Lutheran pastor attacks Lutheran view of Lord’s Supper

An article on the Christian Post website and picked up by RealClearReligion is an in-your-face attack on the Lutheran theology of the Lord’s Supper.  The thing is, the author,  Dan Delzell, is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.

The church website says that it rejects membership in any synods, as being hierarchical like Roman Catholics, but it is affiliated with the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), which broke away from the ELCA for being too liberal.  The LCMC says it holds to the Augsburg Confession and Luther’s Small Catechism, both of which have clear teaching on the Lord’s Supper.

Here is Rev. Delzell’s article:  The Lord’s Supper Helps Christians ‘Keep it Real’, Christian News.

It is so full of misunderstandings and theological bloopers that one does not know where to begin.  I know, of course, that other theological traditions reject the Lutheran understanding of Christ’s real bodily presence in the Supper (not “consubstantiation”!) so that the bread and wine are the true body and blood of our Savior given for the forgiveness of sin.  I don’t, however, expect a Lutheran pastor to reject this teaching or to misunderstand it in such a spectacular way.  In what sense, I wonder, can he still consider himself a Lutheran?

How would you answer what he says, setting the record straight for the readers of the Christian Post?

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.

  • Dan Kempin

    Sounds to me like he has been reading “The blessings of weekly communion.”

  • Dan Kempin

    Sounds to me like he has been reading “The blessings of weekly communion.”

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

    The ‘reason’ bug has surely gotten to Rev. Delzell.

    He’d make a good Calvinist.

    We don’t know how, we just know that it is. “This IS…”

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

    The ‘reason’ bug has surely gotten to Rev. Delzell.

    He’d make a good Calvinist.

    We don’t know how, we just know that it is. “This IS…”

  • Michael B.

    I would say that pastors generally keep their beliefs deliberately vague to reduce controversy. For example, suppose we were to ask the question, “Will Jews go to hell”, or “In what cases should abortion be legal–health of the mother, incest, rape?”? –how would most pastors answer this?

  • Michael B.

    I would say that pastors generally keep their beliefs deliberately vague to reduce controversy. For example, suppose we were to ask the question, “Will Jews go to hell”, or “In what cases should abortion be legal–health of the mother, incest, rape?”? –how would most pastors answer this?

  • James Sarver

    Pr. Delzell makes much of the fact that real presence was not a controversy for 1500 years and then misses the point that reason rearing its ugly head and making the Reformed viewpoint “overly analytical” was the cause of the controversy.

    I think it is “overly analytical” to look to the cross and see a piece of wood symbolic of death as a remembrance and completely miss the dead body of God Incarnate that hangs on that cross.

    I would answer what he says by suggesting that he read the Confessions as a correct exposition of Scripture rather than an as an interesting historical document cooked up by Lutheran theologians.

  • James Sarver

    Pr. Delzell makes much of the fact that real presence was not a controversy for 1500 years and then misses the point that reason rearing its ugly head and making the Reformed viewpoint “overly analytical” was the cause of the controversy.

    I think it is “overly analytical” to look to the cross and see a piece of wood symbolic of death as a remembrance and completely miss the dead body of God Incarnate that hangs on that cross.

    I would answer what he says by suggesting that he read the Confessions as a correct exposition of Scripture rather than an as an interesting historical document cooked up by Lutheran theologians.

  • helen

    Let the elements remain somewhat of a mystery, just the way God designed it. Jesus simply told us, “Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) He never said, “Get overly analytical about the bread and wine.”

    Very odd that Delzell can quote “Do this in remembrance of Me” but seemingly read right past “This is My body”.
    He has rather spoiled his argument for weekly communion (which is available to me and I appreciate it) by saying we participate 24/7. It’s another example of “lutheran” not meaning Lutheran. And since he’s “independent”, who’s going to correct him?

  • helen

    Let the elements remain somewhat of a mystery, just the way God designed it. Jesus simply told us, “Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) He never said, “Get overly analytical about the bread and wine.”

    Very odd that Delzell can quote “Do this in remembrance of Me” but seemingly read right past “This is My body”.
    He has rather spoiled his argument for weekly communion (which is available to me and I appreciate it) by saying we participate 24/7. It’s another example of “lutheran” not meaning Lutheran. And since he’s “independent”, who’s going to correct him?

  • Hennfany KOP

    Acredito que muitos pastores usam de seu “ministerio pastoral” para fazer segundo seu coração ou aquilo que ele acredita ser uma revelação Divina. Isso tem feito da igreja terrena uma fabrica de Pseudocristão, mas somente na igreja terrena. Pois a igreja de Cristo continua incorruptível.

  • Hennfany KOP

    Acredito que muitos pastores usam de seu “ministerio pastoral” para fazer segundo seu coração ou aquilo que ele acredita ser uma revelação Divina. Isso tem feito da igreja terrena uma fabrica de Pseudocristão, mas somente na igreja terrena. Pois a igreja de Cristo continua incorruptível.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Eish. Confusing the Agape Feast with Holy Communion, calling FF Bruce a Renowned Scholar (instead of a hack), dipping into pietistic theology…. what else can you expect.

    I beg to differ from you Steve – this is anything but reason – this is good old fashioned pietism run amock.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Eish. Confusing the Agape Feast with Holy Communion, calling FF Bruce a Renowned Scholar (instead of a hack), dipping into pietistic theology…. what else can you expect.

    I beg to differ from you Steve – this is anything but reason – this is good old fashioned pietism run amock.

  • BW

    Quick side question: Klasie, why do you think FF Bruce is a hack? I like his work on the New Testament.

  • BW

    Quick side question: Klasie, why do you think FF Bruce is a hack? I like his work on the New Testament.

  • SKPeterson

    WellSpring appears to be affiliated with the “rules, we don’t need no rules” “synod” in LCMC that is the umbrella for the charismatics, etc. and other ex-Lutherans who can’t quite give up the name – their one obeisance to “tradition.”

  • SKPeterson

    WellSpring appears to be affiliated with the “rules, we don’t need no rules” “synod” in LCMC that is the umbrella for the charismatics, etc. and other ex-Lutherans who can’t quite give up the name – their one obeisance to “tradition.”

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    BW – I was referring the work I’m most familiar with – his work on church history. He glosses over gross heresy – no – he praises the heretics as courageous folk, and becomes obsessed in his search for the anti-established church (in keeping with his own Bretheren roots), ignoring the multitude of Heresies, some most gross, accompanying some of the anti-established groups.

    Though I’m not familair with his other work, the evidence I saw in his historical work would lead me to doubt his orthodox altogether (of course, as this is only one aspect of his work, I could be wrong). He comes across as a experiential pietist, if that means anything.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    BW – I was referring the work I’m most familiar with – his work on church history. He glosses over gross heresy – no – he praises the heretics as courageous folk, and becomes obsessed in his search for the anti-established church (in keeping with his own Bretheren roots), ignoring the multitude of Heresies, some most gross, accompanying some of the anti-established groups.

    Though I’m not familair with his other work, the evidence I saw in his historical work would lead me to doubt his orthodox altogether (of course, as this is only one aspect of his work, I could be wrong). He comes across as a experiential pietist, if that means anything.

  • Tom Hering

    Is anyone truly surprised to hear Delzell, a Charismatic Lutheran pastor, make the argument that “love unites, doctrine divides”?

  • Tom Hering

    Is anyone truly surprised to hear Delzell, a Charismatic Lutheran pastor, make the argument that “love unites, doctrine divides”?

  • Eric Swensson

    Hello. I have contacted Pr Delzell and asked him to defend his article. People are correct to be concerned about teaching on Holy Communion, and public teaching should be dealt with publicly. I think we should also follow Scripture, so it is best to not talk about him without first talking to him, if possible.
    My congregation left the ELCA in 2009 because they were no longer Confessional. We joined LCMC. I informed the author that this puts me in a difficult position and so I would like him to come and defend his views and be willing to admit error if that is what it takes. I also asked him to come to the Lutherans.com forum to discuss it as that might be more appropriate for a longer discussion.

  • Eric Swensson

    Hello. I have contacted Pr Delzell and asked him to defend his article. People are correct to be concerned about teaching on Holy Communion, and public teaching should be dealt with publicly. I think we should also follow Scripture, so it is best to not talk about him without first talking to him, if possible.
    My congregation left the ELCA in 2009 because they were no longer Confessional. We joined LCMC. I informed the author that this puts me in a difficult position and so I would like him to come and defend his views and be willing to admit error if that is what it takes. I also asked him to come to the Lutherans.com forum to discuss it as that might be more appropriate for a longer discussion.

  • Gary

    If he is honest with himself he would have to practice closed communion. He would need to close the table to those who believed in the sacramental presence of Jesus for they would be a divisive presence.

  • Gary

    If he is honest with himself he would have to practice closed communion. He would need to close the table to those who believed in the sacramental presence of Jesus for they would be a divisive presence.

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. I see no problem with discussing Pastor Delzell’s views, or even Pastor Delzell himself (what little we know about him). Once he goes public on the internet (goes outside the Church) with his views – whether by means of the Christian Post website or his own Wellspring Lutheran Church website – his views are fair game.

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. I see no problem with discussing Pastor Delzell’s views, or even Pastor Delzell himself (what little we know about him). Once he goes public on the internet (goes outside the Church) with his views – whether by means of the Christian Post website or his own Wellspring Lutheran Church website – his views are fair game.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Tom Hering #11
    Not at all. Dan’s always had his own ideas and ways of doing things. I remember back in the 80′s we served the LCMS in the Logan Fontenelle housing projects in Omaha as a sort of Christian summer school for children. My method? Teach them the Small Catechism; his? He wrote his own Christian rap! LOL the results were amazing.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Tom Hering #11
    Not at all. Dan’s always had his own ideas and ways of doing things. I remember back in the 80′s we served the LCMS in the Logan Fontenelle housing projects in Omaha as a sort of Christian summer school for children. My method? Teach them the Small Catechism; his? He wrote his own Christian rap! LOL the results were amazing.

  • Tom Hering

    Gary @ 13, I appreciate the snark :-D but there’s no need for Pastor Delzell to go that far. He’s surrendering the Lutheran doctrine of Real Presence to the Charismatic doctrine of “love unites, doctrine divides.” Yes, “love unites, doctrine divides” is itself a doctrine! A distinctive (more irony) of Charismatic churches that’s rather strongly enforced by informal means.

  • Tom Hering

    Gary @ 13, I appreciate the snark :-D but there’s no need for Pastor Delzell to go that far. He’s surrendering the Lutheran doctrine of Real Presence to the Charismatic doctrine of “love unites, doctrine divides.” Yes, “love unites, doctrine divides” is itself a doctrine! A distinctive (more irony) of Charismatic churches that’s rather strongly enforced by informal means.

