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Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that (like Transubstantiation) attempts to describe the nature of the Christian Eucharist in concrete metaphysical terms. It holds that during the sacrament, the fundamental "substance" of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine, which remain present. The doctrine of consubstantiation is often held in contrast to the doctrine of transubstantiation. The adjective consubstantial however describes a different theological concept.
While some Lutherans use the term "consubstantiation" to describe their doctrine, many reject it as not accurately reflecting the eucharistic doctrine of Martin Luther, the sacramental union. Lutherans reject the concept of consubstantiation because it substitutes what they believe to be the biblical doctrine with a philosophical construct and implies, in their view, a natural, local inclusion of the body and blood of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine of the eucharist.
History and culture
In England in the late 14th century, there was a political and religious movement known as Lollardy. Among much broader goals, the Lollards affirmed a form of consubstantiation—that the Eucharist remained physically bread and wine, while becoming spiritually the body and blood of Christ. Lollardy survived up until the time of the English Reformation.
- "Real Presence Communion – Consubstantiation?". WELS Topical Q&A. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Archived from the original on 27 Sep 2009. Retrieved 26 Jan 2015.
Although some Lutherans have used the term 'consbstantiation' [sic] and it might possibly be understood correctly (e.g., the bread & wine, body & blood coexist with each other in the Lord's Supper), most Lutherans reject the term because of the false connotation it contains...either that the body and blood, bread and wine come together to form one substance in the Lord’s Supper or that the body and blood are present in a natural manner like the bread and the wine. Lutherans believe that the bread and the wine are present in a natural manner in the Lord’s Supper and Christ’s true body and blood are present in an illocal, supernatural manner.
- F.L. Cross, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, second edition, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974), 340 sub loco.
- Weimar Ausgabe 26, 442; Luther's Works 37, 299-300.
- J.T. Mueller, Christian Dogmatics: A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, (St. Louis: CPH, 1934), 519.
- Erwin L. Lueker, Christian Cyclopedia, (St. Louis: CPH, 1975), "consubstantiation".
- Lectures on the Augsburg Confession. Theological Seminary of the United Lutheran Church in America (Lutheran Publication Society). 1888. p. 350. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
But in neither sense can that monstrous doctrine of Consubstantiation be attributed to our church, since Lutherans do not believe either in that local conjunction of two bodies, nor in any commingling of bread and of Christ's body, of winde and of his blood.