The Protestant Communion

The earliest Christians believed that the bread and wine distributed at communion become the body and blood of Jesus. This belief can be found in both scripture as well as in the writings of the Early Church Fathers. If you disagree on this point, I can provide ample evidence and explanation, and I would like to see some evidence from scripture and from the ECF’s in support of your view. You’ll need more than a snippet or two taken out of context to convince me.

However, if you do agree that this is what was taught and believed by the apostles and the early Church, then my questions are these:

  1. Given that the Catholic Church has maintained from the beginning that the Eucharist IS the actual body and blood (and soul and divinity) of Jesus, is it really correct for someone to say that the Catholic Church has gone “off the rails” on this doctrine?
  2. Given that Protestants (almost) unanimously teach that Jesus IS NOT really and truly present in the communion they receive, would it be correct to say that they are actually the ones who have deviated from the earliest teachings of Christianity?

These arguments can be stated briefly as follows:

  1. The early Christian church taught that Jesus was really and truly present in the Eucharist.

  2. The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus is really and truly present in the Eucharist.

  3. Therefore, the Catholic Church has not “gone off the rails” with respect to early Christian teaching.

  4. The early Christian church taught that Jesus was really and truly present in the Eucharist.

  5. The Protestant churches teach that Jesus is NOT really and truly present in the Eucharist.

  6. Therefore, the Protestant churches have “gone off the rails” with respect to early Christian teaching.

Given that Jesus told us that unless we eat His body and drink His blood we will have no life in us, how do Protestants obey Jesus’ clear command to “do this in memory of me” without transubstantiation?

The Church was born of the paschal mystery. For this very reason the Eucharist, which is in an outstanding way the sacrament of the paschal mystery, stands at the centre of the Church’s life. This is already clear from the earliest images of the Church found in the Acts of the Apostles: “They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (2:42). The “breaking of the bread” refers to the Eucharist. Two thousand years later, we continue to relive that primordial image of the Church. At every celebration of the Eucharist, we are spiritually brought back to the paschal Triduum: to the events of the evening of Holy Thursday, to the Last Supper and to what followed it. The institution of the Eucharist sacramentally anticipated the events which were about to take place, beginning with the agony in Gethsemane. Once again we see Jesus as he leaves the Upper Room, descends with his disciples to the Kidron valley and goes to the Garden of Olives. Even today that Garden shelters some very ancient olive trees. Perhaps they witnessed what happened beneath their shade that evening, when Christ in prayer was filled with anguish “and his sweat became like drops of blood falling down upon the ground” (cf. Lk 22:44). The blood which shortly before he had given to the Church as the drink of salvation in the sacrament of the Eucharist, began to be shed; its outpouring would then be completed on Golgotha to become the means of our redemption: “Christ… as high priest of the good things to come…, entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Heb 9:11- 12).

ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA: JPII

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“Do this in memory of me” and believe, and you are members of His body. As you do this and believe, so will it be. Universal and individual reality of divinization along with history is difficult to ignore. No human play toy, instituted by the Lord Himself to His Apostles and handed down through their Bishops and priests in succession, historically and in reality present. Whatever changes and variation occurred in history, the Church has always preserved the core. Early Christians viewed the Last Supper from the viewpoint of the Passover meal.

“Take and eat. This is my body that will be given up for you.”

"Take and drink…This is my blood. . . It will be shed for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins.”

This is.

No argument from the Lutheran corner, as long as you don’t mind our not using the term and construct of transubstantiation.

I recently attended a series of talks about the Eucharist given at a Catholic seminary where they emphatically disagreed with the assertion that early Christians believed in the real presence. Research by Paul Bradshaw and Fr Ignatio indicates that the opposite is true. The doctrine developed with the church. The mainstream protestant reformers all believed in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but not in the way that had developed with Catholic teaching. It was the brilliant scholar Brylioth who showed there was more unity in understanding across denominations and paved the way for the common western Eucharistic pattern we have today.

[quote=liturgyluver] I recently attended a series of talks about the Eucharist given at a Catholic seminary where they emphatically disagreed with the assertion that early Christians believed in the real presence. Research by Paul Bradshaw and Fr Ignatio indicates that the opposite is true. The doctrine developed with the church. The mainstream protestant reformers all believed in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but not in the way that had developed with Catholic teaching. It was the brilliant scholar Brylioth who showed there was more unity in understanding across denominations and paved the way for the common western Eucharistic pattern we have today.
[/quote]

oh great…teaching from the liberal and modernist crowd at the seminaries. Throw away your reference material you received and read Ignatius, Clement, Martyr, Ambrose, Augustine, and many more fathers of the church and you will see what the early Christians believed.

