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Comparative Religion: The Church of England

Most of these basically Lutheran tenets apply to all protestants. The Calvinist ("puritan") refinements are presented further along.

Man's wickedness is so great that no amount of good works could hope to atone for our sin. God, being all good, would not require something of us that is impossible. Therefore, the only thing necessary for salvation is believing in His Name ("justification by faith").

The Church exists to guide but is not necessary for salvation. There is no need for priests to interpret God's will. Supporting the Church, or denying the flesh, does not bring you closer to God. If you are united with Him at all, it is completely and absolutely.

The Roman church has corrupted the original doctrines and teachings of Christ and his apostles for its own purpose, and no longer represents the true faith of Christ. The only source of religious authority is Scripture.

The two sacraments are Baptism and Holy Eucharist (Communion). The other so-called sacraments are worthy but not Scripturally justified.

No sacrament is efficacious without understanding and faith.

There is no principle of Papal authority: the Pope (or Antichrist) is just a man and subject to error. He is not the leader of the true church.

The doctrine of Purgatory is denied as being un-Scriptural. You go straight to Heaven or Hell, according to God's judgment. Thus prayers for the dead, including Masses and purchased indulgences, are of no value. In fact, to pray for the dead is heretical.

The selling of indulgences is a particular vice because a) it is not in Scripture and b) it encourages sin. The Church cannot put divine forgiveness up for sale.

Your relation to God is not mediated by priests or saints, but is a personal acceptance of the message of Scripture. The Virgin Mary almost disappears from protestant consciousness, and the role of the saints is greatly diminished.

All rituals are performed in the vernacular. Rituals are less elaborate, although candles and church bells are still in use.

Ministers can marry, although the Queen would prefer they did not.

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25 March 2008 mps