Several posters in this section of the forums have asked what the Lutheran view of the Lord’s Supper truly is. This thread is intended to try to explain what Lutherans believe.
Firstly, let’s start with what Lutherans do not believe:
Consubstantiation: View, falsely charged to Lutheranism, that bread and body form 1 substance (a “3d substance”) in Communion (similarly wine and blood) or that body and blood are present, like bread and wine, in a natural manner.
Mistakenly, many Roman Catholics identify Lutheran belief as “Consubstantiation.” This is due, in part, to the Roman Catholic understanding of the Sacrament being a bit more “explained” and seemingly Aristotelian (at least, on the surface). It’s also not helped by the fact that many authoritative Roman Catholic sources surprisingly define ‘Consubstantiation’ in the negative; in other words, anything that proclaims the Real Presence and is not Transubstantiation is deemed to be Consubstantiation.
What we Lutherans actually profess is:
Sacramental Union; (Lat. unio sacramentalis). Union of bread and body, wine and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar.
We do not attempt to explain how this happens - it is a Divine Mystery. This is why Lutherans are a bit apprehensive when we hear Transubstantiation explained; it seems as though Roman Catholics are attempting to explain how the Sacrament happens (I recognize that Roman Catholics do not think this to be the case, I’m simply explaining).
Those seeking a more in-depth understanding can peruse the following links: