The Black Rubric

I’ve been studying Anglicanism lately.  But then I’ve run up against the Black Rubric, so-called because it was printed in bold type in the Book of Common Prayer.  It enjoins kneeling while receiving the Sacrament, but goes on to deny explicitly any kind of real, bodily presence of Christ in the elements:

“Whereas it is ordained in this Office for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper, that the Communicants should receive the same kneeling; (which order is well meant, for a signification of our humble and grateful acknowledgment of the benefits of Christ therein given to all worthy Receivers, and for the avoiding of such profanation and disorder in the holy Communion, as might otherwise ensue;) yet, lest the same kneeling should by any persons, either out of ignorance and infirmity, or out of malice and obstinacy, be misconstrued and depraved: It is hereby declared, That thereby no adoration is intended, or ought to be done, either unto the Sacramental Bread or Wine there bodily received, or unto any Corporal Presence of Christ’s natural Flesh and Blood. For the Sacramental Bread and Wine remain still in their very natural substances, and therefore may not be adored; (for that were Idolatry, to be abhorred of all faithful Christians;) and the natural Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ are in Heaven, and not here; it being against the truth of Christ’s natural Body to be at one time in more places than one.”

via Black Rubric – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Now I know that many Anglicans do believe in the Real Presence, with some sounding almost Lutheran in their affirmations.  Indeed, some are Anglo-Catholics with a very high view of the sacraments.  I’m curious how those folks handle the Black Rubric.

According to the article, this has come in and out of various editions of the Book of Common Prayer.  (Puritans insisted on it and would go up in arms when it was omitted.)  It isn’t in the 2000 edition used in America today, though it remains in the British prayer book.  It is apparently in the 1926 Book of Common Prayer, the one favored by many conservatives and Anglo-Catholics today.

I realize that this is what I read in a Reformed Episcopal service I once attended, with my hosts seemingly a little hurt that I, as a Lutheran, would not commune with them.  But the liturgy explicitly repudiated my beliefs about the Sacrament as idolatry!  This may also explain to Anglicans who are hurt by the confessional Lutheran practice of closed communion why Lutheran pastors can not assume that Anglicans have the same view of the Christ’s presence in His Supper that they do. And why Lutheran theologians tend to categorize Anglicans as another variety of Calvinists.  Indeed, the Black Rubric seems to be a textbook definition of Calvinist sacramental theology (what with the statement that Christ’s body is in Heaven, “and not here”), which is why the Puritans made such a point of it.

And yet I’m sure this isn’t the whole story.  Someone help me out with this.

HT:  Adam

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://LeitersburgLutheran.org Terry Culler

    The Reformation in England began as a Lutheran expression but quickly moved from Wittenberg to Geneva. This became especially prominant after the end of the RC revival under Mary when many of the English reformers who had gone into exile in Switzerland and the Palatine returned to take up their places in the English Church. The 39 Articles are purposely vague about many things so that anyone could be an Anglican and claim to be professing what they teach so it is possible for someone to believe in the real presence and honestly profess the Real Presence. That said, Anglicanism is formally Calvinist but functionally Arminian for the most part.

  • http://LeitersburgLutheran.org Terry Culler

    The Reformation in England began as a Lutheran expression but quickly moved from Wittenberg to Geneva. This became especially prominant after the end of the RC revival under Mary when many of the English reformers who had gone into exile in Switzerland and the Palatine returned to take up their places in the English Church. The 39 Articles are purposely vague about many things so that anyone could be an Anglican and claim to be professing what they teach so it is possible for someone to believe in the real presence and honestly profess the Real Presence. That said, Anglicanism is formally Calvinist but functionally Arminian for the most part.

  • Larry

    First Part:

    This is why it is deception to invite the Reformed or Baptist to the LS under the guise at a Lutheran church of saying, “do you (at least) believe in the real presence”. Their own confessions say it is idolatry and to be abhorred of all faithful Christians and thus to more or less “trick them” into just “real presence” if one means in reality real flesh and blood, one has violated their conscience and caused them to sin. It is not ecumenical or Gospel giving, just the opposite. Any reformed person adhering to their own confessions, which one should be else why be there, should probe further and not really desire to commune under such. Error aside, its worse to confess “X is idolatry and to be abhorred”, then go and do X.

    Second Part:

    The entire “real presence” issue IS about what is actually and what is actually not present. When it gets right down to it, the reason the Puritans (and when I was reformed), want this explicitly stated or such is that what is before one’s eyes and felt, tasted, put into the mouth is but bread and wine. As such, bread and wine only, worship cannot be given to it for such would be worshipping creatures (namely ‘just’ bread and wine). Now there is a “spiritual presence”. But it is not seen immediately, under such theology, how this divides the two natures.

    To this Christ body is “up in heaven”, which begets a doctrine on heaven itself which is more or less Greek and likewise concerning the right hand of God.

    There’s a little bit of a “chicken or egg” syndrome in this, which came first the false doctrine on heaven and right hand of God or the issue concerning the LS.
    The question is not “what is the interpretation of what Christ’s words mean “this is My body/blood…”, the meaning is crystal clear, but rather why does one not believe what they say? What mental root is behind just not taking them at face value if you will? The answer to that is the answer to why one re-interprets their meaning in one form or another. That’s the question I had to ask myself back in the day (and on baptismal passages too). For me, back then, the elephant in the room was, “it would have been a whole lot easier teaching these doctrines, the Reformed/baptist, on the sacraments if the Scriptures just simply spoke more like we teach.” After a while that began to make me think.

    But it leads to sola scriptura, does one REALLY mean sola scriptura or does one add “a good and necessary consequence” to articles of faith? Part of it is rooted in the idea of communication of attributes. Calvinism attempts to protect what it thinks is Christ’s glory by more or less “leaving Christ up in heaven” (Zwingli for that much does the same thing). Thus, one dare not worship “mere” bread and wine, the signs, not even under “spiritual presence”. As I recall back when taking the LS under my former confessions, mentally it becomes a bit of gymnastics. One approaches the Lord’s table with fear and adoration, BUT, one ought not be worshipping the two substances one is fearfully and adoringly approaching and taking. That causes a mental and spiritual train wreck. It would be kind of like going to a great football or basketball game, but not enjoying what is before you and rather mentally “laundering it” so that one is enjoying a mental rerun of the game in one’s head where one actually enjoys it. The concept is hard to get across unless you’ve been under it I think.
    Part of the problem, someone else made this clear one time is that fundamentally the Reformed lack a category for communication of divine attributes. The lack of this critical category and in its place an erroneous one leads to the whole heaven up there, Christ’s body up there, the right hand of God up there, that leads to the defensive mechanism that in turn leads to not believing Christ’s words and thus reinterpreting them, “this is My body/blood….”

    That category? To quote, “One of the difficulties of the Reformed position is that they believe that the divine essence can only be communicated by created likeness, so they have no concept of communication by participation.”
    That last part “communication by participation” is critical. I can still remember the day it donned on me that my reformed concept of heaven, where Christ’s body is, the right hand of God was in error. It was a good moment, one of those Gospel epiphany moments. Because as a reformed person one does think only in the “communication of divine attributes by created likeness” only and not by participation. Thus, one reads in reformed righting how certain divine attributes were communicated to the creature man in his/her created being like divine wisdom, etc… but not for example divine eternality and such. Divine eternality cannot be communicated to the creature by created likeness. But communication by participation is a whole other realm.

    This has consequences, because the redeemed will in eternity have much communication by participation in the divinity, not created communication but participation in. Think of all of Paul’s statements about “participation in”, baptism in the Lord’s body, death and resurrection, and explicitly in his commentary in 1 Cor. concerning the very Lord’s Supper, a participation in the body and blood of Christ.
    This lack of a category of attributes by participation in and in its place only by created likeness affects a number of Reformed (and Baptist) doctrines to their detriment and missing out on great treasures given us and not just the sacraments. It’s why Calvin thought Jesus snuck into the room where the disciples where hiding and didn’t just appear. Yet Christ walked on water! Clearly a divine attribute and communicated not by “created likeness” for men cannot walk on water, Peter in unbelief began to sink but hearing the Word say, “come”, did walk on water. Rather such miracles are a communication of divinity via participation. Everything greater than men normally have about Christ’s bodily existence was a communication of divinity by participation through the person of Christ, his virgin birth, his miracles, his bodily voice saying X and X coming into being ex nihilo, his resurrection, his ascension, etc…
    Once one begins to “see” this, one then begins to have one’s old thinking broke down and the mysteries of the sacraments spoken as was begin to appear for the first time.

    In one sense its very simple for example: If God’s right hand is His power, authority and majesty and that of necessity is everywhere, then Christ seated at the right hand is everywhere that right hand is. One leads necessarily to another. I would encourage reformed and others to ponder that first, because that begets what Christ’s bodily ascension was and is, “where” heaven is and such. From there it’s not hard to “see” Christ’s body in more places than one, the sacrament, though we cannot exhaustively understand “how this thing is so”, it still relies on revelation of Word that says so, it is a mystery.

    We almost had an idea of Christ’s ascension into heaven akin to superman taking flight. In fact one of our Easter pageants that took place at a rather large church (20,000+) with great resources had the actor playing Christ at the end latched up and ascending four entire flights (the sanctuary was that big) by cable into the rafters at the end ascension scene. That’s the concept many, including ourselves, have/had. And Jesus kind of just “disappears behind the clouds” some 20,000+ feet into the air (a height neither Calvin or Zwingli understood).

    I hope that helps some.

  • Larry

    First Part:

    This is why it is deception to invite the Reformed or Baptist to the LS under the guise at a Lutheran church of saying, “do you (at least) believe in the real presence”. Their own confessions say it is idolatry and to be abhorred of all faithful Christians and thus to more or less “trick them” into just “real presence” if one means in reality real flesh and blood, one has violated their conscience and caused them to sin. It is not ecumenical or Gospel giving, just the opposite. Any reformed person adhering to their own confessions, which one should be else why be there, should probe further and not really desire to commune under such. Error aside, its worse to confess “X is idolatry and to be abhorred”, then go and do X.

    Second Part:

    The entire “real presence” issue IS about what is actually and what is actually not present. When it gets right down to it, the reason the Puritans (and when I was reformed), want this explicitly stated or such is that what is before one’s eyes and felt, tasted, put into the mouth is but bread and wine. As such, bread and wine only, worship cannot be given to it for such would be worshipping creatures (namely ‘just’ bread and wine). Now there is a “spiritual presence”. But it is not seen immediately, under such theology, how this divides the two natures.

    To this Christ body is “up in heaven”, which begets a doctrine on heaven itself which is more or less Greek and likewise concerning the right hand of God.

    There’s a little bit of a “chicken or egg” syndrome in this, which came first the false doctrine on heaven and right hand of God or the issue concerning the LS.
    The question is not “what is the interpretation of what Christ’s words mean “this is My body/blood…”, the meaning is crystal clear, but rather why does one not believe what they say? What mental root is behind just not taking them at face value if you will? The answer to that is the answer to why one re-interprets their meaning in one form or another. That’s the question I had to ask myself back in the day (and on baptismal passages too). For me, back then, the elephant in the room was, “it would have been a whole lot easier teaching these doctrines, the Reformed/baptist, on the sacraments if the Scriptures just simply spoke more like we teach.” After a while that began to make me think.

    But it leads to sola scriptura, does one REALLY mean sola scriptura or does one add “a good and necessary consequence” to articles of faith? Part of it is rooted in the idea of communication of attributes. Calvinism attempts to protect what it thinks is Christ’s glory by more or less “leaving Christ up in heaven” (Zwingli for that much does the same thing). Thus, one dare not worship “mere” bread and wine, the signs, not even under “spiritual presence”. As I recall back when taking the LS under my former confessions, mentally it becomes a bit of gymnastics. One approaches the Lord’s table with fear and adoration, BUT, one ought not be worshipping the two substances one is fearfully and adoringly approaching and taking. That causes a mental and spiritual train wreck. It would be kind of like going to a great football or basketball game, but not enjoying what is before you and rather mentally “laundering it” so that one is enjoying a mental rerun of the game in one’s head where one actually enjoys it. The concept is hard to get across unless you’ve been under it I think.
    Part of the problem, someone else made this clear one time is that fundamentally the Reformed lack a category for communication of divine attributes. The lack of this critical category and in its place an erroneous one leads to the whole heaven up there, Christ’s body up there, the right hand of God up there, that leads to the defensive mechanism that in turn leads to not believing Christ’s words and thus reinterpreting them, “this is My body/blood….”

    That category? To quote, “One of the difficulties of the Reformed position is that they believe that the divine essence can only be communicated by created likeness, so they have no concept of communication by participation.”
    That last part “communication by participation” is critical. I can still remember the day it donned on me that my reformed concept of heaven, where Christ’s body is, the right hand of God was in error. It was a good moment, one of those Gospel epiphany moments. Because as a reformed person one does think only in the “communication of divine attributes by created likeness” only and not by participation. Thus, one reads in reformed righting how certain divine attributes were communicated to the creature man in his/her created being like divine wisdom, etc… but not for example divine eternality and such. Divine eternality cannot be communicated to the creature by created likeness. But communication by participation is a whole other realm.

    This has consequences, because the redeemed will in eternity have much communication by participation in the divinity, not created communication but participation in. Think of all of Paul’s statements about “participation in”, baptism in the Lord’s body, death and resurrection, and explicitly in his commentary in 1 Cor. concerning the very Lord’s Supper, a participation in the body and blood of Christ.
    This lack of a category of attributes by participation in and in its place only by created likeness affects a number of Reformed (and Baptist) doctrines to their detriment and missing out on great treasures given us and not just the sacraments. It’s why Calvin thought Jesus snuck into the room where the disciples where hiding and didn’t just appear. Yet Christ walked on water! Clearly a divine attribute and communicated not by “created likeness” for men cannot walk on water, Peter in unbelief began to sink but hearing the Word say, “come”, did walk on water. Rather such miracles are a communication of divinity via participation. Everything greater than men normally have about Christ’s bodily existence was a communication of divinity by participation through the person of Christ, his virgin birth, his miracles, his bodily voice saying X and X coming into being ex nihilo, his resurrection, his ascension, etc…
    Once one begins to “see” this, one then begins to have one’s old thinking broke down and the mysteries of the sacraments spoken as was begin to appear for the first time.

    In one sense its very simple for example: If God’s right hand is His power, authority and majesty and that of necessity is everywhere, then Christ seated at the right hand is everywhere that right hand is. One leads necessarily to another. I would encourage reformed and others to ponder that first, because that begets what Christ’s bodily ascension was and is, “where” heaven is and such. From there it’s not hard to “see” Christ’s body in more places than one, the sacrament, though we cannot exhaustively understand “how this thing is so”, it still relies on revelation of Word that says so, it is a mystery.

    We almost had an idea of Christ’s ascension into heaven akin to superman taking flight. In fact one of our Easter pageants that took place at a rather large church (20,000+) with great resources had the actor playing Christ at the end latched up and ascending four entire flights (the sanctuary was that big) by cable into the rafters at the end ascension scene. That’s the concept many, including ourselves, have/had. And Jesus kind of just “disappears behind the clouds” some 20,000+ feet into the air (a height neither Calvin or Zwingli understood).

    I hope that helps some.

  • Larry

    It would be nice and mayber there is and I’m ignorant of it, for some zealous Lutheran to do a modern concise version of Chemnitz’s “The Two Natures of Christ”. Nothing wrong with that treatise at all (though I’ve not finished it), but to today’s busy mind its a bit of trying to drink from a fire hydrant at first. One almost needs a sip from something a bit condensed.

  • Larry

    It would be nice and mayber there is and I’m ignorant of it, for some zealous Lutheran to do a modern concise version of Chemnitz’s “The Two Natures of Christ”. Nothing wrong with that treatise at all (though I’ve not finished it), but to today’s busy mind its a bit of trying to drink from a fire hydrant at first. One almost needs a sip from something a bit condensed.

  • Sherry

    Hi, I am new to this board. I was raised Lutheran, but left as a young adult, and have been in fundamentalist/evangelical churches for the last 30 years but have had numerous misgivings with them and have been considering a return to the Lutheran church.
    I am not wishing to sidetrack this thread, but what Larry said in post #2 went way over my head, and I am looking for recommended concise explanations of a lot of Luther’s teachings, as I have been for many years trying to sort through much of what I have been taught. I have read a couple of Gene Veith’s books and one by Craig Parton, but I am still really struggling with the sacramental view of the LS among other things, and the view of heaven not being “up there” is something I have never even thought about before.
    I am really drawn to the beauty and reverence of the liturgy as compared to the evangelical model. I apologize for the intrusion, just looking for a couple helpful suggestions, and I have to say that this is one of the most interesting and thought provoking boards I have looked at.

  • Sherry

    Hi, I am new to this board. I was raised Lutheran, but left as a young adult, and have been in fundamentalist/evangelical churches for the last 30 years but have had numerous misgivings with them and have been considering a return to the Lutheran church.
    I am not wishing to sidetrack this thread, but what Larry said in post #2 went way over my head, and I am looking for recommended concise explanations of a lot of Luther’s teachings, as I have been for many years trying to sort through much of what I have been taught. I have read a couple of Gene Veith’s books and one by Craig Parton, but I am still really struggling with the sacramental view of the LS among other things, and the view of heaven not being “up there” is something I have never even thought about before.
    I am really drawn to the beauty and reverence of the liturgy as compared to the evangelical model. I apologize for the intrusion, just looking for a couple helpful suggestions, and I have to say that this is one of the most interesting and thought provoking boards I have looked at.

  • LAJ

    Senkbeil’s book, “Dying to Live” has an excellent part on the two Sacraments towards the last chapters, and is excellent on Lutheran theology. Have you read “Spirituality of the Cross” by Veith? That’s a must read.

  • LAJ

    Senkbeil’s book, “Dying to Live” has an excellent part on the two Sacraments towards the last chapters, and is excellent on Lutheran theology. Have you read “Spirituality of the Cross” by Veith? That’s a must read.

  • Jonathan

    Kneel for the sake of kneeling, but don’t dare adore. Very confusing.

  • Jonathan

    Kneel for the sake of kneeling, but don’t dare adore. Very confusing.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#4
    The best short explanation is the Large Catechism, followed by the Formula of Concord – Solid Declaration. For greater depth, Martin Chemnitz’s work “The Lord’s Supper” is probably the best.

    In regards to the OP, what we have here is a failure to communicate. When Lutherans speak of Real Presence, we mean something different than the Anglicans when they use the same words. I have stopped using Real Presence when I speak of Communion. I usually spell it out and occasionally use the term Sacramental Presence. I have heard Anglicans and other reformed use Real Presence to mean we are spiritually lifted into heaven to feast there during communion.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#4
    The best short explanation is the Large Catechism, followed by the Formula of Concord – Solid Declaration. For greater depth, Martin Chemnitz’s work “The Lord’s Supper” is probably the best.

    In regards to the OP, what we have here is a failure to communicate. When Lutherans speak of Real Presence, we mean something different than the Anglicans when they use the same words. I have stopped using Real Presence when I speak of Communion. I usually spell it out and occasionally use the term Sacramental Presence. I have heard Anglicans and other reformed use Real Presence to mean we are spiritually lifted into heaven to feast there during communion.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’ll check in later when I have more time, and I’m primarily commenting now merely so I can follow the course of this conversation. It will be generally infuriating, I suspect, to watch a pack of Lutherans savage the Anglican notion of the sacraments based upon a single quote that isn’t even present in the BCP.

    But I must say this: Jonathan, I don’t see what is confusing about that statement. Adoration=worship. We are not supposed to worship the elements as if they were akin to a fourth member of the Trinity, which is what Catholics essentially do. Such would be idolatry.

    For what it’s worth, the standard Anglican view of communion involves consubstantiation. Of course, not all Anglicans condone this notion, but let’s not get too uncharitable here.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’ll check in later when I have more time, and I’m primarily commenting now merely so I can follow the course of this conversation. It will be generally infuriating, I suspect, to watch a pack of Lutherans savage the Anglican notion of the sacraments based upon a single quote that isn’t even present in the BCP.

    But I must say this: Jonathan, I don’t see what is confusing about that statement. Adoration=worship. We are not supposed to worship the elements as if they were akin to a fourth member of the Trinity, which is what Catholics essentially do. Such would be idolatry.

    For what it’s worth, the standard Anglican view of communion involves consubstantiation. Of course, not all Anglicans condone this notion, but let’s not get too uncharitable here.

  • http://www.Utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Sarah,
    In addition to all the books mentioned, there is Luther’s Small Catechism with explanations. This goes and shows all the Biblical citations, well most of them, for all those things we believe as Lutherans. I also have a list on Amazon.com “Lutheran books for Laity”.

  • http://www.Utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Sarah,
    In addition to all the books mentioned, there is Luther’s Small Catechism with explanations. This goes and shows all the Biblical citations, well most of them, for all those things we believe as Lutherans. I also have a list on Amazon.com “Lutheran books for Laity”.

  • http://www.Utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The 39 articles seem to say the same thing if you ask me.
    Thanks for bringing this up Vieth. I am waiting to read Cincinatus, Steve in Torronto, and Trotsky on this post.

  • http://www.Utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The 39 articles seem to say the same thing if you ask me.
    Thanks for bringing this up Vieth. I am waiting to read Cincinatus, Steve in Torronto, and Trotsky on this post.

  • http://quiacreeds.blogspot.com/ David Oberdieck

    Sherry wrote, “but what Larry said in post #2 went way over my head, and I am looking for recommended concise explanations of a lot of Luther’s teachings,”

    **Sherry – I recommend:
    1. contacting your local Lutheran pastor of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LC-MS) and asking him your question.

    2. A very short explanation is in Luther’s Small Catechism. It is available through Concordia Publishing House (CPH).

    3. The Large Catechism is not too big. It is a good read as well. You can order the Large Catechism from CPH. This stand alone version has some simple study questions after each section.

    You can contact CPH at 1-800-325-3040

  • http://quiacreeds.blogspot.com/ David Oberdieck

    Sherry wrote, “but what Larry said in post #2 went way over my head, and I am looking for recommended concise explanations of a lot of Luther’s teachings,”

    **Sherry – I recommend:
    1. contacting your local Lutheran pastor of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LC-MS) and asking him your question.

    2. A very short explanation is in Luther’s Small Catechism. It is available through Concordia Publishing House (CPH).

    3. The Large Catechism is not too big. It is a good read as well. You can order the Large Catechism from CPH. This stand alone version has some simple study questions after each section.

    You can contact CPH at 1-800-325-3040

  • Kirk

    Wikipedia actually has a pretty in depth article about Anglican views on the Eucharist.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglican_Eucharistic_theology

  • Kirk

    Wikipedia actually has a pretty in depth article about Anglican views on the Eucharist.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglican_Eucharistic_theology

  • Larry

    Sherry,

    Just so you know I came from an evangelical background (SB then Reformed) myself into this foreign land called Lutheran. It need not be complicated at all, but it is challenging.

    First when you say you still struggle with the sacramental view, what precisely does that mean? I’m just trying to get to the details because that can be a broad thing. What are the XY and Z details of that struggle if you will?

    A simple approach is to ask and answer of one’s self very honestly, “Why do I not believe ‘this is My body’ to be on face value what it says”? Or why does my thinking immediately reject the face value reading of the Words and conceive of a different meaning. Or write out in your own words the face value meaning you’d give them that expresses what you believe it is, then ask, “Now why is it I don’t believe the face value spoken and recorded versus do believe the face value words I give it”

    E.g. Face value in Scripture says, “….this is My body…”
    Face value I would have given it back then would say, “…this represents My body…” or “…this is a sign of My body…”.
    Question I’d ask myself, “Why do I believe the second as is and do not believe the first as is?”
    What’s the root behind the shift?
    Does that make sense?
    The reason one might take this approach is to see what is behind the reason one struggles with X, if you will.

    Larry

  • Larry

    Sherry,

    Just so you know I came from an evangelical background (SB then Reformed) myself into this foreign land called Lutheran. It need not be complicated at all, but it is challenging.

    First when you say you still struggle with the sacramental view, what precisely does that mean? I’m just trying to get to the details because that can be a broad thing. What are the XY and Z details of that struggle if you will?

    A simple approach is to ask and answer of one’s self very honestly, “Why do I not believe ‘this is My body’ to be on face value what it says”? Or why does my thinking immediately reject the face value reading of the Words and conceive of a different meaning. Or write out in your own words the face value meaning you’d give them that expresses what you believe it is, then ask, “Now why is it I don’t believe the face value spoken and recorded versus do believe the face value words I give it”

    E.g. Face value in Scripture says, “….this is My body…”
    Face value I would have given it back then would say, “…this represents My body…” or “…this is a sign of My body…”.
    Question I’d ask myself, “Why do I believe the second as is and do not believe the first as is?”
    What’s the root behind the shift?
    Does that make sense?
    The reason one might take this approach is to see what is behind the reason one struggles with X, if you will.

    Larry

  • Larry

    What David said is sound advice. We came from the “outside in” and didn’t have a Lutheran background at all, so our approach was a slow studying the scriptures and writings and confessions (which included our own baptist and reformed confessions and BOC, comparing, etc…).

    My initial background was atheist/agnostic so one tends to approach the whole Christian universe as labeled and say, “OK, I’m sure Christainity is true. Now which one and why?” From the ‘atheist/agnostic’ level one is kind of approaching from the forest level for a landing.

  • Larry

    What David said is sound advice. We came from the “outside in” and didn’t have a Lutheran background at all, so our approach was a slow studying the scriptures and writings and confessions (which included our own baptist and reformed confessions and BOC, comparing, etc…).

    My initial background was atheist/agnostic so one tends to approach the whole Christian universe as labeled and say, “OK, I’m sure Christainity is true. Now which one and why?” From the ‘atheist/agnostic’ level one is kind of approaching from the forest level for a landing.

  • Larry

    Or look at the flip side if you will. Why as a Lutheran now do I not believe “…this is a sign of the spiritual real presence of My body…” at face value? That’s what a Lutheran is saying, “I don’t believe that…I have unbelief toward that statement, etc…”.

    The immediate answer is, “That’s not what scripture states”. But why do I believe “this is My body” as opposed to the other? That’s what is revealed, that’s what the Word speaks and says. Then one might ask, “But how is it that Christ’s body is everywhere” or “how is it we only taste bread and wine”, etc… Therein reason gets into the way of revelation. Revelation of articles of faith are very literally only apprehended by faith. We might say, “only faith sees and hears” but the seeing and hearing are not so much like the ear that hears or the eye that sees, but rather we attach this sensory idea to explain that faith “picks up on this”. The Words read or rather reveal “this is My body” but the eye sees this and the ear hears this, but eye also sees only bread and only wine, and so only the mouth tastes the same. Only faith “sees”, “hears”, “tastes” the Word that is body and blood.

    That’s the way it is with ALL articles of faith. Why? So that faith alone has them and room is made for faith. How is this so? God hides things so that room is made for faith alone and not sensory perception or reasoning powers, faith alone “grabs” the Word revealed. And God hides things under opposites. Why? The best way to hide a thing is under opposites, right? Divine power on an impotent Cross for example. Thus neither eye, nor ear, nor sense, nor reason “grasps” God on the Cross (or sacraments) but only faith (sola fide) in the Word only (sola scriptura). Thus, ONLY faith “apprehends” every article of faith.

    This is why in the creeds we say “I believe….” And not “I see, taste, hear, have reasoned…”. This is the thrust behind Hebrew 11 for example.

  • Larry

    Or look at the flip side if you will. Why as a Lutheran now do I not believe “…this is a sign of the spiritual real presence of My body…” at face value? That’s what a Lutheran is saying, “I don’t believe that…I have unbelief toward that statement, etc…”.

    The immediate answer is, “That’s not what scripture states”. But why do I believe “this is My body” as opposed to the other? That’s what is revealed, that’s what the Word speaks and says. Then one might ask, “But how is it that Christ’s body is everywhere” or “how is it we only taste bread and wine”, etc… Therein reason gets into the way of revelation. Revelation of articles of faith are very literally only apprehended by faith. We might say, “only faith sees and hears” but the seeing and hearing are not so much like the ear that hears or the eye that sees, but rather we attach this sensory idea to explain that faith “picks up on this”. The Words read or rather reveal “this is My body” but the eye sees this and the ear hears this, but eye also sees only bread and only wine, and so only the mouth tastes the same. Only faith “sees”, “hears”, “tastes” the Word that is body and blood.

    That’s the way it is with ALL articles of faith. Why? So that faith alone has them and room is made for faith. How is this so? God hides things so that room is made for faith alone and not sensory perception or reasoning powers, faith alone “grabs” the Word revealed. And God hides things under opposites. Why? The best way to hide a thing is under opposites, right? Divine power on an impotent Cross for example. Thus neither eye, nor ear, nor sense, nor reason “grasps” God on the Cross (or sacraments) but only faith (sola fide) in the Word only (sola scriptura). Thus, ONLY faith “apprehends” every article of faith.

    This is why in the creeds we say “I believe….” And not “I see, taste, hear, have reasoned…”. This is the thrust behind Hebrew 11 for example.

  • Walter Bishop

    The 1928 Book of Common Prayer’s “The Order for … Holy Communion” does not contain the Black Rubric.

  • Walter Bishop

    The 1928 Book of Common Prayer’s “The Order for … Holy Communion” does not contain the Black Rubric.

  • trotk

    I would add to the notion of not to make too much of the Black Rubric. Anglicanism isn’t and hasn’t been static and unified. Of course neither is Lutheranism. I think that Anglicanism is more internally splintered, and was from the beginning, but this may be a faulty assumption. For anyone interested, WH Griffith Thomas’ book on the 39 Articles gives an incredibly rich view of all the voices present in the early Anglican church.

    It is true that there is a reformed influence on Anglicanism, and to state otherwise would be dishonest. There is also a Lutheran influence. Which one is greater? I guess it depends whom you ask or read. At the end of the day, Anglicanism has some major factions in it, and some would be happy to be lumped with the Reformed, and some terrified or angry. Terry and Larry’s generalizations at #1 and 2 are typically non-Anglican over-simplifications.

    The Anglican view of the Eucharist does swing from transubstantiation to consubstantiation to spiritual presence only. And most of us commune with one another. How can this be? Because we agree on one thing: That when Christ said it was His body, He meant what he said. We just don’t agree on what that means.

    Interestingly enough, all denominations end up adding to Christ’s words to explain it, and I believe all should approach the discussion with a great amount of humility. Did Christ say, “in, with, and under?” Why is this the Lutheran church’s dogmatic interpretation? How do they know that this is they way Christ wanted it understood?

    It is enough for me that I believe that it is His body. I don’t know how He does it, or in what sense He means it, but when I eat the bread and drink the wine, it is His body and blood I am consuming.

  • trotk

    I would add to the notion of not to make too much of the Black Rubric. Anglicanism isn’t and hasn’t been static and unified. Of course neither is Lutheranism. I think that Anglicanism is more internally splintered, and was from the beginning, but this may be a faulty assumption. For anyone interested, WH Griffith Thomas’ book on the 39 Articles gives an incredibly rich view of all the voices present in the early Anglican church.

    It is true that there is a reformed influence on Anglicanism, and to state otherwise would be dishonest. There is also a Lutheran influence. Which one is greater? I guess it depends whom you ask or read. At the end of the day, Anglicanism has some major factions in it, and some would be happy to be lumped with the Reformed, and some terrified or angry. Terry and Larry’s generalizations at #1 and 2 are typically non-Anglican over-simplifications.

    The Anglican view of the Eucharist does swing from transubstantiation to consubstantiation to spiritual presence only. And most of us commune with one another. How can this be? Because we agree on one thing: That when Christ said it was His body, He meant what he said. We just don’t agree on what that means.

    Interestingly enough, all denominations end up adding to Christ’s words to explain it, and I believe all should approach the discussion with a great amount of humility. Did Christ say, “in, with, and under?” Why is this the Lutheran church’s dogmatic interpretation? How do they know that this is they way Christ wanted it understood?

    It is enough for me that I believe that it is His body. I don’t know how He does it, or in what sense He means it, but when I eat the bread and drink the wine, it is His body and blood I am consuming.

  • trotk

    Additionally, for those who are curious, two final points:

    The Black Rubric is a rejection of transubstantiation, which plenty of High Anglicans still believed and even now believe. It wasn’t a statement explicitly about consubstantiation, although the Reformed influence on it is great. This is why the Reformed Episcopal churches might use it, but others, like mine, never touch it.

    Secondly, although not all Anglicans get excited by them (Hi, Cincinnatus!), here is the actual text of the 28th Article. Notice its reformed flavor, its rejection of transubstantiation, its silence on consubstantiation, its rejection of the physical body and blood, but its insistence on the real and present body and blood.

    In this instance, I don’t like the Article telling me that it can’t be physical. Not because I necessarily believe that it is physically the body and blood, but because qualifying the statement of Christ in any way (even with the word “physically”!) is an addition to the words of Christ. But this is just one Anglican speaking, trying to keep himself sola scriptura.

    XXVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper.
    The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

    Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

    The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.

    The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

  • trotk

    Additionally, for those who are curious, two final points:

    The Black Rubric is a rejection of transubstantiation, which plenty of High Anglicans still believed and even now believe. It wasn’t a statement explicitly about consubstantiation, although the Reformed influence on it is great. This is why the Reformed Episcopal churches might use it, but others, like mine, never touch it.

    Secondly, although not all Anglicans get excited by them (Hi, Cincinnatus!), here is the actual text of the 28th Article. Notice its reformed flavor, its rejection of transubstantiation, its silence on consubstantiation, its rejection of the physical body and blood, but its insistence on the real and present body and blood.

    In this instance, I don’t like the Article telling me that it can’t be physical. Not because I necessarily believe that it is physically the body and blood, but because qualifying the statement of Christ in any way (even with the word “physically”!) is an addition to the words of Christ. But this is just one Anglican speaking, trying to keep himself sola scriptura.

    XXVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper.
    The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

    Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

    The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.

    The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

  • Craig

    Hi Sherry,

    Please listen to these interviews with Pastor Jeremy Rhode. Two of them are on The Lord’s Supper and the others will be helpful.

    http://issuesetc.org/guest/jeremy-rhode/

    Pax Christi

  • Craig

    Hi Sherry,

    Please listen to these interviews with Pastor Jeremy Rhode. Two of them are on The Lord’s Supper and the others will be helpful.

    http://issuesetc.org/guest/jeremy-rhode/

    Pax Christi

  • Sherry

    Thanks so much for all the suggested reading. Looks like I have a lot of studying to do.
    Craig, those interviews look like they are going to be exactly what I need for starters.
    David, I talked to a LC-MS pastor this morning (I had made the appt last Sun.) and he was helpful and gave me a copy of the small catechism and also let me borrow a video series on the liturgy and how it came about since I have questions about how the church went from the simplicity of what we read about in the NT to more complex forms of worship.
    @ Larry# 13, I think my discomfort on the sacramental view of the LS stems from being taught that it was (I hate to say it) a cannibalistic way to understand it. I was a young adult and never questioned it until recently when I started realizing that part of my discontent with fundamentalism “might” be my Lutheran upbringing. I have been since wondering, if it is so cannibalistic, why do christians even “pretend” (in a symbolic way) to eat and drink His body and blood? (please forgive me, I have no other way to express this). I have a weakness that wants to “reason” everything out so that I can understand it, but a better understanding of the passover might be helpful. The pastor I talked to this morning helped me to see it is a mystery and some things just have to be taken by faith.
    Anyway, I have hijacked this thread enough – so thank you everyone.

  • Sherry

    Thanks so much for all the suggested reading. Looks like I have a lot of studying to do.
    Craig, those interviews look like they are going to be exactly what I need for starters.
    David, I talked to a LC-MS pastor this morning (I had made the appt last Sun.) and he was helpful and gave me a copy of the small catechism and also let me borrow a video series on the liturgy and how it came about since I have questions about how the church went from the simplicity of what we read about in the NT to more complex forms of worship.
    @ Larry# 13, I think my discomfort on the sacramental view of the LS stems from being taught that it was (I hate to say it) a cannibalistic way to understand it. I was a young adult and never questioned it until recently when I started realizing that part of my discontent with fundamentalism “might” be my Lutheran upbringing. I have been since wondering, if it is so cannibalistic, why do christians even “pretend” (in a symbolic way) to eat and drink His body and blood? (please forgive me, I have no other way to express this). I have a weakness that wants to “reason” everything out so that I can understand it, but a better understanding of the passover might be helpful. The pastor I talked to this morning helped me to see it is a mystery and some things just have to be taken by faith.
    Anyway, I have hijacked this thread enough – so thank you everyone.

  • mikeb

    I see my pastor is commenting today; hello Pastor Dave!

    Sherry,

    First, I would recommend you read the Small Catechism. It’s a quick read and you can find it online and read it in a couple of hours. Examine it then look to the Scriptures and test this traditional, conservative, confessional Lutheran theology. The beauty of Lutheran theology is you don’t have to make any Scholastic leaps to explain everything, you don’t have to stake out twisted interpretations of Scripture to support a particular belief. It’s just simple, plain reason.

    Second, find a local LCMS pastor and ask them about matters of Faith and Theology. (Trust me, they love to talk about Faith and Theology and too often their flock asks them more about ‘what kind of carpet to put in the fellowship hall’ or such.) Ask to attend the new member class if its available. There shouldn’t be any pressure to join but its a great way to learn, ask questions, and get to know the pastor or elders at what might be your new congregation.

    Finally, get a copy of Hammer of God by Bo Giertz. It’s an excellent exposition of confessional Lutheranism in the form of a novel. If you don’t like to read theology, it might be your cup of tea and help you understand some of the distinctions.

    PS – Don’t forget to pray. But don’t look for an easy answer.

  • mikeb

    I see my pastor is commenting today; hello Pastor Dave!

    Sherry,

    First, I would recommend you read the Small Catechism. It’s a quick read and you can find it online and read it in a couple of hours. Examine it then look to the Scriptures and test this traditional, conservative, confessional Lutheran theology. The beauty of Lutheran theology is you don’t have to make any Scholastic leaps to explain everything, you don’t have to stake out twisted interpretations of Scripture to support a particular belief. It’s just simple, plain reason.

    Second, find a local LCMS pastor and ask them about matters of Faith and Theology. (Trust me, they love to talk about Faith and Theology and too often their flock asks them more about ‘what kind of carpet to put in the fellowship hall’ or such.) Ask to attend the new member class if its available. There shouldn’t be any pressure to join but its a great way to learn, ask questions, and get to know the pastor or elders at what might be your new congregation.

    Finally, get a copy of Hammer of God by Bo Giertz. It’s an excellent exposition of confessional Lutheranism in the form of a novel. If you don’t like to read theology, it might be your cup of tea and help you understand some of the distinctions.

    PS – Don’t forget to pray. But don’t look for an easy answer.

  • kerner

    Sherry:

    You don’t have to buy a Large Catechism to read what it says about the Lord’s Supper. You can read it online here:

    http://bookofconcord.org/lc-7-sacrament.php

    I look forward to having a little more time to participate in this conversation.

    I would like to point out the following however. First, as to the belief or lack of it, on the part of the clergyman distributing the Lord’s Supper, the Large Catechism says:

    Hence it is easy to reply to all manner of questions about which men are troubled at the present time, such as this one: Whether even a wicked priest can minister at, and dispense, the Sacrament, and whatever other questions like this there may be. 16] For here we conclude and say: Even though a knave takes or distributes the Sacrament, he receives the true Sacrament, that is, the true body and blood of Christ, just as truly as he who [receives or] administers it in the most worthy manner. For it is not founded upon the holiness of men, but upon the Word of God. And as no saint upon earth, yea, no angel in heaven, can make bread and wine to be the body and blood of Christ, so also can no one change or alter it, even though it be misused. 17] For the Word by which it became a Sacrament and was instituted does not become false because of the person or his unbelief. For He does not say: If you believe or are worthy, you receive My body and blood, but: Take, eat and drink; this is My body and blood. Likewise: Do this (namely, what I now do, institute, give, and bid you take). 18] That is as much as to say, No matter whether you are worthy or unworthy, you have here His body and blood by virtue of these words which are added to the bread and wine. 19] Only note and remember this well; for upon these words rest all our foundation, protection, and defense against all errors and deception that have ever come or may yet come.” LC Sacrament of the Altar 15-19

    I think what this means is that it does not matter very much whether the clergyman believes the Words of Institution so much as that he recites them correctly. This is similar to our doctrine about baptism. It doesn’t matter what the baptizer, or even the baptized one, thinks is going on. A sacrament is being performed whether they know it or not.

    I would also note that the Words of institution used in the Book of Common Prayer are almost identical to those used by Lutherans:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Words_of_Institution

    So, I would be a lot less concerned about taking a communion in a service in which the Book of Common Prayer was used than I would be if the service adds disclaimers or modifications of them. But I also believe that if the clergyman or order of service goes so far as to say that this is NOT Christ’s body and blood, then it is not really the Lord’s Supper at all and no one should take it.

  • kerner

    Sherry:

    You don’t have to buy a Large Catechism to read what it says about the Lord’s Supper. You can read it online here:

    http://bookofconcord.org/lc-7-sacrament.php

    I look forward to having a little more time to participate in this conversation.

    I would like to point out the following however. First, as to the belief or lack of it, on the part of the clergyman distributing the Lord’s Supper, the Large Catechism says:

    Hence it is easy to reply to all manner of questions about which men are troubled at the present time, such as this one: Whether even a wicked priest can minister at, and dispense, the Sacrament, and whatever other questions like this there may be. 16] For here we conclude and say: Even though a knave takes or distributes the Sacrament, he receives the true Sacrament, that is, the true body and blood of Christ, just as truly as he who [receives or] administers it in the most worthy manner. For it is not founded upon the holiness of men, but upon the Word of God. And as no saint upon earth, yea, no angel in heaven, can make bread and wine to be the body and blood of Christ, so also can no one change or alter it, even though it be misused. 17] For the Word by which it became a Sacrament and was instituted does not become false because of the person or his unbelief. For He does not say: If you believe or are worthy, you receive My body and blood, but: Take, eat and drink; this is My body and blood. Likewise: Do this (namely, what I now do, institute, give, and bid you take). 18] That is as much as to say, No matter whether you are worthy or unworthy, you have here His body and blood by virtue of these words which are added to the bread and wine. 19] Only note and remember this well; for upon these words rest all our foundation, protection, and defense against all errors and deception that have ever come or may yet come.” LC Sacrament of the Altar 15-19

    I think what this means is that it does not matter very much whether the clergyman believes the Words of Institution so much as that he recites them correctly. This is similar to our doctrine about baptism. It doesn’t matter what the baptizer, or even the baptized one, thinks is going on. A sacrament is being performed whether they know it or not.

    I would also note that the Words of institution used in the Book of Common Prayer are almost identical to those used by Lutherans:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Words_of_Institution

    So, I would be a lot less concerned about taking a communion in a service in which the Book of Common Prayer was used than I would be if the service adds disclaimers or modifications of them. But I also believe that if the clergyman or order of service goes so far as to say that this is NOT Christ’s body and blood, then it is not really the Lord’s Supper at all and no one should take it.

  • Kelly

    Sherry @ 20, you’re exactly right about a couple of things you said here… first, that one of the very biggest mental blocks that Christians have to the idea of the true body and blood of Jesus being present in the Supper is nothing more than “That would be too weird, too ‘miraculous,’ too gross, too absurd, too unreasonable.” You’re also quite right that if it’s cannibalistic and therefore sinful, it would also be cannibalistic and sinful to do it “symbolically.” Good to see you wrestling with these topics. I second the Pr. Rhode interviews; very helpful stuff. I’m currently working on a Lord’s Supper Q&A book, a follow-up to a book I wrote on the topic of Baptism. Lots of good resources out there already, too. :o )

  • Kelly

    Sherry @ 20, you’re exactly right about a couple of things you said here… first, that one of the very biggest mental blocks that Christians have to the idea of the true body and blood of Jesus being present in the Supper is nothing more than “That would be too weird, too ‘miraculous,’ too gross, too absurd, too unreasonable.” You’re also quite right that if it’s cannibalistic and therefore sinful, it would also be cannibalistic and sinful to do it “symbolically.” Good to see you wrestling with these topics. I second the Pr. Rhode interviews; very helpful stuff. I’m currently working on a Lord’s Supper Q&A book, a follow-up to a book I wrote on the topic of Baptism. Lots of good resources out there already, too. :o )

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Trotk, cincinatus,
    You have been on this board long enough to know we lutherans are not consubstantiationalists. Please stop usimg that term to describe the lutheran view. And quite frankly Lutherans don’t have near the trouble with the doctrine of transubstantiation as we do with the black rubric, and the 28th article of the 39. We especially have a problem with this worthy recipient bit.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Trotk, cincinatus,
    You have been on this board long enough to know we lutherans are not consubstantiationalists. Please stop usimg that term to describe the lutheran view. And quite frankly Lutherans don’t have near the trouble with the doctrine of transubstantiation as we do with the black rubric, and the 28th article of the 39. We especially have a problem with this worthy recipient bit.

  • trotk

    Bror -

    I am aware of the fact that Lutherans aren’t consubstantiationalists. I was using the term to refer to people within the Anglican church who are. Sorry for being unclear.

    As to the point of disagreement about the worthy recipient, I know it is a big divide. The WH Griffith Thomas book on the 39 Articles is pretty exhaustive on the issue. It is a debate I am willing to have, but to be honest, I would hesitate to make an absolute claim. All I know is that a Christian can receive it in an unworthy manner. What happens when a non-Christian receives it I don’t know and won’t claim to, just because it isn’t in Scripture in any explicit way.

  • trotk

    Bror -

    I am aware of the fact that Lutherans aren’t consubstantiationalists. I was using the term to refer to people within the Anglican church who are. Sorry for being unclear.

    As to the point of disagreement about the worthy recipient, I know it is a big divide. The WH Griffith Thomas book on the 39 Articles is pretty exhaustive on the issue. It is a debate I am willing to have, but to be honest, I would hesitate to make an absolute claim. All I know is that a Christian can receive it in an unworthy manner. What happens when a non-Christian receives it I don’t know and won’t claim to, just because it isn’t in Scripture in any explicit way.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Sherry,

    Here’s a couple of very strong Lutheran sermons emphasizing the differences between Lutheranism and Evangelicalism:

    http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/the-two-christian-paradigms-2/

    and…

    http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/i-believe-that-i-cannot-believe/

    Enjoy.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Sherry,

    Here’s a couple of very strong Lutheran sermons emphasizing the differences between Lutheranism and Evangelicalism:

    http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/the-two-christian-paradigms-2/

    and…

    http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/i-believe-that-i-cannot-believe/

    Enjoy.

  • Cincinnatus

    A few notes:

    1) Why is there a lengthy apologetic for the Lutheran view of communion going on in this thread? It seems intrusive and irrelevant, since it isn’t even trying to bring itself into dialogue with Anglicanism. I mean, I know this is a Lutheran blog, but it’s kind of missing the point.

    2) Bror@24, I’m not sure what the intention behind your comment might be. None of us claimed that Lutherans subscribe to consubstantiation. Both trotk and I did accurately note that Lutherans do not subscribe to transubstantiation in the same way that Catholics do, but the indignant tone of your comment seems unnecessary.

    3) This applies to Bror and other early comments in this thread: there is no single, unified “Anglican” view of the Eucharist, as the Wikipedia article linked above quite helpfully demonstrates. Thus, it is foolish to assault the “Anglican view” as if it even existed. For instance, Terry’s comment @ 1 is just silly. All that stuff about being “formally Calvinist but functionally Arminian”? I don’t even know what that means, but I do know that it comes from the keyboard of someone who really knows little to nothing about Anglicanism.

    Feel free to critique Anglicanism for not having a unified view of communion, though it’s somewhat like calling the kettle black (unless you are Catholic). Such eucharistic diversity has been present in Anglicanism from the beginning. But attacking “the” Anglican view of the sacrament is attacking a straw man.

    Which leads to a couple of other substantive corrections:

    a) No Anglicans have a view of communion that could properly be labeled “low.” No proper Anglicans (I here exclude heretical Episcopalians who don’t believe in any of it anyway) believe that communion is only an ordinance or symbolic observance like most Baptists, many Calvinists, etc. “Low Church” Anglicans might accept the “spiritual presence” idea (I don’t). Reformed Anglicans tend toward consubstantiation. Anglo-Catholics like myself are more inclined to believe in transubstantiation in a way that is much closer to the Catholic view than the Lutheran. The point, which I do think to be significant, is that all orthodox Anglicans believe in the Real Presence in some way or another. Personally, I think dogmatic speculation beyond that assertion, like trotk observed, is somewhat pointless, if not hubristic, but even if it’s not, it is sufficient to note that no Anglican will dispense with the Real Presence.

    b) Anglicans do not have a “problem” with the Black Rubric, Bror. For better or worse, the only binding “theology” in Anglicanism is included in the liturgical forms in the BCP and the contents of the ecumenical creeds. The Black Rubric is not and has not been for many years included in the BCP. It is completely irrelevant in a discussion of current Anglican praxis and dogma. Yes, it evokes the influence of the Reformation on the English Church, but a) such influence is not and has never been decisive and, b), in case I haven’t mentioned this, the Black Rubric isn’t in the BCP. Bashing Anglicanism for the Black Rubric is rather like bashing Roman Catholicism for permitting the sale of indulgences. Interesting as an historical novelty, but little else beyond that.

    Bror, I also don’t see how the 39 Articles are a “problem” for Anglicans. First of all, the 39 Articles are not binding on the Anglican church. Thus, unlike trotk, I do not subscribe to them (at least not in their totality, including the portion on the Eucharist). But even if one does subscribe to them, one is at worst subscribing to consubstantiation, which, again, does acknowledge the Real Presence. Second, accordingly, one cannot “problematize” all of Anglicanism for something that, at most, only a portion of Anglicans believe (and for those Anglicans, of course, it isn’t a problem).

    I know Bror and others will not “agree” with Anglicanism. But that’s not the point. You are Lutherans. My point here is only to dispel a few misconceptions that have appeared repeatedly in this thread. In short, you’re swinging punches at a rather thin straw man.

  • Cincinnatus

    A few notes:

    1) Why is there a lengthy apologetic for the Lutheran view of communion going on in this thread? It seems intrusive and irrelevant, since it isn’t even trying to bring itself into dialogue with Anglicanism. I mean, I know this is a Lutheran blog, but it’s kind of missing the point.

    2) Bror@24, I’m not sure what the intention behind your comment might be. None of us claimed that Lutherans subscribe to consubstantiation. Both trotk and I did accurately note that Lutherans do not subscribe to transubstantiation in the same way that Catholics do, but the indignant tone of your comment seems unnecessary.

