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In Defense of the Real Presence October 29, 2006

Posted by Seraphim in Eucharist.
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I believe, o Lord, and I confess, that this is truly thine own most pure Body, and that this is truly thine own precious Blood…
–A Prayer of St. John Chrysostom

Christ is in our midst!

Perhaps one of the most hotly debated and contentious issues amongst the various denominations is the question of the Eucharist: Is the celebration of the Lord’s Supper a mere commemoration, or do the bread and wine really and truly become Christ’s Body and Blood? The ramifications of either view are immense. If the bread and wine remain bread and wine, then the Catholics, Orthodox, etc., err gravely and assign an incredible and undue veneration to material things that really ought not thus be venerated. On the other hand, if the ancient churches are correct in their interpretation, those who deny the Real Presence may well be placing their souls in grave danger. My object is to establish Christ’s undeniable presence in the Eucharist.

It behooves us to begin with Scripture, most of which is ground common to all who confess faith in Christ. What does Christ Himself have to say about Eucharist? Let us attend to the sixth chapter of John, in proper context, as is our custom:

When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

Now, what is “the food which endures to everlasting life?” Protestants would say it’s salvation, spiritual edification, etc.; Orthodox would say it’s Eucharist. Let us continue…

Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

So, Christ is the Bread of God. Again, one side would say this is purely figurative, and another would say it has a much more literal meaning.

Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst…”

Third reference to Christ’s identity as the Bread.

The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus therefore answered and said to them… “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.

He who eats of Christ’s flesh shall not die. Now, the Protestants generally argue for a common-sense interpretation of the Bible, i.e., the most obvious interpretation is the correct one (no twisting of the words to say what you want it to say). The obvious interpretation of this passage is that those who eat Christ’s flesh will have eternal life, and that this is phrased in a context of eating bread. Now, I think everyone who reads this passage will agree on this, though there would be considerable debate as to what eating Christ entails.

The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

Shades of modern Protestantism? “With man this is not possible; but with God all things are possible.”

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to 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 him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven–not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

Here’s the real essence of the passage, black and white, plain as day. Given the context of the words spoken at the Last Supper, would not the logical interpretation seem to be Eucharistic in nature? The only way the Protestants can deal with this passage is to explain it away as an allegory for faith or reading the Bible or some such, but Christ has not talked a bit about eating as referential to faith or any such thing. Christ talks about the Israelites eating manna, which was a concrete, physical act, and contrasts it to the consumption of His flesh, which, in the context, would also appear to be a concrete, physical act. Again, the most open, obvious interpretation backs the Orthodox position, and the only way around it is to stretch the Scripture and twist it to conform to not a straight, objective reading of the text, but rather, so that it holds to the preexisting belief and notion.

Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”

To no one’s surprise, a lot of people didn’t really like what Christ had to say. They didn’t want to believe they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to obtain immortal life. Now, note what Christ says: What if He were to return to heaven? It is the Spirit giving life, not his incarnate flesh. The Protestant interpretation is that Christ is basically negating all he said before and laughing it off as a non-literal metaphorical trick of words. The Orthodox interpretation is that Christ was saying the disciples where not to eat Him right then and there, but rather, to consume His spiritual gifts after such time as he returned to the right hand of the Father.

Now, having read all of this, how does the Last Supper relate?

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

First we hear “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me,” and then we see Christ take bread and wine and say, “Take, eat,” and “drink,” for “This is My body,” and “This is My blood.” Note the very specific correlation. We know God isn’t the author of confusion… so again, the logical inference is that the Eucharist is indeed Christ’s Body and Blood. If Christ had wanted to make a point about eating without causing any doubt that he was talking about the Eucharist, he could have, in John, simply said he was the Lamb of God and whoever ate His flesh would have life. Then there wouldn’t be any body/blood confusion, would there?

So, we now have a thesis. The Lord’s Supper does indeed consist of the true Body and Blood, mysteriously and sacramentally. If this is true, we would expect to find it confirmed elsewhere in Scripture, perhaps during an account of the Early Church… in Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, let’s say, in the eleventh chapter…

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you:

Important note: God-breathed doctrine ahead.

That the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

This is the sole communal ritual of worship mentioned as Christian practice in the New Testament… and it’s a reenactment of the Last Supper. Again, it’s emphasized that Christ said the bread and wine were His Body and Blood.

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

There it is, black and white, plain as day! If you partake of the Eucharist unworthily, you’ve sinned against the Body and Blood of the Lord. Why would it be that specific sin were the Eucharist not truly the Body and Blood? It wouldn’t, of course… and therefore we conclude the Real Presence of the Eucharist.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

Again! He who partakes of the Eucharist unworthily sins because he does not properly respect the Body of Christ. The only conceivable reason this would be so is because the Eucharist is really and truly Christ Himself, mysteriously present among us when we partake.

