Grace Received from Lord's Supper?


#1

Ok, yeah, I’m Reformed! So, that’s why I said “Lord’s Supper”

Anyways, I’m challenged by something. In my Bible Study class after Worship at church, we are going through the Larger Catechism of the WMCOF. The Lord’s Supper has really thrown me. Like, Scripturally speaking, it seems like it’s either the modern Baptist view (symbolic, no presence of Christ, not even spiritually) or the Catholic view, or maybe consubstantiation that’s most Biblical

I have to say that the London Baptist 1689 Confession does say
"Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of His death…"
Ch. 30 Art. 7
I don’t think many Baptist believe that. They seem to be more like Cambellites (Church of Christ) that say it’s strictly “rememberance.”

Ok, and that’s the same as the WMCOF. Then the WMCOF Larger Catechism says Q. 168:
"… His death is shewed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon His body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace…"

And I Corinthians 10:16-21 and 11:23-27 keep being quoted.

One problem, I don’t see anywhere in those texts, nor in the accounts in the Gospels when Christ is instituting the Lord’s Supper that:

  • He is present to the faith of the recepient

  • Recepients receive spiritual nourishment from proper reception. There is only judgement for unworthy participation.

OK, yall are CAtholic, but can you perhaps help me understand this? Is there any Scripture to show that we receive grace from proper reception of this Sacrament?


#2

:wink: The Effects of the Holy Eucharist * The spiritual repast of the soul*

A second fruit of this union with Christ by love is an increase of sanctifying grace in the soul of the worthy communicant. Here let it be remarked at the outset, that the Holy Eucharist does not per se constitute a person in the state of grace as do the sacraments of the dead (baptism and penance), but presupposes such a state. It is, therefore, one of the sacraments of the living. It is as impossible for the soul in the state of mortal sin to receive this Heavenly Bread with profit, as it is for a corpse to assimilate food and drink. Hence the Council of Trent (Sess. XIII. can. v), in opposition to Luther and Calvin, purposely defined, that the “chief fruit of the Eucharist does not consist in the forgiveness of sins”. For though Christ said of the Chalice: “This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins” (Matt., xxvi, 28), He had in view an effect of the sacrifice, not of the sacrament; for He did not say that His Blood would be drunk unto remission of sins, but shed for that purpose. It is for this very reason that St. Paul (I Cor., xi, 28) demands that rigorous “self-examination”, in order to avoid the heinous offense of being guilty of the Body and the Blood of the Lord by “eating and drinking unworthily”, and that the Fathers insist upon nothing so energetically as upon a pure and innocent conscience. In spite of the principles just laid down, the question might be asked, if the Blessed Sacrament could not at times per accidens free the communicant from mortal sin, if he approached the Table of the Lord unconscious of the sinful state of his soul. Presupposing what is self-evident, that there is question neither of a conscious sacrilegious Communion nor a lack of imperfect contrition (attritio), which would altogether hinder the justifying effect of the sacrament, theologians incline to the opinion, that in such exceptional cases the Eucharist can restore the soul to the state of grace, but all without exception deny the possibility of the reviviscence of a sacrilegious or unfruitful Communion after the restoration of the soul’s proper moral condition has been effected, the Eucharist being different in this respect from the sacraments which imprint a character upon the soul (baptism, confirmation, and Holy orders). Together with the increase of sanctifying grace there is associated another effect, namely, a certain spiritual relish or delight of soul (delectatio spiritualis). Just as food and drink delight and refresh the heart of man, so does this “Heavenly Bread containing within itself all sweetness” produce in the soul of the devout communicant ineffable bliss, which, however, is not to be confounded with an emotional joy of the soul or with sensible sweetness. Although both may occur as the result of a special grace, its true nature is manifested in a certain cheerful and willing fervor in all that regards Christ and His Church, and in the conscious fulfillment of the duties of one’s state of life, a disposition of soul which is perfectly compatible with interior desolation and spiritual dryness. A good Communion is recognized less in the transitory sweetness of the emotions than in its lasting practical effects on the conduct of our daily lives. i hope this help. bless you.:slight_smile:


