Protestants, what do you think about this..

Hi :slight_smile:

this is a question for any Protestants here, especially if you don’t believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

do you consider it important/significant that the early Church believed in the Eucharist? or do you hold the opinion that the early Church was mistaken? Just wondering!! thanks :slight_smile:

some info

The doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is literally and wholly present—body and blood, soul and divinity—under the appearances of bread and wine. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists frequently attack this doctrine as “unbiblical,” but the Bible is forthright in declaring it (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16–17, 11:23–29; and, most forcefully, John 6:32–71).

The early Church Fathers interpreted these passages literally. In summarizing the early Fathers’ teachings on Christ’s Real Presence, renowned Protestant historian of the early Church J. N. D. Kelly, writes: “Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Savior’s body and blood” (Early Christian Doctrines, 440).

From the Church’s early days, the Fathers referred to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Kelly writes: “Ignatius roundly declares that . . . [t]he bread is the flesh of Jesus, the cup his blood. Clearly he intends this realism to be taken strictly, for he makes it the basis of his argument against the Docetists’ denial of the reality of Christ’s body. . . . Irenaeus teaches that the bread and wine are really the Lord’s body and blood. His witness is, indeed, all the more impressive because he produces it quite incidentally while refuting the Gnostic and Docetic rejection of the Lord’s real humanity” (ibid., 197–98).

“Hippolytus speaks of ‘the body and the blood’ through which the Church is saved, and Tertullian regularly describes the bread as ‘the Lord’s body.’ The converted pagan, he remarks, ‘feeds on the richness of the Lord’s body, that is, on the Eucharist.’ The realism of his theology comes to light in the argument, based on the intimate relation of body and soul, that just as in baptism the body is washed with water so that the soul may be cleansed, so in the Eucharist ‘the flesh feeds upon Christ’s body and blood so that the soul may be filled with God.’ Clearly his assumption is that the Savior’s body and blood are as real as the baptismal water. Cyprian’s attitude is similar. Lapsed Christians who claim communion without doing penance, he declares, ‘do violence to his body and blood, a sin more heinous against the Lord with their hands and mouths than when they denied him.’ Later he expatiates on the terrifying consequences of profaning the sacrament, and the stories he tells confirm that he took the Real Presence literally” (ibid., 211–12).

Ignatius of Antioch

“I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible” (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).

“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).

Justin Martyr

“We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration * and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).


“If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?” (Against Heresies 4:33–32 [A.D. 189]).

“He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life—flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?” (ibid., 5:2).*

Clement of Alexandria

“’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children” (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).


“[T]here is not a soul that can at all procure salvation, except it believe whilst it is in the flesh, so true is it that the flesh is the very condition on which salvation hinges. And since the soul is, in consequence of its salvation, chosen to the service of God, it is the flesh which actually renders it capable of such service. The flesh, indeed, is washed [in baptism], in order that the soul may be cleansed . . . the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands [in confirmation], that the soul also may be illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God” (The Resurrection of the Dead 8 [A.D. 210]).


“‘And she [Wisdom] has furnished her table’ [Prov. 9:2] . . . refers to his [Christ’s] honored and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper *” (Fragment from Commentary on Proverbs [A.D. 217]).


“Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink’ [John 6:55]” (Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage

“He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]. All these warnings being scorned and contemned—[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to his body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord” (The Lapsed 15–16 [A.D. 251]).

Council of Nicaea I

“It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons administer the Eucharist to the presbyters *, whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no right to offer [the Eucharistic sacrifice] should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer [it]” (Canon 18 [A.D. 325]).

Aphraahat the Persian Sage

“After having spoken thus [at the Last Supper], the Lord rose up from the place where he had made the Passover and had given his body as food and his blood as drink, and he went with his disciples to the place where he was to be arrested. But he ate of his own body and drank of his own blood, while he was pondering on the dead. With his own hands the Lord presented his own body to be eaten, and before he was crucified he gave his blood as drink” (Treatises 12:6 [A.D. 340]).**

Cyril of Jerusalem

“The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ” (Catechetical Lectures 19:7 [A.D. 350]).

“Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul” (ibid., 22:6, 9).

Ambrose of Milan

“Perhaps you may be saying, ‘I see something else; how can you assure me that I am receiving the body of Christ?’ It but remains for us to prove it. And how many are the examples we might use! . . . Christ is in that sacrament, because it is the body of Christ” (The Mysteries 9:50, 58 [A.D. 390]).

