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Author Topic: This food we call the Eucharist  (Read 6604 times) Average Rating: 0
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HandmaidenofGod
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« on: February 21, 2009, 04:39:25 AM »

I didn't really misunderstand you, but maybe I was being just a little bit naughty. You see, we also think Christ is present, but spiritually.
One of us is misunderstanding what actually happens at the Eucharist, but I do not believe that the true blessing which God gives is dependent on our correct and accurate theological understanding. If you are right, I am sure we too partake of his body and blood; if we are right, I am equally sure you partake of the blessings won by his body and blood given for us all at Calvary.

I thought this topic worth examining, thus I created this thread.  Grin

In the above statement you are saying that one of us is misunderstanding the true meaning of the Eucharist, but it doesn’t matter who is right or who is wrong, for God will bless us both because of it. That is relativism my friend, something that endangers our very soul.

Up for discussion is not whether or not Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper (or as we know it, the Mystical Supper), but whether or not it is the body and blood of Christ.

Let us examine the Orthodox understanding of the Eucharist, and what role it plays in our walk with Christ.
The Orthodox Church believes that during the Divine Liturgy, the Eucharistic gifts of bread and wine become for us the body and blood of Christ. This is in accordance with Scripture and Holy Tradition.

Consider the following verses:

Quote
John 6:52-57 (New King James Version)
52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.

If the Eucharist were intended to just be a “remembrance” or a memorial tribute to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, why would Christ promise eternal life to whomever partook of His body and His blood? Christ is speaking in quite literal terms here. He even says, “My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.” (v. 55) Christ came down to restore man back to its original form before the fall. How can man be restored if he does not partake of the Living God? Christ clearly states that if God is to abide in us, we must partake of His body and blood, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” (v. 56)

Quote
1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (New King James Version)
16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

Quote
1 Corinthians 11:26-28 (New King James Version)
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

St. Paul was not present when Christ instituted the Mystical Supper, yet he understands the gravity of the sacrament. It’s so serious, that he warns the Corinthians that “whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” (v. 27)

Guilty of crucifying Christ?! That’s a pretty heavy charge for abusing something that is just a “memorial.” 

Also, notice that St. Paul doesn’t refer to the elements strictly as bread and wine, but rather as “the blood of Christ” and the “body of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 10:16, and as “cup of the Lord” in 1 Corinthians 11:27.

Now, many times Protestants like to pull the verse from the book of Luke to prove that the Mystical Supper is “just a memorial.”
 
Quote
Luke 22:19-20 (New King James Version)
19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

The Orthodox Church recognizes that we do partake of the Eucharist in remembrance of Christ. Just not the way you think we do. Consider this quote from OCA.org (http://www.oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=103):

Quote
Remembering Christ, and offering all things to God in and through him, the Church is filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit. At the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Spirit comes "upon us and upon the gifts here offered." Everything is filled with the Kingdom of God. In God's Kingdom nothing is forgotten. All is remembered, and is thereby made alive. Thus, at this moment in the Divine Liturgy the faithful, remembering Christ, remember all men and all things in him, especially Christ's mother, the Holy Theotokos, and all of the saints… It is necessary to remember once again that remembrance in the Orthodox Church, and particularly the remembrance of God and by God, has a very special meaning. According to the Orthodox Faith, expressed and revealed in the Bible and the Liturgy, divine remembrance means glory and life, while divine forgetfulness means corruption and death. In Christ, God remembers man and his world. Remembering Christ, man remembers God and his Kingdom. Thus the remembrances of the Divine Liturgy are themselves a form of living communion between heaven and earth.

Furthermore, in every Divine Liturgy, we don’t just remember and commemorate Christ’s death; we remember His entire LIFE. Consider these prayers said during the Epiklesis (where the priest asks the Holy Spirit to come down and transform the gifts):

Quote
Priest : Together with these blessed powers, merciful Master, we also proclaim and say: You are holy and most holy, You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit. You are holy and most holy, and sublime is Your glory. You so loved Your world that You gave Your only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. He came and fulfilled the divine plan for us. On the night when He was delivered up, or rather when He gave Himself up for the life of the world, He took bread in His holy, pure, and blameless hands, gave thanks, blessed, sanctified, broke and gave it to His holy disciples and apostles, saying:

Take, eat, this is my Body which is broken for you for the forgiveness of sins.

