Holy Communion: Catholic, Lutheran, Evangelical

Josiah

Member
Real Presence, Transubstantiation and Symbolic Presence:


Let's very carefully look at the Eucharistic texts, noting carefully the exact words - what Jesus said and Paul penned, and equally what they did not.


Matthew 26:26-29

26. While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
27. Then he took the cup (wine), gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.
28. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine (wine) from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."


First Corinthians 11:23-29

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,
24. and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
25. In the same way, after supper he took the cup (wine), saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
26. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
27. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
28. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
29. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.



Now.....



REAL PRESENCE: Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, some Anglicans and Methodist


Real Presence is:

1. Real Presence accepts the words of Jesus and Paul. Nothing added, nothing subtracted.

2. Real Presence accepts that the meaning of is is is. This means that we receive Christ. When my pastor gives me the host, his exact words are: "Josiah, this IS the Body of Christ."


Real Presence is NOT..

1. Real Presence is not a dogmatic denial of the words "bread" and "wine" AFTER the consecration as if we must take a "half real/half symbolic" interpretation of the text. It simply regards the bread and wine as largely irrelevant. The point of Real Presense is the presence of CHRIST. It's not called, "The Denial of What Paul Wrote" because that's not what it is, it is the AFFIRMATION of what he penned, that CHRIST is present.

2. Real Presence is not a theory about anything or explanation regarding anything. It simply embraces EXACTLY and LITERALLY what Jesus said and Paul penned. That's it;. That's all.

3. Real Presence doesn't teach or deny any "change." That word never appears in any Eucharistic text. Rather, it embraces what it IS - because that does appear in the texts and seems significant. "IS" means is - it has to do be BEING. If I say, This car is a Toyota, that doesn't imply that it was once a cow but the atoms were re-arranged so that now it is a Toyota. Accepting, "This is a Toyota" means we accept this is a Toyota. "IS" has nothing to do with how it came to be, only that it is.

Now, without a doubt, the faith and conviction raises some questions. But Real Presence has always regarded all this to be MYSTERY. How it happens, Why it happens, exactly What happens - it doesn't matter (and the texts simply do not say). We believe because Jesus said and Paul so penned by inspiration. That's good enough.


Orthodox, Lutherans and some Anglicans and Methodist embrace Real Presence. The Catholic Church does too but it has added a second dogma to it.



TRANSUBSTANTIATION: Catholic Church, officially since 1551


This is another Eucharistic dogma of The Catholic Church (alone).

The Mystery of Real Presence certainly raises some questions (unanswered by Scripture or the ECF). All regarded these as just that - questions (irrelevant ones at that), until western Catholic "Scholasticism" arose in the middle ages. It was focused on combining Christian thought with secular ideas - in the hopes of making Christianity more intellectual and even more to explain away some of its mysteries. It eventually came up with several theories about the Eucharist. One of these was "Transubstantiation."

Although no one claims there's any biblical confirmation of this, and while all admit it lacks any ecumenical or historic embrace, it should be noted that there are a FEW snippets from some Church Fathers that speak of "change" but this "change" was left entirely, completely a matter of mystery: the HOW purposely not addressed.

"Transubstantiation" is a very precise, technical term from alchemy. It is the term for alchemy. You'll recall from high school chemistry class that alchemy was the dream that, via incantations and the use of chemicals and herbs, fundamental substance (we'll call such elements) may be transformed from one to entirely others (lead to gold was the typical objective). These western, medieval, Catholic "Scholastics" theorized that the Consecration is an alchemic transubstantiation.

