The Eucharist and Transubstantiation (Split from "Protestants do not really believe...")

As far as transubstantiation- the Roman Catholic dogma- being contained in John’s Gospel- I remain unconvinced.

Here is why:

John’s Gospel clearly teaches of the spiritual and metaphorical sense of “eating” and “drinking” as pertaining to the body and blood of Christ.

Please RE-read John 6 and consider carefully that “eating” and “drinking” are synonyms for “coming” and “believing” - as in John 6:34-36: “Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.”

I believe that to extract anything more from this marvelous discourse is damaging to the Scriptures and to the essence of Christ’s sacrifice.

Also we should remember that the gospel of John consistently sets forth a “pattern” if you will, of these same kinds of spiritual and metaphorical truths in similar illustration.

Jesus declared:

I am the bread of life
I am the door
I am the light
I am the shepherd (and we are his sheep)
I am the vine (and we are his branches) etc.

It is strange to me that Rome demands that we interpret “I am the bread of Life” as being Literal-physical, when none of these other statements are interpreted in this fashion.

*I do not assert that the “I am” statements are not Literal, nor do I assert that Jesus’ declaration “I am the bread of Life” is not Literal; I only deny that they are Literal-physical. I am convinced that the statement of Jesus “I am the bread of Life” is indeed Literal, but just like all the other statements- it is Literal-spiritual.

Besides, in my opinion; the spiritual is way more REAL than the physical, and therefore: to a true born again believer in Christ- one who has been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the spiritual and heavenly Kingdom of God’s dear Son- the spiritual is way more LITERAL.

With all due respect- the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation is purely pagan, and must be dismissed as vain superstition.

If it is a red flag I receive- it is a red flag I receive- the truth must be told- for no one can be saved through a lie- (2 Thes. 2:13). :cool:

If Jesus is just talking about believing in him, why would many of his disciples react so strongly against it? John 5:60 says, “Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’”

Jesus didn’t then say, oh, I just meant you have to believe in me. No, he reaffirmed that he is the Bread of Life and that only those that eat this bread will have eternal life.

John 6:66 says, “After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer walked with him.”

Jesus didn’t try to water down his teaching, or say He really just meant to believe in Him. As a consequence, many of his disciples left Him. Why would they leave if this teaching meant only, “You have to believe in me.”?

Also we should remember that the gospel of John consistently sets forth a “pattern” if you will, of these same kinds of spiritual and metaphorical truths in similar illustration.

Jesus declared:

I am the bread of life
I am the door
I am the light
I am the shepherd (and we are his sheep)
I am the vine (and we are his branches) etc.

It is strange to me that Rome demands that we interpret “I am the bread of Life” as being Literal-physical, when none of these other statements are interpreted in this fashion.

*I do not assert that the “I am” statements are not Literal, nor do I assert that Jesus’ declaration “I am the bread of Life” is not Literal; I only deny that they are Literal-physical. I am convinced that the statement of Jesus “I am the bread of Life” is indeed Literal, but just like all the other statements- it is Literal-spiritual.

Besides, in my opinion; the spiritual is way more REAL than the physical, and therefore: to a true born again believer in Christ- one who has been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the spiritual and heavenly Kingdom of God’s dear Son- the spiritual is way more LITERAL.

With all due respect- the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation is purely pagan, and must be dismissed as vain superstition.

So, you’re like the disciples who find this a hard saying and leave Him.

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. 30

They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. DO WE HAVE A CONTRADICTION HERE? LOOK BACK TO VERSES 40 AND 47!
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. JESUS EXPLAINS THAT IN THE SAME WAY THAT HE IS SUSTAINED BY THE FATHER- HE HIMSELF WOULD BE OUR SUSTENANCE- BUT IS THIS IN PHYSICAL BREAD? NO JESUS IS SPEAKING SPIRITUALLY HERE- OBVIOUSLY.

58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

64 But there are some of you that believe not.

For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Clearly- when Jesus speaks of “coming” “eating” and “drinking” he was speaking spiritually. What he was really saying is that we must BELIEVE on him- but that no one can believe on Him unless it is given unto them by the Father.

