Do Protestants Believe in Saints – The Difference and Belief of the Protestant Church

Do Protestants Believe in Saints – The Difference and Belief of the Protestant Church

Perplexed by the concept of saints in the Protestant Church? You’re not alone. As a lifelong Protestant, I have often encountered confusion and misconceptions surrounding the belief in saints within the Protestant faith. In this guide, I will provide clarity on the differences and beliefs of the Protestant Church when it comes to saints. First and foremost, it’s important to understand that Protestants do not venerate saints in the same way that Catholics do. I will delve into the reasons behind this distinction, as well as the significance of saints within the Protestant tradition. Additionally, I will address the positive and potentially damaging implications of this belief within the Protestant Church. By the end of this guide, you will have a comprehensive understanding of how saints are viewed within the Protestant faith.

Key Takeaways:

  • Protestants do not worship saints: Unlike in the Catholic tradition, where saints hold a revered status and are often prayed to, Protestants do not worship or pray to saints as intermediaries between themselves and God.
  • Saints are viewed differently in Protestantism: In the Protestant tradition, saints are generally seen as all believers in Christ, rather than specific individuals who have been canonized by the church.
  • Emphasis on the priesthood of all believers: Protestants believe in the priesthood of all believers, meaning that they have direct access to God without the need for intercession from saints or clergy.
  • Recognition of historical figures as influential Christians: While Protestants may not officially recognize individuals as saints, they do acknowledge the impact and influence of historical Christian figures, such as Martin Luther or John Calvin, within the church.
  • Focus on biblical authority: Protestants prioritize the authority of the Bible over the veneration of saints, placing a greater emphasis on scriptural teachings and principles in their faith practice.

Understanding the Protestant Church

Your understanding of the Protestant Church may be influenced by a variety of factors, but it’s important to have a clear grasp of the beliefs and practices of this branch of Christianity. In this chapter, I will provide you with an overview of the Protestant Church and its stance on saints.

History and Beliefs

The Protestant Church emerged in the 16th century as a reaction to the perceived corruption and abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. The movement was led by figures such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others who sought to reform Christian practices and doctrines. Central to Protestant beliefs is the idea of sola scriptura, or “Scripture alone,” which emphasizes the authority of the Bible as the ultimate source of spiritual guidance. This rejection of certain Catholic teachings and practices has shaped the Protestant view of saints and their role in the faith.

The Role of Saints in Protestantism

While the veneration of saints is a significant aspect of Catholicism, the Protestant Church holds a different perspective on the matter. In Protestantism, the focus is on the priesthood of all believers, meaning that every Christian has direct access to God through Jesus Christ, without the need for intercession by saints or clergy. This belief is grounded in the Protestant emphasis on individual faith and the personal relationship between the believer and God. As a result, the veneration of saints and the belief in their intercessory powers are not central to Protestant worship and theology.

Differences in Belief

Obviously, one of the main points of difference between Protestants and Catholics is the belief in saints.

Protestant Views on Saints

In general, Protestants do not believe in the veneration or praying to saints. This is because they do not see the need for intercession between believers and God. Instead, they believe in a direct relationship with God through prayer and do not ask for the saints to intervene on their behalf.

Catholic Views on Saints

Catholics, however, do believe in the intercession of saints. They believe that saints can intercede on behalf of those on earth, and that their prayers are powerful in heaven. Saints are revered as holy figures who can help guide and protect individuals, and are often prayed to for specific intentions.

By understanding these differences in belief, you can see how they shape the practices and rituals of the two branches of Christianity. It’s important to approach these beliefs with an open mind and respect for the diversity of beliefs within the Christian community. Whether you align with Protestant or Catholic views on saints, it’s crucial to remember that the fundamental focus is on connecting with and worshipping God.

Factors Influencing Belief

Keep in mind that the belief in saints within the Protestant Church can be influenced by various factors. These factors can shape the way individuals within the Protestant faith view the concept of saints and their significance. Some of the most influential factors include:

  • Cultural Influence
  • Doctrinal Teachings
  • Personal Experiences
  • Scriptural Interpretation

After considering these factors, one can gain a better understanding of why beliefs about saints may vary among Protestants.

