From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


Consubstantiation is contrary to Lutheran belief. I am a pastor of the ELCA for 16 years and hold a both a master and doctorial degree from two different ELCA seminaries. The central issue is that consubstantiation finds the locus of Christ along side the elements of bread and wine. Luther's teaching of the real presence is that Christ's body and blood is found "in, through and under" (a direct phase from the Luthean Catechism)the elements of bread and wine. Although I am not an expert in Calvinism, I have some understanding that their belief is in line with a theology of consubstantiation - in that there is a "eucharistic Calvinistic extra" where Christ is pressent in a "spiritual" way along side the individual receiving the eucherist. I believe that Calvin's concern was with Christ being on the right hand of the Father, and in the elements of Holy Communion, at the same time. Luther and Lutherans respond to the duplicity of Christ presence presented by Calvin's concern with God's ubiquity.

Your connection between Lutheranism and consubstantiation in Lutheran theology is inaccurate and should be removed. You are misleading readers and providing false information. This is most certianly true.

The following is copied directly from the ELCA website:

What Sacraments Do Lutherans Accept?

Lutherans accept two Sacraments as God-given means for penetrating the lives of people with his grace. Although they are not the only means of God's self-revelation, Baptism and Holy Communion are visible acts of God's love.

In Baptism, and it can be seen more clearly in infant Baptism, God freely offers his grace and lovingly establishes a new community. It is in Baptism that people become members of Christ's Body on earth, the Church. In Holy Communion -- often called the Lord's Supper or the Eucharist -- those who come to the table receive in bread and wine the body and blood of their Lord. This gift is itself the real presence of God's forgiveness and mercy, nourishing believers in union with their Lord and with each other 05:03, 23 March 2007 (UTC) The Rev. Dr. Brian J. Stamm

I reverted the removal of Lutheranism as an example for a denomination believing something. This denomination is based on Martin Luther's teachings. So read the Large Catechism section about the Sacrament of the Altar and you see that quite clearly. Awolf002 02:43, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

link removal[edit] Lutherans Deny Consubstantiation Consubstantiation View, falsely charged to Lutheranism

These two links were added and I moved them here for discussion. It seems that we will need some input from a theological inclined person to explain the difference between "consubstantiation" and "sacramental" to figure out what Lutherans believe. Help, please!! Awolf002 20:46, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)


A cry for help is always good. Since we are in a discussion area here is my view, from the way I understand the difference: Consubstantiation is a "loaded" term, meaning that it can mean more than one thing and is commonly used to twist meanings on things. At one time, it was viewed that consubstantiation was the opposite of Transub. in a duopoly of the two arguments. If you were for transub. you were fore consub. At this time Transub. was used to describe the priest turning the elements into the real thing. Consub was any other differing teaching.

Later it became that consub. was an explanation of what the elements changed into. So instead of it describing when or how it happened it turned into Consub. being what the new substance was.

Even later, as a Roman Catholic Priest explained to me that the new definitions are that Transub is the belief/faith of the priest turning the bread and wine into the real thing and that Consub is the belief/faith of the taker turning it into the real thing.


How then can we clarify things? I agree that "Consubstantiation" is loaded. But how can we define it now? Awolf002 21:09, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

One possible solution[edit]

Describing the various things I put in the discussion above in a more formalized way might be a good start, what do you think? Ill have to think of the best way.


Maybe we could contrast things in a clearer way, so that it is more obvious what the "sticking points" are. I like the first link, which seems to have some of that. Awolf002 21:39, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Hopeful fix[edit]

I edited the article, because it was too POV in its previous form. Clearly some Lutherans believe in consubstantiation (I do, for example), while others do not. I do not know which belief is more common, so I said that many present-day Lutherans reject this term. I would be curious to know what the status of "consubstantiation" is with each of the major Lutheran denominations: ELCA, LCMS, WELS, ELCIC, Evangelical Church in Germany, the Churches of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, etc. I am fairly certain that consubstantiation was taught in my ELCIC confirmation class many years ago, essentially as a synonym for "in, with, and under".

