Presto Chango!

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Paidion
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Paidion » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:32 pm

Amazing, 3R. I have never encountered a Baptist church like that. My mother was a Baptist, and when I was a teen, I attended a Baptist church in the small village in which we lived. Anyone who professed to be a Christian was welcome to take communion.

A few years later, I worked in another area near a larger town. In that town, there was a Baptist Church in which the pastor and his wife had come from Tennessee. I think they had been "Southern Baptists" but in this Canadian town, they were associated with the Fellowship Baptist convention. The church was really "on fire" for the Lord. Any Christian who had been baptized, could take communion.

One young man (who was not a Christian) became interested in one of the girls. He thought he'd have a better chance with the girl if he got baptized and joined the church. So he asked the pastor to baptize him. The pastor refused, as he knew the fellow was not a Christian. The young man objected saying,"Why can't I be baptized; I believe in God." The pastor (who was a very forthright person) replied, "So does the devil!"
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 81.

MMathis
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by MMathis » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:59 am

I googled the Eucharist and the Catholic catechism explanation came up. Now I know where the term "fuzzy logic" came from. It says it does change but then changes back so if you were to send it to a lab, it would just be wine.

I have no problem with the simple idea that Jesus told them to do this in remembrance of Him, but the hokus pokus part seems too much.
MMathis
Las Vegas NV

BrotherAlan
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Thu May 09, 2019 1:08 am

From St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica (Third Part, Question 75, on the Sacrament of the Eucharist):
Article 1. Whether the body of Christ be in this sacrament [of the Eucharist] in very truth, or merely as in a figure or sign?
Objection 1. It seems that the body of Christ is not in this sacrament in very truth, but only as in a figure, or sign. For it is written (John 6:54) that when our Lord had uttered these words: "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood," etc., "Many of His disciples on hearing it said: 'this is a hard saying'": to whom He rejoined: "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing": as if He were to say, according to Augustine's exposition on Ps. 4 [On Psalm 98:9]: "Give a spiritual meaning to what I have said. You are not to eat this body which you see, nor to drink the blood which they who crucify Me are to spill. It is a mystery that I put before you: in its spiritual sense it will quicken you; but the flesh profiteth nothing."

Objection 2. Further, our Lord said (Matthew 28:20): "Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world." Now in explaining this, Augustine makes this observation (Tract. xxx in Joan.): "The Lord is on high until the world be ended; nevertheless the truth of the Lord is here with us; for the body, in which He rose again, must be in one place; but His truth is spread abroad everywhere." Therefore, the body of Christ is not in this sacrament in very truth, but only as in a sign.

Objection 3. Further, no body can be in several places at the one time. For this does not even belong to an angel; since for the same reason it could be everywhere. But Christ's is a true body, and it is in heaven. Consequently, it seems that it is not in very truth in the sacrament of the altar, but only as in a sign.

Objection 4. Further, the Church's sacraments are ordained for the profit of the faithful. But according to Gregory in a certain Homily (xxviii in Evang.), the ruler is rebuked "for demanding Christ's bodily presence." Moreover the apostles were prevented from receiving the Holy Ghost because they were attached to His bodily presence, as Augustine says on John 16:7: "Except I go, the Paraclete will not come to you" (Tract. xciv in Joan.). Therefore Christ is not in the sacrament of the altar according to His bodily presence.

On the contrary, Hilary says (De Trin. viii): "There is no room for doubt regarding the truth of Christ's body and blood; for now by our Lord's own declaring and by our faith His flesh is truly food, and His blood is truly drink." And Ambrose says (De Sacram. vi): "As the Lord Jesus Christ is God's true Son so is it Christ's true flesh which we take, and His true blood which we drink."

I answer that, The presence of Christ's true body and blood in this sacrament cannot be detected by sense, nor understanding, but by faith alone, which rests upon Divine authority. Hence, on Luke 22:19: "This is My body which shall be delivered up for you," Cyril says: "Doubt not whether this be true; but take rather the Saviour's words with faith; for since He is the Truth, He lieth not."

Now this is suitable, first for the perfection of the New Law. For, the sacrifices of the Old Law contained only in figure that true sacrifice of Christ's Passion, according to Hebrews 10:1: "For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things." And therefore it was necessary that the sacrifice of the New Law instituted by Christ should have something more, namely, that it should contain Christ Himself crucified, not merely in signification or figure, but also in very truth. And therefore this sacrament which contains Christ Himself, as Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. iii), is perfective of all the other sacraments, in which Christ's virtue is participated.

Secondly, this belongs to Christ's love, out of which for our salvation He assumed a true body of our nature. And because it is the special feature of friendship to live together with friends, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. ix), He promises us His bodily presence as a reward, saying (Matthew 24:28): "Where the body is, there shall the eagles be gathered together." Yet meanwhile in our pilgrimage He does not deprive us of His bodily presence; but unites us with Himself in this sacrament through the truth of His body and blood. Hence (John 6:57) he says: "He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him." Hence this sacrament is the sign of supreme charity, and the uplifter of our hope, from such familiar union of Christ with us.

Thirdly, it belongs to the perfection of faith, which concerns His humanity just as it does His Godhead, according to John 14:1: "You believe in God, believe also in Me." And since faith is of things unseen, as Christ shows us His Godhead invisibly, so also in this sacrament He shows us His flesh in an invisible manner.

Some men accordingly, not paying heed to these things, have contended that Christ's body and blood are not in this sacrament except as in a sign, a thing to be rejected as heretical, since it is contrary to Christ's words. Hence Berengarius, who had been the first deviser of this heresy, was afterwards forced to withdraw his error, and to acknowledge the truth of the faith.

