Since I have served in the Christian ministry for over a decade, I have come across many people with different beliefs. I recently discovered that some people confuse Lutheranism and Non-denominationalism since they have many similarities. However, since I have extensive knowledge of religious studies, I understand they are different. That is why I would like to compare the Non- denominational vs. Lutheran movement.
Lutheranism and Non-denominationalism differ in several ways. One of the major differences between Lutheranism and Non-denominationalism lies in their view of the (Lord’s Supper) Holy Communion. Lutheranism believes in the real presence of the blood and body of Christ in the Eucharist. On the other hand, Non-denominational churches believe that the Holy Communion is taken for memorial purposes, and the body and blood of Jesus are not present in the elements used during the ritual.
In this article, I will shed light on the differences and similarities between Lutherans and Non-denominational. Join me in this exploration and discover the theological comparison between these two movements and which came first between the two. Keep reading to find out what Non-denominational think of Lutherans and much more!
What is the difference between Lutherans and Non- denominational?
There are several differences between Lutheranism and Non-denominationalism. The table below outlines the major differences between Lutheranism and Non-denominationalism.
|Beliefs, values, and practices||Lutherans||Non- denominational|
|Name||The name Lutheran is derived from Martin Luther’s second name. He is the founder of the Lutheran Church, which led Roman Catholics to brand those that embraced his theological ideas as Lutherans. However, Luther preferred to name Evangelical to Lutheran.||The term non-denominational refers to churches that do not associate themselves with any denomination.|
|Origin||The split between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutherans was officiated with the 1521 Edict of Worms.||Non-denominational Christianity can be traced back to the 18th century. The first Non-denominational movement was the Restoration movement (Stone Campbell Movement), whose followers identified themselves simply as Disciples of Christ or Christians.|
|Early influencers||Martin Luther is the early founder of Lutheranism.||Early influencers in the Non-denominational movement include; Barton Stone and Alexander Campbell.|
|Organization||Lutheran churches exist in districts (synods). Church members (the congregation) vote for pastors.||Non-denominational churches are congregational. A higher authority does not exist in these churches; therefore, the decision-making power lies in the congregation.|
|View of the Eucharist/Lord’s Supper||Lutherans believe in the real presence of the blood and body of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.||Non-denominational Church teaches that the Lord’s Supper memorializes Christ’s sacrifice. However, His blood and body are absent in the elements used during the Lord’s Supper.|
|Baptism||Lutheran churches practice both infant and adult baptism.||Non-denominational churches baptize adults only.|
|Theological and social worldview||It depends on the district (synod); Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
(ELCA) is moderate to liberal. On the other hand, Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) is conservative.
|Most Non-denominational churches are conservative.|
|View of the End of Times||Lutherans are amillennial. They believe that Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. However, they do not believe in His 1000-years reign. They believe the 1000 years is the gap between when Jesus ascended into Heaven and when He will return.||Non-denominational churches can be pre-millennial, postmillennial, or amillennial. Adherents of these churches believe that Jesus will return to earth to Judge the living and the dead.|
What are the similarities between Lutheran and Non- denominational?
There are many similarities between Lutheranism and Non-denominationalism. The table below outlines the major similarities between Lutheranism and Non-denominationalism.
