Lutheran Vs. Presbyterian Churches

The leaders in the Protestant Reformation inspired the doctrines of Lutherans and Presbyterians.
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The Lutheran and Presbyterian churches are both Protestant sects of Christianity that were founded during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The Protestant Reformation was a major schism within the Christian religion. It occurred when reformers within the Roman Catholic Church objected to official church doctrines and practices. Lutheranism is based on the teachings of Martin Luther, who is considered the “Father of the Reformation." Presbyterianism is based on the teachings teachings of John Calvin, another leader in the Protestant Reformation.

1 The Sabbath

Both denominations observe the Sabbath on Sunday instead of Saturday, but only the Presbyterians believe that Sunday has actually replaced Saturday as the "correct" Sabbath Day. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church argued that the significance of the Sabbath Day has changed since the life and work of Jesus Christ. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod said that Lutherans are free to gather for worship on any day of the week they choose.

2 Church Government

Lutherans are not dogmatic on any particular form of church organization. The WELS said that God provides for the gospel ministry and that the New Testament does not make commands about church government. In contrast, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, Presbyterians have a highly defined church government structure that is based on the churches led by John Calvin and his associates during the Reformation period in the 16th century. In the Presbyterian denomination, the church is governed by elders, officeholders and pastors who are elected by the members of the church. A “presbytery” is the name of the ruling body of several Presbyterian churches within a given district.

3 Spiritual Security

Presbyterians and Lutherans differ on the issue of spiritual security. Presbyterians believe that once a person becomes a Christian believer they can never lose their salvation and, thus, they have spiritual security. In contrast, Lutherans believe that a Christian believer can lose their salvation. WELS argued that Christians can “fall from faith” because of the verse 1 Corinthians 10:12, which says “Let him that thinks he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

4 Double Predestination

Some Presbyterians are strict Calvinists who believe in the doctrine of double predestination, which says that God decided on the fate of individual people before they were born. In its official Confession and Catechisms, the OPC stated that God chose some to be saved by Christ's redeeming work on earth and that some were not chosen to be saved and, thus, “foreordained” to eternal punishment.

Lutherans reject the doctrine of double predestination because they believe that God does not want anybody to perish in eternal punishment.

Brian Gabriel has been a writer and blogger since 2009, contributing to various online publications. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from Whitworth University.