Protestants, please explain

This has probably been discussed numerous times on CAF, but after doing a brief search I did not find a satisfactory explanation.

After reading John, chapter 6,(the whole chapter, not just selected verses), how can the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist be denied? I have read it with both a Catholic lens and a Protestant lens. What am I missing?
How can the words mean other than what they say? How do you explain this?

Thanks in advance.


I see you took my suggestion:thumbsup: . Im just too tired to go into tonight. But rest assured Im sure someone will come along and the thread will explode and become 30 some pages long.:cool:

Maybe I’ll catch another day.:smiley:

Well I’m “Protestant”, but probably not the best one to answer this.

You see, I’m sort of sitting on the fence on the “real presence thing”. I have in my head the best argument I can come up with for and against, and have not totally commited myself either way.

If you had to ask me which way I lean, it would probably be on the “for real presence” at least in some form. But then there are all the different real presence flavours out there, and at this point I get really confused with big words like “transubstantiation” and “consubstantiation”. I sort of like the Wesley version that doesn’t seek to understand it further.

I do have some issues however with relating John 6 to the real presence. I can understand how in the Catholic mindset it fits perfectly, but to me…there are a couple details in this chapter I have trouble fitting in…

But its getting late and this is a topic I really don’t like debating for a number of reasons.

The Eucharist is the focus of Roman Catholic faith. It is the central component of the Mass. It is the sacrament of sacraments. Without debate, the Church of Rome regards the doctrine of the Eucharist and Christ’s real presence to be of utmost importance. Failure to acknowledge this truth is considered grave sacrilege by Rome. The official Catechism of the Catholic Church leaves no doubt on this point.

The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and oriented toward it. [1]

The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist. [2]

Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us. [3]

The Catholic Church teaches that once a Catholic priest has consecrated the wafer of bread during Communion, that the wafer turns into the literal and real body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. [4] Therefore, the communion host is no longer bread, but Jesus, under the appearance of bread, and is therefore worthy of adoration and worship. The Catholic Catechism states succinctly-

In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” [5]

The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease. [6]

Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration. [7]

What Does the Bible Teach?

I have documented what the Roman Catholic Church teaches concerning the Eucharist. But what does the Bible teach? The Bible encourages believers to study the “whole counsel” [8] of God’s Word and to “test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Every believer is to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15). To obey God’s command to test all things, we will search the Scriptures to determine what the Bible teaches concerning the Lord’s Supper.

The Last Supper was celebrated by first century Christians in obedience to Jesus’ words “do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19). This observance was established by the Lord at the Last Supper when He symbolically offered Himself as the Paschal Lamb of atonement. His actual death the next day fulfilled the prophecy. Only Paul uses the phrase “Lord’s Supper” [9] although it is alluded to in Revelation 19:9, where we are told that believers will celebrate the “marriage supper of the Lamb.” Church fathers began to call the occasion the “Eucharist” meaning “thanksgiving” from the blessing pronounced over the bread and wine after about A.D. 100. Christians have celebrated the Lord’s Supper regularly as a sign of the new covenant sealed by Christ’s death and resurrection. [10] Today, the Eucharist means far more than simply thanksgiving.


This is My Body

So what exactly did Jesus ordain during the Last Supper? Here is the Bible’s description of the events surrounding the Lord’s Supper. At the Last Supper “[Jesus] took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’” (Luke 22: 19, 20). This is strong language indeed and not to be taken lightly for “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16).

And if Jesus wasn’t clear enough about His body and blood at the Last Supper, [11] He certainly left no room for doubt when He spoke about His flesh and blood, recorded in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel:

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.” (John 6: 51-55).

Repeatedly Jesus stated that His flesh is food and His blood drink. Taken together, these verses certainly seem to affirm that Jesus is truly present in the consecrated host. But, before putting the matter to rest, we must investigate the whole counsel of God.

Throughout the Bible, context determines meaning. Bible-believing Christians know to take the Bible literally unless the context demands a symbolic interpretation. Before exploring Jesus’ words in John chapter 6 and elsewhere, let’s review a few examples of symbolism in the Scriptures. All scholars would agree that the following verses are metaphorical. An explanation follows each verse.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good (Ps 34:8).

(Try and experience God’s promises to find if they are true.)

“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

(For those who receive the gift of salvation, Christ’s Spirit shall dwell in their souls assuring them of everlasting life.)

Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll (Ezekiel 3:1, 2).

(Receive into your heart, internalize, and obey God’s Word.)

It is apparent from searching the entire council of God that the Lord often uses metaphors and symbolic language to paint images for the reader. When the Bible says God hides us under His wings, we know that God is not a bird with feathers. However, the Bible should always be interpreted literally unless the context demands a symbolic explanation. So what does the context of John’s Gospel and the other Gospels demand?

If we read the entire sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, we not only get the context, but also some startling insights into what Jesus meant when He said we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. John chapter 6, begins with the account of Jesus feeding five thousand, followed by the account of Jesus walking on water. Starting in verse 22, we find that on the following day, people were seeking Jesus for the wrong reasons, which we understand from Jesus’ words in verses 26 and 27: “you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for food which perishes, but for food which endures to everlasting life.”