BTW, I removed the link to the LCMS document about eucharistic theology simply because the document does not contain the word "consubstantiation" and did not appear to address the issue at all. That document would be better linked on one of the other pages on Eucharistic theology, such as Eucharistic theologies contrasted.--Srleffler 05:40, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

Some clarification: after discussion with another user on a different talk page, it seems that the confusion may be that there is a difference between the philosophical doctrine of "consubstantiation", and what Lutherans actually believe. Many Lutherans call what we believe "consubstantiation", but from the view of a philosopher/theologian that term might be incorrect. I think the current wording of the article expresses this well enough.--Srleffler 06:11, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I'd like to affirm the article as it's written; Srleffler is correct, the confusion is that Luther's theology of the eucharist can be taken two ways; the first, which is commonly ascribed to the word 'consubstantiation,' is the iron and fire usage you have here, in which two things exist /as/ the same entity. The second is the "in, with, and under" terminology used elsewhere, which would present a seperation between element and divinity, but having both occupy the same physical space in time. The second definition is the most widely accepted within the Lutheran traditions, although many accept the second, yet believe that in the second, the first is implied. The overall point to make is that Luther himself spoke against defining it too specifically; he was much more interested in adhering to the ideal of Real Presence, being that there was a physical presence in the element (as opposed to merely a spiritual one -- he held that in the bread and wine one receives the full physical and spiritual being of Christ); how that physical presense was in the element was less of a concern in his theology. Peace to you all, User:Deleted_user_jj1 06:20, 12 February 2006 (UTC) (Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg)

@Srleffler (and the rest, of course). I was confirmed in the Church of Sweden, and I was taught that consubstantiation was how my church viewed it. That was, however, a couple of decades ago. The article at Swedish Wikipedia states that today there are many different views not only among the lutheran churches, but also in the Church of Sweden. I fail to find much on the church's website, and not any good other material either, not on the web probably because the topic hasn't been very hot since ages. So stating that "lutherans reject the concept", as the article states now, is to me outright wrong. Possibly there is a difference in terminology here; I'm not sure if Americans would label the Church of Sweden as lutheran or evangelical (the later concept is very, very vague to me). --Höstlövpåmarken (talk) 13:03, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the statement that "Lutherans reject the concept" is clearly too strong, since not all Lutherans do.--Srleffler (talk) 18:40, 12 October 2014 (UTC)


I added a "See also" and we need to make this article consistent with the Eucharist list of theologies. Awolf002 23:34, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

WELS doctrine[edit]

"the change occurs only upon receipt of the communion by the believer." This line expresses the doctrine of the Wisconsin Synod, which is not shared by all lutherans.


Wasn't Wycliffe a believer in consubstantiation?

Only insofar as such later figures as Luther and Cranmer can be held to adhere to 'consubstantiation'. It is not an accurate label for many doctrinal positions, but tends to get used for everyone who in some way believes in some sort of co-existance of bread and Body, wine and Blood. It is a oversimplification; some writers appreciate the subtlties behind, and problems raised by using, the term, and unfortuantely some do not!
For Wyclif : Christ is omnipotent and omnipresent, and is therefore present to the sacrament. Christ's body is in heaven, and remains so at consecration. Therefore the presence is spiritual and not dimensional. The Host is not Christ, or any part of him, but a sign. Wyclif thus holds three modes of presence within the Eucharist : virtual, spiritual, sacramental. This is clearly not the same as consubstantiation (which in part argues for a substitution of essence), and is closer - but not identical - to the position later held by Bucer over the RP (while differning markedly over the sacramental nature and benefits of the Eucharist).
(See : Dugmore, CW The Mass and the English Reformers (London: Macmillan, 1958) - old, but provides a good summary of the subtlties of the differences held by different theologians over the nature of the sacrament). Tobermory (talk) 04:05, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

who believes this?[edit]

Everyone seems to think that Lutherans believe this, but apparently they don't. But if they don't, who does? It seems a bit disconcerting to have a term describing a theology which no one (apparently) believes in.... who invented this term? who popularised it? was it invented by someone who agreed with it, or was it invented by someone as a characterisation of their opponents (e.g. Catholic opponents of Lutheranism)? We need to answer these questions in this article. --SJK 11:46, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

I removed a paragraph from the "consubstantial" article which claimed that the Church of England used that term to apply to the Eucharist. It was obviously misplaced in that article which was solely about the relationship of the persons of the Trinity, but perhaps the Church of England believes in a doctrine of consubstantiation of the Eucharistic elements.
It's probable that there is still considerable belief in both Lutheran and Anglican circles for a doctrine of Eucharistic consubstantiation, but I know of no reliable third party sources for that assertion. I suggest that until such time as such a source is found, the article be edited to provide a history of usage (or non-usage) to describe Lutheran and Anglican Eucharist. Dlw20070716 (talk) 22:09, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Clear as Mud?[edit]

Luther rejected transubstantiation (1) because he didn't think that aristotlean metaphysics were useful in helping Christians understand the work of God, and (2) he didn't think that there should be a required philosophical understanding of the mysteries of God.

