Calvin’s Corner #8

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29 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    Good program… Spiritual presence vs Real Presence… That stuff hurts us in how it works out. The Spiritual presence IS the Real Presence… Seems to be a distinction without a ‘real’ difference. I mean someone tell me why a presence “in the Spirit” (isn’t that what spiritual is) is not ‘real.’

    Still I love the conversation about these details…very good listening to you guys discuss the apostles of the Reformation.

    Oliver Crisp … Deviant Calvinism… that one?

    Jump in here MLD… Law and Gospel…

    Here is the question… Why is a theology that was as situationally rooted as the Reformation so definitive for today? The problems addressed by the Reformers are not the same as rise today. Neither were the problems addressed by the Reformation the same as the problems being addressed in the first century.

    Of course my ongoing debate with reformed theology is precisely that… it fails to exegete the text according to the actual issue at hand. Thus we end up with a theology focused upon escaping hell rather than one focused upon the new creation family of God being fashioned by the Holy Spirit.

    Romans Romans Romans… it all lies there… ok not all..

    Anyway… great job guys.

  2. SJ says:

    Where is this digital copy originally posted at so I can fast forward if I wish?

  3. Phil N says:

    Thanks for listening BD!

    Download the program at the blog posting below!

  4. Andrew says:

    Loved the Calvinism Lutheranism discussion. Would love to hear more since I seem to be stuck in the middle somewhere and want to make best decision where to attend church. Great discussion!

  5. Michael,
    I listened to the discussion Luther / Calvin. Let me begin by I won’t make this who is right or who is wrong, but I think you sell the Lutheran / Reformed divide very short.

    The Formula of Concord (the last book in The Book of Concord) was written just about this divide shortly after Calvin’s death. It was written, in 2 forms even, the long and short versions, just to make the point of discussing point by point against who were then called Crypto Calvinists,Lutherans who wanted to keep the street cred of being Lutheran, but were in fact Calvinists – also called the Philippists, who were the followers of Melanchthon – who by this time had become a Calvinist and had altered the Augsburg Confession to Calvin’s satisfaction

    In response, the Gnesio-Lutherans (Genuine Lutherans), fought back with The Formula – to keep Lutheranism Lutheran.

    Later at the beginning of the 19th century, the King of Prussia forced the Lutherans to worship with the Calvinists. I don’t think the Calvinists minded much, but the Lutherans got on boats and came to the USA through the port of New Orleans, went up the Mississippi to St. Louis and formed what is now the LCMS. Just by their actions, you can see that the divide was huge.

    The points Phil brought up are just as big as the sacraments issue.

    Let me just say, it was a great show 🙂

  6. Michael says:


    The Book of Concord was published in 1580….15 years after Calvin died.
    When Luther and Calvin were both alive there was mutual respect and admiration…the point of contention was the Eucharist.
    It’s too early for me to recall, but there were councils between the two in the 1650’s…and they came to broad agreement on everything else.
    Melancthon was not a Calvinist…that’s almost funny.
    It’s an odd situation…Calvinists tend to be very respectful of Lutherans and Lutherans tend to be ….otherwise…to the Reformed.
    I probably did sell the Lutheran/ Reformed divide short from a LCMS perspective…I’ll have to go back and listen.

    The most interesting thing about the LCMS that I never really wrapped my head around is that they believe they are the “true church” as much as do the RC and Eastern Orthodox.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it though… 🙂

  7. Michael says:


    You have correctly identified the Crisp book I was speaking of…I’ll answer the rest after breakfast.

  8. Michael says:


    In my opinion, the Reformation spoke to an issue that is as vital today as it was then.
    That is, the question of authority.
    It placed authority squarely on the Scriptures and on nothing else.
    Today, in this country, the culture is taking the place of authority that the Roman church occupied in the 16th century.
    The result is a moral and ethical disaster.
    Whether you agree doctrinally with the Lutherans or the Reformed, what they provided was a way to interpret any issue, in any century.

