Lutheran Church Question

One of my grandchildren goes to a Lutheran school. Today was grandparents day and I got to spend some time at school with him. We went to chapel and of course I did not genuflect and make the sign of the cross as Jesus was not present there. However I did notice a red candle at the side of the sanctuary but did not see a tabernacle.

I know Lutherans believe in the real presence but differently that Catholics do. So I have a couple of questions.

  1. What does the red candle mean for Lutherans? I know what it means in the Catholic Church.
  2. What is the real presence belief of the Lutherans? This church is LCMS I believe.
  3. It appeared there was an alter toward the back of the sanctuary that was covered by a green cloth. Is that an alter where transubstantiation happens?
  4. Are consecrated hosts retained in a special container like a tabernacle?

I am practicing Catholic and know what all of this in the Catholic Church, please do not try to educated me in Catholicism.

To answer your questions in order;

  1. It’s a sanctuary lamp just like the ones used in the Catholic Church.

  2. Lutherans believe in the real presence but typically hold to consubstantiation instead of transubstantiation. Consubstantiation is the belief that the bread and wine coexist with the body and blood of Christ. There’s more to it but I’ll let someone more knowledgeable elaborate.

  3. Lutherans have alters and believe that the elements become the body and blood of Christ after the consecration (The Catholic view is that their clergy lack valid orders so their Eucharist does not actually become the body and blood of Christ.). As mentioned above Lutherans typically don’t hold to transubstantiation.

  4. Some Lutherans reserve hosts in tabernacles but I’m not sure it’s a universal practice. If there was a lit sanctuary lamp then it’s a safe bet there would be a tabernacle near by.

So this would be much like the Catholic Church. Why then do they not show reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament while in the church?

If only JonNC were to stop by.

I get him a lot of work.

Lutherans usually reject the word “consubstantiation.” We call it Sacramental Union. Jesus is bodily present in the elements, but they don’t lose their “bread-ness” or “wine-ness.”


Exactly. Otherwise, I think Torolf got it right.

I’m a previous Lutheran. Just amazed at the amount of misconception out there about what Lutherans believe.


It’s different with Anglicans. Just about every assertion can be found amongst some Anglicans, somewhere.


Yes 123456789

It depends on what you mean by showing reverence. If you mean genuflect when we enter the pews, it’s not that common a practice, nor is it commanded anywhere in scripture. I am not against the practice as I think that it is not a bad idea for the purpose of catechizing people to what we believe about the sacrament, its just not that common. Typically though when we approach the altar for communion we do genuflect. With regard to making the sign of the cross, again this isn’t something that is commanded in scripture so it is a matter of adiaphora, but it is a practice that is fairly common, but not universal, in Lutheran worship. Our Small Catechism for example instructs us to make the sign of the cross when we pray. Again, this isn’t commanded, but for the purposes of catechesis, its not a bad practice that maybe we should place more emphasis on and instruct people as to its purpose in teaching our doctrine.


To add to what TNMan stated about our belief in the Real Presence, we don’t subscribe to transubstantiation nor do we subscribe to consubstantiation. Essentially, Christ says that he is present in the Lord’s Supper. We take his promise at face value and believe Christ is present in the Holy Supper. We also acknowledge that at various places in scripture, the elements of the sacrament are both described as being the body and blood as well as bread and wine. We accept what scripture says about the Lord’s Supper without trying to explain what can’t be explained. We accept the mystery of the Lord’s Presence in the Eucharist without trying to explain it and accept what the Holy Spirit has revealed in scripture on faith.


While I understand your point, if a Lutheran parish is following proper reverence, the remaining host will be reserved separately from unconsecrated bread. It may not be in a tabernacle, but it is there, in the sacristy, all the same.

The Lutheran confessions clearly state it is the true and substantial body and blood of Christ, given and she’d for the forgiveness of sin.
Con substantiation is rejected in the confessions as is transubstantiation.

Depending on the liturgical season, just like Catholic altars, the color.

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Given this was not a worship service but a school chapel time, I was amazed at the amount of talking and carrying on happening there. It was as though there was no acknowledgement of the presence of Christ there. I get that not everybody there was Lutheran, but being a Lutheran school I would guess at least half the adults there were. My grandchild is not Lutheran, he just attends the school. (Even though there is a perfectly good Catholic school where I work. Maybe next year.) It could be very different at a regular Sunday service.

If I am understanding you correctly, the reason for not genuflecting generally is because there is no explicit instructions in scripture to do so.

While I don’t recommend this kind of behavior in a chapel setting, again this is adiaphora, neither commanded nor prohibited by scripture. That being said, again, my concern here would just be respect for others who may be trying to pray or meditate, and just the catechetical concerns.

I would suspect, in fact I know from my own observation at my wife’s parish, that your own Church body has the same sorts of behaviors that are allowed depending on the leadership. So, even scales, speck and plank, and all that.

Because we do not believe Lutheran Priests have valid Apostolic Succession and hence we do not believe they are Priest and as such can not consecrate Eucharist. Hence it would be bowing to false Eucharist in our view. This is also precisely why Catholics should not receive in any Church with invalid Apostolic Succession ever.

I take it that Lutherans do not define “how” Eucharist becomes Body and Blood of our Lord, but are transubstantiation and consubstantiation really both rejected? Interesting.

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I’m guessing your Lutheran, can I ask you. Do Lutheran’s have an RCIA class similar to the Catholic church? Yes I can ask at the church I attend but I’m asking here first… :wink:

I thought this would be a problem for me until I learned in my RCIA class that there is a large percentage of Catholic’s don’t believe in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine.

Because of that I figured it was a personal thing between you and God, not so much the power of the priest’s words… so I do take the Eucharist in the Lutheran church I attend… especially because I truly believe Matthew 18:20, so where God is present His body and blood is also present.

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That is your personal choice. It goes against teachings and authority of the Church, but in the end it is up to you whether you obey or disobey.

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Everything, I do is a personal choice… weather or not it goes against the Church in the end is up to God, Our Father in Heaven. don’t you think?

Most Lutheran churches I have been involved with have a newcomer’s class that teaches our doctrinal beliefs. If you are going to a smaller parish, I have seen Pastors invite you to catechism classes with the kids if a newcomer’s class isn’t available. In short, all the Lutheran pastors I have been involved with have a means of catechizing new members.


This explains why Catholics do not genuflect to a Lutheran tabernacle, not why Lutherans do not genuflect to a Lutheran tabernacle, which was, I believe, what the OP was asking.

I don’t know the answer.

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