Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Lutheran and Methodist

Lutheran vs Methodist

Lutherans and Methodists are basically people who have firmly rooted beliefs in these two doctrines of Christianity. These doctrines share a lot of common features but an equal number of differences too. The first and foremost point is their very different histories and origins. Lutherans have originated as a result Martin Luther’s significant endeavors to try and bring a restructuring of the Catholic Church. Most of the traditions and ideas of Lutherans are just the same as that of the Catholics. On the other hand, John Wesley is regarded as the leader of the Methodists. Many of the customs and beliefs can be traced back to the German church. A major contribution of the Methodists is the idea that God’s spirit manifests itself in every human being.

The Lutheran church lays a lot more emphasis on detailed, thorough and long-lasting ceremonies. There are congregations that are mandatory to be a part of. The ritual of giving confessions is also a part of the Lutheran church. The Methodist church deviates from these traditional practices and instead concentrates on doing good in order to please God. It focuses on good deeds and virtuous acts. It proclaims that God’s loving presence is inherent in us and Christ is present all around as we go about our daily lives.

Another glaring difference between the two doctrines is that the Methodists believe in becoming holy on Earth through acts of love, kindness and greatness. They encourage their followers to bring about a change in the way they behave towards fellow beings and instill messages of peace and brotherhood in their hearts. However, Lutherans believe that we cannot become holy on this Earth and can only attain holiness once we reach heaven. So, they focus on repentance for past sins through confessional rituals. They place a very strong importance on the practice of faith and preservation of Catholic traditions and customs. They believe that they will acquire a place in heaven on the strength of their faith alone.

These doctrines find place in varied countries of the world. Most of the Methodists are based in England and come under the purview of the Church of England. They actively take part in practices involving baptism rituals, immersion in holy water, etc. The Lutherans are more in number in Germany.


1. Martin Luther was the founder of the Lutheran doctrine while John Wesley can be attributed with the founding of the Methodist doctrine.

2. Methodists place considerable importance on the spirit of God being present everywhere while the Lutherans have a general belief that one can seek out God only in holy places.

3. Methodists lay a great importance on its followers doing good acts while the Lutherans focus more on faith and creed.

4. Methodists believe that they can become sanctified on the Earth itself by living a life of cleanliness, piety and purity while Lutherans do not share this belief.

5. Methodists do not indulge in mandatory confessional rituals while Lutherans indulge in these.

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  1. 1. While Lutherans do not deny the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ in each and every Christian, they emphasize “Christ for us” more so than “Christ in us.” They emphasize what Christ has done for us on His cross, where He died to pay the price of sin for the whole world.

    2. An important distinction between the Lutheran Church and the Methodist Church concerns the sacraments of baptism and holy communion. Lutherans hold and teach that baptism actually forgives sin, while Methodists see baptism as more of a symbol only. Regarding the Lord’s Supper, Lutherans hold that Christ’s true body and blood are actually present in the sacrament along with the bread and the wine, and further hold that the Lord’s Supper actually forgives sin.

    3. Regarding personal holiness, Lutherans hold that we are both saints and sinners at the same time. We are saints, or holy people, by virtue of our faith in Christ. However, we continue to struggle with sin, and will do so until death.

    • Why do you think that the Methodists don’t believe that Christ is in the bread and wine during Communion?

      • One of the basic reasons that so many religious groups cannot accept the Lutheran idea of Christ’s real presence in the sacrament is that this flies in the face of reason. How can Christ be actually present in the bread and the wine in so many different places at once? How can he be actually present and yet we see and taste only bread and wine? For this reason, many Christians believe that Christ is only symbolically or spiritually present in the sacrament, but not according to a bodily presence.

        Another issue for the Reformed branch of Christianity is that Jean Calvin held that ever since Christ ascended to heaven, He now abides in a particular physical locale according to His human nature, and therefore cannot be in more than one place at a time. The Lutheran Church, however, believes that since Christ’s ascension, he fills all places according to His divine nature, and therefore is certainly capable of being present in the sacrament along with the bread and wine, .

        • Regarding the actual and real bodily presence of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper, Luther said that Jesus’ body and blood are “in, with, and under” the bread and wine. His choice of words was to correct the error of the Roman Catholic Church which teaches that when the priest says the mass the bread and wine are changed into Christ’s body and blood and are no longer bread and wine (though that’s what they look like). The technical term for this is Consubstantiation.
          Lutherans hold that all four elements (bread, wine, body, blood) are actually present in the Supper. This teaching is referred to as transubstantiation.

