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Difference Between Lutheran and Baptist

Difference Between Lutheran and Baptist

Lutheran Church New Britain CT

The Christian community, though centered in salvation through Jesus Christ, has been divided into sub-sects, with some differences in their teachings, dogma, and ceremonial celebrations. Two of the most commonly misconstrued sects are the Lutheran and the Baptist Churches. As mentioned, both religions believe in and worship the same God, refer to the same Bible, and hold communal gatherings to celebrate their faith. The principal dissimilarity is their dogmas and preaching/teaching methods. There are differences in their ceremonies, too – particularly in the manner in which Holy Communion is administered, as well as the over-all formality of the worship service. The following comparison will affirm that Lutherans are more sacramentarian in theology and worship, while the Baptists are best described as experiential and commemorative.

The Lutheran Church is grounded in the theology of Martin Luther during the 16th century. Its initial purpose was to reform Christianity with the teaching of justification by grace through faith alone. Lutherans believe that humans are saved from their sins by God’s grace alone (Sola Gratia), through faith alone (Sola Fide). Orthodox Lutheran theology holds that God made the world, including humanity, perfect, holy, and sinless. According to Lutherans, original sin is the “chief sin, a root and fountainhead of all actual sins.’ By God’s grace, made known and effective in the person and work of Jesus Christ, a person is forgiven and granted eternal salvation. Faith receives the gift of salvation rather than causing salvation. Lutherans also believe in the Holy Trinity, wherein the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. As far as the Sacraments are concerned, Lutherans value them as means of grace in working towards sanctification and justification. Baptism for Lutherans is a means of grace and the mode of application is not important, but is usually delivered through the sprinkling of water. There is no proper age for baptism, and the only necessities for a valid baptism are “water and the Word.” In Holy Communion, Lutherans believe that bread and wine are literally the body and blood of Christ. They are accustomed to using real wine instead of substitutes or just bread alone. In addition, their communal celebration strictly follows the order of Mass and is usually observed with many “rituals” and sung liturgies.

Difference Between Lutheran and Baptist-1

Central Baptist Church in Jacksonville, TX

The Baptist Church, on the other hand, can be traced back to 1609 and the initiatives of English Separatist John Smyth. One of the sect’s primary campaigns is to reject baptism of infants and institute it only in believing adults. Salvation for Baptists is achieved through faith alone, and they recognize Scripture as the sole rule of faith and practice. Baptists believe that faith is a matter between God and the individual (religious freedom); this means the advocacy of absolute liberty of conscience. Their dogma can be summed up through the acrostic acronym of BAPTIST. B- Biblical authority, A- autonomy of the local church, P- priesthood of all believers, T- two ordinances: believer’s baptisms and the Lord’s Supper, I- individual soul liberty, S- separation of Church and State, and T- two offices of the church: pastor-elder and deacon. In contrast to Lutherans, Baptists view baptism as a testimony of a preceding act of repentance and the acceptance of Christ as a personal Savior. It is administered by full immersion, which symbolizes  the total washing away of sins. Only persons old enough to decide for themselves can be considered saved, thus the term “believer’s baptism.” In Holy Communion, Baptists regard the bread and wine only as a symbolic representation of the body and blood of Christ. Substitutes are therefore acceptable: grape juice instead of wine, for instance. Their worship services, however, are less formal and more interactive than those of the Lutheran Church.


1) Both Lutheran and Baptist Churches believe in the same God, pertain to the same Bible, and hold communal gatherings.

2) Lutherans believe in the teaching of justification by faith alone; just like Baptists.

3) In contrast to Lutherans, Baptists view baptism as a testimony of a preceding act of repentance and the acceptance of Christ as a personal Savior.

4) For Lutherans, there is no proper age to be baptized. For Baptists, the person has to be of age.

5) In Baptism, bread and wine are considered as symbolic representations of the body and blood; for Lutherans, on the other hand, bread and wine are literally the body and blood of Christ.

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  1. Surly, it’s not a question of “ Once saved always saved”, rather “what’s the definition of being saved?” For, if Repentance or to Change is the requirement Then only those who are willing, working hard and Are Changing can fit into this category?