    3) This applies to Bror and other early comments in this thread: there is no single, unified “Anglican” view of the Eucharist, as the Wikipedia article linked above quite helpfully demonstrates. Thus, it is foolish to assault the “Anglican view” as if it even existed. For instance, Terry’s comment @ 1 is just silly. All that stuff about being “formally Calvinist but functionally Arminian”? I don’t even know what that means, but I do know that it comes from the keyboard of someone who really knows little to nothing about Anglicanism.

    Feel free to critique Anglicanism for not having a unified view of communion, though it’s somewhat like calling the kettle black (unless you are Catholic). Such eucharistic diversity has been present in Anglicanism from the beginning. But attacking “the” Anglican view of the sacrament is attacking a straw man.

    Which leads to a couple of other substantive corrections:

    a) No Anglicans have a view of communion that could properly be labeled “low.” No proper Anglicans (I here exclude heretical Episcopalians who don’t believe in any of it anyway) believe that communion is only an ordinance or symbolic observance like most Baptists, many Calvinists, etc. “Low Church” Anglicans might accept the “spiritual presence” idea (I don’t). Reformed Anglicans tend toward consubstantiation. Anglo-Catholics like myself are more inclined to believe in transubstantiation in a way that is much closer to the Catholic view than the Lutheran. The point, which I do think to be significant, is that all orthodox Anglicans believe in the Real Presence in some way or another. Personally, I think dogmatic speculation beyond that assertion, like trotk observed, is somewhat pointless, if not hubristic, but even if it’s not, it is sufficient to note that no Anglican will dispense with the Real Presence.

    b) Anglicans do not have a “problem” with the Black Rubric, Bror. For better or worse, the only binding “theology” in Anglicanism is included in the liturgical forms in the BCP and the contents of the ecumenical creeds. The Black Rubric is not and has not been for many years included in the BCP. It is completely irrelevant in a discussion of current Anglican praxis and dogma. Yes, it evokes the influence of the Reformation on the English Church, but a) such influence is not and has never been decisive and, b), in case I haven’t mentioned this, the Black Rubric isn’t in the BCP. Bashing Anglicanism for the Black Rubric is rather like bashing Roman Catholicism for permitting the sale of indulgences. Interesting as an historical novelty, but little else beyond that.

    Bror, I also don’t see how the 39 Articles are a “problem” for Anglicans. First of all, the 39 Articles are not binding on the Anglican church. Thus, unlike trotk, I do not subscribe to them (at least not in their totality, including the portion on the Eucharist). But even if one does subscribe to them, one is at worst subscribing to consubstantiation, which, again, does acknowledge the Real Presence. Second, accordingly, one cannot “problematize” all of Anglicanism for something that, at most, only a portion of Anglicans believe (and for those Anglicans, of course, it isn’t a problem).

    I know Bror and others will not “agree” with Anglicanism. But that’s not the point. You are Lutherans. My point here is only to dispel a few misconceptions that have appeared repeatedly in this thread. In short, you’re swinging punches at a rather thin straw man.

  • Cincinnatus

    Steve, that’s what I’m talking about. What is the point here of comparing the Lutheran and Anglican notions of communion? Anglicans are not evangelicals, especially with regards to the Eucharist.

  • Cincinnatus

    Steve, that’s what I’m talking about. What is the point here of comparing the Lutheran and Anglican notions of communion? Anglicans are not evangelicals, especially with regards to the Eucharist.

  • http://nbfzman.blogspot.com nbfzman

    I find it ludicrous to call anything instituted by God “idolatry”. Crafting the ark of the covenant as commanded by God-idolatry? Make a bronze serpent on a pole-idolatry? Worshiping at the feet of God-made-man – idolatry? Take eat, this is my body-idolatry?

    Idolatry is a ludicrous word in this situation.

  • http://nbfzman.blogspot.com nbfzman

    I find it ludicrous to call anything instituted by God “idolatry”. Crafting the ark of the covenant as commanded by God-idolatry? Make a bronze serpent on a pole-idolatry? Worshiping at the feet of God-made-man – idolatry? Take eat, this is my body-idolatry?

    Idolatry is a ludicrous word in this situation.

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus:

    Maybe there is no point, except my momentary curiosity. But I have a question. We’ve established that you Anglicans (generally) believe in some kind of presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Do you also believe, as we Lutherans do, that the LS is a sacrament/means of grace? i.e, do you believe that it conveys forgiveness of sins?

    And if not, what does it do?

  • kerner

    Cincinnatus:

    Maybe there is no point, except my momentary curiosity. But I have a question. We’ve established that you Anglicans (generally) believe in some kind of presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Do you also believe, as we Lutherans do, that the LS is a sacrament/means of grace? i.e, do you believe that it conveys forgiveness of sins?

    And if not, what does it do?

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Cincinnatus,

    I dunno, I think comparisons can be helpful if it brings into stark relief what Christ has done, is doing, and will yet do…vs….anything other ideas, such as things eminating from inside of ourselves.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Cincinnatus,

    I dunno, I think comparisons can be helpful if it brings into stark relief what Christ has done, is doing, and will yet do…vs….anything other ideas, such as things eminating from inside of ourselves.

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@30: In short, yes. Both the 39 Articles (i.e., the Reformed wing of Anglicanism) and Anglo-Catholics recognize the sacraments as essential means of grace. Perhaps there are Anglican splinter groups who deny this fact–I would not be surprised–but in general the sacraments are sacraments, which is why we call them sacraments.

    Steve@31: I didn’t say the comparison isn’t helpful in general, but it’s not helpful in this conversation, which is supposed to be about Anglicanism, or at least the distinctions/similarities between Anglicanism and Lutheranism. Hey, maybe you should next provide a link to Mormon views on communion. That would be useful, right?

  • Cincinnatus

    kerner@30: In short, yes. Both the 39 Articles (i.e., the Reformed wing of Anglicanism) and Anglo-Catholics recognize the sacraments as essential means of grace. Perhaps there are Anglican splinter groups who deny this fact–I would not be surprised–but in general the sacraments are sacraments, which is why we call them sacraments.

    Steve@31: I didn’t say the comparison isn’t helpful in general, but it’s not helpful in this conversation, which is supposed to be about Anglicanism, or at least the distinctions/similarities between Anglicanism and Lutheranism. Hey, maybe you should next provide a link to Mormon views on communion. That would be useful, right?

  • kerner

    It’s a little late to quibble about this now, but isn’t the term “Black rubric” an oxymoron? I thought that a rubric was, by definition, something printed in red.

  • kerner

    It’s a little late to quibble about this now, but isn’t the term “Black rubric” an oxymoron? I thought that a rubric was, by definition, something printed in red.

  • Helen K.

    following…

  • Helen K.

    following…

  • Booklover

    Sherry @#4- – -Along with all of the other excellent suggestions for reading, there is *The Fire and the Staff* by Klemet Preus, which explains the tie between doctrine and practice, and compares Lutheranism to modern Evangelicalism. It is written by one with a pastor’s heart, so it is easy to understand. Chapter three deals with the Lord’s Supper.

  • Booklover

    Sherry @#4- – -Along with all of the other excellent suggestions for reading, there is *The Fire and the Staff* by Klemet Preus, which explains the tie between doctrine and practice, and compares Lutheranism to modern Evangelicalism. It is written by one with a pastor’s heart, so it is easy to understand. Chapter three deals with the Lord’s Supper.

  • Jonathan

    nbfz @30. Plus one. It’s proper to kneel in the presentation of the elements, but don’t dare make the connection that what is actually coming to you is your Lord’s very body and blood, so says this rubric. Does not compute as idolatry.

  • Jonathan

    nbfz @30. Plus one. It’s proper to kneel in the presentation of the elements, but don’t dare make the connection that what is actually coming to you is your Lord’s very body and blood, so says this rubric. Does not compute as idolatry.

  • Cincinnatus

    Look, Jonathan and nbfz. The Black Rubric does not deny the real presence. Anglican Bishops affirmed the Real Presence and insisted that the Black Rubric affirmed the same. Historically, the Black Rubric was not written as or thought to be an imitation or resemblance of the Calvinist view of the Eucharist. But the wording is obviously ambiguous. That is why it has been left out of other incarnations of the BCP.

    At various points in its history, the Anglican Church has affirmed the “real and essential presence” of the actual body and blood of Christ and, more recently, the “corporal presence” of these elements. There are simply no grounds whatsoever, either historical or theological, for claiming that Anglicans have a low or even sub-Lutheran view of Communion.

    As far as kneeling, I think you are all misunderstanding the emphasis in the text: Cranmer included the Black Rubric in the 1552 edition of the BCP precisely because certain “reformers” (the Anglican Communion has always had a problem with reformers) were enjoining congregants not to kneel at communion–probably because they had a low view of that sacrament. Cranmer refused to permit the elimination of kneeling. The flip side, however, is to avoid the extremism of the Catholic view of the sacrament. Answer me this, fellow Lutherans: wouldn’t it be idolatry literally to worship the actual elements of communion? We kneel because of what is taking place in the Eucharist, because the elements are in some mystical way the body and blood of Christ. But there seems to be some distinction here between that affirmation and the Catholic view.

    All that said, I’m glad the Black Rubric has been removed from the BCP.

  • Cincinnatus

    Look, Jonathan and nbfz. The Black Rubric does not deny the real presence. Anglican Bishops affirmed the Real Presence and insisted that the Black Rubric affirmed the same. Historically, the Black Rubric was not written as or thought to be an imitation or resemblance of the Calvinist view of the Eucharist. But the wording is obviously ambiguous. That is why it has been left out of other incarnations of the BCP.

    At various points in its history, the Anglican Church has affirmed the “real and essential presence” of the actual body and blood of Christ and, more recently, the “corporal presence” of these elements. There are simply no grounds whatsoever, either historical or theological, for claiming that Anglicans have a low or even sub-Lutheran view of Communion.

    As far as kneeling, I think you are all misunderstanding the emphasis in the text: Cranmer included the Black Rubric in the 1552 edition of the BCP precisely because certain “reformers” (the Anglican Communion has always had a problem with reformers) were enjoining congregants not to kneel at communion–probably because they had a low view of that sacrament. Cranmer refused to permit the elimination of kneeling. The flip side, however, is to avoid the extremism of the Catholic view of the sacrament. Answer me this, fellow Lutherans: wouldn’t it be idolatry literally to worship the actual elements of communion? We kneel because of what is taking place in the Eucharist, because the elements are in some mystical way the body and blood of Christ. But there seems to be some distinction here between that affirmation and the Catholic view.

    All that said, I’m glad the Black Rubric has been removed from the BCP.

  • trotk

    nbfzman at 29, “I find it ludicrous to call anything instituted by God “idolatry”.”

    First, the black rubric doesn’t call the Eucharist (that which was instituted by God) idolatry.
    Assuming you meant, “I find it ludicrous to call worshiping anything instituted by God idolatry,” I don’t know what to do with the stupidity of this statement. There are plenty of things instituted by God that we ought not worship. Take marriage, for example.

    Like, Cincinnatus says, I am glad that this rubric isn’t in the BCP, and this is an instance where I depart from the 39 Articles, but nbfzman, reread the actual rubric.

    All it condemns as idolatry is worshiping the actual bread and wine.

    If you are unaware of the long history of venerating the bread and wine in place of Christ and viewing them as magical elements that could be used for all sorts of problems and desires, there is a lot of interesting reading I could send you.

  • trotk

    nbfzman at 29, “I find it ludicrous to call anything instituted by God “idolatry”.”

    First, the black rubric doesn’t call the Eucharist (that which was instituted by God) idolatry.
    Assuming you meant, “I find it ludicrous to call worshiping anything instituted by God idolatry,” I don’t know what to do with the stupidity of this statement. There are plenty of things instituted by God that we ought not worship. Take marriage, for example.

    Like, Cincinnatus says, I am glad that this rubric isn’t in the BCP, and this is an instance where I depart from the 39 Articles, but nbfzman, reread the actual rubric.

    All it condemns as idolatry is worshiping the actual bread and wine.

    If you are unaware of the long history of venerating the bread and wine in place of Christ and viewing them as magical elements that could be used for all sorts of problems and desires, there is a lot of interesting reading I could send you.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Cincinnatus,

    “Hey, maybe you should next provide a link to Mormon views on communion. That would be useful, right?”

    Maybe you’re right.

    Another reason I put up those links was for Sherry’s sake. I think they are good examples of Lutheran preaching.

    Thanks.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Cincinnatus,

    “Hey, maybe you should next provide a link to Mormon views on communion. That would be useful, right?”

    Maybe you’re right.

    Another reason I put up those links was for Sherry’s sake. I think they are good examples of Lutheran preaching.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.Utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Cincinnatus, and Trotk @ 25.
    Thanks trotk. I did not know that there were any actual consubstantiationists, I only know the term as a distortion as to what Lutheran’s believe, one that is used for us often. I took your use of the term there to be reading along the lines of “the 39 articles aren’t written against Lutherans”. It fits better.
    But this I think is more problematic from a Lutheran standpoint, no view whatsoever, believe what you want, except transubstantiation. Lutherans see this as too important a topic not to have a stance on. It also makes it hard for us Lutherans too just start communing. I know you say “there is no Anglican view” ambivalence is still a view. And the 39 articles, are the public profession of the faith that we have. It will be formative for others trying to understand Anglicanism, even if it isn’t formative for Anglicans.

  • http://www.Utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Cincinnatus, and Trotk @ 25.
    Thanks trotk. I did not know that there were any actual consubstantiationists, I only know the term as a distortion as to what Lutheran’s believe, one that is used for us often. I took your use of the term there to be reading along the lines of “the 39 articles aren’t written against Lutherans”. It fits better.
    But this I think is more problematic from a Lutheran standpoint, no view whatsoever, believe what you want, except transubstantiation. Lutherans see this as too important a topic not to have a stance on. It also makes it hard for us Lutherans too just start communing. I know you say “there is no Anglican view” ambivalence is still a view. And the 39 articles, are the public profession of the faith that we have. It will be formative for others trying to understand Anglicanism, even if it isn’t formative for Anglicans.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bror@40,

    I must confess that I don’t really understand what you’re saying or attempting to say in your comment. Were you typing it on an iPhone or something?

    In any case, what I can understand:

    1) You’re right. The 39 Articles were not primarily written “again” Lutheranism. Lutherans were essentially a non-presence in England. Thus, the 39 Articles were composed as a response to Roman Catholicism primarily. There are a few rebuttals of Reformed doctrine as well.

    2) I honestly have no idea what you’re saying after the sentence “it fits better.”

    3) None of us said “there is no Anglican view” [this is the point in your comment at which comprehension is once again possible]–at least not in the way you are using that phrase. There is an Anglican view: all Anglicans believe in the Real Presence. But within the communion, there are divergences about what Real Presence means, ranging from the “spiritual presence” notion to Roman-esque transubstantiation. Thus, when I say that there is “no Anglican view,” I don’t simply mean that anything goes. “Ambivalence” is not our view, as you seem to claim. I mean that to attack Anglicanism via attacking consubstantiation, for example, is fundamentally misguided. It only captures one wing of practicing Anglicans. If it helps, such an attack would be rather like me attacking Lutherans for ordaining homosexual clergy–except worse, because there is no formal division between different “wings” of Anglicanism in the same way that Lutherans have the ELCA, LCMS, etc. Anglicans have always prioritized the “communion” aspect of their title, for better or worse.

    4) The 39 Articles are not Anglicanism’s public profession of faith. Period. The 39 Articles are an historical statement of a certain kind of Anglicanism no longer binding upon the communion (actually, never binding upon the communion). Like Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism lacks a “public profession of faith” analogous to the Lutheran Confessions. We tend to reject rigid systematization. We consider the ecumenical creeds to be sufficient as a public proclamation of faith. If you wish to know more, everything you need to know is learned by participating in the liturgy. Thus, if you regard the 39 Articles as “formative” for your understanding of Anglicanism, you will be misunderstanding Anglicanism.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bror@40,

    I must confess that I don’t really understand what you’re saying or attempting to say in your comment. Were you typing it on an iPhone or something?

    In any case, what I can understand:

    1) You’re right. The 39 Articles were not primarily written “again” Lutheranism. Lutherans were essentially a non-presence in England. Thus, the 39 Articles were composed as a response to Roman Catholicism primarily. There are a few rebuttals of Reformed doctrine as well.

    2) I honestly have no idea what you’re saying after the sentence “it fits better.”

    3) None of us said “there is no Anglican view” [this is the point in your comment at which comprehension is once again possible]–at least not in the way you are using that phrase. There is an Anglican view: all Anglicans believe in the Real Presence. But within the communion, there are divergences about what Real Presence means, ranging from the “spiritual presence” notion to Roman-esque transubstantiation. Thus, when I say that there is “no Anglican view,” I don’t simply mean that anything goes. “Ambivalence” is not our view, as you seem to claim. I mean that to attack Anglicanism via attacking consubstantiation, for example, is fundamentally misguided. It only captures one wing of practicing Anglicans. If it helps, such an attack would be rather like me attacking Lutherans for ordaining homosexual clergy–except worse, because there is no formal division between different “wings” of Anglicanism in the same way that Lutherans have the ELCA, LCMS, etc. Anglicans have always prioritized the “communion” aspect of their title, for better or worse.

    4) The 39 Articles are not Anglicanism’s public profession of faith. Period. The 39 Articles are an historical statement of a certain kind of Anglicanism no longer binding upon the communion (actually, never binding upon the communion). Like Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism lacks a “public profession of faith” analogous to the Lutheran Confessions. We tend to reject rigid systematization. We consider the ecumenical creeds to be sufficient as a public proclamation of faith. If you wish to know more, everything you need to know is learned by participating in the liturgy. Thus, if you regard the 39 Articles as “formative” for your understanding of Anglicanism, you will be misunderstanding Anglicanism.

  • Cincinnatus

    against* the Lutherans

  • Cincinnatus

    against* the Lutherans

  • Shane A

    I agree with Cincinnatus here. Essentially, the problem is trying to latch on to any one particular statement about Anglicanism and extrapolating from that an exhaustive theology about the Eucharist. Such cannot be found in Anglicanism. The order of the liturgy, however, precludes a “low” view of the Eucharist in the Anglican communion.

    Lex orandi, lex credendi.

  • Shane A

    I agree with Cincinnatus here. Essentially, the problem is trying to latch on to any one particular statement about Anglicanism and extrapolating from that an exhaustive theology about the Eucharist. Such cannot be found in Anglicanism. The order of the liturgy, however, precludes a “low” view of the Eucharist in the Anglican communion.

    Lex orandi, lex credendi.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well color me confused. I now have no reason to believe that Anglicans believe anything — by which I mean any particular thing. This is, for some reason, perceived to be a good thing?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well color me confused. I now have no reason to believe that Anglicans believe anything — by which I mean any particular thing. This is, for some reason, perceived to be a good thing?

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: I have to assume you’re being a tad facetious here, but what do you mean by “any particular thing”?

    Anglicanism can provide definitive answers for lots of specific theological questions:

    -Does the pope represent Christ’s vicar on earth? No.
    -Is baptism a means of grace? Yes.
    -Does the Eucharist include the Real Presence of Christ? Yes.

    Anglicanism will stand or fall on questions like these.

    Anglicanism cannot provide rigorously specific for a host of other theological questions:

    -Ought women to be ordained? Depends on which Anglicans you ask.
    -When you say Real Presence, do you mean consubstantiation, transubstantiation, or some other ridiculous word concocted by excessively systematic theologians? Depends upon who you ask.
    -What sort of vestments ought the officiant to wear? Depends upon who you ask.

    On these latter sorts of questions, Anglicanism has preferred to maintain its communion, respecting the permissible diversity of opinion on these more secondary questions (according to Anglicans), rather than foster or permit schism. Thus, there are many specific Anglican congregants/clergy, congregations, even dioceses and provinces that disagree vehemently regarding these questions, but they are not (as of yet) willing to break communion altogether in our insistence to reify necessarily speculative questions as unquestionable doctrine. The trick for an outsider like you, I suppose, is in discerning which questions are essential and which not. The question of the Real Presence is essential. The question of what “Real Presence” means in its metaphysical vagaries is not.

    I know this makes it difficult for outsiders who like to categorize and assign labels, but Anglicanism simply does not work that way. This may justifiably be a problem for you, but it does not grant you liberty to proclaim that Anglicanism stands for nothing in particular and ambiguous doctrine. It stands for ancient orthodoxy. Our definition of orthodoxy may or may not be less extensive than the orthodoxy maintained by those denominations that require vast systematic tomes to outline their dogmatic essentials.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: I have to assume you’re being a tad facetious here, but what do you mean by “any particular thing”?

    Anglicanism can provide definitive answers for lots of specific theological questions:

    -Does the pope represent Christ’s vicar on earth? No.
    -Is baptism a means of grace? Yes.
    -Does the Eucharist include the Real Presence of Christ? Yes.

    Anglicanism will stand or fall on questions like these.

    Anglicanism cannot provide rigorously specific for a host of other theological questions:

    -Ought women to be ordained? Depends on which Anglicans you ask.
    -When you say Real Presence, do you mean consubstantiation, transubstantiation, or some other ridiculous word concocted by excessively systematic theologians? Depends upon who you ask.
    -What sort of vestments ought the officiant to wear? Depends upon who you ask.

    On these latter sorts of questions, Anglicanism has preferred to maintain its communion, respecting the permissible diversity of opinion on these more secondary questions (according to Anglicans), rather than foster or permit schism. Thus, there are many specific Anglican congregants/clergy, congregations, even dioceses and provinces that disagree vehemently regarding these questions, but they are not (as of yet) willing to break communion altogether in our insistence to reify necessarily speculative questions as unquestionable doctrine. The trick for an outsider like you, I suppose, is in discerning which questions are essential and which not. The question of the Real Presence is essential. The question of what “Real Presence” means in its metaphysical vagaries is not.

    I know this makes it difficult for outsiders who like to categorize and assign labels, but Anglicanism simply does not work that way. This may justifiably be a problem for you, but it does not grant you liberty to proclaim that Anglicanism stands for nothing in particular and ambiguous doctrine. It stands for ancient orthodoxy. Our definition of orthodoxy may or may not be less extensive than the orthodoxy maintained by those denominations that require vast systematic tomes to outline their dogmatic essentials.

  • trotk

    tODD, Cincinnatus’ response is accurate.

    I would add this as an explanation of the fact that we do believe something definable and real.

    When Christ instituted the Eucharist, He said,”This is my body.” That is what we believe, and it is what we believe is essential. Christ added no words of explanation, and so any words that attempt to define what He meant necessarily are secondary, and therefore communion won’t be broken over them. The term “Real Presence” from an Anglican is basically short-hand for saying, “Christ really meant exactly what He said when He said that it was His body.” Thus our essential is truly sola scriptura.

    Of course, most Anglicans have a belief about what they think that those words meant, and this spectrum spans everything from spiritual presence to transubstantiation, but the point is that these views are beyond sola scriptura, and thus we won’t break communion over them.

    It isn’t accurate to say that we don’t believe anything. We believe what scripture and the creeds say, and everything else is secondary. In my opinion, this is the best stance to take.

  • trotk

    tODD, Cincinnatus’ response is accurate.

    I would add this as an explanation of the fact that we do believe something definable and real.

    When Christ instituted the Eucharist, He said,”This is my body.” That is what we believe, and it is what we believe is essential. Christ added no words of explanation, and so any words that attempt to define what He meant necessarily are secondary, and therefore communion won’t be broken over them. The term “Real Presence” from an Anglican is basically short-hand for saying, “Christ really meant exactly what He said when He said that it was His body.” Thus our essential is truly sola scriptura.

    Of course, most Anglicans have a belief about what they think that those words meant, and this spectrum spans everything from spiritual presence to transubstantiation, but the point is that these views are beyond sola scriptura, and thus we won’t break communion over them.

    It isn’t accurate to say that we don’t believe anything. We believe what scripture and the creeds say, and everything else is secondary. In my opinion, this is the best stance to take.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@45), my comment was not all that facetious. It was based on two things, mainly: (1) the back-and-forth between you and fellow Anglican Trotk and (2) your discussion of the phrase “Real Presence”.

    First off, sure, Lutheranism is splintered. But the Lutherans have done each other and everyone else the courtesy of actually labeling the splinters so it actually means something to belong to a particular Lutheran group.

    But what does it mean to be an Anglican? I thought I knew, but now I doubt it. The 39 Articles? Nope. The Book of Common Prayer? Maybe … but which one?

    Can Anglicans agree on any statements of belief? Apparently so, but only if they fail to define their terms. This is, to me, kinda humorous.

    Take this statement of yours:

    Anglicanism can provide definitive answers for lots of specific theological questions: …

    -Does the Eucharist include the Real Presence of Christ? Yes. …

    Anglicanism will stand or fall on questions like these.

    Oh, so this very specific (with capital letters, even) term is adhered to by all Anglicans. What does it mean? Sssssh, don’t ask that, you’ll cause division!

    I mean, by that standard, I think there isn’t a person in the world who would disagree with the statement that “Jesus Christ is X”.

    Just don’t ask me to define what “X” is — I’d hate to ruin the unity of doctrine we all share.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@45), my comment was not all that facetious. It was based on two things, mainly: (1) the back-and-forth between you and fellow Anglican Trotk and (2) your discussion of the phrase “Real Presence”.

    First off, sure, Lutheranism is splintered. But the Lutherans have done each other and everyone else the courtesy of actually labeling the splinters so it actually means something to belong to a particular Lutheran group.

    But what does it mean to be an Anglican? I thought I knew, but now I doubt it. The 39 Articles? Nope. The Book of Common Prayer? Maybe … but which one?

    Can Anglicans agree on any statements of belief? Apparently so, but only if they fail to define their terms. This is, to me, kinda humorous.

    Take this statement of yours:

    Anglicanism can provide definitive answers for lots of specific theological questions: …

    -Does the Eucharist include the Real Presence of Christ? Yes. …

    Anglicanism will stand or fall on questions like these.

    Oh, so this very specific (with capital letters, even) term is adhered to by all Anglicans. What does it mean? Sssssh, don’t ask that, you’ll cause division!

    I mean, by that standard, I think there isn’t a person in the world who would disagree with the statement that “Jesus Christ is X”.

    Just don’t ask me to define what “X” is — I’d hate to ruin the unity of doctrine we all share.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: I can’t tell if that was a serious response expressing serious perplexity or a facile attempt at insult–because I think trotk and I have been fairly clear in our answers. I’ll treat it like the former in any case.

    “What does it mean to be an Anglican?”

    I think the best answer is that an Anglican is someone who participates in the liturgical forms prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer and subscribes to the ecumenical creeds of orthodoxy. How much more specificity do you want? To be frank, further simplicity is largely impossible. The communion as a whole forecloses further specificity. Anglicanism is a liturgical way-of-being, not a systematic statement of faith. This may strike some as meaningless drivel, but for those of us who participate in this way of being, it is profoundly serious, and there is nothing lightweight or ambiguous about it. But it’s not going to satisfy those in the Protestant (or even Catholic) tradition who prefer to boil faith and worship down to logical propositions and theological systems.

    (p.s.: There are not multiple BCP’s properly speaking. Yes, there are newer editions with various linguistic changes, and we fight about which editions are superior, but they are not substantive enough to demand schism.)

    “Can Anglicans agree on any statements of belief?”

    Yes. We’ve already discussed this. The problem is that you simply demand more specificity than Anglicanism (and, arguably, Scripture and the ecclesiastical tradition) provides.

    Thus, I’m perplexed by your question in the sense that we may have reached an impasse. There is no “X” that we have failed to define. The Real Presence, as trotk points out, means exactly what God says it means: that we are really and actually partaking of the body and blood of Christ. What more do you want? Well, apparently we humans have demanded lots more, but I’m not sure Scripture supports more; logic certainly does not (i.e., you can’t “logically” demonstrate propositions of faith). I don’t dismiss the value of debating the specifics of the Real Presence in general, but I tend to think that is a job for casuists and speculative metaphysicians.

    Let me put it another way. This is the Anglican position: we all believe in the Real Presence emphatically and unquestionably. But the communion as a whole recognizes that parsing whether real presence means spiritual presence or mystical presence or bodily presence is not something prescribed either in the creeds or Scripture. What this does NOT mean is that individual Anglicans or Anglican congregations have no firm opinions on the matter. I happen to have a rather definitive opinion on the question of the Real Presence, and it may be distinct from trotk’s. But both are embraced by Anglicanism’s latitudinarianism. Neither of us see the necessity of engaging in internecine strife to prove our points. Neither of us are willing to believe that the other’s position on this question constitutes heresy so long as we both subscribe to a literal notion of the Real Presence.

    You can claim that such is mealy-mouthed heresy. We think it’s not. We may be at an impasse, you Lutherans and I.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: I can’t tell if that was a serious response expressing serious perplexity or a facile attempt at insult–because I think trotk and I have been fairly clear in our answers. I’ll treat it like the former in any case.

    “What does it mean to be an Anglican?”

    I think the best answer is that an Anglican is someone who participates in the liturgical forms prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer and subscribes to the ecumenical creeds of orthodoxy. How much more specificity do you want? To be frank, further simplicity is largely impossible. The communion as a whole forecloses further specificity. Anglicanism is a liturgical way-of-being, not a systematic statement of faith. This may strike some as meaningless drivel, but for those of us who participate in this way of being, it is profoundly serious, and there is nothing lightweight or ambiguous about it. But it’s not going to satisfy those in the Protestant (or even Catholic) tradition who prefer to boil faith and worship down to logical propositions and theological systems.

    (p.s.: There are not multiple BCP’s properly speaking. Yes, there are newer editions with various linguistic changes, and we fight about which editions are superior, but they are not substantive enough to demand schism.)

    “Can Anglicans agree on any statements of belief?”

    Yes. We’ve already discussed this. The problem is that you simply demand more specificity than Anglicanism (and, arguably, Scripture and the ecclesiastical tradition) provides.

    Thus, I’m perplexed by your question in the sense that we may have reached an impasse. There is no “X” that we have failed to define. The Real Presence, as trotk points out, means exactly what God says it means: that we are really and actually partaking of the body and blood of Christ. What more do you want? Well, apparently we humans have demanded lots more, but I’m not sure Scripture supports more; logic certainly does not (i.e., you can’t “logically” demonstrate propositions of faith). I don’t dismiss the value of debating the specifics of the Real Presence in general, but I tend to think that is a job for casuists and speculative metaphysicians.

    Let me put it another way. This is the Anglican position: we all believe in the Real Presence emphatically and unquestionably. But the communion as a whole recognizes that parsing whether real presence means spiritual presence or mystical presence or bodily presence is not something prescribed either in the creeds or Scripture. What this does NOT mean is that individual Anglicans or Anglican congregations have no firm opinions on the matter. I happen to have a rather definitive opinion on the question of the Real Presence, and it may be distinct from trotk’s. But both are embraced by Anglicanism’s latitudinarianism. Neither of us see the necessity of engaging in internecine strife to prove our points. Neither of us are willing to believe that the other’s position on this question constitutes heresy so long as we both subscribe to a literal notion of the Real Presence.

    You can claim that such is mealy-mouthed heresy. We think it’s not. We may be at an impasse, you Lutherans and I.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Trotk, I assume that when you said (@46), “Christ added no words of explanation”, you also had in mind more than the particular words of Christ that you quoted (“This is my body”). Because, of course, God inspired Paul to write “words of explanation” about the Eucharist.

    Any words that attempt to define what He meant necessarily are secondary, and therefore communion won’t be broken over them.

    Okay … except for “Real Presence”, it seems. You all seem to be okay with clarifying or defining Christ’s words with that specific phrase, even though it’s not in the Bible. Why not literally limit yourselves to the words of the Bible?

    Of course, most Anglicans have a belief about what they think that those words meant, and this spectrum spans everything from spiritual presence to transubstantiation, but the point is that these views are beyond sola scriptura, and thus we won’t break communion over them.

    But that spectrum of views on what “This is my body” means are not all “beyond sola scriptura”! Scripture also contains 1 Corinthians.

    We believe what scripture and the creeds say, and everything else is secondary.

    This makes no sense to me. You believe what they say, but you can’t say what they say. How does this ultimately not allow for any heresy to work its way in? All one has to do is claim that one’s pet heresy is merely one possible reading of Scripture — what Anglican could therefore say anything against such an argument?

    To wit:
    Q: Was Jesus really divine?
    A: No, he was just a very good man.
    Q: But what about all the Scripture passages that affirm his divinity?
    A: I believe what those say. But I have a different understanding of what Scripture means by “God” than some of my fellow Anglicans.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Trotk, I assume that when you said (@46), “Christ added no words of explanation”, you also had in mind more than the particular words of Christ that you quoted (“This is my body”). Because, of course, God inspired Paul to write “words of explanation” about the Eucharist.

    Any words that attempt to define what He meant necessarily are secondary, and therefore communion won’t be broken over them.

    Okay … except for “Real Presence”, it seems. You all seem to be okay with clarifying or defining Christ’s words with that specific phrase, even though it’s not in the Bible. Why not literally limit yourselves to the words of the Bible?

    Of course, most Anglicans have a belief about what they think that those words meant, and this spectrum spans everything from spiritual presence to transubstantiation, but the point is that these views are beyond sola scriptura, and thus we won’t break communion over them.

    But that spectrum of views on what “This is my body” means are not all “beyond sola scriptura”! Scripture also contains 1 Corinthians.

    We believe what scripture and the creeds say, and everything else is secondary.

    This makes no sense to me. You believe what they say, but you can’t say what they say. How does this ultimately not allow for any heresy to work its way in? All one has to do is claim that one’s pet heresy is merely one possible reading of Scripture — what Anglican could therefore say anything against such an argument?

    To wit:
    Q: Was Jesus really divine?
    A: No, he was just a very good man.
    Q: But what about all the Scripture passages that affirm his divinity?
    A: I believe what those say. But I have a different understanding of what Scripture means by “God” than some of my fellow Anglicans.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD, there’s a lot wrong, silly, or straw-man-esque in your comment, but, before I have time to respond thoroughly, I’ll say this:

    Those ecumenical creeds have something to say about the divinity of Christ.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD, there’s a lot wrong, silly, or straw-man-esque in your comment, but, before I have time to respond thoroughly, I’ll say this:

    Those ecumenical creeds have something to say about the divinity of Christ.

  • Cincinnatus

    Oh, and maybe I’m stepping into a rabbit hole here, but, tODD, what in I Corinthians (I’m looking at Chapter 11) gives clear indication of anything more specific than the real presence as affirmed by Anglicans?

  • Cincinnatus

    Oh, and maybe I’m stepping into a rabbit hole here, but, tODD, what in I Corinthians (I’m looking at Chapter 11) gives clear indication of anything more specific than the real presence as affirmed by Anglicans?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@48), you may complain if you wish about

    those in the Protestant (or even Catholic) tradition who prefer to boil faith and worship down to logical propositions and theological systems

    but the Scriptures themselves to which Anglicans hold (both nominally or otherwise) are not unfamiliar with such “boiling”.

    Take 1 Corinthians 15, for example (looking to Paul’s sequence of “logical propositions” starting at verse 12). It seems like Paul is really trying to express meaning here. Real actual facts, not just words that could have any number of understandings. Paul stridently decries any man who would assert that the Nicene Creed’s “On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures” merely means that Jesus rose spiritually, his body remaining in the ground. From what I have read, Anglicans could not join Paul. Oh, I know, I know: but Paul’s words also are part of scriptura! And yet, we could apply the same tactic to 1 Cor. 15: all Paul is referring to there is a spiritual resurrection.

    As long as I hold to the external expression of words, it doesn’t seem to matter much what definition I give them, to an Anglican. You two are both defining it as a denomination focused solely on externals: do these things, say these words, and what you believe it all means is for discussion on another day.

    So as to beliefs, I am already an Anglican, I guess. As are Catholics — all of us holding to both the Bible and the Creeds. The only thing keeping me out of the Anglican communion is that I don’t, as such, hold to one of the forms prescribed in one of the editions of the BCP. Although, again, for all I know, my church’s liturgy does fit into one of those forms.

    The Real Presence, as trotk points out, means exactly what God says it means: that we are really and actually partaking of the body and blood of Christ.

    I continue to find it odd that Anglicans keep using explanatory statements that go outside of the strict quoting of Scripture to tell me what they believe, even as they reject my doing so. I also find it frustrating that, when I ask them what their own formulation means, that only then do they clam up.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@48), you may complain if you wish about

    those in the Protestant (or even Catholic) tradition who prefer to boil faith and worship down to logical propositions and theological systems

    but the Scriptures themselves to which Anglicans hold (both nominally or otherwise) are not unfamiliar with such “boiling”.

    Take 1 Corinthians 15, for example (looking to Paul’s sequence of “logical propositions” starting at verse 12). It seems like Paul is really trying to express meaning here. Real actual facts, not just words that could have any number of understandings. Paul stridently decries any man who would assert that the Nicene Creed’s “On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures” merely means that Jesus rose spiritually, his body remaining in the ground. From what I have read, Anglicans could not join Paul. Oh, I know, I know: but Paul’s words also are part of scriptura! And yet, we could apply the same tactic to 1 Cor. 15: all Paul is referring to there is a spiritual resurrection.

    As long as I hold to the external expression of words, it doesn’t seem to matter much what definition I give them, to an Anglican. You two are both defining it as a denomination focused solely on externals: do these things, say these words, and what you believe it all means is for discussion on another day.

    So as to beliefs, I am already an Anglican, I guess. As are Catholics — all of us holding to both the Bible and the Creeds. The only thing keeping me out of the Anglican communion is that I don’t, as such, hold to one of the forms prescribed in one of the editions of the BCP. Although, again, for all I know, my church’s liturgy does fit into one of those forms.

    The Real Presence, as trotk points out, means exactly what God says it means: that we are really and actually partaking of the body and blood of Christ.

    I continue to find it odd that Anglicans keep using explanatory statements that go outside of the strict quoting of Scripture to tell me what they believe, even as they reject my doing so. I also find it frustrating that, when I ask them what their own formulation means, that only then do they clam up.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@50, 51), yes, I am being critical, but I’m also trying to understand. I’m attempting to recharacterize your words to explain what it sounds like you’re saying. I’m not just here to win some petty argument. I am, in fact, baffled by what you’re saying. Anyhow …

    What in I Corinthians (I’m looking at Chapter 11) gives clear indication of anything more specific than the real presence as affirmed by Anglicans?

    Paul says, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” One who holds to transubstantiation, of course, does not eat bread; he eats only the body of Christ.

    Paul then goes on to say that “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord” and “anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.” According to you, Anglicans have no particular reading for what “body”, “blood”, or “recognizing”.

    Which brings me to your next point:

    Those ecumenical creeds have something to say about the divinity of Christ.

    Sure they do. In the same manner that 1 Cor. 11 has something to say about the presence of Christ’s actual body and blood in the Eucharist.

    But if Anglicans are allowed to put any reading on the words of 1 Cor. 11, including one scattered liberally with scare quotes, in which it isn’t literally Christ’s body, and youdon’t have to literally “recognize the body of the Lord” in anything but the most metaphorical sense … then why couldn’t the same be done for Jesus’ divinity (i.e. “divinity”)?

    As long as an Anglican outwardly affirms the pro forma statements that “I and the Father are one” or that “Christ has been raised from the dead”, why would you break the communion over a secondary detail like what someone believes about the details, the meaning behind such statements? So what if someone believes Christ only rose spiritually, or even metaphorically? What if Christ wasn’t literally one with the Father, but just metaphorically so? Does such word-mincing matter to Anglicans?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@50, 51), yes, I am being critical, but I’m also trying to understand. I’m attempting to recharacterize your words to explain what it sounds like you’re saying. I’m not just here to win some petty argument. I am, in fact, baffled by what you’re saying. Anyhow …

    What in I Corinthians (I’m looking at Chapter 11) gives clear indication of anything more specific than the real presence as affirmed by Anglicans?

    Paul says, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” One who holds to transubstantiation, of course, does not eat bread; he eats only the body of Christ.

    Paul then goes on to say that “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord” and “anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.” According to you, Anglicans have no particular reading for what “body”, “blood”, or “recognizing”.

    Which brings me to your next point:

    Those ecumenical creeds have something to say about the divinity of Christ.

    Sure they do. In the same manner that 1 Cor. 11 has something to say about the presence of Christ’s actual body and blood in the Eucharist.

    But if Anglicans are allowed to put any reading on the words of 1 Cor. 11, including one scattered liberally with scare quotes, in which it isn’t literally Christ’s body, and youdon’t have to literally “recognize the body of the Lord” in anything but the most metaphorical sense … then why couldn’t the same be done for Jesus’ divinity (i.e. “divinity”)?

    As long as an Anglican outwardly affirms the pro forma statements that “I and the Father are one” or that “Christ has been raised from the dead”, why would you break the communion over a secondary detail like what someone believes about the details, the meaning behind such statements? So what if someone believes Christ only rose spiritually, or even metaphorically? What if Christ wasn’t literally one with the Father, but just metaphorically so? Does such word-mincing matter to Anglicans?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So here is what I find so odd about Anglicanism as it has been presented here: I appear to be excluded from Anglicanism merely because I do not hold to their particular liturgical form(s) — or so I imagine, not having tested my church’s liturgy against the several forms possible.

    But, from what I understand, as to my theology, I could be considered an Anglican already, without changing any beliefs — such is the “latitudinarianism” of the denomination.

    And therefore, while Anglicans will not break communion with fellow Anglicans over widely differing — and mutually exclusive — understandings of what Scripture says, they will break fellowship with those who believe the same as they, merely based on liturgical forms that are nowhere found in Scripture!

    This is troubling to me.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    So here is what I find so odd about Anglicanism as it has been presented here: I appear to be excluded from Anglicanism merely because I do not hold to their particular liturgical form(s) — or so I imagine, not having tested my church’s liturgy against the several forms possible.

    But, from what I understand, as to my theology, I could be considered an Anglican already, without changing any beliefs — such is the “latitudinarianism” of the denomination.

    And therefore, while Anglicans will not break communion with fellow Anglicans over widely differing — and mutually exclusive — understandings of what Scripture says, they will break fellowship with those who believe the same as they, merely based on liturgical forms that are nowhere found in Scripture!

    This is troubling to me.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: These are good and serious questions, and I don’t have time to answer all of them thoroughly. In fact, I’m going to sidestep the debate about the Real Presence and communion. I’ll also confess that part of the problem is that I’m failing to explain things well, which may not be possible to an outsider on an internet forum.

    1) Anglicans aren’t “proof-texters” as you seem to think. They believe in the sufficiency of Scripture (as I think Lutherans do as well?), however. And I don’t know upon what grounds you believe I’ve rejected your quotation of Scripture, strict or otherwise. In fact, you’ve only quoted Scripture once or twice in this thread, and the problem wasn’t that you quoted Scripture but that I, as an Anglican, simply disagree with your interpretation (the age-old problem, at least since the Reformation). So yes, I’m quite familiar with I Corinthians, etc., but you haven’t really proved anything by it here.

    2) That said, yes, I Corinthians 11 “has something to say about the presence of Christ’s actual body and blood in the Eucharist.” When did I deny this? I simply don’t think it says anything so painfully specific as you think it says–at least not so indubitably that I would be willing to fracture communion for its sake. Keep in mind that I have my own views on the eucharist that are somewhat more specific than Anglicanism’s general formulation. Meanwhile, yes, the Nicene Creed, for instance, proclaims that Christ is of “one being with the father.” This is quite specific, but perhaps not specific enough for the metaphysician. What exactly does this word being mean? Essence? Substance? Existentia? We know that it does not mean mode, etc., but the previous three terms are all quite distinct, and theologians have wrestled with them for many centuries. Suffice to say that I do not think orthodoxy hinges upon which word you select as most philosophically appropriate. You seem to have a problem distinguishing “secondary details” and essential points of orthodoxy. I contend that orthodoxy doesn’t, though I haven’t a clear idea how I would demonstrate such in a forum like this.

    3) Your third comment seems the most important to me (the first two are more frustrating than anything else). First, to be honest, I am not apprised of the essential distinctions between Lutheranism and Anglicanism (aside from, as we noted, Lutheranism’s greater specificity regarding certain doctrines). In fact, I think there are few if any substantive doctrinal differences in the sense that I am not sure that I would not require much adjustment in a Lutheran’s beliefs to become Anglican (the reverse does not hold: an Anglo-Catholic or Reformed Anglican, for instance, could not be compared with a Lutheran). Our histories are unique, of course, and Anglicanism places a rather weighty emphasis upon apostolic succession, which I think is somewhat foreign to Lutheranism. Obviously, our ecclesiology is distinct.

    In the meantime, however, “liturgical forms”–a word I myself have used in this thread–is a bit careless and misleading. These forms are not merely forms. Like the Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans believe that the substance of our beliefs is contained and can only be adequately expressed through the participatory rites of the liturgy, not in formulaic propositions. This, I think, is important, and may be the crux that finally separates Lutherans from Anglicans. We are not willing to reduce the Christian faith to a book of confessions. Our faith is practiced (no, your “works-based faith!” alarms should not be going off here; there is a qualitative distinction between participating in liturgical worship and pursuing salvation by one’s own earthly means), not memorized. So yes, if you don’t participate in the sacraments as we do, you may not, by definition, commune with us. But then again, Lutherans might fit in nicely. The “problem” in this case would be the Lutherans, not the Anglicans. In practical terms, I would be willing to commune with the LCMS because I think their view of the eucharist comports with the Anglican view. But Lutherans apparently are not willing to commune with me because any given Anglican may not assent to their very specific (and, honestly, peculiar) formulation of the eucharist. [Note: I am not criticizing Lutheranism here.]

    [Note 2: The liturgical forms aren't extra-Scriptural. Almost every word is quoted directly from Scripture; but then again, Anglicans place a great emphasis upon the historical Christian narrative embodied in the episcopate; it's not a matter of simply quoting Scriptures in the individualistic Protestant/Reformed sense to "prove" all our practices]

    Anyway, I’m rambling at this point and have rather forgotten how I was intending to conclude, so I’ll leave off here.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: These are good and serious questions, and I don’t have time to answer all of them thoroughly. In fact, I’m going to sidestep the debate about the Real Presence and communion. I’ll also confess that part of the problem is that I’m failing to explain things well, which may not be possible to an outsider on an internet forum.

    1) Anglicans aren’t “proof-texters” as you seem to think. They believe in the sufficiency of Scripture (as I think Lutherans do as well?), however. And I don’t know upon what grounds you believe I’ve rejected your quotation of Scripture, strict or otherwise. In fact, you’ve only quoted Scripture once or twice in this thread, and the problem wasn’t that you quoted Scripture but that I, as an Anglican, simply disagree with your interpretation (the age-old problem, at least since the Reformation). So yes, I’m quite familiar with I Corinthians, etc., but you haven’t really proved anything by it here.

    2) That said, yes, I Corinthians 11 “has something to say about the presence of Christ’s actual body and blood in the Eucharist.” When did I deny this? I simply don’t think it says anything so painfully specific as you think it says–at least not so indubitably that I would be willing to fracture communion for its sake. Keep in mind that I have my own views on the eucharist that are somewhat more specific than Anglicanism’s general formulation. Meanwhile, yes, the Nicene Creed, for instance, proclaims that Christ is of “one being with the father.” This is quite specific, but perhaps not specific enough for the metaphysician. What exactly does this word being mean? Essence? Substance? Existentia? We know that it does not mean mode, etc., but the previous three terms are all quite distinct, and theologians have wrestled with them for many centuries. Suffice to say that I do not think orthodoxy hinges upon which word you select as most philosophically appropriate. You seem to have a problem distinguishing “secondary details” and essential points of orthodoxy. I contend that orthodoxy doesn’t, though I haven’t a clear idea how I would demonstrate such in a forum like this.

    3) Your third comment seems the most important to me (the first two are more frustrating than anything else). First, to be honest, I am not apprised of the essential distinctions between Lutheranism and Anglicanism (aside from, as we noted, Lutheranism’s greater specificity regarding certain doctrines). In fact, I think there are few if any substantive doctrinal differences in the sense that I am not sure that I would not require much adjustment in a Lutheran’s beliefs to become Anglican (the reverse does not hold: an Anglo-Catholic or Reformed Anglican, for instance, could not be compared with a Lutheran). Our histories are unique, of course, and Anglicanism places a rather weighty emphasis upon apostolic succession, which I think is somewhat foreign to Lutheranism. Obviously, our ecclesiology is distinct.

    In the meantime, however, “liturgical forms”–a word I myself have used in this thread–is a bit careless and misleading. These forms are not merely forms. Like the Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans believe that the substance of our beliefs is contained and can only be adequately expressed through the participatory rites of the liturgy, not in formulaic propositions. This, I think, is important, and may be the crux that finally separates Lutherans from Anglicans. We are not willing to reduce the Christian faith to a book of confessions. Our faith is practiced (no, your “works-based faith!” alarms should not be going off here; there is a qualitative distinction between participating in liturgical worship and pursuing salvation by one’s own earthly means), not memorized. So yes, if you don’t participate in the sacraments as we do, you may not, by definition, commune with us. But then again, Lutherans might fit in nicely. The “problem” in this case would be the Lutherans, not the Anglicans. In practical terms, I would be willing to commune with the LCMS because I think their view of the eucharist comports with the Anglican view. But Lutherans apparently are not willing to commune with me because any given Anglican may not assent to their very specific (and, honestly, peculiar) formulation of the eucharist. [Note: I am not criticizing Lutheranism here.]

    [Note 2: The liturgical forms aren't extra-Scriptural. Almost every word is quoted directly from Scripture; but then again, Anglicans place a great emphasis upon the historical Christian narrative embodied in the episcopate; it's not a matter of simply quoting Scriptures in the individualistic Protestant/Reformed sense to "prove" all our practices]

    Anyway, I’m rambling at this point and have rather forgotten how I was intending to conclude, so I’ll leave off here.

  • trotk

    tODD -

    First, thanks for actually engaging the topic that Dr. Veith brought up. Obviously this one matters to me, and I hoped for better discussion initially.

    Your caricature is accurate in a weird sense if you accept that the Episcopalians are in communion with us. On the other hand, you have reasoned yourself into a totally fictitious place.

    Here’s what I mean:

    First, Anglicans don’t allow for interpreting the scripture in any way you see fit. This is half the point of the prayer book and the focus on the creeds. The liturgy is supposed to train you in your interpretation of scripture. So don’t assume you can interpret however you feel until you actually acquaint yourself with the liturgy.

