POLL: Does Anglicanism consider the Eucharistic food itself to really be or have Christ's body?

Discussion in 'Questions about Anglicanism' started by rakovsky, Mar 24, 2016.

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Do you affirm the Articles of Religion on the issue of the real presence in Eucharist bread?

This poll will close on Dec 18, 2018 at 12:21 PM.
  1. I'm Anglican and my answer is "Yes."

    85.7%
  2. I'm Anglican and my answer is "No, I have a disagreement with it."

    14.3%
  3. I'm Anglican and my answer is "Other"

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    I wish to understand and see what Anglican people consider the Anglican position on the presence in the Eucharistic bread to be, as I have heard different answers.

    The Articles of Religion are foundational documents in Anglicanism from the 16th century. On the question of the Eucharistic bread, they state:

    The title of XXIX says that the unworthy do not eat Christ's body. This was a major difference from the Lutheran, Catholic, and Orthodox position that said that the Eucharist bread actually and directly was or contained Christ's body, such that even an unworthy person would be eating it.

    For example, Book of Concord cites Luther as saying:
    Luther clarified his position:
    The Episcopal Church Website says:
    http://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/glossary/receptionism

    Some other Anglican writers do not consider the Articles receptionist, however. The book AN INTRODUCTION TO DOGMATIC THEOLOGY - By CLAUDE BEAUFORT MOSS, 1965 Holy Trinity Church, London says:
     
  2. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Happy Easter Rakovsky,

    First you have to understand, the 39 Articles are not binding on any Anglican except Church of England clergy.
    Second, the Articles are written in a manner to be interpreted differently.
    Third, Anglicans have belief in the Real Presence that span from memorial to transubstantiation.

    Receptionism takes the miracle from the Holy Spirit and moves it to the person. An idea out of the reformation and probably limited to
    western Christianity where, like here in the State, the individual is supreme. The elements becoming the Body and Blood of Christ is not
    dependent upon a persons belief.

    That is why in the rubrics, a priest is charged to not give communion to someone who is known to be living a wicked and naught life. For the sake of his soul. If it was not the Body and Blood, what difference does it make. Anglican priest should be teaching St Paul's admonishment to correctly partake, for the sake of souls.

    Pusey, Staley, Tighe etc have views that differ from Moss. Browne's very large book on the 39 Articles takes even another view, more Calvinist than say Pusey. This diversity of thought is both a good and bad part of Anglicanism. I have found many Roman Catholics and Orthodox have difficulty understanding Anglicanism since it does not appear as legalistic. Everything is spelled out to the letter....especially in Roman Catholicism. Which usually paints Rome into sticky situations. Anglicanism leaves the paint in the bucket.

    Fr. Mark
     
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  3. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Mark, do you believe in transubstantiation?
     
  4. Philip Barrington

    Philip Barrington Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure that is entirely true. My understanding is that at ordination Clergy in the Church of England 'assent to' the 39 articles. Once upon a time clergy had to subscribe to them, which was rather more burdensome.

    The difficulty I have with transubstantiation is that it is bound up in the physical - where as I think we should be more concerned with 'esse'. At the same time I find tokenism and receptionism lack vitality and act as if matter does not matter - which is quite counter any theology which takes the incarnation seriously.

    Sydney Carter I find helpful when he suggests that notes of music, are physical vibrations beating on the eardrums, through which we encounter a world of experience beyond the physical, yet which we can only encounter through the physical.

    For me, sacraments are moments of encounter with the triune God. Those encounters are in time and space, yet eternity breaks through introducing us to a life where time and space are in the context of an experience without such limitations, and we might describe this as physical.
     
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  5. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Thanks for your answer, Fr. Mark!
    1. You are right about the logic in the bold above.
    Paul said that people even got sick from eating without discerning the body and that they were guilty of the body and Jesus of Jesus if they did so. If they were not eating Jesus' body, it does not explain why they would get sick by not discerning it. Even Atheists can "discern" that in the ritual the bread by itself is a "symbol" of the body. Even Atheists can discern that Christians are "symbolically" Christ's body. So that is not what the text must mean about "discernment". Otherwise they would not get sick.

    In what way can you get sick and be guilty of Jesus' body from failing to "discern" the body if you were correct to only discern that it was a symbol like Atheists can?

    2. But merely because you don't commune a wicked person does not mean that you actually intentionally accept that the bread itself has Jesus' body, even if that is the correct implication in paul's words. Evangelicals also I hear go through a period of introspection before communing.