These verses begin to frame the context of the verses that follow, specifically, that Jesus emphasized the need for them to seek eternal life. Jesus goes on to explain to them how to obtain eternal life, and in verse 28, when the people ask Jesus “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus replies (verse 29) “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

Here Jesus specifies that there is only one work that pleases God, namely, belief in Jesus. Jesus re-emphasizes this in verse 35 “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” Notice the imperative is to “come to Me” and “believe in Me.” Jesus repeats the thrust of His message in verse 40 where He states - “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”



Just post the site that you are cutting and pasting this from. People can check out the site if they so wish.


By the way I love how you edited, “We have documented what the Roman Catholic Church teaches concerning the Eucharist…”


** I **have documented what the Roman Catholic Church teaches concerning the Eucharist…

Nice touch, taking credit for someone else’s work… Unless of course you are one Jim Teltow

God bless

EDIT On second thought I am not even going to post the site that you are getting this from and deleted it from my original message.

Just point to the Passover lamb in Exodus. The literal blood was sprinkled on the alter, and the literal body was cooked with bitter herbs and eaten. As we know, the Passover lamb foreshaddowed what was to happen to the Messiah.

Just found this thread

I think it has been demonstrated in a hundred previous threads that this is an unending debate, which makes me loathe to enter into a 101st. But for the sake of any who would like to hear it, I’ll just summarize something I’ve written before:

(1) Catholics say that the Eucharist is the body and blood (& soul & divinity) of Christ, and that Protestants therefore do not partake of the body and blood of Christ.

(2) Jesus said in Jn 6 that those who do not eat his flesh and drink his blood do not have life in them. Since Protestants do not partake of the Catholic Eucharist, Protestants do not have life in them (according to the words of Christ in Jn 6).

(3) When Jesus said of those who eat his flesh and drink his blood that they have life in them, he was referring to salvation, because he went on to say “and I will raise him up at the last day.”

(4) But Catholics also affirm that sincere Protestants do, indeed, have life in them and will be raised up by Christ (in a state of salvation) at the last day, even though they do not eat and drink the body & blood of Christ.

This internal contradiction (between points 2 and 4) argues that Christ was not referring to the Eucharist in Jn 6.

Sincere Protestants who have “invincible ignorance” may be saved. However, after reading John 6, how can you claim ignorance of the message?

Well all i can say, if you believe they is a real presence then there is, if you don’t believe, no matter how much time pple spend explaining to you, you just don’t get it :shrug:

That is the problem, if one does not believe, how can you think Christ’s words are just symbolic? He repeated them several times. He let some walk away. I am just looking for an explanation from Protestants why they think Jesus would not be telling the truth. NO ONE has explained this with an explanation that makes any sense.:shrug:

I get your point, as a protestant myself, i have been asking pple around me what they think about Real Presence, of course only a group of them believes in the Real Presence of the communion, the rest are those who doesn’t know anything about it. It all depend upon the churches teaching and if the churches does not teaches this in detail then one shall find out themselves, else is either you don’t know or deny it…
I guess in America, not all protestant churches about the real presence and there are some teaches merely as a remembrance act. So whether are those pastors missing out something we don’t know and we don’t judge. There are things that nobody seem to be able to explain clearly for there aren’t any to explain becoz is God’s will that there are unspoken answer. So just let his will be done :blush:

I am United Methodist… and do not deny the Real Presence at the Eucharist. Neither would Anglicans/Episcopalians and Lutherans.


O.S Luke, but wouldn’t it depend on the definition of “Real Presence” to each individual Anglican/Episcopalian, Wesleyan, Methodist and Lutheran? Meaning they could believe that it’s only symbolic, or they can believe that it’s the body and blood, but in spirit only.

In Pax Christi

If you randomly surveyed 100 Catholics and 100 Anglicans, Methodists, and Lutherans and asked how they would define the Real Presence, I challenge you to be able to correctly sort the answers into the correct denominations. And if you tell me that the Catholic Church has an actual definition of the Real Presence(say, transubstantiation, “that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood [Trent]”, then I also challenge you to find a modern Catholic who can make any sense out of the Aristotelian concept of “substance”, not to mention “essence”. Luther, of course, taught that the bread and wine were really real and corporeal.

More important differences are in the Permanence of the Real Presence. This is were Aristotle comes in–or not, since science has pretty much wiped his definitions out of reality.

a. The Real Presence is real. That is an official statement of each communion (except Wesleyan; I am not familiar with their official statement on the Eucharist), regardless of individual opinions. Official statementrs are where conversations need to take place. Just as some individual Catholics believe in and practice birth control, they do not officially speak for or represent the Catholic Church.
b. It is the Body and Blood of Christ. Period. No qualifiers or philosophical concepts required.


I believe in the Real Presence.
Where I disagree with my Catholic brothers & sisters, is that I don’t believe that they are the only ones who have the Real Presence.

After much prayer & study & discussion, I have come to the conclusion that it is better for me to simply accept this as one of the mysteries of faith, & not try any longer to figure out the details of the “how” part…Jesus said it is His Body & it is His Blood, and I am not going to argue with Him!!!

God bless all here.

Hi! In light of the discussion here, I want to share one of my favorite websites. I regularly go to the website especially when either my faith is running low or I want to celebrate the Glory and Greatness of God’s gift that is the Eucharist.

This website outlines the most thorough yet entertaining and heart-warming exposition of the Biblical basis (and even historical basis!) of the Eucharist I’ve ever read.

So, without further ado, why don’t we all take The Believer’s Test? :thumbsup:

Thank you. Great website! I love the detailed explanation of John 6.

We have heard from some of our Protestant brethren that DO believe Jesus’s words, but nothing from those who DO NOT. Why is that?

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