The importance of Christ’s Ascension

Yesterday was Ascension Day, marking the resurrected Christ’s return to His Father.  Pastor Reeder quotes the classic Bible scholar Paul E. Kretzmann on what the Ascension means:

“By His exaltation and ascension the Son of Man, also according to His human body, has entered into the full and unlimited use of His divine omnipresence. His gracious presence is therefore assured to His congregation on earth. He is now nearer to His believers than He was to His disciples in the days of His flesh.

He is now sitting at the right hand of His heavenly Father. As our Brother He has assumed the full use of the divine power and majesty. He reigns with omnipotence over all things, but especially also over His Church. God has put all things under His feet, and has given Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all, Eph. 1, 22. 23.

By His Word and Sacrament He gathers unto Himself a congregation and Church upon earth. He works in and with His servants; He governs in the midst of His enemies. He preserves and protects His Church against all the enmity of the hostile world and against the very portals of hell. And His intercession before His heavenly Father makes our salvation a certainty, Rom. 8, 34.”

via On the Lord’s Ascension « Pastor Reeder’s Blog.

Strangely, the Reformed use the Ascension as an argument against the presence of Christ in the sacrament.  (“Jesus isn’t here any more.  He’s in Heaven.”)  But Lutherans use the Ascension as an argument for the Real Presence, since now the Son of God, having taken His place in the Godhead, is omnipresent.

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.

  • James Sarver

    It has always amazed me that the Reformed construed this so poorly. It should have been clear to any 16th century person (much moreso than to us) that the person “at the right hand” of the king acted with the authority of the king, whether sitting in that chair or not. To emphasize the physical location completely misses the point.

  • James Sarver

    It has always amazed me that the Reformed construed this so poorly. It should have been clear to any 16th century person (much moreso than to us) that the person “at the right hand” of the king acted with the authority of the king, whether sitting in that chair or not. To emphasize the physical location completely misses the point.

  • Dan Kempin

    Hate to start the day with a quibble, but lutherans do not argue the real presence based on omnipresece. Christ did not cease to be the omnipresent God during His state of humiliation, and he is present in the sacrament differently than he is present everywhere. (That, in fact, is what the reformed WILL admit–Christ is present in the sacrament inasmuch as he is present everywhere.)

    The difference is in the person of Christ himself, in the communication of attributes. We (lutherans) confess that the unity of the union between divine and human is such that according to the attributes of his divine nature, Christ is able to be present humanly (physically) in the sacrament, though this is not in any way an attribute of a human nature. The reformed say that the human nature of Christ is in a sense segregated from the attributes of the divine nature and must remain limited by the limits of a human nature. Thus, if he is in the sky, he cannot also be here. Not physically, that is. He can be present everywhere according to his divine nature, but the human, physical nature does not participate.

    Still, you are right in that the ascension is a strange argument for such a position, since floating up into the sky physically is hardly an attribute of human nature.

    Moving on, I was struck this year by the words of the nicene creed and the preamble to the ascension: ” . . . who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven . . .”

  • Dan Kempin

    Hate to start the day with a quibble, but lutherans do not argue the real presence based on omnipresece. Christ did not cease to be the omnipresent God during His state of humiliation, and he is present in the sacrament differently than he is present everywhere. (That, in fact, is what the reformed WILL admit–Christ is present in the sacrament inasmuch as he is present everywhere.)

    The difference is in the person of Christ himself, in the communication of attributes. We (lutherans) confess that the unity of the union between divine and human is such that according to the attributes of his divine nature, Christ is able to be present humanly (physically) in the sacrament, though this is not in any way an attribute of a human nature. The reformed say that the human nature of Christ is in a sense segregated from the attributes of the divine nature and must remain limited by the limits of a human nature. Thus, if he is in the sky, he cannot also be here. Not physically, that is. He can be present everywhere according to his divine nature, but the human, physical nature does not participate.

    Still, you are right in that the ascension is a strange argument for such a position, since floating up into the sky physically is hardly an attribute of human nature.

    Moving on, I was struck this year by the words of the nicene creed and the preamble to the ascension: ” . . . who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven . . .”

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Oh those Reformed.

    The ‘reason’ bug seems to now no bounds when it comes to the things of God and our trying to fit Him into a round hole.

    One word of advice on such matters:

    “The finite contains the infinite”. It applies not only to the sacraments, but to our Lord Himself when he walked the earth. And it is equally true for the Book.

    Reason. It will lead you wherever you’d like to go.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Oh those Reformed.

    The ‘reason’ bug seems to now no bounds when it comes to the things of God and our trying to fit Him into a round hole.

    One word of advice on such matters:

    “The finite contains the infinite”. It applies not only to the sacraments, but to our Lord Himself when he walked the earth. And it is equally true for the Book.

    Reason. It will lead you wherever you’d like to go.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    ‘know’….(it should’ve read)

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    ‘know’….(it should’ve read)

  • SKPeterson

    If the Ascension is difficult for the Reformed, how then do they read the Christological prayer in Philippians 2, where Paul says

    Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    (Philippians 2:5-11 ESV)

    ?

  • SKPeterson

    If the Ascension is difficult for the Reformed, how then do they read the Christological prayer in Philippians 2, where Paul says

    Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    (Philippians 2:5-11 ESV)

    ?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I guess I’m a little lost as to why Lutheran and Reformed are segregated terms, since Luther himself was responsible for the core of the Reformation. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to use the term “evangelical” vs. “reformed”?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I guess I’m a little lost as to why Lutheran and Reformed are segregated terms, since Luther himself was responsible for the core of the Reformation. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to use the term “evangelical” vs. “reformed”?

  • Trey

    Dan made my point. Christ was omniscient from His incarnation, but willingly did not use all His divine powers (humiliation) as He does in His exultation. To say He was not omniscient until His exultation, would confirm the Reformed opinion that Christ was truly absent from the bread and wine on Maundy Thursday.

  • Trey

    Dan made my point. Christ was omniscient from His incarnation, but willingly did not use all His divine powers (humiliation) as He does in His exultation. To say He was not omniscient until His exultation, would confirm the Reformed opinion that Christ was truly absent from the bread and wine on Maundy Thursday.

  • dwcasey

    #6 j. dean – the meaning of words changes. yes, lutherans were first known as evangelicals. but now, evangelicals is the group of folks that are not catholic, lutheran, episcopal, eastern orthodox ( and probably a few more ). evangelicals are non-denominationalist as well.

    when lutherans use the word reformed, they are talking about ( usually ) the conservative presbyterian/calvinist/baptist group.

  • dwcasey

    #6 j. dean – the meaning of words changes. yes, lutherans were first known as evangelicals. but now, evangelicals is the group of folks that are not catholic, lutheran, episcopal, eastern orthodox ( and probably a few more ). evangelicals are non-denominationalist as well.

    when lutherans use the word reformed, they are talking about ( usually ) the conservative presbyterian/calvinist/baptist group.

  • John Drake

    I don’t really know, so I’m asking this as a question, but does not the Lutheran view deny or compromise the following part of the Athanasian Creed (specifically the part about “without confusing his natures”)?

    “It is necessary for eternal salvation that one also faithfully believe that our Lord Jesus Christ became flesh. For this is the true faith that we believe and confess: That our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is both God and man. He is God, begotten before all worlds from the being of the Father, and he is man, born in the world from the being of his mother — existing fully as God, and fully as man with a rational soul and a human body; equal to the Father in divinity, subordinate to the Father in humanity. Although he is God and man, he is not divided, but is one Christ. He is united because God has taken humanity into himself; he does not transform deity into humanity. He is completely one in the unity of his person, without confusing his natures. For as the rational soul and body are one person, so the one Christ is God and man. …”

  • John Drake

    I don’t really know, so I’m asking this as a question, but does not the Lutheran view deny or compromise the following part of the Athanasian Creed (specifically the part about “without confusing his natures”)?

