June 3, 2022
It’s all yours today…
November 15, 2013
February 3, 2018
October 7, 2014
Interesting interview with Andy Stanley…
Covid governmental intervention
Racial societal reinterpretation
Election attempted manipulations
Fertile soil for suspicion which is the air we breathe just now
For Baptists toss in the correct sex scandal
For Charismatics toss in the prophetic boondoggle
For Evangelicals overall toss in nationalism (real and imagined)
For Progressive Christians toss in partnership with current trends
Looks to me like GOD is shaking up his world and with it his church.
All those things and my own fragility finished me off as a pastor …
So I just go to church and look for Jesus … where is he? Of course he is hiding in plain sight just as he was on the day he walked with the Emmaus disciples … He can only be revealed in the breaking of the bread.
We can find him at the table… THAT is where we must go together.
“We can find him at the table… THAT is where we must go together.”
Flesh that out a bit…
TABLE FELLOWSHIP — heals us
The Breaking of Bread —
The Protestants moved the altar (the lamb’s throne) from the center and replaced it with the pulpit — they wanted to make the Word of God central — the pulpit (the preacher’s throne) became the central piece in public worship —
Thus the preacher ‘became’ the lamb — he not He became the ‘sacrifice’ on the ‘altar.’
We removed the spotless lamb and put one in whom we ALL could find fault — in His place.
That experiment is falling apart. No wonder I go looking for Jesus in church and cannot find Him.
The Supper keeps Jesus central but not as a ritual unexplained — here the protestants were correct the ceremonializing of the Supper is incomplete without the preaching of Christ being central.
If the KINGDOM is here via the slain Lamb on the throne as LUKE 22 and 24 seems to indicate… then the kingdom is in the KING… JESUS alone must be central to our worship praise and laboring…
Lately …. my eyes will not open except when Jesus is preached and when his death is demonstrated in the Supper.
THE TABLE is where we find him and where we must meet… and the TABLE and the table must come back together… we cannot discern the LORD apart from himself revealed and face to face fellowship.
too many words… but this is burning in my heart
This also supersedes all politics and takes us into a strange separatism in which we, LIKE JESUS, hide in plain sight.
Welcome to the Anglican communion… 🙂
This is good stuff…keep going…
This is not too many words…these are words we need to hear.
Emmaus Road narrative ruining me
“When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.”
Luke 24:30-31 ESV
“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.””
Luke 22:19 ESV
He took bread
He blessed it
He broke it
He gave it to them
They knew him when he re-enacted the Passover which he said would signal the KINGDOM
It is disruptive and realigning — it disallows a divided focus…
I would only add, the Holy Eucharist is preaching… “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes…”
How do we all get to the same table with the same purpose?
This is good stuff…
We are just like the Emmaus Walk disciples we cannot recognize him.
He is hidden from sight. He is indiscernible in the events of these days.
And it feels to us as if he is almost late “it is the third day”
We know the stories and they all pointed to him but without his voice we read them in dullness. He speaks and a fire kindles in our bosom.
SO he BREAKS THE BREAD again…
And he’s GONE… off to make more revelations.
And his third day re-enactment allows us to not wait for Passover to meet him at the table again. We can go over and again and again and he is there.
And yes … as Duane says… THE DOING of it IS preaching… but humans are so very dull to hear… we are
I am not skilled to know… I truly am not… I just went to church for a year and could not find Jesus and I was lonely for him… until my own charge was stripped from me… I could not see what I am seeing just now…
So it is the spirit of revelation … in Lk 24 when Jesus showed up again “45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”, Lk 24:45. and promised to send Holy Spirit
I cannot do it
…And, it is not about the priest/pastor, it’s about Christ, his words, his presence…
I’m very happy that you have shared this here…as we all flesh out the implications and the processes we are engaged in exercises that lead us back to a truly Christian identity and purpose…I look forward to hearing and thinking more.
You may find further revelation in Michael Ramseys “The Gospel and the Catholic Church”…
It may seem harsh to say, but if I did not find Christ present in the Holy Eucharist, I doubt that I would darken the door of a church…
Can you please help me to understand what you mean, “but if I did not find Christ present in the Holy Eucharist…”?
The Eucharist is central to my understanding of Church, worship and community. I could not regularly attend a church in which the focus was a lecture or, more often these days, a TED talk…
The Eucharist carries the heaven and earth reality of the Gospel. The evangelical memorial meal is rooted in a rational transaction of human memory. It has value but these churches minimize their participation in the meal because they find the presence in the anointing of the preaching. And indeed a truly anointed preaching of Christ is, I think, sacramental. Paul said the foolishness of preaching saves, there he is remembering Ezekiel’s dead raising sermon.
But the Eucharist is an entering into the presence of the heavenly throne… the one we eat and drink is the lamb slain and seated upon the heavenly throne. Thus the presence of Christ is mediated to us via his flesh and blood. Real communion is the real presence of Jesus.
So ‘going to church’ is an access to the presence.
There is more to say but I think I am touching some of what Duane means by “find Christ present in the Holy Eucharist”
The scriptures are filled with it once you see it and the early Fathers made it plain that it was central to the church’s worship.
Seems a lot of attention is given to the Eucharist. So what’s your view of the Eucharist and what the emphasis. I have always viewed it as a memorial. I think some of you think of it differently
Part of the function is a remembrance…but there is so much more.
