Con substantiation v trains substantiation

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by Aidan, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    (1) My point in noting the transfiguration was not to show His resurrection, but to show that His body was fully indwelled with the Godhead (Col. 2:9). What this demonstrates is that His body was not only capable of showing forth the power of divinity prior to His resurrection from the dead.

    (2) But your example betrays a lurking dualism. Christ does not negate His body in saying that His words are "spirit and life." When He says that the "flesh is of no avail," He is not speaking of His own body, or of the human body in general. He is speaking of the old sinful flesh which we have inherited from our father Adam. Likewise Paul, when he contrasts spirit with flesh is not contrasting "immaterial" and "material." There is no contest between body and spirit. The latter fulfills and glorifies the former.

    (3) By "reformed" I did not mean the school of John Calvin, but the more general school of that mindset which adopts a highly dubious philosophical axiom: finitum non capax infiniti ("the finite is not capable of the infinite). If you don't believe this, then I would more than happy to be proven wrong. I do not mean to stifle your "thinking aloud." I just want to let you know that when you "think aloud" you tend to sound like you hold to a reformed view of the Eucharist.

    (4) Again, you say that "a body can only be present in one place at one time." You are construing the presence of Christ in localized terms--rather than in terms of ineffability. Hence you fear (as did Calvin) a "huge Cosmic Body," a fleshly monster of a God. But this false fear of yours is due to your having filtered any consideration of what Christ's body can or cannot do through the narrow funnel of your own preconceived notions of what your body can or cannot do. Your example is also ridiculous, seeing that the Gospels in no way support that idea that Christ appeared to His disciples on the road to Emmaus and in the upper room at the same time.

    (5) I disagree with you here. We are not "full human persons" between death and the general resurrection. We are disembodied souls, waiting for our bodies and the redemption of our fullness. The separation of soul and body at death is an unnatural disruption of human personhood. Aquinas says the same (not that he is infallible, but that his argument in convincing and worth reading). But even if we admitted that this was the case, why so for Christ? Who is not waiting around for a body, but whose body was resurrected and ascended to right hand of the Father (what ascended to the Father was not His divinity but His flesh--which is why we worship Christ's flesh. To worship a fleshless Christ is to worship no Christ at all.)

    (6) God has a "right hand," if by "right hand" we understand the actual meaning of the term, which is a Hebraism denoting the full power and authority of God. This is why Christ says before ascending that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him (that is, to His human nature). Therefore when He continues to say, "Behold, I am with you always," the I refers to His full person: divinity and humanity. There is no other Christ but the enfleshed one. Again, you assume the "spiritual" must in some way be opposed to the "material" and "physical."
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    I assume this is directed toward me. My comment referred to a specific point of doctrine in Cranmer's theology, not to his theology as a whole. If Cranmer's theology of the sacrament sounds like a mere overhauled version of Zwingli's, then that is his fault, not mine.

    If you don't like my criticism, then prove me wrong. Your authority as an administrator is not an argument.
     
  3. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Thomas, this is an Anglican forum and has rules of discourse. Things work much better when members adhere to them. Cranmer was clearly not a Zwinglian, as he first composed the very articles in our faith which condemn Zwinglianism, to continue asserting that claim shows an axe that you apparently feel needs grinding. If you are unclear as to his position,please consult his work on the Lord's Supper which I linked to earlier, the Articles of Religion, his Catechism, and his liturgy of the Eucharist for a better understanding of his theology on the subject.
     
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  4. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Never heard of this phrase.
    I certainly have never used it, and I don't know anyone who has.
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    Once again, I did not say that Cranmer was a Zwinglian. I said that his doctrine of the Eucharist is a more elaborate and decorative form of Zwingli's doctrine. Or, if you prefer, it is a trumped up form of memorialism. Cranmer rejected the objective presence of Christ in the Sacrament, and denied, against the very clear words of St. Paul, that the unworthy also partake of Christ's body and blood--but to their condemnation (cf. I Cor. 11).

