POLL: Does Anglicanism consider the Eucharistic food itself to really be or have Christ's body?

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by rakovsky, Mar 24, 2016.

?

Do you affirm the Articles of Religion on the issue of the real presence in Eucharist bread?

Poll closed Dec 18, 2018.
  1. I'm Anglican and my answer is "Yes."

    85.7%
  2. I'm Anglican and my answer is "No, I have a disagreement with it."

    14.3%
  3. I'm Anglican and my answer is "Other"

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Jenkins

    Jenkins New Member Anglican

    Posts:
    21
    Likes Received:
    24
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglicanism
    I thought that this was quite a good article on the topic at hand. There's some discussion/further clarification that occurs in the comments below the article that's also worth a read.
     
    Botolph likes this.
  2. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    1,261
    Likes Received:
    975
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    It amazes me how many times people attempt to discuss our theology without reference to our prayer book, especially the order of holy communion. The Articles are not a standalone treatise on theology but one piece of the total theology expressed in our liturgical and homiletical foundations.
     
    DeusExMachina and Botolph like this.
  3. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    35
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    Anglican74,
    One reason I didn't go into the BCP was because I don't find them to take a strong view choosing between either Luther's or Cranmer's positions. I found the 1979 BCP Episcopal Church (USA) to lean toward the position of Receptionism.
    The more important reason why I focused on the Articles in this thread is because they appear to be a foundational document for Anglicanism. Can you please tell me if the Articles are obligatory for Anglicans and define Anglicanism itself? Perhaps that should be a question for a different thread?
     
  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,414
    Likes Received:
    1,591
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Hi Rakovsky,

    The position of the Articles within Anglicanism is far more nuanced than that. At various times they have been required for ordination to be subscribed to (as they do on this site for the badge to show on profile), and later to be assented to (which is a much freer position), or not even mentioned which is probably the case in most national churches in the communion today. The are generally understood as an important historic document. They are not to the Anglican Communion what the Westminster Confession was to Presbyterianism. I suspect most ordinary folk who call them selves Anglican have only a passing awareness of there existence. I certainly know clergy who either have never or pretend to have never read them.

    You may find this article interesting
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglican_doctrine
    I must not hesitate to add that that this is by no means defining.

    For me, some of the genius of Anglicanism is summed up by Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher.

    "The Anglican Communion,” Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher wrote, "has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning." It may licitly teach as necessary for salvation nothing but what is read in the Holy Scriptures as God’s Word written or may be proved thereby. It therefore embraces and affirms such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the Scriptures, and thus to be counted apostolic. The Church has no authority to innovate: it is obliged continually, and particularly in times of renewal or reformation, to return to "the faith once delivered to the saints."​

    There will be some here who will want to hold the Thirty Nine Articles in higher esteem than this, and the have a great deal of value to add to an understanding of how Anglicans think and perceive faith. I believe some articles are more important than others. And the articles make no claim as to their own authority. I believe we do them a miss-service when we try and make them something more than they are.

    I have been fairly clear that I have a bit if a struggle with Article 5 for myself, which is why I have not subscribed to them here..
     
    Christina likes this.
  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    1,261
    Likes Received:
    975
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    Historically they always have been, and in recent times among emerging orthodox anglican communities they are held to once more.. however they don't interpret themselves. Answers about the lack of clarity found in them may be found in the prayer book and even the homilies. This morning I had experienced a very definitive reception of our Lord's Body and Blood, with a eucharistic canon that as far as I know has been unchanged since Archbishop Cranmer's day, which surely helps us interpret the articles and their meaning.
     
    Botolph likes this.
  6. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    35
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    Did you consider the possibility that the authors may have been expressing two opposite views when they wrote the Articles?

    1. Authors' intent
    On one hand, Anglican scholars note that one of the authors, Bishop Guest, stated that he wrote that Christ's body was "given" in order to express the real presence. On the other, Cranmer took a view that the word is in "This is my body" meant "signified".

