What Is the Difference Between Lutheranism and Catholicism?

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There are many differences between Lutheranism and Catholicism, but one of the pivotal ones is the way in which salvation is attained by devotees of either sect. In Lutheranism, having faith in Jesus as Savior is enough for salvation, whereas in Catholicism, having faith in Jesus as Savior must be accompanied by good deeds and love in order for one to be saved and enter heaven.

Salvation is the main teaching in all Christian denominations, but its attainment is understood and interpreted differently by the various denominations. It is also the key difference between Lutheranism and Catholicism.

According to Martin Luther, founder of Lutheranism, “a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.” Lutherans base their assertions on their own interpretation of Galatians 5, stating that a person who seeks salvation through deeds, love and effort (the Law) is disconnected from Christ.

The second major difference is over the issue of who holds the highest authority in Christianity. Roman Catholics maintain that the papacy holds the highest authority in the Christian faith and that the pope is the divinely appointed head. On the other hand, Lutherans assert that Christ is the only true head of Christendom and that all Christian doctrine must be judged by Christ’s body and the Scripture.