  • larry

    I would say he’s not Lutheran without flinching and not sugar coat it at all especially for the weak who struggle. This is an essential doctrine that goes to the core of justification by faith alone and imputation, sola fide, gratia, scriptura, etc…. But this should not be surprising, scripture warns of such false teachers rising up from admist. In fact Luther points out that Scripture is pointing out explicitily this (in part) happens so that you will know who is approved and who is false bringing in their own doctrine saying, “The Lord said…”. In fact Luther would say that such false teachers, close to home, are worse than the worse outright opposition religion, the later at least you can see easily in front of you as opposed to this kind of insideous surrepititious wiley turn of words toward another gospel.

  • larry

    I would say he’s not Lutheran without flinching and not sugar coat it at all especially for the weak who struggle. This is an essential doctrine that goes to the core of justification by faith alone and imputation, sola fide, gratia, scriptura, etc…. But this should not be surprising, scripture warns of such false teachers rising up from admist. In fact Luther points out that Scripture is pointing out explicitily this (in part) happens so that you will know who is approved and who is false bringing in their own doctrine saying, “The Lord said…”. In fact Luther would say that such false teachers, close to home, are worse than the worse outright opposition religion, the later at least you can see easily in front of you as opposed to this kind of insideous surrepititious wiley turn of words toward another gospel.

  • Eric Swensson

    My thought was that it would be most productive to help a Lutheran pastor see his error than to merely roundly condemn him. What’s the point?

  • Eric Swensson

    My thought was that it would be most productive to help a Lutheran pastor see his error than to merely roundly condemn him. What’s the point?

  • Tom Hering

    “I would say he’s not Lutheran without flinching and not sugar coat it at all …”

    If you look at the “beliefs” and “core values” statements on Wellspring’s website, you won’t find a single thing there that’s distinctively Lutheran. I predict they’ll eventually drop “Lutheran” from their name, end their affiliation with the LCMC, and become an honest, Charismatic non-denom, i.e., officially become what they already are. Unless they’re really into being non-Lutheran Lutherans. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “I would say he’s not Lutheran without flinching and not sugar coat it at all …”

    If you look at the “beliefs” and “core values” statements on Wellspring’s website, you won’t find a single thing there that’s distinctively Lutheran. I predict they’ll eventually drop “Lutheran” from their name, end their affiliation with the LCMC, and become an honest, Charismatic non-denom, i.e., officially become what they already are. Unless they’re really into being non-Lutheran Lutherans. :-D

  • Dan Kempin

    Good point, Eric.

  • Dan Kempin

    Good point, Eric.

  • Eric Swensson

    Thanks, Dan. And Tom, it is my hope that any congregations in LCMC or ELCA, or for that matter any denomination that no longer uses the confessional sources as their touchstone for how they interpret the faith and do ministry do everyone a favor and drop the name that is supposed to distinguish them, otherwise it merely adds to the confusion. Of course, many keep the name for entirely other reasons, most of which are financial.

  • Eric Swensson

    Thanks, Dan. And Tom, it is my hope that any congregations in LCMC or ELCA, or for that matter any denomination that no longer uses the confessional sources as their touchstone for how they interpret the faith and do ministry do everyone a favor and drop the name that is supposed to distinguish them, otherwise it merely adds to the confusion. Of course, many keep the name for entirely other reasons, most of which are financial.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Eric Swensson #18
    “My thought was that it would be most productive to help a Lutheran pastor see his error…” ~ haha
    That’s not how Confessionalistas do things. So, grab your pitchfork and your torch; we gonna burn us a haretik!

  • #4 Kitty

    @Eric Swensson #18
    “My thought was that it would be most productive to help a Lutheran pastor see his error…” ~ haha
    That’s not how Confessionalistas do things. So, grab your pitchfork and your torch; we gonna burn us a haretik!

  • Eric Swensson

    LOL. I have a hard time keeping the articles straight. Which one directs us on which of Jesus’ teachings were overruled?

  • Eric Swensson

    LOL. I have a hard time keeping the articles straight. Which one directs us on which of Jesus’ teachings were overruled?

  • Tom Hering

    Eric @ 21, agreed. I pray your one-on-one with Pastor Delzell goes well.

    # 4 Kitty @ 22, we politically liberal Confessionals would never add to anthropomorphic global warming that way. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Eric @ 21, agreed. I pray your one-on-one with Pastor Delzell goes well.

    # 4 Kitty @ 22, we politically liberal Confessionals would never add to anthropomorphic global warming that way. :-D

  • CRB

    So…given the teaching of Rev. Delzell seemingly denying the real presence in the Lord’s Supper, what do we have but the Reformed view: just bread and wine.

    What is the benefit of bread and wine? If that is all it is, then let’s just stay home, watch some crazy televangelist on tv and sup to our hearts content!

    BUT…the fact is that the Lord’s Supper is not JUST bread and wine but Christ’s true, actual body given to us for the forgiveness of all of our sins. There is NO forgiveness in MERE bread and wine.

  • CRB

    So…given the teaching of Rev. Delzell seemingly denying the real presence in the Lord’s Supper, what do we have but the Reformed view: just bread and wine.

    What is the benefit of bread and wine? If that is all it is, then let’s just stay home, watch some crazy televangelist on tv and sup to our hearts content!

    BUT…the fact is that the Lord’s Supper is not JUST bread and wine but Christ’s true, actual body given to us for the forgiveness of all of our sins. There is NO forgiveness in MERE bread and wine.

  • Dennis Peskey

    It is obvious Pastor Delzell choose to depart Marburg on the Zwingli bus and debarked when it passed through Geneva. One need only read Article VII of the Solid Declaration (the first five paragraphs will suffice) and contrast Pr. Delzell’s article above to answer the question, “Can he still consider himself a Lutheran?” Actually, I am unable to answer this question since I am not Pr. Delzell, but I can answer from the Confessions which the LCMC declares to be “valid expositions of the Holy Scriptures” – no, he is not Lutheran.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    It is obvious Pastor Delzell choose to depart Marburg on the Zwingli bus and debarked when it passed through Geneva. One need only read Article VII of the Solid Declaration (the first five paragraphs will suffice) and contrast Pr. Delzell’s article above to answer the question, “Can he still consider himself a Lutheran?” Actually, I am unable to answer this question since I am not Pr. Delzell, but I can answer from the Confessions which the LCMC declares to be “valid expositions of the Holy Scriptures” – no, he is not Lutheran.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    It is a singularly excruciating experience to see someone, who ostensibly indentifies with your community, publically espouse beliefs antithetical to your community. The same thing happens when a Mormon says that he’s Christian and then describes Christianity as a polytheistic, neo-pelagian religion.
    Come Lord Jesus… SOON

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    It is a singularly excruciating experience to see someone, who ostensibly indentifies with your community, publically espouse beliefs antithetical to your community. The same thing happens when a Mormon says that he’s Christian and then describes Christianity as a polytheistic, neo-pelagian religion.
    Come Lord Jesus… SOON

  • –helen

    4 Kitty @ 22
    That’s not how Confessionalistas do things. So, grab your pitchfork and your torch; we gonna burn us a haretik!

    Really!? And you’re all over the place, not even looking scorched?

  • –helen

    4 Kitty @ 22
    That’s not how Confessionalistas do things. So, grab your pitchfork and your torch; we gonna burn us a haretik!

    Really!? And you’re all over the place, not even looking scorched?

  • SKPeterson

    Kitty – in keeping with Tom’s concern for global warming, let those of us who are without guilt cast the first very large stones.

  • SKPeterson

    Kitty – in keeping with Tom’s concern for global warming, let those of us who are without guilt cast the first very large stones.

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

    It will be interesting to see how the LCMC deals with this. I have to admit I have long been skeptical of the LCMC as a whole. Partly because in the back of my mind I keep thinking that this is what America needs, another Lutheran Synod that doesn’t agree with those other Lutheran synods. But the LCMC pastors that I have had most contact with don’t seem to be Lutheran in any sense of the term. I think SKPeterson describes the whole quite well. I’m sure it is not true of all of them. But this pastor needs to be dealt with, and his article if not him, publicly rebuked. Yes, I understand the desire to bring him to repentance, and this is often done best in a private and personal one on one. On the other hand, to stem the damage such an article does publicly, it is necessary for the church, and preferably the church he belongs to, to publicly reject this teaching and show that it is unacceptable.

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

    It will be interesting to see how the LCMC deals with this. I have to admit I have long been skeptical of the LCMC as a whole. Partly because in the back of my mind I keep thinking that this is what America needs, another Lutheran Synod that doesn’t agree with those other Lutheran synods. But the LCMC pastors that I have had most contact with don’t seem to be Lutheran in any sense of the term. I think SKPeterson describes the whole quite well. I’m sure it is not true of all of them. But this pastor needs to be dealt with, and his article if not him, publicly rebuked. Yes, I understand the desire to bring him to repentance, and this is often done best in a private and personal one on one. On the other hand, to stem the damage such an article does publicly, it is necessary for the church, and preferably the church he belongs to, to publicly reject this teaching and show that it is unacceptable.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    On the other hand, to stem the damage such an article does publicly, it is necessary for the church, and preferably the church he belongs to, to publicly reject this teaching and show that it is unacceptable.

    Are you referring to the LCMC or his congregation?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    On the other hand, to stem the damage such an article does publicly, it is necessary for the church, and preferably the church he belongs to, to publicly reject this teaching and show that it is unacceptable.

    Are you referring to the LCMC or his congregation?

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

    Sg, Those laymen in this man’s congregation who have the theological aptitude to correct him should do so. But it is even more so the responsibility of the LCMC. I can’t say my impression of this group has been great. It really has not been. But this is not helping their reputation any. If they are serious about wanting to be Lutheran, and be considered Lutheran, than they will deal with this man, and some of that dealing will have to be public. There is also a place for a Man like Eric to approach the man privately.

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

    Sg, Those laymen in this man’s congregation who have the theological aptitude to correct him should do so. But it is even more so the responsibility of the LCMC. I can’t say my impression of this group has been great. It really has not been. But this is not helping their reputation any. If they are serious about wanting to be Lutheran, and be considered Lutheran, than they will deal with this man, and some of that dealing will have to be public. There is also a place for a Man like Eric to approach the man privately.

  • Eric Swensson

    I sent him an email before I posted here. We can all pray about this and other situations. Again, I think it is most troublesome when pastor’s act as to give the impression they can change bedrock teachings.

  • Eric Swensson

    I sent him an email before I posted here. We can all pray about this and other situations. Again, I think it is most troublesome when pastor’s act as to give the impression they can change bedrock teachings.

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

    Many here have said that this pastor has exhibited some un-Lutheran behavior and beliefs. I am one of those.

    I mentioned that the ‘reason’ bug was responsible (for not believing that Christ can actually be present in the ordinary things of this world).

    I know scores of Lutheran pastors who also have succumbed this same ‘reason’ bug. The belief that God cannot make Himself known or be present in a book that is both a product of human history…and of God…is a perfect example of the ‘reason’ bug.

    Maybe we ought examine ourselves a bit more before we jump all over someone else for basically the same thing.

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

    Many here have said that this pastor has exhibited some un-Lutheran behavior and beliefs. I am one of those.

    I mentioned that the ‘reason’ bug was responsible (for not believing that Christ can actually be present in the ordinary things of this world).