  9. Michael,
    The difference is not over the Eucharist – it is about who God is and what God can and cannot do. The reason it manifest’s itself in the Eucharist is the disagreement – what can Jesus do in his present bodily state.

    Lutherans believing that Jesus is God, can do anything with his body, be anywhere at any given time with his body. Calvinists deny this and have Jesus in his body locked up in heaven. Therefore, there can only be a spiritual presence and not a bodily.

    Back to confessing or denying who Jesus as God is – I don’t know if it was Calvin himself or an associate who said that “the finite cannot contain the infinite” – This is a doctrine of Christ issue, this is a doctrine of the two natures of Christ issue – not a Supper issue.

    I too would need to go back and listen, because I think each item Phil brought up involves identical issues to this.

    Question – why would anyone belong to a church that does not think it is true. I have yet to see a church statement of faith say – “we hold to these 5 doctrines that we know are wrong.” 😉

  10. Xenia says:

    I remember when CARM founder/ guru Matt Slick and I were discussing Orthodoxy in a mutual friend’s living room he kept insisting that Christ was “at the right hand of the Father” and could not possibly be in the EO Eucharist in bodily form. He said it wasn’t logical. I said(more or less) who cares about logic, this is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible and if He wants to be present bodily in the wine and bread, He can do it.

    With you consider Christ and His use of the material world, it’s best not to rely on one’s physics textbook. For example, when He multiplied the loaves and the fish where did the atoms for the baskets and baskets of newly created bread and fish come from? Did He create them ex nihilo? Or did he make them out of the dust of the earth? (Was there a corresponding hole in the ground?) The point being, He is God who created all matter and all the laws of physics and He is not beholding to any of them. It is certainly true that *I* cannot be sitting here at my desk while simultaneously occupying the loaf of bread in the kitchen but I am astounded that people put this limitation on God.

    I find the idea that Christ is somehow super-glued to the right hand of the Father to be a very limited view of the Son.

  11. Xenia says:

    In fact, when you say Christ cannot be bodily present in the Eucharist and cite laws of physics/ logic as the reason, you are saying that God is constrained by something. He is not.

  12. Babylon's Dread says:

    Can the risen Jesus be sans body? Isn’t his glorified risen body the real presence of Jesus and isn’t his presence without limitation? Again.. I see no difference. If there is a difference what does it mean? What is at stake here?

  13. Babylon's Dread says:

    What might the Reformation have looked like and what might its’ impact be today had the reformers been able to overcome their linguistic variances in the supper?

  14. Piggybacking on Xenia’s comment, again, i want my comments to be read as descriptions of the differences and the huge gap between Lutheranism and Calvinism .. pick your side, but you can’t have both… but we can all be friends and friendly

    But with the comment about ““the finite cannot contain the infinite” – what does that say about Jesus in human flesh? Was he the infinite God or not?

  15. Babs, it’s not a linguistics thing as I tried to point out. It’s not about the Supper at all – it’s a doctrine of Jesus issue.

    Besides, if Jesus really didn’t mean “this is my Body” – then it does not matter bodily or spiritual presence. If Jesus didn’t mean this is my body – no presence at all is the real answer and to suggest any kind of presence is rank heresy.

  16. Babylon's Dread says:


    You claim that the Calvinists leave the body of Jesus in heaven and claim to eat the spiritual presence of Christ… that is what I read. I cannot believe the Calvinists would disembody the risen Jesus at the supper any more than a Lutheran would.

    I am still waiting for you to tell me what it means that we eat the real body of Jesus as opposed to eating the body of Jesus spiritually…

    This is indeed a difference over Christology but it seems to be a difference over the resurrection body of Jesus because we know the body of Jesus is no longer the corruptible flesh that was crucified and buried … it is surely the new creation Jesus of whom we partake…

    As for your assertion HE SAID SO … no one would deny that or deny that in some sense we eat his flesh and drink his blood. Why must the precise definitions of that prevail … where do we see these things parsed in scripture …

    What is lost by these differences. Does a Lutheran eat something different than a Calvinist?

