Have Anglicans gone Lutheran on Lord's Supper?

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Lowly Layman, Apr 15, 2022.

  1. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    Citations, please.
    One point of clarification: nobody teaches a physical presence - not the Roman Catholics, not the Eastern Orthodox, not the Lutherans - and nobody denies a real presence, not even the Zwinglians (who recognize the presence of Christ in the believer, and insofar as a thing present in the mind is still "real" insofar as it is independent of other minds, has its source outside the mind, and is itself a source of action). The wording of some of the old Confessions can be confusing as they often seem to speak of a "physical" or "corporeal" presence, either to describe an opponents position polemically or their own position constructively. Such imprecision of language can be set aside today. All sides of the descendants of those parties know and openly acknowledge today that if one takes the Eucharistic elements and puts them under a microscope, all one will observe are molecules of bread and wine, bacteria, etc. The mass and weight of the elements don't double or disappear post-consecration. The real, Confessional alternatives are between an objective presence on the one hand (i.e., Christ is present in the sacrament irrespective of our faith), and a subjective presence on the other (i.e., Christ is present in the souls of those who have faith). For the former, the objective presence, which is not limited to the souls of believers but includes the Eucharistic elements as well, is supernatural, not "physical".
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2022
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    3,514
    Likes Received:
    1,797
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican Christian
    Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers writes about this in his book, "Essential Truths for Christians." On p. 524 he says a sacrament is comprised of 3 parts:
    - the outward and visible sign
    - the inner and spiritual grace or virtue
    - the sacramental relationship or union between the two.
    "In transubstantiation, the thing signified and the sign become the same thing. The relationship is identity. We no longer have a sign of Christ's Body and Blood; we only have the Body and Blood. This is not a sacrament but a simple identity...The very nature of a sacrament has been overthrown."

    The doctrine of transubstantiation definitely teaches that the substances of bread and wine cease to be, and only their appearances (the "accidents") remain to show what they had been prior to consecration; physically they have become the flesh and blood of Christ. Since scripture refers to the consecrated elements as "bread" and "fruit of the vine" (1 Cor. 11 and Matt. 26 are two such places), and since transubstantiation denies that the bread and wine even exist once they've been consecrated, transubstantiation shows itself to be contrary to scripture.
     
    Othniel likes this.
  3. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    Scripture never gives us the Catechism’s definition of a sacrament in so many words (it is rather an inference from Scripture), but in any case the “sign” is not destroyed in the Roman Catholic theory (cf. Catechism of the Council of Trent): the visible sign, the appearance of the bread and wine, remains. The issue is not the nature of the sign, but rather the fact that there is no indication in the Scriptures that the bread and wine have ceased to be bread and wine at any point. So the theory is prima facie weak, but not because it violates any definition of “sacrament”.
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    3,514
    Likes Received:
    1,797
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican Christian
    deleted
     
  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    2,710
    Likes Received:
    2,506
    Country:
    America
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I thought this was pretty mundane. Well like the entire Preterist subculture, at least; and the same with the theme of the Epistle to the Hebrews. One of the core motifs in the entire New Testament is that the Temple and the sacrifices are not some ethnic aspect of one Middle Eastern Culture, but that it is for the whole human race, and instituted by God. The Temple was in a literal way the center of the world, and where God was more present than anywhere else in the world. When the Temple was destroyed, an entire Arc of human history, of God's providence, has ended. But that's okay, because prior to its destruction He had incarnated into a man, and conducted his own propitiatory sacrifice, which is now everlasting. Thus with the Ieshua of Nazareth begins new version of God's plan for creation; very similar to the old, but with some differences also.


    This entire framework is incorrect and revisionist, from my point of view. This is not at all how all of the divines and theologians have framed the debate. It is very clear that the Roman position teaches the physical view. The substance of the bread is replaced by the substance of the body of Jesus that was born from Mary (no matter what it appears externally). Aquinas tries to mollify this horrific doctrine, by trying to argue that despite this the body of Jesus isn't actually moved when we move the Host. But his position never made sense, and wasn't accepted. Trent in its official documents, but more importantly the entire lived experience and practices of post-Tridentine Romanism, clearly teaches that the Body of Jesus does move when you move the Host, because it is the Host. You hold the physical human flesh of Jesus in your hands (despite what it appears externally). And you bite into that physical flesh, which is why the wafer can bleed sometimes according to the Roman claims.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2022
    Othniel likes this.
  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    I was asking about commentators on the Gospel of Matthew, as the passage you quoted concludes that Gospel. I have personally found no commentators that support the assertion, hence my request for citations.
    The Reformers and the Roman Catholic Church were attempting to express teaching, in the heat of controversy, that they had no adequate analogy for. That is why words like "corporeal" and "physical" were sometimes used. That the mode of presence is nonetheless radically different from either Jesus' time on earth (pre-resurrection), or his current reign in heaven, becomes clear when one examines some of the other language used. I'll cite the current Catechism of the Catholic Church as an example.

