Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Wobbly and Heretical Evolution of Rome’s Doctrine of “Real Presence”

Paul Hoffer has commented on Ken’s article on (a) Augustine’s errors, and (b) Roman Catholic misuse of Augustine in his errors.

Hoffer said:
I would suggest that the reader follow the link you have put up to Augustine's words. You may fashion an argument over how Real of a Presence he believed was present in the Eucharist here, but what you can't argue about is that he was talking about something else.

If God truly is in the Eucharist as Augustine writes, then it is entirely appropriate for us to bow down and worship Him there. As I hope to show in the near future, Augustine's views are entirely in line with those of Ambrose, his mentor and the Catholic Church at that time and what the Church teaches yet today. I do recognize that you are merely parroting the opinion of your particular denomination on this matter. I must wonder though how Protestants who do accept the doctrine of the Real Presence interpret the passage in question. How do you reconcile your denial of the Real Presence with those Protestants who do recognize to varying extents the truth of the doctrine?
Paul Hoffer here touches on one of those clearly heretical “developments” that Ron DiGiacomo was talking about, that we should not hesitate to bring up.

Edward Kilmartin, S.J., “The Eucharist in the West” (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press) sheds some light here.
In our day, many Catholic theologians of the Latin tradition favor the notion of the objective sacramental representation of the historical redemptive work of Christ “on the altar.” In other words priority is awarded to the notion that the Eucharistic liturgy is the means by which the historical redemptive sacrifice of Christ is represented sacramentally so as to become available to be encountered by faith. The advocates of this average modern Catholic position have attempted to support their position especially by an appeal to Greek patristic theology.

However, the ambiguity of the precise meaning of the Greek speculation on the link between the historical self-offering of Christ and the Eucharistic sacrifice provides a major obstacle to this argument from the authority of tradition.
I will say it here. Rome completely fouled up its own understanding of the Lord’s Supper; now it looks to the Eastern churches for some clarification of the “ancientness” of its beliefs in this regard.

Now, I don’t know all the angles on the eastern conception of the Eucharist. Paul Hoffer rightly cites Ambrose of Milan (c. 337-397) both as Augustine’s mentor and as one who played a formative role in the western church’s (i.e., Rome’s) understanding of the Eucharist.

However, the view that Ambrose helped to formulate is not the New Testament teaching on the Lord’s Supper, and nor is it the same as what was taught by earlier church fathers, either in the east or the west.

Schaff provides some perspective:
The doctrine concerning the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, not coming into special discussion, remained indefinite and obscure [during the period from 100-325 AD]. The ancient church made more account of the worthy participation of the ordinance than of the logical apprehension of it. She looked upon it as the holiest mystery of Christian worship, and accordingly, celebrated it with the deepest devotion, without inquiring into the mode of Christ’s presence, nor into the relation of the sensible signs to his flesh and blood. It is unhistorical to carry any of the later theories back into this age; although it has been done frequently in the apologetic and polemic discussion of this subject.
Now, where have we seen this theme before?

Nevertheless, Roman Catholics will of course cite various passages from Ignatius and the Didache to the effect that the earliest church, emphasis was not on the mode of Christ’s presence (i.e., “real” or “spiritual”), but on the “worthy participation,” as Schaff notes. And that was Paul’s insistence, too (1 Corinthians 11:27).

Keith Mathison, in his work “Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper,” (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, ©2002), notes that, in discussions of “real presence,” great care must be given to understand “to what extent were the early fathers influenced by Platonic thought?” Mathison cites Gary Macy on the history of the theology of the Lord’s Supper:
Nothing is more important in understanding Christian thought on the eucharist than the simple insight that for most of Christian history, people who wrote about the eucharist just assumed that Plato was right. The most “real” things were those grasped by the mind; the least “real” things were those things that were sensed. “Essences” (or “substances” or “forms”) were always more real than sense data (329).
That is, when an ancient said “real presence,” there was the greatest likelihood that he was saying “real” in the Platonic sense. What was “real” was not that which one could “touch with one’s hands,” – that is, for Plato, “there was a whole world of perfect objects (which he called “forms”) that serve as criteria for the objects of our knowledge, and he argued that we must know the forms with greater certainty than anything else” (John Frame, “Doctrine of the Knowledge of God,” pg 111).

