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Unread 12-22-2004, 11:47 AM   #1
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Christ's Presence in the Lord's Supper

I'll go ahead and break off our discussion from the other communion thread to a new thread. Here is my last post in response Pennypacker (and if we continue this, you are going to have to tell me your name, because calling someone "Pennypacker" is just going to throw me off):

If you could quote early traditions that support specifically transubstantiation, then you have shown something, but merely showing support for "more than mere symbolism and remembrance" is preaching to the choir. There are more than two views here, and I certainly acknowledge that the Eucharist is far more than a mere symbol.

As for John 6, I don't see this as proving transubstantiation. I definitely think that refers to the Eucharist indirectly and tend to take what I think is Calvin's view (I don't know, I need to read Calvin himself), in that I believe our eating of Christ's flesh and drinking of His blood is distinct from faith. I find the view that it is just another way to describe faith (as in Hodge and I think Dabney) possible, though I don't think it is as true to the text as the former view.

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Unread 12-22-2004, 11:50 AM   #2
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I'll be w/ya as soon as I have my thing written. PennyPacker I'm sure can get things started though.
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Unread 12-22-2004, 12:06 PM   #3
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Alright, thanks. Also, I'll respond to your other post here:

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While we're here would you mind posting this other belief in the Eucharist, that's more than a symbol but not Christ's body, blood, soul and divinity? Thanks.
It's just basic reformed theology. Furthermore, if you separate Lutheran consubstantiation from Catholic transubstantiation, then you have another view in between the two extremes.

Anyway, reformed theology basically states that we partake of Christ's flesh and blood in the Eucharist when it is properly received. That is, we partake of the benefits symbolized by the elements in partaking of the elements in faith. So, they are more than symbols in that they grant that which they signify when they are received properly, but they do not always grant it, as those who do not receive them in faith are judged for it and receive wrath. Furthermore, God has not bound Himself to the elements to the extent that the Eucharist is the only place where we partake of Christ's flesh and blood. Remember, this is a real, spiritual partaking of Christ's flesh and blood. We really do eat His flesh and drink His blood when we partake of the Eucharist appropriately, not by mouth, but by the Spirit, through faith, that our soul is nourished. IOW, our soul really and truly eats His flesh and drinks His blood, not our physical body.
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Unread 12-22-2004, 12:35 PM   #4
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Okay. That's a little easier to understand. It seems certain elements of it are quite similar to transubstantion. Except we believe that we recieve Christ's body and blood no matter what our faith is. Christ's presence is not contingent on us believing it is. So for example, if a Buddhist were to recieve(as bad as this would be) then he/she would still recieve Jesus even though they don't believe it is. It is important to recieve properly though, because if we recieve while not in a state of grace then this is probably just about the greatest offense one could commit. And of course I believe that we physically(as well as spiritually) eat his body and blood.

But that's good. It helps to get definitions out of the way early.
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Unread 12-22-2004, 01:14 PM   #5
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Yes, and you would agree with Lutherans in saying that evil those who receive the Eucharist illegitimately still partake of Christ, though it is unto wrath. The main difference between us would be the mode of presence and reception and the purpose/effect of the Eucharist.

Of course, there are other things that flow out of transubstantiation that are quite dangerous, like the adoration/worship of the elements, but that more has to do with the consequences of the theory, and not the theory itself.
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Unread 12-22-2004, 06:30 PM   #6
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More from the other thread:

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If you notice from my post, i never said that the Church Fathers explicated transubstatiation, but Real Presence (I don't think that transubstiation is contrary to what they are saying, but the term transubstatiation and the questions it answers arose in the 11th-16th centuries. This should be understood similarly to a 2nd century thinker discussing the Trinity or the natures of Christ).

Sorry I don't have electronic versions (i have hard copies), but here are a couple examples of Early Church fathers that seem to be arguing for a substantial presence, rather than a mere spiritual presence (Calvin) or mere symbol (Zwingli). Justin Martyr in ch. 66 of his Apology says that "[The Eucharist] is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh." In this paragraph, the realism of the Eucharist is seen as the same as the realism of the incarnation.
I found this in Mathison's Given For You. It's a good thing, because I did not want to dig through Martyr to find this.

"For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, 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."

A few things to note immediately. First, in chapter 65 (this is 66) he refers to the elements still as "bread" and "wine mixed with water" after the thanksgiving has been uttered, in reference to them being passed out and partaken of, indicating no change in the substance of the elements. Furthermore, the passage quoted above is no more certainly supportive of transubstantiation than Christ's own words. "but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour.... 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... is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh." Essentially, "This is my body".
Now, his reference to the incarnation is not designed to compare the miracle of the incarnation to the eucharist itself. All he says is that Christ, in the incarnation, had flesh and blood, and thus, likewise, the elements here are flesh and blood. Mentioning the incarnation appears just as clarification, not necessarily a link between the eucharist itself and the incarnation.

