What Happens In the Lord’s Supper?

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266 Responses

  1. Jean says:


  2. Rick says:

    The mystery in the clarity expressed here is why I am Anglican at heart. Thank you!

  3. Duane Arnold says:

    As Michael and I discussed this last week, this really is the standard Anglican view. How this mystery is celebrated may be “higher” or “lower”, but this is the heart of it….

  4. Josh says:

    He states the position well, I suppose. Of course, I disagree and think that some of his points are weaker than others.

    I do think this is one of those “in house” arguments that would seem silly to outsiders. The zeal that some hold their view of the Supper gets into Emo Phillips “die heretic scum” territory.

    I mean, how many levels of agreement do we go through before we get to the point of arguing about whether bread is made of flour and water, or flesh and bone, or flour and water and flesh and bone?

    You love the lord, believe in his death and resurrection, live your life in His service? Yes.
    You do your best to follow his commands by “doing this in remembrance of me”?

    DIE heretic scum!

  5. Michael says:


    I think the division is over whether or not Christ is doing something for us in the Eucharist or we are doing something for Christ (obeying).

  6. Josh says:

    But!!! IF you understand the supper in the really presence tradition, and the Lord has met you there, I think that is fantastic. Continue on your journey with Him!

    If you believe in transubstantiation – peace to you. Continue to follow the Lord ans serve him daily.

    If you are closer to the memorial view, Love the Lord with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.

  7. Michael says:


    No, I want to fight… 🙂

  8. Josh says:

    Michael – I believe that is the way that your side has presented the controversy because it makes it easier to defeat the dirty memorialists.

    But if we’re honest, both sides are required to be obedient. Even in trying to understand the real presence view, this video is making an argument from Scripture…and is attempting to obedient to that word.

    I’ve never heard a memorialist say “In the supper, we are doing something for God.” We might (rightly) call it obedience, and say that we are remembering what the Lord did for us (as he commended), but we would still describe it as a blessing from God.

  9. Josh says:

    Well, I’m always up for a scrap 🙂

  10. Michael says:


    I’m way too tired to fight family.
    I thought this was the most irenic and concise capsulation of the Anglican view I’ve seen…and it’s offered for informational purposes only, not as ammunition.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh’s point at 10:01 is fine – the attitude of each does their own thing is good for me. The only question is, can you commune together once you have agreed that you are doing something different for different reasons using different elements?

  12. Josh says:

    Yeah, I have no issue with the video or the tone with which it was presented. I just can’t imagine that this is one of the things that matters nearly as much as some think it does. Follow Jesus. Observe the supper to the best of your understanding. Be blessed.

  13. Duane Arnold says:


    I recently posted about a theologian who was very kind to me. He once said to me that being an Anglican was not a matter of “either or” but rather of “both and”. We can hold both views expressed by yourself and Michael “and” realize that it is a greater mystery than we will ever comprehend…

  14. Josh says:

    MLD – I am totally fine with being roped off from your table, as I’ve said many times before. I’m not planning on crashing any Lutheran services…ever. So yes, you may have your separate time of communion.

    My guess is that real presence folks don’t quite understand all that is going on in the supper . Hey, they call it mystery often. I think God’s grace covers that misunderstanding.

    I also guess that memorialists don’t understand everything about the supper and His grace is sufficient there, as well.

    And Jesus is present in all of it, regardless of what kind of lock you’d like to install on the door.

  15. Josh says:

    Duane, certainly! More love, more unity! Not less!

  16. Em says:

    Josh, the mystery (and blessing or condemnation) in “showing the Lord’s death till He returns” is as you argue – i have not a scintilla of doubt…
    Does the remembrance take precedence over renewing one’s mind toward the mind of Christ? I dont think so. I don’t think it is a one hour shortcut to holy living an infusion of Christian character…
    A blessing? YES! Is communion an essential ingredient in our communal life in Christ? I think YES, but for different reasons than most who post here i guess….
    God keep

  17. Sue says:

    (Or anyone else who’s interested…)

    How do you think what he says in this video about the Anglican view compares with what Calvin taught? Just curious on what others would say who are familiar with the reformed tradition. I have always been at a loss to understand Calvin’s position on the Eucharist. Did he believe in the real presence or not?

    (By the way I am in complete agreement with what is presented in this video…but I am married to someone who leans more Calvinist, so this is a common topic in our geeky household).

  18. Michael says:


    Calvin was seeking to find a Eucharistic formula that would appease Bullinger and Luther at the same time.
    He failed on both counts…
    His idea is that we are connected with the local, heavenly Body of Christ through the Holy Spirit and thus nourished spiritually through the body and blood.
    He did not believe the elements themselves were transformed.
    I think it important to note that the basis of Calvin’s theory was his doctrine of union with Christ…which I think merits any study people commit to it.

  19. Michael says:

    I will also say that I think if you could have caught Calvin after a good bottle of wine he would have ascribed it all to mystery…but those times didn’t allow such…

  20. Sue says:


    Yes, the doctrine of union with Christ…which I think is beautiful. Professors at my husband’s (reformed) seminary were very big on that and that’s where I got introduced to this idea of being nourished spiritually through the Lord’s Supper. Up to that point I had only been exposed to a memorialist position, though I had some vague notion that Roman Catholics thought differently. I have always thought that too, it depends on how you define “real” in real presence. Isn’t our union with Christ through the Holy Spirit, experienced through the Eucharist, a “real” union?

    And, agreed, on catching Calvin after a good bottle of wine…..I for one would like to have been there for that!

  21. Michael says:

    “Isn’t our union with Christ through the Holy Spirit, experienced through the Eucharist, a “real” union?”

    Absolutely…and thanks for making that point!
    It gets ignored all too often…

  22. Duane Arnold says:


    He did go so far as to speak of the Supper as “the bond of love” between Christians, but I think he “borrowed” that from Bernard of Clairvaux… then he went to Augustine’s “signs” but in the case of the Eucharist I think he made an interesting distinction (if I remember correctly). It’s along the lines that while the Eucharist is a sign, Christ’s Word transforms the “sign” into what it actually signifies . Getting close to the mystery there…

  23. Michael says:

    I believe you are correct on both counts…

  24. Duane Arnold says:


    Which leaves the open question, if the sign becomes what it signifies…?

  25. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Radical view here – the thing IS actually what Jesus said it is.

  26. Josh says:

    MLD – Your view is actually divorced from that literal interpretation. You believe that it is what Jesus says it is , plus what it appears to be. When He holds up bread and says “This is my body”, why do you believe that it is still bread? Seems inconsistent.

  27. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, you have the description of what I believe down pat. To quote you, I believe “that it is what Jesus says it is , plus what it appears to be.” However, you miss why I believe this – because Jesus said so and for no other reason. I do not think Jesus was trying to fool the disciples.

    Imagine your position – Jesus is holding up the bread, and regardless of the words he says “this is my body” – you hear “this is not my body”. You now have a good handle on the Greek language – can you tell my why the Greek has no word for ‘represents’ or ‘symbolizes’?

    You think you have a metaphor going on here with bread & body, but in fact you have made “IS” the metaphor – for those with your position, IS is a metaphor for represents.

    A note, we do not hold to the RCC position of transubstantiation where the bread keeps the accidents of bread but is actual changed to body and blood alone. We believe that Jesus puts his actual physical body in the bread – but the bread is not the body and the body is not the bread. This is much like when Jesus (preincarnate) spoke from the burning bush. He was in the bush but he was not the bush.

    Good challenge – thanks

  28. Josh says:

    1. You do not know what a metaphor is. A metaphor, by definition, uses the word “is”.

    2. You do not take Jesus at His word. He says “This is my body”. You say “Yeah sure, but it is still bread.”

    Why did Jesus not explain that it was still bread? Are there Greek words for “real Presence”? Or “In, with, and under”?

  29. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    No, how many of the parables say something such as the kingdom of God is like…”
    Jesus could have said “this represents my body” or “this symbolizes my body” or “this is like my body.” But he says this IS my body.

    So when Jesus says, “I am the resurrection” is he saying “I represent the resurrection – I symbolize the resurrection, or I am like the resurrection”?

  30. Josh says:

    If it uses “like” it is a simile. A metaphor uses “is”.

  31. Xenia says:

    But “is” does not always signify a metaphor.

  32. Josh says:

    You are trying to make an argument that the language does not allow it to be a metaphor. You are wrong in bot h English and Greek. Strictly reading the language, it absolutely could be a metaphor. You do not believe that it is a metaphor, and that is your right. I believe that is is self-evident that it is a metaphor. I believe that the machinations needed to get to “Real Presence” prove that it is indeed a metaphor.

  33. Josh says:

    Xenia – That is correct. But metaphors do use is ( not like or as or represents). I know that you understand that. MLD does not.

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    As I have said many times, you and I have no common ground in the Lord’s Supper. Either of us can be wrong and at this point it does not matter, but there is no doubt that we are doing something different, gathered for different purposes with different elements and with a different presence of God.

    I have no problem with the differences, as I only wish to point them out so folks can see the irreconcilable gulf between us.

  35. Josh says:

    All good. And I agree. You have made it clear that I am never welcome at a Lutheran church, and promise to never visit. You are welcome at any Baptist church in the world, still.

  36. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You are more than welcome at a Lutheran church – where did you ever get the idea that you were not? In fact if you come visit my church, we will even give you a welcome and a coffee cup.
    At the same time you must abstain from joining in the communion, but you are more than welcome to come to the rail at the time of communion to receive a blessing.

    We are open to all. Just as I am sure you are welcomed at Xenia’s church, but not allowed to receive communion at her’s either.

