Shared Pulpit, shared Table

rakovsky

Well-known member
Today the ELCA has open communion toward Episcopalians, and I expect that the Episcopalian Church USA and the rest of the ECUSA's Anglican Communion have the same policy. But the LCMS has what is often called "Closed Communion." Part of the theological background to this is that Luther rejected Communion with those like most of the founding Anglicans who rejected that the Eucharistic elements objectively have or are Christ's body. Luther made lots of arguments for the objective Presence, but one that sticks out in my mind as the most "Lutheran" was based on the plain reading of the institution of the Lord's Supper. Luther's foundational claim about Biblical interpretation was that you should just go by the meaning of the Bible alone. So he emphasized that Jesus' plain words about the Lord's Supper were that "This is my body," period, without any Ifs, Ands, or Buts.

Calvin's idea in contrast was that Jesus' actual body was only up in heaven, that the Natural Order prevented a body from being in two places at once, and that as a result, it was impossible for Jesus' body to be objectively on the Eucharist table. Luther complained that Calvin was using the Natural Order to deny Christ's miracle of His body being the Eucharistic food.

Most of the founding Anglican leaders agreed with Calvin's idea instead of Luther's. They concluded that people could only "eat" Jesus' body in some metaphorical sense, through their spirituality, and so non-believers like Judas could not be said to "eat" Jesus' body even though they put the "sacrament" or ritual bread in their mouths. As a result, they wrote in their foundational Articles of Religion, Article 29:
XXIX. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord's Supper.
The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.

Luther rejected "fellowship" with those who took this view, saying,
“I reckon them all as belonging together (that is, as Sacramentarians* and enthusiasts), for that is what they are who will not believe that the Lord’s bread in the Supper is his true, natural body, which the godless or Judas receive orally as well as St. Peter and all the saints. Whoever, I say, will not believe this, will please let me alone and expect no fellowship from me. This is final.”

The "Sacramentarians" whom Luther mentioned took the view that Jesus was only present in the sacrament or ritual in some metaphorical, indirect sense of spirituality, and that the sacramental physical food was not Jesus' body in an objective sense.

There have always been at least a minority of Anglicans who take the view that Christ's body is in the Eucharistic bread directly, even though their Article 29 entails the opposite.

The result of this is rather unexpected. On one hand, one of Lutheranism's foundational axioms was that only the Bible alone is the only authority, as opposed to treating Christian bishops and other Church writings passed down through centuries as additional authorities. And Luther taught that based on the Bible alone, Christ's body was objectively present on the Eucharist table, a teaching that matched the Church's Traditional writings.

The Anglicans in contrast taught that bishops and Church writings passed down are also authorities in addition to the Bible. Yet when it came to the Real Presence, most foundational Anglican leaders agreed with Calvin and most other Protestants that the Eucharistic food was not Jesus' body in the direct, objective sense. In keeping with their Anglican idea of respecting Tradition however, more than a few Anglican theologians have tried to interpret Church Tradition in accordance their denial of the direct Eucharistic presence.
 
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HillsboroMom

Active member
Most of the founding Anglican leaders agreed with Calvin's idea instead of Luther's.

Um, no.

Most of the founding Anglican leaders were Roman Catholic, and therefore would have believed in transubstantiation. You have quoted Article XXIX here, as if it supported your theory, when in fact it does the opposite. It shows that they agreed with the RCC, which is far closer to Luther's view (though not exactly that of Luther) than to Calvin's. The "wicked" which is referred to, in fact, is CALVIN. Perhaps you overlooked that part?

I don't know who taught you this gross misinterpretation, but whoever it was, I suggest you discard everything they taught you, because they are either an idiot or a liar. Or both.
 
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rakovsky

Well-known member
Most of the founding Anglican leaders were Roman Catholic, and therefore would have believed in transubstantiation...

I don't know who taught you this gross misinterpretation, but whoever it was, I suggest you discard everything they taught you...
For a long time I mistakenly assumed that since many Episcopalians are at least as "high church" in form as Lutherans and think of themselves as a middle way between Protestantism and Catholicism, then the Anglican Church would take the Lutheran and Catholic interpretation of an objective Presence in the Eucharist. On another Christian forum, some Anglicans corrected me on this point.

The Anglican Church separated from the Catholic Church under Henry VIII, and then soon after his death most of the Anglican leaders agreed with Calvin's view of the Eucharist, on some other issues they were extremists as far as Protestants go. Already under Henry VIII there was a mass destruction of monasteries and of famous holy places like Glastonbury. I think it was also under Henry that making pilgrimages was banned as being "superstition," which was also Calvin's attitude toward Christians making special trips to holy places.

