Protestantism and Lutheranism are two sects of Christianity that emerged after the Protestantism Reformation. What people seek to understand in the Lutheran vs. Protestant debate is whether they have different beliefs.
Protestantism and Lutheranism have shared beliefs, values, and practices. However, the two also differ in several ways. One of the major differences between Protestantism and Lutheranism is the doctrine of consubstantiation. Lutherans believe that the real blood and body of Jesus Christ are in the wine and bread distributed during the Holy Communion. Other Protestant churches do not affirm this doctrine. They believe that the Lord’s Supper is a continuation of the tradition started by Jesus. Therefore, although similar in many aspects, there are some differences between Protestantism and Lutheranism.
What is the difference between Protestants and Lutheran? What are the similarities between Protestant and Lutheran? Which came first between Protestant and Lutheran? What do Lutherans think of Protestants? Are Lutherans and Protestants both Christians? Can Lutherans attend Protestant churches? Keep reading to learn more!
What is the difference between Protestants and Lutheran?
Protestantism is a movement that was established in 15717 by Martin Luther. When starting the Reformation, Luther wanted to bring change to the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. He did not affirm some of the doctrines and traditions practices of the Catholic Church, such as the sale of indulgences.
However, although he did not envision the Reformation going past the German border, Luther’s ideas and doctrines soon spread across Europe. Also, although it was not his goal to instigate a division in the Roman Catholic Church, some churches sought independence from the Catholic Movement.
Lutheranism was one of the churches born due to the Protestant Reformation. The Church was born in the same period the Reformation took place. It was part of the Protestantism movement. However, Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheranism movement, devised some doctrines that differentiated Lutherans from other Protestant churches. The table below shows some of the major differences between Lutheranism and Protestantism.
|Beliefs, Values, and Practices||Lutheranism||Protestantism|
|Name||The name Lutheran is derived from Martin Luther’s second name. Martin Luther is the founder of the Lutheran movement.||The name Protestant comes from the Latin term Protestari which means to bear witness, or the English term protest, which means to challenge or object.|
|Founding||Martin Luther founded Lutheranism in 1521 after the Edict of worms, during which the Pope excommunicated him from the Roman Catholic Church. However, it became a distinct religion at the beginning of 1600.||The Protestantism movement gained momentum in 1517 after Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Castle Church (Wittenberg, Germany). The theses were a disputation of the efficacy and power of the indulgences sold by the Roman Catholic Church.|
|Early Contributors||Martin Luther was an early contributor to the Lutheran movement.||The early contributors to the Protestant movement include Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli.|
|Membership||The Lutheran Church boasts about 81 million adherents across the globe. It is the largest protestant movement.||The Protestant movement has approximately 920 million followers worldwide.|
|Significant Books outside the Hebrew Bible||Luther’s large and shorter catechism, the Augsburg Confession, and the Book of Concord.||Calvin’s Institute of the Christian Religion, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, and many more.|
|Church organization||Lutheran churches exist in synods, districts, and conferences. Also, it is congregations that vote for pastors.||Protestant churches have different structures-congregationalism, Episcopalian, and Presbyterianism.|
|doctrine of consubstantiation||Lutherans believe that the real blood and body of Jesus Christ is in the wine and bread distributed during the Holy Communion.||Protestant churches do not affirm this doctrine. They believe that the Lord’s Supper is a continuation of the tradition started by Jesus.|
|Baptism||Lutheran churches baptize infants. During baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit regenerated infants.||Protestants baptize children at the age where they are able to understand what the rite entails. Also, they believe baptism identifies one with the death and resurrection of the Messiah. Also, it signifies inclusion into the Church/Protestantism faith.|
|Salvation||Lutherans believe in salvation through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.||Protestants believe that salvation is through faith and good works. They believe that even though God does not need your good works, your neighbors do.|
|Who can take the Holy Communion||The Lutheran Church practices closed communion. Only members are allowed to participate in the Holy Communion.||Most Protestant churches practice open communion. Non-members can participate in the Lord’s Supper if they are confirmed and baptized.|
What are the similarities between Protestant and Lutheran?