We receive Christ when we receive the bread and wine…
When the Eucharist is the central value of our worship we never depart from the body and blood of Jesus we never leave the presence of God we join the heavenly reality of what John saw when he was taken into the throne room and there he heard of the Lion but saw a slain Lamb standing in the midst of the entire scene…
The early church believed their worship to be from heaven the risen slain Christ is pesent and he is worshipped adored and received. Eucharistic worship has little to do with the gifts of the person serving at altar and everything to do with the gifts received at the altar… at least this is within the understanding I am proclaiming.
The errant human minister is like the human high priest … he is redundant because the way is open for all to draw near….by way of the flesh of our Lord.
I stumble in my apprehension but it is coming
This post-Communion prayer (I say it in unison with others every Sunday) contains a good summary, at least for me…
ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee, for that thou dost vouchsafe to feed us who have duly received these holy mysteries with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; and dost assure us thereby of thy favour and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs through hope of thy everlasting kingdom, by the merits of his most precious death and passion. And we most humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
“… the presence that is appropriate and intelligible in the Eucharist is neither the presence of an idea in our minds … nor the presence of a uniquely sacred object on the Table. It is the presence of an active Christ, moving in love not only towards the Father but towards us. The more we try to ‘immobilise’ Christ, either in heaven (so that all that happens at the Eucharist happens in our minds) or in substantial presence on an altar (so that his action is virtually completed in simply being there under the sacramental forms), the less we understand of the dynamism of the sacrament, and of the transfiguring liberty of the risen Christ…”
Thanks for the responses. Sounds like most believe Christ is present in the Eucharist—to what degree is understood differently. his? In what sense is Christ present in the Lord’s Supper?
I am not really the mystical type. Maybe I should be. So to me, when we eat and drink together as brothers and sisters, Christ’s Spirit is present with us. It is enough for me to know that the risen Lord Jesus Himself meets us when we come to His table.
Pretty boring. But I am comfortable with it.
Btw—at my current church, we take communion every week
Thanks so much for the responses…grace and peace!
As I thought about this earlier John 6 popped into my mind…I had never linked John 6:53-58 to the Eucharist and might not have done so were it not for this thread so thank you all.
This is a paradigm shift for me on “Communion” and I will need to consider this more.
I spent the bulk of my years in the CC’s so my understanding of Communion has been basically the same as that. While most of my theology has changed since leaving the company eleven years ago, this has not changed much. This is a very welcome addition.
How is what y’all are proposing different from Transubstantiation?
Transubstantiation = Christ literally becoming?
Eucharist = Christ mysteriously present within?
Just trying to wrap my head around it.
Transubstantiation was an attempt to explain the Eucharist in Aristotelian categories. I prefer “real presence” in which Christ is “in, with and under” the elements of bread and wine…
Does it matter our perspective when we take communion? For some, the wine and wafer become the actual blood and body of Christ. To others Christ’s body and blood are present “in, with and under ” the bread and wine. To some like me, deny any form of physical or spiritual presence of Christ in the bread and wine. We view the Lord’s supper as a remembrance of His suffering and a reminder of his power to overcome sin and death.
I think the important thing is that we do it and we give it value and worth.
“Does it matter our perspective when we take communion? ”
To a Christian who believes in a sacramental faith it’s a boundary marker for orthodoxy in some ways.
I would not take communion in any church that believed in a strictly memorial view.
Because I, and others, hold a different view, does that make us in err?
Obviously, I think that view is a grave error.
The center of Christian worship for 1500 years was the Eucharist, not the sermon.
I don’t think it puts someone outside of orthodoxy, but I do consider it significant enough to avoid churches that believe it.
I don’t try to solve the mystery of His presence, but I believe it to be true.
Would it be safe to say the memorial view is not your preference rather than it is an erroneous view?
It’s not a matter of preference, it’s an article of faith.
I suppose I could sugar coat it , but that would be silly among adults.
I think it’s error, just as I believe that many popular beliefs are wrong.
The Eucharist is central to the worship of sacramental Christians.
Haven’t posted in a while as I didn’t feel comfortable, but this conversation is so lovely that I feel safe to post. I started going to an Anglican Church a few years ago and the Eucharist /worship/thanksgiving service/ partaking of Holy communion has never meant so much to me. Truly, Christ is present and as we leave, we bring the gospel to the world in word and in deed. The book Michael recommended by Ramsey is excellent. Reading about the drama of the gospel that is played out in the liturgy will take your breath away. I highly recommend it.
I didn’t know you read that!
Michael, I read it several years ago. My grandson was born with a horrible heart defect and we didn’t know if he would live. I was distraught, living 5,000 miles away and my heart was breaking for my son and his wife and baby. One day walking through town centre, I visited St. Mary Magdalene Church in Oxford for their noon Eucharist service. After the service I spoke to Father Richard, the pries,t and told him about Bennet and asked him to please pray for our boy. He assured me the church would be praying for Bennet. For the next year, at every service, every prayer meeting, every staff meeting, our baby Bennet was prayed for, by name at that church. That church prayed for him until I let them know, with a praise report, that he had his heart surgery and he was thriving. What amazed me was that my own home church never even prayed aloud for him. The love and care through the Eucharists services at that church spoke volumes to me. Over the next couple of years, some coffee times with Father Richard, he suggested I read Ramsey’s book. There were portions of that book that described the drama of the Eucharist service and how each and every symbol represented some portion of the Good News of Christ! I wept as I read sections of that book. I will never view a “communion service” the same way again. Office Hoppy, I would encourage you to read the book. You will be blessed and encouraged.
