Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Stephen22, Aug 15, 2020.
Do Anglicans view the Eucharist as the real body and blood of Christ?
We believe that Christ is really present in the Eucharist. It is a mystery and we really don't know how he is present but he is present. That is my understanding but I could be wrong.
Have felt Christ in the bread in your stomach like moving around? I sure did.
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ's death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
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.
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
There are sundry interpretations on this matter within Anglicanism. For example, the Declaration of Principles in the Reformed Episcopal Church states the following:
This Church condemns and rejects the following erroneous and strange doctrines as contrary to God's Word:
First, that the Church of Christ exists only in one order or form of ecclesiastical polity:
Second, that Christian Ministers are "priests" in another sense than that in which all believers are a "royal priesthood:"
Third, that the Lord's Table is an altar on which the oblation of the Body and Blood of Christ is offered anew to the Father:
Fourth, that the Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper is a presence in the elements of Bread and Wine:
Fifth, that regeneration is inseparably connected with Baptism
So it depends on the church, really.
Simple answer to the original question: yes.
But nothing is really simple in Anglicanism. Our friend above examined some later statements on the subject but a very early statement, from the Act of the Six Articles, was:
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;
What has generally been acknowledged is that the majority opinion has floated back and forth through the various epochs of the Anglican Church. But, for most of our unique history, the doctrine of Transubstantiation and the Memorialist position have been unacceptable.
The connection between the Eucharistic elements and the Body and Blood, is akin to the connection between the wedding ring and the marital bond. This at-once distinction and unity has been obscured by the Roman church, which has asserted something like, the marital bond being the wedding ring. So that if you broke the ring, you broke the bond (ie. if you dropped the host you dropped the Body, and if you lifted the host you lifted the Body). From this heinous confusion had resulted countless conflicts, doubts, wars, and sufferings.
So yes we completely affirm the presence of the Real Body and Blood in the elements, but we follow the ancient Church in never identifying the one with the other, and distinguishing the two.
John Jewel explains this really well in his treatise on the Sacraments.
I’m in the REC and we recognize these writings as inaccurate and of a provisional nature, written in a spirit and heat of polemic, and incompatible with Anglican orthodoxy.
Anglicanism is the "middle road," though. Would it be fair to say that in many (perhaps most?) Anglican churches, people of either the the Transubstantiationist or the Memorialist bent would still be permitted to receive the Eucharist? (I only have experience with my own parish, which says that any baptized believer is welcome to partake. Whereas in the RCC, by doctrine the priest is supposed to exclude any who do not hold to transubstantiation, although in practice I've seen them announce an exception during funeral masses and wedding masses.)
Now, yes. That is a somewhat recent innovation, in that the historic Prayer Books prescribe confirmation as a necessary step to admittance to the Eucharist, with the exception of those who have prepared for confirmation but not yet been visited by a bishop. The thought, then, is that anyone coming to the Eucharist has been taught the doctrine of the church. Of course, it is impossible to regulate private opinion.
This label only came into vogue in the latter 1800s, precisely at the start of crisis within Anglicanism. The spineless early-liberal prelates didn’t see themselves as standing for the ancient church, but rather as a middle between contemporary 19th and 20th century alternatives (Romanism, the Reformed, Lutherans, Orthodox, etc).
I can’t imagine bishop John Jewel or archbishop William Laud seeing themselves as between anything and anything. They were friends with all but allied to none. They were their own category.
Because of been conditioned as an Anglican in the 21st century I also had inertia, early on, to see it as a middle of other categories, and it’s been a long insistent process of working that out of my system, and returning to how the divines understood it.
Anglicanism is sui juris, of its own kind, and not between some other things.
I've briefly skimmed through the statement put out by bishops on the subject and didn't come to the conclusion that the Declaration of Principles were "inaccurate" or "of a provisional nature," much less "incompatible with Anglican Orthodoxy." In fact, it concludes with the following: "We believe that, rightly understood, everything they [the Declaration of Principles] contain is consistent with mainstream Anglicanism, with much general ecumenical consensus, and, most importantly, with apostolic Christianity." Though certainly correct me if I am wrong!
To be a reality for the faithful, the doctrine to which the theories seek to give expression needs to be expressed in liturgy. For Cummins, the Prayer Book had the potential to be ‘the golden chain to restore the ancient unity of the kingdom of the Redeemer’ because ‘it embodies, as no other uninspired volume does, the ancient and primitive catholic faith of Christ’s Church’. It is this Catholic faith – with its unbroken conviction that the worthy recipient of the sacramental Bread and Wine truly feeds on the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist – that the Reformed Episcopal family of Churches maintains. This feeding is made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit who enables our sacramental eating and drinking ‘in an heavenly and spiritual manner’ to be a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. Beyond this we are silent before a mystery.
The thrust of the document seems to be that using the Declaration of Principles in isolation may lead to misunderstanding. I'd agree with that.
I worry about the endless need we have for labels. There are High Church Protestants, there are Low Church Catholics, and you have charismatics, liberals, traditionalists, we have eastern leaning and western leaning, we have the theologically conservative and ethically liberal, we have the theologically liberal and ethically conservative, and we have people who fit multiple of these and other labels and people who fit none of them. We have those who have traded ecclesiology for some sort of ecclesial sociology. I see terms like broadchurch and middle church as simply labels for those who don't want to take a position, for whatever reason, which may even include offence minimisation strategy.
Of course this statement can be read in a number of ways, and there is no doubt that the RCC understanding of transubstantiation is by no means as blanket and hard core as non-catholics try to make it. Reading a number of contemporary RCC theologians one might conclude that for them the difference between transubstantiation and trans-signification is a very blurry line.
It is indeed very easy, and possibly even very human, to spend too much time focussed on what divides us, rather than on what unites us. The essence of Eucharist is not what we say it is, but who we encounter in the Holy Sacrament. I think we would do well to see the Eucharist less in terms of what we do and more in terms of the ontological expression of who we are. One of the reasons we have had a number of conflicts in therms of the nature of the Eucharist is because it is essential central to our being Church.
The reason why this is a difficult question is because it is unclear what it means. Real can be understood in so many ways that the question is left struggling for meaning. We live in a world that has in the past 200 years become essentially existentialist as the predominant way of looking at all things. The Anglican Divines in the main predated such a way of looking at things. The John Donne line often attributed to Elizabeth 1 'His was the word that spake it, and what his word does make it, I do believe and take it' may seem like conflict avoidance yet it is profoundly more than that it that it asks you to determine where you find the ultimate source of meaning, in physicality or in the words of Jesus.
Neither fish nor fowl, eh? But solid spiritual food, most definitely. Perhaps we could say that in Anglicanism, here's the beef!
Since most people read documents in isolation, that was the sense I meant.
Perhaps true, in a contemporary context. It would have to be a fairly modern innovation, for it was certainly not the case at the time I left the RCC in 1985. What they've done since then.... well, I've been out of the loop, with no desire to go back for another helping of what they're serving.
What do you mean by 'real'?
Surely Christ's real body has "ascended to heaven where he sits at God's right hand". That is what both of the creeds I was taught say very clearly.
Certainly Christ is with us in Spirit until the end of the age, but physically? Where is that promised in scripture?
That is in Peter's letter to the Roman Catholics! Didn't you know?