Luther (personally) rejected transub., but allowed that others could still hold to transub. as a matter of conscience. The objection many Lutherans have to "consubstantiation" is that it implies a reliance on the aristotlean metaphysic (same basic prob. as transub.) and it implies that there is only one way for Lutherans to understand the presence of Christ.

Consubstantiation, historically, was a term applied by those outside of the Lutheran tradition to describe the sacramental theology of Lutherans. Some Lutherans adapted the term for of ease of use. The more traditional Lutheran description is to say that the body & blood of Christ are present "in, with, & under (or through)" the elements of bread and wine (leave the question of precisely how this occurs unanswered). I think the best treatment of this, in Luther's corpus, is his Treatise on the New Testament, which is the Mass. Pastordavid 08:06, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Luther's Confession Concerning Christ's Supper is a better source for his doctrine of the Lord's Supper as well as his catechisms, which he wrote a year later in 1529. I think that is it crystal clear that observant Lutherans do not want a sophisticated philosphical concept like Consubstantiation to govern the biblical doctrine of the sacramental union. Consubstantiation also implies a "local inclusion" of the body and blood of Christ, which Lutherans reject.--Drboisclair 16:11, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Martin Luther did not advocate consubstantiation nor does the Eastern Orthodox Church[edit]

Martin Luther's mature eucharistic doctrine was not consubstantiation. To associate his doctrine with consubstantiation is a factual error. I have removed the section, which states this in the article. It is also erroneous to identify the eucharistic doctrine of Eastern Orthodoxy with this term. Consubstantiation was a eucharistic theory developed in medieval nominalism (the school of Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, and Pierre d'Ailly), Luther, who was educated by nominalists may have been receptive to their doctrines before he formulated his own theology.--Drboisclair 23:13, 4 April 2007 (UTC)


The opening of this article says that the theory of consubstantiation was "advocated by medieval nominalists such as Duns Scotus", citing Bengt Hagglund's "History of Theology" as a source. This conflicts with the article on Duns Scotus, which says, "Duns Scotus was a scholastic realist (as opposed to a nominalist)" (see
So there is that contradiction. But moreso I think the claim that Duns Scotus advocated the theory of consubstantiation should be disputed. W. J. Torrance Kirby (citing James F. McCue, in "The Doctrine of Transubstantiation", page 105) in his book "Richard Hooker and the English Reformation", argues on page 156 that "Duns Scotus stated that transubstantiation was the only orthodox position. Scotus argued in the interest of defending the authority of the post-apostolic church even though no inherent or necessary connection to the doctrine of the real presence could be found in Scripture or developed through reason." (See [1]|here.) So what are we to do? Who do we trust? I think we should trust James McCue and Kirby, because if we go with Hagglund we must retain a contradiction. We should at least post a "disputed - discuss" thingy on the sentence in question. (talk) 21:45, 5 January 2008 (UTC)Dmar198

The best way to handle this is to present all these point of views as the conclusion of the respective authors on the Duns Scotus page (within a section?), and then write the "blurb" here as conditional/disputed conclusion that mentions the references who are arguing for him supporting consubstantiation. Remember, we at WP do not do original research, but report on the main trains of thoughts in the literature. Hope this helps. Awolf002 (talk) 16:21, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


I recently said that consubstantiation is used by Burke and it was reverted. The citation shows that consubstantiation is what was being used. It isn't a problem of disambiguation as the rhetorical move of religious consubstantiation is exactly what Burke was talking about, just generalized to rhetoric as a whole and not limited to religious rhetoric. I'm going to revert the reversion because it is relevant to the topic and properly cited. Reversion of well documented information should be spoken about here first.

Saylors (talk) 03:13, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

I read the cited page, and it refers to consubstantiality, which is a related but not identical concept. Mangoe (talk) 03:27, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
This is true, but, from the citation: "I. Nature of Rhetoric (173) A. Identification 1. Identity or consubstantiation is the quality of sharing attributes. And The second sections establishes what factors determine individual perspectives and predispositions, while the third explains how identification/consubstantiation is not a physical togetherness but rather a togetherness of action.  :-)" Saylors (talk) 03:55, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
Is there some way we can handle this without leaving fugitive traces in these other articles, then? It's obviously a different topic, and from what I can see Burke's theories are not well laid-out in Wikipedia. Mangoe (talk) 09:56, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
I was trying to avoid a sub-section called "secular usage" since the article is so small, I was just leaving the info in the intro. I'll do either (or some 3rd thing if someone thinks of it) Saylors (talk) 09:31, 2 November 2012 (UTC)