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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Diego

The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ

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Diego

This ought to be worth a discussion. According to the Lutheran Confessions, Christ is indeed most truly and objectively present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. This is expressed in several places in the Confessions, which are collected in one book in The Book of Concord. Thoughts?

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William
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Here are three views from a Presbyterian perspective:

  1. Roman Catholics believe that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus when the priest pronounces the words, "This is my body" before the altar. This is called "transsubstantiation," meaning that the elements are actually changed into the body and blood of Christ.
  2. Lutherans also think that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus by "consubstantiation," meaning that, after His resurrection, Jesus' human body and blood took on divine attributes and therefore are in, with and under the communion elements.

 

Neither of these can be found in the Bible.

 

In the OPC we believe that we partake of Christ in the Lord's Supper, not physically, but spiritually. That is, by taking the bread and wine in memory of His death, the very words of Jesus, "Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you," means that we are blessed by the Holy Spirit in our hearts when we take the supper in remembrance of Him. He is there spiritually by the Holy Spirit whom He sent to the church on Pentecost to take His place on earth while He lives and reigns in heaven.

 

The spiritual significance of the Lord's Supper is that it is a sign, a seal and a means of grace to those who worthily partake. As a sign, it signifies Christ's death for us on the cross. As a seal, it binds us to Christ as our Savior, just as a body is joined to its head, a bride to her bridegroom. This union is also sealed in baptism. But in baptism, only once because it speaks about the New Birth (John 3:3-8). But in the Lord's Supper we reaffirm our union with Christ every time we take the bread and wine. That's why it is also called communion. Jesus celebrated it with His disciples. And the disciples celebrated it with each other. So Communion has a vertical dimension (with Jesus in heaven) and a horizontal dimension (with each other on earth). It's a seal of our union with Him and each other! As a means of grace, partaking of the bread and wine in remembrance of Him is food for our souls. We "grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18).

 

Source: https://www.opc.org/qa.html?question_id=305

 

God bless,

William

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Diego

Actually, I, and ANY Lutheran who knows his Faith, CATEGORICALLY rejects Consubstantiation as an explanation of the Real Presence. You will NOT find the term used in ANY of our literature, and certainly NOT in the Confessions! We find it patently offensive, in fact.

 

The correct concept for our belief is Sacramental Union. Christ said, This IS my Body, This IS my Blood. We believe he meant that, but we do not believe that there is some kind of transmutation going on.

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Diego

To continue, the Body and the Blood of Christ are truly present. To suggest otherwise is to deny the plain statement of the Lord. This IS. Not This REPRESENTS. But, this perverse idea that it is in, with, and under, what does that even mean? The very concept is completely absurd.

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Diego

The best way I can explain the Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar is simply to say that it IS. As much as the bread and wine are there, the Body and Blood are there, objectively, irrespectively of the belief of the people present. But not in some weird bio-chemical perverse way like Consubstantiation! That is just stupid. And Transubstantiation is equally bizarre. It is because it IS. The Lord SAID it IS.

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thatbrian
Christ said, This IS my Body, This IS my Blood. We believe he meant that,

 

He also said, "I am the vine; I am the light of the world; I am the good shepherd; I am the gate. . ." None of these is literal. To just take one instance in which to interpret His obvious figurate speech the way Luther did, is odd and inconsistent.

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thatbrian
To continue, the Body and the Blood of Christ are truly present.

 

Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, which is precisely why He sent the Holy Spirit.

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thatbrian
The best way I can explain the Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar is simply to say that it IS. As much as the bread and wine are there, the Body and Blood are there, objectively, irrespectively of the belief of the people present. But not in some weird bio-chemical perverse way like Consubstantiation! That is just stupid. And Transubstantiation is equally bizarre. It is because it IS. The Lord SAID it IS.

 

As Calvin rightly teaches, Christ is present: spiritually.

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William
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To continue, the Body and the Blood of Christ are truly present. To suggest otherwise is to deny the plain statement of the Lord. This IS. Not This REPRESENTS.

