Is the Priesthood Essential?

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Tiffy, May 17, 2020.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Christian attending ACNA
    The question raised in posts 30 & 31 was whether Jesus intended to address Eucharist in the John 6 discourse. Stalwart said yes, I said no, and we were off to the races. But no one has put the Real Presence into question or anything like that. I did, however, point out that a eucharistic, literalist reading of John 6 is what led to (and still supports) Romanism. This fact is exactly what caused me to re-evaluate the John 6 discourse and ask myself whether the things I was taught in RC Catechism on the subject were true. John 6 is what any sharp RC relies on as proof that Jesus wants us to eat His physical flesh and that (according to verse 53) only those who do so can be saved.

    So, Botolph, if I understand correctly I think you're saying that if perchance it was Jesus' intention that we eat His physical flesh and drink His physical blood, then it doesn't matter whether the Anglican churches teach this or even expect that their priests' consecrations will invite this physical change, because we are "receptionists"... we receive whatever it is that Christ intended us to receive. Is that correct?

    I could buy that, however it doesn't really help explain away the big problem of verse 53. Because the eucharistic literalist, physical (tangible, as you put it) view of the discourse demands that we recognize a requirement to do a physical act to merit eternal life. We would have to eat and drink Jesus' tangible body and blood or we would have no life in us. And that contradicts a long, long list of other scriptures which tell us that salvation is a free gift of grace from God, received only through faith in Him. The figurative, non-eucharistic interpretation of John 6 harmonizes rather than contradicts, and to me that makes so much more sense. It certainly makes sense when we get to verse 63 and see Jesus basically tell His disciples that it's not about eating the flesh, it's about spiritual transformation. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
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  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. Luke 6:46-49.

    It's as if Jesus is saying to us as disciples, (when we take in what he has taught and loyally and deliberately, put into effect in our lives HIS philosophy of life), "That's the spirit my friend. That's the WAY to live ".

    We have this religious notion that receiving The Holy Spirit is always some kind of supernatural, transcendental experience. It's not. It can be as simple and as natural as listening to the words of Jesus and saying to onself "That's right, I should do that in future, for God's sake".

    That's the spirit in which 'life' is to be found. His teaching, his lifestyle, his morality, his love for those around him, his championing of truth, his tolerance of our imperfection, his encouragement of our successes in striving for justice for others; these are all spiritual and all very real. There is no excuse for not living in The Spirit. John 11:33. Acts 18:5. Rom.2:29. Rom.12:11. 1 Cor.14:2. Gal.3:2-3. Gal.5:25. Phil.3:3. and many other too numerous to mention.
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
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  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I possibly would phrase the question a little differently, basically I would want to ask was the writer of 4G addressing the subject of Eucharist or not?

    My answer to this question is in the affirmative. I base this on my understanding of the key differences between the synoptics and 4G, which includes:
    • John Starts Differently
    • John Orders things Differently
    • John makes theology important
    • John lacks a birth story
    • John lacks a Transfiguration account
    • John Lacks an Institution Narrative
    • John describes Jesus as The Lamb of God
    I believe that the central theme of John's Gospel is Christology. He is more concerned to tell us who Jesus is than he is to tell us what Jesus did. Indeed just about every time Jesus does something it concludes with a statement about Jesus. The bread of life discourse follows the narrative of the feeding of the 5000. The I am statement is that we might understand that Just as God fed Israel on the Exodus, so we, the people of the New Exodus are fed, so Jesus in that sense is the new manner in the wilderness.

    I don't agree with JAT Robinson who dated John early (nor with a number of other things he said) but would be more inclined to accept the conventional wisdom dating 4G around the end of the 1st Century. This would suggest that Mark and other Gospels were around, and to some extent known, and John's Gospel is not a simply rehash of events, so much as a theological reflection entrenched in the wisdom of Community.

    There are those who argue that there are no sacraments in John, whereas I see John as rich in theology, imagery, sacraments, old testament images, samaritan images, and greek thought forms. Probably the biggest reason why I see John 6 as sacramental is that there is no Institution Narrative in John. In the Institution Narratives of the Synoptics, we have obviously the words of Jesus, and the simple command Do This. At verse 53 I read that the normative position for anyone who is going to embrace life in Christ is to share in the sacrament. The Good Thief account in Luke suggests that salvation is entirely possible outside of the Eucharist, and that would be in keeping with the Pauline Argument that Abraham received Circumcision as a sign of the faith that saved him. So, yes I can read and embrace John 6 as Eucharistic without any need to adopt a Roman position. (I not interestingly that a literalist reading of John 6 would essentially suggest that that Church was in error at Trent allowing communion in one kind).

    I have always valued the image from John 6:13 of the twelve baskets full reminding us of our duty to gather up the scattered fragments of humanity, and in that sense we are sharing in the fragments from the feeding of the 5000 when we come to Holy Communion.

    I don't think I am an outright receptionist, nor an outright transub kind of person. Probably I am less Aristotelian than that. Jesus was entirely God and entirely man. I am happy enough for the bread on the Altar to be entirely Bread and Entirely Jesus.

    If you lived in a two dimensional world that a phere passed through, you may believe that it was a circle that expanded and contracted, which though true, may well not be the whole truth. Hope that helps.
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