    The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique...In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained." (CCC, 1374, cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1651)
    This is like no physical presence I'm aware of. The 16th cent. conciliar definition is clear and cited often in Roman Catholic sources: the whole Christ - body, blood, soul, and divinity - is present down the smallest particle, according to the official Roman Catholic definition from the Council of Trent. If one takes a Host and breaks it in half, the two resulting halves don't double in mass or weight, yet the entirety of Christ's body is said to be in each one and both together. This kind of language parallels medieval philosophical views of souls, not bodies. Also, we need not forget that in medieval Aristotelianism, the physical attributes - quantity/dimension, location, movement, etc. - belong to the accidents, not to the substance. So the dimensions of Christ's body, His location, etc., being accidents, all remain in heaven, according to the theory of transubstantiation. "The Host moves, yet the body of Christ does not." All the Roman Catholic Church was affirming was that Christ's body was present in the sacrament, as opposed to His power or some other non-local (or non-human) attribute. But the rest of definition makes clear that the mode of presence is unlike anything we would refer to as a 'body'. This is why "bleeding Host" phenomena are routinely referred to as miracles; there would be nothing miraculous about them if Christ's physical blood were literally inside the Host. To speak of theories of Eucharistic Presence in terms of physical vs. non-physical in the modern sense of those terms is a dead end and a waste of time. That's not what those controversies were actually about.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2022
    Clayton likes this.
  7. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    2,710
    Likes Received:
    2,506
    Country:
    America
    Religion:
    Anglican
    His human body, specifically. The same body that was born of Mary, is (in "some magical way") present in the sacrament. The substance of the human body is there. When you eat the sacrament, they say that you are eating the substance of Jesus' human body. Not that complicated, and I'm not sure what you're trying to argue.

    The difference between the Roman and Anglican views on the eucharist is this:

    In the Roman eucharist, the substance of Jesus' human body is present.
    In the Anglican eucharist, the substance of Jesus' heavenly body is present.

    And all the Church Fathers (without exception) teach that Jesus' heavenly body is present in the eucharist, and the physical host is just the figure that points to the spiritual reality therein. As St. Augustine says ("Against Adimantius")
    -"Our Lord did not hesitate to say, This is my Body, when he gave a token of his body."

    Or as Tertullian says it (“Against Marcion,” Bk 4, chapter 40)
    -"Then, having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body, by saying, “This is my body,” that is, the figure of my body."

    Or as St. Cyprian says it ("On the Chrism of Unction")
    -"Our Lord at the Table where he received his last Supper with his Disciples, with his own hands gave not his carnal body and blood, but bread and wine; but upon the Cross he gave his carnal body to be crucified by the hands of the soldiers."
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2022
  8. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    He has no other.
    It's either one or the other.
    Distinction without a difference. Also, "present in...the eucharist" is vague.

    Whether the presence was (a) in the elements themselves, or (b) only in the soul of the believer at the moment of reception, was one of the points of controversy in the Reformation-era debates.

    You keep saying that Roman Catholics (and by extension, I suppose the Eastern Orthodox and the Lutherans as well) teach a physical presence, and I keep pointing out that's simply not accurate. I don't think that's hard to understand or accept, given that I'm at least citing relevant sources. I guess we'll just keep going round-and-round on this... :wallbash:
     
  9. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    2,710
    Likes Received:
    2,506
    Country:
    America
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Are you saying that the Transfiguration hadn't happened? That Jesus in heaven has the human body that was born of Mary? He eats apples up in heaven, and takes a poop every now and then? I don't think you fully realize what conclusions you're committing yourself to.
     
  10. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

    Posts:
    151
    Likes Received:
    95
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Catholic
    I’m on that page. I’m not sure I need to understand exactly by what mechanism bread is flesh or wine is blood.

    personally I don’t get much from the unpacking of it, except for a headache.
     
    Shane R likes this.
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,741
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    If Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Man, was physically with us we could see him as a man, and the Son of Man, just as the disciples and everyone else could see him before his death and resurrection. However Jesus Christ has, according to the scripture become a life giving Spirit, since ascending to His Father and being Glorified. Clearly Jesus is not the Jesus of Nazarath that he was on earth before these momentous events took place. Having become a "life giving Spirit" necessarily entails his physical presence being no longer a case of physicality of a mortal body, but the continual presence in the world of his "Life giving Spirit". In the Eucharist we do not have an appearance of Christ as to the disciples in the upper room, or on the Damascus Road to St Paul we have a spiritual presence as promised by Christ Himself. We have a spiritual presence by faith of those who believe.

