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#43285 - Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:29 PM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: patricius79]
Tom Offline
Needs to get a Life

Registered: Sunday, April 8, 2001
Posts: 3940
Loc: Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
Do I understand Catholics properly. Basically they/you believe that by participating in the Eucharist one is given salvation?

Tom

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#43288 - Thursday, September 17, 2009 11:57 AM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: patricius79]
CovenantInBlood Offline
Persnickety Presbyterian


Registered: Saturday, September 13, 2003
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia
Originally Posted By: patricius79
Hi Kyle, Do you think there is clear biblical evidence that Jn 6:51-59 is merely symbolic and not literal?


You yourself don't believe it is strictly literal. You instead interpret it to be speaking of the Eucharist. Where in the passage does Jesus speak of the bread & wine of the Eucharist being transformed into the substance of His flesh & blood? Nowhere. Furthermore, Jesus' body & blood did not actually come down from heaven, did they? And, as I already pointed out, the Lord's Supper had not even been instituted at that point in time & John's Gospel doesn't even mention it.

But in answer to your question, yes, verse 63, as I already pointed out. Jesus often uses similar figures of speech. I already mentioned when He spoke of living water to the woman at the well; in that same chapter He also speaks of eating meat, which is to do the will of the Father (4:33-35). Likewise, Jesus says that John was the lamp (5:35) & calls Himself the light of the world (8:12). Besides which, to affirm transubstantiation is to make nonsense of Christ's human nature. It is not in the nature of a single human body to be physically present in more than one location simultaneously without being torn to bits, much less to be present in the accidents of bread & wine.
_________________________
Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.

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#43289 - Thursday, September 17, 2009 8:18 PM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: CovenantInBlood]
patricius79 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: Thursday, September 10, 2009
Posts: 50
Loc: U.S.A.
Hi Kyle, Some people think that “the flesh does not avail” (v. 63) is proof that certain preceding sentences (v.51-58) are only “figurative”. But before I address this…

I’m not sure you are right about “living water”, but you make a good point about “my food is to do the will of the one who sent me”. According to this mode of interpretation, “the flesh” of verse 63 may be a figure for unbelief.

In fact, Christ’s flesh does avail. Cf. Jn 6:51, Heb 10:20; Heb 9:11. Our bodies also avail as instruments of righteousness. Cf. Rom 6:13, 19; Rom 12:1.

Moreover, the continous history of the Church indicates a bodily interpretation.

Jn 6:51-8 are not fully explicit as to transubstantiation the way Justin and Irenaeus and Cyril are. Even Mark is more explicit than John on this point. Cf. Mark 14:22. However these verses in John are explicit that we must eat and drink Christ’s body and blood.

Scripture says that Christ died once bodily on a Cross to redeem myriad souls and bodies by drawing all things to himself. Cf. Jn 12:42. I don’t know where the Scriptures say Christ’s Body cannot be in more than one place at once.

P.S. Tom, Catholics believe that participating in the Eucharist is our salvation. Cf. Jn 6:56, 1 Cor 10:16.



Edited by patricius79 (Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:32 PM)

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#43292 - Friday, September 18, 2009 3:07 PM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: patricius79]
CovenantInBlood Offline
Persnickety Presbyterian


Registered: Saturday, September 13, 2003
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia
Originally Posted By: patricius79
I’m not sure you are right about “living water”, but you make a good point about “my food is to do the will of the one who sent me”. According to this mode of interpretation, “the flesh” of verse 63 may be a figure for unbelief.


In verse 63, Jesus is answering the concerns of His own disciples about the hardness of His saying about eating His flesh. This context indicates that verse 63 is a further explanation of His words. Jesus tells His disciples not to think that the eating of His literal flesh is what gives eternal life, but rather His words, which are spiritual (i.e., originating in the inspiration of the Spirit & applied to individuals by the Spirit), are what give eternal life.

Quote:
In fact, Christ’s flesh does avail. Cf. Jn 6:51, Heb 10:20; Heb 9:11. Our bodies also avail as instruments of righteousness. Cf. Rom 6:13, 19; Rom 12:1.


Citing John 6:51 here is question-begging. Besides, as I already stated, you fail to take it as literally as you pretend, because Christ's body DID NOT come down out of heaven. Christ's body was created in Mary's womb.

Heb. 10:20, as I mentioned earlier, is speaking of Christ's atoning death, which is only effective because He took on the flesh & blood nature of a man; it is not speaking of literally eating His flesh & blood. Heb. 9:11-12 is indicating, again, that Christ's atoning death is what gives access to the heavenly tabernacle.

As for our bodies being instruments of righteousness, who disputed that? But this does not mean that human flesh, even the human flesh of Jesus, in itself gives eternal life!

Quote:
Moreover, the continous history of the Church indicates a bodily interpretation.


The history of the church is not nearly so one-sided as you pretend. See "The Eucharist," by William Webster.

Quote:
Jn 6:51-8 are not fully explicit as to transubstantiation the way Justin and Irenaeus and Cyril are. Even Mark is more explicit than John on this point. Cf. Mark 14:22. However these verses in John are explicit that we must eat and drink Christ’s body and blood.