  37. Duane Arnold says:


    Just a thought, but what do you make of the history of interpretation argument? From the late first century to the 16th century, there was a pretty common interpretation. Admittedly, transubstantiation was a inadequate term based on the categories of Aristotle. Nonetheless, the common interpretation maintained that something extraordinary took place…

  38. Sue says:

    I used to be offended that I could not take communion at LCMS and Orthodox churches (or Roman Catholic for that matter but my travels never presented me with that situation for some reason). Actually now that I have thought through this issue more I like the fact that both of these churches view the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist so reverently…and that they both make allowances for visitors by either inviting them to come forward to receive a blessing or sharing the friendship bread. I’m my humble opinion, this is less off-putting than the Presbyterian practice of leaving those not partaking of the elements sitting back in the pews (to include children of believers who have not yet made a “valid” profession of faith). Actually, the practices of these two churches were part of what started me thinking about the meaning of the Eucharist at all, and the sacraments in general, and why I was drawn into the Anglican tradition.

  39. bob1 says:

    As I have said many times, you and I have no common ground in the Lord’s Supper.


    How about the fact that you’re worshipping the same Lord and God?
    Even if you can’t agree on the specifics?

    Don’t miss the forest for the trees here.

  40. Josh says:

    Duane – I give it some thought. I can say with no doubt that the early church was centered around the Eucharist much more so than any church I have been in. There is validity to that argument, for sure.

    And just to be clear, again, I am not offended that I am not welcome at the Lutheran table. I have no desire to be there.

    I am exploring ways to incorporate a more central view of Communion within my own gang. I think we (SBC) clearly err in making it such a side portion of worship.

  41. Duane Arnold says:


    Recently I was helping an LCMS pastor with some liturgical issues. He invited me to stay for the service and to partake of the Eucharist. I told him that I really couldn’t, as I wanted to respect the position that he was supposed to uphold as an LCMS pastor. It’s not about the view of the Eucharist (mine is identical or a little higher than LCMS), it’s about good order… at least in my opinion.

  42. Josh says:

    Mine is about not liking the attitude of LCMS folks. 🙂

  43. Josh says:

    I’d go to an ECLA service, Orthodox, Anglican, Catholic…and respectfully abstain from the supper. I’ve made a promise to never enter an LCMS church and I’ll keep my word.

  44. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well it’s not just about what is happening in the supper. If I go to church with my Lutheran mother in law, I don’t commune with her even though she believes what I believe – she was LCMS for 40 plus years and went ELCA 20 yrs ago (no LCMS in the area) – but I won’t commune with the ELCA folks and leadership in her church because of their teachings on every other topic.

  45. Duane Arnold says:


    @11:24 I tend to agree…

  46. Dan from Georgia says:

    I RARELY comment on some of these issues brought up here, but I can’t stay silent. I too could never go LCMS for the same reason as well noted by Josh at 11:24am. Being here for several years has cemented that choice in me.

  47. Duane Arnold says:

    Dan from Georgia

    I went to an LCMS seminary… Oh the stories I could tell…

  48. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If attitude trumps truth, you guys may want to give Joel Osteen’s church a try – 40,000 in attendance each week just being happy clappy and allowed to believe what they want.

  49. Duane Arnold says:


    Attitude doesn’t trump truth… it just gets so mixed with truth that it’s hard to separate the two…

  50. Josh says:

    I’d visit Osteen’s church. Would not visit an LCMS.

  51. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, you don’t need to tell me – you had me when you said you would go to the ELCA and sit for their heretical teaching and sexual perverse pastors.
    But as I said, attitude trumps truth with some folks.

  52. Jean says:

    “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”

    The great thing about Osteen’s church is that you’ll never have have to worry about this. I doubt he would ever warn someone about judgment resulting from desecrating God’s holiness.

  53. ( |o )====::: says:

    I’m curious, what would happen in the spiritual realm and in the earthly realm if I were to visit an LCMS church, and partake of The Eucharist. I mean, unless I outed myself as a non-Lutheran, who would know and what would happen?

    An inquiring mind, heart & soul

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    G, nothing in the spiritual realm. Our view is that you would be taking the supper to your own judgment (note I did not say to you own damnation).

    But then again, since you are not “putting” yourself you may have an issue with trickery in the church.
    Give it a try – you have EO, RCC, Lutheran and a couple of others to do your undercover research.

  55. Josh says:

    So you guys want to keep me away from LCMS (I know, I can come sit at the back of the bus), but then you also want to control where I go when I’m not at your church? No thanks.

    I am Southern Baptist. I go to Southern Baptist Churches. However, if on an island with Nadia Bolz Webber, Joel Osteen, and an LCMS church…I’ll go to two worship services that day where I know that I’ll be welcome. I will never attend an LCMS church under any circumstance.

    So absolutely: For me, ELCA >LCMS. Osteen>LCMS.

    I guess if my choices were down to Wicca and LCMS I’d just be that guy who says he can worship JEsus all by himself.

  56. Duane Arnold says:

    The attitude just gets so mixed with truth that it’s hard to separate the two…

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, I am sure you are just putting me on, but you are not quite the ballbuster I am, so you may as well give up now 😉

    Now, as to your many false accusations, no one has ever said you are not welcome – in fact earlier this morning I said if you came to my church you would be given a warm welcome and a coffee mug. But you think it is better to play the victim making the same charge that women make to the SBC – we are not welcome in the SBC because we cannot preach from the pulpit. The very same victimhood speech.

    Another point, if you came to an LCMS church you would not be relegated to the back of the church – that is where the Lutherans sit.

    Now to you claim that the LCMS is on the same level as Wicca, that won’t get a rise out of me at all. For all 25 years with CC and the SBC that was stock teaching, that Lutherans were not Christians because they baptized babies and practiced cannibalism by thinking they were eating and drinking Jesus’ body and blood. I was taught it and instructed to teach it.
    I guess it is still going on.

    Anytime you want that coffee mug, let me know. 😉

  58. Josh says:

    Can I get the mug without visiting the church? I do like mugs.

  59. Jean says:

    The speaker in the video made an excellent point, citing the the Gospel of John: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” It’s still a hard saying as this thread bears witness.

  60. Josh says:

    I think what the text actually means is much harder than eating a wafer or drinking a sip of wine.

  61. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The meaning of the text is harder than just eating a wafer or drinking a sip of wine – good observation on your part, you are getting closer to the truth. It is the feasting on the actual physical body and blood of Jesus for the giving of life and the forgiveness of your sins.

    I find it odd that Baptists ask the same question the Jews asked when John gave Jesus’ preview of the supper in John 6 – Jesus plainly says “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” So the Jews of that day like the Baptists today asked “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

    Now to a Lutheran, this is not rocket science – Jesus follows up saying ““Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. ”

    To deny this clear statement, one must use scripture against scripture to deny a Jesus promise —- and it will be done.

  62. Josh says:

    Ye it is harder than eating a wafer or sipping wine. One must eat the wafer and wine at an LCMS church.

    I’ll admit that is a step to far for me.

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    well you sure as heck can’t eat the wafer and drink the wine at the baptist church? What wine do you serve?

    “One must eat the wafer and wine at an LCMS church.” again, another false statement. The RCC must eat and drink at a RC church, the EO must eat and drink at an EO church, I am sure that the Church of Christ people must eat and drink at a CoC church.

    Baptist seem to want to be the party crashers. 🙂

  64. Chris says:

    Honest question from the cheap seats…
    For those on the sacramental side, for your respective denomination, what actually happens as a result of taking Communion/Eucharist? ie, are you receiving forgiveness of sins that was not available to you already? Are you “filled with the Spirit” in a new or different way? Is there some other manifestation of Grace that is imparted to you only through the Eucharist? I go to a memorialist believing church–I believe they would answer that you receive whatever continued blessing is available to the believer by virtue of being obedient to the Lord’s example and commandment, but nothing more. I tend to believe that “something” happens and is imparted (the table is a means of Grace), but i’m not sure I can say what that exactly is. So for me it is more than just a remembrance, but I don’t think it is a way to be forgiven of sin. Just curious where everyone lands on that.

  65. Jean says:

    Here’s the Lutheran answer from the Small Catechism:

    What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

    That is shown us in these words: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins; namely, that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

    How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?

    It is not the eating and drinking, indeed, that does them, but the words which stand here, namely: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins. Which words are, beside the bodily eating and drinking, as the chief thing in the Sacrament; and he that believes these words has what they say and express, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

  66. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Chris – good question. God always uses physical means to deliver to us the grace(s) he won for us on the cross. In my take, they don’t just come in the air or the sprinkling of pixie dust.
    Why would God give us his good grace only once or in only one form? I will take it anyway I can get it. We see that God uses 3 “means” – the word, spoken and written, baptism and by the Lord’s Supper. All 3 are a direct and free gift of God.

    If I were to depend on my obedience to receive God’s gifts I would be in deep doo doo (to use a theological term) as God’s standard for my obedience is perfection. The only person who may benefit by my obedience would be my neighbor as I go out to love and serve him.

    I am sure some here have a different opinion.

  67. Michael says:

    Great question!
    I think the correct answer is “whatever we need according to how God defines our need”.
    I do think God is doing something very real and very good in the Eucharist…but defining it is beyond our ability and knowledge.

  68. Michael says:

    I think the doctrine that God always uses physical means to “deliver” His blessings is utter nonsense.
    These aren’t packages from Amazon…

  69. Duane Arnold says:

    16. The Holy Eucharist

    Q: What is the Holy Eucharist?
    A: The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament commanded by Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection, until his coming again.

    Q: Why is the Eucharist called a sacrifice?
    A: Because the Eucharist, the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, is the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present, and in which he unites us to his one offering of himself.

    Q: By what other names is this service known?
    A: The Holy Eucharist is called the Lord’s Supper, and Holy Communion; it is also known as the Divine Liturgy, the Mass, and the Great Offering.

    Q: What is the outward and visible sign in the Eucharist?
    A: The outward and visible sign in the Eucharist is bread and wine, given and received according to Christ’s command.