      • i think one has to take communment in the jewish mind set. it is possabile when jesus broke the bread and said this is my body take eat, i think it was changed to say that,because what he really said was,. just as this bread is broking so will my body be broking for you ,when u brake bread remember me,so when we take communion its symbolic.and if the bread and wine at communion and his body and blood actually becomes christ,then we become no more than animals.the bible say, dont drink blood,eating christ limb by limb.the bible says dont eat a limb torn off of a living animal.so if christ comes alive in the bread/wine we become animals .communion is symbolic its a family meal for christians to come together in worship at that point we have all things commen in one mind and sprite lee gibson

        • Lee, concerning your suggestion that what Jesus said (“This is My body broken for you”), I can’t recall that any of the reliable copies of the Gospels contain such a change. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 1 Corinthians, while the authors of these books all wrote according to their own style, all four texts, each in their own way, clearly state what Jesus said. When He said that in the communion service His true body and blood were in, with, and under the bread and the wine, He meant that He is truly present in the body and the blood.

          Christian doctrine is established by studying the Bible, not by someone saying, “This doesn’t make any sense to me. I think I’ll change the text.” The real presence of Christ in the sacrament may be something that we do not understand, but by faith we accept God’s word to be true.

          • Amen! His words who said that if we do not eat His body which is the living Bread from heaven we do not have Life.

    • About #2, I agree with part of that. The UMC does not believe in transubstantiation because the belief is that only Christ can perform that miracle. His spirit is among us, but his form is not.

      However, I respectfully disagree with the first part of #2. The wording I am hearing there sounds as though the UMC minimalizes the importance of baptism. Because the UMC feels that only He can forgive, the UMC naturally cannot believe that baptism will absolutely remove sin. We sees baptism as a symbol. It is the individual’s willingness to ask for forgiveness and accept Christ as his only savior. Only an individual knows his true heart. It is the belief in Christ or Christ Himself that removes sin, not the water. The water represents the promise of forgiveness, through Him. Therefore, while your words are true, it is symbolic for us, it is an enormous symbol and essential to our membership. Prior to acceptance in the church, our children attend classes and are baptized.

  2. I agree with David – but more importantly that God must be the center in our lives. as Christians we must come together and do God’s Work and his great commission of saving lives and bringing the unsaved to Christ. our traditions and customs are very important to us but without God they are just traditions and customs. we all struggle and we all fall but together we can do great things. Today, and now we must be one with Christ and do what he requires – we all seem to forget that we are not in control of our life, God is and we must learn how to submit to our King and savior .

  3. Wow. Do not know who wrote this, but you are wrong on several levels.

    • Absolutely. Inaccurate understanding of Lutheranism here.

      • What is all of this about an emphasis on confession in the Lutheran church? I’ve seen nothing of the sort in ELCA churches, which are the predominant Lutheran “sect” in the United States. We consider that to be a “Catholic” relic, and one we do not partake in. In the LECA, faith in Jesus as Lord, He having died for out sins, is numbers 1 through 10 on the list of fundamental beliefs, as I understand it. Perhaps the author is speaking of some other sort of Lutheranism.

        • *ELCA, not LECA

        • I’ve been a member of both ELCA and United Methodist. The United Methodists do not have a holy absolution (“We confess that we are in bondage to sin and can not free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word,and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone…. “etc.) The Lutherans DO have confession, just not the kind of confession that Catholics do.

          Where this article is really off-base is in claiming people are made holy through works in the Methodist church. HUH?? Um. No. Just No.

          Methodists also believe we are saved by grace. They do tend to put more emphasis on good works as a REFLECTION and NATURAL EXTENSION of faith than Lutherans, but they DO NOT believe you are saved by good works. In reality, many of the more progressive modern-day Lutheran churches value commitments to working toward social justice issues, making them look much more like United Methodist churches than in the past generations.

          • Lutheran confession by mouth but not to any man for forgiveness or absolution with Catholicism. Saved by Grace and love as well as the Bible dates several times that we cannot reach heaven through works. This doesn’t mean do not do good works period or to treat others badly. We are taught to love one another and do good works out with our love that God the Father had given us to soread to others in kindness to love thy neighbor and thy enemy. The Lord’s Spirit moves over the earth did it not in Genesis for example? On Baptism we believe in infant baptism but that doesn’t mean that is the only time you can be baptized. Water is important but again in NT John spoke of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Communion is not literal. The items are symbols of Christ’s sacrifice. Bread as the body of his physical being on Earth as a man, that would 3ndure physical pain from knowing what would happen to him. The wine is representative of the blood that was shed while he suffered and was beaten before and during the crucifixion that through his blood and divinity as the Son of God we would be saved and our sins forgiven that sealed the New Covenant. These are symbols in remembrance of HIM. This also doesn’t mean that we are to go around doing whatever we please. We are taught to uphold the 10 Commandments of the first Covenant, plus all commandments of Jesus like “forsaking all ” which is incredibly hard given the world we live in. We are to be in the world and not of the world and to seek forgiveness through Christ by our mouths to do confess our sins to The Savior and our Father and mindfully repent as beat as we can and confessing that we are sinners. There are many things in this article that are clearly not understood of both Methodist and Lutheran beliefs. I wrote all this very late so please do not jump all over me for not referencing everything with book, chapter, and verse.

