Presto Chango!

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

Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Thu May 30, 2019 1:03 am

Dear Homer,
Praise be Jesus Christ, Ascended into Heaven!
Now and forever, Amen!

Thanks for your good questions, Homer. I appreciate you carrying on this dialogue with me.

My responses are below…



Homer wrote:
Your contention that Jesus' body becomes the substance of the bread at some point in the Eucharist is a very puzzling thing to me. I think we likely have a very different understanding of what "substance" means. I suspect yo¬¬¬u are relying on the Latin root of the word rather than our English language.

Though the etymology of the word “substance” is somewhat helpful in understanding the meaning of the word as it is used in theology (for, the word substance comes from two Latin words which mean, “to stand under”; and, in theology, when it is done in English, a “substance” is that which “stands under”, or possesses, the qualities of the substance, such as its color, weight, etc.) Nevertheless, perhaps the best way to understand “substance” is to say that the “substance” of thing is that which answers the question, “What is it?” Thus, if I am holding a piece of bread, and I ask, “What is the substance of this thing?”, that is synonymous with asking, “What IS this thing?” And, the answer to both synonymous questions would be, “Bread”.

On the other hand, in addition to a thing having “substance”, every thing also has “accidents”, that is, qualities contained/possessed by the substance. Such “accidents” include such things as quantity and various qualities. Now, a thing’s “quantity” is that which answers the question, “How much of it is there?” Thus, I might be holding bread, and I might ask, “How much of the thing is there?”, which is the same as saying, “What is the thing’s quantity?”, and I might answer by saying, “2 pounds”, or something like, “48 cubic inches,” or something like that (depending on what measurement of quantity I’m looking for). Likewise, the “quality” of a thing answers the question, “What is the thing like?” Or, “How is the thing?” So, for example, qualities of a piece of bread include its color (white, brown), it’s hardness or softness, etc., for these answer the question, “What is the thing like?” “How is the thing?”

But, in all of this, notice that, underlying, “standing under” the various measurements of quantity and qualities of a thing (and any other accidental characteristics of a thing, such as its position or location, eg., “lying down on the kitchen counter”, “standing up in the pantry”, etc.), is the THING itself; that is, the SUBSTANCE itself.

I hope that makes sense. For, of course, all this is very helpful in understanding the Church’s authentic belief as to what happened to the bread and wine at the Last Supper when Christ said, “This is my Body, this is my Blood,” for, when Christ said that, the substance of those “things” changed from the substance of bread and wine to the substance of Christ’s Body and Blood, while the “accidents” (eg., quality, quantity, position, location) of what used to have the substance of bread and wine remained the same as before.



Homer wrote:
I will put that aside for the moment and inquire concerning your understanding of a couple relevant scriptures:

Matthew 26:26-29 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

26. While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28. for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

At Jesus' blessing, as I understand your position, the substance of the bread and wine literally became Jesus' body and blood. Why then, after this has taken place, does he refer to the wine as "fruit of the vine" rather than His blood? And if the substance of the wine is literally His blood, will He drink his own blood with them in the future kingdom? Jesus said "this" (Greek toutou, literally "of this one") indicating that He would drink with them what they consumed at the last supper.

Excellent questions.

While different answers can be given, my opinion is that Jesus was actually NOT referring to the “Eucharistic Cup” in verse 29. Lest you think that is a “cop out”, consider the way Luke gives his account and the CHRONOLOGY of Luke’s account:
14 And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying,
“This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
20 And likewise the cup after supper, saying,
“This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
21 But behold the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of man goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23 And they began to question one another, which of them it was that would do this.
SO, in St. Luke’s account, we see Our Lord and the Apostles taking the cup before the Institution of the Eucharist, and Our Lord saying those words, “I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” While debate could be had as to which chronological ordering is correct, Luke’s or Matthew’s, for various reasons (which I could go into later, if need be), I think the chronology of Luke’s is more accurate.

Nevertheless, even if one were to hold that the chronology of Matthew is correct, AND that verse 29 is referring to the “Eucharistic Cup”, one could still say that such language used by Our Lord is not contradictory to the claim that the wine was changed into His Blood for the simple facts that, in Scripture, things are often referred to by their appearances (eg., Gen. 18:2, 22; 19:1 refers to angels as “men” because they appear as men) or by what they used to be (eg., Aaron’s rod, which turned into a snake, is still called a “rod” after turning into a snake, see Ex. 7:12; and the cured blind man of John 9 is still called “the blind man” even after he was cured of his blindness).

