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Differences between Lutheranism and Calvinism?

Discussion in 'Theologia Crucis - Lutherans' started by Jeffersonian, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. Jeffersonian

    Jeffersonian Soli Deo Gloria

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    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!
     
  2. Tangible

    Tangible 100% Saint & 100% Sinner

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    Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
    (Mark 10:38 ESV)
     
  3. Lizabth

    Lizabth Marburgian- Lutheran

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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.
     
  4. DaRev

    DaRev New Member

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    From the LCMS:

    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.
     
  5. bibledoctor

    bibledoctor Regular Member

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    Probably subtle differences in doctrine,soteriology, view or interpretation of salvation etc
     
  6. Jeffersonian

    Jeffersonian Soli Deo Gloria

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    Thank you so much for this information!
     
  7. John Constantine

    John Constantine Evangelical Orthodox Catholic

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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: Oct 23, 2012
  8. Lizabth

    Lizabth Marburgian- Lutheran

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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!!").
     
    ContraMundum likes this.
  9. Mediaeval

    Mediaeval baptizatus sum

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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.
     
  10. John Constantine

    John Constantine Evangelical Orthodox Catholic

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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.
     
  11. RisingSun96815

    RisingSun96815 Newbie

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    I don't think your interpretation of history is quite accurate. Read Calvin's magnum opus The Institutes of the Christian Religion, where he regularly quotes and relies upon Augustine (who was very influential to the Church of Rome), and complains about ignorance and abuses among the Pope's clergy.
     
  12. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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    St. Augustine's writings are not Scripture. The reformed Churches (Augustinian Baptists; one example) tend to dwell on Auge's later writings known as the "Retractions", which are generally but not universally accepted as the ramblings of a somewhat confused old man.

    While one can construe just about anything from anything (I don't recall seeing much of anything that supported Calvinist theology in his earlier writings, which are purely orthodox and catholic in nature; yet we see reformed Churches rejecting much of what he wrote, taught and believed in the time prior to the retractions.
     
  13. DArceri

    DArceri Exercise daily -- walk with the Lord.

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    Hey Mediaeval... I am not a Lutheran nor a Calvanist, but always considered myself in the reformed camp. I have a question about what you stated about Lutheranism. You mentioned in your post that one only needs faith in scripture and doesn't have to check his heart. But that leads me to ask about the necessity of a transformed heart? Doesn't Lutherans preach that one needs a certain kind of faith, ie. a heartfelt genuine faith that leads you always back to the Cross and what Christ has done for you? Isn't that the faith that then produces a heart for God and leads to genuine repentance, and thus, the foregiveness of sins? And then doesn't that genuine faith produce a love and desire to obey Christ so as not to displease Him? Isn't that what confessional Lutherans call the third-use of the law? If I have that wrong, please let me know.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
  14. Red 5

    Red 5 Newbie

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    Why would you lie to yourself to become a Calvinist-Lutheran. If you believe in Calvinist theology, just be a Calvinist. Why play word games to justify your belief in limited atonement? I guess this is a big thorn in my paw, because I believe that limited atonement clearly contradicts scripture. While it may not be in Luther's Small Catechism, rejection of Double Predestination, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints is found in the Book of Concord.

    Also even within the Small Catechism, you will find many teachings that the Reformed reject. Is the body and blood of Christ truly found in the sacrament of the altar? Does baptism save?

    The Reformed and we Lutherans disagree on a lot. I don't think it does anybody any good to marginalize those differences. If you want to be Lutheran, be Lutheran, if you want to be a Calvinist, be a Calvinist.
     
  15. BBAS 64

    BBAS 64 Contributor Supporter

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    Good day, All

    I have spent a great deal of time dealing with this issue in the past here and other places. There are some things I agree with in the video, but on some points I agree with what he said about Lutherism but Luther may have seen things a bit differnet.

    Riddleblog - The Latest Post - On the Differences Between Lutheranism and Calvinism -- Audio from "Issues,[bless and do not curse]Etc."

    Give it a listen.

    Case in point Luter writes:

    Luther:
    Commentary on Romans,

    All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it; who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned

    Regarding God's desire for all men to be saved, Luther himself objects. In response to the claim that 'God desires all men to be saved,' and that 'Christ died for all men,' he writes

    These points and others like them can be refuted as easily as the first one. For these verses must always be understood as pertaining to the elect only, as the apostle says in 2 Tim. 2:10 'everything for the sake of the elect.' For in an absolute sense Christ did not die for all, because he says: 'This is my blood which is poured out for you' and 'for many' - He does not say: for all - 'for the forgiveness of sins' (Mark 14:24, Matt. 26:28)

    Bondage of the will:
    If, then, we are taught and believe that we ought to be ignorant of the necessary foreknowledge of God and the necessity of events, Christian faith is utterly destroyed, and the promises of God and the whole gospel fall to the ground completely; for the Christian's chief and only comfort in every adversity lies in knowing that God does not lie, but brings all things to pass immutably, and that His will cannot be resisted, altered, or impeded.



    For His Glory!!

    Bill
    __________________
     
  16. bach90

    bach90 Evangelical Catholic

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    As far as Election...Lutherans teach that Election is a doctrine meant to assure someone that they have been saved. Are you baptized? Do you receive the Sacrament faithfully? Do you believe? Then you're among the elect. Because Calvinists view Baptism through the lens of covenant theology and not regeneration (God can, but does not necessarily regenerate a person at Baptism), a Calvinist can never fully have assurance of salvation. To be fair though, a Calvinist will say that the fruits of a changed life is evidence of salvation.

    Calvinists however do not take the view of election to mean that there is no mandate to evangelize or that the call to repent is not universal. It's simply that because God is absolutely sovereign in Reformed theology. That's the typical straw man used against Calvinism.

    Some argue that the view of Law & Gospel is different in the two churches. To an extent, this is true. However, I'm sick of some Lutherans speaking and acting like there is no third use of the law. Paul wrote about it, Luther wrote about it, and it's in the Formula. I'd argue rather that the view of Scripture is fundamentally different. In Reformed theology, God works alongside his word. In Lutheran theology, God works through the word.

    Also one poster mentioned that Reformed tend to look upon Lutherans better than vice versa. I've noticed this is true, but I have great respect for the Reformed. On the whole, they know the Scriptures very well and the vast majority of all Christian books today come out of Reformed publishing houses. Even the ESV, the "official" Bible of the LCMS, is owned by a Reformed publishing house (although I don't use the ESV).

    Nevertheless, even though I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the Reformed, I ended up in a Lutheran not a Reformed Church. Two reasons for that, Baptism saves and the Lord's Supper is the true body and blood of Christ.
     
  17. Lizabth

    Lizabth Marburgian- Lutheran

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    Bach: very interesting post, thank you! A few comments:

    1)"In Reformed theology, God works alongside his word." Can you please give me a concrete example of this?


    2)"Are you baptized? Do you receive the Sacrament faithfully? Do you believe? "

    I know of no Calvinist who would not agree with this statement AND have complete assurance of faith therein. Plus, Calvinists have the beautiful perseverance in the faith, which is a wonderful doctrine. God will have His elect.

    2)"Baptism saves and the Lord's Supper is the true body and blood of Christ."

    Baptism does NOT save. Jesus Christ through His resurrection saves. Baptism is a means of grace, not Grace Itself. That the Lord said, "This is my body, take and eat" makes the real presence a fairly simple thing in my book. However Christ meant His words, this is how I take them. Most Calvinists would feel the same.

    I am comfortable in the midpoint between the Reformed and the Lutherans. As there is no reformed church anywhere close to us, we are joining an LCMS congregation. I certainly like the non-dour nature of the Lutheran celebration of Advent. Such things are often frowned upon in Calvy churches.

    My hubby and I are very pleased with our new church, overall. Love the liturgy, the music and the solid grounding in the faith of our Lutheran brothers and sisters. Two more classes to go!
     
  18. Tangible

    Tangible 100% Saint & 100% Sinner

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    Please ask the pastor at your next class if he agrees with you that baptism does not save.
     
  19. bach90

    bach90 Evangelical Catholic

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    .
     
  20. DaRev

    DaRev New Member

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    I truly hope your pastor thoroughly examines you before declaring you a communicant member. You have some serious theological flaws.
     
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