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  #1  
Unread 18th October 2012, 02:47 PM
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Differences between Lutheranism and Calvinism?

Hello Brothers

I was reading a little book about the history of Martin Luther. In one of the chapters, they talked about something going on later between Lutherans and Calvinists but i couldn't understand at all.

Since i have such a passion for both of those movements, i would like to know if some one of you can explain the difference between Lutherans and Calvinists!

God bless!
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  #2  
Unread 18th October 2012, 03:06 PM
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Unread 18th October 2012, 03:37 PM
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The differences are not nearly so great as some Lutherans claim. This is mostly due to a misunderstanding of Calvinism. Sacramentally, the Lutherans are definitely more, well sacramental. Obviously, limited atonement is a biggie.The effect, however is the same anyway you look at it, though, Calvinist or Lutheran: God's will WILL be done. Here's a rather long bit from the LCMS on their view of election. In it, I can find T otal depravity, U nconditional election, L imited atonement(one of God's mysteries, the Lutherans are right to leave it so, some Calvinists are far too anxious to comprehend this mystery), I rrisistable grace(God chooses AND brings to Himself) and certainly
P erseverance of the saints. Remember: this is from the LCMS. WELs is a little....more...different. Sorry for the length, but it's an important read.
Of the Election of Grace
35. By the election of grace we mean this truth, that all those who by the grace of God alone, for Christ's sake, through the means of grace, are brought to faith, are justified, sanctified, and preserved in faith here in time, that all these have already from eternity been endowed by God with faith, justification, sanctification, and preservation in faith, and this for the same reason, namely, by grace alone, for Christ's sake, and by way of the means of grace. That this is the doctrine of the Holy Scripture is evident from Eph. 1:3-7; 2 Thess. 2:13, 14; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:28-30; 2 Tim. 1:9; Matt. 24:22-24 (cp. Form. of Conc. Triglot, p. 1065, Paragraphs 5, 8, 23; M., p. 705).
36. Accordingly we reject as an anti-Scriptural error the doctrine that not alone the grace of God and the merit of Christ are the cause of the election of grace, but that God has, in addition, found or regarded something good in us which prompted or caused Him to elect us, this being variously designated as "good works," "right conduct," "proper self-determination," "refraining from willful resistance," etc. Nor does Holy Scripture know of an election "by foreseen faith," "in view of faith," as though the faith of the elect were to be placed before their election; but according to Scripture the faith which the elect have in time belongs to the spiritual blessings with which God has endowed them by His eternal election. For Scripture teaches Acts 13:48: "And as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed." Our Lutheran Confession also testifies (Triglot, p. 1065, Paragraph 8; M. p. 705): "The eternal election of God however, not only foresees and foreknows the salvation of the elect, but is also, from the gracious will and pleasure of God in Christ Jesus, a cause which procures, works, helps, and promotes our salvation and what pertains thereto; and upon this our salvation is so founded that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it, Matt. 16:18, as is written John 10:28: `Neither shall any man pluck My sheep out of My hand'; and again, Acts 13:48: `And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.."'
37. But as earnestly as we maintain that there is an election of grace, or a predestination to salvation, so decidedly do we teach, on the other hand, that there is no election of wrath, or predestination to damnation. Scripture plainly reveals the truth that the love of God for the world of lost sinners is universal, that is, that it embraces all men without exception, that Christ has fully reconciled all men unto God, and that God earnestly desires to bring all men to faith, to preserve them therein, and thus to save them, as Scripture testifies, 1 Tim. 2:4: "God will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." No man is lost because God has predestined him to eternal damnation. -- Eternal election is a cause why the elect are brought to faith in time, Acts 13:48; but election is not a cause why men remain unbelievers when they hear the Word of God. The reason assigned by Scripture for this sad fact is that these men judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life, putting the Word of God from them and obstinately resisting the Holy Ghost, whose earnest will it is to bring also them to repentance and faith by means of the Word, Act 13:46; 7:51; Matt. 23:37.
38. To be sure, it is necessary to observe the Scriptural distinction between the election of grace and the universal will of grace. This universal gracious will of God embraces all men; the election of grace, however, does not embrace all, but only a definite number, whom "God hat from the beginning chosen to salvation," 2 Thess. 2:13, the "remnant," the "seed" which "the Lord left," Rom. 9:27- 29, the "election," Rom. 11:7; and while the universal will of grace is frustrated in the case of most men, Matt. 22:14; Luke 7:30, the election of grace attains its end with all whom it embraces, Rom. 8:28-30. Scripture, however, while distinguishing between the universal will of grace and the election of grace, does not place the two in opposition to each other. On the contrary, it teaches that the grace dealing with those who are lost is altogether earnest and fully efficacious for conversion. Blind reason indeed declares these two truths to be contradictory; but we impose silence on our reason. The seeming disharmony will disappear in the light of heaven, 1 Cor. 13:12.
39. Furthermore, by election of grace, Scripture does not mean that one part of God's counsel of salvation according to which He will receive into heaven those who persevere in faith unto the end, but, on the contrary, Scripture means this, that God, before the foundation of the world, from pure grace, because of the redemption of Christ, has chosen for His own a definite number of persons out of the corrupt mass and has determined to bring them through Word and Sacrament, to faith and salvation.
40. Christians can and should be assured of their eternal election. This is evident from the fact that Scripture addresses them as the chosen ones and comforts them with their election, Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13. This assurance of one's personal election, however, springs only from faith in the Gospel, from the assurance that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; on the contrary, through the life, suffering, and death of His Son He fully reconciled the whole world of sinner unto Himself. Faith in this truth leaves no room for the fear that God might still harbor thoughts of wrath and damnation concerning us. Scripture inculcates that in Rom. 8:32, 33: "He that spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." Luther's pastoral advice is therefore in accord with Scripture: "Gaze upon the wounds of Christ and the blood shed for you; there predestination will shine forth." (St. Louis ed., II, 181; on Gen. 26:9) That the Christian obtains the personal assurance of his eternal election in this way is taught also by our Lutheran Confessions (Formula of Concord, Triglot, p. 1071, Paragraph 26, M. 709): "Of this we should not judge according to our reason nor according to the Law or from any external appearance. Neither should we attempt to investigate the secret, concealed abyss of divine predestination, but should give heed to the revealed will of God. For He has made known unto us the mystery of His will and made it manifest through Christ that it might be preached, Eph. 1:9ff.; 2 Tim. 1:9f." -- In order to insure the proper method of viewing eternal election and the Christian's assurance of it, the Lutheran Confessions set forth at length the principle that election is not to be considered "in a bare manner (nude), as though God only held a muster, thus: `This one shall be saved, that one shall be damned"' (Formula of Concord, Triglot, p. 1065, Paragraph 9; M., p. 706); but "the Scriptures teach this doctrine in no other way than to direct us thereby to the Word, Eph. 1:13; 1 Cor. 1:7; exhort to repentance, 2 Tim. 3:16; urge to godliness, Eph. 1:14; John 15:3; strengthen faith and assure us of our salvation, Eph. 1:13; John 10:27f.; 2 Thess. 2:13f." (Formula of Concord, Triglot, p. 1067, Paragraph 12; M., p. 707). -- To sum up, just as God in time draws the Christian unto Himself through the Gospel, so He has already in His eternal election endowed them with "sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth," 2 Thess. 2:13. Therefore: If, by the grace of God, you believe in the Gospel of the forgiveness of your sins for Christ's sake, you are to be certain that you also belong to the number of God's elect, even as Scripture, 2 Thess. 2:13, addresses the believing Thessalonians as the chosen of God and gives thanks to God for their election.
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  #4  
Unread 18th October 2012, 04:52 PM
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From the LCMS:

