A question from a reader: I know they’re very similar, but if you could just tell me any differences.
No matter how small.
They are similar in some areas and very different in others.
Lutherans teach that salvation comes via infant baptism.
Baptists believe it is not appropriate to baptize anyone until after they have become a born again Christian.
Many Lutheran Pastor I know have said, “Lutherans are not born again”.
I know of a couple of Lutheran Pastors who have admitted that they didn’t become a Christians until after they had been Ordained, many years and those were the good guys.
The vast majority of Lutheran Pastors that I have known, (from the ELCA) were not Bible believing Christians.
I’ve never met a Baptist Pastor who wasn’t a born again Christian.
I’ve only heard of handful of Baptist Pastors in my life time, where I doubted the guy was a Christian.
Fred Phelps is one of them. He runs the website, I hate fags.
Nearly all Baptists are very Evangelical.
Nearly all Lutherans I know don’t even know what the word “Evangelical” means.
This is a huge difference.
So while both reject the Pope, they disagree on most everything else.
Lutherans today are much closer to being Roman Catholic than they are to being Bible believing Christians.
I was raised Lutheran.
I am currently a member of a Baptist Church.
Most Lutheran Pastors won’t fellowship with Baptist Pastors.
Nearly all Baptists are pro life.
The largest Lutheran group in the USA is pro choice. That is the ECLA. The 2nd and 3rd largest are pro life.
There are about ten Lutheran Synods in the USA and at least 57 Baptist Conventions.
Lutherans and Baptists are both faith based religions.
They believe that salvation is by faith in God’s Lamb.
The Roman Catholic church teaches that you have to do things to get into heaven, along with your faith.
The Lutheran religion is more German and Baptists are more English.
I think Lutheran’s drink while Baptist’s have been known for not drinking.
Dogma that will send them both writhing and screaming to Hell
I’ve spent time in both churches and am now a Lutheran. I like them both, but the Baptist church I found more informal and they didn’t follow much of the Christian church history like Lent and Pentecost, like the Catholics and Lutherans do. The Lutherans do Ash Wednesday like the Catholics, but the Baptists don’t. The Lutherans have a “live” communion where they believe the Holy Spirit of God is present in the communion elements we take, while the Baptists have only a rememberance of the Last Supper for communion, and do not believe the Holy Spirit is present in the communion elements. Taking part in having the Holy Spirit at church in communion each week or so in the Lutheran church is strengthening and the Baptists are missing this. The Baptists are more evangelical, like Billy Graham, and have tracts and a salvation prayer to help people get saved, even before baptism. There are Evangelical Lutherans and I am in this group. The Lutherans do a Catholic sort of baptism, with water on the head and you can get saved that way. The Baptists do a full immersion baptism where the whole body is in the water — Jesus probably had this type.
The Baptist believe once saved, always saved. The Lutherans seem not to focus on this as much, and I’ve heard obedience preached at the Lutheran church. Baptist pastors don’t use robes, while the traditional Lutheran services are more like the Catholic ones, with robes. I have a female Lutheran pastor, but the Baptists don’t have women pastors as far as I know. The Lutherans sometimes do baptism of the Holy Spirit, like the Pentecostals do, but I never heard of this at the Baptist church. Basically, the Lutheran church is stronger and more traditional, while the Baptist church is more modern and informal. Both teach the Bible and are good. I needed a strong church and picked the Lutheran one.
Lutheran – we are all born with original sin and a sinful nature. As such, we all need to be baptized and reborn as children of God as soon as possible. At Holy Baptism, with the water and the Word, there is an entering in of the Holy Spirit, which then allows us to grow in faith. It is nothing we do… it is all God at work.
Baptist – due to their belief in an age of accountability, they do not baptize until a person is of a certain age and is ready to profess their faith before the entire congregation. Baptisms are generally full-immersion, and are all about a person choosing God and what one is doing, not what God is doing.
Lutheran – we believe in the true presence of our Lord and Savior, in, with, and under the bread and wine. This is as Christ commanded at the Last Supper. We believe that when we recieve this we are receiving forgiveness and spiritual healing. As such, only confirmed Lutherans (in the LCMS) can commune.
Baptist – do not believe in any presence and bread and juice are strictly symbolic and carries no healing nor redeeming virtues. Anyone can commune.
