Communion/Eucharist

Loutzenhiser's picture

* "Transubstantiation" — the substance (fundamental reality) of the bread and wine is transformed in a way beyond human comprehension into that of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, but the accidents (physical traits, including chemical properties) of the bread and wine remain; this view is that taught by the Roman Catholic Church and by the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem, and is held by many Anglicans, especially in Anglo-Catholic circles.
* "In, with and under the forms" — the body and blood of Jesus Christ are substantially present in, with and under the substance of the bread and wine, which remain. This is the view held by most Lutherans, and some Anglicans. Lutherans and non-Lutherans refer to this view as 'consubstantiation'. Although, for some, this term is difficult to understand, it remains the confessed understanding of the Lutheran faith.
* "Objective reality, but pious silence about technicalities" — the view of all the ancient Churches of the East, (including the Eastern Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Catholic Churches) and the Assyrian Church of the East as well as perhaps most Anglicans. These, while agreeing with the Roman Catholic belief that the sacrament is not merely bread and wine but truly the body and blood of Christ, and having historically employed the "substance" and "accidents" terminology to explain what is changed in the transformation, usually avoid this terminology, lest they seem to scrutize the technicalities of the manner in which the transformation occurs.
* "Real Spiritual presence", also called "pneumatic presence", holds that not only the Spirit of Christ, but also the true body and blood of Jesus Christ (hence "real"), are received by the sovereign, mysterious, and miraculous power of the Holy Spirit (hence "spiritual"), but only by those partakers who have faith. This view approaches the "pious silence" view in its unwillingness to specify how the Holy Spirit makes Christ present, but positively excludes not just symbolism but also trans- and con-substantiation. It is also known as the "mystical presence" view, and is held by most Reformed Christians, such as Presbyterians, as well as some Methodists and some Anglicans, particularly Low Church Reformed Anglicans. See Westminster Confession of Faith, ch. 29. This understanding is often called "receptionism". Some argue that this view can be seen as being suggested — though not by any means clearly — by the "invocation" of the Anglican Rite as found in the American Book of Common Prayer, 1928 and earlier and in Rite I of the American BCP of 1979 as well as in other Anglican formularies:

And we most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father, to hear us, and of thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to bless and sanctify, with thy Word and Holy Spirit, these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine; that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed body and blood.

* "Symbolism" — the bread and wine are symbolic of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and in partaking of the elements the believer commemorates the sacrificial death of Christ. This view is also known as "memorialism" and "Zwinglianism" after Ulrich Zwingli and is held by several Protestant and Latter-day Saint denominations, including most Baptists.
* "Suspension" — the partaking of the bread and wine was not intended to be a perpetual ordinance, or was not to be taken as a religious rite or ceremony (also known as adeipnonism, meaning "no supper" or "no meal"). This is the view of Quakers and the Salvation Army, as well as the hyperdispensationalist positions of E. W. Bullinger, Cornelius R. Stam, and others.

What is your position on this subject and how do you support it scripturally?

michael_legna's picture

A Church must have the right to separate those who do not obey

Mike Kirby said -
How we treat the Body of Christ reflects our treatment and respect for Christ.

Then we need to either be given an infallible source and manner in which we can identify a Christian even separate from those who merely claim to be Christians or we must never reject anyone's teachings or behavior or Gospel interpretation because we might accidentally be mistreating and rejecting Christ. Once again a simple thinking through your extension shows it cannot be true.

Mike Kirby said -
Acts 9:1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"

Yes, Paul was persecuting the body of Christ not because of his treatment of one individual, but because he was trying to snuff out the entire Church. And even then Christ made it clear to him that he was going to find it hard to do and hard on himself in the effort.

Mike Kirby said -
Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

This is a warning and instruction to individuals as to how we should treat others on earth. It is not a rejection of the teaching in scripture that if someone refuses to hear the Church that we should treat them as a heathen and publican. Your extension of these verses would make them contradict Mt 18:17

Mat 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.

That is what an anathema does. Do you still want to deny that an anathema is an acceptable act of the Church?

Mike Kirby said -
Proverbs 14:31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.

Now you are really stretching. This does not say anything about our freedom to reject false teachings and to separate ourselves from those who hold to them.

Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Mike Kirby said -
Bless the Body, Bless the Head. Curse the Body, Curse the Head.

I think in a sense you are correct, that we are all in effect betting the ranch on our choice of doctrines and our view of the Gospel. But one cannot be true to these choices if we do not at the same time reject other views and others who teach a different Gospel. So this is the risk we run, but if one is not true to the choices they make they are lukewarm and God will spit them out for that too.

Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.

Michael said,
This argument is not only wrong because of your erroneous extension of scripture, but is also a mute point because an anathema is not a curse. So just placing an anathema on someone who has denied a doctrine of the Gospel is not the same as cursing them, and it is certainly not the same as calling Jesus accursed.

Mike says,
I see why we have a difference of opinion about the Council’s judgment. You obviously you have a different personal interpretation of the word anathema/accursed and the Council's statement, that's all.

Strong’s Word 331 is the same word anathema, accursed.

Yes and it is translated that way in Gal 1:8, I don't deny that, but your extension of it to calling Jesus accursed simply because the Church rejects someone and their doctrine puts too many verses in contradiction with each other to be correct.

Mike Kirby said -
To have a hope of being saved in your system means being baptized to receive the Holy Spirit and without the Holy Spirit baptism No one is in the body of Christ.

No that is just part of it, along with all the other sacraments as they apply, and of course a proper understanding of the Gospel - which is really the key point and the one upon which all the others rely on for support.

Mike Kirby said -
Outside of that system, all others are false. That’s what I hear you say.

Then you mis-hear me, because I do not and the RCC does not refer to all other systems as false, only that they are in part in error. The Church makes it clear that God can and does work through these other congregations, to bring people to Him.

Here is what the Catechism says with regard to this issue:

Who belongs to the Catholic Church?

836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God. . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God's grace to salvation."320

837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but 'in body' not 'in heart.'"321

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."324

A related issues is the often misunderstood statement of "Outside the Church there is no salvation". This is what the Catechism says about that:

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338

So you see it is not about other systems being false. It is more like a system of competing hospitals. There is one where the best and most complete treatment is available, and then there are less well equipped clinics with less well trained doctors who sometimes hold to ideas which can make you sick instead of healing you.

Given the choice which would you go to? If someone knew of the correct hospital wouldn't you expect them to recommend it to you over the doctor you were currently seeing?

Mike Kirby said -
So it would be natural to believe that to be anathamized from that system would be to be excluded from the body of Christ, which is the greatest curse one could have on their life.

If you held the wrong understanding of the RCC's view of other Churches as you seem to express above that might be a proper conclusion, but your understanding of the RCC's view is in error.

Mike Kirby said -
But then you also believe that a person CAN be a born-again, spirit filled Christian outside the RC system.

Yes, it is possible and that is consistent with our view of other congregations (as I corrected your view above) - but it is more difficult to get there.

Mike Kirby said -
If a person can be born again and spirit filled outside the RC system, then where is the authority?

In God's hands. I have never said one cannot receive the Holy Spirit without laying on of hands, ONLY that we should not expect it to occur that way. When God establishes a sacrament we should make use of it and follow His instructions and not demand it happen in another fashion of our own choosing. For example this is similar to our view of forgiveness of sins.

Jesus gave the Apostles the authority to remit and retain sins (John 20:23). Can we go right to God and have Him forgive them in prayer? sure. Is that the way He has told us to do it? No. Should we demand He handle us strictly through prayer and refuse to visit a successor of the Apostles just because we want to demand He deal with us one on one with no intercessor? I wouldn't think so - I would never put my will above God's.

Mike Kirby said -
Not totally in an institution, I agree there is some, but final authority is in the Word.

The problem with that (and your know this) is that the authority really ends up in each persons personal interpretation, not in the word itself. So the final authority ends up in our intellect and not in the Church the ground and pillar of truth. A static text can never be the final authority because it must be interpreted.

Mike Kirby said -
And don't give me the confusion bit outside that exists outside of the RCC. There is just as much confusion and unbelief in the RC system as there is outside of it.

No because if a Catholic has confusion over doctrine they merely need to ask the Church and have it explained to them - something you cannot do with a written text. If an individual in the Catholic Church is confused it is due to laziness not reading the Catechism or in seeking explanation and correction. In the sola scriptura system one can be as diligent and work as hard as they want and still end up confused and in error, because the error result from and inherent flaw in the approach.

Mike Kirby said -
I think the Pope is addressing that now right? (Cafeteria Catholics)

That is a different issue. Those are people who are not really Catholics. They are people who have chosen the pleasures of sin for a season over the teachings of the Church. They are not confused, they know they are rejecting the Church's teachings, they know they are not really Catholics, yet they continue to attend as if they can choose to define what it means to be Catholic for themselves.

But all of this is a bit off topic. We have wandered a bit as we pursued how the Church may see your decision with regard to the Eucharist, but I think we should either start a new thread if we stay on this topic or return to a discussion of the real presence in the Eucharist.




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