The Methodists and Lutherans are two Protestant sects of the Christian religion. Lutherans follow the teachings of the German monk Martin Luther and Methodists trace their origin back to John and Charles Wesley, who were missionaries sent from the Church of England to the American colonies in the 1730s. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which is highly ecumenical, says that its Lutheran believers share with other denominations a “worldwide community of faith.”

Son of God

Both denominations believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The Wesleyan Church, which is Methodist, states in its core beliefs that Jesus Christ became a sacrifice for all human sins and reconciled people to God. The ELCA agrees with this core doctrine and states the Lutheran belief that Christ lives among people today through God's Spirit, which is “present when the Good News is preached and the sacraments are administered.”

Authority of the Bible

Lutherans and Methodists share a belief in the authority of the Bible as the inerrant and inspired Word of God. They both believe in the authority of the Old and New Testaments, but Lutherans, unlike Methodists, believe that the Apocrypha also contains "important documents of the faith." The Apocrypha is a collection of 12 books that are not found in the original Hebrew Bible.

Sacraments

In keeping with traditional Catholic belief, Lutherans have a literal interpretation of the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist, or communion. They believe that the sacrament of baptism in itself forgives people's sins and, like Catholics, they believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation – the literal transformation of the bread into Christ's body during the Eucharist. Methodists view baptism and the Eucharist as symbols of inner spiritual experience.

Sanctification

In Christian doctrine, sanctification is the process of becoming more holy. Methodists and Lutherans differ considerably in their beliefs about sanctification and the ability of humans to increase in holiness during their lives. Methodists believe that Christians can become increasingly holy during their lives as they do good works and increase in love. The Independent Methodist Church claims that after conversion to the faith, a Christian can even cleanse his heart from sin before he dies. Lutherans believe that only God Himself does the work of sanctification through the means of His grace; the believer has no power to increase his own holiness through his works.