Denial of the Real Presence


Who was the first person or group to deny the Real Presence? When was this person or group active? Does this person or group have any “decendants” today?

What I’m trying to nail down is exactly when and where the modern Protestant notion of “the Lord’s Supper” as purely symbolic originated.

Obviously there were deniers early on, because the ECF’s wrote about those with “heterodox opinions.” But, where, when and with whom did this idea first gain lasting traction.

It’s just amazing how many modern Protestants actually believe that the Early Church taught “the Lord’s Supper” as they understand it. Of those modern Protestants who recognize that the Church historically understood the Real Presence, I have yet to meet one who can tell me where their understanding came from other than “the Bible.”


I don’t know about being the first to deny the Catholic doctrine, LE, but Berengarius (b. AD 999) is one of the most notorious deniers:



Does anyone know the “lineage” so to speak of the modern Evangelical Protestant position?


how about all those who left in John 6, when Jesus said that only those who eat my flesh and drink my blood will have eternal life. I would say those were the first.


I think that Protestants shouldn’t be challenged on denying the Real Presence but in denying the Substantial Presence.

There are Protestants who once they can grasp the difference between Substantial and what many would think of as Real but what they really think of Real as to be only Physical could understand the doctrine.

Protestants believe that their own souls are in their own bodies yet they can’t see them.

What’s so hard to believe about Jesus’ soul being present in the Eucharist?

Well some can at least get that far in belief–they certainly believe that invisible souls exist–such people are Lutherans or Anglicans who claim to believe in some way in the Real presence.

Such people don’t have a problem believing that the soul of Jesus or His spirit could be present there.

Some Protestants have a problem believing that the Divinity of Jesus could be there even though many would admit that God is omnipresent.

I think they figure that once Jesus went up to Heaven that He just stays there on a throne and never goes anywhere.

But of course even when Jesus was physically present on Earth God–and yes Jesus is God–was still omnipresent.

Maybe Protestants figure the Father and the Holy Spirit were still omnipresent but Jesus couldn’t be omnipresent but of course you can’t Divide God like that–if Jesus was truely God then He was always Omnipresent.

So there are some Protestants that might could fathom that Jesus could be present in His spirit and soul and maybe His Divinity–but even those draw the line at His Body and Blood.

Why? Well most of them think that the body is basically bad and that Jesus is pure spirit like God but that He had a body and even went to Heaven with it but that it really isn’t important to us since He paid the price–He just kind of sits on the throne in Heaven with it but really He’s so much bigger than it is and it’s that bigness that saves us so we really shouldn’t think that He would want to still be bodily with us.

While some can’t expand their mind enough to conceive of Jesus’ body being present in the Bread and Wine many don’t believe that the body would be present because they don’t think it is necessary but now we come to the real rub–

The ones who have thought about it Know that if the Catholic teaching of the Eucharist is true then Jesus is more than just Spirit or Soul or Divinity and that His body is more than just good–it is also as powerful but most importantly Transformative–in other words Jesus Continues to Transform us through the Eucharist!

In other words Jesus isn’t a one shot Justification by faith–He is a continual sanctifier and wishes to Transform us to Holiness and He does this in the Eucharist!

See it’s easier for a Protestant Not to believe in the Eucharist–that way Jesus has already done all of His redeeming work and we don’t have to sweat “Discerning His Body” as Paul commanded–we can just eat Memorial Crackers or Grape Juice and that’s Good Enough.

Good Enough is easier and that’s the Real reason that Luther and other Protestants that followed Chose Not to believe in the Eucharist.

Many Protestants don’t know the difference–they have a chance at continuing to being saved–the ones who do know the truth about the Eucharist and Choose not to believe it–they’re the ones who left Jesus like the ones in John 6:66 did!

They have no life in them and if they continue in that state until death–Hell will be their permanent end!


I think that Protestants shouldn’t be challenged on denying the Real Presence but in denying the Substantial Presence.>>

You are right, JerryJet. Jean Chauvin (known to history as Jean Calvin) didn’t hesitate to call his Eucharistic doctrine “real presencer.”

I think the first of the major reformers to reject it and teach the Real Absence of Christ from the Eucharist was Zwingli.

Even Luther said, “If all the papists were compounded into one man, that man could not believe that the bread becomes the Body of Christ more strongly than I do.”


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