Eucharist

The doctrine of Transubstantiation is the belief that the elements of the Lord’s table (bread and wine) supernaturally transform into the body and blood of Christ during the Mass. This is uniquely held by Roman Catholics but some form of a “Real Presence” view is held by Eastern Orthodox, Lutherans, and some Anglicans. The Calvinist/Reformed tradition believes in a real spiritual presence but not one of substance. Most of the remaining Protestant traditions (myself included) don’t believe in any real presence, either spiritual or physical, but believe that the Eucharist is a memorial and a proclamation of Christ’s work on the cross (this is often called Zwinglianism). The Roman Catholic Council of Trent (1545-1563) defined Transubstantiation this way:

By the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation” (Session XIII, chapter IV)

As well, there is an abiding curse (anathema) placed on all Christians who deny this doctrine:

If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ,[42] but says that He is in it only as in a sign, or figure or force, let him be anathema. (Session XII, Canon I)

It is very important to note that Roman Catholics not only believe that taking the Eucharist in the right manner is essential for salvation, but that belief in the doctrine is just as essential.

Here are the five primary reasons why I reject the doctrine of Transubstantiation:

1. It takes Christ too literally

There does not seem to be any reason to take Christ literally when he institutes the Eucharist with the words, “This is my body” and “This is my blood” (Matt. 26:26-28, et al). Christ often used metaphor in order to communicate a point. For example, he says “I am the door,” “I am the vine,” “You are the salt of the earth,” and “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14) but people know that we don’t take such statement literally. After all, who believes that Christ is literally a door swinging on a hinge?

2. It does not take Christ literally enough

Let’s say for the sake of the argument that in this instance Christ did mean to be taken literally. What would this mean? Well, it seems hard to escape the conclusion that the night before Christ died on the cross, when he said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood,” that it actually was his body and blood that night before he died. If this were the case, and Christ really meant to be taken literally, we have Christ, before the atonement was actually made, offering the atonement to his disciples. I think this alone gives strong support to a denial of any substantial real presence.

3. It does not take Christ literally enough (2)

In each of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) we have the institution of the Eucharist. When the wine is presented, Christ’s wording is a bit different. Here is how it goes in Luke’s Gospel: “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” (Luk 22:20). Here, if we were really to take Christ literally, the “cup” is the new covenant. It is not the wine, it is the cup that is holy. However, of course, even Roman Catholics would agree that the cup is symbolic of the wine. But why one and not the other? Why can’t the wine be symbolic of his death if the cup can be symbolic of the wine? As well, is the cup actually the “new covenant”? That is what he says. “This cup . . . is the new covenant.” Is the cup the actual new covenant, or only symbolic of it? See the issues?

4. The Gospel of John fails to mention the Eucharist

Another significant problem I have with the Roman Catholic interpretation of the Eucharist and its abiding anathemas is that the one Gospel which claims to be written so that people may have eternal life, John (John 20:31), does not even include the institution of the Eucharist. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell the story of Christ giving the first Lord’s table, but John decides to leave it out. Why? This issue is made more significant in that John includes more of the “Upper Room” narrative than any of the other Gospels. Nearly one-third of the entire book of John walks us through what Christ did and said that night with his disciples. Yet no breaking of the bread or giving of the wine is included. This is a pretty significant oversight if John meant to give people the message that would lead to eternal life (John 20:31). From the Roman Catholic perspective, his message must be seen as insufficient to lead to eternal life since practice and belief in the Mass are essential for eternal life and he leaves these completely out of the Upper Room narrative.

(Some believe that John does mention the importance of belief in Transubstantiation in John 6. The whole, “Why did he let them walk away?” argument. But I think this argument is weak. I talk about that here. Nevertheless, it still does not answer why John left out the institution of the Lord’s Supper. It could be that by A.D. 90, John saw an abuse of the Lord’s table already rising. He may have sought to curb this abuse by leaving the Eucharist completely out of his Gospel. But this, I readily admit, is speculative.)

