Is the Eucharist 'required' for Salvation? Please Help...

In recent discussions regarding our faith with my evangelical daughter (former Catholic now married to an evangelical youth minister) about the ‘fullness’ of our faith and the ways the sacraments give us the opportunity to experience Christ at a much deeper level, she responds with, “All she/they care about/need is what the bible says they need to be saved, i.e. by accepting God’s free grace with faith, and living out that faith”. (Their particular demonination believes in faith and works…:)) When I asked her to read John 6:5x where Christ talks about “unless you eat…drink… …you have no life in you”, as well as “everlasting life”, She questioned me that “Doesn’t that seem to imply these actions are required for salvation?”, which of course they do not accept.

I have always believed we are saved thru baptism, accepting God’s grace and living out our faith. I believe that the Eucharist was instituted by Christ to physically/supernaturally experience his grace, but not a requirement for salvation. T/F? What does the Chursch teach on this? Any references?

Your thoughts are most appreciated.

1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.51 “Sacramental grace” is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature52 by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior.

The answer is yes, as described in the CCC. Note that it says “for believers” not for non-believers. Non-believers may be saved by employing the graces God gave them outside of the sacraments because God is not bound by the sacraments, but for we who know what God requires of us, they are. So, for believers the Eucharist is necessary. However, personally receiving the Eucharist is only required once a year. Since the priest must receive in order for the sacrament to be valid, and the priest stands in for the Church, of which all the baptized are members (if imperfectly, as in the case of our Protestant brethren), the command of Christ, that we eat and drink his body and blood is fulfilled every day.

Ask her, “Isn’t receiving Jesus required for salvation?”
And when she answers “yes”, say, “Doesn’t that seem to imply that this action of receiving Jesus is required for salvation? It’s the same thing with the body and blood of Christ. We need to receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ for receiving eternal life.”

Thanks for the reply. However, I have difficulty with this being a very conditional type of statement; Meaning ‘Believers’ (Catholics) and non-believers (Non-Catholics)… To me - and please correct me as needed - using this as an answer to non-Catholics only bolsters their position of the Church’s man-made rules vs. scriptural. It seems that if receiving the sacraments are required for salvation, then it should be all or nothing. Scripture says, "Jesus said to them, "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. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. " This sure sounds like a salvation requirement that should apply to all, no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it:thumbsup:


I understand what you are saying, but then there are other verses which say if you believe in Jesus you are saved (without reference to the Eucharist or sacraments). So we need to harmonize scripture with scripture. There are also verses which suggest we must believe in Jesus to be saved, yet others which suggest that God desires that all be saved and yet has supernaturally blinded some (like Israel, in large part) - thus the Catholic doctrine of invincible ignorance.

The Bible is complex and multidimensional and thus it is dangerous to build a theology on a single verse (this or any other verse) in a vacuum. That is why the magisterium and teachings of the Church are so valuable (and so attractive to me).



Good Lord!

What part of “unless you eat…drink… …you have no life in you” does she not understand?!?!? :eek:

That “command” only exists in John’s Gospel. As some have pointed out, there are plenty of NT texts wherein Jesus states and describes salvation in complete isolation from (say) eating his flesh, or believing that he is God’s Son, or believing in his atoning death, or believing in the Trinity, etc. In many passages, Christian salvation - like Jewish salvation - is said to be dependent on fulfilling the ethical demands of Torah - again, completely without reference to believing in Jesus.

Therefore the issue is far more complex than isolating one chapter of one Gospel, and generalizing that it is a universal across all the other Gospels and Epistles. It’s far more complex than claiming that “salvation is only” or “chiefly” by the Eucharist, or believing that Jesus is God’s Son, that he died for sins, etc. - for the simple reason that, like it or not, the NT is ambiguous in its soteriology. Sometimes it claims that salvation is only through Jesus; sometimes it claims that love, forgiveness, charity and generosity are sufficient for salvation.

Nor is it a matter of saying, “Well, salvation is really the sum total of *all * the NT claims”, for the simple reason that some of these claims mix about as successfully as oil and water.

The observable, indisputable fact that the NT as a whole lacks a consistent salvation theory alone suffices to explain why different Christian bodies emphasise different means of salvation - just as does the NT.

It does the truth no great service to attempt to blend all the NT’s differing soteriologies into a kind of “It’s in the Word of God, it’s all valid, it’s all commanded, and all contradiction and conflict between NT salvation theories be damned”. The NT’s variant descriptions of salvation deserve profound reflection and careful scrutiny. Eating Jesus’ body and drinking his blood must be honestly compared to and contrasted with all the other salvific means claimed by the NT.

I find it odd that the same folks who “live and die” by John 3:16 turn around and claim “well, that was only an isolated quote… don’t put too much stock into it”.

As others have pointed out, no one verse/passage of Scripture stands alone. Besides this, the Bible itself is not sufficient to tell us all that God desires us to know. It was to the Church Christ gave the authority to decide matters of faith and morals. All are saved in Christ but all do not need to know that he is their savior in order to be saved. This is because Christ’s death on the cross brought about the redemption of the whole world which imparted saving grace to everyone.

Salvation is possible because of the redemption. So, salvation is a future event while redemption has already taken place. This is why those who never heard the Gospel or are in invincible ignorance may be saved through employing the graces of the redemption, even if they do not know that is what they are doing.