So if something was “real” (consider the term “real presence”), it was not the tangible, physical presence that someone was talking about; “real” was something “out there,” “floating in space,” – quite the opposite of what people understand today when they say “real presence”. Schaff points out that there were, “among the ante-Nicene fathers, three different views” [of the Lord’s Supper], and Kilmartin notes that “the Latin Fathers show less concern for the speculative aspects of Eucharistic theology than the Greek fathers. Their interest is geared more to the pastoral and practical side of the efficacy of the Eucharistic sacrifice and Holy Communion. Also, although acquainted with a Platonic way of thinking about reality, they were less consistent about its application to the Eucharist.” Augustine’s view could be said to be more Platonic:
On the subject of the reception of the sacraments of the body and blood, Augustine describes the gift that is bestowed on the communicant as a virtus, unitas, caritas, by which one is integrated more deeply into the “society of the predestined, called, justified, and glorified saints and faithful.” Augustine views the grace of the Eucharist as that which unites the believers to Christ and to one another. He describes this grace as grace of the Spirit of Christ, signified by the sacrament, and bestowed on believers on the occasion of their participation in the sacrament. The grace is not conceived as though contained, as it were, in the external sacrament. Much less does Augustine teach that the body and blood of Christ are “contained” under the forms of bread and wine. The theology the fourth-century Antiochene [Eastern] School concerning the somatic real presence of Christ under forms of bread and wine is definitely not that of Augustine.

On the other hand, the Eastern theology of the fourth-century Antiochene tradition, as exemplified in the writings of St. John Chrysostom, was clearly and strongly reflected in the writings of St. Ambrose of Milan. Ambrose confessed the somatic real presence of Christ under forms of bread and wine, effected through conversion of elements into the body and blood of Christ (5-6).
Kilmartin notes, This metabolic understanding of the change is a new concept which goes beyond what would develop from an image theology. Hence, at least in the early Middle Ages, Ambrose’s teaching also provided the basis for an alternative to the traditional fourth-century (realistic, metabolic-conversion) Antiochene explanation of the process of Eucharistic conversion (18).
On the question of the sacrificial character of the Eucharist, Ambrose provides an example of the difference of the orientation between the Eastern and Western traditions. The Greek Fathers of the fourth-century Antiochene tradition base the sacrificial character of the Eucharist on the concept of anamnesis: the commemorative actual presence of the one and unique sacrifice of Christ on the cross. … Ambrose teaches that it is precisely the liturgical assembly that is the subject of the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice … The idea that each individual Mass has a value in itself as a kind of new act of Christ performed in and through the sacrificial offering of the Church [derives from Ambrose].

Ambrose’s doctrine of the somatic presence of Christ under forms of bread and wine was borrowed from the fourth-century Antiochene tradition. But … it was not “received” within the Platonic horizon of the Greek theologians. However, his teaching on this subject, thus separated from its natural Platonic horizon, became the viable – and eventually triumphant – option in the Latin Church of the early Middle Ages over against the “spiritualized” interpretation of the content of the sacraments of the body and blood linked to the Augustinian tradition. Likewise Ambrose’s teaching about the Christological aspect of the Eucharistic sacrifice shows no signs of the influence of the Greek notion of commemorative sacrifice. This fact, which proves that Ambrose’s “reception” of Greek Eucharistic theology was only partial, is indicative of the difficulty which the Western theological mindset has traditionally experienced in its attempts to grasp the Greek notion of commemorative sacrifice.

By the end of the sixth century this Greek concept, which could have served the interests of a more balanced theology of the Eucharistic sacrifice, was no longer present to the Western tradition. At the same time the tendency of the Western theology of Eucharistic sacrifice toward postulating a complete disjunction between the historical sacrifice of the cross and the Eucharistic sacrifice received additional support from Pope Gregory the Great’s saying that “(Christ) in the mystery of the holy sacrifice is offered for us again (iterum)” [from Dialogorum libri iv 4.58 (PL 77.425CD). This text is one of the earliest that refers to Christ being “newly” offered. Supported by the authority of Gregory it became an important proof text for the notion that the sacrifice of Christ is repeated in each Mass in an “unbloody way” (19-22).
Thus we have come full circle: here we have papal affirmation (and it’s Pope Gregory The Great!) of the very opposite of what the Scripture teaches, in which Christ died “once for all,” and “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

Modern Roman Catholicism has tried to play down that embarrassing “repeated in an unbloody way” language, and have made the effort to re-adopt the “re-presentation of the one sacrifice” imagery; but modern Roman Catholics should know that is a Greek concept that Rome once rejected.