    2. "The means is faith" (not eating?)
    The essay that you cited, Jenkins, states:
    By saying faith is THE means of receiving the body in the eucharist ritual in the singular, and not A means of reception, then as a matter of grammar, do the Articles suggest that faith is the" only" means? The latter, according to the passage above, is what Catholics object to. Luther also openly objected to faith, not eating, being the only means of eating Christ's body.

    To give an analogy, if people debate whether England recognizes more than one national Church, and a scholar replies that "THE Anglican Church" is "THE Church of England", does this mean as a matter of grammar that this Church is the only one?

    3. The bread "partakes" of Jesus' body
    At one point the Articles say that the bread partakes of Jesus's body, so does that supports the Lutheran view, because in Article 29 it says that only the faithful partake of Christ, and that means that partaking must mean a true spiritual union, not just a symbol or effect?

    4. The unworthy do not "partake" or "eat" Jesus' body.
    We also know that this bread that shares in Christ is eaten by unbelievers, while article 29's title is that the unworthy do not "eat" the body of christ.
    In the book of Concord, Luther made a big argument that the unworthy do eat the body of Christ l, because the bread has Jesus' body and they put this bread in their mouth and chew it, hence thereby eating Jesus' body too.

    The essay you cited, Jenkins, says: "The bread and wine feed our bodies even as the Body and Blood nourish our souls. They cannot be experienced apart from one another. " The essay adds that the real presence in the bread and this unity explains why the unworthy are hurt.

    Is this experiencing the sign apart from Jesus body what the title of article 29 claims happens when the unworthy physically eat the bread yet do not eat Christ's body? In other words: if the unity of the body and bread explain why the unworthy are hurt, then how is it that the unworthy are not eating Jesus' body when they eat the bread?

    5. Bishop Cheyney's excommunication.

    Bishop Cheney taught the real presence, and he must have rejected Catholic Transubstantiation, as he approved of Articles 25-28. If he accepted the real presence in the bread in a non-Catholic way, then why did he reject Article 29? Previously Bishop Guest, as one Anglican scholar noted, had objected that Article 29 went against the Real Presence. When Bp. Cheyney rejected Article 29, he was immediately excommunicated, according to Wikipedia. With Bp. Cheyney excommunicated, Article 29 was affirmed by the bishops collectively. However, if a bishop with orthodox beliefs was excommunicated for refusing to accept a given article, can it be said that the given article really reflects a consensus?

    6. Scholars' opposing opinions
    Anglican scholars like Bicknell often argue strongly that the Articles reflect their own interpretation. In Bicknell's case, he argued that they teach the real presence in the bread itself. Meanwhile, other Anglicans have argued strongly that the Articles do not teach that there is a presence in the bread and wine. For example, previously on this thread, one user posted Rev Novak's article on Virtue Online, which states:
    http://www.virtueonline.org/classical-anglicanism-and-real-presence-christ-sacrament-communion

    How is it that each side argues that the Articles mean what they themselves happen to believe about the Eucharist, if those positions are opposite? Perhaps it is extremely important to the sides to envision the Articles as endorsing their own view, even if in at least one of these instances, the Articles don't actually do so?

    My own preference would be for the Articles to endorse or at least fully allow for what I consider to be the Biblical view, namely that one can say that the food in the Eucharist is actually directly Jesus' body (the Catholic view) or contains it (the Lutheran view). I would prefer to be able to share with Anglicans a common view that the Bible sees the Eucharist food on the table actually being or containing Jesus' body. I understand that many Anglicans feel this way too. When it comes to the Articles, it's more important to me to be objective in understanding the Articles' meaning on this topic even if it goes against my preferences, which is a big reason why I am discussing the Articles' meaning here with you to find out through discussion what they say.
     
  7. DeusExMachina

    DeusExMachina Member

    Posts:
    22
    Likes Received:
    28
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican
    My thoughts exactly
     
  8. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    161
    On the Articles of Religion, assent and subscription thereunto, we have a page here:
    http://forums.anglican.net/pages/orthodoxy/
    And a commentary here:
    http://www.anglican.net/works/john-ellis-defensio-fidei-defence-thirty-nine-articles/

    More is planned to be added on the historic subscription in the future.
     
