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Apostolic Succession, Transubstantiation, and the Eucharist

Discussion in 'Scripture,Tradition,Reason-Anglican & Old Catholic' started by Look Homeward Anglican, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Look Homeward Anglican

    Look Homeward Anglican Senior Veteran

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    The Roman Catholic Church relies on the doctrine of apostolic succession to claim an exclusive jurisdiction over the Church Universal; only its priests are able to confect the Eucharist, pronounce the absolution of sins (or refuse to do so,) etc... and all through an unbroken line of Laying on of Hands, dating all the way back to Saint Peter.

    This of course paves the way for an interpretation of John:6, wherein Jesus explains that he will give his body and blood for men to eat, and that it is a necessity for having "life in them." The RCC developed transubstantiation as a term to describe this mystery.

    I believe that regardless of what any believers call it or what their understanding of its nature is, it is the same thing that occurs: it is a mystery, and needs no definition by mankind to validate it. Nor should any man be condemned for refusing to call it a specific thing or insist upon its nature. It is metaphysical and beyond our grasp, and that's all we need.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Transubststantiation doesn't describe a mystery. It is actually a demythologizing of the mystery using Aristotle's methodology in order to create a new explanation of the mechanics of that mystery. Continuing with your thought, then, it is MORE than we need. It denies the mystery.
     
  3. Look Homeward Anglican

    Look Homeward Anglican Senior Veteran

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    Excellent point. I couldn't agree with you more.
     
  4. mark46

    mark46 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    THOUGHTS

    1) I agree with Albion. The RCC removes the mystery by attempting to explain the mechanism of the Eucharist. Anglicans hold many views. Almost all believe that Jesus is truly present in the bread and wine. (Yes, there are a few receptionists and memorialists). Personally, I think the Orthodox and UMC approach is best. We have the sacrament. We receive Jesus. The mechanism is a mystery. There is not need to believe that the bread and wine are no longer there, but there is also no need to explain.

    2) I think that you overstate the RCC position a bit with regard to Apostolic Succession. They accept that Eucharist by others as valid. Indeed they do not accept the succession of some Anglicans. They do accept Old Catholics and Orthodox.

    3) The open question is whether apostolic succession is required, and what that means. The issue of mechanism is a red herring. When a Baptist minister celebrates the ordinance of the Lord's Table, is that the sacrament of the Eucharist as we understand it? I think not. Receiving Jesus is different than remembering Him and the Cross.

    Some think that an apostolic priest is not necessary for a valid Eucharist. For example, some believe that UMC, Presbyterian and Lutheran presbyters (priests/ministers) do indeed celebrate a "valid" Eucharist. The issue for these Anglicans is NOT apostolic succession, but rather the issue of sacrament and intent. These three churches have a liturgy where Jesus comes and we receive Him. We sometimes call all but the memorial position the doctrine of "The Real Presence" to distinguish the position from the memorialist understanding.

    Some have a somewhat intermediate position where we receive Jesus but nothing changes in the bread and wine. In this understanding, we truly receive Jesus. However, it is through our faith that we receive. This is called a "receptionist" position. I do think that this is different from both the the sacrament/ordinance of Real Presence and the memorialist position of the Baptists. The emphasis is on faith rather than grace and sacrament. But, still, these folks understand that we receive Jesus.
    =============================
    The THRESHOLD issue is whether we truly receive Jesus in the breaking of the bread. As the nuns and priests told our great grandparents, the rest is a mystery.

     
  5. Look Homeward Anglican

    Look Homeward Anglican Senior Veteran

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    I feel this is most reasonable. It is certainly most closely my own position on the matter.
     
  6. Athanasias

    Athanasias Regular Member

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    Rome also recognizes the valid apostolic succession and Holy Orders and Sacraments of the eastern Orthodox Chruches as well.
     
  7. Athanasias

    Athanasias Regular Member

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    Actually you misunderstand what mystery is. Mystery is something that can be known(to an extent) but not fully comprehended. God is infinite we are finite. Thus we can not understand his mysteries fully but we can understand them to a degree(as he allows us and helps us grow into a proper understanding of them). Transubstantiation does not teach the mechanics of the mystery but rather the reality of the mystery. The mechanics stil make this mysterious. Its God's mystery how he changes the substance of bread into himself. Transubstantiation really is the same thing as the Greek equivelant that the early Chruch and the Greek Chruch still uses called Meta-ousia. And Yes the Eastern Chruches also still while using this term beleive its a mystery.
     
  8. Esdra

    Esdra Senior Contributor

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    I've always thought that Presbyterians are Calvinists and thus reformed and don't beleive in the RP?