But, like I said, I personally actually think verse 29 is referring to another cup than that of the Eucharistic Cup (though, if one were to argue against that, I still don’t think there is an issue for the reasons given here).



Homer wrote:
1 Corinthians 11:24-26 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
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.

Again, if the substance of the bread is now His bodily flesh, why doesn't he call it that as in John 6 where you take it literally?

Again, for the same reasons given above—namely, sometimes it is proper (and even helpful) to describe things by their appearances, as opposed to their substance, as well as by their former realities, instead of their current realities. This is what the Apostle Paul is doing here: he is referring to the Eucharistic “bread” as “bread” because that is what it looks like, and that is what it used to be. But, he will go on to describe in more detail what is authentic Christian belief concerning this special “bread” and “cup” when he teaches, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

In fact, Christ Himself, in John 6, initially simply calls Himself the BREAD of Life; it is only LATER, in explaining Himself more clearly, that He says the “Bread” that He shall give IS His Flesh.

And, thus, even we Catholics today, following both Scripture and just speaking naturally, that is, according to appearances, will, at times, still refer to the Eucharistic “bread” as, just that, “bread” (even though, of course, we believe that it-- the substance of it-- is His Body).

So, when speaking about the Eucharist, it is quite natural, and acceptable, according to both the Scripture, Tradition (including Catholic Tradition), and human nature to, at times, use the terms “bread” and “wine” to refer to the Body and Bloody of Christ, simply because Christ gives His Body and Blood to us under those (humble) appearances of bread and wine, and He gives us His Body and Blood through what used to be bread and wine.



Homer wrote:
Jesus described Himself figuratively a number of times such as "the door", the good "shepherd", the "vine", "a light". I see these as the same kind of statements as His bread and blood statements, especially in light of His statement that should make the matter clear:
John 6:63 New American Standard Bible (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.

Yes, Jesus uses metaphors all the time; which is precisely why John 6 stands out so “oddly” in that, while one might be inclined to, at least at first, think He is using metaphor, as the discourse continues, He makes it clear that He is NOT using mere metaphor (as seen by the fact that He continues to emphasize the reality that the “bread that He shall give IS His flesh”, and that His flesh is “REAL food”, etc.).

With respect to John 6:63, I have already addressed the claim that this verse somehow means that everything Christ said prior to it was symbolic or metaphorical. However, this is simply not the case. I am not familiar of one place in Scripture in which the term, “spirit” means “symbolic” or “metaphorical” (rather, spiritual realities are MORE real than non-spiritual realities). Rather, what Our Lord is saying here, as I have mentioned before, is that to understand properly, and to believe, His words in John 6 takes real FAITH, a SPIRITUAL kind of thinking (given by THE Spirit), not a carnal, natural, “fleshly” kind of thinking devoid of true Faith (the kind of carnal, faith-less thinking that, apparently, Judas fell into HERE, in Christ's teachings over the Eucharist, as most clearly indicated by Our Lord's and the Evangelist's John's words, '"There are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that should betray him...Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.' (John 6: 64, 70-71))

So it is that the Church, throughout the ages, from the time of the Apostles, the early Church, and on throughout the 2000 years of her history, being guided by the Spirit of Truth Whom Christ promised to send her in order to lead her to all truth, has held fast to this central Mystery of her Faith and Worship, the Mystery of Christ's real, true, and substantial presence in the Most Holy Eucharist. Amen.


In Christ, the Bread of Life, 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."

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

Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Thu May 30, 2019 4:32 pm

Just one note, minor "adjustment" to what I said above about the different ways in which St. Luke and St. Matthew present the Last Supper accounts. As it ought not be assumed that each other is necessarily trying to give an exact chronological ordering of events, I would not say that St. Matthew got it "wrong" with respect to the chronology. Better to say that, in my opinion, anyway, the order in which St. Luke presents the events at the Last Supper is more according to the chronology than the way in which St. Matthew presents it (which, again, does not mean St. Matthew was "wrong", but that he, being guided by the Holy Spirit, simply ordered his presentation of things in a way OTHER than the exact chronological order of events). This is an important note to make considering, as is being discussed in the other thread, that the Divine Scriptures are just that, "Divine", meaning, they have GOD, the Holy Spirit, as their PRIMARY author and so we can never attribute error to the Scriptures (and, so, I am not attributing error to Matthew in his account of the Last Supper, simply claiming that Matthew ordered things, intentionally so, in a way other than chronological).