    “It is necessary for eternal salvation that one also faithfully believe that our Lord Jesus Christ became flesh. For this is the true faith that we believe and confess: That our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is both God and man. He is God, begotten before all worlds from the being of the Father, and he is man, born in the world from the being of his mother — existing fully as God, and fully as man with a rational soul and a human body; equal to the Father in divinity, subordinate to the Father in humanity. Although he is God and man, he is not divided, but is one Christ. He is united because God has taken humanity into himself; he does not transform deity into humanity. He is completely one in the unity of his person, without confusing his natures. For as the rational soul and body are one person, so the one Christ is God and man. …”

  • George A. Marquart

    Clearly the Reformed make our Lord to be liar. Not only because Jesus said, “This is my Body …”, but also because He said (Matthew 18:20), “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” It is the height of arrogance to assume that what we know about physics in this world is the limit of God’s capabilities.

    But I am more concerned in this opus about “His intercession before His heavenly Father …” This perpetuates the myth that the Father was at one point angry with us and continues in this anger, and it is only the “intercession” of His Son for us that assuages this anger. Our Lord intercedes with all of the forces that would take us out of His Kingdom, not with the Father. His position at the right hand of the Father simply testifies to His power and authority to do so. After all, it is the Father Who so loved the world …, and Who repeatedly made His voice heard for “My beloved Son”.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Clearly the Reformed make our Lord to be liar. Not only because Jesus said, “This is my Body …”, but also because He said (Matthew 18:20), “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” It is the height of arrogance to assume that what we know about physics in this world is the limit of God’s capabilities.

    But I am more concerned in this opus about “His intercession before His heavenly Father …” This perpetuates the myth that the Father was at one point angry with us and continues in this anger, and it is only the “intercession” of His Son for us that assuages this anger. Our Lord intercedes with all of the forces that would take us out of His Kingdom, not with the Father. His position at the right hand of the Father simply testifies to His power and authority to do so. After all, it is the Father Who so loved the world …, and Who repeatedly made His voice heard for “My beloved Son”.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

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

    Thanks Dan, for quibbling, saved me from having to do it.

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

    Thanks Dan, for quibbling, saved me from having to do it.

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

    And if anyone wants to know what Bo Giertz had to say about Ascension, I posted a rough translation of an Ascencion day sermon he wrote in 1954, on my blog.

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

    And if anyone wants to know what Bo Giertz had to say about Ascension, I posted a rough translation of an Ascencion day sermon he wrote in 1954, on my blog.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Bror! There you are! Was looking for your post because I had some theology questions to ask you!

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Bror! There you are! Was looking for your post because I had some theology questions to ask you!

  • Grace

    George A. Marquart @ 10

    YOU WROTE: → → Clearly the Reformed make our Lord to be liar. Not only because Jesus said, “This is my Body …”, but also because He said (Matthew 18:20), “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” It is the height of arrogance to assume that what we know about physics in this world is the limit of God’s capabilities.”

    George, would you explain further why you accuse, without knowledge of what others believe, outside the Lutheran Church.

    It appears you might be confused as to what people believe, based solely on the Bible. I believe in the passage from Matthew below, and also when Jesus stated: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

    It’s amazing that more people don’t read the words below from Saint Matthew, REALIZING that Jesus was speaking of HIS body and HIS blood, before HE went to the cross. The Apostles were the first, to taste of HIS body and HIS blood. It’s a solemn time, one of mystery, beyond measure, that we have the joy, privilege to partake of HIM our Savior.

    26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

    27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

    28 For his is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

    29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. Matthew 26

    ~~~~~~~

    And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
    1 Timothy 3;16

  • Grace

    George A. Marquart @ 10

    YOU WROTE: → → Clearly the Reformed make our Lord to be liar. Not only because Jesus said, “This is my Body …”, but also because He said (Matthew 18:20), “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” It is the height of arrogance to assume that what we know about physics in this world is the limit of God’s capabilities.”

    George, would you explain further why you accuse, without knowledge of what others believe, outside the Lutheran Church.

    It appears you might be confused as to what people believe, based solely on the Bible. I believe in the passage from Matthew below, and also when Jesus stated: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

    It’s amazing that more people don’t read the words below from Saint Matthew, REALIZING that Jesus was speaking of HIS body and HIS blood, before HE went to the cross. The Apostles were the first, to taste of HIS body and HIS blood. It’s a solemn time, one of mystery, beyond measure, that we have the joy, privilege to partake of HIM our Savior.

    26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

    27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

    28 For his is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

    29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. Matthew 26

    ~~~~~~~

    And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
    1 Timothy 3;16

  • Dan Kempin

    John Drake, #9,

    I don’t know you, but you gained about a bajillion points with me for quoting the Athanasian Creed on a question of Christilogy.

    I might add that the question you ask is very old, and it is about time the Church re-examined those old questions about the nature of God and the person of Christ.

    You point out that the creed forbids us to “confuse the natures” (divine and human) of Christ, and rightly so. We (lutherans) do not say that the human nature is or has become, in whole or in part, divine. The human nature remains the human nature, and thus we do not confuse the two.

    Yet the creed also cautions that we do not “divide the person.” We (lutherans) confess the unity of the two natures in Christ, that is, in ONE person. The unity of both natures in one person is such that He can act with BOTH natures according to the attributes of ONE nature. Thus Jesus can appear in a locked room, disappear from among his disciples, and ascend to heaven, physically, with both natures, but according only to the power of his divine nature.

    It is in this sense, also, that it can be said that God died, for Christ as one person, though with two natures, suffered and died on the cross. He died according to his human nature, but the union of the two natures was not divided in his death.

    To say that Christ is divinely present in the sacrament, but not humanly present, is to divide his personhood as true God and true man. (“Although He is God and man, He is not divided, but is one Christ.”)

    Thus we are concerned to neither confuse the natures nor to divide the person.

  • Dan Kempin

    John Drake, #9,

    I don’t know you, but you gained about a bajillion points with me for quoting the Athanasian Creed on a question of Christilogy.

    I might add that the question you ask is very old, and it is about time the Church re-examined those old questions about the nature of God and the person of Christ.

    You point out that the creed forbids us to “confuse the natures” (divine and human) of Christ, and rightly so. We (lutherans) do not say that the human nature is or has become, in whole or in part, divine. The human nature remains the human nature, and thus we do not confuse the two.

    Yet the creed also cautions that we do not “divide the person.” We (lutherans) confess the unity of the two natures in Christ, that is, in ONE person. The unity of both natures in one person is such that He can act with BOTH natures according to the attributes of ONE nature. Thus Jesus can appear in a locked room, disappear from among his disciples, and ascend to heaven, physically, with both natures, but according only to the power of his divine nature.

    It is in this sense, also, that it can be said that God died, for Christ as one person, though with two natures, suffered and died on the cross. He died according to his human nature, but the union of the two natures was not divided in his death.

    To say that Christ is divinely present in the sacrament, but not humanly present, is to divide his personhood as true God and true man. (“Although He is God and man, He is not divided, but is one Christ.”)

    Thus we are concerned to neither confuse the natures nor to divide the person.

  • Dan Kempin

    (And, for the record, this “lutheran” confession of Christ was around long, long before there were lutherans.)

  • Dan Kempin

    (And, for the record, this “lutheran” confession of Christ was around long, long before there were lutherans.)

  • George A. Marquart

    Grace @14: you ask, “George, would you explain further why you accuse, without knowledge of what others believe, outside the Lutheran Church. “

    This is what is known in logic as a “complex question.” The way to deal with it is to divide it. Then, if the first part is wrong, then the second part becomes irrelevant.