5. Problems with the Hypostatic Union and the Council of Chalcedon

This one is going to be a bit difficult to explain, but let me give it a shot. Orthodox Christianity (not just Eastern Orthodox) holds to the “Hypostatic Union” of Christ. This means that we believe that Christ is fully God and fully man. This was most acutely defined at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Important for our conversation is that Christ had to be fully man to fully redeem us. Christ could not be a mixture of God and man, or he could only represent other mixtures of God and man. He is/was one person with two complete natures. These nature do not intermingle (they are “without confusion”). In other words, his human nature does not infect or corrupt his divine nature. And his divine nature does not infect or corrupt his human nature. This is called the communicatio idiomatum (communication of properties or attributes). The attributes of one nature cannot communicate (transfer/share) with another nature. Christ’s humanity did not become divinitized. It remained complete and perfect humanity (with all its limitations). The natures can communicate with the Person, but not with each other. Therefore, the attribute of omnipresence (present everywhere) cannot communicate to his humanity to make his humanity omnipresent. If it did, we lose our representative High Priest, since we don’t have this attribute communicated to our nature. Christ must always remain as we are in order to be the Priest and Pioneer of our faith. What does all of this mean? Christ’s body cannot be at more than one place at a time, much less at millions of places across the world every Sunday during Mass. In this sense, I believe that any real physical presence view denies the definition of Chalcedon and the principles therein.

There are many more objections that I could bring including Paul’s lack of mentioning it to the Romans (the most comprehensive presentation of the Gospel in the Bible), some issues of anatomy, issues of idolatry, and just some very practical things concerning Holy Orders, church history, and . . . ahem . . . excrement. But I think these five are significant enough to justify a denial of Transubstantiation. While I respect Roman Catholicism a great deal, I must admit how hard it is for me to believe that a doctrine that is so difficult to defend biblically is held to such a degree that abiding anathemas are pronounced on those who disagree.

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C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    54 replies to "5 Reasons I Reject the Doctrine of Transubstantiation"

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      If I’m not mistaken, Lutheran doctrine holds that Christ is physically present in the Elements of the Lord’s Supper.

    • Delwyn Campbell

      The catholic Church has always held to some form of Real Presence, both East and West. Zwingli was a innovator, in that he brought in a change. This, you are following a teaching that is contrary to historic Christian teaching. In your pinion, Christy allowed the Church to be in gross error for 1500 years, until your hero showed up.
      Think about it.

    • Brother Stumblefoot

      Sorry Michael, but I have to wince a little at the Calvinist so often referring back to the Councils and Creeds. It just doesn’t settle the issues, to go the the decisions of a Laodicean
      kind of church, nor to it’s leaders/spokesmen; the church was pretty “far out” in so many essentials from the Post-apostolic age, until the Reformation. (As you will agree).

      This is not to say they got everything wrong, it’s just to say that it’s better to go to the Scriptures than to the these guys to settle the issues. For one thing, the average Christian
      in the free world (and that’s who this blog addresses) has access to the Scriptures, and those who don’t, (in the non-free world) certainly don’t have access to church history. This latter (church history), is pretty well a sealed book for most believers,
      though I do indeed love to peruse the history when I can, and I think a good theologian
      needs to know the said history. But not to rely on it nor to imply a reliance on it.

      Unfortunately, (imo), the Calvinist too often turns back to the creeds and councils and some end up turning back to that church that has placed an anathema on much that we dearly believe.

    • Nin

      In Psalm 16 it is stated that Your Holy One would not undergo decay. How does that not happen if a person takes a communion wafer into his body and later that wafer ends up as feces? Does Christ body now become feces? I don’t believe so.

    • Adam

      It sounds like what you are actually against is Real Presence, because everyone who believes in Real Presence in any form takes Christ at his word.
      For sure, Christ speaks metaphorically at many times. So it is up to his students to study his words, so that we can be careful to know when he is speaking metaphorically or literally. In the Lord’s Supper, those of us that hold to Real Presence think he meant what he said, and this is confirmed for us in Paul’s treatment of the Supper in 1 Corinthians: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died” (11:26-30). Notice how the bread and the wine are paired with the body and the blood; it is not imagery or metaphor; they are almost interchangeable/synonymous. But those who reject Real Presence read Christ’s words as metaphor.
      Again, it seems like what you are against is not transubstantiation itself but Real Presence as a whole. Because if you accepted Real Presence, then you would at least be able to see transubstantiation as a philosophical interpretation of what happens to the elements in the Lord’s Supper, even if in the end you disagree with that interpretation. But if you reject the notion altogether, then transubstantiation will appear to be the most outrageous error possible.
      Now, there are plenty of other reasons to disagree with the Roman Catholic understanding of the Supper, but I would suggest that transubstantiation is not one of them. The “re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice” bit, the “unbloody sacrifice on the altar” bit, or the “giving salvific grace” bit are all good reasons to disagree.
      What do you think?