  17. Michael says:


    If the Reformation had achieved unity it would have meant they were able to kill more Catholics.
    I think it would have led to more war and then divided later.

  18. Babylon's Dread says:

    So if the reformation had not happened we would have what? More dead Muslims?
    For sure we would have less dead radicals.

    Forgive my amusement but that was awesome.

  19. Steve Wright says:

    When Jesus said He will never leave us or forsake us, He is with us always…is that not to be understood in terms of spiritual presence?

    The Second Coming needs a new name. If He has been coming over and over in multiple venues, often simultaneously, for 2000 years.

  20. “What is lost by these differences. Does a Lutheran eat something different than a Calvinist?”

    You will need to ask the Calvinist – they are the one saying there is no Body.

    I have no problem saying that we consume the body, the spirit whatever makes Jesus real and makes him present.

    But you need to ask the Calvinist – “Why no Body” – if they give you a truthful answer, you will see where the problem lies.

  21. Michael says:


    We were a bloody bunch…

  22. “The Second Coming needs a new name.” Is that a Biblical term?

  23. Michael says:

    I think this is a waste of time, but I’ll try to clarify.

    The Reformed believe that Christ was taken bodily into heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father until His bodily return.
    His body can only be in one place at a time.
    Thus, Christ lifts us up to the heavens spiritually, where we feed on the body and blood.

    Luther got around this by inventing the doctrine of ubiquity…because the right hand of the Father is everywhere, Christ is bodily present everywhere.

    Both sides accuse the other of Christological heresies.

    I applaud the cleverness on both sides and partake spiritually every week to my great reward.

  24. Michael,
    “Both sides accuse the other of Christological heresies.”

    This goes right back to my post at #5.- The differences are huge and it’s not about the supper – it is illustrated in the supper.

  25. Babylon's Dread says:

    The only response I can make at this point is glossalalia…
    I appreciate the clarification Michael
    We humans have all kinds of trouble parsing heaven and earth…
    We are so space and time bound that when we attempt to think of immaterial things our gaskets blow… usually as temper.

  26. Em says:

    for this pew sitter, the concept of physically digesting the body and blood of Jesus just doesn’t make sense… sooner or later one has to cycle back to the renewing of one’s mind – our bodies are dying – our immortal souls, however, are, hopefully growing … dunno, tho… do i?
    i recall an excerpt from a book relating the author’s grandmother’s horror when he, partaking Eucharist at Sunday mass, became ill on the way home – resulting in regurgitating the Host
    i think that our Faith is the epitome of logic – it’s just that our minds can’t always work the details out to our comfort… but over time more and more bricks, as it were, fall into place

  27. Em says:

    Sometimes – not often – i read comments here that wrestle with God’s revealed truths using human logic, subconsciously trying to make God fit into their frame of reference – perhaps we all are prone to do so? but IMV, there is a tremendous danger of egotism when we do so because… even tho i firmly believe that God – and what He has revealed to us – is totally logical, we are not mentally equipped to use human viewpoint to enter into an understanding of God’s logic and wisdom… it takes humility and time to gain spiritual understanding… Grace? of course it’s all by grace by faith and that is all of God, eh?
    just sayin… taking a break from watching football (which is quite logical)

  28. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    when Jeffrey Burton Russell fielded the subject of eucharist in his book on order & dissent in the middle ages he mentioned that there was not much debate about the nature of eucharist in the early church in the West until around the 800s when debates about the legitimacy and extent of priestly authority came up. Prior to this time, Russell wrote, the Church just accepted that eucharist was necessary to do as it was instituted by Christ himself but that an explanation of what happened or why it mattered was a relatively low priority prior to the emergence of a formal priestly system, at least in the West.

    And Russell noted that the two views emerged around the same time but that one was formally condemned as heretical (the symbolic/memorial view). Mileage in the East may have varied.

  29. Steve Wright says:

    “The Second Coming needs a new name.” Is that a Biblical term?
    It sure is a Lutheran term…I was just speaking your language.

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