          • So not true Lutherans believe the bread is the body and wine is his blood.

        • Thank you! I was baptized a Lutheran as an infant, raised in the Lutheran Church, and taught that we only confess to God! Confession to clergy is a Catholic practices, not Lutheran!

        • The same ELCA that ordains homosexuals and transsexuals?

    • This summary of Lutheran doctrine is so erroneous one would think it to be malicious in intent.Colloquily stated: it is garbage.

      • As a non-denominational, it is to my knowledge Lutheran churches do believe in Holy Absolution. Why would you think this is malicious toward Lutherans? If you disagree I highly recommend re-evaluating.

  4. Love one another and thy neighbor. In the world today the neighbor who may not know God, or may have more than one God , or may choose to not know God. THAT MESSAGE SHOULD RING LOUDER THAN EVER.
    That is when God is lost and sin takes over. I love God and have sin greatly.If you walk the fine line of God how can you bring back the people that I think need his love the most, the people farthest from the path. Or snub your nose at one another for opposite thoughts of how to worship his glory.God is not wanting that!!For my sins I would ask his forgivness but would NEVER be afraid and would always know God and would fight for his glory if my soul was sent to hell. I would die For the Fogivness of all humans and their sins. I feel in my heart that this is LOVE . KCZ

  5. My husband and I attend our LCMS church together; I was raised in the faith and he was raised Methodist. I attended Lutheran grade school as well. One thing I have observed about his family, particularly his mother is a real opposition for example to drinking alcohol at all. There seems to be a huge need to be pious and works rather than a humble attitude that God comes to us, he searches and holds us close, rather than the other way around.
    I have also noticed that the Methodists I have known do not really know their Bible. That is not so for Lutherans, who believe that the Bible IS the basis of our faith. As the minister who taught the adult education classes when my husband and I attended before he joined the Lutheran church said, “We are Lutherans. If it’s in the Bible, we believe it”.

    Recently my mother in law and I were talking about an errant adult grandson who she wants to assist financially out of a situation that we feel he needs to learn a thing or two about before she makes it too easy for him. He is very hard headed and arrogant still and is refusing to talk to his dad, my husband. I called up the parable of the Prodigal son and explained to her that the whole point of the story is not that the son came back but that the father was anxiously looking for him to return and the father ran out to meet him and celebrated. My point is that God comes to us, He brings us to him. He wants to see our desire to leave our previous ways and he runs to meet us.

    I think this is the crux of salvation by grace alone. Our acts are insufficient. In a way the faith in being Lutheran is some what ‘deeper’, for lack of a better word. Because we give up our misconception that we can control it or tip the balance for the outcome in our favor, we have to trust only in Him.

    Also, huge, are the two sacraments. As Lutherans we believe that the body and blood are present and with the wafer and wine and there is no simple ‘representation’. Baptism is not only symbolic either. It is a means of grace and commanded by God.

    • hey there, i am purely curious, as i am non-denominational, but does this mean that Lutherans believe you MUST be baptized to be saved?

      • Yes. The bible states that those who believe AND are baptized will be saved.

        • I was taught by my LCMS pastor that baptism is not critical to salvation. It is only by faith, through grace, that we are saved. However, we are told by God to be baptized – so the question, really, is why would we want to question or disobey a command from God?

          • Justification is through Sola Fide; Faith Alone. Baptism isn’t a requirement for salvation. LCMS Lutheran. I wish people didn’t try to make salvation so difficult, especially after He paid for it in full.

          • Thank you Doug for quoting one of the basic texts on baptism, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” But the next is also very important. “He who does not believe will be condemned.” The lack of baptism does not condemn us, but the absence of faith.

            And so, lack of baptism does not condemn, only the lack of faith. Look at the criminal on the cross beside Jesus. He came to faith in Jesus, but was not baptized. However, if he had had the opportunity to be baptized, I imagine that he would have been first in line to be baptized.

            Christ demands that we be baptized. Out of sincere love for Him we obey Him.

          • You are correct not the previous comment

        • babies are not capable of knowing…. being saved is a choice to make as you understand GOD , which is not as an infant . I was raised ROMAN CATHOLIC , but so blessed to have my chains broken when a non denominational church signed me up for BIBLE classes!!! JOHN 3:3. ROMANS 10:9,10..SAVED BY GRACE washed white as snow , righteously cleansed by our SAVIORS BLOOD , shed for all sins and all men. JESUS name above all names , to which every knee will bow one day !

