Presto Chango!

BrotherAlan
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:42 am

Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:58 pm

Oh, sorry, just one last comment (for now). Though this is a discussion on the Eucharist (and, currently, a discussion on Clement of Alexandria's teaching on the Eucharist), I do not think it is irrelevant to point out that, all throughout Clement's work, "The Instructor", he has a very Catholic notion of BAPTISM. Look through those first 6 chapters, and he is repeatedly referring to the regenerative/saving power of BAPTISM (which teaching/belief, of course, has its roots in the teachings of Scripture). So, again, while this is not a thread on Baptism, but on the Eucharist, I do not think it is irrelevant-- but I think it is relevant-- to point out that Clement clearly has a Catholic notion of the Eucharist (which, while that alone does not prove he has a Catholic understanding ALSO on the Eucharist, certainly would make it more reasonable for one to be more inclined to interpret his writings on the Eucharist, when these writings are not entirely clear, in a Catholic way).

In Christ,
BrotherAlan
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen."

BrotherAlan
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:42 am

Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:00 am

Greetings, Homer (and any others still following this thread)—
So, I wanted to take a closer look here at the texts from some of the ante-Nicene Fathers that you left last time. First, I will take a look at Clement, then Irenaeus, and, finally, Tertullian. As your previous post contained solid substance, what I write is lengthy in order to adequately respond to your previous good questions and challenging thoughts (for which I, once again, thank you!) I hope you have the time to read, good brother!
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1.) Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria wrote:
“Thus in many ways the Word is figuratively described, as meat, and flesh, and food, and bread, and blood, and milk. The Lord is all these, to give enjoyment to us who have believed on Him.
Okay, so, in this part of Clement’s work, his whole focus is on “figuring out” what is meant by Paul in 1 Cor. 3:2 when he wrote, “I have fed you with milk (as children in Christ), not with meat; for you were not able, neither yet are you now able.” Without going into the whole dialectic that Clement engages in about this, and his thoughts on what this verse means, it suffices to say that Clement looks at other parts of Scripture in which we, as Christians, are “fed” on the Word (Christ), and how this “feeding” is described. So, Clement here is noting that there are other parts of Scripture in which it is stated that Christians “feed” on Christ. And, so, here, he takes note that, in the Scriptures, the figures of meat, flesh, food, bread, blood, and milk are, in various parts of Scripture, used as “figures”; looking at the whole context of the Chapter, it appears that this is the precise meaning of the word “figuratively” as it is used in this sentence. That is, “figuratively” here means that the Word is described under these figures. And, well, that says nothing with regard to Clement’s teaching on the Eucharist, i.e., whether or not he sees the Eucharist as being ONLY a symbol of Christ’s Body and Blood, or something more. Neither is he contradicting the doctrine of transubstantiation here (for, that doctrine acknowledges that Christ, the Word, is described, in different ways, under the figures of meat, flesh, food, etc.) Hope that makes sense.

Clement also wrote:
Let no one then think it strange, when we say that the Lord’s blood is figuratively represented as milk. For is it not figuratively represented as wine?”
Now, correct me if I am wrong, but I think you gave this quote because you were, perhaps, thinking that in Clement referencing “wine” here, he is referencing the wine used in the Eucharist—and, thus, that He is saying that the Lord’s Blood is figuratively represented by the wine of the Eucharist. Well, besides the fact that, even if this were the case, that would be no contradiction to the doctrine of transubstantiation (for, we Catholics would readily agree that the Blood of the Lord is symbolized, or figuratively represented, by the wine used in the Eucharist, in addition to actually being contained in the wine, that is, in what appears to be wine, after consecration), but, more to the point: Clement is not here talking about the wine of the Eucharist. For, if we are to continue this particular quote, we see that the next sentence a quote from Gen. 49:11, namely, “Who washes, it is said, His garment in wine, His robe in the blood of the grape. (Gen. 49:11) Thus, the “wine” Clement is referencing HERE, in this sentence, is not the wine used in the Eucharist, but the wine referenced in Gen. 49:11 (this shows how important it is to get the full context of the statement; not sure if you were quoting this line from the actual document of Clement—if so, read further on, and you’ll see this ref to Gen. 49:11—or if you were quoting it from a book of excerpts from the Fathers, in which case, that important line was missing showing he’s not referencing the Eucharist at all in this particular line).


Clement wrote:
And if we who preside over the Churches are shepherds after the image of the good Shepherd, and you the sheep, are we not to regard the Lord as preserving consistency in the use of figurative speech, when He speaks also of the milk of the flock?...Elsewhere the Lord, in the Gospel according to John, brought this out by symbols, when He said: ‘Eat ye my flesh, and drink my blood;’ describing distinctly by metaphor the drinkable properties of faith and the promise…”
Okay, so, here’s what I think is going on here (although, it would be nice to check the original language of Clement on this one, as there are some particular words whose precise meaning are potentially important and could potentially have been lost in the English translation). But, anyways, here it goes…The key words which lead to the idea that Clement is denying any notion consistent with transubstantiation are, of course, “symbols” (as in, “The Lord…brought this out by symbols”) and “metaphor” (as in, “describing distinctly by metaphor drinkable properties of faith…”)

So, to address these objections, I respond with the following. With respect to the use of the word, “Symbols”, I think he used this word here to refer to the actual, concrete, tangible symbols (of bread and wine) used in the Eucharist in contrast to the merely figurative speech seen elsewhere in Scripture (such as the case when Christians are said to be fed with “milk” when having the Gospel preached to them); in other words, I think he used “symbols” here to say, basically, “I am now referring to the actual Sacrament of the Eucharist”. And, again, as stated above, no contradiction to the doctrine of transubstantiation with referring to the “symbols” of the Eucharist (for, the doctrine holds that there is both symbolism of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist, as well as the ACTUAL Body and Blood contained in the “symbols”; in fact, in Catholic thought, sometimes the Sacrament of the Eucharist is simply referred to as “the Symbols”, Symbols which symbolize AND contain Christ’s Body and Blood).

