After a long hiatus I am back to this underused blog with a great topic. How do Lutherans understand Christ's real presence in communion.
I am inviting comments in response to Stephan who wrote in a string at steadfastlutherans.com about decision theology about the way that Lutherans understand Christ presence in Communion and how that understanding is different tham transubstiation. Here's my response to Stephan.
I am sure grateful to see this conversation continue. If you like we can continue on my underused blog unlikelybanter.blogspot.com or if one of the powers that be behind the Steadfast Lutheran's site is ready it might be continued here as well.
You ask if Lutheran's believe in transubtantiation. We don't; but we do believe that Jesus is present for us in the bread and wine just as he promised to be present.
I was raised as a Catholic and even attended a Catholic University for my undergraduate degree. I have always believed that Christ is present in communion, the difference between a belief in real presence and a belief in transubtation is in no small part how we accept the mystery of Jesus' presence in communion. Here's where Luther just makes more sense (at least for my simple brain) by letting the ambiguity be that others try to explain away through their doctrines of Transubstatiation. The Catholic belief in Transubstatiation, as I was taught it, is an attempt to logically explain a mystery of God coming into our midst.
Martin Luther was bold in saying yes Jesus is present; but he was equally bold in encouraging people to just let the mystery of God's presence stand
So against all reason and hairsplitting logic I hold that two diverse substances may well be, in reality and in name, one substance. These are my reasons: First, when we are dealing with the works and words of God, reason and all human wisdom must submit to being taken captive, as St. Paul teaches in II Corinthians 10[:5], must allow themselves to be blinded and led, directed, taught, and instructed, lest we presume to be God’s judges in his words, for we shall surely lose out when we try to judge him in his words as Psalm 50 [51:4] testifies.
Secondly, if we take ourselves captive to him and confess that we do not comprehend his words and works, we should be satisfied. We should speak of his works simply using his words as he has pronounced them for us and prescribed that we speak them after him, and not presume to use our own words as if they were better than his. Martin Luther, vol. 37, Luther's Works, Vol. 37 : Word and Sacrament III, ( ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan et al.;, Luther's Works Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999, c1961), Vol. 37, Page 296.
Thanks Stefan for this great discussion of one of the great mysteries of faith. I trust that God's Word is always fruitful and that you and I both may be strengthened in our trust of Christ through such great conversation.