    • joe losiak

      Thank you Michael! For these great reasons which I’m sure you can expand upon and the Lord’s reason to do it in remembrance we agree. Also, I would like to mention that I was Roman Catholic until age 14. Sound young but I already was infant baptized, made my first confession, first communion and was confirmed by the time I was 10 yrs old. However, the first time I really had true communion was at age 15 in Baptist church where I obeyed our Lord, who said eat and drink. For centuries Catholics were not allowed full communion until recently.

    • Steve Martin

      Lutheran doctrine states that the bread and the wine are the true body and blood of Christ. Christ IS (Jesus said, “This IS my body…this IS my blood.”) truly present in the meal. “Whoever does not eat my body and drink my blood has no life in them.” – Jesus

      We don’t claim (as the Catholics do – transubstantiation) to know HOW. We just trust that He is.

      Jesus never commanded us to do something, wherein He would not be present in it, for us.

      __

      I find it so odd that so many Christians say that Christ is alive and living in their hearts….but yet they dent that He could be present in a bowl of water…or piece of bread where His Word of promise is attached to that water…and that bread and wine.

      It’s just very odd.

    • Steve Martin

      “…but yet they DENY…” (it should have read)

    • IICapnCrunch

      I do not believe in transubstantiation, but I do find the Catholic argument to make sense of the danger involved in eating unworthily. I don’t see how the Zwinglian view does justice to the “some of you are sick/you might die” admonition from Paul.

      To clarify, the Catholic church seems in many ways (though they aren’t recanting Trent in any way to my knowledge) to affirm that there are people outside of the Catholic church who are believers but don’t receive full benefit to participate in the ministry of the Catholic church.

    • Wolf Paul

      Michael, one thing that all of my Roman Catholic theologian friends underline is that “substance” in this context does not mean “chemical substance” but is a philosophical term meaning the essence, the true nature, of something.
      My other comment would be that Christ’s human body DID NOT stay the way it was, and is thus NO LONGER like our bodies, since after his resurrection he was able to walk through closed doors and/or simply appear somewhere. An ability to somehow be really present all over the world on Sunday morning wherever the Eucharist is celebrated is thus not really a contradiction of the conclusions of Chalcedon.

      I do not share “Brother Stumblefoot”‘s concern about Calvinists referring back to the councils of the undivided church, but I do find it odd that you would put great store by the pronouncements of Chalcedon and yet ignore the almost unanimous position of the early church that Christ is really present in the Eucharist.

      I find the Roman Catholic attempts to pinpoint exactly HOW some truths of the faith work, as in the doctrine of transsubstantiation, misguided, and their anathemas arrogant nonsense; but if the Roman Catholic attempt to define and explain all that is mystery in our relationship with God is one side of the coin, then the Protestant tendency to deny much that is mystery, such as the Real Presence, is simply the other side — and it is a false coin that doesn’t buy anything and leaves us impoverished.

    • Rich

      Oops! All this time…’since ’05…I’ve held to the spiritual presence because I thought you did too. I’m a Baptist but it made sense that there was so much emphasis on the Last Supper that the Calvinist view had to be the more Scriptural. ‘Guess it’s time for me to re-calibrate because you’re a teacher of mine.

    • Glenn Shrom

      The “real presence” has always struck me as odd, since the Christ is truly present anywhere and anytime that two or more are gathered together in his name, whether or not there is anything to eat or drink. Why would Christ be any less present when we eat or drink together, and any more present when we do?

      The cup of redemption which Christ took was the third cup of a Passover Seder. “As often as you drink of this cup” referred originally to “Every time you get to this cup of the Passover Seder meal from now on” … Instead of looking to the exodus from Egypt as the great redemptive event, the new covenant deliverance would now be the scourging and the crucifixion for the deliverance from sin and evil. The problem with trying to see this foreshadowed in John 6, is that the Last Supper is all about the Passover elements, whereas the John 6 passage is all about the manna from heaven. The Passover and the manna from heaven were both Mosaic miracles events, but they were two different things and meant different things. At no time was the manna from heaven looked at as a parallel to Passover.

