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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.

Summary:

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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22 Comments

  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, .

      • 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

  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.

  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?

    • 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.

  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.

  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

    rch.

  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.

  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.

  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. :)

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