To respond more exactly to your point to me, let me point out that Article 28 of the Anglican Articles of Religion rejects Transubstantiation, saying:
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.


To be fair to you, I should say that there was a minority of Anglican leaders at the time who agreed with the Lutheran point of view, and they inserted words elsewhere into the Articles of Religion to support their Lutheran POV. Specifically, one pro-Lutheran bishop wrote that he inserted the words that Christ's body was "given" in the sacrament in order to express his idea of an objective Presence. However, other Anglican leaders took Calvin's view, so they responded by adding in Article 29.

In Article 29, they were agreeing with the view of Calvin and other "Sacramentarians" who taught that although everyone puts the "sacrament" into their mouths, only the faithful can be said to commune on Jesus' body, because the majority of those Anglican authors interpret the concept of eating Christ's body to be purely metaphorical and spiritualistic like Calvin taught. The history of this Article is the pro-Lutheran Anglican Bishops Cheyney and Guest objected to this article. The Anglican Church told Guest that he was required to agree to it, so he did. Bishop Cheyney continued to disagree with it, so the Anglican Church expelled Bishop Cheyney for failing to accept Article 29.

Some Anglicans starting in the 19th century wanted to get to a more pro-Catholic position, and so they tried to interpret the Articles of Religion to agree with Luther's more Pro-Catholic idea. But all of the Anglican commentaries that I checked from the 16th-early 18th centuries interpreted the Articles to agree with Calvin.

One of the earliest Anglican commentaries, Thomas Rodgers' 1586 "The Catholic Doctrine of the Church of England", quotes Article 29 to the effect that the wicked do not eat the body and writes:
The adversaries of this [Anglican] doctrine are The Ubiquitaries, both Lutheran and popish; they saying the very body of Christ, at the Lord's supper, is eaten as well of the wicked as of the godly; these affirming, that all communicants, bad and good, do eat the very and natural body of Christ Jesus; they saying that the true and real body of Christ, in, with, under the bread and wine, may be eaten, chewed, and digested, even of Turks, which never were of the Church...

Rodgers' 1586 commentary, being contemporary with the era of the Articles' authorship is a helpful guide to understanding them. Rodgers' commentary reads into Article 28 the following proposition: "The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, after an heavenly and spiritual, not after a carnal sort". Rodgers wrote that this Anglican teaching stood in opposition to some other Christians' views at the time, noting:
Jointly we withstand the adversaries thereof whosoever... The Synusiasts or Ubiquitaries [Rodger's name for Lutherans], which think the body of Christ so is present in the supper, as his said body, with bread and wine, by one and the same mouth, at one and the same time, of all and every communicant, is eaten corporally and received into the belly.

A report by the Anglican Diocese of Sydney cites the Bishop of North Sydney as also rejecting the real presence in bread based on the concept that the eating is in a heavenly, spiritual manner, as opposed to eating in a physical manner on earth:
  • “Everyone is excited about moving forward as brothers and sisters in Christ. However there was also a recognition that there are differences over our understanding of the Holy Communion. The Lutheran position is that Christ’s presence in Holy Communion is ‘in or under’ the forms of bread and wine while the Anglican position understands Christ’s body is in heaven and that we eat and drink after a ‘heavenly and spiritual manner’” (Glenn Davies, Bishop of North Sydney, 2001b: 2)
For Davies it seems that there can be no real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, in the sense that Christ’s body is ‘in or under’ the forms of bread and wine. He adopts what is essentially a cranmerian position, arguing for the presence of Christ’s body in heaven alone in an empirical sense, without any suggestion of a presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the elements in a mystical or spiritual, but nonetheless real sense. It is this empirical separation of the body of Christ in heaven from the bread and wine of the Eucharist that expresses an underlying nominalism in the eucharistic theology of Davies and in many Anglicans within the Diocese of Sydney and explains why liturgical worship seems to be less valued than what is seen to be other more essential aspects, such as the words of Scripture and the preaching of Scripture.

Anglican theologian T.P. Boultbee, the 19th century principal of the London College of Divinity, argued that the Articles taught a "spiritual presence" and denied a "corporal presence" or real presence in bread because the English Church was part of a larger European movement against those doctrines, and because Article 29 says that only the faithful actually partake of the Eucharist. He writes on the broader Christian history:
III. The Spiritual Presence.
German writers acknowledged two main divisions in Protestant Christianity, the Lutheran and the Reformed... From the sixteenth century [the German scholar Mosheim] groups together under the latter name the Swiss, Belgic, French, English, and Scotch Churches, the dividing line being manifestly their adherence to the spiritual as against the corporal presence. The reception of this doctrine in the English Church was due in the first place to Ridley, who satisfied himself by independent historical and scriptural enquiry as to its antiquity and truth By his influence Cranmer was led to study, and ultimately to adopt, the same opinion.
...
With these views the confessions of the principal Reformed Churches the Swiss, Dutch, Scotch Presbyterian, and the Church of England will be found to be in substantial accordance. For example, the Confession of Faith of the Established Church of Scotland thus sets forth the doctrine of the presence :

  • Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this sacrament, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified and all benefits of his death :
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
Let me help illustrate this more clearly.

In Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Eastern Orthodoxy, we have what is called "reserving" the host. Clergy can consecrate their Eucharist food and then hold it some place special until it is used. The idea, including in Lutheranism, is that the physical bread is objectively Christ's body. The space reserving the food is sacred even when there is no liturgy going on. One Lutheran told me that this is why Lutherans have a candle lamp lit in the room with the host even when there is no liturgy going on.

In this photo from Grace Evangelical Lutheran church, you can see the candle lit in the upper left.
Easter-Photo-2018-2-e1524511697949.jpg


Some Lutheran congregations keep sacramental bread and wine on a credence table or a shelf to be distributed to the sick and homebound. A small number of Lutheran congregations have an aumbry, a box attached to the wall on one side of the altar to house the reserved sacrament. Some maintain the practice of placing a clear encased light near the eucharistic elements.


In contrast, the Anglican Articles of Religion complain about Christians reserving their Eucharist. Article 28 claims:
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.


The Low Church Anglicans don't do host reservation, and I found Anglican rules saying that it was not allowed in the Anglican church for a long time. I found some very recent Anglican rules saying that it is allowed and some pro-Catholic Anglicans do this. The background for the Articles of Religion's complaint against reserving the host is that most foundational Anglicans rejected an objective presence in the food, so they rejected the practice of Host reservation. For them, since the food could not objectively be Christ's body, there was no point in reserving it outside of the ritual, and so to reserve it would be purely "superstition" in their POV, which is what their faction called Transubstantiation and pilgrimages to monasteries.
 

HillsboroMom

Active member
Let me help illustrate this more clearly.

In Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Eastern Orthodoxy, we have what is called "reserving" the host. <snip>
In every Anglican and Episcopalian church I've ever visited or even heard of, the same is true.

The "lowest" church I'm familiar with is one in Texas. They're pretty evangelical in theology, but when it comes to Eucharist, they're more Catholic than most Catholic churches I've attended. They have extremely strict rules about what to do with unused blessed wine and host, how to clean the linens (they must be washed by hand, the used water must be emptied directly into the ground, etc.) I've never attended there, but I've seen the instructions for the Altar guild, and it's more detailed than anything I've seen in any Lutheran church.

I've attended Anglican churches in England, Germany, and Belgium, and they all do similarly with regards to Eucharist.

Now, one big difference between Anglicans / Episcopalians and Lutherans, is that Anglicans tend to try to avoid being too specific about theology. They don't believe theology is going to save you. Almost as sacred as the Eucharist itself is the belief that you don't have to "agree" on everything. They almost revel in holding different beliefs under one umbrella. Unlike the Lutheran church, where congregations will split over whether to use "forgive us our debts" vs. "forgive us our trespasses," and anyone who dare say "forgive us our sins" will be excommunicated immediately (I exaggerate, but only a little).

So I readily believe that there are Episcopal churches out there who think it's just a symbol, and celebrate it accordingly. It wouldn't surprise me at all to hear even an ordained Episcopal priest refer to the altar as a "table" and to Eucharist as the "love feast" (gak). I've even heard of Episcopal churches where they have altar calls and full-immersion baptisms.

Now, regarding Article 28, I think it is important for non-Anglicans to understand the context in which that was written. The writers were not saying that the Eucharist was repugnant. What they found repugnant was the insistence of the Pope / Rome that only Rome had the power to do its "hoc es corpus." The RCC, at that time, had a vice-grip on all Christendom, claiming that Rome, and only Rome, could absolve sins, administer sacraments, etc. THIS is what they found repugnant, and "given occasion to many superstitions." They agreed with Luther, that it was Christ, not the priest, that did the "hoc es corpus." To Christ alone.

At least, that was the thinking 500 years ago. Obviously, a lot has changed in all 3 bodies -- Anglican, Lutheran, and Roman -- over the last half eon.

Today, the Episcopal Church's official doctrine is that Jesus Christ is "truly present" in the wine and bread. They don't claim transubstantiation. They don't claim consubstantiation. They don't claim that it is a symbol. They just say that Christ is "truly present" in the wine and bread, that it is one of the "mysteries," and leave it at that.

