Anglican Eucharist Theology

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Feb 4, 2021.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,686
    Likes Received:
    862
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican Christian
    I think that most Christians mistakenly look to the "Church catholic" (the corporate body) to be responsible for bringing the Gospel to the world, when in truth the Great Commission tells each individual member that he or she is supposed to take up the responsibility for communicating the Gospel to those around him or her. It starts with a burning desire born out of love to see one's friends, family, acquaintances, and fellow workers to know the truth about Jesus Christ. That must lead to fervent prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to prepare their hearts to hear with spiritual ears. That, in turn, must lead to having one's feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel.... that is, one must be spiritually alert when the Lord says (quietly, to the inner man), "Talk to this one," one must be prepared by knowing Scriptures concerning man's need for God's salvation and God's wonderful gift of grace, and one must be willing to leave one's comfort zone for the sake of God's love and glory. God's desire is that none should perish and that all should come to repentance; as members of His Body on earth, shouldn't that be our desire as well?

    Yes, believers need to be better catechized. But that catechism needs to include a heavy emphasis on how and why to evangelize, and why we should never skitter away in fear from it. Believers must be taught, "Each One, Reach One" (followed by "one more," then "one more still," etc).
     
  2. Ananias

    Ananias Active Member Anglican

    Posts:
    174
    Likes Received:
    148
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    ACNA
    Agreed, but this is also true: one cannot be a Christian alone. A church is a group of believers, not a bunch of singletons running around. Even Christ gathered twelve apostles (apostolos being the Greek for "one who is sent") around him, and later on they traveled in pairs or groups when they spread the Gospel to the nations. It's hard to be strong when you're alone (especially in a spiritual sense). Paul's gratitude for the Christian fellowship of Timothy on his journeys, and for that of Onesiphorus during his imprisonment, is testimony to the power of fellowship. (2 Timothy 1:16)
     
  3. Thomas Didymus

    Thomas Didymus Member

    Posts:
    64
    Likes Received:
    38
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Christian
    EDIT:
    I meant this as a reply to Ananias' earlier post in this thread; the one talking about needing to catechize everbody. My apologies for the confusion.

    Powerful words and personally resonating.

    It was in the name of "unity" that the Samaritan woman at the well was approached by Jesus. Huge differences had to be overcome as the Samaritans felt that, because they were only part Judaean (Jewish, Hebrew, Israelite), were not of one accord with the Judaeans themselves.

    Societies that are spiritless are often detached socially, physically isolated from friends, family and loved ones. Unlike the old days in much of the global West, who did not enjoy modern conveniences, still had an actively rich social life. Urban planning, at least in the United States, does not currently reflect community-building. Instead, it functions quite perfectly. Though it resembles more of a prison. It harms human growth development and maturity.

    Things always get worse before they get better.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,686
    Likes Received:
    862
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican Christian
    No Christian is ever alone. The Holy Spirit accompanies the Christian and will provide enablement. However, you're right that it's easier to be strong when one's rector and fellow parishioners are encouraging him that witnessing should be considered normal, natural and loving behavior.

    If we knew where our friends and acquaintances could readily pick up a million dollars, we'd enthusiastically share this info with everyone! Why shouldn't we be enthusiastically telling everyone we know that they can have peace with God and live forever, without sickness or getting old, in the most wonderful place imaginable? Every rector should be teaching his people the various ways (and there are several!) in which they can communicate the Good News; after all, we really do have the best news, it's out-of-this-world great, and it's a no-money-down deal! :D

    On the other hand, if a person's home church teaches him that talking about God in a secular setting is weird, pushy and to be avoided, then of course the person is going to avoid doing so. I mean, horror of horrors if anyone should get the impression that we're "different" from the run-of-the-mill human beings, eh? :rolleyes: (I'd like to ask all priests, "Since when is it the goal of Christians to quietly blend in with the world?")

    It is entirely too easy for us Christians to think up convenient excuses why we, as individuals, should not be personally involved in fulfilling the Great Commission. Those excuses greatly benefit the adversary. :thumbsdown:
     
  5. Ananias

    Ananias Active Member Anglican

    Posts:
    174
    Likes Received:
    148
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    ACNA
    Well, agreed...but with some extra argumentation.

    I argue that the Great Commission is aimed not at sinners but the saved. God saves sinners through Jesus Christ; God moves his elect to come to Him. We have no power to save ourselves, much less other people. Given this fact, why should we evangelize at all? What is the point?

    I believe that we evangelize not to change the heart of sinners (only God can do that through the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ our Lord), but to simply carry God's word out into the world. We preach the Word, broadcast it, write it, sing it, declaim it, create art about it. It is not for us to worry about what effect this has on hearers of the Word; God will bring the elect to Himself. Our task is simply to carry the Word to all nations, both because we are commanded to by our Lord and because, in our joy and exuberance, we cannot help ourselves. We evangelize because we are saved, not because we are trying to save others (which we cannot do). We should preach the Gospel to an empty hall if the situation should arise. We speak the word; God will ensure that it is heard, and will move the elect to come to Him.

    It is the same with prayer. We cannot tell God anything He does not already know; he knows what's in our hearts and minds before we do. We pray because we are saved -- because we want to commune with our Lord and King, because we want to have fellowship with him, because we wish for comfort or reassurance or a grant of wisdom. We do not ask for favors or wishes; God will act in His own way and in His own good time, and for His own glory.