    I know scores of Lutheran pastors who also have succumbed this same ‘reason’ bug. The belief that God cannot make Himself known or be present in a book that is both a product of human history…and of God…is a perfect example of the ‘reason’ bug.

    Maybe we ought examine ourselves a bit more before we jump all over someone else for basically the same thing.

  • larry

    It’s not about the constant false accusation of “grab your pitchforks” but being honest concerning the language. No where in Scripture or in Luther or in Lutherans such as Pieper or others do we find this sugar coated language. It’s acctually unloving to not be forthright and honest about the language. A false teaching or doctrine should use that language, not as a pitch fork, but as a clear identifier and earnst warning. Especially towards teachers this is loving, because if they don’t repent Scripture is explicit that men answer for these things and particularly when they lead other men under their care away. That’s actually how Scripture itself warns of such things.

    A language that either explicitly states or heavily implies “this is a MAYBE essential thing you MAYBE ought to reconsider” unlovingly leaves the doorway open for them to remain recalcitrant because it does not communicate the urgency and reality of the situation.

    Perhaps coming at it from an ex-unbelievers point of view helps bring this out. Back when I was an unbeliever a Christian, who had the guts to love me even when he knew I’d be offended, use to witness to me about Jesus is the only way, to not believe means one will go to hell, etc…to my deluded unbelieving ears sounded as harsh and unloving as cold steel against my literal flesh. I in fact did say on several occasions, “so condemn the unbelievers and other religions eh”, “that’s arrogant”, “that’s so unloving”. Same form of counter arguments.

    However, those words were never more loving to me, even all the more that they did not mince or sugar coat the realities for they did in fact work on my granite conscience at later times, in the quiet of the night, in pondering moments about etneral truth and realities. Had he sugar coated them, they would have pinged off like a BB from tank. It was not until much later, at conversion, that I realized just how loving he had been to me and endured my insensed vitriol response back to him at the time (he suffered my persecution of him). But to this day I am now very thankful for his strength to so love me to so speak to me that way. In short, I falsely accused and persecuted him for nothing other than his love toward me via the strange work of the law.

  • larry

    It’s not about the constant false accusation of “grab your pitchforks” but being honest concerning the language. No where in Scripture or in Luther or in Lutherans such as Pieper or others do we find this sugar coated language. It’s acctually unloving to not be forthright and honest about the language. A false teaching or doctrine should use that language, not as a pitch fork, but as a clear identifier and earnst warning. Especially towards teachers this is loving, because if they don’t repent Scripture is explicit that men answer for these things and particularly when they lead other men under their care away. That’s actually how Scripture itself warns of such things.

    A language that either explicitly states or heavily implies “this is a MAYBE essential thing you MAYBE ought to reconsider” unlovingly leaves the doorway open for them to remain recalcitrant because it does not communicate the urgency and reality of the situation.

    Perhaps coming at it from an ex-unbelievers point of view helps bring this out. Back when I was an unbeliever a Christian, who had the guts to love me even when he knew I’d be offended, use to witness to me about Jesus is the only way, to not believe means one will go to hell, etc…to my deluded unbelieving ears sounded as harsh and unloving as cold steel against my literal flesh. I in fact did say on several occasions, “so condemn the unbelievers and other religions eh”, “that’s arrogant”, “that’s so unloving”. Same form of counter arguments.

    However, those words were never more loving to me, even all the more that they did not mince or sugar coat the realities for they did in fact work on my granite conscience at later times, in the quiet of the night, in pondering moments about etneral truth and realities. Had he sugar coated them, they would have pinged off like a BB from tank. It was not until much later, at conversion, that I realized just how loving he had been to me and endured my insensed vitriol response back to him at the time (he suffered my persecution of him). But to this day I am now very thankful for his strength to so love me to so speak to me that way. In short, I falsely accused and persecuted him for nothing other than his love toward me via the strange work of the law.

  • Arfies

    It’s healthy, isn’t it, for us to have to defend what we say we believe? Pastor Delzell may not agree with us, but let the debate continue so that we truly know where we stand.
    BTW, I noticed when I used the link to the Christian Post that the Southern Baptists are planning to bring the Gospel back to St. Louis, which the evangelicals have mostly abandoned. It’s about time!

  • Arfies

    It’s healthy, isn’t it, for us to have to defend what we say we believe? Pastor Delzell may not agree with us, but let the debate continue so that we truly know where we stand.
    BTW, I noticed when I used the link to the Christian Post that the Southern Baptists are planning to bring the Gospel back to St. Louis, which the evangelicals have mostly abandoned. It’s about time!

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

    I hope that the S. Baptists can find it, before they get there.

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

    I hope that the S. Baptists can find it, before they get there.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Bror Erickson: “But it is even more so the responsibility of the LCMC. I can’t say my impression of this group has been great. It really has not been. But this is not helping their reputation any. If they are serious about wanting to be Lutheran, and be considered Lutheran, than they will deal with this man, and some of that dealing will have to be public.”

    What if Pastor Delzell were to publicly say the following to a LCMC disciplinary council:

    “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason and not by Popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves, my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Bror Erickson: “But it is even more so the responsibility of the LCMC. I can’t say my impression of this group has been great. It really has not been. But this is not helping their reputation any. If they are serious about wanting to be Lutheran, and be considered Lutheran, than they will deal with this man, and some of that dealing will have to be public.”

    What if Pastor Delzell were to publicly say the following to a LCMC disciplinary council:

    “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason and not by Popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves, my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.”

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

    Then it would be incumbent upon him to show from scripture how he drew his bladephemous conclusions…

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

    Then it would be incumbent upon him to show from scripture how he drew his bladephemous conclusions…

  • Tom Hering

    TUAD @ 38, if the LCMC has any integrity, they’ll respond, “Fine. Do what you want. But you can’t call yourself an LCMC Lutheran anymore. Just as Luther couldn’t call himself a subject of the Pope anymore.”

  • Tom Hering

    TUAD @ 38, if the LCMC has any integrity, they’ll respond, “Fine. Do what you want. But you can’t call yourself an LCMC Lutheran anymore. Just as Luther couldn’t call himself a subject of the Pope anymore.”

  • http://lwtheology.wordpress.com TDog138

    I personally had a hard time following his article and logic. he seemed to jump around a lot and did not seem very coherent. Also, a quick question. How is the Lutheran understanding not considered consubstantiation?

  • http://lwtheology.wordpress.com TDog138

    I personally had a hard time following his article and logic. he seemed to jump around a lot and did not seem very coherent. Also, a quick question. How is the Lutheran understanding not considered consubstantiation?

  • larry

    Steve,

    Funny but sadly true. True personal story. Back when I was still a SB and part of our family in ministry and I knew nothing of Luther/Lutheran other than secular history way back in my world history classes from HS/college, we were all going up for a fishing trip in MN (great place to go by the way). Well, up there Lutheran churches appear by in large in frequency the way SB churches appear down here (you can’t throw a stone without hitting one). One of our family member ministers noticed as we were driving through this semi big town the Lutheran churches and pointed one out, “there’s a Lutheran church”, the other family minister just waking up from a long sleep said, “Yep, there’s a mission field”.

    Funny as a story, sad as a reality for the SB.

  • larry

    Steve,

    Funny but sadly true. True personal story. Back when I was still a SB and part of our family in ministry and I knew nothing of Luther/Lutheran other than secular history way back in my world history classes from HS/college, we were all going up for a fishing trip in MN (great place to go by the way). Well, up there Lutheran churches appear by in large in frequency the way SB churches appear down here (you can’t throw a stone without hitting one). One of our family member ministers noticed as we were driving through this semi big town the Lutheran churches and pointed one out, “there’s a Lutheran church”, the other family minister just waking up from a long sleep said, “Yep, there’s a mission field”.

    Funny as a story, sad as a reality for the SB.

  • Rev. Dave Rubke, em

    Pastor Dezell puts quite a different twist on 1 Cor. 10 and 11 and the Lutheran Confessions. But then look at the denominational hat that he wears.

  • Rev. Dave Rubke, em

    Pastor Dezell puts quite a different twist on 1 Cor. 10 and 11 and the Lutheran Confessions. But then look at the denominational hat that he wears.

  • Eric Swensson

    Pastors, it appears to the casual reader that it is fine to take general swipes at LCMC without giving any reasons. Why is LCMC held in contempt amongst yourselves?

  • Eric Swensson

    Pastors, it appears to the casual reader that it is fine to take general swipes at LCMC without giving any reasons. Why is LCMC held in contempt amongst yourselves?

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

    Eric,
    not sure if I can speak for other pastors, but with few exceptions I the lcmc pastors I have come in contact with have not been Lutheran, nor have they cared to be Lutheran. When forts coming to Utah, the lcmc movement was strong, and actually one of the seminaries for the movement was located in Slc. That seminary is now defunct, but it was an “inter denominational” seminary with no Lutherans whatsoever on the faculty! When I talked to the pastors they did not seem to think it mattered, nor did they show any concern for Lutheran distinctives, or Biblical teaching, unless it was aimed at the homosexual community,, or some far fetched interpretation against bishops (not caaaring to have the episcopals around). They certainly.were not willing to talk about the validity of women’s ordination. They were however enamoured with Rick Warren and the purpose driven life, and the.purpose driven church, which they told.me were Lutheran… I have tried to open dualities with the local Lcmc pastor, but he is om a different plane and mostly thinks being.Lutheran is about eating lutefisk. So perhaps this isn’t “typical” of the lcmc but it seems to be, and we are very happy they chose a name so easily confused with the Lcms. I am hoping and praying that there will he a Lutheran revival.in the ranks of the lcmc, that they will take time to.understand that women’s ore. Is a problem to be addressed. But I gave up holding my breath for it

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

    Eric,
    not sure if I can speak for other pastors, but with few exceptions I the lcmc pastors I have come in contact with have not been Lutheran, nor have they cared to be Lutheran. When forts coming to Utah, the lcmc movement was strong, and actually one of the seminaries for the movement was located in Slc. That seminary is now defunct, but it was an “inter denominational” seminary with no Lutherans whatsoever on the faculty! When I talked to the pastors they did not seem to think it mattered, nor did they show any concern for Lutheran distinctives, or Biblical teaching, unless it was aimed at the homosexual community,, or some far fetched interpretation against bishops (not caaaring to have the episcopals around). They certainly.were not willing to talk about the validity of women’s ordination. They were however enamoured with Rick Warren and the purpose driven life, and the.purpose driven church, which they told.me were Lutheran… I have tried to open dualities with the local Lcmc pastor, but he is om a different plane and mostly thinks being.Lutheran is about eating lutefisk. So perhaps this isn’t “typical” of the lcmc but it seems to be, and we are very happy they chose a name so easily confused with the Lcms. I am hoping and praying that there will he a Lutheran revival.in the ranks of the lcmc, that they will take time to.understand that women’s ore. Is a problem to be addressed. But I gave up holding my breath for it

  • Eric Swensson

    Thanks, Bror. I’ve heard a few stories myself, but I went to my first annual gathering in Des Moines this year and was pleased. However, you are right, they ordain women and that is not going to change.

