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What is a set of traits that are common for all protestants (excluding those who call themselves Christians, but don't pray to Christ), yet setting them apart from other Christians (the Catholic, the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox)?

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Fried Chicken at Potluck. That unites all Protestants, but my understanding is that Catholics require a sausage of some kind to go with the Chicken. –  Affable Geek Mar 19 '13 at 13:43
    
@AffableGeek - Can you elaborate a bit? –  brilliant Mar 19 '13 at 14:15
    
I'm really just making a joke. Most denominations have some kind of food they like to bring to potluck dinners - and I was, tongue-in-cheek, suggesting that these fall along denominational lines –  Affable Geek Mar 19 '13 at 15:18
    
@AffableGeek Bread, actually. Wine too. Catholics pass over the fried chicken when Lamb is available. Fish on Fridays is a pretty big thing! I guess people see what they want to see when it comes to sausage, though. –  Alypius Mar 19 '13 at 16:33
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is similar to this response I made to the question, 'Do Evangelical leaders (televangelists, megachurch pastors, etc…) not consider themselves Protestants?'. But, essentially the primary doctrine that set Protestantism apart, and was a primary cause of the reformation to begin with is Justification By Faith: that salvation comes entirely from Christ's atoning work on the cross.

Without turning this into the wikipedia article on protestantism, there are a number of other doctrines that have come to dominate the thinking of most modern protestants including, the priesthood of all believers (which is why protestants call their clerics pastors instead of priests), and the five solas, including sola scriptura ("by Scripture alone").

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Interestingly there actually is Catholic doctrine stating a belief in the priesthood of all believers, but they also belief in a third tier of priesthood not recognized by Protestants, so it's a matter of definition of priesthood that sets them apart in that area. –  Caleb Jan 7 '12 at 20:42
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