    God is sovereign over all.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
    Stalwart likes this.
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,686
    Likes Received:
    862
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican Christian
    I would like to add this caveat. Although God does the saving, He has chosen to work through us. When we respond obediently, we glorify Him.

    Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
    Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!


    What I'd like to point out from this scripture is that God spreads the Gospel via His children whenever possible... via our voices, our writing, our prayers, etc. Yes, God could simply reveal Himself to someone in a vision and bring them to faith, but it's rare that He does it that way. It pleases Him to have His children respond with faith to His leading; if one Christian does not do what he should, then God will call on another, and another if necessary, and so on.

    And it isn't just the ordained folks (deacons, priests, and bishops) whom God sends to share the truth with another person (although He does call some of the ordained to a vocation of evangelism). So I don't think the importance of human communication which this scripture in Romans highlights should be narrowly interpreted as applicable only to those in full-time, paid ministry (even Paul put in long hours as a tent maker to support himself while he was preaching and teaching on weekends).

    BTW, I don't "worry" about sharing the Good News; I just do it! :)
     
    Stalwart likes this.
  7. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    1,835
    Country:
    America
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Great discussion :)
     
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    680
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    Though I am a keen adherent of evangelism, (though would not describe myself as 'evangelical'), and would not describe 'quietly blending in with wicked worldlyness' as 'scoring a 'goal' for Christianity', there is biblical presedent for 'blending into society unobtrusively' (Matt.13:33), rather than brashly and overbearingly, 'wearing one's religion on one's sleve'.

    Putting one's lamp on a lampstand, Luke 8:15-16, is good evangelism, burning down one's house to attract attention is not.
    .
     
    Rexlion likes this.
  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,686
    Likes Received:
    862
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican Christian
    Indeed, there are ditches on both sides of the road.
     
    Tiffy likes this.
  10. Invictus

    Invictus Member

    Posts:
    42
    Likes Received:
    16
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican/Episcopalian
    It seems to me that the most basic attribute of "body", to which all others can be reduced, is "location". While we tend to think of body in terms of extension, what makes the statement "this body is 'here', but not 'there'" true or false ultimately boils down to location, i.e., a relation in space-time to other objects. (Extension is thus a cluster of adjacent locations, if you will.) Location is thus a 'relation' (using Aristotelian categories). Angels thus have "spiritual bodies" in the sense that they have location but not extension, and they have the ability to establish definite causal relations with other parts of the spatio-temporal world, i.e., they do not completely transcend the spatio-temporal world. If we can accept the idea that angels are/have spiritual bodies, in the sense that they have location but not extension, there seems no reason why one could not consistently affirm the same of the Eucharistic elements: "Christ is here (location), even his body, but not in a 'bodily' manner (extension)". It's also not at all clear to me that Aquinas was trying to say anything different in terms of the mode of the presence. With regard to the question of the change of the elements, if we grant that Aristotle's original conception of the Categories was physical and merely descriptive (rather than metaphysical and prescriptive) - and I think that the former is indeed the most straightforward reading of Aristotle - and that both the later medieval reinterpretation of the Categories as well as their original meaning in Aristotle have since been superseded by modern science insofar as the Categories were ever meant to be 'scientific' at all, no change in the elements themselves is necessary to explain the mode of the presence, and the distinction between what Aquinas was trying to say, and what the Anglican formularies actually say, collapses: "The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner" (Art. 28).
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    680
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    I think Mr. Occam is stropping his razor ready to précis. :laugh:
    .
     
    Invictus likes this.
  12. Invictus

    Invictus Member

    Posts:
    42
    Likes Received:
    16
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican/Episcopalian
    I suppose a simpler way of putting it would be to say that the Anglican formularies contain the best statement of the biblical and patristic teaching, and that Aquinas does not conflict with this understanding when he is interpreted correctly. It is doubtful to me that he would have seen it that way, but his theology had implications that he did not anticipate.
     
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    680
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    But couldn't that be said of anyone's theology which might be wrong? Bad theology nearly always has implications that were not anticipated by the theologian, until pointed out to them by others or history. :)
    .
     
    Invictus likes this.
  14. Invictus

    Invictus Member

    Posts:
    42
    Likes Received:
    16
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican/Episcopalian
    Perhaps. But I think Aquinas was far closer to the mark than he is sometimes given credit for. Insofar as he affirmed that the elements themselves changed, he could certainly and with fairness be cited in favor of the Roman position. But his understanding of the presence as such did not, so far as I can tell, substantially differ from the Anglican doctrine of the spiritual presence. His error - that a change in the elements was necessary to explain the mode of presence - was largely the result of a historical accident. Take away the Neoplatonist reading of Aristotle that entered Europe following the work of Ibn Rushd, and the whole problem vanishes. At least that was the conclusion I came to when I studied the subject intensively about a decade ago.
     
  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    680
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    Certainly the influence of secular Greek philosophy has brought as much obfuscation to Christian Theology as enlightenment. You may well be right in what you have surmised. Thom Aquinas otherwise can't really be accused on not sufficiently knowing his Theological onions. :laugh:
    .
     
    Invictus likes this.
  16. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    1,835
    Country:
    America
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Invictus likes this.