Question about history of Eucharist views

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by BrianT, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. BrianT

    BrianT
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    I'm spending some effort examining what was believed about the Eucharist across the centuries. I'm surprised that the earliest references (Tertullian, Irenaeus, etc.) do seem to strongly favor the Eucharist being the literal body and blood of the Lord, rather than just symbolic. Does anyone have any information about the earliest writings that clearly say the Eucharist is symbolic? Did the "it's only symbolic" view start in Luther's time?
     
  2. Carson Weber

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  3. BrianT

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    Awesome Carson, thanks. I've seen some of these already, but I'll put the rest on my "required reading" list. [​IMG]

    One of the articles says "With glorious harmony, the Fathers of the Church proclaimed the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrifice of the Altar. Opposition was virtually nonexistent until the dawn of the Protestant Reformation. The confusion began with the Reformers, who could form no doctrinal consensus on the Eucharist. At the Marburg Conference in 1529 they were sharply divided and departed the conference in utter disarray."

    This is basically the information I was looking for. I did some follow-up study, and learned that at the Marburg Conference, Luther argued *for* the real presence, and Zwingli argued against. This surprises me, but I'm getting used to surprises. [​IMG] But now I have a follow-up question: *why* was the objection to the real presence raised in the first place? Being raised Protestant, the real presence is hard for me to understand and accept - but I can understand that is at least partially because I never knew otherwise. The men of the reformation grew up with the "real presence" being the only view - why do you think Zwingli opposed it so strongly (i.e. what initiated his objection, since he *didn't* grow up like I did?), opening the door for Protestant debate on the subject for centuries to come? Maybe we can only speculate, but I'm still curious. [​IMG]

    Brian
     
  4. 3AngelsMom

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    Brian,

    Do you believe that Jesus is Omnipresent?

    God Bless,
    Kelly
     
  5. MikeS

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    Brian (and everybody else!),

    I just ran across a very interesting statement and this may be a good time and place to share it. I'm reading "How the Reformation Happened" by Hilaire Belloc and he says that many areas of Catholic theology which were challenged or abandoned were connected by the common link that they stood for clerical power (e.g. confession, consecration of the bread and wine) while those retained (e.g. the Incarnation, Redemption, the symbolic Eucharist, the authority of Scripture) had the common connection that they could be held without retaining a Priesthood. Inasmuch as the Reformation was largely an attack on the clergy, those things rejected were those that required a clergy, while those retained did not require a clergy.

    I haven't had enough time and thought to form a firm opinion about this yet, but it is a very intriguing idea to consider.
     
  6. Daniel Vollmer

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    Hi Brian,

    I am not sure why the reformation fathers rejected the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, but it may be due in part that for the transformation to take place it requires a priest who is acting on behalf of Jesus in changing the bread and wine into the precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.

    My the Lord Keep you and let His light shine upon you.

    Yours in Christ
    Daniel
     
  7. BrianT

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    Kelly, that's a hard question. [​IMG] From one perspective, yes. I believe Christ, as part of the Trinity, is God and thus in that sense he is omnipresent. But at the same time, Christ had/has a physicalness that by definition requires a limitation in presence. John 16:7 says "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." So it's hard to answer your question absolutely. [​IMG]

    MikeS, that's very interesting! I will ponder that for a while. That could be related to my question, and I think Daniel expands on that - if the Reformers were against the clergy and the need for a formal priest (e.g. "priesthood of the believer"), I can see how that could have ramifications on their view of the Eucharist.
     
  8. Yelsew

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    In the same sense that the Passover supper became an annual observation for the Children of Israel, it too is symbolic because there has not been another night like the one remembered.

    The Eucharist, likewise is symbolic, since the event for which it is a memorial also occured only once! Jesus, the firstborn of God, does not continue to die over and over again anymore than the Passover occured more than once. Both celebrations are mere remembrances of what did occur. There is no magic in either of them. There is no mystery in either of them. To put magical powers into the symbols is "witchcraft", and "necromancy", both of which, the Christ and the Apostles warned against.

    Partake of the symbols as often as you can, but do not assign mystery to them for there is no mystery!
     
  9. BrianT

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    Why does over 1500 years of church history disagree with you? Why did Christ say his body is real food, and not say "I'm just using symbolism, guys!" when many disciples left him for using such words?
     
  10. WPutnam

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    Not a thing stuck with you in the other thread concerning the Eucharist, did it, Yelsew?

    For me, it is one of the most wonderful mysteries of all in a beauty words cannot describe!

    Let me copy/paste the last thing I told BobRyan in my last reply to him (given to him privately via E-mail):

    Paste-in begins here...