    • I’m Methodist. Most of my family members are Methodist. My parents, grandparents and the Methodist friends from church drink alcohol. But at Communion, we use grape juice, rather than wine. Not entirely sure why.

      • I was raised Presbyterian, and we too use grape juice during communion. I heard the reason is because our church has Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and if those participants attend our worship they shouldn’t be tempted by even a drop of alcohol, which could set back their recovery.

    • As a lifelong Methodist, I can attest to the fact that many older Methodists are quite pious. However, I would not consider this a negative thing so long as it is not Pharisaical piety. As far as the Bible, most Methodists are very good with their Bibles. Methodists believe in scripture, tradition, reason, and experience with only scripture being necessary for salvation. May I remind you that Martin Luther wanted to rid the Bible of James, Hebrews, and Revelation. John Wesley (Methodism’s founder) wanted to do no such thing. John Wesley also never wrote off communion as a mere symbol, rather, it is a means of grace by which we mysteriously partake of the Body of Christ.

      • Arlin, just because Luther didn’t like certain of the New Testament doesn’t mean that he didn’t regard them as God’s Word. He was frustrated with The Letter of James because it seemed to encourage works righteous rather than believing in Christ to be saved. He referred to it as “An epistle of straw.” I don’t recall why (or if) Luther didn’t care for the Letter to the Hebrews. Maybe because we aren’t sure who wrote it. (it wasn’t St. Paul) Finally, he didn’t like the Revelation of John because it’s so bazaar and difficult to understand. However, he did include them in his German translations of Scripture.

    • I could not disagree more as far as “If it’s in the Bible, we believe it.” The bible was written by many, with their views and interpretations. It has been edited and altered many times over. Always being put in such a way that it was INTERPRETED. I believe that the Bible is a good reference for a base, but should not be held to the one and only truth. I was raised Methodist, but I currently do not hold to any structured religion. Every person’s relationship with God should be personal and between that person and God alone. I believe that belonging to a certain religious group and going to church is more of a way for most people to put their relationship with God out in the public. We are supposed to pray in private and from our hearts. Not using someone else’s words and thoughts. My thoughts are that you should all find God in your own way and know that above all else, we are all his children. Just like any family, the parental figure wants all the chilren to know love for eachother and to be just and kind. Ceremonies are just that. Public displays. There is nothing wrong with a ceremony, but it should not be how we define our relationship with God.

      • Most Lutherans use the KJV only which is the most unadulterated version out there. All the other versions including the ESV, NIV, NKJV, RASV, New Century, New Jerusalem, FEB, Phillps, NRSV, FEB, GNB, and many other versions have words changed or omitted to take away Christ’s Divinity, his virgin birth, and his relationship with the Father, his seat and authority in Heaven, Spirit is often now lower case, and some verses and chapters have been completely taken out. So I believe that what she meant by that” if it’s in the Bible we believe it” is because we believe that the version we use Authorized KJV is the closest thing to true WORD of God in how he wanted us to live, treat others, and love HIM as he loves us, and praise him for his Righteousness, gifts, and mercy. Most educated people are aware of the fact that the Bible itself is only what is left of what was selected during the councils of Nicea in Turkey with Constantine (who was a Pagan and why all our holidays are actually corrupted with the traditions and symbolism of them) where they decided what would be in and what would be out. However with the translation from Hebrew and Greek texts with the KJV from scholars for over 7 years this was the truest version. Even the Catholic Church has changed the words to fit their own ideals and dogma (not going there). So it is with discernment that we believe the Word that was spoken and written by the men and prophets that were chosen by God. This doesnt however mean we don’t have questions to fully seek understanding of the message in some areas. So depending on the version of Scripture you use, it could be in complete disarray and not even close to the true translations and actually blasphemous. The Bible is a foundation that we have our faith and are given God’s message to us, but Christ is and should be the cornerstone of that faith and are taught to be Christ-like in our walk with HIM. Also using the word symbol doesn’t mean that we are casting aside the significance of the Holy Communion and the breaking of bread with other believers in fellowship. Maybe a better word is representation for what each meant when Jesus was speaking to his disciples and telling them in remembrance of me this is what the bread and wine we are about to share mean. The communion in Lutheran churches is very important and means a lot to many in the congregation which is supported by the tears flowing down peoples’ faces after they come to the front of the Church. Other churches are more informal and you sit and everything is passed around and you are advised to contemplate on the bread and wine and the significance of their meaning. I don’t care wether or not it’s real wine or grape juice but I don’t go to churches who use wafers as it is the same of a cake that was made by the followers of Diana and mentioned in Acts 19 and Jeremiah 44 along with other practices of the Catholic Church for anyone who has eyes to see.

