12 Difference Between Catholic And Lutheran - Viva Differences (2023)


The term ‘’Catholic’’ is commonly associated with the wholeof the church led by the Roman Pontiff, the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church,along with Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism, has been the decisive spiritualforce in the history of Western civilization. The Roman Catholic Church tracesits history to Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Over the course of centuries itdeveloped a highly sophisticated theology and an elaborate organizational structureheaded by the Papacy, the oldest continuing absolute monarchy in the world.

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The number of Roman Catholics in the world is approximately1.3 billion. There are more Roman Catholics in the world than all otherChristians combined and more Roman Catholics than all Buddhists or Hindus. Althoughthere are more Muslims than Roman Catholics, the number of Roman Catholics isgreater than that of the individual traditions of Shia and Sunni Islam.

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Over the centuries the Catholic Church has tried to maintaina balance between providing the theological and spiritual leadership for its believersand influencing the non-believing world around it. The Catholic Church is thelargest non-political provider of education and medical services around theworld. The church’s teachings attempt to mold and shape the moral and ethicalbeliefs of people and thus influence the laws and regulations that governmentspass to enforce those beliefs.

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12 Difference Between Catholic And Lutheran - Viva Differences (1)
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What You Need ToKnow About Catholic

  • The Catholic Church organization hierarchy isheaded by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. The church considers itsbishops to be the successors of Jesus’s apostles and the church leader, theBishop of Rome (also referred to as the Pope), to be the sole successor toSaint Peter, who ministered in Rome in the first century AD after hisappointment by Jesus as the head of the church.
  • Catholic recognizes seven sacraments which theybelieve are an important means of grace for the Christian life. They include:Ordination, Marriage, anointing of the sick, Reconciliation, confirmation,Eucharist and baptism.
  • The chief teachings of the Catholic Churchinclude: First, God’s objective existence; God’s interest in individual humanbeings, who can enter into relation with him (God) through prayer. Secondly,the immortality of the human soul, whereby upon death every being will beaccountable for his or her action with the reward of heaven or hell.
  • The church also teaches that the main motive forethical behavior is the love of God. Nothing that God has created is evil initself, but evil use may be made of it. The doctrine concerning persons notCatholics is that since God affords each human being light sufficient to attainsalvation, all will be saved who persevere in what they believe to be good,regardless of ignorance.
  • Roman Catholics believe that death is theseparation of the Spirit which is eternal from the physical body. The Catholicfuneral service focuses on the entry of the deceased into the afterlife and thecompassion of God to provide comfort for the grieving.
  • The Catholic Church is the largest non-politicalprovider of educational and medical services around the world.


Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantismthat identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, a German monk andprofessor who has been called the ‘’Father of the Reformation’’. In 1517, hefamously protested against the Roman Catholic Church and their sale ofindulgences. In his sermons and writings, Luther stressed the doctrine ofjustification by faith alone and the authority of the scripture.

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Lutheranism quickly spread throughout Germany andScandinavia, and Protestantism in various forms could soon be found throughoutEurope. In the 17th century, Lutherans from these countries began tomigrate to the United States, bringing their language, culture and Lutheranfaith with them.

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Today, Lutheranism is one of the largest Protestant Christiandenominations. According to the Lutheran World Federation, there were over 75million Lutherans worldwide in 2017. Of these, 35.9 million live in Europe,20.8 million in Africa, 4 million in North America, 11 million in Asia and 1million in Latin America.

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12 Difference Between Catholic And Lutheran - Viva Differences (2)

What You Need ToKnow About Lutheran

  • Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantismthat identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, a 16th centuryGerman reformer whose efforts to reform the theology and practice of the churchlaunched the Protestant Reformation.
  • Lutheran accepts the canonical scriptures of theOld and New Testaments as the inspired word of God and the authoritative sourceand norm of its proclamation, faith and life.
  • Lutherans believe acceptance of Jesus Christ asthe savior of mankind by dying for the world’s sins and repentance will lead tosalvation while unbelief and sin leads to eternal damnation.
  • Lutheranism advocates for faith based on scripturein the Christian bible alone. Lutherans believe salvation is found through repentanceand the acceptance of Jesus Christ as savior.
  • The Lutheran church teaches that God created everythingfree of sin but Adam and Eve corrupted humanity through hubris and notresisting the devil’s temptation. According to Lutheran teaching, all humansare born with the burden of original sin, a consequence of Adam and Eve’sinability to resist temptation and eating of the apple from the Tree ofKnowledge of Good and Evil.
  • Lutherans believe that there are two sacraments(defined by Lutherans as ‘’rites, which have the command of God and to whichthe promise of grace has been added’’), baptism and communion. On communion(the Lord ’s Supper), Lutherans teach that, ‘’the body and blood of Christ aretruly present and are distributed to those who eat the Supper of the Lord.’’ Onbaptism, Lutherans teach that baptism ‘’is necessary to salvation and thatthrough baptism is offered the grace ofGod and that children are to be peptized who, being offered to God throughbaptism are received into God’s grace.’’