#3

I may be able to help a little bit. The catholic church teaches that the eucharist is foreshadowed by many events before the institution at the last supper and the many appearences after the ressurrection. There are a few verses that come to mind for me (read St John on the feeding of the five thousand). “I am the bread of life”. “No one can come to me unless the father draws him.” “I am the living bread that came down from heaven, whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread I give is My flesh.” “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you do not have life within you.”…“has eternal life.” But to answer your question. I believe the words of Jesus after the people find him on the other shore after Jesus walked on water. “amen,amen, I say to you , you are looking for me NOT because you saw signs but because you ATE the loaves and were FILLED.” These people were not only filled by food but were filled with spiritual grace. The 2 fish and the 5 loaves foreshadow the 7 sacrements of the church, the methods by which grace is received.


#4

[quote=RMP] These people were not only filled by food but were filled with spiritual grace. The 2 fish and the 5 loaves foreshadow the 7 sacrements of the church, the methods by which grace is received.
[/quote]

Thanks RMP,
My pastor would balk seriously at everything you just said!

I think it makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is what the Westminster Divines were saying, based upon the Scripture they were using. They also used Zech. 12:10 and a few verses from Song of Solomon.

Any Protestants, like myself, care to give your thoughts?


#5

Hi Rob,

I’ve been a member of a PCA church in New York City for the past 5 years. The Scriptures in 1 Corinthians 10 and 11 are pretty clear to me about what is going on in the Lord’s Supper. The bread and wine become His Body and Blood. Can you “sin” against mere symbols?

I’ve also been attending a Lutheran church in my neighborhood because they believe that His Body and Blood are present in the bread and wine. (I know this is different from Catholic theology in that the bread and wine become His Body and Blood.)

I also have a problem with sola scriptura. That’s why I am investigating Catholic theology and am moving towards re-entering the Catholic Church. (But I haven’t made the jump yet.)

I’m about to start a discussion on the Lord’s Supper on another thread titled Catholic to Protestant to Catholic. Care to join in?

Gene C.


#6

[quote=Gene C.] The Scriptures in 1 Corinthians 10 and 11 are pretty clear to me about what is going on in the Lord’s Supper. The bread and wine become His Body and Blood. Can you “sin” against mere symbols?
[/quote]

Rob,

I think Gene hit the nail on the head here. St. Paul tells us that “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27). Why should this be, if it is merely symbolic (as most evangelicals believe)? Or if Westminster is correct (and the Reformed tradition in general), why would one have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord, if the presence were merely spiritual? Would it rather not be an offense against the Spirit of Christ to receive unworthily?

Earlier, St. Paul tells us that “the cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor 10:16-17). Read in the light of Jesus Bread of Life discourse (John 6), it seems clear that more than a “spiritual presence” is being offered in the Sacrament.

To understand the true nature of the Blessed Sacrament, I would encourage you to read and study the teaching of the early Church Fathers rather than the Westminster Divines. Although the Fathers did not use the Scholastic terminology of “transubstantiation”, they clearly taught that the elements are transformed into the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Holy Mass. This has been the constant teaching of the Church - both in the West (Catholic) and East (Orthodox) from the very beginning.

May God continue to bless you on your spiritual journey!


#7

[quote=Reformed Rob]* Recepients receive spiritual nourishment from proper reception. There is only judgement for unworthy participation.

OK, yall are CAtholic, but can you perhaps help me understand this? Is there any Scripture to show that we receive grace from proper reception of this Sacrament?
[/quote]

Hi Rob! :wave:

John 6:53 speaks directly to this:

“Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”

What life do you not have within you? God’s supernatural life. When you receive the Eucharist you receive God’s supernatural life (grace) into your soul.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#8

[quote=Reformed Rob]Ok, yeah, I’m Reformed! So, that’s why I said “Lord’s Supper”

Anyways, I’m challenged by something. In my Bible Study class after Worship at church, we are going through the Larger Catechism of the WMCOF. The Lord’s Supper has really thrown me. Like, Scripturally speaking, it seems like it’s either the modern Baptist view (symbolic, no presence of Christ, not even spiritually) or the Catholic view, or maybe consubstantiation that’s most Biblical

I have to say that the London Baptist 1689 Confession does say
"Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of His death…"
Ch. 30 Art. 7
I don’t think many Baptist believe that. They seem to be more like Cambellites (Church of Christ) that say it’s strictly “rememberance.”

