Did Ignatius of Antioch teach that the Eucharist is Necessary for salvation?

valtteri21

Member
Some people have argued that the bread talked about is more spiritual, but I doubt that is ment here: Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst
 
Nothing is more likely to incite a sectarian response than a question about the Lord's Supper. I haven't spent much time in the study of Ignatius. If Ignatius taught it was necessary for salvation then he was probably wrong. I looked at the relevant passages in Ignatius (greek text) but don't have an opinion to offer on the question. It isn't obvious.

The necessity for salvation would cause problems with Jesus response to the thief on the Cross.

Luke 23:43 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἀμήν σοι λέγω, σήμερον μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ ἔσῃ ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ.

postscript: The apostolic fathers serve as evidence for the closing of the canon. They are for the most part not a source of profound theological insight. Ignatius on ecclesiology is the father of all things that went wrong and continue to go wrong even in the 21st century. I see some people meeting at a house where I park for my daily workout. I suspect it is a "home fellowship" which is the sort of thing the keeps me from giving up on the faith.
 
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A simplistic and inadequate approach to the problem would be looking at other occurrences of ἄρτος glossed as bread in Ignatius. This evidence, such as it is, doesn't compel us to an obvious destination.

Eph. 5:2 μηδεὶς πλανάσθω· ἐὰν μή τις ᾖ ἐντὸς τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου, ὑστερεῖται τοῦ ἄρτου τοῦ θεοῦ. [19] εἰ γὰρ ἑνὸς καὶ δευτέρου προσευχὴ τοσαύτην ἰσχὺν ἔχει, πόσῳ μᾶλλον ἥ τε τοῦ ἐπισκόπου καὶ πάσης τῆς ἐκκλησίας.
Eph. 5:2 Let no one be misled: if anyone is not within the sanctuary, he lacks the bread of God.[5] For if the prayer of one or two has such power, how much more that of the bishop together with the whole church!

Eph. 20:2 μάλιστα ἐὰν ὁ κύριός μοι ἀποκαλύψῃ «τι» [47] οἱ κατ᾿ ἄνδρα κοινῇ πάντες ἐν χάριτι ἐξ ὀνόματος συνέρχεσθε ἐν μιᾷ πίστει καὶ ἑνὶ [48] Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ, τῷ κατὰ σάρκα ἐκ γένους Δαυίδ, τῷ υἱῷ ἀνθρώπου καὶ υἱῷ θεοῦ, εἰς τὸ ὑπακούειν ὑμᾶς τῷ ἐπισκόπῳ καὶ τῷ πρεσβυτερίῳ ἀπερισπάστῳ διανοίᾳ, ἕνα ἄρτον κλῶντες, ὅ [49] ἐστιν φάρμακον ἀθανασίας, ἀντίδοτος τοῦ μὴ ἀποθανεῖν ἀλλὰ ζῆν ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ διὰ παντός.
Eph. 20:2 especially if the Lord reveals anything to me. Continue[30] to gather together, each and every one of you, collectively and individually by name, in grace, in one faith and one[31] Jesus Christ, who physically was a descendent of David, who is Son of man and Son of God, in order that you may obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undisturbed mind, breaking one bread, which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote we take in order not to die but to live forever in Jesus Christ.

Rom. 4:1 Ἐγὼ γράφω πάσαις ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις καὶ ἐντέλλομαι πᾶσιν ὅτι ἐγὼ [117] ἑκὼν ὑπὲρ θεοῦ ἀποθνήσκω, ἐάνπερ ὑμεῖς μὴ κωλύσητε. παρακαλῶ ὑμᾶς, μὴ εὔνοια ἄκαιρος γένησθέ μοι. ἄφετέ με θηρίων εἶναι βοράν, [118] δι᾿ ὧν ἔνεστιν [119] θεοῦ ἐπιτυχεῖν. σῖτός εἰμι θεοῦ, καὶ δι᾿ ὀδόντων θηρίων ἀλήθομαι, ἵνα καθαρὸς ἄρτοςεὑρεθῶ [120]
Rom. 4:1 I am writing to all the churches and am insisting to everyone that I die for God of my own free will—unless you hinder me. I implore you: do not be “unseasonably kind”[68] to me. Let me be food[69] for the wild beasts, through whom I can reach God. I am God’s wheat, and I am being ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I might prove to be pure bread.[70]

Rom. 7:3 οὐχ ἥδομαι τροφῇ φθορᾶς οὐδὲ ἡδοναῖς τοῦ βίου τούτου. ἄρτον θεοῦ θέλω, ὅ ἐστιν σὰρξ τοῦ [137] Χριστοῦ τοῦ ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυίδ, καὶ πόμα θέλω τὸ αἷμα αὐτοῦ, ὅ ἐστιν ἀγάπη ἄφθαρτος.
Rom. 7:3 I take no pleasure in corruptible food or the pleasures of this life. I want the bread of God, which is the flesh of Christ who is of the seed of David; and for drink I want his blood, which is incorruptible love.

Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations
Edited and revised by Michael W. Holmes
Copyright ©1992, 1999 by Michael W. Holmes

Eph. 20:2 ... εἰς τὸ ὑπακούειν ὑμᾶς τῷ ἐπισκόπῳ καὶ τῷ πρεσβυτερίῳ ἀπερισπάστῳ διανοίᾳ, ἕνα ἄρτον κλῶντες, ὅ [49] ἐστιν φάρμακον ἀθανασίας, ἀντίδοτος τοῦ μὴ ἀποθανεῖν ἀλλὰ ζῆν ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ διὰ παντός.
... in order that you may obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undisturbed mind, breaking one bread, which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote we take in order not to die but to live forever in Jesus Christ.

Looks good as a stand alone case for the argument in favor but the other evidence introduces doubts.

Rom. 7:3 ... ἄρτον θεοῦ θέλω, ὅ ἐστιν σὰρξ τοῦ [137] Χριστοῦ τοῦ ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυίδ, καὶ πόμα θέλω τὸ αἷμα αὐτοῦ, ὅ ἐστιν ἀγάπη ἄφθαρτος

Rom. 7:3 I want the bread of God, which is the flesh of Christ who is of the seed of David; and for drink I want his blood, which is incorruptible love.

The part of Rom. 7:3 highlighted in black raises questions about the use of language.

Postscript: As a former student of reformed dogmatics the whole question is outside my domain. I have had in my possession both the digital and hard copy of Michael W. Holmes Apostolic Fathers for several decades. Haven't made much use of either. Someone else will undoubtedly help you on this question.
 
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valtteri21

Member
"breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ."

from reading more Ignatius, its also possible he is ephasizing the word "ONE", Ignatius clearly sees to make it highly important follow the Bishops, he could be saying that Christian unity with the Bishop (thus breaking the one and the same bread) is the "medicine of immortality".
 

ziapueblo

Active member
The necessity for salvation would cause problems with Jesus response to the thief on the Cross.

Luke 23:43 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἀμήν σοι λέγω, σήμερον μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ ἔσῃ ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ.
Interesting point. Asking what is necessary for salvation come from a very western Christian theological way of thinking (I'm speaking as an Eastern Orthodox Christian). The answer doesn't alway seem clear to some. The Scriptures point out that baptism saves. That we must forgive others to be saved. That we must believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. That we must love others to be saved. That we must feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick and imprisoned to be saved. That we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have everlasting life. As an Orthodox Christian we say that we must do all of these - or none.

You make a great point about the thief on the cross. He did not feed the hungry and since he was being crucified, he probably did not love his neighbor either as he was a thief. He did however accept Jesus for who He is and entered into paradise. On the other hand, look at the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). They all received the exact same reward (wage) even though some worked all day and others only one hour.

All these different answers to one basic and simple question - how is one saved? As Orthodox Christians, we have our own understanding of this. So what do we do? We have faith in Christ, baptize those who have not been baptized, receive the Eucharist, have ministries in our Churches that feed the poor of visit those in prison, etc. Most importantly, we trust in our God who is great and merciful! Just my two cents.
 
from reading more Ignatius, its also possible he is ephasizing the word "ONE", Ignatius clearly sees to make it highly important follow the Bishops, he could be saying that Christian unity with the Bishop (thus breaking the one and the same bread) is the "medicine of immortality".
Thats a good point. I spent some time yesterday looking at Ignatius discussion of εὐχαριστία.

Phila. 4:1 Σπουδάσατε οὖν μιᾷ εὐχαριστίᾳ χρῆσθαι· μία γὰρ σὰρξ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ ἕν ποτήριον εἰς ἕνωσιν τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ· ἕν θυσιαστήριον, ὡς εἷς ἐπίσκοπος, ἅμα τῷ πρεσβυτερίῳ καὶ διακόνοις, τοῖς συνδούλοις μου· ἵνα ὃ ἐὰν πράσσητε, κατὰ θεὸν πράσσητε

Phila. 4:1 Take care, therefore, to participate in one eucharist (for there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup which leads to unity through his blood; there is one altar, just as there is one bishop, together with the presbtery and the deacons, my fellow servants), in order that whatever you do, you do in accordance with God.
Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations
Edited and revised by Michael W. Holmes
Copyright ©1992, 1999 by Michael W. Holmes

Over on b-greek yesterday we had a discussion of referentiality from a cognitive perspective. One of the participants was arguing that biblical words are nolonger referential. Some of us have problems with that. Looking over Michael W. Holmes rendering of the passage quoted above I see several words which are not translated in the strict sense. The words are not a part of the street vocabulary in my neighborhood. I would say that these words have referents. The referents are just not obvious to everyone. They need to be explained. μιᾷ εὐχαριστίᾳ one eucharist is a prime example.
 
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stjerome5

Member
Nothing is more likely to incite a sectarian response than a question about the Lord's Supper. I haven't spent much time in the study of Ignatius. If Ignatius taught it was necessary for salvation then he was probably wrong.
didnt read beyond this

the early Fathers were not wrongg on anything or virtually anything

We, however, are thousands of years removed..

yet people follow Joel Olsteen and others outside the Original Church as though he is some kind of pope. No, St Peter was the first pope and then there were successors

admittedly pope F doesn't act like a true pope.. but sigh... the devil runs things (Jn 8:44)
 

4Him

Administrator
Staff member
didnt read beyond this

the early Fathers were not wrongg on anything or virtually anything

Really? The ECF's didn't all agree with each other....yet you say they were not wrong on anything....a sure sign you have never studied them.
 

rakovsky

Active member
Nothing is more likely to incite a sectarian response than a question about the Lord's Supper. I haven't spent much time in the study of Ignatius. If Ignatius taught it was necessary for salvation then he was probably wrong. I looked at the relevant passages in Ignatius (greek text) but don't have an opinion to offer on the question. It isn't obvious.

The necessity for salvation would cause problems with Jesus response to the thief on the Cross.

Luke 23:43 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἀμήν σοι λέγω, σήμερον μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ ἔσῃ ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ.
Luther believed that baptism was "necessary" for salvation. But "necessary" doesn't mean categorically and absolutely necessary. This is one of multiple reasons why there are Christian-era unbaptised people who are considered to be saints in the Catholic and Orthodox Traditions.
 

rakovsky

Active member
Really? The ECF's didn't all agree with each other....yet you say they were not wrong on anything....a sure sign you have never studied them.
The Catholic Church teaches that the "Magisterium" - what all bishops agree on - is "infallible." But the Catholic Church doesn't teach that every Church father was infallible on practically every issue. Maybe if you found something that all ECFs agreed on, the Catholic Church would say that it is an infallible teaching, but it might be hard to ascertain whether every ECF agreed on something, outside fundamentals of the Church in the early period.

So, the ECFs didn't agree with each other on every issue, but this doesn't disprove that they were right about what they had a consensus on for 500 years of ECFs.
 

4Him

Administrator
Staff member
The Catholic Church teaches that the "Magisterium" - what all bishops agree on - is "infallible." But the Catholic Church doesn't teach that every Church father was infallible on practically every issue. Maybe if you found something that all ECFs agreed on, the Catholic Church would say that it is an infallible teaching, but it might be hard to ascertain whether every ECF agreed on something, outside fundamentals of the Church in the early period.

So, the ECFs didn't agree with each other on every issue, but this doesn't disprove that they were right about what they had a consensus on for 500 years of ECFs.
Are you Catholic?
 

rakovsky

Active member
Are you Catholic?
No, I am Eastern Orthodox, 4Him. I stated the Catholic position on the topic because they are the most dogmatic Christian Church of which I am aware.

Eastern Orthodoxy doesn't consider the "Magisterium" infallible. It's common for Eastern Orthodox to consider the Bible and the 7 Ecumenical Councils (eg. Council of Nicea) infallible.
 

4Him

Administrator
Staff member
No, I am Eastern Orthodox, 4Him. I stated the Catholic position on the topic because they are the most dogmatic Christian Church of which I am aware.

Eastern Orthodoxy doesn't consider the "Magisterium" infallible. It's common for Eastern Orthodox to consider the Bible and the 7 Ecumenical Councils (eg. Council of Nicea) infallible.

Ok, you aren't allowed to debate non Catholics on this board.
 

rakovsky

Active member
Ok, you aren't allowed to debate non Catholics on this board.
4Him,
I read the Apologetic section's rules about debating in the Theology section and am still a little confused about them in terms of who is allowed to debate and what they can debate.

Thanks for your work on the board. I know forum management can be a ton of work and you don't want discussions to turn into a negative spiral outside of certain forum sections. So far in my past experience the forum has been pretty good about allowing open discussions. Now I am alittle worried that I could accidentally break the rules by debating someone in the wrong section.
 
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4Him

Administrator
Staff member
4Him,
I read the Apologetic section's rules about debating in the Theology section and am still a little confused about them in terms of who is allowed to debate and what they can debate.

You are correct. I thought we were on the RCC board. Sorry about that.
 

cjab

Well-known member
"breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ."

The issue here is that the authenticity of Ignatius' many letters have been long disputed by Protestants because they seem to have been written from the perspective of upholding the authority of the magisterium.

The Catholic church obviously has a vested interest in upholding their authenticity. On the other hand protestants have gone so far as to deny any of them authenticity.

John Calvin called the epistles "rubbish published under Ignatius' name." ... Instead, he argued that Callixtus, bishop of Rome, forged the letters around AD 220 to garner support for a monarchical episcopate, modeling the renowned Saint Ignatius after his own life to give precedent for his own authority.

A scholarly compromise seems to have been to treat the Syriac versions of his letters as alone authentic.


I don't think your quotation above appears in these.
 

MMDAN

Active member
Jesus is the Bread of Life. Just as bread nourishes our physical bodies, Jesus gives and sustains eternal life to all believers. John 6:35 - "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." As He was accustomed, Jesus used figurative language to emphasize these spiritual truths. Jesus explains the sense of the entire passage when He says in 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."

Jesus was not talking about mystical cannibalism in John 6, but the reception of God’s grace by believing in Christ, as He makes abundantly clear by repeating the same truth below:

John 6:40 - Everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:54 - Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:47 - Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
John 6:58 - He who eats this bread will live forever.

"He who believes" in Christ is equivalent to "he who eats this bread and drinks My blood" because the result is the same, eternal life.

John 6 does not support to the false doctrine of transubstantiation. On the contrary, it is an emphatic statement on the primacy of faith as the means by which we receive the grace of God. Jesus is the Bread of Life; we eat of Him and are satisfied when we believe in Him.

Bread represents the "staff of life." Sustenance. That which essential to sustain life. Just as bread or sustenance is necessary to maintain physical life, Jesus is all the sustenance necessary for spiritual life.

The source of physical life is blood -- "life is in the blood." As with the bread, just as blood is the empowering or source of life physically, Jesus is all the source of spiritual life necessary.
 

shnarkle

Well-known member
Ok, you aren't allowed to debate non Catholics on this board.
This is the Theology forum, no? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that this rule you refer to was only applicable in the Catholic forum.
 

4Him

Administrator
Staff member
This is the Theology forum, no? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that this rule you refer to was only applicable in the Catholic forum.
Yes, I corrected myself if you had kept reading.

 
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