      If the Eucharist were to get the emphasis and importance modern Catholics give it, we would certainly see similar emphasis and importance in the New Testament when the Apostles wrote to God’s people. We don’t.

    • Steve Martin

      Jesus is the one who said that, “If you do not eat my body or drink my blood you have no life in you.”

      He gave us the pure gift of Himself in tangible form. So that we would not have to internalize the Word. So it wouldn’t have to be spiritualized. it’s external. So that we can have something concrete in real time…in our personal history (each time we partake) in which we can have absolute assurance. No matter how we ‘feel’ about it. Totally apart from anything that we do, say, feel, or think.

    • Wolf Paul

      Glenn Shrom writes,

      The “real presence” has always struck me as odd, since the Christ is truly present anywhere and anytime that two or more are gathered together in his name, whether or not there is anything to eat or drink. Why would Christ be any less present when we eat or drink together, and any more present when we do?

      I understand that argument, and “Real Presence” is in that sense perhaps a misnomer, because it suggests to our modern, analytical minds that “where two or three are gathered in His name he is not REALLY there in the midst of them”, but that raises the question why the abuse of the Lord’s Supper is punished so severely, as Paul indicates in 1 Corinthians 11:27: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.”

      To me that seems over the top if the Lord’s Supper is indeed a “mere rememberance” but indicates that the Lord’s Supper is concerned with the body and blood of the Lord in a manner that the normal gathering of “two or three in the Lord’s name” is not — it’s not a question of more or less real, but there seems to be a qualitative difference where the Lord’s Supper is concerned.

      I have heard some argue that the body in 1 Cor 11:29 is the Body of Christ, the church; I don’t buy that because of the explicit mention of the blood in v.27; the blood which never refers to anything other than Christs actual blood, poured out for us.

      Personally, I think that in the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, Communion (and I use these terms freely and interchangeably) Christ makes himself available to His followers in a special way that goes beyond the ordinary gathering of believers; I feel confirmed in this by the fact that this seems to have been the view of the early church. How this happens is a mystery of faith and we don’t do anyone any good by trying to overly analyze it because we will never fully understand it. That is why I reject transsubstantiation as a doctrine, and think that all of these different models that try to explain how it happens are ill advised and mere speculation, indicative of our insatiable curiosity which is unable or unwilling to let mystery remain mysterious.

      I have less trouble with the term “Real Presence” as long as we understand that it only intends to say something about the Lord’s Supper; it does not intend to disparage the presence of Christ in the normal gatherings of “two or three together in His name.”

    • Craig Giddens

      Jesus offered Himself ONCE as a sacrifice for our sins never to be offered up again.

      Hebrews 9
      24. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
      25. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
      26. For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
      27. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
      28. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

      The Lord’s supper is a remembrance of this. Jesus dwells in us believers through the indwelling Holy Spirit. He will not physically set foot on earth again until He returns to rescue Israel (Zechariah 14:3-4 and Acts 1:11).

      Without a doubt, God hates the Catholic Mass.

      • Wolf Paul

        I am wary of people who loudly proclaim that God hates something when Scripture does not clearly say so — especially since there are things being tolerated in much of Evangelical Christendom today that Scripture DOES clearly say God hates.

        Besides, transsubstantiation and the real presence on the one hand, and whether or not the mass is a sacrifice, are two different issues; belief in the former does not require belief in the latter.

        • Craig Giddens

          If you say Jesus is really present then what are you doing when you eat and drink him? Why would you eat and drink him when He has already made the one sacrifice never to be repeated? You crucify the Son of God afresh. Paul makes it clear that the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Salvation is a gift as a result of believing the gospel. When we believe our sins are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14), we are baptized into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), we are indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30) and we have the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Salvation is a gift that we receive by believing the gospel (Ephesians 2:8-9). Anything added to the gospel brings God’s curse (Galatians 1:6-9).

          • Steve Martin

            He commanded us to do it.

            You don’t want to…or you believe that He commanded something that is redundant or superfluous…then don’t do it.

            It’s no skin off my nose.