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Similarly, the other one that i can remember off the top of my head is Gregory of Nyssa in his "Address on Religious Instruction" paragraph 37 who likewise has a very literal understanding of the eucharist, where through Christ's flesh we are transformed bodily into the image of Christ. These are just two quick example, otherwise, my backing is from lectures in my early church class and my history of liturgy class (w/ a Catholic and a Lutheran).
I just read through the latter part of chapter 37, and he definitely sounds quite close to transubstantiation. It isn't systematized, but the basic Lutheran/Catholic doctrine of carnal reception is definitely there. Fine, you win, you can have Greggy.
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Unread 12-22-2004, 06:50 PM   #7
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And another:

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Here is why I think that there are so many Protestant/Catholic debates over the passage. The reason is that there are two different parts of the Bread of Life discourse (major modern commentaries on the Gospel of John agree on this division (for example, Raymond Brown, C.H. Dodd, Bultmann, D. M. Smith, R. Schnackenburg, etc)).

6:35-6:51a is sapiential. Whoever comes to Jesus will not hunger. Whoever believes in Jesus will not thirst (6:35). Christ is the bread of life and whoever believes in him has eternal life (6:38,47). These verse teach Jesus as the Bread of Life as many Protestants understand the passage. The way that we benifit from Jesus as the Bread of Life is through believing. However, there is a shift in the passage at this point.

6:51b-58 is eucharistic. It is in 51b that Christ first states that the bread is his flesh. In verse 52 the Jews question Christ about this seemingly repulsive statement. Christ not only does not back off his statement, he says it even more strongly by saying that one must 'gnaw on, chew, munch on (emphasizing the literal nature of the act)' his flesh. Finally, the last clear sign that this section is eucharistic is the addition of the blood. This is the bread of life discourse. Nowhere in the discourse previously is there mention of the blood. When reading the discourse, the blood appears out of nowhere if we do not see the shift from sapiential to eucharistic.

Thus, in understanding RC Doctrine it is important to emphasize both aspects of this passage. "We do not live by bread alone but on the very Word of God." The RCC accepts the notion that Christ is the bread of life in the sense that we have life through believing in Him. We agree with our Protestant brothers and sisters in this respect. However, it is often underemphasized due to trying to bring out the eucharistic teaching of the 5:51b-58. In trying to develop this, we sometimes try to make the whole passage eucharistic just as others try to make the entire passage sapiential. By understanding both aspects of the passage one can understand more fully how RC's understand Christ to be the Bread of Life.
I actually noticed this division when I skimmed through it earlier, which is why I agree that there is some distinction between partaking of His flesh and blood and having faith. Again, the former seems to follow from the latter, or rather is at least a distinct aspect of the latter. Reading through how Mathison addresses this passage clarifies things for me a bit. Basically, it seems that the reformed opinion sees the passage directly dealing with faith. We are saved only through Christ; He is the antitype of the manna in the wilderness, as He is our life, our only life. We must partake of this bread and drink, His flesh and blood (as He is the sacrifice for our sins), to be saved. Indirectly, the passage obviously also refers to the Eucharist. Basically, this means that this passage and the Eucharist both proclaim the same truth, namely, that we are saved by our mystical union with Christ, our partaking of His life, His body and blood.
Ultimately, I don't see this passage as proving anything for either side. It works under a reformed framework because it is acknowledge that we really and truly do partake of His flesh and blood, albeit spiritually, and that which the Eucharist signifies really is granted in the Eucharist (though not exclusively through the Eucharist). So, if one is reformed, they will interpret it this way. If one is Catholic/Lutheran, they will interpret it the way you have. Our discussion has to extend to passages that directly deal with the Eucharist in a way that cannot be reconciled so easily with both views. I agree that the language here definitely describes a partaking of His flesh and blood, but nothing suggests that such partaking is carnal in the sense of trans- or consubstantiation, and nothing suggests that it is fulfilled exclusively in the Eucharist. I also have to turn around and ask you a question against Christ's words here. He, without any qualification, declares that all those, and only those, who partake of His flesh and blood gain eternal life. How then can one partake of the elements of the Eucharist, which have been changed into the flesh and blood of Christ, and not be granted eternal life?

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Also, if you are interested in Calvin's Eucharistic theology, I wrote a paper on Calvin and Zwingli, discussing their changes to liturgy and the theology behind it. If you want to read it, let me know.
Yeah, email me a copy at donnyl@austin.rr.com Thanks. I appreciate the discussion, and look forward to more.
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Unread 12-22-2004, 06:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by +Donny
Yes, and you would agree with Lutherans in saying that evil those who receive the Eucharist illegitimately still partake of Christ, though it is unto wrath. The main difference between us would be the mode of presence and reception and the purpose/effect of the Eucharist.
Yes, it seems that's the main difference.