    In the end, Cranmer's doctrine of so-called "spiritual presence" means simply "bodily non-presence." And, in that particular respect, there is very little separating Cranmer from the memorialist views of Zwingli, Karlstadt, and others.
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    Then I can only assume that you have done little or no reading into the sacramental controversies of the reformation period. Zwingli marshalled it against the Catholics and the Lutherans in his own day, and Calvin in his. Read some of Calvin's exegesis on our Lord Jesus Christ passing through the closed tomb or the closed door of the upper room or the sudden disappearance of Christ on the road to Emmaus. It is really ridiculous the sort of exegetical gymnastics he must perform with this philosophical axiom constraining him to do so.

    That is why, when Luther debated Zwingli and the Marburg Colloquy, he carved into the table the words, Hoc est corpus meum ("This is My Body")--and, like a stubborn mule, refused to give an inch on the clear meaning of these words. Stubbornness is a virtue to be highly extolled when it is the truth to which we stubbornly cling.
     
  7. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    It never helps anyone to be pompous. The phrase simply isn't one that figures much in the English reformation. Perhaps you should read less Luther/Zwingli and more Anglican reformation fathers, since you are, after all, on an Anglican forum. Our theology takes a different track than much of the Continent.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
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  8. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    Pompous? Hardly. If you have never heard of this phrase (finitum non capax infiniti), then what else can I do but assume that you have done little or no reading into the sacramental controversies of the reformation period?

    What is pompous is assuming that a term doesn't exist because you never heard of it.

    The idea that the English reformation was somehow "above" that of Germany or Switzerland is also pompous--as well as entirely non-factual. Evidence abounds that Cranmer was just as influenced by the nominalism of Calvin and Zwingli (and, on occasion, Luther) as anyone else of his day. He was, regrettably, no exception.

    Cranmer writes that “the bread is not made really Christ’s body, nor the wine his blood, but sacramentally. And the miraculous working is not in the bread, but in them that duly eat the bread, and drink that bread" (in Writings and Disputations of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1556, Relative to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper(Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1844), 34.

    Just how integral such nominalism was to Cranmer's thought has been demonstrated by Eugene K. McGee: “Cranmer's objection to what he called the Catholic notion of the real presence in the sacrament, and his declaration that this notion was an injury to Christ, turned on the quantitative elements of time, place, and mutual exclusion" (Harvard Theological Review / Volume 57 / Issue 03 / July 1964, pp. 189-216; citation on p. 212).

    All of this only proves the point I have been making--and relentlessly encountering--throughout this thread: objections to the real, true, bodily presence of Christ in the Eucharist turn upon philosophical presuppositions, rather than Scriptural exegesis. These words, "This is My Body," still stand--even if nominalistic philosophy refuses to hear or accept them.
     
  9. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    I invite you to quote the phrase from the English reformation fathers. You will not be able to. My offer still stands though you haven't been able to take up on it. The English reformers used and thought in different categories than the Continent. (I never said better, though I do think that; but different which you must allow as perfectly feasible.)

    I have furthermore not seen any of our reformers subscribe to nominalist theses. Scholarship has shown that the English Church has been exceptionally committed to the realism of Aristotle (bypassing Thomas and Occam altogether).
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    Just because the exact wording of the phrase finitum non capax infiniti may not appear in the writings of the English Reformation does not mean that they did not (generally) hold to it. Just as the exact phraseology, "Three persons in one essence" does not appear in Scripture, though it certainly does teach this doctrine.

    Moreover, I am hardly the first person to suggest that Cranmer's thought on the Eucharist is indebted to nominalist philosophy.

    See Thomas Cranmer, The Remains of Thomas Cranmer, edited by Henry Jenkyns, 4 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1833), 2:358-60. Here Cranmer bases his entire argument that Christ is not bodily present in the Eucharist on the nominalistic principles of the temporal and spatial locality of a human body, and most of all the principle of mutual exclusion (which is itself an expression of the axiom finitum non capax infiniti). He argues that because the body of Christ sits at the right hand of the Father (he apparently assumes that God's "right hand" is a particular locality--which totally subverts the biblical understanding of God's "right hand"), he "therefore" cannot also be corporally present anywhere else, much less in the consecrated elements of the Eucharist. It is a very weak argument. And it is nominalistic through and through.