Reply to Objection 1. From this authority the aforesaid heretics have taken occasion to err from evilly understanding Augustine's words. For when Augustine says: "You are not to eat this body which you see," he means not to exclude the truth of Christ's body, but that it was not to be eaten in this species in which it was seen by them. And by the words: "It is a mystery that I put before you; in its spiritual sense it will quicken you," he intends not that the body of Christ is in this sacrament merely according to mystical signification, but "spiritually," that is, invisibly, and by the power of the spirit. Hence (Tract. xxvii), expounding John 6:64: "the flesh profiteth nothing," he says: "Yea, but as they understood it, for they understood that the flesh was to be eaten as it is divided piecemeal in a dead body, or as sold in the shambles, not as it is quickened by the spirit . . . Let the spirit draw nigh to the flesh . . . then the flesh profiteth very much: for if the flesh profiteth nothing, the Word had not been made flesh, that It might dwell among us."

Reply to Objection 2. That saying of Augustine and all others like it are to be understood of Christ's body as it is beheld in its proper species; according as our Lord Himself says (Matthew 26:11): "But Me you have not always." Nevertheless He is invisibly under the species of this sacrament, wherever this sacrament is performed.

Reply to Objection 3. Christ's body is not in this sacrament in the same way as a body is in a place, which by its dimensions is commensurate with the place; but in a special manner which is proper to this sacrament. Hence we say that Christ's body is upon many altars, not as in different places, but "sacramentally": and thereby we do not understand that Christ is there only as in a sign, although a sacrament is a kind of sign; but that Christ's body is here after a fashion proper to this sacrament, as stated above.

Reply to Objection 4. This argument holds good of Christ's bodily presence, as He is present after the manner of a body, that is, as it is in its visible appearance, but not as it is spiritually, that is, invisibly, after the manner and by the virtue of the spirit. Hence Augustine (Tract. xxvii in Joan.) says: "If thou hast understood" Christ's words spiritually concerning His flesh, "they are spirit and life to thee; if thou hast understood them carnally, they are also spirit and life, but not to thee."
In Christ, the Eucharistic Lord,
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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steve
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by steve » Thu May 09, 2019 9:16 pm

Aquinas is supposed to be one of the premier Catholic theologians. If the passage cited above is the best defense of transubstantiation a Catholic doctor an produce, then those who reject the view can rest the more comfortably that the doctrine has no merit other than as a superstitious tradition.

Not a single verse of scripture is exegeted in an attempt to discover its true meaning from context, historical setting, the meaning of words, etc. Instead, such novelties are appealed to as (apparently) interpreting the "eagles," which can predictably be found gathered around a dead body, as a reference to Christ's friends gathered around the elements of the Eucharist!

As I said in the video clip above, there is not a single scripture in which Jesus or an apostle suggest that an invisible miracle changes bread and wine into human flesh and blood. Only John 6, and the records of the Last Supper, are appealed to, but no effort is made to demonstrate (except from citations from other Catholic traditionalists) that these passages (which make no mention of transubstantiation) would best be understood by importing this doctrine.

The inconvenient truth for the Roman Catholic is that, while his system focuses on the Eucharist as a necessity for salvation, there is not a single Biblical writer that gives any clue that this is the case. When someone like Paul actually does mention the significance of the Lord's Supper (citing Jesus' own explanation—1 Corinthians 11:24-26), he says only that this is to be done as a remembrance (a means of remembering) of Christ's death. Certainly, the eucharistic teaching of the church, if true, would make this an inexcusable understatement. There is no suggestion in Christ's words to convey such a seemingly essential "truth" such as, "When you eat this bread, and drink this cup, the elements are supernaturally transformed into life-giving body and blood." What an omission, if the disciples were expected to actually take such a meaning from the event!

Paul then says, "As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you..." do what? What are you doing as often as you eat and drink these substances? Certainly, this is the ideal place to tell the church that you are thereby participating in a sacrament involving miraculous transformations imparting eternal life to the participant! How anticlimactic are Paul's actual words! "As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you show forth (Gr. "proclaim") the Lord's death until He comes." (1 Cor.11:26).

Is that all? The ritual simply serves as a visual "proclamation" of Christ's death for us? If it is any more than this, neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor any biblical writer, ever thought to mention it.

And how important it would be to do so! The idea that the products of the field and the vineyard are supernaturally (though not documentably) changed into materials containing human DNA would certainly be a counterintuitive (and a not obviously relevant to actual salvation) phenomenon. If we are asked to believe some miracle has occurred that no eye (and no instruments of observation or analysis) can discern, is it too much to ask that someone who knows this should inform us of it? Neither Jesus, nor any apostle gave the slightest hint that such things occur.

Instead, Jesus' words "eat my body...drink my blood" (which do not make any reference to the Lord's Supper, which would not occur until 12 months later than these comments) are included in only one of the four of Gospels. The other three, apparently, did not see the statements as essential to be recorded. The Gospel that records these words is the same one that contains Jesus' statements, "destroy this temple," "be born again," "I have food that you do not know," "drink living waters," and "our friend Lazarus is sick"—all of which were mistakenly taken literally by His hearers, but none of which were intended to be so understood. The Roman Catholic then tells us to shift gears and to believe that the words "eat my body...drink my blood" are, uncharacteristically, to be understood as literal.