Mark 14:22 has nothing to say of transubstantiation. It is, once again, Jesus using a figure of speech. If the bread used in the Last Supper had transformed in that moment into Jesus' flesh, where did this flesh come from? Was it taken from somewhere inside Jesus' body? Was it newly created? Or was Jesus' body magically extended in time & space? Transubstantiation makes nonsense out of Scripture, & it also makes nonsense of the nature of the human body. Furthermore, Luke 22:20 militates against your interpretation of Mark, for Luke writes, "And the cup in like manner after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, even that which is poured out for you." This cup IS the new covenant! So, do you propose that in the Mass the cup in which the blood is contained is transubstantiated into the new covenant? Is the new covenant a physical object? It is clear that Christ was speaking figuratively.

Quote:
Scripture says that Christ died once bodily on a Cross to redeem myriad souls and bodies by drawing all things to himself. Cf. Jn 12:42. I don’t know where the Scriptures say Christ’s Body cannot be in more than one place at once.


I'm not sure why you cite John 12:42. As for the nature of Christ's body, you will surely agree that His body is of like nature to our own bodies (albeit now glorified & incorruptible). But the nature of a human body - of any physical body, for that matter - is to be localized: it exists in only one place at any given time. If transubstantiation is true, then Christ no longer has a true human body, but something altogether different.
_________________________
Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.

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#43296 - Friday, September 18, 2009 10:17 PM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: CovenantInBlood]
patricius79 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: Thursday, September 10, 2009
Posts: 50
Loc: U.S.A.
Hi Kyle, I don't see why you are sure why "the flesh" of verse 63 is not a metaphor for unbelief, as it is elsewhere.

Moreover, we are saved literally by Christ's flesh, as verse 51 says, unless you want to say that both "bread" and "flesh" are metaphors, in which case the sentence is null, as are verses 52-56.

I looked at the Webster article. It is inaccurate. The basic problem is that none of the fathers argued for a purely symbolic view. They saw the symbolic aspect in the offering of the bread and wine, and the appearance of bread and wine, but also the bodily transubstantiation.

Moreover all the fathers he mentions were Catholics who held not only to Jn 6, but to numerous ideas incompatible with protestantism, the easiest to prove being the issue of baptismal regeneration and Apostolic succession. So there is not one of these fathers that could be shown to be a forerunner of modern protestantism.

The Clement of Alexandria chapter which Webster uses as evidence is evidence for Catholic belief: "’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children" (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).

I hope this provides further fruitful reflection on my part and your part.

In Jesus,
Dan Schultz


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#43297 - Saturday, September 19, 2009 10:49 AM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: patricius79]
CovenantInBlood Offline
Persnickety Presbyterian


Registered: Saturday, September 13, 2003
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia
Originally Posted By: patricius79
Hi Kyle, I don't see why you are sure why "the flesh" of verse 63 is not a metaphor for unbelief, as it is elsewhere.


Because of the context, as I already explained.

Quote:
Moreover, we are saved literally by Christ's flesh, as verse 51 says, unless you want to say that both "bread" and "flesh" are metaphors, in which case the sentence is null, as are verses 52-56.


We are saved by trusting in His sacrificial death, which was accomplished in the breaking of His body & the spilling of His blood. We are not saved literally by eating His physical flesh. The use of multiple metaphors doesn't make Jesus' teaching null. Christ uses the eating of the bread of life as a metaphor for believing in Him. He expands this metaphor by stating that His flesh & blood are true food & drink, & says that it is necessary to eat of (believe in) His flesh & blood (His atoning death) to have eternal life. This is well-evidenced by the way in which Jesus speaks throughout the chapter. Let's compare some verses:

"Work not for the food which perisheth, but for the food which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you" (v. 27).
"This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (v. 29).

Jesus teaches that to work for the food which abides unto eternal life is to believe in Him.

"I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (v. 35).
"I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever" (v. 51).

See how Jesus mixes metaphors a bit in these verses? Coming & believing result in no longer being hungry or thirsty, whereas eating results in eternal life. We see elsewhere that believing in Jesus results in eternal life. It is thus evident that to eat means to believe, & not to hunger or thirst is to live forever.

"For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (v. 40).
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth hath eternal life" (v. 47).
"He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day" (v. 54).

We see the metaphor even more clearly here. Note that in v. 54, the eating of Christ's flesh & blood takes the place of believing in Him. It is clear that this eating is a metaphor for belief. This neither the Jews nor some of His disciples grasped. They were scandalized by the metaphor, taking it literally rather than understanding its spiritual meaning. Thus He explains to His disciples that it is not the flesh that gives life, but the spirit - and His words are spirit & life, i.e., the means by which one obtains spirit-given eternal life is believing His teaching. Peter demonstrates that he has understood in vv. 68-69, not by answering that Jesus' flesh gives eternal life & that he desires to eat it, but rather by answering that Jesus speaks the words of eternal life & that he believes that He is the Christ.

Quote:
I looked at the Webster article. It is inaccurate. The basic problem is that none of the fathers argued for a purely symbolic view. They saw the symbolic aspect in the offering of the bread and wine, and the appearance of bread and wine, but also the bodily transubstantiation.


I'm sorry, but it just isn't the case that all of the fathers taught that the bread & wine were transubstantiated, having only the appearance of bread & wine but now having the substance of Christ's flesh & blood. You may safely argue that a large percentage of fathers taught that Christ's flesh & blood were physically present in the Eucharist, but in itself that gets us no further than the Lutheran view. Roman Catholicism teaches that the bread & wine in substance CEASE TO BE bread & wine! This is NOT a common view among the fathers in the least.