    Orthodox are fine with less legalism. We don't require our clergy to accept Articles stating that the body is taken "only" in a "spiritual" manner, a phrase Luther disputed, or with titles saying that the "Wicked Do Not Eat the Body", which Bishop guest was forced to sign by the Crown, or saying that Transubstantiation is repugnant.

    However, even though we are not as legalistic and definitive as Western Christians as a general practice, we do collectively disagree with the views of Cranmer and Calvin begun in the 16h century that the bread is only a symbol and vehicle, not actually Jesus' body.
     
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  6. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    I agree.

    However, in the Lutheran scheme, it is not just jesus' power vibrating through bread, Jesus is actually there like he says he is. Jesus has a new spirit body like when he went through the walls and when he showed himself to the apostles. He was not just energy, but a real being.

    For the Lutheran and Orthodox POV the biggest problem is the title that says that the Wicked Do Not Eat the Body. Is the title a part of the Articles?
    Because Lutherans and Orthodox assert that even the wicked eat and clench with their teeth, Jesus' body. St Augustine is cited in the Articles, where he says:

    “This is the bread coming down from heaven, so that if anyone eat of it, he may not die. [John 6]
    Yes, he who eats what belongs to the virtue of the Sacrament, not to the visible sacrament; he who eats within, not without; he who eats in the heart, not he who presses with his teeth”(Augustine Tract 26, n. 12,).
    The bread itself is a "sacrament" mentioned as "pressed". Orthodox do not deny that the unfaithful eat "without", the "visible sacrament" of Christ's body, clenching the body itself with their teeth. The wicked do "eat" the "sacrament", ie what is sacred, Jesus' body.
     
  7. Philip Barrington

    Philip Barrington Well-Known Member

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    Finding the differences between Anglican and Lutheran eucharistic sacramental theology may be a pursuit, however finding what they have in common may be much more exciting. I don't take the force of Carter to imply that Jesus simply in some kenotic state reverberates through the bread. The problem of the analogy is always the limitation and taking it further than is intended.

    I think they sad thing in current Anglican Eucharistic approaches liturgically is the reduction of the epiclesis to a remnant, leaving the Institution Narrative more prominent - as if it were a formula rather than a prayer. I for one believe we as Anglican need to recover the epiclesis, and so make better sense of all of this. On the same track we need to loose the filioque, since that seems to make the epiclesis look a little empty.
     
  8. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Maybe you will be interested in the Western Rite Orthodox use of epiclesis:
    http://www.antiochian.org/node/22396
     
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  9. Philip Barrington

    Philip Barrington Well-Known Member

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    Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
    and in fear and trembling stand,
    ponder nothing earthly minded
    for with blessings in his hand,
    Christ of God to Earth descendeth,
    in the body and the blood ...

    AMEN. AMEN. AMEN.
     
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  10. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    More information

    Wikipedia says that when it came to Article 29, however, Bishop Guest objected and was required to accept it by the Crown:

    In 1873, the Reformed Episcopal Church (not "The Episcopal Church") passed a resolution upholding the Articles and openly rejecting "That the Presence of Christ in the Lordʼs Supper is a presence in the elements of Bread and Wine."
    (SOURCE: http://www.virtueonline.org/classical-anglicanism-and-real-presence-christ-sacrament-communion)
     
  11. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The issue of Christ's presence has nothing to do with the unworthy eating. The two are completely separate issues.

    The Prayerbook canon is very clear that we receive Christ's true body, in the prayers of Invocation and Consecration, as well as Humble Access. And Article XXVIII is clear that in the holy communion we "partake of the Body of Christ." What could be more clear to you than that?


    As for the REC:
    I'm in the REC, which today is very different from how they were formed. When they were formed in 1873, they rejected the 39 Articles, and formally adopted "35 articles" because the original 39 articles did not clearly express Reformed doctrines. Suffice it to say the REC almost disbanded in the 1980s, and since then has recovered, to this day, only by of changing its course, and returning to the fruitful beauty of the Anglican tradition.


    From a low-church very Reformed parish, http://www.redemptiontrec.org/Pagec.html:

    In the above parish they to this day reject the traditional 39 articles. If you are a Reformed guy, you have to reject the 39 articles, as they did.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  12. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    There is a debate between Anglicans on what the Articles teach. The 1873 REC proposed that the articles teach Receptionism/virtualism. CLAUDE BEAUFORT MOSS though said that they teach real presence in the bread. Therefore, something could be written clearer on this account as to which of those two views was correct.

    The issue of "Christ's presence" has to do with the "unworthy eating", depending on the sense in which these terms are meant.