Teaching of the Word
Lutherans – our pastors are called and ordained ministers of the Word, who have been taught and will only teach what is scriptural. A true Lutheran pastor would never preach his own feelings, his own teachings, only those of the Bible. (Female pastors are found only in the ELCA, they are rejected by most Lutheran synods)
Baptist – no ordination, no seminary. Anyone can preach. There is no standard of teaching or doctrine, therefore you do find personal beliefs and teachings being preached as word of God.
Law and Gospel –
Lutheran – we believe that the Law shows us our sin, but that the Gospel shows us our salvation. We do try to live by the law, but we acknowledge our sinful nature and live in the knowledge of our salvation.
Baptist – much more legalistic, law-bound.
As for the comment about not being evangelical – the original name Luther chose was Evangelical Catholic. We were the first evangelicals. We preach and teach the gospel, believing that Christ is found on every page of the Bible, and our beliefs our Christocentric and Crucicentric. Do not confuse True Evangelicals with what has become known as evangelical today, which is more fundamentalist.
As you can see, Pastor Art has a personal vendetta against Lutherans.
Lutherans are born again, but some Lutherans unwisely reject the actual phrase “born again,” in a poorly executed attempt to distance themselves from the Baptist/Evangelical doctrine of a “personal decision for Christ.” We consider that to be a false doctrine because the Bible tells us that our own works cannot determine our salvation–only demonstrate it.
Some Baptists are more Calvinist in their orientation and either do not teach this “decision theology” or else put a very different spin on it, explicitly describing it as a response to the saving work that God has already done in the heart. Such Baptists, if you can find them, are in partial agreement with Lutherans in believing that salvation is solely an act on God’s part, and that man’s only participation in it is passive. But beyond that, the two are still quite very different.
So to highlight some key differences:
* Baptists believe that some kind of personal decision is required, to demonstrate (or initiate) salvation.
* Lutherans believe that salvation is worked in a person through the preaching of God’s Word and the administration of the Sacraments. While a personal decision of sorts certainly occurs in adult conversions, we *never* point to that as evidence of conversion, because to do so puts the responsibility for salvation back on the saved person, instead of in the saving work of Christ where it belongs.
* Baptists believe that Baptism and Communion are symbols which demonstrate the salvation that is given to us invisibly.
* Lutherans believe that salvation is given to us visibly in Baptism and Communion.
* Baptists believe that when a pastor tells you God has forgiven your sins, he is making an observation based on your repentance and the promises made in God’s Word.
* Lutherans believe that when a pastor tells you God has forgiven your sins, since the pastor is speaking to you from the words of Scripture, those words are God’s Word and actually accomplish that forgiveness. This ties in with what I said before about salvation being worked in a person through the preaching of God’s Word.
* Baptists believe that salvation requires intellectual assent. Therefore, Baptists will not baptize infants because they are incapable of such assent.
* Lutherans deny the necessity of intellectual assent, because such assent would be a work, and the Bible is very clear that we are *not* saved by works. What salvation *does* require is faith, and the Bible teaches that faith comes from God, through His Word. The joyous response of John the Baptist in the womb, to the news of the coming Messiah, demonstrates that the Word of God can work faith even in an infant–in an unborn infant, no less.
* Baptists believe that the original and actual sins of a child are not held against him until he reaches a level of maturity to be capable of assenting to salvation.
* Lutherans find no scriptural basis whatsoever for such a claim; therefore, we baptize children as early as possible. It’s not that we necessarily think God will send a baby to Hell–actually, most Lutherans I’ve talked to about it suspect He would not. The issue is that the only *scriptural promise* we have of salvation is through Word and Sacrament. Since that is where the *promise* of salvation is found, we rely on that for the sake of our children.
Edit- pastor Art- you have answered many of questions, I don’t agree with everything that the ELCA stands for, however, to call someone and evangelist cause they say “i hate fags” now that is against God’s word. he does love them he dislikes what they do.
I never knew some people would get sooo into detail here.
I am a lutheran , although i attend other denominations,
the differences are really small, same God, one heaven, one hell, same bible, worship on sunday mornings
I was raised Baptist and always told how most other denominations are wrong and now am attending a Lutheran churchand can tell you we read from the same bible! At the end of the day we have the same God and he does no care about our earthly lables of which denomination we are he only cares if we are doing what he says and he knows what is in our hearts! And if we are told not to judge then how do we have the right to put down either denomination as long as we are being taught what he wants then they are both right & you will have to see for yourself which one fits you the best! But stop judging each denomination based off of one church or one person because there are good ones and bad ones and only God can tell you which is for you so just pray about it! 🙂
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