Denomination Differences

Lutheran vs. Jehovah's Witness Beliefs

LutheranJehovah's Witness
Number of Members77,000,000[1]8,687,000[2]
How does one get saved?Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, and be baptized.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.
Who gets saved?Those who God chooses to call and who don't resist Him 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.
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?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.[3]
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by pouring water on the head.Baptism should be by immersion.[3]
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.God's holy spirit is received after one prays for it, learns God's Word, and lives in line with it.[4][5]
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.There is no Trinity. Jesus is God's first creation, and the Holy Spirit is not a person.
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.Human nature is corrupt and naturally inclined to evil.
Are we guilty of Adam's original sin?Federalism: Yes, Adam represented all of the human race, and all are guilty of his 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.
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?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.[6]
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.[7][8][9]Death itself is the full and complete punishment for sin.[10]
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.[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?Varies widelyNo clergy is employed. All members are ministers, but only men who have been ministerial servants may be elders.
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.[6][14]
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.[15]
How should a church be structured?Varies widely
What day of the week should Christians worship?Christians worship on Sunday.Jehovah's Witnesses meet on any two days of the week.
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.The Bible, as interpreted by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, is the only infallible source of God's revelation.
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.There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.[18]
Was the Bible written inerrantly?Varies widely[19][20]
Who can speak with God's authority today?The church as a whole speaks with God's authority at ecumenical councils.[21]The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses is God's "faithful and discreet slave" and "spokesman", although it does so imperfectly.
How was the earth created?Varies widelyThe earth was formed by gravity pulling dust together, which ultimately came from the Big Bang.[22]
What is marriage?Varies widely[23][24][25]Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.
Is sex permissible outside marriage?No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.[26][27]No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.[28]
When is divorce permissible?Divorce is permissible for adultery or desertion.[29][30]Divorce is only permissible for adultery.[31]
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?The innocent party to the adultery may remarry.Yes, a Christian may remarry after divorce if the divorce was for a valid reason.[32]
When does a fetus become human?Most have no established doctrine. The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod believes life begins at conception.[33][34][35]Humanity begins at conception.[36]
Is contraception permissible?Yes, contraceptives are permissible.[26][37]Yes, contraceptives are permissible.[38]
Are blood transfusions permissible?Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.No, blood transfusions are not permissible.[39]
Should women cover their heads?No, head coverings are no longer required due to cultural changes.[40][41][42]Women should cover their heads when praying or teaching when a man normally would.[43][44]
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.[45]
Should Christians fight in wars?Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.[46][47]No, Christians should never fight.[48]
Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.[49][50]God's holy spirit comes from God alone.
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.[7]After death, one's existence ceases until and unless God resurrects him.[51]