Quote:
Moreover all the fathers he mentions were Catholics who held not only to Jn 6, but to numerous ideas incompatible with protestantism, the easiest to prove being the issue of baptismal regeneration and Apostolic succession. So there is not one of these fathers that could be shown to be a forerunner of modern protestantism.


You commit a fallacy common amongst Roman Catholics, & that is to assume that all of the fathers unanimously asserted the same teachings that Rome does today with respect to her pet sacramental & ecclesiastical doctrines. In truth, the fathers are a much more diverse group than that, and in order to derive Roman Catholic teaching from the total body of the fathers' writings, one must really be previously committed to Roman Catholic doctrine. Protestants do not assume that the fathers were "forerunners of modern Protestantism," because Protestants do not invest the same authority in the fathers that Roman Catholics do. As a result, it isn't necessary for us to prove that the fathers agreed with all Protestant teachings. It is enough, on the other hand, to show that the fathers did not fully agree with Roman Catholicism to undermine the entire system of Roman Catholic doctrine.

Quote:
The Clement of Alexandria chapter which Webster uses as evidence is evidence for Catholic belief: "'Eat my flesh,' [Jesus] says, 'and drink my blood.' The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children" (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).


Anyone can quote. From the same chapter in The Instructor:

"And entertaining this view, we may regard the proclamation of the Gospel, which is universally diffused, as milk; and as meat, faith, which from instruction is compacted into a foundation, which, being more substantial than hearing, is likened to meat, and assimilates to the soul itself nourishment of this kind. Elsewhere the Lord, in the Gospel according to John, brought this out by symbols, when He said: 'Eat ye my flesh, and drink my blood;' describing distinctly by metaphor the drinkable properties of faith and the promise, by means of which the Church, like a human being consisting of many members, is refreshed and grows, is welded together and compacted of both,--of faith, which is the body, and of hope, which is the soul; as also the Lord of flesh and blood. For in reality the blood of faith is hope, in which faith is held as by a vital principle."

Throughout the chapter, Clement is teaching that believers are spiritually nourished in faith by Christ, and he speaks of the wide variety of figures, symbols, & metaphors used in Scripture to speak of this nourishing Word.

"Thus in many ways the Word is figuratively described, as meat, and flesh, and food, and bread, and blood, and milk. The Lord is all these, to give enjoyment to us who have believed on Him. Let no one then think it strange, when we say that the Lord's blood is figuratively represented as milk. For is it not figuratively represented as wine? 'Who washes,' it is said, 'His garment in wine, His robe in the blood of the grape.' In His Own Spirit He says He will deck the body of the Word; as certainly by His own Spirit He will nourish those who hunger for the Word."
_________________________
Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.

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#43298 - Saturday, September 19, 2009 3:50 PM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: CovenantInBlood]
patricius79 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: Thursday, September 10, 2009
Posts: 50
Loc: U.S.A.
Hi Kyle,

Thank you. I agree that the first section of Clement which you cite supports an allegorical or symbolic view of Jn 6:51-8. I don’t agree that the Instructor supports your purely symbolic view of Jn 6, as Clement refers here in your passage to “the Lord of flesh and blood.” Cf. also 1:6:43:3 Here is another pertinent passage:

"For the blood of the grape--that is, the Word--desired to be mixed with water, as His blood is mingled with salvation. And the blood of the Lord is twofold. For there is the blood of His flesh, by which we are redeemed from corruption; and the spiritual, that by which we are anointed. And to drink the blood of Jesus, is to become partaker of the Lord's immortality; the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as blood is of flesh. Accordingly, as wine is blended with water, so is the Spirit with man. And the one, the mixture of wine and water, nourishes to faith; while the other, the Spirit, conducts to immortality. And the mixture of both--of the water and of the Word--is called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul." Clement of Alexandria,The Instructor,2(ante A.D. 202),in ANF,II:242

As complex as his mind and method is, he saw “the blood of His flesh” as having redeemed the human bodies from corruption, and he clearly saw the Eucharist as the efficient cause of bodily sanctity. Moreover, Clement wasn’t formally challenging the name or teaching of “the Catholic Church”, which he regarded in its “Catholic”ity as a reflection of the divine unity as against so many “sects.” Cf. Stromata 7:17. Thus he wasn’t heretically challenging Irenaeus or Justin or Ignatius, a Bishop of Rome, or any Catholic about their Eucharistic views (as quoted above). Nor was he challenging their understanding of Catholic Church hierarchy of Bishop, priest, and deacon, which he also approves. Cf. Stromata 13.

The context of verses 63 and 64 in Jn 6 support the Bodily view, since Christ emphasizes his “metaphor” over and over, even after people take it literally. Cf. verses 51-58. Moreover, this degree of emphasis or repetition—which covers about twenty five verses (33-58)--is used nowhere else in Scripture.

“Flesh” is used in Scripture for the human body, but also for human weakness or infidelity to the Word. Compare 1 Cor 3:3 with Jn 6:63-64. If “flesh” were necessarily expressing futility, it hardly would have been used metaphorically for Jesus’s Gift. Thus, a purely symbolic interpretation cannot be proven from Sola Scriptura, but only suggested.