    You all need ot understand though that LCMC is not a denomination. It doesn’t look like one, walk like one or quack like one. It is a network. They have few rules. It doesn’t really work for me, I will wait and see. I have investigated going through LCMC colloquy and might.

    I wish you all would understand something significant. LCMC had about 200 congregations for a long time. They now have 750 or so. Those 550 were people who took a stand for the Confessions.

  • Eric Swensson

    Thanks, Bror. I’ve heard a few stories myself, but I went to my first annual gathering in Des Moines this year and was pleased. However, you are right, they ordain women and that is not going to change.

    You all need ot understand though that LCMC is not a denomination. It doesn’t look like one, walk like one or quack like one. It is a network. They have few rules. It doesn’t really work for me, I will wait and see. I have investigated going through LCMC colloquy and might.

    I wish you all would understand something significant. LCMC had about 200 congregations for a long time. They now have 750 or so. Those 550 were people who took a stand for the Confessions.

  • Dennis Peskey

    TDog138 (#41) “How is the Lutheran understanding not considered consubstantiation?

    From the LC-MS Cyclopedia; “Consubstantiation: View, falsely charged to Lutheranism, that bread and body form one substance (a “third substance”) in Communion (similarly wine and blood) or that body and blood are present, like bread and wine, in a natural manner.”

    From the Means of Grace, Part VI (Lords Supper as a Means of Grace), 3. (Real Presence) “In Lutheran terminology the eating and drinking of Christ’s body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine is called sacramental eating and drinking.” And, 4. (Elements in the Sacrament) “Bread and wine are received in a natural manner; the body and blood of Christ, though received orally, are received in an incomprehensible, supernatural manner (no Capernaitic eating; FC SD VII 64).”
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    TDog138 (#41) “How is the Lutheran understanding not considered consubstantiation?

    From the LC-MS Cyclopedia; “Consubstantiation: View, falsely charged to Lutheranism, that bread and body form one substance (a “third substance”) in Communion (similarly wine and blood) or that body and blood are present, like bread and wine, in a natural manner.”

    From the Means of Grace, Part VI (Lords Supper as a Means of Grace), 3. (Real Presence) “In Lutheran terminology the eating and drinking of Christ’s body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine is called sacramental eating and drinking.” And, 4. (Elements in the Sacrament) “Bread and wine are received in a natural manner; the body and blood of Christ, though received orally, are received in an incomprehensible, supernatural manner (no Capernaitic eating; FC SD VII 64).”
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    In general, I agree that LCMC is not a denomination. For the most part, it is not a disciplinary body upholding a doctrinal standard. Though one important way it functions as a denomination is that it is a group an ELCA congregation can join so that it can keep its property on the way out of the ELCA. The ELCA recognizes it as a Lutheran body, and most ELCA church constitutions specify that a congregation must join a Lutheran body on the way out or leave its property with those who wish to remain Lutheran, so that the members have a Lutheran church to attend. This is a pragmatic reason that many congregations may join the body. And many who do so are probably suspicious of the likelihood that a disciplinary body in our time is a workable idea.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    In general, I agree that LCMC is not a denomination. For the most part, it is not a disciplinary body upholding a doctrinal standard. Though one important way it functions as a denomination is that it is a group an ELCA congregation can join so that it can keep its property on the way out of the ELCA. The ELCA recognizes it as a Lutheran body, and most ELCA church constitutions specify that a congregation must join a Lutheran body on the way out or leave its property with those who wish to remain Lutheran, so that the members have a Lutheran church to attend. This is a pragmatic reason that many congregations may join the body. And many who do so are probably suspicious of the likelihood that a disciplinary body in our time is a workable idea.

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

    I will now renew my vow not to comment from my kindle fire.

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

    I will now renew my vow not to comment from my kindle fire.

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

    That is rather interesting Rick.
    I guess I’m rather suspiscious of disciplinary body being able to work either. It hardly works in a local congregation. And it doesn’t work so well in the LCMS at all. Sometimes I wish it would. But being a circuit counselor, I’ve come to see a lot more the wisdom in our structure, that really doesn’t work with discipline well.
    At times there needs to be discipline within any organization. It’s really a matter of how much and to what extent. It is worth noting though that unlike the reformed, Lutherans do not see church discipline as a mark of the church, and with good reason. (I sometimes think the LCMS has replaced that mark with infighting…) But this is why Lutherans form synods, bodies that pledge to walk together. And sometimes a few in the battalion don’t march to the same beat, the fall behind, etc. In the military you have a choice when a unit stops marching instep with each other, you can shoot the offenders, or you can carry them. In the church, it is often best to carry them, one should at least make every effort to carry them. And only when they don’t want to be carried do you strip them of their uniform, take their weapons and leave them in the ditch. Not sure this is the best metaphor…
    In any case we are about walking together. But this means their needs be admonishment when people are no longer walking together. Which is why I think the LCMC as a body should publicly address this issue, since one in their ranks has taken a different tack than is considered Lutheran, and is at odds with what scripture says. In the same spirit of walking together, this brother needs to be admonished, and helped along for his own benefit, but should it just let sit, the gangrene will spread, and the LCMC will stand for even less than it seems to stand for now.
    Generally though, I think there are better ways to handle problems, and though Church discipline needs to remain a tool in the box, and even a tool used once in awhile, it should not become the redneck’s hammer without which nothing can be fixed.

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

    That is rather interesting Rick.
    I guess I’m rather suspiscious of disciplinary body being able to work either. It hardly works in a local congregation. And it doesn’t work so well in the LCMS at all. Sometimes I wish it would. But being a circuit counselor, I’ve come to see a lot more the wisdom in our structure, that really doesn’t work with discipline well.
    At times there needs to be discipline within any organization. It’s really a matter of how much and to what extent. It is worth noting though that unlike the reformed, Lutherans do not see church discipline as a mark of the church, and with good reason. (I sometimes think the LCMS has replaced that mark with infighting…) But this is why Lutherans form synods, bodies that pledge to walk together. And sometimes a few in the battalion don’t march to the same beat, the fall behind, etc. In the military you have a choice when a unit stops marching instep with each other, you can shoot the offenders, or you can carry them. In the church, it is often best to carry them, one should at least make every effort to carry them. And only when they don’t want to be carried do you strip them of their uniform, take their weapons and leave them in the ditch. Not sure this is the best metaphor…
    In any case we are about walking together. But this means their needs be admonishment when people are no longer walking together. Which is why I think the LCMC as a body should publicly address this issue, since one in their ranks has taken a different tack than is considered Lutheran, and is at odds with what scripture says. In the same spirit of walking together, this brother needs to be admonished, and helped along for his own benefit, but should it just let sit, the gangrene will spread, and the LCMC will stand for even less than it seems to stand for now.
    Generally though, I think there are better ways to handle problems, and though Church discipline needs to remain a tool in the box, and even a tool used once in awhile, it should not become the redneck’s hammer without which nothing can be fixed.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Thank you Dennis @ 47 – there are some here that are, in their defense of Lutheranism, and their attacks on “sinful reason”, constantly straying from the latter to the former.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Thank you Dennis @ 47 – there are some here that are, in their defense of Lutheranism, and their attacks on “sinful reason”, constantly straying from the latter to the former.

  • Eric Swensson

    I agree that Lutherans need regulation.

  • Eric Swensson

    I agree that Lutherans need regulation.

  • Alex

    The article by Rev. Delzell made me more sad than anything else. It was not Lutheran in the least. I wish you well, Rev. Swensson, in your communication with him.

  • Alex

    The article by Rev. Delzell made me more sad than anything else. It was not Lutheran in the least. I wish you well, Rev. Swensson, in your communication with him.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In Lutheran terminology the eating and drinking of Christ’s body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine is called sacramental eating and drinking.”

    1. Was ist das Sakrament des Altars? (Wesen)

    Es ist der wahre Leib und Blut unseres Herrn Jesus Christus, unter dem Brot und Wein uns Christen zu essen und zu trinken von Christus selbst eingesetzt.

    Okay, I have always wondered about the translation of “in, with and under” from the German. Shouldn’t the word “unter” more properly be translated “among” in this context and not “under”?

    Anybody know why it is so oddly translated?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “In Lutheran terminology the eating and drinking of Christ’s body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine is called sacramental eating and drinking.”

    1. Was ist das Sakrament des Altars? (Wesen)

    Es ist der wahre Leib und Blut unseres Herrn Jesus Christus, unter dem Brot und Wein uns Christen zu essen und zu trinken von Christus selbst eingesetzt.

    Okay, I have always wondered about the translation of “in, with and under” from the German. Shouldn’t the word “unter” more properly be translated “among” in this context and not “under”?

    Anybody know why it is so oddly translated?

  • Eric Swensson

    sg raises a question I’ve wondered and never seen addressed. I bet LCMS seminaries did though. What do the brethren know about this?

  • Eric Swensson

    sg raises a question I’ve wondered and never seen addressed. I bet LCMS seminaries did though. What do the brethren know about this?

  • Dan Delzell

    Hello all,

    I don’t think my first post went through and so I am writing again. I had a good visit with Eric Swensson a short time ago. He encouraged me to send you a few thoughts.

    I appreciate the ministry of Dr. Veith and his role serving as a council member on the Council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. We have a member of our church who just began his studies a month ago at Patrick Henry College. I will encourage him to check out this blog and to get involved in this dialogue at some point. There is a lot that Dr. Veith’s fellow council members could also add to this critical discussion about the Sacrament of the Altar. We can learn from one another in the body of Christ as Dr. Veith has seen as part of this alliance.

    There is nothing in Lutheran doctrine that goes against Scripture. If any of the Lutheran doctrines contradicted Scripture, you and I would choose not to identify with anything “Lutheran.”

    Jesus spoke the words of John 6 before He ever said, “This is my body…This is my blood…” All of it is to be interpreted literally. Believers in Christ are literally eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood through faith 24/7. It never stops.

    The real presence of Christ is just as real in that eating as in the eating that also happens during the brief moment of communion. The real presence of Christ does not leave the believer….nor is it a different body than the body of our Lord. There is only one body of Christ.

    The Bible does not teach that the body of Christ is enclosed in the bread, and hence, the Lutheran Confessions reject this teaching also. It is a mystery that believers are eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood through faith, just like the sacramental union is a mystery.
    The union of Christ’s flesh and blood to faith is something that the Holy Spirit produced through the Gospel. Spiritual conversion is not a human decision, as you know.

    The words “in, with, and under” do not carry the weight of Scripture. The Lord’s words carry that weight….”This is my body…this is my blood…” Those are the words of Scripture. That doesn’t mean we can understand it with our weak human reason.