Just as there are many significant differences in theology and practice between Lutherans of varying denominations, the same is true when it comes to different churches within the Reformed tradition. Differences exist among Reformed churches even regarding such fundamental issues as the authority of Scripture and the nature and centrality of the doctrine of justification.

Historically, however, most Reformed churches adhere to the five points of Calvinist theology commonly summarized by the acrostic "tulip" as these were set forth at the Synod of Dort (1618-19). On page 41 in his book, Churches in America, Dr. Thomas Manteufel reviews these five points and explains how they compare and/or contrast with what Lutherans believe regarding these matters.

T (Total Depravity) The Calvinists rightly teach that all descendants of Adam are by nature totally corrupt in spiritual matters. People do not have freedom of the will to turn to God in faith or cooperate in their conversions (Eph. 2:1; John 3:5-6; Rom. 8:7).

U (Unconditional predestination) Scripture does teach that it is by grace that God has predestined the elect to eternal salvation and given them justifying faith. It is not because of any condition fulfilled by them (2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 1:4-6; Phil. 1:29). However, the Bible does not teach, as do the Calvinists, that some are predestined for damnation. God wants all to be saved (1 Tim 2:4).

L (Limited atonement) It is true that Christ died for the church and purchased it with His blood (Eph. 5:25; Acts 20:28). Furthermore, His atoning death does not mean that all people are saved (1 Cor. 1:18). However, Jesus died for all (2 Cor. 5:15).