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."

User avatar
Candlepower
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Candlepower » Tue Jun 04, 2019 4:02 pm

Alan wrote (in italics):

I have clearly shown you what, and where, the Scriptures reveal to us about the Eucharist
You have shown nothing of the kind, Alan. You have only regurgitated contrived Romanist dogma concerning the Eucharist. That's not Scriptural revelation.


yet, it appears that your mind is closed
Wrong. I have learned the difference between eisegesis and exegesis, and between figurative and literal. I can distinguish between prose and poetry. Those are mind-opening skills. I think your mind is trapped in the traditions of men, which interfere with your ability to understand Scripture.



to receiving, or even hearing, the fullness of those Divinely Revealed Truths given to us in the Sacred Scriptures.
Again, you are confusing Romanist eisegesis, opinions and humanly devised dogma, with divinely revealed truths.


"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me," i.e., that Christ is the true Bread of Life.
Correct. But figurative bread, not literal. Jesus isn't literally bread, or a door, or water, or a lamb. It's poetry.


Thus, you are on a very dangerous spiritual path.
Very dangerous? Really? Well, only if you erroneously believe bread and wine save souls, a belief that is not Scriptural, but only a cunningly devised fable that appeals to superstitious minds.



"If he refuse to hear even the Church...
By "Church" you no doubt mean the religious organization headquartered in the Vatican. But that certainly is not the Church. Romanism is a humanly built institution, like the Southern Baptist Convention, or a Lutheran Synod. The actual Church is the body of Christ, not a human religious organization. It consists of all who are disciples of Jesus Christ, past and present. Peter poetically describes them as "living stones." Some of those "stones" associate in Baptist organizations, some in Methodist, some in Lutheran, etc.. You can probably find at least a few "stones" in just about every organization that calls itself a church, even the one that proudly labels itself as Roman Catholic, which certainly is Roman, but not even close to universal.


...let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican." My friend, I pray that you open up your mind to fullness of the Truth which Christ came to reveal. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." My friend, open your mind to the Truth, Who is Christ, for it is only He, the Truth, Who will set you free.
You took the words right out of my mouth, my friend. These are my very thoughts toward you!


...and He is really, truly, and substantially present in the Most Holy Eucharist, as the Divine Scriptures clearly reveal to you.
There's not a crumb or drop of Scriptural support for this statement. Jesus was speaking figuratively, not literally.


Alan, in the sixth chapter of John, Jesus speaks of what at first glance sounds like the cannibalization of His body. His followers took Him literally and were rightly disgusted by what they thought the Savior was teaching. Consuming human flesh and blood was disgusting and unthinkable to them. But the disciples had missed Jesus' point, as they had so often done. Later in the same chapter, Jesus explained His meaning to their simple minds. Please, Alan, hear Him!

John 6:33 ~ "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life."



Frankly, it both shocks and saddens me that people can believe in the disgusting pagan doctrine of transubstantiation.

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

Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:53 am

Dear Candlepower,
Where, in my last post, did I reference anything from a document from the Catholic Church? If you notice, I only referenced Scripture.

You state that you are engaging in exegesis, not eisegesis. If that is the case, please explain how John 6:63-- "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life."-- means that Jesus is declaring His previous words in John 6 to be metaphor. For, in John 6:63, I do not read that Jesus said, "I was speaking metaphorically," so please show/explain to me where Jesus is saying, in John 6:63, that He was speaking in metaphors.

Also, on that point, if Jesus, in John 6:63, is somehow clarifying that His previous words in the "Bread of Life discourse" were metaphor, then why did so many disciples leave Him AFTER this supposed clarification? And, why did Jesus, AFTER this supposed clarification, challenge even the 12 Apostles on His previous 'hard sayings"? Wouldn't this "clarification" of John 6:63-- if, indeed, it was a clarification that He was speaking metaphorically-- remove the difficulty of His previous teachings (thus making it unnecessary for Him to challenge His Apostles on this)?