    Second, you have played with our statements, perhaps more than you realize. Two things need to be pointed out here.

    First, you have confused “physically” with “literally” in terms of the body and blood of Christ. An Anglican cannot deny that Christ was being literal. But he can deny that Christ meant His physical body. This is a huge difference. The church is Christ’s body. Is this literal? Yes. Is it physical? I don’t think so, but I will reserve my judgment until another passage of scripture makes it clear or Christ Himself shows me in heaven. I have heard powerful arguments claiming that affirming that Christ is present spiritually in the Eucharist is more important than affirming that He is present physically. After all, His sacrifice was both spiritual and physical. But both are literal readings! It is our fault that we assume that the physical world is the necessary first interpretation, probably because we are physical beings who have trouble seeing the spiritual. (For your reference, I believe it is His body physically and spiritually.)

    Second, you have made the jump from the few references to the Eucharist in the New Testament to the resurrection, as if our interpretive position could allow for a non-literal stance. The Anglican communion doesn’t allow even for a non-physical interpretation here, let alone a non-literal. The reason why is that the Gospels, the Epistles, and Revelation go to great pains to show us that it is literal, physical, and spiritual. The creeds affirm this. The liturgy affirms this. The relative silence about what is actually going on in the Eucharist is not matched by silence about the resurrection.

    Last, your jab about the “liturgical forms found nowhere in scripture” loses its power when you actually read the liturgy. They are nothing but scripture, gathered together to help the person sitting in the pew understand the truth of God.

    Yes, Anglicanism allows a lot under its roof. We don’t split up as much as you might wish, although it seems like this is starting to happen. We do maintain communion way beyond what you are comfortable with. But the orthodox Anglicanism does not allow people to deny Scripture or make it just a metaphor.

  • trotk

    tODD -

    First, thanks for actually engaging the topic that Dr. Veith brought up. Obviously this one matters to me, and I hoped for better discussion initially.

    Your caricature is accurate in a weird sense if you accept that the Episcopalians are in communion with us. On the other hand, you have reasoned yourself into a totally fictitious place.

    Here’s what I mean:

    First, Anglicans don’t allow for interpreting the scripture in any way you see fit. This is half the point of the prayer book and the focus on the creeds. The liturgy is supposed to train you in your interpretation of scripture. So don’t assume you can interpret however you feel until you actually acquaint yourself with the liturgy.

    Second, you have played with our statements, perhaps more than you realize. Two things need to be pointed out here.

    First, you have confused “physically” with “literally” in terms of the body and blood of Christ. An Anglican cannot deny that Christ was being literal. But he can deny that Christ meant His physical body. This is a huge difference. The church is Christ’s body. Is this literal? Yes. Is it physical? I don’t think so, but I will reserve my judgment until another passage of scripture makes it clear or Christ Himself shows me in heaven. I have heard powerful arguments claiming that affirming that Christ is present spiritually in the Eucharist is more important than affirming that He is present physically. After all, His sacrifice was both spiritual and physical. But both are literal readings! It is our fault that we assume that the physical world is the necessary first interpretation, probably because we are physical beings who have trouble seeing the spiritual. (For your reference, I believe it is His body physically and spiritually.)

    Second, you have made the jump from the few references to the Eucharist in the New Testament to the resurrection, as if our interpretive position could allow for a non-literal stance. The Anglican communion doesn’t allow even for a non-physical interpretation here, let alone a non-literal. The reason why is that the Gospels, the Epistles, and Revelation go to great pains to show us that it is literal, physical, and spiritual. The creeds affirm this. The liturgy affirms this. The relative silence about what is actually going on in the Eucharist is not matched by silence about the resurrection.

    Last, your jab about the “liturgical forms found nowhere in scripture” loses its power when you actually read the liturgy. They are nothing but scripture, gathered together to help the person sitting in the pew understand the truth of God.

    Yes, Anglicanism allows a lot under its roof. We don’t split up as much as you might wish, although it seems like this is starting to happen. We do maintain communion way beyond what you are comfortable with. But the orthodox Anglicanism does not allow people to deny Scripture or make it just a metaphor.

  • trotk

    Looks like Cincinnatus and I were writing at the same time.

  • trotk

    Looks like Cincinnatus and I were writing at the same time.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Wait, now there IS an anglican view, with which the Lutheran view comports? Why do I feel like you are talking out both sides of your mouth?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Wait, now there IS an anglican view, with which the Lutheran view comports? Why do I feel like you are talking out both sides of your mouth?

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk: Thanks. As usual, you said it better and more concisely than I could or, in this case, did.

    bror@58: What is the point of your uncharitable jab? No one denied that there is an “Anglican view,” only that the Anglican view is not as specific as the Lutheran view. It can’t be labeled “consubstantial” or “transubstantiational” or what have you. I addressed this a few comments ago.

    But hey, if you’d rather employ insults than dialogue, I suppose that’s fine.

  • Cincinnatus

    trotk: Thanks. As usual, you said it better and more concisely than I could or, in this case, did.

    bror@58: What is the point of your uncharitable jab? No one denied that there is an “Anglican view,” only that the Anglican view is not as specific as the Lutheran view. It can’t be labeled “consubstantial” or “transubstantiational” or what have you. I addressed this a few comments ago.

    But hey, if you’d rather employ insults than dialogue, I suppose that’s fine.

  • trotk

    Bror, of course there is an Anglican view, and yes, the Lutheran view does fit into it. The Lutheran view is smaller than it, or perhaps you might want to say more specific, but the Lutheran view is right in the middle of the Anglican view.

    To be abundantly clear, the Anglican view is that the Eucharist is Christ’s body.

    I honestly don’t understand why the group that is most concerned about being sola scriptura feels that we need to add extra information to this.

    How in the world do you know that it is “in, with, and under?” How can you justify adding to scripture here as a point of primary doctrine? The Anglican view is to add nothing to scripture as a point of primary doctrine, and communion occurs if we agree on primary doctrine, that is, if we agree on the fact that scripture means what it says.

    Contra tODD’s assertions, adding the idea “metaphorically” is not an interpretation; it is an addition to scripture. It is the same thing as denying what scripture says because it makes you uncomfortable.

  • trotk

    Bror, of course there is an Anglican view, and yes, the Lutheran view does fit into it. The Lutheran view is smaller than it, or perhaps you might want to say more specific, but the Lutheran view is right in the middle of the Anglican view.

    To be abundantly clear, the Anglican view is that the Eucharist is Christ’s body.

    I honestly don’t understand why the group that is most concerned about being sola scriptura feels that we need to add extra information to this.

    How in the world do you know that it is “in, with, and under?” How can you justify adding to scripture here as a point of primary doctrine? The Anglican view is to add nothing to scripture as a point of primary doctrine, and communion occurs if we agree on primary doctrine, that is, if we agree on the fact that scripture means what it says.

    Contra tODD’s assertions, adding the idea “metaphorically” is not an interpretation; it is an addition to scripture. It is the same thing as denying what scripture says because it makes you uncomfortable.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Cincinnatus, I’ve been trying conversation. But I get chastized for referring to an anglican view.and then I get an explanation ofthe anglican view. And quite frankly I think the anglican tactic is just to talk in circles.
    Trotk, we don’t add to scripture, we explain scripture over and against those who deny it. At times that requires the use of extra biblical language. The same way say a sermon, does not just parrot the text it is explaining, and yet a good sermon doesn’t thereby add or subtract from it. But you see you seem to want me to believe that some how the lutheran view is ok with your stricly “biblical” view, and yet then adds to it. So we get it anglicans don’t care, and adamantly believe the rest of christianity shouldn’t care either.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Cincinnatus, I’ve been trying conversation. But I get chastized for referring to an anglican view.and then I get an explanation ofthe anglican view. And quite frankly I think the anglican tactic is just to talk in circles.
    Trotk, we don’t add to scripture, we explain scripture over and against those who deny it. At times that requires the use of extra biblical language. The same way say a sermon, does not just parrot the text it is explaining, and yet a good sermon doesn’t thereby add or subtract from it. But you see you seem to want me to believe that some how the lutheran view is ok with your stricly “biblical” view, and yet then adds to it. So we get it anglicans don’t care, and adamantly believe the rest of christianity shouldn’t care either.

  • Cincinnatus

    Frankly, bror, I don’t find your comment worth engaging. tODD, despite his sharp critiques, has managed at the very least to contribute to an open dialogue on some very important questions. But you are resorting to the same problematic tactics that largely sank our recent “discussion” of Heidegger: assume a belligerent posture of blanket rejection and insult the opposition with petty straw men and non sequiturs until he simply gives up.

    I don’t have the time or patience for that, especially on a topic so important. Your comment has deliberately mischaracterized everything trotk and I have stated, and I think you know it.

  • Cincinnatus

    Frankly, bror, I don’t find your comment worth engaging. tODD, despite his sharp critiques, has managed at the very least to contribute to an open dialogue on some very important questions. But you are resorting to the same problematic tactics that largely sank our recent “discussion” of Heidegger: assume a belligerent posture of blanket rejection and insult the opposition with petty straw men and non sequiturs until he simply gives up.

    I don’t have the time or patience for that, especially on a topic so important. Your comment has deliberately mischaracterized everything trotk and I have stated, and I think you know it.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Yes, cincinnatus, see the thing is, I’m not trying to be beligerant, at least I wasn’t at first. But then when you and trotk are pressed as to what you mean by x, we get conflicting answers and strawman arguments levelled at the lutheran position. When I point these things out I get told I’m being beligerant, but like our conversation om heidegger, in which I read heidegger a great deal more than he is worth reading, to see if what you were saying was infact correct, and if my initial gut reactions to him were wrong, I end up with the impression that you are just being dishonest. You at a minimum don’t really want to give any clear and definate answer.You do have a pension for saying something doesn’t say what it says.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Yes, cincinnatus, see the thing is, I’m not trying to be beligerant, at least I wasn’t at first. But then when you and trotk are pressed as to what you mean by x, we get conflicting answers and strawman arguments levelled at the lutheran position. When I point these things out I get told I’m being beligerant, but like our conversation om heidegger, in which I read heidegger a great deal more than he is worth reading, to see if what you were saying was infact correct, and if my initial gut reactions to him were wrong, I end up with the impression that you are just being dishonest. You at a minimum don’t really want to give any clear and definate answer.You do have a pension for saying something doesn’t say what it says.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, I am not certain what you meant about my comment being more clear than yours, because I always hesitate on a topic, hoping I will see your comment first so that my thoughts will be refined. But anyway, thanks.

    Bror, I understand that a sermon necessarily uses extra-scriptural language. It doesn’t have to add to or subtract from scripture to limit it. In other words, if you say that the way someone should think about a passage is x, you necessarily limit the person from thinking y, even if both x and y are accurate.

    This is what I mean by asking about “in, with, and under.” Let me be really clear: I have no problem with this explanation; I only raise it to discuss the issue. But it is extra-scriptural, and might be smaller than what Christ meant.

    By refusing to say anything other than “it is His body,” I am attempting to not limit Christ’s words.

    The criticism (which is not intended to be critical) I level against “in, with, and under” could be leveled against “Real Presence.” Except that “Real Presence” is much broader than “in, with, and under.” I am trying to use that term, as I explained above, for “I believe that Christ meant what He said when He said it was His body,” and thus I hope you hear it as equivalent. Is it explained? No. Because I won’t claim to know 100% what Christ meant, and I am scared of adding to or subtracting from something as important as the Eucharist.

  • trotk

    Cincinnatus, I am not certain what you meant about my comment being more clear than yours, because I always hesitate on a topic, hoping I will see your comment first so that my thoughts will be refined. But anyway, thanks.

    Bror, I understand that a sermon necessarily uses extra-scriptural language. It doesn’t have to add to or subtract from scripture to limit it. In other words, if you say that the way someone should think about a passage is x, you necessarily limit the person from thinking y, even if both x and y are accurate.

    This is what I mean by asking about “in, with, and under.” Let me be really clear: I have no problem with this explanation; I only raise it to discuss the issue. But it is extra-scriptural, and might be smaller than what Christ meant.

    By refusing to say anything other than “it is His body,” I am attempting to not limit Christ’s words.

    The criticism (which is not intended to be critical) I level against “in, with, and under” could be leveled against “Real Presence.” Except that “Real Presence” is much broader than “in, with, and under.” I am trying to use that term, as I explained above, for “I believe that Christ meant what He said when He said it was His body,” and thus I hope you hear it as equivalent. Is it explained? No. Because I won’t claim to know 100% what Christ meant, and I am scared of adding to or subtracting from something as important as the Eucharist.

  • larry

    It boils down again to not really being an issue of “not understanding what Jesus meant” or “matter of interpretation”. The words are in fact crystal clear, it really boils down without understanding, “do you believe what the words say as is”. And that means no inserted symbolic meaning (because no such thing is stated by Christ, he does not say, “this is a sign of my body…” or some such). It really is an issue of belief not understanding.

    How it IS His body and blood, meaning flesh and blood and all that goes with that, the “how”, is the mystery of faith. This is the nature of ALL articles of faith, utterly hidden, and that means reason is utterly blinded to them, that means one CANNOT understand them no matter how much gray matter sweat is exerted.

    The “in, with and under” are not explanations of the “how” but attempts to speak to the sacramentarian views. At the end of the day Lutherans could drop them entirely. It’s an attempt to show the vanity of seeking the “how” to assuage reason so that it can “believe” (meaning unbelief) that this is ‘how it is so’. The whole point on any article of faith is that reason must be blinded and shut up, this is to be subdued to Christ and the Word.

    We don’t know “how” the Trinity is but it IS and IS as it reveals. We don’t know “how” the two natures are in one person, but they are…etc…We don’t know “how” it IS the body and blood, the same that was actually born of virgin, walked the earth, crucified, risen, etc… but it IS. This is so that the Word is nakedly, without another instrument of created man whatsoever, is apprehended by faith only, nakedly and without another instrument. This is true sola scriptura, sola fide. Put another way, everything else, reason, experience, senses, are halted at the “gate” of the Word where only faith alone enters. In a way, faith here and now, in the valley of the shadow of death, is like the brooding Spirit hovering over the nothingness of the deep and the Word is calling it out of nothing “let there be”. “Let there be light”, “this is My body/blood”, “this baptism saves you”, “be baptized washing away your sins”, absolution and so forth are all the same things, calling out of nothing. We can no more reason “how” it is His body and blood than we can reason how out of utterly nothing all is created. We cannot even conceive by reason of the “nothingness”, let alone the call of creatures into being.
    We see this in all the miracles, the point of them is the Word said and it was so, yet He used often means. Mud on the eyes made with His spittle, the creator of all things had not need of this instrumentality and could have just “thought” healed and it would have been so. Spit and mud don’t make sense to the healing of eyes. They have properties whereby we could analyze them and isolate the healing elements, extract them and sell a bottle of it. It’s the Word that DOES what it says hidden under, from reason FOR faith, something that has nothing to do with what the Word speaks. Hidden FOR faith and AGAINST fallen human reason.
    All articles of faith are this way:
    The church that cannot be prevailed against hidden under what appears to be an increasingly abject failure.
    The return of Christ hidden under massive amounts of delay as to time, “where is the promise of His coming” says unbelieving reason, “the fathers still sleep”.
    The resurrection of the saints hidden under grave yards filled with dead men’s bones.
    The omnipotent God hidden under an impotent crucifixion.
    The omnipresent God hidden under local flesh and blood.
    He who was not created hidden under a birth.
    He who was before king David hidden under a birth hundreds of years later.
    Baptism’s efficacy hidden under saints that fall away.
    The spoken absolution of God Himself hidden under the lips of a mere man.
    The body of Christ hidden under bread.
    The blood of Christ hidden under wine.
    “Hidden”, all the above could have added to them “in” and “with”
    The “in, with and under” is not an explanation of “how”, you see one cannot even understand the “in, with and under” under a Reformedish paradigm because they are even using fallen reason to attempt to grasp what “in, with and under” means and equate it erroneously with a form of “transubstantiation” explanation. The “in, with and under” language is not “how” language but theological description language for the entire concept of all articles of faith being hidden to every single empirical reality and tool of fallen man so that room is made for faith (alone) to apprehend, grasp, “hear”, “see” only the Word. The “in, with and under” language IS Sola Scriptura/Sola Fide. This is why Reformed dogmatics themselves do not in any sense understand the Solas.
    It is like Dr. Rosenbladt once said joking but making a profound theological point so very concisely as only he can do, “If Jesus would have only said, ‘this is My body’, that would have settled it”.

    The point is well made.

  • larry

    It boils down again to not really being an issue of “not understanding what Jesus meant” or “matter of interpretation”. The words are in fact crystal clear, it really boils down without understanding, “do you believe what the words say as is”. And that means no inserted symbolic meaning (because no such thing is stated by Christ, he does not say, “this is a sign of my body…” or some such). It really is an issue of belief not understanding.

    How it IS His body and blood, meaning flesh and blood and all that goes with that, the “how”, is the mystery of faith. This is the nature of ALL articles of faith, utterly hidden, and that means reason is utterly blinded to them, that means one CANNOT understand them no matter how much gray matter sweat is exerted.

    The “in, with and under” are not explanations of the “how” but attempts to speak to the sacramentarian views. At the end of the day Lutherans could drop them entirely. It’s an attempt to show the vanity of seeking the “how” to assuage reason so that it can “believe” (meaning unbelief) that this is ‘how it is so’. The whole point on any article of faith is that reason must be blinded and shut up, this is to be subdued to Christ and the Word.

    We don’t know “how” the Trinity is but it IS and IS as it reveals. We don’t know “how” the two natures are in one person, but they are…etc…We don’t know “how” it IS the body and blood, the same that was actually born of virgin, walked the earth, crucified, risen, etc… but it IS. This is so that the Word is nakedly, without another instrument of created man whatsoever, is apprehended by faith only, nakedly and without another instrument. This is true sola scriptura, sola fide. Put another way, everything else, reason, experience, senses, are halted at the “gate” of the Word where only faith alone enters. In a way, faith here and now, in the valley of the shadow of death, is like the brooding Spirit hovering over the nothingness of the deep and the Word is calling it out of nothing “let there be”. “Let there be light”, “this is My body/blood”, “this baptism saves you”, “be baptized washing away your sins”, absolution and so forth are all the same things, calling out of nothing. We can no more reason “how” it is His body and blood than we can reason how out of utterly nothing all is created. We cannot even conceive by reason of the “nothingness”, let alone the call of creatures into being.
    We see this in all the miracles, the point of them is the Word said and it was so, yet He used often means. Mud on the eyes made with His spittle, the creator of all things had not need of this instrumentality and could have just “thought” healed and it would have been so. Spit and mud don’t make sense to the healing of eyes. They have properties whereby we could analyze them and isolate the healing elements, extract them and sell a bottle of it. It’s the Word that DOES what it says hidden under, from reason FOR faith, something that has nothing to do with what the Word speaks. Hidden FOR faith and AGAINST fallen human reason.
    All articles of faith are this way:
    The church that cannot be prevailed against hidden under what appears to be an increasingly abject failure.
    The return of Christ hidden under massive amounts of delay as to time, “where is the promise of His coming” says unbelieving reason, “the fathers still sleep”.
    The resurrection of the saints hidden under grave yards filled with dead men’s bones.
    The omnipotent God hidden under an impotent crucifixion.
    The omnipresent God hidden under local flesh and blood.
    He who was not created hidden under a birth.
    He who was before king David hidden under a birth hundreds of years later.
    Baptism’s efficacy hidden under saints that fall away.
    The spoken absolution of God Himself hidden under the lips of a mere man.
    The body of Christ hidden under bread.
    The blood of Christ hidden under wine.
    “Hidden”, all the above could have added to them “in” and “with”
    The “in, with and under” is not an explanation of “how”, you see one cannot even understand the “in, with and under” under a Reformedish paradigm because they are even using fallen reason to attempt to grasp what “in, with and under” means and equate it erroneously with a form of “transubstantiation” explanation. The “in, with and under” language is not “how” language but theological description language for the entire concept of all articles of faith being hidden to every single empirical reality and tool of fallen man so that room is made for faith (alone) to apprehend, grasp, “hear”, “see” only the Word. The “in, with and under” language IS Sola Scriptura/Sola Fide. This is why Reformed dogmatics themselves do not in any sense understand the Solas.
    It is like Dr. Rosenbladt once said joking but making a profound theological point so very concisely as only he can do, “If Jesus would have only said, ‘this is My body’, that would have settled it”.

    The point is well made.

  • trotk

    Larry, other than your final paragraph where you passively accuse Anglicans of working out of a reformedish paradigm, I agree with you. Your repeated accusation of the Anglicans being reformed is a clear sign that you don’t understand Anglicanism.

    Anglicanism is a liturgical practice rooted in the apostles. We reject the idea that the faith can be boiled down to logical propositions. We reject the subjugation of the cross to the glory of God. Etc.

    Can I be any more clear? We are not the Reformed. Any Reformed person in an Anglican church is Reformed, not Anglican. Anglicanism is about liturgical practice, not logical proposition. When a person reverses these, and puts logic first, they leave Anglicanism in spirit.

    As to your statements about “in, with, and under,” if you are correct, I stand corrected. If it is, as you say, not an explanation, then it is of the same spirit as “Real Presence.”

    As to your repeated accusation that we doubt the words of Christ, it is evident that you don’t understand Anglicanism. You are wrong, pure and simple. It is a baseless accusation that only reveals that you don’t understand what we are saying.

  • trotk

    Larry, other than your final paragraph where you passively accuse Anglicans of working out of a reformedish paradigm, I agree with you. Your repeated accusation of the Anglicans being reformed is a clear sign that you don’t understand Anglicanism.

    Anglicanism is a liturgical practice rooted in the apostles. We reject the idea that the faith can be boiled down to logical propositions. We reject the subjugation of the cross to the glory of God. Etc.

    Can I be any more clear? We are not the Reformed. Any Reformed person in an Anglican church is Reformed, not Anglican. Anglicanism is about liturgical practice, not logical proposition. When a person reverses these, and puts logic first, they leave Anglicanism in spirit.

    As to your statements about “in, with, and under,” if you are correct, I stand corrected. If it is, as you say, not an explanation, then it is of the same spirit as “Real Presence.”

    As to your repeated accusation that we doubt the words of Christ, it is evident that you don’t understand Anglicanism. You are wrong, pure and simple. It is a baseless accusation that only reveals that you don’t understand what we are saying.

  • fws

    CINCINATUS @ 33 AND TROTK

    the bottom line for Lutherans is this: what is it that an unbeliever receives with his hand and mouth.

    we would say that this depends alone upon the words of Christ in the words of institution that make things so. It does not depend in any way upon the faith of the recipient.

    It doesnt take a rocket scientist to understand why Lutherans are so very adamant on this point whether one agrees or not. IF the blessed sacrament depends in any way upon our faith, then there is no certainty at all for a Lutheran and then the sacrament is Law and no longer Gospel. For then it would condemn us for our lack of faith.

    And cinn, yes we adore and worship the body and blood of Christ that is present there in with and under the unchanged natural elements. It would be wrong not to worship the body and blood of Christ. Eating and Drinking and trusting that the words “given and shed” are “for YOU!” is exactly the kind of true worship that God demands us to do. The outward acts of kneeling are comprehended in this true faith which is the true worship that Christ demands.

    I am speaking by synectoche. This is the same worship of bended knee in faith that saved the woman who loved much. Hypocrites too can bend the knee and outwardly worship but this is different.

    Please read this to see what I am driving at:

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php#para31

    I would encourage both of you to find a copy of the Wittenberg Concord. this was an agreement between Bucer and the Lutherans that goes the farthest towards healing the breach on this topic between the Lutherans and the Reformed. Again please note that the sticking point again is this question: “what is it that unbelievers receive?”

    The point here , as it seems to be on every sticking point between Lutheran and Reformed is does anything at all depend upon our faith or does it depend alone upon that external word and Promise of God that remains true even though we all must confess that we are liars and have not even true faith or repentence.

    Lutherans do not believe that a terrified concience can find rest if anything at all, especially faith and repentence are the basis for assurance. Faith alone can know 3 things:

    1) Faith sees ALL it can see and do in the body, including faith and the emotional response to God and be terrified at what it sees. So faith alone accepts God’s judgement of this and sees ALL as the moral equivalent of a used tampon. this includes our most sanctified inner works of faith and repentence and will.

    2)so then faith alone knows to hide ALL it can see and do in the Works of Another. This alone is what Lutherans mean by the term “In Christ”. sanctification in the narrow sense is alone about hiding our own works, even our HS powered works, in the Works of Another. Alone.

    3) then too faith can see that sanctification in the broad sense of what faith can see and do is all about death and mortification of Old Adam . The christian life in this broad sense of sanctification then that is about what we can and must do is about death. Life is death. it is about mortifying and killing the Old Adam for the sole purpose of providing creaturely Fatherly Goodness and Mercy to the transitory lives of others here on earth. Only faith can accept their life as death knowing that their LIFE is hidden in the Life that is the death and resurrection of Christ found in Holy Baptism.

    I hope that helps the anglicans here tie the Lutheran stuff all together and make sense of it.

  • fws

    CINCINATUS @ 33 AND TROTK

    the bottom line for Lutherans is this: what is it that an unbeliever receives with his hand and mouth.

    we would say that this depends alone upon the words of Christ in the words of institution that make things so. It does not depend in any way upon the faith of the recipient.

    It doesnt take a rocket scientist to understand why Lutherans are so very adamant on this point whether one agrees or not. IF the blessed sacrament depends in any way upon our faith, then there is no certainty at all for a Lutheran and then the sacrament is Law and no longer Gospel. For then it would condemn us for our lack of faith.

    And cinn, yes we adore and worship the body and blood of Christ that is present there in with and under the unchanged natural elements. It would be wrong not to worship the body and blood of Christ. Eating and Drinking and trusting that the words “given and shed” are “for YOU!” is exactly the kind of true worship that God demands us to do. The outward acts of kneeling are comprehended in this true faith which is the true worship that Christ demands.

    I am speaking by synectoche. This is the same worship of bended knee in faith that saved the woman who loved much. Hypocrites too can bend the knee and outwardly worship but this is different.

    Please read this to see what I am driving at:

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_5_love.php#para31

    I would encourage both of you to find a copy of the Wittenberg Concord. this was an agreement between Bucer and the Lutherans that goes the farthest towards healing the breach on this topic between the Lutherans and the Reformed. Again please note that the sticking point again is this question: “what is it that unbelievers receive?”

    The point here , as it seems to be on every sticking point between Lutheran and Reformed is does anything at all depend upon our faith or does it depend alone upon that external word and Promise of God that remains true even though we all must confess that we are liars and have not even true faith or repentence.

    Lutherans do not believe that a terrified concience can find rest if anything at all, especially faith and repentence are the basis for assurance. Faith alone can know 3 things:

    1) Faith sees ALL it can see and do in the body, including faith and the emotional response to God and be terrified at what it sees. So faith alone accepts God’s judgement of this and sees ALL as the moral equivalent of a used tampon. this includes our most sanctified inner works of faith and repentence and will.

    2)so then faith alone knows to hide ALL it can see and do in the Works of Another. This alone is what Lutherans mean by the term “In Christ”. sanctification in the narrow sense is alone about hiding our own works, even our HS powered works, in the Works of Another. Alone.

    3) then too faith can see that sanctification in the broad sense of what faith can see and do is all about death and mortification of Old Adam . The christian life in this broad sense of sanctification then that is about what we can and must do is about death. Life is death. it is about mortifying and killing the Old Adam for the sole purpose of providing creaturely Fatherly Goodness and Mercy to the transitory lives of others here on earth. Only faith can accept their life as death knowing that their LIFE is hidden in the Life that is the death and resurrection of Christ found in Holy Baptism.

    I hope that helps the anglicans here tie the Lutheran stuff all together and make sense of it.

  • fws

    cinn and trotk

    I think we are all well aware that there is a vast range of beliefs within anglicanism. In some ways I envy the fact that anglicanism provides this sort of latitude. it does look like goodness and mercy in many ways that is what God demands of us. Kudos to you anglicans!

    what I have just presented is not then to attack you anglicans and I hope you see that as so. And I hope you now better have an understanding as to how and why this issue is at the very heart and core of Lutheran doctrine. To remove this would be to literally eviscerate Lutheranism.

    Would it be fair to say that many Reformed fail to see what the big deal is and so criticize Lutherans for being too narrow or creating false barriers to fellowship? I at least hope you can see that we Lutherans are not merely trying to be difficult or obstructionist. We are truly aiming at giving peace to terrified consciences.

    It is to such a terrified concience alone that Lutheranism is of any use at all.

  • fws

    cinn and trotk

    I think we are all well aware that there is a vast range of beliefs within anglicanism. In some ways I envy the fact that anglicanism provides this sort of latitude. it does look like goodness and mercy in many ways that is what God demands of us. Kudos to you anglicans!

    what I have just presented is not then to attack you anglicans and I hope you see that as so. And I hope you now better have an understanding as to how and why this issue is at the very heart and core of Lutheran doctrine. To remove this would be to literally eviscerate Lutheranism.

    Would it be fair to say that many Reformed fail to see what the big deal is and so criticize Lutherans for being too narrow or creating false barriers to fellowship? I at least hope you can see that we Lutherans are not merely trying to be difficult or obstructionist. We are truly aiming at giving peace to terrified consciences.

    It is to such a terrified concience alone that Lutheranism is of any use at all.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws:

    Thoughtful comments, as usual, but it would be quite silly of me to perceive any of it as an “attack” on Anglicans because it seems to have been an attack on the Reformed. As trotk notes, the Anglicans are fundamentally Reformed, especially as concerns the sacraments.

    Thus, I essentially agree with the notion of communion that you’ve explicated in your first comment. We, too, believe in the words of institution. We, too, believe that the significance of the elements is not merely a function of individual preference and faith on the part of the recipient. We, too, kneel before and adore the sacraments (though I will again insist that “worship” seems a bit of an odd choice of words, at least if we wish to distinguish ourselves from Roman Catholicism, who elevate their veneration of the elements to, in my opinion, nearly idolatrous levels). We, too, in short, believe in the really real presence. I don’t know how else to repeat that such that it sinks in for the non-Anglicans here.

    Which is why this discussion is so frustrating, I think. It’s deeply uncharitable for tODD and Bror, for instance, to claim that our greater generality with regards to the real presence is tantamount to having no views at all (much less a low view) about the sacraments, or that we are “talking from both sides of our mouth,” etc. As we’ve stated over and over, there is no essential conflict between the Lutheran view of communion and the Anglican. We’re simply not willing to make it a ground for heresy and schism if someone (quite legitimately) infers from Scripture that, for example, the language of “in, with, and under,” is too restrictive or peculiar. Is it not sufficient to say that “this is my body and blood”? Ought the precise mechanics of said presence, given nowhere in Scripture and nowhere in the tradition in any unified sense, become the battle in which we all must choose sides? Isn’t it sufficient, for the purpose of worship and praxis, that we proclaim that Christ “is of one being with the father”? Need we insist that “being” here means “essence” and not “substance” (or vice versa)?

    While such debates can be intrinsically worthwhile, dogmatism regarding, for example, the particular meaning of “being” here would seem to warrant St. Augustine’s half-facetious reply to the young pupil who inquired into what God was doing before Creation: “Preparing hell for those who ask such questions.” While he did go on to answer the question seriously, he recognized that his answer was, due to the finitude of the human intellect, inherently speculative and subject to error and adjustment. In the context of the Christian life, one cannot be dogmatic (including with respect to faith rather than reason) about something that quite simply isn’t given to us.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws:

    Thoughtful comments, as usual, but it would be quite silly of me to perceive any of it as an “attack” on Anglicans because it seems to have been an attack on the Reformed. As trotk notes, the Anglicans are fundamentally Reformed, especially as concerns the sacraments.

    Thus, I essentially agree with the notion of communion that you’ve explicated in your first comment. We, too, believe in the words of institution. We, too, believe that the significance of the elements is not merely a function of individual preference and faith on the part of the recipient. We, too, kneel before and adore the sacraments (though I will again insist that “worship” seems a bit of an odd choice of words, at least if we wish to distinguish ourselves from Roman Catholicism, who elevate their veneration of the elements to, in my opinion, nearly idolatrous levels). We, too, in short, believe in the really real presence. I don’t know how else to repeat that such that it sinks in for the non-Anglicans here.

    Which is why this discussion is so frustrating, I think. It’s deeply uncharitable for tODD and Bror, for instance, to claim that our greater generality with regards to the real presence is tantamount to having no views at all (much less a low view) about the sacraments, or that we are “talking from both sides of our mouth,” etc. As we’ve stated over and over, there is no essential conflict between the Lutheran view of communion and the Anglican. We’re simply not willing to make it a ground for heresy and schism if someone (quite legitimately) infers from Scripture that, for example, the language of “in, with, and under,” is too restrictive or peculiar. Is it not sufficient to say that “this is my body and blood”? Ought the precise mechanics of said presence, given nowhere in Scripture and nowhere in the tradition in any unified sense, become the battle in which we all must choose sides? Isn’t it sufficient, for the purpose of worship and praxis, that we proclaim that Christ “is of one being with the father”? Need we insist that “being” here means “essence” and not “substance” (or vice versa)?

    While such debates can be intrinsically worthwhile, dogmatism regarding, for example, the particular meaning of “being” here would seem to warrant St. Augustine’s half-facetious reply to the young pupil who inquired into what God was doing before Creation: “Preparing hell for those who ask such questions.” While he did go on to answer the question seriously, he recognized that his answer was, due to the finitude of the human intellect, inherently speculative and subject to error and adjustment. In the context of the Christian life, one cannot be dogmatic (including with respect to faith rather than reason) about something that quite simply isn’t given to us.

  • Cincinnatus

    the Anglicans are NOT fundamentally Reformed***

  • Cincinnatus

    the Anglicans are NOT fundamentally Reformed***

  • fws

    Cincinatus @ 69

    I appreciate your comment on the formula “in, with and under.” I find the formula to be a very useful shorthand. On the other hand…

    Lutherans are not trying to explain “how” Christ is present , specifically present with his Body and Blood in the Blessed Sacrament.

    That would be impossible probably or precisely because any explanation that would be true would be unreasonable and any explanation that would be reasonable would not be true.

    The salient point that I appreciate you cling to personally is that it is the Promise contained in the very Words of Christ that we are to direct our eyes to.

    I would note that the reason we take the Blessed Sacrament is not even about our faith. We take the Sacrament , as we are to do any Good Work because Christ has commanded and instituted it. So this is all Law. And this is our part to do and God will punish those who do not obey.

    And then also we hunger and thirst for the Sacrament also for purely Law reasons. We see all that we can see and do in our inner life and outwardly and we are terrified.

    We are to seek the Holy Gospel and that Kingdom that comes in a way that cannot be seen then only in Good Works! We are saved by Good Works I am saying. This is the Lutheran position. This should be obvious because in our earthly existence, all we can see and do is… well…. ALL we can see and do. So it then is true that God then will always be expected to work “in , with and under” Good Works and not by some direct way.

    This is true even of the Blessed Incarnation where uniquely God worked his Goodness and Mercy “in , with and under” the Bodily Presence of our dear Lord Jesus. The Mystery of this is that God worked this in a way that was “hidden in plain sight”, which I suggest is what that word mystery means to christians.

    So those words “in , with and under ” for a Lutheran are usually employed with reference to the Holy Supper, but really I hope you can see that they have a deep significance to Lutherans that goes way beyond some mechanical (and therefore bogus) theory of how Christ can make it so that his body and blood are present in not so tasty wafers and so-so wine.

    As to the roman practices of worship and adoration and when this becomes idolatry…. for us to put our faith in ANY thing according to the outward act or thing is idolatry. that is precisely why the Lutherans called the Mass the most hideous idolatry . It is to place our faith in things we can DO and see in a way that even the devil has faith in.

    “in, with and under” is an expression that decribes how Lutherans can acknowledge that we are saved indeed, alone, by means of good works, and at the same time we are saved by a faith alone that is not that other kind of faith that is our doing and is demanded of us to do.

    The trick is to distinguish Faith from Good Works without separating them. It is to recognize that in our Good Works the SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy is being served to us by means of Old Adam being driven by the Law as is that SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is brought to us freely by Grace and alone through His Son.

    same goodness and mercy. two ways God uses to deliver it. Law and Gospel.

    This in with and under way of doing Law and Gospel is called the Two Kingdoms.

    Earthly Kingdom is ALL we can see and do in our bodies, driven by the Law out of old adam. then there is that other Heavenly Kingdom that is always immanent in with and under the earthly kingdom and that is invisible and alone of faith in Christ.

    I hope I am showing that what we are discussing touches every single fascet of Lutheran theology in the most intimate way you can possibly imagine.

    bless you cinn. and thanks for your kind words.

  • fws

    Cincinatus @ 69

    I appreciate your comment on the formula “in, with and under.” I find the formula to be a very useful shorthand. On the other hand…

    Lutherans are not trying to explain “how” Christ is present , specifically present with his Body and Blood in the Blessed Sacrament.

    That would be impossible probably or precisely because any explanation that would be true would be unreasonable and any explanation that would be reasonable would not be true.

    The salient point that I appreciate you cling to personally is that it is the Promise contained in the very Words of Christ that we are to direct our eyes to.

    I would note that the reason we take the Blessed Sacrament is not even about our faith. We take the Sacrament , as we are to do any Good Work because Christ has commanded and instituted it. So this is all Law. And this is our part to do and God will punish those who do not obey.

    And then also we hunger and thirst for the Sacrament also for purely Law reasons. We see all that we can see and do in our inner life and outwardly and we are terrified.

    We are to seek the Holy Gospel and that Kingdom that comes in a way that cannot be seen then only in Good Works! We are saved by Good Works I am saying. This is the Lutheran position. This should be obvious because in our earthly existence, all we can see and do is… well…. ALL we can see and do. So it then is true that God then will always be expected to work “in , with and under” Good Works and not by some direct way.

    This is true even of the Blessed Incarnation where uniquely God worked his Goodness and Mercy “in , with and under” the Bodily Presence of our dear Lord Jesus. The Mystery of this is that God worked this in a way that was “hidden in plain sight”, which I suggest is what that word mystery means to christians.

    So those words “in , with and under ” for a Lutheran are usually employed with reference to the Holy Supper, but really I hope you can see that they have a deep significance to Lutherans that goes way beyond some mechanical (and therefore bogus) theory of how Christ can make it so that his body and blood are present in not so tasty wafers and so-so wine.

    As to the roman practices of worship and adoration and when this becomes idolatry…. for us to put our faith in ANY thing according to the outward act or thing is idolatry. that is precisely why the Lutherans called the Mass the most hideous idolatry . It is to place our faith in things we can DO and see in a way that even the devil has faith in.

    “in, with and under” is an expression that decribes how Lutherans can acknowledge that we are saved indeed, alone, by means of good works, and at the same time we are saved by a faith alone that is not that other kind of faith that is our doing and is demanded of us to do.

    The trick is to distinguish Faith from Good Works without separating them. It is to recognize that in our Good Works the SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy is being served to us by means of Old Adam being driven by the Law as is that SAME Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that is brought to us freely by Grace and alone through His Son.

    same goodness and mercy. two ways God uses to deliver it. Law and Gospel.

    This in with and under way of doing Law and Gospel is called the Two Kingdoms.

    Earthly Kingdom is ALL we can see and do in our bodies, driven by the Law out of old adam. then there is that other Heavenly Kingdom that is always immanent in with and under the earthly kingdom and that is invisible and alone of faith in Christ.

    I hope I am showing that what we are discussing touches every single fascet of Lutheran theology in the most intimate way you can possibly imagine.

    bless you cinn. and thanks for your kind words.

  • fws

    thanks for the interesting conversation.

    I agree that it is uncharitable to assume that the anglicans are reformed.

  • fws

    thanks for the interesting conversation.

    I agree that it is uncharitable to assume that the anglicans are reformed.

  • larry

    Trokt,

    I don’t ever examine, “is X reformed” but go to great lengths to discuss principles. Labels in a sense are irrelevant. I’ve always gone to great lengths to avoid the label. I attempt to speak in terms thus: “a four legged animal that wags its tail and barks and is a common house pet”. One can call it “dog” or “hund” or “cannine” or a “potato”. But the principle is what is looked at. That’s why doctrine and not just words must be examined. That’s why “grace” ala Islam versus, Rome, verus, Utah, versus others use the same term but the principle behind them are different.

    I think you misunderstand me. It’s not an accusation but an attempt to speak clearly. I.e. we cannot “talk past each other” all along using the term “real presence” and pretend “are we saying the same thing”. Thus, its not accusation but an attempt at honest terminology.

    What Frank is saying really makes it simple and is true, “what the believer or unbeliever receives with his hand and mouth”. The issue was never about real presence, but what is received. That’s the point of departure. The mystery for the Lutheran on the sacrament is not “we don’t know what Christ meant” (Calvin EXPLICITLY states this to be the mystery numerous times) which you too state. I didn’t state it or accuse it, you stated it (and so did Calvin). Now you may not be formerly “reformed”, ok fine, but you state and believe the same there and Lutherans don’t, and what you believe there is in fact a reformed dogma. Simple fact, not accusation.

    The mystery is in the how (that’s logical assertion of reason), we don’t say how it happens, not the what is put in the hand and mouth. What is put in the hand and mouth is NOT a mystery to Lutherans, it is the body and blood of Christ as is spoken and those words mean.

    When its stated “X doesn’t believe what Christ said”, its pretty much on face value obvious. Let’s back out about 50,000 feet for analysis. And examine hypothetically. Now, First, Christ did say in factual words, “this is My body…”. Now, IF what Christ said was exactly precisely that and meant precisely exactly that in fact and reality (the very flesh and blood that was born, sweat, eat, drank, was crucified, etc…” Just as if you pointed to yourself and said to me, “See this is my body in these clothes” and you or I say, “you must mean something else, either representation, sign, symbol or even unknown”, then it is an obvious conclusion that one doesn’t believe what was said. To flip the hypothetical around, if what was said was meant “sign, symbol or to be unknown”, to assert that it is the real body (as above) is to not believe those words. I.e. the Lutherans exercise “unbelief” in the sign, symbol, not known dogmas said to be the Word and thus article of faith. That’s a more or less “neutral” look at to help out.

    There is in reality no middle ground on this or any article of faith of the Word. Its either truly an article of faith on the truth spoken by the Word, or a false doctrine falsifying the Word saying it’s the Word. That’s the nature of all “hath God really said”.
    Thus, it is unbelief to not confess that it is the very flesh and blood of Jesus put in the hand and mouth, not confusion over interpretation. Lutherans don’t confess IF this true, then its unbelief, they confess this is true and any other is unbelief. In theory that’s the way ALL articles of faith MUST be confessed, even false one’s if that least in principle recognize that God’s Word is true in all articles of faith. An “I don’t know what it means” is not a confession of faith, it’s a confession of confusion. A reformed person or even Baptist that confesses boldly that IT IS a sign and all else is false, is at least in principle closer to the reality than an “I don’t know”. For he/she at least understands in principle, though they err, that God’s Word is not unknown and falsified. Such ecumenical heterodoxy is more spiritually dangerous and eternally deadly than outright opposition. It’s not the cobra standing three feet high 10 yards in front of me hissing that is so dangerous as is the silent viper laying in wait under the leaves I’m backing into.
    Thus, it’s all about clarity and forthright honesty, and not accusation. Look at it another way. Why does it so bother Christians in general for Mormons to assert and/or demand that they too are Christians, just not Nicene Creed Christians? And they too cry, “accusation”. See how blurring the lines is deadly? Or even further out, why not have just a general god of grace, after all we all do say, “God is gracious” and is that at least the same thing…just don’t narrowly force upon everyone that it is Christ Jesus. These too cry “accusation” when we insist on accuracy.

  • larry

    Trokt,

    I don’t ever examine, “is X reformed” but go to great lengths to discuss principles. Labels in a sense are irrelevant. I’ve always gone to great lengths to avoid the label. I attempt to speak in terms thus: “a four legged animal that wags its tail and barks and is a common house pet”. One can call it “dog” or “hund” or “cannine” or a “potato”. But the principle is what is looked at. That’s why doctrine and not just words must be examined. That’s why “grace” ala Islam versus, Rome, verus, Utah, versus others use the same term but the principle behind them are different.

    I think you misunderstand me. It’s not an accusation but an attempt to speak clearly. I.e. we cannot “talk past each other” all along using the term “real presence” and pretend “are we saying the same thing”. Thus, its not accusation but an attempt at honest terminology.

    What Frank is saying really makes it simple and is true, “what the believer or unbeliever receives with his hand and mouth”. The issue was never about real presence, but what is received. That’s the point of departure. The mystery for the Lutheran on the sacrament is not “we don’t know what Christ meant” (Calvin EXPLICITLY states this to be the mystery numerous times) which you too state. I didn’t state it or accuse it, you stated it (and so did Calvin). Now you may not be formerly “reformed”, ok fine, but you state and believe the same there and Lutherans don’t, and what you believe there is in fact a reformed dogma. Simple fact, not accusation.

    The mystery is in the how (that’s logical assertion of reason), we don’t say how it happens, not the what is put in the hand and mouth. What is put in the hand and mouth is NOT a mystery to Lutherans, it is the body and blood of Christ as is spoken and those words mean.

    When its stated “X doesn’t believe what Christ said”, its pretty much on face value obvious. Let’s back out about 50,000 feet for analysis. And examine hypothetically. Now, First, Christ did say in factual words, “this is My body…”. Now, IF what Christ said was exactly precisely that and meant precisely exactly that in fact and reality (the very flesh and blood that was born, sweat, eat, drank, was crucified, etc…” Just as if you pointed to yourself and said to me, “See this is my body in these clothes” and you or I say, “you must mean something else, either representation, sign, symbol or even unknown”, then it is an obvious conclusion that one doesn’t believe what was said. To flip the hypothetical around, if what was said was meant “sign, symbol or to be unknown”, to assert that it is the real body (as above) is to not believe those words. I.e. the Lutherans exercise “unbelief” in the sign, symbol, not known dogmas said to be the Word and thus article of faith. That’s a more or less “neutral” look at to help out.

    There is in reality no middle ground on this or any article of faith of the Word. Its either truly an article of faith on the truth spoken by the Word, or a false doctrine falsifying the Word saying it’s the Word. That’s the nature of all “hath God really said”.
    Thus, it is unbelief to not confess that it is the very flesh and blood of Jesus put in the hand and mouth, not confusion over interpretation. Lutherans don’t confess IF this true, then its unbelief, they confess this is true and any other is unbelief. In theory that’s the way ALL articles of faith MUST be confessed, even false one’s if that least in principle recognize that God’s Word is true in all articles of faith. An “I don’t know what it means” is not a confession of faith, it’s a confession of confusion. A reformed person or even Baptist that confesses boldly that IT IS a sign and all else is false, is at least in principle closer to the reality than an “I don’t know”. For he/she at least understands in principle, though they err, that God’s Word is not unknown and falsified. Such ecumenical heterodoxy is more spiritually dangerous and eternally deadly than outright opposition. It’s not the cobra standing three feet high 10 yards in front of me hissing that is so dangerous as is the silent viper laying in wait under the leaves I’m backing into.
    Thus, it’s all about clarity and forthright honesty, and not accusation. Look at it another way. Why does it so bother Christians in general for Mormons to assert and/or demand that they too are Christians, just not Nicene Creed Christians? And they too cry, “accusation”. See how blurring the lines is deadly? Or even further out, why not have just a general god of grace, after all we all do say, “God is gracious” and is that at least the same thing…just don’t narrowly force upon everyone that it is Christ Jesus. These too cry “accusation” when we insist on accuracy.

  • trotk

    Larry, you miss the point over and over. We believe it is the body and blood of Christ. How many times do I or Cincinnatus or the 39 Articles of the Book of Common Prayer have to say this?

    What I don’t know is how or in what way. It is not denying His word to recognize that His meaning or understanding of this can be 1000 times richer than mine.

    Your interpretation of it being His physical body, rather than His spiritual body, is a limiting interpretation. You are adding the adjective “physical” which necessarily limits Christ’s words. Paul does use this exact same word in the exact same epistle to refer to the sacramental body and to the ecclesiastic body. In both instances he says “soma tou Christou”.

    You say I am reformed (although you claim to avoid the label) because my words sound the same as Calvin’s here. What do you do with the fact that the words of the 39 Articles are something like 75% the same as the Lutheran confessions? Or that the BCP is something like 95% scripture?

    Being Anglican is not about logical propositions! This is why I say you don’t know what you are talking about when you lump us with the reformed over and over, or charge that we don’t believe the words of Christ over and over. I believe the word of Christ as strongly as you evidently do, only I avoid adding adjectives to it that might possibly limit it. In other words, when I approach the Eucharist, it is simply the body and blood of Christ. Literally, physically and spiritually all at once.

    You clearly don’t understand Anglicanism. Remember that we are a community defined by our worship, not by our systematic theology. The 39 Articles aren’t even binding, and as I said earlier in the thread, I disagree with the article on the Eucharist because it limits Christ’s words. The fact that I refuse to clarify Christ’s statement in your manner does not mean that I disbelieve it or that I am automatically reformed.

  • trotk

    Larry, you miss the point over and over. We believe it is the body and blood of Christ. How many times do I or Cincinnatus or the 39 Articles of the Book of Common Prayer have to say this?

    What I don’t know is how or in what way. It is not denying His word to recognize that His meaning or understanding of this can be 1000 times richer than mine.

    Your interpretation of it being His physical body, rather than His spiritual body, is a limiting interpretation. You are adding the adjective “physical” which necessarily limits Christ’s words. Paul does use this exact same word in the exact same epistle to refer to the sacramental body and to the ecclesiastic body. In both instances he says “soma tou Christou”.

    You say I am reformed (although you claim to avoid the label) because my words sound the same as Calvin’s here. What do you do with the fact that the words of the 39 Articles are something like 75% the same as the Lutheran confessions? Or that the BCP is something like 95% scripture?

    Being Anglican is not about logical propositions! This is why I say you don’t know what you are talking about when you lump us with the reformed over and over, or charge that we don’t believe the words of Christ over and over. I believe the word of Christ as strongly as you evidently do, only I avoid adding adjectives to it that might possibly limit it. In other words, when I approach the Eucharist, it is simply the body and blood of Christ. Literally, physically and spiritually all at once.