Personally, I prefer the Episcopal Church's answer in that respect, because I don't think something as immense and powerful as God can be held in human understanding, and saying "it's a mystery" and leaving it alone seems to me to be safer than forcing someone to accept something that may be, at best, an approximation of the full Mystery of God. I mean, I have no problem discussing theology, but if you're going to tell someone that they're not saved because they don't accept the correct theology, you've strayed pretty far from everything Jesus taught. In fact, you're kinda doing exactly what he preached against -- exactly what the Pharisees were doing (or at least what he accused the Pharisees of doing). And as a follower of Jesus, I can't support that.

That said, I really like the Lutheran understanding of "priesthood of all believers," even though they don't really practice it. At least they tip their hat in the general direction, which is a darn sight better than the Episcopal Church, which kind of takes the view that a priest can do no wrong, and priest abuse really is rampant in the church, and it's sad. Not sexual abuse, but psychological / spiritual abuse, with some priests being kinda power-hungry and manipulative, and if you dare challenge them, you're pretty much just wrong, and you get no help from the Diocese, which is the opposite of what the Lutheran Church does.

I love the rich musical heritage of both churches. I love the Liturgy, and both churches have that. I think it's sad that there are so many divisions in Christ's church, and I think Jesus would rather everyone worship together, and not worry about "right theology," than people be separated by gnat-straining, even if some people might not be "right."
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
Seriously? Not a chance in Hades.
ELCA and EPUSA adopted an agreement on full communion in 1999:

 

rakovsky

Well-known member
The Biblical and Early Christian idea appears to me to be that the Eucharist bread was actually Christ's body in some way. There are a lot of reasons that show this, from Paul's warning that "discerning" the body in the Eucharist can lead to physical sickness, to Jesus' insistence that believers must both "eat" and "chew" his Body in John's Gospel, to the early Christian writings outside the Bible that repeatedly take the food to be actually His body. The bread actually being His body seems to go against people's earthly "common sense", but the early Christians had a lot of other beliefs that did, like the apostles' clothes or shadows healing people in Acts.

The apostles appointed bishops to oversee the Christian Community (Church). But I don't know how early the practice came of denying people communion for rejecting the authority of those bishops or for having serious "heresies." Probably this was the case at least by Augustine's time. Judging by some of the early Christian polemics about categories of sinners or heretics, it could have been already in the 1st century.

The Orthodox Christian idea is that the food is actually Jesus' body. A local 17th century Council of the Jerusalem Patriarchate decided that the Catholic idea of Transubstantiation was the specific correct position and that the "Lutheran" one was wrong. That Council technically only applies to Israel/Palestine/Jordan/Arabia. More generally, Orthodox theologians agree with Luther and the Catholics and don't get more specific on which position is correct. I'm not aware of any serious Orthodox theologians who teach the Calvinist view.

Luther's argument for an objective presence included the plain meaning of Jesus' words, his theological understanding that Jesus' body takes on multiple forms or modes, like how it passed through the door in the Resurrection story, and the fact that no Church father taught the Calvinist view. I think that these are all good arguments.

Calvin's explicit arguments were that it would be "ridiculous" for the Communion bread to be actually Jesus' body, that it would be a violation of the "Natural Order," and that therefore the Bible could not mean this. So Calvin's criteria for debunking an objective presence were the concepts of ridiculousness and "Natural Order" principles. But one of the key problems with Calvin's criteria is that the Biblical viewpoint and worldview does not use those criteria to decide whether a major Christian miracle happens.

For example, Calvin complained that it was "ridiculous" or "absurd" for Jesus' body to be in thousands of pieces of Communion bread, concluding that it couldn't happen. However, if one were to apply Calvin's reasoning to Jesus' spirit going into believers as "vessels", or the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, then one would conclude that those things were "ridiculous" too and did not occur. It's a position that points down the road of certain modern Protestant theologians who want to interpret Christianity's Biblical miracles like the Resurrection as purely allegorical and spiritual, probably because they don't believe that the miracles would violate common sense and the Natural Order.

Anglicanism has an explicit position on the Eucharist, but it's internally contradictory, at times alternately endorsing the Calvinist and Lutheran understandings while at other times denying them. This is the case both in the Articles of Religion's plain words, as well as in the intent of the authors.

The Articles' prologue demands that the Articles are to be taken in their "plain" and "literal" sense:
And that no man hereafter shall either print, or preach, to draw the Article aside any way, but shall submit to it in the plain and full meaning thereof: and shall not put his own sense or comment to be the meaning of the Article, but shall take it in the literal and grammatical sense.

The Calvinist view shows up in each paragraph of the Articles, specifically in Articles 28-29:
Article 28 has:
"The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith."

The plain, literal meaning of this Article is that "eating" of Jesus' body is not understood to be physical, with the mouth physically chewing physical bread with Jesus' body literally in it. In contrast, the Lutheran position is that the Body is received in two means: both "orally" with physical chewing and with Faith.

