When/ how did Zwingliist symbolism/ memorialism enter mainstream evangelicalism?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Matt Black, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    It may be helpful here to discuss the differences between transubstantiation, consubstantiation, receptionism and memorialism, but only in so far as debate on the meaning of such terms helps to clarify the question posed in this thread. To attempt to clarify my own definition, I would say that 'memorialism' treats communion is being purely a remembrance of Christ's death, that the bread and wine (or grape juice) do not represent anything (that's why I prefer the term 'memorialism' rather than 'symbolism', despite the fact that I've used that in the OP question, as 'symbolism' implies that the bread and wine do represent something), and that nothing particularly spiritual happens when one receives communion. All the other views to which I've referred I would categorise as 'non-memorialist' (even though they tend to incorporate some elements of remembrance).

    Now, to the question in the title to this thread: trawling through the historic post-Reformation confessions (39 Arts, Lutheran Augsburg, Westminster Confession, Methodist), these all seem to be pretty non-memorialist in character and wording when it comes to the 'what happens at Communion?' question, and thus reject Zwingli's take on it - heck, even the London Baptist Confession of 1689 is non-memorialist! But most evangelical churches (certainly the free churches and even some Anglican congregations) now seem to be thoroughgoingly memorialist in their approach to communion (more of a 'Real Absence' than a Real Presence preached!). So how and when did this happen?
     
  2. Chemnitz

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    I suspect that it happened right around the time of the English reformation and the time Emporer Charles invaded the German states. When the English reformation first started the future church leaders were sent to the Lutheran seminaries to train but when Emporer Charles invaded Germany they began going else where including Switzerland where Zwingli taught.
     
  3. Matt Black

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    Except that that doesn't account for the non-memorialism in the creeds and confessions referred to in my OP, all of which bar Augsburg post-date the actions of Charles V
     
  4. Kiffen

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    My Understanding is that it was during the Charles Finney Revivals and the 19th century Revivalism that deemphasized Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

    You are correct Matt, the London Baptist Confession of 1689 was non-memorialist and it seems most Baptists as well as other Protestants held either Calvin's view of the Supper (Christ Spritual present) or Luther's view (Christ is literaly present in the elements). Even the Anabaptists did not hold the type of memorialism taught today.
     
  5. Matt Black

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    Thanks for that! So, was the 19th century importation of Zwingliism conscious or accidental ie: did the revivalists just happen to adopt the same view as Zwingli or did someone(s) at that time go back to Zwingli's writings and adopt them?
     
  6. Chemnitz

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    I completely forgot about the Rationalist movement that came about in the 19th Century. It is possible that some may have started memorializing the Lord's Supper because it did not make rational sense to teach and believe the presence of Christ's body and blood.
     
  7. Link

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    Imo, it is a shame that scriptural teaching about the Lord's Supper is ignored and it is taught that the Lord's Supper is only a symbol.

    Paul said that it is the fellowship with the body and blood of Christ.
     
  8. billwald

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    I suspect it became common after Darby and the Plymouth Brethern invented Dispensationalism, middle 1800's.
     
  9. Matt Black

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    So, given that I would hazard a guess that all Baptist churches follow the Zwingliist view today (eg: SBC Faith and Message 2000) are these churches not in error and out of line not just with the rest of Christendom but with historic Baptist beliefs...?
     
  10. ascund

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    Hey Billwald

    Start a thread on dispensationalism. I would like to address your "invented" remark.

    Lloyd
     
  11. Doubting Thomas

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    This ought to be good. :cool:
     
  12. Matt Black

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    Can someone answer my last question?
     
  13. Chemnitz

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    I can, yes they are. Christ does tend to say exactly what he means particularly when he speaks this plainly. If he says they are there then by God (literally) they are there.
     
  14. Doubting Thomas

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    Good answer. [​IMG]
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    When Paul said "Do this in remembrance of me," he was teaching memorialism. Therefore, it dates back to at least the late 60s (depending your dating of 1 Corinthians). Christ certainly appears taught memorialism in Matt 26. It is always hard to be precise with church history for so many reasons, including imcomplete history, incomplete knowledge of history, and plain old bias.
     
  16. Matt Black

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    Some points in response:-

    1. How do you know that Paul was teaching memorialism (as defined in the OP)? Were you there? Did he tell you that's what it meant?

