Consubstantiation is a Christian theological doctrine that (like transubstantiation) describes the real presence in the Eucharist. It holds that during the sacrament, the substance of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine, which remain present. It was part of the doctrines of Lollardy and considered a heresy by the Roman Catholic Church.
In the early church it was common for the bread to be regarded as bread yet also as the Body of Christ, and the wine regarded as wine yet also as the Blood of Christ; indeed, some argued that to deny that both bread and wine, and Body and Blood, were present was to deny the Incarnation.
In about 150, Justin Martyr, referring to the Eucharist, wrote: "Not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh."
Justin Martyr wrote, in the Dialogue with Trypho, ch 70: "Now it is evident, that in this prophecy [allusion is made] to the bread which our Christ gave us to eat, in remembrance of His being made flesh for the sake of His believers, for whom also He suffered; and to the cup which He gave us to drink, in remembrance of His own blood, with giving of thanks."
Irenaeus of Lyons wrote, "But what consistency is there in those who hold that the bread over which thanks have been given is the body of their Lord, and the cup his blood, if they do not acknowledge that He is the Son of the Creator… How can they say that the flesh which has been nourished by the Body of the Lord and by his blood gives way to corruption and does not partake of life? …For as the bread from the earth, receiving the invocation of God, is no longer common bread but the Eucharist, consisting of two elements, earthly and heavenly…”
The doctrine of consubstantiation is often held in contrast to the doctrine of transubstantiation. 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. They reject the concept of consubstantiation because it replaces what they believe to be the biblical doctrine with a philosophical construct, denotes a mixing of substances (bread and wine with body and blood), and denotes a "gross, Capernaitic, carnal" presence of the body and blood of Christ.
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.
- "Saint Justin Martyr: First Apology (Roberts-Donaldson)". www.earlychristianwritings.com. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
- Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, LXX
- Church Fathers on the Real Presence, Irenaeus, 140–202 AD, Against Heresies
- "Real Presence Communion – Consubstantiation?". WELS Topical Q&A. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. 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".
- Formula of Concord, Epitome, VII.42 and Solid Declaration VII.127 in F. Bente, Triglot Concordia, (St Louis: CPH, 1921), 817, 1015.
- 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 wine and of his blood.
- Lamoureux, Edward. "Introduction to Kenneth Burke". Bradley.edu.