Lutherans believe in a real, physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist, similar to Catholics. However they also believe that the bread and wine remain as bread and wine even after consecration. Does this belief that the bread is still bread (despite also being God) prevent Lutherans from engaging in eucharistic adoration/worship out of fear of idolatry?

If not, can you please provide some examples of situations in which Lutherans engage in such adoration? Does it happen during the liturgy? Does it happen outside the liturgy?

  • This does not clarify the distinction between Catholic and Lutheran beliefs. To my (limited) understanding, Catholics believe in a physical presence, and Lutherans believe in a spiritual presence.
    – Bit Chaser
    Feb 19, 2019 at 20:07
  • 1
    @disciple It's better put in terms of 'substance,' since we Catholics believe the 'substance' or 'what it actually is' has become Christ's body, blood, soul and divinity (hypostatically inseparable). We do not believe physical particles of flesh or blood are present in the Eucharist. We believe by faith that it is the salvific Bread of Life, and no longer bread. Purely by the divine power of the words "This is my Body," etc. As such, we insist the Eucharist, under either species, is literally, but not 'physically,' the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Feb 19, 2019 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


The Book of Concord condemns the adoration of the elements, though without specifically calling it idolatry:

On the other hand, we unanimously reject and condemn all the following erroneous articles, which are opposed and contrary to the doctrine presented above, the simple faith, and the [pure] confession concerning the Lord's Supper;

  1. That the external visible elements of the bread and wine should be adored in the Holy Sacrament. (Epitome of the Formula of Concord, VII, para. 40)

Accordingly, with heart and mouth we reject and condemn as false, erroneous, and misleading all Sacramentarian opiniones (opinions) and doctrines which are not in accordance with, but contrary and opposed to, the doctrine above presented and founded upon God's Word:

  1. Likewise, when it is taught that the elements or the visible species or forms of the consecrated bread and wine must be adored. However, no one, unless he be an Arian heretic, can and will deny that Christ Himself, true God and man, who is truly and essentially present in the Supper, should be adored in spirit and in truth in the true use of the same, as also in all other places, especially where His congregation is assembled. (The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, VII, para. 126)

Here is a quote from a Lutheran theologian, Rev Paul T. McCain:

The Lord gave it to us to eat and to drink, not to tuck away somewhere to “adore” it outside of its instituted use

However, here is discussion of people attesting to adoration happening in their Lutheran churches.

So it would seem there is confusion and debate about this among Lutherans themselves.


You must log in to answer this question.