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Author Topic: Lutheran eucharistic theology  (Read 3903 times) Average Rating: 0
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Arystarcus
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« on: January 20, 2008, 05:24:33 PM »

Since the Lutheran churches (LCMS and WELS, specifically) do not believe in the necessity of apostolic succession, how do they understand the ability of their pastors to be able to confect mere bread and wine to become the body and blood of Christ?

If their pastors have not had any laying on of hands by bishops who can trace their line of succession to the apostles, what makes them any different from a layperson going up to the altar and doing the same thing?

I've always wondered how they explained this, because it doesn't make too much sense to me. Are there any former or current Lutherans on the forum who can shed some light on this for me?
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2008, 07:10:23 PM »

A,

I don't know if I would be able to help you out with this.  I am a former Lutheran and the lack of Apostolic Succession, which no Lutheran sect can claim since absolutely NO bishop of the Roman Catholic Church went over to their side, was one of the reasons why I had to leave.  If Lutherans believe in the tenents of the NIcene Creed and confess it every Sunday then how can they possibly be without Apostolic Succession and yet confess its importance every week?

Anyways, more to your question.  You asked whether this lack of Apostolic Succession would immediately invalidate the consecration of the elements.  Of course, a Lutheran would say no.  To them, it is the words (verba) of Christ which consecrate the Eucharist and thus, the worthiness or unworthiness, of the celebrant does not hinder that.  Of course, even among the EO, it is hte invocation of the Holy Spirit (The epiclesis) where the body and blood become reality for the faithful to consume and that is not dependent upon the worthiness or unworthiness of the celebrant.  However, among many Lutheran circles, it is now commonplace to have laypersons pronounce the verba and the Eucharist is then served by them.  I've even seen a case where a Lutheran pastor, in a videotaped pronouncement of the verba, pronounced that the Eucharist should be then taken by the faithful.  The insistence of the Eucharist as a gift of Christ, which it is and there is no denying it, has given way that it may be distributed by anyone.  Fortunately, most Lutheran Churches have rejected this, but there are many Lutheran churches which are doing this and it is spreading. 

Thus the insistence of the Eucharist as a gift of Christ has overridden any need that it be distributed with a priest.  I'll try to find something more exact within the LUtheran confessions to support what I said, but you get the basic idea.
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Carole
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2008, 12:13:41 PM »

Since the Lutheran churches (LCMS and WELS, specifically) do not believe in the necessity of apostolic succession, how do they understand the ability of their pastors to be able to confect mere bread and wine to become the body and blood of Christ?

It is important to realize, as well, that the Lutheran theology of the Real Presence is not the same as the Catholic theology.  The bread and wine do not become (in the Lutheran theology) the physical Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  Rather, they remain bread and wine in which Christ is present.  They believe in a Sacramental Union, where in Christ is "truly and substantially present in, with and under the forms" of bread and wine.

This seemingly subtle difference in the theological belief in the Real Presence makes a difference.

There is a form that must be follow for the sake of validity.  But it is not the minister who "confects" (I'm not sure a Lutheran would even use that word in this context) the Sacrament.  So his worthiness (or lack thereof) is not at issue in the Lutheran theology.

Which, if you know anything about Martin Luther, makes perfect sense.  Luther suffered from scrupulosity (and a host of other mental issues).  He, at times, refused to confect the Sacrament of Holy Communion, because he did not believe himself worthy.  So it makes sense that he would construct a theological viewpoint where the Sacrament can be truly and completely administered by someone who was lacking in some vital way.

For Luther that was an "out" for his feelings of never being able to confess his sins completely and thus be truly forgiven and absolved. But in later years in the theology he developed it was as easy an out as required for Apostolic succession.

Though you will find Lutherans who lay claim to valid Apostolic Succession as well.
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2008, 07:39:26 PM »

In addition, there is an understanding of the validity of the sacraments using this statement: "Wherever the Scriptures and Confessions are rightly taught".  Which seems to me (from my brief stay in the LCMS) to have less to do with faith and mystery and much to do with understanding and knowledge.

I remember very keenly having a conversation with a Confessional Lutheran pastor about the whole "Wherever the Scriptures and Confessions are rightly taught".  I asked him that if a Baptist minister actually believed in the real presence when he spoke the traditional Corinthian verses during communion, if that was all it would take.  I remember that he didn't really want to give a clear-cut answer, but just shrugged his shoulders.  Maybe yes, maybe no.  At the time it seemed like a good idea to me (being an open communion kinda person) and he was trying to be charitable to the Baptists.  But the more I think about it the more it just can't be so because then *I* could give communion to my own children in our own home and not bother with the whole getting to church on time thing. KWIM?
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2008, 02:43:38 AM »

I don't know if I'm a good former Lutheran to ask: I just found out, decades after becoming Orthodox, that what I believed as a Lutheran was more on the side of Orthodoxy than I thought the case when I converted.  I just found out that the belief that the Body and Blood just touch the bread and wine, which remain bread and wine, actually portrays acuarately what Lutherans believe.  When I converted I renounced this just out of obedience: I actually believed that in more of a physical, Real Presence already, and was taught so by my Lutheran pastors.