For those Roman Catholics who think that Rome’s doctrine of the Eucharist is somehow the Eucharistic doctrine of the Lord’s Supper that was held by the earliest church, you are just simply deceived. You are putting more faith in the vascillating “traditions” of the Roman church, than you are in either the genuine early traditions of the church, or the clear teachings of Scripture on this matter.


Ryan said...

Noting that Ambrose and Augustine - presumably among others, I haven't made a study of it - were closer to Platonism than Aristotelianism is a good point. I hadn't thought to make a connection between that and the "real presence."

If you're interested in a brief sketch of the historical development of Rome's view on the Christ's sacrifice[s], you may want to read Hughes' The Blood of Jesus and His Heavenly Priesthood in Hebrew, particularly this part. He notes some post-Trent disagreements regarding the number of times Christ was sacrificed between RC bishops and apologists... yea, the more things change &c.

John Bugay said...

Hi Ryan -- I haven't made that connection (Platonism and "real" -- and of course, there was the Docetism that Ignatius was contending with), but there's certainly a lot to explore there. (As I mentioned, the connection was Mathison's).

This, by the way, is why it's good to have genuine Scholars looking at Rome.

Kilmartin was a bit of an eye-opener for me, in several respects. I haven't read that whole work, but I'm looking forward to it.

And thanks for the Hughes link. I'll certainly give that a look, Lord willing.

Rhology said...

I tend to think that Augustine wasn't a proto-monophysite.

John Bugay said...

I tend to think that Augustine wasn't a proto-monophysite.

I tend to think that myself :-)

Sean Patrick said...


Unrelated to this topic.

I just wanted to share this link with you:

You can delete this comment for this thread but check out the link when you have some time.

The cliff's notes is that the USCCB has condemned the work of a Catholic theologian (Elizabeth A Johnson at Fordham). What I find interesting is the reasons why they are condemning this work. One can read this 22 page response to this work and realize why not every work is tackled this way. In a statement the bishop's office said that they do not look for works to judge like this and that they focus on works that are not for specialists but for wider readership. It says that one of the reasons the committee felt compelled to address the errors in this work is that it was meant not only for ‘specialists’ but for a ‘broad audience.’ One might surmise various reasons why a work meant for ‘specialists’ will get less attention than one meant for a ‘broad audience.’

It is also interesting that the study pinpoints her biggest problem as her presupposition which fails to use as a starting point sacred Tradition. “Theologians must, therefore, first lay hold of the content of God’s revelation, the auditus fidei, as proclaimed in Scripture and taught within the Church, through an act of personal faith. Only then are they properly equipped to enquire into the content of that faith, the intellecuts fidei, seeking a greater understanding and clear expression of it.”

It is an interesting case of when and how the church in an official capacity judges the work of a Catholic theologian.

Viisaus said...

Take note that it was not until the 13th century that the Roman cult of worshipping the host was formally instituted!

(Transubstantiation-dogma itself was not formally proclaimed as "de fide" until the 1215 AD Lateran council.)

"The appearance of Corpus Christi as a feast in the Christian calendar was primarily due to the petitions of the thirteenth-century Augustinian nun Juliana of Liège. From her early youth Juliana had a veneration for the Blessed Sacrament, and always longed for a special feast in its honour. This desire is said to have been increased by a vision of the Church under the appearance of the full moon having one dark spot, which signified the absence of such a solemnity.[2] In 1208 she reported her first vision of Christ in which she was instructed to plead for the institution of the feast of Corpus Christi. The vision was repeated for the next 20 years but she kept it a secret. When she eventually relayed it to her confessor, he relayed it to the bishop.[3]

Juliana also petitioned the learned Dominican Hugh of St-Cher, Jacques Pantaléon (Archdeacon of Liège who later became Pope Urban IV) and Robert de Thorete, Bishop of Liège. At that time bishops could order feasts in their dioceses, so in 1246 Bishop Robert convened a synod and ordered a celebration of Corpus Christi to be held each year thereafter.[4]

The celebration of Corpus Christi became widespread only after both St. Juliana and Bishop Robert de Thorete had died. In 1263 Pope Urban IV investigated claims of a Eucharistic miracle at Bolsena, in which a consecrated host began to bleed. In 1264 he issued the papal bull Transiturus de hoc mundo in which Corpus Christi was made a feast throughout the entire Latin Rite.[5] This was the very first papally sanctioned universal feast in the history of the Latin Rite.[6]"

Do the EOs have anything corresponding to the Corpus Christi festival - carrying the host around to be worshipped?