The only other statement of Jesus that is (wrongly) applied to the imagined transubstantiation of the elements Is that which He uttered at the Last Supper. He said, "This bread is my body...this cup is my blood." That this language is that of representation, not identity, can easily be seen in other biblical texts, such as the one where David pours out water from the well of Bethlehem, refusing to drink it, with the explanation, " Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” (2 Sam.23:17). Obviously, the rhetorical question, "Is this not..." means "This is..." David was saying that the water was the blood of the three heroes who procured it at the risk of their lives—though certainly not literally. When Paul said, of the rock from which the Israelites drank water in the wilderness, "the rock was Christ" (1 Cor.10:4), are we to believe that he is saying the rock literally was Christ, or that it corresponds, in his analogy, to Christ?

Only those unacquainted with the standard Passover ritual could mistakenly take Jesus words at the Last Supper literally. His Disciples were certainly not unfamiliar with the ceremony they celebrated every year of their lives. In the standard Passover Seder (look it up, if you doubt me), the officiant would hold up the bread and say, "this is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt." The clear meaning being, "This bread calls to mind, or represents, the affliction of our fathers in Egypt." None of the disciples would have understood Jesus' modification of the common ritual to be introducing such a radical concept as a literal declaration that, by eating this bread they were literally eating a human body, or by drinking the cup, they were actually drinking blood—any more than they thought that, in the normal ritual, they were eating the literal bread their fathers had eaten 1,400 years earlier!

Imagine what Peter's reaction would have been (who, at a later date, refused the divine command to eat unclean meats—Acts 10:9-16) if he had imagined that Jesus was literally telling them to eat human flesh and blood! Why would he, at that later date, declare, "I have never eaten anything unclean" if, in fact, he was of the opinion that the communion meal in which he had participated hundreds of times was in fact an imbibing in the most unclean foods imaginable—blood and human flesh? It is obvious that Peter, neither at the Last Supper, nor after years of reflection, had any idea that he was eating literal human flesh or blood.

Unfortunately, no matter how far back in church history the doctrine of transubstantiation may date, it is clear that it did not date back to Jesus or the apostles.

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Candlepower
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Candlepower » Thu May 09, 2019 10:21 pm

So after all that verbiage you quoted, Alan, what do YOU think? Do you think the bread and wine transform into the flesh and blood of Jesus? I think that those who believe the elements do morph are missing the point as much as Jesus' Disciples were when He told them they must eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6).

On numerous occasions Jesus had to explain to His disciples that He was speaking figuratively, not literally; that He was using physical pictures to reveal spiritual truths. I can imagine He might have often told them something like, "Come on guys, catch up faster!" I'm afraid some of His followers today are still lagging behind, stuck in the swamps of centuries-old human philosophy and institutional man-made traditions.

Some attempt to connect "Eat My flesh and drink My Blood" (John 6) with eating the Passover meal (Luke 22). Those events occurred months apart, and I think they had quite different objectives. To me, they don't seem to fit together. The first dealt with spiritual sustenance from the Savior; the second dealt with covenantal sacrifice by the Savior.

God knows how prone we are to forget. It seems to me that Jesus instituted the "communion" meal as a means of helping us not to forget the great sacrifice He made in order to inaugurate the New Covenant. "Do this in remembrance of me," He tells us. I believe remembering is what it's all about. He gave us a picture to remind us of Him, His sacrifice, and His Kingdom. Morphing John 6 with Luke 22 (and taking both events literally) transforms the communion ceremony into a time of weird abracadabra, presto-chango, and mars its meaning. Not to mention the gross cannibalism that some teach. Yuck!

At that last Passover meal, something unusual did occur, I think. The Disciples seem to have actually understood that Jesus was speaking metaphorically, not literally, about His flesh and blood. They were catching up really well! So should we. But it's not easy untangling oneself from the webs woven by theo-philosophers over the centuries, and that obscure rather than reveal the meaning and purpose of the communion meal.

Additionally, I don't see any evidence of Apostolic teaching of transubstantiation. You would think they would have taught it, if they had believed it.

BrotherAlan
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Fri May 10, 2019 4:16 pm

To Steve, Candlepower, and all other followers of this thread and forum:

Greetings in the Risen Lord. Amen.

First, a few preliminary notes to define some terms.

A “Sacrament” is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.

The “Holy Eucharist” is a Sacrament. In the Holy Eucharist, the Lord Christ is said to be really, truly, and substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine.

The word “transubstantiation” simply means a “change in substance”. In Christian theology, it refers to Christ, at the Last Supper, changing the substance of bread and wine (i.e., that which makes bread and wine to be bread and wine) into the substance of His Body and Blood, while the “accidents”, that is, the appearances and outward qualities) of bread and wine remain. This Divine power of Christ to change bread and wine into his Body and Blood was given to His Apostles (according to His words at the Last Supper, “Do THIS in memory of me,”), and, then, to all validly ordained priests.

These terms having been defined, the truth of this reality, i.e., of the reality of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist, can be seen from various Scriptural passages.

In the first place, John 6 demonstrates to us the reality of Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist. For, in John 6, Christ declares Himself to be “the bread of life” which came down from Heaven, and, in explaining what He meant by this, He declares, among other things, that the bread that He shall give is His flesh.

It is important to note here that, contrary to other parts in John’s Gospel in which Christ is speaking metaphorically, Christ does NOT declare Himself to be speaking metaphorically here. Even in the face of others understanding Him to NOT be speaking metaphorically, He does not declare their understanding to be incorrect but, rather, He emphasizes even more the reality of His real presence in this bread that He shall give to them (eg., “My flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed.”) Given the fact that, in other places in which Christ (or the Gospel writer) declares Himself to be speaking metaphorically, one would think that, if He were speaking metaphorically in John 6, especially given the fact that others were understanding Him in a non-metaphorical sense (even to the point at which they left following Him because of this understanding), that He would clarify the matter; He does not, but, to the contrary, He emphasizes even more the fact that the bread that He shall give them is His flesh, and that is flesh is real food, etc.