    I also cited a quote from Cranmer in my previous post in which he locates the "miracle" of the Eucharist exclusively in the one who receives it, rather than (also) in what is received (namely, the consecrated elements of bread and wine). He is divorcing what no man can put asunder: the Sacrament works a mystery in us because it truly communicates to us the mystery of Christ's Body and Blood. It is Christ's Body and Blood, just as He said it was: HOC EST CORPUS MEUM.

    How does Aristotelian realism oppose or "bypass" Thomism? Was Aquinas not an Aristotelian realist? That I have never heard.
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    Here is a citation from Cyril Richardson, who asserts (I believe quite convincingly) that Cranmer, whether or not he was conscious of it himself, effectively operated from nominalist principles in his doctrine of the Eucharist: "Cranmer was a nominalist, but in a very popular sense, thinking of things as self-enclosed objects, without further reflection...It was by a blunt commonsense, as sober as it was superficial, that he tried to make short work of transubstantiation" (see Cyril C. Richardson, "Cranmer and the Analysis of Eucharistic Doctrine," JTS, 16.2 (October 1965): p. 422)

    As a good nominalist, Cranmer opposes the empirical with the mystical, the physical with the spiritual, the material with the immaterial. Nominalism lives up to its "name" by making the mystery of the Eucharist into a mystery "in name only."
     
  12. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Your criticism of Cranmer gets no less false by repeating it and refusing to educate yourself on the subject. Cranmer explains that christ Christ is fully present in the sacrament, but doesn't require us to stare at bread and wine and convince ourselves that is something else.
     
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  13. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    With all due respect, Lowly Layman, I have cited (several times) Cranmer's own words and works that show he did not believe that Christ is "fully" present in the Eucharist. Unless by "fully" you mean "without His Body and Blood, since, as we all know, cannot be present here with us since they are locally confined to the right hand of the Father in heaven."

    Cranmer's earlier views on the Eucharist were much, much better. But, unfortunately, not everything gets better with age. Some things mature. Others get rotten.

    I am not calling into question Cranmer's own faith. I am simply pointing out that he held to a "spiritualized" doctrine of the Eucharist that has far more in common with nominalist philosophy than with Holy Scripture and the patristic, creedal, and conciliar consensus of the church catholic.
     
  14. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Characterizing Archbishop Cranmer's thought even related to Zwinglianism no matter how rephrased or refashioned is forbidden by the Articles of Religion, and therefore here, and is not to be done further in this thread.
     
  15. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The times that some of this discussion has resorted to where times of great flux - and certainly in England. In 1539 the House was resumed to approve the six articles by act of parliament. The first of those articles:

    First, that in the most blessed Sacrament of the Altar, by the strength and efficacy of Christ's mighty word, it being spoken by the priest, is present really, under the form of bread and wine, the natural body and blood of Our Saviour Jesu Christ, conceived of the Virgin Mary, and that after the consecration there remaineth no substance of bread and wine, nor any other substance but the substance of Christ, God and man;

    This was after the act of supremacy (1536) and during the time that ArchBishop Cranmer was in office.

    The classic statement of an Anglican Position (via media) on the Eucharist is a belief in the Real Presence. Quite what they might mean is open to a level of Anglican Precision in Ambiguity, and in a sense sees some confluence of the Spiritual and the Temporal within the Sacramental. More than a mere sign, and not some rabbit out of the hat party trick performed by clergy, but a mystery, a window to eternity, a meal at the very gate of heaven.

    It does seem to me that England, Parliament, the King and the Church, were wary as to how far down the reformist road they wanted to go.

    On the Continent, the Reformers were not simply of one mind on the matter, and some pushed for a notion of a symbolic understanding of the Eucharistic action - (or perhaps as they would see it inaction) - yet Luther and/or Lutherans came to a more middle ground on this were they held a view expressed as consubstantiation - whereby both were veritably present in the one moment. Such a view is clearly not incompatible with a view of real presence, however it does seem slightly more defined which is perhaps a reflection of a more German temperament.

