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Discussion on matters of general mainstream Christian churches. What are the differences between Catholics and protestants? How has the charismatic movement affected the church? Are Southern baptists different from fundamentalist baptists? It is also for discussions about the nature of the church.

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  • #16
    Originally posted by 37818 View Post
    If you would please, explain how your view changed on this one issue.

    How did your view change on John 6:53, 54? (contexts which include John 6:35, 37, 44-45, 47, 63-65. 70-71, . . .) How from not referring to the Eucharist to the interpretation that is does?

    And on the Lord's table, as the Eucharist, in,
    Also 1 Corinthians 10:. . . 17, 1 Corinthians 11:. . . 23-26 . . . , Luke 22:19-21 [John 6:70-71].
    I don't know that I'd given the topic a huge amount of thought, but I had been taught it was symbolic - and the other position was transubstantiation, which seemed like a case of "pretend what your senses are telling you is not true." After giving it some thought and doing some debating, I discovered a way I could accept the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

    Granted that Jesus as God became Incarnate, and as God has complete control over His Creation, if He declares 'x' to be His body, then it is (at least part of) His body. When He said, "This do in remembrance of Me," He gave His apostles the authority to do the same.

    I hesitantly offered that up for discussion, hoping that those who advocated the Real Presence would shoot it down. To my distress, they did not.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
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    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

    Comment


    • #17
      I will never understand why people argue about the Eucharist. Does anyone really think that Jesus, on the night before he died, celebrated a final meal with his disciples and thereby intended to institute theological dissension and a source of division among his followers?
      βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
      ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

      אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

      Comment


      • #18
        What God intends and what humans take from it are two wildly different things.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by robrecht View Post
          I will never understand why people argue about the Eucharist. Does anyone really think that Jesus, on the night before he died, celebrated a final meal with his disciples and thereby intended to institute theological dissension and a source of division among his followers?
          In this thread I do not wish to argue about one's beliefs about this topic. But I am interested as to how one comes to this belief. [It comes down to understanding one's own hermeneutics in Bible interpretation.]

          Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
          I don't know that I'd given the topic a huge amount of thought, but I had been taught it was symbolic - and the other position was transubstantiation, which seemed like a case of "pretend what your senses are telling you is not true." After giving it some thought and doing some debating, I discovered a way I could accept the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

          Granted that Jesus as God became Incarnate, and as God has complete control over His Creation, if He declares 'x' to be His body, then it is (at least part of) His body. When He said, "This do in remembrance of Me," He gave His apostles the authority to do the same.

          I hesitantly offered that up for discussion, hoping that those who advocated the Real Presence would shoot it down. To my distress, they did not.
          Just the same, thank you for your reply on this matter.
          . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

          . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

          Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by 37818 View Post
            What convinces you that the Orthodox Church is the true church? Being raised Orhtodox? Being a convert to Orthodox?
            I'm a convert. My journey to Orthodoxy was a result of 4 big questions: What is the Church? What is Salvation? What is Communion? What is Baptism? There are a ton of smaller questions that follow those but ultimately after investigating and talking with Orthodox and Protestants and attending services I came to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church is the Church that Christ himself founded.

            edit: spelling
            "Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being; remind yourself what nature demands of people. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy."
            -Marcus Aurelius

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by One Bad Pig
              It featured a spot where the choir emulates the crowd shouting for Jesus' crucifixion. They were really getting into it; I was revolted. I had determined to at least stick it out there until after the cantata so wouldn't let down the choir director, but I could not stomach being a part of that performance.
              Man, I do not miss that kind of guilt trip. A year or two ago I attended a Protestant Good Friday service which had a spoken response of the people which was “Crucify him!” over and over again, and it was awful. There’s a very common mindset in Western Christianity that the only way to get someone to accept salvation is to make them feel horribly guilty first, and I wish we didn’t feel this need to send everyone on an extreme guilt trip in order to save them. Personally, I felt guilty enough already without having the message “You as an individual are calling out for Christ’s crucifixion” hammered into me. Based on what I know of the church leadership at that church, I’m sure it was well-intentioned, but it was just not what I needed.

              Originally posted by 37818
              If you would please, explain how your view changed on this one issue.

              How did your view change on John 6:53, 54? (contexts which include John 6:35, 37, 44-45, 47, 63-65. 70-71, . . .) How from not referring to the Eucharist to the interpretation that is does?

              And on the Lord's table, as the Eucharist, in,
              Also 1 Corinthians 10:. . . 17, 1 Corinthians 11:. . . 23-26 . . . , Luke 22:19-21 [John 6:70-71].
              Originally posted by 37818
              But I am interested as to how one comes to this belief.
              I hope it isn’t out of line for me to jump in on this one. I’m not Orthodox but currently a “seeker” attending an Orthodox church, and I recently did quite a bit of reading and thinking on this very topic.

