Denomination Differences

Lutheran Beliefs

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How does one get saved?

Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, and be baptized.

Who gets saved?

Those who God chooses to call and who don't resist Him will be saved and no one else.

Can one lose his salvation?

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.

How should baptism be done?

Baptism should be by pouring water on the head.

When does one receive the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.

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.

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.

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.

Can Christians become sinless in this earthly 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.

Can one be baptized of behalf of someone who has died?

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.

Did Mary ever sin?

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.

What is the gift of tongues?

The gift of tongues is the ability to speak foreign human languages without knowing how.

What are the requirements for clergy?

Varies widely

How many church ordinances/​sacraments are there?

The church has two sacraments: 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.

How should a church be structured?

Varies widely

What day of the week should Christians worship?

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.

How was the Bible written?

Varies widely

How many books are in the Bible?

There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.

Was the Bible written inerrantly?

Varies widely

Who can speak with God's authority today?

The church as a whole speaks with God's authority at ecumenical councils.

How was the earth created?

Varies widely

What is marriage?

Varies widely

Is sex permissible outside marriage?

No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.

When is divorce permissible?

Divorce is permissible for adultery or desertion.

May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?

The innocent party to the adultery may remarry.

When does a fetus become human?

Most have no established doctrine. The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod believes life begins at conception.

Is contraception permissible?

Yes, contraceptives are permissible.

Are blood transfusions permissible?

Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.

Should women cover their heads?

No, head coverings are no longer required due to cultural changes.

Should Christians drink alcohol?

Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.

Should Christians fight in wars?

Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.

Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

Where does a Christian's soul go after death?

Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.