For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

“Sleep” (koimáo) in this case is a reference to death. It is used six times in 1 Corinthians, and every time as a euphemism for death. In the Early Church, therefore, those who partook unworthily of the Eucharist sickened and occasionally even died. Given the overwhelming evidence in favour of the Real Presence, this makes perfect sense; on the other side, it would be highly illogical for God to smite those partaking of a completely spiritually unnecessary symbol, if indeed it’s possible to partake of such a symbol in a manner sufficiently unworthy to provoke God’s ire. St. Paul puts it very succinctly in the preceding chapter:

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

So here we have a compact, but complete Biblical proof of the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Let’s go a step further, though to confirm our thesis even more solidly, and see if this belief is confirmed in the early Church. St. Ignatius, third bishop of Antioch, writing in Apostolic times, speaks out against a heresy plaguing the Church:

Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox [heretics] in regard to the grace of God which has come to us… They abstain from the Eucharist… because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead.

A fairly clear-cut admission, would you not say? Quite interesting that one of the greatest early martyrs would consider Protestants out-and-out heretics, contrary to the mind of God. I don’t think I need do more than mention that the Church, for the first one thousand five hundred years of its history, universally held to the doctrine of the Real Presence.

Scripture alone supports the Real Presence. Tradition alone supports the Real Presence. Christ alone comes amongst us in the form of Eucharist.

Christ truly is in our midst. Let us rejoice and receive His Body.

In Joy,

Seraphim

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Comments»

1. Fate - October 31, 2006

Ai. Here we go. 😛

First, many of your quotes are, as you have said, easily interpreted one way or another.

You also forget the woman at the well, an account seriously contradicts this interpretation. She specifically asks for Jesus to give her a physical water of everlasting life to drink. But Jesus doesn’t give her a physical water. He gives her faith. It’s obvious he’s speaking in spiritual terms.

Your using of John 6 ignores the context and how the people react to this message. Note how they all ask “Lord, give us this bread!” They want to eat this bread and get salvation! They all think he’s speaking in physical terms. But what does Jesus say? He doesn’t actually give it to them. “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst…”

So salvation is by faith and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

The “obvious” interpretation of this, when paired with the whole Bible, is not that Jesus is speaking in literal terms. Jesus came so that His Flesh and Blood would be “broken” for us, so as to pay for the penalty of our sins and give us eternal life. God gave us His flesh and blood on the cross. It was broken and given to by all men. It is not “this is My body which is for you,” it’s “this is My body which is broken for you.” God is not the author of confusion, as you’ve said. Jesus’s body and blood were meant to be crucified. That was how salvation was made possible. Through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Why then would Jesus teach faith in one sentence and then teach that physically eating His flesh and blood (which no one ever did) is necessary for salvation? Why not say it outright?

The Protestants do not “laugh it off.” What does Jesus say? He is responding to people who are specifically asking for His physical blood and body. So, why doesn’t Jesus give it to them? The disciples ask for an explanation of these words. On their face, Christ’s words are confusing and hard to understand. They didn’t get it. Jesus had to explain it to them. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” They are spirit.

And finally, we have the much tooted passage of 1 Corinthians 11. It is also invariably taken out of context. Paul first starts out by rebuking people who have been disorderly at the Lord’s Supper. So-called believers have been coming not to partake of the Lord’s Supper, but they’ve been treating the ceremony as some trite gathering to dinner. Some have been rowdy, taking up all the food and drink, and getting drunk, while others have been excluded and have been unable to sup. It is in this context that Paul is writing this passage.

Protestants do not treat the Lord’s Supper as some trite dinner gathering. It is a very reverent time of reflection and rememberance of what Christ did for us. It is a time of meditation, confession, and prayer. We take it *very* seriously. You do not seem to understand how Protestants view symbols. Symbols are to be held with the upmost reverence. They symbolize what Christ did for us, which alone makes it incredibly important. In that sense, they are what they symbolize. It is like how you view icons. Thus, we rebuke anyone who behaves unworthily in the Lord’s Supper. You do not see people drinking gobs and gobs of wine during it, or speaking out of turn, etc. when Protestants partake of the Eucharist, which is what Paul was rebuking. Thus, it also makes perfect sense to us that Christ would chastise His followers for partaking of the Eucharist in a rowdy and disrespectful manner. By the way, I do not know of rampant disease and death amongst Protestants because of they partake of the Lord’s Supper as symbol.