But, what about his use of the word “metaphor” here? Well, just as one can say that, in the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of the Lord is both symbolized AND actually contained (in a Sacramental manner), so, too, one can—and must-- say that Our Lord, in commanding us to eat His Body and drink His Blood, He is commanding us to BOTH eat His Blood and drink His Blood (in a Sacramental manner, in the Eucharist) as well as to consume Him SPIRITUALLY by Faith (even as we receive Sacramentally in the Eucharist). In fact, Catholics today will speak of receiving Our Lord in Communion (in the Eucharist) in two ways: 1.) spiritually, only (the taking of Christ into our hearts, by Faith, but without receiving the Sacrament); 2.) spiritually AND Sacramentally (the taking of Christ into our hearts, by Faith, AND receiving the Sacrament). The taking of Christ into our hearts, spiritually (which is necessary for a proper receiving of Him in the Sacrament), can be said to be, metaphorically speaking, a “drinking” or “eating” of Christ by Faith (as Christ says, early on in the “Bread of Life” discourse, “”I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall not thirst.”)

So, in other words, according to the Catholic view, in receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist, we believe that there is an ACTUAL receiving/consuming of His Body and Blood in a Sacramental manner, AS WELL AS a metaphorical “consuming” of Him by Faith (and charity). The Catholic view is a “both-and”: the Sacrament of the Eucharist is BOTH a Symbol of Christ’s Body and Blood, AND the actual Body and Blood of Christ; consuming Christ in the Eucharist is BOTH a consuming of His Body and Blood in a Sacramental manner, AND a metaphorical consuming of Him by Faith. What the Catholic view rejects is not the claim that there is symbolism and metaphor used here, but the claim that there is ONLY symbolism and metaphor used here. And, why would Clement, in this passage, make note of referring to the metaphorical consumption of Christ in the Eucharist (and make no reference, HERE, to the actual Sacramental consuming of the Body and Blood)? Because, his whole goal in this part of his work was to figure out and analyze the different metaphors used in Scripture and the metaphorical ways in which we consume Christ; the context makes it clear why Clement would use THIS kind of language here.

All that said, elsewhere, Clement does, I believe, make it clear that, in addition to realizing the symbolic and metaphorical aspects of the Eucharist, he also believes the Eucharist does contain the actual Body and Blood of Christ. For, again, further on in “The Instructor”, he writes, “Therefore [the Church] had not milk; for the milk was this child fair and comely, the body of Christ, which nourishes by the Word the young brood, which the Lord Himself brought forth in throes of the flesh, which the Lord Himself swathed in His precious blood. O amazing birth! O holy swaddling bands! The Word is all to the child, both father and mother and tutor and nurse. Eat my flesh, He says, and drink my blood. John 6:53-54 Such is the suitable food which the Lord ministers, and He offers His flesh and pours forth His blood, and nothing is wanting for the children's growth. O amazing mystery! We are enjoined to cast off the old and carnal corruption, as also the old nutriment, receiving in exchange another new regimen, that of Christ, receiving Him if we can, to hide Him within; and that, enshrining the Saviour in our souls, we may correct the affections of our flesh.”

He is clearly talking about the Holy Eucharist here. He says that the Lord offers His flesh and blood to the Christian as food. Is he speaking MERELY metaphorically here? Is he referring to the Christian receiving the Lord by faith, as he was earlier? I don’t think so; for, in response to this act of the Christian receiving the Lord’s Body, he, out of nowhere, gets very excited and exclaims, “O amazing mystery!” It would seem unfitting for him to, all of a sudden, show such excitement if he was, as before, simply referring to the Christian receiving our Lord under MERE symbols, or simply “eating His flesh and drinking His blood” in a metaphorical manner, i.e., by faith and charity. Rather, this sudden excitement strongly indicates—and, I think, certainly shows—that Clement is showing great admiration over the fact that the Christian not only consumes Our Lord by faith, but also ACTUALLY consumes Our Lord in the Sacrament (as one ancient Catholic hymn says, “O admirable thing! The the poor, humble slave [i.e., the Christian] consumes the Master!”, a hymn that almost verbatim quotes Clement). Further, Clement, in giving this exultation, parallels His excitement at the INCARNATION just a few sentences earlier—again, indicating that, His latter excitement is over the fact the INCARNATE word IN THE FLESH (and BLOOD) continues to be given to us in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Lastly, I think the reference to "receiving Him, IF WE CAN" is an allusion to the Apostle Paul's warning about receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthily (see 1 Cor. 11:23-29), and "hiding Him within" refers to, I think, the "hiding" of Christ within our own bodies after consuming, in a Sacramental manner, the Body of Christ, truly Present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist (as Clement here, again, seems to be teaching).

Elsewhere, in Book II of “The Instructor”, Clement writes the following:
And the blood of the Lord is twofold. For there is the blood of His flesh, by which we are redeemed from corruption; and the spiritual, that by which we are anointed. And to drink the blood of Jesus, is to become partaker of the Lord's immortality; the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as blood is of flesh.
Clement here is speaking of the Eucharist. Note here that Clement refers to the Blood of Christ’s FLESH, and the DRINKING of this Blood, which drinking makes us partakers of the Lord’s immortality (fitting perfectly with Our Lord’s teaching in John 6, especially, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life…For my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him…He who eats me will live because of me.” (John 6:54-57)

Finally, elsewhere he writes that the Eucharist (and he uses the word, “Eucharist”) is a “renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul.” In such a teaching, Clement, again, shows that he had a very Catholic idea of the Eucharist (especially in declaring the Eucharist sanctifies those who partake of it by faith).