Lastly, based on your responses and critiques of my statements and arguments, I am not convinced that you are properly understanding what I am presenting on this topic. To show that you are properly processing and understanding what I am communicating, can you kindly echo back to me what I mean by the word "transubstantiation" and the reasons I have presented in support of this doctrine? (Note: I am not asking you to agree with the doctrine, but am simply requesting that you present to me what I have presented concerning the meaning this doctrine and reasons to hold to it).

Peace be with you.

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."

User avatar
Candlepower
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Candlepower » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:12 pm

Hello Alan. This post will be my last in this thread. Not because I think you have out-argued me, but because:

1) You have not put up any convincing Scriptural defense of your position. I know you are convinced by your Roman traditions that your position is correct. It is not. It saddens me that, like the Pharisees of Jesus day, you are bound by the traditions of men.

2) Other contributors to this thread have also presented arguments that utterly sink yours, and they did it more exquisitely than I.

3) I don't mind lengthy lectures and books, if they are rich with honesty and truth. But I cannot endure reading your pseudo-scriptural tomes, which you think are convincing. They are not. They are vain repetitions, clouds without rain. But that's because you believe the lie that the words of some select men are equal to the Word of God. I hope you become liberated from that gross error. (Ecclesiastes 5:7 "For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity...")

I wish you well, and hope that you will find release from the ties that bind you to a religious institution that I don't think would recognize Jesus if He walked up to the Pope and slapped that silly mitre off his head.

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

Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:23 am

Dear Candlepower and others,
First, to Candlepower: throughout this thread, you have simply reiterated extremely tired, biased, and shallow (not to mention rude and uncharitable) Protestant cliches. Not to be rude or uncharitable myself, but to simply be completely honest and frank with a brother (such as you are to me), your responses have been embarrassing and, in the strictest sense of the word, pathetic (meaning, “extremely weak”). Your responses strongly indicate that you are either unable or unwilling to even understand, much less honestly consider and cogently respond to, the other position on this matter (which, by the way, is not the position of only the Roman Church, but is—and always has been—the position of virtually EVERY Christian Church, in both the West AND the East). As you could not, of latest, even respond to some simple questions I had for you, I can not help but think that you realize that your back is against the wall and, precisely because you are either unwilling or unable to have an authentic, honest dialogue about this, that you are, very simply, “tapping out” (for you are, in fact, unable to respond, since the truth of this matter is contrary to your pre-established beliefs, and it surely appears that your desire to follow your Protestant—your man-made Protestant—traditions, is over-ruling any potential desire you might otherwise have to engage in an authentic and honest dialogue on this matter, to see what the Scriptures TRULY teach on this matter). That is unfortunate. I pray that you open your mind to the full truth of the Gospel. Brother, it is never too late to open your mind and heart to the fullness of the truth of the Holy Scriptures, of Christ’s Gospel, and to embrace that fullness (which fullness includes the extremely, indescribably consoling truth that Christ, in a most excellent manner, remains with us—and, in this most excellent manner, strongly and lovingly desires to give Himself to you, brother-- in the Sacrament of the Eucharist).

Peace.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, to the rest of you who still may have your minds and hearts open to actually learning and considering what the Catholic Church (as well as the Eastern Orthodox and other Churches) believe to be the reality of what God has truly revealed on this issue…

From all eternity, God, the Blessed Trinity, deigned that the Second Person of the Trinity should become Man. In the fullness of time, this Person, by the power of the Holy Spirit, became Man of, and by the free consent of, that virgin, whose name is Mary (that wonderful and holy woman whom all generations will call “Blessed”). Having assumed a human nature from this holy and blessed virgin, this Person—Jesus Christ—had, and has, ONE desire: to give to us a share of that Divine Nature which He, from all eternity, has received, in its fullness, from His Heavenly Father, making Him to be, with His Father, True God, the ONE True God (as we have been discussing in the thread on the Trinity). But, He deigned that it would be through that human nature which He received from His holy mother that Christ deigned to give us a share in His Divine Nature.