Again, I find no evidence for this literal interpretation. It is speaking in spiritual and symbolic terms, just as Christ was. Paul states that the thing is bread! It’s always whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup. Then he speaks as if it is the blood and body of Christ. It does not “become” the body of Christ in the ceremony. It is always bread and wine. Paul speaks is as if the offender (and, in the context of this passage, “unworthily” partaking of the Lord’s Supper was being rowdy, direspectful, disordily, drunken, and other actions that Protestants don’t do during the ceremony) was guilty of the Lord’s Body and Blood. There is always a spiritual and symbolic tone here.

In addition, you have the innumerable circumstancial problems with this literal interpretation. Drinking of this flesh and blood unworthily does not bring damnation and a loss of salvation, as you seem to imply, but chastisement from God, so that we should not be condemned with the world. This Paul states very clearly in the proceeding verses. But if someone does such a grave offense to God by partaking of His own Holy Flesh and Blood “unworthily,” why does it not result in a loss of salvation and utter damnation? What if an unrepentent unsaved person partakes of the Lord’s flesh and blood during the Eucharist? Does not the Flesh and Blood of God come into contact with sin? God does not allow sin near His presence, let alone those in sin to consume His Flesh and Blood. Does this not stain the Holiness of God? When does the bread become the body of Christ? Does it remain that way after the ceremony? (The Catholics teach so.) But Paul does not say that the bread and wine become the body of Christ. He speaks as if it is already. And the tradition of the sho-bread contradicts this claim. David was not punished by God for eating the holy sho-bread in time of need. It was symbolic. Chalking these problems with the doctrine off as merely being a “mystery” is side-stepping the issue.

Finally, your quote from Ignatius is more telling than you think. What are these heretics doing? They aren’t participating in the Eucharist! They don’t do it! But the Protestants do! We partake of it with reverence and holiness, treating the ceremony worthily and reverently, yet we do not believe the wine and bread in and of themselves are Christ’s actual blood and body. Yet, we are not punished for it, and the faith and fruit of Christ is evident in their lives. You forget the whole purpose of the ceremony: ‘do in remembrance of me.’ That is the purpose of the Eucharist, to remember what Christ did for us. The Protestants remember this! It is symbolic, nothing more.

I’m also quite sure the early Christians would not deny poor and needy people the bread and wine supposedly set aside for this ceremony in time of need. The extent you take this interpretation is almost Phariseeical.

However, I admit that many mainstream churches do not stress the importance of this ceremony. It is a direct command from God, and one of great importance. Then again, many mainstream churches today aren’t churches in the first place, so I’m not surprised.

2. Seraphim - October 31, 2006

–First, many of your quotes are, as you have said, easily interpreted one way or another.–

When in doubt, go with the way the Church has interpreted it for two millennia…

–You also forget the woman at the well, an account seriously contradicts this interpretation. She specifically asks for Jesus to give her a physical water of everlasting life to drink. But Jesus doesn’t give her a physical water. He gives her faith. It’s obvious he’s speaking in spiritual terms.–

In preparation of the Eucharist, water is mixed with the wine. I don’t find the woman at the well to be inconsistent with Eucharistic theology.

–Your using of John 6 ignores the context and how the people react to this message. Note how they all ask “Lord, give us this bread!” They want to eat this bread and get salvation! They all think he’s speaking in physical terms. But what does Jesus say? He doesn’t actually give it to them. “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst…”–

And then they reject His teaching, because He tells them they have to eat HIM to get eternal life. He IS speaking in physical terms… just not ones they want to accept.

–So salvation is by faith and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.–

*rolls eyes* Don’t even get me started on the total unScripturality of salvation sola fide…

–The “obvious” interpretation of this, when paired with the whole Bible, is not that Jesus is speaking in literal terms. Jesus came so that His Flesh and Blood would be “broken” for us, so as to pay for the penalty of our sins and give us eternal life. God gave us His flesh and blood on the cross. It was broken and given to by all men. It is not “this is My body which is for you,” it’s “this is My body which is broken for you.” God is not the author of confusion, as you’ve said. Jesus’s body and blood were meant to be crucified. That was how salvation was made possible. Through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Why then would Jesus teach faith in one sentence and then teach that physically eating His flesh and blood (which no one ever did) is necessary for salvation? Why not say it outright?–

I’m not sure I understand your point. Salvation was made possible through the Cross, yes… but what are you asking why Christ didn’t say outright? He DID say outright that he who drank His blood and ate His flesh would be saved. How exactly is this a metaphor for faith? The times when he speaks allegorically (Lamb, Door, etc.), He’s obviously referring to a comprehensible symbol (that he’s a sacrifice, that he opens heaven to us, etc.). Where does eating and drinking His flesh and blood tie into symbolism of faith?