Concerning John 6, we can, in the end, give several reasons for believing that Jesus was not speaking metaphorically about His flesh and blood, including the following:
1. This Bread of Life discourse in John 6 follows Christ’s great miracle of the loaves and fish. This miracle merely prefigured by what Christ was promising to give the people in promising to give them Himself as the “Bread of Life”, and, thus, that that miracle of the loaves and fish was LESS than the Bread of Life that He was to give them. For the Bread of Life to be greater than the miracle, it would have to be more than symbolic: it would have to be His real flesh and blood.

2. Jesus also taught that the Bread that He was to give them would be GREATER than the manna given in the desert. :I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.” Again, this could not be said of mere symbolic bread, but it could most certainly be said of Christ’s Real Body given under the appearances of bread.

3. Again, Christ’s listeners understood Him to be speaking literally, not metaphorically; and, even in the face of this understanding, neither Christ, the greatest of Teachers, nor the Evangelist John, make no effort to state that He is speaking metaphorically (as is the case when Christ is, in fact, speaking metaphorically). In fact, rather than clearing up any supposed misunderstanding, Christ “doubles down” on His intention to communicate His Real Presence in the Eucharist by emphatically repeating the literalness of His teaching, stating, “The bread that I shall give is my flesh…Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you…My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” (John 6:51, 53, 55) In fact, rather than clear up any supposed misunderstanding on the part of His disciples—again, as He does on other occasions (eg., in John 4, in response to the disciples misunderstanding the metaphorical use of the word, “food”, Christ says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me”; in Mt. 16, in response to the disciples misunderstanding His metaphorical use of the word, “leaven”, He corrects their misunderstanding)—He is willing to let many disciples leave Him, even going so far as to challenge the 12 Apostles to leave Him over this doctrine (though, in the end, they believed, and, thus, stayed—except, in terms of belief, for Judas, for, as the Evangelist records, it is HERE, over Christ’s teaching on His Real Presence in the Eucharist, that Judas falters in his faith in Christ, something very much worth noting). All this shows that Christ wanted them to understand His words in a literal, not metaphorical, sense: for that IS what He meant.

This promise of the Eucharist given in John 6 is, of course, fulfilled at the Last Supper, in which Christ, on the night before He was betrayed, took bread and, giving thanks, broke the bread, and gave it to His disciples saying, “Take this all of you and eat of it, for this is my body, which is given up for you.” Likewise, when supper was ended, taking the chalice into His holy and venerable hands, He gave the chalice to His disciples stating, “Take this all of you and drink of it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant, which shall be poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.” That this is a memorial in no way derogates from the fact that Christ, in declaring what He was holding to be His Body and Blood, has, by His divine power, changed the substance of the bread into the substance of His Body (while the appearances and qualities of the of bread still remain), and, likewise, the substance of the wine into the substance of His Blood (while the appearances and qualities of the bread still remain).

But, some may say that Christ is speaking merely symbolically here? If this was all that Christ declared, there may be some merit to such an objection; however, this is not all we know, for, as just stated, we already have the prediction of the Eucharist given in John 6, and, furthermore, we have the explanation of the Eucharist given by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 10 and 11 in which the holy Apostle declares, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16), and “Whoever eats and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the Body and Blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body,” i.e., the Body of the Lord, “eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (1 Cor. 11:27-29)

So much, for now, on the Divine revelation given in the Holy Scriptures concerning Christ’s Real Presence—that is, His real, true, and substantial (bodily) presence-- in the Holy Eucharist. We must now move on to see how clearly the early Christians—and, along with them, virtually every Christian prior to Martin Luther-- understood this Scriptural revelation to mean that Christ was really, truly, and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist (i.e., that, at the Last Supper, Christ changed the substance of bread and wine into the substance of His Body and Blood, respectively).

First, a note on the importance of the testimony of the early Church Fathers. Some may hold that, because the testimony of the Church Fathers is not Scriptural, that their testimony can be easily disregarded. However, this it to fail to see that the Church Fathers hold a privileged position in presenting to us the authentic Christian understanding of the Holy Scriptures; and, this especially when they are unanimous, or virtually unanimous, in their teachings (as they, in fact, are in their teachings concerning the Holy Eucharist).

Further to note, not only do the early Church Fathers not only act as witnesses to us of the authentic Faith of the early Church (a Faith that, of course, preceded the writings of the New Testament Scriptures themselves, and the collection of these Scriptures into a unified whole), but it is this early Church that have delivered to us the Holy Scriptures, testifying to us the authenticity and divine inspiration by the Holy Spirit of these Scriptures. Without the early Church, and her Faith, we do not have a Bible; and, the early Church Fathers, especially when they are unanimous in their teachings, testify to us of that early Church’s Faith. To reject the Faith of this early Church is to reject the Church that has handed on to us the Scriptures (it would be a most egregious example of “biting the hand that feeds you”).