People: Amen.

Priest : Likewise, after supper, He took the cup, saying:

Drink of it all of you; this is my Blood of the new Covenant which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

People:  Amen.

Priest : Remembering, therefore, this command of the Savior, and all that came to pass for our sake, the cross, the tomb, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven, the enthronement at the right hand of the Father, and the second, glorious coming,

Now, one may say, “well that’s all well and good, but Christ didn’t REALLY mean it was His body and blood. After all, when He said “I am the door” in John 10:7 He didn’t mean He was a wooden plank!”

And this is true. Christ isn’t a wooden plank.  Wink But if you look at the verse of “the door” in context, the Bible tells us that Christ was speaking in allegorical terms.

Quote
John 10:6-10 (New King James Version)
6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me[a] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Furthermore, the Church has never inferred that Christ was a door. On the other hand, the Church has always believed that the bread and wine ARE transformed into the body and blood of Christ.

Consider the following quotes from the Early Church Fathers:

Quote
"Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us. They have no regard for charity, none for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, none for the man in prison, the hungry or the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead."

St. Ignatius of Antioch "Letter to the Smyrnaeans", paragraph 6. circa 80-110 A.D.

Quote
"This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus."

St. Justin Martyr "First Apology", Ch. 66, inter A.D. 148-155.

In Conclusion, partaking of the body and blood of Christ and understanding the meaning of the Eucharist is not just a nice tradition held in the Church, rather it is something that is critical to our salvation. This is a belief that is both in accordance with Scripture and Holy Tradition.

Your thoughts?

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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2009, 01:55:19 PM »

you are saying that one of us is misunderstanding the true meaning of the Eucharist, but it doesn’t matter ... for God will bless us both .... That is relativism my friend,

A good thing about a forum such as this is not that it makes one state clearly what one believes, but that it makes one think about why one believes it. I actually wondered whether someone would pick me up on this statement, and made it with that in mind.

If I may, for the sake of ease, call your theology "Greek", the world contains a spectrum of people all breaking bread with Calvary in mind: Roman - Greek - German - French - Swiss (exemplified by the Pope; Handmaiden; Luther; Calvin; Zwingli). You are assuming I am at the zwinglian end, but we'll leave that for a moment.

Let us assume that within the whole spectrum from Rome to Switzerland you have people genuinely devoutly believing that Christ gave his body and blood for them at Calvary, and that this constitutes their only ground of salvation; and that they all come to the Table devoutly meditating on that fact. It seems hard to me to think that God will give whatever the true blessing is only to those who have correctly grasped the theology of it, and that he will withhold from all the others that same blessing, despite their humble looking to him on the basis of the body and blood as given in ca 27 AD.

Your idea that this is how God treats us when he observes the whole spectrum throws up strange anomalies: what about little children, to whom you give the bread and wine? what about people with what is nowadays called 'learning difficulties'? what about people who have never come across the Greek theology of the Supper (they haven't rejected it - they've never heard it)?

Then at what point does God begin to withhold the blessing? Do the Romans get it, with their transubstantiation? What about the Germans, with their consubstantiation? These two are probably just a little to either side of you. If the Lutherans get it, what about the French (Calvin, with his real spiritual presence)?

It is said that you can travel all the way from the middle of Belgium to the heel of Italy, and never come to a village which does not understand the speech of the next village. But the French-speaking Belgians and the natives of Brindisi haven't the faintest hope of understanding each other. Where does French end and Italian start? What theology will God bless at his Table, and when does the blessing fade out, or get cut off? "Thus far, and no further."

Quote
Up for discussion is not whether or not Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper ...but whether or not it is the body and blood of Christ.