    So the first question is, “are you without knowledge of what others believe?” The answer to that is, “I am not.” Therefore the second question, “why do you accuse?” becomes irrelevant.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Grace @14: you ask, “George, would you explain further why you accuse, without knowledge of what others believe, outside the Lutheran Church. “

    This is what is known in logic as a “complex question.” The way to deal with it is to divide it. Then, if the first part is wrong, then the second part becomes irrelevant.

    So the first question is, “are you without knowledge of what others believe?” The answer to that is, “I am not.” Therefore the second question, “why do you accuse?” becomes irrelevant.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • John Drake

    Thank you very much, Dan @15. Yours is an excellent statement. But it also sounds very much like what I’ve been taught all along in the Reformed churches in which I was converted and nurtured–to wit, the hypostatic union of the two natures in one Person. What does sound NOTHING AT ALL like what I’ve been taught are the allegations about the so-called Reformed view above, starting with Dr. Veith’s.

    I’ve long suspected that Reformed characterizations of the Lutheran view were caricatures; and to me that is regrettable. I am very confident, however, that the Lutheran characterizations of the Reformed view that I keep reading–for example, at this site–are caricatures AT BEST (by “the Reformed view” I mean the view of the Reformed confessions and catechisms; I BY NO MEANS mean the view of any Tom, Dick, or Larry who claims to be or to have been Reformed).

    The major difference–at least as I’ve been able to perceive it–is that the Lutheran view attributes our feeding on the whole Christ to the mysterious ubiquity of his human nature, whereas the Reformed view attributes it to the mysterious wonder-working of the other Counselor, the Holy Spirit. Both trace the initiation of this wonder to the ascension of our faithful Savior. The fact that the Reformed keep accusing Lutherans of Eutychianism (while Lutherans keep pleading “Not guilty”), and Lutherans keep accusing the Reformed of Nestorianism (while the Reformed keep pleading, “Not guilty), indicates that we are dealing with a mystery that is far beyond our ability to comprehend, does it not?

    I don’t mean to start a debate, nor am I willing to engage in one. If any of you want to have the last word, I’ll content myself with that. My primary purpose in writing is to suggest that we might better pursue our vocation to serve one another in the body of Christ if brethren with differing views sought simultaneously to be both charitable and accurate (i.e., the follow the Golden Rule) in describing views with which they disagree.

  • John Drake

    Thank you very much, Dan @15. Yours is an excellent statement. But it also sounds very much like what I’ve been taught all along in the Reformed churches in which I was converted and nurtured–to wit, the hypostatic union of the two natures in one Person. What does sound NOTHING AT ALL like what I’ve been taught are the allegations about the so-called Reformed view above, starting with Dr. Veith’s.

    I’ve long suspected that Reformed characterizations of the Lutheran view were caricatures; and to me that is regrettable. I am very confident, however, that the Lutheran characterizations of the Reformed view that I keep reading–for example, at this site–are caricatures AT BEST (by “the Reformed view” I mean the view of the Reformed confessions and catechisms; I BY NO MEANS mean the view of any Tom, Dick, or Larry who claims to be or to have been Reformed).

    The major difference–at least as I’ve been able to perceive it–is that the Lutheran view attributes our feeding on the whole Christ to the mysterious ubiquity of his human nature, whereas the Reformed view attributes it to the mysterious wonder-working of the other Counselor, the Holy Spirit. Both trace the initiation of this wonder to the ascension of our faithful Savior. The fact that the Reformed keep accusing Lutherans of Eutychianism (while Lutherans keep pleading “Not guilty”), and Lutherans keep accusing the Reformed of Nestorianism (while the Reformed keep pleading, “Not guilty), indicates that we are dealing with a mystery that is far beyond our ability to comprehend, does it not?

    I don’t mean to start a debate, nor am I willing to engage in one. If any of you want to have the last word, I’ll content myself with that. My primary purpose in writing is to suggest that we might better pursue our vocation to serve one another in the body of Christ if brethren with differing views sought simultaneously to be both charitable and accurate (i.e., the follow the Golden Rule) in describing views with which they disagree.

  • Dan Kempin

    John Drake, #18,

    Well said, and I am very impressed. Not only have you referenced the Athanasian Creed, but you correctly identify the mutual charges of Eutychianism and Nestorianism between lutheran and reformed theologians. We must become friends.

    I wish you WOULD be willing to debate, because this is a much more worthy subject than most of what we spend out time on in the church.

    To nail it down specifically, (and I think a reformed theologian would agree), the difference is in the “communicatio idiomatorum” or “communication of attributes.” Christologically, we agree on every other term regarding the person of Christ. Lutherans say there is a communication of attributes. Reformed say that there is not. (They attribute, as you already said, the presence of God in the sacrament to the working of the Holy Spirit.)

    Your admonition against carelessness in describing the docrine of others is well taken. If we have not stated it in a way that the other party would agree with, then we have not stated it accurately.*

    (Still, you should know that the term “reformed” in lutheran banter often does not mean classic Reformed doctrine (from the confessions and catechisms), but as a generalization for the end result of reasoning in churches that are influenced by reformed thinking. Denying the presence of Christ in the sacrament is “the reformed view.” I don’t say that to defend it, but just as an explanation. The term reformed, and let’s be honest here, is also a pejorative boogeyman that covers a host of perceived heresies among lutherans. )

    So what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment above? Would you say that Christ is truly present in the sacrament according to his human nature, or that He is truly present in the sacrament according to the working of the Holy Spirit?

    *Speaking of which, as a lutheran I would offer a small correction to your understanding. We lutherans do not, as I stated in my initial post, argue that the sacramental presence of Christ’s body and blood is the same as His ubiquity. We say that because of the communication of attributes within the personal union, he is able to do just as he says and give his true body and blood.

  • Dan Kempin

    John Drake, #18,

    Well said, and I am very impressed. Not only have you referenced the Athanasian Creed, but you correctly identify the mutual charges of Eutychianism and Nestorianism between lutheran and reformed theologians. We must become friends.

    I wish you WOULD be willing to debate, because this is a much more worthy subject than most of what we spend out time on in the church.

    To nail it down specifically, (and I think a reformed theologian would agree), the difference is in the “communicatio idiomatorum” or “communication of attributes.” Christologically, we agree on every other term regarding the person of Christ. Lutherans say there is a communication of attributes. Reformed say that there is not. (They attribute, as you already said, the presence of God in the sacrament to the working of the Holy Spirit.)

    Your admonition against carelessness in describing the docrine of others is well taken. If we have not stated it in a way that the other party would agree with, then we have not stated it accurately.*

    (Still, you should know that the term “reformed” in lutheran banter often does not mean classic Reformed doctrine (from the confessions and catechisms), but as a generalization for the end result of reasoning in churches that are influenced by reformed thinking. Denying the presence of Christ in the sacrament is “the reformed view.” I don’t say that to defend it, but just as an explanation. The term reformed, and let’s be honest here, is also a pejorative boogeyman that covers a host of perceived heresies among lutherans. )

    So what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment above? Would you say that Christ is truly present in the sacrament according to his human nature, or that He is truly present in the sacrament according to the working of the Holy Spirit?

    *Speaking of which, as a lutheran I would offer a small correction to your understanding. We lutherans do not, as I stated in my initial post, argue that the sacramental presence of Christ’s body and blood is the same as His ubiquity. We say that because of the communication of attributes within the personal union, he is able to do just as he says and give his true body and blood.

  • Dan Kempin

    Ah! See how tricky this is! I should have said, ‘Would you say that Christ is truly present in the sacrament ‘in’ his human nature,” not “according to” his human nature. His human nature IS truly present ACCORDING TO the power of his divine nature.