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Originally Posted by +Donny
Of course, there are other things that flow out of transubstantiation that are quite dangerous, like the adoration/worship of the elements, but that more has to do with the consequences of the theory, and not the theory itself.
But in Lutheran theology, if the person is recieving worthily then isn't it Jesus? Then what would be wrong with adoration/worship? Of course, I believe it's Jesus all the time and so there's nothing wrong with worshipping Jesus
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Unread 12-22-2004, 06:55 PM   #9
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And with the ECF quotes are you asking more for somethings that state something like that it is Jesus all the time and that we physically eat Jesus? Is that what you want with that? Just so I know what to look for.
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Unread 12-22-2004, 07:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by +Donny


I just read through the latter part of chapter 37, and he definitely sounds quite close to transubstantiation. It isn't systematized, but the basic Lutheran/Catholic doctrine of carnal reception is definitely there. Fine, you win, you can have Greggy.
I honestly do not think that a solid argument can be made that the Early Church held transubstatiation instead of consubstantiation, there statements would be generally inclusive of both of them. However, most Early Church statements would go against both the Calvinist and Zwinglian views which deny 'substantiation' (unless of course you want to quote the Gnostics ).


I attached my paper to this post.
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Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opnions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although 'they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion
(St. Augustine The Literal Meaning of Genesis I.19.39)

Note: (due to confusion) Augustine here is writing against those who interpret Genesis "literally" (i.e. 6 day creation)

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Unread 12-22-2004, 08:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by +Donny
And another:
I also have to turn around and ask you a question against Christ's words here. He, without any qualification, declares that all those, and only those, who partake of His flesh and blood gain eternal life. How then can one partake of the elements of the Eucharist, which have been changed into the flesh and blood of Christ, and not be granted eternal life?

First, I think that real substantial presence in the passage is emphasized when Christ uses the word for 'munch' or 'gnaw' on his flesh, not on a symbol of it, not in terms of faith, but on the bread that is his body.

As for the part about all those partaking having eternal life, i can honestly say that i don't have a spectacular answer; however, there are other examples in Scripture where a statement is made and then clarified in another place. For example, in Mark 10, Christ makes no exeption for divorce. However, in Matthew 19 he says that one can divorce if there is infidelity. Thus, here would be my parallel:

John 6 and Mark 10 - Everyone who eats the body and blood have eternal life; no one can divorce.

1 Cor. 11 and Matt. 19, the exeptions - if you eat unworthily you receive condemnation; one can divorce if there is infidelity.

Also, i just thought of this so i am just throwing it out there, the phrase would also make sense if it is understood within the context of those who have eaten, sapientially, the 'body of Christ' (those who have faith, the first half of the bread of life discourse).
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Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opnions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although 'they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion
(St. Augustine The Literal Meaning of Genesis I.19.39)

Note: (due to confusion) Augustine here is writing against those who interpret Genesis "literally" (i.e. 6 day creation)
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Unread 12-22-2004, 11:14 PM   #12
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But in Lutheran theology, if the person is recieving worthily then isn't it Jesus? Then what would be wrong with adoration/worship? Of course, I believe it's Jesus all the time and so there's nothing wrong with worshipping Jesus
If you are wrong, though, you are committing idolatry.
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Unread 12-22-2004, 11:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
And with the ECF quotes are you asking more for somethings that state something like that it is Jesus all the time and that we physically eat Jesus? Is that what you want with that? Just so I know what to look for.
I didn't bring up the ECF. If you are going to claim that the ECF support transubstantiation, then yes, I will need very direct, unambiguous proof of that.
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Unread 12-22-2004, 11:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
I honestly do not think that a solid argument can be made that the Early Church held transubstatiation instead of consubstantiation, there statements would be generally inclusive of both of them. However, most Early Church statements would go against both the Calvinist and Zwinglian views which deny 'substantiation' (unless of course you want to quote the Gnostics ).
The only quote I have seen that supported 'substantiation' was the one from Gregory of Nyssa. I think you are either thinking too lowly of Calvin's view or two highly of the ECF.
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Unread 12-22-2004, 11:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
First, I think that real substantial presence in the passage is emphasized when Christ uses the word for 'munch' or 'gnaw' on his flesh, not on a symbol of it, not in terms of faith, but on the bread that is his body.
I agree that we really do eat His flesh and drink His blood. I never denied that.

Quote:
As for the part about all those partaking having eternal life, i can honestly say that i don't have a spectacular answer; however, there are other examples in Scripture where a statement is made and then clarified in another place. For example, in Mark 10, Christ makes no exeption for divorce. However, in Matthew 19 he says that one can divorce if there is infidelity. Thus, here would be my parallel:

John 6 and Mark 10 - Everyone who eats the body and blood have eternal life; no one can divorce.

1 Cor. 11 and Matt. 19, the exeptions - if you eat unworthily you receive condemnation; one can divorce if there is infidelity.
Eh, I think John 6 seems a lot stronger than Matthew 19. I would have to examine them closely, but I don't think the parallel is very close. Partaking of Christ's flesh here is causually related to salvation; it is salvation. To say that one can partake of this mystical, heavenly bread and still die goes against the entire flow of the teaching of Christ.

Quote:
Also, i just thought of this so i am just throwing it out there, the phrase would also make sense if it is understood within the context of those who have eaten, sapientially, the 'body of Christ' (those who have faith, the first half of the bread of life discourse).
I really don't know what you mean here. Are you saying that only those who have eaten "sapientally" are definitely saved, while those who have done so carnally are not? I don't see the distinction drawn in the passage anywhere. It would seem very unnatural to interpret that way, if I am understanding you correctly.
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