DifferenceBetween Catholic And Lutheran

Country Of Origin Rome, Italy Germany
Size Catholic is the largest Christian church with approximately 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide as of 2019. According to the Lutheran World Federation, there were over 72 million Lutherans worldwide in 2014.
Leadership The pope, who is the Bishop of Rome (and whose titles also include Vicar of Jesus Christ and Successor of St. Peter), is the chief pastor and leader of the catholic church. The Lutheran church is led by an Archbishop, who serve in the capacity, as the President of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).
Choosing Of Leadership Pope of the Catholic Church is chosen by the College of Cardinals, the Church’s most senior officials who are appointed by the Pope and usually ordained bishops. The President of the Lutheran World Federation is elected by an Assembly of Lutheran Churches in a congregation.
Sacraments Catholic speaks of seven sacraments, which include: Ordination, Marriage, anointing of the sick, Reconciliation, confirmation, Eucharist and baptism. Lutherans speak of only two sacraments, that is, communion and baptism.
Unique Feature Among the unique features of the teaching and doctrines of Roman catholic is the belief in the supremacy of the papacy and celebration of the seven sacraments. Catholics believe that on matters faith and practice, the official teachings of the Pope are infallible. The unique feature of the teaching and doctrine of the Lutheran is that bible is infallible.
Marry & Saints Catholics offers prayers to saints and Mary whom they believe act as a mediator between God and human beings. Lutherans do not believe it is proper or scriptural to offer prayers to saints or view Mary as in any sense a ‘’mediator’’ between God and human beings.
Scripture Catholics gives authority to determine doctrine to the Pope, the church and certain traditions of the church. Lutherans believe scripture has authority to determine doctrine.
Salvation Catholics believe that a person is saved through faith in Jesus Christ and good works of love. Lutherans believe a person is saved by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ.
Traditions Catholics follow traditions established by the church and divine traditions in the bible. Lutherans follow fundamental divine traditions in the bible only.
Congregations Local Lutheran congregations are part of a regional or national organization referred to as synod. Local catholic congregations are part of a regional or national organization referred to as dioceses.
Bible Catholic bible has 73 books Lutheran bible has 66 books.
Source of Divine Truth According to the Catholic, there are two divine truth which constitute the truths of faith, they include: Holy scripture and Sacred traditions (also referred to as Apostolic tradition or simply tradition). According to the Lutherans, there is only one divine truth which constitutes the truth of faith, and that is, the Holy scripture (Bible).
Unique Teachings The Catholic church teaches that it is the one true church founded by Jesus. The Lutheran church teaches that it is the only true church founded on faith and authority of scripture.

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What are the main differences between Catholic and Lutheran? ›

Lutherans view Christ as the head of the church and have two formal holy sacraments. The Catholic church believes that good works must go hand in hand with faith in God to bring salvation. Whilst the Bible is still valued, Catholics also believe in the authority of the Pope, as head of the church, to create doctrine.

Which three beliefs made Lutherans different from Catholics? ›

Which three beliefs made Lutherans different from Catholics? Lutherans believed that salvation can be attained through faith alone. Lutherans believed that the Bible contained the only truth, not the church. Lutherans allowed members of the clergy to marry.

Is there a difference between the Catholic and Lutheran Bible? ›

The Differences

Catholics and Protestants have the same 27-book New Testament. Thus, the differences between their Bibles concerns the boundaries of the Old Testament canon. In short, Catholics have 46 books, while Protestants have 39.

What was the clearest difference between Lutheranism and Catholicism quizlet? ›

What was the clearest difference between Lutheranism and Catholicism? The belief in justification by faith.

What are the 3 beliefs of the Lutheran Church? ›

Theologically, Lutheranism embraces the standard affirmations of classic Protestantism—the repudiation of papal and ecclesiastical authority in favour of the Bible (sola Scriptura), the rejection of five of the traditional seven sacraments affirmed by the Catholic church, and the insistence that human reconciliation ...

