methodism.

Methodists strongly emphasize the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the authority of the Bible, and the significance of personal faith in achieving salvation. Unlike Catholics, they do not have a centralized authority figure comparable to the Pope.

One of the unique aspects of Methodism is the doctrine of "Christian Perfection" or "Entire Sanctification," which holds that a believer can live a life free from voluntary sin with the aid of God's grace.

Key Differences Between Catholics & Methodists

Theological Views

There is a distinct difference between the theological views of Catholics and Methodists. While both denominations believe in the Holy Trinity and the divinity of Jesus Christ, their doctrines diverge on several key points.

Catholics venerate the Virgin Mary and saints, believing in their intercession. Methodists, however, regard Mary as the Mother of God but do not place the same emphasis on Marian devotion or the veneration of saints.

Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, known as Transubstantiation. Methodists, on the other hand, see Communion as a memorial and affirm the Real Presence, but they don't define how Christ is present.

The concept of Purgatory is another divergence. Catholics believe in Purgatory as a place for purification before entering heaven. Methodists do not acknowledge Purgatory, asserting that upon death, believers are received into heaven while non-believers are separated from God.

Salvation and Grace

Both Catholics and Methodists believe in salvation through grace. However, Catholics maintain that faith and good works are integral to receiving salvation. Methodists assert that faith alone is sufficient for salvation, but good works are a natural outcome of genuine faith.


The Catholic Church recognizes Seven Sacraments. In contrast, Methodists, in line with most Protestants, acknowledge two - Baptism and Holy Communion.

Church Authority

The Catholic Church is hierarchical, with the Pope at its apex. On the other hand, the Methodist Church operates on a connexional system with conferences and democratic decision-making processes. It lacks a single authoritative figure akin to the Pope.

Comparison Chart: Catholics Vs Methodists

Followers1.345 Billion70 Million
Belief In PopeYesNo
PrayersIncludes Mary & SaintsFocuses on the Trinity
Believe In PurgatoryYesNo
Number of SacramentsSevenTwo

Similarities Between Catholics And Methodists

Despite differences, Catholics and Methodists share common ground. Both affirm the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, and the authority of the Bible. Both denominations observe Sundays as a holy day of worship.

Additionally, both Catholics and Methodists stress the importance of living a life reflecting Christian principles. They are committed to serving their communities, promoting social justice, and spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ.


What is the difference between the Catholic and Methodist Bible?

The Catholic Bible includes the Deuterocanonical books (often referred to as the Apocrypha) in the Old Testament. The Methodist Bible, following the Protestant tradition, does not typically include these books. However, both consider the Bible, in its entirety, to be the inspired Word of God.

Why are there so many denominations within Christianity?

The variety of denominations within Christianity arises from differences in interpreting the Bible, cultural influences, historical circumstances, and responses to societal changes. It's a testament to the rich diversity within the Christian faith.


While Catholicism and Methodism bear distinctive characteristics, both play a significant role in the vast landscape of Christianity. They share a common purpose: to guide believers towards a deeper understanding of God's word and a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ. Choosing between the two often comes down to personal belief and the style of worship one prefers.

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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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