The other two places in the Articles against this are Article 28's complaint against Host reservation and Article 29's claim that unbelievers "eat" the sign or ritual, but do not "eat" Jesus' body. So the Articles draw a distinction between the eating of the "sign," which is physical with the teeth, and the eating of Jesus' body, which they claim happens purely spiritually and not with teeth.

The phrase that "insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ" implies that insomuch as persons do not faithfully receive it, the physical bread is not a partaking of the Body, the implication is that the bread does not OBJECTIVELY have Jesus' body, but only arbitrarily can be called Jesus' body, depending on the individual's faith or lack thereof.

In contrast, the Lutheran view is that the eating of Jesus' body happens both with the teeth and with Faith.

Luther's position on intercommunion was to reject "fellowship" with those who teach the Calvinist view. In this context, the polemics revolved around the issue of whether unbelievers like Judas could be said to "eat" Jesus' body. In the Calvinist view, Jesus' body was not actually in the bread, and so Judas could not be said to eat Jesus' body. In contrast, Luther said,
“I reckon them all as belonging together (that is, as Sacramentarians and enthusiasts), for that is what they are who will not believe that the Lord’s bread in the Supper is his true, natural body, which the godless or Judas receive orally as well as St. Peter and all the saints. Whoever, I say, will not believe this, will please let me alone and expect no fellowship from me. This is final.”

I don't know what the foundational Anglican position was on communion with Lutherans. I guess that it was closed to them, based on Rodgers' Anglican commentary's complains about Lutheranism, based on the term "Anglican Communion," and on the prevalence in the past for Closed Communion.

My own personal impression would be lukewarm in terms of whether the Eucharist bread actually turns into or contains Jesus' body, because on one hand I sympathize in a modern way with Calvin's claim that "Natural Laws" rule it out. On the other hand, since we are talking about God's miracles, the supernatural, and the spirit realm, it appears possible to me within the laws of reality.

I was raised in a Protestant Church that has intercommunion, so my personal preference is sympathetic to the principle of Open Communion, especially if we are talking about churches that teach an objective presence. On the other hand, I don't get to make the rules for what Christianity or Church Tradition teaches.

Some breakaway "Continuing Anglican" or "Anglo-Catholic" churches teach an Objective presence.

The question of whether from a Lutheran perspective one would want to commune in an Anglican Church that is under the Articles of Religion presents a dilemma for me, because the Articles are internally contradictory on the issue of a direct Presence. If you read the following sentence in the Articles literally like their Prologue demands, then to the degree that people receive it with faith, the bread is "literally" Jesus' body:
"...insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ".
 

Beloved Daughter

Super Member
ELCA and EPUSA adopted an agreement on full communion in 1999:


I appreciate your point of view. I agree that you have every right to hold to it.

The pulpit is for only those who are not preaching another gospel. I don't believe the Episcopal Church, the ELCA and other far left organizations understand the gospel. Paul says they are accursed.

This is not an assault upon your belief system. It's based upon my observations.

To be completely fair, I should not have responded to this thread at all. I couldn't (and didn't) offer anything that wasn't divisive.

My apologies.

God speed.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
I appreciate your point of view.
Which Anglican Church do you belong to (if any)?

Offhand, the only issue that comes to mind that would be a theological problem that you might be considering "far left" is the aspect of same sex sexual relations.

Men and women being equal or unequal does not directly seem like a big theological issue per se. I can see different aspects of that.
In other words, if someone thinks men and women should be treated equally or unequally, it doesn't seem to conflict majorly with theology and there are different aspects in which both of those are true. Currently in the Orthodox Church, people have different opinions on whether women should be required to wear head coverings in Church. Most parishes in the US don't require it. Plus, wearing a head covering is not a sign of moral inferiority or superiority.
 
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Arch Stanton

Well-known member
The Biblical and Early Christian idea appears to me to be that the Eucharist bread was actually Christ's body in some way. There are a lot of reasons that show this, from Paul's warning that "discerning" the body in the Eucharist can lead to physical sickness, to Jesus' insistence that believers must both "eat" and "chew" his Body in John's Gospel, to the early Christian writings outside the Bible that repeatedly take the food to be actually His body. The bread actually being His body seems to go against people's earthly "common sense", but the early Christians had a lot of other beliefs that did, like the apostles' clothes or shadows healing people in Acts.

The apostles appointed bishops to oversee the Christian Community (Church). But I don't know how early the practice came of denying people communion for rejecting the authority of those bishops or for having serious "heresies." Probably this was the case at least by Augustine's time. Judging by some of the early Christian polemics about categories of sinners or heretics, it could have been already in the 1st century.