Supporting evidence to show that all this is the proper interpretation of Clement can be seen by looking at the teachings of other prominent Fathers, including those whom Clement taught (eg., Origen). Looking at their writings shows that they held to the belief that the Lord’s Body and Blood is truly present in the Holy Eucharist (eg., Origen, Clement’s disciple, taught: “We also eat the bread presented to us; and this bread BECOMES BY PRAYER A SACRED BODY, which sanctifies those who sincerely partake of it.” (Against Celsus 8:33) “You see how the ALTARS are no longer sprinkled with the blood of oxen, but consecrated BY THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST.” (Homilies on Joshua 2:1) “ You are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries, so you know how, when you have received THE BODY OF THE LORD, you reverently exercise every care lest a particle of it fall, and lest anything of the consecrated gift perish….how is it that you think neglecting the word of God a lesser crime than neglecting HIS BODY?” (Homilies on Exodus 13:3))

So, in summarizing Clement, while it is clear that Clement, like many other Fathers of the Church, recognizes the symbolic nature of the Eucharist, and the fact that the Christian, in receiving the Eucharist, consumes/drinks Christ, by faith, in a metaphorical manner, he, like these other Fathers, also teaches that, in the Eucharist, the Lord’s Body and Blood is TRULY contained AND consumed, in a Sacramental manner, by the Christian. In teaching all of this, Clement appears to be teaching exactly what the Catholic Church, in her doctrine of transubstantiation, still teaches today, and has always taught, concerning the Eucharist.
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2.) Irenaeus
Irenaeus wrote:
"He (the heretic) acknowledged the created cup with which he moistens our blood as his own blood, and he confirmed the created bread from which our bodies grow as his own body. Since therefore the cup that has been mixed and the bread that has been made, from which things the substance of our flesh grows and is sustained, receive the word of God and the eucharist becomes the body of Christ, how do they say that the flesh which is nourished from the body and blood of the Lord and is a member of him is incapable of receiving the gift of God which is eternal life?" (Irenaeus, Against Heresies V.ii.2, 3)
Sticking to simply the words in this quote from Irenaeus (as opposed to your commentary on this quote, Homer, which included, in my opinion, a number of unsubstantiated claims and “leaps”), we see in
this quote alone that Irenaeus is actually AFFIRMING that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ. For, notice that Irenaeus says that the heretic acknowledges that the Eucharist becomes the Body and Blood of Christ (by saying that the Gnostic “acknowledges” this, we can rightly assume that Irenaeus, too, believes this—for if I say that another person “acknowledges” something to be so, I am saying that I, too, KNOW this to be true). Further, Irenaeus HIMSELF directly affirms here that “the eucharist becomes the Body of Christ”. So, this quote, quite the contrary to indicating that Irenaeus denied the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, it actually shows—and, I would say, CLEARLY shows-- that Irenaeus is AFFIRMING the Real Presence of Christ (the Real and Sacramental Presence of His Body and Blood) in the Eucharist.

It is also worth noting here that this quote shows us that EVEN the heretics of Irenaeus’ day believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist! This shows just how widespread and engrained was the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist in the Early Church that EVEN THE HERETICS believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Not even THEY would go so far as to deny that Christ was truly Present, Body and Blood, in the Eucharist. That, actually, is another STRONG piece of evidence showing just how widespread and deep is the Church’s belief in the Real Presence of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Besides, we also have other quotes from Irenaeus that show that he believed that the Eucharist is/contains, in a Sacramental manner, Christ’s Body and Blood. To give a couple examples:
“He has declared the cup, a part of creation, TO BE HIS OWN BLOOD, from which He causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, HE HAS ESTABLISHED AS HIS OWN BODY, from which He gives increase to our bodies.” (Against Heresies 5:2:2)
“When, therefore, the mixed cup and the baked bread receives the Word of God and BECOMES THE EUCHARIST, THE BODY OF CHRIST, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, WHICH IS ETERNAL LIFE -- flesh which is nourished BY THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE LORD…receiving the Word of God, BECOMES THE EUCHARIST, WHICH IS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST… “ (Against Heresies 5:2:3)

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3.) Tertullian
Tertullian wrote:
"Taking bread and distributing it to his disciples he made it his own body by saying, "This is my body," that is a "figure of my body." On the other hand, there would not have been a figure unless there was a true body." (Tertullian, Against Marcion IV. 40)
Again, context is so important; as you pointed out, and as is clear from the text itself, Tertullian is writing here against Marcion, who held that Christ’s Body was just a phantom body, not a real body. So, again, Tertullian here simply states that the Eucharistic bread is a figure—or a symbol—of Christ’s body; as stated above, this actually is no contradiction to Catholic teaching (for, again, Catholic teaching DOES hold that the Eucharistic bread is both a symbol of Christ’s Body AND it also contains Christ’s Body itself). The reason why Tertullian takes pains here to point out that the Eucharstic bread is a “figure” of Christ’s Body is because the appearance of bread can be seen; the Eucharistic bread, as a symbol, is observable (whereas, in the Eucharist, the substance of the Body of Christ itself is, so to speak, “hidden” under the appearances of bread). So, because Tertullian is trying to show Marcion is wrong about Christ’s Body being a phantom, he NEEDS to reference the SYMOBLIC/FIGURATIVE nature of the Eucharist, for THAT is what is observable/tangible to our senses (whereas, in the Eucharist, the Body of Christ itself is, again, “hidden” under the appearance of the Eucharistic bread), and, if we have some sensible symbol to represent Christ’s Body, as we do in the Eucharist, then that proves, against Marcion, that Christ had a real Body. And, that is why Tertullian emphasized the symbolic nature of the Eucharist; which, today, the Catholic Church readily affirms.