If “bread” and “flesh” are not referring to Christ’s body, then verse 51 has Jesus metaphorically saying he would give his Spirit for the life of the world. This seems to imply that the Word’s Incarnation into human nature—which by nature includes body and soul--has no intrinsic value. Cf. 2 Jn 1:7. (By the way, I think human nature is capable of being omnipresent. “With God, all things are possible.”).

Is there is one father between 100 and 1000 A.D. that formally denied the bodily presence or transubstantiation of Christ in communion? If there is no record of a few fathers in this 900 year span which usually, roughly held to the reformation principles and doctrines—as Irenaeus or Cyprian or Basil reflect Catholic teachings--is this not significant as to Biblical exegesis? Is not the Body of Christ a historically visible and true entity? Cf. Mt 5:14, Is 56:7.

I decided that I would leave the Catholic name if I ever found a better theology. But the Catholic Church has not defined that the Church fathers—not even the Doctors--always and everywhere wrote infallible definitions. She does hold that the modern Catholic doctrines are found in the fathers—both Biblical and and post-Biblical--who reflect the true development of the Kingdom. Cf. Mk 4:31etc. For example, this is true in regard to the Eucharist, Baptism, Penance, Apostolic Succession and the divine authority of Tradition.

In the Holy Spirit,
Dan Schultz











Edited by patricius79 (Saturday, September 19, 2009 8:38 PM)

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#43299 - Saturday, September 19, 2009 5:38 PM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: patricius79]
Pilgrim Offline

Head Honcho

Registered: Tuesday, April 3, 2001
Posts: 13389
Loc: NH, USA
Originally Posted By: patricius79
As complex as his mind and method is, he saw “the blood of His flesh” as having redeemed the human bodies from corruption, and he clearly saw the Eucharist as the efficient cause of bodily sanctity.

Yes, he rightly held that the "blood of His flesh" as having redeemed sinners including their human bodies. However, your spin on it is corrupt as is the Roman State Church's doctrine of transubstantiation. What Clement rightly held is that the "blood" of Christ, i.e., His vicarious substitutionary death on the cross was for the redemption of those for whom He died. (Rom 3:24; 8:23; 1Cor 1:30; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:15; Gal 4:4,5; Titus 2:14; Mk 10:45) Interestingly enough, there is not the slightest hint of salvation via Eucharist participation in any of the passages referenced. Redemption is always by faith alone in Christ alone and not by any work of any law; God's nor man's. There is thus no salvation in the participation of a sacrament but in Christ alone; Solus Christus.

All the writings of ALL men apart from the inspired written Word of God are subject to scrutiny. As I have pointed out to you elsewhere even in the days of the apostles there were false teachers, false prophets, heresies coming into the church. Both Paul and Peter forewarned of these things and John counseled believers to:

Quote:
1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."


This applies to popes, bishops, elders, pastors, teachers and all individual who purport to speak in the name of God; yes myself included. I am forever thankful that Sola Scriptura is a biblical doctrine else I too would be subject to "every wind of doctrine". That error has been embraced for centuries should be of no surprise. The Jews fell into idolatrous teachings and practices for two millenia. wink

The Anvil of God's Word

Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith's door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime:
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.

"How many anvils have you had," said I,
"To wear and batter all these hammers so?"
"Just one," said he, and then, with twinkling eye,
"The anvil wears the hammers out, you know."

And so, thought I, the anvil of God's Word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed . . . the hammers gone.

—Author unknown
_________________________


simul iustus et peccator


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#43300 - Sunday, September 20, 2009 2:06 PM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: patricius79]
CovenantInBlood Offline
Persnickety Presbyterian


Registered: Saturday, September 13, 2003
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia
Originally Posted By: patricius79
I agree that the first section of Clement which you cite supports an allegorical or symbolic view of Jn 6:51-8. I don’t agree that the Instructor supports your purely symbolic view of Jn 6, as Clement refers here in your passage to “the Lord of flesh and blood.”


Clement says,

Quote:
Elsewhere the Lord, in the Gospel according to John, brought this out by symbols, when He said: "Eat ye my flesh, and drink my blood;" describing distinctly by metaphor the drinkable properties of faith and the promise, by means of which the Church, like a human being consisting of many members, is refreshed and grows, is welded together and compacted of both,--of faith, which is the body, and of hope, which is the soul; as also the Lord of flesh and blood.


Here Clement says that Christ teaches, by metaphor, that the church is "compacted of both" faith & hope, just as the Lord is compacted of both flesh & blood.

Quote:
Cf. also 1:6:43:3


Right, you already cited this. Again, it is in a fuller context in which Clement is describing a wide variety of metaphors used of the Word, e.g., milk, meat, food, etc. I don't have to prove how this is NOT transubstantiation. It is more than evident that Clement does not provide a full-orbed doctrine of transubstantiation. It is on you & on your church to show how Clement's teaching is agreeable to the doctrine of transubstantiation. Moreover, it is on you & your church to prove the doctrine not just from Clement, but from Scripture - and by your church's own standards, from all of the orthodox fathers. The task is an impossible one, except by obfuscation & misdirection.