That said, we can cite the following handful of examples (among many other possible examples) of the early Church’s Faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist:
1. Ignatius of Antioch: Ignatius was one of the great heroes of the early Church. The bishop of the city in which Christians were first called Christians, he gave his life as a martyr for Christ. Beyond this, he was a disciple and co-worker of the Apostle John Himself (making him a very good authority on the proper understanding of John 6). St. Ignatius is, thus, in a prime position to give us an authentic understanding of the early Church’s Faith and her understanding of the Scriptures. With respect to the Eucharist, he states, “[Those who hold heterodox opinions] 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 the Smyrnaeans 6, 2) And, “I desire the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ…and for drink I desire His Blood, which is love incorruptible.” (Letter to the Romans 7, 3)

2. Justin Martyr: Justin was another hero, and martyr, of the early Church, who was converted in Ephesus around 130 AD (where, no doubt, he was instructed by disciples of John the Evangelist). He was regarded by many as the greatest apologist for Christianity in the 2nd century. Concerning the Eucharist, he taught the following: “We call this food Eucharist; and no one is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true…For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, was we have been 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 Blood of that incarnated Jesus.” (First Apology 66, 20)

3. Irenaeus: Yet another very important early Church Father, Irenaeus was bishop of Lyons in the 2nd century, and studied under Polycarp (who was a friend of John the Apostle, and another early Church hero and martyr). His work, “Against Heresies”, is one of the great Christian apologetic works of all time; in that work he wrote, “[Jesus] has declared the cup…to be His own Blood…and the bread…He has established as His own Body…” (Against Heresies 5, 2,2)

4. Cyril of Jerusalem: Another heroic martyr for Christ and Christian leader from the 4th century, Cyril writes, “[Jesus] Himself, therefore, having declared and said of the Bread, ‘This is My Body,’ who will dare any longer doubt? And when He Himself has affirmed and said, ‘This is My Blood,’ who can ever hesitate and say it is not His Blood?” (Catechetical Lectures: 22 (Mystagogic 4), 1) And, “Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ.” (Catechetical Lectures: 22 (Mystagogic 4), 6)

Add to these early Christian heroes other heroes such as Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian, Ephrem, Hilary, Athanasius, Basil, both Gregories, Epiphanius, and other witnesses to the early Church’s Faith, and it is crystal clear that the Faith of the early Church—again the VERY SAME Church which, in her Faith, delivered to us the Bible itself—clearly held that Christ was really, truly, and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist!

And, also very important to note: this matter of the Holy Eucharist is hardly a “side issue” for the early Church. Rather, for the earliest Christians, this belief in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist is at the HEART of Christian belief AND worship! For, from the time of Christ Himself (Who, from the Last Supper to His Resurrection appearance to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, showed to us the supreme importance of the Eucharist), to the Apostles (who DAILY “broke bread”), to the practice of the early Christians (who, in many ways-- including, at the risk of martyrdom, offered Mass in the catecombs—showed the centrality of the Eucharist and the Mass to their Christian lives), the Eucharist-- and the Mass—is clearly seen to be at the center of the early Church’s worship. Thus, if one were to hold to the opinion that this clear belief of the early Church was a FALSE belief, one would have to also hold to the (VERY unreasonable) opinion that, up until the 1500’s, virtually EVERY Christian individual AND Church (both Catholic AND other Churches, such as the Coptic, Armenian, and Orthodox)-- the same Christians who, because of their Christian Faith and their understanding of this Faith, preserved for us and delivered to us the Bible-- was WRONG on his/their belief on what they regarded as THE Center of Christian belief and worship! This would be a most unreasonable position to hold (again, we ought not bite the hand that feeds us).

On the other hand, given the Scriptural revelation, and the virtually unanimous understanding among ALL Christians of this revelation until the 1500s, it is most reasonable to believe that the authentic Christian belief on the Holy Eucharist is that Christ, under the appearances of bread and wine, is really, truly, and substantially (bodily) present in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

This Faith in Christ's Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist is, indeed, the Faith of our Fathers, it is the ancient Christian Faith, that Faith delivered once for all to the Saints, that Faith which we must believe and to which we must hold on tightly-- even if angel were to teach us differently-- lest we be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings to the contrary. For, it is the true-- and indescribably consoling!-- Christian doctrine, the doctrine of the Apostles, the doctrine of Christ Himself, He Who desires nothing more than to give to us a share in His Divine Life, and to do so by giving us His Sacred Heart, that Heart which is really, truly, and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist ("Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life within you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."), and to remain with us, as He promised, even until the close of the age...a promise He is fulfilling in many ways, but in no more perfect way than by remaining with us, truly remaining with us, in love, in the Most Holy Eucharist. Amen.

In Christ, Our Eucharistic Lord,
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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Candlepower
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Candlepower » Fri May 10, 2019 4:52 pm

BrotherAlan wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 4:16 pm
To Steve, Candelpower, and all other followers of this thread and forum:

Greetings in the Risen Lord. Amen.

First, a few preliminary notes to define some terms.

A “Sacrament” is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.


This is as much as I read of your last lengthy post, Alan. Please give a Bible reference (not the opinion of a pope or Church Father) that confirms your definition of a sacrament. If you can't do that, then I see zero sense in reading another word of your post.

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Homer
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Homer » Fri May 10, 2019 5:34 pm

BrotherAlan,

You wrote:
The word “transubstantiation” simply means a “change in substance”. In Christian theology, it refers to Christ, at the Last Supper, changing the substance of bread and wine (i.e., that which makes bread and wine to be bread and wine) into the substance of His Body and Blood, while the “accidents”, that is, the appearances and outward qualities) of bread and wine remain. This Divine power of Christ to change bread and wine into his Body and Blood was given to His Apostles (according to His words at the Last Supper, “Do THIS in memory of me,”), and, then, to all validly ordained priests.