    If someone tries to explain it according to human reason, he is behaving very much like a Calvinist who uses his human reason to convince himself that Christ died only for those who will believe. That is not a teaching of Scripture…..nor is it a teaching of Scripture to say that our Lord’s words are to be interpreted symbolically….either in John 6 or in the Words of Institution……both are literal…both are real….neither refer to an oral eating or a chewing or a swallowing or a body that is enclosed in the bread…..it is a mystery…..This is my body…..you can use your human reason to add to our Lord’s words, or you can accept what He said at face value.

    The Lutheran Confessions are correct because they faithfully present the teaching of Scripture. The real presence of Christ is not limited to a few brief moments in a believer’s life every couple weeks or so. Just as Luther became obsessed with certain things, so do you and I. We are still in these fallen bodies. We are all as guilty as Luther of being tempted to add to the Lord’s words and assume that our additions carry the weight of Scripture. They do not. Luther knew that his words didn’t either.

    We all must continue to evaluate doctrine according to Scripture. I am thankful that Dr. Veith and each of you are so serious about taking the Word of God literally. My article approached the topic from all of Scripture, including our Lord’s many words in John 6. Once we understand John 6 in a literal way, we will be able to see why it is just as important to accept “This is my body” as literal too. If we jump past John 6, we are trying to add an apple to a branch that has not yet grown on the tree. Eating our Lord’s flesh and drinking His blood was emphasized in John 6 for a reason. It goes on all day for the believer according to the very words of Christ.

    I thank the Lord for faithful servants of Christ such as yourselves. As a fellow sinner and one who is committed to always stick 100% to Scripture, I am grateful for my visit with Eric and for this opportunity to share with you.

    God’s blessings,

    Pastor Dan Delzell

  • Dan Delzell

    Hello all,

    I don’t think my first post went through and so I am writing again. I had a good visit with Eric Swensson a short time ago. He encouraged me to send you a few thoughts.

    I appreciate the ministry of Dr. Veith and his role serving as a council member on the Council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. We have a member of our church who just began his studies a month ago at Patrick Henry College. I will encourage him to check out this blog and to get involved in this dialogue at some point. There is a lot that Dr. Veith’s fellow council members could also add to this critical discussion about the Sacrament of the Altar. We can learn from one another in the body of Christ as Dr. Veith has seen as part of this alliance.

    There is nothing in Lutheran doctrine that goes against Scripture. If any of the Lutheran doctrines contradicted Scripture, you and I would choose not to identify with anything “Lutheran.”

    Jesus spoke the words of John 6 before He ever said, “This is my body…This is my blood…” All of it is to be interpreted literally. Believers in Christ are literally eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood through faith 24/7. It never stops.

    The real presence of Christ is just as real in that eating as in the eating that also happens during the brief moment of communion. The real presence of Christ does not leave the believer….nor is it a different body than the body of our Lord. There is only one body of Christ.

    The Bible does not teach that the body of Christ is enclosed in the bread, and hence, the Lutheran Confessions reject this teaching also. It is a mystery that believers are eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood through faith, just like the sacramental union is a mystery.
    The union of Christ’s flesh and blood to faith is something that the Holy Spirit produced through the Gospel. Spiritual conversion is not a human decision, as you know.

    The words “in, with, and under” do not carry the weight of Scripture. The Lord’s words carry that weight….”This is my body…this is my blood…” Those are the words of Scripture. That doesn’t mean we can understand it with our weak human reason.

    If someone tries to explain it according to human reason, he is behaving very much like a Calvinist who uses his human reason to convince himself that Christ died only for those who will believe. That is not a teaching of Scripture…..nor is it a teaching of Scripture to say that our Lord’s words are to be interpreted symbolically….either in John 6 or in the Words of Institution……both are literal…both are real….neither refer to an oral eating or a chewing or a swallowing or a body that is enclosed in the bread…..it is a mystery…..This is my body…..you can use your human reason to add to our Lord’s words, or you can accept what He said at face value.

    The Lutheran Confessions are correct because they faithfully present the teaching of Scripture. The real presence of Christ is not limited to a few brief moments in a believer’s life every couple weeks or so. Just as Luther became obsessed with certain things, so do you and I. We are still in these fallen bodies. We are all as guilty as Luther of being tempted to add to the Lord’s words and assume that our additions carry the weight of Scripture. They do not. Luther knew that his words didn’t either.

    We all must continue to evaluate doctrine according to Scripture. I am thankful that Dr. Veith and each of you are so serious about taking the Word of God literally. My article approached the topic from all of Scripture, including our Lord’s many words in John 6. Once we understand John 6 in a literal way, we will be able to see why it is just as important to accept “This is my body” as literal too. If we jump past John 6, we are trying to add an apple to a branch that has not yet grown on the tree. Eating our Lord’s flesh and drinking His blood was emphasized in John 6 for a reason. It goes on all day for the believer according to the very words of Christ.

    I thank the Lord for faithful servants of Christ such as yourselves. As a fellow sinner and one who is committed to always stick 100% to Scripture, I am grateful for my visit with Eric and for this opportunity to share with you.

    God’s blessings,

    Pastor Dan Delzell

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

    Thing is prepositions are inherently slippery in meaning. The German word Unter, does not quite correspond well with the English word under, though it does carry the same meaning. That being said, I’m not sure that translating it “among” would do anything beneficial for the understanding of the Lord’s Supper. I very much doubt that is the connotation it ever carried in this context, especially when this is phraseology is used to locate the body in a particular place, the host. Among the bread would give it the idea that it is in between the different pieces.
    It is noticed that this is the weakest of the prepositions used to locate the body of Christ in all the confessions, in and with being much stronger indicators. But all and all, the true sense of the confessions is merely that the bread is the body, and the wine is the blood, and not mere representations.

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

    Thing is prepositions are inherently slippery in meaning. The German word Unter, does not quite correspond well with the English word under, though it does carry the same meaning. That being said, I’m not sure that translating it “among” would do anything beneficial for the understanding of the Lord’s Supper. I very much doubt that is the connotation it ever carried in this context, especially when this is phraseology is used to locate the body in a particular place, the host. Among the bread would give it the idea that it is in between the different pieces.
    It is noticed that this is the weakest of the prepositions used to locate the body of Christ in all the confessions, in and with being much stronger indicators. But all and all, the true sense of the confessions is merely that the bread is the body, and the wine is the blood, and not mere representations.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Among the bread would give it the idea that it is in between the different pieces.
    It is noticed that this is the weakest of the prepositions used to locate the body of Christ in all the confessions, in and with being much stronger indicators.”

    Oh, I don’t think the translation is some critical point. I just wondered about the translation. There isn’t really another way to express ‘among’ in German, so if they did mean among, they would have to use ‘unter’ in the sense that it means “in and with”. It almost looks like they are using “in, with and under” to translate the single word ‘unter’ in which case it would be more appropriate to say “in, with and among” rather than “in, with and under”. ‘Under’ just doesn’t make sense in English. I will agree with Bror that ‘among’ isn’t perfect either, but I still think ‘under’ is even less useful. Just a minor point, of course.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Among the bread would give it the idea that it is in between the different pieces.
    It is noticed that this is the weakest of the prepositions used to locate the body of Christ in all the confessions, in and with being much stronger indicators.”

    Oh, I don’t think the translation is some critical point. I just wondered about the translation. There isn’t really another way to express ‘among’ in German, so if they did mean among, they would have to use ‘unter’ in the sense that it means “in and with”. It almost looks like they are using “in, with and under” to translate the single word ‘unter’ in which case it would be more appropriate to say “in, with and among” rather than “in, with and under”. ‘Under’ just doesn’t make sense in English. I will agree with Bror that ‘among’ isn’t perfect either, but I still think ‘under’ is even less useful. Just a minor point, of course.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Where is a person’s soul located?

    In, with and among his physical being?

    I mean, it is not outside his body, nor is it in a particular place, nor divided up into little atoms floating among all the others. Yet it is there. It just is.

    Not a perfect analogy, but what came to mind.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Where is a person’s soul located?

    In, with and among his physical being?

    I mean, it is not outside his body, nor is it in a particular place, nor divided up into little atoms floating among all the others. Yet it is there. It just is.

    Not a perfect analogy, but what came to mind.

  • http://lwtheology.wordpress.com TDog138

    @Dennis #47

    Thank you! :) Now I understand why I thought the way the theology chair at TCU explained the Lutheran position was off.

  • http://lwtheology.wordpress.com TDog138

    @Dennis #47

    Thank you! :) Now I understand why I thought the way the theology chair at TCU explained the Lutheran position was off.

  • George A. Marquart

    First, I was unable to discover where Rev. Denzell denied the real presence. He is talking about emphasis; the idea that the point of the Lord’s Supper is not how the elements are constituted, but what our Lord’s purpose was in instituting the sacrament.

    The question, “Did Paul scold them for failing to believe that the body and blood of Christ are located within the bread and wine?” shows that he believes that the “official” MCLS interpretation of “the body” in 1 Cor. 11:29 is not accepted by everyone. And rightly so, since there are no records of any controversy over “The Real Presence” until the fifth century.

    I was somewhat amused by the reference to John 6. As most of you know, Martin Luther insisted that “not one syllable” of this text has anything to do with the Lord’s Supper. I know that most Lutherans feel differently today, but it is a source of dispute.

    It also struck me as being expressive of modern theological thought, when the author asked, “I have often asked people: “What about the real presence of Christ in the heart of every believer 24 hours a day?” Scripture clearly teaches the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every member of the Kingdom of God. Does it also teach the indwelling of Christ? I am reminded of what Sasse wrote in 1960, “If indeed the true doctrine of the Holy Spirit has lost its place (Heimatrecht) in church and congregation, then it cannot be long before the reality of the Holy Spirit is also lost to us, jus as Christ ceases to be present when He is not truly taught, when His Gospel and sacraments are falsified. Here may lie the explanation of the decline of those means in the church which are to be the specific locations of the activity the Holy Spirit.”

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    First, I was unable to discover where Rev. Denzell denied the real presence. He is talking about emphasis; the idea that the point of the Lord’s Supper is not how the elements are constituted, but what our Lord’s purpose was in instituting the sacrament.

    The question, “Did Paul scold them for failing to believe that the body and blood of Christ are located within the bread and wine?” shows that he believes that the “official” MCLS interpretation of “the body” in 1 Cor. 11:29 is not accepted by everyone. And rightly so, since there are no records of any controversy over “The Real Presence” until the fifth century.

    I was somewhat amused by the reference to John 6. As most of you know, Martin Luther insisted that “not one syllable” of this text has anything to do with the Lord’s Supper. I know that most Lutherans feel differently today, but it is a source of dispute.

    It also struck me as being expressive of modern theological thought, when the author asked, “I have often asked people: “What about the real presence of Christ in the heart of every believer 24 hours a day?” Scripture clearly teaches the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every member of the Kingdom of God. Does it also teach the indwelling of Christ? I am reminded of what Sasse wrote in 1960, “If indeed the true doctrine of the Holy Spirit has lost its place (Heimatrecht) in church and congregation, then it cannot be long before the reality of the Holy Spirit is also lost to us, jus as Christ ceases to be present when He is not truly taught, when His Gospel and sacraments are falsified. Here may lie the explanation of the decline of those means in the church which are to be the specific locations of the activity the Holy Spirit.”