Quote:
Here is another pertinent passage:

"For the blood of the grape--that is, the Word--desired to be mixed with water, as His blood is mingled with salvation. And the blood of the Lord is twofold. For there is the blood of His flesh, by which we are redeemed from corruption; and the spiritual, that by which we are anointed. And to drink the blood of Jesus, is to become partaker of the Lord's immortality; the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as blood is of flesh. Accordingly, as wine is blended with water, so is the Spirit with man. And the one, the mixture of wine and water, nourishes to faith; while the other, the Spirit, conducts to immortality. And the mixture of both--of the water and of the Word--is called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul." Clement of Alexandria,The Instructor,2(ante A.D. 202),in ANF,II:242


This passage really doesn't say as much as you think it says. In context, Clement is teaching about how Christians should approach the drinking of alcohol. He says it is admirable to abstain from wine as much as possible, drinking only water, but that wine is blessed by Christ & may be drunk in moderation, specifically by mixing water into the wine. He says in you citation that as Christ's blood is mixed with salvation, so the wine of the Eucharist is mixed with water. Indeed, further on in Book II, Ch. 2, Clement writes:

Quote:
In what manner do you think the Lord drank when He became man for our sakes? As shamelessly as we? Was it not with decorum and propriety? Was it not deliberately? For rest assured, He Himself also partook of wine; for He, too, was man. And He blessed the wine, saying, "Take, drink: this is my blood"--the blood of the vine. He figuratively calls the Word "shed for many, for the remission of sins"--the holy stream of gladness. And that he who drinks ought to observe moderation, He clearly showed by what He taught at feasts. For He did not teach affected by wine. And that it was wine which was the thing blessed, He showed again, when He said to His disciples, "I will not drink of the fruit of this vine, till I drink it with you in the kingdom of my Father." But that it was wine which was drunk by the Lord, He tells us again, when He spake concerning Himself, reproaching the Jews for their hardness of heart: "For the Son of man," He says, "came, and they say, Behold a glutton and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans." Let this be held fast by us against those that are called Encratites.


Note again that Clement takes the Eucharist itself as figurative, and consistently he says that the wine of the Eucharist is wine, the "blood" or "fruit of the vine." The doctrine of transubstantiation, by contrast, teaches us to believe that the wine of the Eucharist is no longer wine once it has been consecrated, except in mere appearance, but that its substance is the physical blood of Christ.

Quote:
As complex as his mind and method is, he saw “the blood of His flesh” as having redeemed the human bodies from corruption, and he clearly saw the Eucharist as the efficient cause of bodily sanctity.


Let me be clear that I do not claim that Clement's position is my own; I am only showing that his position is not the same position espoused by Rome. But I dispute neither that Christ has redeemed our bodies by the shedding of His blood nor that the Lord's Supper is a means of bodily sanctification (as too is baptism). What I dispute is that the physical body & blood of Christ are present in the elements served at His holy table, and I dispute that Scripture teaches such a thing. Moreover, I dispute that the bread & wine are TRANSFORMED into the substance of Christ's flesh & blood. Again, these things cannot be proved from Scripture, and indeed, the plain meaning of Scripture is that the bread & wine are symbolic representations of Christ's flesh & blood, & when we partake of the Supper worthily, we are thereby spiritually fed by Christ & nourished by His death on our behalf.

Quote:
Moreover, Clement wasn’t formally challenging the name or teaching of “the Catholic Church”, which he regarded in its “Catholic”ity as a reflection of the divine unity as against so many “sects.” Cf. Stromata 7:17. Thus he wasn’t heretically challenging Irenaeus or Justin or Ignatius, a Bishop of Rome, or any Catholic about their Eucharistic views (as quoted above). Nor was he challenging their understanding of Catholic Church hierarchy of Bishop, priest, and deacon, which he also approves. Cf. Stromata 13.


You're arguing an anachronism.

Quote:
The context of verses 63 and 64 in Jn 6 support the Bodily view, since Christ emphasizes his “metaphor” over and over, even after people take it literally. Cf. verses 51-58. Moreover, this degree of emphasis or repetition—which covers about twenty five verses (33-58)--is used nowhere else in Scripture.


This is proof of nothing. I've already shown why it is metaphor, and I've proved it in the simplest manner. Why don't you attempt to respond to what I've already shown?

Quote:
“Flesh” is used in Scripture for the human body, but also for human weakness or infidelity to the Word. Compare 1 Cor 3:3 with Jn 6:63-64. If “flesh” were necessarily expressing futility, it hardly would have been used metaphorically for Jesus’s Gift. Thus, a purely symbolic interpretation cannot be proven from Sola Scriptura, but only suggested.


Why should we avail ourselves of I Cor. when John is making use of the same word in the same chapter already? Let us take our meaning of the word from the immediate context, where it clearly refers to physical flesh. There is no reason its meaning must change within the passage, unless you presuppose transubstantiation!

Quote:
If “bread” and “flesh” are not referring to Christ’s body, then verse 51 has Jesus metaphorically saying he would give his Spirit for the life of the world. This seems to imply that the Word’s Incarnation into human nature—which by nature includes body and soul--has no intrinsic value. Cf. 2 Jn 1:7.