              I was raised entirely in churches that held a memorial view; later I started to sort of cautiously think that there was probably something more going on than the memorial view said, but I was still opposed to Real Presence itself because I thought that if Real Presence were true it would mean that Christ was being sacrificed over and over again every time there was communion and that contradicted what Hebrews said about his sacrifice being once and for all, so I tentatively had something more or less like a Spiritual Presence view.

              When I first started learning about Orthodoxy, I read as many arguments as I could find both for and against Real Presence, and I came out of that process completely and utterly convinced of Real Presence. There are three major areas of evidence that convinced me, and those are interpretation of the Bible passages you’ve listed, the writings of the Early Church Fathers, and church history.

              Let’s start with John 6. As a Protestant, I don’t think I had thought very much in depth about how John 6:22 ff. fits into a memorial view of communion. I seem to have thought of it as a passage that is used by Real Presence advocates because it seems much more to be pointing to a Real Presence view than a memorial view. I suppose I probably just shrugged it off by interpreting every other passage that refers to the Eucharist in light of 1 Cor. 11:24 and Luke 22:19 and assumed that because those two verses used the phrase “in remembrance” that meant that every single other verse referring to the Eucharist was merely a metaphor. I’m not sure how you can read John 6 and not see it as referring to the Eucharist. John doesn’t give an account of the institution of the Eucharist at the Last (or Mystical) Supper (John 6 is his Eucharistic passage), and we have to read John’s gospel with the knowledge in mind that John was writing it after Jesus’ death and resurrection and after the Church had been doing its agape feast thing for decades already. There is nothing absurd about thinking that John wrote this passage with his understanding of the Eucharist in mind, even though in the history of Jesus’ life it is prior to the Last Supper; John was interpreting Christ’s teaching from back then in light of what he later learned and what he understood the Eucharist to be.

              There are a couple of things that changed my view of John 6 so that I now think it means exactly what it sounds like it means and not that it is merely metaphorical.

              One was learning that the view of the ancients on “remembrance” (and still the teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Church today). Anamnēsin is one of several Greek words that the Church Fathers Christianized by sort of co-opting it and filling it out with a deeper meaning than what it had in secular Greek writing because there were concepts that Christians wanted to convey for which they needed to find words. So what this word means to Christian writers is to remember or re-collect an occurrence in such a way that the occurrence is made truly present.

              When I first heard this teaching (as I started attending an Orthodox church), I was a little bit skeptical about it. So I asked a friend of mine who is a Ph.D. in classics about this, and she confirmed for me that at least as far as concerns the pagans (ancient Greeks and Romans), when they said something was a symbol, “to them it was the real thing.” This might not be equally convincing to you, since you don’t know her, but for me, having heard that teaching in the Orthodox Church and then having my friend confirm it, I was convinced, because I know her and know that she knows her stuff when it comes to ancient Romans and Greeks.

              Another was various Catholic apologetics explaining John 6 and in particular some of the Greek terms used in the chapter. Here’s my current understanding of John 6:

              Jesus says, “I am the bread which comes down from heaven.” The Jews grumble a bit, but they’re not yet extremely offended.

              Next, Jesus tells them, “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Here in verses 50 and 51, the word Jesus uses for eat is phage, a general word for eat.

              The Jews are still confused and arguing among themselves, so Jesus clarifies for them. He uses the same general verb one more time, saying “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” But then as he continues on, he switches to the verb trogo or trogon, which means “to gnaw, munch, crunch” (Strong’s and NAS). He tells them they have to gnaw on his body in order to have life. Then he says the same thing again. And again. And again. He uses this word four times, in close succession, very emphatically. This is the clarification that Jesus gives because his hearers are confused: he uses progressively stronger visceral language.

              If what Jesus really meant in this discourse was that we literally eat his flesh and drink his blood, then this makes sense. The Jews weren’t sure how to understand him, so he clarified his meaning by using language so physical and concrete that honestly it sounds pretty disgusting. Then many of his disciples left him, which is natural, because to Jews drinking blood is a deeply offensive violation of the Law. Jesus doesn’t call them back or correct their literal understanding of his words because they are correct, and if they can’t accept it there is nothing more he can say to them.

              If Jesus was actually just using a “metaphor” (in the sense that we generally use the word in the 21st century, not to be confused with the ancient understanding of metaphor and symbol which is much deeper, as I’ve explained above), then John 6 reads like this: Jesus uses a metaphor, and seeing that his hearers are confused about his meaning, as the discourse progresses he perversely and deceitfully switches to language that will give them the false impression that he is speaking literally even though he is actually only using a metaphor.

              Apparently some Protestants interpret Jesus’ words in v. 63 (“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life”) to mean, “I am only speaking metaphorically; don’t take me literally.” But if the Jews had understood that to be the meaning of Jesus’ words in this verse, then those who had mistakenly interpreted his discourse literally would have been relieved of their concern that Jesus was teaching a horrifying breach of Jewish cleanliness law and would have been able to continue to follow him, knowing that it was just a metaphor. However, it is immediately after v. 63 that many of his disciples leave him.
              Looking at the passage as a whole, if you compare those two ways of reading the passage, it makes much more sense if you understand Jesus to be speaking literally, not metaphorically. There are some other reasons, too, why “the flesh is of no avail” does not mean “I was speaking metaphorically,” e.g. “flesh” (sarx) is used, as it often is in the NT, not to refer to the physical body but to what is worldly and carnal. That is what is meant by flesh and spirit being placed in opposition to each other.

