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Doctrines of "The Real Presence" in the Eucharist

Discussion in 'Traditional Theology' started by GreekOrthodox, May 18, 2021.

  1. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Christ had two natures, not two souls or two substantial forms.

    But yeah, you're saying, "God could incarnate in human flesh without displacing the humanity, therefore he could also incarnate in bread and wine without displacing the natural elements." That's a fair objection. Admittedly, I do not know the history of Transubstantiation in great detail.
     
  2. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Yes. Calvin also used that analogy for Scripture, which is human words but also the Word of God.
     
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  3. GreekOrthodox

    GreekOrthodox Psalti Chrysostom

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    The Lutheran view of the Eucharist is the "Sacramental Union" in which both the Body and Blood are present, "in, with and under" the bread and wine.
     
  4. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    And remind me again why Lutherans object to the word "consubstantiation," which makes use of the literal Incarnation-term from the Nicene Creed?
     
  5. GreekOrthodox

    GreekOrthodox Psalti Chrysostom

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    Lutherans object to it on philosophical grounds as consubstantiation also assumes Aristotelian substances and accidents. They were trying to get back to the mystery, that we can't explain it.

    This is from the Christian Cyclopedia (Lutheran in origin)
    Consubstantiation.

    View, falsely charged to Lutheranism, that bread and body form 1 substance (a “3d substance”) in Communion (similarly wine and blood) or that body and blood are present, like bread and wine, in a natural manner. See also Grace, Means of, IV 3.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
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  6. HARK!

    HARK! Well-Known Member Staff Member Purple Team - Moderator Supporter

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    MOD HAT ON

    [​IMG]

    MOD HAT OFF
     
  7. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

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    For us, it is not "disposed of", but rather consumed by the celebrant or celebrant and deacon at the end of the service. In our congregations that don't do this, it is reserved apart from the non consecrated elements, in a locked Sacristy, and used first at the next service. Doing this raises questions regarding how this should be done; do we reconsecrate allong with everything else? Do we leave it on the creedence table until after the consecration? Do we take it to the sick and homebound who need, maybe more so than the rest of us, to hear Christs words?

    Scripture is clear in what is says should be done; "take and eat", "take and drink". It offers no further instruction, so this is what we do.
     
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  8. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

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    Well stated; like Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation are flawed human attempts to explain what is beyond our understanding; but both remain a belief in the real presense. It is a mystery.
    Again, Scripture talks of both bread and wine and body and blood regarding the sacrament; the term used by Lutherans is "Sacramental Union", and we accept that it nourishes both body and soul, and through its reception, both spiritual and physical healing.
     
  9. GreekOrthodox

    GreekOrthodox Psalti Chrysostom

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    That reminds me of an instance where my pastor ran out of wafers during communion and grabbed a bag of them from the back of the altar (it had a couple of shelves in the back). Afterwards he said he should have probably resaid the words of consecration over them. Got us into a question of do the elements need to "hear" the words? What if someone has bread with them for the kids, does that get consecrated as well?
     
  10. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

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    Absolutely, he should have. We keep extras in a second Ciborium on the Creedence table, if more are needed, he counts out the appropriate ammount and placed them in the Ciborium on the Altar; puts the back-ups back on the Creedence table, and consecrates them.
     
  11. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    Technically, from a Lutheran POV, Transubstantiation or Consubstantiation could be true. But both are approaches to the Mystery that go beyond what is revealed and thus what is to be confessed. What is to be confessed is that here, really and truly, is Jesus Christ, His body and blood, for us. That's what it is, because our Lord tells us it is.

    At the meeting with Zwingli at Marburg, Luther famously wrote "Hoc est" on the table, and then covered it with the tablecloth. Luther's intent was to insist on what Jesus said against all human attempts to rationalize or explain away that profound mystery. Jesus said hoc est corpus meum. This is My body.

    We can say no less, nor should we say anymore, than what Christ Himself has said.

    So from a technical standpoint it's not that Consubstantiation (or Transubstantiation even) is objectively false; it's that it cannot be rightly confessed in faith since it goes further than what is already revealed. Any philosophical, any metaphysical attempt to use reason to rule over this mystery of faith is considered improper.