    Q: What is the inward and spiritual grace given in the Eucharist?
    A: The inward and spiritual grace in the Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ give to his people, and received by faith.

    Q: What are the benefits which we receive in the Lord’s Supper?
    A: The benefits we receive are the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening of our union with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our nourishment in eternal life.

    Q: What is required of us when we come to the Eucharist?
    A: It is required that we should examine our lives, repent of our sins, and be in love and charity with all people.

  70. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael -I didn’t say blessings – I said his grace.
    So, someone just walking down the street minding his own business gets forgiveness?

    Hey, if you know of another method than word and sacrament (defined by you as an Amazon package) I would like to hear it.

  71. Josh says:

    ” The RCC must eat and drink at a RC church, the EO must eat and drink at an EO church, I am sure that the Church of Christ people must eat and drink at a CoC church. ”

    So you are affirming that all of those denominations are eating and drinking adequately?

  72. Michael says:

    If the man walking is also praying for forgiveness ,he receives forgiveness.

  73. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, I do think the EO does. Because of transubstatiation I would say no, but they are much closer than the memorialize. The Doc I would break with but they do place a significant meaning towards salvation.

    My point is even if they all did it right if we have doctrinal differences in other areas, we are not in communion — and they feel the very same way.

  74. Josh says:

    But if I need salvation, can I eat a wafer at one of those churches, or do I absolutely have to come to LCMS? Be honest.

  75. Chris says:

    Thank you guys for the response. for the Lutherans, do you believe the you have forgiveness of sins outside of the Eucharist and Baptism? ie, if you repent and pray for forgiveness, are you also forgiven? (or maybe even if you don’t, are you still forgiven?) is the Eucharist just ONE of the ways to experience that grace or is it the only way (or maybe one of only 3 ways, along with baptism and the sacrament of the Word). I’ve been of the opinion that forgiveness was won on the cross and is in play for us without needing a sacrament as the means….but that doesn’t mean that “nothing” happens with the bread and wine.

  76. Xenia says:

    The Orthodox believe the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. No explanations are offered. Another name for communion is the Holy Mysteries, which pretty much explains our feelings about it.

    -We do not use the word “transubstantiation” or any similar word of explanation.

    -Only baptized Orthodox Christians who have been to confession and who have fasted since midnight may partake. How recent the confession is up to the jurisdiction. For my group (ROCOR) it’s the night before at Vigil or the morning of.

    -We do not use wafers, we use home made bread, baked by a volunteer, often Father G. himself.

    -The chalice contains the wine and the bread, which has been cut into small pieces. We receive a little wine and bread from the chalice on a spoon. This practice developed to avoid mishaps.

    – All leftovers are consumed by the priest or the deacons. Except for special occasions, like hospital visits, nothing is left over.

    – When I approach the chalice the priest says “Servant of God Xenia receives the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and the healing of the soul and body.”

    Before communion, when Father G. comes out with the chalice, he recites the following and in most parishes, the congregation recites it from memory along with him:

    “I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. I believe also that this is truly Thine own pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood. Therefore I pray Thee: have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance. And make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries, for the remission of my sins, and unto life everlasting. Amen.

    Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss; but like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord in Thy Kingdom.

    May the communion of Thy Holy Mysteries be neither to my judgment, nor to my condemnation, O Lord, but to the healing of soul and body. Amen.”

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Chris, we Lutherans are the simpletons in the Christian world. If Jesus says this is my body, we believe it blindly because he said it. If the passage in John 6 (as I posted above) says we get life and forgiveness for eating his flesh & blood ( which he said earlier we would find in the bread and wine) or the contrary, we get no life and forgiveness if we reject the eating of flesh and blood, we believe what he says blindly because he said it.
    When the Bible says baptism saves, we believe it – when it says that by baptism you receive the Holy spirit, we believe it – blindly because scripture states such.
    When Paul recounted in Acts 22 how he had his sin remitted through baptism, we trust the same for ourselves.
    How many times we get forgiven, or him many times we need forgiveness, I can’t tell you – but I go for it as often as I can.
    You will need to ask the Baptist and the other ‘one and done’ Christians why they don’t think the same.

  78. Jean says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for your questions. Let me begin with a Lutheran definition of Sacrament:

    “If we call Sacraments rites which have the command of God, and to which the promise of grace has been added, it is easy to decide what are properly Sacraments. For rites instituted by men will not in this way be Sacraments properly so called. For it does not belong to human authority to promise grace…. 4] Therefore Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Absolution, which is the Sacrament of Repentance, are truly Sacraments. For these rites have God’s command and the promise of grace, which is peculiar to the New Testament. For when we are baptized, when we eat the Lord’s body, when we are absolved, our hearts must be firmly assured that God truly forgives us 5] for Christ’s sake. And God, at the same time, by the Word and by the rite, moves hearts to believe and conceive faith, just as Paul says, Rom. 10:17: Faith cometh by hearing. But just as the Word enters the ear in order to strike our heart, so the rite itself strikes the eye, in order to move the heart. The effect of the Word and of the rite is the same, as it has been well said by Augustine that a Sacrament is a visible word, because the rite is received by the eyes, and is, as it were, a picture of the Word, signifying the same thing as the Word. Therefore the effect of both is the same.”

    In order to assure individuals of God’s favor and presence, He has seen fit to wrap His promises in external or physical or things of creation. Thus, God has appeared in a flame of fire, in a cloud, in a donkey, in the Son, in a preacher, in bread and wine.

    The Sacraments are delivery methods of his Word and promises, to deliver the grace of God won for mankind by Jesus.

    It is possible to preach to yourself. You can read the Bible and (assuming you are a believer) pray to God and receive what is promised in the Word, but the consistent emphasis in the Bible is on hearing, seeing, tasting.

    Assurance is the antidote to anxiety. Anxiety is the unhealthy and doesn’t lend itself to fruitfulness in one’s vocations. To serve one’s neighbor well, one should be free in the full assurance of the gospel. The Sacraments foster assurance. So, if someone asks me, “Can I be a Christian if I don’t believe in the Sacraments,” I would say “yes you can,” but in my tradition we would say that such a person is missing out on the greatest gifts that Christ has given to the church to administer to the faithful.

  79. Jean says:

    Six times in the letter to the Hebrews the preacher speaks of drawing near to God, and one time He speaks of “But you have come to….” To things are needed to participate in the divine liturgy of Hebrews: (1) confidence that you have God’s favor and (2) a place to go.

  80. Duane Arnold says:

    Others have a different view of the Sacraments… as to number, efficacy, etc. – to be very clear, this is a (particular) Lutheran view…

    Not arguing, just as an observation.

  81. Chris says:

    Thanks for the answers everyone. I’m interested in other viewpoints as well, from Anglican or any other denominations. Less interested in the theory than in the actual differences or impacts to the believer. I understand (at least some) of the differences in the theory and academics, but I’m trying to learn more of how the academic differences actually manifest differently to the believer, in your view. (Or if, when all is said and done, we all believe that forgiveness is made available to the believer through the elements)

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, to your comment at 10:08 – sorry it took so long. I had to pack up and drive 2 hours to the city so my wife could shop at Target.

    Perhaps for your next class you could study about what different denominations teach. We don’t eat a wafer to get saved and we do not recommend the practice to others.

  83. Babylon's Dread says:

    I should have weighed in … my covenantal views make the supper a real central issue. More anon

  84. Steve says:

    Thanks for all the discussion. I think I like the idea of mystery. If you baptize babies that have no understanding, I don’t understand why serving communion to those with a slightly different understanding is such a big deal. If you have to go to seminary to understand all the nuances before you will be communed, that is a difficult pill to swallow.

  85. Michael says:

    Long day, but I’ll chime in a bit.
    I don’t represent the views of any Anglican, but myself.

    My beliefs on this matter are simple.
    God feeds His own with Himself.

    What they believe about the Eucharist or what the priest or pastor believes about the Eucharist is mostly irrelevant because God is acting in grace and mercy and He does so as He pleases, not according to our sectarian confessions.

    I believe in some sort of real presence because I believe his real presence is everywhere.

    I can’t explain or define it, I can only receive it.
    Like most of the faith it is a mystery…again, not to be parsed, but simply received.

    That’s what I think, but I’m really tired…

  86. Michael says:

    Oh, and I would commune any baptized believer, believing God will bless them even if they differ with me about something none of us can comprehend anyway…

  87. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    And that is why there are different churches. But there is much more to being in communion than just the common thought of the supper.
    The case may be that the ELCA has the identical take on the elements and the meaning, yet we (the LCMS) are not in communion due to differences in many other points (pretty dann close to all points.)

  88. Michael says:


    I understand that is the Lutheran definition of being in communion.
    It’s not mine.
    All believers in Jesus are in communion with Him and each other because we are all in Christ…and in Christ those doctrinal issues disappear.

  89. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    LOL, what you just stated and called the Lutheran definition, is your opinion or the Anglican opinion and NOT the opinion of wider Christianity – which would include the EO, The RCC, Lutherans and perhaps others.
    An indiscriminate open table is fairly new and probably largely American.

  90. Jean says:


    “If you have to go to seminary to understand all the nuances before you will be communed, that is a difficult pill to swallow.”

    Seminary is not the solution to understanding the Holy Communion. Many seminaries may well be a contributing factor to the problem. Where are people taught that the words of Jesus do not mean what he says? Where are people taught to add interpolations?

    “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”

    Can this hard saying, along with the others, be left to stand?

  91. Duane Arnold says:

    Oh really…

  92. Steve says:

    Jean,. I am very sympathetic to your viewpoint and I do take Jesus’ words at face value. When He says something I believe it. But that is not quite what we are discussing here. For instance the pastor is not Jesus when the pastor breaks the bread. This is quite different than if Jesus we’re actually standing in the pulpit breaking the bread.