As the one who began the thread, you have every right to say what is up for discussion on it, of course; but I think we have discussed this particular question at great length, perhaps exhaustively, on the other thread, which is (I think) among the private threads. But as things have been worded so far here, up for discussion is not whether it is the body and blood of Christ, but whether our meeting the Lord at his Table, in the way he intends, is dependent on correctly grasping the theology of it. That is a different matter.

Quote
If the Eucharist were intended to just be a “remembrance” or a memorial tribute to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross...just a “memorial.”  ,

I have not written that it is "just" that, though everyone from the most ardent Catholic to the most convinced Zwinglian does believe this much. It have written that it is a means of grace, a sacrament, through which Christ nourishes our souls as we feed by faith, spiritually, upon him and he renews in us the benefits of the shedding of his blood and the breaking of his body. The word "just" does not take us far enough towards that.

Quote
why would Christ promise eternal life to whomever partook of His body and His blood?

If he were speaking in a figure, then the promise would still hold good. He is free to bestow eternal life in whatever way he chooses, and to strengthen us in our faith however he chooses. The sacrament is one way he has chosen: but not the only way.

Quote
St. Ignatius of Antioch "Letter to the Smyrnaeans", paragraph 6. circa 80-110 A.D.

We have discussed Ignatius at length on one or more other threads. I have searched diligently but in vain to find any reference to the date of his appointment as bishop at Antioch and his association with an apostle. He seems to 'pop up' into history around the year 110 AD. Justin Martyr of course, as you say, is a good deal later still. Can you point me to a reliable source which tells us plainly of Ignatius's first-hand association with and appointment by an apostle?

Quote
partaking of the body and blood of Christ and understanding the meaning of the Eucharist is ... critical to our salvation. ... Your thoughts?

In the sense in which Jesus meant it in John 6, we all agree on the "partaking", and we all believe we do partake in that intended sense. But this exchange is more to do with the "understanding" part of your statement: I still think that God's working is wider than our understanding of the matter.
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2009, 03:07:07 PM »

A good thing about a forum such as this is not that it makes one state clearly what one believes, but that it makes one think about why one believes it. I actually wondered whether someone would pick me up on this statement, and made it with that in mind.

If I may, for the sake of ease, call your theology "Greek", the world contains a spectrum of people all breaking bread with Calvary in mind: Roman - Greek - German - French - Swiss (exemplified by the Pope; Handmaiden; Luther; Calvin; Zwingli). You are assuming I am at the zwinglian end, but we'll leave that for a moment.

Let us assume that within the whole spectrum from Rome to Switzerland you have people genuinely devoutly believing that Christ gave his body and blood for them at Calvary, and that this constitutes their only ground of salvation; and that they all come to the Table devoutly meditating on that fact. It seems hard to me to think that God will give whatever the true blessing is only to those who have correctly grasped the theology of it, and that he will withhold from all the others that same blessing, despite their humble looking to him on the basis of the body and blood as given in ca 27 AD.

Your idea that this is how God treats us when he observes the whole spectrum throws up strange anomalies: what about little children, to whom you give the bread and wine? what about people with what is nowadays called 'learning difficulties'? what about people who have never come across the Greek theology of the Supper (they haven't rejected it - they've never heard it)?

Then at what point does God begin to withhold the blessing? Do the Romans get it, with their transubstantiation? What about the Germans, with their consubstantiation? These two are probably just a little to either side of you. If the Lutherans get it, what about the French (Calvin, with his real spiritual presence)?

It is said that you can travel all the way from the middle of Belgium to the heel of Italy, and never come to a village which does not understand the speech of the next village. But the French-speaking Belgians and the natives of Brindisi haven't the faintest hope of understanding each other. Where does French end and Italian start? What theology will God bless at his Table, and when does the blessing fade out, or get cut off? "Thus far, and no further."