    You clearly don’t understand Anglicanism. Remember that we are a community defined by our worship, not by our systematic theology. The 39 Articles aren’t even binding, and as I said earlier in the thread, I disagree with the article on the Eucharist because it limits Christ’s words. The fact that I refuse to clarify Christ’s statement in your manner does not mean that I disbelieve it or that I am automatically reformed.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    trotk, and Cincinnatus,
    Explain, “spiritual body”, please.
    I think some of the problem here is the Lutheran interpretation does not even allow for this distinction, since as far as we are concerned the incarnation of Christ does not allow for a separation of his body and spirit so long as He lives. Him giving up his ghost being the terminology used to describe him being dead.
    And that you keep quibbling, and allowing for this distinction causes us Lutherans to write you off as reformed, because a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Perhaps I don’t understand the Anglican view well enough. on the other hand, we are asking you to explain it. And your explanations are leading us to see a huge gap between what we believe and what you believe, and it leaves you on the reformed side of the chasm, even if you are on the edge looking over the cliff.
    Futhermore, Lutherans eschew this sort of ecumenicism that says it doesn’t matter what the word means, just don’t define it, and lets all submit to the pope, or the archbishop of Cantebury. And as far as all that goes, the Lutheran church of Sweden has a claim to apostolic succession that put’s yours to shame, in fact the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya has one, that does the same, but we don’t care about it a whole lot. When Peter is wrong, Paul confronts him to his face, and he does so with doctrinal propositions. That is what we are necessarily dealing with here in this disccussion, as they make up both the 39 articles and the Black Rubric. If you want to throw those aside and say the don’t apply to anglicanism anymore, Alleluia, inform your bishops. But then please do let the rest of the world know where you do stand, so working with these propositions, we like Peter and Paul can work towards reconciliation. I’d like that.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    trotk, and Cincinnatus,
    Explain, “spiritual body”, please.
    I think some of the problem here is the Lutheran interpretation does not even allow for this distinction, since as far as we are concerned the incarnation of Christ does not allow for a separation of his body and spirit so long as He lives. Him giving up his ghost being the terminology used to describe him being dead.
    And that you keep quibbling, and allowing for this distinction causes us Lutherans to write you off as reformed, because a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Perhaps I don’t understand the Anglican view well enough. on the other hand, we are asking you to explain it. And your explanations are leading us to see a huge gap between what we believe and what you believe, and it leaves you on the reformed side of the chasm, even if you are on the edge looking over the cliff.
    Futhermore, Lutherans eschew this sort of ecumenicism that says it doesn’t matter what the word means, just don’t define it, and lets all submit to the pope, or the archbishop of Cantebury. And as far as all that goes, the Lutheran church of Sweden has a claim to apostolic succession that put’s yours to shame, in fact the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya has one, that does the same, but we don’t care about it a whole lot. When Peter is wrong, Paul confronts him to his face, and he does so with doctrinal propositions. That is what we are necessarily dealing with here in this disccussion, as they make up both the 39 articles and the Black Rubric. If you want to throw those aside and say the don’t apply to anglicanism anymore, Alleluia, inform your bishops. But then please do let the rest of the world know where you do stand, so working with these propositions, we like Peter and Paul can work towards reconciliation. I’d like that.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bror,

    1) I won’t take it upon myself to explain what “spiritual body” means, as that’s not the notion of the eucharist to which I subscribe. Only Low Church Anglicans subscribe to the “spiritual presence” view, which, as far as I can tell, is similar but not identical to the Calvinist/Reformed notion. I don’t know any Low Church Anglicans, and I’ve never attended or known personally of a Low Church congregation. No one here is expecting that a Lutheran like you will subscribe to this view. The argument, rather, runs in the reverse direction: the Lutheran view comports with the Anglican view.

    2) The bit about small amount of yeast “ruining” the whole loaf seems mighty uncharitable. I’ll just leave it at that: as facially absurd. I am Reformed because some Anglicans subscribe to certain Reformed doctrines? In any case, I think the “chasm” between Anglicans and Lutherans is not so vast as you suppose. Sure, if you’re dogmatic about certain ideas in the sense that you reject sharing ecclesiastical communion with someone who believes differently with respect to (what we regard as) second-order dogmas, the chasm is impassable no matter how small it may be. But the point is that a Lutheran could attend an Anglican service, participate in the liturgy, commune at the altar, and not know the difference. But then again, no one here is arguing for ecumenical fusion; the point here is merely to elucidate differences and similarities. I don’t care if you become an Anglican; Lutheran doctrine substantially comports with my own, so I feel no urgent need to proselytize.

    3) Your last semi-paragraph is the most perplexing. First, I have no idea what you mean when you claim that the Lutheran Church of Sweden has a claim to apostolic succession that “would put ours to shame.” Perhaps you could explain that. I’m not fishing for an argument over apostolic succession, but my understanding was that Anglicans tend to emphasize that idea (qua idea) more than Lutherans, not necessarily that our claim is “better” than yours or what have you.

    But it gets worse. I’m not simply throwing aside the 39 Articles and the Black Rubric because I personally disagree with them. The Bishops have already been informed. It was their idea–centuries ago–to dispense with them. They simply aren’t definitive of Anglicanism. Period. End of story. The Black Rubric is literally nothing more than an historical curiosity. The 39 Articles, while of more than merely historical curiosity, are non-binding and thus non-definitive/characteristic. In other words, this whole discussion about the Black Rubric has been an enormous red herring.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bror,

    1) I won’t take it upon myself to explain what “spiritual body” means, as that’s not the notion of the eucharist to which I subscribe. Only Low Church Anglicans subscribe to the “spiritual presence” view, which, as far as I can tell, is similar but not identical to the Calvinist/Reformed notion. I don’t know any Low Church Anglicans, and I’ve never attended or known personally of a Low Church congregation. No one here is expecting that a Lutheran like you will subscribe to this view. The argument, rather, runs in the reverse direction: the Lutheran view comports with the Anglican view.

    2) The bit about small amount of yeast “ruining” the whole loaf seems mighty uncharitable. I’ll just leave it at that: as facially absurd. I am Reformed because some Anglicans subscribe to certain Reformed doctrines? In any case, I think the “chasm” between Anglicans and Lutherans is not so vast as you suppose. Sure, if you’re dogmatic about certain ideas in the sense that you reject sharing ecclesiastical communion with someone who believes differently with respect to (what we regard as) second-order dogmas, the chasm is impassable no matter how small it may be. But the point is that a Lutheran could attend an Anglican service, participate in the liturgy, commune at the altar, and not know the difference. But then again, no one here is arguing for ecumenical fusion; the point here is merely to elucidate differences and similarities. I don’t care if you become an Anglican; Lutheran doctrine substantially comports with my own, so I feel no urgent need to proselytize.

    3) Your last semi-paragraph is the most perplexing. First, I have no idea what you mean when you claim that the Lutheran Church of Sweden has a claim to apostolic succession that “would put ours to shame.” Perhaps you could explain that. I’m not fishing for an argument over apostolic succession, but my understanding was that Anglicans tend to emphasize that idea (qua idea) more than Lutherans, not necessarily that our claim is “better” than yours or what have you.

    But it gets worse. I’m not simply throwing aside the 39 Articles and the Black Rubric because I personally disagree with them. The Bishops have already been informed. It was their idea–centuries ago–to dispense with them. They simply aren’t definitive of Anglicanism. Period. End of story. The Black Rubric is literally nothing more than an historical curiosity. The 39 Articles, while of more than merely historical curiosity, are non-binding and thus non-definitive/characteristic. In other words, this whole discussion about the Black Rubric has been an enormous red herring.

  • fws

    bror and Todd

    I am hearing, I believe very very clearly, that the public confession of Cinncinatus and Trotk is as follows. I dont want to put works into their mouths, but this is what I am hearing is their clear personal confession on the Holy Supper. And so they agree with us! Rejoice! dont go looking for disagreement where there is none.

    they confess this I am hearing:

    that the body and blood of Christ are received with the bread and wine, not only spiritually by faith, but also orally;

    yet not in a Capernaitic, but in a supernatural, heavenly mode, because of the sacramental union; as the words of Christ clearly show, when Christ gives direction to take, eat, and drink, as was also done by the apostles; for it is written Mark 14:23: And they all drank of it. St. Paul likewise says, 1 Cor. 10:16: The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? that is: He who eats this bread eats the body of Christ, which also the chief ancient teachers of the Church, Chrysostom, Cyprian, Leo I, Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine, unanimously testify.

    I would suggest that only this and nothing else is what trotk and cinn are meaning by what they call a “spiritual” eating. They mean a “supernatural ” eating as i just described. So we dont need to jump on them for this.

    that not only the true believers in Christ and the worthy, but also the unworthy and unbelievers, receive the true body and blood of Christ; however, not for life and consolation, but for judgment and condemnation, if they are not converted and do not repent, 1 Cor. 11:27-29.

    that although unbelievers thrust Christ from themselves as a Savior, yet they must admit Him even against their will as a strict Judge, who is just as present also to exercise and render judgment upon impenitent guests as He is present to work life and consolation in the hearts of the true believers and worthy guests.

    that there is only one kind of unworthy guests, namely, those who do not believe, concerning whom it is written John 3:18: He that believeth not is condemned already. And this judgment becomes greater and more grievous, being aggravated, by the unworthy use of the Holy Supper, 1 Cor. 11:29.

    that no true believer, as long as he retains living faith, however weak he may be, receives the Holy Supper to his judgment, which was instituted especially for Christians weak in faith, yet penitent, for the consolation and strengthening of their weak faith [Matt. 9:12; 11:5. 28].

    that all the worthiness of the guests of this heavenly feast is and consists in the most holy obedience and perfect merit of Christ alone, which we appropriate to ourselves by true faith, and whereof [of the application of this merit] we are assured by the Sacrament, and not at all in [but in nowise does this worthiness depend upon] our virtues or inward and outward preparations.

    And they appropriately would utterly reject the following:

    that in the Holy Supper the bread and wine lose their substance and natural essence, and are thus annihilated; that they are changed into the body of Christ, and the outward form alone remains.

    that the words of the testament of Christ must not be understood or believed simply as they read, but that they are obscure expressions, whose meaning must be sought first in other passages of Scripture.

    That in the Holy Supper the body of Christ is not received orally with the bread; but that with the mouth only bread and wine are received, the body of Christ, however, only spiritually by faith.

    That the bread and wine in the Holy Supper are nothing more than [symbols or] tokens by which Christians recognize one another.

    That the bread and wine are only figures, similitudes, and representations of the far absent body and blood of Christ.

    That the bread and wine are no more than a memorial, seal, and pledge, through which we are assured that when faith elevates itself to heaven, it there becomes partaker of the body and blood of Christ as truly as we eat bread and drink wine in the Supper.

    That the assurance and confirmation of our faith [concerning salvation] in the Holy Supper occur through the external signs of bread and wine alone, and not through the true, [verily] present body and blood of Christ.

    That in the Holy Supper only the power, efficacy, and merit of the absent body and blood of Christ are distributed.

    That the body of Christ is so enclosed in heaven that it can in no way be at once and at one time in many or all places upon earth where His Holy Supper is celebrated.

    That Christ has not promised, neither could have effected, the essential presence of His body and blood in the Holy Supper, because the nature and property of His assumed human nature cannot suffer nor permit it.

    That God, according to [even by] all His omnipotence (which is dreadful to hear), is not able to cause His body to be essentially present in more than one place at one time.

    That not the omnipotent words of Christ’s testament, but faith, produces and makes [is the cause of] the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper.

    That believers must not seek the body [and blood] of Christ in the bread and wine of the Holy Supper, but raise their eyes from the bread to heaven and there seek the body of Christ.

    That unbelieving, impenitent Christians do not receive the true body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, but only bread and wine.

    That the worthiness of the guests at this heavenly meal consists not alone in true faith in Christ, but also in the external preparation of men.

    That even the true believers, who have and retain a true, living, pure faith in Christ, can receive this Sacrament to their judgment, because they are still imperfect in their outward life.

    That the external visible elements of the bread and wine should be adored in the Holy Sacrament.

    And last of all, i am hearing that they utterly reject and condemn the Capernaitic eating of the body of Christ, as though His flesh were rent with the teeth, and digested like other food

    and on the other hand, they. maintain and believe, according to the simple words of the testament of Christ, the true, yet supernatural eating of the body of Christ, as also the drinking of His blood, which human senses and reason do not comprehend, but as in all other articles of faith our reason is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and this mystery is not apprehended otherwise than by faith alone, and revealed in the Word alone.

  • fws

    bror and Todd

    I am hearing, I believe very very clearly, that the public confession of Cinncinatus and Trotk is as follows. I dont want to put works into their mouths, but this is what I am hearing is their clear personal confession on the Holy Supper. And so they agree with us! Rejoice! dont go looking for disagreement where there is none.

    they confess this I am hearing:

    that the body and blood of Christ are received with the bread and wine, not only spiritually by faith, but also orally;

    yet not in a Capernaitic, but in a supernatural, heavenly mode, because of the sacramental union; as the words of Christ clearly show, when Christ gives direction to take, eat, and drink, as was also done by the apostles; for it is written Mark 14:23: And they all drank of it. St. Paul likewise says, 1 Cor. 10:16: The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? that is: He who eats this bread eats the body of Christ, which also the chief ancient teachers of the Church, Chrysostom, Cyprian, Leo I, Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine, unanimously testify.

    I would suggest that only this and nothing else is what trotk and cinn are meaning by what they call a “spiritual” eating. They mean a “supernatural ” eating as i just described. So we dont need to jump on them for this.

    that not only the true believers in Christ and the worthy, but also the unworthy and unbelievers, receive the true body and blood of Christ; however, not for life and consolation, but for judgment and condemnation, if they are not converted and do not repent, 1 Cor. 11:27-29.

    that although unbelievers thrust Christ from themselves as a Savior, yet they must admit Him even against their will as a strict Judge, who is just as present also to exercise and render judgment upon impenitent guests as He is present to work life and consolation in the hearts of the true believers and worthy guests.

    that there is only one kind of unworthy guests, namely, those who do not believe, concerning whom it is written John 3:18: He that believeth not is condemned already. And this judgment becomes greater and more grievous, being aggravated, by the unworthy use of the Holy Supper, 1 Cor. 11:29.

    that no true believer, as long as he retains living faith, however weak he may be, receives the Holy Supper to his judgment, which was instituted especially for Christians weak in faith, yet penitent, for the consolation and strengthening of their weak faith [Matt. 9:12; 11:5. 28].

    that all the worthiness of the guests of this heavenly feast is and consists in the most holy obedience and perfect merit of Christ alone, which we appropriate to ourselves by true faith, and whereof [of the application of this merit] we are assured by the Sacrament, and not at all in [but in nowise does this worthiness depend upon] our virtues or inward and outward preparations.

    And they appropriately would utterly reject the following:

    that in the Holy Supper the bread and wine lose their substance and natural essence, and are thus annihilated; that they are changed into the body of Christ, and the outward form alone remains.

    that the words of the testament of Christ must not be understood or believed simply as they read, but that they are obscure expressions, whose meaning must be sought first in other passages of Scripture.

    That in the Holy Supper the body of Christ is not received orally with the bread; but that with the mouth only bread and wine are received, the body of Christ, however, only spiritually by faith.

    That the bread and wine in the Holy Supper are nothing more than [symbols or] tokens by which Christians recognize one another.

    That the bread and wine are only figures, similitudes, and representations of the far absent body and blood of Christ.

    That the bread and wine are no more than a memorial, seal, and pledge, through which we are assured that when faith elevates itself to heaven, it there becomes partaker of the body and blood of Christ as truly as we eat bread and drink wine in the Supper.

    That the assurance and confirmation of our faith [concerning salvation] in the Holy Supper occur through the external signs of bread and wine alone, and not through the true, [verily] present body and blood of Christ.

    That in the Holy Supper only the power, efficacy, and merit of the absent body and blood of Christ are distributed.

    That the body of Christ is so enclosed in heaven that it can in no way be at once and at one time in many or all places upon earth where His Holy Supper is celebrated.

    That Christ has not promised, neither could have effected, the essential presence of His body and blood in the Holy Supper, because the nature and property of His assumed human nature cannot suffer nor permit it.

    That God, according to [even by] all His omnipotence (which is dreadful to hear), is not able to cause His body to be essentially present in more than one place at one time.

    That not the omnipotent words of Christ’s testament, but faith, produces and makes [is the cause of] the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper.

    That believers must not seek the body [and blood] of Christ in the bread and wine of the Holy Supper, but raise their eyes from the bread to heaven and there seek the body of Christ.

    That unbelieving, impenitent Christians do not receive the true body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, but only bread and wine.

    That the worthiness of the guests at this heavenly meal consists not alone in true faith in Christ, but also in the external preparation of men.

    That even the true believers, who have and retain a true, living, pure faith in Christ, can receive this Sacrament to their judgment, because they are still imperfect in their outward life.

    That the external visible elements of the bread and wine should be adored in the Holy Sacrament.

    And last of all, i am hearing that they utterly reject and condemn the Capernaitic eating of the body of Christ, as though His flesh were rent with the teeth, and digested like other food

    and on the other hand, they. maintain and believe, according to the simple words of the testament of Christ, the true, yet supernatural eating of the body of Christ, as also the drinking of His blood, which human senses and reason do not comprehend, but as in all other articles of faith our reason is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and this mystery is not apprehended otherwise than by faith alone, and revealed in the Word alone.

  • fws

    Let’s give our brothers here charity and the benefit of the doubt that the Law of God demands that we give them.

  • fws

    Let’s give our brothers here charity and the benefit of the doubt that the Law of God demands that we give them.

  • fws

    cinn @ 76

    I accept your explanation as one that you are presenting in all sincerity. I hope my lengthy outline is not putting words into your mouth that you would not speak, but what I provided seems like exactly what you believe only you say it more briefly and eloquently ;)

  • fws

    cinn @ 76

    I accept your explanation as one that you are presenting in all sincerity. I hope my lengthy outline is not putting words into your mouth that you would not speak, but what I provided seems like exactly what you believe only you say it more briefly and eloquently ;)

  • fws

    bror and todd,

    I know lots of Anglicans who believe , as far as I can tell, everything we Lutherans believe. Often , as in the case of Trotk for example, they seem to grasp the Holy Gospel better than alot of us Lutherans do. And Cinn more than once has caught me saying the wrong thing, and when I reflect, I realize that he was being more “Lutheran” than me on a particular point. Go figure.,

    I am really happy about this fact. And it doesnt bother me at all or make me suspect that for whatever reason these men and women chose not to identify as “Lutheran”.

    In fact , if you were to ask them, I suspect that often within their own circles they do in fact indicate that this is their theological leaning using exactly that label.

    I am just not seeing the problem in this…. help me out here.

  • fws

    bror and todd,

    I know lots of Anglicans who believe , as far as I can tell, everything we Lutherans believe. Often , as in the case of Trotk for example, they seem to grasp the Holy Gospel better than alot of us Lutherans do. And Cinn more than once has caught me saying the wrong thing, and when I reflect, I realize that he was being more “Lutheran” than me on a particular point. Go figure.,

    I am really happy about this fact. And it doesnt bother me at all or make me suspect that for whatever reason these men and women chose not to identify as “Lutheran”.

    In fact , if you were to ask them, I suspect that often within their own circles they do in fact indicate that this is their theological leaning using exactly that label.

    I am just not seeing the problem in this…. help me out here.

  • Helen K.

    fws@78
    AMEN!!!!

  • Helen K.

    fws@78
    AMEN!!!!

  • fws

    Bror @ 75

    “Explain, “spiritual body”, please.
    I think some of the problem here is the Lutheran interpretation does not even allow for this distinction, since as far as we are concerned the incarnation of Christ does not allow for a separation of his body and spirit so long as He lives. Him giving up his ghost being the terminology used to describe him being dead.”

    let me take a stab at explaining what I think they mean. They are saying that they dont believe that the eating of the body and blood is what Lutherans call a “capernaitic” meaning that would be chewing the body and blood etc,. They are saying that the eating and drinking is a “supernatural ” eating and drinking, and are being very very careful to not over explain or over state things,

    They are not rejecting that it is an objective eating and drinking in that they both have informed us that unbelievers too eat and drink the body and blood of Christ.

    Cinn and trotk, I dont want to be putting words into your mouth but that is what I am understanding you are meaning. and it is not that complicated.

  • fws

    Bror @ 75

    “Explain, “spiritual body”, please.
    I think some of the problem here is the Lutheran interpretation does not even allow for this distinction, since as far as we are concerned the incarnation of Christ does not allow for a separation of his body and spirit so long as He lives. Him giving up his ghost being the terminology used to describe him being dead.”

    let me take a stab at explaining what I think they mean. They are saying that they dont believe that the eating of the body and blood is what Lutherans call a “capernaitic” meaning that would be chewing the body and blood etc,. They are saying that the eating and drinking is a “supernatural ” eating and drinking, and are being very very careful to not over explain or over state things,

    They are not rejecting that it is an objective eating and drinking in that they both have informed us that unbelievers too eat and drink the body and blood of Christ.

    Cinn and trotk, I dont want to be putting words into your mouth but that is what I am understanding you are meaning. and it is not that complicated.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FWS (@80), the discussion here is not about “What do Cincinnatus or Trotk personally believe?” As you well note, their beliefs are often more “Lutheran” than those of your average Lutheran.

    Or, at the very least, from what I have come to understand of their explanation of Anglicanism, their membership in that denomination allows (or does not necessarily preclude) their holding to Lutheran understandings of scriptural doctrines. (How’s that for an overly qualified statement?)

    That said, by that same fact, their personal beliefs do not actually define — or even necessarily express? — Anglicanism. It is Anglicanism itself that I am trying — and, arguably, failing so far — to understand, not how it happens to manifest itself in two particular Anglicans.

    Feel free to correct me, you two.

    If I were to come up with an example — which example I am not at all certain Trotk or Cincinnatus would agree to, but I’m willing to throw it out there to see — it’s sort of like coming across a modern-day Unitarian Universalist (UU) who happens to believe everything we confess as Lutherans. Technically, according to the tenets (such as they are) of UU — if not according to the implications of the religion’s actual name — one could be a UU and also hold to the Book of Concord, UU’s not having any express creed. But such a person would not tell you anything about UU.

    Anyhow, I’m not sure if I have the mental energy (though I’d like to) to respond to Trotk or Cincinnatus as to the particulars of our foregoing conversation, but I thought I’d share at least that much of what I’ve learned — or perhaps learned incorrectly.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FWS (@80), the discussion here is not about “What do Cincinnatus or Trotk personally believe?” As you well note, their beliefs are often more “Lutheran” than those of your average Lutheran.

    Or, at the very least, from what I have come to understand of their explanation of Anglicanism, their membership in that denomination allows (or does not necessarily preclude) their holding to Lutheran understandings of scriptural doctrines. (How’s that for an overly qualified statement?)

    That said, by that same fact, their personal beliefs do not actually define — or even necessarily express? — Anglicanism. It is Anglicanism itself that I am trying — and, arguably, failing so far — to understand, not how it happens to manifest itself in two particular Anglicans.

    Feel free to correct me, you two.

    If I were to come up with an example — which example I am not at all certain Trotk or Cincinnatus would agree to, but I’m willing to throw it out there to see — it’s sort of like coming across a modern-day Unitarian Universalist (UU) who happens to believe everything we confess as Lutherans. Technically, according to the tenets (such as they are) of UU — if not according to the implications of the religion’s actual name — one could be a UU and also hold to the Book of Concord, UU’s not having any express creed. But such a person would not tell you anything about UU.

    Anyhow, I’m not sure if I have the mental energy (though I’d like to) to respond to Trotk or Cincinnatus as to the particulars of our foregoing conversation, but I thought I’d share at least that much of what I’ve learned — or perhaps learned incorrectly.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Cincinnatus,
    I am not trying to be uncharitable here.
    My extensive chukar and grouse hunting in Utah Mountains, have shown me that distances are often perceived as being much closer from one side of a chasm than they are from the other, and crossing the chasm all but inevitably shows the side perceiving the gap wider to be the more correct estimate.
    But again, you choose what is a secondary doctrine, and go on ahead chasitising Lutherans for not agreeing with you on that. We like Paul find it to be quite central. We do not find it to be something that can be ignored, or brushed aside as a secondary matter, because quite frankly, a little leaven does leaven the whole lump. There is a certain point where we do not give the right hand of fellowship to others, this usually comes about when people start calling secondary doctrines that we find primary.
    A reading of “this is my body” by Hermann Sasse, might explain a little better to you the Lutheran problem with this “unionism”. what is striking is how fast a conversation about the Lord’s supper becomes a conversation concering the two natures of Christ and the incarnation.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Cincinnatus,
    I am not trying to be uncharitable here.
    My extensive chukar and grouse hunting in Utah Mountains, have shown me that distances are often perceived as being much closer from one side of a chasm than they are from the other, and crossing the chasm all but inevitably shows the side perceiving the gap wider to be the more correct estimate.
    But again, you choose what is a secondary doctrine, and go on ahead chasitising Lutherans for not agreeing with you on that. We like Paul find it to be quite central. We do not find it to be something that can be ignored, or brushed aside as a secondary matter, because quite frankly, a little leaven does leaven the whole lump. There is a certain point where we do not give the right hand of fellowship to others, this usually comes about when people start calling secondary doctrines that we find primary.
    A reading of “this is my body” by Hermann Sasse, might explain a little better to you the Lutheran problem with this “unionism”. what is striking is how fast a conversation about the Lord’s supper becomes a conversation concering the two natures of Christ and the incarnation.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: That’s a wonderful, rich comment. I’ll have to take some time to digest it, but I don’t see anything that immediately strikes my eye as disagreeable.

    Bror: Fair enough. But I’m neither chastising Lutherans nor forging ahead toward some kind of “unionism.” The point of this thread–a point that has been increasingly realized–is to explain certain Anglican ideas and to compare/contrast them with Lutheranism. The problem, however, is that the misunderstandings of Anglicanism in this thread–seemingly intentional at times–have been legion. It is perfectly acceptable to misunderstand Anglicanism, but it is not acceptable to critique Anglicanism on the grounds of one’s misunderstanding.

    tODD: That analogy doesn’t work in the slightest. While I’ve insisted upon this point liberally and repeatedly, I’ll say it again: Anglicanism’s (in)famous latitudinarianism is not synonymous with Laodicean lukewarmness or apathy regarding doctrine and dogma. As a friend of mine recently put it, “When I was a child, my parents were Unitarian Universalists. Eventually, they realized that at that point, why bother? So they stopped attending and called themselves agnostics.”

    This is not possible in Anglicanism. We do have “express creed[s].” We do have doctrine. We do make a credible claim to upholding the tenets of our ancient orthodoxy. The broadness of Anglicanism is, methinks, much narrower than you think. It is obviously not as narrow as Lutheranism, however. But the fact that a Lutheran and an Anglo-Catholic could both plausibly join an Anglican congregation is not evidence of doctrinal laxity or wildly divergent theological views. Not just anyone who considers him/herself a Christian could also call him/herself an Anglican willy-nilly. There are Anglican splinter groups, after all: the Puritans and Methodists are notable examples. I would welcome a debate regarding the merits of Anglicanism’s latitude–and to some extent, we have been having such a debate already–but first we must both clearly define the boundaries. They are not infinite, and they do exist.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: That’s a wonderful, rich comment. I’ll have to take some time to digest it, but I don’t see anything that immediately strikes my eye as disagreeable.

    Bror: Fair enough. But I’m neither chastising Lutherans nor forging ahead toward some kind of “unionism.” The point of this thread–a point that has been increasingly realized–is to explain certain Anglican ideas and to compare/contrast them with Lutheranism. The problem, however, is that the misunderstandings of Anglicanism in this thread–seemingly intentional at times–have been legion. It is perfectly acceptable to misunderstand Anglicanism, but it is not acceptable to critique Anglicanism on the grounds of one’s misunderstanding.

    tODD: That analogy doesn’t work in the slightest. While I’ve insisted upon this point liberally and repeatedly, I’ll say it again: Anglicanism’s (in)famous latitudinarianism is not synonymous with Laodicean lukewarmness or apathy regarding doctrine and dogma. As a friend of mine recently put it, “When I was a child, my parents were Unitarian Universalists. Eventually, they realized that at that point, why bother? So they stopped attending and called themselves agnostics.”

    This is not possible in Anglicanism. We do have “express creed[s].” We do have doctrine. We do make a credible claim to upholding the tenets of our ancient orthodoxy. The broadness of Anglicanism is, methinks, much narrower than you think. It is obviously not as narrow as Lutheranism, however. But the fact that a Lutheran and an Anglo-Catholic could both plausibly join an Anglican congregation is not evidence of doctrinal laxity or wildly divergent theological views. Not just anyone who considers him/herself a Christian could also call him/herself an Anglican willy-nilly. There are Anglican splinter groups, after all: the Puritans and Methodists are notable examples. I would welcome a debate regarding the merits of Anglicanism’s latitude–and to some extent, we have been having such a debate already–but first we must both clearly define the boundaries. They are not infinite, and they do exist.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Cincinnatus,
    the problem as I see it, is sure perhaps misunderstandings are legion, they have not been intentional. However, a reading of the Black Rubric and the 39 articles gives us the impression that anglicanism is not much more than a variety of the reformed faith, perhaps with some nuances. So we express this thought. And then we are told you are not reformed and here’s why, but even your explanation leaves us thinking, reformed. Perhaps not OPC reformed, but definately on that side of the camp. And it has been confusing for us on the other side, as we hear that there is a view, isn’t a view, it’s make of it what you want, it isn’t quite that. But I do think I have confused Trotk, and your answers which perhaps has added to the confusion.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Cincinnatus,
    the problem as I see it, is sure perhaps misunderstandings are legion, they have not been intentional. However, a reading of the Black Rubric and the 39 articles gives us the impression that anglicanism is not much more than a variety of the reformed faith, perhaps with some nuances. So we express this thought. And then we are told you are not reformed and here’s why, but even your explanation leaves us thinking, reformed. Perhaps not OPC reformed, but definately on that side of the camp. And it has been confusing for us on the other side, as we hear that there is a view, isn’t a view, it’s make of it what you want, it isn’t quite that. But I do think I have confused Trotk, and your answers which perhaps has added to the confusion.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bror:

    1) So far as I can tell, trotk and I have been generally consistent in our answers. So what’s the root of your confusion in that respect?

    2) Really, bror? Really? I can’t even count how many times that I have (100% accurately) insisted that neither the 39 Articles, nor, especially the Black Rubric are definitive for Anglicanism. If you read those and come away believing that Anglicanism is Reformed, your mistake is twofold: a) you mistakenly believe that Anglicanism is essentially Reformed and b) you are looking at documents that don’t define Anglicanism. It’s like looking at the United States Constitution without the 21st Amendment and demanding to know why the Constitution prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages. I mean, really. How many more times do I have to say it? Can we progress from that point yet? Yes, I know Dr. Veith started it: looking at the Black Rubric was a red herring from the beginning. But please.

  • Cincinnatus

    Bror:

    1) So far as I can tell, trotk and I have been generally consistent in our answers. So what’s the root of your confusion in that respect?

    2) Really, bror? Really? I can’t even count how many times that I have (100% accurately) insisted that neither the 39 Articles, nor, especially the Black Rubric are definitive for Anglicanism. If you read those and come away believing that Anglicanism is Reformed, your mistake is twofold: a) you mistakenly believe that Anglicanism is essentially Reformed and b) you are looking at documents that don’t define Anglicanism. It’s like looking at the United States Constitution without the 21st Amendment and demanding to know why the Constitution prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages. I mean, really. How many more times do I have to say it? Can we progress from that point yet? Yes, I know Dr. Veith started it: looking at the Black Rubric was a red herring from the beginning. But please.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@85), your comment seems to be a reply to the accusation that Anglicanism, like UU, lacks dogma.

    Read what I said again, because that wasn’t it. What I said was that the particular beliefs that you or Trotk may express here are not, as such, necessarily indicative of Anglicanism, anymore than a (hypothetical) Lutheran found in a UU congregation would tell us about the much, much greater latitudinarianism in the UU church.

    This doesn’t seem that controversial a statement to me — certainly not as you’re apparently taking it.

    After all, both you and Trotk allude to personal beliefs about the Eucharist that, on the whole, sound fairly (?) Lutheran. But you also admit to there being rather different understandings of the same under the umbrella of Anglicanism, precisely because Anglicanism does not, as such, prescribe a particular understanding of the Eucharist.

    The issue, as I see it, is that you likely don’t agree that Anglicanism doesn’t “prescribe a particular understanding of the Eucharist” (to quote myself from all of a paragraph ago). You think that holding to a particular set of words somehow sets a boundary around what may be called Anglicanism — this, this, and this, but not that.

    But this is what I don’t yet see. Refusing to define your terms or say what you believe your terms mean appears to allow anything in that can be argued to be a possible reading of those words. You have already admitted, haven’t you, that the words “This is my body” can be interpreted under Anglicanism to refer to transubstantiation, consubstantiation, a spiritual Reformed understanding, or maybe even something else. As you have explained it, these are all possible readings of that phrase, so who are you to say they aren’t correct (even if they are mutually exclusive)?

    What I don’t get is why things that both you and Trotk assert are definitely out-of-bounds for Anglicans are, well, out of bounds. What in Anglicanism precludes my reading our salvation, Jesus divinity, Jesus’ resurrection, etc. as being metaphorical, “spiritual”, or what-have-you?

    I mean, it’s not as if there aren’t liberal Christian denominations that also use (and nominally hold to) the words of Scripture and even the creeds while maintaining their theologically liberal beliefs. I mean, um, Episcopalians?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@85), your comment seems to be a reply to the accusation that Anglicanism, like UU, lacks dogma.

    Read what I said again, because that wasn’t it. What I said was that the particular beliefs that you or Trotk may express here are not, as such, necessarily indicative of Anglicanism, anymore than a (hypothetical) Lutheran found in a UU congregation would tell us about the much, much greater latitudinarianism in the UU church.

    This doesn’t seem that controversial a statement to me — certainly not as you’re apparently taking it.

    After all, both you and Trotk allude to personal beliefs about the Eucharist that, on the whole, sound fairly (?) Lutheran. But you also admit to there being rather different understandings of the same under the umbrella of Anglicanism, precisely because Anglicanism does not, as such, prescribe a particular understanding of the Eucharist.

    The issue, as I see it, is that you likely don’t agree that Anglicanism doesn’t “prescribe a particular understanding of the Eucharist” (to quote myself from all of a paragraph ago). You think that holding to a particular set of words somehow sets a boundary around what may be called Anglicanism — this, this, and this, but not that.

    But this is what I don’t yet see. Refusing to define your terms or say what you believe your terms mean appears to allow anything in that can be argued to be a possible reading of those words. You have already admitted, haven’t you, that the words “This is my body” can be interpreted under Anglicanism to refer to transubstantiation, consubstantiation, a spiritual Reformed understanding, or maybe even something else. As you have explained it, these are all possible readings of that phrase, so who are you to say they aren’t correct (even if they are mutually exclusive)?

    What I don’t get is why things that both you and Trotk assert are definitely out-of-bounds for Anglicans are, well, out of bounds. What in Anglicanism precludes my reading our salvation, Jesus divinity, Jesus’ resurrection, etc. as being metaphorical, “spiritual”, or what-have-you?

    I mean, it’s not as if there aren’t liberal Christian denominations that also use (and nominally hold to) the words of Scripture and even the creeds while maintaining their theologically liberal beliefs. I mean, um, Episcopalians?

  • trotk

    Frank at 77.

    You have given me so much to think through. Most of what you say here I agree immediately with and thank you for expressing well. Some of it I struggle with and need to think through, and would need to discuss point by point.

    Of especial value to this conversation, your changing spiritually to supernaturally. Thank you. This was what I meant but worded poorly, and thus caused Bror to rightly wonder whether I was dividing Christ.

  • trotk

    Frank at 77.

    You have given me so much to think through. Most of what you say here I agree immediately with and thank you for expressing well. Some of it I struggle with and need to think through, and would need to discuss point by point.

    Of especial value to this conversation, your changing spiritually to supernaturally. Thank you. This was what I meant but worded poorly, and thus caused Bror to rightly wonder whether I was dividing Christ.

  • trotk

    Frank at 80.

    You give me a compliment I don’t deserve, because I believe that my greatest struggle is actually understanding what grace and the gospel is.

    That said, I do profit unbelievably from Lutheranism,and yet I am Anglican purposefully, because what unites Anglicans is our worship. This may seem crazy to you all, but I can believe the literal truth of scripture in the Anglican church without needing to have a dogmatic belief about what I genuinely believe to be secondary, and I can express that genuine belief in the literal truth of scripture through a liturgy that is rich and humble.

  • trotk

    Frank at 80.

    You give me a compliment I don’t deserve, because I believe that my greatest struggle is actually understanding what grace and the gospel is.

    That said, I do profit unbelievably from Lutheranism,and yet I am Anglican purposefully, because what unites Anglicans is our worship. This may seem crazy to you all, but I can believe the literal truth of scripture in the Anglican church without needing to have a dogmatic belief about what I genuinely believe to be secondary, and I can express that genuine belief in the literal truth of scripture through a liturgy that is rich and humble.

  • kerner

    I have been lurking and not participating in this conversation, I guess because, fascinating as it is, it was more usefull for me to try to learn than to argue. I’m a little surprized at myself. But at last I have a question.

    First I note this part of Dr. Vieth’s original post:

    I realize that this is what I read in a Reformed Episcopal service I once attended, with my hosts seemingly a little hurt that I, as a Lutheran, would not commune with them. But the liturgy explicitly repudiated my beliefs about the Sacrament as idolatry!

    ok, I get that. The liturgy specifically denied real presence. Dr. Veith refused to participate, and I think he was right to do so.

    But then I read Frank’s comment @77, and Cinn’s agreement with it @85. Now my question is, given the part HC plays in justification, i.e. conveying the forgiveness of sins, why would a penitent Christian who signs onto fws@77 be sent away from a Lutheran HC?

    I understand our ingrained Lutheran desire to avoid unionism and the confusion of doctrine that results from it. Frankly, given what I have read here, I consider the Anglican, creedal, but non-confessional, approach to be supportive of why the Lutheran approach is generally better. But I still have trouble with our aversion to unionism apparently trumping our duty to forgive the sins of penitent Christians. Some earlier threads have indicated that my concern is unnecessary, as some (LC-MS at least) clergy would in fact commune such a person.

    So back to my question. Assuming an Anglican shows up in a Lutheran Church some Sunday, and says to the pastor, perhaps in simpler terms, the thrust of fws@77, and adds, my sins weigh heavily on me right now, but I sincerely repent and seek forgivness as can be received in the Eucharist. Should the Lutheran pastor commune the Anglican? and why or why not?

  • kerner

    I have been lurking and not participating in this conversation, I guess because, fascinating as it is, it was more usefull for me to try to learn than to argue. I’m a little surprized at myself. But at last I have a question.

    First I note this part of Dr. Vieth’s original post:

    I realize that this is what I read in a Reformed Episcopal service I once attended, with my hosts seemingly a little hurt that I, as a Lutheran, would not commune with them. But the liturgy explicitly repudiated my beliefs about the Sacrament as idolatry!

    ok, I get that. The liturgy specifically denied real presence. Dr. Veith refused to participate, and I think he was right to do so.

    But then I read Frank’s comment @77, and Cinn’s agreement with it @85. Now my question is, given the part HC plays in justification, i.e. conveying the forgiveness of sins, why would a penitent Christian who signs onto fws@77 be sent away from a Lutheran HC?

    I understand our ingrained Lutheran desire to avoid unionism and the confusion of doctrine that results from it. Frankly, given what I have read here, I consider the Anglican, creedal, but non-confessional, approach to be supportive of why the Lutheran approach is generally better. But I still have trouble with our aversion to unionism apparently trumping our duty to forgive the sins of penitent Christians. Some earlier threads have indicated that my concern is unnecessary, as some (LC-MS at least) clergy would in fact commune such a person.

    So back to my question. Assuming an Anglican shows up in a Lutheran Church some Sunday, and says to the pastor, perhaps in simpler terms, the thrust of fws@77, and adds, my sins weigh heavily on me right now, but I sincerely repent and seek forgivness as can be received in the Eucharist. Should the Lutheran pastor commune the Anglican? and why or why not?

  • trotk

    tODD at 83.

    I dislike your analogy, just because I dislike being compared to the Unitarian Universalists. I understand your point, and can see where you are coming from, but come on, who wants to be compared to the UU? Perhaps the Baha’i?

    Let me try to explain. Anglicans believe in the literal truth of Scripture and the creeds. Thus you cannot claim that anything goes. But within that umbrella are various groups who disagree about interpretations of issues that they believe that scripture is relatively silent on. The physical resurrection, for example, is NOT something that scripture is silent on. But whether the body of Christ in the Eucharist (which we all agree is present) is eaten physically or supernaturally we can disagree on.

    The reason why we remain Anglican is not because we necessarily want latitude in our various interpretations. The reason is because we have a hierarchy (and believe it is the right hierarchy) that looks like the following:

    1. Primary Truth (such as Christ was physically raised, the bread is Christ’s body, baptism is a means of grace)

    2. Order of Worship (believing that how you worship aligns you with God)

    3. Secondary Doctrine (such as whether the body of Christ is supernaturally or physically present)

    All you have to agree upon to be Anglican is numbers 1& 2.

  • trotk

    tODD at 83.

    I dislike your analogy, just because I dislike being compared to the Unitarian Universalists. I understand your point, and can see where you are coming from, but come on, who wants to be compared to the UU? Perhaps the Baha’i?

    Let me try to explain. Anglicans believe in the literal truth of Scripture and the creeds. Thus you cannot claim that anything goes. But within that umbrella are various groups who disagree about interpretations of issues that they believe that scripture is relatively silent on. The physical resurrection, for example, is NOT something that scripture is silent on. But whether the body of Christ in the Eucharist (which we all agree is present) is eaten physically or supernaturally we can disagree on.

    The reason why we remain Anglican is not because we necessarily want latitude in our various interpretations. The reason is because we have a hierarchy (and believe it is the right hierarchy) that looks like the following:

    1. Primary Truth (such as Christ was physically raised, the bread is Christ’s body, baptism is a means of grace)

    2. Order of Worship (believing that how you worship aligns you with God)

    3. Secondary Doctrine (such as whether the body of Christ is supernaturally or physically present)

    All you have to agree upon to be Anglican is numbers 1& 2.

  • trotk

    Bror at 84.

    You wrote to Cincinnatus, but if I can intrude:

    You are probably correct about the distance, in that we are far from you. You aren’t far from us, though. It would take very little for me to decide to become Lutheran. If the Anglican church ceased to exist tomorrow, that is where I would go. I don’t disagree with your stance on the Eucharist. I am not bothered by closed communion. The only reason I stay Anglican is because I believe the priorities: primary truth, order of worship, secondary truth are the correct order. My understanding of Lutheranism (based on my conversations with you all) are that your priorities are: all truth, anything else.

  • trotk

    Bror at 84.

    You wrote to Cincinnatus, but if I can intrude:

    You are probably correct about the distance, in that we are far from you. You aren’t far from us, though. It would take very little for me to decide to become Lutheran. If the Anglican church ceased to exist tomorrow, that is where I would go. I don’t disagree with your stance on the Eucharist. I am not bothered by closed communion. The only reason I stay Anglican is because I believe the priorities: primary truth, order of worship, secondary truth are the correct order. My understanding of Lutheranism (based on my conversations with you all) are that your priorities are: all truth, anything else.

  • fws

    todd and bror and cinn and trotk in the late 80s ha!

    Often I complain that the Reformed talk about Luther and the Lutherans like we are another branch of the Reformed and what bothers me about that is that they do not seek to understand us on our own terms and so they dont let us be Lutheran.

    I am thinking we are doing the same here with Anglicans. We are insisting that they be like Lutherans. Lutherans identify one another AS Lutherans alone by subscription to the Lutheran Confessions. Period. A body of Creeds. Not Luther. Not Liturgy. Not music. not tradition. not ethnicity (for the most part. ha!).

    I am hearing Trotk say that he identifies as Anglican by the Book of Common Prayer in it’s various iterations. And I am sure he would hasten to throw in the ecumenical creeds. This is what the church did for a long time before the recent Confessional movements called the Reformation and then the Counter-Reformation.

    Would it be fair to say that the English reformation was organic and evolutionary and more of a historical “accident” like the English revolution of the Magna Carta whereas the Lutheran reformation was more like the deliberate constitutional revolution of the USA that was also not without a deep historical root and context as well?

    The nature of Lutheranism tends to be a more closed system which has distinct blessings and advantages that I am sure anglicans in ways are envious of. At the same time a Lutheranized Anglican like Trotk and Cinn (I hope you men are not offended at being included in the family….) has the advantage of being extremely influential in audiences that Lutherans would not as effectively reach. God works with that. I have seen it many times.

    True reason would think that such an open system as the anglicans exist in would expose anglicans to the tug of false doctrine more than a closed system. it would be wrong and contrary to Lutheran doctrine though to assume that! That would be to say that some system like a creedal one can preserve the church from error. This is alone something the HS can do.

    And anyone who has read this blog for even a short while knows that who just said that is as deep into the Lutheran Confessions as anyone here.

    At the same time it does allow a cinn or trotk to benefit greatly from what Lutherans have to offer without the usual denominational defensiveness. That is cool isnt it? And we in turn get blessed by men like Robert Capon who has his flaws along side of some brilliant insights on the Holy Gospel and the Parables of our Lord. Many Anglicans seem more Lutheran than most Lutherans in fact.

    I think Cinn and Trotk really do get the organic centrality of the teaching on the Holy Supper to Lutherans and how it is tightly a part of our Christology and our distinction of Law and Gospel and well, everything. They maybe dont get that as well as we do, but then this post asks for them to teach us about Anglicanism and not the reverse eh?

    This is a great discussion. Lets not ruin it by waiting for some other doctrinal shoe to drop that probably isnt even there. Bror and Todd, enjoy this moment when non Lutherans are liking what we have to say about something that obviously matters and matters very very deeply to them.

  • fws

    todd and bror and cinn and trotk in the late 80s ha!

    Often I complain that the Reformed talk about Luther and the Lutherans like we are another branch of the Reformed and what bothers me about that is that they do not seek to understand us on our own terms and so they dont let us be Lutheran.

    I am thinking we are doing the same here with Anglicans. We are insisting that they be like Lutherans. Lutherans identify one another AS Lutherans alone by subscription to the Lutheran Confessions. Period. A body of Creeds. Not Luther. Not Liturgy. Not music. not tradition. not ethnicity (for the most part. ha!).

    I am hearing Trotk say that he identifies as Anglican by the Book of Common Prayer in it’s various iterations. And I am sure he would hasten to throw in the ecumenical creeds. This is what the church did for a long time before the recent Confessional movements called the Reformation and then the Counter-Reformation.

    Would it be fair to say that the English reformation was organic and evolutionary and more of a historical “accident” like the English revolution of the Magna Carta whereas the Lutheran reformation was more like the deliberate constitutional revolution of the USA that was also not without a deep historical root and context as well?

    The nature of Lutheranism tends to be a more closed system which has distinct blessings and advantages that I am sure anglicans in ways are envious of. At the same time a Lutheranized Anglican like Trotk and Cinn (I hope you men are not offended at being included in the family….) has the advantage of being extremely influential in audiences that Lutherans would not as effectively reach. God works with that. I have seen it many times.

    True reason would think that such an open system as the anglicans exist in would expose anglicans to the tug of false doctrine more than a closed system. it would be wrong and contrary to Lutheran doctrine though to assume that! That would be to say that some system like a creedal one can preserve the church from error. This is alone something the HS can do.

    And anyone who has read this blog for even a short while knows that who just said that is as deep into the Lutheran Confessions as anyone here.

    At the same time it does allow a cinn or trotk to benefit greatly from what Lutherans have to offer without the usual denominational defensiveness. That is cool isnt it? And we in turn get blessed by men like Robert Capon who has his flaws along side of some brilliant insights on the Holy Gospel and the Parables of our Lord. Many Anglicans seem more Lutheran than most Lutherans in fact.

    I think Cinn and Trotk really do get the organic centrality of the teaching on the Holy Supper to Lutherans and how it is tightly a part of our Christology and our distinction of Law and Gospel and well, everything. They maybe dont get that as well as we do, but then this post asks for them to teach us about Anglicanism and not the reverse eh?

    This is a great discussion. Lets not ruin it by waiting for some other doctrinal shoe to drop that probably isnt even there. Bror and Todd, enjoy this moment when non Lutherans are liking what we have to say about something that obviously matters and matters very very deeply to them.

  • kerner

    trotk @90, you said:

    “yet I am Anglican purposefully, because what unites Anglicans is our worship. This may seem crazy to you all”

    Actually, it does seem a little crazy to me (and given his comments, it probably seems crazy to tODD too). I can understand there being some room for interpretation in some doctrines. The exact mechanics of miracles like real presence might even be one of them. But the diversity of doctrine, or lack of coherent doctrine within Anglicanism is a pretty big problem for me.

  • kerner

    trotk @90, you said:

    “yet I am Anglican purposefully, because what unites Anglicans is our worship. This may seem crazy to you all”

    Actually, it does seem a little crazy to me (and given his comments, it probably seems crazy to tODD too). I can understand there being some room for interpretation in some doctrines. The exact mechanics of miracles like real presence might even be one of them. But the diversity of doctrine, or lack of coherent doctrine within Anglicanism is a pretty big problem for me.

  • trotk

    tODD at 88.

    Some things are out of bounds because the Bible and the creeds make them explicitly out of bounds. Ask me about any particular issue, and I will explain to you whether Anglicanism allows latitude there.

    For example, on the Eucharist, it must be believed that it is the body and blood of Christ. Whether that is supernatural or physical is debatable.

    On the resurrection, it is definitely physical. Why do Anglicans believe so? Because the scriptures (I Cor 15 for example) make it explicit.

    Ask me about any other issue. I don’t mean this obnoxiously. I hope it will allow you to see that we mean what we say when we say that the Bible and the creeds are literally true, but anything not explicitly clear in scripture is guided by the bounds of scriptural language about it, through the liturgy, and yet not limited to one particular denomination’s view of it.

  • trotk

    tODD at 88.

    Some things are out of bounds because the Bible and the creeds make them explicitly out of bounds. Ask me about any particular issue, and I will explain to you whether Anglicanism allows latitude there.

    For example, on the Eucharist, it must be believed that it is the body and blood of Christ. Whether that is supernatural or physical is debatable.

    On the resurrection, it is definitely physical. Why do Anglicans believe so? Because the scriptures (I Cor 15 for example) make it explicit.

