Difference Between Lutheran and Calvinism

Lutheranism and Calvinism are two of the most prominent branches of Protestant Christianity, both of which emerged in the 16th century as a result of the Reformation. While the two branches share a number of …

Lutheranism and Calvinism are two of the most prominent branches of Protestant Christianity, both of which emerged in the 16th century as a result of the Reformation. While the two branches share a number of similarities, they also differ significantly in their beliefs and practices.

Both Lutheranism and Calvinism trace their roots to the teachings of the 16th-century German theologian Martin Luther. Lutherans adhere to the teachings of Luther, while Calvinism is based on the teachings of the French theologian John Calvin. Both Lutherans and Calvinists emphasize the authority of Scripture as the source of their beliefs and contend that salvation is through faith alone.

Lutherans and Calvinists differ, however, in their understanding of the nature of God. Lutherans focus on the grace of God, believing that it is freely given without any conditions. Calvinists, on the other hand, emphasize the sovereignty of God, believing that salvation is only available to those whom God has predestined.

The two branches also differ in their approach to the sacraments. Lutherans believe in the sacramental union of the bread and wine of the Eucharist, while Calvinists hold that the elements merely symbolize the presence of Christ. Furthermore, Lutherans believe in the concept of consubstantiation, which holds that the body and blood of Christ are present in the elements of the Eucharist, while Calvinists reject this concept.

In terms of church governance, Lutherans and Calvinists diverge significantly. Lutherans emphasize the primacy of the local congregation and the autonomy of the individual believer, while Calvinists prefer a more hierarchical approach, with authority vested in a central organization.

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In conclusion, Lutheranism and Calvinism are two branches of Protestant Christianity that share certain beliefs and practices, but also differ significantly in their understanding of God, salvation, and the sacraments. Furthermore, their approaches to church governance are markedly different.

The Sacraments:

The sacraments are one of the areas where Lutheranism and Calvinism differ significantly. Lutherans believe that there are two sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is seen as a public sign of an individual’s faith and commitment to God, and the Lord’s Supper is a sign of the presence of Christ in the believer’s life. In contrast, Calvinists believe that there are three sacraments: Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the Anointing of the Sick.

In Lutheranism, the Sacraments are seen as a means of grace—they provide assurance of salvation, forgiveness of sins, and communion with God. Lutherans also believe that the Sacraments are a sign of the union between God and the individual receiving the sacrament.

Calvinists, however, believe that the Sacraments are not a means of grace, but rather a sign of the believer’s faith. They do not believe that the Sacraments are necessary for salvation, but rather a sign of the believer’s commitment to God. The Anointing of the Sick is particularly important to Calvinists as it is seen as a sign of God’s healing presence in the believer’s life.

Predestination:

Another major difference between Lutheranism and Calvinism is their views on predestination. Lutherans believe that God has predestined some people to be saved, but that all people are capable of being saved. They believe that salvation is possible through faith and repentance, and that God’s grace is available to all.

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Calvinists, however, believe that God has predestined some people to be saved and some to be damned, and that there is nothing that a person can do to change their destiny. In Calvinism, faith is seen as a response to God’s grace, not the cause of it.

Lutherans reject the notion of predestination and believe that salvation is available to all. They believe that God’s grace is given freely to all who seek it, and that it is up to the individual to choose to accept it.

Justification:

The final major difference between Lutheranism and Calvinism is their views on justification. Lutherans believe that justification is a legal declaration that a person is righteous and forgiven of their sins. It is a declaration that is made by God and is based on an individual’s faith in Jesus Christ.

Calvinists, however, believe that justification is a process that takes place over time. They believe that justification is a result of an individual’s faith and works, and that it is an ongoing process. They believe that one’s faith and works are evidence of their justification, and that the individual’s faith and works are necessary for salvation.

In summary, the differences between Lutheranism and Calvinism can be seen in their views on the sacraments, predestination, and justification. Both denominations have unique views on these issues, and each has its own set of beliefs and practices.

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