Catholic vs Lutheran – Difference and Comparison

What is Catholic?

Catholicism is one of the oldest and mainstream Christian schools of thought. The history of Catholicism goes back to the time of Jesus Christ. It started as the primal form of Christianity back in the first century in the Holy Roman Empire. Billions of Christians around the world identify themselves as Catholics. The epicenter of Catholicism is Vatican City, from where the religious instructions are promulgated to Catholics of the world.

Catholicism is founded on the belief that Jesus is the Lord and has established the Church. It is by the will of the Lord that the Gospels are sent to mankind for eternal guidance. They believe that Jesus sacrificed himself to put humanity on the stage of salvation. Alongside Jesus, Catholics hold that the Pope is the representative of Christ. In the Catholic perspective of life, faith alone does not guarantee that someone is a good Christian; faith has to be accompanied by good deeds.

Catholics are also characterized by their utmost reverence for Mary and other saints in Christian history. They pay pilgrimages to their shrine and offer prayers to them for the fulfillment of their wishes. The status of Mary, in Catholic theology, is that of a mediator between God and humankind. Moreover, they think the Scripture cannot be properly understood without the guidance of the Pope, and it is the Pope that has certain exclusive authoritie.

What is Lutheran?

Lutheran is a term used for someone who identifies with the Christian theology propounded by the sixteenth-century reformer Martin Luther. Lutheranism emerged as a movement of reform against the theory and practices of the Catholic Church. In Luther’s viewpoint, the Catholic Church had gone astray from the path of Christ, drifting into fabrications, malpractices, and paganistic inclinations.

Lutheranism adheres to the centrality of the Scripture and sees it as the irrefutable authority that guides a Christian from birth to death. They think of Jesus as the Lord who has no substitute in this world. The pivot of Lutheran theology is the faith in Jesus. This does not, however, follow that no good deed is to be done.

Lutherans see many sacraments as sacrilegious fabrications innovated by the Catholic Church. Although they believe in honoring Mary and other saints, they find it wrong to elevate these individuals to the divine ranks as that of Jesus Christ. Moreover, they think that prayers should not be offered to these shrines because they were themselves dependent on the Lord for their salvation.

Difference Between Catholic and Lutheran

  • Catholics believe in the authority of the Scripture and the Pope, whereas Lutherans believe in the divine authority of the Scripture.
  • Catholics emphasize the need for deeds, whereas Lutherans stress a firm faith in the greatness and mercy of the Lord.
  • Catholics pay greater importance to the exoteric side of Christianity, whereas Lutherans focus on the esoteric side of the religion.
  • Catholics believe that Mary is the mediator between God and human beings, whereas Lutherans think it is contrary to the principle of faith.
  • Catholics offer prayers to Mary and saints, whereas Lutherans think only God can be worshipped and any other personality can be only admired.

Comparison Between Catholic and Lutheran

Parameters of ComparisonCatholicLutheran
Religious AuthorityThe Scripture, The PopeThe Scripture
Requisites of SalvationFaith & DeedsFaith
Status of MaryMediator Between God & MankindMother of Jesus Christ, Honored by God
Status of SaintsRevered to The Point of PrayersAdmired for Seeking Inspiration
Focus of TheologyExoteric Side of FaithEsoteric Side of Faith