How God judges each of us is for no man to say. But to use the excuse that because we speak different languages, therefore we cannot understand the truth of the Gospel is weak. Pentecost undid the tower of Babel by restoring the gift of language and understanding through the gift of tongues. The entire point of the gift of tongues is that if I am an English speaker, and you are a French speaker, each of us will speak to the other in their native tongue and understand one another through the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the fact that the Bible has been translated to hundreds of languages and is the number one selling book worldwide further proves to me that your argument is weak.

For those who have never heard the Gospel or unfamiliar with it, God will judge accordingly. But for those who have, Christ says three times in the Gospel of Matthew alone (not to mention all the times in the other Gospels), “He who has ears, let him hear!” (Matt 11:15, Matt 13:9, Matt 13:43.)

Even when you throw out the quote from the OCA website that I included and the writings of St. Ignatius and St. Justin Martyr, scripture proves that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ.

You have not shown me otherwise.

As the one who began the thread, you have every right to say what is up for discussion on it, of course; but I think we have discussed this particular question at great length, perhaps exhaustively, on the other thread, which is (I think) among the private threads. But as things have been worded so far here, up for discussion is not whether it is the body and blood of Christ, but whether our meeting the Lord at his Table, in the way he intends, is dependent on correctly grasping the theology of it. That is a different matter.

But one cannot discuss one without establishing the basis of the other. If the Eucharist is merely a symbol that God blesses us for partaking of it, the ramifications are far less than what is stated plainly in scripture.

St. Paul writes in 1Corinthians 11:27-28, “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”

If coming to the table of our Lord were not important, and if we did not have to come in the manner He intended, then why does St. Paul admonish those who come in an unworthy manner? He does not merely scold those who have not examined themselves, but warns them that they will be guilty of the body and blood of Christ! This is no light charge.

I have not written that it is "just" that, though everyone from the most ardent Catholic to the most convinced Zwinglian does believe this much. It have written that it is a means of grace, a sacrament, through which Christ nourishes our souls as we feed by faith, spiritually, upon him and he renews in us the benefits of the shedding of his blood and the breaking of his body. The word "just" does not take us far enough towards that.

I understand that you feel it is a means of grace. I do not dispute you on that. My point is that it is not just a means of grace; it is the body and blood of Christ. Furthermore, it is a sacrament which provides healing and eternal life. This is in accordance with what Christ states in John 6:52-57.

If he were speaking in a figure, then the promise would still hold good. He is free to bestow eternal life in whatever way he chooses, and to strengthen us in our faith however he chooses. The sacrament is one way he has chosen: but not the only way.

No one is saying it is the only way. The Church has never said it is the only way. It is part of the sacramental life, part of the walk with Christ. It is a key part, but not the only way.

What I am saying is that to deliberately misunderstand or misconstrue the meaning of the Eucharist, or to partake of it in an unworthy manner could be damning to one’s soul.

Consider these words from the book of Isaiah:

Isaiah 66:2-5 (New King James Version)
2 For all those things My hand has made,
      And all those things exist,”
      Says the LORD.

      “ But on this one will I look:
      On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
      And who trembles at My word.
       3 “ He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man;
      He who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck;
      He who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine’s blood;
      He who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol.
      Just as they have chosen their own ways,
      And their soul delights in their abominations,
       4 So will I choose their delusions,
      And bring their fears on them;
      Because, when I called, no one answered,
      When I spoke they did not hear;
      But they did evil before My eyes,
      And chose that in which I do not delight.”

We have discussed Ignatius at length on one or more other threads. I have searched diligently but in vain to find any reference to the date of his appointment as bishop at Antioch and his association with an apostle. He seems to 'pop up' into history around the year 110 AD. Justin Martyr of course, as you say, is a good deal later still. Can you point me to a reliable source which tells us plainly of Ignatius's first-hand association with and appointment by an apostle?

So unless you find the exact date of his appointment, you will not see his writings as true? I find it interesting that you put faith in the writings of Wesley, which came 1500+ years after the Resurrection of our Lord, but doubt St. Ignatius and St. Justin Martyr, which came within 100 years of the Resurrection of our Lord. While the exact date of his appointment may be lost, the recording of his Episcopacy and martyrdom are well documented.

