Differences between Lutheranism and Calvinism



Lutheranism is the first major Protestant denomination, that precedes the calvinismo. He began in the sixteenth century as a movement led by Martin Lutero, monaco Augustinian and professor of theology at the University of Wittenberg, Saxony. The original intent of Luther was to reform the Western Christian church that did not operate and not taught in accordance to what the Scriptures say. He was excommunicated by the Pope and there began the Lutheran movement that developed in many areas of northern Europe. The Lutheran theology emphasizes salvation independent from the works that are done, salvation as a gift of God and his grace. All human beings, because of original sin, are sinners and under the influence of the powers of evil, and this makes them unable to save themselves with their decisions and their works. Only the hand of God can save them. Only his manifest to them making them believers.


The term Calvinism can be used as a synonym for reformed theology O Reformed Protestantism, including the whole body of doctrine taught by the churches that are based on confessions of faith Belgian (1561) and Westminster (1647).

Theology of Calvinism was developed by Giovanni Calvino and his followers who laid the foundation for the Reformed Church, and Presbyterianism. The successor of Calvin was Theodor Beza, He is known for giving emphasis to the doctrine of predestination, which states that God extends his grace and grants salvation only to the elect. In Calvinism emphasizes the literal truth of the Bible and consider the church a Christian community under the leadership of Christ with all its members equal before him, pastors and bishops included. It shares the shape Episcopal Church. Calvinism strongly influenced the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and threw the basis for the puritanesimo as well as for the theocracy in Geneva. The doctrines of grace, commonly known by the acronym TULIP, summarize the doctrine of Calvinism. They are:

T: (Total Depravity) total depravazione of mankind, total corruption and total inability to redeem himself without God's hand.

The: (Unconditional Election) unconditional election the few chosen by God to be allocated to salvation even before the creation of the world.

L: (Limited Atonement) limited atonement, Christ died to redeem only the elect.

I: (Irresistible Grace) irresistible grace of God, to which you can not resist and you can not choose whether to say yes or no.

P: (Perseverance of the Saints) perseverance of the saints or eternal security, as the elected can not decay and lose salvation.

Similarities between Lutheranism and Calvinism:


  • emphasize on the guilt of the people, lack of free will and impotence to salvation. They confirm, therefore, the servant will. While the human will is the servant of the devil. In short words, man ever sinner, It is not able to redeem himself by himself, but only if God enlightens him, giving faith, receives salvation.
  • reject good works as a means of salvation.
  • only accept the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper.
  • watch all professions, occupations, social classes and genders as equal before God. They support the universal priesthood of believers.
  • They have the same views on faith and salvation by grace, the weakness of the people and God's omnipotence.


Differences between Lutheranism and Calvinism:

  • Calvinism strongly supports the doctrine of predestination or election.

  • Lutheranism believes in the doctrine of consustanziazione that, similarly to Catholicism, says the real presence in the host body and blood of Christ, while Calvinism sees the Holy Supper only as a commemoration of the Last Supper, Christ being present only spiritually.

    • The Confession of Augsburg Lutherans says art. X: “As for the Lord's Supper, teach that the body and blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed to those who eat the Lord's Supper; disapprove of those that teach otherwise.

    • The Westminster Confession of Faith of the Calvinistic says al'art. 29: “[The Lord's Supper] It was established as a perpetual commemoration of the sacrifice He made of himself in his death […] however, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, much as they were before“.

  • Lutheranism is still very close to Catholicism as traditions and liturgies, also very similar to Anglicanism.
  • In the modern Lutheranism there has been a real liberalization of the traditions and customs, so, as among the Waldensian, They affirm that the Bible is indeed the word of God but must be adapted to the modern times we live in and you can not interpret everything literally, so in the Lutheran churches, especially in the countries of northern Europe, as Denmark and Sweden, we will find the ordination of homosexual pastors. Calvinism instead, It remains very firm and conservative on these issues.
  • In politics Calvinism is very dedicated and committed to fight the evil rulers who do not conform to the Word of God (so it's always been a danger to fight for governments), while Lutheranism, even though you do not agree and do not agree, expect and accept impassively.
  • In the churches of the governance system, Furthermore, Calvinists often use the Presbyterian form (It provides for the application of the New Testament pattern to the local Christian community. there are the base of this organization the “Senior citizens” or presbyters, responsible for the local Christian community, elected by its members. In turn, these “Senior citizens” so elected, come together in a higher regional body that brings them, called the presbytery so that administers the set of communities. An entity even higher than this second level and called synod or “general assembly”, which gathers representatives of the various priests). While Lutherans follow government Episcopal as Anglicans and Catholics (structure or hierarchical conception of the church characterized by bishops and pastors appointed by the cardinal primate or directly by the king. The ecclesiastical power is conceived as descending from above).
  • While Lutheranism follows the Augsburg Confession, Calvinism follows the Westminster Confession.

In Italy Lutherans gathered under the CELI Evangelical Lutheran Church in Italy (http://www.chiesaluterana.it/), while the Calvinists are not present in a central government, when they had the Presbyterian form of church government.

Spread of Lutheranism:

Germany, Scandinavia, Italy, United States.

Spread of Calvinism:

Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy (assimilated trai Waldesians), Hungary, Poland, Scotland (known as Presbyterians), England, United States.

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