  6. Good job by all who commented with regard to this comparison. The article is also very clearly written and well done. I have found, as a Lutheran, that discussions about belief with Methodists is very difficult. As you can see from the article and the comments that follow it, the Lutheran and Methodist religions use the same vocabularies but mean vastly different things with the words they say. Taking the three most obvious, Lutherans say “faith alone”, “grace alone”, “word alone” – and mean it just as written. Methodists say faith – by choice, grace – by their display of good works, and word alone – only insofar as it jives with reason.
    I believe that the main thing that Methodism needs is for their clergy to be better trained in scripture. Lutheran seminarians must study the Bible in Greek and Latin. This gives them a much clearer understanding that without Christ faith is not possible; that grace cannot be earned and that the Bible must be believed as the inerrant word of God as it says it is.

  7. Maybe it’s because I was raised Missouri Synod, but I have been Lutheran for my 30 years of life and I have never once been to a Lutheran church that has confessions. I was also raised that God is everywhere, not just in holy places (as stated in the #2 summery statement). Maybe some Lutherans do this, but I have been to many different Lutheran churches in many different states and have never found the teachings that are proclaimed on this site. I have no doubt there are other errors, but I have no interest in reading the rest of the “information.” This really needs to be updated to state real facts, and not just some general assumptions.

    • I was thrown by the confession part at first, as well. Upon thinking about it, I realize our confession is part of our liturgy (as opposed to privately, with a priest)…”We confess that we are embondaged by sin and cannot free ourselves.”

      As for God only being present in the holy places: I never learned any such thing and I’ve been Lutheran for 40 years. God is everywhere and can be accessed anywhere! Christ’s sacrifice “tore the curtain,” allowing free access to all; not just the priestly class.

  8. Having been a Luthren all my life I can tell you that we do not practice ceremonial confession and there is no truth to your claim that we emphasize God is present only in holy places. these are both Catholic practices and have no basis in the lighten chu


    • In the church, the word “confession” can mean two different things. It can refer to confessing our sins. But it can also refer to our church confessions, the doctrines that the Lutheran Church holds and teaches. In the church service, when we recite one of the creeds, we are confessing our faith.

      Regarding the confession of sins, in the Lutheran Church this is done publicly at the beginning of the service. In unison we confess that all of us are sinners, we were born with a sinful nature, and daily we all sin, in many different ways. We confess our sins in unison because all of us are sinful. After we have confessed our sins, the pastor announces the forgiveness of sins to all who have truly confessed their sin.

      Regarding private confession, many years ago church members were required to go to church on Saturday and discuss their life, their joys and hardships, and also discuss any particular sins that are troubling them. At the end of this session, the pastor would announce to them that they are forgiven and are now prepared to go to communion on Sunday.

      Unfortunately, times have changed, and so has the church. People are so busy today that they don’t have the time to go see the pastor on any day of the week. They’re lucky if they can make it to church on Sunday. Now, when the pastor makes a home visit, or a hospital visit or nursing home visit, here is an opportunity for confession and absolution (the announcement that their sins are forgiven).

      • You know that last part of the pastor hearing the sin and offering forgiveness of sin was Catholic dogma. You can ask for council from your christian breatheren and can tell a man that you’re troubled because of your sin and what you have done, but no earthly man can absolve you of sin no matter how great or small. That is through Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven to decide. But God is eveywhere and sees and knows all. We cannot hide what deeds we do do good or bad from our Father.

  9. I’m not sure what churches the Lutheran’s above went to that did not practice confession of sins during service, but out of every single LCMS and ELCA church I have been to in various states over the years, yes they all do. I believe you all are confusing the word confession. Early in the service, the pastor says, “Let us then confess our sins to God the Father…” at which point the congregation who is standing reads from the service book or bulletin, the Lutheran “Confession of Sins” also known as “Corporate Confession” which is certainly Lutheran. It is called Corporate Confession because the congregation as a whole confesses their sins to God (including the Pastor), jointly, all reading the pre-written confession of sins. This is not to be confused with individual confession and absolution of sins such as in the Catholic church, where individuals confess particular sins to a Priest. However, for you Lutherans, the LCMS DOES recognize personal, individual confession between a member and a Pastor. If you don’t believe me, ask to borrow your Pastor’s Alter Book/Pastoral Care book and you will find it in there. It is not part of the worship service, such as the corporate confession is, but it is accepted and your Pastor will be glad to explain this in better detail but it derives from James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. ” If you have been a lifelong Lutheran and you tell people adamantly that we do NOT practice confession of sins in service, I would encourage you to do some more research on what all the individual parts of a Lutheran service really are, and are called by the Lutheran Church. Thanks.