What a great story!
Duane suggested it to me as part of my “curriculum”… These were the days when Trey was still skating and I’d read it at the skate park.
I’d read a passage and then have to walk around to get my bearings back…totally changed my theology…
Absolutely! Life changing. To read the words and then the description of what is being played out with the robes, the incense, the candles, the lifting of the gospel (Bible) , the cross, each and every physical symbol having such meaning, exactly as the words of the gospel have meaning…..oh my!!! Takes your breath away!!! The drama of the story is played out in each and every Eucharist service. It is not just a man standing behind a pulpit “telling” us the story …it is the living out the story of the risen Christ being portrayed in every service. Every Eucharist Service is a drama being played out of the story and glory of Christ, and we have the privilege of becoming partakes of that story. That is my take on it, anyway.
That’s my take as well…it a beautiful service.
Are not all the invitations to draw near in the book of Hebrews based upon the actual body of Jesus as the living way through whom we gain access to the throne. And is not Jesus the living one upon the throne. Or as John saw him the slain lamb standing at the throne? Is not all of this language sacramental language concerning Christ our Passover lamb through whom we celebrate the festival.
For me it is not the beauty but the ontology and the experience of worshiping him. We are in the throne room by his enabling and with him or mediator.
The chaos of the crucifixion blinded the Emmaus travelers to the one who came to them. Here was a man of the earth but now risen and of heaven. Here was a true mediatorial presence one of them but not. This one whom they had known in the flesh but not in the Spirit serves them again.
Like Thursday when he captured the Passover and made it new he again, took bread, broke, blessed, and gave it to them. AND they KNEW him again but for the first time — the earth and heaven man. THIS is indeed beauty but it is the actual presence — it is Him even as on that evening it WAS him.
His actual presence — then he vanished — only to appear to them again and sacralize every meal by receiving fish — perhaps I go too far — but after Luke 24 every meal is a “little Passover” we know him in the thanksgiving.
I think I cannot ever see these things the same.
*him our mediator
I think we too, are blinded by the chaos of our world from “seeing” the one who is traveling with us — he is seemingly of the earth but his wounds are obstructed to us by the perfections of heaven that his risen flesh now bears. So we come to the table and we know him again. But let us take care because he can suddenly vanish leaving us perplexed again. But when we testify of him he appears again in our midst and shares our meal. He is the constant presence as well as the mediatorial presence.
He is out koinonia and apart from him our union always collapses.
Is the memorial view really erroneous or would it be more accurate to say it’s not entirely complete? I’m still working through this idea myself. I kind of view this doctrine similar to the atonement. There are many theories of the atonement but if you only look at one of them, it seems to me you miss the complete picture. But you still have truth some even though not complete. Anyhow, still working through this so appreciate the grace.
“I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible”
Ignatius of Antioch
“Take care, then who belong to God and to Jesus Christ – they are with the bishop. And those who repent and come to the unity of the Church – they too shall be of God, and will be living according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If any man walk about with strange doctrine, he cannot lie down with the passion. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons.”
“This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.”
It is not only erroneous, it is heretical. Don’t be offended; memorialists believe the doctrine of the Real Presence is heretical.
Say I am one who believes in the Real Presence, which I am, and I attend a memorialist church with a relative, to be polite. I cannot partake and tell myself that the bread and juice they are serving really are the Body and Blood of Christ just because I want to believe it is. This is because the memorialist pastor does not have the authority and anointing, and doesn’t believe there even is such a thing, to call down the Holy Spirit upon the bread and juice (or wine). It is and will always remain bread and juice (wine) no matter what my personal beliefs are. So if an evangelical comes to decide or suspect that there might be something to this Real Presence thing, they will not be able to experience it unless they are attending a Church that practices this, which at present means the Orthodox Church, the Catholics, the Lutherans (LCMS) and I am not sure about the Anglicans.
Going to a memorialist communion service and telling yourself it is the Real Presence because you want to believe it is is called Receptionalism, which, according to MLD, is a grave error.
This matters because the Church works will real material things, not just thoughts and wishes. The Eucharistic bread and wine really become the Body and Blood of Christ, in fact and not just in one’s imagination or hopes or thoughts. There is nothing I can think that will change the memorialist elements into the Body and Blood.
So label me a heretic! And thousands of others. I feel I honor Christ by remembering his death and resurrection. How is that heretical?
As you know, every Calvary Chapel pastor would label me and my belief in the Real Presence heretical. You’ve probably done it yourself. 🙂
Apart from all the other things the Eucharist accomplishes, it also, but not only, remembers Christ’s death and resurrection.
“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes”
Ignatius of Antioch (c. 110)
Not true. I would respect your position though different than mine. I am not a mystical individual and can’t go down the route you have chosen.
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you“…Jesus
Do you not find anything ‘mystical’ about the resurrection?
How “mystical” is the work of the Holy Spirit?
…And how did early Christians understand those words?
I need to step away from this discussion. Calling me a heretic is a little over the top. I am afraid that my flesh will erupt!