(Since EOs have always taken wine as well bread, they would have had to carry that around too...)

John Bugay said...

Viisaus, you are indeed the master of arcane historical factual information!

Do the EOs have anything corresponding to the Corpus Christi festival - carrying the host around to be worshipped?

Rhology is much more familiar with all things EO than I am. Maybe he can answer this one. I would think that they don't do this, but you never know.

Rhology said...

Boy, I don't know. I haven't heard of it, but it wouldn't surprise me to hear of that happening, and for EO epologists to hem and haw about whether it's commendable or not.

Viisaus said...

That other concrete expression of the transubstantiation-doctrine - the use of monstrance - is apparently also a purely Latin invention and has never been adopted by the EOs (as far as I can tell).

Even some Uniates (members of semi-independent Eastern churches that are in full communion with Rome) have resisted its use:

"The SSJK rejects the de-Latinisation reforms presently prevailing in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is in full communion with Rome. These reforms began with the 1930s under rule of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, but gained momentum with the 1964 decree Orientalium Ecclesiarum of the Second Vatican Council) and several subsequent implementing documents.

The SSJK for instance opposes the removal of the stations of the cross, the rosary and the monstrance from the liturgy and parishes of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Critics of the SSJK point out that their liturgical practice favours severely abbreviated services and imported Roman Rite devotions over the traditional and authentic practices and ancient devotions of Eastern Tradition and particularly the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Proponents counter that these "Latin" symbols and rituals, borrowed from their Latin Catholic Polish neighbours, have long been practised by Ukrainian Greek Catholics, in some cases for centuries, and that to deny them is to deprive the Ukrainian Catholic faithful of a part of their own sacred heritage."

John Bugay said...

That other concrete expression of the transubstantiation-doctrine - the use of monstrance - is apparently also a purely Latin invention ...

I rarely saw that in my home parish, but they pulled it out every month during the monthly "Evenings of Recollection" at Opus Dei. It was a big thing for them.

A "monstrance" is a monstrosity, yes. It is a cross-shaped item that has a place to display a "consecrated host". The priest would wave his cape around and we would all kneel and bow our heads as he walked by with it.

Viisaus said...

This indeed seems like amusing irony of fate: the use of monstrance was a Western innovation imposed on those Ukrainians who belonged to the Uniate church that was born in the late 16th century.

But after the Vatican II, these Uniates were allowed in this respect to return to their Eastern roots and reject the use monstrance - although they were NOT allowed to reject the doctrine of transubstantiation, the concrete expression of which the use of monstrance was to begin with. Irony!

And so this small Uniate version of SSPX traditionalism arose to oppose these changes, and the poor "Catholic Answers" folks are puzzled over whom to support in this squabble:

"The SSJK is functioning in opposition and defiance to the hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Those who cling to the Latinizations, such as use of Monstrance and Stations of the Cross, replacing the true liturgical tradition of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, are doing so in direct disobedience to the Roman Pontiffs, who have directed Ukrainian Catholics to return to their sources.

Did you know that the terms of the Union of Brest actually prohibited these Latinizations, anyway?"

"In the Ruthenian Church in the US, the latinizations which are missing are easily catalogued...

No more Exposition, no use of the monstrance.
No more speaking the texts of the DL.*
No more protestant hymns
No new Monsignors; Mitered Archpriests instead
No roman miters (Bp. Nicholas + Elko wore both styles of miter while primate of the Ruthenian Church in the US)
No Fiddleback Chasubles for bishops. (Again, Bp. Elko.)
No prohibition on married men in clerical formation

All of these latinizations have been documented as occurring in the 1940's and 1950's, and are now missing."

And note this comment - some Eastern Catholic folks (EC, not EO) apparently oppose "Eucharistic Adoration":

"Quite frankly, while not being a member of the SSPX or SSJ I strongly sympathise with them, as I see an increasing trend among EC posters and bloggers on the internet (often converts from Protestantism) who regularly attack Papal Infallibility, Priestly celibacy, the Immaculate Conception, Eucharistic Adoration etc."