Can a Lutheran take Catholic communion? ›

Catholics believe these become the body and blood of Christ; some Protestants, notably Lutherans, say Christ is present in the sacrament. Protestants are currently allowed to receive Catholic communion only in extreme circumstances, such as when they are in danger of death.

Do Lutherans pray to Mary? ›

Modern Lutheran synods usually reject or at least do not actively recommend the practice of directly addressing Mary and other saints in prayers of admiration or petition as part of their religious worship of God.

Do Lutherans pray to saints? ›

Lutheran views

"Scripture does not teach calling on the saints or pleading for help from them. For it sets before us Christ alone as mediator, atoning sacrifice, high priest, and intercessor."—Augsburg Confession (Lutheran), Article XXI.

Do Lutherans do confession? ›

The Lutheran Church practices "Confession and Absolution" [referred to as the Office of the Keys] with the emphasis on the absolution, which is God's word of forgiveness. Indeed, Lutherans highly regard Holy Absolution. They, like Roman Catholics, see James 5:16 and John 20:22–23 as biblical evidence for confession.

Do Lutherans believe God and Jesus are the same person? ›

Lutherans believe Jesus is the Christ, the savior promised in the Old Testament. They believe he is both by nature God and by nature man in one person, as they confess in Luther's Small Catechism that he is "true God begotten of the Father from eternity and also true man born of the Virgin Mary".

Can Lutherans pray the rosary? ›

Lutherans follow a similar format of the rosary as the Roman Catholics, but pray the rosary in a manner considered faithful to the Gospel as expressed by Lutherans. The Lutheran Rosary is not prayed to Mary, but does include prayers of praise regarding Mary that come from Scripture.

What two sacraments do Lutherans practice? ›

As opposed to the seven sacraments of the medieval Catholic Church, the Lutheran reformers quickly settled on only two: baptism and the Lord's Supper (Eucharist).

What are the biggest differences between Catholicism and Christianity? ›

Broadly, Roman Catholicism differs from other Christian churches and denominations in its beliefs about the sacraments, the roles of the Bible and tradition, the importance of the Virgin Mary and the saints, and the papacy.

Did the Lutheran Church break away from the Catholic Church? ›

It was the year 1517 when the German monk Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses to the door of his Catholic church, denouncing the Catholic sale of indulgences — pardons for sins — and questioning papal authority. That led to his excommunication and the start of the Protestant Reformation.

What are the main differences between Lutherans and Baptists? ›

Baptists and Lutherans agree on the verbal inspiration of Scripture (27), but Baptists follow John Calvin's preference of putting human reason alongside Scripture, rather than making reason captive to the Word of God (30). The doctrine of conversion also shows divergent beliefs between Lutherans and Baptists.

Do Lutherans believe in being born again? ›

Lutheranism. The Lutheran Church holds that "we are cleansed of our sins and born again and renewed in Holy Baptism by the Holy Ghost.

Which Bible do Lutherans use? ›

The Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) is a translation of the Bible into the English language.
Evangelical Heritage Version
Religious affiliationLutheran
12 more rows

What Do Lutherans believe in the Trinity? ›

Along with all other Christian churches, Lutherans believe in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. We also confess that we are sinful beings, doing what God forbids and failing to do the good he commands, in all that we think, say and do.

Does Catholic Church recognize Lutheran marriage? ›

It's also important to note that the Catholic Church considers marriages of baptized Protestants to be valid marriages as well. If two Lutherans were to marry in the Lutheran church and they were in the presence of a Lutheran minister, the Catholic Church would recognize this as a valid marriage also.

What do Lutherans call Mass? ›

The Lutheran worship liturgy is called the "Mass", "Divine Service", "Holy Communion", or "the Eucharist." An example formula for the Lutheran liturgy as found in the Lutheran Service Book of the LCMS is as follows: The "Great Thanksgiving" or Sursum corda is chanted or spoken.

What Do Lutherans call communion? ›

Holy Communion is a very special and important part in the life of a Lutheran Christian. Holy Communion goes by various names including The Lord's Supper, The Meal, The Eucharist, and The Sacrament of the Altar. These are all terms for the same celebration.

How do Lutherans believe you get to heaven? ›

A Lutheran believes in “Grace Alone.” That is, a Lutheran believes that on the basis of God's Holy Word that a person is forgiven and enters heaven by God's grace alone.

What is the Lutheran Trinity symbol? ›

A traditional symbol of the Holy Trinity is three interlocking circles, an image of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit in unity and harmony with each other.

