A little history; Via YouTube comments, I engaged a “fundamentalist” who lives in SE Asia. We have since been having a conversation through email. He is a fallen away Catholic, and from what I have observed is that he was poorly catechized on the Catholic faith.
We have been through the authority of the Church and the Bible versus the Bible alone.
His biggest hangup, which he keeps coming back to, is his claim that the priest calling Jesus down from His thrown in heaven during Mass being equal to the witchcraft that he has seen practiced conjuring the supernatural. We have been through John 6, the institution of the Lord’s Supper, etc., I have also explained that the priest is not the authority summoning Jesus, but that the priest is a tool that Jesus works through. So far it is to no avail. I would love to hear any suggestions.
The priest calls down the Holy Spirit. That part of the Mass is called the epiclesis. It is part of the Eucharistic prayer.
Let your Spirit come upon these gifts so that they may become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ…
The Holy Spirit comes upon the gifts. The Holy Spirit changes the bread and wine into Jesus, not the priest. The Holy Spirit works through the priest but it is the action of the Holy Spirit which accomplishes transubstantiation.
I am not sure a practitioner of witchcraft would be able to distinguish the difference between what they do, and the Epiklesis.
Jesus gave this commandment “do (make) this in memory of me”, and the context is a ritual one (Passover) which is an enacted anamnesis.
The priest has been “authorized” (in the order of Melchizedech) to offer this sacrifice, and the Eucharist is not valid without him, so if he is a “tool” he is a specialized one. The priest does not “conjure”, though, as Jesus promised “where two are three are gathered in my name, there I will be also.”
So you are right in saying that the Power does not come from the “doer” or presider of the ritual, but by the Holy Spirit. This might be the major difference.
Perhaps it might be more useful to focus on elements of the Passover, if by eating the meal and applying the blood according to God’s command was the same as a magic ritual? This can then lead into the meaning of the Last Supper.
Doesn’t it state somewhere in the scriptures that some people even accused **Christ **of witch craft? Ignorance was widespread at that time as well.
People seem to think that because supernatural power is sometimes used by evil people that anybody who appears to be using supernatural power must be evil but they don’t seem to understand is that they are wrong and why.
Good stuff. I have been banging my head against the way with this guy because he keeps circling back around to go over stuff that we’ve already covered (sola scriptura vs. the authority of the Church, etc.). Thank you everybody for your input. I think that I will go further into the Passover meal, the order of priesthood of Melchizedech, and the Epiklesis.
I once had a college textbook that said that “Roman Catholic belief in the sacraments is technically magic” or some such. Public college. Your tax dollars at work. I don’t see the witchcraft comparison.
It is interesting the mention of witchcraft. In Jewish literature Jesus is dismissed as a sorcerer. The link between the Christian Faith and witchcraft is old but not typically made by those claiming to be Christian. Peter’s shadow healed the sick. He raised people from the dead. He cast out demons. Was that also witchcraft? Maybe you could ask this person how they define witchcraft. You could then pick apart their definition especially as how it relates to beliefs they accept about Christianity.
…11God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. Acts 19:12
I can see why one supernatural experience might be confused for another. The difference is the Source. For Christians, the Source of all the supernatural events is God. I don’t know if that is the case for witches.
Witchcraft with regards to the Eucharist, specifically, dates to the reformation with its origins in England. Hoc eat corpus meum (this is my body) was referred to as magic with the pejorative hocus pocus, mocking the Catholic belief that it became the body and blood of Christ. Fundamentalists still use this argument today. I’ve run across it many times. Just a guess on my part but I’m betting he is falling prey to a fundy manipulation.
NB: I am not proposing that an Altar Call is an artificial or false practice.
Just wanted to make this clear.
Now, whether an Altar Call is Scriptural (it is not found anywhere in the Bible) and was practiced by the early Christians (there is no evidence that it was…it was a practice established in America in the 1800’s, as best as I can determine)…is a different topic.