 

Fair enough, though, I did not mean to be "insulting", and since this is your thread I'll keep it on track. However, the "is" seemingly stands on the same premise as many Roman Catholics argue. Personally, I think the Son "is spiritually present and not physically present". That is, unless we reject that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, in other words He is exalted. But in the same way I understand the hypostatic union, (Son was infinite and at the same time in the present corporeal). In other words, when He became man He still sustained the universe (Logos) and it did not cease to exists though He took up the flesh and only existed locally.

 

My other thoughts come in form of a question, how do Lutherans view Baptism? Does the water of baptism change or is it actually Christ's blood washing away sins? That is, since you seemingly emphasized the rejection of the elements being symbolic, which I believe are such as a symbol of a thing signified - the death of Christ for our sins. In this way, I understand the bread and wine to be empty physical symbols, they are nothing more than bread and wine if the thing signified is rejected, therefore I caution.

 

To clarify, it is my belief that Christ offered up himself only once upon the cross. When we partake of communion we are commemorating that one offering up of Himself. This is not to say that the Lord’s Supper is only a ceremony of remembrance. The bread we break and the cup we bless are the communion of the body and blood of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16). Used in faith, they are means of drawing near to Christ, to access the benefits of His atoning work, applying it to ourselves and finding grace to live for God (Rom. 6:1–14).

 

The indwelling Spirit is the essence of our communion with the Father and the Son (2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18).

 

To quote John Calvin:

“The Holy Spirit is the bond by which Christ effectually unites us to himself” (
Institutes
3.1.1). As husband and wife are “one flesh,” we are “one spirit” with the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 6:16–17).

 

The sacraments are a means by which Christ, through His Spirit’s work, offers Himself to us to be received by faith. That is why Paul spoke of receiving “spiritual” food and drink from Christ (1 Cor. 10:3–4), of being baptized by the Spirit and being made to drink of the Spirit (12:13), as well as being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).

 

Calvin wrote, “If the Spirit be lacking, the sacraments can accomplish nothing” (Institutes 4.14.9). Moreover:

The Spirit in very truth is the only One who can touch and move our hearts, enlighten our minds, and assure our consciences; so that all this ought to be judged as His own work, that praise may be ascribed to Him alone. Nevertheless, the Lord Himself makes use of the Sacraments as inferior instruments as it seems good to Him, without in any way detracting from the power of His Spirit. (Catechism Q. 312)

 

When the church assembles in Christ’s name and celebrates the Holy Supper in remembrance of Him, we have real communion or spiritual fellowship with Christ.

 

Hiedleberg Catechism:

Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ's blessed body.
2
And so, although he is in heaven
3
and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.
4
And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as the members of our body are by one soul.

 

But, this perverse idea that it is in, with, and under, what does that even mean? The very concept is completely absurd.

 

"In, with and under" simply means the bread and wine remain just that, but through the liturgy (Word) and the Spirit they become vehicles to communicate to believers the body and blood of Christ. Christ is received “in, with and around” the Communion elements. Hence, con (with) substantiation (substance).

 

20th century Lutheran theologian Hermann Sasse:

 

It is impossible to define Luther’s doctrine as consubstantiation. Even the words ‘in the bread’, ‘with the bread’, ‘under the bread’, or ‘in, with, and under the bread’, were never regarded by Luther as more than attempts to express in these old, popular terms inherited from the Middle Ages the great mystery that the bread is the body, the wine is the blood, as the Words of Institution say. [This is My Body: Luther’s Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar, (Adelaide, South Australia: Openbook Publishers, 1959) 129.]

 

Since the phrase “in, with, and under” sometimes leads to confusion, the following two quotes are also provided:

 

From David P. Scaer’s essay titled “Lutheran View: Finding the Right Word” in the book Understanding Four Views on the Lord's Supper:

 

The Lutheran Confessions, in describing Christ’s body and blood as being “in, with and under” the bread and wine, may have allowed others to use “consubstantiation” to describe this view. These prepositions were intended to affirm that the earthly elements were really Christ’s body and blood and not to explain how earthly and divine elements were spatially related. In the earlier Lutheran Confessions, the three prepositions were not used together. [John H. Armstrong, Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), Kindle edition, location 1357.]

