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In Lutheran doctrine of the Lord's Supper, consubstantiation often denotes the sacramental union of the body and blood of Jesus Christ with bread and wine . The Lutheran understanding of the Lord's Supper is based on a real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper gifts of bread and wine.

Theological meaning

The doctrine of consubstantiation, however, is not a genuine Lutheran doctrine. The Lutheran Reformation also fell back on older traditions. Theologians such as Duns Scotus , Wilhelm von Ockham , Johannes Gerson , Pierre d'Ailly or Gabriel Biel have already expressed the opinion that the doctrine of consubstantiation is better compatible with reason. Nevertheless, the aforementioned Roman Catholic theologians formally adhered to the doctrine of transubstantiation of the IV Lateran Council .

The authoritative formulation of the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord's Supper can be found in the formula of the Concord , according to which the believers receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ in, sub et cum bread and wine with their mouth for the forgiveness of sins. Luther did not define himself conceptually in this way; he illustrates the idea through the image of an iron made to glow in fire: fire and iron are connected in red-hot iron, but both are still there. This means, then, that through consecration, the body of Christ and the bread, as well as the blood of Christ and the wine, form a sacramental unity.

However, the real presence of the true body and blood of Christ under bread and wine must not be misunderstood to mean that Christ is divided. Rather, the whole of Christ (totus Christ) is truly present in the consecrated gifts ( concurrence ). But this must not serve as a justification for the withdrawal of the cup : for Jesus Christ himself commanded the communio sub utraque specie , the Lord's Supper in both forms, in the words of institution .

Problem of an unclear definition

The term “consubstantiation” was not explicitly mentioned or defined by Luther either in his confessional writings or in the other Reformation confessional writings.

Because of this fact, some Lutherans reject the term. They assume that the term “consubstantiation” includes the meaning that bread and body or wine and blood would form a common, third substance or the meaning that Christ's body and blood, like bread and wine, would be naturally present.

The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod rejects consubstantiation as a view of the doctrine of the Lord's Supper that is wrongly attributed to Lutheranism. The Lutheran view is described solely with the concept of real presence, according to which the believers receive the body and blood of Christ "in, under and with" bread and wine.

Ecumenical meaning

In contrast to the doctrine of the Lord's Supper advocated by the Lutheran Reformation , the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation assumes that the substance of the Lord's Supper elements gives way through the change of a new substance, namely Jesus Christ, and only the accidents of bread and wine remain. In addition to the objection already formulated in the late Middle Ages that this doctrine was not compatible with reason, the Reformation mainly criticized the lack of anchoring of the doctrine in Holy Scripture.

The formula of the Leuenberg Agreement , found in 1973 , that Christ gives himself “in his body and blood given for all through his word of promise with bread and wine”, does not fully incorporate the understanding of consubstantiation in the sense of the formula of the Agreement. It clearly places the emphasis on the act of celebrating the Lord's Supper and less on the sacramental unity of the truly present body and blood of Christ under bread and wine. Therefore not all Lutheran churches have been able to sign this consensus text, such as the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church .

Individual evidence

  1. See Confessio Augustana X, in: BSLK , p. 64; see. also Martin Luther , Vom Abendmahl Christi, Confession, in: WA 26, 261–509.
  2. See Wolfhart Pannenberg : Systematik Theologie , Vol. 3, Göttingen 1993, p. 328.
  3. See Formula Concordiae, Solida Declaratio VII, in: BSLK , p. 984.
  4. See Articuli Smalcaldici III / 6, in: BSLK , pp. 451,3ff.
  5. ^ Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - Christian Cyclopedia. Retrieved March 8, 2017 .
  6. ^ Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - Christian Cyclopedia. Means of Grace, IV. Lord's Supper as a means of grace. Erwin Lueker, accessed March 8, 2017 .