In the Catholic Church, the "Marks of the Church" are what's in the Nicene creed. That she is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. I've seen that the Westminster Catechism has different marks spelled out.

What does every Major branch of Christianity whose has "Marks of the Church" claim those marks to be?

This is a , so every answerer who attempts to answer this question should include, within reason, every mark of every church.

  • Related: christianity.stackexchange.com/q/26986/6071
    – curiousdannii
    Feb 24, 2018 at 2:15
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    Maybe close the older one as a dupe of this? The two answers on it are not overview answers.
    – curiousdannii
    Feb 24, 2018 at 2:23
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    What are "marks of the Church"? The tag wiki is empty. Feb 24, 2018 at 18:49
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    I closed the old one as a duplicate. But it would really help clarify things if this question made it clear that only reasonably comprehensive overview/chrestomathy answers are acceptable... we don't want piecemeal "my denomination says..." type answers. Feb 25, 2018 at 3:15
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    @KorvinStarmast Ok - edited, I'm trying to do something a little different with respect to overview questions and scope them in a way that can be more easily answered - so we can weed out answers that are definitely not-an-answer more easily.
    – Peter Turner
    Feb 25, 2018 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


Every mark of every church is potentially a tall order. I'll count the major branches as Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, and Reformed.

Lutherans say that "The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered" (Augsburg Confession, Article VII).

Roman Catholics say that "'This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic.' These four characteristics, inseparably linked with each other, indicate essential features of the Church and her mission. The Church does not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 811).

Reformed say that "The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults" (Belgic Confession, Article 29).

The Eastern Orthodox also use the Nicene formula "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic." I haven't fully explored the difference between EO and RC usage of the word "catholic."

Anglicans have historically said that "The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same" (Articles of Religion, XIX).

  • Welcome to the site, this is a great first answer and totally gets the spirit of the question (which is a bit esoteric to this site)! I hope you stick around!
    – Peter Turner
    Mar 24, 2018 at 22:21
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    I suspect that "catholic" in both EO and RC means what is has always meant, "universal": eucharistic communion, doctrinal unity and the like. The situation we experienced before the Tragedy of 1054 "...that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose..." & "...one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all..." & "...there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female..." & "...are one in Christ Jesus." (Reunification by 2054!)
    – elemtilas
    Mar 25, 2018 at 1:56

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