Denomination Differences

Lutheran vs. Calvary Chapel Beliefs

LutheranCalvary Chapel
Number of Members77,000,000[1]300,000
How does one get saved?Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, and be baptized.Sola fide: Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection alone to save you.[2][3]
Who gets saved?Those who God chooses to call will be saved and no one else.Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.[4][5]
Can one lose his salvation?Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy.Eternal security: No, once a Christian is saved, he is always saved.[6]
Who gets baptized and why?The unsaved, typically as infants, get baptized as the first sacrament of Christian initiation, cleansing them of all sins.Saved people get baptized as a public demonstration of their new lives.[7]
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by pouring water on the head.Baptism should be by immersion.[7]
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.[2][3]
What is the trinity?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.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.[2][3]
What is the human nature?Bondage of the will: Human nature is corrupt, naturally inclined to evil, and incapable of choosing God on his own.Total depravity: Human nature is corrupt, naturally inclined to evil, and incapable of choosing God on his own.[8]
Are we guilty of Adam's original 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.[9]
Do the elements of communion become the body and blood of Christ?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.No, the elements merely symbolically represent the body and blood of Christ.
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?Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.[10][11][12]Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.[13][14]
Did Mary ever sin?Most believe that, yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.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.[15]Continuationism: All spiritual gifts are still available to believers.[16]
What framework has God used in dealing with man?Dispensationalism: God acts differently with humanity in seven different periods of history.
What is the gift of tongues?The gift of tongues is the ability to speak foreign human languages without knowing how.[17][18]Speaking in tongues is sometimes unintelligible and sometimes foreign human languages.[19]
What are the requirements for clergy?Varies widely
How many church ordinances/​sacraments are there?The church has two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion.The church has two ordinances: Baptism and Holy Communion.
To whom do Christians need to confess their sins?General sinfulness should be confessed to a priest. This is usually done as a group during a service.Confession should be made directly to God, but confession to another believer is beneficial for some sins.[20]
How should a church be structured?Varies widely
What day of the week should Christians worship?Christians worship on Sunday.Christians worship on Sunday.
How does God's revelation come to us today?Sola scriptura: The Bible is the only infallible source of God's revelation, sufficient for all faith and practice.Sola scriptura: The Bible is the only infallible source of God's revelation, sufficient for all faith and practice.[21]
How was the Bible written?Varies widely[22][23]Verbal plenary inspiration: The Bible was written by men who had every word supernaturaly inspired by God.[24][25][2][3]
How many books are in the Bible?There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.
Is the Bible inerrant?Varies widely[26][27]Yes, the Bible was written without any error.[24][25][2][3]
Who can speak with God's authority today?The church as a whole speaks with God's authority at ecumenical councils.[28]Nobody today can speak for God.
How was the earth created?Creationism: The earth was spoken into existence by God.
What is marriage?Varies widely[29][30][31]Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.[32][33]
Is sex permissible outside marriage?No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.[34][35]No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.[36]
When is divorce permissible?Divorce is permissible for adultery or desertion.[37][38]Divorce is permissible for adultery or desertion.[39][33]
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?The innocent party to the adultery may remarry.Yes, a Christian may freely remarry after divorce.[33]
When does a fetus become human?Most have no established doctrine. The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod believes life begins at conception.[40][41][42]Humanity begins at conception.[43]
Is contraception permissible?Yes, contraceptives are permissible.[34][44]Yes, contraceptives are permissible.[45]
Are blood transfusions permissible?Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.
Should women cover their heads?No, head coverings are no longer required due to cultural changes.[46][47][48]No, head coverings are no longer required due to cultural changes.[49][50]
Should Christians drink alcohol?Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.[51][52]
Should Christians fight in wars?Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.[53][54]Yes, Christians can fight in just wars.
How should Christians musically worship God?Any style of worship music is acceptable.
Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.[55][56]
Who can be demon-possessed?Demons can possess unbelievers but not Christians.
Do icons glorify God?No, icons violate the Second Commandment against graven images.
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.[10]Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.[57]
When does the Tribulation happen?Futurism: The Tribulation will happen at a time in the future which no man knows the time of.[58]
When will the church be raptured?Pretribulationism rapture: The church will be raptured sometime before the Tribulation.[58]
When is the millennial reign of Christ happen?Premillennialism: The millennial reign of Christ will be the 1,000 years immediately after the Tribulation.[59]