This does not negate the necessity of bringing the truth of Christ to everyone. It only means that God is the judge and that all who strive to serve him are pleasing to him. We who know/have all that God provided in the sacraments must avail ourselves of them as best we can. Our culpability is what God will judge us by not what we didn’t know, which wouldn’t be fair. :slight_smile:

So, to say that one must receive the Eucharist to be saved is not correct. Those who know what the Eucharist is must believe what the Church teaches about it or risk losing their salvation. So, your former Catholic friend is in danger there. She has been misguided and mistaught about the Eucharist, so her culpability is not as great one who has rejected it knowing full well what it is and that Christ gave it to us to impart saving grace to his Church, thereby deliberately rejecting an infallible teaching of Christ’s Church.

Its the same way that the CC says their is no salvation outside the Church.Yes,there is salvation wihtout the Eucharist but Christ said"Unless you eat My body and drink My blood you will have no life in you"Although it seems contradictory in Christ’s infinite mercy the Church says it is posible in certain circumstances.The fact is none of us all worthy of salvation.All those who recieve the Eucharist are better off than those who don’t and would not have to suffer the pains of purgatory as much or maybe none at all.Those who do receive the Eucharist are granted this special priveledge by God and He choose whom He wills.However those people also suffer more here on earth more than those who don’t.

To paraphrase Patrick Coffin: The Bible’s Table of Contents was written by the Catholic Church.

I like the way you categorize this as “isolating one chapter of one Gospel”. You know the value of repetition in the Bible, and John definitely uses repetition in chapter 6 to hammer the point home.

However, I don’t feel that the doctrine of the Eucharist was chiseled out by “isolating one chapter of one Gospel”. Look at Paul’s writings to the Corinthians as proof of this. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.” If eating of His Body unworthily can bring damnation, then eating of it worthily out to be a mighty big blessing, eh?

And the Early Church sure felt this way. One simply has to read the writings of Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus (all in the 2nd century) to see that the Church, since Her very infancy, felt that there was salvific effects from partaking in the Eucharist.

There are even 3rd martyrs who were willing to die rather than letting the Eucharist fall into the hands of pagans.

No, your methodology of reducing the Eucharist to a simple ceremony seems to be the man-made tradition, in my opinion.

Thanks to ALL those who commented! You have all helped me in formulating my next response to my formerly Catholic daughter. Based on Della’s quoted comment above, as well as those of other postings, I believe I can qualify my response to state something along the lines of the fact that one is not mandated to receive the Eucharist in order to be saved, but those that do are given the opportunity to be closer to Christ, hence the intent behind instituting this sacrament, as well as the other 6… :thumbsup:

Yes, the sacraments do what the are intended to do–impart God’s grace. They were the means Christ established to keep us strong in the faith. If we deliberately reject them we are pushing them back in Jesus’ face and telling him we don’t need his gifts. I’m sure your daughter doesn’t understand this, though. If she did, she most probably wouldn’t have left the Church. You, she and your family have my prayers. :slight_smile:

I don’t see how anybody could believe in the Catholic Doctrine of the Eucharist and still leave the Church.

The Christians in first century wrote / taught that Christ said this … are you gonna argue / disagree with them ?

Funny you should say that, NotWorthy. Probably because she was raised by Cradle Catholics that were comfortable with the faith but could not/did not explain the faith to the extent she could defend it when challenged. Hence she was easy prey. But there was a silver lining in this sadness. Her leaving was my wake up call. I/we re-discovered our faith at a much deeper level, thanks to Catholic Answers and the journey home of many Protestant converts! :cool: I basically re-learned aobut my faith and ‘filled in the blanks’ where many assumptions and questions remained unanswered over the years…

Our non-catholic daughter has a much younger sister in Catholic elementary school who is as a result more grounded in the faith than either my wife, myself or her older sister ever were until now thanks to our own re-commitment! God works in amazing ways to bring families closer to Him.

So I ask with humility for prayers from you all that my older children (did I mention both my older daughters left the faith?..) see our transformation, a new-found love for the Lord thru His one true church, and open their hearts to the point that a seed may one day be planted that will grow to fill in the void that they will come to experience as a result of their current faith journey…

Amen, brother!

Your story is so very familiar. I attend a prayer meeting with some fellow men. Most of these guys are “late bloomers” in the faith. They attended Mass regularly, but without feeling… basically going through the motions, in other words. Well, the Acts Retreat movement has awoken their faith, but now they are facing the consequences of their inactivity in their earlier faith journey. These guys, most of them 50 or older, almost all bemoan the fact that their children have left the faith. In their cases, the fact that they didn’t set the spiritual example contributed to their children wandering away. So, their joy in Christ is also tinged with sadness because they blame themselves for their children’s lack of faith.

I will pray for you and your family.

Solomon spoke to this in Sacred Scripture saying … “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he/she is old, they will not depart from it”.

Yet rediscovery / rededication is an ongoing necessity. All the more reason for weekly attendance at Mass, receipt of Eucharist, study of Scripture, and communion with the living saints @ the local Catholic Churchs & via the Worldwide Net.

" This sure sounds like a salvation requirement that should apply to all, no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it:thumbsup:

The Christians in first century wrote / taught that Christ said this … are you gonna argue / disagree with them ?

So far a few posters have said that the Eucharist is necessary for salvation (see above) and others have said it may be true for Catholics only (see below).

I agree that we need to harmonize scripture with scripture, but that doesn’t mean that we can just ignore a verse because it does not match what we believe.

Is there a Church teaching on John 6:52~58? Do you think Jesus was only speaking to believers when he gave the requirement to eat his flesh and drink his blood? Why does the CCC make this conditional for believers only ? To answer my own question, Jesus was not just speaking to believers (see John 6:24~25). It appears that the CCC is contradicting the Bible :confused:.

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