Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word "apologetics" derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense.

The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ

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  • The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ

    This ought to be worth a discussion. According to the Lutheran Confessions, Christ is indeed most truly and objectively present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. This is expressed in several places in the Confessions, which are collected in one book in The Book of Concord. Thoughts?

  • #2
    Here are three views from a Presbyterian perspective:
    1. Roman Catholics believe that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus when the priest pronounces the words, "This is my body" before the altar. This is called "transsubstantiation," meaning that the elements are actually changed into the body and blood of Christ.
    2. Lutherans also think that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus by "consubstantiation," meaning that, after His resurrection, Jesus' human body and blood took on divine attributes and therefore are in, with and under the communion elements.


    Neither of these can be found in the Bible.

    In the OPC we believe that we partake of Christ in the Lord's Supper, not physically, but spiritually. That is, by taking the bread and wine in memory of His death, the very words of Jesus, "Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you," means that we are blessed by the Holy Spirit in our hearts when we take the supper in remembrance of Him. He is there spiritually by the Holy Spirit whom He sent to the church on Pentecost to take His place on earth while He lives and reigns in heaven.

    The spiritual significance of the Lord's Supper is that it is a sign, a seal and a means of grace to those who worthily partake. As a sign, it signifies Christ's death for us on the cross. As a seal, it binds us to Christ as our Savior, just as a body is joined to its head, a bride to her bridegroom. This union is also sealed in baptism. But in baptism, only once because it speaks about the New Birth (John 3:3-8). But in the Lord's Supper we reaffirm our union with Christ every time we take the bread and wine. That's why it is also called communion. Jesus celebrated it with His disciples. And the disciples celebrated it with each other. So Communion has a vertical dimension (with Jesus in heaven) and a horizontal dimension (with each other on earth). It's a seal of our union with Him and each other! As a means of grace, partaking of the bread and wine in remembrance of Him is food for our souls. We "grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18).

    Source: Orthodox Presbyterian Church

    God bless,
    William
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    • #3
      Actually, I, and ANY Lutheran who knows his Faith, CATEGORICALLY rejects Consubstantiation as an explanation of the Real Presence. You will NOT find the term used in ANY of our literature, and certainly NOT in the Confessions! We find it patently offensive, in fact.

      The correct concept for our belief is Sacramental Union. Christ said, This IS my Body, This IS my Blood. We believe he meant that, but we do not believe that there is some kind of transmutation going on.
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      • #4
        To continue, the Body and the Blood of Christ are truly present. To suggest otherwise is to deny the plain statement of the Lord. This IS. Not This REPRESENTS. But, this perverse idea that it is in, with, and under, what does that even mean? The very concept is completely absurd.
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        • #5
          The best way I can explain the Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar is simply to say that it IS. As much as the bread and wine are there, the Body and Blood are there, objectively, irrespectively of the belief of the people present. But not in some weird bio-chemical perverse way like Consubstantiation! That is just stupid. And Transubstantiation is equally bizarre. It is because it IS. The Lord SAID it IS.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Diego View Post
            Christ said, This IS my Body, This IS my Blood. We believe he meant that,
            He also said, "I am the vine; I am the light of the world; I am the good shepherd; I am the gate. . ." None of these is literal. To just take one instance in which to interpret His obvious figurate speech the way Luther did, is odd and inconsistent.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Diego View Post
              To continue, the Body and the Blood of Christ are truly present.
              Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, which is precisely why He sent the Holy Spirit.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Diego View Post
                The best way I can explain the Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar is simply to say that it IS. As much as the bread and wine are there, the Body and Blood are there, objectively, irrespectively of the belief of the people present. But not in some weird bio-chemical perverse way like Consubstantiation! That is just stupid. And Transubstantiation is equally bizarre. It is because it IS. The Lord SAID it IS.
                As Calvin rightly teaches, Christ is present: spiritually.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Diego View Post
                  To continue, the Body and the Blood of Christ are truly present. To suggest otherwise is to deny the plain statement of the Lord. This IS. Not This REPRESENTS.
                  Fair enough, though, I did not mean to be "insulting", and since this is your thread I'll keep it on track. However, the "is" seemingly stands on the same premise as many Roman Catholics argue. Personally, I think the Son "is spiritually present and not physically present". That is, unless we reject that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, in other words He is exalted. But in the same way I understand the hypostatic union, (Son was infinite and at the same time in the present corporeal). In other words, when He became man He still sustained the universe (Logos) and it did not cease to exists though He took up the flesh and only existed locally.

                  My other thoughts come in form of a question, how do Lutherans view Baptism? Does the water of baptism change or is it actually Christ's blood washing away sins? That is, since you seemingly emphasized the rejection of the elements being symbolic, which I believe are such as a symbol of a thing signified - the death of Christ for our sins. In this way, I understand the bread and wine to be empty physical symbols, they are nothing more than bread and wine if the thing signified is rejected, therefore I caution.

                  To clarify, it is my belief that Christ offered up himself only once upon the cross. When we partake of communion we are commemorating that one offering up of Himself. This is not to say that the Lord’s Supper is only a ceremony of remembrance. The bread we break and the cup we bless are the communion of the body and blood of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16). Used in faith, they are means of drawing near to Christ, to access the benefits of His atoning work, applying it to ourselves and finding grace to live for God (Rom. 6:1–14).

