by Richard Bennett
A major news item across the Catholic world for the summer of 2012 is that the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) is to be held in Dublin, Ireland from June 10th - 17th. The Congress is expected to attract 25,000 people a day, including “12,000 international pilgrims representing 99 different countries.”1 Just what is a Eucharistic Congress? A Catholic source replies,
Thus it appears that many Catholics take it as fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is present in what they call the “Holy Eucharist.” The Church of Rome teaches all its adherents this very basic Catholic dogma,
Thus has the Papacy proclaimed that its Eucharist under the form of bread contains the Lord’s identical body, soul and deity. They claim all of the bread, except the appearances, is transformed into Christ in His Godhead, and in His manhood with all its component parts: soul, body, blood, bones, flesh, nerves, muscles, veins, and sinews. What a horrific insult this notion is—for it both ridicules Jesus Christ the Lord and deceives people, defrauding them of the truth. Our Lord spoke about such a blasphemy as this when He forewarned, “if any man shall say to you, lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not.”4 In contrast to the Catholic teaching, the truth is declared in the Scriptures, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”5 There is a day appointed in which the Lord will physically return in like manner to His ascension. One must not expect Him to return until that appointed day when “he will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.”6 Consequently, to propose that the glorious Lord Jesus Christ has come back to earth in the lifeless form of bread is an attempt to replace the preaching of the biblical Gospel with a mere physical connection to a Roman Catholic sacrament.
Rome endeavors to prove its Eucharistic Dogma by citing Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John
Persistently the Church of Rome asserts as fact its dogma that Christ is actually present in its sacrament. For example, it states, “It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament.”7 This dogma is necessary to support another unbiblical premise, “Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet.” The proof text they use is, “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me (John 6:57).”8 According to Catholic teaching, “The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus.” The proof text attached to their reasoning is, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:56).
Moreover, the Vatican goes so far as to state that the Lord Himself urges us to receive Him in the sacrament of the Eucharist. They officially state,
The alleged change of bread and wine—into the actual body and blood of the Lord—the Vatican calls “transubstantiation.” Thus, they state,
The change that is claimed to happen by transubstantiation is dumbfounding. The Lord is said to exist on earth, not as man, but as bread and wine. The Papacy claims to be in possession and control of elements in which He presumably is contained. Its law goes so far as to say that their “Eucharistic Christ” is to be “locked in” the tabernacle.11
What is so mind-boggling is Aristotelian physics on which the concept of transubstantiation is based has long been disproven, yet the thirteenth century idolatrous dogma is still the centerpiece of the Catholic sacramental system.12 Thus, it is still taught and practiced in every Catholic Church and parish worldwide.
The Factual meaning of John 6 vis-à-vis Catholic dogma
“Life in Christ” does not “have its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet.” Neither is “an intimate union with Christ Jesus” any part of the “Eucharist of Holy Communion.” To buttress its argument, however, Rome cites quotations from John 6 as proof texts. The particular verses have been wrenched out of their biblical context, which will not support the Catholic interpretation, and carefully placed within the Catholic Tradition. The effect is to give a superficial but deceptive credence to the humanist reasoning that is the real foundation of Catholic dogma. Since there can be no synthesis between the authority of the Bible and the authority and Catholic Tradition, the Vatican must ignore the true meaning of what the Lord clearly stated in Chapter 6.
Earlier in the chapter, the Lord taught that our spiritual desire as believers is not “for the meat which perisheth,” but rather “for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life” (John 6:27). When the Jews asked the Lord, “what shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28), He answered, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). This answer sets the stage for what was to come. Believing on Him alone whom the Father has sent is central to what Christ Jesus proclaimed, for “There is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”13 On the authority of the Bible alone, to believe on Christ Jesus alone, by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, is the foundation of life in Christ.
Christ Jesus also explained the standard by which His teaching was to be understood. He said, “it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”14 His words are to be understood spiritually, and not after a physical and literal manner. He is the true food of the soul by faith, not of the stomach by digestion, which is implicit in Catholic teaching on the Eucharist. The Lord’s teaching is so clear that He equates spiritual thirst with believing on Him, “he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life” (John 6:40).