    I recommend the following book:

    EUCHARISTIC MIRACLES
    by Joan Carroll Cruz, ISBN: 0-89555-303-1

    It's cheap money in paperback, less then $20.00

    How do we really know if the bread and wine change into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ?

    At least one priest had doubts as he elevated the host with the words of consecration.

    Immediately, a ring of human flesh formed around the "bread" part of the host! The "wine" changed into real human blood! It exists today, preserved in a special monstrance, as well as the blood, not congealed into red droplets that remain to this day!

    This happened in the 8th century in Lanciano, Italy

    This and other miracles are medically and scientifically verified, complete with testimonial documents of the witnesses who saw it.

    This, and many other Eucharistic miracles are documented in this book!

    End of paste-in...

    God bless,

    PAX

    Bill+†+


    - Anima Christi -

    Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
    Body of Christ, save me.
    Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
    Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
    Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
    O good Jesus, hear me;
    Within Thy wounds hide me and permit
    me not to be separated from Thee.
    From the Wicked Foe defend me.
    And bid me to come to Thee,
    That with Thy Saints I may praise Thee,
    For ever and ever. Amen.
     
  11. Carson Weber

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    Hi Brian,

    You asked, "The men of the reformation grew up with the "real presence" being the only view - why do you think Zwingli opposed it so strongly (i.e. what initiated his objection, since he *didn't* grow up like I did?)"

    I believe that Zwingli and his co-religionists rejected the Real Presence so strongly because they rejected the apostolic tradition, which is held together and protected by the service of the Magisterium (the teaching office of the church; the successors of the apostles). No longer did they read Scripture in light of this tradition as mediated throughout history by the work of the Magisterium (see 1 Tim 6:20 & 2 Tim 2:2).

    When one parts from the apostolic tradition as guarded by the Magisterium, which is essentially a lens through which to interpret Scripture rightly, one is free to interpret Scripture freely (yet, in a way that is more prone to innovation and thus, error). This freedom combined with a simple lack of faith results in professed doctrine that is more "watered down" (e.g. a completely "symbolic" view of Jesus' words; don't get me wrong, the Eucharist includes rich, profound symbolism.. all the sacraments do). From us, the Eucharist requires great faith just as Christ's divine sonship requires a great act of faith.. and many are not willing to take that step, especially when they feel justified in interpreting Scripture privately, apart from the Church universal (both in space and time) as guided by the Holy Spirit through the ages in the teaching office divinely instituted by Jesus Christ himself.
     
  12. Brother Adam

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    From my understanding, if Christ meant for communion to be purely symbolic, than he would have had a moral obligation to tell his disciples that his body was not true food and his blood not true drink. Instead, when they inquired of him what he meant when he said that his body and blood were true food, he just said it again. From that point forward we are told, alot less people followed Jesus...It's a hard teaching, no doubt in that.

    I though don't claim to fully understand what Christ means when he tells us that we must partake of his body, but the Bible is clear that their are many mysteries of the faith.
     
  13. MikeS

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    No. There is only one sacrifice, but it is located outside of time and space. We, as were the OT Jews, are bound by time and space, but Christ is not. Look at the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper: This is my blood, which is poured out... Christ is the High Priest forever (He's not retired!), offering His sacrifice for all time to the Father at the forever altar of Heaven. How much greater is His gift, that we can join in this selfsame sacrifice each and every day! How much greater is our offering, that we may join it each and every day through, in and with the offering of Christ!

    Speaking of the Passover, did God tell the Jews to really kill the lamb, but only to symbolically eat its flesh? Or, did the apostles eat the true flesh of Christ at the Last Supper, but only that one time?

    Finally, when Christ said "do this in remembrance of me" how do those words require the thing to be done to be only a symbolic thing?
     
  14. John Gilmore

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    Zwingli rejected the real presence because he was a rationalist. He changed the meaning of scripture to agree with human reason rather than accept what scripture plainly says. This is why Luther refused to shake his hand, "You have a different spirit."

    To Luther, scripture was the infallible rule. To reject the real presence was to call Jesus a liar. The Marburg conference failed on the single point of the real presence. Luther refused to have fellowship with a heretic even if meant losing his only ally in the struggle against the Pope.

    Was Luther wrong? According to the largest Lutheran body in North America, yes. They have full fellowship with several Reform denominations.

    [ June 26, 2003, 06:22 AM: Message edited by: John Gilmore ]
     
  15. Carson Weber

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    Hi John,

    You wrote, "Luther refused to have fellowship with a heretic"

    So are we to conclude that Luther didn't talk to himself?

    ;)
     
  16. Yelsew

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    Interestingly, in Mosaic law, the instruction was to NOT drink the blood of the sacrifice, and now you expect God to change things and tell us to drink His blood? You know, it is the same God that told us, "I am God and I change not". You folks have a delemma on your hands!
     