Ok, and that’s the same as the WMCOF. Then the WMCOF Larger Catechism says Q. 168:
"… His death is shewed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon His body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace…"

And I Corinthians 10:16-21 and 11:23-27 keep being quoted.

One problem, I don’t see anywhere in those texts, nor in the accounts in the Gospels when Christ is instituting the Lord’s Supper that:

  • He is present to the faith of the recepient

  • Recepients receive spiritual nourishment from proper reception. There is only judgement for unworthy participation.

OK, yall are CAtholic, but can you perhaps help me understand this? Is there any Scripture to show that we receive grace from proper reception of this Sacrament?
[/quote]

In the Catholic Church we receive Christ Himself in Holy Communion the source of all Grace.


#9

Thanks for that, yeah, I’ve compiled quite a list of quotes in context regarding Church Father teachings on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I’m pretty convinced that they believed and taught it. My pastor just replies “Agghhh, the apostacy is just earlier and wider than I thought.” I don’t mean anything negative towards him, but he’s a Reformed pastor, so he’s bound by tradition to despise Catholicism. I understand, but it doesn’t help matters.


#10

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]Hi Rob! :wave:

John 6:53 speaks directly to this:

“Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”

What life do you not have within you? God’s supernatural life. When you receive the Eucharist you receive God’s supernatural life (grace) into your soul.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Yeah,

Well said Nancy! I actually want to ask my pastor this. He is down on Calvin for his seemingly trying to bring the Lutherans and Presbyterians together on this, and it’s really complicated. Catholics would like lots of it, like viewing it as the worshippers on earth being caught up with heavenly worship. A different topic though.

So you have the sense of the Scriptures regarding the sacrament given by the Church Fathers, and Protestants have the Scriptures and I can’t see where they get what they teach, at least from the Reformed view. But I suppose they know more than I do.

Thanks so much…


#11

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]Hi Rob! :wave:

John 6:53 speaks directly to this:

“Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”

What life do you not have within you? God’s supernatural life. When you receive the Eucharist you receive God’s supernatural life (grace) into your soul.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:
[/quote]

As both an individual and part of the Catholic community,that saying in John and its relevence to the eucharist in Catholic tradition is more loved when like St Francis,we celebrate those experiences which appear to make us small in the sight of men but great in the eyes of God.As a continuation of John 6 v 53,the disciples found that saying the most difficult of all and with very good reason.

" What hast thou that thou hast not received from God? and if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?’ But in the cross of tribulation and affliction we may glory, because, as the Apostle says again, `I will not glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Amen."
[size=2]Chapter VIII[/size]

san-francesco.org/fioretti3_eng.html

Far from being depressive,the condition which St Francis and St Paul highlights is the full human condition where humiliation is accepted as much as honor,hate for the sake of love and all those things which find full flower in the prayer of St Francis.As something that is more courageous than just accepting the Eucharist perhaps accepting the little crosses first make accepting the Eucharist more loved.


#12

Thanks RMP,
My pastor would balk seriously at everything you just said!

Well if your pastor can’t even grasp the simple things SPELLED OUT FOR HIM by Jesus by the words of ST. John, why even bother with the more complex issues?
I did not use many other quotes from scripture or apostolic fathers because they only address people who showed doubt to the original words CHRIST stated himself. And some of them said, ‘who can do this?’, some walked away. He doesnt see himself as one of them? This should be revealing.


#13

[quote=Reformed Rob]Ok, yeah, I’m Reformed! So, that’s why I said “Lord’s Supper”. Is there any Scripture to show that we receive grace from proper reception of this Sacrament?
[/quote]

Rob,

How can you not get Grace from receiving the Body and Saving Blood of the Lamb of God?
On the other hand, of course, if it’s only a ceremonial rememberance, you wouldn’t get anything from that.