    What evidence do you get from scripture that Jesus of Nazareth was ever in two places physically, at once? If it was true then that Jesus never physically did anything beyond normal human capacity whilst on earth, what evidence might there be that Jesus Christ, now having become a "Life giving Spirit", would physically manifest himself in two places at once on earth in every Eucharist, (looking like pieces of bread or wine in a multitude of containers, simultaneously), and is also, as a lifegiving spirit, permanently seated at the right hand of the Father in the Spiritual Realm beyond time and space, constantly interceding for us sinners?
    .
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2022
    Clayton likes this.
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,741
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    3,514
    Likes Received:
    1,797
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican Christian
    Quite simply, the RC Eucharist is taught as being the entirety of Jesus Christ: His physical flesh and blood, His soul, His divinity, etc. The bread and wine cease to be bread and wine, for they become the fullness of Jesus' Being. Yes, this is the physical Presence of Jesus Christ that we're talking about. Only the accidents of bread and wine remain of what had been bread and wine but is no longer bread and wine. When the physical existence of bread and wine cease to be and the physical, actual Jesus replaces it, how can anyone be "unaware" that this is (in RC theology) the physical Presence of Jesus? It's impossible to have "the whole Christ" without Christ's physical body; that's a physical Presence (plus more, of course) in RC theology.

    I admire your self-confidence. Expert on medieval Anglican theology. Expert on Islamic theology. And now, expert on RC theology. But really, I was there in the RCC for almost 3 decades; when I talk about transubstantiation doctrine, I think I have an inside track.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2022
    Clayton likes this.
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    3,514
    Likes Received:
    1,797
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican Christian
    It's not a question of whether Jesus can't be in several places at once, but that He won't. Scripture tells us that Jesus remains seated (physically) at the Father's right hand in heaven to intercede for us, and that no one will see Him physically until He returns in the clouds for us all. And Jesus told His disciples, if anyone says, "Look, here is Christ! Look, there He is!" believe it not. Jesus will not return physically to earth until the 2nd Advent, not even to replace bread on a RC altar. So when the RCC holds up the host and tells its adherents, "Look at this, here is Jesus Christ in the flesh, Jesus in all His divinity," they are wrong.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2022
    Clayton likes this.
  15. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    He has a body other than a human one? That's news to me. His body in heaven is the same body in which he suffered, was crucified, and was buried on earth. That is the whole point of the post-resurrection Jesus showing Thomas his wounds from the nails.
    The problem with this interpretation is that "substantially" doesn't mean "physically". Everything that we would designate with the term "physical" is covered by the Aristotelian category of accidents, not substance. That's why the conciliar decrees and the Catechism are worded the way they are.

    I think the medieval theologians actually misunderstood Aristotle when it came to the Categories, and that the substance/accident schema is probably best discarded unless one is speaking in purely nonscientific terms. Still, their mindset was what it was and unless we understand it the way they understood it, for the purpose of interpreting their confessional statements in their own historical context, misinterpretation will follow (as is happening on this thread). It makes one wonder what the point of having confessional statements is if people are just going to misread them anyway and reject any correction.
    Come now, you flatter me but I've never in fact claimed or believed myself to be any of those things. I'm just a layman with a passion for learning, who takes the time to study these things carefully, in order to not misrepresent what a prior theologian, saint, philosopher, etc., said or wrote.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2022
    Clayton likes this.
  16. Carolinian

    Carolinian Active Member Anglican

    Posts:
    169
    Likes Received:
    170
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    If you accept the Romanist position on communion, then it leads to the conclusion that a rat could consume the host and in so doing, consume our God's literal, physical body. I prefer people subscribe to Articles 25, 28, and 29 of the 39 Articles of Religion on the Eucharist.
     
    Othniel and Rexlion like this.
  17. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,195
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    Such a rat would consume the Lord's body, though not physically (the Roman Catholic Church does not teach a physical presence; see above). Adherence to the Reformed doctrine of the 39 Articles would certainly ensure that discussion of such hypotheticals can be avoided, I agree.
     
  18. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    2,710
    Likes Received:
    2,506
    Country:
    America
    Religion:
    Anglican
    It has nothing to do with Reformed theology. It is literally the doctrine of the Church Fathers, and is thousands of years old. There is not a single page from the entire Patristic corpus, all millions of pages of them, they tries to ask, “Oh no, what do we do if the host falls on the ground and a mouse eats it”, in the way that you do start to have these concerns after Trent.
     
  19. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    3,514
    Likes Received:
    1,797
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican Christian
    When the RCC uses the word "substantial," they are using it in the context of a literal, interpretation of John 6:53-55.
    Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
    The RCC believes, based on their interpretation of Jesus' words, that the physical act of consuming the physical substance of Jesus' flesh and blood is the instrumental means by which one receives sanctifying grace. To further support this concept, they (over time) extrapolated a presumption that the entirety of Christ is contained in every bite and in every drop, but this does not take away from the fact that the very root of their error lies in the misunderstanding that consumption of actual flesh and blood is intrinsically necessary to the process.
     
  20. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

    Posts:
    151
    Likes Received:
    95
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Catholic
    This is a very interesting conversation by the way. I am enjoying everyone’s contributions.
     
    Tiffy likes this.