My own personal impression would be lukewarm in terms of whether the Eucharist bread actually turns into or contains Jesus' body, because on one hand I sympathize in a modern way with Calvin's claim that "Natural Laws" rule it out. On the other hand, since we are talking about God's miracles, the supernatural, and the spirit realm, it appears possible to me within the laws of reality.

I was raised in a Protestant Church that has intercommunion, so my personal preference is sympathetic to the principle of Open Communion, especially if we are talking about churches that teach an objective presence. On the other hand, I don't get to make the rules for what Christianity or Church Tradition teaches.

Some breakaway "Continuing Anglican" or "Anglo-Catholic" churches teach an Objective presence.

The question of whether from a Lutheran perspective one would want to commune in an Anglican Church that is under the Articles of Religion presents a dilemma for me, because the Articles are internally contradictory on the issue of a direct Presence. If you read the following sentence in the Articles literally like their Prologue demands, then to the degree that people receive it with faith, the bread is "literally" Jesus' body:
"...insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ".
Then there is 'Apostolicae Curae' [Pope Leo XIII - 1896] .... through apostolic succession, Catholics and Orthodox would be the only ones with the Eucharist.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
Then there is 'Apostolicae Curae' [Pope Leo XIII - 1896] .... through apostolic succession, Catholics and Orthodox would be the only ones with the Eucharist.
That makes sense.

I don't recall all the Catholic positions on whether Anglicans and some Lutheran bishops have Apostolic succession.

The Orthodox Church is less "dogmatic" and defined on many issues than the RC Church. From the Orthodox position as a whole, there is not a fixed position on the validity of non-Orthodox sacraments. The EO Patriarch of Constantinople endorsed the Thyateira Confession saying that in certain exceptional cases an EO could get communion in an Anglican or Catholic or non-EO Orthodox Church, as I recall. One of the EO bishops under Constantinople explained that despite this, we don't have normal intercommunion with Anglicans for several reasons, one of them being the Anglicans' unclear or mixed position on the objective Presence that we've been talking about, particularly the Anglican statements denying an objective presence.
 

Beloved Daughter

Super Member
Which Anglican Church do you belong to (if any)?

Offhand, the only issue that comes to mind that would be a theological problem that you might be considering "far left" is the aspect of same sex sexual relations.

Men and women being equal or unequal does not directly seem like a big theological issue per se. I can see different aspects of that.
In other words, if someone thinks men and women should be treated equally or unequally, it doesn't seem to conflict majorly with theology and there are different aspects in which both of those are true. Currently in the Orthodox Church, people have different opinions on whether women should be required to wear head coverings in Church. Most parishes in the US don't require it. Plus, wearing a head covering is not a sign of moral inferiority or superiority.
There is an argument to made for head coverings and not wearing head coverings. Honestly, I don't think this minutia is essential to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have never considered it to be an issue of moral superiority. Just a bit of side issue, I'm all for the return of women wearing hats, but more out a fashion sense. I don't believe that God is going to pass judgment on me where I wear a British fascinator to church, or not. LOL

My focus is more on the issues for which there is no valid disagreement such as abortion, etc. These are the things that concern me overall.

I can't really offer anything of value to this thread.

I don't think that CARM wants us to engage in a contentious manner with other Christians just for the sake of being divisive. That is not a reflection on you, but on me.

God speed.
 

BMS

Well-known member
How do people here feel about sharing pulpit and altar with the ELCA? What about other denominations?
The CofE is becomung appostate, but the Anglican Communion is pretty sound... mainly because the book of common prayer is.
What do the ELCA believe?
 

HillsboroMom

Active member
The CofE is becomung appostate, but the Anglican Communion is pretty sound... mainly because the book of common prayer is.
What do the ELCA believe?

Do you mean what does the ELCA believe in regards to shared communion with the Episcopal Church?

The ELCA as a church supports it. In my experience, most members also support it, though some don't. I find the ones who don't tend to be in the midwest, where, erm, "Lutherans are dense" to quote Garrison Kieler. In areas where Lutherans are fewer and further between, ELCA members recognize the benefit of joining with their closest cousins.