But, Tertullian, in this quote, is NOT denying that the Eucharist actually contains the Body and Blood of Christ. In fact, elsewhere, he affirms this. In fact, in that very same text, just a few sentences later, he will write, “[Christ] washed His garments in wine, and His clothes in the blood of grapes Genesis 49:11 — in His garments and clothes the prophecy pointed out his flesh, and His blood in the wine. Thus did He now consecrate His BLOOD in wine, who then (by the patriarch) used the figure of wine to describe His blood.” Tertullian states that Christ “consecrated” His own Blood in wine, i.e., turned the wine into His own Blood (thus bringing to fulfillment the Old Testament types in which wine MERELY symbolized His blood).

Even more clearly, Tertullian affirms the Real Presence of Christ’s Body in the Eucharist (as well as the Sacrificial nature of the Mass), as he would write elsewhere, “In regard to days of fast, many do not think they should be present at the SACRIFICIAL prayers, because their fast would be broken if they were to receive THE BODY OF THE LORD…THE BODY OF THE LORD HAVING BEEN RECEIVED AND RESERVED…” (Prayer 19:1) And, “The flesh feeds on THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST, so that the SOUL TOO may fatten on God.” (Resurrection of the Dead 8:3)
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Besides this look at these ante-Nicene Fathers, and the responses I have presented here to claims that they denied the belief that Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Christ, we have, as I have stated earlier in this thread, very early teachings from Ignatius of Antioch as well as Justin Martyr showing clear evidence in the early Church’s belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Again, Ignatius, that heroic martyr and leader of the 1st/2nd century Church and friend and disciple of John the Evangelist (thus, one who is in good position to give us a true interpretation of John 6), wrote, among other things, “I desire the Bread of God, WHICH IS THE FLESH OF JESUS CHRIST, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I DESIRE HIS BLOOD…” (Letter to the Romans 7:3), and “Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: FOR THERE IS ONE FLESH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, and one cup IN THE UNION OF HIS BLOOD…” (Letter to the Philadelphians 4:1), and “They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that THE EUCHARIST IS THE FLESH OF OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST…” (Letter to Smyrnians 7:1). And, Justin Martyr/Philosopher taught, “The food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, AND BY THE CHANGE OF WHICH our blood and flesh is nourished, IS BOTH THE FLESH AND THE BLOOD OF THAT INCARNATED JESUS.” (First Apology, 66)

In conclusion, as the early Fathers of the Church recognized, in the Eucharist, both a symbol of Christ’s Body and Blood, AND Christ’s Body and Blood ITSELF, present in Sacramental form, so, too, does the Catholic Church today, in her doctrine of transubstantiation, as she always has taught (and this should not be at all surprising, for the Church of the Fathers and the Catholic Church of today are one and the same Church-- as indeed it is the same Church as that which was founded by Christ upon Peter (the first Pope) and the Apostles, against which Church the gates of Hell shall never prevail. Amen!)

In Christ, the Bread of Life (and Head and Founder of the Catholic Church),
BrotherAlan
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen."

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Homer
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Homer » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:40 pm

BrotherAlan,

You wrote:
Well, besides the fact that, even if this were the case, that would be no contradiction to the doctrine of transubstantiation (for, we Catholics would readily agree that the Blood of the Lord is symbolized, or figuratively represented, by the wine used in the Eucharist, in addition to actually being contained in the wine, that is, in what appears to be wine, after consecration)
So the Roman Catholic position is that the bread and wine of the Lord's supper are both symbolic and Jesus' actual body and blood! Hard issue to argue in that case! If it is pointed out that the bread and wine were symbolic you agree.

But this quote of Ignatius would not seem to be rebuttable by your "either/or" stance:
Antenicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 570, XIII
For when the Greeks, having arrested the slaves of Christian catechumens, then used force against them, in order to learn from them some secret thing [practised] among the Christians, these slaves, having nothing to say that would meet the wishes of their tormentors, except that they had heard from their masters that the divine communion was the body and blood of Christ, and imagining that it was actual flesh and blood, gave their inquisitors answer to that effect. Then these latter, assuming such to be the case with regard to the practices of the Christians, gave information regarding it to other Greeks, and sought to compel the
martyrs Sanctus and Blandina to confess under the influence of torture, [that the allegation was correct]. To these men Blandina replied admirably in these words: "How should those persons endure such [accusations], who, for the sake of the practice [of piety], did not avail themselves even of the flesh that was permitted [them to eat]"?
As you may be aware the early Christians were persecuted for their supposed cannibalism and Ignatius is at pains to point out that the actual flesh and blood idea was false.

I have also reviewed the texts concerning the institution of the Lord's supper in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul in 1st Corinthians, looking for any "purpose" statements. What we find is there is no indication of gaining eternal life by consuming the bread and wine but rather the emphasis is on initiation of a new covenant, a memorial (Paul says "remembrance" twice over), and proclaiming Christ's sacrifice.

As I indicated earlier, the occasion of that first communion was a Passover feast with the various food items as symbolic and we find
the same in the Lord's supper.