May God be with you always.


#14

[quote=RBushlow]Rob,

How can you not get Grace from receiving the Body and Saving Blood of the Lamb of God?
On the other hand, of course, if it’s only a ceremonial rememberance, you wouldn’t get anything from that.

May God be with you always.
[/quote]

RBushlow,
That’s actually the contention here. What is the Lord’s Supper? If I were Catholic or Lutheran or Anglican I suppose I would easily believe that I would receive grace, but as a Reformed guy, I’m thinking:
:hmmm:I am supposed to believe what Scripture teaches. Scripture doesn’t teach me that Christ is spiritually present to the faith of the believer, and that the believer spiritually partakes of Christ and receives spiritual nourishment/grace. :ehh: So why does my Reformed Confession make such a big deal about it?

Maybe I’m totally missing something blatantly obvious. But I’ve honestly searched for answers in the texts the Confession quotes, and I’m left high and dry without Scripture to wet my whistler.

I’ll just believe the traditions of men…:rolleyes:


#15

[quote=RBushlow]Rob,

How can you not get Grace from receiving the Body and Saving Blood of the Lamb of God?

May God be with you always.
[/quote]

As I understand, you would not get grace from receiving the Eucharist in an unworthy manner. That would be receiving sacramentally only, and results in condemnation.


#16

I’ll just believe the traditions of men

you mean apostolic traditions, right?


#17

Rob,

Let me try to defend the classical Reformed view as briefly as I can. (My own position is that this is barely adequate–I much prefer the Lutheran or Orthodox view, or even full-blown transubstantiation–but I think Calvin and the WCF do maintain the essentials, as the pure memorialists do not.)

1 Cor. 10 clearly states that the bread and Cup are a communion in Christ’s Body and Blood. This strongly implies that receiving the bread and wine entails receiving the Body and Blood. At the same time, however, John 6 ties eating and drinking Christ’s Body and Blood to faith. Put those two texts together, and it would appear that those who believe eat and drink Christ’s Body and Blood in a particular and significant way when they receive the bread and wine of the Eucharist.

The words of institution lead to a similar conclusion. Assuming for the moment that they are not completely literal, they clearly state that what Jesus is offering his disciples is His Body and Blood. If the bread and wine are not literally transformed, then clearly the gift of Body and Blood is linked to the reception of bread and wine in some other way. Again, given that we know already from John 6 (and from the NT generally) that we are united to Christ by faith, a reasonable interpretation of the words of institution is that as our bodies receive the bread and wine, our souls receive the Body and Blood of Christ by faith (which is clearly the only way we can ever receive any spiritual benefit from Christ).

I’m not sure on what basis you regard the memorial view as more Biblical than the position I’ve just laid out, which I take to be essentially that of Calvin and of the major Reformed Confessions (though there are differences of nuance among them). Remember that a Reformed hermeneutic (as set forth at the beginning of the WCF) does not require that everything be set forth explicitly in Scripture but rather allows for “necessary reasons.” Just such necessary reasons, it seems to me, can be used to argue for this genuine “via media” between bodily presence and memorialism. I think the arguments for this “spiritual presence” view against memorialism are pretty solid, and I’d be interested in hearing your arguments to the contrary. (I do not think that the arguments for this view against the Lutheran or Catholic position are as strong, but I think it is a possibly legitimate alternative to those more robust views of the Real Presence. But we don’t need to argue that point here.) I simply don’t see a Biblical basis for memorialism. “The bread which we break is a communion in the Body of Christ” rules out that option quite thoroughly, it seems to me.

I’d recommend reading Calvin’s discussion of this in Institutes 4.17. Also John Nevin’s 19th-century Mystical Presence.

In Christ,

Edwin


#18

Cantirini,

Ok, I don't really have a refute for you.  I myself, well, no, I'm Reformed, and am just confused about the WMCOF stand on this (the TR - truly reformed, if you will).  Like, I know what I should believe, but it doesn't seem like the middle ground, this Reformed view is Biblical.  It seems like it's either the Baptistic or Catholic view, either or.  