Theodore of Mopsuestia

“When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood’; for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit not according to their nature, but receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord. We ought . . . not regard [the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit” (Catechetical Homilies 5:1 [A.D. 405]).


“Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, ‘This is my body’ [Matt. 26:26]. For he carried that body in his hands” (Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10 [A.D. 405]).

“I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ” (Sermons 227 [A.D. 411]).

“What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction” (ibid., 272).

Council of Ephesus

“We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his holy flesh and the precious blood of Christ the Savior of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his flesh, he made it also to be life-giving” (Session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius [A.D. 431]).

here is some commentary about what the Bible says about Communion, from a Catholic perspective :slight_smile:

oki now I’m interested, what do you all think?

Well, the original practice was to sit together in memory about what Jesus taught, while bread and wine was served. It was not unusual for Jews to do this, it is pretty much standard practice for jews to contemplate and digest what a Rabbi taught after his passing.

You can find this in scripture in the writtings of Paul, who is famous for saying ‘those who do not work do not eat’. He complained that far to much bread was being eaten, and he might have said a few things about the wine…

You can find this in scripture in the writtings of Paul, who is famous for saying ‘those who do not work do not eat’. He complained that far to much bread was being eaten, and he might have said a few things about the wine…

**In other words, geometer, you don’t really know for sure what St. Paul actually said, now do you? You’re just guessing.

You certainly misquoted the passage emphasized.**

As you know, Monica, the issue between us isn’t the real presence, but transubstantiation, or more specifically, the anathemas related to it.


JonNC, I know :slight_smile: it is more the evangelical Protestants (Baptists, Pentecostals, non denom., etc) who believe in symbolic Communion.

Do Lutherans believe in consubstantiation?

Do you believe the Real Presence is there at any church, when people take Communion, even ones that think it is entirely symbolic? Do you need a ‘consecration’, and a minister?

just wondering :slight_smile:

and do you mean this anathema?

Council of Trent:

If anyone says that in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and singular change of the whole substance of the bread into the body and the whole substance of the wine into the blood, the appearances only of bread and wine remaining, which change the Catholic Church most aptly calls transubstantiation, let him be anathema.

keep in mind anathema refers to those who are Catholic, you can’t be ‘anathema’ if you were never a Catholic in the first place. And what this means is that these people can’t receive Communion in the Church.

one more thing…

here is what St Justin Martyr said. He lived very early on in Church history… approximately 150 AD.

This famous passage from the First Apology of St. Justin Martyr (Cap. 66-67: PG 6, 427-431) is used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings for the third Sunday of Easter with the accompanying biblical reading of Revelation 6:1-17). Reflecting the way the Eucharist was celebrated in Rome about 150 AD, only about 55 years after the last New Testament books, it makes clear several important things:

  1. the Eucharist was interpreted in a very realistic way in the early church

  2. it was the principal, weekly worship celebration of the Christian Church

  3. it took place on Sunday, not on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath

  4. the meaning of the Eucharist and manner of its celebration was handed down by the apostles

"No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.

We do not consume the eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.

The apostles, in their recollections, which are called gospels, handed down to us what Jesus commanded them to do. They tell us that he took bread, gave thanks and said: Do this in memory of me. This is my body. In the same way he took the cup, he gave thanks and said: This is my blood. The Lord gave this command to them alone. Ever since then we have constantly reminded one another of these things. The rich among us help the poor and we are always united. For all that we receive we praise the Creator of the universe through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

On Sunday we have a common assembly of all our members, whether they live in the city or the outlying districts. The recollections of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as there is time. When the reader has finished, the president of the assembly speaks to us; he urges everyone to imitate the examples of virtue we have heard in the readings. Then we all stand up together and pray.

On the conclusion of our prayer, bread and wine and water are brought forward. The president offers prayers and gives thanks to the best of his ability, and the people give assent by saying, “Amen”. The eucharist is distributed, everyone present communicates, and the deacons take it to those who are absent.

The wealthy, if they wish, may make a contribution, and they themselves decide the amount. The collection is placed in the custody of the president, who uses it to help the orphans and widows and all who for any reason are in distress, whether because they are sick, in prison, or away from home. In a word, he takes care of all who are in need.

We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day of the week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight and created the world, and because on that same day our savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead. For he was crucified on Friday and on Sunday he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them the things that we have passed on for your consideration."

