Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Scottish Monk, Jul 2, 2012.
Is the Eucharist salvific? (does the Eucharist have the power to save or redeem).
From the 1979 BCP, pp. 859-860:
Q. Why is the Eucharist called a sacrifice?
A. Because the Eucharist, the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, is the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present, and in which he unites us to his one offering of himself...
Q. What are the benefits which we receive in the Lord’s Supper?
A. The benefits we receive are the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening of our union with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our nourishment in eternal life.
Adam posted the quote from the 39 Articles in the BCP. Even the 39 Articles, which reflect Protestant influences, do not deny the Graces imparted during the Holy Eucharist.
It is the essence of the Christian doctrine of Sacraments that in each Sacrament, God himself is active and bestowing grace by means of external signs. All sacramental rites are grounded in this principle and derive their virtue from the activity in them of Christ, who through the Holy Spirit continues the work begun in the days of His earthly life. This work is always redemptive, and the sacraments are means whereby the benefits of Christ's passion are applied to the needs of a sinful world. Christ now acts in the world through His body the Church. The sacraments belong to the Church and are part of its corporate life and have meaning within that corporate life. The Sacraments are social and corporate rites of the Church through which spiritual life flows from God.
If the Sacrament delivers forgiveness of sins--which I believe it does--then it delivers salvation. Because where there is forgiveness, there is Christ; and where there is Christ, there is salvation.
Yours in Him,
Eucharist is the infusion of grace, which in practical terms serves to strengthen our faith and keep us within the corporate body of the Church.
Would you mind elaborating?
Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread and wine, gave them to the disciples and said: "Take, eat, and drink. These are my body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28).
Yours in Christ,
The body and blood were given to us for the forgiveness of sins -- on the cross. What does that have to do with the Eucharist?
He does not say: "take, eat, and drink these for the forgiveness of sins".
I disagree. The body and blood are indeed given to us for the forgiveness of sins. The words of Christ are clear:
Notice that Christ says of the cup: "Drink of it...this is My blood...poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." That is, Christ identifies the wine with His blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins. It would seem to me, then, that the body and blood given and shed for the forgiveness of sins has everything to do with the Eucharist.
Yours in Christ,
Of course. I'm with you there so far...
The body and blood given for the forgiveness of sins -- that is the one sacrifice on Calvary, given and perfect for all time. Calvary and Eucharist are not the same thing, I'm sure you know that.
Do we believe that the Eucharist IS the blood of Christ? If so, how can Christ's blood not be salvific?
Perhaps we might have a view of the Eucharist where we understand that each Eucharist links us to Calvary, to the ONE sacrifice, and to all the other Eucharists in the past and in the future. We are taken outside time to be linked the greatest (well second greatest) event of history. We are certainly saved by the Cross.
A second approach is to understand that we use salvation in two ways, one in the Protestant way to mean justification (heaven or hell), and in the catholic way (and Catholic way) to mean the entire process from the Cross to Glory, including justification, sanctification and glorification. In this paradigm, it is downright silly for those in a sacramental Church to say the the Eucharist is not salvific. Of course, God's Grace provides salvation. To say not would be to say that we are not sanctified to any extent through the receiving of the Eucharist. No one who believes that Jesus is truly present could believe that, or could they?
Friends, especially Jerome,
"No." Consider the manner of speech used by King David when besieging the Philistines at Bethlehem in 2 Samuel 23:
15. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!
16. And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.
17. And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.
Clearly the water of the well at Bethelehem was not literally the blood of the men who died to bring it to him. The same idiom of speech is used by the Lord Jesus at the Last Supper. He even makes it clear in Matthew 26:
29. I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
Christ said the Wine is His Blood of the New Covenant in the same way David said the water from the well at Bethlehem was the blood of the mighty soldiers. The Lord even went so far as to explicitly say "fruit of the vine", however, which makes it quite clear that it is not literally His saving Blood, shed upon the Cross, but a sacrament/mystery/symbol/metaphor of the Blood.
Each element is indwelt by the human soul of Jesus and divine Word (two distinct natures forever bound in one Person by the Incarnation). Christ's human body died upon the Cross for our sins, and then went up to a location. The consecrated bread and wine are definitely His Body and Blood because they contain His essence, His spirit - just as the human Body and Blood of Jesus contain His created human soul, the Word incarnate.
The action upon the Cross is whence we derive our salvation, not a repeated work of receiving the Eucharist as a propitiation. The Eucharist is where we personally meet the God-Man Jesus Christ, spiritually. He cannot save us apart from His one-time crucifixion, for that is what the Father ordained.
In the account of the Last Judgment in Matthew, our Lord & Saviour said he would judge us by our righteous love, glorifying God by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc.! That is our salvation in love. Never mind that St. Luke records the Lord as saying "do this (the Eucharist) in remembrance of me" - kinda difficult to be saved by a memorial.
