transubstantiation

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by mark fisher, Aug 24, 2022.

  1. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It has been said several times that the elements of Communion cannot be Christ's Body and Blood because that would not be a sacrament. A sacrament is an outward sign of a grace given. The outward sign in Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ. The graces received are an increase in our union with Christ; help against sin; strengthening our charity.
     
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The outward sign is in fact the bread and the wine. They are symbolising the body and blood of Christ which he metaphorically refered to as conveying 'life' to those who partake of them.

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, 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. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

    This is not about eating a drinking. It is about living by the very Word, [every one of them], that [have] come from the mouth of God.
    .
     
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. Jewel quotes Augustine to good effect on this issue:
    “Unless Sacraments had a certain likeness of the things of which they be Sacraments, then indeed they were no Sacraments. And of this likeness oftentimes they bear the names of the things themselves, that are represented by the Sacraments'.”
    And again, “In Sacraments we must consider not what they are (in substance and nature,) "but what they signify".”
    Again he saith, “It is a dangerous matter, and a servitude of the soul, to take the sign instead of the thing that is signified".”
    And again, “If it be a speech that commandeth, either by forbidding an horrible wickedness, or requiring that which is profitable, it is not figurative; but if it seem to require horrible wickedness, and to forbid that is good and profitable, it is spoken figuratively. Except ye eat, saith Christ,
    the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. He seemeth to require the doing of that which is horrible,
    or most wicked: it is a figure, therefore, commanding us to communicate with the Passion of Christ, and comfortably and profitably to lay up in our remembrance that His flesh was crucified and wounded for us".”"
    In another place he saith, “It is a more horrible thing to eat man's flesh, than to kill it: and to drink man's blood, than it is to shed it".”
    Again he saith: “We must beware, that we take not a figurative speech according to the letter; for thereunto it pertaineth, that the Apostle saith, the letter killeth'.”​
     
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  4. Nathan Davy

    Nathan Davy New Member

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    It seems to be a commonly held view (perhaps even the most dogmatically correct view) among Anglicans that Christ is only spiritually present in the bread and the wine to those who have proper faith. I take a little umbrage with this view, because Paul cautions "1 Corinthians 11:29 (NIV84): 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself."

    Why would Paul need to write to warn us about failing to discern the body causing us to fall into judgement if in fact the failure to recognize (lack of proper faith) caused it to be merely bread and wine to the unbeliever? For me while I certainly don't espouse transubstantiation, though I also don't take a 39 articles view that transubstantiation is abhorrent to the plain reading of scripture, I do think that scripture teaches a "real presence" which must be objective, even if that mysterious presence is a "real spiritual" presence, which we do commune in by faith.

    Also thanks to whomever explained the difference in views between "real presence"and "ideal presence". I knew if course RCC, EO, and Lutherans have a belief in the real presence, but I was under the impression that Anglicans (at least from my experience of the liturgy) believe in the same. I guess Anglicanism is a big tent with many views.
     
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  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    When analysing what Paul actually possibly meant by what he wrote, I think we should consider what alternative form of words could he possibly have used to convey his obvious objection to anyone just treating the Lord's supper in a disrespectful manner, as if it's just the same as any other food served up at any old Roman orgy. Paul's words are not a discription of the bread and wine on the table or anything which may happen to them. His words are themselves expressing a metaphor for the assembly of the Corinthian Christians.

    When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

    It is clear from what Paul says here that the problem in Corinth was not that the 'believers' were just disrespectful to the elements of the Lord's Supper, i.e. bread and wine. His objection to the way their Communion was conducted was definitely not their failure to believe in transubstantiation. They were essentially disrespectful to one another as the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ aught not to behave that way. If it did behave that way, as it was in Corinth, paul declares it an 'Invalid Communion'. (When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat.)