            • Craig Giddens

              “Christ…commanded that his bloody sacrifice on the Cross should be daily renewed by an unbloody sacrifice of his body and blood in the Mass under the simple elements of bread and wine.” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, Pg. 13, Article: “Mass, Sacrifice of”)

              Jesus never made such a command. If you’ll check Matthew 26 and I Corinthians 11, you’ll see for yourself that the Lord’s Supper is a MEMORIAL and a SHOWING of Christ’s death until He comes again. It is not a sacrifice. The Catholic Encyclopedia states the following:

              “In the celebration of the Holy Mass, the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. It is called transubstantiation, for in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the substance of bread and wine do not remain, but the entire substance of bread is changed into the body of Christ, and the entire substance of wine is changed into his blood, the species or outward semblence of bread and wine alone remaining.” (Vol. 4, pg. 277, Article: “Consecration”)

              The Catholic Church teaches that the “Holy Mass” is a LITERAL EATING AND DRINKING OF THE LITERAL FLESH AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST. The priest supposedly has the power to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

              Now, what does God’s word say about such practices? If you’ll read Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:11-12, and Acts 15:29, you will find that God absolutely FORBIDS the drinking of blood all through the Bible.

              Rome teaches that the Mass is a continual “sacrifice” of Jesus Christ, but God’s word states that Jesus made the FINAL sacrifice on Calvary! This is made perfectly clear in Hebrews 10:10-12:

              “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”

              The mass is unnecessary and unscriptural.

          • Wolf Paul

            Craig Giddens, both in your reply to me and in your reply to Steve Martin you keep mixing the ideas of the Real Presence and the idea of the Mass as a sacrifice.

            The two are not interdependant.

            You say, “If you say Jesus is really present then what are you doing when you eat and drink him? Why would you eat and drink him when He has already made the one sacrifice never to be repeated? You crucify the Son of God afresh. ”

            That would only be true if all eating and drinking had to do with sacrifice. Since it does not, your statement is not true. What am I doing? I am doing what Jesus commanded in John 6. How? Mystery. We are not called to figure out what God has not revealed.

            I agree with your definition of the Gospel; I believe that adding anything to the Gospel and saying you must believe this in order to be saved, that would be wrong.

            However, the writers of the NT themselves talked about lots of other things outside the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; Jesus told us to pray like this, “Our Father ….” — not strictly part of the Gospel but something he said to do. Paul has lots of things to say about what Christians should and should do — not strictly part of the Gospel but important to obey, nonetheless.

            Your lengthy dissertation on the Roman Catholic understanding of the Mass is totally irrelevant to this discussion, because no-one here, that I noticed, is advocating that view.

    • Glenn Shrom

      Steve Martin,

      The same one who said that part about if we don’t drink his blood, also talked about if we do drink the water from his well we would have eternal life. Near the well, Jesus spoke of drinking water. In the context of God feeding the Hebrew children in the wilderness, Jesus spoke of eating and drinking his body and blood. The same Gospel of John is filled with other images of what we must do to have eternal life. I don’t think Jesus is making a list for us of 38 different things we must do to have eternal life once we’ve done all 38. I think he is talking about one faith commitment using 38 different images. Neither is Jesus saying “Here are 38 different ways you can have eternal life; choose one of them.” Each way of having eternal life is the equivalent of every other way he says we will have eternal life.

      • Steve Martin

        Since we are tactile creatures…He is giving us something tangible so that we can have assurance from outside of ourselves without having to get all spiritual, and whatnot.

        It’s a great gift.

        If you believe that our Lord was into empty religious ritual just for kicks…that is your prerogative. I believe that He is in it…or He wouldn’t have told us to do it.

    • Glenn Shrom

      Steve Martin, I agree with what you say about Jesus externalizing it, putting it in tangible form, not just spiritualized, not just with words. It was done concretely, in real time, but in a time we can point to in the past, that was publicly witnessed and recorded for all the world to know. Breaking the bread can be a way of presenting what happened in the past, but it does not become or replace the actual concrete breaking of Jesus’ body and the actual spilling of his blood that we read about in the New Testament in several key places, not just in the four gospels. See for instance: First John 1:1, Luke 24:48, Acts 3:13-15, Acts 10:39-41, I Timothy 2:6, John 19:35, John 21:24, First John 5:6-8. No matter how we feel about it, we have this testimony as true.

