Saturday, November 07, 2009
Catholic Answers on Luther and the Real Presence
Over the years I've come across some Roman Catholics using Luther's views on the sacrament of the Lord's Supper in two similar ways:
1.Luther's view is proof for the legitimacy the Roman Catholic view: Roman Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, so did Luther.
2.Many Protestants don't believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but Luther did.
The goal is to show Protestants that it's reasonable, biblical, and Roman to believe in the the real presence. If the most famous Reformer believed in it, so should all Protestants.
The problem though with Roman Catholics using Luther's view is that it typically ignores the differences with the Roman view. Luther came to reject transubstantiation as well as the sacrifice of the mass. Rejecting these is no little difference.
I was very pleased to hear the following explanation of this from Catholic apologist Tim Staples:
Tim Staples on Luther and the Real Presence
Staples doesn't try to place Luther on the Roman Catholic side. He points out the differences between Rome and Luther are essential and radical differences. Staples also declares "Lutherans" aren't actually a church.
I'm so used to Luther being used as a propaganda tool, that I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing while listening to Staples.
"The body and blood of Christ are distributed under the bread and wine in the Sacrament, that is, bread and wine are present as well as body and blood. The bread and wine are not changed into body and blood- as the Roman Catholic Church teaches- but are in a mysterious way united with the body and blood. In other words, we receive both bread and wine and the body and blood of Christ in the Sacrament" [An Explanation of Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism (Columbus: The Wartburg Press, 1947), pp. 180-181].