Having, as Man, been conceived, born, lived, died, risen again, and ascended into Heaven, Christ left His Church—the Catholic Church— with special Sacraments (that is, with special outward, grace-giving signs) which Sacraments would serve to be an “extension” of that Sacred Humanity through which He is able to give us a share in His Divinity. While Baptism is the first of these Sacraments which instills in us this grace, this share in His Divine Life (for, in the ordinary workings of God’s Providence, it is by means of Baptism that we “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27)), it is through the Sacrament of the HOLY EUCHARIST that Christ especially desires to give us a share in His Divinity, for it is through the Holy Eucharist that Christ, in a most excellent manner, gives to us His Sacred HUMANITY. For, it is in and through the Holy Eucharist that Christ gives to us His very HEART; for, contained in the Holy Eucharist is the very Heart of Christ, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

He Himself declared in no uncertain terms, in words concerning which the true Church of Christ has NEVER been confused, “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. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 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.” (John 6:53-57) Thus, Christ, from all eternity, desiring to give us a share in His Divinity, deigned to become Man, die on the Cross for us, and then leave for us this wonderful Sacrament—the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed and Holy of the Sacraments—as the means through which He would put us into “contact” with His Sacred Humanity in order to give us a share in His Immortal Divinity which He, from all eternity and in its fullness, receives from His Heavenly Father (and, in so doing, He gives us Divine immortality by making us, by participation/sharing, God! That is, giving us a share in His Divine Nature, as Scripture says in 2 Pet. 1:4).

Once again, the Church, the true Church of Christ, has NEVER been confused on this matter; there really has never been a “debate” in the true Church of Christ concerning this. This, simply, is a matter of Faith, of authentic Christian Faith: Jesus Christ is really, truly, and substantially present, in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Most Holy Eucharist. In the mind of the Church of Christ-- again, the true Church of Christ-- going back to her ancient Fathers (in both West AND East), this is not only an issue that is, truly, not at all up for "debate", nor is it simply a mystery of the Christian Faith, it is, in a very real way, THE mystery of the Christian Faith, it is, truly, the CENTER of the Church’s life, belief, and worship! In the mind of that Church founded by Christ Himself, if one misses this, one misses, well, almost everything…

In the end, in sum, one can almost hear Christ, from all eternity, speak to His Heavenly Father, “Father, to save them, I shall become Man for them, I will die on the Cross for them, and, THEN, Father, through My Church (My Bride) on earth, I will leave My very self for them—I will give them My very HEART, Father!—so that they will be most perfectly united to Me and to My Sacred Humanity, so that, through this Sacred Humanity, through My Sacred HEART, which I shall give to them in this Most Wonderful and Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, they shall enter into My—Our!—very Divinity! What more shall I, what more CAN I, do for them, Heavenly Father!?” The only question that remains is: in what ears will the plea of Christ’s Sacred Heart (for us to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist) be heard, and which ears will be deaf to His loving, aching plea?

With Christian Charity,
In Christ, The True Bread of Life, 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."

User avatar
Homer
Posts: 2605
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Presto Chango!

Post by Homer » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:55 am

BrotherAlan,

You Wrote:
So it is that the Church, throughout the ages, from the time of the Apostles, the early Church, and on throughout the 2000 years of her history, being guided by the Spirit of Truth Whom Christ promised to send her in order to lead her to all truth, has held fast to this central Mystery of her Faith and Worship, the Mystery of Christ's real, true, and substantial presence in the Most Holy Eucharist. Amen.
Once again, the Church, the true Church of Christ, has NEVER been confused on this matter; there really has never been a “debate” in the true Church of Christ concerning this. This, simply, is a matter of Faith, of authentic Christian Faith: Jesus Christ is really, truly, and substantially present, in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Most Holy Eucharist. In the mind of the Church of Christ-- again, the true Church of Christ-- going back to her ancient Fathers (in both West AND East), this is not only an issue that is, truly, not at all up for "debate", nor is it simply a mystery of the Christian Faith, it is, in a very real way, THE mystery of the Christian Faith, it is, truly, the CENTER of the Church’s life, belief, and worship! In the mind of that Church founded by Christ Himself, if one misses this, one misses, well, almost everything…
I would suggest to you there was no debate among the earliest Christians because they knew the bread and wine were symbolic, just as the various food at the Passover meal were symbolic.

You can not prove that the anti-nicene fathers actually believed what you believe for they made a number of statements to the contrary. You would profit by reading what Clement of Alexandria wrote in "The Instructor", Book 1, chapter 6, in my volume 2 of the ante-Nicene fathers, pages 218-219:
“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. 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?”

"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,”
If you read these pages you will see in the context that Clement speaks of "the Word being figuratively represented as milk", and "faith, which from instruction is compacted into a foundation, which, being more substantial than hearing, is likened to meat and assimilates itself to the soul itself nourishment of this kind."