Viisaus said...

According to 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the use of monstrance dates - wouldn't you know it - from the same period as the Corpus Christi festival and not before.

"The exhibition of the Host dates from the institution of the Festival of Corpus Christi by Urban IV. in 1264."

And the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia admits:

"It is plain that the introduction of ostensoria must have been posterior to the period at which the practice of exposing the Blessed Sacrament or carrying it in procession first became familiar in the Church. This (as may be seen from the articles BENEDICTION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, CORPUS CHRISTI, and EXPOSITION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT) cannot be assigned to an earlier date than the thirteenth century."

From this we could fairly deduce that only in the 13th century did the transubstantiation-dogma begin to concretely show itself in the official RC liturgy - and in the very same time period the priests ceased to give wine to lay communicants.

Btw, did another long post of mine (about monstrance and "Catholic Answers") again get stuck in the spam filter?

John Bugay said...

Viisaus, I've been reading some of your comments through my subscription to this comment thread, but evidently some comments have become trapped in the spam filter.

Viisaus said...

And yet another important form of RC host-worship that did not get really started until the 13th century (apocryphal legends nonwithstanding), and is probably unknown to the EOs - Catholic Encyclopedia admits:

Perpetual Adoration

"No trace of the existence of any such extra-liturgical cultus of the Blessed Sacrament can be found in the records of the early Church. Christian Lupus, indeed, argues that in the days of St. Ambrose and St. Augustine it was customary for the neophytes to adore, for eight days following their baptism, the Blessed Sacrament exposed, but no sound proof is adduced. It first appears in the later Middle Ages, about the beginning of the thirteenth century.

The slowness with which the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament came into vogue, and the also slow development of the custom of paying visits to the Blessed Sacrament [Father Bridgett asserting that he had not come across one clear example in England of a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in pre-Reformation times (Thurston, ib.)], render it increasingly difficult to make out a case for any adoration, perpetual or temporary, outside the Mass and Holy Communion, as these various forms of devotion are closely linked together. Most liturgists rightly attribute the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and its special adoration to the establishment of the Feast of Corpus Christi."

Viisaus said...

The institutional position of these "Eastern Catholic" Uniate churches is indeed interesting.

Here an EC deacon "Diak" admits that ECs have no such tradition of Eucharistic adoration like Western Catholics have, and gives (IMHO) a preposterous face-saving excuse why this is so:

"Regarding Eucharistic Adoration outside of the Divine Liturgy - this is simply not in our tradition since we never had the large scale questioning of the Real Presence as you had in the West."

I would say that the real reason the Uniates have no tradition of special adoration of the host is that they originally derive from EO culture that didn't believe in Latin transubstantiation-dogma to begin with.

It's also interesting that the Uniate priests are allowed to marry (due to Roman realpolitik; the Vatican had to be tolerant towards the practises of these Eastern churches in order to seduce them to union with herself):

Can East & West Coexist With Married Priests?

"Many people are unaware that the Catholic Church actually has two disciplines regarding married priests. The Eastern Catholic Churches (Churches which, for the most part, reunited with Rome after breaking communion with Orthodoxy) actually permit a married clergy. One reason this is not as well known is because Eastern Catholics make up only about 2 per cent of the entire Catholic Church."

"In Eastern Europe, even today, a married priesthood is the norm for Ukrainian, Ruthenian, and Romanian Eastern Catholics, with thousands of married priests in the Eastern Catholic homelands. Married clergy is of absolutely no issue in areas where Eastern Christians predominate.

But, when Eastern Catholics started emigrating to the United States from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the latter part of the 19th century, they discovered that the idea of a married clergy was offensive to Roman Catholic Bishops and priests in the USA."

Viisaus said...

And btw; here is a citation from the future pope (picked this from a Sedevacantist site) that should make RCs loyal to the Vatican nervous:

"Finally, I offer a shocking quote from Bishop Ratzinger’s book Die Sakramentale Begründung Christlicher Existenz, [The Sacramental Reason for Christian Existence] which is still on the shelves in Germany. To date he has never denied the following passage:

“Eucharistic devotion such as is noted in the silent visit by the devout in church must not be thought of as a conversation with God. This would assume that God was present there locally and in a confined way. To justify such an assertion shows a lack of understanding of the Christological mysteries of the very concept of God. This is repugnant to the serious thinking of the man who knows about the omnipresence of God. To go to Church on the grounds that one can visit God who is present there is a senseless act which modern man rightfully rejects.”

