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Differences between Catholics and Lutherans.The Catholic Church is a sacramental Church and always have been. There are seven Sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church; Baptism, Reconciliation, Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, Sacrament of the Sick. The Lutheran Church is also sacramental and observes Baptism and Holy Communion as sacraments and the others as "sacramental in nature." Confession/Absolution (or Reconciliation) is sometimes referred to as the "third sacrament" in the Lutheran Church.

The Catholic Church believes in Transubstantiation. That is when a priest consecrates the bread and wine changing them into the actual Body and Blood of Christ while they remain under the appearance of bread and wine. This is a mystery of faith and follows Christs command "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will not have life within you." Catholics do not believe it is symbolic. They believe this because when Christ revealed this teaching (see all of John 6) His audience took it as literal and many of His own disciples left Him, yet Christ did not qualify this teaching. Instead , He left the literal interpretation to stand and only sought that His listeners have faith in Him as to how it was to be done.

Lutherans believe in that the body and blood are truly present in the Eucharist, but avoid trying to explain the mystery. Lutherans also reject a symbolic view of the sacrament. A Lutheran, when asked, would answer: Is it body and blood? -Yes. Is it bread and wine? -Yes. How? -It is a mystery. Why? -Because Jesus said, "This bread is my body. This wine is my blood."

The Catholic Church understands itself as the one, holy, and apostolic Church. The Lutheran Church follows the same creed and understands that one holy and apostolic church to be only known by God across denominational lines. The true Church is wherever "the word is rightly proclaimed and the sacraments rightly administered" according to official Lutheran doctrine. A famous Lutheran once answered the question, do you believe you have the one, true religion? "Yes, but we are not the only ones who have it."


Catholics believe that the baptism and being in the state of union with God by practicing the virtues of faith, hope and charity, etc. are what give us eternal life, however, Lutherans believe that you only need faith as given by God, and that the other virtues are the fruits of salvation, which are also given by God. Also Lutherans believe that Christ is the only authority in the church and Catholics believe the pope is, although only acting in a temporal capacity and as Christ's vicar. Everything else is basically the same.

Another view: It is not correct to suggest that Catholics believe that the pope is the 'only' authority, or that the pope's position is above that of Christ. The Catholic church considers the pope to be Christ's earthly representative only, and in fact the 'first among equals' regarding his position among the church's bishops.


The Catholic and Lutheran Churches have different views on the eucharistic rite.

Catholics believe that the body of christ is revealed to us by the method of transubstantiation. This term refers to the bread and wine changing from one substance into another- bread to body and blood to wine.

Lutherans rejects such teachings while still believing that Christ's body and blood are nonetheless truly present.

AnswerCatholics were the first Christians, the first followers of Christ. Jesus charged Peter to be the rock on which He will build his Church, a mere mortal man to head His Church here on earth. He was followed by those we would call Pope. It is true that some authorities in the Catholic Church prostituted themselves by selling indulgences for money much needed for the Church. Also, Popes began to involve themselves in politics instead of just with souls. Martin Luther took great exception to the workings of the Church at the time of his era and chose to enact reforms with his fellow discontented followers. They did hold to many of the Catholic ways but adjusted to their thinking those which they disagreed. They grew as more converts disgruntled with the Catholic Church joined their ranks. I am Catholic and not very proud of those many dark years of the Church, yet I remain Catholic. I have attended Lutheran services on several occasions and was surprised at the similarities between the two. AnswerThe term catholic (lower case 'c') simply means universal. Because Rome was in power during the time of Christ and Constantine later converted to Christianity and named it the state religion, the term Roman Catholic came about. However the first Christians were certainly not Romans nor known as Catholics. In fact the early Christians faced sever persecution from the Romans until the time of Constantine.

Now regarding Luther: He did take exception to the selling of indulgences and the proclamation of the pope that he could release souls from purgatory (which in itself has no Scriptural standing), but he had no intention of "breaking away" from the Church. When Luther wrote his 95 thesis and posted them on the door of the church in Wittenberg, his hope was to engage in a debate with the church leaders so that the church may be reformed--hence the term "Reformation". Because Luther's stance was rejected by the church, and his life threatened, Luther did break from the church.

There are many more differences than what are listed here and in the other responses. Lutherans have only 2 sacraments, not 4 or 7: Holy Communion and Baptism. Lutherans hold Christ as the head of the Church and confess that we are under the authority of Scripture. We are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ. Our works are a result of our salvation , not a means by which we attain it. We believe that Jesus in the only intercessor and mediator between God and man and that praying to Mary or the saints is not Biblically based and is not pleasing to God. I could continue writing on this subject, but I would suggest doing a search for the "Book of Concord" which contains the Lutheran confessions and Catechisms.

AnswerThere isn't really much difference. Luther didn't think the selling of indulgences was right, and wanted everyone to be able to read the Bible. Other than that, he was pretty mainstream. AnswerWhen I was Lutheran, as my family raised me, they believed that you were saved when you were baptized as a baby (sprinkled with water). Now that I am nondenominational, I believe in salvation through understanding and believing Christ, and I was baptized by being immersed in water which is not necessary for salvation, but God asks this of you, which symbolizes the new birth. AnswerCatholic is written with a capital "C" based in a devotional code, not precisely in a grammatical rule, as other sacraments are also written with a capital letter at the beginning of the word. This applies to English as well as to other languages within the Catholic church.

To the notion that the Pope cannot release souls from purgatory: Please let me clarify that the authority conferred to all Popes, including such to release souls from Purgatory DOES have Scriptural standing. Although, many Christian denominations separated from the Catholic Church, do not recognize the true meaning of Jesus words to Peter: "Over this rock I build my Church", which irrefutably places the Catholic religion as the original and true Church of God and Jesus on earth, there were also other powerful commands given to Peter that are similarly neglected by many Christians, including Lutherans: (Matt 16:19) "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven." I would like to specify that the power given to Peter to release souls from Purgatory is explicit in Matt 16:19, as when Jesus refers to "Heaven" is also talking about everything that implies the spiritual world, which includes the release of souls within the spiritual spheres of Purgatory. Peter, as the first vicar of the Church of Christ on earth, was also given the power and responsibility to transfer such authority and power to his successors later to reside in the Vatican: all Popes; therefore, they also do have such authority.

As a matter of fact, the Catholic Church promotes and sponsors many ministries on which individuals can join in prayer and in many other devotions to gain indulgencies and the liberation of relatives and loved ones that have died and that for whatever reason is believed they could have gone to the Purgatory instead of going straight to Heaven. There are also groups that practice prayer for the consolation and reduction of the penance and sentence of all the souls in the Purgatory. The release of souls in purgatory in this case, would be granted by the mercy of God, thru the power of group prayer, as it is opposed to the authority the Pope has to do so, by the power of Jesus and God, conferred into him.

To the notion of reformation: History has registered the many atrocities committed by the Catholic Church as it has done it with countless numbers of religions and sects. Despite the negative perception provoked by many of those events, the Catholic Church rejects any reform in its principles as they are conceived as original and Divine by virtue of God, who established them through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Although Luther intentions were good and based in observation of corruption, Catholics understand, that the separation of many Christians is due to the works of Satan (through deception), which since the beginning of times have had the intention to scorn, divide and destroy the true Church of God on earth.


Saved By Grace Only: Lutherans believe that the individual is saved by Grace alone/Faith alone. This is the doctrine by which the Lutheran Church stands or falls. By this, it is said is that since the Fall, man's will is bound to sin--completely. Other Protestants believe that one must choose in order to be saved. (This is referred by Lutherans as "decisional theology".) Lutherans, however, hold that man's will is not free to choose. There is no neutral ground from which man can stand to make a so-called objective evaluation to choose between God and the Evil One. Under the bondage of sin, man cannot choose and, even he could, he would not choose God. In order to break this slavery, God Himself must reach and grasp the individual to Himself. It is for this Christ came into the world and suffered on the Cross.