    Ask me about any other issue. I don’t mean this obnoxiously. I hope it will allow you to see that we mean what we say when we say that the Bible and the creeds are literally true, but anything not explicitly clear in scripture is guided by the bounds of scriptural language about it, through the liturgy, and yet not limited to one particular denomination’s view of it.

  • kerner

    fws @94:

    I hope I’m not ruining your conversation by dropping another doctrinal shoe, because I am as glad as you are to find non-Lutherans who accept important truths set forth in the Lutheran Confessions, even if they are considered secondary. But I do tend to consider the practical implications of our conclusions, and this one is no different for me.

    OK, trotk and Cinn are right there with us Lutherans on real presence. Don’t we now have to decide how to treat them?

  • kerner

    fws @94:

    I hope I’m not ruining your conversation by dropping another doctrinal shoe, because I am as glad as you are to find non-Lutherans who accept important truths set forth in the Lutheran Confessions, even if they are considered secondary. But I do tend to consider the practical implications of our conclusions, and this one is no different for me.

    OK, trotk and Cinn are right there with us Lutherans on real presence. Don’t we now have to decide how to treat them?

  • kerner

    trotk @ 96: ok, now I’m the one who is intruding, but you said:

    “Ask me about any other issue”

    What is “the Gospel”?

    Is justification by faith alone?

    I’m not asking for a long dissertation, but is there a universally held Anglican answer to those questions, and if so, what are those answers?

  • kerner

    trotk @ 96: ok, now I’m the one who is intruding, but you said:

    “Ask me about any other issue”

    What is “the Gospel”?

    Is justification by faith alone?

    I’m not asking for a long dissertation, but is there a universally held Anglican answer to those questions, and if so, what are those answers?

  • kerner

    the reason I ask those questions is that I am trying to understand how Anglicans delineate between primary truth and secondary doctrine. I’m not trying to pick a fight. really. But this is a new concept to me and now, after reading some 70+ comments I have a lot of questions.

  • kerner

    the reason I ask those questions is that I am trying to understand how Anglicans delineate between primary truth and secondary doctrine. I’m not trying to pick a fight. really. But this is a new concept to me and now, after reading some 70+ comments I have a lot of questions.

  • fws

    trotk @ 93

    “My understanding of Lutheranism (based on my conversations with you all) are that your priorities are: all truth, anything else.”

    Interesting especially contrasted with…

    “the priorities: primary truth, order of worship, secondary truth are the correct order.”

    I can see how you would get that from what we Lutherans say and how we say it (including me in this and other posts , for I DO agree rather completely with Todd and Bror I want to point out).And that is very unfortunate indeed.

    I would like to suggest that what we aspire to , ideally, as Lutherans is to treat theology as a hub and spoke system where Christ in his very Person and his Work are at the very center and every other doctrine is a spoke that directly is in support of that hub. if it cant be connected, and directly so, then it gets no place in the theological wheel. This sort of makes us into UBER fundamentalists. Everything becomes a fundamental. And if it is not (things like church polity and liturgical forms) then it is not a part of the wheel. That is because Lutherans are not interested (or at least should not be) in whatever is not directly about the Person and Work of Christ.

    So oddly the Lutheran confessions say “the Gospel and all it’s articles’ to say what I just said and this makes Lutherans uber fundamentalists in the sense that every doctrine becomes a fundamental because it exists soley and alone to support the Gospel. Thus the treatment you always get from me and the other Lutherans here. Forgive our passion please!

    This is why polity and liturgical forms and morality(methodist book of discipline, canon law, etc) and many other things dont really have a theological slot in Lutheranism while they loom hugely for anglicans and the reformed and rome and the orthodox.

    This is why it is probably futile to make a matrix where Lutheran teaching on a list of doctrines is compared to a column for anglicans, for romans, for baptists etc. Alot of times, maybe most of the times, the way the furniture or individual elements are arranged in the room and associated is at least as important as the elements themselves.

    And I am just realizing that I probably have described the Anglican idea of how they do doctrine with the Holy Liturgy.! dangit.

    I would also suggest that the reason why modern Lutherans are more attracted to the Formula of Concord that looks sort of like a Loci/Systematics than to the earlier Apology is because maybe where we were once more like the Anglicans in our non-systematic approach ( I include Chemnitz in this), we were later increasingly influenced by reformed and scholastic methods starting just after gerhard.

    I actually pray for Lutheranism to elevate symbolics above systematics in our seminaries….and in so doing they would be elevating exegetics, hermaneutics, and apologetics. I just dont think systematics ever served Lutheranism well.

    I could argue that Chemitz did a Loci in that format largely to counter the one that Melancthon did that was what 90%+ of Lutheran pastors had studied. At the time of the Formula of Concord Chemnitz, who was the editor of the Book of Concord, needed to counter the tug on Lutheranism from the Melancthonianism that became Calvinism back to a Luther-an mode that the Book of Concord exemplifies. I suggest that the Formula of Concord with its constant references and nods to Luther sermons and commentaries to the exclusion of Melancthon was an exercise in using Melancthonian scholastic forms to return the content back to what was in the Apology and early Lutheranism.

    The book of Concord is a fundamentally political document that succeeded I am suggesting in all the ways the 39 articles failed. It succeeds because it resolves ambiguity by doing law and gospel distinction rather than embrace ambiguity.

    Anyhow. I am digressing eh? This is more aimed I guess, more at my brothers in Lutheranism Todd and Bror. We Lutherans, even with our confessions have not been spared the same battles that have tossed about the Anglicans.

    Cinn and Trotk., You maybe will never ever get to experience the wierdness of landing in africa, then in indonesia, then in india then in brasil, and you are certain that the Lutherans you are worshiping with are so very united in doctrine with you an estreme amount of detail that not even a rome with a pope can achieve. and all withhout ecclesiastical enforcement. it is really indescribable and sort of amazing.

    I do believe this is because of that hub and spoke thangy. It makes us pretty fundamentalist but at the same time in the opposite direction of reduction to essentials.

    Trotk you mentioned anglican worship as what unites anglicans if i am not misreading you. Lutherans are amazingly united as to the liturgy even though then consciously refuse to make it a big deal. Again it is that hub spoke thangy that just automatically drive it to be so. and Lutherans have every form of church government under the sun as well. no doctrine on this either.

  • fws

    trotk @ 93

    “My understanding of Lutheranism (based on my conversations with you all) are that your priorities are: all truth, anything else.”

    Interesting especially contrasted with…

    “the priorities: primary truth, order of worship, secondary truth are the correct order.”

    I can see how you would get that from what we Lutherans say and how we say it (including me in this and other posts , for I DO agree rather completely with Todd and Bror I want to point out).And that is very unfortunate indeed.

    I would like to suggest that what we aspire to , ideally, as Lutherans is to treat theology as a hub and spoke system where Christ in his very Person and his Work are at the very center and every other doctrine is a spoke that directly is in support of that hub. if it cant be connected, and directly so, then it gets no place in the theological wheel. This sort of makes us into UBER fundamentalists. Everything becomes a fundamental. And if it is not (things like church polity and liturgical forms) then it is not a part of the wheel. That is because Lutherans are not interested (or at least should not be) in whatever is not directly about the Person and Work of Christ.

    So oddly the Lutheran confessions say “the Gospel and all it’s articles’ to say what I just said and this makes Lutherans uber fundamentalists in the sense that every doctrine becomes a fundamental because it exists soley and alone to support the Gospel. Thus the treatment you always get from me and the other Lutherans here. Forgive our passion please!

    This is why polity and liturgical forms and morality(methodist book of discipline, canon law, etc) and many other things dont really have a theological slot in Lutheranism while they loom hugely for anglicans and the reformed and rome and the orthodox.

    This is why it is probably futile to make a matrix where Lutheran teaching on a list of doctrines is compared to a column for anglicans, for romans, for baptists etc. Alot of times, maybe most of the times, the way the furniture or individual elements are arranged in the room and associated is at least as important as the elements themselves.

    And I am just realizing that I probably have described the Anglican idea of how they do doctrine with the Holy Liturgy.! dangit.

    I would also suggest that the reason why modern Lutherans are more attracted to the Formula of Concord that looks sort of like a Loci/Systematics than to the earlier Apology is because maybe where we were once more like the Anglicans in our non-systematic approach ( I include Chemnitz in this), we were later increasingly influenced by reformed and scholastic methods starting just after gerhard.

    I actually pray for Lutheranism to elevate symbolics above systematics in our seminaries….and in so doing they would be elevating exegetics, hermaneutics, and apologetics. I just dont think systematics ever served Lutheranism well.

    I could argue that Chemitz did a Loci in that format largely to counter the one that Melancthon did that was what 90%+ of Lutheran pastors had studied. At the time of the Formula of Concord Chemnitz, who was the editor of the Book of Concord, needed to counter the tug on Lutheranism from the Melancthonianism that became Calvinism back to a Luther-an mode that the Book of Concord exemplifies. I suggest that the Formula of Concord with its constant references and nods to Luther sermons and commentaries to the exclusion of Melancthon was an exercise in using Melancthonian scholastic forms to return the content back to what was in the Apology and early Lutheranism.

    The book of Concord is a fundamentally political document that succeeded I am suggesting in all the ways the 39 articles failed. It succeeds because it resolves ambiguity by doing law and gospel distinction rather than embrace ambiguity.

    Anyhow. I am digressing eh? This is more aimed I guess, more at my brothers in Lutheranism Todd and Bror. We Lutherans, even with our confessions have not been spared the same battles that have tossed about the Anglicans.

    Cinn and Trotk., You maybe will never ever get to experience the wierdness of landing in africa, then in indonesia, then in india then in brasil, and you are certain that the Lutherans you are worshiping with are so very united in doctrine with you an estreme amount of detail that not even a rome with a pope can achieve. and all withhout ecclesiastical enforcement. it is really indescribable and sort of amazing.

    I do believe this is because of that hub and spoke thangy. It makes us pretty fundamentalist but at the same time in the opposite direction of reduction to essentials.

    Trotk you mentioned anglican worship as what unites anglicans if i am not misreading you. Lutherans are amazingly united as to the liturgy even though then consciously refuse to make it a big deal. Again it is that hub spoke thangy that just automatically drive it to be so. and Lutherans have every form of church government under the sun as well. no doctrine on this either.

  • fws

    ah kerner. My legal eagle. thanks for dropping in. now things are going to get fun .

    And I mean that in all the good and non snarky/sarcactic ways.

    Be gentle to our favorite Anglicans Kerner. You only are allowed to take the gloves off with fellow Lutherans like me. Remember that.

    I am going to go make some popcorn.

  • fws

    ah kerner. My legal eagle. thanks for dropping in. now things are going to get fun .

    And I mean that in all the good and non snarky/sarcactic ways.

    Be gentle to our favorite Anglicans Kerner. You only are allowed to take the gloves off with fellow Lutherans like me. Remember that.

    I am going to go make some popcorn.

  • fws

    Kerner @ 99.

    This is mostly aimed at Trotk. I hope Cinn takes a spin at this as well.

    I hope you agree that for us Lutherans we have a similar test:

    “what does (fill in the blank) have to do with the Person and Work of Jesus?”

    If the answer is nothing, then we treat it as something indiferent such as church government and (in a certain sense) rites and ceremonies , ie Liturgy (apology VII).

    If the answer is that it is connected, then it falls into Trotk’s category I. So he is right I say. we ARE pretty binary. Not quite in the way he frames it but….

    Ok. I am done…

  • fws

    Kerner @ 99.

    This is mostly aimed at Trotk. I hope Cinn takes a spin at this as well.

    I hope you agree that for us Lutherans we have a similar test:

    “what does (fill in the blank) have to do with the Person and Work of Jesus?”

    If the answer is nothing, then we treat it as something indiferent such as church government and (in a certain sense) rites and ceremonies , ie Liturgy (apology VII).

    If the answer is that it is connected, then it falls into Trotk’s category I. So he is right I say. we ARE pretty binary. Not quite in the way he frames it but….

    Ok. I am done…

  • fws

    BUTTERED popcorn.

  • fws

    BUTTERED popcorn.

  • fws

    kerner @ 91

    NOTE TO TROTK AND CINN: This is an intramural sidebar conversation. We will return to our normal programming after this brief interruption….

    Ah kerner. you snuck one in…. So gotta type with buttered fingers…mmm

    So back to my question. Assuming an Anglican shows up in a Lutheran Church some Sunday, and says to the pastor, perhaps in simpler terms, the thrust of fws@77, and adds, my sins weigh heavily on me right now, but I sincerely repent and seek forgivness as can be received in the Eucharist. Should the Lutheran pastor commune the Anglican? and why or why not?

    Ok. First Lets lay a conceptual Two Kingdoms foundation then we can answer your question:

    Two Kingdoms:

    Try this: think of the Visible Church as a form of government exactly in the same sense as those other two Divinely Ordered ones called family and society/civil government. Because it is. (apology VII) nothing especially spiritual or even christian about it really.

    Pastors are like the mayor of a village. Doctrines are the city ordinances and Liturgy is table etiquette at the family meal. Pastors are rulers is what I am saying. Church is a kingdom and not a democracy regardless of how Walther sorta tweaked this…

    Pastors are like judges. They have judicial discretion. And at the same time they must act within their narrow charter. And they speak for God in BOTH in the exact sense that a policeman, obama or congress or the supremes speak for God, and also (when they are declaring forgiveness and the Apostolic witness ) they speak directly in the stead of Christ himself. Their voice IS His voice. This is not about authority or delegation exactly.

    So the pastor has the duty to ensure that whoever communes is able to examine himself. and at the same time he has a duty to exhort a troubled conscience to come to the Altar. Two duties.

    What is the right answer?

    Judicial discretion Kerner!

    And then we trust that God’s will will be done in that pastor’s vocation. Why? We are certain that God has placed him there both as a ruler and as the very apostolic Voice of Christ. So we obey that pastor and pray for him to rule wisely and to rightly divide the Word of God. And you , as a layman, you hold his arms up as Aaron was ordered to do for unqualified Moses.

  • fws

    kerner @ 91

    NOTE TO TROTK AND CINN: This is an intramural sidebar conversation. We will return to our normal programming after this brief interruption….

    Ah kerner. you snuck one in…. So gotta type with buttered fingers…mmm

    So back to my question. Assuming an Anglican shows up in a Lutheran Church some Sunday, and says to the pastor, perhaps in simpler terms, the thrust of fws@77, and adds, my sins weigh heavily on me right now, but I sincerely repent and seek forgivness as can be received in the Eucharist. Should the Lutheran pastor commune the Anglican? and why or why not?

    Ok. First Lets lay a conceptual Two Kingdoms foundation then we can answer your question:

    Two Kingdoms:

    Try this: think of the Visible Church as a form of government exactly in the same sense as those other two Divinely Ordered ones called family and society/civil government. Because it is. (apology VII) nothing especially spiritual or even christian about it really.

    Pastors are like the mayor of a village. Doctrines are the city ordinances and Liturgy is table etiquette at the family meal. Pastors are rulers is what I am saying. Church is a kingdom and not a democracy regardless of how Walther sorta tweaked this…

    Pastors are like judges. They have judicial discretion. And at the same time they must act within their narrow charter. And they speak for God in BOTH in the exact sense that a policeman, obama or congress or the supremes speak for God, and also (when they are declaring forgiveness and the Apostolic witness ) they speak directly in the stead of Christ himself. Their voice IS His voice. This is not about authority or delegation exactly.

    So the pastor has the duty to ensure that whoever communes is able to examine himself. and at the same time he has a duty to exhort a troubled conscience to come to the Altar. Two duties.

    What is the right answer?

    Judicial discretion Kerner!

    And then we trust that God’s will will be done in that pastor’s vocation. Why? We are certain that God has placed him there both as a ruler and as the very apostolic Voice of Christ. So we obey that pastor and pray for him to rule wisely and to rightly divide the Word of God. And you , as a layman, you hold his arms up as Aaron was ordered to do for unqualified Moses.

  • trotk

    Kerner at 98.

    It is no intrusion. I appreciate the actual dialogue.

    On both of those issues there is a universally held position amongst Anglicans, simply because the scripture is clear. If you read the Book of Common Prayer, you will see that the answers to both of those questions are crystal clear and agreed upon. In particular, read our confessions of sin and the liturgy of the Great Thanksgiving. Below this post I will give you part of it.

    If you want my personal answer, and the Anglican answer, I believe that you would find basically the same words as your confessions, because both are derived from scripture. Justification is by faith alone, through grace. The gospel is simple. Christ became sin (through His death on the cross) so that we might become the righteousness of God (through His resurrection).

    I receive the gospel. I play no part in it, unless you consider my sin a part. Christ alone is he author and perfecter of faith. I could go on, but I hope you get my point.

  • trotk

    Kerner at 98.

    It is no intrusion. I appreciate the actual dialogue.

    On both of those issues there is a universally held position amongst Anglicans, simply because the scripture is clear. If you read the Book of Common Prayer, you will see that the answers to both of those questions are crystal clear and agreed upon. In particular, read our confessions of sin and the liturgy of the Great Thanksgiving. Below this post I will give you part of it.

    If you want my personal answer, and the Anglican answer, I believe that you would find basically the same words as your confessions, because both are derived from scripture. Justification is by faith alone, through grace. The gospel is simple. Christ became sin (through His death on the cross) so that we might become the righteousness of God (through His resurrection).

    I receive the gospel. I play no part in it, unless you consider my sin a part. Christ alone is he author and perfecter of faith. I could go on, but I hope you get my point.

  • trotk

    Kerner, here is a part of our liturgy that I hope makes clear the fact that the two items you asked about are not gray areas:

    Confession:
    “Almighty God,
    Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    maker of all things, judge of all men:
    We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins
    and wickedness,
    which we from time to time most grievously have committed,
    by thought, word, and deed, against thy divine Majesty,
    provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us.
    We do earnestly repent,
    and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings;
    the remembrance of them is grievous unto us,
    the burden of them is intolerable.
    Have mercy upon us,
    have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
    for thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
    forgive us all that is past;
    and grant that we may ever hereafter
    serve and please thee in newness of life,
    to the honor and glory of thy Name;
    through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

    part of the Great Thanksgiving:

    “All glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for
    that thou, of thy tender mercy, didst give thine only Son Jesus
    Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who
    made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full,
    perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for
    the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy
    Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that
    his precious death and sacrifice, until his coming again.”

  • trotk

    Kerner, here is a part of our liturgy that I hope makes clear the fact that the two items you asked about are not gray areas:

    Confession:
    “Almighty God,
    Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    maker of all things, judge of all men:
    We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins
    and wickedness,
    which we from time to time most grievously have committed,
    by thought, word, and deed, against thy divine Majesty,
    provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us.
    We do earnestly repent,
    and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings;
    the remembrance of them is grievous unto us,
    the burden of them is intolerable.
    Have mercy upon us,
    have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
    for thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
    forgive us all that is past;
    and grant that we may ever hereafter
    serve and please thee in newness of life,
    to the honor and glory of thy Name;
    through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

    part of the Great Thanksgiving:

    “All glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for
    that thou, of thy tender mercy, didst give thine only Son Jesus
    Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who
    made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full,
    perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for
    the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy
    Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that
    his precious death and sacrifice, until his coming again.”

  • trotk

    Frank, thanks for all your comments. As to your analogy of the hub and spokes, it fits beautifully.

    The hard part for an Anglican are the doctrines or passages that we view as less than fully clear. They may be about Christ, and thus they are central to you. But because they are less than fully clear, we move them to secondary doctrine, believing that scripture is accurate and true but that we shouldn’t be dogmatic about certain aspects (ie – those aspects that are unclear, which is not to say that we deny the literal meaning of the words) of what it is saying. To focus on those is to see the divide between us.

    To be honest, in those areas where I don’t believe scripture or the creeds are crystal clear, I prefer to take the most literal reading I possibly can imagine and then be charitable toward others who disagree. Thankfully these issues are never central to the gospel (although I know you disagree sometimes because they are about Christ), because the core of the gospel has been made explicitly clear by scripture and the creeds.

  • trotk

    Frank, thanks for all your comments. As to your analogy of the hub and spokes, it fits beautifully.

    The hard part for an Anglican are the doctrines or passages that we view as less than fully clear. They may be about Christ, and thus they are central to you. But because they are less than fully clear, we move them to secondary doctrine, believing that scripture is accurate and true but that we shouldn’t be dogmatic about certain aspects (ie – those aspects that are unclear, which is not to say that we deny the literal meaning of the words) of what it is saying. To focus on those is to see the divide between us.

    To be honest, in those areas where I don’t believe scripture or the creeds are crystal clear, I prefer to take the most literal reading I possibly can imagine and then be charitable toward others who disagree. Thankfully these issues are never central to the gospel (although I know you disagree sometimes because they are about Christ), because the core of the gospel has been made explicitly clear by scripture and the creeds.

  • kerner

    trotk:

    Thanks. I appreciate a clearer understanding of the things we have in common. You have a couple of times referred to certain “grey areas” that are not central to the Gospel, but are “about Christ”. Could you give me some examples?

    Ah! the Brewers just won game 4.

  • kerner

    trotk:

    Thanks. I appreciate a clearer understanding of the things we have in common. You have a couple of times referred to certain “grey areas” that are not central to the Gospel, but are “about Christ”. Could you give me some examples?

    Ah! the Brewers just won game 4.

  • kerner

    fws @104:

    That’s what I think too. It seems to me that, in my hypothecal situation, they ought to receive the Lord’s Supper unless there are other variables that would indicate otherwise. But I really agree with you that the exercise of judgment in such situations is the responsibility of the pastor.

    But we may be in the minority. Certainly there are Lutherans who would be less flexible. Maybe we’ll hear from them.

  • kerner

    fws @104:

    That’s what I think too. It seems to me that, in my hypothecal situation, they ought to receive the Lord’s Supper unless there are other variables that would indicate otherwise. But I really agree with you that the exercise of judgment in such situations is the responsibility of the pastor.

    But we may be in the minority. Certainly there are Lutherans who would be less flexible. Maybe we’ll hear from them.

  • trotk

    Kerner at 108:

    This discussion is an example of a gray area that is about Christ.

    Whether the body and blood are present is not gray. And it is about Christ. Therefore it is primary to both of us. How and in what manner it is the body is gray, therefore Anglicanism allows latitude, and yet, because it is about Christ, it is primary doctrine to a Lutheran.

  • trotk

    Kerner at 108:

    This discussion is an example of a gray area that is about Christ.

    Whether the body and blood are present is not gray. And it is about Christ. Therefore it is primary to both of us. How and in what manner it is the body is gray, therefore Anglicanism allows latitude, and yet, because it is about Christ, it is primary doctrine to a Lutheran.

  • Larry

    Trokt,

    I really don’t miss the point at all because the entire point I am making is in your own words is:
    “We believe it is the body and blood of Christ.”
    And
    “Your interpretation of it being His physical body, rather than His spiritual body, is a limiting interpretation. You are adding the adjective “physical” which necessarily limits Christ’s words.”
    Is the point. You’ve said nothing Calvin himself didn’t say. In fact this is the very argument between Westhpal and Calvin (see below). The fact of the matter is Christ Himself limits His own Words when He said, “this is My body…”. Why is it that fallen man does not believe these words as is and hide behind metaphor or the like or the ever none answer of “I don’t know the mystery of what He meant” other than fallen human reason is offended at these very words “Take eat this is My body…given into death for you”, just as it is offended that God bled and died into death for my own very sins and the sins of the world and no other reason. Thus reason says, “It must mean something else other than spoken”.

    Westphal to Calvin, “A purely spiritual transaction thus, and nothing more, is made to stand for the whole mystery. The flesh of Christ, with you (Calvin), is not present in the Supper. You do not allow an actual giving and receiving of His body.”

    Calvin in reply, “The presence is spiritual, allow me to repeat, only as it is not material and local; but not at all in any such sense as may be taken to overthrow its reality. As regards this, there is no difference nor debate. I freely allow here what the Sacrament requires, an actual participation in Christ’s flesh and blood; and this, without any sort of metaphor or rhetorical fiction. Only I cannot yield to your view of the mode in which this is brought to pass; for it seems to me to be at war with THE VERY OBJECT OF THE MYSTERY ITSELF; (emphasis added) and I see no reason in the Bible or else…Thus I teach that Christ, though absent in the body is, nevertheless,
    not only present with us by His divine energy, which is everywhere diffused, but also makes His flesh give life to us. For, seeing He penetrates to us by the secret influence of His Spirit, it is not necessary, as we have elsewhere said, that He should descend bodily where for its being made to hang exclusively on so gross a conception ; but every reason rather for insisting on a higher view. You seem to have no idea of presence in the case, save in the way of physical contact and transfusion. To my mind, I confess it is something far more real, in the form of a living entrance into the inmost sanctuary of the believer’s life. (Tracts, ii.p. 285).

    Westphal writes, “You take away the donation of the true and proper body, and give us what you are pleased to call its virtue and vigour merely in its stead.”

    Calvin replies, “When I say that Christ reaches us with the virtue of His life, I deny that any substitute is brought in that sets aside at all the donation of His body. I only explain the mode of the donation.”

    Westphal replies, “It is a plain case, however, that what is given
    and taken in the Sacrament, as you hold it, is not the real matter of Christ’s body, but something else. You will not allow that we partake of His substance.”

    Calvin again, “Not of the outward material of His nature certainly in any way ; but still of its actual substantial life ; the vivific virtue of His true flesh and blood. Put away the crass thought of a manducation of the flesh, as
    though it were to enter the stomach by the mouth as common food, and there is no reason to deny that we are fed with Christ’s flesh substantially. His body remains in heaven, while, nevertheless, life flows out from its very substance, and reaches down into the persons of His people, He says that it is fallaciously opposed to the presence and reception of a true-body. I rejoin, that if he is not craftily glossing the matter, he is under a great delusion, as the controversy with us is not as to reception, but only the mode of reception. He conceives that there is no bodily presence, if a body lurk not every-where diffused under the bread ; and if believers do not swallow the body, he thinks that they are denied the eating of it (Tracts, ii. p. 282). Westphal here exclaims that I am opposing the presence of the Spirit to the presence of the flesh ; but anyone not blinded by malevolence
    sees that the same passage makes it clearly evident how far I do so.
    For I do not simply teach that Christ dwells in us by His Spirit, but that
    He so raises us to Himself as to transfuse the vivifying vigour of His
    flesh into us (Tracts, ii. pp. 285-286). But when I say that Christ descends to us by His virtue, I deny that I am substituting something different, which is to have the effect of abolishing the gift of the body, for I am simply explaining the mode in which it is given just as the substance of the head passes over continually to the members in the natural body. (Tracts, ii. p. 279)”

    Westphal replies, “You are a perfect eel, sir, as all the world may see; slimy and slippery to the very tail. There is no such thing as holding you fast. Your “virtue” and “vigor” of Christ’s body resolve themselves, when all is said, into the idea of a mere influence proceeding from Him through the Spirit; and mean simply the efficacy and value of His death, made available for our benefit by God, and so appropriated on our side by faith.”

    Calvin retorts back, “Miserable misrepresentation ! How often must
    I protest against your trick of turning my words into a sense which they openly disown ? Have I not said in all possible ways that Christ must be distinguished from the fruits He brings to pass, and that He must go before them also in the way of actual and real appropriation on the part of His people ? Christ first, and only then, His merits and benefits. By “virtue” or “efficacy,” here, I understand always the essential living force of the Redeemer’s body, once slain and now in heaven ; as I use the word ” vigour ”
    also to express its actual power and substance, the very sap of its heavenly constitution. This in its glorified state is all ” life and spirit ” ; a body, of course, still ; but not such as belongs to our present mortal condition. It is capable thus of reaching over, by the Spirit, and we may say also in the Spirit, into the souls of His people on earth ; as the head is
    able to live itself, in a lower sphere, into its members, or the root into its branches independently of all local contact!

    Should anyone raise a dispute as to the word ” substance,” we assert that Christ, from the substance of His flesh, breathes life into our souls ; nay, infuses His own life into us, provided always that no transfusion of substance be imagined (Tracts, ii, p. 248).

    In this doctrine I still persist, and therefore Westphal is no less ignorant than unjust in comparing me to an eel. What does he find dubious or equivocating in the doctrine, that the body of Christ is truly spiritual food, by whose substance our souls are fed and live, and that this is fulfilled to us in the Supper not less really than it is figured by the
    external symbols ? Only let no one falsely imagine that the body is,
    as it were, brought down from heaven and enclosed in the bread. This
    exception offends Westphal, and he explains that I am an eel, which
    cannot be held by its tail (Tracts, ii. p. 278).

    Because I say, that Christ dwelling in us raises us to Himself, and
    transfuses the life-giving vigour of His flesh into us, just as we are
    invigorated by the vital warmth of the rays of the sun, and again…”

    Westphal rebounds, “Clouds ! Clouds ! Spare us, if you please,these transcendental flights. We have no wings, to soar into regions so high and rare. Seriously, we do not want to philosophise in the matter. Let us stick to the plain sense of the Bible. What is the voice of Reason, with its carnal perplexities and plausibilities, over against the voice of Christ?”

    –End Quotes

  • Larry

    Trokt,

    I really don’t miss the point at all because the entire point I am making is in your own words is:
    “We believe it is the body and blood of Christ.”
    And
    “Your interpretation of it being His physical body, rather than His spiritual body, is a limiting interpretation. You are adding the adjective “physical” which necessarily limits Christ’s words.”
    Is the point. You’ve said nothing Calvin himself didn’t say. In fact this is the very argument between Westhpal and Calvin (see below). The fact of the matter is Christ Himself limits His own Words when He said, “this is My body…”. Why is it that fallen man does not believe these words as is and hide behind metaphor or the like or the ever none answer of “I don’t know the mystery of what He meant” other than fallen human reason is offended at these very words “Take eat this is My body…given into death for you”, just as it is offended that God bled and died into death for my own very sins and the sins of the world and no other reason. Thus reason says, “It must mean something else other than spoken”.

    Westphal to Calvin, “A purely spiritual transaction thus, and nothing more, is made to stand for the whole mystery. The flesh of Christ, with you (Calvin), is not present in the Supper. You do not allow an actual giving and receiving of His body.”

    Calvin in reply, “The presence is spiritual, allow me to repeat, only as it is not material and local; but not at all in any such sense as may be taken to overthrow its reality. As regards this, there is no difference nor debate. I freely allow here what the Sacrament requires, an actual participation in Christ’s flesh and blood; and this, without any sort of metaphor or rhetorical fiction. Only I cannot yield to your view of the mode in which this is brought to pass; for it seems to me to be at war with THE VERY OBJECT OF THE MYSTERY ITSELF; (emphasis added) and I see no reason in the Bible or else…Thus I teach that Christ, though absent in the body is, nevertheless,
    not only present with us by His divine energy, which is everywhere diffused, but also makes His flesh give life to us. For, seeing He penetrates to us by the secret influence of His Spirit, it is not necessary, as we have elsewhere said, that He should descend bodily where for its being made to hang exclusively on so gross a conception ; but every reason rather for insisting on a higher view. You seem to have no idea of presence in the case, save in the way of physical contact and transfusion. To my mind, I confess it is something far more real, in the form of a living entrance into the inmost sanctuary of the believer’s life. (Tracts, ii.p. 285).

    Westphal writes, “You take away the donation of the true and proper body, and give us what you are pleased to call its virtue and vigour merely in its stead.”

    Calvin replies, “When I say that Christ reaches us with the virtue of His life, I deny that any substitute is brought in that sets aside at all the donation of His body. I only explain the mode of the donation.”

    Westphal replies, “It is a plain case, however, that what is given
    and taken in the Sacrament, as you hold it, is not the real matter of Christ’s body, but something else. You will not allow that we partake of His substance.”

    Calvin again, “Not of the outward material of His nature certainly in any way ; but still of its actual substantial life ; the vivific virtue of His true flesh and blood. Put away the crass thought of a manducation of the flesh, as
    though it were to enter the stomach by the mouth as common food, and there is no reason to deny that we are fed with Christ’s flesh substantially. His body remains in heaven, while, nevertheless, life flows out from its very substance, and reaches down into the persons of His people, He says that it is fallaciously opposed to the presence and reception of a true-body. I rejoin, that if he is not craftily glossing the matter, he is under a great delusion, as the controversy with us is not as to reception, but only the mode of reception. He conceives that there is no bodily presence, if a body lurk not every-where diffused under the bread ; and if believers do not swallow the body, he thinks that they are denied the eating of it (Tracts, ii. p. 282). Westphal here exclaims that I am opposing the presence of the Spirit to the presence of the flesh ; but anyone not blinded by malevolence
    sees that the same passage makes it clearly evident how far I do so.
    For I do not simply teach that Christ dwells in us by His Spirit, but that
    He so raises us to Himself as to transfuse the vivifying vigour of His
    flesh into us (Tracts, ii. pp. 285-286). But when I say that Christ descends to us by His virtue, I deny that I am substituting something different, which is to have the effect of abolishing the gift of the body, for I am simply explaining the mode in which it is given just as the substance of the head passes over continually to the members in the natural body. (Tracts, ii. p. 279)”

    Westphal replies, “You are a perfect eel, sir, as all the world may see; slimy and slippery to the very tail. There is no such thing as holding you fast. Your “virtue” and “vigor” of Christ’s body resolve themselves, when all is said, into the idea of a mere influence proceeding from Him through the Spirit; and mean simply the efficacy and value of His death, made available for our benefit by God, and so appropriated on our side by faith.”

    Calvin retorts back, “Miserable misrepresentation ! How often must
    I protest against your trick of turning my words into a sense which they openly disown ? Have I not said in all possible ways that Christ must be distinguished from the fruits He brings to pass, and that He must go before them also in the way of actual and real appropriation on the part of His people ? Christ first, and only then, His merits and benefits. By “virtue” or “efficacy,” here, I understand always the essential living force of the Redeemer’s body, once slain and now in heaven ; as I use the word ” vigour ”
    also to express its actual power and substance, the very sap of its heavenly constitution. This in its glorified state is all ” life and spirit ” ; a body, of course, still ; but not such as belongs to our present mortal condition. It is capable thus of reaching over, by the Spirit, and we may say also in the Spirit, into the souls of His people on earth ; as the head is
    able to live itself, in a lower sphere, into its members, or the root into its branches independently of all local contact!

    Should anyone raise a dispute as to the word ” substance,” we assert that Christ, from the substance of His flesh, breathes life into our souls ; nay, infuses His own life into us, provided always that no transfusion of substance be imagined (Tracts, ii, p. 248).

    In this doctrine I still persist, and therefore Westphal is no less ignorant than unjust in comparing me to an eel. What does he find dubious or equivocating in the doctrine, that the body of Christ is truly spiritual food, by whose substance our souls are fed and live, and that this is fulfilled to us in the Supper not less really than it is figured by the
    external symbols ? Only let no one falsely imagine that the body is,
    as it were, brought down from heaven and enclosed in the bread. This
    exception offends Westphal, and he explains that I am an eel, which
    cannot be held by its tail (Tracts, ii. p. 278).

    Because I say, that Christ dwelling in us raises us to Himself, and
    transfuses the life-giving vigour of His flesh into us, just as we are
    invigorated by the vital warmth of the rays of the sun, and again…”

    Westphal rebounds, “Clouds ! Clouds ! Spare us, if you please,these transcendental flights. We have no wings, to soar into regions so high and rare. Seriously, we do not want to philosophise in the matter. Let us stick to the plain sense of the Bible. What is the voice of Reason, with its carnal perplexities and plausibilities, over against the voice of Christ?”

    –End Quotes

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    See, The thing is for us lutherans, we fail to see what isn’t clear about “This is my Body” … “This cup is the New Testament in my Blood” . Its fairly straight forward. Is means is. Sure since the sixteenth century attempts to obfuscate these words have been legion, and many have been brought up to believe eroneus propisitions regarding these words, all of which diminish christ’s work, confuse his person, deny his divinity, or continued humanity., and then ultimately deny the sacrificial nature of christs death. For this reason, lutherans have never found these other interpretations as having any validity, or being something we can abide with, or the subject matter to be anything we could relugate to a secondary doctrine as the reformed have always asked us to do. Which may account for why we tend to think of anglicans as reformed, because when we talk about this central aspect of worship, we are told it is a secondary matter, the meaning is obscure etc.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    See, The thing is for us lutherans, we fail to see what isn’t clear about “This is my Body” … “This cup is the New Testament in my Blood” . Its fairly straight forward. Is means is. Sure since the sixteenth century attempts to obfuscate these words have been legion, and many have been brought up to believe eroneus propisitions regarding these words, all of which diminish christ’s work, confuse his person, deny his divinity, or continued humanity., and then ultimately deny the sacrificial nature of christs death. For this reason, lutherans have never found these other interpretations as having any validity, or being something we can abide with, or the subject matter to be anything we could relugate to a secondary doctrine as the reformed have always asked us to do. Which may account for why we tend to think of anglicans as reformed, because when we talk about this central aspect of worship, we are told it is a secondary matter, the meaning is obscure etc.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    In other words it seems christ is very specific about the body and blood, he meant the body given into death, and he meant the blood that was shed. It is silly to talk of a spiritual body etc. Here. Though lutherans get around to the fact that “god died” on the cross. We see that he died only because he was able to take on our mortal flesh. As larry says here, christ limits the words and interpretation.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    In other words it seems christ is very specific about the body and blood, he meant the body given into death, and he meant the blood that was shed. It is silly to talk of a spiritual body etc. Here. Though lutherans get around to the fact that “god died” on the cross. We see that he died only because he was able to take on our mortal flesh. As larry says here, christ limits the words and interpretation.

  • trotk

    good grief.

    Larry, this statement is what is driving me nuts:

    “Why is it that fallen man does not believe these words as is and hide behind metaphor or the like or the ever none answer of “I don’t know the mystery of what He meant” other than fallen human reason is offended at these very words “Take eat this is My body…given into death for you”, just as it is offended that God bled and died into death for my own very sins and the sins of the world and no other reason. Thus reason says, “It must mean something else other than spoken”.”

    I believe these words as is. I am not hiding behind metaphor. I relish in the fact that I get to partake in the body and blood every Sunday. I know what Christ meant, inasmuch as I know that He meant it is His body. I don’t know what else to say.

    Am I physically chewing His physical flesh? Am I supernaturally consuming His body in my spirit? I don’t know. But to say that I am making it metaphor or that my flesh is offended is to miss my point, and it is flat out wrong.

    You are blind to the fact that you have believed a very particular interpretation that might be limited. How do you know that you are correct? Has Christ Himself proclaimed it to you? At the end of the day, you cannot defend your stance, or else you would be guilty of turning an object of faith into logical propositions that can be proved. I do not deny what you have received in faith.

    But you deny what I have received in faith, telling me that I do not believe the words of Christ over and over. You forever lump me with a group whose methods and conclusions are foreign to me, because we sound similar here.

    Larry, you don’t know what you are talking about when you judge my statements. One of the reasons that I love the Anglican church is the fact that we are a group of people who recognizes that Christ hasn’t proclaimed every single detail of the faith, and therefore there is a humility there.

    Is it His body? Yes – He said so directly. Are my teeth grinding His physical flesh in a physical manner? I don’t know, because He didn’t say so directly. Would I be comfortable if I were? Yes, of course, because I trust Jesus. Am I comfortable if it is a supernatural consumption? Yes, because it is no less a means of grace.

    If this stance to you means that I don’t believe the word of the Lord or that I am automatically reformed, the issue lies in your perception.

  • trotk

    good grief.

    Larry, this statement is what is driving me nuts:

    “Why is it that fallen man does not believe these words as is and hide behind metaphor or the like or the ever none answer of “I don’t know the mystery of what He meant” other than fallen human reason is offended at these very words “Take eat this is My body…given into death for you”, just as it is offended that God bled and died into death for my own very sins and the sins of the world and no other reason. Thus reason says, “It must mean something else other than spoken”.”

    I believe these words as is. I am not hiding behind metaphor. I relish in the fact that I get to partake in the body and blood every Sunday. I know what Christ meant, inasmuch as I know that He meant it is His body. I don’t know what else to say.

    Am I physically chewing His physical flesh? Am I supernaturally consuming His body in my spirit? I don’t know. But to say that I am making it metaphor or that my flesh is offended is to miss my point, and it is flat out wrong.

    You are blind to the fact that you have believed a very particular interpretation that might be limited. How do you know that you are correct? Has Christ Himself proclaimed it to you? At the end of the day, you cannot defend your stance, or else you would be guilty of turning an object of faith into logical propositions that can be proved. I do not deny what you have received in faith.

    But you deny what I have received in faith, telling me that I do not believe the words of Christ over and over. You forever lump me with a group whose methods and conclusions are foreign to me, because we sound similar here.

    Larry, you don’t know what you are talking about when you judge my statements. One of the reasons that I love the Anglican church is the fact that we are a group of people who recognizes that Christ hasn’t proclaimed every single detail of the faith, and therefore there is a humility there.

    Is it His body? Yes – He said so directly. Are my teeth grinding His physical flesh in a physical manner? I don’t know, because He didn’t say so directly. Would I be comfortable if I were? Yes, of course, because I trust Jesus. Am I comfortable if it is a supernatural consumption? Yes, because it is no less a means of grace.

    If this stance to you means that I don’t believe the word of the Lord or that I am automatically reformed, the issue lies in your perception.

  • fws

    Larry 111:

    Calvin says this to Westphal:

    “Only let no one falsely imagine that the body is,
    as it were, brought down from heaven and enclosed in the bread.”

    Christ says ” THIS. IS. My Body.”

    Trotk: Lutherans are NOT arguing about a)” how” or b)” in what manner.” Please note that we are using the expression “in, with or under” as to where Christ’s Flesh and Body are. Location only. Not “way”. Not “manner’. Note “this” is not where Christ is generally. Generally Christ fills ALL things after he was lifed up. We agree that this even could, theoretically include Christ in his natural body.

    But in this case, we insist on the immediate context here. We say the words are clear and so require no additional passages to be understood. And I hope you will bear with me so you can see why we are so stubborn on this, even if at the end you do not agree with us.

    Can you see here where Bror is pushing hard on Christology Trotk?

    Calvin asserts that if Christ has a “natural ” body then that body simply cannot be in more than one place. That is the context for all Calvin is saying. You do realize that don’t you? If you didn’t before, now you do. And that context should help you understand precisely what Calvin is aiming at with his words and why. You can’t divorce that from this immediate topic nor would Calvin want you to.

    Calvin even asserted that when the resurrected Christ appeared to the disciples in the upper room that there simply had to be a hole in the wall.

    So there is a Christological point behind what he is insisting upon. And he IS insisting upon this, even if he calls it a “mystery.” This is precisely where Bror is trying to take you even if he maybe is missing a very important step that I hope I will be able to provide to you if you read on and are patient with me dear brother…

    SIDEBAR:
    Historical footnote: Lutherans had their own theory as to “way and manner”. This is called the “Ubiquity theory”. It looks like this: Since there is a personal union between the two natures of Christ, whatever is said about Christ as man must also be said about Christ as God and vica versa. Therefore (ie theory): Christ is bodily present everywhere. This theory is to give theological plausibility to the Lutheran view as to what those words “THIS is” means. And you will not find Lutherans ever advancing even this as any more than a theory. What I want you to note in this sidebar, is that Lutherans agree with you that it is urgently important to avoid argument about “way” and “manner.”

    So here is the “gray area” according to us Lutherans. it is as to “way and manner ” just exactly as you say. Lutherans are in lock step with you here on this point Trotk. We refuse any theory be it transubstantiation or calvin’s spiritual wings and clouds taking us , in faith to the real fleshly Body of Christ.

    But I hope you can also see a huge difference here. And so now let’s leave this sidebar.

    That difference is this: “THIS. IS. My Body.” Christ here points to the Bread when he says “This”. We call this a “sacramental union”. This is not an explanation as to “how” or “manner”. It is again, I hope to convince you, about the “what”. And then I hope to convince you that faith needs to be certain about that “what’.

    Your dear Lord Jesus who loves your soul, does not point your attention to his Body localized in heaven does he or to the Body as Church in this specific context does he? So are we right to think we must go to another passage that refers to “body” as the Church and conflate the two passages? Why would we need to do that? Are those words “this” or “is” or even “body given and shed” unclear? Why? The text itself? We assert no. Something else is at work here. A different Christology we Lutherans say between us and Calvin. And I am sorry. How can I accept this as level II or III in importance. Help me out here Trotk. But before you do that, please read on.

    And that word “is”. May I invite you to do a thought experiment with me? If Christ, the Lord and Creator of the universe who made substance out of nothing meant this in any sort of spiritual way that looks like “represents” or body in some sort of way that is not “body” in any sort of substantial or natural sense how would he have expressed that to remove all ‘mystery’ let me ask you dear Trotk. How ELSE would he have had to have spoken to have helped us all avoid a theological fight that seems trivial between good and christian men and women? I will pick up on this again later, but ponder this as we go on….

    Note what I , as a Lutheran am insisting must be understood in the “natural” or “substancial ” sense. It is not the “way or manner”. it is the “what”. And here is the exact context and import of how and in what manner that “what” matters in a way that our salvation depends upon it.

    What is it we or even an unbeliever receives with his hand and mouth? This question is really our bottom line Trotk. What. What. What. not how. But why is this question so urgent?

    Dear Trotk, IF you can say that even unbelievers receive the Body and Blood of Christ then in that precise way you will know that you share our Lutheran understanding here. But why is it that Lutherans hang so tightly to this single question in debate over the Holy Supper? Why?

    It boils down to that exact question. This is so NOT about “way or manner” as you are framing things . Can you agree with me here? Not yet! Read on please.,..

    We Lutherans say in this “way and manner” this becomes something essential. But in what way and in what manner?

    It is in this “way and mannner ” we Lutherans would suggest to you dear Trotk:

    Can you trust the words of Christ, and that they are “for YOU” even if you have NO faith at all Trotk?

    Those words are as if your dear Lord Jesus is having this exact dialog with your soul Trotke. And I need to call you Steve here according to your baptismal name:

    “This bread IS my body, and further it is that very body that was given and shed for the sins of the many. But dear Steve aka Trotk, as your dear Good Shepherd need you to trust that these words are directed at YOU. The are FOR YOU even though I am well aware that you are devoid of anything even remotely looking like true faith in Me or devotion or repentence. I want you to be certain of this even though you see NO evidence of faith or repentence in your life. So trust alone my Words to you and just go ahead and accept what satan says about your person as the truth. ”

    For that is the precise situation you and I are in if we are brutally honest and accept the judgement of God that we can alone know from the Word it is such a horrible and profound truth about us and our sin.

    I don’t know about you, but my own troubled concience needs to be able to believe this! For if I had to believe Calvin, then I would need faith to receive Christ’s Body and then also the words “given and shed FOR YOU!” would then be the most horrible preachment of the Law to me that would make me flee the Holy Supper.

    This is what we Lutherans are contending for here and why. I hope you will see that we are not arguing here about something secondary or terciary. I hope you can see that looked at in this way, we are contending for nothing less than the Holy Gospel that is aimed at the troubled conscience.

    I am asserting here a concept of language really am I not? I am saying that the SAME words can be Law or Gospel. So I am saying that one could read the SAME words and be certain one is going straight to hell or… with faith alone, read those same words as the sweetest comfort that alone can calm a terrified conscience. Think about that for a moment. This is what Lutherans mean by their Law Gospel thangy. And this was perhaps not at all obvious and maybe no one ever pointed this out to you before.

    I am asserting to you that “This is my body and blood shed for sin ” should be a most terrifying and horrifying preachment of the Law of God that should make us flee God’s judgement.

    Now you and I have become good friends here. So based on our friendship and what I know about you, I would hazzard a guess that you have heard those words exactly that way and have in your past avoided taking the Holy Supper for exactly that reason.

    Only when Faith can cling to those two words “for YOU!” do these very words become transformed into Holy Gospel! And if I need faith in any way, as Calvin suggests, then how can faith, which accepts God’s judgement telling faith that I have NO true faith or repentence in me, cling to those words as Gospel? And saving faith must be blind to sin and the Law and go to alone being hidden in Christ.

    So again the question is this: “What is it that an unbeliever receives?” THAT is what I must too receive dear Trotk. And whatever that is, is going to what I too MUST receive. And so the Holy Supper will be either Law or Gospel for me. And only a terrfied conscience can understand that this is not a secondary question at all!

    Let me remove this for a moment from the context of the Holy Supper to reinforce what I am saying. We say this about the Crucified Christ elsewhere in our confessions in the section of the Formula of Concord titled “Law and Gospel”:

    8] 7. As to the revelation of sin, because the veil of Moses hangs before the eyes of all men as long as they hear the bare preaching of the Law, and nothing concerning Christ, and therefore do not learn from the Law to perceive their sins aright, but either become presumptuous hypocrites [who swell with the opinion of their own righteousness] as the Pharisees, or despair like Judas, Christ takes the Law into His hands, and explains it spiritually, Matt. 5:21ff ; Rom. 7:14. And thus the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all sinners [ Rom. 1:18 ], how great it is; by this means they are directed [sent back] to the Law, and then first learn from it to know aright their sins-a knowledge which Moses never could have forced out of them.

    the preaching of the suffering and death of Christ, the Son of God, is an earnest and terrible proclamation and declaration of God’s wrath, whereby men are first led into the Law aright, after the veil of Moses has been removed from them, so that they first know aright how great things God in His Law requires of us, none of which we can observe, and therefore are to seek all our righteousness in Christ:

    10] 8. Yet as long as all this (namely, Christ’s suffering and death) proclaims God’s wrath and terrifies man, it is still not properly the preaching of the Gospel, but the preaching of Moses and the Law, and therefore a foreign work of Christ, by which He arrives at His proper office, that is, to preach grace, console, and quicken, which is properly the preaching of the Gospel. ..

    This is how the Lutheran Confessions tease out that idea that the SAME Word of God can be either damning Law or Sweet Gospel depending alone on what? Faith alone. But NOT that faith that is something we can and must do. The bible uses that word “faith” in two ways doesnt it? There is a faith that we can and must do. Then there is that trust in that “for YOU!” that is pure gift that noone can do. Only Holy Baptism can plant this new heart movement within us.

    I suggest that

    1) it is only those words “for YOU” that faith clings to makes the SAME words either Law that accuses , kills and terrifies us, or makes those SAME words the sweetest comfort that alone can give rest to a terrified conscience. and ..

    2) IF the “way or manner” if this in ANY way depends upon anything else beyond the words of Christ such as our right receiving, or worthiness or faith, then we are simply F**ked. Rinse and repeat this for all the differences on Baptism or whatever between Lutherans and Reformed and Rome.

