Denomination Differences

Three-Self Patriotic Movement vs. Presbyterian Beliefs

Three-Self Patriotic MovementPresbyterian
a.k.a.Chinese Patriotic
Number of Members20,000,000[1]39,000,000
How does one get saved?Sola fide: Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection alone to save you.[2]Sola fide: Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection alone to save you.
Who gets saved?Those who God chooses to call will be saved and no one else.
Can one lose his salvation?Eternal security: No, once a Christian is saved, he is always saved.
Who gets baptized and why?Saved people get baptized as a public demonstration of their new lives.[3][4]Saved people and their infant children get baptized as a sign of God's grace.[5]
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by sprinkling or immersion.[3]Baptism should be by sprinkling water on the head.
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.[6]
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.[7]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.
Are we guilty of Adam's original sin?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?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 merely symbolically represent the body and blood of Christ.[3]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?Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.[8][9]
Did Mary ever sin?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.[6]
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 ordinances: Baptism and Holy Communion.[3]The church has two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion.[11]
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.[2]Confession should be made directly to God, but confession to another believer is beneficial for some sins.
How should a church be structured?Every church congregation should be governed by its members and the Chinese Communist Party.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.[12]Christians worship on Sunday.
How does God's revelation come to us today?Sola scriptura: The Bible is the only infallible source of God's revelation, sufficient for all faith and practice.[13]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 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.[13]There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.
Is the Bible inerrant?Varies widely[14]
Who can speak with God's authority today?Nobody today can speak for God.
What is marriage?Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.[15]Varies widely[16][17][18]
Is sex permissible outside marriage?No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.[15]Varies widely[19][18]
When is divorce permissible?Divorce is permissible for adultery or desertion.[20]
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?The innocent party to the adultery may remarry.[21]
When does a fetus become human?Most believe humanity begins at conception. Some say it is unknown when humanity begins.[22][23][24]
Is contraception permissible?Yes, contraceptives are permissible.
Are blood transfusions permissible?Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.
Should Christians drink alcohol?Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.[25]
Should Christians fight in wars?Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.[26]
How should Christians musically worship God?Any style of worship music is acceptable.[27]
Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.[28][29]
Do icons glorify God?Varies widely[30][31][32][33]
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.[9]