      • Steve Martin

        It brings it (Him) into the present. When you taste the bread and swallow the wine…the Cross is being done TO YOU…in that moment. You receive at that moment, forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. It wasn’t a one time event in your life…you need it constantly.

        I know this is hard for rational modern people to grasp. But that’s the truth of it.

        This will be the last I’m going to say abut it.

        Thanks.

    • Glenn Shrom

      Regarding First Corinthians 11:27 … How could it be about the body of Christ in the sense of community of believers, when it also says guilty of the blood of the Lord?

      Eating the bread and drinking the cup refers to the meal the believers have together. To do so in a way that is not worthy of Christ is to be guilty of sinning against the Lord himself and his sacrifice at Calvary.

      Christ redeemed us so we could be one in Christ, and not have the kinds of favoritism, elitism, disparity, and selfishness that was going on in Corinth. Their behavior at the meals was unworthy, undignified. Paul says in the same chapter what it means to eat unworthily, and how they should be eating in order for the meal to be worthy of Christ. The chapter itself is the context. Start at verse 17 and read to verse 34. It all goes together.

      Verse 29 is where the word “body” could refer to the community of believers gathered together for the meal. Like in verses 18 and 22 and in other parts of the letters to the Corinthians, like in nearby 12:12-14, 12:27, or in the chapter previous to chapter 11 as we read in 10:17. The context of chapter 10 is also relevant to chapter 11.

    • Steve Martin

      You can read what my pastor preached about it here:

      http://theoldadam.com/2013/12/29/grace-is-not-a-hidden-agenda/

      • Glenn Shrom

        With good reason the sacrament is often called communion. The believers gathered together and ate together – the breaking of bread together, the living in community, the Eastern symbol and event of covenanted people who are responsible for each other and will put up with each other and share with each other and be part of the same life together! This is a tangible event which is present and ongoing, repeated and daily in the life of the believer, that we are not lone mavericks, not isolated “saved” individuals, but a saved people, a corporate unit! It is sacred. It is necessary. It is active and real and present. It is Christ in us and among us.

        In different cultures it can be expressed differently, but as a people connected to Israel and Jerusalem, we may as well inherit and continue and repeat their traditions. Our King and Messiah is a Jew; we should live as spiritual Jews with him as a people, no matter what nation or era we are from, and identifying with him in practice can’t be such a bad thing. Jesus never ate pork, for instance, yet Peter was commanded to rise, kill, and eat. Yet if we decide not to eat pork as a way of honoring our Lord, we can be free and blessed to do so. (Romans 14 – if we regard the holy day, it is a way of worshipping the Lord by regarding it; if we treat all days alike, it is a way of worshipping the Lord by disregarding the holy day – let each believer (or community) be persuaded or convinced in his or her (or its) own mind, as conscience dictates.)

    • Glenn Shrom

      With good reason the sacrament is often called communion. The believers gathered together and ate together – the breaking of bread together, the living in community, the Eastern symbol and event of covenanted people who are responsible for each other and will put up with each other and share with each other and be part of the same life together! This is a tangible event which is present and ongoing, repeated and daily in the life of the believer, that we are not lone mavericks, not isolated “saved” individuals, but a saved people, a corporate unit! It is sacred. It is necessary. It is active and real and present. It is Christ in us and among us.

      In different cultures it can be expressed differently, but as a people connected to Israel and Jerusalem, we may as well inherit and continue and repeat their traditions. Our King and Messiah is a Jew; we should live as spiritual Jews with him as a people, no matter what nation or era we are from, and identifying with him in practice can’t be such a bad thing. Jesus never ate pork, for instance, yet Peter was commanded to rise, kill, and eat. Yet if we decide not to eat pork as a way of honoring our Lord, we can be free and blessed to do so. (Romans 14 – if we regard the holy day, it is a way of worshipping the Lord by regarding it; if we treat all days alike, it is a way of worshipping the Lord by disregarding the holy day – let each believer (or community) be persuaded or convinced in his or her (or its) own mind, as conscience dictates.)