  10. I’ve got to respond to a few comments made in the latest post re. the differences between Lutherans and Methodists.

    1. The writer comments, “Most of the traditions or ideas of Lutherans are just the same as that of the Catholics.” I agree that the liturgies of the Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church are similar. Luther retained what he considered to be good and acceptable in the Catholic Church, including much of the liturgies. However, the “ideas” or beliefs of the Lutheran Church are quite at odds with each other. Luther rejected the sacrifice of the mass (the belief that whenever the priest says mass, Christ is sacrificed again in a “bloodless sacrifice.” In other words, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross was insufficient. But according to the Letter to the Hebrews, “But when Christ had offered for all time a SINGLE sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:12, emphasis mine) Having accomplished His one-time sacrifice for the sins of the world, Christ “sat down” (figuratively speaking) at the right hand of God (The Father) because His work of redemption was complete – the sins of the whole world had been atoned for – and God the Father accepted His sacrifice as payment for the sins of the world.

    The writer again comments, “The Lutheran Church lays a lot more emphasis on detailed, thorough, and long-lasting ceremonies.” As to how long the ceremonies may seem is a matter of personal opinion. However, I would add that the Lutheran Church lays most of its emphasis upon the teachings of God’s Word, especially upon the fact that Christians are justified by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are not saved or made holy by our good works. Rather, through faith in Christ the righteousness of Christ has been given to us. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 3:21-24). Thus, when the writer claims that Lutherans believe that they are not holy until they reach heaven, he is incorrect. All Christians are holy because the righteousness of Christ has been imparted to them through faith in Jesus Christ. All Christians in this life are both saints and sinners at the same time: sinners because we have been born with a sinful nature and continue to sin until we die (“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” Romans 7:21-23); but at the same time we are, in fact, holy through faith in Jesus Christ. And at the end of our lives in this world, we will no longer be sinful, but holy and righteous for all eternity.

    Finally, the writer asserts, “They (the Lutherans) believe that they will acquire a place in heaven on the strength of their faith alone.” True, we are saved through faith. But the object of that faith – Jesus Christ – this is where salvation is found, in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world. Even when our faith is weak and practically on its last breath, we are still saved, because our faith is in Jesus Christ. “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;” (Isaiah 42:3)

    • Right on.

    • Your assertions and response about Lutheran beliefs are correct. I am Lutheran and am in the midst of a conflict to attend a Methodist church in order to foster social networks of friends and neighbors. However, I have been a Lutheran for more than 10 years, and was raised a Southern Baptist. I think the debate can be resolved on a personal level by reading the New and Old Testament, and weighing your church’s beliefs and statements of faith against the Word. From the other responses, I see little debate with the Methodist portion of the comparison.

      May the Lord bless you and keep you.
      May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
      May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

      • The purpose of the church is not to foster social networks and friends. The purpose is to receive God’s gifts and his word. I would say you should ‘re examine your purpose for attending any church.

        Back to the article, it us filled with erroneous assumptions about Lutherans. We believe God is everywhere not just in “holy” places. After all the church is not a building, the church is made up of the believers of Christ.

      • Just curious why if you were a Baptist, would you then go to Lutheranism, and then Methodist? I was born and raised primarily Lutheran but have usually not gone to Luhtheran churches in my latter years due to the coldness and acceptance of new members in the Church it seems. So I definitely understand your situation with trying to expand circles but it is difficult to meet people or get involved. I am much more of a traditinlist when it comes to church and what goes on in church. I like old hymns and songs, AKJV, Jesus’ commandments for how we should live our lives being a focus of the weekly sermon, and bread and not wafers, rock new agey music and pastors who preach the opposite of what is true or that we don’t have to follow the rules in order to be worthy of our Father to allow us into heaven. So just curious given the background you have your reasoning from moving from one sect to another.

  11. Wow…whoever wrote this is either a bit off the mark or only knows a very limited amount about Lutherans. For example the fact that at least in the US there are three different types, each of whom sees things a little differently, and two of whom won’t even pray with anyone else…not either one of the two other Lutheran groups.

    Knowing firsthand that the writer got Lutherans wrong, I wonder how wrong they got the Methodists!

    And as for being in conflict over whether or not to attend a Methodist church at all…that seems to be an issue only if you’re a Missouri or Wisconsin Synod Lutheran. The rest of us will visit and worship at any other church that will have us without turning up their noses at us, and we in the ELCA will similarly welcome anyone who comes through our doors.