I’m not going to try to defend the Lord’s Supper as a memorial feast. However, Deuteronomy 16 (verse 12 precisely) seems to be a memorial feast to remember the original passover in Egypt. Christ instituted the “new Passover” in fact, He is our Passover
I Corinthians 5:7. So, I suppose the memorial feast is an important aspect of it. But obviously not the entire part.


#19

[quote=Reformed Rob]…My pastor just replies “Agghhh, the apostacy is just earlier and wider than I thought.”…
[/quote]

My difficulty with that began when someone pointed out that that means that all of the guys who learned the faith directly from the Apostles fell in to the same heresies (which is exactly what Jesus said would not happen).

[quote=Reformed Rob]…However, Deuteronomy 16 (verse 12 precisely) seems to be a memorial feast to remember the original passover in Egypt. Christ instituted the “new Passover” in fact, He is our Passover
I Corinthians 5:7. So, I suppose the memorial feast is an important aspect of it. But obviously not the entire part.
[/quote]

Well, yes it is a memorial, and, like other things that God told the Israelites to do, it was an image of a more perfect thing to come.

Remember that the Jews believe that, at the Passover meal, they are mystically present at the original Passover - and at that event, you had to eat the flesh of the lamb in order to receive the grace. So it’s not surprising that the more perfect Passover would expand on that theme.

The first passover was about the redemption of Israel from slavery in Egypt, and you had to eat the flesh of the unblemished lamb so that your firstborn would not be slain. The eternal Passover is about the redemption of creation from slavery in sin - and we get to eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of our risen Lord, the perfect Lamb of God, an eternal sacrifice from before the foundation of the world, so that we may be brought back to life.

[quote=Reformed Rob]…:hmmm:I am supposed to believe what Scripture teaches. Scripture doesn’t teach me that Christ is spiritually present to the faith of the believer, and that the believer spiritually partakes of Christ and receives spiritual nourishment/grace. :ehh: So why does my Reformed Confession make such a big deal about it?

Maybe I’m totally missing something blatantly obvious. But I’ve honestly searched for answers in the texts the Confession quotes, and I’m left high and dry without Scripture to wet my whistler.
[/quote]

It seems to me that you need to deal with the question of authority: who, if anyone, did Jesus give the authority to teach binding doctrine?

When I was a Protestant, I believed sola scriptura, but when I didn’t understand a passage I’d read commentaries written by men who never penned a jot nor tittle of holy writ. When opinions differed I’d be stuck trying to judge for myself who among the commentators was more qualified, which placed me back in the position I started in: relying on my own understanding. It was a never-ending trap.

Who would be more likely to know what the Apostles taught: the earliest Church fathers who were their roommates and who received the sacrament of Holy Orders from them, or the Reformers who came along 1500 years later?

Ultimately I concluded that the reason I found Protestantism to be confusing was because it was inconsistent.


#20

Thanks Neophyte!
I asked my pastor this question, using words in the WMCOF and he went directly to John 6! Surprise, Surprise (with all due respect).

Well, he said basically since transubstantiation is not true, then Christ is saying we receive Him spiritually (the Spirit gives life, not the flesh) and receive life (grace?) from the Lord’s Supper.

I thought we would make it through 2 sermons without a mention of Roman Catholicism, but then I had to go and ask that question in the question time after Bible Study (we’re still in that part in the Larger Catechism!! Silly me, ask a question and expect him not to slam the catholics somehow!

So yeah, I see how you were led the way you were.
That’s neat about the Jews and their belief. I wasn’t aware of that. I have heard one of Matatics’ tapes on the Lord’s Supper “Unless you eat My flesh” and he discussed about how at the Passover, if they just ate something symbolizing the Lamb, God would’nt have accepted it as valid, or something like that. At least, symbolized blood on the doorway would not have been sufficient. But, that’s an apologetic for another topic.

I Corinthians 5:7 is pretty shocking when you actually read it thinking like a Catholic. Yep, ok, thanks for the discussion on this topic.


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