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is communion under one kind forbidden?

Discussion in 'Theologia Crucis - Lutherans' started by FireDragon76, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't eat wheat. In the past I've been told the easiest thing to do is talk to a priest or pastor and just tell them you cannot receive communion in the host or the bread. I talked to the local pastor about this and I just receive the Eucharist from the chalice. He just says "The body and Blood of Christ" when the deacon hands me the chalice, which I find a little odd.

    I also attend an Episcopal service on Wednesdays. The canon that presides at the services knows me fairly well and he knows I don't eat wheat. When the chalice comes to me, he just says "the blood of Christ ,the cup of salvation" as is normal. One time he told me that it was just as valid to receive the Eucharist under one species as both, as the person of Christ is equally present in either bread or wine. Something I believe is more the result of catholic theology.

    So, what is the Lutheran attitude towards communion under one element or species? Is it normal to have to say the words "body and blood" if we are only receiving communion from the chalice?
     
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  2. Bonifatius

    Bonifatius Regular Member

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    Hi Firedragon,

    it is perfectly ok to make communion only under one kind. Both - the consecrated bread/host and the consecrated wine will convey to you the body and blood of Christ. So, technically the Lutheran pastor is right in saying 'the body and blood of the Lord', although it might sound a bit strange.

    Lutherans have always put a stress on the fact that the chalice should not be withdrawn from the people, but if there are reasons for your to only receive the chalice it is perfectly ok. Some people do not receive the chalice (sometimes for reasons having to do with alcohol). I myself have not received the chalice when I was sick and would not want to drink from the common chalice. At the peak of the pig flu the chalice was suspended for a while in our London churches and we would make communion under one kind only for a number of weeks too.

    The theological explanation for a valid communion under one kind is called 'concomitance': http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concomitance_(doctrine)

    On the other hand: We have had gluten-free hosts in my churches available in case someone in the congregation would be allergic to gluten. Perhaps that is an option for you as well? They were marked, so that the priest could see where they were on the paten and give them to the right people.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  3. filosofer

    filosofer Senior Veteran

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    I am not sure that you are correct about the Lutheran position regarding this.

    As a pastor, we have used gluten-free wafers for those who cannot eat wheat, but in 66 years I have not known of one pastor who has taught/accepted that concomitance was a valid doctrinal position within Lutheranism.
     
  4. filosofer

    filosofer Senior Veteran

    +287
    Lutheran
    Here is the statement from the Smalkald Articles, 1537 in the Book of Concord:


    Part III, Article VI. Of the Sacrament of the Altar.

    1] Of the Sacrament of the Altar we hold that bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ, and are given and received not only by the godly, but also by wicked Christians.

    2] And that not only one form is to be given. [For] we do not need that high art [specious wisdom] which is to teach us that under the one form there is as much as under both, as the sophists and the Council of Constance teach. 3] For even if it were true that there is as much under one as under both, yet the one form only is not the entire ordinance and institution [made] ordained and commanded by Christ. 4] And we especially condemn and in God's name execrate those who not only omit both forms but also quite autocratically [tyrannically] prohibit, condemn, and blaspheme them as heresy, and so exalt themselves against and above Christ, our Lord and God [opposing and placing themselves ahead of Christ], etc.
     
  5. Bonifatius

    Bonifatius Regular Member

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    As far as I can see the Lutheran confessions do not reject the Roman practice of communion under one kind on the grounds of a condemnation of the doctrine of concomitance, but because it is against Christ's command and institution.They were critical of that doctrine because it was used by the Roman church to justify the abuse of whitholding the chalice - not because it was wrong in itself.

    So, in short:
    Should the church celebrate the Eucharist only in one kind? No, because according to Christ's institution we should receive him in bread and wine.
    Is it possible, under certain circumstances to make communion only under one kind? Yes, because the consecrated bread and wine do convey the body and blood of Christ.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  6. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My understanding of the history is that in the middle ages, east and west people were concerned about abuse and spilling the sacrament. In the West, they started to use fistulas (straws), and some Catholic churches have started using this practice again during the recent swine flu epidemic. But eventually the practice just became to withhold the chalice altogether, especially combined with an understanding that the Mass was a propitiation for sins, the emphasis ceased to be in the laity communing and more about the action of the priest.

    In the east, they started using spoons. In Orthodox worship they are very meticulous to avoid spilling any communion on the ground.

    My wife is a recovering alcoholic and doesn't see well to grab things, so the only way she would receive the Blood of Christ is through intinction. Otherwise she won't drink from the chalice. We are a real handful to deal with at church, so we just go last.
     