Again, given the tie between “You must eat My body,” and “This is my body,” it seems *logical* to make the connection.

–The Protestants do not “laugh it off.” What does Jesus say? He is responding to people who are specifically asking for His physical blood and body. So, why doesn’t Jesus give it to them? The disciples ask for an explanation of these words. On their face, Christ’s words are confusing and hard to understand. They didn’t get it. Jesus had to explain it to them. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” They are spirit.–

i.e., He was saying that he didn’t mean to gnaw on His bones right then and there, but rather referring to a future ordinance of God… that is, the Eucharist, which is Spirit, though the gifts are truly the Body and Blood. The connection to His words as metaphorical reference faith is still not made.

–And finally, we have the much tooted passage of 1 Corinthians 11. It is also invariably taken out of context. Paul first starts out by rebuking people who have been disorderly at the Lord’s Supper. So-called believers have been coming not to partake of the Lord’s Supper, but they’ve been treating the ceremony as some trite gathering to dinner. Some have been rowdy, taking up all the food and drink, and getting drunk, while others have been excluded and have been unable to sup. It is in this context that Paul is writing this passage.–

i.e., they’re unworthily partaking of the Eucharist. I don’t disagree.

–Protestants do not treat the Lord’s Supper as some trite dinner gathering. It is a very reverent time of reflection and rememberance of what Christ did for us. It is a time of meditation, confession, and prayer. We take it *very* seriously. You do not seem to understand how Protestants view symbols. Symbols are to be held with the upmost reverence. They symbolize what Christ did for us, which alone makes it incredibly important. In that sense, they are what they symbolize.–

Except for some reason you don’t go all the way and view symbols as literal manifestations of a deeper spiritual reality.

–It is like how you view icons.–

Not to get off topic, but why not use icons in the Protestant Church, then? 😛

–Thus, we rebuke anyone who behaves unworthily in the Lord’s Supper. You do not see people drinking gobs and gobs of wine during it, or speaking out of turn, etc.–

–when Protestants partake of the Eucharist, which is what Paul was rebuking. Thus, it also makes perfect sense to us that Christ would chastise His followers for partaking of the Eucharist in a rowdy and disrespectful manner.–

Why’d Paul put the guilt in specific terms of violating Christ’s body and blood, then? Again, I’m not saying that one verse proves the Real Presence beyond a shadow of a doubt, just as I’m sure you’d say one verse can’t prove justification by faith alone. I’m putting two and two together. “He who eats my body abides in Me” + “This is My body” + “If you partake unworthily of the Lord’s Supper, you’re guilty of His Body and Blood” = Real Presence.

–By the way, I do not know of rampant disease and death amongst Protestants because of they partake of the Lord’s Supper as symbol.–

Fallacious implication. The early Church was somewhat more spiritually intense than the modern day. I don’t see Protestants teleporting or falling down dead when they’re rebuked for lying or raising the dead, either.

–Again, I find no evidence for this literal interpretation. It is speaking in spiritual and symbolic terms, just as Christ was. Paul states that the thing is bread!–

And so, to look at it and taste it, it is bread. But is is also Christ, in Mystery.

–It’s always whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup. Then he speaks as if it is the blood and body of Christ. It does not “become” the body of Christ in the ceremony. It is always bread and wine. Paul speaks is as if the offender (and, in the context of this passage, “unworthily” partaking of the Lord’s Supper was being rowdy, direspectful, disordily, drunken, and other actions that Protestants don’t do during the ceremony) was guilty of the Lord’s Body and Blood. There is always a spiritual and symbolic tone here.–

I think that, at the very least, you have to concede that as a holistic interpretation the Real Presence is at least a reasonable, plausible interpretation of the Scripture.

Out of curiosity, why can the spiritual and symbolic not be real? Was God not present in the burning bush, the Ark, the whirlwind, the light, etc.? All these were symbols but yet were manifestations of God.

–In addition, you have the innumerable circumstancial problems with this literal interpretation. Drinking of this flesh and blood unworthily does not bring damnation and a loss of salvation, as you seem to imply,–

How do you know it doesn’t? God’s wrath is typically directed against sinners, is it not? Doesn’t Paul say the unworthy partaker eats and drinks condemnation?

–but chastisement from God, so that we should not be condemned with the world. This Paul states very clearly in the proceeding verses.–

Condemned BY the world. In other words, God punishes us in an attempt to set us on the straight and narrow, and also so that the world will not ridicule the Church as being weak in faith.

