Denomination Differences

Presbyterian vs. Church of Christ Beliefs

PresbyterianChurch of Christ
Number of Members39,000,0002,000,000
How does one get saved?Sola fide: Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection alone to save you.Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, and be baptized.
Who gets saved?Those who God chooses to call will be saved and no one else.Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.
Can one lose his salvation?Eternal security: No, once a Christian is saved, he is always saved.Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy.
Who gets baptized and why?Saved people and their infant children get baptized as a sign of God's grace.[1]The believing but unsaved get baptized as part of their salvation.
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by sprinkling water on the head.Baptism should be by immersion.
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.[2]The Holy Spirit is received at baptism.
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?Total depravity: Human nature is corrupt, naturally inclined to evil, and incapable of choosing God on his own.Most believe human nature tends to sin, but it's not depraved.
Are we guilty of Adam's original sin?Federalism: Yes, Adam represented all of the human race, and all are guilty of his 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.[3][4][5][6]
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?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?No, the elements do not become the body and blood of Christ, but Christ is present in an unknown way.No, the elements merely symbolically represent the body and blood of Christ.
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?Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.[7][8]Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.
Did Mary ever sin?Yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.Yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.
What spiritual gifts are available today?Cessationism: Spiritual gifts used for serving are available today, while gifts used as signs have ceased.[2]Cessationism: Spiritual gifts used for serving are available today, while gifts used as signs have ceased.[9]
What framework has God used in dealing with man?Covenant theology: God acts either within the covenant of works or the covenant of grace.[10]
How many church ordinances/​sacraments are there?The church has two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion.[11]The church has two ordinances: Baptism and Holy Communion.[12]
To whom do Christians need to confess their sins?Confession should be made directly to God, but confession to another believer is beneficial for some sins.Confession should be made directly to God, but confession to another believer is beneficial for some sins.[13]
How should a church be structured?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.Congregationalist: Every church congregation should be independent and governed by its members.
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?Prima scriptura: There are many sources of God's revelation, although none can contradict the Bible.Sola scriptura: The Bible is the only infallible source of God's revelation, sufficient for all faith and practice.
How was the Bible written?Verbal plenary inspiration: The Bible was written by men who had every word supernaturaly inspired by God.
How many books are in the Bible?There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament 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[14]Yes, the Bible was written without any error.
Who can speak with God's authority today?Nobody today can speak for God.Nobody today can speak for God.
What is marriage?Varies widely[15][16][17]Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.[18][19]
Is sex permissible outside marriage?Varies widely[20][17]No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.[21][22]
When is divorce permissible?Divorce is permissible for adultery or desertion.[23]Most believe divorce is only permissible for adultery.[24][25]
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?The innocent party to the adultery may remarry.[26]
When does a fetus become human?Most believe humanity begins at conception. Some say it is unknown when humanity begins.[27][28][29]Humanity begins at conception.
Is contraception permissible?Yes, contraceptives are permissible.Yes, contraceptives are permissible.
Should women cover their heads?Most believe no, women's long hair is enough of a covering.
Should Christians drink alcohol?Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.[30]Most believe no, alcohol should be totally avoided.
Should Christians fight in wars?Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.[31]
How should Christians musically worship God?Any style of worship music is acceptable.[32]Worship should be a cappella.
Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.[33][34]
Do icons glorify God?Varies widely[35][36][37][38]
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.[8]Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.