  17. WPutnam

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    Interestingly, in Mosaic law, the instruction was to NOT drink the blood of the sacrifice, and now you expect God to change things and tell us to drink His blood? You know, it is the same God that told us, "I am God and I change not". You folks have a delemma on your hands! </font>[/QUOTE]What delemma, Yelsew?

    If you were to go to Lanciano, Italy today, you can view this miraculous host! It is preserved! It is a miracle that certainly not intended to be consumed, Yelsew! It;s purpose is for the edification of the faithful of the doctrine of transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ! Normally, it is not of the natural flesh and blood that can be consumed by the faithful (the "accidents" of bread and wine remain), but in this one instance, the actual flesh and blood for all to be reassured of this wonderful doctrine!

    Yelsew, we Catholics call this.......A MIRACLE!

    Get it now? [​IMG]

    God bless,

    PAX

    Bill+†+


    Pillar and Foundation of Truth, the Church. (1 Tim 3:15)
     
  18. Yelsew

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    Why does over 1500 years of church history disagree with you? Why did Christ say his body is real food, and not say "I'm just using symbolism, guys!" when many disciples left him for using such words? </font>[/QUOTE]What Christ used the same convention of speech that every teacher, who ever taught anything to another, uses to make the point. Saying that something is something it is not, is common among men. All the time we use objects to represent other objects for the purpose of illustration. It is better to celebrate the reality through the use of substitutes or symbols, than to hypothesize that the symbols become the reality. You are only duping yourself with the charade.

    Eucharist (communion) is a spirit remembrance, not a physical remembrance. Christ established it to be so. That is why bread and wine are the "representatives" of flesh and blood. The reality is spiritual and not physical.

    We celebrate it while in the physical because, when we are "in the spirit" without a flesh body, we are in the presence of the Lord and we will not eat his "real flesh" or drink his "real blood" then.
     
  19. Yelsew

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    The delemma that the Mosaic law no longer applies when Jesus told us he did not come to do away with the law but to fulfill the law, to make it complete. You must think that Eternal God has alzheimers or something, that he would forget the Law he gave Moses for perpetuity. If man was to "not drink" the blood of the sacrifice then why is it "commanded by God" today to drink the "real" blood of Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God? Foolishness!
    That is one of the reasons I "dropped out" of the Catholic church. You are willing to accept any deception that comes along, calling them miracles. Seeing shadows on walls, or natural conditions in the knots of trees, etc. and flocking to them to "see the miracle". You lose site completely of the scriptures that warn against such deceptions and false signs. You are so eager to see the return of Christ that you will fall for even the slightest deception caused by the evil one who is capable of great signs and wonders himself.

    I believe in Jesus, and who and what He is. I am, therefore, not easily duped by religions dogmas. That which is not within the natural confines of the physical, and that is not substantiated by factual evidence, is quite simply a duplicitous ruse. The Catholic church has for centuries been carrying on that ruse through the doctrine of transubstantiation. Like Thomas, I doubt seriously the "evidence" or the story in Italy. Until I can do the analysis on the speciman to determine its "reality", and that it's DNA falls into the bloodline of David, and since it is Holy DNA, it must be "pure", that "physical" evidence remains a ruse. Sorry if that offends you, but that's the way it is!

    As for your prior teaching, you too failed to grasp a single thing that was pointed out to you, so get down of you tall horse, you are not a monolyth of truth in any sense of the word...either!
     
  20. Yelsew

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    Brother Adam,
    If you love Jesus, and believe in Him with your whole mind, heart and spirit, how is it you cannot understand what He means when he tells us to partake of his body? We are to become one with Him, doing what he did, being what he was. We are to die to ourself, and carry on His work. We are to take into our being all of His teachings, so that we too can do what He did. We are to commune with the Father in the manner that Jesus communed with the Father. We are to overcome the human sin state and walk in uprightness so that none can find fault in what we do. When we do those things, we PARTAKE OF HIS BODY! WE DRINK HIS BLOOD. WE BECOME ONE WITH HIM.

    Am I there? Not yet, but I'm workin' on it, 'cause I realize that one day I will be face to face with him, and my inmost desire is to hear him say to me, "well done my good and faithful servant". He will not be congratulating me for believing that a bread wafer became His flesh, or that a sip of wine became His blood. He will be rewarding me for doing what he commanded me to do, clothing then naked, giving drink to the thirsty, feeding the hungry, lifting the burden of the poor, and for striving to be like Himself. Therein, is the partaking of the body and blood of Christ. If you are not doing what Jesus commanded us to do in all other areas of our lives, eating a wafer and sipping wine is not going to do it for you! That would make the Eucharist (Communion) a mockery and not an holy remembrance.
     

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