I (Irresistible grace) We agree that God makes us alive by His mighty power, without our aid (Eph. 2:5; John 1:13). But Scripture warns that we can resist God’s gracious call (Matt. 23:37; Acts 7:51; 2 Cor. 6:1). And some people do resist God’s grace, or all would be saved (1 Tim 2:4). Furthermore, God warns us not to resist His grace (2 Cor. 6:1; Heb. 4:7).

P (Perseverance in grace) We affirm with Scripture that those who are predestined to salvation cannot be lost but will continue by God’s power to a blessed end (Rom. 8:30; 1 Peter 1:5). Scripture does not teach, however, that those who come to faith cannot lose that faith (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29; Ps. 51:11). God urges His people not to continue in sin but to live in repentance and faith (Rom. 6:1-4).
As for the 5 points of TULIP, Lutherans fully agree with the first one (T), and agrees with the second one (U) apart from the predestination to damnation.
Lutherans disagree with Limited atonement (L) since Christ died for all, not just the elect.
We disagree with Irresistible grace (I) since, as Scripture teaches, one can indeed resist the work of the Holy Spirit.
And we disagree with Perseverance in grace (P) since one who comes to faith can also fall away from the faith.
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Unread 20th October 2012, 06:33 PM
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Probably subtle differences in doctrine,soteriology, view or interpretation of salvation etc
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Unread 22nd October 2012, 10:45 PM
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Thank you so much for this information!
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Unread 23rd October 2012, 03:49 PM
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There is a really good post at the Intrepid Lutherans site:

www(dot)intrepidlutherans(dot)com/2011/04/differences-between-reformed-and.html

Just replace the (dot) with a .

My post count is still too low to link websites

Peace.

Last edited by John Constantine; 23rd October 2012 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Gramar...
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Unread 23rd October 2012, 05:06 PM
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That's an interesting article from a WELS perspective.

One thing I have found to be almost universally true is that Reformed folk tend to look upon Lutherans much more kindly and charitably than Lutherans look upon Reformed folk.

I am attending a Lutheran church as there are no Reformed churches nearby. I haven't heard anything that leads me to think I could not be comfortable with the Lutheran church while I live here.

I did ask our pastor WHAT I must agree with to be able to truthfully take the confirmation vows. He said the SmlCat. He said that I would be joining the Evangelical Lutheran Church, not the LCMS, which made me more comfortable, as I don't like the Walther-worship found within the luminaries of that synod, nor some of the odd views of justification.

So, I may end up becoming a Calvinistic lutheran. I can even be a five pointer, as I read my Luther. I just have to phrase it properly, and switch 'limited atonement' with 'limited justification'.

I wonder how much of Lutheran disdain for her Reformed brethren comes from a sense that the Reformed kinda took Luther and ran off with their own ideas of reformation? It's odd for sure and probably something the Lutherans should tone down a bit.

It always cracks me up when they rag on Calvinists, as they seem to have little knowledge OF reformed theology, beyond little talking points("those poor Calvinists....they have no assurance!!").
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Unread 23rd October 2012, 05:41 PM
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In my days as a Calvinist, assurance of salvation was elusive due to the doctrines of limited atonement and (ironically) of the perseverance of the saints. A Calvinist can never be sure that he is one of the fortunate few for whom Christ died and can never be sure that his faith is not counterfeit.

These conundrums disappeared upon embracing the Lutheran teaching that Christ died for all and the Lutheran emphasis on assurance through faith in Christ rather than through faith in one's own faith. In other words, a Lutheran does not have to check his heart and life for evidences of true repentance and faith before concluding that Christ is his Savior. A Lutheran believes that the Christ is his Savior outright, simply because the Bible says so.
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Unread 23rd October 2012, 06:01 PM
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I think that the biggest issue and difference is that while Luther was trying to reform within the Church and calling to go back to Scriptures in order to hold tradition in check; the Reformed school was bringing "new" theologies that were completely inconsistent with the oldest teachings by the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox: Double Predestination and denial of the Real Physical Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper. Also, the Reformed, to my knowledge, never intended to "reform" from within the Church. Their intention was to separate from the Church fully and completely in order to create a new church.

These 2 things have kept me and will keep me from ever fully agree with Reformed Theology.

Luther was following scriptures in a sense:

Matthew18:
"15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

In Luther's case, the Church did not want to listen to what he was saying.

When did Zwingly, Calvin and company go to the Church with their complains? I have not read about them bringing issues to the attention of the Church.
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