Why faith alone? One must begin with the total holiness of God. God only allows purity to come into His presence before His throne. Thus, if even a holy man were to come before Him, for the littlest trace of sin man would die.

How does man come before the Father? Man must be covered by Christ's own righteousness much like a child is covered by the cloak of the parent against the harsh wind. Lutherans speak of this as Christ's righteousness imputed to those who are saved. Christ's righteous covering is total and no amount of man's goodness can serve as his justification--even in the smallest measure. This represents the major difference between Lutherans and Catholics. Catholics also believe in Christ's saving work but they also believed man can earn merit salvation in part by his good works as well.

Other Christians claim "saved by faith alone" but are largely allergic to its actual meaning. Any provision where "choosing" and/or "being good" are necessary for salvation debases "saved by faith alone" into meaninglessness. Faith is not chosen. Faith is given. Good works are responses to God's saving work and are necessary in the life of the Christian. But good works are not channels of Grace.

Many will object and tell their stories of how they asked Jesus into their lives. Many of these stories are quite dramatic and all are heartfelt. The Lutheran does not disbelieve these accounts. But these accounts are not the last word as to what really happened. We don't know we are saved and bound for heaven because we can point to our choices and our personal holiness in following Christ. The devil knows how to make quick work of that and plunge we into doubt. We know because God tells us we are saved--that is our assurance.

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The main difference between the two is that Catholics believe in the infallibaility of the Pope. But the big difference between Catholics and other religions is that Catholics take a stronger stance against divorce. They also interperet the later chapters of the New Testament like James, where it says "faith without works is dead" to mean that works contribute to salvation while Lutherans stress that God does the "work" of salvation. Answer Many of the differences between Lutherans and Roman Catholics nowadays seem small, though wars have been fought over them. The key differences are these: * Lutherans reject Petrine supremacy (i.e. that the Pope outranks other apostolic sees) and instead conceive of a "priesthood of all believers"

* Lutherans practice only the two sacraments that Jesus actually instituted in The Bible (baptism and communion); Catholics practice seven sacraments * The Lutheran and Catholic views of the Eucharist are technically different (Catholics believe in transubstantiation, Lutherans have a similar but, to them, distinct view) * Lutherans focus on "justification by grace through faith" and the "freedom of the Christian" and other teachings in Luther's Big and Small Catechisms; Roman Catholics rely on scriptural interpretation by priests and Popes. * Lutherans believe that believers are sanctified by Jesus and may pray to God themselves, directly, whereas Catholics will often make use of intercession by saints, etc.

* Lutherans minimize the role of Mary (whom they nonetheless revere), where Catholics maximize her role. * Lutherans typically do not pray the rosary. * Catholics hold apostolic succession as a necessity to being the "true Church;" only some Lutheran Churches are in apolstolic succession and they view their "tri-fold ministry" to be apostolic based on the biblical model.

* Liturgically, Lutheran and Catholic practice are very similar. The main differences is that Lutherans have worshiped in vernacular languages since the 1500s and have traditionally made greater use music in worship. Lutherans use the Nicean Creed and Apostole's Crred, as do Catholics, among many other commonalities.

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Catholics are Christians that belong to the Church that Our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ founded and put St. Peter (and his successors) as its head. Lutherans and Calvinists members of the Churches founded by Martin Luther and John Calvin in the 16th century.

Catholics believe in everything that God said through His Son for our salvation, Lutherans and Calvinists are protestants that object to various dogmas proposed for our salvation, they base their beliefs on their personal interpretation of Scripture, not on revelation as taught by the Church.

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Q: What are the difference between the Lutherans Calvinists and Catholics?
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