    Andy likes this.
  9. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    35
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    The commentary on Article 28 repeats what I remember to be a Lutheran belief that Christ's words on the Eucharist were a Testament or Will, and it labels this Lutheran statement an objection:

    Obj. 3. [against Article 28] The Words of the Institution are to be understood in their proper Sense, because they are the Words of a Will or Testament, and Christ uttered them, when he was about to die, to his illiterate Disciples.

    Answ. The Words of a Will may be clear, though figurative. Every Trope is not obscure; it is sometimes the Light and Beauty of Speech. We meet with this Figure also, Luk. 22. 20. where the Cup is called the New Testament.
    The commentary's view is that the Cup is not actually the New Testament (covenant) in its "proper sense", but only a "figure".
    But is that really the case? A testament "testifies" to something, and doesn't the ritual cup serve as evidence of a covenant between Jesus and his disciples?

    Next, the commentary on Article 28 lists Objection 4:

    Obj. 4. Christ is Omnipotent; and therefore his Body may be offered in the Eucharist under the Species of Bread and Wine.

    Answ. We must not argue from what may be to what is. We are not inquiring what Christ can do, but what he will do: Christ can do all things which do not imply a Contradiction; but it is a Contradiction to say, that one and the same Body should be both in Heaven and in the Sacrament at the same time.

    Does Objection 4 to Article 28 remind you of Jay's comment that saw that Christ is present under the Bread and Wine:

    The commentary also says:

    Obj. 8. We have the Testimony of some Fathers for the Elevation of the Host.

    Answ. It is not material what some Fathers, and especially the more Modern have done; but we are to mind what our Lord did and said.​

    I agree that we should mind what our Lord did, but since Anglicanism values Tradition and Article 28 cites Augustine elsewhere, isn't what the Fathers did on this topic material too?
     
  10. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

    Posts:
    545
    Likes Received:
    244
    Religion:
    Unhinged SC Anglican
    It seems as if jay may be talking about the heavenly/spiritual body which can be everywhere, and the commentary about the physical body which can only be in one place at one time, ie. in heaven and not on earth, although I don't really know
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
  11. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    35
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    Hello, Spherelink,

    Luther's belief was that Christ's body could take three different forms, ways, modes or statuses. One was A. physical like when he spoke on the Sermon on the Mount, but another was spiritual like when his body B. went through walls or like how it is C. everywhere. Since God is everywhere and Christ is fully God with all the properties of God, this third way (c) is a way that Christ's body can exist too. Luther concluded that since Christ can be everywhere, he can be in bread too, and that Jesus' words "this is my body" do not pose a problem logically in their literal sense. This was also my thinking as I became EO.

    I understood Jay to be thinking about God's omnipresent status, particularly in the Eucharist when he said: "I personally God is every where present, even more so in the wine and bread of Holy Communion esp. after the epiclisis/Prayer of Consecration." And I saw him connecting this to the real presence in the bread when he said in the full context in bold:

     
  12. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    1,261
    Likes Received:
    975
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    The articles are important but not the only statement of Anglican theology. They help set external parameters but do not fully explain the insides of Anglican theology in the same way that the Liturgy itself does.
     
  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    2,044
    I am of the opinion that Jesus is bodily present "in with and under" or perhaps through the blessed elements. As I've said before, that is plainly evident from scripture. I see nothing in the text of Article 28 that precludes
    an Anglican from believing that....or a Lutheran for that matter. I've had some Lutherans say that they cannot accept the phrase "the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith." Then I point out that Luther agreed with it and even said it (or something in German very like it) in his Table Talk and they say they'll get back to me.