From St Cyril of Jerusalem

On the night he was betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said: “Take, eat: this is my body”. He took the cup, gave thanks and said: “Take, drink: this is my blood”. Since Christ himself has declared the bread to be his body, who can have any further doubt? Since he himself has said quite categorically, This is my blood, who would dare to question it and say that it is not his blood?

Therefore, it is with complete assurance that we receive the bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ.** His body is given to us under the symbol of bread, and his blood is given to us under the symbol of wine, in order to make us by receiving them one body and blood with him. Having his body and blood in our members, we become bearers of Christ and sharers, as Saint Peter says, in the divine nature.

Once, when speaking to the Jews, Christ said: Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you shall have no life in you. This horrified them and they left him. Not understanding his words in a spiritual way, they thought the Savior wished them to practice cannibalism.

Under the old covenant there was showbread, but it came to an end with the old dispensation to which it belonged. Under the new covenant there is bread from heaven and the cup of salvation. These sanctify both soul and body, the bread being adapted to the sanctification of the body, the Word, to the sanctification of the soul.

Do not, then, regard the eucharistic elements as ordinary bread and wine: they are in fact the body and blood of the Lord, as he himself has declared. Whatever your senses may tell you, be strong in faith.
You have been taught and you are firmly convinced that what looks and tastes like bread and wine is not bread and wine but the body and the blood of Christ. You know also how David referred to this long ago when he sang: Bread gives strength to man’s heart and makes his face shine with the oil of gladness. Strengthen your heart, then, by receiving this bread as spiritual bread, and bring joy to the face of your soul.

May purity of conscience remove the veil from the face of your soul so that be contemplating the glory of the Lord, as in a mirror, you may be transformed from glory to glory in Christ Jesus our Lord. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Lutheran belief in the Eucharist. The Book Of Concord gives the specifics of our beliefs, but here’s a nutshell.
Consubstantiation is not usually used to describe Lutheran belief except by others, and sometimes in a casual way to express the belief with others. Consub has Aristotilian overtones that Lutherans just are not confortable with.
Yes, we believe in a ministerial priesthood (in addition to the priesthood of all believers), and they are required, as called and ordained servants, to consecrate with the words of institution, though we recognize it is the actions of the Holy Spirit, and a mystery as to how this happens. The apology to Augsburg says:

we confess that we believe,** that in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered, with those things which are seen, bread and wine, to those who receive the Sacrament.** This belief we constantly defend, as the subject has been carefully examined and considered. For since Paul says, 1 Cor. 10:16, that the bread is the communion of the Lord’s body, etc., it would follow, if the Lord’s body were not truly present, that the bread is not a communion of the body, but only of the spirit of Christ. 55] And we have ascertained that not only the Roman Church affirms the bodily presence of Christ, but the Greek Church also both now believes, and formerly believed, the same. For the canon of the Mass among them testifies to this, in which the priest clearly prays that the bread may be changed and become the very body of Christ. And Vulgarius, who seems to us to be not a silly writer, says distinctly that bread is not a mere figure, but 56] is truly changed into flesh.

In, with and under the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present. We call this sacramental union. We make no claim as to a changing of the bread and wine, as the Catholic Church does in Transubstantiation. It is a mystery.

While I know we believe that He is truly present in your Eucharist, and others who believe in the real presence, I can’t say I know about those who have no belief or intent of His real presence.

We understand, and respectfully disagree with the stance of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches regarding apostolic succession and the validity of our priesthood, and therefore sacrament. We point to divine law and the previous use of presbyter ordination, even within the Catholic Church, as validation. This, however, is not a rejection of AS.


Yes, I understand. I think the biggest problem here is it creates a greater set of obstacles for dialogue, that may not exist, for example, between us and the Orthodox. Just my observation.


Us Catholics didnt come up with transubstantiation. It was Jesus Christ who instituted this wonderful gift and upon his command transubstantiation occurs.

As St. Paul states, it is the mystery of faith.