So you believe that at the last supper the Apostles believed they were consuming Jesus' body and blood while he stood before them, alive and well? Wouldn't they have been shocked at the idea of consuming blood, especially that of another man?

Seems to be to be an absurdity to think they would have even have considered this, especially at a Passover meal where the various things consumed were representative of the bitterness of slavery, the bricks they made while enslaved, etc. etc. They would have never thought the food they consumed actually became that which it represented.

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steve
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by steve » Fri May 10, 2019 7:57 pm

Brother Alan,

Your arguments about the meaning of the two key passages—the Bread of Life Discourse and the Last Supper—are far from persuasive.

You say that Jesus never explained that His words in John 6 were not literal, but He did do so, in John 6:63. You have tried to refute my point on this earlier, buy citation of the Catholic authority Aquinas. Regardless of the double-talk of theologians embarrassed by a statement, I will still go by the content of the statement to determine what Jesus was saying. You and I will have to simply disagree.

Amazingly, you say that Jesus' words "Do this..." was authorizing the disciples to change the elements in future eucharistic observances. One needs only to read the passage to see that "Do this..." means, "eat this bread and drink this cup."

The citations from church fathers have one thing in common with each other. None of them speak of any "Real Presence" of Christ having been spooked into baked goods and wine. I find their wording to be such as I myself could use, and which the Bible itself uses, without a hint of transubstantiation. Some of the fourth-century voices probably really were thinking of the Catholic doctrine. They were hundreds of years removed from Christ and thew apostles, just as we are. The tendency of religious people to tolerate the intrusion of superstitions is so commonly known as to require no documentation.

The earliest authority you quoted, Ignatius, is particularly damaging to your point. You cite him as saying: "I desire the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ…and for drink I desire His Blood, which is love incorruptible.” Love incorruptible is neither literal wine nor literal blood. Nor can one find a verse of scripture suggesting equivalence oil them.

One can as reasonably assume that Ignatius meant the bread of God was literally the flesh of Jesus as top assume that the blood (a physical substance) was literally "love incorruptible" (a spiritual quality). It is clear that he is randomly mixing metaphors. If "love incorruptible" (not a literal liquid that can be literally drunk) is the "blood" [of Jesus] for which he thirsted, then he is not referring to the Eucharist, and the blood of Jesus as something that is physically drunk (any more than the Holy Spirit is literally living water that can be physically drunk—John 7:37-39).

There is no sense in citing the church fathers in order to contradict what Biblical exegesis teaches. All the fathers you cited also happened to be premillennialists, but Catholics are not. What gives?

BrotherAlan
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Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Sat May 11, 2019 10:07 pm

Candlepower wrote:
This is as much as I read of your last lengthy post, Alan. Please give a Bible reference (not the opinion of a pope or Church Father) that confirms your definition of a sacrament. If you can't do that, then I see zero sense in reading another word of your post.
Candlepower, first off, if you are looking for an EXAMPLE of a Sacrament in the Scriptures that fits this definition, you would have found one had you continued reading my post (for, the whole post is on the Eucharist, which is a Sacrament, i.e., it is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace, as the post shows). Secondly, more fundamentally in terms of methods of argumentation, as we learn in logic, to begin an argument, one begins with a "nominal definition" of a thing-- this definition is not "right" or "wrong", it simply states what one means when one uses this term. As one continues the argument, one may show that this thing actually exists or not, or one may develop a better definition of the thing. But, to start, one is simply saying, "This is what I personally mean when I use this particular word." Just passing that on as an "fyi" related to proper method of logical argumentation.


Homer wrote:
So you believe that at the last supper the Apostles believed they were consuming Jesus' body and blood while he stood before them, alive and well? Wouldn't they have been shocked at the idea of consuming blood, especially that of another man?
You present a good question as to how much the Apostles themselves realized what was going on at the Last Supper itself; I am inclined to say that they did, although I suppose it is possible that at least some of them did not. For, as we know, even after the Resurrection, even the Apostles themselves were still struggling with their Faith in Christ, and it seems that it was only after Pentecost that they really were firm in their Faith. So, I’d have to think a little more about whether or not they realized AT THE LAST SUPPER what was going on (again, I’m inclined, right now, to say they were, but I suppose it is possible that, at that point in time, with their Faith still immature, that they—at least some of them—did not).

But, regardless of whether or not the Apostles, at the Last Supper, realized what was going on when Christ pronounced the words that He did over the Bread and Wine, the fact remains that the change in substance DID occur, i.e., the substance of the bread and wine changed into the substance of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

Would they have been shocked at consuming blood, especially that of another man? Again, in consuming the Body and Blood of Christ in the SACRAMENT of the Eucharist, one is not consuming His Body and Blood in a natural way (for that would be cannibalistic and wrong) but, rather, one is consuming His Body and Blood in a Sacramental manner. There is a huge difference.

Homer also wrote:
Seems to be to be an absurdity to think they would have even have considered this, especially at a Passover meal where the various things consumed were representative of the bitterness of slavery, the bricks they made while enslaved, etc. etc. They would have never thought the food they consumed actually became that which it represented.
It’s true that, in the Passover meal, as even still today in the Catholic Mass, there are many things that are merely representative of other things. That said, this does not contradict the idea that there can be some thing or things that not only represent other things, but which actually contain the substance of that thing. Such is the case of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, in which that which has the appearance of bread not only represents, but actually contains the substance of Christ’s Body (and, likewise, with that which maintains the appearance of wine). That the Apostles had this Faith is seen in the writings of the Apostle Paul, as stated above (see 1 Cor. 10:16; 1 Cor. 11:23-29).