    • Just a quick thought for you on the topic of salvation – we are born spiritually dead; salvation is full repentance and acceptance of Christ as savior which provides spiritual birth (eternal life) through the grace of God in Christ’s death (penalty for sin paid for all) & resurrection (victory over death!). I like to think of it not as “once saved always saved” because this sounds like being rescued from THIS life as a one-time act that leaves the remainder of our mortal lives in question; instead, I remember our salvation is from eternal death and separation from God which is a new birth of the eternal self in Christ Jesus and (as the name suggests) is eternal and therefore one cannot be “unborn” or essentially, die a spiritual death once being borne into eternal life. The question of works is relative only to this life and the penalty for sins has been completed fully by Christ on the cross (not merely a ceremonial act as was the sacrifice required in OT). What’s amazing is that Christ’s blood redeemed us once and for all – everyone (yes even non-believers), but we can ONLY receive eternal life by accepting Christ as savior, which requires salvation/repentance and out of love would exhibit “works” through the Holy Spirit in us (the temple in which God now dwells). We would never cease to sin either way because that is the curse of original sin, however, we need no priest, ceremony, or keeping of the law to be in the presence of God as when He enters through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, if a person truly repents, means he is now forever a child of God, and this cannot be earned. It makes sense that we cannot lose salvation because you can only lose what you have gained; we did not merely gain a gift of salvation in accepting Christ but invite the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and He is not a backpack we can take off and on. We did not earn the Holy Spirit in our lives and we therefore cannot control whether or not we “have” Him. If we were to be subject to the loss of our salvation, much like the gift itself, it would have to be taken away by God in His judgment, and that is obviously contradictory to the Bible (not to mention offensive to the death of Christ as payment for our sin since if we could “earn” it through works (or lose it for lack thereof) why would Christ have had to die?).

      • I agree with what you say about how we are saved through the blood of Christ and that baptism is a to show that we have repented and been saved I’m a little confused about your description of the holy spirit because as of Baptist I believe that once you accept Jesus as your lord and savior that the Holy Spirit dwells in you

      • Thank you so much for this beautiful explanation of Christian faith.

  2. I am a member if a Lutheran church and have been taught that Christ is present at communion through the bread and wine, but the bread and wine are not literally the body and blood of Christ. Our church also offers grape juice along side of the wine for those who do not wish to or can not have wine. We have contemporary church services and the communal service does not strictly follow the order of mass and we do not have sung liturgies. If your article is speaking about one particular sect of the Lutheran church you should say that because this does not represent all Lutheran churches.

  3. It would be more convent if the website wrote some of the differnces in dot points so it is easier to understand for religion assignments. Much thanks

  4. You don’t have to be an adult to be baptized in the Baptist church. You just have to be old enough to personally accept Christ. That can be a child. It depends on the individual.

  5. I wish churches would not use expressions not used in the Bible – like “Holy Trinity”; “Pray the Prayer”; “Invite Jesus Christ into your life“; “Make Him your personal Savior”. Having read the Bible through 27 times, I started to count the times it says simply to believe. Around 70 times! And that is in the Gospel of John alone! And my main study has been looking for “Once saved, always saved”. It appears that many look at the moment of conversation more important than having faith itself and I have actually heard on a radio broadcast “You are not saved by believing”. This is blasphemy. Many point to the passage “you are sealed” as a way to get out of having faith. How I wish I could “Pray the Prayer” and relax. “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the Crown of Life”. Or “Watch your life and doctrine closely, and you will save both yourself and those that hear you”. And at the end of the Bible “…if anyone…adds or takes away…words from this book…God will take away his share in the tree of life”. Hard to get around that.

    • It’s ok to not take the Bible literally… like “The Trinity” it is inferred. Relax and enjoy the scripture. It will teach you mb any things about tolerance and patience. May you find peace.

  6. I am a member of the Wisconsin evangelical Lutheran synod
    We have a very informal liturgy first we sing the liturgy
    Also we believe that the bread and wine done not physical change
    I was explained to by a pastor this was the elements become 4
    From 2 meaning it is the bread and wine and the body and blood
    Roman Catholics believe that the wine and bread physical change
    And the bread and wine are no longer bread and wine but the actual
    Body and blood this is what is called transubstantiation what Rome believe
    We Lutherans says it is the real presence it is a mystery we do not know the exact moment when the Holy Spirit overshadows the gifts on the altar or how long they are are presence this is why we do not save any of the bread or wine the pastor finish’s all the remaining communion we do not put it in a tabernacle or parAde it around in a sun shaped object and bow down to it

  7. I am a Baptist seminarian who just finished a very large research paper on Martin Luther and I can tell you based on 20 sources that he did not believe in transubstantiation! For him it was Sola Scriptura (scripture alone). If it’s not in the Bible he didn’t believe it. That goes for purgatory, indulgences, celibacy, prayers for the dead, etc.

  8. These options are opinions. And could lead people searching for all the wrong things. The Old and New testament’s are often misunderstood. But they are worth living your life with a code. Leaving no soul at unrest.

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