    So now back to my thought experiment. What would our dear Lord needed to have said to have us understand that “what ” as meaning a natural body in a substantive sense that was the very body given and shed and for MY own personal sins?”

    Would he have needed to say ” This REALLY is my body.” or “This bread, which you are eating, really IS my Body?” or “This Bread and wine really ARE my flesh and blood, and by that I mean that very flesh and blood that hasnt even been yet shed for you and for many but will be?” Why does it even matter? Is it a secondary question?

    Again this is simply to indicate location not manner Trotk . This needs to be seen in the context of the opposing views which would be both Rome (becomes) or Geneva (“really” connects us to or takes us to Christ located somewhere else).

    Let me leave you with this word of Gospel that talks about how we are to not look to our faith but alone to the Words of Christ. It is from a Luther Sermon of 1528 when he was, appropriately, having the Marburg Coloquy with Zwingle over this very issue we are discussing!

    This is what we are arguing for with our dear Calvinist brethren after all:

    For all these reasons therefore, this single doctrine, that our righteousness and goodness consists entirely in the forgiveness of sins must be rightly comprehended and then firmly maintained and distinguished from that other visible truly God-pleasing righteousness that will perish with the earth.

    We must therefore get beyond ourselves and what our bodies are capable of visibly doing. We must ascend higher than our reason, which keeps us in conflict with ourselves and reminds us both of sin and good works. And we must soar so high as to see neither sin nor good works but be rooted and grounded in this one article and see and know nothing but it alone.

    Let grace or forgiveness be pitted against not only sin, but also against good works, and let all visible righteousness, all human righteousness and holiness be completely and utterly excluded here.

    We can think that within each man there are two conflicting powers or kingdoms. Externally, in this life, man is to be pious and righteous and do good works and the like. But if he aims beyond this life and wishes to deal with God, he must then know that in that kingdom, neither his sin nor his piety matters.

    Here is why this is important to know: Even though that man might feel his sins , which disturb his conscience, and even though the law demands good works, he will not listen to those voices or give them attention, but will boldly reply: “Yes I am a sinner, and Christ has forgiven that sin! In fact, I am seated on the throne in a kingdom into which sin cannot reach.

    COMMENT: And here Steve, is an incredibly beautiful word picture that Dr Luther provides us with. It is breathtaking actually….

    This is the way we are to regard the kingdom of Christ as this large and beautiful arch or vault, like the vast canopy of stars at night that is everywhere over us, and covers and protects us against the just anger and wrath of God.

    In fact we should regard this as a great extended body that pure grace and forgiveness illuminates and permeates and fills the entire world and all things we can see and not see.

    All sins will hardly appear as a spark in comparison with this great extended sea of light, and although sin may oppress it, it cannot injure anything, but it must disappear and vanish before grace. Those who understand this and have truly internalized this doctrine can then be called “masters” of the doctrine.

    But the price for this title is that we will all still have to humble ourselves and not be ashamed to keep on learning this lesson for as long as we live.

    The reason that we have to resign ourselves to making the internalization of this vision our sole lifelong task as a Christian is this fact:

    wherever our nature succeeds in finding sin, it tries to make an unbearable burden of it. Satan fans the spark and blows up a great fire which fills heaven and earth.

    Here we must firmly turn the leaf over and must firmly conclude that if the sin were ever so great or burdensome, then this article of faith is even higher, wider and greater.

    This opinion is established not by man´s wisdom, but by Him Who has comprehended and filled heaven and earth and holds them all in the hollow of his hand as Isaiah 40:42 tells us.

    My sin and righteousness must remain here on earth as far as they concern my life and conduct. In heaven above it is a different story. I have another treasure greater than either of these there. This is because my dear Jesus is seated and holds me in his gentle arms, he covers me with his wings, and overshadows me with his grace.

    So ok, you say, this seems unlikely and unbelievable since I daily feel sin and my conscience condemns me and threatens me with God´s wrath. So how can this be?

    I answer that in this way:

    For this reason, I say, one must understand that the righteousness of a Christian is nothing that can be named or imagined but the forgiveness of sin, that is, it is an invisible kingdom of power which deals only and solely with sin and does this with such abundant grace that it must take away all wrath.

    This kingdom is useless in the earthly kingdom sense of works and sin. It is only useful to God and to anyone who suffers from the stricken conscience.

    This kingdom is known by the name “the forgiveness of sins” for the reason that we are truly all sinners before God.

    Yes absolutely everything in us is sin, even though we may indeed and in fact have every ounce of human righteousness.

    This fact exists because where God speaks of sin, there must be real and great sin. But then from precisely knowing that fact, we then also know that forgiveness is no jest or trivial thing. It is the most serious thing we can know. Sin takes away all your holiness, no matter how good a person you are on earth. But again, then we know that forgiveness takes all sin and wrath away. Therefore sin is not what sends people to hell and goodness is not what elevates people into heaven.

    This is how this will be helpful to you in your daily life:

    when the devil disturbs your conscience, and tries to bring despair to your heart by saying “don´t you realize that one must be good and pious and righteous?”.

    You will respond by boldly talking back to the devil and saying

    “yes you are right! I am a sinner, I already know that because this article I believe in called the forgiveness of sins has taught me this is true for a long time now. I am to be good and pious and do what I can before the world but before God I am willing to be only a sinner, and to be called nothing else.

    That is so that this article of forgiveness can remain true about me personally, because otherwise there would not be forgiveness or grace for me but then it would need to be called a crown of righteousness and of my own personal worthiness and merit.

    So ok, even though I admit that I feel nothing but my many and great sins, yet I am going to surrender myself to the belief that they are no longer sins, for I have for them a very precious panacea and drug which takes away the power and poison of sin and wholly destroys.”

    It is this word “forgiveness” that is found that precious panacea.

    Before this word, sin disappears and melts away like stubble before a fire. Without this forgiveness, no effort, suffering or heroic deeds avail against even my smallest of sins. For without forgiveness sin is and remains pure sin and even the smallest speck condemns me.

    So only confess this article [of the forgiveness of sins] loudly:

    Before the world I may be righteous and do everything God requires. But before God it is only sin according to this article.

    Therefore I am a sinner, but better I am a sinner who now has forgiveness, and who sits at the throne where grace rules supreme as I am told in psalm 116.

    If this were not so I would be a sinner like Judas who saw only his sin, but no forgiveness. But Christians , no matter how much sin they feel in themselves, only in that word forgiveness in Christ they see much more abundant grace presented to them, and poured out over them.

    So dear Steve aka Trotk, you can see where Luther’s thought went as he was debating Zwingli on the Holy Supper. This two is where the mind of every Lutheran too goes when we talk about this the Holy Supper that is the precious panacea that is nothing less than than the Forgiveness of Sins.

    But the Holy Supper can ONLY be the Forgiveness of Sins if we can believe that an unbeliever is receiving that SAME Most Holy Panacea and that this does not depend upon anything in us.

    To the extend that we follow Rome or Calvin and make it about faith, then that same panacea is transformed into the death that is the Law.

    Bless you dear Steve. I have come to love you here so very much. +

  • fws

    Larry 111:

    Calvin says this to Westphal:

    “Only let no one falsely imagine that the body is,
    as it were, brought down from heaven and enclosed in the bread.”

    Christ says ” THIS. IS. My Body.”

    Trotk: Lutherans are NOT arguing about a)” how” or b)” in what manner.” Please note that we are using the expression “in, with or under” as to where Christ’s Flesh and Body are. Location only. Not “way”. Not “manner’. Note “this” is not where Christ is generally. Generally Christ fills ALL things after he was lifed up. We agree that this even could, theoretically include Christ in his natural body.

    But in this case, we insist on the immediate context here. We say the words are clear and so require no additional passages to be understood. And I hope you will bear with me so you can see why we are so stubborn on this, even if at the end you do not agree with us.

    Can you see here where Bror is pushing hard on Christology Trotk?

    Calvin asserts that if Christ has a “natural ” body then that body simply cannot be in more than one place. That is the context for all Calvin is saying. You do realize that don’t you? If you didn’t before, now you do. And that context should help you understand precisely what Calvin is aiming at with his words and why. You can’t divorce that from this immediate topic nor would Calvin want you to.

    Calvin even asserted that when the resurrected Christ appeared to the disciples in the upper room that there simply had to be a hole in the wall.

    So there is a Christological point behind what he is insisting upon. And he IS insisting upon this, even if he calls it a “mystery.” This is precisely where Bror is trying to take you even if he maybe is missing a very important step that I hope I will be able to provide to you if you read on and are patient with me dear brother…

    SIDEBAR:
    Historical footnote: Lutherans had their own theory as to “way and manner”. This is called the “Ubiquity theory”. It looks like this: Since there is a personal union between the two natures of Christ, whatever is said about Christ as man must also be said about Christ as God and vica versa. Therefore (ie theory): Christ is bodily present everywhere. This theory is to give theological plausibility to the Lutheran view as to what those words “THIS is” means. And you will not find Lutherans ever advancing even this as any more than a theory. What I want you to note in this sidebar, is that Lutherans agree with you that it is urgently important to avoid argument about “way” and “manner.”

    So here is the “gray area” according to us Lutherans. it is as to “way and manner ” just exactly as you say. Lutherans are in lock step with you here on this point Trotk. We refuse any theory be it transubstantiation or calvin’s spiritual wings and clouds taking us , in faith to the real fleshly Body of Christ.

    But I hope you can also see a huge difference here. And so now let’s leave this sidebar.

    That difference is this: “THIS. IS. My Body.” Christ here points to the Bread when he says “This”. We call this a “sacramental union”. This is not an explanation as to “how” or “manner”. It is again, I hope to convince you, about the “what”. And then I hope to convince you that faith needs to be certain about that “what’.

    Your dear Lord Jesus who loves your soul, does not point your attention to his Body localized in heaven does he or to the Body as Church in this specific context does he? So are we right to think we must go to another passage that refers to “body” as the Church and conflate the two passages? Why would we need to do that? Are those words “this” or “is” or even “body given and shed” unclear? Why? The text itself? We assert no. Something else is at work here. A different Christology we Lutherans say between us and Calvin. And I am sorry. How can I accept this as level II or III in importance. Help me out here Trotk. But before you do that, please read on.

    And that word “is”. May I invite you to do a thought experiment with me? If Christ, the Lord and Creator of the universe who made substance out of nothing meant this in any sort of spiritual way that looks like “represents” or body in some sort of way that is not “body” in any sort of substantial or natural sense how would he have expressed that to remove all ‘mystery’ let me ask you dear Trotk. How ELSE would he have had to have spoken to have helped us all avoid a theological fight that seems trivial between good and christian men and women? I will pick up on this again later, but ponder this as we go on….

    Note what I , as a Lutheran am insisting must be understood in the “natural” or “substancial ” sense. It is not the “way or manner”. it is the “what”. And here is the exact context and import of how and in what manner that “what” matters in a way that our salvation depends upon it.

    What is it we or even an unbeliever receives with his hand and mouth? This question is really our bottom line Trotk. What. What. What. not how. But why is this question so urgent?

    Dear Trotk, IF you can say that even unbelievers receive the Body and Blood of Christ then in that precise way you will know that you share our Lutheran understanding here. But why is it that Lutherans hang so tightly to this single question in debate over the Holy Supper? Why?

    It boils down to that exact question. This is so NOT about “way or manner” as you are framing things . Can you agree with me here? Not yet! Read on please.,..

    We Lutherans say in this “way and manner” this becomes something essential. But in what way and in what manner?

    It is in this “way and mannner ” we Lutherans would suggest to you dear Trotk:

    Can you trust the words of Christ, and that they are “for YOU” even if you have NO faith at all Trotk?

    Those words are as if your dear Lord Jesus is having this exact dialog with your soul Trotke. And I need to call you Steve here according to your baptismal name:

    “This bread IS my body, and further it is that very body that was given and shed for the sins of the many. But dear Steve aka Trotk, as your dear Good Shepherd need you to trust that these words are directed at YOU. The are FOR YOU even though I am well aware that you are devoid of anything even remotely looking like true faith in Me or devotion or repentence. I want you to be certain of this even though you see NO evidence of faith or repentence in your life. So trust alone my Words to you and just go ahead and accept what satan says about your person as the truth. ”

    For that is the precise situation you and I are in if we are brutally honest and accept the judgement of God that we can alone know from the Word it is such a horrible and profound truth about us and our sin.

    I don’t know about you, but my own troubled concience needs to be able to believe this! For if I had to believe Calvin, then I would need faith to receive Christ’s Body and then also the words “given and shed FOR YOU!” would then be the most horrible preachment of the Law to me that would make me flee the Holy Supper.

    This is what we Lutherans are contending for here and why. I hope you will see that we are not arguing here about something secondary or terciary. I hope you can see that looked at in this way, we are contending for nothing less than the Holy Gospel that is aimed at the troubled conscience.

    I am asserting here a concept of language really am I not? I am saying that the SAME words can be Law or Gospel. So I am saying that one could read the SAME words and be certain one is going straight to hell or… with faith alone, read those same words as the sweetest comfort that alone can calm a terrified conscience. Think about that for a moment. This is what Lutherans mean by their Law Gospel thangy. And this was perhaps not at all obvious and maybe no one ever pointed this out to you before.

    I am asserting to you that “This is my body and blood shed for sin ” should be a most terrifying and horrifying preachment of the Law of God that should make us flee God’s judgement.

    Now you and I have become good friends here. So based on our friendship and what I know about you, I would hazzard a guess that you have heard those words exactly that way and have in your past avoided taking the Holy Supper for exactly that reason.

    Only when Faith can cling to those two words “for YOU!” do these very words become transformed into Holy Gospel! And if I need faith in any way, as Calvin suggests, then how can faith, which accepts God’s judgement telling faith that I have NO true faith or repentence in me, cling to those words as Gospel? And saving faith must be blind to sin and the Law and go to alone being hidden in Christ.

    So again the question is this: “What is it that an unbeliever receives?” THAT is what I must too receive dear Trotk. And whatever that is, is going to what I too MUST receive. And so the Holy Supper will be either Law or Gospel for me. And only a terrfied conscience can understand that this is not a secondary question at all!

    Let me remove this for a moment from the context of the Holy Supper to reinforce what I am saying. We say this about the Crucified Christ elsewhere in our confessions in the section of the Formula of Concord titled “Law and Gospel”:

    8] 7. As to the revelation of sin, because the veil of Moses hangs before the eyes of all men as long as they hear the bare preaching of the Law, and nothing concerning Christ, and therefore do not learn from the Law to perceive their sins aright, but either become presumptuous hypocrites [who swell with the opinion of their own righteousness] as the Pharisees, or despair like Judas, Christ takes the Law into His hands, and explains it spiritually, Matt. 5:21ff ; Rom. 7:14. And thus the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all sinners [ Rom. 1:18 ], how great it is; by this means they are directed [sent back] to the Law, and then first learn from it to know aright their sins-a knowledge which Moses never could have forced out of them.

    the preaching of the suffering and death of Christ, the Son of God, is an earnest and terrible proclamation and declaration of God’s wrath, whereby men are first led into the Law aright, after the veil of Moses has been removed from them, so that they first know aright how great things God in His Law requires of us, none of which we can observe, and therefore are to seek all our righteousness in Christ:

    10] 8. Yet as long as all this (namely, Christ’s suffering and death) proclaims God’s wrath and terrifies man, it is still not properly the preaching of the Gospel, but the preaching of Moses and the Law, and therefore a foreign work of Christ, by which He arrives at His proper office, that is, to preach grace, console, and quicken, which is properly the preaching of the Gospel. ..

    This is how the Lutheran Confessions tease out that idea that the SAME Word of God can be either damning Law or Sweet Gospel depending alone on what? Faith alone. But NOT that faith that is something we can and must do. The bible uses that word “faith” in two ways doesnt it? There is a faith that we can and must do. Then there is that trust in that “for YOU!” that is pure gift that noone can do. Only Holy Baptism can plant this new heart movement within us.

    I suggest that

    1) it is only those words “for YOU” that faith clings to makes the SAME words either Law that accuses , kills and terrifies us, or makes those SAME words the sweetest comfort that alone can give rest to a terrified conscience. and ..

    2) IF the “way or manner” if this in ANY way depends upon anything else beyond the words of Christ such as our right receiving, or worthiness or faith, then we are simply F**ked. Rinse and repeat this for all the differences on Baptism or whatever between Lutherans and Reformed and Rome.

    So now back to my thought experiment. What would our dear Lord needed to have said to have us understand that “what ” as meaning a natural body in a substantive sense that was the very body given and shed and for MY own personal sins?”

    Would he have needed to say ” This REALLY is my body.” or “This bread, which you are eating, really IS my Body?” or “This Bread and wine really ARE my flesh and blood, and by that I mean that very flesh and blood that hasnt even been yet shed for you and for many but will be?” Why does it even matter? Is it a secondary question?

    Again this is simply to indicate location not manner Trotk . This needs to be seen in the context of the opposing views which would be both Rome (becomes) or Geneva (“really” connects us to or takes us to Christ located somewhere else).

    Let me leave you with this word of Gospel that talks about how we are to not look to our faith but alone to the Words of Christ. It is from a Luther Sermon of 1528 when he was, appropriately, having the Marburg Coloquy with Zwingle over this very issue we are discussing!

    This is what we are arguing for with our dear Calvinist brethren after all:

    For all these reasons therefore, this single doctrine, that our righteousness and goodness consists entirely in the forgiveness of sins must be rightly comprehended and then firmly maintained and distinguished from that other visible truly God-pleasing righteousness that will perish with the earth.

    We must therefore get beyond ourselves and what our bodies are capable of visibly doing. We must ascend higher than our reason, which keeps us in conflict with ourselves and reminds us both of sin and good works. And we must soar so high as to see neither sin nor good works but be rooted and grounded in this one article and see and know nothing but it alone.

    Let grace or forgiveness be pitted against not only sin, but also against good works, and let all visible righteousness, all human righteousness and holiness be completely and utterly excluded here.

    We can think that within each man there are two conflicting powers or kingdoms. Externally, in this life, man is to be pious and righteous and do good works and the like. But if he aims beyond this life and wishes to deal with God, he must then know that in that kingdom, neither his sin nor his piety matters.

    Here is why this is important to know: Even though that man might feel his sins , which disturb his conscience, and even though the law demands good works, he will not listen to those voices or give them attention, but will boldly reply: “Yes I am a sinner, and Christ has forgiven that sin! In fact, I am seated on the throne in a kingdom into which sin cannot reach.

    COMMENT: And here Steve, is an incredibly beautiful word picture that Dr Luther provides us with. It is breathtaking actually….

    This is the way we are to regard the kingdom of Christ as this large and beautiful arch or vault, like the vast canopy of stars at night that is everywhere over us, and covers and protects us against the just anger and wrath of God.

    In fact we should regard this as a great extended body that pure grace and forgiveness illuminates and permeates and fills the entire world and all things we can see and not see.

    All sins will hardly appear as a spark in comparison with this great extended sea of light, and although sin may oppress it, it cannot injure anything, but it must disappear and vanish before grace. Those who understand this and have truly internalized this doctrine can then be called “masters” of the doctrine.

    But the price for this title is that we will all still have to humble ourselves and not be ashamed to keep on learning this lesson for as long as we live.

    The reason that we have to resign ourselves to making the internalization of this vision our sole lifelong task as a Christian is this fact:

    wherever our nature succeeds in finding sin, it tries to make an unbearable burden of it. Satan fans the spark and blows up a great fire which fills heaven and earth.

    Here we must firmly turn the leaf over and must firmly conclude that if the sin were ever so great or burdensome, then this article of faith is even higher, wider and greater.

    This opinion is established not by man´s wisdom, but by Him Who has comprehended and filled heaven and earth and holds them all in the hollow of his hand as Isaiah 40:42 tells us.

    My sin and righteousness must remain here on earth as far as they concern my life and conduct. In heaven above it is a different story. I have another treasure greater than either of these there. This is because my dear Jesus is seated and holds me in his gentle arms, he covers me with his wings, and overshadows me with his grace.

    So ok, you say, this seems unlikely and unbelievable since I daily feel sin and my conscience condemns me and threatens me with God´s wrath. So how can this be?

    I answer that in this way:

    For this reason, I say, one must understand that the righteousness of a Christian is nothing that can be named or imagined but the forgiveness of sin, that is, it is an invisible kingdom of power which deals only and solely with sin and does this with such abundant grace that it must take away all wrath.

    This kingdom is useless in the earthly kingdom sense of works and sin. It is only useful to God and to anyone who suffers from the stricken conscience.

    This kingdom is known by the name “the forgiveness of sins” for the reason that we are truly all sinners before God.

    Yes absolutely everything in us is sin, even though we may indeed and in fact have every ounce of human righteousness.

    This fact exists because where God speaks of sin, there must be real and great sin. But then from precisely knowing that fact, we then also know that forgiveness is no jest or trivial thing. It is the most serious thing we can know. Sin takes away all your holiness, no matter how good a person you are on earth. But again, then we know that forgiveness takes all sin and wrath away. Therefore sin is not what sends people to hell and goodness is not what elevates people into heaven.

    This is how this will be helpful to you in your daily life:

    when the devil disturbs your conscience, and tries to bring despair to your heart by saying “don´t you realize that one must be good and pious and righteous?”.

    You will respond by boldly talking back to the devil and saying

    “yes you are right! I am a sinner, I already know that because this article I believe in called the forgiveness of sins has taught me this is true for a long time now. I am to be good and pious and do what I can before the world but before God I am willing to be only a sinner, and to be called nothing else.

    That is so that this article of forgiveness can remain true about me personally, because otherwise there would not be forgiveness or grace for me but then it would need to be called a crown of righteousness and of my own personal worthiness and merit.

    So ok, even though I admit that I feel nothing but my many and great sins, yet I am going to surrender myself to the belief that they are no longer sins, for I have for them a very precious panacea and drug which takes away the power and poison of sin and wholly destroys.”

    It is this word “forgiveness” that is found that precious panacea.

    Before this word, sin disappears and melts away like stubble before a fire. Without this forgiveness, no effort, suffering or heroic deeds avail against even my smallest of sins. For without forgiveness sin is and remains pure sin and even the smallest speck condemns me.

    So only confess this article [of the forgiveness of sins] loudly:

    Before the world I may be righteous and do everything God requires. But before God it is only sin according to this article.

    Therefore I am a sinner, but better I am a sinner who now has forgiveness, and who sits at the throne where grace rules supreme as I am told in psalm 116.

    If this were not so I would be a sinner like Judas who saw only his sin, but no forgiveness. But Christians , no matter how much sin they feel in themselves, only in that word forgiveness in Christ they see much more abundant grace presented to them, and poured out over them.

    So dear Steve aka Trotk, you can see where Luther’s thought went as he was debating Zwingli on the Holy Supper. This two is where the mind of every Lutheran too goes when we talk about this the Holy Supper that is the precious panacea that is nothing less than than the Forgiveness of Sins.

    But the Holy Supper can ONLY be the Forgiveness of Sins if we can believe that an unbeliever is receiving that SAME Most Holy Panacea and that this does not depend upon anything in us.

    To the extend that we follow Rome or Calvin and make it about faith, then that same panacea is transformed into the death that is the Law.

    Bless you dear Steve. I have come to love you here so very much. +

  • Cincinnatus

    fws, this discussion may at this point be hopless, but allow me to intervene briefly:

    Anglicans are not Calvinists. No Anglicans today cite Calvin as a source for their eucharistic theology.

    This blurb on Wikipedia, while a tad shallow, may help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_presence_of_Christ_in_the_Eucharist#Anglicans_.E2.80.93_broad_range_of_opinions

    If we wish to make comparisons, the general Anglican view has more in common with Catholicism (or perhaps Lutheranism) than Calvinism–indeed, the Roman Catholic Church officially recognizes this fact. Certainly certain permutations of the Anglican view would not be accepted by Lutherans, but I must insist that we not attempt to trace a genealogy of the Anglican sacrament to Calvin.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws, this discussion may at this point be hopless, but allow me to intervene briefly:

    Anglicans are not Calvinists. No Anglicans today cite Calvin as a source for their eucharistic theology.

    This blurb on Wikipedia, while a tad shallow, may help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_presence_of_Christ_in_the_Eucharist#Anglicans_.E2.80.93_broad_range_of_opinions

    If we wish to make comparisons, the general Anglican view has more in common with Catholicism (or perhaps Lutheranism) than Calvinism–indeed, the Roman Catholic Church officially recognizes this fact. Certainly certain permutations of the Anglican view would not be accepted by Lutherans, but I must insist that we not attempt to trace a genealogy of the Anglican sacrament to Calvin.

  • fws

    Cinn and Trotk

    Cinn just posted something really really important that hit my email but not yet here…

    There Cinn , again, points out to us Lutherans that Anglicans shun a tracing of their theology on this to Calvin and the Reformed.

    Bror and Kerner and Todd and memo to self: We need to accept this assertion in good faith!

    Now Cinn , I would urge you and Trotk to see my own comments not as insisting that you are all closet calvinists. It is instead to show first one thing we ARE disputing : that this is NOT a secondary or terciary issue that is merely about a Lutheran or germanic subbornness .

    You may not agree with what I presented, but at least I hope you can get a better glimpse on why this looks like such a HUGE deal to us Lutherans.

    My second motive is this: The difference between Calvin and Lutherans was never about ‘way or manner” . It really is about something else. If it were ONLY about way or manner then it would look like the difference between Lutherans and Rome, which is transubstantiation. I actually consider this to be a much more trivial difference. I am hoping that now you are very clear on why we are less bothered by Rome than by Geneva on the Holy Supper.

    Bless you Cinn. I appreaciate your irenic and christian spirit here. I don’t think this has been a wasted exercise.

    I see my Lutheran side seeming to put the focus on that “way and manner” that we all agree is pointless by focusing on Christology and we have not been clear. I hope you can now put what Bror and Todd are contending for in it’s more urgent context, which is this:

    It is alone The Forgiveness of Sins and how a terrified concience can be comforted not just in the Holy Supper, but in baptism and the preaching of the Cross. How does Law become Gospel?

    It is alone where Faith clings to the Promise precisely where God has located it, and then Faith receives that Promised Mercy right there at that place. This is in the “where” called baptism, the holy supper or the preachment of Christ hanging dead, as a dead God almighty, right there on the Holy Cross.

  • fws

    Cinn and Trotk

    Cinn just posted something really really important that hit my email but not yet here…

    There Cinn , again, points out to us Lutherans that Anglicans shun a tracing of their theology on this to Calvin and the Reformed.

    Bror and Kerner and Todd and memo to self: We need to accept this assertion in good faith!

    Now Cinn , I would urge you and Trotk to see my own comments not as insisting that you are all closet calvinists. It is instead to show first one thing we ARE disputing : that this is NOT a secondary or terciary issue that is merely about a Lutheran or germanic subbornness .

    You may not agree with what I presented, but at least I hope you can get a better glimpse on why this looks like such a HUGE deal to us Lutherans.

    My second motive is this: The difference between Calvin and Lutherans was never about ‘way or manner” . It really is about something else. If it were ONLY about way or manner then it would look like the difference between Lutherans and Rome, which is transubstantiation. I actually consider this to be a much more trivial difference. I am hoping that now you are very clear on why we are less bothered by Rome than by Geneva on the Holy Supper.

    Bless you Cinn. I appreaciate your irenic and christian spirit here. I don’t think this has been a wasted exercise.

    I see my Lutheran side seeming to put the focus on that “way and manner” that we all agree is pointless by focusing on Christology and we have not been clear. I hope you can now put what Bror and Todd are contending for in it’s more urgent context, which is this:

    It is alone The Forgiveness of Sins and how a terrified concience can be comforted not just in the Holy Supper, but in baptism and the preaching of the Cross. How does Law become Gospel?

    It is alone where Faith clings to the Promise precisely where God has located it, and then Faith receives that Promised Mercy right there at that place. This is in the “where” called baptism, the holy supper or the preachment of Christ hanging dead, as a dead God almighty, right there on the Holy Cross.

  • fws

    Cinn @ 116

    Ok now the post hit here. That is good enough for me Cinn. And that settles things for me as to the Anglican view of things.

    I hope you know that many Lutherans are far, far from being clear on what I wrote regarding Larrys post @111 and my response @ 115.

    And so we Lutherans need to accept that we DO seem to be straining at gnats. After all Christology IS important, but then how many of us really know our Christology all that well. For most of us Christology seems, in alot of ways,an esoteric topic even though no christian would say that is really true as a point of fact.

    I hope you see the profound pastoral concern behind our contention for a Lutheran Real Presence.

    I think Bror pointed us to a book by Herman Saase titled “This is My Body: Luther’s contention for the Real Presence”.

    I would recommend this book to all here. It is very, very readable and it has the virtue of homing in on the pastoral aspects of the Real Presence. At the same time it represents a highpoint of modern Lutheran scholarship on this topic.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=this+is+my+body+sasse&x=0&y=0

  • fws

    Cinn @ 116

    Ok now the post hit here. That is good enough for me Cinn. And that settles things for me as to the Anglican view of things.

    I hope you know that many Lutherans are far, far from being clear on what I wrote regarding Larrys post @111 and my response @ 115.

    And so we Lutherans need to accept that we DO seem to be straining at gnats. After all Christology IS important, but then how many of us really know our Christology all that well. For most of us Christology seems, in alot of ways,an esoteric topic even though no christian would say that is really true as a point of fact.

    I hope you see the profound pastoral concern behind our contention for a Lutheran Real Presence.

    I think Bror pointed us to a book by Herman Saase titled “This is My Body: Luther’s contention for the Real Presence”.

    I would recommend this book to all here. It is very, very readable and it has the virtue of homing in on the pastoral aspects of the Real Presence. At the same time it represents a highpoint of modern Lutheran scholarship on this topic.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=this+is+my+body+sasse&x=0&y=0

  • fws

    Cinn @ 116

    The Lutheran question that we say all hinges on is this single question:

    “what is it that an unbeliever receives in the Blessed Sacrament?”

    And I hope now you understand why it is this single question we hang it all on.

    Let me drive this home in one more way by making it personal:
    Can I hope that the Promise of the Forgivness of Sins is for me Cinn? I am a gay man. And worse than that I see nothing but sin in me or a reformed life or even faith many days.

    So what is it that an unbeliever receives in the Blessed Sacrament. That is alone the only thing I too can hope to receive. Rinse and repeat when I am pointed to my Baptism or the Holy Cross with dead Jesus on it.

    I spent alot of years being terrified at all that as pure Law and condemnation aimed directly at me. Now I know it does not depend on my faith.

    Whatever satan says about me I simply accept as true. No faith? check. No signs of a repentent or reformed life? Check. got the memo. But Christ cannot lie. I am only and just a liar. But Christ says that he died for liars exactly like me.

    My plan is to appear before him pleading his Promise to me. What else would I be able to do?

    And so again, whatever an unbeliever receives in the Holy Supper or Baptism or the Preached Cross is what I too receive. And I am grateful that the receiving doesnt depend in any way upon my receptivity.

    I hope to die clinging to that. Alone.

  • fws

    Cinn @ 116

    The Lutheran question that we say all hinges on is this single question:

    “what is it that an unbeliever receives in the Blessed Sacrament?”

    And I hope now you understand why it is this single question we hang it all on.

    Let me drive this home in one more way by making it personal:
    Can I hope that the Promise of the Forgivness of Sins is for me Cinn? I am a gay man. And worse than that I see nothing but sin in me or a reformed life or even faith many days.

    So what is it that an unbeliever receives in the Blessed Sacrament. That is alone the only thing I too can hope to receive. Rinse and repeat when I am pointed to my Baptism or the Holy Cross with dead Jesus on it.

    I spent alot of years being terrified at all that as pure Law and condemnation aimed directly at me. Now I know it does not depend on my faith.

    Whatever satan says about me I simply accept as true. No faith? check. No signs of a repentent or reformed life? Check. got the memo. But Christ cannot lie. I am only and just a liar. But Christ says that he died for liars exactly like me.

    My plan is to appear before him pleading his Promise to me. What else would I be able to do?

    And so again, whatever an unbeliever receives in the Holy Supper or Baptism or the Preached Cross is what I too receive. And I am grateful that the receiving doesnt depend in any way upon my receptivity.

    I hope to die clinging to that. Alone.

  • larry

    Trokt,

    “I am not hiding behind metaphor.”
    I’ve concurred you are not hiding behind a metaphor, I merely clarified to “not know” is no different both deny what is said.

    You yourself say, “I don’t know”. Let me quote you, “I believe these words as is. I relish in the fact that I get to partake in the body and blood every Sunday. I know what Christ meant, inasmuch as I know that He meant it is His body. I don’t know what else to say. (then you clarify what you actually mean) Am I physically chewing His physical flesh? Am I supernaturally consuming His body in my spirit? I don’t know. But to say that I am making it metaphor or that my flesh is offended is to miss my point, and it is flat out wrong. No its not flat wrong you say, “I don’t know”. That’s the why don’t you believe the words.

    You are blind to the fact that you have believed a very particular interpretation that might be limited.
    This is where you are very wrong. When I was first converted to the faith at 33 from atheism I simply went to what I knew to be “safe” my families old SB church. I knew absolutely nothing of the faith as to doctrine, a brand new green sprig convert. I was so outside the faith for so many years I was ignorant of the fact of biblical commentaries and that there were bibles that had commentary. All I had was an old KJ version given to me waaay back when I was a kid during a natural disaster that took everything we owned. So I read through that. I was very ignorant of a Zwinglian, Calvinistic, Roman, Lutheran or any other for that matter “interpretation” of the text. As expected at your standard SB church not much doctrine is taught, well in fact none. Just some preaching and inane SS classes that don’t talk about much. So what I mean say there is no doctrine being introduced to me one way or the other, so all I did was read raw scripture for a number of years. When we did have our LS every quarter, despite the doctrine (which I was quite ignorant of) they still just used the words of institution. So when I took the LS at our SB church I naturally assumed it is in fact His body and blood, meaning flesh and blood…literally. I didn’t question the words. In fact even as a scientist it didn’t bother me because I understood that if God is indeed God, there’s no such thing as a “half powered god” that is GOD, if Christ being God said “this is” it was no different from “let there be” and it is so. So I had no internal conflict because no doctrine good or foul had hit my hearing yet and I was taking the Word literally as it spoke. And since they didn’t alter the words of institution during the ceremony and spoke the same words written, I knew nothing else.

    It was not until nearly four+ years later I found out there was something else and in a shocking way to me. I was at a camp ground “Christian” thing called the Emmaus walk, I won’t detail all the things in it, suffice it to say its anything but Christian but its suppose to be. Anyway to get to the short of it, we were outside in chairs and they were preparing the LS for us (it was an all men’s thing). Everything looked normal, etc… Then the pastor has us come up and prayer our sins on the bread. Odd to me, made me wonder what’s going on, but maybe it was just a ceremonial difference after all there was a Methodist mixture there too and I didn’t know much about them. So we did. Then the pastor takes the bread, it was an uncut loaf, starts this very animated discourse about sin and it being on this bread (Christ’s body), screaming, “what do we want to do with this…get rid of it”. There were buzzards flying overhead in the air currents (a detail necessary). So he announced that he was going to throw it in the woods for the buzzards to eat (never mind the stupidity of buzzards not being vegetarians), very animated. The crowd was going nuts yelling “yea, yea”, I was getting sick to my stomach. So he did. My stomach fell and I was holding back tears (men don’t cry right!). I pointed with my new found friend for the meet and said, “He just threw the body of Christ into the woods. Does that not bother you!” I didn’t bother him. I just kept repeating it in utter shock like a man that just watched something disastrous happen to his family and could not believe it. When we got back to camp I basically contacted folks, my wife, and said, “Get those pastors out here to me to talk or I’m walking home” (60+miles to the nearest town) and I meant it. So two of them, one a family member by marriage, came to “council” me. It was there first time I learned the doctrine of the memorial meal, not His real body. Because I told them what happened, “they threw Jesus Christ’s body into the woods, why were we doing that, that’s not in the Scriptures…” I was still innocently stunned, for I had believed the Scriptures not an interpretation given me. That’s when they told me, “Its not really his body and we do a lot of things not in the bible”. That just confused me, ‘not His body’, I thought. It was like learning, “Son, I’m not really your dad”, after 40 years of life. You didn’t know what to believe.

    So don’t throw at me that I was roped into an interpretation by some coercive doctrinal arguments. It was false doctrine that read me out of the Scriptures for the next 5+ years and it was not until Lutheran and the Lutheran confessions that I came back home to what I naturally believed upon green as stick conversion.
    “How do you know that you are correct? Has Christ Himself proclaimed it to you?”
    Yes, absolutely. He proclaimed, “Take eat this is My body broken for you…Take drink this cup is the new testament in My blood shed for the forgiveness of your sins”. Thus, Christ Himself proclaimed to me and everyone else.

  • larry

    Trokt,

    “I am not hiding behind metaphor.”
    I’ve concurred you are not hiding behind a metaphor, I merely clarified to “not know” is no different both deny what is said.

    You yourself say, “I don’t know”. Let me quote you, “I believe these words as is. I relish in the fact that I get to partake in the body and blood every Sunday. I know what Christ meant, inasmuch as I know that He meant it is His body. I don’t know what else to say. (then you clarify what you actually mean) Am I physically chewing His physical flesh? Am I supernaturally consuming His body in my spirit? I don’t know. But to say that I am making it metaphor or that my flesh is offended is to miss my point, and it is flat out wrong. No its not flat wrong you say, “I don’t know”. That’s the why don’t you believe the words.

    You are blind to the fact that you have believed a very particular interpretation that might be limited.
    This is where you are very wrong. When I was first converted to the faith at 33 from atheism I simply went to what I knew to be “safe” my families old SB church. I knew absolutely nothing of the faith as to doctrine, a brand new green sprig convert. I was so outside the faith for so many years I was ignorant of the fact of biblical commentaries and that there were bibles that had commentary. All I had was an old KJ version given to me waaay back when I was a kid during a natural disaster that took everything we owned. So I read through that. I was very ignorant of a Zwinglian, Calvinistic, Roman, Lutheran or any other for that matter “interpretation” of the text. As expected at your standard SB church not much doctrine is taught, well in fact none. Just some preaching and inane SS classes that don’t talk about much. So what I mean say there is no doctrine being introduced to me one way or the other, so all I did was read raw scripture for a number of years. When we did have our LS every quarter, despite the doctrine (which I was quite ignorant of) they still just used the words of institution. So when I took the LS at our SB church I naturally assumed it is in fact His body and blood, meaning flesh and blood…literally. I didn’t question the words. In fact even as a scientist it didn’t bother me because I understood that if God is indeed God, there’s no such thing as a “half powered god” that is GOD, if Christ being God said “this is” it was no different from “let there be” and it is so. So I had no internal conflict because no doctrine good or foul had hit my hearing yet and I was taking the Word literally as it spoke. And since they didn’t alter the words of institution during the ceremony and spoke the same words written, I knew nothing else.

    It was not until nearly four+ years later I found out there was something else and in a shocking way to me. I was at a camp ground “Christian” thing called the Emmaus walk, I won’t detail all the things in it, suffice it to say its anything but Christian but its suppose to be. Anyway to get to the short of it, we were outside in chairs and they were preparing the LS for us (it was an all men’s thing). Everything looked normal, etc… Then the pastor has us come up and prayer our sins on the bread. Odd to me, made me wonder what’s going on, but maybe it was just a ceremonial difference after all there was a Methodist mixture there too and I didn’t know much about them. So we did. Then the pastor takes the bread, it was an uncut loaf, starts this very animated discourse about sin and it being on this bread (Christ’s body), screaming, “what do we want to do with this…get rid of it”. There were buzzards flying overhead in the air currents (a detail necessary). So he announced that he was going to throw it in the woods for the buzzards to eat (never mind the stupidity of buzzards not being vegetarians), very animated. The crowd was going nuts yelling “yea, yea”, I was getting sick to my stomach. So he did. My stomach fell and I was holding back tears (men don’t cry right!). I pointed with my new found friend for the meet and said, “He just threw the body of Christ into the woods. Does that not bother you!” I didn’t bother him. I just kept repeating it in utter shock like a man that just watched something disastrous happen to his family and could not believe it. When we got back to camp I basically contacted folks, my wife, and said, “Get those pastors out here to me to talk or I’m walking home” (60+miles to the nearest town) and I meant it. So two of them, one a family member by marriage, came to “council” me. It was there first time I learned the doctrine of the memorial meal, not His real body. Because I told them what happened, “they threw Jesus Christ’s body into the woods, why were we doing that, that’s not in the Scriptures…” I was still innocently stunned, for I had believed the Scriptures not an interpretation given me. That’s when they told me, “Its not really his body and we do a lot of things not in the bible”. That just confused me, ‘not His body’, I thought. It was like learning, “Son, I’m not really your dad”, after 40 years of life. You didn’t know what to believe.

    So don’t throw at me that I was roped into an interpretation by some coercive doctrinal arguments. It was false doctrine that read me out of the Scriptures for the next 5+ years and it was not until Lutheran and the Lutheran confessions that I came back home to what I naturally believed upon green as stick conversion.
    “How do you know that you are correct? Has Christ Himself proclaimed it to you?”
    Yes, absolutely. He proclaimed, “Take eat this is My body broken for you…Take drink this cup is the new testament in My blood shed for the forgiveness of your sins”. Thus, Christ Himself proclaimed to me and everyone else.

  • trotk

    Frank -

    Thanks for your many words. I will think about them. Just so you know, I am certain about the “what.” Rest assured that I know that it is the body and blood of Christ.

    What I am not sure about is the “in what manner.” I feel like I have repeated myself 1000 times, and it is starting to turn me off the conversation, and so I going to leave it after this.

    Here’s the thing: somehow the Lutheran understanding seems unable to grasp that someone could thoroughly believe and trust the “what” and still wonder about the “in what manner.” When I refuse to take a stand on whether it is His physical flesh in my mouth or whether I am consuming His body in a supernatural sense by eating the bread doesn’t weaken the gospel. If the latter has meaning, it is because His actual physical body was crushed for me, and the bread is a means of grace.

    My mind doesn’t struggle with this division. It doesn’t make me doubt Christ’s words. I believe it is His body and blood. It is humility, not lack of faith, that makes me say, “I don’t know how,” or “I don’t know in what manner.”

    As to what happens when an unbeliever eats, I have no stance to take. I understand your argument. If my faith is necessary, then it is an act of Law. I get that. But does this not forget that “Christ is the author and perfecter of faith”? Even my faith is His gift, and thus if faith is necessary for it to be the body and blood for me, it is not an act of Law, because His gift of faith to me is gospel. The fact of the matter is that we never see this issue addressed in the New Testament, and I am not going to take a stand on it one way or another. It is a purely theoretical discussion, in my liturgical Anglican mind.

    I see nothing in saying, “Perhaps it is His body after a supernatural fashion,” that inherently makes me deny His words. I see nothing about saying this that causes me to divide Christ (I understand Bror’s words, and having studied Christology relatively extensively, I am sensitive to that as well).

    Larry, I have got no more words for you. I don’t see the point in trying to get you to see the distinction between believing that it is His body and believing that it may or may not be physical flesh in my teeth. Questioning the second doesn’t necessarily make one question the first. Like you, I would have been up in arms over the leader of that group throwing the consecrated host in the woods. I believe the bread is the body of Christ. How many times do I have to say this?

    Obviously I am not Lutheran, but one of the things I love about the Anglican church is that we recognize that we can’t get all of God’s truth in our little heads. I am honestly frustrated by the Lutheran perspective that acts as if you all have the corner on truth, and everyone else is a second-class reader of the scriptures. I agree with you all almost all the time, as does my church, but I don’t like the condescension. I am not saying this to start a fight or procure an apology, but just to let you know what a non-Lutheran feels when they engage a Lutheran in a serious theological discussion. If I come across that way, I would want you to tell me, because I don’t want to be that way.

  • trotk

    Frank -

    Thanks for your many words. I will think about them. Just so you know, I am certain about the “what.” Rest assured that I know that it is the body and blood of Christ.

    What I am not sure about is the “in what manner.” I feel like I have repeated myself 1000 times, and it is starting to turn me off the conversation, and so I going to leave it after this.

    Here’s the thing: somehow the Lutheran understanding seems unable to grasp that someone could thoroughly believe and trust the “what” and still wonder about the “in what manner.” When I refuse to take a stand on whether it is His physical flesh in my mouth or whether I am consuming His body in a supernatural sense by eating the bread doesn’t weaken the gospel. If the latter has meaning, it is because His actual physical body was crushed for me, and the bread is a means of grace.

    My mind doesn’t struggle with this division. It doesn’t make me doubt Christ’s words. I believe it is His body and blood. It is humility, not lack of faith, that makes me say, “I don’t know how,” or “I don’t know in what manner.”

    As to what happens when an unbeliever eats, I have no stance to take. I understand your argument. If my faith is necessary, then it is an act of Law. I get that. But does this not forget that “Christ is the author and perfecter of faith”? Even my faith is His gift, and thus if faith is necessary for it to be the body and blood for me, it is not an act of Law, because His gift of faith to me is gospel. The fact of the matter is that we never see this issue addressed in the New Testament, and I am not going to take a stand on it one way or another. It is a purely theoretical discussion, in my liturgical Anglican mind.

    I see nothing in saying, “Perhaps it is His body after a supernatural fashion,” that inherently makes me deny His words. I see nothing about saying this that causes me to divide Christ (I understand Bror’s words, and having studied Christology relatively extensively, I am sensitive to that as well).

    Larry, I have got no more words for you. I don’t see the point in trying to get you to see the distinction between believing that it is His body and believing that it may or may not be physical flesh in my teeth. Questioning the second doesn’t necessarily make one question the first. Like you, I would have been up in arms over the leader of that group throwing the consecrated host in the woods. I believe the bread is the body of Christ. How many times do I have to say this?

    Obviously I am not Lutheran, but one of the things I love about the Anglican church is that we recognize that we can’t get all of God’s truth in our little heads. I am honestly frustrated by the Lutheran perspective that acts as if you all have the corner on truth, and everyone else is a second-class reader of the scriptures. I agree with you all almost all the time, as does my church, but I don’t like the condescension. I am not saying this to start a fight or procure an apology, but just to let you know what a non-Lutheran feels when they engage a Lutheran in a serious theological discussion. If I come across that way, I would want you to tell me, because I don’t want to be that way.

  • fws

    trotk @ 121

    “When I refuse to take a stand on whether it is His physical flesh in my mouth or whether I am consuming His body in a supernatural sense by eating the bread doesn’t weaken the gospel. ”

    Note that we Lutherans reject a crass eating that is about chewing Christ’s flesh etc. And we use the word “supernatural eating” for that reason.

    So I appreciate your words brother, and as I said earlier and i will say again, I really dont see any difference, significant or insignificantly in the belief of you or Cinn and I do really rejoice in that.

    So please consider my comments to you as fraternal ones among brothers who can take joy in sharing a common faith and hope in this particular detail of the Blessed Sacrament ok?

    I am hearing you say that whatever one believes, you will chose to cling to the Promise and the Words of Christ and not your own believing and not your own having your own doctrinal ducks lined up perfectly in a row.

    We are in exactly the same boat here Steve.

    I hope that you see that my comments are aimed then in a pastoral direction outward from your and my conversation and that of cinn here.

    I apologize to both you and Cinn if at any time my own comments made you feel as anything but completely include in the unity we share on the Holy Supper . Only the HS could produce such a unity of faith.

  • fws

    trotk @ 121

    “When I refuse to take a stand on whether it is His physical flesh in my mouth or whether I am consuming His body in a supernatural sense by eating the bread doesn’t weaken the gospel. ”

    Note that we Lutherans reject a crass eating that is about chewing Christ’s flesh etc. And we use the word “supernatural eating” for that reason.

    So I appreciate your words brother, and as I said earlier and i will say again, I really dont see any difference, significant or insignificantly in the belief of you or Cinn and I do really rejoice in that.

    So please consider my comments to you as fraternal ones among brothers who can take joy in sharing a common faith and hope in this particular detail of the Blessed Sacrament ok?

    I am hearing you say that whatever one believes, you will chose to cling to the Promise and the Words of Christ and not your own believing and not your own having your own doctrinal ducks lined up perfectly in a row.

    We are in exactly the same boat here Steve.

    I hope that you see that my comments are aimed then in a pastoral direction outward from your and my conversation and that of cinn here.

    I apologize to both you and Cinn if at any time my own comments made you feel as anything but completely include in the unity we share on the Holy Supper . Only the HS could produce such a unity of faith.

  • trotk

    Frank, sorry if that last comment was harsh. I wasn’t really responding to you, there. I am being serious that I would want to know if I came across in that way about a theological discussion, ever.

    You are right that I will cling to the promise and words of Christ. I know myself well enough to know that this is all I have. This is why I cling to Hebrews’ claim that Christ is the writer and completer of my faith.

  • trotk

    Frank, sorry if that last comment was harsh. I wasn’t really responding to you, there. I am being serious that I would want to know if I came across in that way about a theological discussion, ever.

    You are right that I will cling to the promise and words of Christ. I know myself well enough to know that this is all I have. This is why I cling to Hebrews’ claim that Christ is the writer and completer of my faith.

  • fws

    trotk 123

    I know you agree that our theological work here on Earth is simply and only to seek to comfort other troubled consciences with that Christ.

    And as for troubling the comfortable. We can leave that to the Law of Romans 2:15.

    We apply the Law only when it is lawfully our duty to do so as a parent, teacher, policeman , judge or other in authority. So nice to be able to focus on that Goodness and Mercy that no moses could ever give us.

  • fws

    trotk 123

    I know you agree that our theological work here on Earth is simply and only to seek to comfort other troubled consciences with that Christ.

    And as for troubling the comfortable. We can leave that to the Law of Romans 2:15.

    We apply the Law only when it is lawfully our duty to do so as a parent, teacher, policeman , judge or other in authority. So nice to be able to focus on that Goodness and Mercy that no moses could ever give us.

  • kerner

    You Anglicans may be worn out by this conversation (as may be some of the Lutherans) and I’m sorry I couldn’t participate yesterday. But I think I’m seeing more conflict here than there needs to be. And wierdly, some of it seems to be coming from the Alglicans. Why are you so adaamant about not knowing something?

    Here’s what I mean. trotk, when I asked about where we diverge about secondary truth you only referred to this conversation. And yet, you have spent a lot of effort telling us that you agree with us on the proposition that the bread and wine “is” Christ’s body and blood. You just don’t know “how”, exactly.