Cultural Influence

The cultural background of a Protestant individual can play a significant role in shaping their beliefs about saints. For example, those from a predominantly Catholic cultural background may be more inclined to embrace the veneration of saints, while those from a more traditionally Protestant cultural background may have a different perspective. The influence of cultural traditions and practices can impact how individuals within the Protestant Church perceive the role and significance of saints in their faith.

Personal Beliefs

Each Protestant’s personal beliefs and experiences can also contribute to their stance on saints. Some may have had personal encounters or experiences that have led them to believe in the intercession of saints, while others may hold to a more symbolic or commemorative view of saints. Personal theological reflection and spiritual discernment can shape an individual’s understanding of saints and their place within the Protestant faith.

Pros and Cons of Protestant Beliefs on Saints

To understand the Protestant stance on saints, it is important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of this position. Below, I have outlined the pros and cons of Protestant beliefs on saints in a clear and concise manner for easy comparison:

Pros Cons
Focus on the authority of Scripture Loss of connection to historical Christian tradition
Emphasis on direct relationship with God May lead to a lack of intercession and role models
Freedom from the veneration of saints Potential for spiritual individualism
Clarity on the role of Christ as the sole mediator Diminished sense of community and communion of saints

Benefits of Protestant Stance

One of the key benefits of the Protestant stance on saints is the emphasis on the authority of Scripture. By placing the Bible at the center of their faith, Protestants prioritize the teachings and principles found within the Scriptures. This allows for a clear and unambiguous understanding of God’s will and the Christian faith. Additionally, the focus on a direct relationship with God enables individuals to cultivate a personal connection with the divine, fostering a sense of intimacy and closeness with the Creator.

Drawbacks of Protestant Stance

However, it is important to acknowledge the potential drawbacks of the Protestant stance on saints. One significant drawback is the loss of connection to historical Christian tradition. By rejecting the veneration of saints and the communal aspect of the faith, Protestant denominations may risk distancing themselves from the rich heritage and wisdom passed down through the centuries. This can lead to a diminished sense of community and a lack of intercession and role models within the faith.


Conclusively, the belief in saints within the Protestant church varies greatly and is dependent on individual interpretation and denomination. While some Protestants do not recognize saints in the same way as the Catholic Church, others do honor and acknowledge significant figures from the past. Ultimately, the Protestant belief in saints emphasizes the importance of focusing on the teachings and examples of these individuals, rather than praying to them for intercession. It is important to understand that interpretations and beliefs within the Protestant church are diverse and can differ significantly among denominations and individual believers. As such, it is crucial to approach this topic with an open mind and respect for the variety of perspectives within the Protestant tradition.


Q: Do Protestants believe in saints?

A: Protestant beliefs vary, but in general, Protestants do not pray to saints or venerate them in the same way that Catholics do. They typically believe that all believers are saints and that they can communicate directly with God.

Q: What is the difference between the belief of Protestants and Catholics regarding saints?

A: The main difference lies in the veneration and intercession of saints. While Catholics believe in the intercession of saints and pray to them for assistance, Protestants generally believe in direct communication with God and do not venerate saints as intermediaries.

Q: Do Protestants reject the idea of saints entirely?

A: Not necessarily. Protestants do recognize and honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the Christian faith, such as Martin Luther or John Wesley, but they do not pray to them or seek their intercession.

Q: Are there any saints recognized by both Protestants and Catholics?

A: Yes, there are certain figures in Christianity, such as Mary the mother of Jesus, who are venerated by both Catholics and some Protestant denominations. However, the extent and manner of veneration may vary.

Q: How do Protestants view the concept of saints within the church?

A: Many Protestants emphasize the priesthood of all believers and the idea that everyone has access to God through Jesus Christ. They view saints as exemplary individuals whose lives can inspire and guide others, but they do not hold them in the same reverence as the Catholic Church.

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