    Elizabeth 1 - His was the word that spake it, and what his word does make it, I do believe and take it. And I still like that.

    For me personally I find much in the Hebrew concept of Anamnesis. At the passover seder, the youngest would ask the oldest why they ate the meal with the hats on, standing up, and the oldest would recount the traditional account of the Exodus, the journey out of slavery into freedom. At the end of the account he concluded 'tonight we have come out of Egypt'. This was called anamnesis, not travelling back, but rather bring history into present reality. Jesus at the last supper commands us to do this as my anamnesis. I personally find this a more helpful approach. I spent too much of my teenage years embroiled in a reformation discussion which ran the risk of losing its connection with Jesus.
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    Anamnesis is certainly part of the Eucharist. But it is the not the reason why we observe, celebrate, and partake of the Eucharist, is it? After all, Christ said to eat His Body and drink His Blood for the forgiveness of sins. Then He said to "do this" (that is, to eat His Body and drink His Blood for the forgiveness of sins) "in the remembrance of Me."

    The purpose of the Blessed Sacrament is found in the words "for you" (hyper, "for your benefit"). It is not a Passover seder--which was a memorial meal. It is a effective sign, that is, a sign that gives the reality to which it points, namely, Christ's Body and Blood--not figuratively, not symbolically, not "spiritually," but really and truly and actually.

    I think trying to differentiate theology on the basis of ethnic temperament is, at best, a shady endeavor--though you are certainly welcome to wallow in that darkness as much as you like. The "German temperament" is not exactly a monolithic thing, mind you. Nietzsche was German, after all, and his philosophy in many ways rejects the notion of defining anything at all. One might even argue that the reason the "Germans" had to be so precise in their definitions (it is worth nothing here that many of the most notable Lutheran theologians have been Danish and Swedish) was because others were speaking in sly ways about Christ being "spiritually" present, when what they really meant was that Christ is not bodily present.

    This whole thread has really made me reconsider my position. I have found that I would much rather confess a dogmatic subscription to transubstantiation (Roman Catholicism) or transmutation (Eastern Orthodoxy) than accept any view which shrinks away from acknowledging the reality of Christ's true Body and Blood in the Sacrament. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing connection with Jesus.
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    Call it whatever you would like, Cranmer clearly rejected the bodily presence of Jesus Christ's Body and Blood in the Eucharist--the very things Christ explicitly promises to give through it! This runs counter, not only Lutheran theology, but to Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy as well (in fact, Eastern Orthodoxy confesses almost exactly what Lutherans confess, namely, that what occurs in the Eucharist is not a physical but a metaphysical mystery. The Orthodox confess that the transmutation of the Sacramental elements into Christ's Body and Blood is the condition and possibility for our partaking of and benefiting from them. He is there--whether you believe it or not).

    Perhaps Cranmer was not influenced by Calvin or Zwingli (proving "influence" is an incredibly difficult thing to do anyways), but the fact remains that Cranmer's late doctrine of the Eucharist stands closer to them than it does the Patristic tradition, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, or Lutheranism.

    But I suppose that even saying that much is "not allowed" here, right? So, unlike the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, I am withdrawing my "presence" from this forum.
     
  18. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Thomas, far be it from me. I am ever grateful to the Lutherans who gave me home for some time, and in which time a gained a much greater appreciation of the Eucharist. The greek word translated very averagely in my opinion 'in rememberance' is indeed anamnesis.

    I apologise, for the german comment, I was merely aware that much German Engineering is given to much precision, where as English seems a little softer around the edges. I meant no offence, neither did I mean to minimise the debate.

    I think in reality we are probably closer in understanding than may first be apparent.
     
  19. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    That is all. Nothing else you'd mentioned is off-limits or offensive to pious ears. It should also be added that being on an Anglican website it might prove useful to be patient and gracious, asking and inquiring more than asserting.
     
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  20. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird Member

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    Transubstantiation "overthroweth the nature of a sacrament."