  • Dan Kempin

    Ah! See how tricky this is! I should have said, ‘Would you say that Christ is truly present in the sacrament ‘in’ his human nature,” not “according to” his human nature. His human nature IS truly present ACCORDING TO the power of his divine nature.

  • Grace

    George Marquart @17

    YOU POSTED: → “This is what is known in logic as a “complex question.” The way to deal with it is to divide it. Then, if the first part is wrong, then the second part becomes irrelevant.”

    Taking that approach, and your next paragraph, becomes a comedy of sorts.

    YOU POSTED: → “So the first question is, “are you without knowledge of what others believe?” The answer to that is, “I am not.” Therefore the second question, “why do you accuse?” becomes irrelevant.”

    Your remarks @17, are inconclusive responses, not an an answer to a relevant question. Your answer “I am not” is not true. You’ve trumped up a story encompassing many other churches/denominations, @10, having no knowledge of what they believe or what they teach.

    My response @14 is relevant, but you cannot, (or will not) justify your accusation (@10). It’s obvious you are unable to validate your allegations, which are false, and unlearned.

  • Grace

    George Marquart @17

    YOU POSTED: → “This is what is known in logic as a “complex question.” The way to deal with it is to divide it. Then, if the first part is wrong, then the second part becomes irrelevant.”

    Taking that approach, and your next paragraph, becomes a comedy of sorts.

    YOU POSTED: → “So the first question is, “are you without knowledge of what others believe?” The answer to that is, “I am not.” Therefore the second question, “why do you accuse?” becomes irrelevant.”

    Your remarks @17, are inconclusive responses, not an an answer to a relevant question. Your answer “I am not” is not true. You’ve trumped up a story encompassing many other churches/denominations, @10, having no knowledge of what they believe or what they teach.

    My response @14 is relevant, but you cannot, (or will not) justify your accusation (@10). It’s obvious you are unable to validate your allegations, which are false, and unlearned.

  • WisdomLover

    I’m a Lutheran and I believe in the Real Presence because that’s what the Text says. Metaphysics be damned.

    Whatever metaphysical argument might be given for the Real Presence, I’m pretty sure that Omnipresence is irrelevant to it.

    For starters, if the basis of the Real Presence is Divine Omnipresence, then Christ is already really present in my tongue and in my stomach, in my intestinal tract and in my very blood and bones. There’s nothing special about the bread and wine. I don’t need the Sacrament if it’s just an expression of Divine Omnipresence.

    Second, the issue is not whether the Divine Nature is really present in the bread and wine. Of course it is. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t exist. Where God isn’t isn’t. But that’s entirely beside the point. The issue is whether the body and blood of Christ is present.

    What’s more, the entire premise of Christ’s taking His Omnipresence back is suspect. As far as I know kenoticism, the idea that God set aside His attributes when He became man, is a view the church has long held to be heretical. The idea that the Son set aside His Omnipresence while he was incarnate is to be rejected.

    The Divine Essence includes Omnipresence. As such, there was no forsaken Omnipresence to take back upon His ascension. He always had it. The incarnation gave the Son locality in space and time, but that cannot be understood in any way to preclude His Omnipresence. The Son still has His human nature and the locality it implies, and He has His Divine Nature and the Omnipresence that that implies. If that’s still the way it is, there’s no reason it could not have been that way during Christ’s sojourn on earth.

    The Calvinist’s are mistaken in another way.

    When the pastor offers the wafer, what is it? When he offers the cup, what is it?

    Bread and wine of course.

    But what else?

    It is the body and blood of Christ broken and shed for me on Calvary’s cross.

    I am not receiving Christ’s body seated at the right hand of the Father. The fact that Christ is ‘now’ at the right hand of the Father is not relevant to what I receive. I’m not eating the body or drinking the blood of Christ as He sits at the right hand of God. My ascending to heaven to feast on Christ is not what the text describes.

    I am eating the broken body. The one that the soldier is piercing with his spear. I am drinking the shed blood. The blood that is dripping from the nails, from the thorns, from His stripes and from His pierced side.

    As you can see, Divine Omnipresence, again, has no bearing on what I receive. Instead, it is God’s power to do with matter and space and time whatever it pleases Him to do.

  • WisdomLover

    I’m a Lutheran and I believe in the Real Presence because that’s what the Text says. Metaphysics be damned.

    Whatever metaphysical argument might be given for the Real Presence, I’m pretty sure that Omnipresence is irrelevant to it.

    For starters, if the basis of the Real Presence is Divine Omnipresence, then Christ is already really present in my tongue and in my stomach, in my intestinal tract and in my very blood and bones. There’s nothing special about the bread and wine. I don’t need the Sacrament if it’s just an expression of Divine Omnipresence.

    Second, the issue is not whether the Divine Nature is really present in the bread and wine. Of course it is. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t exist. Where God isn’t isn’t. But that’s entirely beside the point. The issue is whether the body and blood of Christ is present.

    What’s more, the entire premise of Christ’s taking His Omnipresence back is suspect. As far as I know kenoticism, the idea that God set aside His attributes when He became man, is a view the church has long held to be heretical. The idea that the Son set aside His Omnipresence while he was incarnate is to be rejected.

    The Divine Essence includes Omnipresence. As such, there was no forsaken Omnipresence to take back upon His ascension. He always had it. The incarnation gave the Son locality in space and time, but that cannot be understood in any way to preclude His Omnipresence. The Son still has His human nature and the locality it implies, and He has His Divine Nature and the Omnipresence that that implies. If that’s still the way it is, there’s no reason it could not have been that way during Christ’s sojourn on earth.

    The Calvinist’s are mistaken in another way.

    When the pastor offers the wafer, what is it? When he offers the cup, what is it?

    Bread and wine of course.

    But what else?

    It is the body and blood of Christ broken and shed for me on Calvary’s cross.

    I am not receiving Christ’s body seated at the right hand of the Father. The fact that Christ is ‘now’ at the right hand of the Father is not relevant to what I receive. I’m not eating the body or drinking the blood of Christ as He sits at the right hand of God. My ascending to heaven to feast on Christ is not what the text describes.

    I am eating the broken body. The one that the soldier is piercing with his spear. I am drinking the shed blood. The blood that is dripping from the nails, from the thorns, from His stripes and from His pierced side.

    As you can see, Divine Omnipresence, again, has no bearing on what I receive. Instead, it is God’s power to do with matter and space and time whatever it pleases Him to do.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @WisdomLover, post #22: “For starters, if the basis of the Real Presence is Divine Omnipresence, then Christ is already really present in my tongue and in my stomach, in my intestinal tract and in my very blood and bones. There’s nothing special about the bread and wine. I don’t need the Sacrament if it’s just an expression of Divine Omnipresence.”
    —-…

    True, confessional Lutheranism does not argue the “real presence” on the basis of Omnipresence. But even the talk of “real presence” in/of itself can go awry. I mean, there is “real presence” and there is a “real presence which saves you”. In that vein, I do wonder if it might be going to another wrong extreme by disregarding the reality of His omnipresence and/or of having any connection whatsoever with the doctrine of the Real Presence, at least systematically speaking. Christ is present everywhere, according to both natures, including every fiber of your body, in that poison ivy, the venom of the cobra, the raindrops, etc. But that doesn’t mean He is present in those places “for” you, in a salutary manner.

    Given that He in His ascension He “fills all things” in Heaven and on Earth, one might even argue as some have that He fills all time as well as space (given that time as well as space is a created “thing”), and hence was walking with Adam in the garden, wrestling with Jacob, present albeit hiddenly so according to both natures in the burning bush, in the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, in the bronze serpent on the pole, etc., etc. (Of course, a rectilinear-dominated Protestant reading the Old Testament could never handle that.) It’s a possible reason why the mature Luther didn’t like the talk of a “pre-incarnate Christ.” But I digress.