    • Glenn Shrom

      With good reason the sacrament is often called communion. The believers gathered together and ate together – the breaking of bread together, the living in community, the Eastern symbol and event of covenanted people who are responsible for each other and will put up with each other and share with each other and be part of the same life together! This is a tangible event which is present and ongoing, repeated and daily in the life of the believer, that we are not lone mavericks, not isolated “saved” individuals, but a saved people, a corporate unit! It is sacred. It is necessary. It is active and real and present. It is Christ in us and among us.

    • Glenn Shrom

      I’ve tried to post earlier … it was to the effect that “communion” as a sacrament had to do with the holy event that takes place when God’s people meet together as one for a meal, according to the eastern tradition that represents family, oneness, acceptance and sharing. Yes, it was done to honor Christ and remember what he told us to remember at the Last Supper. We may or may not keep the exact tradition in our cultures, since much leeway is given for Gentile expressions of Christianity and new traditions. Hardly any churches today have a full fellowship meal when we do the breaking of bread and the drinking of the wine. We still call it communion though. For us, eating together does not have quite the significance of oneness that it once did. We do still eat together as fellowship meals, but we don’t call that “communion” anymore.

    • Glenn Shrom

      The gathering together of God’s people is a tangible event. There are real people present, that we can talk to and touch. It is an experience that is repeated in the present and ongoing in our lives today, not just 2000 years ago. In this sense I agree with Steve Martin’s pastor, but that doesn’t mean we have to view the elements of bread and wine as the tangible presence of Christ. The sacramental purpose of God is accomplished in the present either way.

      • Steve Martin

        The elements are only the real presence when God’s Word is attached to them.

        But where His Word is, is forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

        We attach them to bread and wine because He told us to do so.

        • Craig Giddens

          Where is God’s word and how do you attach it?

          • Steve Martin

            We say these words, “The true body and blood if Christ. Broken and shed for you.”

            That’s how we do it.

            • Craig Giddens

              1 Corinthians 11
              23. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
              24. And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
              25. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
              26. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

              Its good to speak those words, but it still remains bread and juice that we partake of in remembrance of His death. His presence is in the person of the Holy Spirit that indwells us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

            • Steve Martin

              Sure, Craig.

              The Lord is into empty religious ritual, relying on “our remembrance” of something that we weren’t even present at.

              No, friend. It’s much, much bigger and better than that.

              I’m so glad I’m a Lutheran. I don’t need to conjure up my own spirituality with my own seriousness…because of the real presence and the assurance that it provides.

    • Glenn Shrom

      Jesus said to do it in memory of him as often as we drink of the cup of redemption. It was already the cup of redemption before he took it and spoke the words. This is because of the four cups of the Passover Seder, the third cup is the cup of redemption. When you pronounce those words, are you saying them over any glass of wine, or are you speaking them over the cup of redemption from a Passover Seder?

    • Steve Martin

      Speaking God’s Word into any cup of wine. Christ is with us, doing to us, in the meal, that which He will do. Killing us…and raising us.

      And this He does over and over and over…all throughout our lives.

      St. Paul says, “For those of us who are BEING saved…”

    • Glenn Shrom

      I have no problem that your conscience is at peace when you bless any cup of wine in this way as an ongoing sacrament. Please note, however, that you are not doing so because Jesus has ordained it that way. Jesus was very specific that it was to be “as often as you eat of THIS bread and drink of THIS cup”. It was specifically the unleavened bread of the Passover meal at the end of the meal and the third cup of the Passover meal which was known as the Cup of Redemption. The Apostles were not to take the first, second, or fourth cup to call it Jesus’ blood, only the third cup.

    • Glenn Shrom

      Killing us and raising us again specifically occurs in baptism, according to Romans 6. Where do we see the killing us and raising us again in the Scriptures to connect with the bread and wine?

    • Glenn Shrom

      St Paul says all three tenses in different places: you have been saved, you are being saved, you will be saved. One Scottish preacher has explained this as past (from the penalty of sin), present (from the power of sin) and future (from the presence of sin).

    • Steve Martin

      It’s ALL one Word (Word and sacraments). Whenever we are encountered by the Word, repentance takes place. And forgiveness. A dying…and a rising.

      Yes…we have been saved…and we are also being saved. Faith can be lost.