    And, yes, you're right, I would also not say that a Baptist Holy Supper is a kind of Eucharist.
     
  9. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Calvinists, at least orthodox Calvinists, do believe in RP. I have read some on these forums trying very hard to explain to other Christians that it's incorrect to say that Calvinists do not believe in RP. They do not believe in any literal, carnal presence, however.
     
  10. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    I do not misunderstand it.
    Yes, it does. It does not explain HOW the mechanics work, except that it is miraculous.

    They do not believe in the Roman explanation that is Transubstantiation, although they believe in the changed elements in approximately the same way as the RCC does.
     
  11. Athanasias

    Athanasias Regular Member

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    Ok lets look at a few things here brother. It does not explain how God transforms the substance of bread into the substance of himself. That is mysterious and miraculous. And that would be the mechanics that de-mystifies this. It just describes the reality that took place by God and defines what has been transformed. It nowhere that I am aware of explains the mechanics of How God does this miracle. Its just explains the nature of the miracle and mystery. It is still fully mysterious. We have awe and reverence that bread and wine can become God almighty the creator of the cosmos.

    Your right in saying that Eo's and the early Church explains the eucharist in the same way as the Catholic Church does but normally use different terminology. They often use the word Meta-ousia or change of substance, This is what transubstantiation actually means too. But even several EO diocese and theologians also use the Latin term transubstantiation(instead of the eastern term Meta-ouisa which means the same thing) and have no issue with this still being a mystery.
    See here:

    Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia — Holy Eucharist
     
  12. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    No. You may ask a question, but this is not the forum for interdenominational debates. I will continue the discussion, if you like, on an appropriate forum or on OBOB.
     
  13. Athanasias

    Athanasias Regular Member

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    Ok Brother good point. I did not realize that we could not dialog about this here and I certainly do not want to offend the Anglican thread. We can continue this discussion if you want on private pm.

    May God bless you always

    in Christ the New Moses,
    Athanasias
     
  14. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Not a problem. We aren't sticklers here, but I try to respect rules, and since this had become essentially a two-way debate involving me, I was uncomfortable. You understand.
     
  15. mark46

    mark46 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Presbyterians do not believe in a physical presence; they believe that Jesus comes in Spirit. They believe that he is truly present in the bread and wine.

     
  16. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    It's a common misconception. They (or those who understand Calvin and agree with him) DO believe in the RP, but it's a somewhat different conception from the Catholic-Lutheran-Anglican POV. It is NOT just that Christ is present in spirit. It is that we are spiritually lifted up to heaven at that moment to participate in the presence of Christ. Some Christians would say this isn't actually RP because it denies that Christ is localized in the elements, and it's also probably true that the average church member doesn't really believe this way...but that's how it goes in almost every church vis-a-vis the official beliefs of the denomination.
     
  17. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    Which has a lot going for it as an image.

    If the big picture is about heaven and earth coming back together, anticipated in Jesus and in the Kingdom of God, that neednt be an either/or.
     
  18. Crandaddy

    Crandaddy Classical Theist

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    I, for one, tend to be pretty conservative in my views on these matters. I would say that proper celebration of the Eucharist requires that the celebrating priest or bishop have valid apostolic succession. I would say, furthermore, that only a man can be a validly ordained priest or consecrated bishop. I do, of course, understand why some people might have a bit of trouble with this view. After all, it seems that, from our human perspective, a woman can go through all the motions and perform all the requisite duties of either office every bit as well as a man can. I don't disagree with this at all! However, our Lord, who we know had women among his disciples (including his own Mother, no less!) selected men exclusively to carry on the apostolic ministry, and it has always been traditional until the present to ordain and consecrate only men to the offices of deacon, priest, and bishop. My view is that, while we may not fully understand why this has been so, we should err on the side of safety and continue the tradition of ordaining and consecrating only men to these offices.

    As regards transubstantiation, I would say that I am agnostic as regards whether or not the consecrated elements literally become human flesh and blood and merely appear to continue to be bread and wine. It is important to note that I do not reject this view, only that I do not at present fully embrace it. However, I do insist that the consecrated elements, even if they do continue to be bread and wine in any meaningful sense, are no longer ordinary bread and wine. That is, I would insist that a real metaphysical alteration of the consecrated elements does occur, so that they truly are, in some literal sense, the Body and Blood of Christ.
     
  19. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    Did he?

    Since when has being the people of God been about playing it safe?
     
  20. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Seems to me like an odd mixture of traditional and revisionist theology, but everyone is entitled to his own beliefs, so welcome to the forum!
     
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