    The simple point regarding Omnipresence is that while the incarnate, crucified, risen, ascended Christ is really present everywhere, according to both natures (and arguably thus in all times as well as all places) He is not present everywhere in all times and places FOR you…but only where He has attached His salutary word of promise to be in such and such a place/space “for” you. Otherwise, His real presence in and of itself is not necessarily a comfort, but can just as well be frightful. Hence, in some ways the real presence per se of His Body and Blood in and under the bread and wine of His Holy Supper ‘could’ be argued on the basis of the doctrine of Omnipresence, just as much as His real presence in your, the smallmouth bass your neighbor caught yesterday, etc.. Not that it was argued on this basis by the Lutheran confessions, and with good reason—for this only can argue presence, not a salutary, saving presence “for you”. Only the saving word of promise attached to a particular place/thing/”media salutis” can assure one of that. Hence, we base it on the Verbum Testamenti with its “…given/shed for you for the forgiveness of sins”.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @WisdomLover, post #22: “For starters, if the basis of the Real Presence is Divine Omnipresence, then Christ is already really present in my tongue and in my stomach, in my intestinal tract and in my very blood and bones. There’s nothing special about the bread and wine. I don’t need the Sacrament if it’s just an expression of Divine Omnipresence.”
    —-…

    True, confessional Lutheranism does not argue the “real presence” on the basis of Omnipresence. But even the talk of “real presence” in/of itself can go awry. I mean, there is “real presence” and there is a “real presence which saves you”. In that vein, I do wonder if it might be going to another wrong extreme by disregarding the reality of His omnipresence and/or of having any connection whatsoever with the doctrine of the Real Presence, at least systematically speaking. Christ is present everywhere, according to both natures, including every fiber of your body, in that poison ivy, the venom of the cobra, the raindrops, etc. But that doesn’t mean He is present in those places “for” you, in a salutary manner.

    Given that He in His ascension He “fills all things” in Heaven and on Earth, one might even argue as some have that He fills all time as well as space (given that time as well as space is a created “thing”), and hence was walking with Adam in the garden, wrestling with Jacob, present albeit hiddenly so according to both natures in the burning bush, in the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, in the bronze serpent on the pole, etc., etc. (Of course, a rectilinear-dominated Protestant reading the Old Testament could never handle that.) It’s a possible reason why the mature Luther didn’t like the talk of a “pre-incarnate Christ.” But I digress.

    The simple point regarding Omnipresence is that while the incarnate, crucified, risen, ascended Christ is really present everywhere, according to both natures (and arguably thus in all times as well as all places) He is not present everywhere in all times and places FOR you…but only where He has attached His salutary word of promise to be in such and such a place/space “for” you. Otherwise, His real presence in and of itself is not necessarily a comfort, but can just as well be frightful. Hence, in some ways the real presence per se of His Body and Blood in and under the bread and wine of His Holy Supper ‘could’ be argued on the basis of the doctrine of Omnipresence, just as much as His real presence in your, the smallmouth bass your neighbor caught yesterday, etc.. Not that it was argued on this basis by the Lutheran confessions, and with good reason—for this only can argue presence, not a salutary, saving presence “for you”. Only the saving word of promise attached to a particular place/thing/”media salutis” can assure one of that. Hence, we base it on the Verbum Testamenti with its “…given/shed for you for the forgiveness of sins”.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @WisdomLover, post #22,

    “I am eating the broken body. The one that the soldier is piercing with his spear. I am drinking the shed blood. The blood that is dripping from the nails, from the thorns, from His stripes and from His pierced side.”
    —————-

    This is an interesting comment. I’m not sure the Confessions dealt with the question of whether the body and blood given and received was that of the Crucified Lord, or that of the Resurrected/Ascended Lord. Help me out here. Can you cite for me in the Lutheran Confessions and/or the Scriptures where this is the case as you assert? Thanks.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @WisdomLover, post #22,

    “I am eating the broken body. The one that the soldier is piercing with his spear. I am drinking the shed blood. The blood that is dripping from the nails, from the thorns, from His stripes and from His pierced side.”
    —————-

    This is an interesting comment. I’m not sure the Confessions dealt with the question of whether the body and blood given and received was that of the Crucified Lord, or that of the Resurrected/Ascended Lord. Help me out here. Can you cite for me in the Lutheran Confessions and/or the Scriptures where this is the case as you assert? Thanks.

  • WisdomLover

    JG-

    Thanks. Excellent point about “for you”. Perhaps the most practically important two words in Lutheran theology.

    In any case, Christ did not need to be ascended in order for His presence in the bread and wine to be for me. In time, He did not even need to be crucified…before His crucifixion, all the disciples received a true salutary meal at the last supper. Similarly, He transformed the baptism of John into a participation in His death and resurrection long before His death and resurrection.

  • WisdomLover

    JG-

    Thanks. Excellent point about “for you”. Perhaps the most practically important two words in Lutheran theology.

    In any case, Christ did not need to be ascended in order for His presence in the bread and wine to be for me. In time, He did not even need to be crucified…before His crucifixion, all the disciples received a true salutary meal at the last supper. Similarly, He transformed the baptism of John into a participation in His death and resurrection long before His death and resurrection.

  • Grace

    WisdomLover @ 25

    YOU WROTE: → → “In any case, Christ did not need to be ascended in order for His presence in the bread and wine to be for me. In time, He did not even need to be crucified…before His crucifixion, all the disciples received a true salutary meal at the last supper. Similarly, He transformed the baptism of John into a participation in His death and resurrection long before His death and resurrection.

    Christ’s death on the cross was foretold is Isaiah 53. Read it carefully, paying special attention to verses 10, 11 and 12. There you will see that HE Jesus would make his soul an offering for sin” – “he shall bear their iniquities” – ” he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” – - this is the PROPHECY in Isaiah 53.

    For you to state: “He did not even need to be crucified” is false.

    1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
    2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

    3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

    4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

    5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

    8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

    9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

    10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

    - – - Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
    hew 20:28 – - –

    11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

    12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53

  • Grace

    WisdomLover @ 25

    YOU WROTE: → → “In any case, Christ did not need to be ascended in order for His presence in the bread and wine to be for me. In time, He did not even need to be crucified…before His crucifixion, all the disciples received a true salutary meal at the last supper. Similarly, He transformed the baptism of John into a participation in His death and resurrection long before His death and resurrection.

    Christ’s death on the cross was foretold is Isaiah 53. Read it carefully, paying special attention to verses 10, 11 and 12. There you will see that HE Jesus would make his soul an offering for sin” – “he shall bear their iniquities” – ” he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” – - this is the PROPHECY in Isaiah 53.

    For you to state: “He did not even need to be crucified” is false.

    1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
    2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

    3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

    4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

    5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

    8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

    9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

    10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

    - – - Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
    hew 20:28 – - –

    11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

    12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53

  • Grace

    The passage I quoted above should read:

    - – – Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
    Matthew 20:28 – – –

  • Grace

    The passage I quoted above should read:

    - – – Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
    Matthew 20:28 – – –

  • WisdomLover

    Grace-

    You misunderstand what I was saying. Of course Christ had to be crucified. Not your fault. I stated my point poorly.

    My point was that the meal given at the last supper was efficacious before Christ was crucified. (Somehow the locution “In time, He did not even need to be crucified” was supposed to convey that…no wonder I was misunderstood) Likewise John’s baptism was efficacious before the death and resurrection of Christ.