Furthermore, both of these quotes come prior to Constantine making Christianity legal, the supposed time frame in which many Protestants claim the Church fell into ‘disrepair.’ Regardless of whether or not you give credence to their writings, scripture still proves the doctrine of the Eucharist to be the body and blood of our Lord to be true.

In the sense in which Jesus meant it in John 6, we all agree on the "partaking", and we all believe we do partake in that intended sense. But this exchange is more to do with the "understanding" part of your statement: I still think that God's working is wider than our understanding of the matter.

No one is trying to put God in a box. Who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, God is the only judge. However, scripture has clearly spelled out what the Eucharist is, and how it is to be received.

We all agree that we are to follow all of the commandments that God has given us. Why not this one?
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2009, 06:51:20 PM »

to use the excuse that because we speak different languages, therefore we cannot understand the truth of the Gospel is weak.

Help! Did I give the impression I was saying that. Oh dear! No, not at all. It was only an illustration: just as a language glides imperceptibly into the next and you cannot tell where the break comes, so also theology, and particularly eucharistic theology, does the same: from the fully-developed transubstantiation of Rome, through the mystic transformation of the bread and wine in Orthodoxy, to Luther's consubstantiation, and so on all the way in the end to Zwingli's followers. Where does it cease to be true? If we say only the Orthodox belief is true, then Rome and Germany (Luther) are pretty close to you, on each side. Maybe God would still be willing to grant them the true blessing of the Table, even though they slightly misunderstand it? But if Lutherans just about qualify, why not Calvin's followers? After all, they still teach a very real presence of Christ. And so on.

All I am saying is that I suspect God's bestowal of the real scriptural blessing of the Table is wider than only those who correctly understand what is going on.

We cannot deny that he has used the preaching of women preachers, though he forbids us to allow such; we cannot deny that he has greatly blessed both pædobaptists and believer's-baptists, but one of them is mistaken. I could give other examples - so I guess could you. God's willingness to bless seems to be attracted to a broken and contrite heart more than to a theologically correct brain. We must strive to be correct; but God blesses many who are not.

Quote
you throw out ... the writings of St. Ignatius and St. Justin Martyr, ...So unless you find the exact date of his appointment, you will not see his writings as true?

I don't through them out: I have all the writings of Ignatius, plus a commentary on them. Justin Martyr I confess I do not have, but I don't "throw them out". On other threads, Orthodox posts have placed considerable stress on the assertion that Ignatius was acquainted with one or two apostles, and was appointed by one of them to be bishop of the church in Antioch. It is not I but you good people who have made this direct link with apostles important. I have merely asked to be shown where it is recorded, for I have been unable to locate any references.

Quote
If the Eucharist is merely a symbol that God blesses us for partaking of

It is not merely a symbol: it is a sacrament, or a means of grace.

Quote
I find it interesting that you put faith in the writings of Wesley, which came 1500+ years after the Resurrection of our Lord, but doubt St. Ignatius and St. Justin Martyr,

Only scripture is infallible. Any of these three servants of God may have erred in some of their beliefs. Wesley baptised infants, believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary, adhered to a state church, taught a second-blessing doctrine of entire sanctification, believed in the importance of episcopal ordination. He was a man full of the Holy Ghost and of love for God, whom God greatly used and whose writings, though fallible, are deeply edifying. It is no disrespect to him, or to the other two, to say they are not on the same level of authority as inspired scripture.
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2009, 07:58:15 PM »

Quote
Maybe God would still be willing to grant them the true blessing of the Table, even though they slightly misunderstand it?

My dear David, you need only recall, or avail yourself of, the tremendous battle for the establishment of the Nicene Creed, with particular emphasis on the words homoiousios (of similar essence)and homoousios (of the same essence). The difference may have been but one letter, but one jot (literally! as the Greek letter iota was later anglicised as jot), yet the choice of the wrong word would have had theological consequences beyond comprehension. There is no way the Apostolic faith could have survived had the wrong word been chosen.