              Overall, once I looked at the Greek verbs which are translated as “eat” and encountered this interpretation that Jesus is clarifying his listeners’ confusion by being as empatically literal as he can, I could not go back to interpreting the passage as merely metaphorical. It just does not make any sense if you try to read it that way, and I think that trying to interpret John 6:63 and “the flesh is of no avail” to mean that we don’t literally eat Christ’s flesh and drink his blood is rather poor exegesis. (Here is a post that specifically addresses John 6:63).

              Once I came to accept “symbol” and “remembrance” as truly making present the thing represented or remembered, and once I started to view John 6 as above, the other passages also completely fit in with a Real Presence view. 1 Cor. 10:16-17 (though I would particularly emphasize 16) is saying exactly what it sounds like it is saying. The cup is the blood of Christ. The bread is the body of Christ. There being “one bread” demonstrates that Christians are one body precisely because the bread is the one body of Christ.

              1 Cor. 11:23-26 is the same. Real Presence apologists will focus on “this is my body,” and memorial view apologists will focus on “do this in remembrance,” but a correct understanding of what that word remembrance really means makes this passage evidence for Real Presence rather than against.

              Again, in Luke 22:19-21, the bread and wine are literally Christ’s body and blood, and they are also a remembrance that makes Christ’s body and blood truly present in a real way.

              Basically, the two choices in regard to every single one of these passages are either to interpret everything as merely symbolic or metaphorical or to understand “this is my body” as literal and understand symbol and metaphor in the ancient way as truly making present the thing represented. But I think that it makes much more sense to adhere to the meaning of the word as it was used when the NT was written rather than how we understand that word now, and I also think it’s particularly difficult for someone with a memorial view to explain away John 6, especially if you scrutinize Jesus’ use of phage and trogon.

              Moving on to the Early Church Fathers, since the Fathers aren’t infallible, it seems that making arguments from the ECF tends to boil down to a sort of ECF majority vote. (What did most of the ECF believe and teach?) Catholic apologists pretty much curb-stomp their opponents in this area, and there are any number of articles which have compiled dozens of quotes from a large number of ECF. Here are a couple of them from Catholic Answers:

              http://www.catholic.com/tracts/christ-in-the-eucharist
              http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-real-presence

              In contrast, here’s a Protestant (memorial view) argument from the ECF—something which is kind of rare, as the sort of Protestants who have a memorial view tend to be the sort of Protestants who don’t accept tradition as a source of authority and therefore tend to not be very familiar with the ECF at all.

              http://onefold.wordpress.com/early-c...real-presence/

              The article is a strong attempt to disprove Real Presence using the ECF, but from what I read of it I noticed that the author uses only a small number of the ECF and that his argument relies on pointing out seemingly-contradictory passages within the writings of a Church Father and resolving them in favor of a merely-symbolical view. Basically, even the ECF that he quotes have some passages that seem to quite strongly teach Real Presence and some other passages that use words like “metaphor” and “symbol” to refer to the Eucharist. Again everything comes back to the ancient concept of symbol and remembrance. If you accept the ancient view that symbols and remembrance truly make present the thing represented in a real way, then the way some of the Fathers seem to be teaching Real Presence in some places and use the language of symbol and metaphor in other places is not contradictory but makes perfect sense. The Eucharist is a symbol, it is a remembrance, and it also is truly making present the body and blood of Christ.

              The final thing that I considered was church history. Every group within Christianity that accepts tradition as a source of authority and that values apostolic succession and its unbroken continuity from apostolic times teaches Real Presence. Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans all fully believe and teach Real Presence. I don’t think that the fact that entire Church prior to the Reformation uniformly taught Real Presence is some sort of addition to primitive Christianity that gradually sprung up somehow; I think it was that way from the beginning (biblical exegesis, the ECF, and historical things like the fact that first century Christians were accused of being cannibals all point to this). So the entire Church believed, confessed, and taught Real Presence all the way up to the Reformation, and then it wasn’t even Luther himself who went against it but the radical Reformation and Zwingli. I realize that other people may not find this argument as convincing as I am based on what you accept as authoritative (e.g. for a Bible-only sort of person this argument from history is not going to be persuasive), but for me, I find it actually impossible to believe that the entire Church was wrong about its most important and central ritual for the first 1500 years of its existence and that it wasn’t until the 16th century (in a time much more removed from the language and culture of New Testament times) that somebody finally got it right.

              That all is why I am now completely convinced of Real Presence.