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • don

    In whatever manner Christ was present in the elements when He declared, “This is my body. . .this is my blood,” just so He is still present in the Holy Supper.

  • don

    In whatever manner Christ was present in the elements when He declared, “This is my body. . .this is my blood,” just so He is still present in the Holy Supper.

  • Dan Delzell

    Here are some more thoughts building on my previous post above. When discussing the literal nature of Christ’s flesh and blood in John 6, we of course must not slip into a wrong view of justification. “Christ for us” is outside of us. “Christ in us” in not. The former concerns our justification by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ. The latter has moved into the realm of sanctification. Christ does not come to live within us before we are justified. His indwelling presence, as with the Holy Spirit, comes as a result of our justification. We must always stand guard against those who seek to deny forensic justification. As Christians, we do not rely upon a subjective “infusion of grace” as the basis of our righteous standing before God. The subjective reality of “Christ in us” is something we know about because of the objective Word which speaks of His indwelling presence. The Scriptures are clear on this matter. At the moment of conversion, Christ comes to live within the believer. The means of grace deliver the “Man of grace” to us. Once He is on the scene, a person is living in a state of grace. It is a good thing for us that this state of grace does not depend upon our efforts or our holy living to keep it going. The Man of grace delivers the needed grace 24/7 through faith. Even faith is a gift. We cannot take an ounce of credit for our belief in Christ or for eating His flesh and drinking His blood 24/7. How it happens is a mystery. God simply tells us in John 6 that it does happen for every believer. Here is a link to some good information from F. Bente regarding Osiander. It is relevant to this discussion as we bask in the joy of our salvation which Christ won for us on the cross.
    http://bookofconcord.org/historical-16.php

  • Dan Delzell

    Here are some more thoughts building on my previous post above. When discussing the literal nature of Christ’s flesh and blood in John 6, we of course must not slip into a wrong view of justification. “Christ for us” is outside of us. “Christ in us” in not. The former concerns our justification by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ. The latter has moved into the realm of sanctification. Christ does not come to live within us before we are justified. His indwelling presence, as with the Holy Spirit, comes as a result of our justification. We must always stand guard against those who seek to deny forensic justification. As Christians, we do not rely upon a subjective “infusion of grace” as the basis of our righteous standing before God. The subjective reality of “Christ in us” is something we know about because of the objective Word which speaks of His indwelling presence. The Scriptures are clear on this matter. At the moment of conversion, Christ comes to live within the believer. The means of grace deliver the “Man of grace” to us. Once He is on the scene, a person is living in a state of grace. It is a good thing for us that this state of grace does not depend upon our efforts or our holy living to keep it going. The Man of grace delivers the needed grace 24/7 through faith. Even faith is a gift. We cannot take an ounce of credit for our belief in Christ or for eating His flesh and drinking His blood 24/7. How it happens is a mystery. God simply tells us in John 6 that it does happen for every believer. Here is a link to some good information from F. Bente regarding Osiander. It is relevant to this discussion as we bask in the joy of our salvation which Christ won for us on the cross.
    http://bookofconcord.org/historical-16.php

  • Dan Delzell

    George has raised a critical question for us.
    “Does Scripture teach the indwelling of Christ?”

    Here is what we find in Scripture:

    “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.” Romans 8:10

    (Just as “This is my body” is meant to not to be taken symbolically, but literally, so also, “Christ is in you” is a very clear biblical teaching. We dare not replace “is” with “represents” or “might be.”)

    “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20

    (“In” means “In,” just like “is” means “is.”)

    “….so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Ephesians 3:17)

    (Notice Who it is that dwells in the heart of the believer, through faith.)

    “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27)

    (The literal Christ literally lives inside the believer…..if “in” means “in” and “is” means “is”)

    “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5)

    (Am I in the faith? Is Christ living inside of me? Well….am I relying upon the Law to save me, or Christ alone? Do I trust in my works to save me, or the blood and righteousness of Christ?)

    Natural man seeks to change the meaning of the words “is” and “in” when Scripture challenges our human reason.

    “This is my body” is hard to get wrong unless you rely upon human reason to guide you.
    “Christ is in you” is also hard to get wrong unless you rely upon human reason to guide you.
    The sacramental union is a mystery, but taught in Scripture. The indwelling of Christ within the believer is a mystery, but taught in Scripture. Will I base my doctrinal beliefs upon human reason, or the Word of God?

    And yes my friends, there are some theological implications for us as a result of this clear teaching of Scripture. It will only strengthen us in our witness for Christ and His kingdom.

    That was a great question George!

  • Dan Delzell

    George has raised a critical question for us.
    “Does Scripture teach the indwelling of Christ?”

    Here is what we find in Scripture:

    “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.” Romans 8:10

    (Just as “This is my body” is meant to not to be taken symbolically, but literally, so also, “Christ is in you” is a very clear biblical teaching. We dare not replace “is” with “represents” or “might be.”)

    “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20

    (“In” means “In,” just like “is” means “is.”)

    “….so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Ephesians 3:17)

    (Notice Who it is that dwells in the heart of the believer, through faith.)

    “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27)

    (The literal Christ literally lives inside the believer…..if “in” means “in” and “is” means “is”)

    “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5)

    (Am I in the faith? Is Christ living inside of me? Well….am I relying upon the Law to save me, or Christ alone? Do I trust in my works to save me, or the blood and righteousness of Christ?)

    Natural man seeks to change the meaning of the words “is” and “in” when Scripture challenges our human reason.

    “This is my body” is hard to get wrong unless you rely upon human reason to guide you.
    “Christ is in you” is also hard to get wrong unless you rely upon human reason to guide you.
    The sacramental union is a mystery, but taught in Scripture. The indwelling of Christ within the believer is a mystery, but taught in Scripture. Will I base my doctrinal beliefs upon human reason, or the Word of God?

    And yes my friends, there are some theological implications for us as a result of this clear teaching of Scripture. It will only strengthen us in our witness for Christ and His kingdom.

    That was a great question George!

  • Dan Delzell

    Martin Luther gave this helpful answer to George’s question regarding the indwelling of Christ. This real presence of Christ within the believer would be absent apart from faith.

    Lectures on Galatians (1535; WA 40:228-29). Speaking about “true faith,” Luther says, “it takes hold of Christ in such a way that Christ is the object of faith, or rather not the object, but so to speak, the One who is present in the faith itself…. Therefore faith justifies because it takes hold of and possesses this treasure, the present Christ.”

  • Dan Delzell

    Martin Luther gave this helpful answer to George’s question regarding the indwelling of Christ. This real presence of Christ within the believer would be absent apart from faith.

    Lectures on Galatians (1535; WA 40:228-29). Speaking about “true faith,” Luther says, “it takes hold of Christ in such a way that Christ is the object of faith, or rather not the object, but so to speak, the One who is present in the faith itself…. Therefore faith justifies because it takes hold of and possesses this treasure, the present Christ.”

  • Med Student

    As to what exactly “in, with, and under the bread and wine” means, a pastor (also a seminary professor) doing a study on the Small Catechism explained it as being a way of saying “we don’t really know HOW Jesus is present, we just know He is because He said so.” That was helpful to me in understanding why it’s framed the way it is in Lutheranism.

  • Med Student

    As to what exactly “in, with, and under the bread and wine” means, a pastor (also a seminary professor) doing a study on the Small Catechism explained it as being a way of saying “we don’t really know HOW Jesus is present, we just know He is because He said so.” That was helpful to me in understanding why it’s framed the way it is in Lutheranism.

  • George A. Marquart

    Dan Delzell @64 & 65. When you look at the context, the Romans 8 quote is clearly about the Holy Spirit, Who works faith in Christ in us. In all of the other verses, “Christ in us” is metaphoric, not literal. This is not just my opinion, every commentary I looked at says that. They refer to the faith we have in Christ as “Christ in us.”

    I think part of our problem is that we do not listen carefully to what our Lord says. When He said, Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” this would make no sense if He were already living in each of them. In Matthew 18:20, He clearly said, “Lo, I am with you always,” not “in you.”

    Don’t think I am splitting hairs here, because even on the night He was betrayed, He was careful to distinguish between the words, “with” and “in” to tell us about the fact that the Holy Spirit will dwell in us – not metaphorically but in the meaning of “real presence”, John 14: 16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”

    As to the Luther quote, there is obviously no intention to make a case for a “real presence” of Christ in us. It is all metaphoric. The “so to speak” gives you the clue.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Dan Delzell @64 & 65. When you look at the context, the Romans 8 quote is clearly about the Holy Spirit, Who works faith in Christ in us. In all of the other verses, “Christ in us” is metaphoric, not literal. This is not just my opinion, every commentary I looked at says that. They refer to the faith we have in Christ as “Christ in us.”

    I think part of our problem is that we do not listen carefully to what our Lord says. When He said, Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” this would make no sense if He were already living in each of them. In Matthew 18:20, He clearly said, “Lo, I am with you always,” not “in you.”

    Don’t think I am splitting hairs here, because even on the night He was betrayed, He was careful to distinguish between the words, “with” and “in” to tell us about the fact that the Holy Spirit will dwell in us – not metaphorically but in the meaning of “real presence”, John 14: 16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”

    As to the Luther quote, there is obviously no intention to make a case for a “real presence” of Christ in us. It is all metaphoric. The “so to speak” gives you the clue.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Dan Delzell

    I appreciate those insights and thoughts George. Commentaries aside and Luther’s quote aside, here is what we find in Scripture. Jesus told us He would be in the midst of believers as you noted in Matthew 18:20. That is an additional blessing to the passages I quoted above which show that Christ also dwells within us. They compliment one another, but do not contradict one another.

    Here is an example of what I mean. The Calvinists point to those passages of Scripture which tell us Christ gave His life for His sheep. They do this as a way of supporting their doctrine of limited atonement. They set aside the passages which tell us Christ died for both the world and for His sheep. (such as 1 John 2:2 among others) We find three types of passages in Scripture: (1) Some stated Christ died for the sins of the world; (2) others state Christ died for His sheep; (3) still others state He died for both His sheep and for the sins of the world. But there is not even ONE passage stating He died ONLY for His sheep. We must use all of Scripture and not only certain passages which support our preferred point of view. Calvinists rely upon their human reason to support their erroneous belief that God predestines some people to hell.

    Likewise, there are passages which state Christ dwells “with” us. There are other passages stating Christ dwells “in” us. One does not disprove the other since both are clearly taught in Scripture. Regardless of what particular commentaries may say, it is clear that Scripture uses both “with” and “in” regarding Christ and the believer. Just as in the passages which prove unlimited atonement, we will not find even ONE passage of Scripture stating that Christ dwells ONLY “with” believers and not “in” the believer. As always, Scripture interprets Scripture.

    We see in the Scriptures that “This is my body” is not metaphoric and “Christ is in you” (2 Cor. 13:5) is not metaphoric.