I have nowhere said nor implied that "bread" or "flesh" are metaphors for "spirit." What I have said is that eating Christ's blood & flesh is a metaphor for believing in Christ's atoning death. I have explicitly stated at least twice in this thread that the atonement is effective only because Christ took on the flesh & blood nature of man. Indeed, how else could Christ act in the stead of man without Himself becoming a Man & fulfilling the duty required of man, as well as enduring the punishment due to man? Yes, His incarnation is not only intrinsically valuable but absolutely essential to the salvation of flesh & blood men. You will not catch me affirming Docetism. But the value of the incarnation is not so that we may literally eat His flesh & blood to attain salvation - which is such blasphemous nonsense, the simplest believer must shudder with horror at the very thought of cannibalizing our Lord.

Quote:
(By the way, I think human nature is capable of being omnipresent. “With God, all things are possible.”).


This simply reflects your lack of understanding. So, all things are possible with God? Is it possible that God lie or do evil? Is it possible that God cease to exist? You clearly have not considered the CONTEXT, once more. Tell me what kind of created physical body can be present everywhere simultaneously. Is it not so, according to Roman Catholic teaching, that there is but one, unique human body with this capacity, the body of Jesus? And if it is the case that Christ's human body is unique, then He does not share the same human nature with the rest of mankind, and the entire work of the atonement is nullified.

Quote:
Is there is one father between 100 and 1000 A.D. that formally denied the bodily presence or transubstantiation of Christ in communion? If there is no record of a few fathers in this 900 year span which usually, roughly held to the reformation principles and doctrines—as Irenaeus or Cyprian or Basil reflect Catholic teachings--is this not significant as to Biblical exegesis? Is not the Body of Christ a historically visible and true entity? Cf. Mt 5:14, Is 56:7.


Have you not considered that you are here on a Protestant website, & we do not unquestioningly accept the presuppositions of Roman Catholicism? But there are a vast number of witnesses in the history of the Church, especially since the Reformation, who have indeed denied both the bodily presence & transubstantiation. You reject their witness; so be it. But let us go "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Is. 8:20). My authority is the Word of God in Scripture, NOT the written or unwritten traditions of men.
_________________________
Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.

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#43301 - Sunday, September 20, 2009 5:02 PM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: Pilgrim]
patricius79 Offline
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Registered: Thursday, September 10, 2009
Posts: 50
Loc: U.S.A.
Hi Pilgrim,

We agree with Clement that we are redeemed through “the blood of Christ’s flesh”. This makes an anti-bodily interpretation of Jn 6:63 impossible. I this light, I think a non-literal interpretation of Jn 6:33-58 is also indefensible from Sola Scriptura, especially since this section is so unlike any other "metaphor" exposition in Scripture.

I think Clement does indicate that we are sanctified through the Eucharistic Feast: “And the mixture of both--of the water and of the Word--is called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul." [Clement of Alexandria,The Instructor,2(ante A.D. 202),in ANF,II:242.]

Here is a similar example from Augustine:

"... I promised you, who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the Sacrament of the Lord's Table, which you now look upon and of which you last night were made participants. You ought to know what you have received, what you are going to receive, and what you ought to receive daily. That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the Body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the Blood of Christ. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend His Body and Blood, which He poured out for us unto the forgiveness of sins. If you receive worthily, you are what you have received." [Augustine, Sermon 227]

Now regarding Christian history...doubtless some of the Old Covenant leaders were handing on bad teaching for centuries. Yet the Jewish teaching authority was entirely upheld, even as its officers were publicly excoriated. Cf. Mt 23:1-3etc.

I think the New Covenant is enacted on better promises to the City of the God. Cf. 1 Tim 3:15, Luke 1: 32-33. I don’t see Biblical indications that the Pillar and Foundation of Truth could universally err about anything, let alone the the Breaking of the Bread.

Thank you for your response. With prayer for the unity of Christ’s Body,
Dan Schultz



Edited by patricius79 (Sunday, September 20, 2009 8:27 PM)

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#43304 - Sunday, September 20, 2009 8:11 PM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: patricius79]
Pilgrim Offline

Head Honcho

Registered: Tuesday, April 3, 2001
Posts: 13389
Loc: NH, USA
Originally Posted By: patricius79
We agree with Clement that we are redeemed through “the blood of Christ’s flesh”. This makes an anti-bodily interpretation of Jn 6:63 impossible. I this light, I think a non-literal interpretation of Jn 6:33-58 is also indefensible from Sola Scriptura, especially since this section is so unlike any other "metaphor" used in Scripture.

I seriously doubt we agree on the MEANING of the phrase "the blood of Christ's flesh". It is my strongly held belief which is in total accord with the majority of conservative Reformed scholars, the Puritans, et al, that this phrase is not meant to convey the idea that there is redemption in the physical blood itself... . Rather, this phrase refers to the vicarious substitutionary death, represented by the "shedding of blood", "for the life of the flesh is in the blood". It was well known among the Jews that one was never to eat blood for the one who did such was cut off from the people of God and God Himself. (cf. Gen 9:6; Lev 7:26,27; 17:10-14,12). To suggest that Christ violated that law by commanding that His physical blood be consumed is to deny Christ's sinlessness and thus the effectiveness of His sacrifice. Christ was the "lamb of God" who was given as the perfect once-for-all sacrifice to God for the purpose of atoning for the sins of His people. His blood shedding was evidence of His death. His flesh was evidence of His identification as a true human. Neither is to be consumed but rather embraced by faith unto salvation.

Re: the use of metaphor in Jh 6 is just that... a metaphor and not literal. Eisogesis doesn't work when the use of metaphor is conceded. There are many places in Scripture which are unique but no such hermeneutical gymnastics is used to explain them... Why here? Either it is a metaphor or it is not and the context falls heavily upon that it is metaphor.

