transubstantiation

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

  1. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    There are many elements of the faith that you could probably dispense with and still manage to be genuinely Christian.

    A church house can be as barren of ornament as you like but still filled with the Holy Spirit. But that doesn’t mean a church house must be a dreary, spartan affair. On the other hand no surplus of bric-a-brac can guarantee it.

    I could never go in for a theology that utterly denies the real presence, but I’m also a little suspicious on one that insists on it so utterly that to question it in the slightest is to incur the wrath of God.
     
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  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Ananias and Sapphira died over a lie they told; they treated a gift to God as nothing more meaningful than an opportunity to puff themselves up in the eyes of others. I think Paul was saying that some may have gotten sick or died for treating the eucharist as nothing more meaningful than a chance to fill their bellies.
     
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  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    As an Anglican, I am firmly wedded to understanding the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist as Real Presence. What I don't need to do, and get a bit tired of, is Anglicans who affirm the Real Presence, and then immediately go on to explain why that presence is not actually real.

    A lot of the problem I suspect may be found in the idea that physical reality is somehow more real than spiritual reality.

    Therefore we, before him bending, this great Sacrament revere; types and shadows have their ending, for the newer rite is here; faith, our outward sense befriending, makes our inward vision clear. Glory let us give, and blessing to the Father and the Son, honor, might and praise addressing, while eternal ages run; ever too his love confessing, who from Both with Both is One.

     
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  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Paul was probably not referring to receiving the bread and wine unworthily at all. The issue that he refused to commend in the church in Corinth was gluttony and greed, selfishness and contempt for poorer brothers and sisters in the faith. It is highly likely that his warning against eating and drinking without discernment is not prompted by a superstitious belief that anyone can be poisoned or (even less likely), cursed by the body and blood of Christ. Rather that gluttony and consequent obesity can kill you, a statistical and medical fact that modern science has conclusively proven beyond any doubt.

    Those who would casually eat and drink the Agape Eucharist meal, (Communion, as we now know it had not yet been invented, it was an actual meal Paul is referring to that the Corinthians were meeting to consume), those who ate and drank like gluttons probably lived profligate lives and would suffer the consequences of their own profligacy through degeneration of their health, even to an early death.
    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2022
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  5. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It is utterly outside the Anglican tradition & correctly so
     
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    One of the ways to look at the Eucharist is as a physical reminder that, by grace through faith, we already have been made spiritual partakers in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. His death and resurrection was a "once-and-for-all" event ("...we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all," Heb. 10:10).

    RC theology took this 'a bridge too far' in declaring that the Eucharist is a re-presentation (making present) of Christ's ongoing sacrifice and a physical partaking in that sacrifice. It's as if Christ on the cross were being transported in time and space to every sacrificial altar around the world, every single day. At almost any moment in time somewhere around the globe, Jesus is coming down from heaven and, through the agency of the priest, working a miracle that makes the bread and wine become His actual flesh, blood, soul, and divinity. The CCC says that in "the Eucharist the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore, the whole Christ is really, truly, and substantially contained." (emphasis theirs)

    Of course, when they declare that their little round man-made bread wafers become fully Jesus the Savior (flesh, blood, soul, divinity, and all), it is understandable why they consequently worship and pray to the wafers as their Savior God when they are held aloft or set in a monstrance (the word always make me think of "monstrosity"). :rolleyes:

    The Bible says, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them..." (Exodus 20:4-5a). Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God (Lev. 26:1).

    By this doctrine they make Jesus in His physical incarnation (who now sits at the Father's right hand in heaven) fully ubiquitous and omnipresent on earth.

    The Bible says, But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:6-10).

    The CCC states RC doctrine that Jesus instituted the "Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again...The Eucharist is the 'source and summit of the Christian life.'" It also says, "this sacrifice is truly propitiatory." In other words, they're continuing Jesus' sacrifice throughout time, and Jesus continues to propitiate (make appeasement or atonement) to the Father, almost constantly, on the sacrificial altars. This is not conjecture; it's straight from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    The Bible says, By the which will (of God) we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (Heb. 10:11-22).
    When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished": and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost (John 19:30).
     