If you mean what does the ELCA believe in general, here you go:
Differences between the ELCA and the Episcopal ChurchSimilarities between the two churches
LeadershipIn the ELCA they're called "Pastors." In the EC they're called "Priests."The pastor/priest of a church has about the same authority, and is called by a congregation in much the same way.
Oh, and they can be married, unlike RCC.
PolityThe ELCA has "synods," the EC has "dioceses"They are of roughly the same size and geography, many overlap. Both are led by bishops. The bishops of each have similar duties and authority within their synod/diocese.
International organizationThere is no single authority over all Lutherans internationally. The EC is a member of the "Anglican Communion" which loosely governs internationally.Lutherans do share doctrinal beliefs with other Lutherans internationally. In most non-English-speaking countries, the Lutheran church is called "Evangelische" or some variation on that.
WorshipThere are some minor differences:
The EC has a set number of canticles.
The Lutheran Worship book incorporates music and text into one book, while the EC has one book of prayer and a separate hymnal.
Lutheran Worship offers several pre-made mass settings and other services; BCP is a mix-and-match, build your own worship.
In the ELCA, the Confession happens at the beginning of worship, following the Catholic mass. In the EC, it precedes Communion, so you can confess before you partake.
Both are unapologetically liturgical. The Eucharist worship follows the structure of the traditional Mass. Almost all celebrate Eucharist weekly (or more often), and may have other worship services such as Evening Prayer (Vespers), Morning Prayer (Matins) and many others.
Most churches in both utilize and honor traditional hymnody, although a growing number incorporate new praise music into worship, either as an "alternative" worship service or into blended worship.
SacramentsThe ELCA (as other Lutherans) recognize only two sacraments (see below), but recognizes the others as important rites, not sacraments. The EC recognizes the two as "The Great Sacraments" and the other 5 as "spiritual markers in our journey of faith that can serve as means of grace."Both recognize the two as most important, because they're the only two which Jesus commanded: "Go out and baptize," and "Eat this bread, drink this cup."
(If anyone is wondering, the other 5 are:
Confirmation
Confession
Matrimony
Holy Orders
Unction
CommunionThe ELCA teaches consubstantiation: Jesus' body and blood is present "in, with, and under" the earthly elements of bread and wine. The EC teaches "Real Presence" and doesn't try to explain it beyond that, simply saying "it's a mystery."Both reject saying that it's "just a symbol." They both know it's more than that. Both reject the Catholic belief of transubstantiation, that it becomes something else, that it's no longer bread and wine, because science, dude. Obviously it's still wine and bread, bruh.
Most congregations in both churches usually use real (alcoholic) wine (some offering a non-alcoholic alternative as a 2nd option), and wafers.
BaptismBaptism tends to be less important in the EC, though they're more likely to reserve it to specific feast days: Pentecost, the Baptism of Jesus, or Holy Saturday / Vigil (night before Easter). The ELCA tends to make a bigger deal out of baptism.Both practice infant baptism, but will baptize adults as well. Both recognize baptism not as something we do, but something God does to us. Just like birth, we didn't choose our parents. We don't have to understand pre-natal biology before we can pass through our mother's uterus and take that first breath. God chose us, without any knowledge or action of our own. Now, what we DO with that gift of grace is something else, but both churches recognize baptism as GOD'S work, not ours. Otherwise, why did the first Christian's call it "re-birth"?
WomenI don't think there are any differencesWomen are allowed full ordination in both churches
DeaconsThe ELCA recognizes lay leadership within each individual congregation. The EC has ordained deacons who go through seminary training and are called to a specific ministry within the Church.Both recognize the importance of lay leadership. However, both seem only to pay lip-service to anything resembling a "priesthood of all believers" because both churches teach that the church, and only the church, has authority to accept -- or deny -- individuals to a leadership position within the church.
Political leaningsThe ELCA is almost universally left-leaning in most political questions -- they accept homosexual marriage, eco-friendly, anti-war, pro-immigration, etc. The EC has a wider umbrella. While there are Episcopalians who are as far left (or further), there are also Episcopalians who are significantly more conservative.
This is because in the U.S., you can be Lutheran and Conservative, and belong to one of 3 other churches (LCMS, WELS, or the new LCC), but until recently, there was only one Anglican church in the US, and even now, the more conservative branch isn't particularly strong.
Both churches uphold to traditional church teachings: the Trinity, the divinity of Christ (in other words, while individuals within the church may say "Jesus was just a really nice guy," the official church teaching is that he was divine and the son of God).
Both churches accept Scripture as Truth, though not always literal. In fact, both churches tend to down-play literal interpretations in favor of more symbolic ones. This is the more traditional way of understanding Scripture, as it is how Jesus and his disciples did, and how the Church always did, for the first 1800+ years of its existence.
So religiously and theologically, I would say both churches are conservative (compared to many other denominations, and non-denominational churches).
But both churches tend to lean to the left, politically -- social justice, loving one's neighbor, etc. Teaching that sin is personal but justice is corporate (as opposed to the other way around, as many evangelical churches in the US seem to do). So it kind of flip-flops, in my mind.