    Viewpoint 1. In the words of Institution, Christ said "Take eat, this is my body", using the word eat in a physical sense, (but perhaps also in a spiritual sense). If Christ is objectively "present" in the elements on the table themselves, then both worthy and unworthy people can put the elements with Christ in it in their mouths and physically, objectively, "eat it".

    Viewpoint 2. The Reformed view is that believers only "eat" the body in a spiritual, not a physical sense, ie. the eating itself is only a spiritual act that doesn't directly involve chewing by mouth.

    To contrast these two views:
    http://www.theologian.org.uk/doctrine/calvinonthelordssupper.html#_edn17

    In contrast to Luther, the Articles written during the debates of that century on this topic say:
    "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."

    In the Lutheran view, there is "both the physical and spiritual eating" of Christ's body, and the means of eating is not only faith, but "The mouth eats the body of Christ physically."

    So my personal reading is that the Articles are receptionist like both the Virtue Online and The Episcopal website suggest, although I know that Bp. Guest read those 2 particular sentences differently. By "spiritual manner", I suppose he was thinking of the spiritual form of the presence. The fact that he was forced to sign #29 over his objection suggests to me that the Articles weren't intended as he wanted them to be though.
     
  13. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    No as I said the 1873 REC rejected the articles altogether. The Articles were not in accord with Reformed theology, and nothing in them is uniquely Reformed. Even Predestination is a single, as found in Thomas Aquinas and Lutheran teachings.


    This is incorrect and falls into the error-prone analysis of recent historiography. Most historians are not theologians, and most theologians today don't write history. So I don't fault you for presenting this view of history, but it's not a correct one.

    You also cited a TEC viewpoint, but I wouldn't trust TEC history or theology of the sacraments, if I were you. As you know, TEC has been beset by heresy for many decades by now.


    Now as to your point: Spiritual Presence is a real presence, no less than Physical. Unless you believe that spiritual is less real, which is blasphemy. Since the mode of presence doesn't really matter as to the REALISM of the presence, the only question is whether we teach the Realism of the presence. And we do, as can be attested in any of the sources you've read, even the bad ones. People attach too much importance to the mode of the presence, as if that matters for its realism. It doesn't.

    We can even speak of physical effects of Christ's Body. Read our Prayer of Humble Access:

    As to the unworthy reception, that's very simple. And it applies even in the physical realism. It literally doesn't matter what form of realism is present: God is omnipotent. He can choose to be absent from some elements, even if the priest consecrated them. God is not a subject to the priest, but rather the priest is a lowly servant of God. God is present wherever, and to those, to whom he chooses, and the sacraments are his instrument of presence, but he isn't enslaved to be present in all his instruments.

    If the eating of Christ's flesh is salvific, therefore only those who will be saved eat it. To those who will not, Christ does not offer himself, but instead offers them damnation as St. Paul writes. All this is entirely self-consistent.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  14. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    The articles on Eucharist in particular were accepted by REC and read as Reformed, ie Receptionist.

    http://www.virtueonline.org/classical-anglicanism-and-real-presence-christ-sacrament-communion
     
  15. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    First, I am not sure what we are at crosspoints about when it comes to the bread itself:
    This is not just a dispute between theologians today, but going back to the "English Reformation" itself, otherwise Bp.Guest wouldn't have objected to article 29. Cranmer also took the Reformed view on the Eucharist.

    Secondly, when you say "real presence", would you please specify whether you mean "real presence directly in the elements themselves", or "real presence during the ritual"? Because Calvinists have claimed to me that they accept "Real Presence", but in practice that just means "during the ritual".

    All Christians agree that Jesus is "real" and "present" to them, like when Jesus says he is there when two are more are present. Evangelicals say that this is what they see the "mode" as being during communion meals, not him himself being in the bread itself like Luther and some pro-Lutheran/pro-Catholic Anglicans teach.

    If Jesus himself is in the bread that gets physically eaten, Luther explained, Jesus' spirit body gets physically eaten too.

    Third, it is not a logical absolute that "If the eating of Christ's flesh is salvific, therefore only those who will be saved eat it." Rather, it logically could be that the flesh is salvific", but there is an added condition: only for those who eat it worthily.

    It is like: "faith in Jesus is salvific for those who believe, (Mark 16) but there is a condition: the faith must be worthy and accompanied with good works or else the belief is dead."

    Jesus did not die and rise objectively only when someone believes. His statement "I will restore this body in three days" was an objective statement. Handing Judas and the apostles his bread and saying this is my body was objectively true for the same grammatical reason, whether Judas believed it or not. As Fr. Mark stated above: "If it was not the Body and Blood, what difference does it make."