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  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    With respect, the Roman doctrine actually does not assert this. However, the Lutheran doctrine does do so, and claims biblical warrant for it:

    “He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.” (Ephesians 4:10 NRSV; cf. Veith, Gene E., The Spirituality of the Cross, 3rd ed.)​
     
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I just want to add that I did not mean to say RC doctrine makes that assertion outright, however I feel RC doctrine effectively and unintentionally implies it.

    Didn't know about Lutheran doctrine. Any official reference? Or is Veith's book considered a statement of doctrine by them?
     
  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The CCC (at 1384) reveals a cornerstone of their doctrine to be due to a misinterpretation of scripture, and to be built in an erroneous manner upon the latter portion of John 6. The CCC says: "The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: 'Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.'" Were it not for interpreting John 6 as a teaching on the subject of the Last Supper (i.e., the Eucharist), I venture to speculate that their entire doctrinal position would not have evolved in such an extreme manner.

    In truth, the Last Supper had not yet happened and would not happen for quite some time; some say it took place a whole year later.

    The Greek verbs for eating and drinking in verses 54 and 56 are in the present tense. They are present tense active participles, denoting an ongoing present action, not some action to take place in the indeterminate future. The people could not have been getting an invitation from Jesus to munch on Him right then and there (present action). Thus, John 6:53-56 could not have been the "invitation...to receive him in the Eucharist" that the RCC assumed it was.

    Instead, there are strong parallels between verse 35 and verses 54,56. They share the same context and, in Greek, the same verb tenses and moods. In v. 35 Jesus uses verbs for coming and believing; in the latter verses the verbs are for eating and drinking. All are present tense active participles.

    John 6:35,40 I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst...And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    John 6:51-54,56 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto 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...He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

    The context of the entire sixth chapter tells how this came about. Jesus performed a miracle and fed a crowd of 5,000 people. He left the place and crossed the lake. Many who were in that crowd followed him across the lake in hope of getting more food (v. 26). Jesus told them to forget the food and believe in Him (v. 27, 29). The people tried to get Him to produce manna from heaven, like Moses (still after food!). Jesus might have thought, 'okay, I can work with that analogy,' because He begins to couch His language in terms of food. He told them the manna only helped for a day, but He (the true nourishment from heaven) could sustain them forever. He told them again in verses 35-40, 44, 47, and 51 the key truth He was trying to get across to them: believe in Him and receive eternal life. In verse 51 He went one step further, associating His analogy of the "bread of life" with His mortal flesh "that I will give" (on the cross). How did the people respond? They argued among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" The whole thing went right over their heads; they didn't understand. Jesus continued, telling them that the giving up of His mortal flesh for their sakes on the cross was the key to their eternal life. In the verbal parallel He created between v. 35 and verses 54 & 56, Jesus was drawing the parallel between "coming" and "believing" on the one hand, with "eating" and "drinking" on the other.

    Of course, He even stumped the Apostles with this complex analogy. Fortunately He took a step to straighten out their (and our) thinking soon afterward, when He said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." All along, Jesus was trying to convey a spiritual concept. But the people had their minds on their stomachs (plus they were unwilling to believe in Him despite having seen a radical miracle!), so they entirely missed what He was really saying. The ongoing present action that Jesus was exhorting them to do was to believe in Him as their Messiah, their Redeemer; He even foretold that He would give up His mortal flesh for their redemption. There is no eternal life to be found in the chewing or the drinking; the life of God is received through faith in Jesus alone.

    That is why, when Anglicans receive the Eucharist, they "take it in remembrance that Christ died for" them, and they "feed on Him in [their] hearts by faith, with thanksgiving."
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2023
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  10. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Veith is a Lutheran layperson (LCMS), whose books I highly recommend for anyone interested in Lutheranism (or Christianity more generally). Although it was Veith who first drew my attention to the Ephesians passage, in reality he was simply upholding what the Lutheran Confessions say, specifically the Formula of Concord and its Epitome.