It depends on what you mean by the early church. I don’t see a RP taught in the Didache. Ignatius says a few things that can be taken to support a RP, but then again, given that he was addressing the view of gnostics, those words could be taken in a non-RP way. It seems to me that Tertullian was clearly of the view that the bread was a figure of Jesus’s body…and yes I know that some claim that Tertullian used “figure” differently than us moderns, but when he calls the bread a figure he goes on to support that practice by showing how bread has been used as a figure previously in scripture (and his previous examples are symbolic figures). Origen and Clement of Alexandria held something close to a symbolic view and Augustine describes the Lord’s Supper as a symbol and never mentions a RP (and yes, I am well aware of the standard proof texts produced by RCs from Augustine’s works) So to answer your question, it doesn’t bother me that the RP view dominated a few hundred years after Christ and I take comfort in the fact that (IMHO) it wasn’t the only view in the first generations after Christ (and maybe not existent until a couple of generations after Christ). If you want greater detail…I’ll try to oblige.

"When speaking of the Blessed Sacrament, it needs to be understood as what it is. The Blessed Sacrament is the result of the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Body and Precious Blood of Christ Jesus. This has been universally accepted by Holy Mother Church for almost two thousand years. However during this period there have been numerous heresies that denied this fact. The most prominent would be the 16th century heresies.

The Blessed Sacrament is the greatest gift to mankind that could ever be given. It is Love itself that is received on the tongues of men. It is Jesus Christ, himself, offering his very person to His bride the Church. Those that drink the Precious Blood are drinking Truth itself; they are drinking the Holy One of Israel, the God of Jacob, the King and Legislator of all nations. In this Sacrament he truly has never left His pilgrim Church on Earth. As he said “And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

How great it is, to have a personal audience with the Lord of the Universe! To quote Saint Francis of Assisi: “What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation”

The Holy Ghost flows out of the Blessed Sacrament as a river of burning love that melts the hearts of men. How great it is just to sit and adore him! As the Cure d’ Ars, Saint John Vianney said “We should consider those moments spent before the Blessed Sacrament as the happiest of our lives.”

The Jews themselves remarked that “this is a difficult teaching”. How are men to eat the flesh of God? Indeed they are correct that it is difficult, however the teaching comes from Truth itself. As Cyril says: “Doubt not whether this be true; but take rather the Saviour’s words with faith; for since He is the Truth, He lieth not.”

The Eucharist cannot be explained by human reason, nor can it be detected by the senses. Faith is needed to supplement human reason when our senses fail. As the Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote “Faith for all defects supplying, Where the feeble senses fail.”

Faith is not violating reason; it is a progression that allows our feeble selves to obtain the full truth of objective reality.

So it is truly right, to give the Lord all worship that is due to Him, in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

As Saint Augustine said: “Christ held Himself in His hands when He gave His Body to His disciples saying: ‘This is My Body.’ No one partakes of this Flesh before he has adored it.” "

Credits to Aaron

I hold a not too popular opinion on the subject.

The apostles carried on Jewish worship practices for some time after the death of Jesus. They continued going to Synagogue, they continued worshiping in the Temple. They continued the dietary restrictions. The apostles were “surprised” that Jesus had been raised from the dead…even though according to the NT accounts Jesus told them repeatedly that these things would occur.

As Christianity began to separate itself from Judaism into a separate religious tradition, it went through “growing pains”…as a Friend, I do not believe Jesus meant to supplant one set of rituals and rites for a new set…including the eucharist or baptism. His teachings were grounded in the here and now and dealt with how we should live…not what rituals and rites we needed to perform.

His work was complete…he fulfilled all the ritual requirements of the Law…he didn’t institute “new ones” that would require another set of “mediators/priests” to act for and in my behalf before God by performing such rituals for me or on my behalf as the Levitical priests had done for Israel.

We now share in his priesthood to approach God directly for ourselves without the need of another conducting rituals and rites on our behalf. Jesus alone became our “bridge” to God and dispensed with any ritual requirements for us to perform…we could approach the “throne of grace” with boldness to call God “Father”.

I understand that the differing groups which emerged in those first centuries held differing beliefs…the majority which became the Catholic/Orthodox church and eventually alligned itself with the secular government to finally become the dominant form of Christianity did continue to practice rites and rituals and developed a sacradotal priesthood.

As a Friend, I do not believe Jesus intended to form a new religious institution with it’s own set of rites and rituals. He called a New People our from the world bound together in love and his grace to share the Good News that all such rites and rituals had been ended and now we could come before God boldly in faith.

I do believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I’m just not sure it is 100% like what the Catholic Church teaches. Needless to say I am becoming Episcopalian, but I hold many beliefs close to that of the Roman Church.

Well, different churches celebrated the Eucharist in different ways as is depicted in St. Paul’s writings.

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