1) I believe a sinner is made righteous by faith alone.
2) I believe Jesus Christ is a singular Person (God and Man) and that He is always present as the Person He is (as God and Man) and not merely "spiritually"--I've never understood what this means; perhaps you could explain it to me.
3) I believe that when Jesus Christ said "This is My body" He meant "This is My body".
4) I believe that when Jesus Christ said "This is My blood" He meant "This is My blood".
5) I believe that when Jesus Christ said "...given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins" He meant "...given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins".
6) I believe that Jesus Christ interprets the Old Testament, not vice versa.
7) I believe that the Triune God, according to the great abundance of His grace, has given many means by which to receive the forgiveness of sins (i.e., salvation), namely, in preaching and sacraments.
8) I believe that the forgiveness of sins we receive by faith in preaching and the sacraments flows from the blood and cross of Jesus Christ.
9) I believe that the most important words of the institution of the Eucharist are not "Do this" (Law) but "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins" (Gospel).
10) I believe that sinners, when judged by their "righteous love" will say "when did we feed, clothe, etc. You, Lord?" (Matthew 25:37) because, having been justified by faith alone, they will do what faith does: work on behalf of the neighbor!
Yours in the name of the crucified God,
I am going to say no but im not going to say why because it will be treated with the same disdain as if i farted very loudly in a crowded congregation .
No worries about that. I voted yes, and I supported my vote with a quote from our BCP's catechism. Our liturgy also says "yes." I'll let my answer be the answer of my church. But I wouldn't expect a non-Anglican to agree, so feel free to share your thoughts. Respectful sharing of thoughts is a good thing.
Alright then as respectfully as i can.. i come from a background that teaches while the lords supper is important it offers no saving affect in any way ,. Now stepping away from my background i do not see where scripture actually states that in fact does
I dont think the passover meal where Jesus speaks of his body and blood given for the forgiveness of sin can be said to mean that the partaking of it provides salvation ..I believe that it is meant symbolically . I know and i respect that most people here will disagree with me and thats fine ,, I am open to consider others positions as well ..
I hear ya. That was basically the position I grew up with as well.
Dear Jerome, thank you for the input!
Righteousness under God is our goal, isn't it? A loving righteousness (faith & honest works) united with Jesus Christ is our salvation. If our faith makes us righteous in God's sight, why does the Eucharist also?
The Saviour said "do this in remembrance of me" - He didn't say why, or how, or to what end - just do it. I would much rather we just left it as "The Mysteries of the Body and Blood", rather than profane so great a sacrament with conjecture.
I do not deny that the Lord Jesus is One Divine Person, the Word, His human soul & body created at the Incarnation (or else they wouldn't be human).
The essence of a person is his soul. Bodily death does not destroy her, but she goes to her maker. The body is an essential part of our human identity, but we can exist outside it. How much more the Lord Jesus, who has all power in Heaven & Earth? The body of a person is the matter in which his essentially incorporeal being (soul) relates to the physical Universe. If God wanted to put your soul in a rock, that rock would be your body, wouldn't it?
When the Saviour died, His human soul left His human body, and He "gave up the Spirit", leaving the body lifeless and ready for the tomb. If His Divine Power can lay down life and take it up again without destroying the humanity, can He not become incarnate (soul and spirit) in simple bread and wine, without negating the fact that bread is bread and wine is wine? No one ever believed that Jesus' human nature is converted into the Divine Nature (which is an exact parallel to the destruction of bread/wine so it becomes actual Flesh & Blood).
Was David's water poured out into the sands actually the blood of the brave soldiers who died at the well? If you won't allow for Christ's allegory, you can't allow for David's, surely? David said: this is the blood of those men. Same words.
How are versed are you in Greek? We know that different words are very often simplified in English, but can mean many different things in the ancient languages. This is my Body may be allegorical, metaphorical, symbolic, or literal. It wasn't a simile, at least!
No blood was shed at the Eucharist. The only shedding was upon the Cross; ergo, He was referring to the Cross - only 8-12 hours away at that time.
I agree, but if you will permit me: words still mean things.
We pretty much agree on the other points...
It is good that you end there, for it is the word of the Apostle: "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." I determine not to know any Saviour Jesus except the crucified one. The one who comes to us in faith and spirit is alive, not sacrificed any longer (only sacrifice is salvific - there is no remission of sins except by shedding of blood).