Then the Lord explains that, “The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6: 51). His flesh He gave willingly in His sacrifice, declaring, “verily, verily I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:53). This speaks of the essential requirement of faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. The issue is so serious that if one does not trust in the Lord’s sacrifice alone on the cross, he does not have eternal life. Eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of man is a metaphor that signifies spiritually trusting on the Lord in His sacrifice. Christ Jesus accomplished all the benefits of redemption: pardon from sin, acceptance with God, the adoption as children of God, access to the throne of grace, and eternal life. Receiving this by faith alone is aptly called eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Eating His flesh and drinking His blood is being totally identified with Him by faith alone. His sacrificial death must be appropriated by faith alone, if men are to be saved. “Eating and drinking” is equivalent to “believing” and confirms the central theme of what He proclaimed which He summarized as, “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life ” (John 6:47). Everlasting life is not a product of an institutional ritual but a work of God the Holy Spirit by His sovereign power. Individual, personal faith is what the Lord requires. It is this faith alone, given by God’s grace alone, which brings the forgiveness of sins when sinners believe on the Lord Jesus Christ alone for everlasting life. The Apostle Paul clearly states the evidence of one having received Christ as Savior and Lord, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”15
The New Testament says nothing about looking to physical signs to have union with Christ. Rather, believers are to look, “unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”16 He is the Author and Finisher of their faith: its beginning and end. Rome’s sacraments look to physical rituals for life. Thus, the sacrament of the Eucharist cannot deliver the “intimate union with Christ Jesus,” which purportedly is its principal fruit. Just as Buddhists look to their votive offerings before a statue Buddha for enlightenment, so also Catholics look to worship before a piece of bread for spiritual life. But Jesus prayed to His Father in the garden for those who are His own through God’s grace alone and who believe on Him alone through faith alone, “Sanctify them through thy truth: Thy word is truth.”17 There can be no compromise of the truth with the traditions and imaginations of men, as the Catholic Church has sought to do.
Obligation to Worship the Eucharist
In spite of the clarity of the Lord’s teaching, Rome disregards Scripture, the evidence of the senses, and reason itself when they teach on the Eucharist. The eternal, glorious Lord is now seated on high. To propose a Christ that, in the words of the Vatican, is in “danger of decomposition,”18 is to put forward a fallacious Christ. As Mediator and Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ is endowed with the highest dignity, honor, and authority. He also is “the same yesterday, today and forever.”19 A claimed presence of Christ in bread that could decompose is totally unrealistic and foolish; worse, it is blasphemous. Despite that, the Church of Rome strongly commands that the bread is to receive the worship due to the true God. Thus, she declares,
It is an irrational and impious doctrine that by necessity imposes worship of something that is eaten and carried into the stomach. Not without the dreadful crime of idolatry can the worship due to God alone be transferred to the communion bread. Nevertheless, on April 7, 2012, the Pope himself spoke about the Host being God as he said, “Today we are invited to fix our gaze on the consecrated Host: it is the same God! The same Love!”21 In fact, the Pope and his Church have “changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image ... changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.”22
The Catholic priest Kevin Doran, the Secretary General of IEC is disturbed that involvement Christians who are not Catholics, as main speakers at the Congress, may indeed be what he calls “ridiculous ecumenism.” The exact context and Kevin Doran’s words are the following,
Indeed, while Kevin Doran vehemently disapproves of the Pope’s ecumenical agenda, with regards to the Congress, it is clear that Doran believes very strongly in transubstantiation and that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. For Doran, it is too much that the Pope would defile something as solemn and treasured as the Eucharistic Congress by allowing these ecumenical intrusions.
In fact, the Pope has his own agenda. He has purposely chosen ranking leaders of other churches and important groups for this very Roman Catholic occasion. Pope Benedict understands how such an honor can help soften opposition and smooth over dogmatic differences. The IEC is to be a highly visible public event. How better to demonstrate to the world that other major churches and religious groups are joining with Rome? If it were otherwise, how could they be participating in the liturgy of this very Roman Catholic ritual? This showy event provides yet another occasion that can be used to advance the present Catholic-driven narrative that Catholics are Christians.