                  The indwelling Spirit is the essence of our communion with the Father and the Son (2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18).

                  To quote John Calvin:
                  “The Holy Spirit is the bond by which Christ effectually unites us to himself” (Institutes 3.1.1). As husband and wife are “one flesh,” we are “one spirit” with the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 6:16–17).

                  The sacraments are a means by which Christ, through His Spirit’s work, offers Himself to us to be received by faith. That is why Paul spoke of receiving “spiritual” food and drink from Christ (1 Cor. 10:3–4), of being baptized by the Spirit and being made to drink of the Spirit (12:13), as well as being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).

                  Calvin wrote, “If the Spirit be lacking, the sacraments can accomplish nothing” (Institutes 4.14.9). Moreover:
                  The Spirit in very truth is the only One who can touch and move our hearts, enlighten our minds, and assure our consciences; so that all this ought to be judged as His own work, that praise may be ascribed to Him alone. Nevertheless, the Lord Himself makes use of the Sacraments as inferior instruments as it seems good to Him, without in any way detracting from the power of His Spirit. (Catechism Q. 312)

                  When the church assembles in Christ’s name and celebrates the Holy Supper in remembrance of Him, we have real communion or spiritual fellowship with Christ.

                  Hiedleberg Catechism:
                  Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ's blessed body.2 And so, although he is in heaven3 and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.4 And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as the members of our body are by one soul.

                  But, this perverse idea that it is in, with, and under, what does that even mean? The very concept is completely absurd.
                  "In, with and under" simply means the bread and wine remain just that, but through the liturgy (Word) and the Spirit they become vehicles to communicate to believers the body and blood of Christ. Christ is received “in, with and around” the Communion elements. Hence, con (with) substantiation (substance).

                  20th century Lutheran theologian Hermann Sasse:

                  It is impossible to define Luther’s doctrine as consubstantiation. Even the words ‘in the bread’, ‘with the bread’, ‘under the bread’, or ‘in, with, and under the bread’, were never regarded by Luther as more than attempts to express in these old, popular terms inherited from the Middle Ages the great mystery that the bread is the body, the wine is the blood, as the Words of Institution say. [This is My Body: Luther’s Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar, (Adelaide, South Australia: Openbook Publishers, 1959) 129.]

                  Since the phrase “in, with, and under” sometimes leads to confusion, the following two quotes are also provided:

                  From David P. Scaer’s essay titled “Lutheran View: Finding the Right Word” in the book Understanding Four Views on the Lord's Supper:

                  The Lutheran Confessions, in describing Christ’s body and blood as being “in, with and under” the bread and wine, may have allowed others to use “consubstantiation” to describe this view. These prepositions were intended to affirm that the earthly elements were really Christ’s body and blood and not to explain how earthly and divine elements were spatially related. In the earlier Lutheran Confessions, the three prepositions were not used together. [John H. Armstrong, Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), Kindle edition, location 1357.]

                  From John Theodore Mueller’s book Christian Dogmatics:

                  The phrase “in, with, and under” fittingly serves the purpose of repudiating the papistic error of transubstantiation and of affirming, in opposition to the error of the Reformed, the Scriptural doctrine of the sacramental union. [John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, (St. Louis: Concordia, 1934) 521.]
                  Please continue Diego.

                  God bless,
                  William
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    I also found this from the Missouri Synod, "The Sacrament of the Altar".

                    Read more:

                    Attached Files
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                    • #11
                      No way,,,, Jesus said "Do this in Remembrance of Me." He gave no indication of Him being "present" in the bread and the wine . He established " The Lord's Supper." Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the only two sacraments we are to observe . The Catholics have a zillion plus that aren't found anywhere in Holy Writ.
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                      • #12
                        Louis Duvall

                        Hi Louis,

                        Just letting you know I moved your last post here: When is Sin considered to be or not to be Sin? -Christforums

                        God bless,
                        William
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Keep in mind that Jesus said a lot more about this subject than just take, this IS. John Ch. 6 is just full of information. In the Bread of Life Discourse, Jesus speaks of his Body, his flesh, being true meat indeed, his Blood being true drink indeed. And the response is electric. People say, this a hard saying, and who can go with it? How can this man give us his flesh to eat? And many walked no more with him.

                          Now this WOULD have been a good time for him to clarify that he didn't mean it literally, if in fact he did not. Instead he insists, that "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him." I encourage you all to read John 6:48-68. And note that the Greek word for eating here quite literally means to chew or gnaw at, which is used in a more literal sense than a symbolic one.
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                          • #14
                            And no, Catholics do NOT have a zillion plus Sacraments. They have seven. Don't make yourself sound ignorant. I am no Roman Catholic, nor am I particularly fond of those who are, but at LEAST use your brain when being critical of someone else's beliefs.
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                            • #15
                              Having been raised up Roman Catholic and Anglican, and having nearly become a monk and Priest of the Anglican tradition, I do at LEAST like people to think before speaking, or in this case, typing.
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