This is very plain - not only because Jesus himself explicitly says that he is speaking spiritually- but even Peter said that it was his words that contained eternal life! His message! His gospel!

This is why Peter said: 68 “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that . . .” THAT WHAT? That a Roman priest will possess the power to turn a piece of bread into God? NO! Listen to what Peter understood was to be believed from all of this- 69 “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

So I beg your pardon- JESUS CERTAINLY WAS SPEAKING ABOUT BELIEVING IN HIM THE WHOLE TIME.
(Edited for charity)

Hmmm… speaking as a baptist protestant, to me the act of communion does incorporate a "mystical’ or spiritual element.

My problem with the Catholic position is not that their “definition” may bear some passing similarity in some respects to some pagan practices (which may in fact have been a fore-runner of the 'truth" - pagans also sacrificed animals for example in pre-New Testament times).

I have trouble with the very fact that they make a definition relating to the spiritual aspect in the first place. If this sacrament does contain a spiritual element that involves God, then it could well have infinite spirituality - meaning no human mind, could ever possibly comprehend the full ‘truth’ about its supernatural aspects.

So to me, to say “We alone have the full truth in this particular area” would surely at least verge on the sin of presumption, and perhaps even represent a claim to equality with God ( ie. I understand this as fully as God does).

It seems quite acceptable to me to simply say “my internal witness from the Holy Spirit tells me this act has spiritual significance. What the full nature, extent, depth and eternal implications of this I don’t know, and suspect I probably never will in this life”.

Sometimes simply saying “I don’t know” can be an acceptable response. I don’t always know why God does or allows some things in this world, or how he does it, so I’m quite amenable to the idea that I don’t know everything about the spiritual world either

I’m certainly not going to say “The Catholics are 'wrong” but equally I don’t think they can justify their position that they alone have the final and complete understanding on the matter.

I think its called 'seeing through a glass darkly"

.

If I can just add to the above - by seeking to dogmatize everything - and in so doing ‘set it in stone’, you can paint yourself into a very awkward corner or cause much spiritual grief to fellow believers. The following little story which I found on a blog about making communion bread illustrates this:

Heres the story and source:

Hi Anne - thanks! You can see in the picture with the partially cut loaves that I don’t always get things so well centered. :slight_smile:

Hi Santos - thank you! While hunting around for background information, I came across that story of the little girl whose first communion was nullified because the host she was given was made of something other than wheat. I agree - it is troubling. It seems a small and insignificant detail for the church to get so hung up on, especially given the consequences for those that can’t tolerate wheat.

That’s interesting that you haven’t encountered the bread more often… I had assumed its use was widespread these days.

Source: mylittlekitchen.blogspot.com/2006/03/communion-bread.html

I’m not going to make much comment. I’ve got no idea of how that young girl felt as a result of what occurred .

Maybe she was looking forward to her first communion with joyful anticipation and will for a long time feel some sadness that for her, that ‘special day’ was “spoiled” in some way, no matter what anyone says. Maybe she was just going through the process to keep her parents off her back

Perhaps she wondered why the God she was eager to show her trust in, allowed such a (to her) terrible thing to occur, especially since the night before, she had prayed that all would go well Perhaps not

This is where dogma and certitude can sometimes lead you.
And you put yourself there.

If I can just add to the above - by seeking to dogmatize everything - and in so doing ‘set it in stone’, you can paint yourself into a very awkward corner or cause much spiritual grief to fellow believers. The following little story which I found on a blog about making communion bread illustrates this:

Heres the story and source:

Hi Anne - thanks! You can see in the picture with the partially cut loaves that I don’t always get things so well centered. :slight_smile:

Hi Santos - thank you! While hunting around for background information, I came across that story of the little girl whose first communion was nullified because the host she was given was made of something other than wheat. I agree - it is troubling. It seems a small and insignificant detail for the church to get so hung up on, especially given the consequences for those that can’t tolerate wheat.

That’s interesting that you haven’t encountered the bread more often… I had assumed its use was widespread these days.