IT’S ALL GOOD
“You should understand what you have received, what you will receive, indeed what you should receive daily. That bread that you see on the altar and that has been sanctified by the word of God is the Body of Christ. That chalice–rather, that which the chalice contains–has been sanctified by the word of God and is the Blood of Christ. Through these things the Lord Christ wished to entrust to us His Body and his Blood, which he shed for us unto the remission of sins.”
I didn’t expect this.
I sure wasn’t trying to provoke or evoke this kind of binary
I regret that the word heresy became the basis of the conversation. My postings have not had that intention.
Keep at it…this is good and necessary for all of us to work through…
Whenever we have this sort of discussion there will be conflict.
Conflict as we work through cardinal doctrines is good…iron sharpens iron.
There was a day when we learned things here…I want that day to return…
Understanding scripture, the person of Jesus, the HS was a challenge in the first few centuries—adoptionism, appolinarianism, Arianism, Decetism, Modalism and on and on. The purpose of the councils was to clarify and solidify what we believe. So while I think the earliest mention of something in scripture is normally the clearest, it was’t always.
You and others may quote the practices of early Christians it doesn’t necessarily mean that view remained constant thru the development of Christianity.
Secondly, if I don’t believe or practice your particular belief of the Eucharist, does that mean that the elements don’t manifest themselves in the way you believe when I remember the sacrificed body and blood of Christ?
Receiving Christ is the gift of God by his Spirit. You are not a heretic in your memorial view. Roger Olson has, I believe defended that view in a book that dialogues the matter.
I am just going to say this: For the first 50 years of my life as a Christian (evangelical) struggled with many things, which I’ve told here before.
1. I was never sure I was saved, as it all seemed based on my THOUGHTS that day when I was 12 and walked the aisle at my Baptist church. I was told if I was sincere, I was saved for all eternity. Except I doubted my sincerity, so I resaid the sinner’s prayer at home many, many times right up until I was 50 years old and was still plagued with doubts.
2. I was not even remotely transformed by any of the my efforts to be “really sincere this time.” I was a big jerk as a kid and a bigger jerk as an adult and only getting worse with the passing years. This also caused me to wonder if I was really saved.
3. Regarding communion as an evangelical, I did not understand what I was supposed to be feeling and thinking. I figured if I thought the right thoughts during communion, sincere thoughts, these thoughts would work themselves down to my heart and I would produce tears as was the case with quite a few people in the room. Never happened and I was just confused and again, saw this as evidence I wasn’t really a Christian.
4. Try as I might, I could never make a lick of sense out of evangelical view of the Passion of Christ- again, more evidence.
When I became Orthodox and my views about Christ and His Eucharist changed, it all made sense and for the first time in my life, I believed I was a Christian. No more fear, no more dread. That first Eucharist was like a switch was turned to the ON position in my soul and nothing has been the same ever since although I am still a jerk. (working on that.)
So it matters. The Real Presence takes one’s Christianity out of one’s skull and into the real physical world. Jesus didn’t come as a ghost or a set of ideas to think about; He came in real physical flesh. In retrospect, my time as an evangelical mostly consisted of trying to think sincere thoughts about God. That’s not enough, not nearly enough.
The evidence concerning the Eucharist over the first 1500 years of the Church is compelling and near to universal.
The second question is more difficult and, to some extent, beyond my pay grade to answer it definitively as it impinges on the sovereignty of God…
I could never take communion in your church because I never have been baptized in the orthodox church. Thats the deal right? I already have been baptized twice. Once as an infant in a Presbyterian church and once as an adult in an AoG church. Getting baptized a third time in an EO church seems way over the top. But I’m not going to say the EO view is heretical. Hoppy has a point that remembering his death and resurrection is far from heretical. I don’t understand that perspective at all.
However, I think you would be hard pressed to find any church that has a strictly memorial view. Even my own church would probably say in print that they are memorials but infact just yesterday, the pastor made a point that this meal is more than just a symbol and memorial but there is something more spiritual and mystical going on. I’ve heard the same thing at times in Calvary Chapel.
Finally, I saw you quoting MLD. I haven’t seem him here in months. Is he still around? I think he would push back that the bread and wine changes and but rather stays bread and wine. He just believe when you take communion you are simultaneously consuming both the bread and wine and the real presence together. There is no changing of the elements in the Lutheran view. The bread stays bread. The wine stays wine.
Hoppy has a point that remembering his death and resurrection is far from heretical. <<<
As I noted up above, this is PART of the Eucharist and in an of itself, certainly not heretical. But there is much more to the Eucharist than a remembrance, and denying that is where the problem lies.
Every now and then MLD and I have some private conversations where we ask each other to clarify a few things about our respective churches. He's a great guy and I miss him here.
In America today, if you were baptized by any other Trinitarian church you can be received into the Orthodox Church by chrismation, which is an anointing with oil and some good prayers said over the convert. That's how I was received into the Orthodox Church. Some jurisdictions want to re-baptize, but in America, they are in the minority.
Like you, my husband had already been baptized twice, once by the Catholics as a child and once by Calvary Chapel as an adult. Like you, he wasn't up for a third go-around so even while at that time we were attending an EO parish that believed in rebaptism, they waived in the case of my husband and he was received by chrismation, which is like confirmation, I think.
I know many evangelical churches will not accept an RC, EO or Lutheran baptism (baby baptisms) and require people to be baptized again by them.