    Hence "Sacramental Union" is as close as we are ever willing to go, and even then, the Sacramental Union is not an explanation, but an analogy to highlight the mystery: We can no more explain the Real Presence in the Eucharist then we can explain the mystery of the Hypostatic Union. We behold God in the weakness of crucified, suffering flesh. We meet the very Same right here "in, with, and under" the bread and wine, for us.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
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  12. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    I think everyone agrees with this, but it's still a moving target. I myself believe that the "mystery approaches" often go too far. It seems to me that if we say that no ontological change of the bread and wine occurs then we have said less than Christ himself has said. As you say, a (Lutheran) mystery approach does not preclude transubstantiation or consubstantiation, but it seems to me that if someone denies ontological change then they must be corrected. Maybe Lutherans have made such corrections in their history. I am not familiar with that history.

    I guess my point is that there is no prima facie reason to believe that mystery is going to better represent Christ's words than definition would. Indeed, if the words have any positive meaning then they can't be wholly mysterious. Complete mystery is practically synonymous with meaninglessness. Sometimes abandoning "mystery" and rejecting certain interpretations is the correct move.
     
  13. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    I'm not using mystery to mean "incomprehensible", so much as the traditional sense of a thing knowable only by revelation. The only way we can know and confess that the bread and wine of the Eucharist is Christ's body and blood is because He declared it to be so.

    Is there an ontological change? I don't think we can answer that question. If our Lord had said, "this bread has changed its substance into that of My body" I think we could answer yes. But Jesus doesn't use that language, He said it is.

    Does the bread undergo an ontological transformation, from bread to flesh, wine to blood? Maybe. It very well could.

    The answer to "is there an ontological change" isn't so much a no, as it is "God has not told us". So let's take our metaphysics, set them to the side, and simply honor Christ our God who gives Himself to us here in these gifts. This is the body of Christ, this is the blood of Christ. We come to the Table not with our senses, but with faith.

    Christ is, tangibly, ontologically, real flesh and real blood, there. It really is what He says it is. So yes, it is "ontologically" Christ's body and blood. Is that a result of a transformation of the substance from one to the other; is it a result of the union of the two together? We don't know.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
  14. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Yes, and that word, "is", contains the proposition that an ontological change has occurred. To ignore this would be to obscure Christ's revelatory word, not to honor it.

    But you make it seem like metaphysics is this highfalutin thing that has nothing to do with the meaning of ordinary language. That's not true. If it's nothing more than ordinary bread then Christ's words are false. If it's different from ordinary bread then there has been an ontological change.

    But what do you mean by, "this"? Obviously you mean bread and wine. We need to use our sense. Revelation comes through natural language and natural categories. If "This (bread) is the body of Christ," then it exists in a different way than ordinary bread. Faith does not mean throwing the natural meaning of words out the window. If that were true then faith-based revelation would be impossible.

    You are disregarding the meaning of the word "is". I don't know why you are doing that. Christ used that word on purpose. He didn't want us to disregard it.

    Edit: reading this last part again, you seem to agree with me. In your second-to-last sentence you are apparently claiming that an ontological change has occurred, whether we interpret it as transubstantiation or consubstantiation. Yes?

    Here is a very simple argument. Consider the claim, "This (bread) is Christ's body." Now is that claim true of all bread, or just some bread? Surely it is only true of some bread. But if this is-claim is only true of some bread, then that bread must exist in a different way from ordinary bread. To say the same thing more precisely: it must be ontologically different from ordinary bread. ("Is" has to do with existence which is the study of ontology.) Further, was the Christ-bread once ordinary bread? Why yes, it was. And therefore at some point it must have changed from ordinary bread into Christ-bread. This is a change in its existence, an ontological change.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
  15. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    The bread is Christ's real body. The wine is Christ's real blood.
    That is ontological, in that we are talking about is-ness.

    Is it still bread? Does Christ's word negate the ontological reality of the bread?

    That's the point I'm making.

    The fact that we are getting into philosophical debates about whether bread is still bread is, I think, kind of the whole point of why the metaphysic is wholly unnecessary; and ought to be set aside.

    Can it be regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill bread and also Christ's true, real, actual, bodily flesh?