    Of course, that meal and baptism, though occurring before Christ’s death and resurrection are, nonetheless, efficacious because, and only because, of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection three days later.

    And the bigger point regarding the supper in particular is that the body and blood being given at the supper are not given from Christ in glory, they are given from Christ crucified.

    But how can this be? The crucifixion is over and done with.

    Well, how could it be at the last supper? Neither crucifixion nor glorification had even come to pass yet.

    The answer in both cases is that time, space and matter are God’s obedient creatures, not His master. He will make them do whatever He commands.

  • WisdomLover

    Grace-

    You misunderstand what I was saying. Of course Christ had to be crucified. Not your fault. I stated my point poorly.

    My point was that the meal given at the last supper was efficacious before Christ was crucified. (Somehow the locution “In time, He did not even need to be crucified” was supposed to convey that…no wonder I was misunderstood) Likewise John’s baptism was efficacious before the death and resurrection of Christ.

    Of course, that meal and baptism, though occurring before Christ’s death and resurrection are, nonetheless, efficacious because, and only because, of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection three days later.

    And the bigger point regarding the supper in particular is that the body and blood being given at the supper are not given from Christ in glory, they are given from Christ crucified.

    But how can this be? The crucifixion is over and done with.

    Well, how could it be at the last supper? Neither crucifixion nor glorification had even come to pass yet.

    The answer in both cases is that time, space and matter are God’s obedient creatures, not His master. He will make them do whatever He commands.

  • Grace

    WisdomLover

    YOU WROTE: → “My point was that the meal given at the last supper was efficacious before Christ was crucified. (Somehow the locution “In time, He did not even need to be crucified” was supposed to convey that…no wonder I was misunderstood) Likewise John’s baptism was efficacious before the death and resurrection of Christ.”

    No, I disagree with you. I did not misunderstand. Your statement was incorrect and false, it still is. Using the word “efficacious” over and over again, is not applicable – you stated very clearly:

    “In any case, Christ did not need to be ascended in order for His presence in the bread and wine to be for me. In time, He did not even need to be crucified…before His crucifixion, all the disciples received a true salutary meal at the last supper”

    The prophecy in Isaiah 53 is clear, including verses 10, 11 and 13. To mix and match it as you have is your misunderstanding of Scripture, and continues to be. Your definition is not in line with Scripture.

    You confuse what Christ did for us, HIS Crucifixion, Salvation by dying for us on the Cross, HIS body, HIS blood, the LORD’S Supper, – all for the sake of using “efficacious” and then mixing it together.

    The Gospel isn’t difficult to understand, however man rewrites what is simple, intellectualizing God. God is/was and always will be all powerful, in every respect, that is key to understanding.

  • Grace

    WisdomLover

    YOU WROTE: → “My point was that the meal given at the last supper was efficacious before Christ was crucified. (Somehow the locution “In time, He did not even need to be crucified” was supposed to convey that…no wonder I was misunderstood) Likewise John’s baptism was efficacious before the death and resurrection of Christ.”

    No, I disagree with you. I did not misunderstand. Your statement was incorrect and false, it still is. Using the word “efficacious” over and over again, is not applicable – you stated very clearly:

    “In any case, Christ did not need to be ascended in order for His presence in the bread and wine to be for me. In time, He did not even need to be crucified…before His crucifixion, all the disciples received a true salutary meal at the last supper”

    The prophecy in Isaiah 53 is clear, including verses 10, 11 and 13. To mix and match it as you have is your misunderstanding of Scripture, and continues to be. Your definition is not in line with Scripture.

    You confuse what Christ did for us, HIS Crucifixion, Salvation by dying for us on the Cross, HIS body, HIS blood, the LORD’S Supper, – all for the sake of using “efficacious” and then mixing it together.

    The Gospel isn’t difficult to understand, however man rewrites what is simple, intellectualizing God. God is/was and always will be all powerful, in every respect, that is key to understanding.

  • Dan Kempin

    Wisdom Lover, #28,

    When you say: “John’s baptism was efficacious before the death and resurrection of Christ,” are you saying that the baptism of John (the Baptist) is the same a Christian baptism?

  • Dan Kempin

    Wisdom Lover, #28,

    When you say: “John’s baptism was efficacious before the death and resurrection of Christ,” are you saying that the baptism of John (the Baptist) is the same a Christian baptism?

  • WisdomLover

    Grace-

    I have now made it very clear that I think the crucifixion of Christ is necessary for the redemption of the world. So if you disagree with me you reject the necessity of the crucifixion for the redemption of the world.

    Either that, or you are willfully misrepresenting my position just for the sake of being contentious.

    What I meant, and what I later clarified is that while the crucifixion did have to happen, it did not have to happen before you could have a sacrament.

    The disciples received the broken body and shed blood of Christ before it had been broken and shed. And by the same token, we receive that same broken body and shed blood after it has been broken and shed.

    In both cases, we receive the body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of all of our sin.

    And that is all that I meant. Any argument you have with any claims other than the one’s I just made is an argument you are having with yourself.

  • WisdomLover

    Grace-

    I have now made it very clear that I think the crucifixion of Christ is necessary for the redemption of the world. So if you disagree with me you reject the necessity of the crucifixion for the redemption of the world.

    Either that, or you are willfully misrepresenting my position just for the sake of being contentious.

    What I meant, and what I later clarified is that while the crucifixion did have to happen, it did not have to happen before you could have a sacrament.

    The disciples received the broken body and shed blood of Christ before it had been broken and shed. And by the same token, we receive that same broken body and shed blood after it has been broken and shed.

    In both cases, we receive the body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of all of our sin.

    And that is all that I meant. Any argument you have with any claims other than the one’s I just made is an argument you are having with yourself.

  • WisdomLover

    Dan-

    My knee jerk reaction to your question is that John’s baptism was a Christian baptism. It was a baptism for repentance and the forgiveness of sins. There’s no other baptism that can forgive sins. Is there?

    But I admit it’s a difficult question.

    John himself says that Jesus would surpass his baptism with water by baptizing with the Holy Ghost and with fire. That seems to suggest that John’s baptism somehow falls short of the baptism that Jesus brings.

    Then again, Christian baptism seems to fall short as well. It certainly includes a reference to the Holy Ghost through the single name that He shares with the Father and the Son. But since that name is YHWH, John’s baptism might have been, and probably was, done in that name. What’s more, Christian baptism is done with water, not fire. So Christian baptism seems to be promising the baptism of Jesus while delivering the baptism of John.

    I think what I’d like to say is that all of John’s baptisms became Christ’s baptisms, because He fulfilled all things. On account of Christ, they were complete with fire and Spirit. And they are all Christian baptisms for that reason.

    Likewise Christian baptisms, outwardly so much like John’s baptisms, become Christ’s baptisms.

    But Acts 19 mentions some disciples baptized by John that were baptized again by Paul. It would seem that John’s baptism was not a Christian baptism because Paul wouldn’t have needed to do it again if it were.

    But even this is not totally clear cut.

    If I’m a hard-line atheist and decide to get baptized as a goof, I think I would need to be baptized again if I later became a Christian. Wouldn’t I?

    If so, a general point seems to follow: An overt baptismal rite might fail to be a Christian baptism because of the individuals baptized, not because of the rite itself. As such, you might argue that the disciples Paul was talking to in Acts 19 needed to be baptized again, not because of any shortcoming of John’s baptism, but because of themselves.

    They did not, at least, even know that there was such a thing as the Holy Spirit and it could be argued that they did not repent when they were first baptized by John (otherwise, why would Paul have corrected them by saying that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance).

    So best answer: I lean toward the idea that John’s baptism was a Christian baptism, but I could be persuaded that I’m wrong.

