Denomination Differences

Jehovah's Witness vs. Lutheran Beliefs

Jehovah's WitnessLutheran
Number of Members8,687,000[1]77,000,000[2]
How does one get saved?Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection to save you, be baptized, and do good works for the rest of your life. The 144,000 most faithful Christians will go to heaven; the rest will live on earth.Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, and be baptized.
Who gets saved?Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.Those who God chooses to call will be saved and no one else.
Can one lose his salvation?Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy.Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy.
Who gets baptized and why?Saved people get baptized as a public demonstration of their new lives.[3]The unsaved, typically as infants, get baptized as the first sacrament of Christian initiation, cleansing them of all sins.
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by immersion.[3]Baptism should be by pouring water on the head.
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?God's holy spirit is received after one prays for it, learns God's Word, and lives in line with it.[4][5]The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.
What is the trinity?There is no Trinity. Jesus is God's first creation, and the Holy Spirit is not a person.The Trinity is God existing as one god in three equal, eternal, cosubstantial persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.
What is the human nature?Human nature is corrupt and naturally inclined to evil.Bondage of the will: Human nature is corrupt, naturally inclined to evil, and incapable of choosing God on his own.
Are we guilty of Adam's original sin?No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, but we did inherit the consequences and a corrupt human nature from him, causing us all to sin.Federalism: Yes, Adam represented all of the human race, and all are guilty of his sin.
Are Christians required to keep the Old Testament ceremonial laws?No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.
Can Christians become sinless in this earthly life?No, although Christians can and should sin less, they can never become sinless in this life.No, although Christians can and should sin less, they can never become sinless in this life.
Do the elements of communion become the body and blood of Christ?No, the elements merely symbolically represent the body and blood of Christ.[6]Sacramental union: No, the elements do not become the body and blood of Christ, but Christ's body and blood are non-physically joined to the elements.
Can one be baptized of behalf of someone who has died?No, the dead cannot be baptized.No, the dead cannot be baptized.
What happens if a saved person dies without being perfect?Death itself is the full and complete punishment for sin.[7]Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.[8][9][10]
Did Mary ever sin?Yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.Most believe that, yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.
What spiritual gifts are available today?Most believe cessationism: Spiritual gifts used for serving are available today, while gifts used as signs have ceased.[11]
What is the gift of tongues?The gift of tongues is the ability to speak foreign human languages without knowing how.[12][13]
What are the requirements for clergy?No clergy is employed. All members are ministers, but only men who have been ministerial servants may be elders.Varies widely
How many church ordinances/​sacraments are there?The church has two ordinances: Baptism and Holy Communion.[6][14]The church has two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion.
To whom do Christians need to confess their sins?Confession should be made directly to God, but confession to another believer is beneficial for some sins.[15]General sinfulness should be confessed to a priest. This is usually done as a group during a service.
How should a church be structured?Varies widely
What day of the week should Christians worship?Jehovah's Witnesses meet on any two days of the week.Christians worship on Sunday.
How does God's revelation come to us today?The Bible, as interpreted by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, is the only infallible source of God's revelation.Sola scriptura: The Bible is the only infallible source of God's revelation, sufficient for all faith and practice.
How was the Bible written?Varies widely[16][17]
How many books are in the Bible?There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.[18]There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.
Is the Bible inerrant?Varies widely[19][20]
Who can speak with God's authority today?The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses is God's "faithful and discreet slave" and "spokesman", although it does so imperfectly.The church as a whole speaks with God's authority at ecumenical councils.[21]
How was the earth created?The earth was formed by gravity pulling dust together, which ultimately came from the Big Bang.[22]
What is marriage?Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.Varies widely[23][24][25]
Is sex permissible outside marriage?No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.[26]No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.[27][28]
When is divorce permissible?Divorce is only permissible for adultery.[29]Divorce is permissible for adultery or desertion.[30][31]
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?Yes, a Christian may remarry after divorce if the divorce was for a valid reason.[32]The innocent party to the adultery may remarry.
When does a fetus become human?Humanity begins at conception.[33]Most have no established doctrine. The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod believes life begins at conception.[34][35][36]
Is contraception permissible?Yes, contraceptives are permissible.[37]Yes, contraceptives are permissible.[27][38]
Are blood transfusions permissible?No, blood transfusions are not permissible.[39]Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.
Should women cover their heads?Women should cover their heads when praying or teaching when a man normally would.[40][41]No, head coverings are no longer required due to cultural changes.[42][43][44]
Should Christians drink alcohol?Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.[45]Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.
Should Christians fight in wars?No, Christians should never fight.[46]Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.[47][48]
Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?God's holy spirit comes from God alone.The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.[49][50]
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?After death, one's existence ceases until and unless God resurrects him.[51]Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.[8]