              There are just a couple of other important things, though, which helped me to wrap my head around Real Presence once I was already on my way to accepting it. One is the teaching that Jesus’ death is an event which is eternal and outside of time, and we mystically enter into and participate in that one event. This teaching relies heavily on the translation of Rev. 13:8 that has the phrase “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Other translations have “before the foundation of the world” modifying “written” from “everyone whose name has not been written”), but the concept of an event existing outside of time is something that is present in Christian thought and can be seen here and there in other places in the Bible as well. Hearing that teaching (which, again, I learned in Orthodoxy) was what allowed me to accept that Real Presence does not contradict Hebrews and does not mean that Jesus is sacrificed over and over again, repeatedly, every time anyone has Holy Communion.

              The other is the Orthodox teaching that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ without ceasing to be bread and wine. This was helpful to me as I was trying to figure out how Real Presence doesn’t imply cannibalism, and it’s also really a relief compared to some of the things that I’ve heard rumors of pious Catholics saying, like “Don’t bite down on it; it might bleed.”

              Like OBP, I am suspicious of Transubstantiation as an explanation of how Real Presence happens (I think the idea that the essence of something can change without its accidents changing or vice versa is false). So my rejection of Transubstantiation places my thought squarely in line with the Orthodox teaching on Real Presence, which is not surprising considering that I’m going to an Orthodox church and have pretty much immersed myself in Orthodox thought for the past several months.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Sparrow View Post
                Man, I do not miss that kind of guilt trip. A year or two ago I attended a Protestant Good Friday service which had a spoken response of the people which was “Crucify him!” over and over again, and it was awful. There’s a very common mindset in Western Christianity that the only way to get someone to accept salvation is to make them feel horribly guilty first, and I wish we didn’t feel this need to send everyone on an extreme guilt trip in order to save them. Personally, I felt guilty enough already without having the message “You as an individual are calling out for Christ’s crucifixion” hammered into me. Based on what I know of the church leadership at that church, I’m sure it was well-intentioned, but it was just not what I needed.





                I hope it isn’t out of line for me to jump in on this one. I’m not Orthodox but currently a “seeker” attending an Orthodox church, and I recently did quite a bit of reading and thinking on this very topic.

                I was raised entirely in churches that held a memorial view; later I started to sort of cautiously think that there was probably something more going on than the memorial view said, but I was still opposed to Real Presence itself because I thought that if Real Presence were true it would mean that Christ was being sacrificed over and over again every time there was communion and that contradicted what Hebrews said about his sacrifice being once and for all, so I tentatively had something more or less like a Spiritual Presence view.

                When I first started learning about Orthodoxy, I read as many arguments as I could find both for and against Real Presence, and I came out of that process completely and utterly convinced of Real Presence. There are three major areas of evidence that convinced me, and those are interpretation of the Bible passages you’ve listed, the writings of the Early Church Fathers, and church history.

                Let’s start with John 6. As a Protestant, I don’t think I had thought very much in depth about how John 6:22 ff. fits into a memorial view of communion. I seem to have thought of it as a passage that is used by Real Presence advocates because it seems much more to be pointing to a Real Presence view than a memorial view. I suppose I probably just shrugged it off by interpreting every other passage that refers to the Eucharist in light of 1 Cor. 11:24 and Luke 22:19 and assumed that because those two verses used the phrase “in remembrance” that meant that every single other verse referring to the Eucharist was merely a metaphor. I’m not sure how you can read John 6 and not see it as referring to the Eucharist. John doesn’t give an account of the institution of the Eucharist at the Last (or Mystical) Supper (John 6 is his Eucharistic passage), and we have to read John’s gospel with the knowledge in mind that John was writing it after Jesus’ death and resurrection and after the Church had been doing its agape feast thing for decades already. There is nothing absurd about thinking that John wrote this passage with his understanding of the Eucharist in mind, even though in the history of Jesus’ life it is prior to the Last Supper; John was interpreting Christ’s teaching from back then in light of what he later learned and what he understood the Eucharist to be.

                There are a couple of things that changed my view of John 6 so that I now think it means exactly what it sounds like it means and not that it is merely metaphorical.

                One was learning that the view of the ancients on “remembrance” (and still the teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Church today). Anamnēsin is one of several Greek words that the Church Fathers Christianized by sort of co-opting it and filling it out with a deeper meaning than what it had in secular Greek writing because there were concepts that Christians wanted to convey for which they needed to find words. So what this word means to Christian writers is to remember or re-collect an occurrence in such a way that the occurrence is made truly present.

                When I first heard this teaching (as I started attending an Orthodox church), I was a little bit skeptical about it. So I asked a friend of mine who is a Ph.D. in classics about this, and she confirmed for me that at least as far as concerns the pagans (ancient Greeks and Romans), when they said something was a symbol, “to them it was the real thing.” This might not be equally convincing to you, since you don’t know her, but for me, having heard that teaching in the Orthodox Church and then having my friend confirm it, I was convinced, because I know her and know that she knows her stuff when it comes to ancient Romans and Greeks.