    • Craig Giddens

      Paul also said

      1 Corinthians 1
      7. …. waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
      8. Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      2 Corinthians 1
      21. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
      22. Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

      Ephesians 1
      13. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
      14. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

      Ephesians 4
      30. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Is Jesus Christ physically present in the Elements of the Lord’s Supper aka Holy Communion?

      • Truth Unites... and Divides

        Mike: “But I would also consider a miracle to have physical effects.”

        Related: “Is Jesus Christ physically present in the Elements of the Lord’s Supper aka Holy Communion?”

    • Mike

      A good question to ask: does “spiritual” mean “symbolic”? Because a lot of comments here seem to suggest they are the same thing. What if they are not? I would consider a miracle to be spiritual (Jesus’ changing water into wine was not accomplished by some kind of chemical potion he put into the water). But I would also consider a miracle to have physical effects. Thus, “spiritual” and “physical” have an overlap, at least in the context of a miracle. So when church fathers express a “spiritual” understanding of the Eucharist, I don’t think they can be taken to mean something merely symbolic. That view came from Zwingli. And both Calvin and Luther opposed Zwingli on the issue. To me, it’s clear that a merely symbolic view is very narrow, while real presence can include various spiritual aspects, including the very explicit terminology found in a description of transubstantiation.

      • Craig Giddens

        Until Jesus comes back to rescue Israel at the end of the tribulation, His presence is in believers in the person of the Holy Spirit. He does not indwell bread or juice.

        • Steve Martin

          Speak for yourself.

          Jesus never commanded us to do anything wherein He would not be present.

          You have no vision and little trust.

          View it as you will.

          • Craig Giddens

            He’s present within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. He’s not present in the bread and the wine/juice. You have no faith in the Bible.

            • Steve Martin

              Right. My faith is in Christ Jesus…not a book.

              You are a lousy theologian who is a biblicist, married to your own ‘reason’.

              You can have it.

              I am done with you. Have a nice life.

              Respond anyway you want…I will just delete it without you wasting any more of my time. Your clay is baked.

    • Craig Giddens

      How can you have faith in Jesus Christ or even know who He is apart from that book?

      Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

      Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

      2 Timothy 3:15-17
      15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
      16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
      17. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

      2 Timothy 4
      2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
      3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
      4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    • Craig Giddens

      “You are a lousy theologian who is a biblicist”

      Thank you. I take that as a compliment. I don’t consider myself as a theologian at all as a theologian is one who takes simple Bible truths and endeavors to complicate them to such a point as to be unexplainable. I don’t know what a Biblicist is. I am a Bible believer. I worship the God of the Bible and study His word (2 Timothy 2:15) He has inspired and preserved for us.

      John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

      1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe

    • John Schneider

      As one born & raised Roman Catholic by devout Catholic parents, a former Alter boy, and now a born again believer, the doctrine of Transubstantiation is the one Roman Catholic concept I find most offensive, mainly on the basis of idolatry, which Michael alluded to. But the Scriptures relating the Upper Room event, as all Scriptures, are spiritually discerned. Being Born Again means, among others meanings, that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer. Why in the world would it be reasonable that in any sense Jesus would dwell in any inanimate object, much less bread and wine? He is concerned with people, not food. The John 6 makes this so plainly clear!

    • John

      My dictionary defines a door as “any means of approach, admittance, or access”. Is Christ literally a door? Yep, he is. Literally.

      Could Christ offer the atonement before it was made? Why not, don’t you believe Abraham was saved by Christ’s atonement?

      The cup is not a symbol of the wine. You’re confusing a literary idiom for something else. If I say “drink this cup”, it is a way of saying “drink what’s in the cup”. There is no great mystery here.

      John left it the upper room? So what? He didn’t need to restate what had been said already 3 times. John never was in the habit of regurgitating the synoptics. But it’s clear to me at least that he went above and beyond the synoptics in stating its importance in John 6.

      Christ’s body can’t be in more than one place at a time? Au contraire, science says it can be. In fact science says that even Atheists must believe that. The reason is we have trillions of atoms in our bodies, and we shed skin and cells of our body weight several times in our lifetimes. So the atoms of Christ’s body have spread throughout the world, and some are probably in your body now.

      Point is, if it can be true in the scientific sense, there is hardly any stretch of his humanity for Christ’s body to be in multiple places at once. My body is too, as is yours.

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