(Freising-Meitingen, Germany: Kyrios Pub., 1966)"

LPC said...

Hi John (Bugay),

Just curious, I have a question and by this, I do not by any means am defending Rome's idea of the Eucharist. I believe Rome has abused this doctrine.

So in your Church, and I assume you take or participate in communion, when you eat the bread and drink the wine, it is just plain bread and plain wine (fruit juice) nothing more to it right?


John Bugay said...

So in your Church, and I assume you take or participate in communion, when you eat the bread and drink the wine, it is just plain bread and plain wine (fruit juice) nothing more to it right?


Rhology said...

I'm a Babdist and I wouldn't say that "nothing more to it" is accurate either. Just FWIW.

LPC said...


I'm a Babdist and I wouldn't say that "nothing more to it" is accurate either. Just FWIW.

That is so good to know.


John Bugay said...

Look at your question. What did you expect? That we were going to say "well, the whole thing is pretty much worthless...?"

Why don't you give us some frame of reference and tell us what you, as a person who believes Rome has abused the doctrine, actually believe. And how does Rome abuse that?

Rhology said...

That is so good to know.

Sorry, I intended no offense.

Lvka said...

I want to ask you a question:

given that no apostolic Church is a stranger to the concepts of icons and symbolism, how come they all deny that the Eucharist is to be understood in the same manner as either iconography or liturgic symbolism?

John Bugay said...

1. It's the Protestant churches who bear the true apostolic (Scriptural) doctrine.

2. I don't feel compelled to give an explanation for why the RC or EO do what they do.

Viisaus said...

And here is a "hostile testimony" from 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia that indirectly admits that in spite of all their own superstition, the EOs do not have the tradition of using Last Supper elements as talismanic fetishes:

"the practice of even the present-day Greek Church which, although believing explicitly in transubstantiation, has never considered Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament "our companion and refuge as well as our food" (Thurston)."

LPC said...

Hi John,


Look at your question. What did you expect? That we were going to say "well, the whole thing is pretty much worthless...?"

Actually I expected a bit more straight and forthright answer - indeed, I was expecting you would say "yes" and not be ashamed about it, if that is your church body's confession so be it. I would respect that.

But why do I need to give you more context? I am already happy that you answered me based on my context! However, if you need to double back and explain why you need to do a caveat on your answer, go ahead. But why? Is it because you might be contradicting something? I am puzzled because on my part, I am no longer asking for your explanation.

On my part, I take your answer at face value - you confess that it is not mere bread neither mere wine that you are taking in your Church's communion. That is good to know because I am like you - it is not mere bread nor mere wine for me also but the actual body and blood of Jesus when He said
this is my body given for you" - this Luther rightly discerned and interpreted contra Zwingli - whom he called a person with a different Spirit.

BTW John, we share something in common - I am an ex-RC myself. I do not know what catechism you were trained but I was trained with the blue Baltimore catechism.




I take no offense at all. I never thought of your answer as offensive, it never crossed my mind. I was a credo-baptist, mere-symbol Lord Supper eating Calvino-Charismaniac for some years ;-) I am a usual visitor here, please be at ease, everything is cool.

We are just having discussion. Nothing heavy.


Rhology said...

Cool. :-)

And I think we've hit on this before, but spiritual presence and power ≠ nonexistent.

John Bugay said...

LPC, Welcome to Beggars All. I'm glad to hear that you're a former Roman Catholic, and a Lutheran, and a regular visitor here. I had absolutely no knowledge of that, and we have folks who show up here under false pretenses sometimes, and that sort of thing is really frowned upon.

You said, That is good to know because I am like you - it is not mere bread nor mere wine for me also but the actual body and blood of Jesus when He said this is my body given for you" - this Luther rightly discerned and interpreted contra Zwingli - whom he called a person with a different Spirit.

When Luther and Zwingli met, they agreed on 14 out of 15 different article of the faith, I believe, with this being the one item they didn't agree on.

Luther said a lot of good things, but just because he said Zwingli had a "different spirit" means that Zwingli today needs be rejected outright. You have to consider the times, and you also have to consider what Luther was contending with in his life.

