Monday, October 19, 2009

Why Luther and I Think Calvin Is Wrong About The Eucharist

Ascension doesn't pose a problem unless you're a modernist who doesn't believe Jesus actually multiplied the loaves and fish in the feeding miracles, God can create as much of his body as he wants (which I'm sure is what GODzilla's redemptive message was). As well we can choose to or not to heed St. Augustine's warning that it is dangerous to think too greatly about the Ascension (and he didn't even know about the stratosphere, space, etc).

But to add more Augustine:

"For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food.

Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him." - St. Augustine of Hippo "Sermon on the Feast of the Ascension)

This however is my argument that oldest and most hated of Christian arguments: It's a mystery!

Luther's response is much more Biblical and difficult to refute:

"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" - 1 Corinthians 10:16

Now unless St. Paul was really throwing us through a loop and the rhetorical answer was "no" it would appear that all Calvinist and Zwinglian interpretations which basically make it the Holy Spirit are at a loss here. It's the communion of the BODY and BLOOD of Christ NOT the SPIRIT of Christ. There. don't blame me, blame Sts. Paul, Augustine, and (un-st. ?) Martin Luther, and possibly God.

8 comments:

  1. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" - 1 Corinthians 10:16

    I understand Paul to be very specific here. In the cup, we are communing (partaking) of the blood of Christ, yes. The bread we break, in it we are communing with the body of Christ. They are not empty symbols I agree.

    The means of communion being the Spirit is merely identifying the means, not the substance of communion. We do not partake merely spiritual symbols, but the substance of Christ's body. Body is not spirit, right.

    The difference just is: Is Christ brought down into the bread, or in the bread are we taken up to feast on Christ.

    And I tend to think Calvin's view best, helping us not to fall into Monophysitism, but at some point I also sympathize when he said he is not excited to get into fights about the means. In the Eucharist, we feed truly on Christ's physical body and blood. How? I don't know. I also prefer Luther's view, that also doesn't dabble in details as do both Zwingli and Aquinas.

    So:
    Calvin > Luther > Aquinas > Zwingli > American memorialism

    I just get to a point where I believe it is not magic and not mere memorial, but mystery and true and helpful and necessary for our lives.

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  2. In Reformation History tonight at Uni the Prof (a Mennonite) talked about Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation (which he attributed to Luther), and when he got to Zwingli's view (He skipped Calvin's after I explained it to him last year and said it was the same as Zwingli's) and he asked what we should call Zwingli's view. I said out loud "The Unreal Presence"? and the Reformed TA infront of me turned around and said "Watch it!" and the Prof said: "Just to annoy Andrew, we'll call it the 'symbolic presence'".

    The average Reformed Christian though seems to be as bad at Eucharistic theology as the average Catholic is at any type of theology.

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  4. Sorry grammatical error . . .

    Andrew,

    I'm not trying to insinuate anything, just genuinely curious. Are the body and blood of the Roman Catholic Eucharist doctrine dead or alive?

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  5. Haha good question to trip me up on - but nonetheless a good question. I usually know better than to think myself and should just look it up in Aquinas, BUT I'd say, no they are dead just as the pascal lamb was dead and was still a sacrifice. BUT you will undoubtedly say that Christ is alive forever, BUT I might be able to find some sophistical answer like dying?

    I'll have to check that out hah. I know after 15 minutes in the body it's no longer Christ anymore though.

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  6. Interesting. So is it Christ's body and blood separated from his resurrection body, so that it's no longer his resurrection body?

    In other words, does Roman Catholicism understand that elements of Christ's resurrection body can be subject to death or dying? Or are the body and blood elements of his body prior to his resurrection?

    I didn't know about the 15 minute rule. Is that oficial dogma? If so where is it written?

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  7. "Under the consecrated species of bread and wine, Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner."
    – Catechism of the Catholic Church 1415

    "The flesh of the Son of Man, given as food," explains Pope John Paul II, "is his body in its glorious state after the resurrection."

    I was wrong (again I have barely any Catechesis aside from 16th century polemics) it's the resurrection body.

    "whole and entire: the Soul, the Body and Blood of Christ, with all their component parts. In heaven a complete human nature is united to the divine nature in one. . . person. It is a denial of the faith to suppose that in this sacrament there is anything less." - Roman Catechism (the one after Trent)

    So I think they're saying that its his entire body physically, which probably means it's somehow his entire body throughout his life, which means that somehow it is the sacrifice of calvary, and somehow the resurrection of easter.

    ... I'll have to read more on this as everytime I put forward my opinion it leads to heresy.

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