|Beliefs, values, and practices||Lutherans||Non- denominational|
|Branch of Christianity||Lutheranism is part of the Protestant Movement.||Non-denominational churches are part of the Protestant Movement.|
|Nature of God||Lutherans are Trinitarian. They believe in God’s triune nature (God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (Spirit)).||Non-denominational churches are also Trinitarian. They believe in God’s triune nature (God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (Spirit)).|
|Doctrine of Justification||Lutherans believe that justification is through faith alone in Christ alone.||Non-denominational churches also teach that justification is through faith alone in Christ alone.|
|Bible||Lutherans believe that Bible is the only source of divine authority on all matters of faith.||Non-denominational church adherents also believe that the Bible is the sole source of authority on all matters of faith and church practice.|
|Source of Divine Inspiration||Lutherans believe that Bible is the sole source of divine inspiration for Christians.||Non-denominational churches teach that the Bible is the sole source of divine inspiration.|
|Two nature of Christ||Lutherans believe that Jesus Christ is 100 percent God and 100 percent man. They believe that He is the Son of God who agreed to die to redeem humans from their sinful nature.||Non-denominational church adherents also believe that Jesus Christ is 100 percent God and 100 percent man. They believe that He is the Son of God who agreed to die to redeem humans from their sinful nature.|
|Sacraments||Lutherans have two sacraments; the Holy Communion and baptism.||Non-denominational churches also have two sacraments; the Lord’s Supper and baptism.|
|Holy Spirit||Lutherans believe that the Holy Ghost is the third Deity in the triune nature of God.||Non-denominational church adherents believe that the Holy Ghost is the third Deity in the triune nature of God.|
|The doctrine of the original sin||Lutherans believe in the doctrine of the original sin. This doctrine states that humans are sinful by nature.||Non-denominational church adherents also believe that humans are sinful by nature.|
|Penal-substitutionary Atonement||Lutherans believe that Jesus died on the cross so that man’s sins could be forgiven.||Non-denominational church adherents believe that Jesus died on the cross so that man’s sins could be forgiven.|
|Doctrine of purgatory||Lutherans reject the doctrine of purgatory. They do not believe in a place between earth and Heaven where believers will pass through to be cleansed before entering Heaven.||Non-denominational churches also reject the doctrine of purgatory.|
|Heaven||Lutherans believe in Heaven, where all righteous people (those who have faith in Jesus) will live for eternity.||Non-denominational churches also believe in the doctrine of Heaven, where those who have faith and believe in Christ will live forever after judgment day.|
|Hell||Lutherans believe in the doctrine of hell, a place where all wicked people will go after the final judgment.||Non-denominational church adherents also believe in the doctrine of hell, a place where all wicked people will go after the final judgment.|
What is the theological comparison between Lutheran and Non- denominational?
Lutheran and Non-denominational theology share much in common. For instance, they hold the same belief about the original sin. This is the belief that man is sinful by nature. This nature has been passed down from Adam and Eve, who committed the first sin when they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit (the original sin).
Lutherans and Non-denominational church adherents have the same belief in the Holy Scriptures. They believe the Bible is the sole divine source of authority on all matters of faith. Also, they believe that the Bible is divinely inspired.
They both believe that salvation can only be achieved through faith in Christ alone. Christ agreed to carry the burden of our sins. For this reason, God gave Him the role of the Judge; when He returns, He will come to judge the living and the dead. Because of His love for man, Christ has given you a chance to have eternal life if you only have faith in Him, prayer for His forgiveness, and follow what commands you.
Which came first between Lutheran and Non- denominational?
Lutheranism came before Non-denominationalism. The split between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutherans was officiated with the 1521 Edict of Worms. Non-denominational Christianity can be traced back to the 18th century. Therefore, Non-denominationalism came about two hundred years after the establishment of the Lutheran movement.
What do Non- denominational think of Lutherans?
Non-denominational church adherents think of Lutherans as family. Lutheran and Non-denominational churches are Protestant and adhere to the Evangelical movement. Therefore, these churches share much in common, which makes their followers feel like they are family.
Are Non- denominational and Lutherans both Christians?
Non- denominationalism, and Lutheranism are both Christians. As I mentioned, they are both Protestant. Protestant churches were established during the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. They were formed by reformists who broke away from the Western Catholic Church, citing malpractices such as the sale of indulgences. The original Christian Church, founded by Jesus and His followers, is the parent church of the Catholic Church, established by Peter (the disciple of Christ) and the Protestant churches. Although these churches are separate entities, they still share much in common. Therefore, Non- denominational and Lutheran are sects of Christianity.
Can Non- denominational attend Lutheran churches?
Non-denominational church adherents can attend Lutheran churches. Non-denominationalism and Lutheranism share much in common. Therefore, if a member of a Non-denominational Church decides to attend a Lutheran Church service, they will not feel left out.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.