    I’m not sure we Lutheran’s claim to know exactly how, ourselves. As Frank said @115, we are not talking about the “manner” of the real presence. Even our term “in, with and under” has always seemed to be more of an expression of emphasis than one of detailed description.

    (I mean, under? Why not above, or beside? The point is that it’s really, really really, present. I would think Anglicans could use that term with a clear conscience)

    Real presence is a miracle. Like all miracles you could say it was “supernatural” in the sense that one object cannot be two different essences at once naturally. Real presence only occurs because God, and His Word, make it so. Therefore, our ability to describe what an infinite God does in the terms available to finite human language is necessarily limited. I don’t know exactly how (in every detail) baptism saves me, either. And I don’t have to know. I just need to know that it does.

    The Large Catechism response to: How can the elements be bread and wine and Christs body and blood at the same time is this:

    With this Word you can strengthen your conscience and say: If a hundred thousand devils, together with all fanatics, should rush forward, crying, How can bread and wine be the body and blood of Christ? etc., I know that all spirits and scholars together are not as wise as is the Divine Majesty in His little finger. 13] Now here stands the Word of Christ: Take, eat; this is My body; Drink ye all of it; this is the new testament in My blood, etc. Here we abide, and would like to see those who will constitute themselves His masters, and make it different from what He has spoken. It is true, indeed, that if you take away the Word or regard it without the words, you have nothing but mere bread and wine. 14] But if the words remain with them, as they shall and must, then, in virtue of the same, it is truly the body and blood of Christ. For as the lips of Christ say and speak, so it is, as He can never lie or deceive.” LC Sacrament of the Altar 12-14

    Which is pretty much saying: It is because God’s Word says it is, and He is smarter than we are. So I guess I don’t see what Anfglicans object to in that statement.

    I mean, indulge me a little further and read the whole article (it isn’t very long):

    http://bookofconcord.org/lc-7-sacrament.php

    Is there really anything in it that you, as Anglicans, disagree with? And if so, what? But the next question is: Do all Anglicans agree with it? And if not, why not?

  • kerner

    You Anglicans may be worn out by this conversation (as may be some of the Lutherans) and I’m sorry I couldn’t participate yesterday. But I think I’m seeing more conflict here than there needs to be. And wierdly, some of it seems to be coming from the Alglicans. Why are you so adaamant about not knowing something?

    Here’s what I mean. trotk, when I asked about where we diverge about secondary truth you only referred to this conversation. And yet, you have spent a lot of effort telling us that you agree with us on the proposition that the bread and wine “is” Christ’s body and blood. You just don’t know “how”, exactly.

    I’m not sure we Lutheran’s claim to know exactly how, ourselves. As Frank said @115, we are not talking about the “manner” of the real presence. Even our term “in, with and under” has always seemed to be more of an expression of emphasis than one of detailed description.

    (I mean, under? Why not above, or beside? The point is that it’s really, really really, present. I would think Anglicans could use that term with a clear conscience)

    Real presence is a miracle. Like all miracles you could say it was “supernatural” in the sense that one object cannot be two different essences at once naturally. Real presence only occurs because God, and His Word, make it so. Therefore, our ability to describe what an infinite God does in the terms available to finite human language is necessarily limited. I don’t know exactly how (in every detail) baptism saves me, either. And I don’t have to know. I just need to know that it does.

    The Large Catechism response to: How can the elements be bread and wine and Christs body and blood at the same time is this:

    With this Word you can strengthen your conscience and say: If a hundred thousand devils, together with all fanatics, should rush forward, crying, How can bread and wine be the body and blood of Christ? etc., I know that all spirits and scholars together are not as wise as is the Divine Majesty in His little finger. 13] Now here stands the Word of Christ: Take, eat; this is My body; Drink ye all of it; this is the new testament in My blood, etc. Here we abide, and would like to see those who will constitute themselves His masters, and make it different from what He has spoken. It is true, indeed, that if you take away the Word or regard it without the words, you have nothing but mere bread and wine. 14] But if the words remain with them, as they shall and must, then, in virtue of the same, it is truly the body and blood of Christ. For as the lips of Christ say and speak, so it is, as He can never lie or deceive.” LC Sacrament of the Altar 12-14

    Which is pretty much saying: It is because God’s Word says it is, and He is smarter than we are. So I guess I don’t see what Anfglicans object to in that statement.

    I mean, indulge me a little further and read the whole article (it isn’t very long):

    http://bookofconcord.org/lc-7-sacrament.php

    Is there really anything in it that you, as Anglicans, disagree with? And if so, what? But the next question is: Do all Anglicans agree with it? And if not, why not?

  • fws

    kerner @ 125

    +1!

  • fws

    kerner @ 125

    +1!

  • larry

    Trotk @121,

    I hope you know that not once have I been angry at you. I want you to know that, also, not once have I been “accusing you”. That’s the reason I attempted to go to the neutral zone if you will. When I say ‘it is unbelief that doesn’t believe the Words’ on any article of faith I mean “WE” as fallen creatures, Lutherans and self included and not “you” in particular or “Angelicans” as a group of particulars. This is what I mean as I describe to my wife constantly; we ALL battle in the flesh believing ALL the articles of faith, be it the resurrection, creation or the sacraments. Luther was even willing to admit that to Zwingli. That’s what I mean by “unbelief not accepting the Words of God in articles of faith”. That battle goes on constantly and just becoming a confessing Lutheran doesn’t make it go away. Now that’s different from a formalized body of confession that takes that battle, be it Reformed, or Baptist or other, and formalizes that fleshly unbelief adhering within us into a “confession” saying “this is faith and what God means to say”.

    I hope that clarifies that better. I realize in this kind of communicating format there are limits and sometimes things are taken incorrectly.

    Frank is right we do reject the Capernaic descriptor of eating His flesh and blood, but we do not reject that we are eating His very flesh and blood. How that happens to come about is the mystery. What we do not say, like Calvin says, is that it is a “spiritual” eating as it were. Now Calvin puts that spiritual eating “up in heaven” whereby we are lifted up by the Spirit through “faith”. I have run into some modern Calvinist who more or less take a position not all that different than your own (as I’m understanding your words) that the “spiritual eating” takes place locally here on earth (at the church during).

    So there are critical points to consider:

    1. Though the “how” is a mystery and it is not a Capernaic eating it is a real flesh and blood in one’s mouth eating, the body that was born, walked the earth and crucified and risen for us.
    2. It is local, that is why unbelievers eat and drink wrath to themselves because that’s what is in their mouths.
    You ask how it matters and doesn’t weaken the Gospel? Good question. It’s more than “meaning”. I don’t know exactly how you meant that but the Lord’s Supper is not “meaning”, nor is it a recollection, but it is actually doing something – in short absolving one right then and there on the spot in time and space to the man (pro me). Not in this way: God forgave me last week but I’ve blown it all week every hour every minute and every second until we’ve reconvened at church again today, and as such I need to “get back in His good grace again”. God has never changed His forgiveness past, present or future. But rather because WE don’t incline to believe that for a single second. That’s what the absolution is about be it personal, corporate, baptism or the sacrament. It is as Luther expounds the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those….”. Not an “if you do this, then you to will be forgiven”. But as Luther says it means so that we will REALIZE and BELIEVE we are in fact forgiven already. This is the way the “doing” is in the sacraments, not a “meaning” but a DOING. It is a literal washing with the Word again, so that the Word LIVES in you literally.

    All sin, pious and impious is rooted in the declination away from naked trust in the forgiveness that IS and IS already given by God to and for us. When we don’t believe, as we naturally gravitate without the constancy of the Word, we don’t trust God. We next begin to justify ourselves (whatever the particular situation is), then immediately as this is occurring we begin to judge others for our circumstances, “I’ve done X ALL my life, I deserve Y, BUT this dirty so and so’s have caused this evil upon me….etc…”. So that a the pious sin of unbelief begets, eventually, some impious sin.

    That is our natural fallen inclination. Thus, we need a constancy of the Word of forgiveness given to us to keep and strengthen that “nude” faith, the Word thus is not a “meaning” but a “doing”.

    This is a point Luther makes that God’s Word includes a “doing”, it does what it says just like “let there be”, “Lazarus come forth”, “this is My body/blood”, etc…

    The unbelief comes when the unbelieving heart says, “this is not the body and blood of Christ but….(fill in the blank” and forgiveness is not sought. The unbelieving heart is taking the forgiveness into their mouths, literally that body and blood that won it for us, and is “spitting it out” as it were by his/her unbelief. He’s doing so subtly, a form of the Pharisee’s prayer if you will, “I thank you God that I am (now) not like…that sinner over there”. This is why Luther emphasizes life is lived in a constant state of repentance. Not as Rome or other protestants teach, per the Law to show one is saved or elected, but per the Gospel simul Justus et peccator, sinner in reality, saint by declaration only and nothing wrought within. We don’t wish to confess “pretend sins” (as Rome’s and other protestant teaching’s teach) or the Pharisee’s prayer, but the tax collectors prayer in reality (the peccator).

    In other words if one finds themselves above, as it were, the drug dealer or prostitute or some other gross impious sinner “today”, or “improved” since conversion and in the present tense, one is now confessing as a pretend sinner and has pretend “constant” repentance and in reality praying as the Pharisee prayed (and we all do that don’t we!). Our simul Justus et peccator has become “just in reality sinner by residual declaration” (i.e. use to be). Thus, we’ve inverted the truth and are following the white devil’s religion, the true antichrist (in place of Christ), rather than sinner in reality and just in hope/declaration.

    Have you ever considered why for example the Pope is called the antichrist in our confessions? It is not the dirty popes of history that murdered and lived in open sin as some did, but the one’s we see, even today, as pious we say way? Yes but he is so “christ-like”, we even say that of ourselves and some leaders. But that’s a dangerous word, “christ-like”, because such is precisely the “sheep’s wool” the wolves where. That’s the meaning behind “antichrist”, “in the place of”. And that happens when we invert the true faith, even the simul Justus et peccator.

    We are in fact disinclined to believe our forgiveness and thus we begin to “assume the Gospel”, which is to deny it, and we turn it into a “meaning” rather than an ever present “doing”.

    I hope that is helpful.

  • larry

    Trotk @121,

    I hope you know that not once have I been angry at you. I want you to know that, also, not once have I been “accusing you”. That’s the reason I attempted to go to the neutral zone if you will. When I say ‘it is unbelief that doesn’t believe the Words’ on any article of faith I mean “WE” as fallen creatures, Lutherans and self included and not “you” in particular or “Angelicans” as a group of particulars. This is what I mean as I describe to my wife constantly; we ALL battle in the flesh believing ALL the articles of faith, be it the resurrection, creation or the sacraments. Luther was even willing to admit that to Zwingli. That’s what I mean by “unbelief not accepting the Words of God in articles of faith”. That battle goes on constantly and just becoming a confessing Lutheran doesn’t make it go away. Now that’s different from a formalized body of confession that takes that battle, be it Reformed, or Baptist or other, and formalizes that fleshly unbelief adhering within us into a “confession” saying “this is faith and what God means to say”.

    I hope that clarifies that better. I realize in this kind of communicating format there are limits and sometimes things are taken incorrectly.

    Frank is right we do reject the Capernaic descriptor of eating His flesh and blood, but we do not reject that we are eating His very flesh and blood. How that happens to come about is the mystery. What we do not say, like Calvin says, is that it is a “spiritual” eating as it were. Now Calvin puts that spiritual eating “up in heaven” whereby we are lifted up by the Spirit through “faith”. I have run into some modern Calvinist who more or less take a position not all that different than your own (as I’m understanding your words) that the “spiritual eating” takes place locally here on earth (at the church during).

    So there are critical points to consider:

    1. Though the “how” is a mystery and it is not a Capernaic eating it is a real flesh and blood in one’s mouth eating, the body that was born, walked the earth and crucified and risen for us.
    2. It is local, that is why unbelievers eat and drink wrath to themselves because that’s what is in their mouths.
    You ask how it matters and doesn’t weaken the Gospel? Good question. It’s more than “meaning”. I don’t know exactly how you meant that but the Lord’s Supper is not “meaning”, nor is it a recollection, but it is actually doing something – in short absolving one right then and there on the spot in time and space to the man (pro me). Not in this way: God forgave me last week but I’ve blown it all week every hour every minute and every second until we’ve reconvened at church again today, and as such I need to “get back in His good grace again”. God has never changed His forgiveness past, present or future. But rather because WE don’t incline to believe that for a single second. That’s what the absolution is about be it personal, corporate, baptism or the sacrament. It is as Luther expounds the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those….”. Not an “if you do this, then you to will be forgiven”. But as Luther says it means so that we will REALIZE and BELIEVE we are in fact forgiven already. This is the way the “doing” is in the sacraments, not a “meaning” but a DOING. It is a literal washing with the Word again, so that the Word LIVES in you literally.

    All sin, pious and impious is rooted in the declination away from naked trust in the forgiveness that IS and IS already given by God to and for us. When we don’t believe, as we naturally gravitate without the constancy of the Word, we don’t trust God. We next begin to justify ourselves (whatever the particular situation is), then immediately as this is occurring we begin to judge others for our circumstances, “I’ve done X ALL my life, I deserve Y, BUT this dirty so and so’s have caused this evil upon me….etc…”. So that a the pious sin of unbelief begets, eventually, some impious sin.

    That is our natural fallen inclination. Thus, we need a constancy of the Word of forgiveness given to us to keep and strengthen that “nude” faith, the Word thus is not a “meaning” but a “doing”.

    This is a point Luther makes that God’s Word includes a “doing”, it does what it says just like “let there be”, “Lazarus come forth”, “this is My body/blood”, etc…

    The unbelief comes when the unbelieving heart says, “this is not the body and blood of Christ but….(fill in the blank” and forgiveness is not sought. The unbelieving heart is taking the forgiveness into their mouths, literally that body and blood that won it for us, and is “spitting it out” as it were by his/her unbelief. He’s doing so subtly, a form of the Pharisee’s prayer if you will, “I thank you God that I am (now) not like…that sinner over there”. This is why Luther emphasizes life is lived in a constant state of repentance. Not as Rome or other protestants teach, per the Law to show one is saved or elected, but per the Gospel simul Justus et peccator, sinner in reality, saint by declaration only and nothing wrought within. We don’t wish to confess “pretend sins” (as Rome’s and other protestant teaching’s teach) or the Pharisee’s prayer, but the tax collectors prayer in reality (the peccator).

    In other words if one finds themselves above, as it were, the drug dealer or prostitute or some other gross impious sinner “today”, or “improved” since conversion and in the present tense, one is now confessing as a pretend sinner and has pretend “constant” repentance and in reality praying as the Pharisee prayed (and we all do that don’t we!). Our simul Justus et peccator has become “just in reality sinner by residual declaration” (i.e. use to be). Thus, we’ve inverted the truth and are following the white devil’s religion, the true antichrist (in place of Christ), rather than sinner in reality and just in hope/declaration.

    Have you ever considered why for example the Pope is called the antichrist in our confessions? It is not the dirty popes of history that murdered and lived in open sin as some did, but the one’s we see, even today, as pious we say way? Yes but he is so “christ-like”, we even say that of ourselves and some leaders. But that’s a dangerous word, “christ-like”, because such is precisely the “sheep’s wool” the wolves where. That’s the meaning behind “antichrist”, “in the place of”. And that happens when we invert the true faith, even the simul Justus et peccator.

    We are in fact disinclined to believe our forgiveness and thus we begin to “assume the Gospel”, which is to deny it, and we turn it into a “meaning” rather than an ever present “doing”.

    I hope that is helpful.

  • Ron

    Itt was a treat to discover this blog just now. How nice to have a place to ask questions and learn from those who have have more background in various Christian traditions. I’ve been attending a Lutheran church (LCMS), have since started going to a WELS church. My background is nondenominational evangelical, which, after all, might be where I ultimately belong. I began reading some of Luther’s works, and have been immensely helped by his very real identification with problems of depression, fear of an angry God, etc. His understanding of justification, the alien righteousness of Christ, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to sinners, etc., have had quite an impac on me. I’m grateful for the discussion of the LS and Baptism here. These are the two doctrines I’ve had problems with for about two years. I’m afraid my questions are elementary for others here, and will testify to my ignorance. Nonetheless, when I read the passages in John’s gospel referred to above, I still have questions. It’s true that Christ said, “This is my body….” He also said, “I am the vine….”, which is not, of course, taken literally. When Luther wrote in response to Zwingli, “This is my body,” I always wondered why Zwingli didn’t write in response, “I am the vine.” I am no follower of Zwingli, but, obviously, am not well informed on things. Later in the passage in John’s gospel, doesn’t Jesus make a point of saying that the flesh avails nothing….that the words I speak are spirit and truth? It almost seems as though he’s explaining to the disciples that he didn’t have a literal meaning in mind here, but rather that to feed on him, to be nourished by his blood, is to have saving faith in him. At the first meal, when Christ referred to his body broken for others, and his blood shed for them, he hadn’t yet been to the cross. His blood hadn’t yet been shed, had it? If his words were to be taken literally, I’m not sure how wine can be blood that is shed–when it hasn’t been. His body hadn’t yet literally been broken for them–how could the bread and wine literally have been a reference to blood already shed and a body already broken, when the event hadn’t happened? These are, as you can see, not very insightful questions–but consider the source. : )
    I’ve been reading and trying somehow to find the Lutheran doctrine of the real presence in scripture, and in good conscience (or ignorant mind) I simply haven’t been able to do it yet. I know Luther advised that “reason” not get in the way of God’s Word. However, if someone literally believed that Christ a vine with branches, because the Word says so, would anybody be satisfied with the additional comment: “Well, human reason refuses to take God’s word at face value. If Jesus said he’s a vine, then he’s a vine. Think no more about it.” I’m sure Luther’s view of resaon is more nuanced than many give him credit for. I’ve read several Lutheran theologians on the LS, and keep hoping someone will help me to see what I’m missing. I apologize for my awkwardly phrased questions, and my lack of expertise. For two years I’ve been hoping to find a way to accept the Lutheran doctrine on this.

  • Ron

    Itt was a treat to discover this blog just now. How nice to have a place to ask questions and learn from those who have have more background in various Christian traditions. I’ve been attending a Lutheran church (LCMS), have since started going to a WELS church. My background is nondenominational evangelical, which, after all, might be where I ultimately belong. I began reading some of Luther’s works, and have been immensely helped by his very real identification with problems of depression, fear of an angry God, etc. His understanding of justification, the alien righteousness of Christ, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to sinners, etc., have had quite an impac on me. I’m grateful for the discussion of the LS and Baptism here. These are the two doctrines I’ve had problems with for about two years. I’m afraid my questions are elementary for others here, and will testify to my ignorance. Nonetheless, when I read the passages in John’s gospel referred to above, I still have questions. It’s true that Christ said, “This is my body….” He also said, “I am the vine….”, which is not, of course, taken literally. When Luther wrote in response to Zwingli, “This is my body,” I always wondered why Zwingli didn’t write in response, “I am the vine.” I am no follower of Zwingli, but, obviously, am not well informed on things. Later in the passage in John’s gospel, doesn’t Jesus make a point of saying that the flesh avails nothing….that the words I speak are spirit and truth? It almost seems as though he’s explaining to the disciples that he didn’t have a literal meaning in mind here, but rather that to feed on him, to be nourished by his blood, is to have saving faith in him. At the first meal, when Christ referred to his body broken for others, and his blood shed for them, he hadn’t yet been to the cross. His blood hadn’t yet been shed, had it? If his words were to be taken literally, I’m not sure how wine can be blood that is shed–when it hasn’t been. His body hadn’t yet literally been broken for them–how could the bread and wine literally have been a reference to blood already shed and a body already broken, when the event hadn’t happened? These are, as you can see, not very insightful questions–but consider the source. : )
    I’ve been reading and trying somehow to find the Lutheran doctrine of the real presence in scripture, and in good conscience (or ignorant mind) I simply haven’t been able to do it yet. I know Luther advised that “reason” not get in the way of God’s Word. However, if someone literally believed that Christ a vine with branches, because the Word says so, would anybody be satisfied with the additional comment: “Well, human reason refuses to take God’s word at face value. If Jesus said he’s a vine, then he’s a vine. Think no more about it.” I’m sure Luther’s view of resaon is more nuanced than many give him credit for. I’ve read several Lutheran theologians on the LS, and keep hoping someone will help me to see what I’m missing. I apologize for my awkwardly phrased questions, and my lack of expertise. For two years I’ve been hoping to find a way to accept the Lutheran doctrine on this.

  • Helen K.

    Ron @128.
    I hope some of the bloggers see your comment. Unless the option to track is checked I don’t think there is any way to know if additional comments are being added.
    I, also, am a Lutheran seeker and attending an LCMS congregation. My religious background sounds about the same as what you describe.
    There is so much information about theology and doctrine on the internet, it can be quite overwhelming. Have you read Gene Veith’s book, “The spirituality of the Cross?” That is what has helped me the most. Dr. Veith was not born into a Lutheran tradition but was converted as an adult. I obtained the book from Amazon and after reading all the reviews decided I wanted to read it. Since then I am following several other blogs when time allows and always glance through these on Cranach. If you’re like me you were probably taught that the Lord’s Supper and Baptism were ordinances and symbolic. I am undergoing a whole new learning experience here. The latest I’m learning is that the pre-trib view of many evangelicals is not what several of the historic churches adhere to. I always wondered about that and that been the easiest thing for me to accept.
    I wish you well in your seeking and understanding of Scripture!

  • Helen K.

    Ron @128.
    I hope some of the bloggers see your comment. Unless the option to track is checked I don’t think there is any way to know if additional comments are being added.
    I, also, am a Lutheran seeker and attending an LCMS congregation. My religious background sounds about the same as what you describe.
    There is so much information about theology and doctrine on the internet, it can be quite overwhelming. Have you read Gene Veith’s book, “The spirituality of the Cross?” That is what has helped me the most. Dr. Veith was not born into a Lutheran tradition but was converted as an adult. I obtained the book from Amazon and after reading all the reviews decided I wanted to read it. Since then I am following several other blogs when time allows and always glance through these on Cranach. If you’re like me you were probably taught that the Lord’s Supper and Baptism were ordinances and symbolic. I am undergoing a whole new learning experience here. The latest I’m learning is that the pre-trib view of many evangelicals is not what several of the historic churches adhere to. I always wondered about that and that been the easiest thing for me to accept.
    I wish you well in your seeking and understanding of Scripture!

  • Sherry

    Ron (and Helen),
    I also hope some of these bloggers see your post and answer. I asked for help in understanding this view of the LS in post #4. Following, up to about post # 26, there is suggested reading and some online links to sermons and radio interviews. These might be helpful to you as well. ( I am trying to work through these as I have time) While I was raised in the Lutheran church, I left as a young adult and have spent 30 years in fundamentalist/ evangelical churches (Church of Christ primarily and Baptist) Ron, your view of the passage in John where Jesus is discussing eating His flesh and blood is exactly like mine:
    “Later in the passage in John’s gospel, doesn’t Jesus make a point of saying that the flesh avails nothing….that the words I speak are spirit and truth? ”
    I have also wondered about how His flesh and blood could be in the meal while He was also present with them at the last supper.
    Another thing I have considered is that the passover meal was a memorial meal looking backwards, but now, He was telling them that this meal is to look forward to His sacrifice as THE LAMB and then after His sacrifice, the memorial again looks back to His
    sacrifice but also looks forward to when He returns.
    Like you and Helen, I have been attending a Lutheran church recently and I would really like to understand this (among other things) because I would like to participate in the LS and be at peace with my desire not to go back to the evangelical or fundamentalist church.

  • Sherry

    Ron (and Helen),
    I also hope some of these bloggers see your post and answer. I asked for help in understanding this view of the LS in post #4. Following, up to about post # 26, there is suggested reading and some online links to sermons and radio interviews. These might be helpful to you as well. ( I am trying to work through these as I have time) While I was raised in the Lutheran church, I left as a young adult and have spent 30 years in fundamentalist/ evangelical churches (Church of Christ primarily and Baptist) Ron, your view of the passage in John where Jesus is discussing eating His flesh and blood is exactly like mine:
    “Later in the passage in John’s gospel, doesn’t Jesus make a point of saying that the flesh avails nothing….that the words I speak are spirit and truth? ”
    I have also wondered about how His flesh and blood could be in the meal while He was also present with them at the last supper.
    Another thing I have considered is that the passover meal was a memorial meal looking backwards, but now, He was telling them that this meal is to look forward to His sacrifice as THE LAMB and then after His sacrifice, the memorial again looks back to His
    sacrifice but also looks forward to when He returns.
    Like you and Helen, I have been attending a Lutheran church recently and I would really like to understand this (among other things) because I would like to participate in the LS and be at peace with my desire not to go back to the evangelical or fundamentalist church.

  • Sherry

    I forgot to agree with Helen that Gene Veith’s book “The Spirituality of the Cross” is a really good starting place. I read it several months ago and have it coming from a downstate library again (hope to buy it soon). It was the first time (in my adult life) I had ever heard of the “means of grace” and that is no doubt the key to understanding this view of the LS. So maybe instead of focusing on “real presence”, first a good understanding of this might help put things in perspective.

  • Sherry

    I forgot to agree with Helen that Gene Veith’s book “The Spirituality of the Cross” is a really good starting place. I read it several months ago and have it coming from a downstate library again (hope to buy it soon). It was the first time (in my adult life) I had ever heard of the “means of grace” and that is no doubt the key to understanding this view of the LS. So maybe instead of focusing on “real presence”, first a good understanding of this might help put things in perspective.

  • fws

    Ron @ 128

    First Ron, your questions are very good and honorable ones. I commend you for being honest and honestly seeking the truth.

    First I would point you to probably the best modern book that is fairly readable on this topic by Herman Sasse titled “This is My Body: Luther’s Contention for the Real Presence.” It is not a really technical read, and it is probably the best book I have ever read that homes in , and exactly so, on your questions Ron.

    Now I will provide a couple of comments that may or may not help you on your way Ron, and Helen K and Sherry and whoever else is watching…

    First “I AM the the True Vine”. Might I suggest that Jesus is THE Vine in a way that all other vines are mere imitations and illustrations of Who he is? He is also the Way, the Truth and the Life in such a profound way that Freeways, Legal Systems and Birth are only pale shadows and metaphors for Who he is? Jesus IS all of those things, in his very Person in a way that if He ceased to exist, those things too would immediately no longer be.

    Next: ” The Flesh Profits Nothing.” Consider that the grass fades and the flower whithers but the Word of the Lord, that is Christ, fully now, in his Incarnate Flesh and Body , will remain and will remain forever. Flesh profits nothing. But only the Flesh and Blood of Christ could win for us eternity and that is precisely what that Particular flesh and body profited.

    Here is something I found on the net that deals with this question pretty nicely…

    DOES JESUS’ FLESH PROFIT NOTHING?

    John 6
    51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
    52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
    53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
    54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
    55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
    56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
    57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
    58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
    59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
    60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
    61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
    62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
    63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
    64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
    65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
    66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

    Note especially verse 63, because they use this verse to say basically, “Jesus really didn’t mean that we actually eat His flesh and blood. He said His flesh doesn’t matter and that the spirit is what really counts.” They then interpret “spirit” to mean a symbolic presence. One must wonder what kind of implications this has for the Holy Spirit.

    This verse is more removed from the place where Jesus was talking about eating His flesh. Also, why would Jesus contradict Himself, or not correct those who left Him (v.66) if they were misunderstanding, and it was really all symbolic? Furthermore, immediately following v.63, Jesus says that some don’t believe this message. This is reminiscent of v. 60 in which the disciples said it was a hard teaching, before v.63 even came, when Jesus supposedly altered His message. Thus we can we that His message was indeed the same throughout the whole passage.

    Jesus’ flesh cannot “profit nothing” or as the NIV says “count for nothing.” We can see with the verses below that this is true.

    FLESH
    Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

    Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

    BLOOD

    1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

    Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

    IF NOT JESUS’ FLESH, THEN WHOSE?

    We can see then that Jesus clearly cannot be talking about Himself when He says “the flesh profiteth nothing,” even if He’s only referring to His flesh when He would die on the cross. In fact, it would be blasphemous of the Christian salvation message to say Christ’s flesh counts for nothing. Since Jesus cannot be calling His own flesh unprofitable, He must be referring to human flesh. This becomes more clear when taking this passage in light of Romans 8.

    Romans 8:
    1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
    2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
    3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
    4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
    5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
    6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
    7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
    8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
    9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
    10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
    11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
    12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
    13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

    Let’s look again at John 6:63:

    It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    Note especially Rom 8:10, and take John 6:63 in light of it.

    And if Christ be in you [if you receive Christ's flesh from v.3], the body is dead because of sin [the flesh profiteth nothing]; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness [the spirit quickeneth].

    For confirmation of this view, simply read Rom. 8:11, the next verse. Here we see that the Spirit will “quicken your mortal bodies,” the same language used in John when it says “the spirit quickeneth.” Thus, we can conclude that indeed we are to receive Christ’s true flesh, not a mere symbol.

    One more comment here: Are you aware that Paul’s Epistles were written some good time before the Gospels were written? That being the case, the readers of the Gospels were hearing Paul’s Epistles in their minds, especially what Saint Paul says about flesh vs spirit in Romans and Ephesians, as they were listening to the Gospel of John being read!

    I hope this helps and blesses you.

    Now for my last point:

    Lutherans believe that when a Bible passage is clear, that one does not need to and should not change the meaning of that passage by pitting it’s clear meaning against what other passages say. This in fact, if you think about it, is exactly how the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other such as the Mormons try to evade the clear meaning of Bible Passages that contradict them isn’t it?

    So the text that needs to be the seat or basis for any doctrine on the Lord’s Supper needs to be … the text that specifically deals with the Lords Supper! And what does that text say? It says “THIS. IS, My Body.” It also says that it is that body and blood that was…. “given and shed for you and for many.”

    So that is what we need to deal with dear brother Ron. So then…

    I hope we can agree on the following
    1) that Our dear Lord Jesus was God, and was and is Flesh and Body. The Father and the HS could not die for us. Only our dear Lord Jesus could do that because he is In-carn-ate.
    2) Jesus , as God, who is not bound by time or space as we are, can do whatever he pleases! This is important yes? So..
    3) It is true that he had not yet shed that blood at the time he spoke the words. So what?
    4) and IF your dear Lord intended to say that , yes, the bread and wine ARE that body and blood shed on the Holy Cross, they you will agree that Jesus could make it so merely by saying the words . Yes? (Matt 8:8 and Luke 7:7).
    5) So Christ is pointing at bread and wine with the word “This”. And Jesus says the word “is”. Then he says that the “this” “is” what? It is what was shed for sins.

    Ok. Let’s step back from all this now Ron. Let’s play a little game here. Let’s say that you are Jesus and you really want to tell us that that Bread and Wine ARE the Body and Blood that you shed on the Cross. And you know that there will be some sincere Christians who will be challenged by that. So then… How would you say those words so that there could not possibly be a way to take those words in any other way but literally?

    Would you say “This REALLY and TRULY IS my body?” or would you say “yeah I know it seems unlikely, but I want you to know that this really is my body and blood that is going to be shed for you!” or what?

    What is it that St Paul and Christ would have had to have said to you for you to be forced to believe that what he meant is literally what he said?

    That is my question back to all of you.

  • fws

    Ron @ 128

    First Ron, your questions are very good and honorable ones. I commend you for being honest and honestly seeking the truth.

    First I would point you to probably the best modern book that is fairly readable on this topic by Herman Sasse titled “This is My Body: Luther’s Contention for the Real Presence.” It is not a really technical read, and it is probably the best book I have ever read that homes in , and exactly so, on your questions Ron.

    Now I will provide a couple of comments that may or may not help you on your way Ron, and Helen K and Sherry and whoever else is watching…

    First “I AM the the True Vine”. Might I suggest that Jesus is THE Vine in a way that all other vines are mere imitations and illustrations of Who he is? He is also the Way, the Truth and the Life in such a profound way that Freeways, Legal Systems and Birth are only pale shadows and metaphors for Who he is? Jesus IS all of those things, in his very Person in a way that if He ceased to exist, those things too would immediately no longer be.

    Next: ” The Flesh Profits Nothing.” Consider that the grass fades and the flower whithers but the Word of the Lord, that is Christ, fully now, in his Incarnate Flesh and Body , will remain and will remain forever. Flesh profits nothing. But only the Flesh and Blood of Christ could win for us eternity and that is precisely what that Particular flesh and body profited.

    Here is something I found on the net that deals with this question pretty nicely…

    DOES JESUS’ FLESH PROFIT NOTHING?

    John 6
    51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
    52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
    53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
    54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
    55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
    56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
    57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
    58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
    59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
    60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
    61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
    62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
    63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
    64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
    65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
    66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

    Note especially verse 63, because they use this verse to say basically, “Jesus really didn’t mean that we actually eat His flesh and blood. He said His flesh doesn’t matter and that the spirit is what really counts.” They then interpret “spirit” to mean a symbolic presence. One must wonder what kind of implications this has for the Holy Spirit.

    This verse is more removed from the place where Jesus was talking about eating His flesh. Also, why would Jesus contradict Himself, or not correct those who left Him (v.66) if they were misunderstanding, and it was really all symbolic? Furthermore, immediately following v.63, Jesus says that some don’t believe this message. This is reminiscent of v. 60 in which the disciples said it was a hard teaching, before v.63 even came, when Jesus supposedly altered His message. Thus we can we that His message was indeed the same throughout the whole passage.

    Jesus’ flesh cannot “profit nothing” or as the NIV says “count for nothing.” We can see with the verses below that this is true.

    FLESH
    Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

    Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

    BLOOD

    1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

    Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

    IF NOT JESUS’ FLESH, THEN WHOSE?

    We can see then that Jesus clearly cannot be talking about Himself when He says “the flesh profiteth nothing,” even if He’s only referring to His flesh when He would die on the cross. In fact, it would be blasphemous of the Christian salvation message to say Christ’s flesh counts for nothing. Since Jesus cannot be calling His own flesh unprofitable, He must be referring to human flesh. This becomes more clear when taking this passage in light of Romans 8.

    Romans 8:
    1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
    2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
    3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
    4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
    5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
    6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
    7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
    8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
    9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
    10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
    11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
    12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
    13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

    Let’s look again at John 6:63:

    It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    Note especially Rom 8:10, and take John 6:63 in light of it.

    And if Christ be in you [if you receive Christ's flesh from v.3], the body is dead because of sin [the flesh profiteth nothing]; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness [the spirit quickeneth].

    For confirmation of this view, simply read Rom. 8:11, the next verse. Here we see that the Spirit will “quicken your mortal bodies,” the same language used in John when it says “the spirit quickeneth.” Thus, we can conclude that indeed we are to receive Christ’s true flesh, not a mere symbol.

    One more comment here: Are you aware that Paul’s Epistles were written some good time before the Gospels were written? That being the case, the readers of the Gospels were hearing Paul’s Epistles in their minds, especially what Saint Paul says about flesh vs spirit in Romans and Ephesians, as they were listening to the Gospel of John being read!

    I hope this helps and blesses you.

    Now for my last point:

    Lutherans believe that when a Bible passage is clear, that one does not need to and should not change the meaning of that passage by pitting it’s clear meaning against what other passages say. This in fact, if you think about it, is exactly how the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other such as the Mormons try to evade the clear meaning of Bible Passages that contradict them isn’t it?

    So the text that needs to be the seat or basis for any doctrine on the Lord’s Supper needs to be … the text that specifically deals with the Lords Supper! And what does that text say? It says “THIS. IS, My Body.” It also says that it is that body and blood that was…. “given and shed for you and for many.”

    So that is what we need to deal with dear brother Ron. So then…

    I hope we can agree on the following
    1) that Our dear Lord Jesus was God, and was and is Flesh and Body. The Father and the HS could not die for us. Only our dear Lord Jesus could do that because he is In-carn-ate.
    2) Jesus , as God, who is not bound by time or space as we are, can do whatever he pleases! This is important yes? So..
    3) It is true that he had not yet shed that blood at the time he spoke the words. So what?
    4) and IF your dear Lord intended to say that , yes, the bread and wine ARE that body and blood shed on the Holy Cross, they you will agree that Jesus could make it so merely by saying the words . Yes? (Matt 8:8 and Luke 7:7).
    5) So Christ is pointing at bread and wine with the word “This”. And Jesus says the word “is”. Then he says that the “this” “is” what? It is what was shed for sins.

    Ok. Let’s step back from all this now Ron. Let’s play a little game here. Let’s say that you are Jesus and you really want to tell us that that Bread and Wine ARE the Body and Blood that you shed on the Cross. And you know that there will be some sincere Christians who will be challenged by that. So then… How would you say those words so that there could not possibly be a way to take those words in any other way but literally?

    Would you say “This REALLY and TRULY IS my body?” or would you say “yeah I know it seems unlikely, but I want you to know that this really is my body and blood that is going to be shed for you!” or what?

    What is it that St Paul and Christ would have had to have said to you for you to be forced to believe that what he meant is literally what he said?

    That is my question back to all of you.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Ron,
    I try to be a little less winded than FWS. (It’s not hard.) And larry for that matter. I figure people don’t come here to read books, so it is better to recommend a book than write one. “the Lord’s Supper” by Martin Chemnitz. He goes into greater detail answering your two questions. “this is my body” by Sasse is also wonderful.
    However to shortly summarize what you would learn there.
    When Christ is instituting the Lord’s Supper, he is instituting his last will and testament, It is a somber and serious matter that is a time not given to metaphor. Yes Christ used Metaphor, but you have show that he is using metaphor there. And nothing about the text indicates metaphor, furthermore you have the seriousness with which it is taken in 1 Cor. 11. zwingli felt it had to be metaphor, not because of the wording, but because of misconceptions regarding what is and isn’t possible for God to do. Reading the Marburg Colloquy, Zwingli all but denies that Jesus is God.
    Your second reference is to John 6. Lutherans do not find in this any defining substance concerning the Lord’s Supper. At best an illusion to it. However, one thing must be pointed out. When Christ says the” flesh availeth nothing,” he was speaking of our sinful flesh, not his flesh. His flesh accomplished salvation for the world, or the cross means nothing.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Ron,
    I try to be a little less winded than FWS. (It’s not hard.) And larry for that matter. I figure people don’t come here to read books, so it is better to recommend a book than write one. “the Lord’s Supper” by Martin Chemnitz. He goes into greater detail answering your two questions. “this is my body” by Sasse is also wonderful.
    However to shortly summarize what you would learn there.
    When Christ is instituting the Lord’s Supper, he is instituting his last will and testament, It is a somber and serious matter that is a time not given to metaphor. Yes Christ used Metaphor, but you have show that he is using metaphor there. And nothing about the text indicates metaphor, furthermore you have the seriousness with which it is taken in 1 Cor. 11. zwingli felt it had to be metaphor, not because of the wording, but because of misconceptions regarding what is and isn’t possible for God to do. Reading the Marburg Colloquy, Zwingli all but denies that Jesus is God.
    Your second reference is to John 6. Lutherans do not find in this any defining substance concerning the Lord’s Supper. At best an illusion to it. However, one thing must be pointed out. When Christ says the” flesh availeth nothing,” he was speaking of our sinful flesh, not his flesh. His flesh accomplished salvation for the world, or the cross means nothing.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The Lutheran view,
    you can’t believe in Christ without believing him. He is God. If he says it, we beleive it. We’ll leave it to Calvin and Zwinlgi to explain to God what he can and cannot do. We think that ll things are possible for the man who rose from the dead. If he wants to save an infant with water and a few words, he will. if he wants to make bread and wine be the body and blood he shed on the cross, for the sins of the world, well he can do that too, I will not argue.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The Lutheran view,
    you can’t believe in Christ without believing him. He is God. If he says it, we beleive it. We’ll leave it to Calvin and Zwinlgi to explain to God what he can and cannot do. We think that ll things are possible for the man who rose from the dead. If he wants to save an infant with water and a few words, he will. if he wants to make bread and wine be the body and blood he shed on the cross, for the sins of the world, well he can do that too, I will not argue.

  • fws

    rom @ 128

    Bror is a Lutheran pastor. And one of the best I know of. He cuts to the chase.

    You would do well to open a dialog with him. And expect that he will continue to cut to the chase. Dialoging with him is not for wimps. But he offers alot of comfort for those who have a troubled conscience and are terrified over their sins.

    If that does not describe you he may not have alot to offer you that you are looking for.

  • fws

    rom @ 128

    Bror is a Lutheran pastor. And one of the best I know of. He cuts to the chase.

    You would do well to open a dialog with him. And expect that he will continue to cut to the chase. Dialoging with him is not for wimps. But he offers alot of comfort for those who have a troubled conscience and are terrified over their sins.

    If that does not describe you he may not have alot to offer you that you are looking for.

  • Sherry

    fws and Bror,

    Thank you for answering. This teaching is really hard to grasp from the way it has been taught to me for so long – (can’t answer for Helen and Ron) even though the both of you might not think so. I am working through Chimnitz book and have the Sasse book coming from the library. Fws, when you said “What is it that St Paul and Christ would have had to have said to you for you to be forced to believe that what he meant is literally what he said?” It gave me something else to think and ponder. Thanks to both of you.

  • Sherry

    fws and Bror,

    Thank you for answering. This teaching is really hard to grasp from the way it has been taught to me for so long – (can’t answer for Helen and Ron) even though the both of you might not think so. I am working through Chimnitz book and have the Sasse book coming from the library. Fws, when you said “What is it that St Paul and Christ would have had to have said to you for you to be forced to believe that what he meant is literally what he said?” It gave me something else to think and ponder. Thanks to both of you.

  • larry

    Sherry,

    I would second what Frank said, Bror’s right, I can be long and sometimes that’s not exactly what one needs.

    When I was wrestling with this issue something similar to what Frank said, a thought I had, (“What is it that St Paul and Christ would have had to have said to you for you to be forced to believe that what he meant is literally what he said?”). Really made me think about it.

    One day pondering on the text where Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper it kind of “hit me” if you will. I thought, “He doesn’t say this is not My body and blood…”.

    I don’t know your specific wrestling points but it varies sometimes with folks. As a Baptist turned Reformed then Lutheran my “wrestling points” were not so much “could God do it” but these:

    1. Most of Calvin’s, et. ali. doctrines against it don’t fall into the “could God do it”. Rather, it occurs along the lines of a form of trying to protect the purity, glory or majesty of Christ’s “risen-ness” and body now enthroned in glory in heaven if you will. If you read Calvin long enough you’ll pick up on this being his main issue.

    2. When I was trying to “marry up” if you will the best “Lutheran leaning” gospel Reformed guys like Dr. Horton, et. al. with Lutheran doctrine (I wanted them to ‘work together’ for the gospels sake if you will) I use to think something along these lines, “Well let’s say Luther is right and Calvin is wrong, but both desire a pure Gospel so if I can ponder the Gospel in the real presence and that refreshes me, what’s the big deal or loss?”

  • larry

    Sherry,

    I would second what Frank said, Bror’s right, I can be long and sometimes that’s not exactly what one needs.

    When I was wrestling with this issue something similar to what Frank said, a thought I had, (“What is it that St Paul and Christ would have had to have said to you for you to be forced to believe that what he meant is literally what he said?”). Really made me think about it.

    One day pondering on the text where Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper it kind of “hit me” if you will. I thought, “He doesn’t say this is not My body and blood…”.

    I don’t know your specific wrestling points but it varies sometimes with folks. As a Baptist turned Reformed then Lutheran my “wrestling points” were not so much “could God do it” but these:

    1. Most of Calvin’s, et. ali. doctrines against it don’t fall into the “could God do it”. Rather, it occurs along the lines of a form of trying to protect the purity, glory or majesty of Christ’s “risen-ness” and body now enthroned in glory in heaven if you will. If you read Calvin long enough you’ll pick up on this being his main issue.

    2. When I was trying to “marry up” if you will the best “Lutheran leaning” gospel Reformed guys like Dr. Horton, et. al. with Lutheran doctrine (I wanted them to ‘work together’ for the gospels sake if you will) I use to think something along these lines, “Well let’s say Luther is right and Calvin is wrong, but both desire a pure Gospel so if I can ponder the Gospel in the real presence and that refreshes me, what’s the big deal or loss?”

  • fws

    Sherry @ 136

    I am glad that what I said helped you in some way. Let me make another really important point:

    Lutheran Theology is always aimed and consciences that look at ALL they can see and do, even their best and most sanctified thoughts , will, and soul and are terrified at what they see. This means that getting our doctrine exactly right is not going to save us and can become as much of an idolatry as anything else. Our Old Adam is deeply religiou and constantly seeks to be justified by something he can do. Sure he throws the HS a bone saying it could not be done withhout Him.

    So Lutheranism then directs that faith that only a terrfied conscience can have, to hide ALL that in the Works of Another. Ah. But then Old Adam thinks: “something I can do! I will work on feeling terrified!” But the problem with that is this: “what if I dont feel the way I should or what if I dont have the proper emotional response to Jesus?” Read how Dr Luther answers that question at the end of my post here. I suggest that that is also the answer to your many theogical questions.

    So because Lutheranism is always addressing itself to the terrified conscience, Lutheranism then directs that faith to then look for only death in any holy, sanctified or righteous works it can do here on earth. Faith is to then spend it’s earthly life taking up the blunt club of the Law to club it’s Old Adam into submission and kill it, so that Old Adam is forced to submitt and serve up Fatherly Goodness and Mercy for the transitory creaturely comfort of our neighbor. This is why the christian life does not look so “victorious”. But then neither does Christ haning ever-so-dead on the Holy Cross look so very victorious. And that dead Jesus is what Old Adam needs to look like! That is what the Christian life needs to look like Sherry. Life as Romans 7 in ALL we can see and do.

    So then what about Easter Victory? That is where we Christians are to find our Life. It is hidden in the Works of Another. And we can know this Romans 8 LIFE only by invisible faith. We cannot see it. We should not look for evidence of it in our life. And we know by faith that our New Man is completely and instantly holy and completely sanctificed by being hidden in the Works of Another. There is nothing progressive about this. To be Sanctified is to be Holy. It is like being pregnant. You are , or you are not. But all we can see and do in our bodies and flesh is pure Old Adam.

    So what does a terrfied conscience have to do with the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar? Read the instructions of Dr Luther for preparation for receiving the Blessed Sacrament and you will see that I hope:

    Christian Questions with Their Answers

    Prepared by Dr. Martin Luther for those who intend to go to the Sacrament

    [The "Christian Questions with Their Answers," designating Luther as the author, first appeared in an edition of the Small Catechism in 1551, five years after Luther's death].

    After confession and instruction in the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the pastor may ask, or Christians may ask themselves these questions:

    1. Do you believe that you are a sinner?
    Yes, I believe it. I am a sinner.

    2. How do you know this?
    From the Ten Commandments, which I have not kept.

    3. Are you sorry for your sins?
    Yes, I am sorry that I have sinned against God.

    4. What have you deserved from God because of your sins?
    His wrath and displeasure, temporal death, and eternal damnation. See Romans 6:21,23.

    5. Do you hope to be saved?
    Yes, that is my hope.

    6. In whom then do you trust?
    In my dear Lord Jesus Christ.

    7. Who is Christ?
    The Son of God, true God and man.

    8. How many Gods are there?
    Only one, but there are three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    9. What has Christ done for you that you trust in Him?
    He died for me and shed His blood for me on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.

    10. Did the Father also die for you?
    He did not. The Father is God only, as is the Holy Spirit; but the Son is both true God and true man. He died for me and shed his blood for me.

    11. How do you know this?
    From the holy Gospel, from the words instituting the Sacrament, and by His body and blood given me as a pledge in the Sacrament.

    12. What are the Words of Institution?
    Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.” In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

    13. Do you believe, then, that the true body and blood of Christ are in the Sacrament?
    Yes, I believe it.

    14. What convinces you to believe this?
    The word of Christ: Take, eat, this is My body; drink of it, all of you, this is My blood.

    15. What should we do when we eat His body and drink His blood, and in this way receive His pledge?
    We should remember and proclaim His death and the shedding of His blood, as He taught us: This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

    16. Why should we remember and proclaim His death?
    First, so that we may learn to believe that no creature could make satisfaction for our sins. Only Christ, true God and man, could do that. Second, so we may learn to be horrified by our sins, and to regard them as very serious. Third, so we may find joy and comfort in Christ alone, and through faith in Him be saved.

    17. What motivated Christ to die and make full payment for your sins?
    His great love for His Father and for me and other sinners, as it is written in John 14; Romans 5; Galatians 2 and Ephesians 5.

    18. Finally, why do you wish to go to the Sacrament?
    That I may learn to believe that Christ, out of great love, died for my sin, and also learn from Him to love God and my neighbor.

    19. What should admonish and encourage a Christian to receive the Sacrament frequently?
    First, both the command and the promise of Christ the Lord. Second, his own pressing need, because of which the command, encouragement, and promise are given.

    20. But what should you do if you are not aware of this need and have no hunger and thirst for the Sacrament?
    To such a person no better advice can be given than this: first, he should touch his body to see if he still has flesh and blood. Then he should believe what the Scriptures say of it in Galatians 5 and Romans 7. Second, he should look around to see whether he is still in the world, and remember that there will be no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say in John 15-16 and in 1 John 2 and 5. Third, he will certainly have the devil also around him, who with his lying and murdering day and night will let him have no peace, within or without, as the Scriptures picture him in John 8 and 16; 1 Peter 5; Ephesians 6; and 2 Timothy 2.

    Note:
    These questions and answers are no child’s play, but are drawn up with great earnestness of purpose by the venerable and devout Dr. Luther for both young and old. Let each one pay attention and consider it a serious matter; for St. Paul writes to the Galatians in chapter six: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.”

  • fws

    Sherry @ 136

    I am glad that what I said helped you in some way. Let me make another really important point:

    Lutheran Theology is always aimed and consciences that look at ALL they can see and do, even their best and most sanctified thoughts , will, and soul and are terrified at what they see. This means that getting our doctrine exactly right is not going to save us and can become as much of an idolatry as anything else. Our Old Adam is deeply religiou and constantly seeks to be justified by something he can do. Sure he throws the HS a bone saying it could not be done withhout Him.

    So Lutheranism then directs that faith that only a terrfied conscience can have, to hide ALL that in the Works of Another. Ah. But then Old Adam thinks: “something I can do! I will work on feeling terrified!” But the problem with that is this: “what if I dont feel the way I should or what if I dont have the proper emotional response to Jesus?” Read how Dr Luther answers that question at the end of my post here. I suggest that that is also the answer to your many theogical questions.