The evangelical pastors of my past always made a point to say the elements were NOT the Body and Blood of Christ and I really couldn't figure out what exactly they thought it was other than Good Feelings. Good Feelings are good but there's a lot more to it than that!
This certainly isn’t a universal, but my time among Calvary Chapel and other charismatic or mildly charismatic churches lead me to believe that the most “mystical” thing a Christian could participate in was receiving the gift of tongues. Now that I think on it, this Second Blessing seemed to fill a gap in some non-sacramentalist churches. This would not apply to Baptists, of course.
And of course, no matter how many times I went to to Receive the 2nd Blessing, it never happened….
I don’t like heresy as a category and don’t think about it except in matters of the early tradition.
What I loved about what Dread shared is that he’s not trying to convert anyone to a doctrinal view…he’s sharing a revelatory experience in a deeper understanding of the Eucharist.
It’s a gift being offered, not a hill to die on.
I can accept that
Mine has always been the memorial view.
I will say that my theology has undergone a complete paradigm shift that is still apparently happening. I am in the process of writing a book on deconstruction and one of the premises is that if God is infinite and I am at best finite no matter how much I think I understand particular issues, to think that those won’t morph a bit or change dramatically during my lifetime is arrogant at best, completely deceived at worst.
We have to approach these things with much humility because at the end of the day we are touching on very tender, raw things that have to do with our belief systems.
This has been an excellent discussion and I have really enjoyed seeing the banter back and forth. I think the “heresy” word needs to be really thought through as oftentimes it is used as a club to bludgeon someone for whom the Spirit is trying to reach with a more full way of viewing the things of Christ. When this happens it can cause someone like Hoppy to need to tap out which is the last thing that he should feel as though he needs to do.
I have held to the memorial view and have never been exposed to this other way of looking at it. I personally see it as being more real and full than the memorial view but does that mean that I am heretical because I have been in the memorial side of things? Absolutely not!
May our speech be seasoned with grace on these issues so that the discussion may continue that we all may be sharpened.
I am always excited when the Lord brings up another thing for me to think through in order to potentially change my way of looking at things from CC to something more orthodox.
I will order the book by Michael Ramsey
I am going to get the book by Michael Ramsey.
Sorry for the double comment on the book at the end.
It seems from Dr. d and X that a lot of emphasis is placed upon symbolism. X referred to her husband’s baptism and of course there is this discussion on the elements of the Eucharist. Could it be there is an over emphasis on the symbolism vs the substance?
X—having to be rebaptised seems silly to me. This may create a greater theological storm but I don’t think baptism is necessary to be included in the body of Christ. Important yes, but not necessary.
And with the Eucharist are we placing to much emphasis on them? I don’t need any real connection or access to the grace of God via any means other than the actual act of Christ’s death and resurrection itself and what the scriptures say about it. In that sense my belief is an act of faith.
After I had time to cool,down, I don’t think Xena thinks I am a heretic.
The question behind both the Eucharist and baptism is about whether God is doing something or we are just being obedient.
Sacramental Christians believe that God is acting in both.
The evangelical trope about baptism being “an outward display of an inward choice” is less than compelling (choosing my words carefully) and decidedly unbiblical.
We’ll, I would probably disagree but we’re still brothers. I appreciate you view—i truly do. But my pragmatic brain won’t let me go down those mystical roads
Then how does your pragmatic brain process resurrection, prayer, and the work of the Holy Spirit?
I do not think you are a heretic, Hoppy. I think you, like all of us, have some ideas that are heretical. Me included. No one has perfect theology. Because of the way my life has gone, the Eucharist is very important to me. There’s a definite before and after.
I think you could take a survey of almost every congregation in the country as to what defines the Holy Trinity and you would get every Trinitarian heresy under the sun.
I am embracing the mystical aspect of our faith and the more I read and think about it the more I think that the mystical must be embraced as we follow Christ.
For myself, as I look back I feel as though my theology was all buttoned up and I thought I had it all figured out. That sounds incredibly arrogant and indeed can be but it was not from arrogance that my belief originated, it was that the theology that I held was far too small.
When I left CC I was really looking forward to expanding the inflow of material I was reading and I really thought that there could be some changes…I had no idea that the changes would be so vast and deep.
This is another area that came up over the weekend where I think the Lord is confronting more of my errant belief systems of which there have been many. Were they wrong? I believe so but wrong from more of less robust theology.
I really don’t know if I am making sense so forgive the lack of clarity.
Well… we believe the bread and wine actually becomes the Body and Blood of Christ, not a symbol of the Body and Blood. I think there’s a spectrum from the Salvation Army folks who don’t believe communion is for today through the memorialists and through to maybe the Anglicans to the Lutherans, Catholics and the Orthodox. I *suspect* the Orthodox have the most extreme view, based on how spilled Eucharist is treated, with sometimes the affected piece of carpet being cut out and burned or carefully buried. Maybe the RC does this, too.
Some Anglicans do it as well…
Duane, that’s good to know, thank you.
For me the wafer remains a wafer and the wine, or juice, remains juice. But i come humbly and reverently to the elements as i remember the great price paid for my forgiveness and rescue.
“ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes”—1 Cor 11.26
Also, I wonder if some of you may have a negative attitude towards some of my comments thinking that because I I was a CC pastor that towed the cc line. It’s not true. I am not some self appointed pastor/teacher. I am well studied educated and continue my education meeting weekly with scholars from DTS, WSU, and other institutions. I didn’t just listen to some Chuck tapes and regurgitate what I heard. I studied under Dr. H. Wayne House, Nt scholar David Miller, and took classes at Western seminary. I may not be the smartest guy on the planet, but I was certainly not a CC stooge.
My objection is that I disagree sharply with the memorial view.
OK. I understand.
Same here, Hoppy. I never for a minute though you were some CC stooge but like Michael, I came to strongly disagree with the memorialist view.
Can we still be friends? 🙂
I believe so!
Jesus’ own words concerning eating his flesh and drinking his blood require us to ask what indeed he meant – especially given that he did not soften or explain it.
That does not press me to literalism – not yet – but it presses me well beyond literalism. Clearly the transaction is actual. It is real. Jesus is conveyed in the gifts as surely as prayer accesses him.
We should pursue conversation and not just line up here and there.
Grace and peace.
*well beyond symbolism 🤦♂️
“Explaining how God is present to us is impossible for it is a theological mystery, in the strict sense. The idea of mystery, as used by theologians, identifies a reality that we affirm through faith to be true but which we cannot adequately explain. The Christian mysteries of faith identify such realities as the Trinity (one divine reality that is at once three distinct persons), the Incarnation (Jesus who is truly both divine and human), and Jesus’ Real Presence with us as the eucharistic bread and wine.”
Fr. Steve Mueller
That’s the best explanation I’ve seen…agree wholeheartedly…
To me a much bigger and probably more problematic hurdle for me to overcome is the nature of the local church and where the sacraments / ordinances get their power or authority? Since Ive seen so much documented clergy abuse on this very blog, im quite suspicious of clergical or ecclesiastical authority and where it is derived from in particular with sacraments. Im open to this correction on my understanding of the local church but I feel this is a precurser. If that ever happened I think the doctrines of baptism and communion would fall in place. I have a sister in law who thinks baptizing her son at home in the bath tub qualifies as Christian baptism. Who am I ti disagree? I’m not sure where to begin in my discussion with her. Can a small group break bread together and have communion? I see nothing forbidding this in the scripture but it seems you need to have a certified ordained minister present for it to be valid but I cannot put my finger on why. We are looking for Christ to be present so why all the attention on the priest being present? Just ongoing nagging questions that I can’t seem to make sense of.
When I was going to a CRC, I mentioned to the pastor that my small Bible study group was going to have communion at our next meeting (coincidentally on Good Friday), and he asked who was going to serve communion. Stumped, I said I was. He offered to come and officiate over the communion portion because in the CRC, only ordained ministers and evangelists were supposed to serve communion, with elders being allowed to in a pinch. I declined his offer since only my wife and I were CRC, everyone else was from various churches. He told me, the rule existed to make sure that we were taking communion properly, with a sober mind, and not frivolously.
Different traditions have different standards about who can serve the Eucharist.
You would have to deal with each one separately to understand why each believes as they do.
That is a side issue in regard to what is happening when we receive the Supper.
Michael, it may be a side issue for those doing the serving but for the bulk of congregants receiving its core. I have never once received communion in a liturgical setting. Not even once. The closest I got was I once got a blessing at the alter in a Lutheran church which because of a misunderstanding left my wife puzzled and almost crying since they would not serve us communion but only a blessing. That is the closest I got at receiving what most on here are calling the “real presence”. The pastor met with me after to discuss saying it would probably take a dozen or so meetings before he would serve us. Anyway, needless to say we moved on. If the real presence of Christ is that elusive, it probably isn’t as real as they say. What am I missing out on here? It’s easier to believe the real presence by faith in my own mind whether or not the pastor believes it or not. It still confounds me why christians would refuse to take communion in more of a memorial understanding church. If you believe it’s the real presence then who cares what the pastor believes? This however all goes to the understanding of the local church and the parameters you mention with the different traditions and why all of this is tied together. I don’t see how this can be a side issue when it is all tied together in the understanding of the local church.
Lutherans practice closed communion.
Unless you agree with every bit and tittle of their doctrine they won’t commune you.
Anglicans will serve any baptized believer.
I will serve any baptized believer.
A standard explanation (without needed nuance) would be that the bread and wine become the body and blood when consecrated by the prayers of someone in apostolic succession, a priest.
I wouldn’t take communion in a memorial church because they are actively denying the presence of Jesus and the intercourse taking place between heaven and earth.
Also, because I wouldn’t attend one in the first place…
I have to say this has been an interesting discussion
Michael, thanks that helps I think.
At this point the obsession for me is what does proper exegesis reveal — this is another problem because when we live in a silo we get limited possible readings: for example Protestants simply don’t really read Catholics.
So good open discussions — especially those that point to resources … are helpful.
You were reading my mind.
One can’t understand things outside their traditions unless they take the time to study those other traditions…
“In the midst of the prayer, the celebrant will come to the “Words of Institution.” These are the specific words that Jesus said while holding the bread and wine during the Last Supper. By long tradition in the Western church, unless these words are used, the congregation is not receiving a valid sacrament.
Anglican churches tend to use the words given by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25: On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.” After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.” (Book of Common Prayer, 1979, 362-363)
After these words, the prayer reminds us that death was not the end for Jesus. If it had been, there would have been no reason to keep on remembering his sacrifice. Jesus’ defeat was transformed into victory by his bodily resurrection and his following ascension, along with his promise to return. Therefore, the people can proclaim the great mystery of faith: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!”