It depends upon what you mean by "righteousness", I suppose. I would agree with you that "righteousness under God is our goal" if by that you mean: Christ is our goal (Romans 10:4). Faith, no matter how weak or fragile, grasps hold of the entire Christ and receives from Him life, salvation and righteousness. Faith in Christ is created in baptism and the preaching of the Word. Faith is strengthened and preserved in the Eucharist, the forgiveness of sins being received through the body and blood of our Lord. That we receive the forgiveness of sins through Word and Sacrament does not negate the cross, but rather establishes and communicates the cross to us and for us, here and now.
Once again, your main point of focus is on the words "Do this" (Law). Those who partake of the Eucharist worthily are those who receive it with faith in these words: "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins" (Gospel). To say that such faith "profanes so a great a sacrament with conjecture" is ridiculous. The words of Christ could not be any clearer. The bread given to the disciples to eat is Christ's body. The wine given to the disciples to drink is Christ's blood. Christ commands that we "do this." Why? For the explicit reason Christ gives: for the forgiveness of sins. There would only be a need for "conjecture" if the words were not so incredibly and beautifully clear.
You go on to say:
Correct me if I am wrong, but you seem to be trying to expound a Thomistic-hylomorphism, according to which the substance of a person is composed of body (matter) and soul (form). While it is true that, for Aquinas, the soul can exist apart from the body, it is also true that Aquinas does not regard this state of disembodiment to be a real state of personhood--seeing that a person is the unity of body and soul.
Your asking me whether or not my body could be rock is telling of how you view the body, as well as the soul. For you the body is a non-essential means by which one interacts with the physical world, and the soul is a disembodied entity that is essentially "person". I strongly disagree with both views. The body is not merely some extraneous means by which "the real person" (i.e., the disembodied soul) relates to the physical world. Rather we are our bodies, and apart from them we are not truly persons. "And the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living person" (Genesis 2:7).
That being said, I don't see how this relates to Christ--Who is not without a body. Jesus Christ is a single Person: God and Man, Divinity and Humanity, Spirit and Flesh. Where Christ is present, He is either present as the Person He is (God and Man) or He is not present at all. "In Him the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily" (Colossians 2:9).
Now who is practicing in the art of "conjecture"?
First of all, I do not hold to the doctrine of transubstantiation. Rather, I hold, according to the simple words and promises of my Lord, that Christ unites Himself to true bread and true wine, to be eaten by both faith (spiritual eating) and mouth (physical eating) in a way that is a mystery to the empirical method.
Secondly, I believe that the whole Person of Christ is literally present everywhere (Ephesians 4:10). As Luther once said, Christ is truly present in fire, in water, and even in a rope. What must be identified is where Christ is present as Sacrament. If I leap into the fire, I will be consumed in flames. If I descend into the sea, I will drown at its bottom. If I tie a rope around my neck, I will be hanged. So while Christ is present in fire, water, and rope, He is not present there as a Sacrament for me. Where then do we find Christ for us? Answer: where He has promised to be for us! He has promised to be for us in the Word, in the water, in the bread, and in the wine. We identify where God wants us to find Him, not according to metaphysical mapping, but according to His words of promise.
And with regards to the text from II Samuel 23, you are simply trying to take an obscure passage from Scripture and apply it to a clear passage of Scripture in order to render it obscure as well. According to such a backward hermeneutic, the entire Bible is rendered unintelligible! We are supposed to be taking clear passages and applying them to obscure ones. Furthermore, you are assuming that language bears meaning apart from its use. I would strongly disagree with this conception of language. The meanings of words are determined by their particular use (context), not vice versa. And the texts you are attempting to relate have no theological connection to one another whatsoever.
I have only taken a few semesters of Greek. But there is really no need at all to appeal to the Greek manuscripts when every translation renders it the same: "This is my body."
However, if we did look at the Greek manuscript, we would find there that Christ does not say that His blood "will be [future] shed for the forgiveness of sins" but "is being [present] shed for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28).
You go on:
Again, not according to the Greek manuscripts. The blood shed on the cross for the forgiveness of sins is the blood being given in the Eucharist for the forgiveness of sins. It is not an either/or.
Indeed, but not apart from their use. Christ says of the bread: "This is my Body". Christ says of the cup: "This is my Blood". Christ commands that we eat and drink it "for the forgiveness of sins". Words definitely do mean things; that is precisely why I believe precisely what the words of Christ say according to their use.
It is ironic that you would appeal to the apostle Paul, who said of the Eucharist: "Whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner is guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. So let a man examine himself...for the one eating and drinking unworthily eats and drinks judgment on himself, not discerning the body of the Lord" (I Corinthians 11:27-28).
I am not saying that Christ is sacrificed on the altar--though I think there is a theologically proper way to understand this way of speaking. Rather, I am saying that Christ (the sacrifice for all sins) is present in the Eucharist with everything He has for us and for our salvation; forgiving our sins, strengthening our faith, and leading us to life everlasting, i.e., to Him.
Yours in His Name,