Source: mylittlekitchen.blogspot.com/2006/03/communion-bread.html

I’m not going to make much comment. I’ve got no idea of how that young girl felt as a result of what occurred .

Maybe she was looking forward to her first communion with joyful anticipation and will for a long time feel some sadness that for her, that ‘special day’ was “spoiled” in some way, no matter what anyone says. Maybe she was just going through the process to keep her parents off her back

Perhaps she wondered why the God she was eager to show her trust in, allowed such a (to her) terrible thing to occur, especially since the night before, she had prayed that all would go well Perhaps not

This is where dogma and certitude can sometimes lead you.
And you put yourself there.

In John 6:32-49, receiving the bread of life does seem to refer to coming to Jesus and believing in him.

However, as indicated by the reaction of the Jews in verse 52, the discourse clearly changes direction around verses 50 and 51, from receiving the bread of life, by coming to Jesus and believing in him, to really eating his flesh, when, at the end of verse 51, Jesus equates the bread that must be eaten with his very flesh.

This is made even plainer when, in verses 54-58, he changes from using the word “eat” (phago), which can be understood metaphorically, to using the word “gnaw” (trogo), which, it is my understanding, is never used metaphorically.

It is clear from the reaction of his own disciples, in verse 66, that Jesus meant not only was he, the Bread of Life, to be received by people coming to him and believing in him (verses 32-49) but also that they were to share in his sacrifice by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, given for the life of the world, in a real, non-metaphorical sense (verses 50-58).

Hi chosensinner,

Could you please clarify, specifically, how the following verse from John 6 can be interpreted in a “spiritual and metaphorical sense”? (Please include scriptural support for any metaphorical interpretation assigned to the terms “flesh” and “blood”.)

**John 6:55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. **

Thanks,
Nita

Hi des_scahill,

Just a clarification; there is a difference between “fullness of truth” and “fullness of understanding” (of that truth). The Church does not claim that it has full “understanding” of the truth. What she claims is that she has the fullness of truth.

I’m sure you recognize that it’s possible to know a truth without have full understanding of it. (Eg. knowing with certainty that light exists, does not mean that one fully understands it.)

I hope this clears up a false understanding of what the Catholic Church teaches regarding “fullness of truth”.

Nita

The Catholic doctrine does not rest on John 6 alone. Read John 6 and then read the Last Supper narratives - where Jesus takes bread (physical bread, not metaphorical bread) and says “This is My Body. … Take and eat”. Ponder the meaning then of the word “is”!

To show the difference between the “I am the bread of life” statement with the other statements:

Jesus says “I am the door…”, but at some later point He does not take a physical door and say “This is me, …enter thru it”.

Jesus says “I am the vine…”, but He never picks up an actual physical vine and says “This is Me. …abide in it”.

etc.

At the Last Supper Jesus demonstrates the way His words in John 6 are literally fulfilled and that this fulfillment is to be continued throughout the ages - “Do THIS in memory of Me”.

Nita

Chosensinner, how would you square your interpretation of John’s gospel with Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, specifically 11:29-30.

Paul writes: 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

If the eucharist isn’t really the body of Jesus, why does Paul say what he does?

True, so to me it is quite wrong to say, "even though I don’t fully understand it I’m going to make a dogma that expresses the understanding that I do have. Then on the basis of that dogma go so far as to use it as a basis for exclusion from even being a christian at all. If you chose to exclude me from being a member of the Catholic Church, I don’t have a problem, from being a member of the catholic church I do…

I understand what you are saying. but this is where we start going round in circles

Actually, in that single statement I think you both got the whole point…and lost it at the same time.

When you say you believe in someone, what does that entail? I don’t know for the others, but when I believe in someone I trust in his actions (“I am the Way”), I trust in his words (“the Truth”) and I trust in his motives and his capability to follow-through (“the Life,” John 14:6). A belief in someone that does not contain all of these, in my opinion, is a false trust, a false belief.