Steve wrote:
You say that Jesus never explained that His words in John 6 were not literal, but He did do so, in John 6:63.
John 6:63 states: “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.”

The way I see these words of Our Lord are as follows. One can understand his words in a spiritual way, or in a “fleshly” way. They are understood in a “fleshly” way when understood in a superficial manner; eg., to think that Jesus would give us His flesh to eat in a natural, cannibalistic manner (similar to the way Nicodemus understood Christ’s words on being born again in a “fleshly” manner by thinking, at first, that he’d have to go back into his mother’s womb). Jesus condemns this sort of thinking (and, so, the objections raised here against a natural, cannibalistic consumption of Christ’s Blood, Christ Himself, I think, condemns right here in this verse). But, one understands Christ’s words here (and in John 3, when He was speaking about being “born again” or “born from above”) in a spiritual way when one, by Faith, realizes that Christ will effect these realities in some sort of “spiritual manner”; this “spiritual manner” in which Christ effects these realities (both of giving us His Body and Blood to consume, as well as being born again) are done through Sacramental signs, namely, the Sacramental signs of the Eucharist (with respect to consuming His Body and Blood; and, with respect to being born again, through the Sacramental sign of Baptism). Not that Christ’s Body and Blood are not really, truly, and substantially present in the Sacramental Sign of the Eucharist; for They are, as He has already declared in saying, “The Bread that I shall give IS my flesh,” and, “My flesh is real food, and my blood real drink.” But, the manner in which His Body and Blood is consumed is done in a certain, you could say, “spiritual or divine way”, because They are consumed through the Sacrament. So, the correct meaning of these words is spiritual, not “fleshly”.

And, so, he says, The words that I have spoken to you, about eating my flesh, are spirit and life, which is to say that they have a spiritual (and Sacramental)—not “fleshly”-- meaning, and understood in this way they give life. (And it is not surprising that they have a spiritual meaning, because they are from the Holy Spirit: “It is the Spirit who tells mysteries” (1 Cor 14:2). And therefore, the mysteries of Christ give life: “I will never forget your justifications, because through them you have brought me to life” (Ps 118:93)). Again, this is how the early Church, and the Church throughout the ages, has understood Christ’s words, and it makes perfect sense to me given the data we have from all the Scriptures we are looking at here.

Steve also wrote:
Amazingly, you say that Jesus' words "Do this..." was authorizing the disciples to change the elements in future eucharistic observances. One needs only to read the passage to see that "Do this..." means, "eat this bread and drink this cup."
Steve, the “THIS” in the “DO THIS in memory of me” certainly refers to the eating and drinking; but, it does not refer ONLY to that—indeed, it can not refer ONLY to the eating and drinking, but, rather, it must necessarily refer to the ENTIRE “ceremony” that Christ was instituting at the Last Supper. For, Our Lord was instituting a ceremony for the Apostles to repeat, which they did; and that ceremony includes, of course, not only the eating and the drinking, but, also, everything that preceded the eating and the drinking, namely, a re-enacting of the words that Christ Himself pronounced over the bread and wine, which words--“This is my Body,” “This is my Blood”-- by Christ’s Divine power, changed the substances of those things into the substance of Christ’s Body and Blood.

Steve also wrote:
The citations from church fathers have one thing in common with each other. None of them speak of any "Real Presence" of Christ having been spooked into baked goods and wine. I find their wording to be such as I myself could use, and which the Bible itself uses, without a hint of transubstantiation.
In a way, you are getting at the crux of the problem here. For, in one sense, you are right: the Church Fathers quoted are no more explicit than Our Lord Himself with respect to the reality of the Eucharist. And, well, that’s actually my whole point—Our Lord explicitly stated that the Bread that He was to give us IS His Flesh! What need have we of any more witnesses!?

Yet, on the other hand, since some continue to doubt Our Lord’s words, and to deny that the Sacramental Bread He gives us actually contains His Real Body, there is the need for some of the Fathers to emphasize this reality even more explicitly and directly. Thus, the statements given by the Fathers quoted here explicitly and directly declare that the Eucharist IS (or contains) the Real Body of Christ, and, in some cases, they are declaring it in opposition to those who DENY this reality (thus, making it CLEAR that they are TRULY teaching that the Lord’s Body is REALLY contained in the Sacrament of the Eucharist; that there is a Real Presence there effected by what can properly be called “transubstantiation”).

So, in all of this, we have both the Church Fathers and Our Lord Himself (along with the Apostle Paul) explicitly and repeatedly saying, in various ways, “The Eucharist IS the Body/Flesh of Christ,” and doing so in opposition to those who deny this reality. What more would have to be said to convince you or any other doubter that they ACTUALLY do MEAN that?

Steve also wrote:
Some of the fourth-century voices probably really were thinking of the Catholic doctrine. They were hundreds of years removed from Christ and thew apostles, just as we are. The tendency of religious people to tolerate the intrusion of superstitions is so commonly known as to require no documentation.
It is true that superstitions can creep into a religion. However, when we are talking about the Christian Church, we have to remember Our Lord’s promises that the gates of hell would not prevail against this Church. Given that reality, is it reasonable (or faithful) to believe that not only did a superstition creep into Christ’s Church, but that this supposed superstition became, from the earliest times of the Church and throughout the centuries, the CENTER of Christian belief and worship?! To hold this position is to hold that the GREAT majority of CHRISTIANS throughout the ages were not only wrong, but were WAY off with respect to what is at the CENTER of Christian belief and practice. For, again, when we are talking about the Eucharist (and the Mass) we are not talking about a ‘side issue’; we are talking about beliefs that the GREAT Majority of Christians throughout the ages (both Catholic, as well as Orthodox, Coptic, Armenian) have held as being at the CENTER of the Christian Faith. That position seems to be, more than anything, an argument AGAINST Christianity altogether.

