Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Traditionalist, Dec 23, 2018.
Well to an extent the priest does act in persona Christi.
Article XXVI states that the minister preaches and administers the sacraments not "in their own Name, but in Christ’s".
This is one of many reasons why female priestesses are non-Anglican. Amid myriad other citations like this, John Ellis adds ("Commentary on the 39 Articles") --
"The Church condemns no Man, but agrees with, and executes the Judgment of God, by declaring it according to express Command; and it delivers Men over to Satan, not by its own Authority, but in the Name of Christ"
The 'extent' is theologically problematic though. Theoretically the priest cannot in fact represent anything other than fallen humanity availing itself of the sacrifice Christ made for us all.
We celebrate, "In Remembrance of Him, as oft as we shall partake of it", and the priest is traditionally the first to receive and at least as requiring of that sacrifice as any other who receives. The idea that the priest in some strange way is a 'figure' of Christ presiding over his own sacrifice, is difficult for me to accept. The furthest I am prepared to concede your point on this matter is that the priest can be seen to be representative of the 'Sacrifice' in that we are all required to 'offer ourselves as a living sacrifice', out of gratitude for the 'once and for all' sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the gender of the person representing that 'sacrificial attitude of heart and soul', which emulates the example of Jesus Christ Our Lord, does not necessarily have to be specifically 'male'. That would be rather superstitious and substitutionary. In view of the fact that the entire creation was redeemed by Christ's atonement, the Celebrant does not even necessarily have to be human, though I can't currently see any alternative to that until 'redeemed' sentient life is discovered other than on earth.
What is being 'celebrated' is not Christ's death, but the 'remission of our sins'. That is the reason given by him for us ALL doing it "as oft as we shall drink it". That is also why we are ALL, (including the Celebrant), required to drink of it.
Exactly. In Christ's name, not in his person.
I am of the opinion that the Communion could perfectly legitimately be led by a Celebrant who is an Angel and quite gender-less.
Point well-taken, Tiffy. I am opposed to women's ordination, but the in persona Christi argument has never been one that I have advocated in the debate. I never see the priest as representing Christ. Even the words he speaks in the various liturgies (Anglican, RCC, Orthodox) make it quite clear that he is not filling in for the Lord.
Bump. Would it be licit to take communion at a baptist church?
Do they use bread and wine? Is there even a rite for the Communion service?
My one experience with Communion at a Baptist church was this:
I had some friends who invited me to the Christmas program at their Baptist church. I've been to several Baptist Christmas programs before and thought my kids might enjoy the show - because that's mostly what it is. So we went down there and it wasn't even in the chapel, it was in the fellowship hall. The program itself was not particularly good nor offensive; it did oddly feature four little 6-8 minute sermonettes, one after each Scripture reading. But they had decided that this was one of the rare times they should have Communion.
So each table was given a tray with a couple of pieces of pita bread and about half a pint of generic grape juice (from the Dollar store so it could have been closer to Koolaid than Welch's). Keep in mind, Christmas cookies and candy and hot cocoa and cider had been freely available the whole time. So in this atmosphere of relaxed irreverence, most of the people still having fudge and cookies on a paper plate, they are going to serve Communion. One person at each table was supposed to assume the role of the leader and read 3 or 4 sentences off of a page that went out with the tray. The 'leader' at the table I was seated at couldn't be bothered with all that and made up his own little rite on the fly. He turned out to be one of the deacons of the church. I did not participate and he berated me for it until someone came to take the tray away. And I was not wearing clericals that night, as I thought it was just going to be a musical show and it wasn't my church, so he didn't really know who or what I was other than a friend of a couple of the musicians. I cannot envision that particular experience as 'Holy' Communion.
Since Baptists do not use the proper elements (viz., they use grape juice instead of wine), I would not consider such a “Eucharist” to be either valid or licit. It is, in form, content, and purpose, a different rite (and that to the extent that those who practice it consider it to be a ‘rite’ at all). I would not take communion in a Baptist church.
