Lutherans and Real Presence


Hi all!

A friend just asked me about whether Lutherans have the Real Presence and I said no. I know they don’t have apostolic succession. But can anyone tell me where there are good articles or something by the Church to explain it in full?

Thanks! :slight_smile:


Catholic Answers magazine had Q&A in the TCA Life section on this topic in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue.It may be helpful.

Bottom line? They believe in the Real Presence, but they don’t have the Real Presence because their priesthoods are invalid due to a lapse in their lines of Apostolic Succession.

No valid priesthood, no valid consecration.

Hope this helps.:tiphat:


From The Real Presence:

The doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is literally and wholly present—body and blood, soul and divinity—under the appearances of bread and wine. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists frequently attack this doctrine as “unbiblical,” but the Bible is forthright in declaring it (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16–17, 11:23–29; and, most forcefully, John 6:32–71).

The early Church Fathers interpreted these passages literally…

Article X of the Augsburg Confession states that “Of the Supper of the Lord they (i.e. Lutherans) teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present”. You will usually see this presence expressed as “in, with and under” the forms of the bread and wine. But, most Lutherans do not believe that the Body and Blood of Christ remain present at the conclusion of the worship service, so while they may use the words “Real Presence” they do not mean it in the same way that Catholics do.


Also, Lutherans believe that it is Jesus’ body and blood, but doesn’t include His soul and divinity. Yes, they do not believe that the conversion is permanent. Even if they did believe what we believe, it doesn’t change anything because they do not have the authority to perform transubstantiation, because like it was said earlier, they do not have valid holy orders.


Just curious–does anyone know where Luther got the idea of consubstantiation from? I’m assuming this is something nobody had ever come up with before Luther.


I don’t believe that this is correct. Your source?

Lutherans, like other Christians, believe that Christ is one person with two natures, divine and human. If Lutherans believe that they are partaking of Christ’s body and blood–which they do–and they believe that Christ is divine–which they do–then Christ’s soul and divinity would be included in his blood and body.


Lutherans belief in the Eucharist is of consubstantiation which is a heretical doctrine against the teachings of the Catholic Church.


I don’ think that Lutherans use the term ‘consubstantiation’. I think it’s something we Catholics use to describe what Lutherans believe.

Anyhow, my Lutheran friends tell me that their communion is both the body and blood of Christ as well as bread and wine.

I also know that we do not recognize “Real Presence” in their communion no only because the invalid orders, but also because they reject our idea what holy communion actually is.


I think that the fundamental point has been missed here.
One can argue all day long about the real presence, but the real issue is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Because they deny that the Mass is a true and proper sacrifice, the real presence really means nothing. Because they do not have a valid priesthood, they have no way of offering the sacrifice even if they wanted to.

I think that the best way to address the real presence question is not to argue about transubstantiation and consubstantiation, but to point out that the real presence has no meaning outside of the Sacrifice of the Mass.


This is all fine and well as a statement of the position of the Catholic Church, but as you all know the Lutheran Churches have different beliefs. So be careful to be accurate when describing their beliefs even if you disagree as a matter of faith with those beliefs.


But a true doctrine of the teachings of their church.


Yep. :thumbsup:


Yes but a true doctrine of their church does not make it a true doctrine.


From The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist,

… As for the cogency of the argument from tradition, this historical fact is of decided significance, namely, that the dogma of the Real Presence remained, properly speaking, unmolested down to the time of the heretic Berengarius of Tours (d. 1088), and so could claim even at that time the uninterrupted possession of ten centuries. … The first occasion for an official procedure on the part of the Church was offered when Berengarius of Tours, influenced by the writings of Scotus Eriugena (d. about 884), the first opponent of the Real Presence, rejected both the latter truth and that of Transubstantiation. He repaired, however, the public scandal he had given by a sincere retractation made in the presence of Pope Gregory VII at a synod held in Rome in 1079, and died reconciled to the Church. … The Council of Trent met these widely divergent errors of the Reformation with the dogmatic definition, that the God-man is “truly, really, and substantially” present under the appearances of bread and wine, purposely intending thereby to oppose the expression vere to Zwingli’s signum, realiter to Œcolampadius’s figura, and essentialiter to Calvin’s virtus (Sess. XIII, can. i). And this teaching of the Council of Trent has ever been and is now the unwavering position of the whole of Catholic Christendom. …


From the Apology [defense] of the Augsburg Confession, one of the basic Lutheran confessional documents:

…we defend the doctrine received in the entire Church, that in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered with those things which are seen, bread and wine. And we speak of the presence of the living Christ [living body]; for we know that death hath no more dominion over Him, Rom. 6, 9.


I am confused. What did I say in error about Lutheran beliefs?

What Lutheran Church believes that their liturgy is the Sacrifice of the Cross made present and is a true and proper Sacrifice?


None I’m aware of. From the Epitome of the Formula of Concord, another one of the basic Lutheran confessional documents:

On the other hand, we unanimously reject and condemn all the following erroneous articles, which are opposed and contrary to the doctrine presented above, the simple faith, and the [pure] confession concerning the Lord’s Supper;
22] 1. The papistic transubstantiation, when it is taught in the Papacy that in the Holy Supper the bread and wine lose their substance and natural essence, and are thus annihilated; that they are changed into the body of Christ, and the outward form alone remains.
23] 2. The papistic sacrifice of the Mass for the sins of the living and the dead.

40] 19. That the external visible elements of the bread and wine should be adored in the Holy Sacrament.


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