  7. Bonifatius

    Bonifatius Regular Member

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    This was actually the common practice in the Roman church up until the late 19th/early 20th century before a movement set in that people would make their communion more often. Until then most masses were celebrated without the people even receiving communion, only the priest himself would consume the elements.
     
  8. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    My son has Celiac. Our church provides gluten-free wafers as an alternative, just as they provide non-alcoholic wine.

    We also bought gluten-free wafers for when we're traveling. We just talk to the Pastor before the service, and we've never had a problem.
     
  9. Breaking Enigma

    Breaking Enigma Unbreakable

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    In my LCMS church, we receive the blood in tiny little personal cups that we take from the platter ourselves as we kneel at the communion rail. I'm always scared to death that I'll shake too much and spill a little over the top, knock another over, or flat out just drop the cup. I've never seen it happen and I'm not sure what they would do if it ever did happen.
     
  10. ContraMundum

    ContraMundum Messianic Jewish Christian Supporter

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    Tell your pastor. There's plenty of available gluten free communion breads available. I've always kept it handy for people who are gluten intolerant and it's no big deal.

    Communion in one kind is heretical. It invalidates the sacrament. The sacraments should only be instituted in the way Christ commanded them and for the purpose in which He commanded them. Anything else is fallen human rationalization and lazy praxis.

    Yep- a great example of how philosophy and human logic can take a simple sacrament and make a new practice out of it. Simple response: if Christ wanted us to have it in one kind, He would have made it so. But because the elements teach something other than just the real presence, if we throw one of the elements away, we throw our witness to the whole truth away.

    filosofer posted well on this. I couldn't add to it other than what I said above.
     
  11. Bonifatius

    Bonifatius Regular Member

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    With all due respect, I think you are mixing up two categories here. The quote from the Episcopal priest does not refer to the 'practice' of the church. They do offer the bread as well as the chalice as a rule - simply because this is what Christ commanded us to do. The response is to a particular problem and the question whether under certain circumstances (celiac) it is sufficient to make communion under one kind only.

    The Orthodox would call this 'oikonomia'.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
  12. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    From what I understand, communion under both kinds is normal in the Episcopal Church also. It just seems like there are fewer problems with communing under one kind in that church.
     
  13. ContraMundum

    ContraMundum Messianic Jewish Christian Supporter

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    What? Are you just saying what I just said only in another way? Or is there something I'm missing here?

    ...and that's important to me why?
     
  14. Bonifatius

    Bonifatius Regular Member

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    I thought you were trying to say that it was not right for Firedragon to make his communion under one kind only because he cannot eat wheat.

    I was trying to say that although it is clear from Christ's commandment that we (i.e. the Church) should celebrate the Eucharist using bread AND wine, that does not necessarily mean that each individual member of the church must make their communion under both kinds always.

    I don't know whether it is important to you. It is important to me - since it makes clear that although there are norms and rules to follow it is very often important to make a wise and graceful decision based on the situation, not on the letter.
     
  15. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was just wondering because gluten-free wafers I have tasted are not always good. Unlike the regular wheat wafers most churches use, sometimes the non-wheat wafers are made with corn or bean flours and have strong flavors and are prone to going rancid. I prefer to avoid them.
     
  16. graceandpeace

    graceandpeace Episcopalian

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    I'm not Lutheran, but I found this from the ELCA:

    http://download.elca.org/ELCA Resource Repository/How_do_we_distribute_Holy_Communion.pdf

    It states under "Other Matters" that Communion received in one kind is acceptable. This is TEC's position as well.

     
  17. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

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    The message that the ELCA sends is that they do what they want when they want; and that is fine because I will do what ever I can to avoid crossing the threshold of any of their Chruch door ways. The fellowship agreement with the Presbyterian Chruch sends the message that it does not matter if one even receives Christ's body and blood.

    They can believe, teach and practice as they choose; Scripture and our confessions compel me otherwise.
     
  18. GracetotheHumble

    GracetotheHumble Theology of the Cross

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    Technically, the blood is a part of the body. So using the phrase, "body and blood" to describe only the blood is not incorrect.
     
  19. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

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    That's one argument, but based on Scripture, that is NOT what our Lord says; He says "take, eat, this is My body" "take and drink, this is my blood". Since we are commanded to eat His body and drink His blood we are compelled to have both species in the Eucharist. Luther spent much time considering this, and in his early writings, he was OK with one species but said that doing so was undesirable, but as time passed and more consideration was given, Luther too became adamant that receiving only the host was wrong, as it deprived the communicant of Christs very blood.
     
  20. GracetotheHumble

    GracetotheHumble Theology of the Cross

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    May I ask, what is your obsession with avoiding wheat? Wheat is after all very healthy and good for you.
     
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