    Is Jesus really present in the wine and bread or is it just a symbol? Who cares, and will arguing about it make a difference? It is whatever God wants it to be, and how are we to know the mind of God. One commonly-told story about the Lutheran insistence that it *is* the body and blood while still appearing to be gluten and alcohol is that Luther insisted that at the Last Supper, Jesus said “this is my body,” and that should settle it. Yet, I could look at a Rand McNally map of New York City, point to a certain blue line and say “this is the Hudson River,” and despite my language, it would still be a symbol…and a very useful symbol of where not to drive unless you wanted to get wet.

    • Hahaha! All very TRUE! I wrote in another comment I think about the coldness of Lutherans when it comes to new members so we go to other churches that share our beliefs or mirror them in many ways to have fellowship since we tend to stick out like sore thumbs everywhere else, and since Lutherans walk around with their noses in the air even after church and won’t so much as look at you or even acknowledge you or inquire if you were new or why you were there. Sometimes even th3 pastors are awkward at welcoming people and getting to know new parishioners and why they have chosen to visit their church. So weird. Finding a good church that meets all or most criteria is incredibly exhausting and I am still trying to find my church here. I have heard of hime.cburches but I don’t know if that is common within Lutheran ideals outside of a weekly Bible Study at someone’s home. I was raised Missoury Synod Lutheran and I just wanted to say that I agreed with you on many points and you made me laugh because I could definitely relate.

    • I only know of 2 types ECLS & LCMS. What the 3rd type

  12. Lutherans believe that God is everywhere.

  13. I was saved in a Baptist church and later married a man who grew up in the Methodist church. He and I have talked considerably about our beliefs and the things he believes sound somewhat differently than how Methodists are explained in this article.

    For example, the article states that Methodists emphasize good works, but that’s not the way my husband was taught in the Methodist church he grew up in. Yes, works are a part of faith and your faith is dead without them, but you do not get into heaven by works. You can only come to God through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance of sin, and acceptance of the gift of salvation and God’s spirit is only manifested through every BELIEVER after salvation. Also, we are sanctified by grace alone, not by cleaning ourselves up and doing our best to not sin.

    Maybe that’s more of a southern Methodists thing? Or maybe he should have been Baptist. Ha!~

    • I agree with your description of Methodists. As a child I attended a Baptist Sunday school class and when I was older I attended Methodist church where I was Baptized and finally felt like I was a true Christian in my heart.
      While the basic teachings of my Baptist and Methodist church were the same I do know that my Methodist Church offered a lot more opportunities for mission trips and volunteer service. Even though selfless acts are encouraged, that’s not the only thing that the religion teaches is important. One must believe, accept and love God and pray for forgiveness of their sins.
      My father and his entire side of the family are Lutheran. They do not regularly attend church and I’m unsure if they have all been Baptized; however, after many discussions with them about religion we all believe the same things for the most part.
      After attending so many churches and surrounding myself with people of all sorts of religions, I realize that our faith is not so much about being “Baptist”, “Methodist”, “Lutheran”, or any Christian faith for that matter. I believe it’s about having a personal relationship with God and focusing on love, acceptance, and forgiveness. You don’t have to be some perfect robot completely serving to one denomination to be a good Christian. The very first verse I learned was John 3:16. As simple as it is, it sums up a lot, but of course not all, of what one must believe to be happy in their faith, regardless of their denomination. 🙂

    • “You can only come to God through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance of sin, and acceptance of the gift of salvation…” The Lutheran in me ponders over the fact that this sounds like what I would call works righteousness.
      As to UM and ELCA similarities, I would assert that the ELCA has strayed so far afield from Lutheranism that they are now Lutheran in name only. They have tried to be everything to everybody and have lost their Lutheran identity in the process.
      I am glad to hear that seminaries that prepare Methodists for pastoral ministry teach Greek and Hebrew. I hope and pray that it is continually taught all four years of study as it is at Lutheran sems.