    I am curious what you think about John 6. Do you view “flesh” and “blood” as being metaphoric or literal in that chapter? Is the eating of flesh and drinking of blood by believers in John 6 something that happens “within” the believer, or does the eating and drinking happen somewhere “outside” of the believer’s heart, soul, and body?

    Thank you again George for this excellent exchange of thoughts.

    God’s peace,
    Dan

  • Dan Delzell

    I appreciate those insights and thoughts George. Commentaries aside and Luther’s quote aside, here is what we find in Scripture. Jesus told us He would be in the midst of believers as you noted in Matthew 18:20. That is an additional blessing to the passages I quoted above which show that Christ also dwells within us. They compliment one another, but do not contradict one another.

    Here is an example of what I mean. The Calvinists point to those passages of Scripture which tell us Christ gave His life for His sheep. They do this as a way of supporting their doctrine of limited atonement. They set aside the passages which tell us Christ died for both the world and for His sheep. (such as 1 John 2:2 among others) We find three types of passages in Scripture: (1) Some stated Christ died for the sins of the world; (2) others state Christ died for His sheep; (3) still others state He died for both His sheep and for the sins of the world. But there is not even ONE passage stating He died ONLY for His sheep. We must use all of Scripture and not only certain passages which support our preferred point of view. Calvinists rely upon their human reason to support their erroneous belief that God predestines some people to hell.

    Likewise, there are passages which state Christ dwells “with” us. There are other passages stating Christ dwells “in” us. One does not disprove the other since both are clearly taught in Scripture. Regardless of what particular commentaries may say, it is clear that Scripture uses both “with” and “in” regarding Christ and the believer. Just as in the passages which prove unlimited atonement, we will not find even ONE passage of Scripture stating that Christ dwells ONLY “with” believers and not “in” the believer. As always, Scripture interprets Scripture.

    We see in the Scriptures that “This is my body” is not metaphoric and “Christ is in you” (2 Cor. 13:5) is not metaphoric.

    I am curious what you think about John 6. Do you view “flesh” and “blood” as being metaphoric or literal in that chapter? Is the eating of flesh and drinking of blood by believers in John 6 something that happens “within” the believer, or does the eating and drinking happen somewhere “outside” of the believer’s heart, soul, and body?

    Thank you again George for this excellent exchange of thoughts.

    God’s peace,
    Dan

  • George A. Marquart

    Dan Denzell @68. Dan, thank your for your most gracious response. Please do not get me wrong, I in no way deny the concrete, real presence of the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar. What I deny is that our Lord dwells in His people in the same concrete manner in which He is present in the Sacrament. It is clear, from His own words (John 14, 15, 16), that this is the role of the Holy Spirit, even as St. Peter proclaimed at Pentecost, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    With regard to John 6, I know that Luther believed it to be metaphorical. I personally believe that our Lord was, in fact, referring to the Sacrament of the Altar, that is, His real body and blood.

    2 Cor. 13:5 is just as metaphoric as Paul saying a few sentences before, “Christ is speaking in me.”

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Dan Denzell @68. Dan, thank your for your most gracious response. Please do not get me wrong, I in no way deny the concrete, real presence of the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar. What I deny is that our Lord dwells in His people in the same concrete manner in which He is present in the Sacrament. It is clear, from His own words (John 14, 15, 16), that this is the role of the Holy Spirit, even as St. Peter proclaimed at Pentecost, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    With regard to John 6, I know that Luther believed it to be metaphorical. I personally believe that our Lord was, in fact, referring to the Sacrament of the Altar, that is, His real body and blood.

    2 Cor. 13:5 is just as metaphoric as Paul saying a few sentences before, “Christ is speaking in me.”

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Dan, sorry for misspelling your name. I just had a procedure on one eye and my vision is not totally cleear – I mean my concrete vision, not my metaphoric one.

    George

  • George A. Marquart

    Dan, sorry for misspelling your name. I just had a procedure on one eye and my vision is not totally cleear – I mean my concrete vision, not my metaphoric one.

    George

  • Dan Delzell

    Thanks George.

    Here is some relevant info regarding John 6. The entire paper can be found online.

    A Close Reading of John 6:
    Is it Sacramental and Why Does it Matter?
    Nebraska Lutherans for Confessional Study – June 23, 2011 Rev. Philip Hale – St. Paul Lutheran, Bancroft, NE – halepw@gmail.com

    The latter part of the sixth chapter of John has been a lightening-rod for theologians. The aim of this paper is to elucidate some of the reasons there are varied and conflicting interpretations of this section of Scripture. After the theological background is laid, the sixth chapter of John will be explained carefully in context. Only a close, sequential reading of Scripture will ultimately validate a particular interpretation. Any interpretation, no matter how creative or desirable, is not of God if it does not agree with the words He has given.
    Historical Interpretations of John 6
    For the interpretation of John 6, Luther has been a dominant force until the nineteenth century. A Lutheran should hear and consider his words, as the “foremost teacher,” though not accept them without comparison to God’s Word.1 He is still just a teacher, and not an authority, no matter how insightful his work.
    Luther did not mince words when describing John 6 and whether it talked about the Lord’s Supper: “In the first place the sixth chapter of John must be entirely excluded from this discussion [of the Supper], since it does not refer to the sacrament in a single syllable. Not
    1FC SD VII, 41; Kolb-Wengert, 600.
    only because the sacrament was not yet instituted, but even more because this passage itself and the sentences following plainly show, as I have already stated, that Christ is speaking of faith in the incarnate Word.”2 He did not waver on his position. In His thorough “Great Confession on the Lord’s Supper,” he refused to examine John 6, because “the sixth chapter of John does not refer at all to the Supper.”3 This chapter of John came up frequently in discussions about the Lord’s Supper. Most of the theologians who denied that Christ’s body was orally received went first to John 6:63a,4 rather than to the words of institution.5 But Luther’s position, was not just a polemical tactic.6 We have 21 continuous sermons on John 6:26-71, which cover 192 pages in the American Edition of his works.7 Here he instructs God’s flock on the benefits of faith.
    Virtually all Lutherans until the nineteenth century followed Luther’s position on John 6.8 The exceptions are not known as orthodox Lutherans.9 In Luther’s time, the Roman
    2The Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), LW 36:19. 3Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper (1528), LW 37:360. 4“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” All passages NKJV unless otherwise noted. 5Hermann Sasse, This is My Body: Luther’s Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the
    Altar, Revised Ed. (Adelaide, Australia: Openbook, 1977), 191. 6In over 200 references to John 6:53-63 in the American Edition of his works, “Luther never, however,
    uses John 6 to specifically refer to the Sacrament of the Altar.” Mark P. Braden, unpublished paper, 2003 (given to me by the author), 33.
    7Martin Luther, Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 6-8 (1530-31), trans. Martin Bertram, vol. 23 of Luther’s Works (LW) (St. Louis: CPH, 1959), 5-197.
    8John Gerhard (1582-1637) is cited on both sides of this issue. His view on a doctrinal level is clear. In answering whether John 6 sanctions communion in one kind, he says: “John 6 does not refer to the consecrated bread in the holy supper, but rather to the bread of life, which comes down from heaven. Also, it is not characterized as a sacramental, but rather as a spiritual nourishment from the body and blood of Christ.” Yet, in a more nuanced view he could include the words of John 6:53, without explanation, in a chapter entitled “Concerning the Sayings and Types of the Old Testament Which in Advance Foretell This Sacrament.” In poetic style Gerhard compares Christ to the tree of life in Eden and says His flesh is food indeed. Many verses in this chapter are qualified in their application to the Supper. For instance on Isaiah 25:6, he comments: “In all this the prophet is actually speaking of the spiritual meal which God the Lord has prepared in the holy Gospel for grace-hungry souls. But since the holy Supper is a seal which is attached to the Gospel promise, one can rightly apply this text to it.” Here we have a more sophisticated position: homiletically there is more leeway in using the words of Scripture, whereas the church’s doctrine must have a reliable foundation on clear Scripture. A Comprehensive Explanation of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, 1610, trans. Elmer Hohle, eds. David Berger and James D. Heiser (Malone, TX: Repristination Press, 2000), 214, 341-344; 214.
    9The syncretist George Calixtus, and the pietists John Ardnt (1555-1621) and Johann Albrecht Bengel 2
    church was by no means unified on the issue. There was much tradition both for and against a sacramental interpretation. Augustine’s exegesis on John 6 proved influential for Luther and many in the Roman church. Luther’s opponent Cardinal Cajetan held the same basic position as Luther, just as did Calvin.10 The Council of Trent came to no conclusion on the matter.11 Chemnitz summarizes the catholicity of Luther’s interpretation, which Luther claimed was simply Augustine’s: “For when Christ in this sermon speaks concerning his flesh and blood, all interpreters, ancients and those more recent, as many Lutherans and Calvinists, and also the papists, understand by these words the very person of Christ, with all his benefits and merits.”12
    Besides a few isolated theologians, this teaching is consistent among Lutherans until the modern era. In the nineteenth century, Wilhelm Loehe advocated a more sacramental interpretation.13 Both Warner Elert and Herman Sasse followed suit.14 Why do many modern Lutherans no longer follow Luther in this matter?

  • Dan Delzell

    Thanks George.

    Here is some relevant info regarding John 6. The entire paper can be found online.

    A Close Reading of John 6:
    Is it Sacramental and Why Does it Matter?
    Nebraska Lutherans for Confessional Study – June 23, 2011 Rev. Philip Hale – St. Paul Lutheran, Bancroft, NE – halepw@gmail.com