  93. Jean says:


    “For instance the pastor is not Jesus when the pastor breaks the bread. This is quite different than if Jesus we’re actually standing in the pulpit breaking the bread.”

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. One of the requirements in the Lutheran understanding of a Sacrament is that it has the command of the Lord Jesus to do it. Thus, He has authorized a pastor it enact the ritual: “Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

    Similarly in Absolution: “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” and “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

    In the Lutheran tradition we speak of Christians as a “holy priesthood.” In that vocation priests represent God before people, and the people before God. When Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus, he didn’t say “Saul why are you persecuting my apostles,” but “Saul, why are you persecuting me.” A Lutheran view is that Jesus is in the midst of the congregation serving Holy Communion.

  94. Josh says:

    I push the issue with MLD because he’s fun to needle, but the truth is that if you follow the dots, there could be no salvation outside LCMS church. I know he won’t actually say those words because he realizes it is a horrific position. (Jean may actually say it, he is not as nuanced as MLD…which is saying something.)

    But seriously, in their view look at how forgiveness and salvation are gained. Follow their arguments and tell me how a person could possibly be saved outside of LCMS.

    And I think God smiles, and appreciates the effort.

    That being said , they do not take Jesus at His word. Jesus says “This is my body”, but Lutherans insist that it is still bread, so let’s put that falsehood to bed.

  95. Jean says:

    At 2:18 on 6/4, I wrote “So, if someone asks me, “Can I be a Christian if I don’t believe in the Sacraments,” I would say “yes you can,” but in my tradition we would say that such a person is missing out on the greatest gifts that Christ has given to the church to administer to the faithful.”

    Like the speaker in the video, Lutherans believe Jesus is present in, which and under the bread. Why? It comes from the text: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” I don’t know how someone can say “falsehood, when the Bible never says the bread is transformed or otherwise no longer present. I’ve never said the EO or RCC views are falsehood; I don’t even know their exegesis of the texts, so I can’t comment.

    I think the video presented an excellent, concise view of the the Lord’s Supper.

    I think Duane made an excellent point on 6/3 above: “Nonetheless, the common interpretation maintained that something extraordinary took place… ”

    I think the disciples were right: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

  96. Josh says:

    There is a greater gift than Salvation?!?! So you may be a Christian outside of LCMS (but seriously people, follow the reasoning. There is no way.) but you will be a lesser Christian of sorts. Less blessed. The greater gifts will be withheld until you join LCMS.

    Jesus says “THis is my body”. You say ” No Jesus. That is still bread. Your body is just in, with, and under what is clearly a piece of bread.”

    ‘I think the disciples were right: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”’

    Why do you think that you are the one who has understood this hard saying?

  97. Duane Arnold says:

    Trying to “nail down” the physical/spiritual nature of the Eucharist is a losing game. Augustine may have done it the best in his work on signs. Otherwise you have to resort to philosophical categories (transubstantiation, for example) that are outside of both the language of Scripture and to some extent, outside of the Christian tradition. The early church fathers simply referred to the “holy mysteries” (a term retained by the EO). I consider it a far preferable solution as it does not define, it simply makes an observation of something that is outside the realm of intellect…

  98. Jean says:


    I’m not going to reciprocate your hostility and I harbor no hostility.

    The majority of Christians worldwide hold that the Supper is the climax of the Christian Worship Service. There are more Lutherans outside the LCMS who hold the Lutheran view of Christ’s presence in the Supper than there are LCMS Lutherans. I think we can take references to LCMS out of the discussion on this topic.

    There is no greater gift than Salvation. Jesus delivers it in the Supper.

    I never said “lesser Christian.” I said “missing out” according to my tradition.

  99. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, your are wrong again, nothing new there. I was “saved” before I was a Lutheran. As an elder in the SBC camp I was a card carrying member of the ‘one and done’ club – everything was done at salvation and that I received everything a Christian was to get – nothing else from God and the remainder of my life was to deliver my sanctification.
    All following actions on my part, Bible study, baptism, the Supper we all upward actions from me to God out of my obedience. We were taught and we taught that even our prayer time was my action and again a time of obedience.

    You, like me at the time have no spiritual category of God being the actor and that we come to God not to bring our gift of obedience, but to continually receive again and again his ongoing gifts he won on the cross – that through word and sacrament he delivers, to the believers life everlasting and the forgiveness of sin.
    Great news from my camp is this -The gospel is even for the Christian.
    ***side Note – you must have missed where I said we don’t ear a wafer to ‘get’ saved.***

  100. Chris says:

    These last few comments are the reason for my querying of what it actually means to the believer. A Baptist will say (I think) this is a memorial/remembrance. We do this because Jesus did it and said to do it. And we receive “something” (some kind of blessing, strengthening, etc) because we are obeying Him. A Lutheran says this is a Sacrament and a means to receive God’s grace (forgiveness for sure, maybe other blessings). According to Jean, forgiveness is still available without it, but you are “missing out” on the “more” that God has for you. I believe the Baptist would also say you are “missing out” by not partaking. The Anglican might have different formulations but the end result seems like it would be similar–some kind of Grace is imparted to the believer. In all 3 instances, you receive something (but this is not the ONLY way to receive that something) and you would miss out on the fullness of what God has for you by not partaking. So to the average pew-sitter who isn’t all that concerned about defining exactly what happens and how, what is the difference? Do any of you believe the Communion/Eucharist is the ONLY way by which a believer will receive a certain blessing (salvation, forgiveness, or something else you can actually define) that is critical?

  101. Josh says:

    “I’m not going to reciprocate your hostility and I harbor no hostility.”

    I’m sorry, do I seem hostile? That is not my intention at all. Simply discussing an issue that we disagree upon. I will make an effort to check my tone.

  102. Josh says:

    “There is no greater gift than Salvation. Jesus delivers it in the Supper.”

    See, this is the statement that would need to be unpacked. And this is why one would be offended ( I am not) if you refused them the supper. You are denying them salvation,l by your own words!

    I insist upon LCMS because other Lutherans are not nearly as narrow as you guys are.

  103. Jean says:

    Thanks Josh. Me too.

  104. Josh says:

    ***side Note – you must have missed where I said we don’t ear a wafer to ‘get’ saved.***

    Jean disagrees.

  105. Josh says:

    Chris – I confirm everything you said from the Baptist perspective. And your point is well-taken.

  106. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, the issue is the division between those who say you receive life everlasting and forgiveness of sin in the waters of baptism and the elements of the supper (me) and those who deny that you receive anything – it has already been delivered at a previous time (Josh).
    This is not shades of the same thing. We are talking 2 completely different purposes and results of participation. Heck, we don’t even used the same props and we call it by different names – sacrament vs ordinance.
    We can try to make it a kumbaya event like the Anglican’s do, but that was not how Jesus looked at it. He pressed the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood in an effort to get those who lacked real commitment to him to leave.

    Have you ever noticed that the people were very clear why they were leaving – they refused to participate with any crazy talk about real flesh and real blood? But the larger point is that Jesus didn’t run after them saying “guys, guys, come back, I wasn’t talking real body and blood – I was talking about crackers and grape juice.” No, he had the attitude, “don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out!”

    Then when he turn to his disciples, he didn’t say, “can you believe that?” – No, he said something to the effect “what about you jokers, are you in?”

    Again, this is not shades or degrees of the same thing.

  107. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Sorry, I meant to address Chris’ question.
    Last post was to Chris.

  108. Josh says:

    Ah, finally, the real MLD speaks out.

    Now, you guys read his last comment and tell me how there can possibly be salvation outside of LCMS?

  109. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, you gotta admit, me quoting scripture of Jesus saying you must eat his flesh and drink his blood or you do not have everlasting life or forgiveness of sins does throw a Baptist for a loop.
    Again, what I say is not particular to the LCMS.

  110. Josh says:

    Jean – I will again apologize. I looked back at my comments from a few days, and I was definitely portraying hostility towards LCMS to try to get a rise out of MLD. I know that does not lead to healthy conversation.

  111. Josh says:

    “does throw a Baptist for a loop.”

    Not at all. Why would it? If you are right, and the supper is necessary for salvation, uh, we take the supper. All good. (Now, if you think LCMS view of the super is needed for salvation, just say so.)

    I’ll ask you a question about the text in question: Which is harder – to eat a wafer, or to hang on a cross?

  112. Jean says:


    “Do any of you believe the Communion/Eucharist is the ONLY way by which a believer will receive a certain blessing (salvation, forgiveness, or something else you can actually define) that is critical?”

    Lutherans do not teach that Communion is the only way by which Christians can receive salvation or forgiveness, but it is the only way to receive Christ’s body and blood.

    Is there something else given which is critical? Here let me quote from Luther’s Large Catechism:

    “On this account it is indeed called a food of souls, which nourishes and strengthens the new man. For by Baptism we are first born anew; but (as we said before) there still remains, besides, the old vicious nature of flesh and blood in man, and there are so many hindrances and temptations of the devil and of the world that we often become weary and faint, and sometimes also stumble.

    24] Therefore it is given for a daily pasture and sustenance, that faith may refresh and strengthen itself so as not to fall back in such a battle, but become ever stronger and stronger. 25] For the new life must be so regulated that it continually increase and progress; 26] but it must suffer much opposition. For the devil is such a furious enemy that when he sees that we oppose him and attack the old man, and that he cannot topple us over by force, he prowls and moves about on all sides, tries all devices, and does not desist, until he finally wearies us, so that we either renounce our faith or yield hands and feet and become listless or impatient. 27] Now to this end the consolation is here given when the heart feels that the burden is becoming too heavy, that it may here obtain new power and refreshment.”

    Speaking only for myself, Holy Communion is the Gospel I turn especially to in times of personal adversity and crises. I feel no closer to Jesus anywhere else than at the Supper.