    Basically, the Lutherans never agreed with the Reformed (both English and Swiss) on how exactly to interpret and apply the Definition of Chalcedon. For a long time, the Reformed accused the Lutherans of being 'Monophysites', and the Lutherans accused the Reformed of being 'Nestorians'. The Calvinists argued (on the basis of Psalm 110:1 and its NT citations) that "Christ is at the right hand of God, the right hand of God is in heaven, therefore Christ after his ascension is in heaven (and not on earth)," to which the Lutherans retorted (on the basis of Psalm 139:7-10, for example) that "the 'right hand of God' is everywhere, and not limited to a 'place', therefore neither is Christ." (In their correspondence, one sometimes finds the English Reformers referring to the Lutherans as "Ubiquitarians," which was a polemical term emanating from Calvinist circles on the continent at that time, and the term was later picked up by apologists for the Roman position.) This disagreement over the doctrine of the person of Christ had implications for the understanding of the sacraments, specifically Communion. The Lutherans taught that the unworthy received Christ in the sacrament, while the Reformed (both English and Swiss) explicitly denied this. At the same time, the Lutherans denied that John 6 was talking about the Eucharist, while the Calvinists agreed with Rome that it was talking about Christ's presence in the sacrament. The Lutheran understanding of the 'communion of attributes' between Christ's divine and human natures is also the theoretical basis for the Lutheran denial of transubstantiation: the priest cannot cannot cause Christ to be present in the sacrament if Christ is present there already.

    These are all longstanding confessional sticking points that have divided the Lutherans from the Reformed, and which created an interesting problem in those places where the two groups were forcibly merged, as happened in Prussia under Frederick William III, for example. (The United Churches of Christ in the U.S. is a direct descendant of that merger, interestingly enough, and among its more prominent exponents was the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.) Studying the history of the Prussian Union can be quite instructive for Anglicans seeking ways to reconcile the different strands within their own tradition, as the Prussian Union attempted to accomplish in Germany something analogous to what Elizabeth I did in England (including the use of a common liturgy). Friedrich Schleiermacher, as the foremost theological proponent of the Union and pastor of a United congregation himself, is thus highly relevant to any such comparative study.
     
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  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the explanation. That is an interesting can of worms!

    I can appreciate the fact that God is omnipresent, but applying that to the resurrected & ascended body of Jesus seems untenable to me. No wonder they picked up the moniker, "ubiquitarians."
     
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  12. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    The above thoughts are a great thread on two fronts:
    1. For those of the orthodox AngloCatholic persuasion, it reminds/reaffirms our English Catholic approach to the Faith: where the East and the West agree, so do we.
    2. From my studying, transubstantiation is an appropriate term for the theology as it addressing the “what” when applied to the Body and Blood of our Lord during Mass. It is, in all accounts, “of the Faith”. The Romans, unfortunately and erroneously, added their part to the doctrine as to “how” it happened. Our feeble minds do not know “how” and, furthermore, is not supported by scripture; thus, it should remain a mystery.
    Someday I will learn more about the history behind The Thirty-nine, its theological basis, shaping by the Protestant and English reformation, and the final outcome after the monarchy and Parliament had their final say(s). I hope it will allow me to be a little more discerning when referring to it for future post such as these.
     
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  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    We in the Church of England believe that Article 28 does not support the 12th century innovative Roman Catholic notion that when the 'bells tincle' the wafers and the wine turn into something other than a SACRAMENT. A sacrament is never the actual thing it represents, and never HAS done in the entire history of the church, East or West. The elements in the Eucharist become a sacrament of The Lord Jesus, The Christ, the omnipresent God. To think anything more literal or actual than that would be both canabalistic and mere ignorant, superstitious piety.
    .
     
  14. Elmo

    Elmo Active Member

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    Too much Aristotle.

    Ratramnus didn't believe in it, neither did Berengar of Tours, nor did the earlier Eriugena seem to. There were other forms of belief.

    I'm more a consubstantiationist.