    The latter part of the sixth chapter of John has been a lightening-rod for theologians. The aim of this paper is to elucidate some of the reasons there are varied and conflicting interpretations of this section of Scripture. After the theological background is laid, the sixth chapter of John will be explained carefully in context. Only a close, sequential reading of Scripture will ultimately validate a particular interpretation. Any interpretation, no matter how creative or desirable, is not of God if it does not agree with the words He has given.
    Historical Interpretations of John 6
    For the interpretation of John 6, Luther has been a dominant force until the nineteenth century. A Lutheran should hear and consider his words, as the “foremost teacher,” though not accept them without comparison to God’s Word.1 He is still just a teacher, and not an authority, no matter how insightful his work.
    Luther did not mince words when describing John 6 and whether it talked about the Lord’s Supper: “In the first place the sixth chapter of John must be entirely excluded from this discussion [of the Supper], since it does not refer to the sacrament in a single syllable. Not
    1FC SD VII, 41; Kolb-Wengert, 600.
    only because the sacrament was not yet instituted, but even more because this passage itself and the sentences following plainly show, as I have already stated, that Christ is speaking of faith in the incarnate Word.”2 He did not waver on his position. In His thorough “Great Confession on the Lord’s Supper,” he refused to examine John 6, because “the sixth chapter of John does not refer at all to the Supper.”3 This chapter of John came up frequently in discussions about the Lord’s Supper. Most of the theologians who denied that Christ’s body was orally received went first to John 6:63a,4 rather than to the words of institution.5 But Luther’s position, was not just a polemical tactic.6 We have 21 continuous sermons on John 6:26-71, which cover 192 pages in the American Edition of his works.7 Here he instructs God’s flock on the benefits of faith.
    Virtually all Lutherans until the nineteenth century followed Luther’s position on John 6.8 The exceptions are not known as orthodox Lutherans.9 In Luther’s time, the Roman
    2The Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), LW 36:19. 3Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper (1528), LW 37:360. 4“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” All passages NKJV unless otherwise noted. 5Hermann Sasse, This is My Body: Luther’s Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the
    Altar, Revised Ed. (Adelaide, Australia: Openbook, 1977), 191. 6In over 200 references to John 6:53-63 in the American Edition of his works, “Luther never, however,
    uses John 6 to specifically refer to the Sacrament of the Altar.” Mark P. Braden, unpublished paper, 2003 (given to me by the author), 33.
    7Martin Luther, Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 6-8 (1530-31), trans. Martin Bertram, vol. 23 of Luther’s Works (LW) (St. Louis: CPH, 1959), 5-197.
    8John Gerhard (1582-1637) is cited on both sides of this issue. His view on a doctrinal level is clear. In answering whether John 6 sanctions communion in one kind, he says: “John 6 does not refer to the consecrated bread in the holy supper, but rather to the bread of life, which comes down from heaven. Also, it is not characterized as a sacramental, but rather as a spiritual nourishment from the body and blood of Christ.” Yet, in a more nuanced view he could include the words of John 6:53, without explanation, in a chapter entitled “Concerning the Sayings and Types of the Old Testament Which in Advance Foretell This Sacrament.” In poetic style Gerhard compares Christ to the tree of life in Eden and says His flesh is food indeed. Many verses in this chapter are qualified in their application to the Supper. For instance on Isaiah 25:6, he comments: “In all this the prophet is actually speaking of the spiritual meal which God the Lord has prepared in the holy Gospel for grace-hungry souls. But since the holy Supper is a seal which is attached to the Gospel promise, one can rightly apply this text to it.” Here we have a more sophisticated position: homiletically there is more leeway in using the words of Scripture, whereas the church’s doctrine must have a reliable foundation on clear Scripture. A Comprehensive Explanation of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, 1610, trans. Elmer Hohle, eds. David Berger and James D. Heiser (Malone, TX: Repristination Press, 2000), 214, 341-344; 214.
    9The syncretist George Calixtus, and the pietists John Ardnt (1555-1621) and Johann Albrecht Bengel 2
    church was by no means unified on the issue. There was much tradition both for and against a sacramental interpretation. Augustine’s exegesis on John 6 proved influential for Luther and many in the Roman church. Luther’s opponent Cardinal Cajetan held the same basic position as Luther, just as did Calvin.10 The Council of Trent came to no conclusion on the matter.11 Chemnitz summarizes the catholicity of Luther’s interpretation, which Luther claimed was simply Augustine’s: “For when Christ in this sermon speaks concerning his flesh and blood, all interpreters, ancients and those more recent, as many Lutherans and Calvinists, and also the papists, understand by these words the very person of Christ, with all his benefits and merits.”12
    Besides a few isolated theologians, this teaching is consistent among Lutherans until the modern era. In the nineteenth century, Wilhelm Loehe advocated a more sacramental interpretation.13 Both Warner Elert and Herman Sasse followed suit.14 Why do many modern Lutherans no longer follow Luther in this matter?

  • Dan Delzell

    George,

    Even though we know that Luther’s opinion about John 6 does not have the same authority as the words of our Lord, I cannot seem to locate where Luther stated a belief that “flesh” is metaphoric and “blood” is metaphoric in John 6.

    If indeed our Lord intended His words about His flesh and blood here to be understood as metaphoric, what do you think he intended these words to represent? What does “flesh” represent? What does “blood” represent?

    Since we are convinced that Christ did not intend “body” to be understood as metaphoric in the Words of Institution, what might convince a person that “flesh” and “blood” in John 6 are not meant to be interpreted just as literally? Does our human reason suggest this to us, or does Scripture teach us to interpret one literally and the other as merely representing something else? If so, we should have some idea of what it represents. Do we get to pick and choose when to interpret our Lord’s words about His body and blood literally and when to interpret them as metaphoric?

    Thanks for your insights George and for the opportunity to share these thoughts.

    God’s peace,
    Dan

  • Dan Delzell

    George,

    Even though we know that Luther’s opinion about John 6 does not have the same authority as the words of our Lord, I cannot seem to locate where Luther stated a belief that “flesh” is metaphoric and “blood” is metaphoric in John 6.

    If indeed our Lord intended His words about His flesh and blood here to be understood as metaphoric, what do you think he intended these words to represent? What does “flesh” represent? What does “blood” represent?

    Since we are convinced that Christ did not intend “body” to be understood as metaphoric in the Words of Institution, what might convince a person that “flesh” and “blood” in John 6 are not meant to be interpreted just as literally? Does our human reason suggest this to us, or does Scripture teach us to interpret one literally and the other as merely representing something else? If so, we should have some idea of what it represents. Do we get to pick and choose when to interpret our Lord’s words about His body and blood literally and when to interpret them as metaphoric?

    Thanks for your insights George and for the opportunity to share these thoughts.

    God’s peace,
    Dan

  • Dan Delzell

    I just came across this beautiful statement of faith on the website for “The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.” Notice that these Christians in the Lutheran church believe that “Jesus Himself comes to dwell in our hearts.”

    Jesus Christ
    Jesus was a historic person. He called twelve men to be His disciples, who followed Him. He paid attention to those who were held in contempt by others. He spoke for the oppressed. He healed the sick, cast out demons, and even raised the dead.

    His signs and wonders were connected to proclaiming the Gospel of the coming of God’s Kingdom. His deeds attracted much attention. Contemporary historians also mentioned Him.

    After Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples realized that His death on the cross was the atoning sacrifice once and for all. The salvation promised to the people of Israel was also for all nations. This realization became the starting point of the Christian faith.

    The salvation is a gift of God
    We can receive the salvation that Jesus prepared by believing that He suffered the punishment for our sins. The faith by which the salvation is obtained is a gift of God. When we are convinced of God’s grace and love, Jesus Himself comes to dwell in our hearts. Martin Luther taught that Christ is present in faith itself. So faith provides us with the salvation God has prepared.

    Jesus Christ is the core of the Christian faith. He is God’s special revelation. Jesus lived the life of an ordinary man, yet without sin. The Gospels tell us that he ate and drank, rejoiced and wept. He felt pain and agonies of life like each one of us.

    But He was not only an ordinary man. Jesus was God’s envoy, God’s Son. Jesus was God’s incarnation, becoming flesh (John 1:14). God showed His love towards people by living a man’s life. Christ was both man and God. God’s becoming a human being is a secret of faith.

    Christ is hope in the world
    Jesus’ disciples regarded Him as the Messiah, the Savior of the people of Israel. After Jesus’death and resurrection they understood that the Messiah wanted to free all nations from sin and guilt. Christ is a sign of hope in the world. God raised Him from the dead and showed that death is not the end of everything.

    After the resurrection, Jesus returned to His Heavenly Father. Now He has all power in heaven and on earth. On the Last Day, Christ will gather all nations before Him to be judged. Then those who believe in Him go to heaven and those who have abandoned Him will be separated eternally from God.

  • Dan Delzell

    I just came across this beautiful statement of faith on the website for “The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.” Notice that these Christians in the Lutheran church believe that “Jesus Himself comes to dwell in our hearts.”

    Jesus Christ
    Jesus was a historic person. He called twelve men to be His disciples, who followed Him. He paid attention to those who were held in contempt by others. He spoke for the oppressed. He healed the sick, cast out demons, and even raised the dead.

    His signs and wonders were connected to proclaiming the Gospel of the coming of God’s Kingdom. His deeds attracted much attention. Contemporary historians also mentioned Him.

    After Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples realized that His death on the cross was the atoning sacrifice once and for all. The salvation promised to the people of Israel was also for all nations. This realization became the starting point of the Christian faith.

    The salvation is a gift of God
    We can receive the salvation that Jesus prepared by believing that He suffered the punishment for our sins. The faith by which the salvation is obtained is a gift of God. When we are convinced of God’s grace and love, Jesus Himself comes to dwell in our hearts. Martin Luther taught that Christ is present in faith itself. So faith provides us with the salvation God has prepared.

    Jesus Christ is the core of the Christian faith. He is God’s special revelation. Jesus lived the life of an ordinary man, yet without sin. The Gospels tell us that he ate and drank, rejoiced and wept. He felt pain and agonies of life like each one of us.

    But He was not only an ordinary man. Jesus was God’s envoy, God’s Son. Jesus was God’s incarnation, becoming flesh (John 1:14). God showed His love towards people by living a man’s life. Christ was both man and God. God’s becoming a human being is a secret of faith.

    Christ is hope in the world
    Jesus’ disciples regarded Him as the Messiah, the Savior of the people of Israel. After Jesus’death and resurrection they understood that the Messiah wanted to free all nations from sin and guilt. Christ is a sign of hope in the world. God raised Him from the dead and showed that death is not the end of everything.

    After the resurrection, Jesus returned to His Heavenly Father. Now He has all power in heaven and on earth. On the Last Day, Christ will gather all nations before Him to be judged. Then those who believe in Him go to heaven and those who have abandoned Him will be separated eternally from God.

  • George A. Marquart

    Dan, re. “I cannot seem to locate where Luther stated a belief that “flesh” is metaphoric and “blood” is metaphoric in John 6”, please go to posting #71, yes, your own, the one just before you asked this question, and about 23 or so lines down you will come to this Luther quote, “In the first place the sixth chapter of John must be entirely excluded from this discussion [of the Supper], since it does not refer to the sacrament in a single syllable. Not
    1FC SD VII, 41; Kolb-Wengert, 600.
    only because the sacrament was not yet instituted, but even more because this passage itself and the sentences following plainly show, as I have already stated, that Christ is speaking of faith in the incarnate Word.” When “flesh” is used to mean “faith”, this, as I understand it, is a metaphor. met•a•phor – noun. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, esp. something abstract. OK?

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Dan, re. “I cannot seem to locate where Luther stated a belief that “flesh” is metaphoric and “blood” is metaphoric in John 6”, please go to posting #71, yes, your own, the one just before you asked this question, and about 23 or so lines down you will come to this Luther quote, “In the first place the sixth chapter of John must be entirely excluded from this discussion [of the Supper], since it does not refer to the sacrament in a single syllable. Not
    1FC SD VII, 41; Kolb-Wengert, 600.
    only because the sacrament was not yet instituted, but even more because this passage itself and the sentences following plainly show, as I have already stated, that Christ is speaking of faith in the incarnate Word.” When “flesh” is used to mean “faith”, this, as I understand it, is a metaphor. met•a•phor – noun. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, esp. something abstract. OK?

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Dan Delzell

    Thank you George. Your insights are very helpful. I sure appreciate it.

    Blessings,
    Dan

  • Dan Delzell

    Thank you George. Your insights are very helpful. I sure appreciate it.

    Blessings,
    Dan

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