  113. Michael says:


    I’m in agreement with Duane at 6:53.
    I think the Eucharistic passage in 1 Cor 11 is informative.
    There were factions among them.
    Some of them were drunk.
    Paul seems to make it clear that something supernatural takes place during the Supper but he doesn’t give theological details.
    We still have factions and these arguments are more tolerable after a couple shots…

  114. Josh says:

    Well, Michael, better kick back a couple. I’m just starting to have fun! 🙂

  115. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I remember years ago I would tease all those who held to the memorial view that what they were doing was ‘a toast to Jesus’ – we are gathered here to remember Jesus!
    I would follow up saying that the communion hymn could be For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow. At least I got a chuckle out of it.

    Then one day I ran into the video of a Sunday morning service presided by the young buck at Applegate. After his sermon, he led into the communion service and almost fell out of my chair when he lifted his cup to the congregation and said “This is a toast to Jesus!”
    After a good hardy laugh, I said – geez, an honest memorialist. I think I posted the link here several years ago.

  116. Josh says:

    Yeah, that would obviously be irreverent and incorrect. Not typical, but bad examples exist, I’m sure.

  117. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, how can you say his understanding of the supper is wrong, but I can’t say your practice isn’t?
    I didn’t think his was irreverent I thought it was an honest representation.
    And it was a great example 🙂

  118. Michael says:

    We always reach a certain point in these discussions where it’s no longer a fruitful discussion but an exhibition of sectarian pride.
    There is nothing stranger to me than fighting over something that is a mystery…unless, of course your sect has solved the mystery.

  119. Josh says:

    MLD – you can say mine is wrong, as I have said your’s is wrong. You will not go to Hell for being wrong on this point.

    Michael – “Mystery” – Exactly. But i think it is an interesting conversation.

  120. Jean says:

    I saw the video of the Jesus toast, but have never experienced it elsewhere. What I have experienced at a memorialist service is multiple portable tables set up around the auditorium where people were invited to walk up and take a cracker and some juice and offer a prayer silently or otherwise contemplate the event. There was no liturgy nor were Christ’s words of institution spoken.

    In that same church I heard testimonies of men who were baptized multiple times and others who made multiple trips to the front of the auditorium to give or re-dedicate their lives to Jesus.

    It seems to me, for these men who never hear “your sins are forgiven” and “given for you,” that, just like me, they long for forgiveness and long for God’s favor, but never receive it from outside themselves. So they look for it inside, but when their personal lives are in shambles or crisis or sin besets them or they have a health crisis, God seems hostile or distant, not gracious or favorable. It makes me very sad for them.

  121. Josh says:

    I can imagine that, Jean. Certainly a weakness that should be addressed.

  122. Michael says:

    I’m very uncomfortable divorcing the Eucharist from the rest of the liturgy.
    For those interested in how Anglicans view the service…


  123. Jean says:

    Thanks Josh. In a crises situation, can you imagine the advise given to increase or improve your obedience.

  124. Josh says:

    Jean, I imagine that it could be soul-killing.

  125. Jean says:

    I think (and I am open to correction by Duane) that the Lutheran order of service and rubrics in English are very similar to the Anglican’s because (a) they both originate from a common history and (b) when the German Lutherans transitioned to English in the early 20th Century, the Book of Common Prayer was readily available.

  126. Michael says:

    I pretty much live in a constant crises situation.
    I don’t doubt my salvation, nor the fact that I have been forgiven.
    I doubt a lot of other things…

  127. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    the funny thing is I have never brought up or questioned another’s salvation in any conversation since I have been on this blog for 13 yrs. In fact I take people at their word if they say they are Christian.

    However, when the text says – “52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”

    I don’t know how a proclaimed Christian can then say, Not so!! We do not eat his real flesh which is true food nor do we drink his real blood which is true drink.

    That to me is the only mystery.

  128. Michael says:


    There is a contradiction there.
    According to you Jesus was referring to the Lutheran view on communion and without accepting it Jesus says you have no life in you.
    I have to think there are alternative explanations for the text that gets others into eternity with Christ…

  129. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You are so hung up on “Lutheran” it is ridiculous – I didn’t question salvation – what I said is I don’t know why you think Jesus spoke as if he had marbles in his mouth and cannot be understood?

  130. Michael says:


    Let’s review.
    You are a Lutheran.
    You believe Jesus is speaking of the Eucharist and you believe that you are following Jesus at His word in the Lutheran liturgy.
    Jesus says unless you do this you have no life in you.
    The reasonable conclusion to those facts would be…

  131. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – you miss the point – you are saying that either Jesus did not say this, that he meant something else or that he was wrong.

    Now, if you take it to the Lutheran liturgy, as you bring up, the communion is only for those who already have life and forgiveness (some other groups are less discriminate.)

    We see eternal life and forgiveness given in his word, the baptism and the supper – you support those who say there is no life or forgiveness in either the baptism or the supper. (you support them by saying you are in full communion with them.)

    I think the point is when Christians deny what Jesus taught there, they are like the Jews in that scene and may hear the same response.

  132. Xenia says:

    The sacramental way of participating in the life of Christ is normative Christianity. That many do not believe this but still find salvation just shows the great compassion of our Lord who is not willing that any should perish.

  133. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The funniest part is when you read the text, “this is my body” or this text in John 6 you fully understand what he is saying. The people present at the time knew what he was saying and yet today you have to be taught that it does not mean what it says.

  134. Michael says:


    What I’m saying is that everyone involved here belongs to Jesus and is forgiven and has eternal life…despite Eucharistic differences.
    I am in communion with them because we’re all in Christ and in communion with Him…one Body.
    I agree with Xenia…sacramental Christianity is normative historical Christianity…but I agree more that God in His mercy receives all who believe despite their “error”.

  135. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – “What I’m saying is that everyone involved here belongs to Jesus and is forgiven and has eternal life…despite Eucharistic differences.”

    What I am saying is that we have a group of Christians who have life and have forgiveness are being taught to say “no thank you” as the Lord works to continually distribute such life and forgiveness through the sacraments. It’s as simple as that.

  136. Josh says:

    I take Jesus at His word. I understand that Jesus sometimes spoke in metaphor, sometimes in parables…he used lots of teachings methods.

    He also said some things that I don’t understand, and I pray for grace in those areas and further understanding in the future.

    “The funniest part is when you read the text, “this is my body” or this text in John 6 you fully understand what he is saying. The people present at the time knew what he was saying and yet today you have to be taught that it does not mean what it says.”

    Not one person there thought that he meant “in, with, and under” the bread. Not one. It is simply not what he said. You guys made that up.

  137. Xenia says:

    It is simply not what he said. You guys made that up. <<<

    Which is way the Orthodox don't say things like this.

  138. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, you are 100% correct that we made up the phrase in, with and under to explain when asked by a Baptist, how can this be? We say that we don’t know how, but Jesus is bodily present just as he said “in, with and under” – we cover our bases in affirming his words.

    The Baptist teaching in essence is – Jesus is not really there, but if we remember hard enough, we can imagine him there. And that is taught many times right there on the spot.

    How many times during the institution (both CC & SBC) did I hear the pastor stop while saying Jesus broke the bread saying this is my body and correct the text right there and say – Jesus was not saying this was his real body, but that it represented his body – and move on?
    Plenty – I had one SBC pastor stop and give a short 90 sec class about IS vs Represents in the middle of communion.

  139. Josh says:

    I don’t have as much issue with the formulation as with the claim that they are the ones taking the word at face value.

  140. Josh says:

    “The Baptist teaching in essence is – Jesus is not really there,”

    Not true. We believe that Jesus is with us always, even unto the end of the age.

    I’m sorry you had bad experiences in memorialist churches. We are a wild bunch. 99% of all the Lord’s Supper services I’ve been in for the past 25 years have just been a straight reading of the text, with no real commentary at all.

  141. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia, I know our position on the Eucharist is quite similar with yours being even more strict. If Josh and I came to your church would we be allowed to watch as the supper took place or would we be ushered out?

  142. Josh says:

    “just as he said “in, with and under””

    Point me to where He said anything about “in, with, and under”?

  143. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, I didn’t have bad experiences at either CC or SBC – not a single bad experience in 25 yrs. I loved both. Because of my training, I am sure that on the inside (or my spirit man as some would claim) I was cheering that the pastor made the point that it was not actually Jesus’ body.

  144. Xenia says:

    I did have bad experiences in memorialist churches, I’ll admit it. (I know you were talking to MLD.) I was Baptist/CC until my fifties and communion services always made me uneasy because I couldn’t figure out what was supposed to be going on. What was I supposed to be thinking/feeling during this exercise? As a reader of history, I knew what it meant to medieval Catholics but it simply didn’t mean anything to me, and I felt terrible about that. My lack of response made me doubt my salvation. I hated communion services which, fortunately for me, were somewhat sporadic. This was one of the issues that eventually led me to Orthodoxy.

    This is just my experience and I am not claiming everyone had/has this difficulty. I am not claiming that evangelical communion is meaningless for most people. But it was meaningless for me.

  145. Josh says:

    I could see that too, Xenia. I have been there at some points myself. I think some churches have so little idea what to do with it, they just push it way out to the periphery. Probably true of most Southern Baptist churches.

  146. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, I was not clear. Jesus said he was bodily present just as he said.
    Then I go beck to the in, with and under we use to cover our bases.

  147. Josh says:

    So you add to his words and think that is somehow different than changing them?

  148. Xenia says:

    MLD, you and Josh would be welcomed into the church to stand or sit with the rest of the congregation. You could participate in everything the rest of us do except receive the Eucharist. During Communion, you’d remain standing (or sitting) with plenty of Orthodox Christians who, for whatever reason, felt they hadn’t prepared for Communion that Sunday. There’s always a crowd of people who don’t go up for Communion, no one will look at you funny. At the end of the Liturgy you and Josh could go up and kiss the cross, if you are not adverse to that kind of thing. Otherwise, you could shake Father G.’s hand. He’d bless you. Afterwards, you will be invited to take a piece of blessed bread with the rest of us which is not communion but a kindness. (Different parishes have different customs on this blessed bread business.) Then you’d be urged to come to the church hall and sit with us for the pot luck. Father G. or Mrs. G. would almost certainly seek you out for some friendly conversation.

