Communion at a Protestant church


That’s correct. These were terms that the church catholic, gathered in ecumenical council, used to describe the Trinity— and inadequately, at that! (Do not forget that the Trinity is a mystery and our preferred explanations will always fall incomplete!) Accordingly, it does not follow that a different situation on a different topic in a different era should be expected to use the same terms and formulas. Cultures change. Philosophies come and go. Only the Truth remains.

And so nothing can be divorced from its context and remain properly understood. Frankly, it must be considered that had the church developed in some other culture (say, the Far East, where the Buddhism-influenced culture is less concerned with the “being” and “essence” of Greek Thought than it is with “desire” and “suffering”), it would very likely formulate the Truth of the Trinity in a drastically different way, yet no less compatible with Truth. Perhaps in a more relational way than Greek labels permit.

This is comparable to the Lutheran’s understanding of the Supper to the Roman Catholic’s. They’re speaking different languages, yet professing the same Truth: the Real Presence of Christ.

This is why Lutherans frankly see “Transubstantiation” as a minor concern. Not even secondary or tertiary. In fact, the only objections Lutherans really have to it is that it can, in some instances, be understood to lend credence to the idea that the Mass is a sacrifice. Yet even here, there is some agreement (see section 1b and 2.).



    November 1

I am afraid you’re mistaken. Both Consubstantiation and Transubstantiation are explicitly rejected by the Lutheran Confessions. If you learned one of those doctrines in a Lutheran church, your pastor was not teaching Lutheran beliefs.

I wrote this post some time ago to help folks understand this. For a brief rundown:

  • Transubstantiation holds that the entire “substance” of the bread and wine is changed into Christ’s Body and Blood, until only the “accidents” of bread (taste, consistency, color, etc.) remain. This is the Roman Catholic understanding.
  • Consubstantiation reasons that the bread and the wine and the Body and the Blood are united in some way that, more or less, creates some new, third substance. I don’t know of a single sect today that actually believes in Consubstantiation, though even some Lutherans have been duped into using the term by Calvinists (who originally made up the term to confuse Lutherans into adopting Calvin’s view) Luckily, even when Lutherans get duped into using the word, they don’t usually adopt the beliefs behind it, thank God! Consubstantiation has been explained as:
    • As an actual creation of a new, third substance
    • As impanation - where the substances don’t change, but Christ’s presence is substantially stored in the substance of the bread and wine
    • As incorporation - where the substances don’t change, but Christ’s presence is mingled into the substance of the bread and wine
    • In countless other messy, over-thought interminglings of the “substances” and “accidents” in an array of almost comical combinations.
  • Sacramental Union , which Lutherans actually believe, does not attempt to reason out the miracle of the Sacrament of the Altar. It simply trusts in the mystery of Christ’s Words; that He does what He says He does. That He truly, physically gives Himself for us for the forgiveness of sins in (and with and under and in every inadequate human way of understanding) the bread and the wine. Similar to the Eastern Orthodox view.


When I was a Lutheran, I don’t remember the word " Consubstantiation" being used. But it came to about the same thing. As the pastor–and again a later pastor, when I was older–explained, “It’s both. It certainly has become the body and blood of Jesus, but you can see and feel that it is still a wafer and wine. It is both at once.”

Also, Lutherans do use wine, not grape juice. There seems to be some misunderstanding about that, too.

<<the bread and the wine and the Body and the Blood are united in some way that, more or less, creates some new, third substance>> No, that doesn’t sound like anything I heard as a Lutheran. I guess you could say we were tap dancing around the edges of that, but there was never a “third substance” mentioned. And neither was the word “consubstantiation” mentioned.

Both of my old pastors have passed on, so I can’t look them up and ask them for clarification here.

One thing you don’t hear much of among Lutherans is the concept of other religions getting “duped.” We note that nobody has come back from the other side to tell us how they fare, or to tell us that Christ personally told them this or that, so we like to think that some of it is just unknowable in this world.


It is absolutely fine to recieve Communion at a Protestant church… if you are a Protestant.


Thank you for sharing. I am glad that your old pastor did not refer to the Lord’s Supper as Consubstantiation! :slight_smile:

This could just as well have been said by a Catholic priest. The fact that the Lutheran pastor made a point to say that it does “change” in some way should demonstrate to Roman Catholics that this is not Consubstantiation.