It has ever been the objective of the Papacy to gather power unto itself. If devout but lesser men like Kevin Doran are offended and confused when their own leaders trample their primary beliefs, it means nothing to the Pope. Rather, the primary objective of the Papacy is to gather all Christendom to the Catholic Eucharist.24 Pope Benedict XVI is simply staying true to course.
What Hope is there for Religiously Devout Idolaters?
Because God’s justice had to be satisfied, the Lord Jesus drank the dregs of the cup of God’s wrath. He said, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”25 In the garden of Gethsemane He proclaimed the words, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch ... And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”26 The next day, on the cross of Calvary, the Lord Jesus drank all of the cup of God’s wrath. At the height of His suffering, He appealed to His Father, “and at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying ... my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”27 Thus, the Lord Jesus utterly drank of God’s wrath against sin and finally cried out, “it is finished.”28 Consequently, the tremendous wrath and curse due to believing sinners was paid in full by the Lord Jesus Christ. As the substitute for His believing people, the Lord drank the cup of God’s wrath.
Now in the Gospel, the sinless Lord presents to sinners His finished sacrifice. If you are anxious to be right with God, look at what the Scripture proclaims, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested.”29 This means that God has provided another way to be made righteous than through the law, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ alone. The moral perfection of God is imputed to us sinners, but only as we believe in Jesus Christ alone whose own body was sacrificed on Calvary as substitution for us. Indeed, we are all sinners deserving the wrath of God, but the glory and the magnificence of the Gospel is further proclaimed as “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”30 Believing sinners are justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The Lord God of heaven draws sinners to Jesus Christ’s righteousness.
This is the only hope for religiously devout idolaters. As Scripture proclaims for sinners, “for He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”31 The consequence of Christ’s faithfulness in all that He did, culminating in His death on the cross, is that His righteousness is credited to the believing sinner. It was God who legally constituted Christ to be “sin for us.” He was “made sin” because before the All Holy God, full payment for sin had to be made. Thus, the sins of all His people were transferred to Christ Jesus; and in like manner, His faithfulness is imputed to them.32 Since it is the nature of the Triune God to be gracious, we can expect Him to move as a result of our prayer and of our making known abroad the Gospel of grace before, during, and after the Eucharistic Congress of 2012, “to the praise of the glory of his grace.”33
The Papal Church purports to be worshipping Christ as it legislates the adoration of the Eucharistic bread. This is not simply unchristian; it is gross idolatry. Scripturally speaking, Jesus Christ is worthy to receive adoration. He Himself declared, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”34 Thus, He is worthy of our worship. Round the throne of God in heaven it is proclaimed, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”35 Furthermore, the Scripture reveals how gracious Christ is. It is He who “dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.”36 Grace comes only by Christ, “Grace and truth came by Christ Jesus,” “and of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.37 Not only do we adore Him as totally gracious, but we draw deeply from His grace. Christ Jesus came to give His life for the people whom He loves. His life and death are not only for our salvation, they are also the source for our living fruitful Christian lives. Moreover, as He says, His words are spirit and life. His words are to be taken into the believing mind and heart even as physical food is taken into the physical body. The Lord’s words, having been absorbed by the mind and believing heart, give life and strength, spiritual nourishment, to the believer so that he is able to do that for which the Lord calls him.38
The Lord declared, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”39 The commandment fits the whole characteristic of the grace of Christ. We love one another by means of His love. Christ Jesus’ death is not just held up as an example, but as the source of our love. It is clearly the model of our love, but most importantly, it is the means for us to show our love for our brothers. Thus, it is only as His love is perfected in us that we can love one another in the same manner as Christ loved the church. “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and his love has been perfected in us.”40 His love accomplishes what it was designed and adapted to do, to be the power by which we love one another. We love by means of His faithfulness and His love. Consequently, we adore Christ Jesus while at the same time drawing grace from Him. How utterly different this is from the blasphemous pagan worship of the Eucharist bread during the Eucharistic Congress. Because Jesus Christ is worthy of all praise, adoration of Him must be apart from all deceitfulness. As Scripture states, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”41 The Apostle John summarizes the believer’s position in Jesus Christ,
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