Protestant understanding of the Communion of the Saints

When I was an Anglican we professed to believe in the Communion of the Saints. I never really understood it and didn’t really think about it.
Now that I’ve been home for about 15 years that has all changed.

I am curious though as to:
What different denominations teach about the topic.
What are your personal ideas?

Now it’s bed time (for Bozo?).

Well as a former protstant I can tell you that the term Communion of saints was never common, in fact protestants usually were too busy bashing Catholics and other denomiations that we really didn’t care, So I figure that at least protestants still don’t care, I know I do now,

This explains the Lutheran understanding, at least for the LCMS. From my memory of catechism classes it was much the same in the WELS Lutheran church.

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church

Well, I suspect it would be pretty hard to explain what all the thousands of differing Protestant denominations believe, since there are so many of them. I’m a cradle Catholic, but I suspect that those denominations that are closest to Catholic might believe in the Communion of Saints, while those furthest away may not.

Sadly, we (Evangelicals) typically avoid anything that even looks “Catholic” - even if it is Biblical and we believe it.

I bet many Catholics do the same thing in regards to us :slight_smile:

Well, my understanding is that the communion of saints includes both living Christians and those who have passed on (still living, since we have eternal life…) There is a passage in Revelation, which of course I can’t find right now, that talks about those who were martyred asking God how long He will tarry, which to me implies that those who have passed on are aware of what’s happening on earth. Now, I have never asked a saint to pray for me, but I do feel comfort in knowing that they cheer for me, both literally and figuratively (see Hebrews 12:1). I’m not sure what my position my denomination takes; my guess would be that it’s something that is left open.

And the “cloud of witnesses” which encompass us and cheer us on to victory is another.

here is how I had described it elsewhere:

The Church today (as always) is the body of Christ. Upon believing in Christ as Lord, one is given the Holy Spirit. (Eph 1:13-14) In accepting such believers and in giving the gift of the Holy Spirit, God did not distinguish between the Jews and the Gentiles (Acts 15:8-9) and does not distinguish between the Catholics and the Protestants and Orthodox today. As we are all given one and the same Spirit, we constitute the one body of Christ. (1 Cor 12:12-27) God has worked to combine us into that one body so that there should be no division (1 Cor 12:25). Within that body, all should be seen as indispensable (1 Cor 12:21-22) No part of the body should think that it is more important than any other part. (1 Cor 12:21-22 & Romans 12:3).

Now it’s bed time (for Bozo?)

man, with you guys out east packing it in so early, no wonder it is we in the west who are doing all the work in Canada. :wink:

The only person I’ve ever heard (try) to explain it in the ELCA said it was only a communion on earth. Of course that’s unbiblical and wrong, but that’s the answer I got and I guess what I’ll believe the ELCA believes. :shrug: There’s sure not a lot of emphasis on it.

That is certainly not the Lutheran belief, ELCA or otherwise. The Communion of Saints is all of His saints, on Earth and in Heaven. And if by emphasis, you mean it doesn’t include invocation, of course, that is true.


Right on, Jon. The Communion of Saints is inclusive of the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant. And, I’m sure our Catholic brothers and sisters would include the Church Suffering (the souls in purgatory).

I figured it’s not the real Lutheran belief, but I find it hard to count the ELCA (as a whole) as truly Lutheran.:shrug:

But there are faithful Lutherans in the ELCA.

Luckily This is true. :slight_smile:

The problem is that Lutherans are lazy, the laity don’t take time to study and the pastors don’t teach the Lutheran Confessions. All my years in the ELCA, I never heard the Lutheran Confessions mention. It was only Luther’s Small Catechism during Catechism. At the LC-MS church where I belong, the pastor have an on going class on the Confessions every other Saturday through out the year. Concordia Publishing House came out with the Concordia, The Reader Edition of The Lutheran Confessions ( Book of Concord ).

I never really understood it and didn’t really think about it.;):wink:

Well said, hn. We are lazy. Many Lutherans are satisfied to be “protestant”.
This is something I’ve been encouraging our pastor to do - teach/preach from the confessions. I wonder how many Lutherans in the pews know that the Formula of Concord mentions the sempre virgo?


Nothing has changed. No Lutheran I’ve talked to (although I haven’t talked to my pastor) has even heard of the Book of Concord.

My understanding would be similar to the ancient church’s.

It seems a pervasive problem. My church claims the Augsburg Confession as a doctrinal document. I’m quite sure almost none of the laity have read it. I’m doubtful most clergy have read it. I actually read it last summer (it can be read rather quickly). I was shocked what was in it because quite frankly it bore no resemblance to Christianity as practiced in my church.

What communion are you a member of?


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