But don’t take my word for it, take your own church’s word! In 1967, the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogues came out with one of the few useful ecumenical documents: The Eucharist. Read it and note the Catholic source.

It never once speaks of Consubstantiation, and actually puts that misunderstanding to rest. Yet search the document and you will find “Sacramental Union” mentioned.


I’m Catholic now. No dog in that fight any more.


To reject the Sacrifice of the Mass is to reject Christ’s eternal priesthood. Does not the Eternal High Priest have something to sacrifice to be a High Priest?


Read the link and see what our churches say.


a) First of all, we must be clear that Catholics as well as Lutherans affirm the unrepeatable character of the sacrifice of the cross. The Council of Trent, to be sure, affirmed this, but Lutheran doubts about the Catholic position were not resolved. Today, however, we find no reason for such doubt, and we recognize our agreement in the assertion that "What God did in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, he does not do again. The events are unique; they cannot be repeated, or extended or continued. Yet in this memorial we do not only recall past events: God makes them present through the Holy Spirit, thus making us participants in Christ (I Cor. 1:9).

Do you confess to believe in this?


My church body was a full participant and signatory to the document.

Where there is nuance, the footnotes help clarify.


What is preventing you from converting to the Catholic Church?


No, it is not permissible as it sends a false message.

It would be hypocritical to receive communion with a group of people who, sadly, you are not in full Communion with.

You can pray with them, praise and worship God with them, acknowledge that they are brothers and sisters in Christ… But receiving communion with them sends out a false message of unity when in fact division exists.

I know this is difficult to accept and it pains me to have to say it, but it is Magisterial teaching.


Far too many theological reasons to name. As a guest on these rather hostile boards (which do not even accept Lutherans at their word about their own beliefs) and in the spirit of Christian charity (I have no desire to air out Rome’s dirty laundry), I’m not about to list them and get banned.

In the simplest terms, I am convinced by Scripture, tradition and history that the Lutheran formulation of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith as laid out in the Book of Concord is the closest visible manifestation of what the ancient church should look like today. I find my particular Synod to be the nearest to that curiously-named, robust ‘Mere Christianity.’


Really? How about you name just one or two and we can both work through them together in ecumenical charity?

You and I both know that you could very easily list these supposed ‘[f]ar too many theological reasons to name’ in a constructive and charitable manner within the terms and conditions of this site that will not get you flagged, let alone ‘banned’. Again, could you name just one and we can iron it out?

I respect the fact that you used ‘Scripture, tradition, and history’ to form your view of conviction, regardless of the differences in how we view and interpret those three. What I am a little curious about is how and why you used the terms ‘one, holy, catholic, and apostolic’ and applied them to ‘faith’. Certainly, there is nothing intrinsically wrong about doing so as the faith and Church are one, but those terms were coined and used to promulgate the physical marks of the universal Church Jesus Christ founded in order to separate Her from any other Church, sect, denomination, synod, branch, etc. claiming what only She can claim.

Let us forget about Scripture and tradition for a moment. I will, for the sake of argument, give up any biased pretenses and concede to your theory. Can you, if you will, from a pure historical account, show me how ‘the Lutheran formulation of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith as laid out in the Book of Concord’ is the closest visible manifestation of what the ancient church should look like today’?


Married clergy. I wouldn’t be here if Lutherans prohibited married men from being pastors.


Would not you want your pastor to be married to his flock (you) so he could focus all of his attention and efforts shepherding your soul all the way to the Eternal Promised Land?

Or, would you rather have your pastor have to balance his pastoral affairs with his domestic affairs?

“The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided”. - 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 (ESV)

And, by the way, there are many, many married clergy (priests and deacons) in the Latin Rite.


Er, can’t see this one myself there are plenty of married priests in the Catholic Church so this doesn’t seem a very logical reason to stay with one Church over another.


But would my great grand father who didn’t marry until after he graduated seminary been allowed to marry?


Or perhaps it signifies a ritual that puts us, as members of Christ’s body, in communion with God.


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It’s not supposed to be a place to debate the faith, but rather for learn the absolute truth.

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However, there are some threads that totally go against the apologetic mission of CAF & Catholic Answers, so they are closed or even sometimes deleted.

God Bless

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