    It's a false dichotomy that doesn't need to exist. And it's something that simply doesn't matter--to make such philosophical speculation a matter of dogma is the other part of the issue.

    We can't say anything other than what the Lord said, "This [bread] is My body" et al.

    This is also why the question of when does it become Christ's flesh is regarded as mere speculation. Likewise, is the bread outside of the context of the Eucharist, still His flesh? Lutherans can't answer that either, it is pure speculation.

    Here in the Eucharist the bread is Jesus' flesh, because Jesus said so.
    Here in the Eucharist the wine is Jesus' blood, because Jesus said so.

    The assortment of speculative questions that can be asked after the fact are matters of pure speculation and opinion. What God has not said, we cannot confess or believe as revealed dogma.

    Right, it is the body of Christ, that is the revelation of Christ. Christ said "this [bread] is My body", and the natural meaning of the language is that the bread [of His Supper, the Holy Eucharist] is His body.

    That's what I've been saying.

    I think what you are trying to say is that the natural meaning of Christ's words somehow innately indicate the change of the substance from bread to Christ's flesh, therefore it is no longer bread. But none of that is innate to what Jesus said, the Lord's word here does not say anything less or more than what He has said.

    We can infer that what was merely bread and nothing more or other than that is, now, somehow, Christ's true flesh. That is, I believe a natural inference by which the language has cohesive meaning.

    But it does not explicate beyond this into a metaphysical transformation of breadly substance into fleshly substance.

    To borrow the Aristotelian framework; we are not forced to conclude as a matter of dogma that the accidents of the species have become a deception, telling us the substance is of one thing rather than that of another.

    Indeed, what the "accidents" tell us are totally immaterial. Is it no longer substantially bread? Who can say? Does it still remain substantially bread? Who could know?

    What we can say, because of faith in Christ's own word, is that it (the species of the Eucharist) is, indeed, truly and really Christ's flesh and blood.

    I've been consistently emphasizing the very use of the word "is". I'm fully aware that we are speaking of ontology, speaking of the essence, substance, the esse/is-ness of the Eucharist.

    That has been the basis of what I've been writing in my posts.

    Christ is--tangibly, ontologically, His real flesh and real blood--in, with, and under the species of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  16. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    No, that is not what I have been trying to say. I think we are talking past each other. I added a bit of an edit at the end of my last post that may be helpful.

    When I argued for an ontological change in #72 I was not arguing for transubstantiation. Consubstantiation would also imply an ontological change.
     
  17. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    I think you're correct.

    I think I initially took your use of "ontological change" to indicate change of substance.

    The essential point I wanted to make is that Lutherans can't believe in Consubstantiation for the same reason we can't believe in Transubstantiation.

    How, in what way, when, for how long, etc are questions that simply aren't answerable by faith in the revealed word of Christ. To answer them requires speculation through reason. Transubstantiation is a very reasonable speculation, its Aristotelian framework isn't all that difficult to wrap one's head around. The problem is that it can't be said of whether it is actually true or not. Maybe, maybe not--it's impossible to say.

    Only faith can behold this truth.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
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  18. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Okay, I think we are on the same page. Thanks for your thoughts.

    So does "Sacramental Union" entail an ontological change?
     
  19. GreekOrthodox

    GreekOrthodox Psalti Chrysostom

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    If you want to dig into the full Lutheran explanation which is too long to copy and paste, you can read the Formula of Concord Solid Declaration on the Lord's Supper:

    VII. The Holy Supper | Book of Concord

    Section 63-64 might be of particular use:

    63 The other eating of the body of Christ is oral or sacramental, when the true, essential body and blood of Christ are also orally received and partaken of in the Holy Supper, by all who eat and drink the consecrated bread and wine in the Supper-by the believing as a certain pledge and assurance that their sins are surely forgiven them, and Christ dwells and is efficacious in them, but by the unbelieving for their judgment and condemnation,

    64 as the words of the institution by Christ expressly declare, when at the table and during the Supper He offers His disciples natural bread and natural wine, which He calls His true body and true blood, at the same time saying: Eat and drink. For in view of the circumstances this command evidently cannot be understood otherwise than of oral eating and drinking, however, not in a gross, carnal, Capernaitic, but in a supernatural, incomprehensible way;
     
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