Difference Wiki

Lutheran vs. Protestant: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 30, 2024
Lutheranism is a branch of Protestantism founded on Martin Luther's teachings; Protestantism is a broader Christian movement separate from Catholicism.

Key Differences

Lutheranism is a major branch of Protestant Christianity, which traces its origins to the reforms of Martin Luther in the 16th century. Protestantism, on a broader scale, includes various denominations that broke away from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation, including Lutheranism.
Lutherans adhere to the theological principles set forth by Martin Luther, such as justification by faith alone and the authority of Scripture. Protestants share some common beliefs like the authority of the Bible and salvation by faith, but they encompass a wide range of doctrines and practices beyond Lutheranism.
Lutheran worship services and sacraments, particularly communion and baptism, have specific rituals and meanings. Protestant churches, in general, may vary greatly in their worship styles and sacramental understandings, reflecting diverse theological perspectives.
Lutheranism emphasizes the doctrines of Martin Luther, such as the two natures of Christ and the priesthood of all believers. Protestantism, while encompassing these teachings, also includes other doctrinal perspectives from different reformers and theological traditions.
Lutherans often have a liturgical approach to worship, maintaining certain traditions and rituals. Protestants as a whole range from highly liturgical (like Anglicans) to non-liturgical (like Baptists), showcasing the diversity within Protestantism.

Comparison Chart


Martin Luther's Reformation in the 16th century
Broader movement from the Reformation

Key Beliefs

Justification by faith, authority of Scripture
Commonly includes Sola Scriptura and faith alone

Worship Style

Often liturgical and traditional
Ranges from liturgical to non-liturgical


Baptism and communion as main sacraments
Varies; some denominations have more sacraments

Theological Emphasis

Luther's teachings, e.g., priesthood of believers
Encompasses teachings of various reformers

Lutheran and Protestant Definitions


Lutheran refers to a Christian denomination following Martin Luther's teachings.
The Lutheran church emphasizes justification by faith alone.


Many Protestant churches practice a non-liturgical, informal worship.
Protestant worship services often include contemporary music.


Lutheran practices are often liturgical with a strong focus on sacraments.
Lutheran services include traditional liturgy and hymns.


Protestant refers to Christian denominations that broke from the Roman Catholic Church.
Protestant churches often emphasize personal Bible reading.


Lutherans adhere to the doctrine of sola scriptura, scripture alone as authority.
Lutherans study the Bible diligently, adhering to its teachings.


Protestantism originated during the Reformation in the 16th century.
The Protestant Reformation challenged many Catholic doctrines.


Lutheranism originated from the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.
Lutheranism was a key force in the early Protestant Reformation.


Protestantism is characterized by diversity in doctrine and practice.
Protestant denominations range from Baptist to Presbyterian.


Lutheran theology emphasizes the priesthood of all believers.
In Lutheran belief, every believer has direct access to God.


Protestants commonly believe in justification by faith alone.
The Protestant doctrine teaches that faith is key to salvation.


Of or relating to the religious doctrines of Martin Luther, especially the doctrine of justification by faith alone.


A member of a Western Christian church whose faith and practice are founded on the principles of the Reformation, especially in the acceptance of the Bible as the sole source of revelation, in justification by faith alone, and in the universal priesthood of all the believers.


Of or relating to the Protestant denomination adhering to these doctrines.


A member of the Lutheran Church.


Of or pertaining to Luther; adhering to the doctrines of Luther or the Lutheran Church.


One who accepts or adheres to the doctrines of Luther or the Lutheran Church.


Follower of Lutheranism


Of or pertaining to Martin Luther or his teachings;
The Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith alone


Of or pertaining to or characteristic of the branch of the Protestant Church adhering to the views of Luther;
Lutheran doctrines


Are all Lutherans Protestants?

Yes, Lutheranism is a branch within Protestantism.

Do Protestants follow a specific founder?

No, Protestantism includes various founders like Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli.

What defines a Lutheran church?

Adherence to Martin Luther's teachings, particularly justification by faith.

What is unique about Lutheran worship?

It often includes traditional liturgy and sacraments.

Are all Protestant churches non-liturgical?

No, some are liturgical, like Anglicans and Lutherans.

How do Protestant denominations differ?

They vary in beliefs, worship styles, and governance.

What is Protestantism?

A Christian movement that emerged from the Reformation, separate from Catholicism.

Do Protestants have bishops?

Some do, like Anglicans, but many others don't.

How do Lutherans interpret the Bible?

Through the lens of Luther's teachings and sola scriptura.

Do Lutherans use the Book of Concord?

Yes, it's a key Lutheran confessional document.

What is the Lutheran view of communion?

Lutherans believe in the real presence of Christ in communion.

Can women be Lutheran pastors?

In many Lutheran denominations, yes.

Do Lutherans believe in saints?

They respect saints but do not pray to them like Catholics.

What's a common Protestant belief?

Salvation by faith alone is a common Protestant doctrine.

How is Lutheran baptism performed?

Lutherans practice infant baptism by sprinkling or pouring water.

What's the role of a Lutheran pastor?

To preach, administer sacraments, and lead the congregation.

Do Protestants have confession?

Some do, but it's less formalized than in Catholicism.

Is the Bible interpreted differently in Protestantism?

Yes, interpretations can vary widely among Protestant denominations.

Is there a central authority in Protestantism?

No, Protestant denominations are diverse and often autonomous.

Are Protestant services the same everywhere?

No, they vary widely across different denominations.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons