When and Why Did Protestants Begin Rejecting the Real Presence?


#1

Hello,
A question that has intrigued me recently has been when and why did Protestants begin to reject the True Presence in the Eucharist. I understand that Luther and Calvin believed in the Eucharist as the Body of Christ - when was that lost? Can anyone point me to a reliable source for researching this question? Thank you.


#2

I think that lays on the doorstep of Ulrich Zwingli

Differences between Anabaptists and other Reformation movements on the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper were less pronounced, for the reformers differed sharply in their views. Very few Anabaptists agreed with Luther’s insistence on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist; rather, they stressed that the elements were to be viewed as mere symbols and thus largly shared Zwingli’s interpretation of conununion. In addition, many of them viewed the Supper as an expression of identification with Christ in his suffering and as an expression of fellowship among the participants, as a demonstration of their unity.

horseshoe.cc/pennadutch/religion/events/reform.htm

google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=anabaptist+rejected+real+presence


#3

Reformed: Huldrych Zwingli advanced the first Reformed doctrine of the Holy Communion. Unlike Luther, Zwingli thought of the elements or signs in the Lord’s Supper not as means by which God communicates grace to the faithful, but as signs by which the faithful declare that they have received grace and belong to the body of the faithful. For Zwingli the Holy Communion was essentially a communal profession of faith, a celebrative thanksgiving in which the church declared its gratitude and faithfulness to God. Later Reformed theologians, including Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger, and John Calvin, sought a middle way between Luther’s position and that of Zwingli. Against Zwingli they argued that Christ was certainly present in the signs of bread and wine, but against Luther they argued that Christians could not rightly comprehend the mode of Christ’s presence. Like Luther, they considered the Holy Communion to be constituted by Christ’s promise and like Zwingli they thought that it rightly included an element of eucharistic thanksgiving.

Radical: Some theologians of the radical Reformation, including Sebastian Franck and Kaspar von Schwenkfeld, abandoned altogether or suspended the use of the Holy Communion. Others dramatically reinterpreted it. Some radical theologians associated the elements of the Holy Communion in various ways with Christ’s heavenly body. More often, however, they saw the Lord’s Supper as an occasion to hold Christ’s death in grateful remembrance. The ideas of an egalitarian fellowship in the sight of God and preparation for martyrdom often dominated the piety of this faction of the Reformation.

demo.lutherproductions.com/historytutor/basic/reformation/genknow/lords_supper.htm

google.com/search?hl=en&q=Heinrich+Bullinger+real+presence&spell=1


#4

[quote=Teresa Crichton]Hello,
A question that has intrigued me recently has been when and why did Protestants begin to reject the True Presence in the Eucharist. I understand that Luther and Calvin believed in the Eucharist as the Body of Christ - when was that lost? Can anyone point me to a reliable source for researching this question? Thank you.
[/quote]

Actually John Wycliff (1320-1384) was the first that I know of who challenged the doctrine of transubstantiation. Originally his objections with the Church pertained to the Church’s ownership of property. His early contentions were more political than theological. But later he began to challenge doctrine. In addition to rejecting transubstantiation he also preached sola scriptura and sola fide. It is interesting that, predating Luther and Calvin by about 100 years, Wycliff was even more radical in his reforms than they were and more closely resembles today’s Evangelical Protestantism.


#5

From what I can think of there are a couple points.

First of all the “reformers” were in no way authorized to preach and pass on the faith. They had to eliminate the priesthood and in doing so lost the power to consecrate the bread and wine.

Also with the “faith alone” idea going around the Sacraments couldnt be anything more than symbolic. There were different views as to how symbolic to make it but none the less it was not to be seen as part of the salvation process.

The Council of Trent said:
CANON IV.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not ineed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.
The word “superfluous” (ie not really needed) is a very key part of what the Church was getting across. By not making them part of the salvation process the reformers redueced them into more or less a hand waving show.


#6

[quote=Teresa Crichton]Hello,
A question that has intrigued me recently has been when and why did Protestants begin to reject the True Presence in the Eucharist. I understand that Luther and Calvin believed in the Eucharist as the Body of Christ - when was that lost? Can anyone point me to a reliable source for researching this question? Thank you.
[/quote]

Keep in mind Teresa, that once the reformers broke from the RCC, they also broke from the truth. You will find, as you delve into this and maybe other websites, that many Protestants are willing to accept just about anything if it is not accepted by the Catholic church. One cannot break away from the “authorized” church and feel safe about that decision without first denying the “authority” the church claims.

This is why Protestants constantly deny, for instance, the primacy of Peter. They will deny that Christ founded His church on Peter. Or, they will deny that Peter ever went to Rome. Then they will deny that Peter, even if he was in Rome, was never its first Bishop. Any argument, no matter how straightforward or silly, will do - just as long as it does not validate a Catholic claim.

The ministerial priesthood is invalid, there is no need to confess to a priest, priests don’t have the power to absolve or forgive. There is no need to pray to saints, no need to pray to Mary. Catholics are idol worshippers, or they worship bread discs for pagan reasons. The pope is the anti-christ. There is no purgatory, etc., etc.

When did Protestants begin to reject the true presence in the Eucharist? As soon as they rejected the only church that proclaims it.

Thal59


#7

Thank you all for your replies (and I welcome others). You have given me some things to chew on and research, and I shall enjoy doing so. God’s blessings on all of you!


#8

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