–But if someone does such a grave offense to God by partaking of His own Holy Flesh and Blood “unworthily,” why does it not result in a loss of salvation and utter damnation?–

Who’s to say it doesn’t? It is at the least a grave sin from which one must repent.

–What if an unrepentent unsaved person partakes of the Lord’s flesh and blood during the Eucharist? Does not the Flesh and Blood of God come into contact with sin? God does not allow sin near His presence, let alone those in sin to consume His Flesh and Blood. Does this not stain the Holiness of God?–

Um… Yes, it does. So… I’m not seeing your point. Christ’s flesh and blood touched many a sinner prior to His crucifixion and they didn’t spontaneously combust. The general idea is that Christ is purification. Thus, the repentant sinner is purified by partaking of Him. The unrepentant sinner shunts the offered purification away, adding to his sins.

–When does the bread become the body of Christ? Does it remain that way after the ceremony? (The Catholics teach so.)–

It is a Mystery. What does it matter?

–But Paul does not say that the bread and wine become the body of Christ. He speaks as if it is already.–

Because it IS! He’s talking about the Lord’s Supper, in which the Body and Blood are offered and consumed. He’s obviously not going to condemn people for eating bread and drinking wine at random… he’s referring to something more than bread and wine.

–And the tradition of the sho-bread contradicts this claim. David was not punished by God for eating the holy sho-bread in time of need. It was symbolic.–

The shewbread wasn’t God’s Body, and Paul never said the needy couldn’t/shouldn’t partake of the Eucharist. Your parallel is a non sequitur.

–Chalking these problems with the doctrine off as merely being a “mystery” is side-stepping the issue.–

It’s not sidestepping the issue. Some traits of God simply cannot be rationally comprehended. You might ask, “How can God become man? How can God be three persons yet one person? How can God order genocide yet be loving? How can God die?” These are all Mysteries! Suffice to say that they *are;* no explanation of man is capable of expressing their reality. Otherwise, you might as well say you’ve got irreconcilable problems with doctrine and write Christianity off as a whole.

–Finally, your quote from Ignatius is more telling than you think. What are these heretics doing? They aren’t participating in the Eucharist! They don’t do it!–

WHY do they abstain, though? Their sin is not abstention… someone stuck in the desert forty years (i.e. St. Mary of Egypt) who can’t partake of the Eucharist during that time is not anathema. Their sin, and their heresy, is that they deny the Real Presence of God in the Eucharist.

–But the Protestants do! We partake of it with reverence and holiness, treating the ceremony worthily and reverently, yet we do not believe the wine and bread in and of themselves are Christ’s actual blood and body.–

And by so doing you eat and drink judgment to yourselves, not discerning the Lord’s body.

Lest you think this is a trivial matter, let me assure you it is not. Following the moral precepts of Christ yet denying that the Son of God was present in the flesh of Jesus Christ is heresy and damnation. Similarly, following Christ’s instructions yet denying that the Son of God is present in the Eucharist cannot be called Truth.

You yourself have stressed the importance of faith above all else. What good is the physical ceremony of Eucharist if unaccompanied by faith the nature of its communion? The Scripture warns against those “having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof.”

–Yet, we are not punished for it, and the faith and fruit of Christ is evident in their lives.–

Through the mercy of God, if indeed it so.

Alternately (but I don’t care to make such moral implications and judgments), one could equally point out the “fruit of God” in the lives of the Pharisees, who did what God asked and yet didn’t believe Him one whit.

–You forget the whole purpose of the ceremony: ‘do in remembrance of me.’ That is the purpose of the Eucharist, to remember what Christ did for us. The Protestants remember this! It is symbolic, nothing more.–

The Greek for “remembrance” is “anamnesis,” which is a very interesting philosophical concept. It’s not “remembering” in the English sense. Rather, it refers to a mental calling forth of something existing from eternity. When Christ says, “Tovto poieite eis ten emen anamnesis,” (“This do as an anamnesis of Me”), the implication is that Christ would be in such moments RELIVED. It’s not a commemoration; it’s a literal re-enactment. This is precisely why the Church held such incredible theological stock in the Sacrament of the Eucharist; it is a tapping into, and partaking of, the saving Body and Blood of “the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” It is a touching of eternity itself.

–I’m also quite sure the early Christians would not deny poor and needy people the bread and wine supposedly set aside for this ceremony in time of need. The extent you take this interpretation is almost Phariseeical.–

Um, I don’t see that giving Christ to the poor would be a violation of His person. Isn’t that exactly what He did Himself? 😛


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