Senn, Frank C. "Chapter Thirteen: Reconsideration of Eucharistic Sacrifice." Christian Liturgy: Catholic and Evangelical. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997, 448-479.
Though the Lutheran Reformers took a negative view of some of the aspects of the Eucharistic celebration, they did have a positive point of view, acknowledging the good inherent in the Eucharist. In this chapter, Senn attempts to describe that positive view (Senn 1997, 449).Luther's criticism was based on the issue of the eucharistic elements being viewed as a sacrifice we present to God, rather than something God presents to us. The actual use of the Lord's Supper, rather than the philosophical concept, suggests multiple ways of dealing with the issue.
Melanchthon's view was that the discussion needed to be based on patristic consensus (Senn 1997, 450). He found a concern that the Eucharist is a gift given by God to man, and that any response which could be understood as a sacrifice of praise was our response to what God had initiated. The central concept for the sacrament was not the elements, but rather the liturgical rite which celebrates the Eucharist (Senn 1997, 451). The Sacrament is primarily significant of God's positive disposition toward us (Senn 1997, 453). Our celebration commemorates what Christ has done to rescue us.
Luther, when writing of the use, rather than the ontology, of the Eucharist (Admonition Concerning the Sacrament, 1530), emphasizes reception of God's promises by faith (Senn 1997, 455). Luther did, however, reject views that reception of the Sacrament was merely a matter of the recipient's joyful expression of faith. God is active in the Sacrament (Senn 1997, 456).
Martin Chemnitz provided a thorough comparison of the Roman view of the Eucharist as discussed in the Council of Trent, over against the Lutheran view (Senn 1997, 459). Much of Chemnitz' objection was based on the ostentatious shows of ritual behavior he could identify during the administration of the Mass (Senn 1997, 461). Chemnitz routinely enumerates points of doctrine very clearly, responding to the arguments of Trent in an orderly manner. On the whole, Chemnitz found the use of language of sacrifice to be foreign to the usage of patristic authors, so advocated use of language of sacrament instead (Senn 1997, 464).
Though the German Lutherans were not very active in articulating a positive view of the Eucharist, Senn finds the Swedish church to have a more clear articulation of eucharistic sacrifice (Senn 1997, 467). The work of Olavus Petri, emphasized the element of doing the eucharist in Chrsit's remembrance, which would preclude any interpretation of it serving as another sacrifice. The essential act of remembrance results primarily in our fellowship with God and with one another (Senn 1997, 468). There may be an element of sacrifice, but this is recognized as not a new offering but as a conscious commitment to remember Christ's sacrifice for sin (Senn 1997, 470).
In the 16th century Swedish Red Book, Senn finds the eucharistic prayer to be enlightening due to its manner of commemorating and recalling Christ's sacrifice (Senn 1997, 471). The memorial takes place especially through the ongoing preaching of Christ (Senn 1997, 472). Senn observes that the Swedish liturgy does acknowledge that we are making some sort of offering of the Son, in the prayers (Senn 1997, 475). This was seen as a mystery of some sort, as the saving work of Christ is both past and present.
Senn considers the issue of the eucharist to lead to an impasse by the end of the 16th century. While the Reformational theologians rejected the eucharist as a sacrifice, the Roman theologians continued to affirm it as a propitiatory offering (Senn 1997, 476). He notes that the impasse has continued.