Food for thought, my friend, food for thought.
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2009, 08:03:17 PM »

There is an old Irish book called The Leabhar Breac, the "Speckled Book," which was made in early the centuries when Ireland was yet part of the Universal Church.

It stresses, in a passage about the Eucharistic offering, the reality of the Body and Blood of Christ upon the altar....
 
"The body which was born of the Virgin Mary, without any stain, without
destruction of her virginity, without opening of the womb, without presence
of man, and which was crucified by the unbelieving Jews out of spite and
envy, and which arose after three days from death, and sits upon the right
hand of God the father in heaven, in glory and in dignity before the angels
of heaven. 

"It is the body the same as it is in this great glory, which the
righteous consume off God's table, that is, off the holy altar.  For this
body is the rich medicine of the faithful, who journey through the paths of
pilgrimage and repentance of this world to the heavenly homeland.  This is
the seed of the resurrection in the life eternal to the righteous."

The last three sentences are wondrous theology.  In the briefest of ways they give us what is essential---  the Eucharist is the medicine of the faithful, it is the implanting of the life of Christ Himself which makes eternal life possible for us.
             
 
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2009, 08:35:07 PM »

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Then at what point does God begin to withhold the blessing? Do the Romans get it, with their transubstantiation? What about the Germans, with their consubstantiation? These two are probably just a little to either side of you. If the Lutherans get it, what about the French (Calvin, with his real spiritual presence)?

The answer to this is we don't know. It may or may not transform for Romans, it may or may not transform for Lutherans. We don't have any criteria for judging whether or not God withholds his blessing, only God knows.
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2009, 08:52:56 PM »

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Then at what point does God begin to withhold the blessing? Do the Romans get it, with their transubstantiation? What about the Germans, with their consubstantiation? These two are probably just a little to either side of you. If the Lutherans get it, what about the French (Calvin, with his real spiritual presence)?

The answer to this is we don't know. It may or may not transform for Romans, it may or may not transform for Lutherans. We don't have any criteria for judging whether or not God withholds his blessing, only God knows.

The crunch question for such things is:  does God permit a parallel episcopate outside the Church?   All Sacraments (including Priesthood and Eucharist) ultimately depend on the episcopate of the Church.  If a Church has the episcopate it has all the Sacraments.  If it lacks an episcopate, then it lacks the Sacraments.
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2009, 05:51:40 PM »

The crunch question for such things is:  does God permit a parallel episcopate outside the Church?   All Sacraments ultimately depend on the episcopate.  If a Church ... lacks an episcopate, then it lacks the Sacraments.

Strangely, this very perceptive post brings us to a large measure of agreement, and I do not think we touched on it in the five pages on the private eucharistic thread, unless I missed it. At the heart of the matter lies the priesthood, and that depends on the episcopacy, and that on an unbroken link to the apostles.

I say we reach "a large measure" of agreement because:

- we Baptists have no priests, in your sense, and no bishops
- it follows that in your theology as well as in ours, there is no change in the bread and the wine at our Communion.

Next Sunday morning, when I lead the church in the communion service (our pastor being away that day) and housel the congregation during the service (to use the old word), the bread will remain bread under my hands and my prayer. On this then we agree.

We believe, of course, in the priesthood of all believers, but I am no more or no less a priest than any other - in our teaching. The question of apostolic succession, and episcopal ordination to priesthood, seems to lie at the heart of your church beliefs, in contrast to our differently pneumatic and congregationally based view of the ministry.

Thank you therefore for a post which brings us to this point. Do people agree with me on this?
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2009, 09:30:53 PM »

Strangely, this very perceptive post brings us to a large measure of agreement, and I do not think we touched on it in the five pages on the private eucharistic thread, unless I missed it. At the heart of the matter lies the priesthood, and that depends on the episcopacy, and that on an unbroken link to the apostles.