In the modern era, Anglicans have returned to the prayers of the ancient church by invoking the Holy Spirit over the bread and wine. This moment is called the epiclesis. The celebrant says something like “we pray you, gracious God, to send your Holy Spirit upon these gifts that they may be the Sacrament of the Body of Christ and his Blood of the new Covenant.” As the Words of Institution have been vital in the Western church, the Eastern church has taught that the epiclesis is necessary if the communion is to be considered valid. Anglicans don’t hold this teaching. Several of our traditional Eucharistic Prayers do not include an epiclesis. However, as we’re rediscovering our ancient roots, many of our liturgies have brought it back.”
We Anglicans believe that Christ is mystically present in communion. The bread and wine transform, in some mysterious way, into the body and blood of Jesus. We believe Jesus’ words that “whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:54, NIV). The epiclesis doesn’t cause this transformation. That’s the Spirit’s work; but, it does serve as a beautiful reminder of it. The Great Thanksgiving ends where it began, with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. As the prayer ends, the Trinity is always given glory. We’re reminded that this long prayer is made to the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. The prayer reaches its climax with the Great Amen. It’s hoped that the entire congregation will say, sing, or even shout together this final “So be it!”
McKenzie, Thomas. The Anglican Way: A Guidebook . Colony Catherine, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
“Thank God he doesn’t just reveal himself in one way.
He has also chosen to make himself known in ways that are common and available, yet still sacred. He gives himself to us through his sacraments. God interacts with us through the material world, and one important way in which he does this is through the sacraments. The classic Anglican definition of sacrament is “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.” In other words, a sacrament is an encounter between God and his people through something material. In order for this to be an official church sacrament, it must be something that Christ commanded us to do.”
“The Lord makes himself known through his creation. This is true on a cosmic level, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1, NIV). But he makes himself known in small ways as well.
The greatest example of God’s revelation is in his incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth. When he became human, God took the material world into his divinity. He is no longer separate from his creation, and in Christ, we see that God is intimately connected with the physical world. Creation was God’s first sacrament; and the incarnation of Jesus Christ was his greatest sacrament. All other sacraments flow from these two while anticipating a third, the return of Christ. God provides his Spirit to our souls through matter, through common stuff. We believe that whenever the material “outward and visible signs” are in place, the Lord provides the “inward and spiritual grace.” We don’t have to wait for fleeting, mystical moments. No emotional response is required.”
“Jesus himself gave us communion, and he seemed to think that receiving communion was a big deal (Luke 22:19-20). He said, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:53-54, NIV). We continue to celebrate weekly communion because that’s the way we have life. It’s our connection to Jesus.”
“In the Eucharist, with the Risen Jesus present as our food, we are worshipping with the saints and angels in heaven. But the risen Jesus who is the heart of the heavenly worship is also a Jesus who was crucified, and we share in heaven’s worship only as sharing also in the Jesus who suffers in the world around us, reminding us to meet him there and to serve him in those who suffer. Indeed in the Eucharist we are summoned by two voices, which are really one voice: ‘Come, the heavenly banquet is here. Join with me and my mother and my friends in the heavenly supper.’ ‘Come, I am here in this world in those who suffer. Come to me, come with me, and serve me in them.”
“I can talk about God all I want. I can read the Bible, I can listen to sermons, and I can pray. All of these are right and good. But I know I will encounter God in communion. Receiving communion doesn’t mean I know more about God. It doesn’t mean I have an emotional experience of God. It means that I have fed on Christ, and he has transferred his life into me. Jesus told us he would feed us this way, and he does. Receiving communion in the context of hearing the Gospel proclaimed is the very best way to open yourself to the grace of God in your life.”
Dread, I have often thought about converting to catholicism. There are so many churches and catholic schools in my area that it would make sense but since I have no background in this it does frighten me. However a counselor I am seeing did recommend zeiders clinical Christ book. I believe zeiders is a Roman Catholic.
I will have to catch up a little later. I am in a study with N T Wright in Romans 8 … scintillating and glorious.
“…while I believe the consecrated elements to become, by virtue of his consecratory words, truly and really, yet spiritually and in an ineffable way, His Body and Blood, I learnt also to withhold my thoughts as to the mode of this great Mystery, but as a Mystery to adore it. With the Fathers, then, and our own great Divines…I could not but speak of the consecrated elements as being what, since He has so called them, I believe them to become His Body and Blood…”
“The Eucharist demonstrates that material reality can become charged with Jesus’ life, and so proclaimed hope for the whole world of matter. The material, habitually used as a means of exclusion, of violence, can become a means of communication. Matter as hoarded or dominated or exploited speaks of the distortion and ultimate severance of relationship, and as such can only be a sign of death…The matter of the Eucharist, carrying the presence of the risen Jesus, can only be a sign of life, of triumph over the death of exclusion and isolation…If the Eucharist is a sign of the ultimate Lordship of Jesus, his “freedom” to unite to himself the whole material order as a symbol of grace, it speaks of creation itself, and the place of Jesus in creation.”
Ok—i’ll throw my hat into the righ!