  149. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia, that is pretty much the same, except you and Josh would be invited to the rail with the communicants to receive a blessing and afterwards to the fellowship hall for coffee and sweets.

    My mom’s synagogue does the fellowship bread and wine at the close of service – music plays and they dance around taking bread and dipping it in the wine,,, and go home.

  150. Josh says:

    At my church, you’d be invited to take a pinch of the Twinkie and a sip of Grape soda…


  151. Xenia says:

    Actually, non-prepared folks can go up for a blessing and so can the non-Orthodox. I forgot to mention that. That’s what I do at RC churches, if I don’t think that particular parish is too whackadoodle.

  152. Xenia says:

    That is to say, if I find myself at a traditional RC church for a wedding or a funeral, and if it hasn’t been too influenced by Vatican 2, I go up for a blessing, usually, if the priest isn’t giving off pedophile vibes. Crazy churches that play Frank Sinatra CD’s for the eucharistic hymn- no thanks.

  153. Jean says:

    In these various practices, one can infer, just from the practice alone, what a tradition thinks about the Supper. If holy things are being handled, you will tend to find the practice to be very reverential. Conversely, if everything happening is common, then you will find the practice to be relatively casual. It is an unspoken confession about the presence of Jesus in the midst of the congregation and the desire to reverence His holiness.

  154. Josh says:

    Some truth to that, for sure.

  155. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia, would you find music from the Godfather to be more appropriate at the RCC Eucharist? 🙂

  156. Xenia says:

    My main complaint about the Roman Catholic Church is that they are not Roman Catholic enough.

  157. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well now with this pope we need to relearn the Lord’s Prayer.

  158. Josh says:

    Hmm, this slowed down…

    Hey MLD! Jump in a lake!

  159. Duane Arnold says:


    Well, let’s see… in this thread you’ve insulted Baptists, Anglicans, the ELCA, The Pope, Roman Catholics… I guess that just leaves LCMS… and maybe Wisconsin Synod… on a good day… ?

  160. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, you come out here, jump in the lake with me and Sunday we go to church (a real church 😉 ) where you can get the warm welcome and the coffee mug. (as an added enticement, we are switching over to 16oz mugs from 12oz.)

  161. Em says:

    “Lead us not into temptation” i never had a problem with that… never interpreted it as, “Hey, God, don’t You lead us into temptation”… but if the R.C.s feel it misleads, then their restatement doesn’t seem off base….. thinking

    No matter what one’s interpretation of what happens inside your intestinal tract when you ingest the unleaven bread and the juice of the grape, if as a child of God your heart is not prepared, no amount of symbolism and ceremony will gain you anything.. at least not anything good

  162. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, you are so full of yourself. I have not offended anyone – we have spoken of our differences.
    Your comment offends me. (Not really, I can handle open vigorous conversation.) Go back to your safe place if you have no value to add.

    Btw, what was your LCMS seminary story? Was it the one about professors, beer, boobs and something about a piano?

  163. Xenia says:

    MLD complimented the Orthodox by saying we were stricter than his church. 🙂

  164. Xenia says:

    if as a child of God your heart is not prepared, no amount of symbolism and ceremony will gain you anything.. at least not anything good<<<

    Em gets it. That's why not everyone at my church takes communion. They don't feel their heart is prepared. That's the purpose behind, what some of might see as, the elaborate rules we have in place.

  165. Duane Arnold says:


    “Your comment offends me.”

    Please feel free to remain offended… I’d rather hear a full song than the constant repetition of two notes. Then again, some people like John Cage…

  166. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, still stuck on yourself – “Please feel free to remain offended…”

    You don’t read very well or pick up on nuances – what I said was “Your comment offends me. (Not really, I can handle open vigorous conversation.) ”

    Obviously you are the singular person here who cannot handle vigorous conversation. Suck it up buttercup!

  167. Steve says:

    Heck, we don’t even used the same props and we call it by different names – sacrament vs ordinance.
    MLD, my understanding is that the sacraments are also ordinances. Ordinances are called this simply because they were ordained by God. So all sacraments are ordinances but not all ordinances are sacraments. Can we at least agree on that? Also Jesus did say do this in remembrance of him. So there is at least some truth to the materialist view.

  168. Duane Arnold says:


    I prefer reasoned, courteous conversation, rather than slogans and sectarian diatribes… always have and probably always will.

  169. Jean says:

    The topic of the Lord’s Supper is one of the most divisive issues in modern Christendom. Given the nature of the topic and the diversity of participants on the blog, in my opinion the questions and discussion has been relatively reasoned, courteous and, for those interested, informative. Overall the blog provided a good service on this one.

    The video was outstanding and we have had input from multiple traditions. I don’t know if we would have done this well just a few years ago. Just my opinion.

  170. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, that’s a nice opinion. Some of us would disagree that it is the type of conversation you use. Myself, I would describe it as a bit more passive aggressive. No matter, just join the conversation and don’t be so judgmental.

  171. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, Good point, but even if what you say is true, we still do not call it by the same name. Try this;
    Baptists call baptism and the Lord’s Supper “ordinances” because they are rites “ordained” by God in the Bible. This is not only a difference in terminology but it signals an underlying difference in theology. If you call it a “sacrament” you are confessing it to be an act done by God through his church which confers grace on the participants. If you call it an “ordinance” you are confessing it to be an act done by you the participant as a statement of your faith (in the case of baptism) or as a memorial of Christ’s death (in the case of the Lord’s Supper).

    But hey – kumbaya is the word for the day 🙂

  172. Duane Arnold says:


    I simply prefer not dealing with sectarian, self-righteousness.

  173. Josh says:

    I never agree with the way that MLD describes my beliefs, but I will openly say that I do not believe in sacraments.

  174. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, many of the descriptions I use about SBC doctrine, aside from my 14 yrs experience is the Herschel Hobbs 2001 Baptist Faith and Message.
    Is that one still valid?

  175. Jean says:


    I found this definition of Sacrament on Wikipedia:

    “Many Christians consider the sacraments to be a visible symbol of the reality of God, as well as a means by which God enacts his grace. Many denominations, including the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Reformed, hold to the definition of sacrament formulated by Augustine of Hippo: an outward sign of an inward grace that has been instituted by Jesus Christ. Sacraments signify God’s grace in a way that is outwardly observable to the participant.”

    Given the large number of traditions that believe in sacraments, do you think that it would be worthwhile to at least investigate this topic further before dismissing it entirely for you own spirituality? Could this many traditions all be wrong?

  176. Steve says:

    MLD, Well I prefer the term sacraments but I understand that they are also ordinances. And believe it or not I bet even most reformed baptists would confess that was they call ordinances are both sign and seal and I be some even refer to them as sacraments. Not sure if Josh is reformed baptist or not. I could never figure out the SBC. Not all Baptists have same understanding.

  177. Josh says:

    Jean – I have investigated the topic for many years. If you use the wikipedia definition, almost everyone, including myself, believes in sacraments.

    Steve – I am not reformed, but many in the SBC would call themselves reformed. The Baptist Faith and message allows a pretty wide view on soteriology.

    MLD – Did Hobbs write a commentary on the BF&M? He died in ’95. The current BF&M is 2000. But your characterizations don’t come from the BF&M, and probably not anything Hobbs wrote.

  178. Jean says:

    Well, Josh, your 3:40 pm comment relieves me quite a bit. I’m glad that you have an external source of God’s grace to strengthen your faith and comfort you in the time of need. I feel so sorry (honestly) for Christians who feel in their time of need that they must double down on their obedience in order to find the love of their heavenly Father.

  179. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – I don’t know why I said 2001 – it is the 1971 version.
    Hobbs writes exactly what I characterized.
    He calls them ordinances and assures that we are not using the same elements. He goes on to say that the “fruit of the vine” could not be wine, but had to be juice because just as the bread was unleavened so the wine could not have the bacteria to cause fermentation. (page 88)
    He denies that Jesus meant the elements were his body and blood saying, “in all cases he spoke symbolically. The elements are merely symbols of his body and blood.” (page 88)
    When comparing with baptism he says that both ordinances are “sermons in symbol of Jesus’ redeeming work and promised return.”

    I don’t know where I said anything else.

  180. Josh says:

    I don’t know the book you speak of. That is not the language of the BF&M.

    I’ve seen the Baptist arguments (usually very old) about fermentation, and I think they are wrong. I don’t know of any SBC scholars who would teach that today. And nothing like that has ever been in the BF&M.

    Obviously, I agree with him about the symbolic nature of the elements. I don’t use the word “merely” when speaking of such things.

    Sermons in symbolism…yes! They absolutely are that. They may be more than that, but they are definitely that.

  181. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Hobbs again – Reviewing the various positions of the RCC, Lutherans and some others, he says –
    “In this view, the body and blood of Jesus are present with the elements. Some other denominations believe the Lord’s Supper as a means of grace by partaking of the Supper. All of these are sacramentarian to a degree. Baptists believe that the elements merely symbolize the body and blood of Jesus, with no saving effect in partaking of them.” (p 88)

  182. Josh says:

    I see that Hobbs wrote a study on the BF&M, and the title of that study was The Baptist Faith and Message. Sorry for my confusion, I was unaware of that book.

  183. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, now that I look back through it, it was for class work by Convention Press. SBC used to have (perhaps still do) the best Adult Sunday School and general Bible study materials to be used in the church. I’ll bet I had 200 of these course work books I used in teaching in 2 SBC churches – and tossed them all when I moved 2 years – a compromise with the wife.

