Friday, May 09, 2008

Are Lutherans pretty much Catholics?

Today a student asked me if Lutherans were pretty much the same as Catholics. Like a typical History major, I launched into a detailed explanation of the excesses of the Renaissances and the subsequent Protestant Reformation, including a brief biography of Martin Luther and stopped myself before getting too deep into the Augsburg Confessions etc. etc.

I apologized for the over-explanation, but later emailed her these charts, accompanied by the following explanations-

The quickest way to explain Lutheran teaching is Ephesians 2:8-9, all that saves us is faith in God's grace through what Jesus did. We can never be good enough, or pray enough or keep from being bad or anything else.

Some Catholics may still think you have to follow certain practices. Some branches of Calvinist denominations think that only certain people are predestined to be saved. Some Pentecostals think that you're not saved unless you can speak in tongues. Etc. Etc. Yadda, yadda, yadda...

And then there are Adventists and Jehovah's Wittinesses and Mormons and Unitarian/Universalists who all claim to be Christian denominations but don't teach that Jesus is really the only Son of God. Bottom line, if you DO believe John 3:16, you're a Christian.

Lutherans ARE like Catholics insofar as our worship services are what's called "liturgical," meaning that we follow pretty much a similar order of service, or "liturgy" that Christians have for 2,000 years; Invocation, Confession and absolution, Psalm, Old Testament lesson, New Testament lesson, Gospel lesson, Sermon, offering, prayers, communion and benediction- part singing, part reading.

Whereas some non-denominational churches, some reformed churches and some Pentecostal churches are much more streamlined, free-form or sometimes even spontaneous. Quakers for instance actually call themselves "Friends," the nickname "Quaker" came about because they would sit around together in silent prayer until someone would start quaking, a sign that the Holy Spirit had come upon them and revealed something for them to share with the group. Funky, huh?

1 comment:

  1. I love a good chart. Thanks for these. I'm looking at the Branches of Protestantism chart and I noticed you put Methodism as flowing from Anabaptism. I think it should be shown coming from the Church of England.