    2. I refer you to Chemnitz' last post

    3. &alpha;&nu;&alpha;&mu;&nu;&epsilon;&nu;&sigma;&iota;&sigmaf;,usually translated 'remembrance' in the NT, actually has a much more powerful meaning in that it has connotations of making (Really? ) present in some way that which has happened in the past. A couple of imperfect analogies:-

    1. I could remember D-Day by simply pausing and thinking about it. Or I could watch 'The Longest Day' and 'Saving Private Ryan' , talk to some Normandy veterans and visit the beaches. The latter is more akin to anamnensis

    2. I could remember the English Civil War by reading a book about it. Or I could take part in a Sealed Knot re-enactment of the Battle of Naseby. The latter... etc
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    1. By the words that he uses. There is no hint in the NT of anything other than memoralism, or symbolism. Never, in any passage, is there said to be any spiritual grace communicated in the elements. In fact, never in teh NT is spiritual grace communicated by anything physical at all. Spiritual grace is always spiritual in nature.

    2. Chemnitz says that church that practice memorialism are out of order. But he offers no evidence that I can see. He assumes his conclusion and then says everyone else is wrong. I don't find that an argument worthy of debate.

    3. The Greek word in question is not really the issue. In your two examples, you still have not really passed memorialism, and you have not demonstrated an affinity for the particular point at hand, namely communion. IN what way is communion similar to DDay or the English Civil War? I can't think of many, with the exception that they are both past.

    The point of communion is worship, to pause and reflect on Christ's death, and its meaning. The elements are not efficacious for anything. They are pictures.
     
  18. Doubting Thomas

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    Paul specifically states that the cup is the communion of (or "participation in") the Blood of Christ and the bread is the communion of (or "participation in") the Body of Christ (1 Cor 10:16)--the Body that He gave for the Life of the world. Yeah, the elements are pictures but not merely so. They effect by God's grace a real communion of (or participation in) the Real Body and Blood of Christ. Such is the unanimous faith of the Church for her first 1500 years and is still the faith of the majority of the world's Christians.
     
  19. Matt Black

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    Pastor Larry, to respond to your numbered paragraphs:-

    1. Try "This is My Body...this is my Blood". Or John 6:32-54. Or...er... what about the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and Incarnation (as an aside, albeit an important one, that's the main problem I have with memorialism - that ultimately it's Docetism by the back door)

    2. I was referring you to what he said about the words of the Lord Himself

    3. I said that the analogies were imperfect; they are illustrations only. I wasn't trying to compare communion to D-Day or the Civil War; it was the method of remembering which I was analogising.

    If the elements are efficacious for nothing, then why have them? Why not sit around either together or alone and just meditate on Christ's death and its meaning, with no bread or wine/ grape juice?

    [ September 21, 2005, 10:21 AM: Message edited by: Matt Black ]
     
  20. Kiffen

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    I don't think anyone including Roman Catholicism denies the Lord's Supper is a memorial THOUGH certaintly not a Funeral service memorial.

    I remember the story of a pastor when serving the Lord's Supper reminding his congregation "This IS NOT THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS" But he did not realizing He was correcting Jesus who said the opposite. It is the Body and Blood of Jesus BUT in what way?

    I find the view of John Calvin and Thomas Cranmer to be most consistent with Scripture. It is a memorial but the Apostle Paul reminds us,
    "1 Cor. 10:16-17
    The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? [17] For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread."



    at the same time it is a real communion with the body and blood of Christ SPIRITUALLY. There is no transformation of the elements but as,
    The 1689 London Baptist Confession
    " Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do them also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of His death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses."



    In other words a Spiritual Communion with Jesus Christ takes place when one receives Holy Communion by FAITH.



    The Church of England's The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, Article XXVIII 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."



    I think the Baptist Confession of 1689 as well as the Anglican Confession give the balanced Biblical view. It is a memorial and a Communion with Christ and fits Paul's words in 1 Cor. 10.

    I find the Zwingliam Memorialist view to have dimminished the Supper's importance in Baptist circles and to be the extreme opposite error of the Roman Catholic Transubstantiation view which makes the supper into something almost magical. While I appreciate Luther's View...I find his argument that Christ is In, Around and Under the Elements to lack Biblical merit. John Calvin and the Anglican Reformers however seem to have found that Biblical balance.
     

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