  184. Josh says:

    We do have fantastic Sunday School material. I’ve saved my teacher guides for the past 10 years. I’m moving next month and the wife will probably make me toss them 🙂

  185. Josh says:

    I have always boldly said “I don’t believe in sacraments”, and I meant it, but thinking about this though the evening and this morning, I’m not sure that is true anymore.

    I do think there is *something* supernatural about the Supper and Baptism, and certainly something supernatural about the Word. In that sense, those things would be sacraments and maybe not the only ones. I’m still a memorialist, but believe that God is doing something also.

  186. Sue says:

    Not to channel Bill Clinton, but, does it to some degree depend on what the meaning of the word “is” is? (“This is my body”)….

    This morning’s daily office reading from 1 John 3 contains something similar: “Everyone who hates his brother IS a murderer” (1 John 3:15).

    I have only a lay person’s experience in biblical exegesis, but it seems that this is neither a literal statement, nor merely symbolic. It seems like there is some higher reality that gives a richer, fuller meaning to the statement. If you notice a feeling of contempt welling up inside for someone close to you, is that the same as pulling out a gun and shooting them dead? No. But is there some ultimate reality in which in hating your brother or sister (and perhaps feeding and harboring that hate intentionally) IS a REAL participation in murder? I think maybe so…

  187. Michael says:


    I don’t know if you’re right, but I do know it’s refreshing to see someone deal with nuance in exegesis…keep exegeting!

  188. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Wow, that came out funny and repetitious. Let’s try it this way – Michael please delete the 8:57am

    Sue – I go with the literal rendering (big surprise). Jesus said if you hate your brother, you are a murderer. Now the point Jesus is making is not that you are guilty of homicide, but he defines murder in a broader sense.
    When we get to 1 John, he isn’t going to a civil law book but he is saying that you are (IS) guilty of what Jesus said.
    This goes back to the infamous examples to destroy IS and make it equal represents or symbolizes.
    Jesus said he was a door – is he a hole in the wall? is he wood and hinges? followed by HaHaHa! — no Jesus did not say he was a door – he said he was THE Door. So whatever The Door is Jesus is claiming to be it (could be the John 14:6 passage) Whatever THE Door is vs a door, Jesus claims to be it. He does not say, I represent the door or I symbolize the door – which would mean the same thing as “but someone else is the real door).
    The same case can be made for I am The True Vine – Jesus did not say he was a vine, some piece of vegetation but whatever THE True Vine is, he claims it as himself. (several OT references)
    The same with The Good Shepherd
    Again, if IS does not mean IS (or I am, does not mean I am) then we are left with Jesus is just a representative or a symbol of the true door, the true vine or the true shepherd.
    At least that’s my take.

  189. Michael says:


    Do you a thought on what God is doing in the sacraments from your view?
    I’m at ease with not defining what God is doing for others…other than He’s doing something…

  190. Em says:

    Josh and Sue… remind me that our Lord said that we can reason together in submission to His guidance. . I would say that many aspects of living in Christ are nuanced and require thought – spiritual growth in the mind of Christ.. A stunning offer from God!
    One precept built upon another…

    Interesting thing hate… many politicians are examples as are their followers today…. God sees and we voters are in a precarious place today – too ignorant of eternal truths to care? God have mercy, indeed

  191. Josh says:

    Michael – not really, at this point. I would say some type of nourishment for the believer, maybe.

  192. Josh says:

    “This goes back to the infamous examples to destroy IS and make it equal represents or symbolizes.”

    MLD’s contention here is that Jesus could never use a metaphor. A metaphor (by definition) uses “is”, not “represents”.

    MLD’s linguistic point about the article “the” might be valid if the bible was written in English. It was not.

    He, and many other Christians, have chosen an interpretation that do not allow for the the idea that Jesus was speaking metaphorically when he said “This is my body”. They have chosen a valid interpretation, but one that I disagree with. However, there is no linguistic point that rules out metaphor in this passage. It is simply an interpretive choice.

  193. Jean says:

    “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the [metaphor of the] body and blood of the Lord.” – Modern Linguistic Analysis

  194. Jean says:

    “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the [metaphor of the] blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the [metaphor of the] body of Christ? – Modern Linguistic Analysis

  195. Michael says:

    “However, there is no linguistic point that rules out metaphor in this passage. It is simply an interpretive choice.”

    I agree…even though I choose to see it as a sacrament.

  196. Josh says:

    Michael, and as I said earlier, I would call it a sacrament in that it is a sacred thing that God is involved in.
    But I still believe that the bread is bread and the wine is wine.

    Jean – A metaphor does not mean that something is untrue. It is a different way of expressing a truth. Being guilty of the metaphoric Body and Blood would be just a damning as being guilty of a literal Body and Blood.

  197. Duane Arnold says:


    “It is simply an interpretive choice.”

    Agreed. So, to repeat myself, what was the interpretive choice of the Christian community from the late 1st century to the 16th century? I could quote the Fathers and the medieval scholastics ad infinitum. They largely have a very similar view. Perhaps the better challenge would be, “Name those in the first 1500 years of the Church who viewed this as a metaphor…” I think you may be hard pressed.

  198. Josh says:

    Duane – that is a good point, which I have partially conceded. There are, however, early church writings that regard the sacraments as symbols, rather than changed in substance.

    But if we are giving the most weight to the earliest view in the church, we’d have to go with something closer to transubstantiation than real presence.

  199. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – but there is nothing in the text that indicates a shift is coming, and although I Jesus have been talking in straight narrative, I Jesus am now switching to metaphor.

    Do you think he left the disciples at the table wondering if he meant flesh and blood?

    To Jean’s point, I think Paul was pretty clear in his understanding – and Paul wrote Corinthians before the Gospels were written.

    I still think if one just reads “this is my body” or the John 6 passage, you walk away with exactly what Jesus says – you get taught to “metaphorize” down the road to make support a theological system.

    So is Jesus really the way, the truth and the life as he says or is he just a representation or symbol of that thought? 🙂

  200. Josh says:

    I should have made clear that in either case,the memorialist view has not been the predominant view in the history of the church. This is a simple matter of fact, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly by anyone holding the memorial view.

    However, in matters of truth, majority opinion is not always correct.

  201. Jean says:

    “The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”

    The Jews in verse 52 didn’t hear Jesus using a metaphor; therefore, they said “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” That is the question of someone taking Jesus literally. In reply, did Jesus correct their literal interpretation and say He was using a metaphor?

  202. Josh says:

    MLD – Can you find me any point in the bible , or any kind literature, where the person speaking makes the point beforehand to say “The following statement is a metaphor”.

    That’s just not how metaphors work. The strength of a metaphor is that it says one thing “is” another thing.

  203. Josh says:

    MLD – When Jesus says “this is my body”, why do you insist that it is still bread? Answer that question honestly, using the text to do so.

  204. Michael says:


    I have a hard time accepting that there is an actual physical transformation of the bread and wine we picked up at Albertson’s grocery.
    I accept it as part of the tradition, but I would never dare to try to explain it.
    I don’t see that there should be a problem believing that the bread and wine are physical symbols of a spiritual work that takes place through reception…

  205. Josh says:

    Jean (and MLD) – I’m having trouble explaining to you how metaphors work. I’ll change course a little. Maybe you guys could read up on literary devices to get a better understanding.

    Jean – Why would Jesus have corrected them. Did he always explain His literal meaning when He spoke in parables?

  206. Duane Arnold says:


    “There are, however, early church writings that regard the sacraments as symbols…”

    Such as whom?

  207. Josh says:

    Michael, that is why I think it is self evident that it is metaphor or symbolism. We all know that we are eating bread and drinking wine. Thus, some came up with the real presence formulation to explain why the item in my mouth is still bread and not flesh, and others said, as you said, the bread is a physical symbol of a spiritual reality..

  208. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, what I am saying is how do you know it’s metaphor? That’s a pretty big leap.

  209. Josh says:

    Duane, that is an unfair argument for me to enter. You obviously know more than me about the early church, and I have conceded the point. Do I really have to copy and paste a few little quotes from here and there so that you can shoot them all down?

  210. Josh says:

    MLD – I can’t imagine that it is not a metaphor. The bread is still bread when it enters my mouth.

  211. Josh says:

    Duane – https://carm.org/early-church-fathers-communion

    If you start at the third point of Augustine, from there down are some good quotes about the symbolic nature of the elements from the early church. (I am not the author of that article. Take it up with him 🙂 )

  212. Duane Arnold says:


    Of course not… but just to nail down my argument on the history of interpretation, here’s my list of witnesses:

    Clement of Rome
    Ignatius of Antioch
    Justin Martyr
    Irenaeus of Lyon
    Clement of Alexandria
    Cyprian of Carthage
    Serapion of Antioch
    Ephrem of Syria
    Cyril of Jerusalem
    Hilary of Poitiers
    Basil the Great
    Gregory of Nazianzus
    Gregory of Nyssa
    John Chrysostom
    Cyril of Alexandria

    Note that the earliest writings were in communities that had a living memory of the Apostles and the first generation after Christ. If their interpretation was incorrect, surely someone would have said, “No, that’s not what Paul taught us…” or “No, the Apostle John didn’t mean that…” (Remember, Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John.)

  213. Duane Arnold says:


    He would get a D+ in my patristics class!!! ? The passages are taken completely out of context (some dealing with cannibalism) and he doesn’t understand the meaning of a “spiritual sacrifice” in the Fathers… But he did at least try, hence the D+ ?

  214. Josh says:

    Duane, is your contention that the early church that they were swallowing human flesh, or that they actually were swallowing human flesh?

  215. Josh says:

    Should read that the early church THOUGHT they were swallowing human flesh, or that they were actually doing so.

  216. Jean says:

    I just listened again to the video posted as the article to this thread by Father Dr. McDermott. I understand from Duane’s first comment that “this really is the standard Anglican view.”