                Another was various Catholic apologetics explaining John 6 and in particular some of the Greek terms used in the chapter. Here’s my current understanding of John 6:

                Jesus says, “I am the bread which comes down from heaven.” The Jews grumble a bit, but they’re not yet extremely offended.

                Next, Jesus tells them, “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Here in verses 50 and 51, the word Jesus uses for eat is phage, a general word for eat.

                The Jews are still confused and arguing among themselves, so Jesus clarifies for them. He uses the same general verb one more time, saying “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” But then as he continues on, he switches to the verb trogo or trogon, which means “to gnaw, munch, crunch” (Strong’s and NAS). He tells them they have to gnaw on his body in order to have life. Then he says the same thing again. And again. And again. He uses this word four times, in close succession, very emphatically. This is the clarification that Jesus gives because his hearers are confused: he uses progressively stronger visceral language.

                If what Jesus really meant in this discourse was that we literally eat his flesh and drink his blood, then this makes sense. The Jews weren’t sure how to understand him, so he clarified his meaning by using language so physical and concrete that honestly it sounds pretty disgusting. Then many of his disciples left him, which is natural, because to Jews drinking blood is a deeply offensive violation of the Law. Jesus doesn’t call them back or correct their literal understanding of his words because they are correct, and if they can’t accept it there is nothing more he can say to them.

                If Jesus was actually just using a “metaphor” (in the sense that we generally use the word in the 21st century, not to be confused with the ancient understanding of metaphor and symbol which is much deeper, as I’ve explained above), then John 6 reads like this: Jesus uses a metaphor, and seeing that his hearers are confused about his meaning, as the discourse progresses he perversely and deceitfully switches to language that will give them the false impression that he is speaking literally even though he is actually only using a metaphor.

                Apparently some Protestants interpret Jesus’ words in v. 63 (“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life”) to mean, “I am only speaking metaphorically; don’t take me literally.” But if the Jews had understood that to be the meaning of Jesus’ words in this verse, then those who had mistakenly interpreted his discourse literally would have been relieved of their concern that Jesus was teaching a horrifying breach of Jewish cleanliness law and would have been able to continue to follow him, knowing that it was just a metaphor. However, it is immediately after v. 63 that many of his disciples leave him.
                Looking at the passage as a whole, if you compare those two ways of reading the passage, it makes much more sense if you understand Jesus to be speaking literally, not metaphorically. There are some other reasons, too, why “the flesh is of no avail” does not mean “I was speaking metaphorically,” e.g. “flesh” (sarx) is used, as it often is in the NT, not to refer to the physical body but to what is worldly and carnal. That is what is meant by flesh and spirit being placed in opposition to each other.

                Overall, once I looked at the Greek verbs which are translated as “eat” and encountered this interpretation that Jesus is clarifying his listeners’ confusion by being as empatically literal as he can, I could not go back to interpreting the passage as merely metaphorical. It just does not make any sense if you try to read it that way, and I think that trying to interpret John 6:63 and “the flesh is of no avail” to mean that we don’t literally eat Christ’s flesh and drink his blood is rather poor exegesis. (Here is a post that specifically addresses John 6:63).

                Once I came to accept “symbol” and “remembrance” as truly making present the thing represented or remembered, and once I started to view John 6 as above, the other passages also completely fit in with a Real Presence view. 1 Cor. 10:16-17 (though I would particularly emphasize 16) is saying exactly what it sounds like it is saying. The cup is the blood of Christ. The bread is the body of Christ. There being “one bread” demonstrates that Christians are one body precisely because the bread is the one body of Christ.

                1 Cor. 11:23-26 is the same. Real Presence apologists will focus on “this is my body,” and memorial view apologists will focus on “do this in remembrance,” but a correct understanding of what that word remembrance really means makes this passage evidence for Real Presence rather than against.

                Again, in Luke 22:19-21, the bread and wine are literally Christ’s body and blood, and they are also a remembrance that makes Christ’s body and blood truly present in a real way.

                Basically, the two choices in regard to every single one of these passages are either to interpret everything as merely symbolic or metaphorical or to understand “this is my body” as literal and understand symbol and metaphor in the ancient way as truly making present the thing represented. But I think that it makes much more sense to adhere to the meaning of the word as it was used when the NT was written rather than how we understand that word now, and I also think it’s particularly difficult for someone with a memorial view to explain away John 6, especially if you scrutinize Jesus’ use of phage and trogon.