  14. Hello and Blessings Brothers and Sisters,

    I read what a lot of comments said in this posting and not to mention all of what was said in the first posting of this article. All of this was a good read, and I am very happy to see people thinking and using facts to back up opinions. I have worked with the Lutheran, Methodist, Southern Baptist, Church of God, Church of Christ, Church of the Naz., Vinyard, Christian Fellowship, 7 Day Adv., and many more besides the ones I have listed. Did any one know (that may be reading my comment), that us as the Christian Church, the big capital C Church, have been broken down to over 33,000 different denominations ever since the time that God led Martin Luther to stand up against the injustice that was going on in the Church during his time? Man! That is kind of like us as human beings now is not? How God sometimes has to break us, before we start being put back together. I believe it is time brothers and sisters, to stop fighting against one another, denomination against denomination and work together for the glory of God’s Kingdom. We all are part of the body, all 33,000 of us churches. Did Jesus not say that, “a house divided will fall?” Well this is a true fact! We are loosing guys, we are loosing our youth in our Church, and we are too busy wondering who is right about our traditions in the Church. I say this, know that Christ Jesus is Lord, that there is but only One True God and He is made of three parts; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Hold true to the sacraments and keep them holy as Christ has commanded us to do, follow and obey the laws for Jesus came to full fill them all. Know your Scripture! Get into God’s Word and read, read, and read. Build a personal relationship with Him, for that is what He wants out of us as Christian Followers. We are to be the pillar as Jesus is to shine through us by the power of the Holy Spirit, which He is a gift given to all who believe that Christ Jesus is Lord. We are to be the salt of the earth. If we see any brother or sister, no matter the denomination speak wrongly, or feel that they are speaking or doing wrong what are we to do? Jesus said to confront that person, because blessed are the peacemakers! Come on, let us start working together by using our strengths in the denominations, make a divided body into a whole body by working together for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. I love the Lutherans and the Methodists equally, as they are my brothers and sisters in Jesus, and I want them all, including all other denominations in our Christian Church to be well equipped. Seek out the glory of God through prayer, faith, and by reading the Word of God, His Holy Scriptures. May all who read this please pray on what I stated, read each and every one of these post, then pray, ask God what you can do for the Church and His Kingdom. Father God, I ask that you bring us together as one body in the name of your Son Jesus. Help us Father to get along, because we don’t want to fight one another and be distracted from the work You want us to do here on earth, before you call us home to You. Father, help me become more like your Son Jesus, help me Father to be an example to others by leading a life for You, and help all my brothers and sisters in this way too. Father thank you for the internet, and the technology so we as Christians from all over the world may speak to one another about you. I pray these things in your name Lord, Amen.

    May blessings be my brothers and sisters. May our Lord Christ Jesus, the One True King be with you all, and may peace be with you always till the end of our age, Amen.

    Rev. Kevin Burt

  15. As a life-long Methodist, I must say the description of Methodism in this article is out of focus. So are of the comments from some of the Lutherans. Methodists do not believe that good works are necessary for salvation – that is obtained by the salvific grace (unearned favor from) God. At the end of time, all Good Works will be judged of God to be as filthy rags. What we do believe is that doing good (works) is a result of our faith in God and a personal walk with Him. As Christians everywhere – across all denominational lines – it should be our honor and joy to work for Christ. After all He was the one who said that if we did it to the least of His children, we have done it to Him. Also, Methodists do believe in the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine at communion, but we do not affirm a physical transformation of the elements. In regards to one commenter stating that Methodists do not know the bible very well, let me state that every United Methodist church that I know of has several Bible studies each week for various ages and groups within the congregation. She also stated that Methodist ministers are not well educated and should be taught Greek, but our pastor has a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology – a highly regarded Methodist institution – and he had courses in Greek & Hebrew and is fluent with studying the Bible in these historic languages. One final note on a commenter, she said that Lutherans and Methodists cannot hold a conversation together. Interesting. I am the Minister of Music at a United Methodist Church & my sister is the Minister of Music at a Lutheran Church (ELCA); we have joined our choirs on numerous occasions for concerts and worship. United Methodist ministers have also been welcome time and again to preside over worship at her ELCA church. United Methodists and ELCA Lutherans are in communion with each other and I believe that is evidence enough to realize that any theological differences we may have are inconsequential.

    • I agree with you. I have been a member of the First Free Methodist Church since i was born. I am so glad to see that people are responding to Methodists in a better light. I think the article could have been better detailed, but in short, it did help me get a sense of what the differences are to some degree.

  16. Like a lot of people who have posted, I am mystified by the branding of Lutheranism as basically an offshoot of Catholicism, where ritualistic confessions are stressed and ceremonial sacramentation are an everyday part of the Catholic experience. And where does this nonsense come from about only attaining holiness once you reach heaven? Does the person who wrote this even understand mere Christianity?

    All Christians are called to be holy, referred to as “saints”, justified by grace and sanctified by the Holy Spirit in *this* life. That is why Christians are to present to the world what it means to be in a direct relationship with our Creator.

    I think someone who actually knows what Lutherans and Methodists believe should re-write this to put an end to confusion.

    God bless you, Rev. Burt, for lifting up the name of Jesus as our only true and necessary point of focus to stand united rather than divided, as a witness to the world.

  17. Wow! You aren’t even close in your aprisal of the Lutheran Church. Your characterization of us is so off base that I don’t know where to begin! Unbelieveable. Why not get a Lutheran to proofread before you post this mischaracterization?

  18. As a life long Lutheran, I don’t remember EVER having to go to confession. That’s a Catholic thing NOT a Lutheran thing. But that’s not really the point. The point is that we all believe in the same God, we just see him from a different point of view. One is not “right” and the other “wrong” they are just different.

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