    Dr. McDermott takes up the 10th and 11th chapters of First Corinthians, and John VI. He takes up the question of symbols. He takes up the Fathers, the Lutheran view and the issue of transubstantiation.

    In multiple places Dr. McDermott stresses the Anglican view that the body and blood of Christ are really present in Holy Communion. Not symbolically, but mystically present.

    It is an excellent video, deserving a second listen.

  217. Duane Arnold says:


    I’ll say again, they believed that they were partaking of the body and blood of Christ. It was a “spiritual sacrifice”. They did not apply Aristotilian categories to explain (such as Aquinas did). They were partaking of a “holy mystery” not to be explained in terms of science (the nature of the bread or wine after consecration) but simply to be received as Christ’s living presence communicated in the Eucharist.

  218. Josh says:

    How is symbolically different than mystically?

  219. Michael says:

    It’s the Sunday Eucharist.

    Duane partakes.
    Josh partakes.
    Jean and MLD partake.
    I partake.
    We each partake according to our doctrines.

    Are each of us blessed the same, blessed differently, or in some cases, not blessed at all?

  220. Duane Arnold says:


    Is Christ mystically or actually present, or are the bread and wine simply symbols of his presence?

  221. Josh says:

    “They were partaking of a “holy mystery”’

    Well then they have no argument then as to the nature of the elements, right?

    “Mystery” means “I don’t know”. I suppose it could mean “unknowable”, but that’s also a hard one to argue, because it assumes that no one could ever have greater knowledge than you have right now.

    So if the historic church stance is “Its a mystery”, my ideas fit nicely into that category.

  222. Josh says:

    Duane – Christ is always present.

  223. Duane Arnold says:


    Is Christ present in a unique manner in the Eucharist or Baptism?

  224. Josh says:

    Duane – Do you mean He is (or could be) more or less present at certain times? I’m not sure I understand the question. If He is present, He is present, right?

  225. Jean says:

    “Are each of us blessed the same, blessed differently, or in some cases, not blessed at all?”

    In the Old Testament, the people were sanctified by eating the consecrated meat and grain offerings. The species of animal and its perfection were carefully prescribed and followed or instead of blessing, judgment could be incurred from desecrating God’s holiness. Again, God is holy and His means of sanctification are holy things.

    Aaron, who lost two sons who desecrated God’s holiness, was taught: “You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean,”

    A Christian Pastor called to administer the holy things of the church likewise should administer the Eucharist as a holy thing. Thus, the warning in First Corinthians 11.

    Moreover, nowhere in the Bible are the means of sanctification treated like the game of horseshoes where close counts. The means are the means. This is not to imply that someone sees the means of sanctification as horseshoes, but it is my way of answering whether blessings are attached to a half dozen views of the Sacrament or if there is a correct view that receives Christ’s sanctification. If it’s only a symbol, then the communicant is not partaking of a holy thing. If it’s only a memory, then the communicant is not partaking of a holy thing. [THIS IS ONLY MY PERSONAL OPINION.]

  226. Duane Arnold says:


    Is there a physical presence of Christ in the physical nature of the water of baptism and/or the physical nature of the bread and the wine. That is, as an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given to us by Christ’s presence…

  227. Xenia says:

    The Orthodox Church also uses the word “symbol” to describe the Eucharist, even though we believe it is the very Body and Blood of Christ. It may be that an early Church father who uses the word “symbol” also believes in the Real Presence. If any had said “it’s not the Body and Blood” they would have been considered heretical.

  228. Duane Arnold says:


    A+ in the patristics class ?

  229. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I am guessing that the Anglican’s mystical presence is much like that of the reformed. That the body and blood are not in the elements at all – what you take in your mouth contains no body or blood but at the time of eating the “presence” comes as your spirit is lifted to the heavens to be in the presence of Jesus. At least to the reformed, this is their form of the real presence.
    This is why I like to describe the Lutheran position as the real physical bodily presence.

  230. Jean says:

    Luther could also use the word symbol or sign, but that because in the ancient way of thinking symbols and signs could both represent and be the res. In today’s parlance we tend to break part the symbol and the res. But the important point is that symbol didn’t mean symbolizing something else.

  231. Duane Arnold says:


    Absolutely wrong.

  232. Jean says:


    In the video, Dr. McDermott specifically says Christ’s presence is an ontological reality.

  233. Josh says:

    Duane – physical? I don’t think so. A physical symbol of a spiritual reality, certainly.

    Xenia – but why didn’t the fathers make that more clear? Those questions cut both ways.

    I am fine with the claim of mystery, but we can’t condemn someone else for their take if we are saying “I don’t really know.” (mystery)

  234. Josh says:

    “But the important point is that symbol didn’t mean symbolizing something else.”


  235. Jean says:

    The mystery is not “I don’t know if Jesus is present or not,” the mystery is how he makes himself present in the elements. In other words, “I know Jesus is present, body and blood, in the elements, but how he becomes present in the ritual enactment according to his Word, is a mystery.

  236. Michael says:

    Reformed Anglicans (Packer, Stott, Ryle, etc) took on Calvin’s position on the Eucharist.
    They are a minority report in Anglicanism…

  237. Josh says:

    Jean – do you think you are swallowing human flesh?

  238. Duane Arnold says:


    It is that physical reality that is the dividing point. When I administer communion, after all have been served, I return to the altar and consume the remainder of the hosts. I consume what remains of the consecrated wine from the chalice. I cleanse my fingers which have touched the host with wine and water. I cleanse the chalice with wine and water, consuming both. I consider the elements to be sacred, to be Christ himself among us, and to be treated with the same reverence. How that physical presence is described – “mystical”, “real presence”, “holy mystery” – is a matter of language. For me, however, Christ’s unique sacramental presence is simply a reality…

  239. Josh says:

    I’ll open that same question to Xenia, MLD, Michael, and Duane – quick simple answer please:

    Do you think you are swallowing human flesh?

    I do not.

  240. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane – not absolutely wrong – Michael gave me credit for a minority report. So you are wrong.

    Besides, I said I was guessing, because as you always say, Anglican’s are all over the board in the areas of doctrine – kind of like the wild wild west of theology. 🙂

  241. Jean says:

    Not just human flesh, but the flesh of Christ, fully human and fully God. Hence, divine medicine.

  242. Michael says:


    I think Christ is feeding me with Himself in a way I cannot hope to comprehend.
    That’s as far as I can go…

  243. Josh says:

    Thanks Jean.

    Anyone else?

  244. Duane Arnold says:


    Oh dear yes… take credit for the minority report.

  245. Duane Arnold says:


    I partake of Christ, really and actually and physically present, beyond that I cannot say…

  246. Jean says:

    What makes the Sacrament a means of grace is the promises which are attached to it: “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” This, then is something to cling to. “Given for you.” “I will raise him up.” Etc. Such promises received in faith made the early church fearless in the face of persecution.

  247. Josh says:

    No – 1
    Yes – 1
    Not sure – 2

  248. Michael says:


    I still have every one of those promises if I never partake again.

  249. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – I will equivocate a bit on the human flesh and go with Jesus flesh as he has a glorified body. If it’s human flesh like mine fine, if it has been changed somehow that is fine, that is what I consume.

    The blood is so real that as we cleanup and wash the holy instruments, chalice etc, we wash in a sink that drains to the outside onto the dirt so that the elements do not go into the sewer.

  250. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, I take the minority report because they are the only ones who are clear. The great Anglican Packer is so clear that there is no body or blood being consumed that he said something to the effect that we Lutherans we conjuring up the magical arts for our beliefs.

    How about that for clarity?

  251. Josh says:

    Yes – 1
    Kind of- 1
    Not sure – 2

    No – Josh and Packer

  252. Duane Arnold says:

    Packer is a part of my tribe and a fine Reformed theologian. I stick with the mainstream and Anglo-Catholics…

  253. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, you can’t count that as a kinda – I eat whatever flesh Jesus has. We assume it is human, but who knows – but it is flesh as Jesus cannot have a spiritual body (meaning no physical substance.)

  254. Jean says:

    In the Lutheran tradition, the Gospel not given for one and done, but is continually offered to provide present tense promises.

    “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

  255. Steve says:

    MLD, If the flesh you consume is like our flesh, can we at least agree that you can not perceive the taste, smell, texture or look of it? It is completely covered up with the taste and smell, etc. of the bread and wine.

  256. Jean says:

    In my opinion, the most keen observation made by Dr. McDermott in the video, and one that admittedly is not widely understood in contemporary Lutheranism among laity, is that the ritual enactment of Holy Communion brings the past into the present.

    This type of remembrance is what the Israelites were taught to enact in the liturgy of Passover.

    This type of remembrance, which is more than a mental memory, would be worthy of recovery in contemporary Christian spirituality. The issue is alluded to in the African Spiritual, “Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord).” Are the folks here familiar with this song?

  257. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    That would be true.

  258. Josh says:

    Jean – I do know the song. I did a pretty cool arrangement on it a few years ago.

  259. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I hope next week we will see What Happens in Baptism?
    Josh hasn’t had this much fun in years. 🙂

  260. Josh says:


  261. Duane Arnold says:


    I may have recommended this before, but ‘Faith of the Early Fathers’ by William Jurgens (three volumes in paperback) is a wonderful tool. The first six centuries arranged by topic. I think it is also available through Logos… Might be the only patristic tool you might need.

  262. Josh says:

    I’m only going to use that one page I linked.

    Kidding. I’ll check it out, thanks!

  263. Josh says:

    Schaff’s 37 Volume Early Church Fathers is on sale right now. Recommended?

  264. Duane Arnold says:


    It’s ok, but a bit dated in terms of introductions, translations, etc. I’ve had my set for over 40 years, but I think that I keep it for nostalgia’s sake ?

  265. Xenia says:

    Get it for Kindle for under $5.

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