    The real irreconcilable difference in Anglican and Lutheran Euchstic theology is found in Article 29. We say the wicked, even though they eat the elements, do not eat the body and blood of our crucified and resurrected Lord. Lutherans say they do and judged for it. We say rather they east and drink their own judgment. I agree with Cranmer's position on this issue. Cranmer point to Our Lord's promise that those who eat His flesh and drink His blood have eternal life. No qualification is given. Moreover, Our Lord teaches that nothing a man eats can damn him. Lastly, our Lord declares "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Without going into the mechanics of it, from these passages, it would appear the Anglican position is the more scriptural.
     
    Botolph likes this.
  14. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    35
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    Hello, Layman.
    The answer can be that sometimes a theologian (eg Luther) will say something that on the surface appears contradictory.
    Luther said in Table Talk:
    "The substance is bread and wine, prefiguring the true body and blood of Christ, which is spiritually received by faith."
    So you are right that Luther took the position that the body was SPIRITUALLY received by Faith.
    But Luther ALSO explicitly took the position that Jesus' body itself was also PHYSICALLY received by the MOUTH.
    To put Luther's position another way the spiritual means of reception uses faith, whereas the physical means of reception uses the mouth.

    So for example, Luther complains in the Book of Concord that the "Sacramentarians":
    "understand the words of the Supper: Eat, this is My body, not properly, as they read, according to the letter, but figurate, as figurative expressions, so that eating the body of Christ means nothing else than believing". Further, he complained "that the body of Christ is present here upon earth in the Supper essentially, although invisibly and incomprehensibly, and is received orally, with the consecrated bread, even by hypocrites or those who are Christians only in appearance [by name] this [Sacramentarians] are accustomed to execrate and condemn as a horrible blasphemy." He concluded:
    "I rate as one concoction, namely, as Sacramentarians and fanatics, which they also are, all who will not believe that the Lord's bread in the Supper is His true natural body, which the godless or Judas received with the mouth, as well as did St. Peter and all [other] saints; he who will not believe this (I say) should let me alone".

    Luther explained that instead, in his own view of the Eucharist's words "Take eat, this is my body": "the use or action here does not mean chiefly faith, neither the oral participation only, but the entire external, visible action of the Lord's Supper".
    (SOURCE: http://bookofconcord.org/sd-supper.php#para87)

    In reviewing these statements, would you say that Luther's position was to reject that "the" [ one singular] means of reception was faith, and to instead assert that faith and the mouth were both "means" [plural] of reception?
    If so, you may wish to clear up with your Lutheran friends that their uncertainty about Table Talk may be an issue of grammar, whereby in accepting a spiritual means he did not as a matter of grammar exclude the physical means, which he asserted elsewhere when debating the Sacramentarians.
     
  15. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    35
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    What do you think of Fr. Mark's response in the second post of this thread:
    "If it was not the Body and Blood, what difference does it make. Anglican priest should be teaching St Paul's admonishment to correctly partake, for the sake of souls."​

    As I understand Fr. Mark, he is saying that this is Jesus' body, so people need to partake correctly based on Paul's admonishment about the harm that befell those who didn't partake worthily.
    After all, if it is not Jesus' body when the unworthy partake, how can they be so severely harmed by it to the point where they are guilty of Jesus' body itself as Paul asserts?

    Remember back to the end of Mark 16 when Jesus said that All who believe and are baptised will be saved. No qualification was given there either.

    Yet later in James' Epistle, James says that faith without works is dead. In other words, it is not enough to simply believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but to have works too.

    Could you conclude therefore that lack of a qualification in a statement by Jesus does not necessarily mean that no qualifications may exist?



    Perhaps it is not the object itself that can do this, but the conditions in which the eating is done that can cause the harm?
    What about eating babies in violation of the Torah, for example?

    After all, whether or not you consider the food to have Jesus' body in the Supper, wouldn't you agree that according to 1 Cor 10, improper eating can be harmful?
     
  16. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    35
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    Based on the above, as I understand your position, the bread actually contains Jesus' body, but this is only true in the pieces of bread received by the worthy, NOT the unworthy. In such a position, are you proposing that the bread contained Jesus' body but then he secretly removed himself from it before they ate it physically?
    I read this explanation by one modern scholar, whom I think was Anglican. Please let me know if you remember any scholars who explicitly take that view. Unfortunately, I forget which one who wrote this. Thanks.
     