                Moving on to the Early Church Fathers, since the Fathers aren’t infallible, it seems that making arguments from the ECF tends to boil down to a sort of ECF majority vote. (What did most of the ECF believe and teach?) Catholic apologists pretty much curb-stomp their opponents in this area, and there are any number of articles which have compiled dozens of quotes from a large number of ECF. Here are a couple of them from Catholic Answers:

                http://www.catholic.com/tracts/christ-in-the-eucharist
                http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-real-presence

                In contrast, here’s a Protestant (memorial view) argument from the ECF—something which is kind of rare, as the sort of Protestants who have a memorial view tend to be the sort of Protestants who don’t accept tradition as a source of authority and therefore tend to not be very familiar with the ECF at all.

                http://onefold.wordpress.com/early-c...real-presence/

                The article is a strong attempt to disprove Real Presence using the ECF, but from what I read of it I noticed that the author uses only a small number of the ECF and that his argument relies on pointing out seemingly-contradictory passages within the writings of a Church Father and resolving them in favor of a merely-symbolical view. Basically, even the ECF that he quotes have some passages that seem to quite strongly teach Real Presence and some other passages that use words like “metaphor” and “symbol” to refer to the Eucharist. Again everything comes back to the ancient concept of symbol and remembrance. If you accept the ancient view that symbols and remembrance truly make present the thing represented in a real way, then the way some of the Fathers seem to be teaching Real Presence in some places and use the language of symbol and metaphor in other places is not contradictory but makes perfect sense. The Eucharist is a symbol, it is a remembrance, and it also is truly making present the body and blood of Christ.

                The final thing that I considered was church history. Every group within Christianity that accepts tradition as a source of authority and that values apostolic succession and its unbroken continuity from apostolic times teaches Real Presence. Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans all fully believe and teach Real Presence. I don’t think that the fact that entire Church prior to the Reformation uniformly taught Real Presence is some sort of addition to primitive Christianity that gradually sprung up somehow; I think it was that way from the beginning (biblical exegesis, the ECF, and historical things like the fact that first century Christians were accused of being cannibals all point to this). So the entire Church believed, confessed, and taught Real Presence all the way up to the Reformation, and then it wasn’t even Luther himself who went against it but the radical Reformation and Zwingli. I realize that other people may not find this argument as convincing as I am based on what you accept as authoritative (e.g. for a Bible-only sort of person this argument from history is not going to be persuasive), but for me, I find it actually impossible to believe that the entire Church was wrong about its most important and central ritual for the first 1500 years of its existence and that it wasn’t until the 16th century (in a time much more removed from the language and culture of New Testament times) that somebody finally got it right.

                That all is why I am now completely convinced of Real Presence.

                There are just a couple of other important things, though, which helped me to wrap my head around Real Presence once I was already on my way to accepting it. One is the teaching that Jesus’ death is an event which is eternal and outside of time, and we mystically enter into and participate in that one event. This teaching relies heavily on the translation of Rev. 13:8 that has the phrase “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Other translations have “before the foundation of the world” modifying “written” from “everyone whose name has not been written”), but the concept of an event existing outside of time is something that is present in Christian thought and can be seen here and there in other places in the Bible as well. Hearing that teaching (which, again, I learned in Orthodoxy) was what allowed me to accept that Real Presence does not contradict Hebrews and does not mean that Jesus is sacrificed over and over again, repeatedly, every time anyone has Holy Communion.

                The other is the Orthodox teaching that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ without ceasing to be bread and wine. This was helpful to me as I was trying to figure out how Real Presence doesn’t imply cannibalism, and it’s also really a relief compared to some of the things that I’ve heard rumors of pious Catholics saying, like “Don’t bite down on it; it might bleed.”

                Like OBP, I am suspicious of Transubstantiation as an explanation of how Real Presence happens (I think the idea that the essence of something can change without its accidents changing or vice versa is false). So my rejection of Transubstantiation places my thought squarely in line with the Orthodox teaching on Real Presence, which is not surprising considering that I’m going to an Orthodox church and have pretty much immersed myself in Orthodox thought for the past several months.
                Might I suggest the Reader's Digest Version next time?
                "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                • #23
                  Sure.

                  1. In John 6, when people aren’t sure what Jesus means, he clarifies by telling them they have to “gnaw on” his flesh. Therefore we should probably take him literally.
                  2. The ancient understanding of “remembrance” and “symbol” is that they truly make present the thing remembered or represented. So the bread and wine are indeed symbols, and they also truly make present the body and blood of Christ.
                  3. Based on #2 neither the Bible passages referring to the Eucharist nor the ECF contradict themselves, but they all make sense and support Real Presence if you accept the ancient understanding of symbol and remembrance.
                  4. The entire Church taught Real Presence up to and including Luther, and I find it unlikely that nobody correctly understood the single most important Christian ritual until the 1600s. Probably it is our modern understanding (memorial view) that is wrong, not the first 1500 years of the Church’s teaching.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Sparrow View Post
                    Sure.

                    1. In John 6, when people aren’t sure what Jesus means, he clarifies by telling them they have to “gnaw on” his flesh. Therefore we should probably take him literally.
                    And literally gouge our eyeballs out?

                    2. The ancient understanding of “remembrance” and “symbol” is that they truly make present the thing remembered or represented. So the bread and wine are indeed symbols, and they also truly make present the body and blood of Christ.
                    I think that's a stretch - like the 12 stones after crossing the Jordan - they were a "memorial" to remind people to tell the story to their children and grandchildren.