As i read the John 6 passage in it’s entirety, it seems to me that Christ’s reference to eating his flesh and drinking his blood is a metaphorical way of describing the person who draws on, claims, or lays hold of the reality of his atoning sacrifice by putting personal faith in him and doesn’t directly relate to the Lord’s Supper. Instead it is about what the Lord’s Supper is about—Christ’s upcoming sacrifice on Calvary.
Lots of people prefer that metaphorical interpretation.
I find it dull and powerless, especially in light of the support from the NT in numerous other passages about life and the blood. Just discovered new inferences in the book of Hebrews that are fascinating.
As I said, we’re offering a gift that we believe brings the very life of Christ…not looking for converts.
In the Orthodox Church, the priest is the one who is especially anointed to consecrate the bread and wine. A deacon can help serve it, but he cannot consecrate the elements. If the priest is not able to come to the liturgy, the deacon can give a reader’s service but without Communion. When liturgy is over, it’s the deacon who has the task of eating/drinking the leftover Communion. Some is saved to take to patients in the hospital, etc.
So to receive the Eucharist on a Sunday morning, a person must be a baptized/chrismated Orthodox Christian, must have fasted from all food and drink since midnight, and has been to confession. (Frequency of confession depends on the jurisdiction.) So there are some Sundays when I am not prepared to receive Communion so I just stand aside and help sing.
“Instead it is about what the Lord’s Supper is about – Christ’s upcoming sacrifice on Calvary”
I offer these thoughts with respect and not any desire to dismiss what you have said, please indulge;
1. The original Lord’s Supper was a Passover meal. In a technical sense it was a renewing of the Mosaic covenant (Passover) by fulfilling the old covenant (language taken from Hebrews) and making it redundant (obsolete) by making the new covenant in his own blood. When Jesus offers himself the Passover is finished.
2. Thus, you are correct it foretold his “sacrifice on Calvary.” Jesus only spoke of new covenant at his last Passover. In a Passover meal there are and were four cups …. Luke’s account (22) references two of those cups; one before Jesus spoke of the bread as his body and one after… the last cup was normally consumed after the Great Hallel was sung. It was the cup of consummation. Jesus appears to have left that cup unconsumed in that they “went out after they sung a hymn” (Great Hallel) leaving the cup unfinished. see Mt 26:27-30 Mk 14:24-27
3. When Jesus was on the cross he strangely spoke of his thirst Jn 19:28-29 even after refusing drink before his crucifixion after a long ordeal of abuse. But in John we read that Jesus, when the darkness had apparently lifted, cried out “I thirst.” Then they gave him sour wine on a ‘sponge’ on a hyssop branch. (the same branch used in Exodus) In that moment Jesus sealed the matter. Remember he is, Christ, our Passover Lamb who has been sacrificed, i Cor 5:7.
4. It is instructive that Jesus prayed about a cup (Lk 22:42) that he must receive when he was in the Garden. It is instructive that in his garden temptation he submitted again to Father’s voice. It is instructive that Jesus took the last drink emerging from the noontime darkness, It is most instructive that only then he cried “It is finished!” He had done the work the Father gave him to do. Then he relinquished the life they could not take from him.
5. Nothing has impacted me more than my re-reading of Luke 24 and seeing that the language of the supper and the Emmaus meal is the same… He took bread, he blessed it, he broke it, he gave it to them… in that moment these travelers KNEW him.. they later proclaimed that they KNEW him in the breaking of the bread. Jesus was connecting his covenant action to the act of the SUPPER… which he also connected to kingdom inauguration.
6.Thoughts; Jesus put himself into the Passover meal by this sequence of events assuring that the disciples would identify these details… (hyssop branch!!!) with his life and see it as a sacrifice and not a martyrdom. Thus he “died for our sins” even as the lamb of Passover was an exodus sacrifice. It is notable that all of the plagues of Egypt were assaults upon the gods of the Egyptians. The darkness, (the ninth plague) of Golgotha was Jesus defeating the dark powers of the world and then dying as the firstborn son who was not passed over… but was the lamb slain…
7. In John 6 .. we note the feeding of the multitude … and that the Passover was at hand (v 4) The soliloquy about eating his flesh and drinking his blood was surely pre shadowed by Jesus and John records this intentionally to put it all in the context of Passover.
The New Covenant is not our book it is his act of grace by becoming the Passover Lamb and offering us intentionally his blood because he came to offer us his life.
When we eat and drink we do indeed remember but more that that we actually RECEIVE him. John spoke of receiving Jesus in the first chapter and he never gave us a prayer to mediate that… he gave us a meal. When I eat and drink I actually renew his covenant with by receiving Him … HE is true food and true drink … I hunger and thirst for him and am satisfied.
The meal God gave us is the highest worship and the most profound love. He gave himself for us in order to give himself to us. He gives himself to us and lives his life through us. This transaction is a means of grace… I don’t think I can reduce it to the minimalism I have seen and participated in through my evangelical churches.
Grace and Peace… there is so much more
Once again I write too much … but I am indeed processing life here.
By all means keep going…this thread in its entirety is the best we’ve had in years.
You’ve given me some things to think about. I appreciate that
While your denominations view of worship is bot mine, I truly appreciate the reverence you give to the elements. It’s certainly not a casual religious duty or experience!
A pdf of ‘The Anglican Way’ by Thomas McKenzie…
I’m working my way through ‘The Anglican Way’. So far, its quite interesting and compelling. Thanks for posting this.
Thanks Dr. D
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