    How would it lead to sickness to unworthily eat bread that is not Jesus' body?
    Why would Jesus go out of his way to not just avoid, but hurt people who were just eating regular bread? How would they be "guilty of Jesus' body" in Paul's words, if they are not eating Jesus' body?
     
  16. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    We are given no reason why Bishop Guest objected to the Article. No explanation is given, so you are filling it in here with conjecture which is not a solid basis in historical theology. We literally know nothing behind his reasons, and note that after the Articles became Law, he subscribed as everyone else had, so his conscience was not impugned.


    No he didn't. There was no "Reformed theology" as such, until close to the end of the 16th century. You're falling into that historical error pushed by modern historians, many of whom are liberals and heretics anyway and rarely bother to be careful about ancient complexities. The simple fact is there was no such thing as "Reformed" when Cranmer lived or even for 50 years thereafter. Many of the so called "Reformed" of that era don't exhibit the traits found among the so-called Reformed practitioners today. For example Presbyterians historically have thought very lowly of the Eucharist and didn't celebrate it much, whereas Calvin was ready to die for the protection of the blessed sacrament, and sought in Geneva to have it every single Sunday. Is that "Reformed?" I dunno, you tell me. The label has no objective meaning throughout the centuries, and especially applying it to one of Anglicans of the era is anachronistic and even highly irresponsible.

    You raise up Bullinger and he's another example of what I mean. Bullinger was an absolute giant whose thought is completely unknown today. He utterly repudiated the doctrine of Double Predestination. There are famous letters to Calvin where he says it is entirely wrong and he doesnt accept it. (can look up the citation if you want). Is that Reformed? You tell me. Bullinger was in conference with Anglican divines and wrote that episcopacy was the form of church government the Christian world should have. Is that Reformed? You tell me. The Early Reformation era is filled with individuals and personalities. Putting it under one label is a danger of highest anachronism.

    I personally believe he is in the bread but it doesn't really matter. As long as the beloved receive him, the location of him is not a hill I'm willing to die on. The key blasphemies to avoid are, that he's absent, or that he's present in such manner that we can lift up and worship the wafer.

    Not really. Most evangelicals never believe Christ is actually present anywhere local. You're right Jesus does say that he's present; and he also says those who don't eat his flesh won't have everlasting life. But these people just disregard that message as they do many others in holy scripture. That's why I'm an Anglican, not an evangelical.

    On unworthy reception: ok. I take no argument with your view. My only point was that Christ's real presence and unworthy reception are completely separate topics and should be discussed separately.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  17. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Hello Stalwart!

    You asked:
    In that case, considering what a huge part of the recognized Reformed movement rarely celebrated it, I would say both practices were Reformed.



    There have been a broad meaning of Reformed that includes Arminians, and there is a more narrow meaning that is basically Calvinist. Wikipedia essay on Reformed explains this. Bullinger's position would therefore be Reformed in the broad sense.



    If he specifically endorsed sacerdotalism, it would be a dissent from the standard Reformed position, I think.



    Luther used certain labels and considered the Zwinglians and Calvinists to be "sacramentarians", and Lutherans considered those groups (not themselves) Reformed.


    Augustine said to adore it, yet Augustine is cited with approval in the Articles.

    "Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: 'This is My Body.' No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it." http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/tes/a7.html

    And in another place:
    http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/father/fathers.htm

    [​IMG]
    Looks like they are "lifting" it up and bowing some of their heads to what some Anglicans think is Jesus' body, based on the Words of Institution.

    They agree that he is real and present to them, but not "locally". This is why the definition of "real presence" matters.
    Calvinism explicitly claims that Christ is "really" "present" to believers.
    I have argued that this is not the same thing as what "really" "present" means literally, but Reformed have argued with me on that, using linguistic gymnastics, ie. Jesus' body stuck in heaven is "really" "present" to them, because their souls are connected to heaven where Jesus' body is present.

    Doesn't this depend on how one defines "real presence" - bread vs. during the ritual?
    If you accept real presence in the bread itself, then an unworthy person does eat it in a physical way, or as Augustine says, eats the sacrament "without", ie externally. Thus the topics are not separate, but rather discussed together by Luther and Zwingli in their debates with each other.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  18. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Jesus said, "this is my body"...

    St. Paul wrote, "The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?"

    And "he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."

    The bible seems clear to me on this subject. Where in scripture does it say that Christ is not present in the elements?

