Denomination Differences

Eastern Orthodox vs. Presbyterian Beliefs

Eastern OrthodoxPresbyterian
Number of Members210,000,000[1]39,000,000
How does one get saved?Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, and be baptized.[2]Sola fide: Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection alone to save you.
Who gets saved?Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.Those who God chooses to call will be saved and no one else.
Can one lose his salvation?Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy.Eternal security: No, once a Christian is saved, he is always saved.
Who gets baptized and why?The unsaved, typically as infants, get baptized as the first sacrament of Christian initiation, cleansing them of all sins.Saved people and their infant children get baptized as a sign of God's grace.[3]
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by triple immersion.Baptism should be by sprinkling water on the head.
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?The Holy Spirit is received at chrismation, generally immediately after baptism.The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.[4]
What is the trinity?The Trinity is God existing as one god in three equal, eternal, cosubstantial persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.The Trinity is God existing as one god in three equal, eternal, cosubstantial persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.
What is the human nature?Human nature is intrinsically good but is wounded and incapable of choosing God in our fallen environment.[5][6]Total depravity: Human nature is corrupt, naturally inclined to evil, and incapable of choosing God on his own.
Are we guilty of Adam's original sin?No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, nor did we inherit a sinful nature from him, but we did inherit the consequences.[7]Federalism: Yes, Adam represented all of the human race, and all are guilty of his sin.
Are Christians required to keep the Old Testament ceremonial laws?No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.
Can Christians become sinless in this earthly life?Yes, Christian perfection is possible.No, although Christians can and should sin less, they can never become sinless in this life.
Do the elements of communion become the body and blood of Christ?Metousiosis: Yes, the bread and the wine change in essence into the body and blood of Christ.No, the elements do not become the body and blood of Christ, but Christ is present in an unknown way.
Can one be baptized of behalf of someone who has died?No, the dead cannot be baptized.No, the dead cannot be baptized.
What happens if a saved person dies without being perfect?There is no purgatory, but Christians will continue in theosis after death.[8]Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.[9][10]
Did Mary ever sin?Mary was prone to sin like anyone else, but no, through her own free will she still never did.Yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.
What spiritual gifts are available today?Continuationism: All spiritual gifts are still available to believers.Cessationism: Spiritual gifts used for serving are available today, while gifts used as signs have ceased.[4]
What framework has God used in dealing with man?Covenant theology: God acts either within the covenant of works or the covenant of grace.[11]
What is the gift of tongues?Speaking in tongues is sometimes unintelligible and sometimes foreign human languages.[12][13]
What are the requirements for clergy?Priests must be men over 30 ordained by bishops.
How many church ordinances/​sacraments are there?The church has seven sacraments: Baptism, Chrism, Holy Eucharist, Confession, Ordination, Marriage, and Holy Unction.[14]The church has two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion.[15]
To whom do Christians need to confess their sins?Confession should be made to God before a priest.[16]Confession should be made directly to God, but confession to another believer is beneficial for some sins.
How should a church be structured?Episcopal: Churches should be governed by the bishop in that episcopacy, who in turn is governed by a patriarch of an autocephalous church. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is first among equals.Presbyterian: Churches should be governed by its own elders, who in turn are governed by a presbytery comprising the elders from the region, which is governed by a general assembly of commissioners from each presbytery.
What day of the week should Christians worship?Christians worship on Sunday.Christians worship on Sunday.
How does God's revelation come to us today?Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition have equal authority and comprise one finished deposit of faith.Prima scriptura: There are many sources of God's revelation, although none can contradict the Bible.
How many books are in the Bible?There are 76 canonical books of the Bible: 39 protocanonical books, 10 deuterocanonical books, and 27 New Testament books.There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.
Is the Bible inerrant?Varies widely[17]
Who can speak with God's authority today?The church as a whole speaks with God's authority at ecumenical councils.Nobody today can speak for God.
What is marriage?Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.Varies widely[18][19][20]
Is sex permissible outside marriage?No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.Varies widely[21][20]
When is divorce permissible?Divorce is permissible for adultery, abuse, or abandonment.[22][23]Divorce is permissible for adultery or desertion.[24]
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?Yes, a Christian may remarry a second or third time for human weakness.[23]The innocent party to the adultery may remarry.[25]
When does a fetus become human?Humanity begins at conception.[26]Most believe humanity begins at conception. Some say it is unknown when humanity begins.[27][28][29]
Is contraception permissible?Most believe that yes, contraceptives are permissible.[30][31]Yes, contraceptives are permissible.
Should women cover their heads?Varies widely
Should Christians drink alcohol?Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.[32]
Should Christians fight in wars?Yes, Christians can fight in just wars.[33][34][35]Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.[36]
How should Christians musically worship God?Any style of worship music is acceptable.[37]
Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone.The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.[38][39]
Do icons glorify God?Yes, icons are holy and should be venerated.[40]Varies widely[41][42][43][44]
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?After death, souls sit conscious in an Intermediate State, with a foretaste of heaven for Christians.[45]Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.[10]