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You have consubstantiation, correct?

At the Assembly of God church I used to attend, it was emphasized that it was only a symbol.

In one of the stories of the Desert Fathers, it tells of someone who did not believe in the Real Presence, and he was shown a vision of some kind where child Jesus was pierced and shed His blood. (I’d be terrified if I had that vision.)

St. Catherine of Siena wrote that God revealed to her that He knows it is not in human nature to consume human flesh so the Body and Blood of Christ appears as bread and wine.

Of course, these are all private revelations, but I believe them for some reason…so now I can’t go back to Protestant communion :blush:

Rubbish! We spent a whole morning looking at Justin Martyr. New evidence doesnt negate church teaching but is a inconvenient irritation to people who think they know what the message should be. Never let the facts get in the way, eh!

Haha…new evidence? Boy, the Church must have had some really dumb people in those early day. Maybe this priest can start his own church?

:popcorn::newidea::coffee:

when will Catholics especially new Catholic realise that we non- Catholics and especially long term non- Catholic know that Catholics are always right so there is no point in arguing such points. There are plethora of this theme on these boards and it about time that is accepted so much so that we non Catholics ought to steadfastedly refuse to argue this because there is nothing to argue. It is one area to leave well alone unless one is out to make argument. A new Catholic is keen because they think they have learned something to put other faith down.

It is pointless game of point scoring telling us that Protestants are not right because they don’t believe in real presence and Catholics are right because they do. What is there else to add. Been done time and time and time again and no one will budge so let us leave it because what is there to discuss when one is right and the other is wrong in the eyes of black and white theory rather than opening ones eyes to really seeing beyond. We know you guys say you are right so why discuss it ?:shrug:

I don’t think he was accusing anyone of being stupid. He was speaking to the idea of evolution of doctrine.

it is obvious from the father’s writings that they believed in the real presence. So to conclude the church developed this doctrine over time assumes the fathers did not believe it. But they did believe it…so they were insane or dumb. My sarcasm chose the word dumb.

Steady, Jon.

GKC

Why not? Chesterton, for example, when he was still Anglican, was a big fan of the saints, St. Francis of Assisi in particular. Of course, if your particular community had very specific rules against it, that would be another thing… does it?

As a non-Catholic Christian (raised in the Church of Christ), I have attended several different protestant communions and find very little deviance from how Catholics view the Eucharist. I was taught that Communion is a way to receive Christ into your body as a reminder that Christ is always within us, and that we are the body of Christ and His Church. By eating of the unleavened bread (His body) and drinking of the wine (His blood), we are reliving the ritual of the Last Supper as if we were there. Jesus said to do this in rememberance of Him, which is to honor and love Him though He is not with us in a physical form, but in spiritual form. Communion, by definition, is to have intimate fellowship or rapport with another; thus we are with Jesus when we partake of His body and His blood.

I think of this sort of like remembering and honoring a loved one who is deceased on birthdays and other special days. My husband died 8 years ago, but I always remember his birthday and our anniversary, and I talk to him and think of the wonderful times we had together and how much love we shared as best friends and husband and wife as if he were really here with me (in spiritual form).

To generalize how protestants view and celebrate Communion is not really fair. Receiving Communion is a personal and private experience with Jesus, not just a ritual or an act one must do to be a Christian. I am not trying to make light of your question or be defensive in my response. I am simply trying to give you my understanding as a protestant Christian.

I do appreciate your asking this question so that other Catholics may understand more about protestant denominations’ beliefs.

May God bless you and keep you in all you say and do from this day until eternity.:signofcross:

We miss you guys and want to share our Christian love, your the only ones who give us a good argument, we want to see what’s new… The Christian love will permeate and inspire. :wink:

Well said :slight_smile:

I sure hope you haven’t caused Jon to light his hair on fire and go running into the wilderness. :slight_smile: Asking him that question is sort of like asking a Catholic… “You worship Mary, right?”

Lutheran’s reject any metaphysical description or definition and take Christ at his word in that “This is my body.”

For our amusement, here’s a painting of an old Lutheran communion - you can see both species:

In my case, it’s like someone saying “All Anglicans believe (practice, do, affirm)…”

GKC

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