You should keep in mind that the Gnostic used the language of realism similar to John 6, as did the early church fathers. If you told a Gnostic the Roman view of transubstantiation he would agree with you for they say the bread and wine "become the very atoms of Christ". But the gnostic belief, as you must know, is that Jesus only appeared to be a man - sounds like your "accidents" idea.

In fact, the logic employed by early church leaders like Irenaeus to defeat Gnosticism, was specifically based upon a symbolic, non-transubstantiation view of communion. In other words, Irenaeus' whole argument would have been defeated, if he believed in transubstantiation. The very logic of Irenaeus' argument is that the Lord's supper is composed of natural elements of common juice and bread.
"He (the Gnostic) 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)
The Gnostics viewed everything physical as evil. Had Irenaeus argued that the natural elements of common juice and bread were transubstantiated into something different (the body and blood of Christ) than what they appear, the Gnostics would have agreed completely, while maintaining their view that the body of Christ was not composed of natural elements, but only appeared to be. Had Irenaeus been arguing transubstantiation, the Gnostics would have countered, "We agree and it proves Jesus did not have literal flesh and blood. Just as you (Irenaeus) have argued that the bread and juice must be transubstantiated into something that is undetectable to our senses, we argue that the reason it is undetectable to our senses, is because the literal body and blood of Christ on the cross, like the bread and juice, were not what they appear!

It was critical that Irenaeus specifically avoid the doctrine of transubstantiation in his recorded argument against the Gnostics.

The way the church refuted the Gnostics was based upon the symbolic view. As late as 200 AD, Tertullian bases the reality of Christ's body on the cross, upon the fact that the bread is symbolic:
"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)
In his book "Early Christians Speak", Everett Ferguson (past President of the American Patristics Society) comments as follows concerning Irenaeus:
"Irenaeus has the realist terminology but not the realist thought. There is no conversion of the elements. Indeed, if there were any change in the substance of the elements, his argument that our bodies -in reality, not in appearance- are raised would be subverted." (Early Christians Speak, Everett Ferguson, 1981, p 114)

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

Re: Presto Chango!

Post by BrotherAlan » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:14 pm

Hey, Homer--
Thanks a lot for your reply (with your reasonable/understandable objections). I appreciate you carrying on a good, honest dialogue on all this. I will look up the passages you reference and let you know what I think in due time. God bless you, brother. Peace.

In Christ,
BrotherAlan

P.S.
Are you a baseball fan? (Just wondering based on your name! If you are a fan of the game, that's something we got in common!)
"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 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:10 pm

Hey, Homer!

So, first, thanks so much for referring me to these various texts-- in particular, Clement of Alexandria's, "The Instructor". For, I had a chance today to read through the first 6 chapters in Book 1 of "The Instructor"--- delightful reading! So, thank you!

While I will need to give a more thorough response later (as I don't have a whole lot of time right now, and, also, would like to get through more of "The Instructor" as well as the other refs you gave-- I believe I have read at least some of those works in the past, but, if I did, it was a while ago), I'll leave this (hopefully brief) response.

I started from the beginning of "The Instructor" just to get a good feel for the whole work. If you have read it, you will, I am sure, agree, that it is delightful, but, also, a bit difficult at times since Clement is frequently employing various kinds of metaphors-- though, not all the time (so, often he's using metaphors, but not always, so one has to be attentive). Having read through the full first six chapters, I actually do think that Clement, near the end of chapter 6, is actually referring to the Sacrament of the Eucharist (and, that he is teaching that it is the Body and Blood of the Lord). Read it through again and let me know what you think! (I trust you will give it a fair and honest reading).

But, actually, before you do that, one thing to keep in mind with regard to the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist (which, I think, is Clement's understanding), is that the Catholic understanding sees the Eucharist as BOTH a "symbol" and a "figure" of Christ's Body and Blood, AND ALSO truly being (containing) Christ's Body and Blood. Thus, it is not surprising that Clement, as well as other Patristic writers, refer to the Eucharist, at times, as being "symbols" or "figures" of Christ's Body and Blood; while, on the other hand, even in this work of the "Instructor" by Clement, we find Clement, after referring to the "symbols/figures" of Christ's Body and Blood, saying such things as, "'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 regiment, that of Christ, receiving Him, if we can, to hid Him within; and that, enshrining the Savior in our souls, we may correct the affections of our flesh."