    In contrast, I don’t think I could be persuaded that the Last Supper was not a Holy Communion Meal in which the recipients received the body and blood of Christ, broken and shed. This is in spite of the fact that it happened before Christ’s body and blood were broken and shed.

    If Holy Communion is anything at all, the Last Supper was Holy Communion. When Christ said “this is my body, this is my blood broken and shed…” He was uttering truth. He was uttering the same truth that my pastor utters every Sunday.

  • WisdomLover

    Dan-

    My knee jerk reaction to your question is that John’s baptism was a Christian baptism. It was a baptism for repentance and the forgiveness of sins. There’s no other baptism that can forgive sins. Is there?

    But I admit it’s a difficult question.

    John himself says that Jesus would surpass his baptism with water by baptizing with the Holy Ghost and with fire. That seems to suggest that John’s baptism somehow falls short of the baptism that Jesus brings.

    Then again, Christian baptism seems to fall short as well. It certainly includes a reference to the Holy Ghost through the single name that He shares with the Father and the Son. But since that name is YHWH, John’s baptism might have been, and probably was, done in that name. What’s more, Christian baptism is done with water, not fire. So Christian baptism seems to be promising the baptism of Jesus while delivering the baptism of John.

    I think what I’d like to say is that all of John’s baptisms became Christ’s baptisms, because He fulfilled all things. On account of Christ, they were complete with fire and Spirit. And they are all Christian baptisms for that reason.

    Likewise Christian baptisms, outwardly so much like John’s baptisms, become Christ’s baptisms.

    But Acts 19 mentions some disciples baptized by John that were baptized again by Paul. It would seem that John’s baptism was not a Christian baptism because Paul wouldn’t have needed to do it again if it were.

    But even this is not totally clear cut.

    If I’m a hard-line atheist and decide to get baptized as a goof, I think I would need to be baptized again if I later became a Christian. Wouldn’t I?

    If so, a general point seems to follow: An overt baptismal rite might fail to be a Christian baptism because of the individuals baptized, not because of the rite itself. As such, you might argue that the disciples Paul was talking to in Acts 19 needed to be baptized again, not because of any shortcoming of John’s baptism, but because of themselves.

    They did not, at least, even know that there was such a thing as the Holy Spirit and it could be argued that they did not repent when they were first baptized by John (otherwise, why would Paul have corrected them by saying that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance).

    So best answer: I lean toward the idea that John’s baptism was a Christian baptism, but I could be persuaded that I’m wrong.

    In contrast, I don’t think I could be persuaded that the Last Supper was not a Holy Communion Meal in which the recipients received the body and blood of Christ, broken and shed. This is in spite of the fact that it happened before Christ’s body and blood were broken and shed.

    If Holy Communion is anything at all, the Last Supper was Holy Communion. When Christ said “this is my body, this is my blood broken and shed…” He was uttering truth. He was uttering the same truth that my pastor utters every Sunday.

  • WisdomLover

    JG-

    I missed your question at #24:

    “I’m not sure the Confessions dealt with the question of whether the body and blood given and received was that of the Crucified Lord, or that of the Resurrected/Ascended Lord. Help me out here. Can you cite for me in the Lutheran Confessions and/or the Scriptures where this is the case as you assert?”

    I don’t know of any Lutheran Confession on the subject. I think I’m just taking a very unsubtle reading of the Words of Institution.

    When they say “This is my body given for you, this is my blood poured out for you”, I just assume that the body and blood He’s talking about is the body and blood that were given and poured out. Had He wanted to say “This is my body and blood glorified for you”, I think He could have. The Holy Spirit, at least, had several tries in the NT to say that if that’s what He wanted to say.

    In fairness, maybe my thinking is colored by the Words as usually spoken: “This is my body broken for you. This is my blood shed for you.” This rendition is a carryover from the 1 Corinthians passage as translated in the KJV and the TR/Byzantine Greek texts that underlie it. Nestle-Aland does not say “broken”. On the other hand, Luke does say that the body are given and poured out, even in the Nestle-Aland.

  • WisdomLover

    JG-

    I missed your question at #24:

    “I’m not sure the Confessions dealt with the question of whether the body and blood given and received was that of the Crucified Lord, or that of the Resurrected/Ascended Lord. Help me out here. Can you cite for me in the Lutheran Confessions and/or the Scriptures where this is the case as you assert?”

    I don’t know of any Lutheran Confession on the subject. I think I’m just taking a very unsubtle reading of the Words of Institution.

    When they say “This is my body given for you, this is my blood poured out for you”, I just assume that the body and blood He’s talking about is the body and blood that were given and poured out. Had He wanted to say “This is my body and blood glorified for you”, I think He could have. The Holy Spirit, at least, had several tries in the NT to say that if that’s what He wanted to say.

    In fairness, maybe my thinking is colored by the Words as usually spoken: “This is my body broken for you. This is my blood shed for you.” This rendition is a carryover from the 1 Corinthians passage as translated in the KJV and the TR/Byzantine Greek texts that underlie it. Nestle-Aland does not say “broken”. On the other hand, Luke does say that the body are given and poured out, even in the Nestle-Aland.

  • Dan Kempin

    Wisdom Lover,

    A thoughtful answer. Thank you.

    You are certainly correct about the Lord’s Supper.

  • Dan Kempin

    Wisdom Lover,

    A thoughtful answer. Thank you.

    You are certainly correct about the Lord’s Supper.

  • Grace

    Wisdomlover

    Your statements, changes, etc., aren’t clever – however, as I’ve read and re-read your comments, I’m not surprised, as to your answser.

  • Grace

    Wisdomlover

    Your statements, changes, etc., aren’t clever – however, as I’ve read and re-read your comments, I’m not surprised, as to your answser.

  • Grace

    Wisdomlover @ 31

    YOU WROTE: → @ 31 “I have now made it very clear that I think the crucifixion of Christ is necessary for the redemption of the world. So if you disagree with me you reject the necessity of the crucifixion for the redemption of the world.

    Either that, or you are willfully misrepresenting my position just for the sake of being contentious.”

    Your first paragraph in this post in NO WAY, compares to the comment you made in @25:

    @ 25“In any case, Christ did not need to be ascended in order for His presence in the bread and wine to be for me. In time, He did not even need to be crucified

    What you state above in 25, is the very opposite of what you state now @31.

    You’ve contrived an answer after mixing it up, then dodge the obvious. It’s not a matter of being “contentious” it’s being precise which, in this case, is MORE than IMPORTANT.

  • Grace

    Wisdomlover @ 31

    YOU WROTE: → @ 31 “I have now made it very clear that I think the crucifixion of Christ is necessary for the redemption of the world. So if you disagree with me you reject the necessity of the crucifixion for the redemption of the world.

    Either that, or you are willfully misrepresenting my position just for the sake of being contentious.”

    Your first paragraph in this post in NO WAY, compares to the comment you made in @25:

    @ 25“In any case, Christ did not need to be ascended in order for His presence in the bread and wine to be for me. In time, He did not even need to be crucified

    What you state above in 25, is the very opposite of what you state now @31.

    You’ve contrived an answer after mixing it up, then dodge the obvious. It’s not a matter of being “contentious” it’s being precise which, in this case, is MORE than IMPORTANT.

  • WisdomLover

    Grace-

    Let us, henceforth, refer to the following as the HATED PROPOSITION:

    Christ did not need to be crucified

    In post-25, my point was not to come out in favor of the HATED PROPOSITION. Instead, I had a different point in mind:

    Christ did not need to be crucified before His body and blood, broken and shed in that crucifixion, could be given in the Supper

    Since this proposition merely expresses and example of my view that God is sovereign over time, I will simply call it the SOVEREIGNTY PROPOSITION.