The Lutheran churches of Sweden and Finnland do claim apostolic succession, which I found intriguing when I was Lutheran.  The Reformation here was more like the formation of Anglicanism in England, with similar results.  Swedish bishops, for instance, did not (I do not know what happens now) did not take part in the ordination of other Lutheran clergy because of this.


Apostlic succession never plays a part in Lutheran eucharistic theology, because only baptism and Lord's supper are sacraments (and maybe confession, opinion is divided, which now practically means that most do not accept it as a sacrament but the old Lutheran confessions do, since the early Lutherans were divided).  With the priesthood of all believers, yet leaving the pastor to be the usual minister of baptism and likewise the other sacrament, the Lord's supper, is seen more of an issue of good order and delegation of the congregation to someone to act in their name in an official capacity.  For instance, the pastor who confirmed me (also not a sacrament among Lutherans) had to be from our Lutheran church in America (our old pastor had just died).

Btw, I know that a lot is being read into Luther's own personal demons.  The same has been done on Augustine.  Luther and the Lutherans ended up not believing in Apostolic succession for the most part, not that someone lacking "something vital" could "confect the sacrament."  They simply didn't see it as vital, or existant.
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2008, 09:03:30 AM »

A,

I don't know if I would be able to help you out with this.  I am a former Lutheran and the lack of Apostolic Succession, which no Lutheran sect can claim since absolutely NO bishop of the Roman Catholic Church went over to their side, was one of the reasons why I had to leave.  If Lutherans believe in the tenents of the NIcene Creed and confess it every Sunday then how can they possibly be without Apostolic Succession and yet confess its importance every week?



At the Uppsala Council 1531, the Swedish King Gustav Vasa took the final step of breaking with the Catholic church, by personally appointing Laurentius Petri as new archbishop. On September 22 that year, Laurentius was consecrated archbishop by the Petrus Magni, Bishop of Västerås. Magni had himself been ordained by the Pope in Rome, the last bishop to have been so, and by consecrating Laurentius, the apostolic succession was retained in Sweden.

I believe that Swedish Lutheran bishops are the source of a.s. for the Church of Finland, and that since 2001 when the American ELCA has reclaimed a.s., they have used Swedish lines of succession as well as Anglican ones.

« Last Edit: January 23, 2008, 09:04:43 AM by lutheraninquirer » Logged
Krysostomos
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2008, 03:04:23 PM »



I believe that Swedish Lutheran bishops are the source of a.s. for the Church of Finland, and that since 2001 when the American ELCA has reclaimed a.s., they have used Swedish lines of succession as well as Anglican ones.



That´s rihgt: the Church of Finland have used the Swedish and Anglican lines of succession. And an interesting detail: many Finnish bishops have viseted Rome and recieved episcopal cross from the pope as a present...
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Arystarcus
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2008, 10:10:09 PM »

And an interesting detail: many Finnish bishops have viseted Rome and recieved episcopal cross from the pope as a present...

Was this from Pope John Paul II, or Pope Benedict XVI?

I've heard that when Pope John Paul II visited the Archbishop of Canterbury he also presented him with an episcopal cross and kissed his bishop's ring.

I'm not quite sure what these gestures are supposed to mean - are they just being "friendly" or does it represent something more?
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2008, 11:10:55 PM »


I've heard that when Pope John Paul II visited the Archbishop of Canterbury he also presented him with an episcopal cross and kissed his bishop's ring.

I'm not quite sure what these gestures are supposed to mean - are they just being "friendly" or does it represent something more?


I don't think that the Pope's kissing the ring is supposed to be "validating" AoC's orders or "apostolic succession"  I think it is just an act of courtesy and a good gesture for the sake of Christ to all His people on earth.  I don't know how many times I have seen the Ecumenical Patriarch, Vartholomaios I, kiss ordained women ministers from various protestant churches and, as much of an ecumenist as he is, I know that he is not saying he supports their ordination or their churchs' teaching regarding such things. 

Yet, at the same time, the Pope awarding pectoral episcopal crosses may be interpreted as a signal that acceptance of such a gift implies that they are subordinates and should be loyal to the authority of the Pope.
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FrChris
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2008, 11:14:49 PM »

^^I am curious if the Archbishop of Canterbury understood this potential meaning of accepting this cross from the Pope?
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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2008, 09:19:48 AM »

Was this from Pope John Paul II, or Pope Benedict XVI?

I


This happened in the days of Patriach Johannes Paavali II...
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Arystarcus
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2008, 10:39:59 PM »

This happened in the days of Patriach Johannes Paavali II...

I haven't heard about any of these sorts of ecumenical gestures happening thus far during Pope Benedict the BXVI's pontificate and I dunno if they will. Guess we'll have to wait and see...
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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2008, 11:35:29 PM »

Howdy!

Changing the bread and wine into the body and blood is different.

Consubstantiation v. Transubstantiation.

In Lutheran doctrine it is both bread and body, both wine and blood. The phrase that I grew up with as a Lutheran was "in, with and under" to describe the dual qualities.

The Office of the Keys is transferred by the laying on of hands by the ordained clergy, not necessarily a bishop. Many Lutherans are having second thoughts these days due to the fact that people who are not ordained clergy are also participating in the laying on of hands during the ordination ceremony (ordination is not a sacrament in the Lutheran Church.)
« Last Edit: May 04, 2008, 11:47:46 PM by howdydave » Logged

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