Could not think of a better place to put this, so since the Protestant churches are offsprings of the RC Church I thought I would ask it here. What are the fundamental differences between the following Protestant Churches?
1. The Anglicans didn't begin as a Protestant church but as a schism of the church in England from the papacy that happened coincidentally at the same time as the Protestant revolt in Europe. Reason: the king wanted an annulment and didn't get one. Divorce had nothing to do with it and King Henry VIII, while no saint, was no Protestant either - quite the opposite. But to enforce the schism the king put crypto-Protestants in high positions, such as Thomas Cranmer as the archbishop of Canterbury (the primate of England).
After the king died, Cranmer and these men made Anglicanism Protestant: a confusing mix of basic credal orthodoxy, an orthodox view of baptism as giving grace, rejection of the complete Real Presence and of sacrifice in the Eucharist*, and the discarding of most Catholic ceremonial (this began to reappear in the 1800s), but retaining a basically Catholic divine office (morning and evening prayer) and, unusual among Protestants, a claim to retain bishops, priests and deacons in the apostolic succession.
*Thomas Cranmer was a Zwinglian. The early Anglicans took ideas willy-nilly from most of the European Protestants.
2. The Baptist faith began when John Smythe, an English Congregational minister (English Calvinists, like the Presbyterians in Scotland and the Reformed Church in Holland), adopted the ideas of the Anabaptists (it means 'rebaptizers') of Germany - baptism is only a symbol, not a giver of grace, and only adult believers can be baptized.
Other than that, they have basic credal orthodoxy* but reject the Real Presence and Eucharistic sacrifice and the apostolic ministry. Polity is very free-form with each congregation basically a church unto itself. I think that, outside the major Baptist denominations, Baptist ministers can be self-ordained.
*True of the classical form of the Baptist faith and of the Southern Baptist Convention today, but the American Baptist Conference is basically a modernist, mainline liberal Protestant denomination.
3. Lutherans resemble most other Protestants except they accept a quasi-Real Presence in the Eucharist and like Anglicans use traditional liturgical texts. They believe the same thing about baptism as Catholics and Orthodox. Historically they consistently are ceremonially the most Catholic of the Protestants - they use the crucifix, for example. A few claim bishops in the apostolic succession but most don't. They don't count confession as a sacrament but historically they practise it.
4. Methodism began in the 1700s as an evangelical revival in the Anglican Church that by the 1780s had become a separate church. It doesn't claim apostolic succession. A distinguishing feature of its theology was a move away from Calvinism Catholicwards about man's cooperation with God's grace - called Arminianism
after the European Protestant, Jacobus Arminius, who came up with it. (Not to be confused with the Armenian
In the early 1800s Methodism was the wildfire-growth religion in America, the first people to have big tent revivals, etc.
5. Presbyterianism is the Scottish branch of the Calvinist movement. John (Jean) Calvin, a French layman, was one of the pioneer Protestant leaders and a brilliant man, but also very wrong. The St Thomas Aquinas of Protestantism. His theological system, if you buy its premises, is airtight. Among his beliefs are total depravity - man is completely corrupt because of original sin, and double predestination - some people are hellbound, no matter what they want. A horrible system - Robert Louis Stevenson, for example, grew up with it in Scotland and was a committed atheist by the time he was 20.