    Clearly, then it becomes the Lord's body and blood as a result of the fact that the 'Body of Christ' has come together to commemorate Christ's death and resurrection. Not because a man has performed a ceremony, said some special words and waved some incense around, with someone tinkling some bells at the magic moments, turning the bread and wine in that instant into something else entirely. What makes the sacrament effectively the body and blood of Christ is the fact that The Body of Christ, i.e. the believing, community are reverently gathered and there Christ is in the midst of us, just as He had promised he would be. His presence 'in the midst of us', is taken to an even higher 'individual' level as each of us receive and take into ourselves that which HE has offered for us on the cross, to release us from the curse of the law, and to 'give us life in abundance', namely His Body and Blood, given once, to God, for God and by God, for all mankind.

    Paul's words are far MORE than just a lesson on transubstantiation and his warning against inappropriate irreverence for the symbolic sacraments of Christ's body and blood, not directed at those who don't happen to believe in 'the magic moment of tinkling bells'.
    .
     
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  6. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    Thanks Tiffy, your comments really challenge my understanding of the Lord’s Supper. I’ve never heard it formulated in this way. May I ask where this originates?
     
  7. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I depends on how Transubstantiation is defined.

    The kind of Transubstantiation purpetuated by the RCC in the 16th century, where by vitue of the Priest's utterance of special words, the bread and wine were transformed completely into the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ on the altar even though to an onlooker no change appeared to happen, was very successfully discredited by Cranmer in his book A Defense of the True and Catholike Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ (1550).

    However, the kind of Transubstantiation discussed in Tract 90, where, in the consecration, the bread and wine undergo a change from mere bread and mere wine to the true Body and Blood of Our Lord by taking on Christ's "real super-local presence" in the sacrament. This change is spiritual rather than carnal, but it is no less substantial. Newman draws on St. Cyprian who says, "the meat we seek in this supper is spiritual food, the nourishment of the soul, a heavenly refection, and not earthly; an invisible meat, and not a bodily; a ghostly substance, and not carnal."

    Newman points out that what is opposed in Article XXVIII is the idea "that the material elements are changed into an earthly, fleshly, and organized body, extended in size, distinct in its parts, which is there where the outward appearances of bread and wine are, and only does not meet the senses, nor even that always." Anglicans recognize that Christ's natural (carnal/corporal) body and blood are in heaven and remain there until his coming again. But His spiritual body and blood are present in the elements and are received by the faithful in a heavenly and spiritual manner even as the sacrament is consumed in the mouth.
     
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  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    It originates from reading the text of 1 Corinthians in its fuller context, as opposed to the way the RCC pulls a verse or two out by themselves to support their doctrine.

    1Co 11:17-34 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

    This is the entire section dealing with communion. Consider the behavior that Paul was trying to correct. He starts this section by calling out the misbehavior of consuming the bread and wine as if it were only meant to fill the belly. He tells them this is not praiseworthy and he explains why: the bread and wine carry special significance, because Jesus instituted the practice and commanded that it be done in remembrance of Him. Then Paul tells them to not partake of the elements unworthily; the implication (from the context) is that wolfing down the bread because of hunger and guzzling the wine to get tipsy are the unworthy practices Paul is teaching against. Instead of partaking in the reverent manner and purpose which Christ specified, certain people were treating the elements as ordinary food. We see this theme continue in verses 33-34 where it says, if you're that hungry then you should eat at home before coming to communion. Notice that "coming together unto condemnation" is directly linked in v. 34 to this hunger-thirst partaking, which elaborates upon what Paul meant in v. 29 when he wrote of "eating and drinking damnation" to oneself by partaking "unworthily."

    Thus we see that "unworthy" partaking was not meant in the sense of partaking while guilty of unabsolved serious sins, as the RCC teaches; instead it was meant in the context of gluttonous disregard for the true significance of the elements: i.e., a ritual anamnesis of the Lord's death until He returns. And we see that the phrase about "discerning the Lord's body" was related to that gluttonous partaking, not to any specific belief in physical transformation of the elements.
     
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  9. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    It's what I have been given to understand by God The Holy Spirit, I think, and of course the sum total of the scriptures and the teaching of our Master and His Apostle Paul. I confess I am also a precocious and maverick son of a so-an-so and determined individualist though too. :laugh:
    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2022
  10. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    Ha ha!
     