 

From John Theodore Mueller’s book Christian Dogmatics:

 

The phrase “in, with, and under” fittingly serves the purpose of repudiating the papistic error of transubstantiation and of affirming, in opposition to the error of the Reformed, the Scriptural doctrine of the sacramental union. [John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, (St. Louis: Concordia, 1934) 521.]

 

Please continue Diego.

 

God bless,

William

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William
Staff

I also found this from the Missouri Synod, "The Sacrament of the Altar".

 

Read more:

 

Sacrament of the Altar.pdf

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Louis Duvall

No way,,,, Jesus said "Do this in Remembrance of Me." He gave no indication of Him being "present" in the bread and the wine . He established " The Lord's Supper." Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the only two sacraments we are to observe . The Catholics have a zillion plus that aren't found anywhere in Holy Writ.

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William
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Diego

Keep in mind that Jesus said a lot more about this subject than just take, this IS. John Ch. 6 is just full of information. In the Bread of Life Discourse, Jesus speaks of his Body, his flesh, being true meat indeed, his Blood being true drink indeed. And the response is electric. People say, this a hard saying, and who can go with it? How can this man give us his flesh to eat? And many walked no more with him.

 

Now this WOULD have been a good time for him to clarify that he didn't mean it literally, if in fact he did not. Instead he insists, that "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him." I encourage you all to read John 6:48-68. And note that the Greek word for eating here quite literally means to chew or gnaw at, which is used in a more literal sense than a symbolic one.

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Diego

And no, Catholics do NOT have a zillion plus Sacraments. They have seven. Don't make yourself sound ignorant. I am no Roman Catholic, nor am I particularly fond of those who are, but at LEAST use your brain when being critical of someone else's beliefs.

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Diego

Having been raised up Roman Catholic and Anglican, and having nearly become a monk and Priest of the Anglican tradition, I do at LEAST like people to think before speaking, or in this case, typing.

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William
Staff
Keep in mind that Jesus said a lot more about this subject than just take, this IS. John Ch. 6 is just full of information. In the Bread of Life Discourse, Jesus speaks of his Body, his flesh, being true meat indeed, his Blood being true drink indeed. And the response is electric. People say, this a hard saying, and who can go with it? How can this man give us his flesh to eat? And many walked no more with him.

 

Now this WOULD have been a good time for him to clarify that he didn't mean it literally, if in fact he did not. Instead he insists, that "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him." I encourage you all to read John 6:48-68. And note that the Greek word for eating here quite literally means to chew or gnaw at, which is used in a more literal sense than a symbolic one.

 

First of all, I'd like to say that I am enjoying this thread immensely. I hope and pray that we are led deeper in the word and in fellowship as we plumb the depth of Scripture!

 

Lets begin with:

  • John 6:66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
  • John 6:67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?"

If this Scripture is literal is it your position that the remaining Twelve chewed and gnawed on Christ's body?

 

Exactly what is in the flesh of Christ?

 

Compare:

 

John 1:4;11-14

  • 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
  • 11 He came to his own,[b] and his own people[c] did not receive him.
  • 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
  • 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
  • 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[d] from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When Jesus declares that His flesh is truly food, He means that souls are famished, and if they want that food, then only will they find life in Christ, when they seek the nourishment of life in His flesh.

 

To:

  • John 6:53 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.
  • John 6:54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

Men despised Jesus' flesh because He appeared like any other ordinary man. In other words, Jesus means: “Despise me as much as you please, on account of the mean and despicable appearance of my flesh, still that despicable flesh contains life, and if you are destitute of it, you will nowhere else find any thing else to quicken you.”