Regarding 'proper elements,' many Protestants have been taught that "wine" could be either fermented or unfermented; this is how they support the use of grape juice as a proper element. I think the use of grape juice became predominant in those circles as a result of the 1800s temperance movement. I am unaware of any solid support for the proposition that the Hebrew and Greek words translated as "wine" were used to indicated unfermented juice, though.
Technically, the Bible does not specify or command a fermentation level. One small point in the Protestants' favor is the fact that fermentation is caused by yeast, and in the Bible yeast represents sin, so perhaps one might say that unfermented grape juice is an even better symbol of Jesus than the fermented fruit of the vine. But from the rapid fermentation of grapes (harvested from June onward, most likely, in Israel) we can infer that any grape juice would of necessity have become fermented by the Passover season; therefore it is completely reasonable to conclude that the 'fruit of the vine' in the cups at the Last Supper was fermented wine. Thus, the early church specified the use of fermented wine (mixed with water) for use in all communion celebrations.
I'm surprised that a Baptist church had open communion; my understanding is that the great majority of them have closed communion (served to known Baptists only). But if there were such a one, I personally would not have any great qualms about participating, and here's why.
Communion in the Baptist church is not seen as a partaking of the literal body and blood of Jesus; it is done with the view that the elements are representative of (symbolic of) His body and blood, and "recognizing the Lord's body" is understood as recognizing that the bread and wine are no ordinary food and drink but are filled with representational meaning and memorialist significance. Unfermented grape juice is an acceptable symbol of the blood of Christ, in my view. I would not have a problem with sharing in a memorial of Jesus' death and resurrection with a group of Christians (even Baptist or 'other Protestant' Christians), and my participation would essentially speak of my belief that they are my brothers and sisters in the Lord and members of Christ's body on earth and that they accept me in like kind (whereas declining might be, or might at least be perceived as, a statement to the opposite effect); but at the same time I would realize that it is not quite the same as the Anglican Eucharist, in regard to what the typical Anglican believes is being partaken of.
If a person believes it is improper to partake of any communion in which the actual body and blood of Jesus is not present (but is only represented or symbolized), then that person should not take part; Romans 14:23 says, But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. On the other hand, if a person believes it is acceptable before God to participate, then he may do so, because it is "from faith."
One can't be too terribly dogmatic, considering the fact that they didn't use little round wafers in Jesus' day...
The Parable of the Yeast
He (Jesus) told them another parable:
‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
Much of the debate will come down to how we deal with the word anamnesis which is a Greek word. Jesus says 'do this as my anamnesis, and I will be with you always to the end of the age'. This is lamely (in my view) translated as 'in remembrance of me'. Much of the Lord's Supper theology that the Baptists I have met base there view of the Breaking of the Bread as a memorial or remembrance meal on the basis of this translation.
The other view is to look at the prior use of the word in the Jewish Community when they celebrated the Passover. Typically they would gather and the the youngest would ask the oldest 'why are we eating standing up, with our hats on ...' and the oldest member would recount the story of the Exodus, and at the end of the long tale accounting for the liberation of Israel from slavery into freedom, he would say 'tonight we have come out of Egypt'. The emphasis and force is not to remember, but rather to recognise the present reality of the historic event in present time.
I received 'communion' at a baptist service one - they handed around little paper containers (often used for pills) with a bit of bread (I think it was regular leavened bread) and a small cup with grape juice in it. It was on a tray that was passed down the aisle and people just helped themselves as it passed by. I think the whole thing was supposed to be a form of remembrance rather than the actual body and blood so I had no problem taking it. It was a long time ago though so I don't really remember much about the rest of the service except for a lot of interjections from the congregation like 'hallelujah' and 'amen' etc. It was a little disconcerting to say the least.
As Anglicans, I'd direct those who ask the question about receiving Communion to the Articles for a short answer: does the church in question have valid ministers of the sacrament? https://leorningcniht.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/article-23-valid-ministers/
Otherwise, in general, I'd ask three questions: https://leorningcniht.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/can-i-receive-communion-at-another-church/
1. What rules does your home church have?
2. What rules does the church you're visiting have?
3. Do you assent to their Communion prayers?
I read your links. They are good. Thanks for them. How does that figure for groups like Methodists and Lutherans? I don't think most of their orders are valid but officially they believe in more than memorialism. With Lutherans some groups have valid orders some do not.