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Paidion
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Paidion » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:05 pm

HI Homer, You wrote:The very logic of Irenaeus' argument is that the Lord's supper is composed of natural elements of common juice and bread.
I was wondering, Homer, if you regard "the Lord's supper" as tantamount to "the communion." It seems that "the Lord's supper" was a common meal that the early Christians shared, and that it was followed by the communion. Paul wrote the following in his attempt to correct the practice of the Corinthians in participating in the Lord's supper:

When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. (1 Corinthians 11:20,32 ESV)

It would be pretty difficult to get drunk by taking a sip of wine during communion.
Paidion

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Homer
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Homer » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:50 pm

Hi Paidion,

I just used "Lord's Supper" as a common designation for communion. I'm OK with eucharist too.

BrotherAlan
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:38 am

Hello, Homer—
Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate you taking the time and effort to read and consider the material I presented in my last reply. God bless you.

By the way, before I forget, I will soon be on a week-long silent retreat, and, so, if you respond to this, and I don’t respond back for a while, that’s why.

Okay, returning to the topic at hand, the Eucharist (fitting from my end to discuss this topic now as, in addition to a special feast in honor of the Trinity, we Catholics also just had a special feast in honor of the Eucharist). Let’s take a look at what we have here from the material you presented…


You (Homer) wrote:
So the Roman Catholic position is that the bread and wine of the Lord's supper are both symbolic and Jesus' actual body and blood! Hard issue to argue in that case! If it is pointed out that the bread and wine were symbolic you agree.
Well, the first thing is to simply recognize that this IS indeed the Catholic position, and it is our position because, well, that is how we read the Scriptures. CLEARLY the Holy Eucharist is a SYMBOL—one can not deny that. We Catholics refer to the Holy Eucharist as being a “Sacrament”, and a “Sacrament”, by its very nature, is an outward sign or symbol. So, of course, the FIRST thing that one recognizes about the Eucharist is that it is a SYMBOL. BUT, because of Christ’s words about the Holy Eucharist—for example, “the bread that I shall give for the life of the world IS my flesh”, etc.—we also recognize that this Symbol of the Eucharist not ONLY symbolizes the Body (and Blood) of Christ but it actually IS (or contains) His Body and Blood. That, to us, is what the Scriptures reveal, and that is also what the Fathers of the Church unanimously teach on this subject.

And, so, yes, it is, in a way, easier to argue for the Catholic position because, as with most issues, the Catholic position on this matter is more “robust”, it is a “both-and” not an “either-or” position (on this sidenote, IN GENERAL, we Catholics hold that non-Catholic positions are wrong not so much in what they ASSERT, but in what they DENY; thus, in this issue of the Eucharist, the error is not in asserting that there is symbolism and metaphor involved here, the error is in DENYING that the Eucharist is ALSO the Real Body and Blood of Christ, present in the Sacrament; or, again, the error of “sola Scriptura” is not in asserting the value of Scripture, but in DENYING the value of authentic Christian tradition; or, again, the error of “sola fide” is not in its assertion of the importance of FAITH, but in its denial of the importance of works done in God’s grace; etc.), and, so, to contradict the Catholic position on this matter of the Eucharist, one would have to show that the Scriptures (with the help of the Fathers) reveal that the Eucharist is MERELY a symbol. But, never mind what position is “harder” to show or not: all we should be concerned about is, “What is TRUE!?”

And, the fact is that, in the end, we are seeing, I think that when we look at the Scriptures, there is STRONG language used in the Scripture concerning the association of the Body and Blood of Christ to the Eucharist which should, AT THE VERY LEAST, lead one to wonder whether or not the Catholic interpretation is correct. Then, on top of that, we are finding that there really is unanimous agreement from the Fathers on this issue, and that agreement is that the Eucharist is, yes, a symbol, but not only a symbol, but that it also IS/contains Christ’s Body and Blood, in the Sacrament (and it is the Catholic Church that has carried on this interpretation from the Fathers throughout the centuries). Thus, in the last post you had, you brought forward quotes from Clement of Alexandria emphasizing the symbolic nature of the Eucharist—fair enough. But, I responded by saying that, first of all, there is no disagreement there with Catholic interpretation of the Eucharist and, moreso, that Clement, elsewhere, affirms the real presence of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist (and we similar things with someone like Augustine).

Now, with this quote from Irenaeus (you stated it was Ignatius, but I do believe it is actually Irenaeus): this quote is actually a quote that, to be honest, I could use to indicate that the first Christians believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (in fact, this is often used by Catholic apologists to indicate that the early Church had a belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, for reasons I am about to explain). For, the very fact that there were non-Christians who (falsely) accused Christians of being cannibals, as Irenaeus wrote here, indicates that the Christians DID believe the Eucharist was the Body and Blood of Christ. For, if we think about it carefully, if the Christians were emphatically saying it was ONLY a symbol of Christ’s Body and Blood but not ACTUALLY His Body and Blood, like many (though not all!) Protestants do today, would there be such an accusation of cannibalism? I don’t think so. On the other hand, if there are accusations, even if false ones, of cannibalism, it gives a strong indication that the Christians actually DID believe they were consuming the Body and Blood of Christ (albeit in a Sacramental, not a natural/cannibalistic, manner); else, if the Christians were not even saying this, from where would come the accusation, even if false, of cannibalism? The fact is that Protestant belief (at least those Protestant creeds which deny the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, for not even all Protestants deny this), because it flat-out denies that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ, does NOT open one up to this sort of false accusation of cannibalism, whereas belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (as Catholics and Orthodox believe) does open one’s self up to this false accusation—although the accusation is still false (as I’ll soon explain)--indicating yet again that the early Church believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

When Irenaeus says that the slaves who were being questioned falsely imagined that the Eucharist was “actual flesh and blood”, and that they related this to the non-Christian persecutors, it is clear from this context that what was being communicated to the non-Christian persecutors was the (false) idea that the Christians, in consuming the Eucharist, were consuming flesh and blood in its natural form (i.e., in a cannibalistic manner). Why can I make such a claim? Well, for the simple fact that, had it been made clear to the non-Christian persecutors that the Christians were consuming the Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, then there is no way the Greek persecutors would have been upset by this. Even suppose, for the sake of argument, that the Christians did NOT believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and held that the EUCHARIST was JUST a symbol, there is no way that if it was ACCURATELY communicated to the Greeks what the Christians were doing, i.e., consuming the Sacrament of the Eucharist, that the Greeks would be upset by this.