Have I left anything out? Feel free to ask if there's something specific you'd like to know about. I spent 3 years in a Lutheran seminary, and the first 40 years of my life, as a Lutheran, and I've been Episcopal for the last 12 years, so I think I'm in a pretty good position to compare the two like this.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
Do you mean what does the ELCA believe in regards to shared communion with the Episcopal Church?
Under differences in Communion, you have:
The EC teaches "Real Presence" and doesn't try to explain it beyond that, simply saying "it's a mystery."

The EC in the Articles of Religion does try to explain it beyond just calling it a mystery. There was a big debate between the Lutheran view (Bp's Guest's) and the Calvinist view (Cranmer's view and Bp. Ridley's view), and most bishops sided with Cranmer. So the Articles repeatedly restate Cranmer's view, like when it says that (A) Christ's body is taken "only" after a heavenly and "spiritual" manner, and that (B) the singular means to taking it is faith, as opposed to also taking Jesus' body with the mouth.

Bishop Guest wrote later he tried to get in the Lutheran view by successfully adding in the word "given" when the Articles say that Christ's body is taken in the Eucharist. His idea was that if you say that Christ's body is given in the Eucharist, then its presence is objectively present whether the communicants take it or not. I am not sure if Bishop Guest's addition of the term "given" really changes the meaning of the Articles here to teach the Lutheran view though as he intended.

Both reject the Catholic belief of transubstantiation, that it becomes something else, that it's no longer bread and wine, because science, dude. Obviously it's still wine and bread, bruh.
While I am personally sympathetic to this argument from "obviousness" and "science," it doesn't prove as a matter of basic Christian theology that Transubstantiation is incorrect.

One reason is that Christianity does not rely on criteria of "obviousness" and "science" to judge or debunk its miracle claims. If a modern skeptic went back in time and met Jesus, drank the wine at Canaan, or saw plenty of other Bible miracles, they might say that Jesus is not God, that the wine changing was just a known ancient Greek magic trick, etc. based on the criteria of "obviousness" and "science." That is, it could be "obvious" to them that Jesus is just a regular human when they meet him and that there was nothing supernatural when the water "seemed" to change into wine:

Personally, I find that the story of changing the water into wine and the multiplication of the loaves are preparing the reader in John's Gospel for the concept of the Eucharistic change.

The second reason is that Catholicism deals with the "science" issue by separating the "substance" of the bread (Jesus' body) from the "accidents," the scientifically observed outward qualities of the bread (eg. it can grow fungus). While the Catholic view makes sense to me, I'm inclined to the Lutheran view because the existence of the "accidents" seems to point to the existence of the "substance" of bread being present as well. Otherwise, you would have to say that all these outward qualities like growing fungus are just illusionary emanations from the purely bodily substance of the elements, or that Jesus' physical body's substance emits the outward qualities of bread. It makes sense, but it feels confusing, as if the miracle is not just the change into the substance of Christ's body, but also that Jesus' physical body then takes on the properties of bread.

The Orthodox theologians have collectively rejected Cranmer's and Calvin's view, and although the Council of Jerusalem (17th century) embraces only the Catholic view, the EO Church does not have a dogmatic position choosing between the Lutheran and Catholic views.
 

HillsboroMom

Active member
The EC in the Articles of Religion does try to explain it beyond just calling it a mystery.

There are no "Articles of Religion" for the Episcopal Church.

You may be thinking of the 39 Articles which the Church of England wrote in the 16th century. The Church of England -- which is the Anglican Church in England -- required clergy to subscribe to these articles until the mid 20th Century (roughly around the time of V2). The Episcopal Church has never required subscription to the Articles, nor have many Anglican churches outside of England in over 100 years.

Other than that, your post makes sense to me.
 

BMS

Well-known member
There are no "Articles of Religion" for the Episcopal Church.

You may be thinking of the 39 Articles which the Church of England wrote in the 16th century. The Church of England -- which is the Anglican Church in England -- required clergy to subscribe to these articles until the mid 20th Century (roughly around the time of V2). The Episcopal Church has never required subscription to the Articles, nor have many Anglican churches outside of England in over 100 years.

Other than that, your post makes sense to me.
Not so sure about that. I believe Bishops at ordination do still affirm the 39 articles and to uphold them, they are included in the book of common prayer and cannon law expects all Anglicans to respect them
 

HillsboroMom

Active member
Not so sure about that. I believe Bishops at ordination do still affirm the 39 articles and to uphold them, they are included in the book of common prayer and cannon law expects all Anglicans to respect them

You can believe whatever you like. You can believe that 2+2=5. But your belief bears no consequence to the facts.

This is from the official website of the Episcopal Church in America:

The Episcopal Church has never required subscription to the Articles.

In fact, that page affirms everything I said above.

It doesn't matter what you believe. The facts are that the 39 articles are outdated, and are no longer required even in the Church of England.
 
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