Lutheran groups with valid Holy Orders typically practice closed communion. And they are usually quite serious about it.
That's good stuff! It helped coalesce some of the thoughts floating around in my mind.
Actually, one of the reasons I would be okay with participating in communion at many Protestant churches is because they aren't presenting communion as a sacrament, but as an ordinance; thus, having a 'valid minister of the sacrament' is not a necessary prerequisite for me.
When it comes to the Roman church, my concerns about their doctrines of salvation and their theology (including their doctrine of transubstantiation) cause me to feel that I cannot in good conscience participate in theirs. Others' consciences may vary, of course.
It seems to be getting missed here that if what the Baptists are doing in this case isn’t a sacrament - and it’s not: the difference in matter alone invalidates it - then it is not a Christian rite at all, but rather a faint imitation of one.
Beg pardon, but I think there's a flaw in the reasoning. Are all Christian rites sacraments?
Confirmation is not a sacrament; does that invalidate it as "not a Christian rite at all"?
I think the Baptists would agree that they are doing more than remembering; they are recognizing and celebrating the present reality that Jesus is risen and is alive, and that 'today we have been redeemed from bondage to sin.' There's your anamnesis.
No. I am saying that if what they are intending is something different from what Christians have always intended, then it is by definition not a Christian rite, at least not as they are performing it. That does not mean that they are not Christian, nor does it mean that everything has to be a sacrament in order to be legitimately Christian, though I would not be so quick to state that confirmation is not a sacrament in an absolute sense.
This applies to the "shortbread and grape juice" mockery one often encounters in Baptist/evangelical churches these days in the US. It is not at all clear to me that the same criticism should apply to historic Baptists. The statements of the London Baptist Confession, for example, are considerably "higher" than pretty much anything one might encounter in evangelical free church or revivalist circles in the US today.
Baptists deny the real presence in the sacrament and even that it is a sacrament at all, both of which are grave errors. I would have to pass.
I certainly am glad to see you say that. It seems to reflect a return to a more traditional view of the church and its doctrines.
I'm put in mind of certain modern innovations (which are not Christian rites), such as ordination of female priests and "marriage" of same-sex couples.
To the point of communion, it is somewhat difficult to know precisely what the early Christians intended as to whether it be a sacrament or an ordinance. I think there is enough doubt and 'wiggle room' that many Protestants (Lutherans aside, of course) can celebrate it as the latter and we can celebrate it as the former, while still acknowledging one another (in general) as parts of the Body of Christ.
It seems to me that the sacramental view is important to Romans, Anglicans, Orthodox, etc. for the reason that they believe in the Real Presence. But let's ask ourselves why it is so important for a Christian to believe that Christ is really, truly present in the Eucharist elements. Isn't it because these groups believe and teach that the Eucharist is imparting actual grace to the believer? The RCC in particular views the impartation of saving grace through the Eucharist as a necessary, required part of their faith.
The Protestants who celebrate communion as an ordinance, with no Real Presence, do so because they don't see it as a necessary means by which God imparts grace to the believer. They read that salvation is by grace through faith and not by works, and they believe quite sincerely that receiving saving grace by the physical act of ingesting man-made substances is contrary to scripture. They think that the fathers 'took a wrong turn' on this issue by the time of Cyril's writing (4th Century) or perhaps even sooner. Since the new life of Christ was 'shed abroad' in their hearts by faith, they believe they have received all the 'grace for salvation' God has for them at the moment of their 'new birth'; to suppose that they need to eat Jesus weekly in order to receive more saving grace is contrary to their faith. To their way of thinking, they are quite in line with the Bible's instructions on the subject, and they are particularly motivated to distance themselves from every shred of Romanism.
Anyone who finds this latter view (held by most Protestant denominations) abhorrent should, of course, not participate in their communions.