Originally Posted By: patricius79
I think Clement does indicate that we are sanctified through the Eucharistic Feast:...

The subject of "sanctification" has not been the focus of this discussion. I have no disagreement, at least with the general statement, that the sacraments of the Lord's Supper and Baptism can extend sanctifying grace to true believers. What I wrote in my previous response was that there is no SALVATION inherently found in the sacraments themselves. Justification is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone... NOT by grace through faith and xxxx. This Paul was adamant against as the letters to the Romans and Galatians clearly show. Neither circumcision, baptism or partaking of some event called the "Eucharist" affords anything toward justification/salvation.

Let's try and stay on topic, shall we? grin
_________________________


simul iustus et peccator


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#43306 - Sunday, September 20, 2009 11:02 PM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: Pilgrim]
patricius79 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: Thursday, September 10, 2009
Posts: 50
Loc: U.S.A.
Hi Kyle and Pilgrim,

Thank you. I will try to stay on topic.

I read your posts. It sounds like you do agree that there is no formal protestant in regard to Transubstantiation (as articulated for example by Irenaeus and many others) between 100 and 1000 A.D.

Also, you may agree that there is nobody in this 900 year era who is essential identical to the reformers' doctrines in regard to the group of 1)Apostolic Succession, 2)Communion, and 3)Penance.

Otherwise, we're sadly at an impasse in regard to the interpretation of Jn 6, which is--with related texts--the primary topic of this thread as I see it.

Unfortunately, we are also at an impasse as to the role of Church history in understanding the Scriptures, apart from which Scriptures there is no Christian faith. (I know we agree on that last part). Yet this is a great difference.

Due to this impasse, I will stop posting on this thread.

In God,
Dan Schultz


Edited by patricius79 (Sunday, September 20, 2009 11:46 PM)

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#43307 - Monday, September 21, 2009 5:59 AM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: patricius79]
Pilgrim Offline

Head Honcho

Registered: Tuesday, April 3, 2001
Posts: 13389
Loc: NH, USA
Originally Posted By: patricius79
I read your posts. It sounds like you do agree that there is no formal protestant in regard to Transubstantiation (as articulated for example by Irenaeus and many others) between 100 and 1000 A.D.

It has already been shown that Irenaeus, Clement and others did NOT articulate, i.e., believe nor teach the doctrine of transubstantiation. There is no unanimity in church history on this issue which the Roman State Church can rest upon and which you are desperately trying to argue from. This is another one of Rome's pernicious errors to which J. Henley Thornwell addresses here: The Argument for an Infallible Body as did William Webster here: Rome's New and Novel Concept of Tradition.

Let me ask you a very simple question. If Rome, after much study and contemplation, officially declared that Jesus Christ was not completely sinless, would you relinquish what you hold to be true now and embrace that pronouncement? Why? or Why not?
_________________________


simul iustus et peccator


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#43309 - Tuesday, September 22, 2009 11:55 AM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: Pilgrim]
AC. Offline
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Registered: Saturday, October 21, 2006
Posts: 387
Loc: NJ
Throughout John 6 we read of the food metaphor (i'm not gonna break it down, we can all read it for ourselves) Food sustains and nourishes the body. While Jesus nourishes and gives life to the soul (it's all symbolic). Sure the sacrifice of Jesus's body and shed blood was a necessary requirement for the salvation of sinners...but not the actual physical consumption of it.....the whole chapter is totally symbolic.

I think many of these ECF's used strong language (almost overstating their case although I do think the meaning of the ECF's words are twisted in an attmept to validate transubstantiation) often in opposition or response to outside challanges. Also, I think errors were already creeping in during the 1st century church.

But I can't imagine the direct disciples of Jesus participated in any ceremonial practice that resembled transubstantiation.



AC (ex-RC)


Edited by AC. (Tuesday, September 22, 2009 2:21 PM)
_________________________
The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent, Augustine


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#43408 - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 12:40 PM Re: Irenaeus on Transubstantiation [Re: patricius79]
AC. Offline
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Registered: Saturday, October 21, 2006
Posts: 387
Loc: NJ

Quote:
Question:


A Catholic friend and I were debating the proper intentions of communion or as they call it the holy Eucharist. I seemed to have an answer for most every argument he proposed except for John 6:53-55, where Christ appears to literally support the Catholics' idea of the Eucharist. What is our Protestant response to such a difficult passage? How can we argue that Christ was not speaking literally? Thank you for any help that you can offer.


Answer:


Excellent question, brings back memories of the four years I lived in college with a Roman Catholic roommate.


"What is our protestant response to such a difficult passage?" Well, our "Protestant" response—à la sola Scriptura—must be that the passage is true and the question is, what does the text mean? We look to the text itself and not to the "sacred tradition" of the Church for our answer. We need to look to the text in its larger context and compare it with other related Scriptures.


To whom is our Lord speaking in John 6:53-55? He is not speaking to his church gathered for worship. He is speaking to a crowd of Jews who have witnessed his miracle of feeding the 5,000 and want more such miracles. But when he tells them that that miracle, like the manna in the wilderness, was a sign pointing to himself as the living bread sent by the Father from heaven to give life to the world (v. 33), they are offended. There is no sacrament of the Lord's Supper before them (that was still future); there is Jesus, the Son of God come down from heaven.