So, in the end, what this quote demonstrates is the following: 1.) There was a claim that the Christians consumed the Body and Blood of Christ; 2.) The Greeks clearly understood this to mean that there was cannibalistic eating going on (i.e., eating of flesh and blood in a natural manner), for they got upset by what they heard (and they would NOT have gotten upset if they had understood this to mean the Christians were engaging in some Sacramental ritual called “the Eucharist”). So, with respect to #2, we can simply say the Greeks were misinformed or misunderstanding what the Christians were doing: the Christians were not consuming flesh in a cannibalistic manner. SO, we can disregard #2, and look at #1; what does #1 tell us? Well, it tells us that, whatever the Christians were doing with respect to the Eucharist, word got around that what the Christians BELIEVED they were doing was consuming the Body and Blood of Christ (and this OBVIOUSLY in a SACRAMENTAL, not cannibalistic, manner); that this word got around gives evidence that the Christians actually were saying, and, thus, believing that, IN THE SACRAMENT of the Eucharist, they were consuming, in a Sacramental manner, the Body and Blood of Our Lord.

And, why, again, is this accusation of cannibalism false, and YET, at the same time, how can it be claimed that the early Catholic Church (as Ignatius of Antioch called the early Church, referring to it as the “Catholic Church”) believed the Eucharist was really Christ’s Body and Blood? Well, for the same reasons that Catholics today would say that we Catholics today are not cannibals, and, yet, we believe we eat Christ’s Body and Blood IN THE SACRAMENT of the Eucharist. And that is the key: as I’ve said before in this thread, the consumption/eating of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist is done in a SACRAMENTAL manner (for Christ’s Body and Blood IS truly there, but contained IN THE SACRAMENT, and thus CONSUMED in a Sacramental manner), whereas cannibalism is, by definition, eating human flesh (and drinking human blood) in a NATURAL manner (this, in fact, seemed to be the fear of those who denied Jesus in the 6th Chapter of John, not trusting Him enough that He would provide for them a way to consume His flesh and blood WITHOUT being cannibals, which He did when creating this Sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper). So, in sum, just as we Catholics today would adamantly deny being cannibals even though we affirm the Real Presence of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist, so did the Catholics of Irenaeus’ day do the same. So, this quote from Irenaeus, I strongly argue, not only does NOT show that the early Church denied the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist but, actually, it gives evidence AFFIRMING that the early Christians believed that the Eucharist contained the Body and Blood of Christ, as it gives strong evidence that the Christians were telling folks—and, thus, believing themselves-- that they were consuming, in a SACRAMENTAL manner, in the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ (in this trial with the Greeks, the denial by the Christians about consuming flesh and blood is, as I have shown, clearly a denial that they were consuming flesh and blood in a CANNIBALISTIC manner, just as, again, any Catholic TODAY would deny).

Further, we have seen elsewhere that Irenaeus believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

So, again, we are seeing a unanimous teaching among the Fathers, from as far back as we can go, that the Eucharist IS the Body and Blood of Christ (in addition to being a symbol of His Body and Blood), which indicates to us the true way to interpret the Scriptures, i.e., in the way the MOST Christian Churches, including the Catholic Church, always has interpreted the Scriptures.

And, while it is true that the earlier (ante-Nicene) Fathers of the Church are not always QUITE as clear in their statements affirming the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist as are the later Fathers (who, gradually, become VERY, VERY clear in their statements affirming Christ’s Presence in the Eucharist), this should not strike us surprising, at all. For, it is the nature of the development of doctrine that later doctrines, building on earlier ones, are more precise and exact in their terms. The fact that the later Fathers, BUILDING ON THE TRADITION (both spoken and written) of earlier Fathers, developed such a CLEAR formulation of Christ’s Presence in the Eucharist is further evidence, beyond what we already even have, that the true Faith of the ante-Nicene Church (as well as that of the Apostolic Church), was a “Eucharistic Faith”, a Faith that believed the Eucharist truly contained the Body and Blood of Christ.

And, lest we be tempted to disregard the teachings of the later Fathers (eg., 3rd and 4th) century, we must make special note that it was THESE Fathers and the Church of their time which handed on to us the canon of the Scriptures themselves, and that one criteria for their discerning which writings were canonical was whether or not the writing was in conformity with the Faith of the Church; and, so, if we are to trust them to give to us something as important as the correct canon of the Scriptures, how can we not trust them when they teach us that the Holy Eucharist is the Real Body and Blood of Christ, contained in Sacramental Form, and that this Eucharist is at the center of Christian worship (indeed, another criteria for determining which Scriptures belonged in the Bible was determining which Scriptures would be used in the LITURGY, i.e., the Mass…thus, the collecting of the Scriptures was done for the sake of determining which writings were worthy of being read at Mass: in the end, the Bible is a Book for the Mass, which is at the heart of Catholic and Orthodox worship).