Now read again John chapter 6 with the mindset (which is I think the logical conclusion you will have if you read this part of John with no mental baggage from any theology, Protestant or Catholic or otherwise) that when Jesus said to believe in Him, the disciples (and we) should believe in Him and, especially, in what He is saying at that point.

This is made clear in that little instance in the narrative:

See that? Jesus is practically saying, “Didn’t you believe what I said just now? What could convince you? Would it be that if I tell you I will go up to Heaven, and then YOU see that event, I can then convince you that you will eat My Flesh and drink My Blood?”

And then read what he said next: His WORDS are spirit and life.


But oh well I think this is a moot point, chosensinner appears to be banned.

If we take His words literally we end up with cannibalism.

But clearly this was believed from the beginning, because there are many documented instances of the Romans accusing Christians of “cannibalism”. How would they come up with that accusation without misunderstanding a Christian belief in the Real Presence?

Cannibalism is eating the flesh of dead humans. Jesus is not dead!

In addition to Pixie Dust’s clear response, cannibalism also involves mortal flesh and blood with the normal “accidents” - (color, taste, size, etc.). At the Last Supper, Jesus demonstrated just how the consumption of His *immortal *flesh and blood would take place. It would be with the accidents of bread and wine remaining, but the underlying substance would be Him - body, blood, soul and Divinity.

Note how Our Lord’s teaching in John 6 is fulfilled and made actual at the Last Supper:
(First line is excerpts from John 6; second line from Last Supper account in Matthew.)

I am the Bread of Life - Unless you eat this bread - The bread that I will give is My flesh
Jesus took bread,------------ Take, eat; ------------------------------------ this is My body.

Nita

Nita;4151547]
Originally Posted by justasking4

If we take His words literally we end up with cannibalism.

Nita
In addition to Pixie Dust’s clear response, cannibalism also involves mortal flesh and blood with the normal “accidents” - (color, taste, size, etc.). At the Last Supper, Jesus demonstrated just how the consumption of His immortal flesh and blood would take place. It would be with the accidents of bread and wine remaining, but the underlying substance would be Him - body, blood, soul and Divinity.

Are there any passages in the NT that describes the Lord’s supper in this way?

Note how Our Lord’s teaching in John 6 is fulfilled and made actual at the Last Supper:
(First line is excerpts from John 6; second line from Last Supper account in Matthew.)

I am the Bread of Life - Unless you eat this bread - The bread that I will give is My flesh
Jesus took bread,------------ Take, eat; ------------------------------------ this is My body.

John is the only gospel writer who gives no details of the last supper. If John thought that John 6 was related directly to the supper then why did he not make the connection in his Gospel or other letters?
As you know that Jesus mentions eternal life with “eating” His flesh and yet none of the gospel accounts never mention this.

Justasking4,

I am reposting what I wrote for a thread a couple of months ago. It’s long, but I think it’s very relevant, and it will probably be helpful if you can take the time and go through and examine the evidence.

Perhaps it would be helpful to look at what those people closest to the disciples thought about the matter. After all, if you want to interpret the passages in the Bible correctly, it would be useful to see what the first few generations of Christians actually thought.

Catholics believe that Jesus is not just symbolically present in Communion, but actually physically present. You may be interested to note that we are not the only denomination that holds to this view. In fact, about 2/3 of ALL Christians believe this to be true, including the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and some Anglicans and Lutherans. In order to prove the Real Presence, I think it’s essential to look at both what the Bible says and what has historically been true. After all, if it is a corruption, it should be fairly easy to track down at what point it entered into Catholic belief. Looking at what people believed in the very early church would be critical to your argument that it is false.

So, I’m going to begin to answer the question from the historical perspective, and then go back and deal with the Biblical issues. I realize that it will be very important to back up the claim with what’s taught in the Bible, since it is an inspired source. BUT, if we want to know how to correctly interpret that source, we need to see what the apostles and the followers of the apostles thought about how it should be interpreted. If it matters, I’m a professional historian at a small private college in the South, although my area of expertise is Latin America, not the Catholic Church or theology. (Just so you know that my research has some credibility.)

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