                    3. Based on #2 neither the Bible passages referring to the Eucharist nor the ECF contradict themselves, but they all make sense and support Real Presence if you accept the ancient understanding of symbol and remembrance.
                    4. The entire Church taught Real Presence up to and including Luther, and I find it unlikely that nobody correctly understood the single most important Christian ritual until the 1600s. Probably it is our modern understanding (memorial view) that is wrong, not the first 1500 years of the Church’s teaching.
                    Thanks for the Reader's Digest Version, Sparrow.
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                    • #25
                      Spiritual rather than physical? E.g., food for the spirit.
                      The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                      [T]he truth I’m after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Cow Poke
                        And literally gouge our eyeballs out?
                        I meant we should take “eat my body” in John 6 literally, for some specific reasons having to do with my exegesis of the chapter read as a whole, in context; I never said we should take everything in the Bible literally. Hyperbole should be understood as hyperbole and so on. The reason why I believe John 6 should be taken literally is because Jesus starts out speaking in general terms, and people are confused, so he becomes more specific and clarifies by using an extremely physical, visceral word for “eat.” He doesn’t clarify himself by saying “It was just a metaphor, guys” but by saying, “No, really, you have to gnaw on me.” I explained all that in the long version already.

                        But since you bring up Matt. 5:29-30, actually, Jesus doesn’t command us to gouge out or cut off anything. He says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.” It is not, however, the physical body that causes anyone to sin, as is made clear in James 1:14 and by Jesus’ words Matt. 15:19. (Seeing the physical body as evil or a source of evil is gnostic BTW.) Temptation comes from our own minds and hearts, i.e. the whole person, not any one isolated part, certainly not any physical part of the body. And putting to death the whole person in order to be made new is precisely what God asks of us (John 12:25, Rom. 6:2-11).

                        Jesus said what he did in Matt. 5:29-30 in order to drive home how terrible sin is, and if it really were our eyes and hands that sin came from, it would indeed be better to gouge them out and cut them off. But it simply is not our eyes and hands that cause us to sin.

                        Originally posted by Cow Poke
                        I think that's a stretch - like the 12 stones after crossing the Jordan - they were a "memorial" to remind people to tell the story to their children and grandchildren.
                        Again, I gave a bit more explanation of where this idea comes from in the long version, but it’s a concept that is pervasive throughout all of Eastern Orthodox teaching and thought. For example, we sing “memory eternal” for the dead because the Greek sensibility is that if God remembers you, you have life (though that’s probably a crass oversimplification).

                        As for the twelve stones, the point of them as a memorial was not to recall the parting of the Jordan but because of what the parting of the Jordan shows about God’s character, his presence with and faithfulness to Israel. And wasn’t God’s faithfulness truly present to the children and grandchildren of those who crossed the Jordan? His faithfulness is a reality that is present anyways, whether or not the stones are there, but the twelve stones made visible to the Israelites and makes God’s faithfulness more “present” to them in that it gives them a concrete reminder so that they will be aware of God’s faithfulness. This is exactly the same as the Orthodox teaching about icons. The angels and saints are present with us anyways as the “great cloud of witnesses” and the “innumerable angels in festal gathering” of Hebrews, but the icons make them more “present” to us because they make us aware that they are there (and are there regardless of whether or not there are icons).

                        But for this concept (of anamnesin as making something truly present) to support Real Presence, it doesn’t have to apply to every reference to memory in the Bible; it just has to be true that the ancients had this concept and that they applied it to the Eucharist. And you don’t have to take my word that early Christians understood the Eucharist this way, because Jaroslav Pelikan says the exact same thing. In the following excerpt I’ve put in boldface the sentences that particularly demonstrate my point:

                        Yet it does seem “express and clear” that no orthodox father of the second or third century of whom we have record either declared the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist to be no more than symbolic (although Clement and Origen came close to doing so) or specified a process of substantial change by which the presence was effected (although Ignatius and Justin came close to doing so). Within the limits of those excluded extremes was the doctrine of the real presence. Fundamental to that doctrine was the liturgical recollection (anamnesin) of Christ. It was, according to Justin Martyr, a “recollection of [Christ’s] being made flesh for the sake of those who believe in him” and of “the suffering which he underwent” to deliver men from their sins and from the power of evil. But in the act of remembrance the worshiping congregation believed Christ himself to be present among them. That he was also present among them apart from the Eucharist, they affirmed on the basis of such promises as Matthew 18:20, which Clement of Alexandria applied to matrimony, and Matthew 28:20, which Origen cited against Celsus as proof that the presence of God and Christ was not spatial. Yet the adoration of Christ in the Eucharist through the words and actions of the liturgy seems to have presupposed that this was a special presence, neither distinct from not merely illustrative of his presence in the Church.
                        From Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine 1: The Emergence of Catholic Tradition (100-600), pp. 165-166. Emphasis mine.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by 37818 View Post
                          What convinces you that the Orthodox Church is the true church? Being raised Orhtodox? Being a convert to Orthodox?
                          I found a gentleness when approaching human brokenness in the East that wasn't always present in the West and a simplicity in following Christ that was not found among some protestants, and a peacefulness in the ancient liturgy. I used to like Roman Catholicism and studied it a bit. I was a high church Protestant transplant into Evangelical Christianity (not necessarily my style). Beyond that, depends what kind of answer you are looking for. I am Oriental Orthodox.
                          I am become death...