    Scripture and the witness of the ancient church should be our guides.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
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  19. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    I agree with what you say here. The Bible repeats many times that the bread is Jesus' body, and never says that it's a symbol only nor only has his power not himself. Jesus showed by turning water into wine and by multiplying bread that he could change the substance of things and could multiply objects into many quantities. He should by his appearance to John in Rev. 1 that he could be outside of heaven touching someone with his hand, and showed in John 20 that he could go through solid objects.

    However, Calvin and the Reformed used materialistic reasoning to rule out that Jesus was in the bread. This was their primary reasoning, not someplace in scripture or tradition that actually said this.

    Cranmer used the term "real presence" in regards to Transubstantiation, but his approval of Bullinger's views shows that he was also at odds with the Lutherans. He wrote:
    "The very body of the tree... is the Popish doctrine of transubstantiation, of the real presence of Christ's flesh and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar (as they call it) and of the sacrifice and oblation of Christ made by the priest for the salvation of the quick and the dead."
    SOURCE: https://books.google.com/books?id=z...v=onepage&q=cranmer present eucharist&f=false

    The big problem I have with this reasoning is that the concept of Christ being in the Eucharist is supernatural and the early Christians had a supernatural, mystical mentality and viewpoint. To them, the idea of pieces of Christ being in bread or Christ himself being in them themselves was not something ruled out by their mentality. In the early modern period though of the 16th century, there was arising a more materialistic mindset like that of Newton that had a more rigid perception.
     
  20. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Why can't we say that one was Reformed and the other wasn't? 99% of presbyterians will tell you that Arminianism is not 'Reformed' yet it entirely originated from Reformed presbyters in Netherlands, and Jacob Arminius was committed to Reformed theology.

    My point is here you're getting into what Reformed means. Depending on whom you ask you'll get a different answer. It doesn't have a specific definable meaning, and since it can mean almost anything, it is not a useful concept, and especially anachronistic for the early Anglican divines many of whom taught openly anti-Calvinistic doctrines (Bishops Ridley, and Latimer on free will for instance).


    Wikipedia is as useful on this as on describing Donald Trump's run for presidency. Since so many love/hate him his Wiki gets edited every second and there is no reliable information there. So for Reformed theology. It has no definable meaning so every little group tries change its meaning in their way. Do not use Wikipedia or TEC historians, when studying Reformational or Anglican topics, I beg you.

    In no sense will 99% of presbyterians accept arminians as Reformed. And Calvin called anyone who didn't baptize babies heretics, whilst today so-called 'Reformed Baptists' count Calvin as their father and form a huge chunk of the 'Reformed' movement. So evidently the sacrament of holy baptism isn't important to Reformed folk, whilst, again, Calvin was ready to die for the sacraments. Again, this word has no meaning.

    Sacerdotalism is another loaded word. Anglicans have taught that episcopacy is necessary but they have not endorsed sacerdotalism. Bullinger could favor the Anglican position and not be sacerdotal. He simply wouldn't be 'Reformed' in today's understanding.


    Luther never referred to them as reformed. He referred to Zwingli as a heretic, and to his Lutherans as the true reformed. The Formula of Concord in 1580 refers to Lutherans as 'the reformed churches.'

    It is known for a fact that the Church Fathers never lifted the sacrament, or bowed to it. So when he says adore, it can only refer to an inward disposition of piety and repentance, when we are about to approach the altar and receive the sacred Body and Blood of our Savior. I adore the Body, and I even kneel at the Altar, as Anglicans have always done. You can look at Cranmer and find that he required everyone to kneel at the altar... why? Think about it. All of that implies adoration, but it doesn't imply "Adoration" in the modern idolatrous meaning of making an idol out of it, or using it outside the divine service, as a standalone idol to be put on a throne.

    The motions of bowing, kneeling, and crossing, have been commonplace in Anglicanism ever since (and before) the Articles were written. The Articles condemn the Roman way of making these postures and gestures into idolatry, not them as such. It's important to know the context and assumptions in Anglican history. If you haven't been to an Anglican service and exposed to these practices, you may not know how Anglicans have used these words historically.


    The logical fallacy in these people is exposed when you ask them to define 'present.' Presence can only mean local presence. There is no such thing as remote presence, by definition. Remote presence is absence, by definition. With simple logic an lexical rules, the evangelical fallacies can be dispersed.


    Why cannot God withdraw himself from the elements, before an unworthy person eats them?

    As I wrote in the beginning, this issue affects the physical presence as much as spiritual. Neither form of presence is "stronger," or "more real," or has greater explanatory strength. Neither can ever be physically detected! To me that makes physical presence, which can never be physically experienced, simply nonsensical. But that doesn't matter for the question of unworthy reception, which affects both physical and spiritual presence equally.
     

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