 

Now do you think men walked away because they would not actually nibble upon Jesus' fingers or other body parts? Did the Twelve actually eat Jesus? John 1 is very informative, and it suggests that the word Flesh expresses meaning more forcibly than if John had said that He was made man. John intended to show what a mean and despicable condition the Son of God, on our account, descended from the height of his heavenly glory. When Scripture speaks of man contemptuously, it calls him flesh.

 

The Jews rejected the Grace of Jesus, they refused to seek life from His flesh. It is as if Jesus had said, “If you hold my flesh in contempt, rest assured that there remains for you no other hope of life.”

 

All in all Diego, I don't see your position in these Scriptures unless I take a "literalistic" approach.

 

Lastly in

  • John 6:60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"

The hardness did not reside in the saying, and I say none of them were tempted to actually chew or gnaw on Christ but they did resent Him. The hardness was in their hearts and they lacked humility. John 1 says that the children of God are born from above, which is then repeated in John 3 and now here.

 

God bless,

William

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Diego

Ordinarily, I might be inclined to agree with you, if it weren't for the consistent understanding of the Fathers. The Church Fathers, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM RECOGNISED AS SUCH, has held to the True and Objective Body and Blood of the Lord, present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. I don't see how one can get around that fact.

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thatbrian
Ordinarily, I might be inclined to agree with you, if it weren't for the consistent understanding of the Fathers. The Church Fathers, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM RECOGNISED AS SUCH, has held to the True and Objective Body and Blood of the Lord, present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. I don't see how one can get around that fact.

 

Logical fallacy. Appeal to authority. The spiritual leaders wanted Jesus dead. Where they right?

Edited by thatbrian

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Diego

Ah, not a logical fallacy when you consider that the Church operates, and has ALWAYS done so, by virtue of the men who make Her what She is. Let's be direct. The NT was written by Christians, ie, by the Church. It was the Church that later determined which of the several hundred books written about Jesus would be considered Scripture. The Church preceded Scripture, and in fact, made Scripture.

 

Luther at his best knew this. And the men who created the Book of Concord knew this. That is why you see in said text that we, unlike the Calvinists and others, do not dump the Mass or the 7 Ecumenical Councils. We even, somewhat charily, I'll grant, accept monastic life.

 

Apparently, in your rush to classify Luther as a "Protestant", you never read the Augsburg Confession. Or the Small Catechism, for that matter.

 

Keep in mind that the current list of books in the NT wasn't available until the year 181, when it was listed by the regional Council of Carthage. It was finally confirmed at the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325. Now, if that isn't an act done by the Church, namely by the Fathers, then what is?

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Diego

In fact I shall add that the term "Protestant" was never used to describe Luther during his own lifetime. He always called himself an Evangelical. The term "Protestant" was first used to describe John the Steadfast, one of the Prince Electors, who sheltered Luther from the Imperial edict that declared him an outlaw and subject to arrest, and handing over to the Emperor. John the Steadfast protested this POLITICAL act. It had nothing to do with the Church at all, originally.

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William
Staff
In fact I shall add that the term "Protestant" was never used to describe Luther during his own lifetime. He always called himself an Evangelical. The term "Protestant" was first used to describe John the Steadfast, one of the Prince Electors, who sheltered Luther from the Imperial edict that declared him an outlaw and subject to arrest, and handing over to the Emperor. John the Steadfast protested this POLITICAL act. It had nothing to do with the Church at all, originally.

 

I have no idea who you are addressing your posts to, Diego, but I have a question. Do modern Lutherans consider themselves Protestant? And do they consider themselves Reformed? So many historical articles credit Martin Luther with the Protestant Reformation, and I'm just curious to know from a Lutheran whether they agree or disagree with M. Luther being a founding father of the Protestant Reformation?

 

Last question, do you think the Lutherans of today more closely align with Luther or would you say that the doctrine of the Lutherans are more Reformed than Luther? In other words, are the Lutherans continuing the work of Luther or are they mimicking only Luther, and ending only in his doctrine?