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Anastasia Dragule View Post
                            I found a gentleness when approaching human brokenness in the East that wasn't always present in the West and a simplicity in following Christ that was not found among some protestants, and a peacefulness in the ancient liturgy. I used to like Roman Catholicism and studied it a bit. I was a high church Protestant transplant into Evangelical Christianity (not necessarily my style). Beyond that, depends what kind of answer you are looking for. I am Oriental Orthodox.
                            What do you understand it to mean to follow Christ in its simplicity? In your steps, Roman Catholic, high church Protestant, Evangelical Christianity and now Oriental Orthodox. What truths did you discover true and not true each step of the way?

                            At any point do you know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:1, 12, 13) and know you will go to heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8)? At what point?
                            . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

                            . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

                            Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

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                            • #29
                              for Ana
                              Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                              Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
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                              I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by 37818 View Post
                                What do you understand it to mean to follow Christ in its simplicity? In your steps, Roman Catholic, high church Protestant, Evangelical Christianity and now Oriental Orthodox. What truths did you discover true and not true each step of the way?

                                At any point do you know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:1, 12, 13) and know you will go to heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8)? At what point?
                                I was never Catholic. I grew up high church Protestant, but I was attracted to Catholicism after seeing a wedding as a child. I guess you just have to have faith that you are saved and seek to live for God. I never had some ah ha moment of suddenly knowing I was saved. In fact, I am less certain of my own sanctification now and more certain of trusting God's grace for salvation now. I did not choose to be evangelical or non-denominational, but I followed my family and where I could get a ride to church in college outside of on-campus Mass (after all, I was Protestant, not a papist and stuff like that) and I tried to do the good Christian thing in a Calvary Chapel or Campus Crusade-like feeding (minus participating in Campus Crusade evangelism). After studying Catholicism a bit more on my own and even considered if I married a Catholic possibly converting.

                                So... years failing to live up to God's mark, to the purity and holiness of heart, mind, and deed that a person ought and shame at self for hidden failure that was never discussed in genuine fellowship, add this passion for God that I don't seem to have that a Christian ought, a lack of emotional high most of the time from folksy praise songs, for a time a potential coming loss of someone dear, a great change and uncertainty in life, and an outside cause to have come to study and consider more the reason why we believe not simply doctrines but whole faiths as we do, add a recent lack of worship/fellowship, and consider my own failure in light of the scripture in which Jesus says "if you love Me, keep my commands." This was the last time I really felt like I could agree with sola scriptura and left a question of where I fit with this Western paradigm of salvation. Add also some disconnect from the Christian bubble, in which I btw lived all of my youth, as I don't think that moderate drinking, cussing in and of itself (the words alone as opposed to the state of heart or the witness which is more a matter of meaning and discernment than a blanket rule against (not unlike how cuss words themselves were considered of a lower social class originally, and I heard were much rarer in the more educated folk officially serving within the church)), and occasional jokes about human sexuality or acknowledgement a slightly less puritanical approach to human sexuality that it is inherently sinful and bad unless you completely ignore it until you have your wedding.

                                If God is good and loving, He must be a God of life, where our only hope for salvation really is hope and not fear. If I am damned already, there is little point of devotion, general morality sure but not devotion. There must thus be a better way of understanding God. There must be an order throughout the universe including us if we consider how it is made, and given sin and that Christ is the only the only historically verifiable savior, then He must be true. In Orthodoxy, our salvation is less about God needing a sacrifice to keep Him from damning our sinful rears and more reaching down to help us in our sinfulness and shortcomings so that we may become Holy. That is a greater salvation than redemption alone.

                                I do have some Messianic sympathies because I think they can express theology well, but for a few doctrines. I reject a complete rejection of tradition because while it may become vain to those who do not approach it right, it is also a tangible thing that we can do to remind ourselves that we seek God, even if everything else says we might as well be condemned and every time we worship again in that way, it's a new start humbling ourselves before the Lord, in words that are true wherever we are, in praise of God not as much proclaiming how great creation is to a folk song or singing how sappy we feel at being saved but simply how great He is-that is more real worship to me. A theology graduate from another forum years ago once answered a question that with studying theology, the more she learned, the less she knew. I think I appreciate that sentiment more, but I think that makes our faith more as I have understood faith because real faith survives testing and isn't afraid of being questions. If I really want to know God, I want to know what He wants beyond some American/Democrat/Republican cultural construct that takes on more than Bible says but ignores what might be learned of those gone by or demands conformity to share grace.
                                Last edited by Ana Dragule; 04-20-2015, 07:26 PM.
                                I am become death...

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