This, however, caused a bit of a problem! Because, in alchemy, the transubstantiated substance normally would have the properties of the NEW substance, and one of the "questions" of Real Presense is why it still has the properties of bread and wine. Here these western, medival Catholic theorists turned to another pop idea of the day: Accidents. This came hook, line and sinker from Aristotle. He theorized that substance could have properties (he called them "accidents" - it's a very precise term for his theory) that are entirely unrelated to the substance. Sometimes called "ghost physics," the one part of his theory of "accidents" seemed especially useful to these medieval Catholic theorists. He stated that properties of one thing could CONTINUE after the actual causative substannce ceased. His example was lightening. Seeing the connection between lightening and thunder, but knowing nothing of wave physics, he taught that the SOUND of lightening continues long after the lightening ceased to exist: this is an "accident." This, then , is what we have in the Eucharist: ACCIDENTS of bread and wine (since, in transubstantiation, bread and wine no longer exist in any real physics sense - it was transubstantiated). No one claims that this has any biblical confirmation or that the RCC "father" referenced Aristotle's Accidents - even as pure theoretical pious opinion.

In Catholicism, there are TWO dogmas vis-a-vis the Eucharist: Real Presence and Transubstantiation. The later was first suggested in the 9th century and made dogma in 1551 (a bit after Luther's death), some say in order to anathematize Luther on the Eucharist since he did not affirm such. Luther regarded it as abiblical, textually problematic and unnecessary.



SYMBOLIC PRESENCE: Zwingli. Many modern "Evangelical" denominations hold to this.


Look again at the Eucharistic texts. An important aspect is (with apologies to Bill Clinton), what the meaning of "is" is....

While Real Presence was nearly universal, there have always been those few with "questions" that made this doctrine problematic for them. The mystery was difficult for them to embrace. This became far more common beginging in the 16th century. Some said that Christ CANNOT be present in the Eucharist because He is in heaven and CANNOT be here - physically anyway ( a denial of the Two Natures of Christ). To them, "is" cannot mean "is" - it MUST be a metaphor, it must actually mean "symbolize." Metaphor is certainly not unknown in Scripture, the question becomes: is that the case HERE?

This view stresses the "Remember me...." concept. They tend to see the Eucharist as an ordinance (something we do for God) rather than as a Sacrament (something God does for us). And of course, it's DO THIS in remembrance.... so the THIS must have something to do with what we are remembering.



In summery....


Real Presence: Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox (some Anglicans)
All the words mean what they say. Is = is. Body = body. Blood = blood. It's MYSTERY.

Transubstantiation: Catholic since 1551
Some of the words mean what they say (body, blood) and some don't (bread, wine, is). A specific substance CHANGE happens leaving behind some Aristotelian accidents. ALCHEMY

Symbolic: Some Evangelicals.
Some of the words are correct (bread and wine) and some aren't (Body, Blood, is). Nothing happens. It's just bread and wine (well, grape juice) but now symbolic of something it is not. METAPHOR



.
 
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Josiah

Member
Some additional points....


CAN 'REAL PRESENCE' AND 'TRANSUBSTANTIATION' CO-EXIST? Technically yes, and they do in the modern Catholic Church. Technically, Real Presence says nothing about the bread and wine after consecration (although Luther affirmed them). But as Luther pointed out, Transubstantiation makes Real Presence textually problematic. Real Presence DEPENDS on one textual point: IS. That the meaning of is is is. But in Transubstantiation, the Catholic Church makes the meaning of "is" CHANGE. The whole dogma of Transubstantiation rests on the word "is" meaning "a CHANGE has taken place." The Catholic dogma mandates that we substitute the word "change" for "is." Well, then Zwingli is just as able to substitute the word "symbolize" for the word "is." Without "is" meaning "is", Real Presence lacks clear textual support (it would still have SOLID ecumenical, historic support, that of Tradition however).


WHERE IS THE MAJOR DEBATE? It's NOT between Lutherans and Catholics. We both passionately embrace Real Presence, we both passionately support that in the Eucharist there IS Christ and all Christ offers (grace, mercy, forgiveness, strength). And usually, both make it an important part of every Sunday worship service. It's important, it's a "big deal" (LOL). The "issue" is with Zwingli... and the "Evangelicals" (and many Reformed brothers and sisters) who parrot him (rarely realizing that). It's a VERY new view (no roots in history or Tradition)...all based on what Christ CANNOT do as the God/Man... all based on the conviction that Jesus CANNOT be both fully God and man...that two realities cannot be fully true, it cannot be BOTH body AND bread, blood AND wine.). While the Catholic will deny he is receiving bread and wine (only the accidents of such), frankly this is largely irrelevant, they passionately believe they ARE receiving CHRIST (and that's the point!!!!). The Evangelicals deny Christ in the Eucharist, insist what He said just can't be true, and hold that ONLY bread and grape juice are received (which only supplies calories and some physical nutrients). Our "problem" is FAR more with the Evangelicals here than with the Catholics.


CAN BOTH BREAD/WINE AND BODY'/BLOOD BE PRESENT? This is a philosophical question that some Christians subject Jesus' words to. If it's bread then it CANNOT be body.... if it's wine then it CANNOT be blood. Zwingli argued that what Jesus so clearly said (and Paul repeated) simply cannot be true because Jesus CANNOT be both God and man (Zwingli made Him a third new reality, partly God and partly man in a new blended reality). But orthodox Christianity holds that Jesus is BOTH, FULLY, CONSTANTLY human and divine, man and God, 100% and 100%. Not some blended new thing. Can Jesus be here on Earth even now? Well, if He is God of course He can. But if He is not, then that's problematic. I think of the last promise Jesus made to us, "I am with you always." Now He did NOT say, "GOD is with you always but I cannot be with you cuz I'll be locked in heaven" (a point Zwinglians would agree to), He did NOT say, "The Second Person will be with all of you always but unfortunately I cannot be with you since I'll be in heaven." He said "I". The "I" refers to JESUS. JESUS is not just God, He is always also MAN, with TWO full, complete natures. Christians believe that JESUS is with them....yet deny that in the Eucharist. If we DENY that Jesus is man, then we can deny that Jesus' body and blood are present but we have to deny His human nature to do that, we have to join with the heresy that insists Jesus was ONLY God who had the appearance of a man (like a ghost) but was not. Now.... this too is MYSTERY. The physics of this is beyond our puny brains. But Zwingi's entire apologetic rests on this fundamental error in Christology, his trouble with the Two Natures of Christ that we see elsewhere, too.




,
 
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RiJoRi

Well-known member
Got a question: Would somebody be so kind as to define "Real Presence"? Is it different from omnipresence, and if so, how?

Thanks,
--Rich
 

Josiah

Member
Got a question: Would somebody be so kind as to define "Real Presence"? Is it different from omnipresence, and if so, how?

Thanks,
--Rich

Hi Rich,

See post #1. Your question is valid... but I think difficult to answer. There are those who accept Real Presence but then insist that this is not in any sense unique or special to the Sacrament; Jesus - in His full divinity AND humanity - are ALWAYS present EVERYWHERE. Yes, He IS everywhere, always... in both natures.

But read the Eucharistic texts. I think the whole point of those words become largely irrelevant if there is nothing unique in THIS presence. He does not say "EVERYTHING is My Body and My Blood" He says THIS is. IMO, that suggests something unique and special about it. WHAT (exactly) would be a point Lutheran, Orthodox and Catholics leave alone.

I'd note too Matthew 11:28-29 (see post #1). This too would seem to be irrelevant if Jesus is no more or differently present in Communion than He is in a Snicker's Candy Bar or a pair of Nike shoes. Again, specifically HOW so I think would be something that would be left alone.

I'd point too to Tradition and custom. The Sacrament was held in VERY high esteem, a focal point of every worship service, treasured highly until Zwingli came along 500 years ago and essentially said, "It's just bread and grape juice that just supplies calories" All Christians.... for 1500 years... embrace this as a special and unique presence of Christ, not just a symbolic ritual (like washing feet). Also, keep in mind, Zwingli (the inventor of the symbolic view) denied that Jesus is omnipresent.


Rich, that probably doesn't help but it's probably the most that can be said. Thanks for participating in the thread.


Blessings!


Josiah




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BJ Bear

Well-known member
Real Presence, Transubstantiation and Symbolic Presence:


Let's very carefully look at the Eucharistic texts, noting carefully the exact words - what Jesus said and Paul penned, and equally what they did not.


Matthew 26:26-29

26. While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
27. Then he took the cup (wine), gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.
28. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine (wine) from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."


First Corinthians 11:23-29

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,
24. and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
25. In the same way, after supper he took the cup (wine), saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
26. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
27. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
28. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
29. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.



Now.....



REAL PRESENCE: Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, some Anglicans and Methodist


Real Presence is:

1. Real Presence accepts the words of Jesus and Paul. Nothing added, nothing subtracted.

2. Real Presence accepts that the meaning of is is is. This means that we receive Christ. When my pastor gives me the host, his exact words are: "Josiah, this IS the Body of Christ."


Real Presence is NOT..

1. Real Presence is not a dogmatic denial of the words "bread" and "wine" AFTER the consecration as if we must take a "half real/half symbolic" interpretation of the text. It simply regards the bread and wine as largely irrelevant. The point of Real Presense is the presence of CHRIST. It's not called, "The Denial of What Paul Wrote" because that's not what it is, it is the AFFIRMATION of what he penned, that CHRIST is present.

2. Real Presence is not a theory about anything or explanation regarding anything. It simply embraces EXACTLY and LITERALLY what Jesus said and Paul penned. That's it;. That's all.

3. Real Presence doesn't teach or deny any "change." That word never appears in any Eucharistic text. Rather, it embraces what it IS - because that does appear in the texts and seems significant. "IS" means is - it has to do be BEING. If I say, This car is a Toyota, that doesn't imply that it was once a cow but the atoms were re-arranged so that now it is a Toyota. Accepting, "This is a Toyota" means we accept this is a Toyota. "IS" has nothing to do with how it came to be, only that it is.

Now, without a doubt, the faith and conviction raises some questions. But Real Presence has always regarded all this to be MYSTERY. How it happens, Why it happens, exactly What happens - it doesn't matter (and the texts simply do not say). We believe because Jesus said and Paul so penned by inspiration. That's good enough.


Orthodox, Lutherans and some Anglicans and Methodist embrace Real Presence. The Catholic Church does too but it has added a second dogma to it.



TRANSUBSTANTIATION: Catholic Church, officially since 1551


This is another Eucharistic dogma of The Catholic Church (alone).

The Mystery of Real Presence certainly raises some questions (unanswered by Scripture or the ECF). All regarded these as just that - questions (irrelevant ones at that), until western Catholic "Scholasticism" arose in the middle ages. It was focused on combining Christian thought with secular ideas - in the hopes of making Christianity more intellectual and even more to explain away some of its mysteries. It eventually came up with several theories about the Eucharist. One of these was "Transubstantiation."

Although no one claims there's any biblical confirmation of this, and while all admit it lacks any ecumenical or historic embrace, it should be noted that there are a FEW snippets from some Church Fathers that speak of "change" but this "change" was left entirely, completely a matter of mystery: the HOW purposely not addressed.

"Transubstantiation" is a very precise, technical term from alchemy. It is the term for alchemy. You'll recall from high school chemistry class that alchemy was the dream that, via incantations and the use of chemicals and herbs, fundamental substance (we'll call such elements) may be transformed from one to entirely others (lead to gold was the typical objective). These western, medieval, Catholic "Scholastics" theorized that the Consecration is an alchemic transubstantiation.

This, however, caused a bit of a problem! Because, in alchemy, the transubstantiated substance normally would have the properties of the NEW substance, and one of the "questions" of Real Presense is why it still has the properties of bread and wine. Here these western, medival Catholic theorists turned to another pop idea of the day: Accidents. This came hook, line and sinker from Aristotle. He theorized that substance could have properties (he called them "accidents" - it's a very precise term for his theory) that are entirely unrelated to the substance. Sometimes called "ghost physics," the one part of his theory of "accidents" seemed especially useful to these medieval Catholic theorists. He stated that properties of one thing could CONTINUE after the actual causative substannce ceased. His example was lightening. Seeing the connection between lightening and thunder, but knowing nothing of wave physics, he taught that the SOUND of lightening continues long after the lightening ceased to exist: this is an "accident." This, then , is what we have in the Eucharist: ACCIDENTS of bread and wine (since, in transubstantiation, bread and wine no longer exist in any real physics sense - it was transubstantiated). No one claims that this has any biblical confirmation or that the RCC "father" referenced Aristotle's Accidents - even as pure theoretical pious opinion.

In Catholicism, there are TWO dogmas vis-a-vis the Eucharist: Real Presence and Transubstantiation. The later was first suggested in the 9th century and made dogma in 1551 (a bit after Luther's death), some say in order to anathematize Luther on the Eucharist since he did not affirm such. Luther regarded it as abiblical, textually problematic and unnecessary.



SYMBOLIC PRESENCE: Zwingli. Many modern "Evangelical" denominations hold to this.


Look again at the Eucharistic texts. An important aspect is (with apologies to Bill Clinton), what the meaning of "is" is....

While Real Presence was nearly universal, there have always been those few with "questions" that made this doctrine problematic for them. The mystery was difficult for them to embrace. This became far more common beginging in the 16th century. Some said that Christ CANNOT be present in the Eucharist because He is in heaven and CANNOT be here - physically anyway ( a denial of the Two Natures of Christ). To them, "is" cannot mean "is" - it MUST be a metaphor, it must actually mean "symbolize." Metaphor is certainly not unknown in Scripture, the question becomes: is that the case HERE?

This view stresses the "Remember me...." concept. They tend to see the Eucharist as an ordinance (something we do for God) rather than as a Sacrament (something God does for us). And of course, it's DO THIS in remembrance.... so the THIS must have something to do with what we are remembering.



In summery....


Real Presence: Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox (some Anglicans)
All the words mean what they say. Is = is. Body = body. Blood = blood. It's MYSTERY.

Transubstantiation: Catholic since 1551
Some of the words mean what they say (body, blood) and some don't (bread, wine, is). A specific substance CHANGE happens leaving behind some Aristotelian accidents. ALCHEMY

Symbolic: Some Evangelicals.
Some of the words are correct (bread and wine) and some aren't (Body, Blood, is). Nothing happens. It's just bread and wine (well, grape juice) but now symbolic of something it is not. METAPHOR



.
Good post with a lens that is tightly focused. Numerous problems and disagreements are seen when the scope of the lens is broadened as in your next post.
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
Some additional points....


CAN 'REAL PRESENCE' AND 'TRANSUBSTANTIATION' CO-EXIST? Technically yes, and they do in the modern Catholic Church. Technically, Real Presence says nothing about the bread and wine after consecration (although Luther affirmed them). But as Luther pointed out, Transubstantiation makes Real Presence textually problematic. Real Presence DEPENDS on one textual point: IS. That the meaning of is is is. But in Transubstantiation, the Catholic Church makes the meaning of "is" CHANGE. The whole dogma of Transubstantiation rests on the word "is" meaning "a CHANGE has taken place." The Catholic dogma mandates that we substitute the word "change" for "is." Well, then Zwingli is just as able to substitute the word "symbolize" for the word "is." Without "is" meaning "is", Real Presence lacks clear textual support (it would still have SOLID ecumenical, historic support, that of Tradition however).
I think Chemnitz got to the root of the problem when he asked and answered the question of why did those at Trent chose to assert transubstantiation? The bottom line is that they chose that extra biblical term to support numerous extra biblical errors with regard to the Eucharist and the Papal Canon of the Mass.
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
Got a question: Would somebody be so kind as to define "Real Presence"? Is it different from omnipresence, and if so, how?

Thanks,
--Rich
Just to add to Josiah's response, I think Luther said in effect that Christ is present in the Supper for you in a way that He is not in cabbage soup or elsewhere.
 
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