 

God bless,

William

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Diego

It's actually a fair question, WILLIAM. It depends. In the USA, most Lutherans long ago made their bed with the Protestants. It came, I think, from a deep-seated insecurity with who they were. But in Europe, where in the Scandinavian countries they continued to call the clergy Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, the Divine Service was still called Mass, the mindset was a bit different. Even in Germany, the term "Bishop" was not so hated as it is here.

 

Certainly Luther was the founder of the Reformation. No one in his right mind would deny that. But the best of the best of us maintain our links with the historic, Ancient Church. This can be seen in the fact that there was considerable exchange of communication between the Lutheran theologians at Tubingen and the Patriarch of Constantinople between the years 1576 and 1581.

 

We, unlike other Protestant Creeds, maintain our connection to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I realise that Calvinists ALSO recognise the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, but because they have rejected the historic teachings of the Church on the Eucharist, and on other matters, we certainly regard them as, well, a bit different.

 

The Anglican Church likes to call itself Catholic and Reformed. To a point, they are right. But it should be noted that with them, the choices were and are either a type of aping of Rome, or Geneva.

 

Admittedly, in this country, some forms of Lutheranism are close to Geneva, but that is not the way the Confessions envisioned things.

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Diego

You see, WILLIAM, the term "Protestant" has MANY and varied meanings. To a Lutheran, it defines someone who "protests" the authority of the Bishop of Rome, commonly called the Pope. It does not NECESSARILY imply a radically different spirituality. To most American Protestants, it implies mostly the latter, and only indirectly the former. For me personally, I very much oppose the office of the Papacy. But I do consider myself quite Catholic in terms of my Faith. Of course I accept the Three Solae, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, and Sola Gratia. But these three are understood in light of the consistent witness of the Church. I do NOT, however, believe in the "Magisterium" of the Church. That is, well, a very Roman thing.

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Diego

I would definitely note that Lutheranism, to answer your last question, is NOT a form of Reformed Faith. There were three classic Faiths that emerged from the Reformation of the 16th Century, four if you include a streamlined version of Roman Catholicism that came out of the Council of Trent. They were Lutheranism, Reformed/Calvinist (sometimes called Presbyterian after its preferred structure of government), and Anglicanism. Lutheranism and Calvism are NOT the same thing. Even in BotW, Luther did not reach the TULIP of John Calvin, although he came uncomfortably close. But BotW never was included in the Confessions, fortunately, so it is essentially Luther's personal thoughts, and, while interesting in its own way, not obligatory for a Lutheran to believe (and I don't personally know any that do, although I am told that the WELS people tend to have a fondness for it, but then, they celebrate the Liturgy in Geneva gowns and do it as minimally as possible, so they can focus on the sermon; I have heard it said that they are Calvinists with a Liturgy that they wish they didn't have to use).

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thatbrian
Keep in mind that the current list of books in the NT wasn't available until the year 181, when it was listed by the regional Council of Carthage. It was finally confirmed at the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325. Now, if that isn't an act done by the Church, namely by the Fathers, then what is?

 

The fathers didn't write the books of the NT, and they didn't even choose them. These letters were circulating in the churches for many years already, which is why they were compiled and rubber stamped.

 

I don't think a Christian can say that something is gospel truth because a church father said so. Our authority is based upon what is inscripturated for us by the Holy Spirit through the writers of the NT. Also, based on how quickly the church departed from the gospel (hence the need for a reformation) we can't trust the fathers completely as the yeast of the Pharisees spread quickly and early in church history.

 

We must apply Luther's exegesis across the board to be consistent and if we do, we see his error very clearly, so when Jesus said, "I am the vine. . ." He must be a literal vine. There is no other explanation. He didn't say that He was a figurative vine. He didn't say He was like a vine. He gave no explanation to cause them to think otherwise.

 

If we read the Bible in such a literalistic way we miss its intended meaning. In order to be good students we must understand which genre we read and communication tools such as hyperbole, pun, metaphor. . .

 

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