    Notice that the words of the HATED PROPOSITION appear in their entirety in the SOVEREIGNTY PROPOSITION.

    Does that mean the SOVEREIGNTY PROPOSITION implies the HATED PROPOSITION? Is someone who accepts the SOVEREIGNTY PROPOSITION thereby committed to the HATED PROPOSITION?

    No.

    That’s about as silly as saying that a guy who says “I like to play catch with my kids” is thereby claiming to like dressing up like Macavity or something.

    Anyone reading with an ounce of charity would have seen right from the start that I was not endorsing the HATED PROPOSITION. But, I admit, I worded it poorly. I gave you the benefit of the doubt that that was why you were picking a fight with me.

    My subsequent comments have made it abundantly clear even to someone as uncharitable as you that I oppose the HATED PROPOSITION. Even you seem, in your post-36, to finally admit that, in my post-31 at least, I deny the HATED PROPOSITION. But you seem to cling to the idea that in post-25 I endorsed the HATED PROPOSITION.

    How do you think that this ‘miracle transformation’ from post-25 to post-31 happened?

    Do you suppose I came onto this site, heresy burning in my bosom, to spread an accursed anti-gospel against the necessity of the crucifixion? Do you suppose that that’s what I was up to in post-25? And do you imagine that you then showed me the error of my ways so that I’m now in favor of the very opposite of the HATED PROPOSITION I came here to promulgate? Is that what you think happened?

    Or perhaps you think that you’ve so humiliated me that I simply had to retreat before your onslaught from the public proclamation of the HATED PROPOSITION though I still hold it dear in the dark recesses of my heart? Is that what you think happened?

    Or is it, just maybe, that I never intended to endorse the HATED PROPOSITION, but to endorse the SOVEREIGNTY PROPOSITION instead? And that you misunderstood my point in your initial criticism and have been, for whatever reason, unwilling to admit as much?

  • WisdomLover

    Grace-

    Let us, henceforth, refer to the following as the HATED PROPOSITION:

    Christ did not need to be crucified

    In post-25, my point was not to come out in favor of the HATED PROPOSITION. Instead, I had a different point in mind:

    Christ did not need to be crucified before His body and blood, broken and shed in that crucifixion, could be given in the Supper

    Since this proposition merely expresses and example of my view that God is sovereign over time, I will simply call it the SOVEREIGNTY PROPOSITION.

    Notice that the words of the HATED PROPOSITION appear in their entirety in the SOVEREIGNTY PROPOSITION.

    Does that mean the SOVEREIGNTY PROPOSITION implies the HATED PROPOSITION? Is someone who accepts the SOVEREIGNTY PROPOSITION thereby committed to the HATED PROPOSITION?

    No.

    That’s about as silly as saying that a guy who says “I like to play catch with my kids” is thereby claiming to like dressing up like Macavity or something.

    Anyone reading with an ounce of charity would have seen right from the start that I was not endorsing the HATED PROPOSITION. But, I admit, I worded it poorly. I gave you the benefit of the doubt that that was why you were picking a fight with me.

    My subsequent comments have made it abundantly clear even to someone as uncharitable as you that I oppose the HATED PROPOSITION. Even you seem, in your post-36, to finally admit that, in my post-31 at least, I deny the HATED PROPOSITION. But you seem to cling to the idea that in post-25 I endorsed the HATED PROPOSITION.

    How do you think that this ‘miracle transformation’ from post-25 to post-31 happened?

    Do you suppose I came onto this site, heresy burning in my bosom, to spread an accursed anti-gospel against the necessity of the crucifixion? Do you suppose that that’s what I was up to in post-25? And do you imagine that you then showed me the error of my ways so that I’m now in favor of the very opposite of the HATED PROPOSITION I came here to promulgate? Is that what you think happened?

    Or perhaps you think that you’ve so humiliated me that I simply had to retreat before your onslaught from the public proclamation of the HATED PROPOSITION though I still hold it dear in the dark recesses of my heart? Is that what you think happened?

    Or is it, just maybe, that I never intended to endorse the HATED PROPOSITION, but to endorse the SOVEREIGNTY PROPOSITION instead? And that you misunderstood my point in your initial criticism and have been, for whatever reason, unwilling to admit as much?

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Wisdomlover (@37), welcome to Conversations With Grace. She’s like that. Frequently.

    I have a prediction as to how your reply will be received. I bet you do, too.

    Anyhow, perhaps the real question is: why do people keep engaging Grace? Now, maybe you didn’t know how she can be. Certainly, you do now. But I’ve also found myself repeatedly trying to talk with her, only to run into this sort of thing. At some point, I have to conclude it doesn’t speak very well of me that I keep getting drawn into these discussions. Oh well.

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Wisdomlover (@37), welcome to Conversations With Grace. She’s like that. Frequently.

    I have a prediction as to how your reply will be received. I bet you do, too.

    Anyhow, perhaps the real question is: why do people keep engaging Grace? Now, maybe you didn’t know how she can be. Certainly, you do now. But I’ve also found myself repeatedly trying to talk with her, only to run into this sort of thing. At some point, I have to conclude it doesn’t speak very well of me that I keep getting drawn into these discussions. Oh well.

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    You and I have disagreed pretty pointedly about some items in the past. But on this one, I think we agree.

    Point taken: Please DNFTT

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    You and I have disagreed pretty pointedly about some items in the past. But on this one, I think we agree.

    Point taken: Please DNFTT

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WisdomLover (@39), yes, I vaguely recall that (though, perhaps for the best, I don’t remember what it was I was so upset about). I hesitate to say this — because it might look like I’m just being chummy with you because of our shared reaction to Grace, and in general I detest that sort of false enemy-of-my-enemy chumminess — but when I read your comments on this thread, I found myself thinking, “Is this the same WisdomLover I got into heated discussions with in the past?”

    I can only conclude that we must have been arguing over something more political/cultural and less theological, because I think we share quite a bit in common, theologically. Which is one of the reasons I enjoy engaging on this blog: I’m constantly amazed (and encouraged) by the commonalities shared with my Lutheran brothers and sisters with whom I otherwise have little in common culturally.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WisdomLover (@39), yes, I vaguely recall that (though, perhaps for the best, I don’t remember what it was I was so upset about). I hesitate to say this — because it might look like I’m just being chummy with you because of our shared reaction to Grace, and in general I detest that sort of false enemy-of-my-enemy chumminess — but when I read your comments on this thread, I found myself thinking, “Is this the same WisdomLover I got into heated discussions with in the past?”

    I can only conclude that we must have been arguing over something more political/cultural and less theological, because I think we share quite a bit in common, theologically. Which is one of the reasons I enjoy engaging on this blog: I’m constantly amazed (and encouraged) by the commonalities shared with my Lutheran brothers and sisters with whom I otherwise have little in common culturally.

  • Grace

    There is no “charity” when the Word of God is twisted, as a verbal contortionist – deforming and twisting its very meaning.

    But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2

  • Grace

    There is no “charity” when the Word of God is twisted, as a verbal contortionist – deforming and twisting its very meaning.

    But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    Yes. It was a political argument. About the Laffer curve. At least that’s the one I remember. We might also have disagreed on something having to do with voting, but I’m a bit foggy on that. Things got crazily busy at work shortly after that and I kind of dropped off for a bit (here and at “Stand To Reason” where I also sometimes put in my $0.02).

  • WisdomLover

    Todd-

    Yes. It was a political argument. About the Laffer curve. At least that’s the one I remember. We might also have disagreed on something having to do with voting, but I’m a bit foggy on that. Things got crazily busy at work shortly after that and I kind of dropped off for a bit (here and at “Stand To Reason” where I also sometimes put in my $0.02).


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