Do Lutherans believe in angels? ›

Angels accompany believers—throughout all of life—from the little ones (Matt. 18:10) to the dying (Luke 16:22). Angels even join us in worship every Sunday. They are the topic of some of our finest hymns (LSB 521, 522, 523, etc.).

Do Lutherans say the Lord's prayer? ›

Lutherans acknowledge and respect the tradition that includes the concluding ascription of praise in the text of the Lord's Prayer. Most important, they recognize that it is perfectly consistent with what the Holy Scriptures teach throughout concerning the nature, purpose, and importance of Christian prayer.

What saints do Lutherans recognize? ›

We think first of His apostles (each with his own day), who above all were the witnesses to His resurrection. We remember also His friends: His holy mother; St. John the Baptist; Mary, Martha, and Lazarus; Mary Magdalene, Joseph of Arimathea, and so many others.

Do Lutherans do first communion? ›

Some congregations follow a pattern familiar to older generations of Lutherans: first communion is received at the time of confirmation. A generation ago, many of our congregations began preparing catechetical material for children to receive their first communion when they reached fifth grade.

What are sins in Lutheran? ›

To sin is to trespass, to step over the lines God has laid down in His Law. Sin misses the target of perfection God desires. Sin is simply “lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). At heart, sin is rebellion against God (Ex.

Are Lutherans celibate? ›

Lutheranism, Anglicanism and Nonconformist Protestantism in general do not require celibacy of its clergy and allow—or even encourage—clerical marriage.

Do Lutherans genuflect? ›

In Christianity

Genuflection, typically on one knee, still plays a part in the Anglican, Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Western Rite Orthodox traditions, among other churches; it is different from kneeling in prayer, which is more widespread.

Do Lutherans believe in the Virgin Mary? ›

Lutheran Mariology developed out of the deep Christian Marian devotion on which Luther was reared, and it was subsequently clarified as part of his mature Christocentric theology and piety. Lutherans hold Mary in high esteem, universally teaching the dogmas of the Theotokos and the Virgin Birth.

Do Lutherans go to confession? ›

The Lutheran Church practices "Confession and Absolution" [referred to as the Office of the Keys] with the emphasis on the absolution, which is God's word of forgiveness. Indeed, Lutherans highly regard Holy Absolution. They, like Roman Catholics, see James 5:16 and John 20:22–23 as biblical evidence for confession.

Can a Catholic and Lutheran marry? ›

Technically, marriages between a Catholic and a baptized Christian who is not in full communion with the Catholic Church (Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, etc.) are called mixed marriages.

Are Lutherans conservative or liberal? ›

Most ELCA Lutherans are theologically moderate-to-liberal, although has a sizable conservative minority. Other Lutheran bodies in the U.S. tend to hold more strictly to Confessional Lutheranism.

Why don't Lutherans pray to Mary? ›

Lutherans also believe that this Triune God loves all people and delights in personal relationships with them. Thus, Lutherans do not pray to Mary, the mother of Jesus, or to any of the Apostles or Saints.

Do Lutherans say the Hail Mary? ›

The Hail Mary is the central part of the Angelus, a devotion generally recited thrice daily by many Catholics, as well as broad & high church Anglicans, and Lutherans who usually omit the second half.

Why do Lutherans not take communion? ›

For Lutherans the Eucharist is not considered to be a valid sacrament unless the elements are used according to Christ's mandate and institution (consecration, distribution, and reception).

How do Lutherans go to heaven? ›

Lutherans believe that whoever has faith in Jesus alone will receive salvation from the grace of God and will enter eternity in heaven instead of eternity in hell after death or at the second coming of Jesus.

Can Lutherans use birth control? ›

Lutheranism. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America allows for contraception in the event the potential parents do not intend to care for a child. Other Lutheran churches or synods take other positions, or do not take any position at all.

Can Catholic use condoms? ›

Catholic views on condoms. The Catholic Church's opposition to contraception includes a prohibition on condoms. It believes that chastity should be the primary means of preventing the transmission of AIDS.

What is the most strict Lutheran church? ›

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), also referred to simply as the Wisconsin Synod, is an American Confessional Lutheran denomination of Christianity. Characterized as theologically conservative, it was founded in 1850 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

What Bible do Lutherans use? ›

The Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) is a translation of the Bible into the English language.
Evangelical Heritage Version
Translation typeOptimal equivalence
PublisherNorthwestern Publishing House
Religious affiliationLutheran
10 more rows

Are Lutherans born again? ›

Lutheranism. The Lutheran Church holds that "we are cleansed of our sins and born again and renewed in Holy Baptism by the Holy Ghost.


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