Note that, while Clement is frequently using metaphors throughout his work here, in this case, He stops and, having already referring to the "Body" and "Blood" as "symbols"-- meaning, TANGIBLE things, such as the Sacraments are-- he then goes on to say that, when eating these "symbols" we are consuming the Lords flesh and blood...and he refers to this as an "Amazing Mystery!" And that he says that those must receive Christ in this way, IF WE CAN (reference, I think, to Paul's injunction in 1 Cor. 11 to only receive the Body and Blood of the Lord after examining one's self), and that, having received Him in this way, we "hide Him within", a phrase that, I think, refers to the holding Christ, present in the Sacrament, within one's self after reception of the Eucharistic Sacrament.

While I will need to go back and more thoroughly look at and consider the texts you presented in which it appeared to you (not without good reason) that Clement was teaching that the Eucharist was ONLY a symbol and NOT the actually, Body and Blood of Christ. I present to you these initial thoughts and reflections (as well as that one particular text in which, actually, it appeared to me that he was referring to the Eucharist, and doing so with a Catholic understanding). Again, it's important to realize that, in the Catholic understanding, the Eucharist is BOTH a symbol/figure of Christ's Body and Blood AND it is (or, you could say, contains) also the Body and Blood itself...which means that the task to show that Clement had a Protestant understanding of the Eucharist is much more difficult-- for, to do that, one would have to show that Clement is stating that the Eucharist not only is a symbol of Christ's Body and Blood, but that it is ONLY a symbol; showing that he believed it was a symbol/figure leaves the question open for that particular writer-- could be a Catholic, could be a Protestant, understanding; whereas, if one shows, even in one instance, that a writer clearly teaches that the Eucharist is/contains the Body and Blood of Christ, then one has shown that he has, basically, a Catholic understanding of the Eucharist. Hope that makes sense!

Peace, bro!

In Christ, Our Savior,
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 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:25 pm

Oh yea, Homer (and any one else still reading), one other very important thing related to this topic of the Eucharist (and the doctrine of transubstantiation)...

The Gnostic notion of Christ "appearing" as man is quite different than the philosophical notion of "substance" and "accidents"; and, this is a really important point (for, if one does not understand what is meant by "substance" and "accidents", one will not be able to understand the doctrine of transubstantiation). Again, to break these notions down as simply as possible, a "substance" is what a thing IS, simply speaking (eg., bread, wine, milk, etc.), while the "accidents"-- such as quantity, quality, position, location, etc.-- refer to, basically, the APPEARANCES or QUALITIES of the thing. Thus, again, I may have a loaf of bread in my cupboard: The SUBSTANCE of that "thing" is bread; the size (a particular kind of QUANTITY) is, say, 1 foot by 3 inches by 3 inches (108 cubic inches), the weight (another kind of QUANTITY) might be, oh, 1 pound; the color (a kind of QUALITY) is white; this thing is SOFT (another kind of QUALITY); the location (another "accident" which this "substance", which is bread, has) is in the cupboard, etc.

This philosophical notion is different from the Gnostic notion about Christ; for the Gnostics said that Christ merely APPEARED to be a human, but was not (almost like a Ghost taking on human form). That is entirely different from the philosophical notion of substance and accidents.

Really, this philosophical notion is a simple reflection of reality, and our speech reflects that we all, at least intuitively, know of these things, for we talk like this all the time. In the case above, some THING has a weight of 1 pound, a volume of 108 inches, a color of white, is located in the cupboard, etc...what is this THING, which HAS these "accidental" qualities/appearances, which "underlies" all these accidental qualities/appearances? Well, it is the bread-- the bread is the SUBSTANCE which has all these accidental qualities, the bread is the ESSENCE of the thing, while those other qualities-- volume, color, weight, etc.-- are simply accidental, and could be different, without changing the essence/substance of that thing,which is bread. Again, hope all that makes sense (think about it, and I think it will).

Understanding all this is essential to understanding the doctrine transubstantiation, because this doctrine employs these notions (for the doctrine says that the substance of the bread and wine is changed into the substance of Christ's Body and Blood, while the accidents of bread and wine remain).

In Christ, the Truth,
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."

Post Reply

Return to “Roman Catholicism”