I'd go further and say, this is one doctrine where it's definitely not black and white, where there's a continuum. The Roman Catholic (and maybe the EO) will tell you, "Luther said the actual body and blood was present, but that's not really true because Lutherans don't have valid orders, and not genuine sacraments." And of course, you have to look at what the word "real" means (as I've noted above).

For what it's worth, I'm a person who believes its important to pick your battles wisely, and when to avoid a fight. And I definitely think that this is an issue that's not worth fighting over, especially not here, in a board where we have frequent Roman Catholic visitors who are just looking for ways to dump on us.


John Bugay said...

I'm a member of a PCA church, and I hold to a Calvinistic view of the Lord\'s Supper. And in fact, there's a lot that we can agree on:

I. Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the Lord's Supper, to be observed in his Church unto the end of the world; for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death, the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other, as members of his mystical body.

II. In this sacrament Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sins of the quick or dead, but a commemoration of that one offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all, and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same; so that the Popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominably injurious to Christ's one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect.

III. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants; but to none who are not then present in the congregation.

IV. Private masses, or receiving this sacrament by a priest, or any other, alone; as likewise the denial of the cup to the people; worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and the reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this sacrament, and to the institution of Christ.

I'm not going to tell you "don't be Lutheran". I'm not going to fight with you (or anyone) over a point like this one. If you want to know more about why I am Reformed and not Lutheran, I'll be happy to discuss it with you privately: johnbugay [at] gmail [dot] com.

Congratulations on the Baltimore Catechism, although, it would seem from this that you are a bit older than I am. My aunt was a Baltimore Catechism fan, and her family said a decade of the Rosary before dinner every night. The church I attended was being organized right around the time of Vatican II -- founded in 1963 -- and so I grew up in that era.

LPC said...

Hi John,

Thanks for clarifying your confession, for a moment I thought you had an ana-Baptist bent.

Calvin tried to be a via media between Zwingli and Luther on this and I do not think it worked. It certainly did not work for me.

When Luther charged Zwingli of having a different Spirit - it ran deeper, it meant that the two had a different Christology.

Luther said the actual body and blood was present, but that's not really true because Lutherans don't have valid orders, and not genuine sacraments.

The EO and the RC may say this - but the fact that they do not uphold JBFA means that the Word is not rightly preached amongst them. Hence, they also fail the Apostolic test.

One thing I would like to stress which is commonly misunderstood and most Lutheran-on-lookers do not bother going deeper is this - everything in Lutheranism is governed by JBFA - in fact even Baptism and the Lord's Supper is part and parcel of JBFA. The Sacraments are JBFA in action.

I suggest that is something to think about.

It is because the Word is not rightly preached in RCC, that is why you see all of these religious and superstitious practices that surround the host. They do not look at it as Christ's body given for YOU (your sins as a gift). Though they may eat it, they do not believe in what it brings or are taught not to believe in what it brings. Hence, faith is not engendered - rather they are made to work for the forgiveness of their sins. Hence, the act of receiving is turned into a work.

I know of some EOs here but I have been only once in their services, my impression for sure is skewed but I have met folk with superstitious ideas in them.


LPC said...


Congratulations on the Baltimore Catechism, although, it would seem from this that you are a bit older than I am.

Hahaha, that is for sure. LOL. I mention Baltimore Catechism to RC converts and they do not have a clue as to what it is.


John Bugay said...

I mention Baltimore Catechism to RC converts and they do not have a clue as to what it is

Maybe we should start telling them here what they really have embraced, as opposed to what they think they have embraced :-)

LPC said...


as opposed to what they think they have embraced :-)

This is a very good point. Whenever I talk to an ex-Prot gone RC, I often find they have a Protestantized version of RC.

Really the RC they talk about is no where the same as the one I encountered when I was a young boy and I grew up studying at an RC school. They do not know how much a cameleon Mother Church is. In fact the RCC can allow you to be whatever you are in the Church - so long as you do not buck the Pope.

Unfortunately I no longer have my copy of the Baltimore Catechism.


LPC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Bugay said...

LPC, I removed your comment about Fr. Luigi Desanctis because it contained a link to a site "that is known to distribute malware".

John Bugay said...

In fact, I see that that site is your own blog site. You may want to check with your provider on that.

LPC said...

Thanks so much I wonder why. Looks normal right now.