  11. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    Thanks you do a fine job of making the distinction between the two views on transubstantiation, but I scratch my head when I read something like this:
    What is spiritual body and blood? Body and blood are the accidents of enfleshment. God as a pure spirit has no body. I’m not sure what to make of “spiritual body and blood”.
     
  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Me, either! I think this gets into the realm of "unexplainable mystery".

    The 18th Article is pertinent... not that it explains everything.
    XVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper.
    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.
     
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  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    It is inartful language, I admit. I should have said "His body and blood are spiritually present in the elements"

    This reminds me something Francis Hall said in his book The Sacraments. He says that what makes talking about mysteries of the Eucharist so difficult is that we often use our adjectives adverbially and vice versa:

    So, it is not accurate to do what I did and talk about Christ's spiritual body and blood as if He has more than one body. Our Lord has but a single body but, as Hall puts it, He has "a plurality of states".

    By the way, Chapter IV of Hall's The Sacraments provides an excellent discussion of the Real Presence from an Anglo-catholic perspective and I highly recommend reading it.
     
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  14. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    As I eventually anticipated in this thread: We shall have to agree to disagree. I believe in the Real Presence. I understand from your posts you do not.
     
  15. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    I looked that book up on Google books and found it, but I also found the name (and logo) for my next punk band:
    9DE6FEE5-B28B-48EF-8B20-E8949C9080DA.jpeg
     
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  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean that you believe in the real presence of the physical body and blood of Jesus in the sacramental elements?
    Or do you also mean that you believe in the real presence of God the Son (appearing as spirit) in the sacramental elements?
    Or do you mean that you believe in the real presence of God the Son (appearing bodily) in the sacramental elements?

    "Real Presence" has become a rather broad term in Christendom. I'd like to know how you personally define it, if you don't mind sharing.
     
  17. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    For myself, yes, I believe in one of those. Don’t ask me which, I couldn’t tell you.

    I really hope this isn’t a sample entrance to heaven exam. Although the odds of a right answer are better than most multiple choice questions
     
  18. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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  19. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I was RC for the first couple dozen years of my life. Now I've been in an Anglican church for a few years, and I've been on this forum for (I think) about 3 years. Despite this part of my background, I don't really see why the existence or nonexistence of Real Presence in the sacrament makes a nickel's worth of difference in the believer's spiritual life and walk with our Lord.

    We are saved by God's grace (not by anything we can do) through faith in Christ and the redemptive work He accomplished at the cross. As His disciples we are called to walk in love, to have an intimate relationship with God in prayer, and to avoid sin; we fail miserably at all of these things, yet God's grace is sufficient.

    One of Jesus' commands was to celebrate a commemorative 'meal' with bread and wine "in remembrance" of Him; in it we proclaim His death and resurrection until He comes again in the clouds (bodily). This we gladly do in obedience to His will. With that said, does the existence or nonexistence of Real Presence change our status as disciples who were, are being, and will be washed clean of sin's stain and redeemed in His sight? A Christian is a Christian whether the elements contain the Real Presence or whether they do not. The elements themselves do not change us spiritually or affect how God regards us as His children. We are not saved by eating Jesus, we are saved by grace through faith.

    If we look back at the early church writings in the first 5 centuries, we see no mention of Real Presence. The early fathers referred to the elements as the body and blood of Christ, but they do not elaborate in what way they meant this. Many of those same fathers also address the deep symbolic nature of the eucharist.

    We can say that our faith is strengthened by receiving communion. We can say that we receive a bit more sanctifying grace when we receive it. But my question is whether any of this depends upon the existence or nonexistence in the sacrament of the Real Presence? :dunno:
     
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  20. Melkite

    Melkite Member

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    The idea that the fathers may have meant some combination of symbol and real presence is an intriguing one that I hadn't given much thought to before. I tend to think it's incorrect since none of the apostolic churches believe it. But I do find it strange that people would get sick and die, as scripture mentions, over something that is only a symbol.