Lutheranism is part of the Protestant movement. Therefore, all Lutherans are Protestants, but not all Protestants are Lutherans. Being part of the Protestant movement, Lutheran churches share much in common with other Protestant churches. The table below shows the similarities between Protestantism and Lutheranism.
|Beliefs, Values, and Practices||Lutheranism||Protestantism|
|Beliefs, Values, and Practices (Religion)||Lutheranism teaches Christianity beliefs, values, and practices.||Protestantism teaches Christianity beliefs, values, and practices.|
|Bible||Lutherans use the Hebrew Bible. This Bible does not include the deuterocanonical books.||Protestants use the Hebrew Bible. This Bible does not include the deuterocanonical books. Luther removed these books from the Bible because he believed they contradicted the doctrines, values, and practices taught in the other books.|
|Nature of God||Lutherans believe in the Holy Trinity. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.||Protestants believe in the Holy Trinity. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.|
|Founder||The Lutheran Church was founded by Martin Luther, a German reformer and monk, who disputed some doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church during the 16th century.||The Protestant movement was started by Martin Luther, disputing the malpractices in the Roman Catholic Church during the 16th century.|
|Source of Authority||Lutherans believe the Bible is the sole source of authority in the Church. Therefore, the Scripture is the final authority on all matters concerning the Church and faith.||Protestants believe the Bible is the only source of authority in the Church.|
|Doctrine of Justification||Lutherans believe that justification is by grace alone through faith alone.||Protestantism teaches that justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.|
|View of Christ||Lutherans view Jesus Christ as the Son of God. They also believe that He is the Messiah/savior of humankind-he died for our sins and that resurrected on the third day.||Protestants believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He was born of a virgin, lived a pure life, died for the sins of humankind, and was resurrected on the third day.|
|Sacraments||Lutheran churches have two sacraments; the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. Unlike in Catholicism, these sacraments do not automatically convey God’s grace.||Protestants have two sacraments; the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.|
|Authority of the Pope||Lutherans do not acknowledge the Catholic Pope (Bishop of Rome) as their leader.||Protestants do not acknowledge the Catholic Pope (Bishop of Rome) as their leader.|
|Purgatory||Lutherans do not believe in the existence of purgatory. According to Catholicism, purgatory is a place where believers go to be purified of their sins before going to heaven. The belief is that only Saints do not pass through purgatory.||Protestants do not affirm the existence of purgatory.|
|View of the end of times||Lutherans believe in the 2nd coming of the Messiah and that everybody shall be judged according to their actions here on earth.||Protestants believe in the judgment day when God will come to judge the living and the dead.|
|Heaven||Lutherans believe that heaven exists. Saved people will go to heaven after judgment day.||Protestants also believe that heaven exists and that saved people will go there after judgment day.|
|Hell||Lutherans believe that hell exists and that it is where non-believers and sinners will go after judgment.||Protestantism teaches that hell exists and that non-believers and unrepentant sinners will live there for eternity.|
Which came first between Protestant and Lutheran?
Protestantism came before Lutheranism. As I mentioned, the Protestantism movement gained momentum in 1517 after Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the front door of the Castle Church (Wittenberg, Germany). The theses were a disputation of the efficacy and power of the indulgences sold by the Roman Catholic Church. Conversely, Martin Luther founded Lutheranism in 1521 after the Edict of worms. It was during the Protestant movement that the Lutheran Church was born.
What do Lutherans think of Protestants?
Lutherans think of Protestants as brothers and sisters because both were born from the same movement. Lutheran and Protestant churches were born out of the Protestant Reformation. Therefore, the Lutheran Church is a Protestant Church.
Are Lutherans and Protestants both Christians?
Lutherans and Protestants are Christian denominations. All Protestant churches follow the teaching of Jesus Christ. The churches were born out of the Roman Catholic Church, which the Apostles founded. Peter, the disciple of Jesus, was the first Bishop of the early Catholic (Universal) Church he founded in Rome.
Can Lutherans attend Protestant churches?
Lutherans are free to attend any Protestant church. The Lutheran Church is a Protestant Church that, as shown above, shares much in common with other Protestant churches. They have similar beliefs, values, and practices. However, the Lutheran Church does not allow its followers to eat the Lord’s Supper served at non-Lutheran altars (in other churches).
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GotQuestions.org. (2009, August 20). What is the Lutheran Church, and what do Lutherans believe? Retrieved December 18, 2022
difference. guru. (2017, December 16). Difference between Protestant and Lutheran. Retrieved December 18, 2022
lutheran-resources.org. (n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2022
steadfastlutherans.org. (2018). Retrieved December 18, 2022
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