And, if that does not convince one as to the error of that position (or, at least, of the grave and seemingly ridiculous practical consequences of holding that position), one must also consider, once again—and I am going to keep harping on this, because it is vitally important—that the SAME CHURCH which gave us the Holy Scriptures is ALSO the Church that held FIRMLY to belief in Christ’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist (as well as, I might add, to such other typically Catholic and Orthodox beliefs/practices as devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints). For, the New Testament Canon was solidified in the 4th century; THAT Church, the Church of the 4th century, was most clearly a Church centered on the Eucharist and the Mass. So, if one is willing to trust that Church to deliver to us something as important as the correct belief on which Books belong in the Bible, are we not being not-a-little inconsistent in not only saying that same Church is wrong, but WAY wrong, on what is to be considered as the center of Christian belief and worship (namely, the Holy Eucharist and the Mass)? Think about it…

On the other hand, given the Scriptural data, as well as the testimony of the earliest Church Fathers on the Eucharist, is it not more reasonable to believe that Christ’s Church, as promised, did not falter to the gates of hell but, rather, in the face of some opinions contrary to her authentic Apostolic Faith, as well as through a desire to understand her own Faith better, developed, throughout the centuries, a more perfect, crystalized, and clear doctrine on the Holy Eucharist (leading to the formation of such theological terms/phrases as “transubstantiation”, and the “real, true, and substantial presence” of Christ in the Holy Eucharist)?

Steve also stated:
The earliest authority you quoted, Ignatius, is particularly damaging to your point. You cite him as saying: "I desire the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ…and for drink I desire His Blood, which is love incorruptible.” Love incorruptible is neither literal wine nor literal blood. Nor can one find a verse of scripture suggesting equivalence oil them.
First off, Steve, you failed to note that the other statements from Ignatius, as well as the other Fathers of the Church, clearly teach that the Eucharist is the Body/Flesh of Christ. Let me repeat Ignatius again, “[Those who hold heterodox opinions] 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 the Smyrnaeans) And, “I desire the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ.” (Letter to the Romans) And, Justin, “The food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him…is both the Flesh and Blood of that incarnated Jesus.” (First Apology 66, 20) You can re-read the other quotes from the other Fathers to see that they reiterate this clear teaching that the Eucharist is the Flesh of Christ (which is what we mean when we refer to the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist).

Secondly, with regard to your pointing out that “[Christ’s Blood] is love incorruptible” is metaphorical speech. Yes, you’re right; THAT part of Ignatius is metaphorical speech. So, what of it? His use of metaphor there does not change the fact that, in the other parts, he clearly states the reality of Christ’s Presence in the Eucharist. In fact, the very ability for him to use this particular metaphor here is actually based on the fact that he believes he TRULY IS drinking the Lord’s BLOOD! For, he says that the Lord’s Blood is “love incorruptible” (metaphor), but it is THAT VERY BLOOD which he desires to drink! So, the fact that he can actually use this metaphor in reference to Christ’s Blood actually proves the point that he believes he truly is consuming Our Lord’s Blood, in a Sacramental manner, in the Holy Eucharist.
There is no sense in citing the church fathers in order to contradict what Biblical exegesis teaches.
Steve, to WHOSE Biblical exegesis are you referring?! YOURS!? You act as if there is one, and only one and authoritative, Biblical exegesis out there; are you purporting that there is some sort of INFALLIBLE interpreter of Scripture out there!? If so, from WHOM do YOU think this infallible exegesis of Scripture comes?? (Sometimes it has been said-- perhaps with SOME exaggeration, but, yet, I think, getting at a kernel of truth-- that Protestants don’t deny that there is an infallible interpreter of Scripture; they just deny it to the Pope, while asserting it for themselves or their own pastors!)

The fact is, as we have seen, there are different ways that different persons have interpreted these passages. BUT, the fact that we have a virtually UNANIMOUS agreement among the Church Fathers—men of HIGH authority in ALL Christian tradition—on this matter certainly lends GREAT credibility to the interpretation given which holds that Christ, in a Sacramental manner, is truly Present in the Holy Eucharist. Those who hold to a different interpretation are in the GREAT minority of Christians throughout the ages (and even today).

And, lest we think we can just “blow off” the virtually unanimous interpretation of the CHURCH FATHERS on this point, let’s remember the words of the Apostle Paul to the Hebrews, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you, and IMITATE their Faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings!” (Heb. 13:7-9) These Church Fathers are, truly, our LEADERS; we got the Faith, and our SCRIPTURES, from THEM! Thus, we must IMITATE their FAITH—which Faith includes, as a CENTRAL belief, belief in Christ’s Presence in the Holy Eucharist! Jesus, being God, is the same forever; He is the eternal, unchanging Truth. Thus, we must not be carried away by strange teachings. My friends, to the great majority of Christians throughout the ages, and even to this day, this DENIAL of Christ’s Presence in the Holy Eucharist is a strange, a VERY strange teaching— one that goes against the Faith of our Fathers in the Faith, a teaching that THEY would CERTAINLY hold as extremely strange…and, more than that, they would hold that it is a LIE from the father of lies himself, that serpent who wants nothing more than to prevent us from coming to Christ, truly and lovingly Present to us in the Most Holy Eucharist. Amen.

In Christ, the Bread of Life,
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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