    So because Lutheranism is always addressing itself to the terrified conscience, Lutheranism then directs that faith to then look for only death in any holy, sanctified or righteous works it can do here on earth. Faith is to then spend it’s earthly life taking up the blunt club of the Law to club it’s Old Adam into submission and kill it, so that Old Adam is forced to submitt and serve up Fatherly Goodness and Mercy for the transitory creaturely comfort of our neighbor. This is why the christian life does not look so “victorious”. But then neither does Christ haning ever-so-dead on the Holy Cross look so very victorious. And that dead Jesus is what Old Adam needs to look like! That is what the Christian life needs to look like Sherry. Life as Romans 7 in ALL we can see and do.

    So then what about Easter Victory? That is where we Christians are to find our Life. It is hidden in the Works of Another. And we can know this Romans 8 LIFE only by invisible faith. We cannot see it. We should not look for evidence of it in our life. And we know by faith that our New Man is completely and instantly holy and completely sanctificed by being hidden in the Works of Another. There is nothing progressive about this. To be Sanctified is to be Holy. It is like being pregnant. You are , or you are not. But all we can see and do in our bodies and flesh is pure Old Adam.

    So what does a terrfied conscience have to do with the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar? Read the instructions of Dr Luther for preparation for receiving the Blessed Sacrament and you will see that I hope:

    Christian Questions with Their Answers

    Prepared by Dr. Martin Luther for those who intend to go to the Sacrament

    [The "Christian Questions with Their Answers," designating Luther as the author, first appeared in an edition of the Small Catechism in 1551, five years after Luther's death].

    After confession and instruction in the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the pastor may ask, or Christians may ask themselves these questions:

    1. Do you believe that you are a sinner?
    Yes, I believe it. I am a sinner.

    2. How do you know this?
    From the Ten Commandments, which I have not kept.

    3. Are you sorry for your sins?
    Yes, I am sorry that I have sinned against God.

    4. What have you deserved from God because of your sins?
    His wrath and displeasure, temporal death, and eternal damnation. See Romans 6:21,23.

    5. Do you hope to be saved?
    Yes, that is my hope.

    6. In whom then do you trust?
    In my dear Lord Jesus Christ.

    7. Who is Christ?
    The Son of God, true God and man.

    8. How many Gods are there?
    Only one, but there are three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    9. What has Christ done for you that you trust in Him?
    He died for me and shed His blood for me on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.

    10. Did the Father also die for you?
    He did not. The Father is God only, as is the Holy Spirit; but the Son is both true God and true man. He died for me and shed his blood for me.

    11. How do you know this?
    From the holy Gospel, from the words instituting the Sacrament, and by His body and blood given me as a pledge in the Sacrament.

    12. What are the Words of Institution?
    Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.” In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

    13. Do you believe, then, that the true body and blood of Christ are in the Sacrament?
    Yes, I believe it.

    14. What convinces you to believe this?
    The word of Christ: Take, eat, this is My body; drink of it, all of you, this is My blood.

    15. What should we do when we eat His body and drink His blood, and in this way receive His pledge?
    We should remember and proclaim His death and the shedding of His blood, as He taught us: This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

    16. Why should we remember and proclaim His death?
    First, so that we may learn to believe that no creature could make satisfaction for our sins. Only Christ, true God and man, could do that. Second, so we may learn to be horrified by our sins, and to regard them as very serious. Third, so we may find joy and comfort in Christ alone, and through faith in Him be saved.

    17. What motivated Christ to die and make full payment for your sins?
    His great love for His Father and for me and other sinners, as it is written in John 14; Romans 5; Galatians 2 and Ephesians 5.

    18. Finally, why do you wish to go to the Sacrament?
    That I may learn to believe that Christ, out of great love, died for my sin, and also learn from Him to love God and my neighbor.

    19. What should admonish and encourage a Christian to receive the Sacrament frequently?
    First, both the command and the promise of Christ the Lord. Second, his own pressing need, because of which the command, encouragement, and promise are given.

    20. But what should you do if you are not aware of this need and have no hunger and thirst for the Sacrament?
    To such a person no better advice can be given than this: first, he should touch his body to see if he still has flesh and blood. Then he should believe what the Scriptures say of it in Galatians 5 and Romans 7. Second, he should look around to see whether he is still in the world, and remember that there will be no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say in John 15-16 and in 1 John 2 and 5. Third, he will certainly have the devil also around him, who with his lying and murdering day and night will let him have no peace, within or without, as the Scriptures picture him in John 8 and 16; 1 Peter 5; Ephesians 6; and 2 Timothy 2.

    Note:
    These questions and answers are no child’s play, but are drawn up with great earnestness of purpose by the venerable and devout Dr. Luther for both young and old. Let each one pay attention and consider it a serious matter; for St. Paul writes to the Galatians in chapter six: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.”

  • Sherry

    Larry and fws,

    Larry, thanks for your input. My wrestling points are different from Calvin’s because I believe Jesus is wherever He wants to be. I believe He is present AT the meal because He said He would not eat and drink again until it was fulfilled in His Fathers kingdom-which I believe we are in (or something to that effect). My reservation is that He IS the meal. I referred to that in a previous post as being taught that it would be cannibalism, but then I stated that why would we even pretend cannibalism in a figurative sense. I have been taught that the context is the passover and all He is doing is changing the context from the lambs that were slain in the past, and now, we remember that He is the lamb that was slain. So the cannibalistic part of literally eating His body and drinking His blood is where I have a mental block, which brings me to fws.
    Fws, Your post almost brought me to tears because you insightfully tapped in to part of my real problem when you said “This means that getting our doctrine exactly right is not going to save us and can become as much of an idolatry as anything else.”
    When I left the Lutheran church at age 18 or so, I ended up in a very narrow legalistic Church of Christ that believed they were the one true church and convinced me that I had to be exactly right on all my doctrine as well as live faithfully to the end. Even though I questioned much, it all looked so scriptural and I could not get away without fear, so I began an urgent study of doctrines in differing churches trying to get it right (with of course no real answers) It took many years of being in and out of that church and visiting others to see my way clear, but I never in 30 years thought about going back to a Lutheran church because of many things I had come to believe in the meantime. Anyways, “the letter kills” faith was pretty much lost -sick of fundamentalism and not crazy about the entertainment model and christian “lite” of the evangelical models, and about to pretty much give up, when I came across an article a year ago on “Internet Monk” about why this man left the evangelical church and loved the liturgy, and it brought back sooo many memories of my childhood and why I loved Jesus so much before it all became way too intellectual. So here I am, trying not to let issues take over, but still have to come to grips with some of my fears.
    Sorry to ramble on, but wanted to say thanks, you nailed it.

  • Sherry

    Larry and fws,

    Larry, thanks for your input. My wrestling points are different from Calvin’s because I believe Jesus is wherever He wants to be. I believe He is present AT the meal because He said He would not eat and drink again until it was fulfilled in His Fathers kingdom-which I believe we are in (or something to that effect). My reservation is that He IS the meal. I referred to that in a previous post as being taught that it would be cannibalism, but then I stated that why would we even pretend cannibalism in a figurative sense. I have been taught that the context is the passover and all He is doing is changing the context from the lambs that were slain in the past, and now, we remember that He is the lamb that was slain. So the cannibalistic part of literally eating His body and drinking His blood is where I have a mental block, which brings me to fws.
    Fws, Your post almost brought me to tears because you insightfully tapped in to part of my real problem when you said “This means that getting our doctrine exactly right is not going to save us and can become as much of an idolatry as anything else.”
    When I left the Lutheran church at age 18 or so, I ended up in a very narrow legalistic Church of Christ that believed they were the one true church and convinced me that I had to be exactly right on all my doctrine as well as live faithfully to the end. Even though I questioned much, it all looked so scriptural and I could not get away without fear, so I began an urgent study of doctrines in differing churches trying to get it right (with of course no real answers) It took many years of being in and out of that church and visiting others to see my way clear, but I never in 30 years thought about going back to a Lutheran church because of many things I had come to believe in the meantime. Anyways, “the letter kills” faith was pretty much lost -sick of fundamentalism and not crazy about the entertainment model and christian “lite” of the evangelical models, and about to pretty much give up, when I came across an article a year ago on “Internet Monk” about why this man left the evangelical church and loved the liturgy, and it brought back sooo many memories of my childhood and why I loved Jesus so much before it all became way too intellectual. So here I am, trying not to let issues take over, but still have to come to grips with some of my fears.
    Sorry to ramble on, but wanted to say thanks, you nailed it.

  • fws

    sherry @ 139

    I can really appreciate what you wrote dear sister. You are right, we dont eat the body and blood of Christ in a way that we are chewing his flesh with our teeth. But it is not the entire Christ but rather his body and blood that we eat and drink. How? We don’t have a clue except to just take Jesus at his Word.

    And how do we know we are saved? We hold God to his Promise in Jesus that was personally applied to us in Holy Baptism.

    Do I have even faith and a life that shows evidence of true repentence? Sadly the answer is no.

    But I will hold God to his promise to me in Jesus that I recieved from him both in my Baptism and in the Body and Blood I would not dare to drink if my dear lord Jesus had not commanded me , and urgently so, to eat and drink.

    More from Luther. This is from a sermon Luther delivered while he was debating the Lord’s Supper with Zwingli at Marburg in 1528 and this wonderful sermon is the basis for the Formula of Concord’s art VI on the Lutheran Third use of the Law.:

    For all these reasons therefore, this single doctrine, that our righteousness and goodness consists entirely in the forgiveness of sins must be rightly comprehended and then firmly maintained and distinguished from that other visible truly God-pleasing righteousness that will perish with the earth.

    We must therefore get beyond ourselves and what our bodies are capable of visibly doing. We must ascend higher than our reason, which keeps us in conflict with ourselves and reminds us both of sin and good works. And we must soar so high as to see neither sin nor good works but be rooted and grounded in this one article and see and know nothing but it alone.

    Let grace or forgiveness be pitted against not only sin, but also against good works, and let all visible righteousness, all human righteousness and holiness be completely and utterly excluded here.

    We can think that within each man there are two conflicting powers or kingdoms. Externally, in this life, man is to be pious and righteous and do good works and the like. But if he aims beyond this life and wishes to deal with God, he must then know that in that kingdom, neither his sin nor his piety matters.

    Here is why this is important to know: Even though that man might feel his sins , which disturb his conscience, and even though the law demands good works, he will not listen to those voices or give them attention, but will boldly reply: “Yes I am a sinner, and Christ has forgiven that sin! In fact, I am seated on the throne in a kingdom into which sin cannot reach.

    COMMENT: And here Sherry is an incredibly beautiful word picture that Dr Luther provides us with. It is breathtaking actually….

    This is the way we are to regard the kingdom of Christ as this large and beautiful arch or vault, like the vast canopy of stars at night that is everywhere over us, and covers and protects us against the just anger and wrath of God. In fact we should regard this as a great extended body that pure grace and forgiveness illuminates and permeates and fills the entire world and all things we can see and not see. All sins will hardly appear as a spark in comparison with this great extended sea of light, and although sin may oppress it, it cannot injure anything, but it must disappear and vanish before grace. Those who understand this and have truly internalized this doctrine can then be called “masters” of the doctrine, but the price for this title is that we will all still have to humble ourselves and not be ashamed to keep on learning this lesson for as long as we live.

    The reason that we have to resign ourselves to the fact that this is our sole lifelong task as a Christian is the fact that wherever our nature succeeds in finding sin, it tries to make an unbearable burden of it. Satan fans the spark and blows up a great fire which fills heaven and earth. Here we must firmly turn the leaf over and must firmly conclude that if the sin were ever so great or burdensome, then this article of faith is even higher, wider and greater. This opinion is established not by man´s wisdom, but by Him Who has comprehended and filled heaven and earth and holds them all in the hollow of his hand as Isaiah 40:42 tells us. My sin and righteousness must remain here on earth as far as they concern my life and conduct. In heaven above it is a different story. I have another treasure greater than either of these there. This is because my dear Jesus is seated and holds me in his gentle arms, he covers me with his wings, and overshadows me with his grace.

    So ok, you say, this seems unlikely and unbelievable since I daily feel sin and my conscience condemns me and threatens me with God´s wrath. So how can this be?

    I answer that in this way:

    For this reason, I say, one must understand that the righteousness of a Christian is nothing that can be named or imagined but the forgiveness of sin, that is, it is an invisible kingdom of power which deals only and solely with sin and does this with such abundant grace that it must take away all wrath.

    This kingdom is useless in the earthly kingdom sense of works and sin. It is only useful to God and to anyone who suffers from the stricken conscience.

    This kingdom is known by the name “the forgiveness of sins” for the reason that we are truly all sinners before God. Yes absolutely everything in us is sin, even though we may indeed and in fact have every ounce of human righteousness. This fact exists because where God speaks of sin, there must be real and great sin. But then from precisely knowing that fact, we then also know that forgiveness is no jest or trivial thing. It is the most serious thing we can know. Sin takes away all your holiness, no matter how good a person you are on earth. But again, then we know that forgiveness takes all sin and wrath away. Therefore sin is not what sends people to hell and goodness is not what elevates people into heaven.

    This is how this will be helpful to you in your daily life:

    when the devil disturbs your conscience, and tries to bring despair to your heart by saying “don´t you realize that one must be good and pious and righteous?”.

    You will respond by boldly talking back to the devil and saying

    “yes you are right! I am a sinner, I already know that because this article I believe in called the forgiveness of sins has taught me this is true for a long time now. I am to be good and pious and do what I can before the world but before God I am willing to be only a sinner, and to be called nothing else. That is so that this article of forgiveness can remain true about me personally, because otherwise there would not be forgiveness or grace for me but then it would need to be called a crown of righteousness and of my own personal worthiness and merit. So ok, even though I admit that I feel nothing but my many and great sins, yet I am going to surrender myself to the belief that they are no longer sins, for I have for them a very precious panacea and drug which takes away the power and poison of sin and wholly destroys.”

    It is in this word “forgiveness”.

    Before this word, sin disappears and melts away like stubble before a fire. Without this forgiveness, no effort, suffering or heroic deeds avail against even my smallest of sins. For without forgiveness sin is and remains pure sin and even the smallest speck condemns me.

    So only confess this article [of the forgiveness of sins] loudly:

    Before the world I may be righteous and do everything God requires. But before God it is only sin according to this article.

    Therefore I am a sinner, but better I am a sinner who now has forgiveness, and who sits at the throne where grace rules supreme as I am told in psalm 116.

    Bless you Sherry! +

    your new brother Frank William

    If this were not so I would be a sinner like Judas who saw only his sin, but no forgiveness. But Christians , no matter how much sin they feel in themselves, only in that word forgiveness in Christ they see much more abundant grace presented to them, and poured out over them.

  • fws

    sherry @ 139

    I can really appreciate what you wrote dear sister. You are right, we dont eat the body and blood of Christ in a way that we are chewing his flesh with our teeth. But it is not the entire Christ but rather his body and blood that we eat and drink. How? We don’t have a clue except to just take Jesus at his Word.

    And how do we know we are saved? We hold God to his Promise in Jesus that was personally applied to us in Holy Baptism.

    Do I have even faith and a life that shows evidence of true repentence? Sadly the answer is no.

    But I will hold God to his promise to me in Jesus that I recieved from him both in my Baptism and in the Body and Blood I would not dare to drink if my dear lord Jesus had not commanded me , and urgently so, to eat and drink.

    More from Luther. This is from a sermon Luther delivered while he was debating the Lord’s Supper with Zwingli at Marburg in 1528 and this wonderful sermon is the basis for the Formula of Concord’s art VI on the Lutheran Third use of the Law.:

    For all these reasons therefore, this single doctrine, that our righteousness and goodness consists entirely in the forgiveness of sins must be rightly comprehended and then firmly maintained and distinguished from that other visible truly God-pleasing righteousness that will perish with the earth.

    We must therefore get beyond ourselves and what our bodies are capable of visibly doing. We must ascend higher than our reason, which keeps us in conflict with ourselves and reminds us both of sin and good works. And we must soar so high as to see neither sin nor good works but be rooted and grounded in this one article and see and know nothing but it alone.

    Let grace or forgiveness be pitted against not only sin, but also against good works, and let all visible righteousness, all human righteousness and holiness be completely and utterly excluded here.

    We can think that within each man there are two conflicting powers or kingdoms. Externally, in this life, man is to be pious and righteous and do good works and the like. But if he aims beyond this life and wishes to deal with God, he must then know that in that kingdom, neither his sin nor his piety matters.

    Here is why this is important to know: Even though that man might feel his sins , which disturb his conscience, and even though the law demands good works, he will not listen to those voices or give them attention, but will boldly reply: “Yes I am a sinner, and Christ has forgiven that sin! In fact, I am seated on the throne in a kingdom into which sin cannot reach.

    COMMENT: And here Sherry is an incredibly beautiful word picture that Dr Luther provides us with. It is breathtaking actually….

    This is the way we are to regard the kingdom of Christ as this large and beautiful arch or vault, like the vast canopy of stars at night that is everywhere over us, and covers and protects us against the just anger and wrath of God. In fact we should regard this as a great extended body that pure grace and forgiveness illuminates and permeates and fills the entire world and all things we can see and not see. All sins will hardly appear as a spark in comparison with this great extended sea of light, and although sin may oppress it, it cannot injure anything, but it must disappear and vanish before grace. Those who understand this and have truly internalized this doctrine can then be called “masters” of the doctrine, but the price for this title is that we will all still have to humble ourselves and not be ashamed to keep on learning this lesson for as long as we live.

    The reason that we have to resign ourselves to the fact that this is our sole lifelong task as a Christian is the fact that wherever our nature succeeds in finding sin, it tries to make an unbearable burden of it. Satan fans the spark and blows up a great fire which fills heaven and earth. Here we must firmly turn the leaf over and must firmly conclude that if the sin were ever so great or burdensome, then this article of faith is even higher, wider and greater. This opinion is established not by man´s wisdom, but by Him Who has comprehended and filled heaven and earth and holds them all in the hollow of his hand as Isaiah 40:42 tells us. My sin and righteousness must remain here on earth as far as they concern my life and conduct. In heaven above it is a different story. I have another treasure greater than either of these there. This is because my dear Jesus is seated and holds me in his gentle arms, he covers me with his wings, and overshadows me with his grace.

    So ok, you say, this seems unlikely and unbelievable since I daily feel sin and my conscience condemns me and threatens me with God´s wrath. So how can this be?

    I answer that in this way:

    For this reason, I say, one must understand that the righteousness of a Christian is nothing that can be named or imagined but the forgiveness of sin, that is, it is an invisible kingdom of power which deals only and solely with sin and does this with such abundant grace that it must take away all wrath.

    This kingdom is useless in the earthly kingdom sense of works and sin. It is only useful to God and to anyone who suffers from the stricken conscience.

    This kingdom is known by the name “the forgiveness of sins” for the reason that we are truly all sinners before God. Yes absolutely everything in us is sin, even though we may indeed and in fact have every ounce of human righteousness. This fact exists because where God speaks of sin, there must be real and great sin. But then from precisely knowing that fact, we then also know that forgiveness is no jest or trivial thing. It is the most serious thing we can know. Sin takes away all your holiness, no matter how good a person you are on earth. But again, then we know that forgiveness takes all sin and wrath away. Therefore sin is not what sends people to hell and goodness is not what elevates people into heaven.

    This is how this will be helpful to you in your daily life:

    when the devil disturbs your conscience, and tries to bring despair to your heart by saying “don´t you realize that one must be good and pious and righteous?”.

    You will respond by boldly talking back to the devil and saying

    “yes you are right! I am a sinner, I already know that because this article I believe in called the forgiveness of sins has taught me this is true for a long time now. I am to be good and pious and do what I can before the world but before God I am willing to be only a sinner, and to be called nothing else. That is so that this article of forgiveness can remain true about me personally, because otherwise there would not be forgiveness or grace for me but then it would need to be called a crown of righteousness and of my own personal worthiness and merit. So ok, even though I admit that I feel nothing but my many and great sins, yet I am going to surrender myself to the belief that they are no longer sins, for I have for them a very precious panacea and drug which takes away the power and poison of sin and wholly destroys.”

    It is in this word “forgiveness”.

    Before this word, sin disappears and melts away like stubble before a fire. Without this forgiveness, no effort, suffering or heroic deeds avail against even my smallest of sins. For without forgiveness sin is and remains pure sin and even the smallest speck condemns me.

    So only confess this article [of the forgiveness of sins] loudly:

    Before the world I may be righteous and do everything God requires. But before God it is only sin according to this article.

    Therefore I am a sinner, but better I am a sinner who now has forgiveness, and who sits at the throne where grace rules supreme as I am told in psalm 116.

    Bless you Sherry! +

    your new brother Frank William

    If this were not so I would be a sinner like Judas who saw only his sin, but no forgiveness. But Christians , no matter how much sin they feel in themselves, only in that word forgiveness in Christ they see much more abundant grace presented to them, and poured out over them.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    sherry,
    your write “but then I stated that why would we even pretend cannibalism in a figurative sense.”
    Very perceptive. This is in reality the achilles heel of protestant doctrine. And either way you will be confronted with Christ’s words “this is my body.” He is the lamb, and we don’t figuratively eat him anymore than any other passover lamb was figuratively eaten.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    sherry,
    your write “but then I stated that why would we even pretend cannibalism in a figurative sense.”
    Very perceptive. This is in reality the achilles heel of protestant doctrine. And either way you will be confronted with Christ’s words “this is my body.” He is the lamb, and we don’t figuratively eat him anymore than any other passover lamb was figuratively eaten.

  • fws

    bror @ 141

    I missed that! Good on you Sherry! +1

  • fws

    bror @ 141

    I missed that! Good on you Sherry! +1

  • larry

    Sherry,

    That is exactly right we are not saved by the “right answer”, that would be to approach doctrine from the angle of the Law.
    My experience with believers baptism may help. I was baptized in a Baptist church, etc… Valid Baptism, is the sacrament, right. But the false doctrine (the wrong answer if you will) was literally killing me. Now getting the Lutheran answer (the right answer) didn’t suddenly “save me” as opposed to being lost. But it did ward off, if you will the lie that was driving me deeper into despair that had it remained would have either driven me to no hope or even as far as Judas went. Despairing doctrine from Satan not only can do that, that’s its purpose.

    Thus, when I “got the right answer”, it wasn’t a “meritorious thing”, rather a beautiful communication from God Himself that said in essence, “I’ve forgiven you”. It was my “prostitute being forgiven by Jesus Himself by MY name”. You see? My constant cry was, “If I could only hear Jesus Himself forgive me, then I’d know I’m saved/elect.” That was killing me under the doctrine. The “right answer”, in this case about baptism, didn’t save because I could suddenly pass a test on Lutheran confessions on this issue now, but the voice of Christ, that which I needed, came to me in baptism, pro me, and was my “prostitute before Christ’s feet moment” and Him saying, “where now are your accusers, I forgive you”. Building the ark didn’t save Noah, but the ark did save Noah.

    On the cannibalism flesh issue. Lutheran doctrine on that already answers that question. I found this out in Sasse, because, yea, I wondered too early on…reason plagues us all. Why is it not the capernaic eating? Because when I’m taking the bread/body and the lady before me has, and the guy next to me does, and so forth, when the brothers and sisters in Africa, China and so forth are too, we are all eating the whole body and blood of Christ each. Mystery that is entirely unsolvable to reason, absolutely, but eating like we’d tear apart a single turkey at thanksgiving where only two of us would get a leg, not at all. Luther described it as blood-wine and body-bread that is eaten with the physical-faith mouth.

    Note in John 6, even though it is generally considered an allusion to the supper, but note Christ’s answer anyway. He doesn’t answer against a cannibalistic charge, he answer against the flesh (our fallen nature) versus the spirit (the Gospel). He doesn’t say, ‘no, no, no I didn’t mean physical flesh’. He says, “you see these words via your fallen nature, but they are spirit (the Gospel which is against fallen nature at every point).” (paraphrasing)

    How did God take mud and breathe human life into it? I have not a clue, neither do I understand how He causes His body and blood to be the bread and wine I take eat and drink. Oh, if I ponder it I can inflame my reason no less than anyone and think, “yea hows that work”, and talk myself out of believing the Words. In fact it’s a constant battle within us to believe this or ANYTHING Christ said, that’s the reality of our old man warring with the new man. But reason’s eye must be put out and faith cling to the words. I don’t know how God will resurrect flesh and blood that has decayed to bones and dirt or even how it might feel to not have sin nagging every breath you take – all that’s incomprehensible to me/us, right? Luther even went as far in a sermon to say that the HARDEST above all articles/doctrine of faith is not even the Lord’s Supper, Baptism or others but the very Resurrection because ALL data and reality militates against it. We see NOTHING but grave yards, dying hospital beds, news of death and score of dead men’s bones as evidence to the utter contrary. If we think long enough about it we shall surely despair. And just “having the right answer” will not save a soul. But believing it, receiving it by faith does. Not merit as to the answer, but “where else shall we go You (Christ) alone have the Words of eternal life”.

    Don’t feel bad about your questions, we all wrestle with them constantly! We literally have to battle ourselves against ourselves.

  • larry

    Sherry,

    That is exactly right we are not saved by the “right answer”, that would be to approach doctrine from the angle of the Law.
    My experience with believers baptism may help. I was baptized in a Baptist church, etc… Valid Baptism, is the sacrament, right. But the false doctrine (the wrong answer if you will) was literally killing me. Now getting the Lutheran answer (the right answer) didn’t suddenly “save me” as opposed to being lost. But it did ward off, if you will the lie that was driving me deeper into despair that had it remained would have either driven me to no hope or even as far as Judas went. Despairing doctrine from Satan not only can do that, that’s its purpose.

    Thus, when I “got the right answer”, it wasn’t a “meritorious thing”, rather a beautiful communication from God Himself that said in essence, “I’ve forgiven you”. It was my “prostitute being forgiven by Jesus Himself by MY name”. You see? My constant cry was, “If I could only hear Jesus Himself forgive me, then I’d know I’m saved/elect.” That was killing me under the doctrine. The “right answer”, in this case about baptism, didn’t save because I could suddenly pass a test on Lutheran confessions on this issue now, but the voice of Christ, that which I needed, came to me in baptism, pro me, and was my “prostitute before Christ’s feet moment” and Him saying, “where now are your accusers, I forgive you”. Building the ark didn’t save Noah, but the ark did save Noah.

    On the cannibalism flesh issue. Lutheran doctrine on that already answers that question. I found this out in Sasse, because, yea, I wondered too early on…reason plagues us all. Why is it not the capernaic eating? Because when I’m taking the bread/body and the lady before me has, and the guy next to me does, and so forth, when the brothers and sisters in Africa, China and so forth are too, we are all eating the whole body and blood of Christ each. Mystery that is entirely unsolvable to reason, absolutely, but eating like we’d tear apart a single turkey at thanksgiving where only two of us would get a leg, not at all. Luther described it as blood-wine and body-bread that is eaten with the physical-faith mouth.

    Note in John 6, even though it is generally considered an allusion to the supper, but note Christ’s answer anyway. He doesn’t answer against a cannibalistic charge, he answer against the flesh (our fallen nature) versus the spirit (the Gospel). He doesn’t say, ‘no, no, no I didn’t mean physical flesh’. He says, “you see these words via your fallen nature, but they are spirit (the Gospel which is against fallen nature at every point).” (paraphrasing)

    How did God take mud and breathe human life into it? I have not a clue, neither do I understand how He causes His body and blood to be the bread and wine I take eat and drink. Oh, if I ponder it I can inflame my reason no less than anyone and think, “yea hows that work”, and talk myself out of believing the Words. In fact it’s a constant battle within us to believe this or ANYTHING Christ said, that’s the reality of our old man warring with the new man. But reason’s eye must be put out and faith cling to the words. I don’t know how God will resurrect flesh and blood that has decayed to bones and dirt or even how it might feel to not have sin nagging every breath you take – all that’s incomprehensible to me/us, right? Luther even went as far in a sermon to say that the HARDEST above all articles/doctrine of faith is not even the Lord’s Supper, Baptism or others but the very Resurrection because ALL data and reality militates against it. We see NOTHING but grave yards, dying hospital beds, news of death and score of dead men’s bones as evidence to the utter contrary. If we think long enough about it we shall surely despair. And just “having the right answer” will not save a soul. But believing it, receiving it by faith does. Not merit as to the answer, but “where else shall we go You (Christ) alone have the Words of eternal life”.

    Don’t feel bad about your questions, we all wrestle with them constantly! We literally have to battle ourselves against ourselves.

  • Sherry

    Frank, Bror and Larry,
    Thanks again for your posts.
    @ Larry
    Did it take you a long time to “see” this very different point of view? In Craig Parton’s book “The Defense Never Rests” he said something like it was about 10 years after he began to really grasp Lutheran theology before he actually left the evangelical church. I think the biggest thing I have misunderstood is that God comes to us, we don’t ascend to Him. Is Luther the only one who saw it this way? I mean everyone teaches grace, but on a practical level, it is still about works and God is just “out there” somewhere, or else He is inside of you somehow. (I know the Holy Spirit dwells in us- but I was even taught that is not true)The idea of God coming to us and giving us gifts is just “new” to me somehow (I must have been taught this in catechism?) But it surely is “good news”

  • Sherry

    Frank, Bror and Larry,
    Thanks again for your posts.
    @ Larry
    Did it take you a long time to “see” this very different point of view? In Craig Parton’s book “The Defense Never Rests” he said something like it was about 10 years after he began to really grasp Lutheran theology before he actually left the evangelical church. I think the biggest thing I have misunderstood is that God comes to us, we don’t ascend to Him. Is Luther the only one who saw it this way? I mean everyone teaches grace, but on a practical level, it is still about works and God is just “out there” somewhere, or else He is inside of you somehow. (I know the Holy Spirit dwells in us- but I was even taught that is not true)The idea of God coming to us and giving us gifts is just “new” to me somehow (I must have been taught this in catechism?) But it surely is “good news”

  • Sherry

    Larry, I just saw your post, we were typing at the same time :-)
    A lot of good points there. I also have questions with the baptism issue because I have believed it is for only those who can be taught and have faith, but more importantly, that it MUST be by immersion. So, that is another “issue” for me, but one I think I can come to grips with on my own. I am taking everything said here very seriously, and I don’t want “reason” to get in the way. I just want my faith back, and when I realized how Christ centered the Lutheran church and in particular the liturgy and christian year are, I couldn’t think of a better way to heal.

  • Sherry

    Larry, I just saw your post, we were typing at the same time :-)
    A lot of good points there. I also have questions with the baptism issue because I have believed it is for only those who can be taught and have faith, but more importantly, that it MUST be by immersion. So, that is another “issue” for me, but one I think I can come to grips with on my own. I am taking everything said here very seriously, and I don’t want “reason” to get in the way. I just want my faith back, and when I realized how Christ centered the Lutheran church and in particular the liturgy and christian year are, I couldn’t think of a better way to heal.

  • Sherry

    Larry, you said:
    “But the false doctrine (the wrong answer if you will) was literally killing me.”
    I understand this completely.
    “Thus, when I “got the right answer”, it wasn’t a “meritorious thing”, rather a beautiful communication from God Himself that said in essence, “I’ve forgiven you”
    Makes sense and thank you.

  • Sherry

    Larry, you said:
    “But the false doctrine (the wrong answer if you will) was literally killing me.”
    I understand this completely.
    “Thus, when I “got the right answer”, it wasn’t a “meritorious thing”, rather a beautiful communication from God Himself that said in essence, “I’ve forgiven you”
    Makes sense and thank you.

  • fws

    sherry @ 145

    nothing wrong at all with worrying about the proper form of baptism and the lords supper. After all those things are Law. They are commands of God. We do them because Christ commanded and instituted them, and it is we who do them and are commanded to do them.

    So it is not an indifferent thing to use wine and bread rather than grape juice and bread. and it is not an indiferent thing to ponder what form Christ has commanded Holy Baptism to take dear Sherry.
    We Lutherans actually think that Baptism by immersion is the best expression of what God actually does to us “in, with and under” the act that is commanded to be done by sinful human hands.

    I believe that the early church usually baptized by immersion in fact.

    So why is it that Lutherans don’t insist upon baptism by immersion? It is simply because the Scriptures do not insist upon it. They insist upon water being bodily applied in the name of the Blessed and Most Holy Trinity.

    Lutherans therefore recognize any baptism done by anyone that is trinitarian and so means “Trinity” as is the christian understanding.

    I have had the great joy and priviledge of teaching baptisms and roman catholics and lapsed Lutherans back into their Baptism. I get to invite them to receive with joy what Baptism has promised them.

    And when I evangelize or do apologetics, my first or second question is always this : “were you baptized?” If the answer is yes, then that means that I am required to address that person as a member of the Holy Catholic Church. It is a wonderful thing to see faith awake from sleeping in this way and see the comfort of the Holy Gospel register on the face of who I am talking to.

    Bless you Sherry +

  • fws

    sherry @ 145

    nothing wrong at all with worrying about the proper form of baptism and the lords supper. After all those things are Law. They are commands of God. We do them because Christ commanded and instituted them, and it is we who do them and are commanded to do them.

    So it is not an indifferent thing to use wine and bread rather than grape juice and bread. and it is not an indiferent thing to ponder what form Christ has commanded Holy Baptism to take dear Sherry.
    We Lutherans actually think that Baptism by immersion is the best expression of what God actually does to us “in, with and under” the act that is commanded to be done by sinful human hands.

    I believe that the early church usually baptized by immersion in fact.

    So why is it that Lutherans don’t insist upon baptism by immersion? It is simply because the Scriptures do not insist upon it. They insist upon water being bodily applied in the name of the Blessed and Most Holy Trinity.

    Lutherans therefore recognize any baptism done by anyone that is trinitarian and so means “Trinity” as is the christian understanding.

    I have had the great joy and priviledge of teaching baptisms and roman catholics and lapsed Lutherans back into their Baptism. I get to invite them to receive with joy what Baptism has promised them.

    And when I evangelize or do apologetics, my first or second question is always this : “were you baptized?” If the answer is yes, then that means that I am required to address that person as a member of the Holy Catholic Church. It is a wonderful thing to see faith awake from sleeping in this way and see the comfort of the Holy Gospel register on the face of who I am talking to.

    Bless you Sherry +

  • larry

    Sherry,

    When you said, “I mean everyone teaches grace, but on a practical level, it is still about works and God is just “out there” somewhere, or else He is inside of you somehow.” You summed it up about as innocently, honestly and concisely as I’ve ever heard it put.
    You are one of those rare fellow travelers whose writings expressing your struggle is so much like my own, I’ve run into more than a few, one reads/listens and says, “I know EXACTLY what you are struggling with”. One of those, “this person is walking in the same shoes” kind of moments.

    That statement I just quoted from you (and others), man I get that first hand and it speaks VOLUMES. The hidden implied works (but on a practical level, it is still about works) in a doctrine! And “and God is just “out there” somewhere, or else He is inside of you somehow”, it, grace never touches “YOU” does it. You run that despairing religious hamster wheel is God gracious toward “ME” as opposed to “Joe over there” or this nebulous group of elect I may or may not be part of. Where do I go to find, have and RECEIVE this gracious God. Not a “power” called grace to then later fulfill the law, but that sweet, precious, “I Jesus forgive you Sherry”, right!

    While others around you seem to have figured out they are saved but nobody can actually tell you objectively how they know it. You run into ALL kinds of “conversion stories” given as assurance, all the while you are listen keenly to every single one of them trying to see if yours can be that way or is that way. I’ll bet you’ve heard some of these: “How do you know you were saved?” “Well you kind of just know, that you know that you know.” I heard that one a fair amount. Or “the sign of the Christian, that you are, is love.” Or “well I know because I believe”, but that’s what one is struggling with, right? How about “desiring God”, I’ll bet you’ve come across that one.

    But in those moments of struggle, when you don’t know IF you believe, not as a rebelling unbeliever but whether or not God is disposed graciously toward you in particular; “if you believe, then you are saved” doesn’t help does it. It’s just one more Law condemning your conscience. BUT, if you hear, “you are saved whether you believe it or not”, now that causes you to believe does it not! See the paradox of faith!

    Try this one concerning the whole immersion thing, that’s the root background I came from. Go take a look in Acts 8 where the account of Phillip is sent by the Spirit to the Ethiopian Eunuch. Two HUGE things here that may help you a bit. The Eunuch is reading in Isaiah chapter 53 (he’s not just reading the verses directly quoted either but the specific verses are Isaiah 53:7,8. This is his point of reference as a gentile outsider for talking with Phillip asking who it is. Now go back and read Isaiah 53 and note a couple of things, keep in mind the eunuch is going to ask now having discovered that this is referencing Jesus Christ what prevents him, a gentile formerly outside of Israel, from being baptized? Again his point of reference is Isaiah 53 not Acts 8 that is the account of himself, there is no Acts 8 about himself when he’s reading Isaiah 53 (this may seem obvious but we brush by the setting).

    The ENTIRE passage of Isaiah is a Messianic prophesy about Christ:

    “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

    We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes[c] his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e]; by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

    We know today reading all this post Christ’s first advent who this is exactly speaking of, Christ Jesus. Then the eunuch pops the question, “The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” Philip preaches Christ to Him, that’s who its about.

    Then next verse in acts they’ve been traveling a bit and the eunuch asks Philip, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”

    Keep in mind chapter and verse was a much later added thing to the Scriptures, Isaiah 53 was not made a distinct chapter from 54, the eunuch is reading the prophesy. Were might he have gotten this from?

    Turn back to Isaiah chapter 52, the very last verses to the ones above, (remember no chapters and verses in the eunuchs scripture) leading into chapter 53:

    “so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him.

    For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.”

    The eunuch is a gentile, one of the “nationers”, the He whom the eunuch is asking is obvious and answered in the prophesy above to which Thomas preaches Christ to him. Now note two HUGE things here because the Eunuch is going to ask can he a gentile (one of those of the “many nations”) what NOW (since Christ has come, he was just told) prevents HIM from baptism.

    1. Who according to the prophesy is baptizing? Christ/God.
    2. How does it say He is doing it? He’s sprinkling the nations.
    The prophesy is not outlining sprinkling as the only baptism as opposed to immersion but the point is that baptism is God doing it (by the pastors hand, working through the means) and that sprinkling is used here in the prophesy.

    After being baptized he went away REJOICING. Why? Because he was just washed by God (via Phillip’s hand) in waters in which the name of God is put thus cleansed by God’s name and word and having ALL sins forgiven in so doing and given the Holy Spirit and in short saved, promised eternal life now having true and only everlasting hope. That’s why he’s dancing away, because the watered word (baptism) did what it says it did.

    Sorry for the length but that passage really helped me one time and I hope it helps you very much.

    Larry

  • larry

    Sherry,

    When you said, “I mean everyone teaches grace, but on a practical level, it is still about works and God is just “out there” somewhere, or else He is inside of you somehow.” You summed it up about as innocently, honestly and concisely as I’ve ever heard it put.
    You are one of those rare fellow travelers whose writings expressing your struggle is so much like my own, I’ve run into more than a few, one reads/listens and says, “I know EXACTLY what you are struggling with”. One of those, “this person is walking in the same shoes” kind of moments.

    That statement I just quoted from you (and others), man I get that first hand and it speaks VOLUMES. The hidden implied works (but on a practical level, it is still about works) in a doctrine! And “and God is just “out there” somewhere, or else He is inside of you somehow”, it, grace never touches “YOU” does it. You run that despairing religious hamster wheel is God gracious toward “ME” as opposed to “Joe over there” or this nebulous group of elect I may or may not be part of. Where do I go to find, have and RECEIVE this gracious God. Not a “power” called grace to then later fulfill the law, but that sweet, precious, “I Jesus forgive you Sherry”, right!

    While others around you seem to have figured out they are saved but nobody can actually tell you objectively how they know it. You run into ALL kinds of “conversion stories” given as assurance, all the while you are listen keenly to every single one of them trying to see if yours can be that way or is that way. I’ll bet you’ve heard some of these: “How do you know you were saved?” “Well you kind of just know, that you know that you know.” I heard that one a fair amount. Or “the sign of the Christian, that you are, is love.” Or “well I know because I believe”, but that’s what one is struggling with, right? How about “desiring God”, I’ll bet you’ve come across that one.

    But in those moments of struggle, when you don’t know IF you believe, not as a rebelling unbeliever but whether or not God is disposed graciously toward you in particular; “if you believe, then you are saved” doesn’t help does it. It’s just one more Law condemning your conscience. BUT, if you hear, “you are saved whether you believe it or not”, now that causes you to believe does it not! See the paradox of faith!

    Try this one concerning the whole immersion thing, that’s the root background I came from. Go take a look in Acts 8 where the account of Phillip is sent by the Spirit to the Ethiopian Eunuch. Two HUGE things here that may help you a bit. The Eunuch is reading in Isaiah chapter 53 (he’s not just reading the verses directly quoted either but the specific verses are Isaiah 53:7,8. This is his point of reference as a gentile outsider for talking with Phillip asking who it is. Now go back and read Isaiah 53 and note a couple of things, keep in mind the eunuch is going to ask now having discovered that this is referencing Jesus Christ what prevents him, a gentile formerly outside of Israel, from being baptized? Again his point of reference is Isaiah 53 not Acts 8 that is the account of himself, there is no Acts 8 about himself when he’s reading Isaiah 53 (this may seem obvious but we brush by the setting).

    The ENTIRE passage of Isaiah is a Messianic prophesy about Christ:

    “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

    We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes[c] his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e]; by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

    We know today reading all this post Christ’s first advent who this is exactly speaking of, Christ Jesus. Then the eunuch pops the question, “The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” Philip preaches Christ to Him, that’s who its about.

    Then next verse in acts they’ve been traveling a bit and the eunuch asks Philip, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”

    Keep in mind chapter and verse was a much later added thing to the Scriptures, Isaiah 53 was not made a distinct chapter from 54, the eunuch is reading the prophesy. Were might he have gotten this from?

    Turn back to Isaiah chapter 52, the very last verses to the ones above, (remember no chapters and verses in the eunuchs scripture) leading into chapter 53:

    “so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him.

    For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.”

    The eunuch is a gentile, one of the “nationers”, the He whom the eunuch is asking is obvious and answered in the prophesy above to which Thomas preaches Christ to him. Now note two HUGE things here because the Eunuch is going to ask can he a gentile (one of those of the “many nations”) what NOW (since Christ has come, he was just told) prevents HIM from baptism.

    1. Who according to the prophesy is baptizing? Christ/God.
    2. How does it say He is doing it? He’s sprinkling the nations.
    The prophesy is not outlining sprinkling as the only baptism as opposed to immersion but the point is that baptism is God doing it (by the pastors hand, working through the means) and that sprinkling is used here in the prophesy.

    After being baptized he went away REJOICING. Why? Because he was just washed by God (via Phillip’s hand) in waters in which the name of God is put thus cleansed by God’s name and word and having ALL sins forgiven in so doing and given the Holy Spirit and in short saved, promised eternal life now having true and only everlasting hope. That’s why he’s dancing away, because the watered word (baptism) did what it says it did.

    Sorry for the length but that passage really helped me one time and I hope it helps you very much.

    Larry

  • Sherry

    Frank and Larry’
    Thank you for your insights on baptism also. Frank, I really like this attitude “And when I evangelize or do apologetics, my first or second question is always this : “were you baptized?” If the answer is yes, then that means that I am required to address that person as a member of the Holy Catholic Church. ” It is so different from my separatist background.

    Larry, I know the feelings you talked about in your first two paragraphs and believe it or not the response I have heard the most on how you know you are saved is “you KNOW you are saved when you are WALKING IN THE LIGHT as He is in the light”. The thing is that I don’t walk perfectly and when I have asked about this in the past I was told there was a “grace period” before you fell away completely in which you still had time to repent. (I must say that not all Churches of Christ teach this, so don’t lump them all together) What you have in these kind of churches then is a divide between those who are very self disciplined and confident and those who are not- guess where I fell ? I always wanted to do the right thing but did not always do it ,mostly because I would visit other “false” churches, because things just did not seem right around there. I was labeled “unfaithful” Sad but true.
    About your point on baptism, I am very happy to see another way to look at that passage in Acts chap 8. I have always been taught that since the Ethiopian asked why couldn’t he be baptized – that proved that Phillip when preaching to him about the Christ also HAD to tell him about baptism for the remission of his sins. I had never thought about him asking because of what he was reading. (Churches of Christ have a sacramental view of baptism but not of the LS)
    As far as sprinkling goes, I have never read that verse that way in that context. I have been talking to a Catholic person and he gave me a better education on the greek word for baptize. Apparently it can mean immersion (dipping) but more accurately means submersion and plunging – where a change takes place like the dying of a garment from one color to another. So the emphasis on the word is more about the change than the mode. (It looks right according to Strongs and Vines when I checked) It was also brought to my attention that we really don’t have an actual description of a baptism (mode) in the NT (there were various baptisms in the old) – we just read into it what we have been taught, but I still think immersion is the best picture we have of what is going on although I am becoming more open minded in this.

  • Sherry

    Frank and Larry’
    Thank you for your insights on baptism also. Frank, I really like this attitude “And when I evangelize or do apologetics, my first or second question is always this : “were you baptized?” If the answer is yes, then that means that I am required to address that person as a member of the Holy Catholic Church. ” It is so different from my separatist background.

    Larry, I know the feelings you talked about in your first two paragraphs and believe it or not the response I have heard the most on how you know you are saved is “you KNOW you are saved when you are WALKING IN THE LIGHT as He is in the light”. The thing is that I don’t walk perfectly and when I have asked about this in the past I was told there was a “grace period” before you fell away completely in which you still had time to repent. (I must say that not all Churches of Christ teach this, so don’t lump them all together) What you have in these kind of churches then is a divide between those who are very self disciplined and confident and those who are not- guess where I fell ? I always wanted to do the right thing but did not always do it ,mostly because I would visit other “false” churches, because things just did not seem right around there. I was labeled “unfaithful” Sad but true.
    About your point on baptism, I am very happy to see another way to look at that passage in Acts chap 8. I have always been taught that since the Ethiopian asked why couldn’t he be baptized – that proved that Phillip when preaching to him about the Christ also HAD to tell him about baptism for the remission of his sins. I had never thought about him asking because of what he was reading. (Churches of Christ have a sacramental view of baptism but not of the LS)
    As far as sprinkling goes, I have never read that verse that way in that context. I have been talking to a Catholic person and he gave me a better education on the greek word for baptize. Apparently it can mean immersion (dipping) but more accurately means submersion and plunging – where a change takes place like the dying of a garment from one color to another. So the emphasis on the word is more about the change than the mode. (It looks right according to Strongs and Vines when I checked) It was also brought to my attention that we really don’t have an actual description of a baptism (mode) in the NT (there were various baptisms in the old) – we just read into it what we have been taught, but I still think immersion is the best picture we have of what is going on although I am becoming more open minded in this.

  • fws

    Larry @ 148

    Whoa! Excellent stuff. I had never connected Isaiah to the account of the Ethiopian Eunuch. I am ashamed to say I never did that legwork. Awesome stuff.

    I always point to II Kings and the story of the healing of the Leper Naaman as a way to explain how baptism works. I like what you did even better!

    Sherry: Welcome home!

  • fws

    Larry @ 148

    Whoa! Excellent stuff. I had never connected Isaiah to the account of the Ethiopian Eunuch. I am ashamed to say I never did that legwork. Awesome stuff.

    I always point to II Kings and the story of the healing of the Leper Naaman as a way to explain how baptism works. I like what you did even better!

    Sherry: Welcome home!

  • Sherry

    Larry,
    I just stumbled upon another OT passage similar to the Isaiah passage you quoted and I wasn’t even looking for it. Not sure it is talking about the new covenant, but there is a passage like it in Joel that is.
    Ezekiel 36 :24-27 “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
    It is amazing to me the things I don’t see in scripture until someone gives me a new perspective :-)

  • Sherry

    Larry,
    I just stumbled upon another OT passage similar to the Isaiah passage you quoted and I wasn’t even looking for it. Not sure it is talking about the new covenant, but there is a passage like it in Joel that is.
    Ezekiel 36 :24-27 “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
    It is amazing to me the things I don’t see in scripture until someone gives me a new perspective :-)

  • fws

    sherry @ 151

    Home run sherry!

  • fws

    sherry @ 151

    Home run sherry!

  • http://analogreigns.blogspot.com LuxRex

    Cincinnatus, Trotka and our Lutheran brethren:

    I think the issue of the mode of Jesus’ Real Presence could actually be resolved (but not comprehended…) with an apprehension of how God’s own spiritual reality works. If we look at “spirit” as something LESS than physical (like smoke or breath) which is, actually, the etymology of the words for it…than yes, spiritual presence in the Calvinistical sense is repugnant to Jesus’ personal Real Presence, because “spiritual presence” by definition means something less than real/physical presence.

    If however, as everyone’s favorite Anglican, C. S. Lewis, believed, divine spirituality is MORE than physical, and is comprehensive of reality–and even includes the physical world (but not in any pantheistic way) and the nature of things within it, than Jesus being present by the power of the Holy Spirit in the holy Eucharist includes His physical body…and the Real Presence of Jesus (in, under, over and around) in the real bread and real wine… can be maintained.

    Of course I’m speculating–on the nature of reality–and I cannot prove this by the spare language of holy Scripture. I agree with the comments I’ve read of Trokt and Cincinnatus, as I too am classically Anglican–and believe it’s right to be united by a common worship (or really the Object of our worship) rather than detailed interpretation in dogmatic confessions.

  • http://analogreigns.blogspot.com LuxRex

    Cincinnatus, Trotka and our Lutheran brethren:

    I think the issue of the mode of Jesus’ Real Presence could actually be resolved (but not comprehended…) with an apprehension of how God’s own spiritual reality works. If we look at “spirit” as something LESS than physical (like smoke or breath) which is, actually, the etymology of the words for it…than yes, spiritual presence in the Calvinistical sense is repugnant to Jesus’ personal Real Presence, because “spiritual presence” by definition means something less than real/physical presence.

    If however, as everyone’s favorite Anglican, C. S. Lewis, believed, divine spirituality is MORE than physical, and is comprehensive of reality–and even includes the physical world (but not in any pantheistic way) and the nature of things within it, than Jesus being present by the power of the Holy Spirit in the holy Eucharist includes His physical body…and the Real Presence of Jesus (in, under, over and around) in the real bread and real wine… can be maintained.

    Of course I’m speculating–on the nature of reality–and I cannot prove this by the spare language of holy Scripture. I agree with the comments I’ve read of Trokt and Cincinnatus, as I too am classically Anglican–and believe it’s right to be united by a common worship (or really the Object of our worship) rather than detailed interpretation in dogmatic confessions.


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