  17. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    2,044
    Hello Racovsky, I may be having a little trouble understanding what you're asking by this post, so if my answer goes off coarse please let me know. You state that Luther does not exclude physical eating when he references spiritual eating by faith. Neither do Anglicans, at least not this Anglican. Neither do the Articles. In fact, Article 28 reinforces that what is taken, EATEN, and received in the sacrament is the Body and Blood of Our Lord. What the Article does that is different from the Lutheran confession on this point is show that Our Lord follows his own advice and does not cast his pearls to swine. While Christmas gave his body to be broken and his blood to be shed FOR all people, he does not give TO all people. The gift of his body and blood shared in the Lord's Supper to those who "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." Article 29, in denying that the wicked and unbelieving "although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth...the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ", at least to my mind, only reinforces the truth that those who rightly and worthing receive it, relieve more than the sign only by the mouth but physically receive the Body and Blood of our Lord..
     
    DeusExMachina likes this.
  18. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    2,044
    I think it's very dangerous business to insert qualifiers where Our Lord did not see a need to put one. Almost every error in church history started with someone improve on the way the bible says something when clearly it can't mean what it plainly says it means. Absence of qualifications in Christ's words does not necessarily mean no qualifications exist but doesn't give assurance that any do. In Cranmer's "the most sure and plain way is, to cleave unto holy Scripture. Wherein whatsoever is found, must be taken for a most sure ground and an infallible truth; and whatsoever cannot be grounded upon the same (touching our faith) is man’s device, changeable and uncertain."
     
    Botolph and Andy like this.
  19. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

    Posts:
    530
    Likes Received:
    217
    @rakovsky please remember the rules of this site, and in particular the injunction against disparaging the Articles of Religion. Arguing they don't carry a consistent meaning is a disparagement against their meaning and against a subscription to them, which is against our Terms of Service, listed here:
    http://forums.anglican.net/pages/terms/

    Likewise with reference to non-Anglican theologians, please see item 5 on the same list:
     
    rakovsky likes this.
  20. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

    Posts:
    226
    Likes Received:
    35
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox
    You write:
    "Article 28 reinforces that what is taken, EATEN, and received in the sacrament is the Body and Blood of Our Lord."
    Lutherans and Cranmer/Sacramentarians would both agree with your bold statement.
    However Cranmer and the sacramentarians proposed that "eaten" means believing and that "is" just means "signifies". (See Cranmer's Disputations).

    You write:
    What the Article does that is different from the Lutheran confession on this point is show that Our Lord follows his own advice and does not cast his pearls to swine. While Christmas gave his body to be broken and his blood to be shed FOR all people, he does not give TO all people. The gift of his body and blood shared in the Lord's Supper to those who "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." Article 29, in denying that the wicked and unbelieving "although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth...the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ", at least to my mind, only reinforces the truth that those who rightly and worthing receive it, relieve more than the sign only by the mouth but physically receive the Body and Blood of our Lord.​

    In Augustine's view, Jesus' body was in the sacrament. The Lutheran/EO reading of Augustine's quote underlined above therefore is that when he says that the unworthy carnally press the sacrament with their teeth, they are doing this to Jesus' body in that sacrament. The full quote by Augustine says:
    “This is the bread coming down from heaven, so that if anyone eat of it, he may not die. Yes, he who eats what belongs to the virtue of the Sacrament, not to the visible sacrament; he who eats within, not without; he who eats in the heart, not he who presses (the Sacrament) with his teeth”(Ibid. Tract 26, n. 12,).​
    In the Lutheran/EO view, someone can "eat without", press with the teeth, or eat the visible sacrament, without eating inwardly or eating the virtue of the sacrament.

    If you do take the view that Christ's real presence was in the bread but then removed himself before any unworthy people ate it, I would appreciate if you can find any Anglican scholars who teach this. I ask because I found one scholar who read the Articles this way, but I've lost the citation.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2016