How do I explain the Eucharist to Protestants?


#1

So, a friend just asked me: “Why can’t Protestants take communion?”

I’ve had a lot of friends ask me this in this past, and they say that my answer “makes sense,” but I was wondering what approach seems to be the best for everyone.

Is there a concise argument that you make regarding the Eucharist and why we protect it so fervently? I’m looking for something that would identify the main points of the theological base of the Eucharist and why it is that we restrict its reception to Catholics alone.

[Don’t get me wrong, I DO understand it! I just would like to hear the explanations that most people give to their Protestant friends. :smiley: ]


#2

The sacrament is also called Holy Communion.

Used by Augustine, in belief that the word was derived from com- + unus “oneness, union.”

And as such to receive Communion we must be in communion (one and united) with the church and all her teachings.

When we receive Communion we are saying “I believe everything that the church teaches.” with our bodies.

Such as the teachings on the Real Presence in the Eucharist.

That is why as a Catholic we can not receive communion at a Protestant denomination. Because we would be saying that we believe everything that they teach.

Like the teaching of the Lord’s Supper only being a symbol.

We would be lying to ourselves and to God.


#3

From the Didache (80-110AD):

9 …You must not let anyone eat or drink of your Eucharist except those baptized in the Lord’s name.

From the First Apology of St. Justin (150AD):

  1. This food we call Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Saviour being incarnate by God’s word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.

The Catholic Church continues this practice of the early Christians to only admit to their Eucharist those known to them.


#4

So, a friend just asked me: “Why can’t Protestants take communion?”

I’ve had a lot of friends ask me this in this past, and they say that my answer “makes sense,” but I was wondering what approach seems to be the best for everyone.

Is there a concise argument that you make regarding the Eucharist and why we protect it so fervently? I’m looking for something that would identify the main points of the theological base of the Eucharist and why it is that we restrict its reception to Catholics alone.

[Don’t get me wrong, I DO understand it! I just would like to hear the explanations that most people give to their Protestant friends. ]

I forgot to ask for personal stories as well! Have you ever explained the Eucharist and had a really positive response? Have you ever gotten a very negative response? I’d love to hear everyone’s stories because based upon conversations with my non-Catholic friends, the Eucharist is one of the main Catholic practices which is misunderstood!


#5

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.