"Bread" here is metaphorical. The Baptist said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Is Jesus literally a lamb? No, he is the reality fulfilling the types and shadows of Old Testament sacrifices of lambs and bulls. On the cross he will offer himself to God as the final, all-sufficient and truly atoning sacrifice for sin. In John 10 he says that he is "the door to the sheepfold," and "the good shepherd." Again, these are metaphors—pictures of what he came to do. He is not literally a door. He is not walking about the pastures of this world with a crook in his hand, herding literal sheep.


How are people to receive and eat this bread that they might have life? He answers that question repeatedly in the passage. To receive eternal life, they must believe in him (v. 35), come to him (v. 37), behold him and believe in him (v. 40), come to him, drawn by the Father (v. 44), hear and learn from the Father and come to him (v. 45 ), believe (v. 46). It is Christ himself whom they must receive, and they must receive him by faith in him.


When his hearers continue to be offended, our Lord aggravates the offense—as he so often did—by speaking in terms that are more starkly offensive to them. "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh" (v. 51). They take him literally and argue, offended over what he could mean. And so he restates it even more baldly: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.... my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink..." (vv. 53-55)


The background for this language is clearly the Old Testament language of sacrifice for sin, such as Leviticus 17:11: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life."


Our Lord is not speaking of a sacrament, but of the offering he will make of himself on the cross (and notice how Hebrews emphasizes the once-for-all character of that atoning sacrifice: 7:27, 9:12, 26, 28, 10:10). Eating and drinking means fully appropriating that sacrifice and its saving benefits (again, many of the O.T. sacrifices, after being burnt on the altar and their blood poured out, were eaten by priests and worshipers, signifying their union with the sacrificial animal and their receiving the life-giving benefit of its [ritually and symbolically] atoning death).


How may our Lord's hearers receive and benefit from his atoning sacrifice? He has already answered that question in the earlier verses: believe in him, come to him for who he is, receive him by faith.


If our Lord truly were to mean that sinners must literally eat his flesh and drink his blood, and this were truly a reference to eating bread and wine that have been supernaturally transformed into his actual body and blood in a sacrament of the (future) church, then he would be saying that only those who receive Roman Catholic communion can receive eternal life. "UNLESS you eat the flesh of the Son of Man ... you have NO life in yourselves" (v. 53).


This would be saying that partaking of the sacramental altar is necessary to salvation, but that would be adding to the work of Christ on the cross, received by faith, a further requirement for salvation. That is the Galatian heresy (adding ritual requirements to the work of Christ), of which the apostle Paul says, "If we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!" (Gal. 1:8).


In fact, there is nothing in the passage of John 6 that refers to communion. It is all about his sacrifice of himself on the cross received by faith in him.


It is true that communion sacramentally points to the same cross. The bread and wine represent our Lord's body, broken in death, and his blood, offered in atoning sacrifice, in that same way that Old Testament sacrifices represented his future sacrifice on the cross. When our Lord first said of the bread, "This is my body," he was standing (or reclining?) with his disciples in the upper room, still in his body, whole and intact; the bread was clearly metaphoric and symbolic.


So, when faithful churches gather for communion and we hear the words, "This is my body," we understand that our Lord is present in our midst as he promised to be, by the Holy Spirit, telling us to consider his body broken on the cross and his blood poured out on the cross, and to renew our faith in his saving work.


The supper does not proclaim eternal life through bread and wine, but through the sacrifice of the Son of God once for all on the cross. When we hear the word (Scripture proclaiming Christ) and see the word (sacrament portraying Christ) and receive the word by faith, trusting in Christ and his atoning work, his salvation is sealed to us, our union with our living Savior is enlivened, our faith is strengthened, and we are sanctified by his Spirit to serve him more faithfully.


There is an interesting parallel between John 6 and John 3 in regard to the sacraments. In John 3 our Lord proclaims the necessity of new birth "by water and the Spirit." Catholics have taken this to be a reference to baptism. But the language is the language of Old Testament promise (Ezek. 36:26f., Isa. 44:1-5, etc.) in which the symbol (cleansing and life-giving water, cf. Isa. 32:13-20, 35:1-10) and the reality (the Spirit's life-giving and cleansing work) are mentioned together.


Our Lord expects Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, to understand these things (v. 10), so the reference cannot be to Christian baptism which is years in the future, but to the fulfillment of O.T. promises with the coming, presence, and work of Christ—to which baptism does point with the symbol of water.


I have given you what I think is an answer to your question from the Scripture. It is also a "Protestant" answer. If you want to do further reading, I suggest the commentaries on John by William Hendriksen (Baker) and by Leon Morris (Eerdmans)—both are excellent, but especially Morris (whose footnotes also suggest further reading). John Calvin refers to and discusses these verses repeatedly in his treatment of "The Sacred Supper of Christ, and What It Brings to Us" (Institutes, Book IV, Chap. 17, esp. sections 4, 6, 7, 8, 32-34). Calvin's whole treatment of the Lord's Supper is marvelous.


I hope I have given you the help you seek. Please feel free to follow up with further questions, even disagreement (!). I pray the Lord will use you to open your friend's eyes to the truth of the word and embrace
_________________________
The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent, Augustine


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