Homer, you also wrote:
I have also reviewed the texts concerning the institution of the Lord's supper in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul in 1st Corinthians, looking for any "purpose" statements. What we find is there is no indication of gaining eternal life by consuming the bread and wine but rather the emphasis is on initiation of a new covenant, a memorial (Paul says "remembrance" twice over), and proclaiming Christ's sacrifice.
Look over John 6, as it is in the Bread of Life discourse where we find statements from Christ showing that the Eucharist gives eternal life; it’s actually pretty clear.
Jesus answered…”Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”…I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world….Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” (see John 6:27, 48-59)


Homer wrote:
As I indicated earlier, the occasion of that first communion was a Passover feast with the various food items as symbolic and we find
the same in the Lord's supper.
Just because SOME things are MERELY symbolic in a ceremony does not mean that ALL things are MERELY symbolic in a ceremony. Thus, for example, at the Catholic (and Orthodox) Mass itself, there are LOTS of things in the Catholic Mass which are MERELY symbolic (eg., the vestments, the candles, various gestures, etc.), but there is one thing that is not MERELY symbolic, namely, the Holy Eucharist. And, we Catholics (as well as the Orthodox) are very aware as to what is merely symbolic, and what is not only symbolic, but also brings about what it symbolizes (namely, the Eucharist, which symbolizes Christ’s Body and Blood but also actually IS His Body and Blood). So, if we Catholics (and Orthodox) can have and see this, then there is no reason why Jesus and His disciples would not also have and see this.
Furthermore, just because the Eucharist is a memorial does not mean that it is not ALSO a Sacrifice; in the very action of calling to mind Christ and His Sacrifice, Christ and His Sacrifice are Sacramentally made present again, re-presented, as we say. In fact, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the following beautiful reading which we just read on the great feast in honor of the Eucharist earlier this week (you can also see here the beauty and consolation that we Catholics see contained in this doctrine of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist):
Since it was the will of God’s only-begotten Son that men should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men gods. Moreover, when he took our flesh he dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us for ever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.

O precious and wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value? Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats that was offered, but here Christ himself, the true God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful than this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues are increased, and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all may be for the benefit of all. Yet, in the end, no one can fully express the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his passion.

It was to impress the vastness of this love more firmly upon the hearts of the faithful that our Lord instituted this sacrament at the Last Supper. As he was on the point of leaving the world to go to the Father, after celebrating the Passover with his disciples, he left it as a perpetual memorial of his passion. It was the fulfillment of ancient figures and the greatest of all his miracles, while for those who were to experience the sorrow of his departure, it was destined to be a unique and abiding consolation. (St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusculum 57, in festo Corporis Christi, lect. 1-4)

Again, we see here not to sound “braggadocio” about the Catholic Faith (or the Orthodox Faith, for that matter, for what I am about to say also applies to the Orthodox), but with this we are touching, once again, on the “robustness” of the Catholic Faith and its “both-and” beliefs. The Eucharist is BOTH a Memorial AND a Sacrifice; it is BOTH a Symbol AND it really is Jesus; there are BOTH symbols which are mere symbols AND there are symbols which are MORE than mere symbols; etc.

In Christ, the Bread of Life,
Brother Alan
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen."

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Homer
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Homer » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:05 pm

BrotherAlan,

I took some time while you were gone to do a more in depth study of John 6. You appear to take John 6:53-54 in a literal manner, the basis of the doctrine of transubstantiation. Considering these verses:

John 6:53-54 (NASB)
53. So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.


Now compare with John 6:40, in the same context:

John 6:40 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
40. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”


Note carefully the striking parallel between verses 40 and 54. Believes in the Son = eternal life; eating His flesh and blood = eternal life! If both statements are considered to be meant in the literal sense it would appear they either contradict each other or one or both are not in fact literal, because each statement is completely unqualified. Consider the case, not unheard of, where a young man, an unbeliever, feigns conversion and faith to win the heart of a faithful Catholic girl. She insists he become a Catholic before she will marry him. After marriage, while still feigning faith, he participates in the mass. If v.54 is literally true (no qualification) the man has eternal life in contradiction of not only v. 40, but the whole of the scriptures! The Gospel ever proclaims "believe and be saved".

Also note v. 6:56:

56. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (NASB)

In the scriptures we find that "flesh and blood" is a frequent idiom for the whole person:

(All quotes from NASB)
Matthew 16:17
17. And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:50
50. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit ]the imperishable.

Galatians 1:16
16. to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood,

Ephesians 6:12
12. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Hebrews 2:14
14. Therefore, since the children share in [a]flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,


And also consider:

John 6:32-35 (NASB)
32. Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34. Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”
35. Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.


The physical bread provided (manna), sent by the Father was not the true bead of life but Jesus and His words are the real spiritual bread unto eternal life:

John 6:63 (NASB)
63. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.


Which is an echo of the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 8:3 (NASB)
3. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.


I must conclude that John 6:56 says the very same thing metaphorically that is said in 6:40.

Matthew 5:6 (NASB)
6. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.


Be blessed!
BrotherHomer

BrotherAlan
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:19 am

Dear Homer (BrotherHomer!),
Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to respond-- I sincerely appreciate it! God bless you, Brother!

Real quick response here. As indicated in that document you sent from Clement of Alexandria-- and, more importantly, in John 6 itself-- "eating Jesus' Body and Blood" CAN have two meanings, both of which are true (again, it's that "both-and" principle coming into play): (1) believing in Him; (2) consuming His Body and Blood in what we now call (and has been so-called since, at least, the early 2nd century) the Sacrament of the "Eucharist". In fact, this consumption of Our Lord's Body and Blood is meant to be a MANIFESTATION of the prior "consumption of Christ" by FAITH. That "consumption" of Christ that we have by Faith will, of necessity, lead us to desire to consume Him Sacramentally. That, precisely, is the joy which the Sacrament of the Eucharist gives to us: the soul consumes Christ, first, by Faith, and then the body consumes Him-- the whole of Him (Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity) by the Sacrament, giving greater joy (indescribable joy) to the soul (for, Jesus is the Joy of Man's Desiring).

