Catholic vs Lutheran: Difference and Comparison

Christianity holds the maximum percentage of the population in the world, though not the oldest religion as compared to others.

This religion is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ along with his birth, death and resurrection.

Around 26% of the world’s population are Christians; in the course of time, Christianity was divided into many groups called denominations.

Catholicism formed around 1054 AD, which was the first denomination under the religion.

In the 16th Century, Martin Luther perceived a few mistakes in the practices of the Catholic Church and formed Protestantism.

Key Takeaways

  1. Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination, with the Pope as its spiritual leader, while Lutheranism is a Protestant denomination that emerged from the teachings of Martin Luther during the Reformation.
  2. Lutheranism emphasizes the “Sola Fide” (faith alone), asserting that salvation comes through faith alone in Jesus Christ, without the need for good works. At the same time, Catholicism teaches that faith and good works are both necessary for salvation.
  3. The structure of the Catholic Church is hierarchical, with the Pope at the top, followed by bishops and priests. At the same time, Lutheranism has a less centralized structure, with congregations having more autonomy.

Catholic vs Lutheran

The difference between Lutherans and Catholics is that Lutherans believe Grace and Faith alone can save an individual, whereas Catholics believe that faith, formed by love and work, can save.

Catholic vs Lutheran

The difference between them is that the Catholics firmly believe that doing good work with faith towards God brings salvation.

Lutherans believe that showing love and faith in Jesus Christ brings them salvation.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonCatholicLutheran
Head of ChurchPope. Catholics strongly believe that Pope is the successor of St. Peter. Pope is considered to have supreme authority.Elected Councils are the head of the church.
Importance of the BibleBible and Church Tradition is the source of truthBible alone is the only source of truth
SalvationIt is achieved through faith and good worksIt is achieved through faith
SacramentsCatholics believe in 7 SacramentsLutherans believe in 2 Sacraments
TraditionsFollowed based on Church’s ordersFollowed based on the Bible


What is Catholic?

They are considered to be the foremost Christians. Believed and formed Jesus Christ: The Son of God, formed a Christian community with twelve disciples, otherwise called Apostles.

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The advancement of the Christian community, which the Twelve Apostles formed, is the Catholic Church.

The Church’s leader is the Apostles’ successor, the Bishop of Rome, otherwise called s Pope.

Jesus Christ appointed St. Peter to be the head of the Church initially in the first century AD.

So, the appointed Pope is the sole successor of St. Peter.

Catholics have a firm belief in Baptism. The belief of every human born in the world is born with sin, and only baptism can remove it.

The church is the one true church for the Catholics.

Catholics’ belief is the distinctive way of looking at the Pope as the only Vicar of Christ on earth.

Bible is deeply worshipped as the inspired word of God.

The Catholic Church in Rome has protected the original scriptures of the Bible for so many years.

Mother Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, is worshipped as the first among all the saints. Mother Mary is also considered to be the mother of the Church.

Catholics do not pray to any statues; They pray to God. Catholics believe in the resurrection and not reincarnation.


What is Lutheran?

A solid effort to reform Roman Catholic Church in the 1500s gave rise to Protestantism.

Martin Luther, the Bible Professor at the University of Wittenberg then, started this movement.

The political and academic climate that existed in Europe gave impetus to the Reformation.

In 1521, there was a split between Christianity, Catholics and Lutherans.

Martin Luther never liked the name Lutheran; instead supported the Evangelical name meaning ‘Good news’.

The German Theologian, Dr Johann Maier von Eck, kept the term Lutheran.

The faith of Lutherans is based on doctrines laid out by Martin Luther. In the year 1625, the first Lutheran Church was set up.

Lutherans strongly condemned the authority of the Pope. Their belief lay only in Bible.

Heaven and Hell are literal places for the Lutherans. Hell is considered to be the place of punishment, whereas heaven is the place of God.

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Lutherans reject a lot of practices by Catholics.

They strongly condemn the fact that salvation can happen only through the grace of faith in God and not by any other means.

Lutherans practice Baptism, however, does not believe in the fact of sin cleansing practice.

They believe that humans can be saved only by grace through faith in God and the bible.


Main Differences Between Catholic and Lutheran

Christianity never had any differences until the Church’s authorities’ indulgence towards money grew.

When Martin Luther questioned the same, along with like-minded followers, a new movement formed.

Lutherans set their own doctrines in line with Christianity and followed the same.

Though the serenity of the religion is never damaged, there were a few prime differences between the Catholics and the Lutherans.

  1. The Lutherans totally contradicted the central Catholic belief that faith formed by love and work alone can save a person from sins. They believe in the concept of faith and that Christ alone can save a person.
  2. Lutherans believe traditions are to be followed as per scriptures, but the Catholics follow the Church orders also.
  3. Catholics view Mother Mary as the Queen of Heaven. In fact, praying to God through her is a tradition followed by them too, whereas Lutherans emphasize direct access to God and give less prominence to Mother Mary.
  4. Catholics have proper authority in Pope, whereas the Lutheran churches function independently without any apparent ONE authority for all the churches.
  5. Catholic Bible has 73 books, whereas Lutheran Bible has 66.
Difference Between Catholic and Lutheran

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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