And, as Paul teaches in 1 Cor. 11:23-29, it is only the consumption of Christ's Body and Blood by Faith that is life-giving (while the Body of Christ is still present in the Sacrament, regardless of whether or not one "discerns the Body of the Lord", as Paul says, it is only receiving that Body worthily which gives life; unworthy reception of Christ's Body actually gives death, as Paul says).

I think a lot of this comes out in this wonderful hymn written by Thomas Aquinas in honor of the Eucharist (which, in poetic fashion, manifests much of the Catholic thought on what the Scriptures are truly revealing about Christ's Body and Blood, the Sacrament of the Eucharist which Christ instituted at the Last Supper and predicted in John 6):
Sion, lift thy voice and sing:
Praise thy Savior and thy King;
Praise with hymns thy Shepherd true:
Dare thy most to praise Him well;
For He doth all praise excel;
None can ever reach His due.

Special theme of praise is thine,
That true living Bread divine,
That life-giving flesh adored,
Which the brethren twelve received,
As most faithfully believed,
At the Supper of the Lord.

Let the chant be loud and high;
Sweet and tranquil be the joy
Felt to-day in every breast;
On this festival divine
Which recounts the origin
Of the glorious Eucharist.

At this table of the King,
Our new Paschal offering
Brings to end the olden rite;
Here, for empty shadows fled,
Is reality instead;
Here, instead of darkness, light.

His own act, at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
In His memory divine;
Wherefore now, with adoration,
We the Host of our salvation
Consecrate from bread and wine.

Hear what holy Church maintaineth,
That the bread its substance changeth
Into Flesh, the wine to Blood.
Doth it pass thy comprehending?
Faith, the law of sight transcending,
Leaps to things not understood.

Here in outward signs are hidden
Priceless things, to sense forbidden;
Signs, not things, are all we see:-
Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine;
Yet is Christ, in either sign,
All entire confessed to be.

They too who of Him partake
Sever not, nor rend, nor break,
But entire their Lord receive.
Whether one or thousands eat,
All receive the selfsame meat,
Nor the less for others leave.

Both the wicked and the good
Eat of this celestial Food;
But with ends how opposite!
Here 'tis life; and there 'tis death;
The same, yet issuing to each
In a difference infinite.

Nor a single doubt retain,
When they break the Host in twain,
But that in each part remains
What was in the whole before;
Since the simple sign alone
Suffers change in state or form,
The Signified remaining One
And the Same forevermore

Lo! upon the Altar lies,
Hidden deep from human eyes,
Angels' Bread from Paradise
Made the food of mortal man:
Children's meat to dogs denied;
In old types foresignified;
In the manna from the skies,
In Isaac, and the Paschal Lamb.

Jesu! Shepherd of the sheep!
Thy true flock in safety keep.
Living Bread! Thy life supply;
Strengthen us, or else we die;
Fill us with celestial grace:
Thou, who feedest us below!
Source of all we have or know!
Grant that with Thy Saints above,
Sitting at the Feast of Love,
We may see Thee face to face. Amen
As always, interested in hearing any further thoughts you might have.

God bless you, Brother (and, again, thank you for the reply).

In Christ,
BrotherAlan
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen."

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Homer
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Homer » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:49 pm

BrotherAlan,

You wrote:
And, as Paul teaches in 1 Cor. 11:23-29, it is only the consumption of Christ's Body and Blood by Faith that is life-giving (while the Body of Christ is still present in the Sacrament, regardless of whether or not one "discerns the Body of the Lord",as Paul says, it is only receiving that Body worthily which gives life; unworthy reception of Christ's Body actually gives death, as Paul says).
But there is no mention in the passage of scripture you cited regarding the underlined part of your reply; faith is mentioned in the parallel (see below). I fail to see any teaching about transubstantiation, only Jesus' words designating the Lord's supper as a memorial and Paul's reference to the proclamation of Christ's sacrificial death:

1 Corinthians 11:23-29 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

23. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24. and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25. In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
27. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.


It appears to me after examining the passages in the Greek concerning the Lord's supper, and the passage in John 6 that you claim as a statement about the Eucharist, that it is very doubtful that John 6 has anything at all to do with the institution of a sacrament. In John 6 we find "flesh" (Greek: sarx used, but in all scriptural references to the institution of the Lord's Supper we find "body" (Greek: (soma) used. And also consider the fact that, chronologically, the subject passage in John 6 follows on the heels of Jesus claim to be the bread of life, an obviously figurative statement, and not only that but Jesus' words were a good year before His sacrificial death occurred.

Something related to this that caught my eye in the Greek is as follows:

John 6:54 (NASB)
54. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.


The Greek word translated "has", is a present indicative active which asserts the person has eternal life by this eating and drinking at the very moment Jesus uttered these words. Now if Jesus' words are figurative, saying the same as verse 6:40 does literally, it is easy to see how they would at that point have eternal life and impossible to understand how, at the time he spoke, they could have eternal life by eating His flesh and blood.

When you say that it is "only receiving that Body worthily which gives life" you show that the statement in v. 54 can not be taken literally; there is no qualification in the verse.

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steve
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by steve » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:37 pm

Good observations, Homer.

I don't think that the reference to not discerning "the body" (1 Corinthians 11:29) has anything to do with transubstantiation, that is, with acknowledging the change of bakery goods into a human body (why would Paul, then, not follow up with the complementary phrase, "and the blood"?). He is saying that their failure is to recognize that the people they are harming by sending them home hungry (v.21) are members of the Christian family—which needs to be recognized as Christ's body. It is similar to the concern Paul expressed three chapters earlier, in 1 Corinthians 8:12.

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