I say we reach "a large measure" of agreement because:

- we Baptists have no priests, in your sense, and no bishops
- it follows that in your theology as well as in ours, there is no change in the bread and the wine at our Communion.

Next Sunday morning, when I lead the church in the communion service (our pastor being away that day) and housel the congregation during the service (to use the old word), the bread will remain bread under my hands and my prayer. On this then we agree.

We believe, of course, in the priesthood of all believers, but I am no more or no less a priest than any other - in our teaching. The question of apostolic succession, and episcopal ordination to priesthood, seems to lie at the heart of your church beliefs, in contrast to our differently pneumatic and congregationally based view of the ministry.

Thank you therefore for a post which brings us to this point. Do people agree with me on this?

Grace and Peace David Young,

It's been interesting having you here David. You've reminded me that even Protestants can have very cogent reasons for the Faith they hold. I mean that with respect.

With regard to this view of congreationality (i.e. Priesthood of Believers)... why does the New Testament clearly identify 'Bishops' and 'Priest'? I mean we clearly see this in the Sacred Text. Could you offer up for me why Baptists feel these distinct vocations are not valid within the local church?

Thank you and God Bless.
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2009, 06:51:18 AM »

It will probably seem odd to yourgoodselves, but in 45 years of Christian faith I have never cottoned on to what I now think you are saying - namely, that for the Eucharist to "work" the bread and wine must be changed into the Lord's body and blood; i.e. that is the way the blessing comes, and if there is no change, the blessing the Lord intended is not bestowed. I knew that you believe it does change, but only reading these posts have I realised why you believe it is so important. You have known that (if I am right) ever since you became Orthodox, whilst to me the idea was so alien that it never entered my head. How easily we assume people understand what we think, even if they disagree with us! And how easily they (in this case I) can fail to understand what is meant!

So if, in order to receive the eucharistic blessing, you must really consume His body and blood, and if this change requires the work of a priest, and if to be a priest one must be ordained by a bishop, and if to be a bishop one must be in the line of apostolic succession... the system falls neatly into place.

If that were true (which you have yet to convince me of!), then the ordinance in our Baptist churches gets no further than obeying that part of the Communion which says, "Do this in remembrance of me"; it would be partial, a step in the right direction, but incomplete, lacking the vital, essential aspect. For without the change happening, it couldn't "work".

Have I finally understood what you are claiming? If so, the discussion is more about the nature of the ministry than about the Eucharist alone. I await your comments.

(Of course, if we are the ones who are right, it in no way deprives you of the real, dominically intended blessing - which is why I have written that anyone from a tridentine Catholic to a Plymouth Brother actually receives the same blessing from the Lord if he comes to the Table in penitence and faith.)
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2009, 06:55:16 AM »

Have I finally understood what you are claiming? If so, the discussion is more about the nature of the ministry than about the Eucharist alone. I await your comments.
Yes, I believe you have said it beautifully.

Quote
(Of course, if we are the ones who are right, it in no way deprives you of the real, dominically intended blessing - which is why I have written that anyone from a tridentine Catholic to a Plymouth Brother actually receives the same blessing from the Lord if he comes to the Table in penitence and faith.)
Exactly, because then you would have the fullness, and we would have added meaningless ritual to it. Personally, I'd rather err on the side of adding that which is meaningless than removing that which is meaningful, as I believe the Baptists have done.
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2009, 07:13:10 AM »

I'd rather err on the side of adding that which is meaningless than removing that which is meaningful.

Absolutely! But the trouble with being people of conviction is that our consciences don't let us assemble our own religion. Both you and we are bound to assent to what we believe is objectively true.

Humanly I can't help hoping we Baptists (et al.) are right, because then we all receive the Lord's same blessing - whereas if you are right, only you do and maybe others within the apostolic succession.  Sad

But, as we all agree, it is not allowed to be decided humanly - we are required to submit to God's given and revealed truth.
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2009, 02:30:41 PM »

It will probably seem odd to yourgoodselves, but in 45 years of Christian faith I have never cottoned on to what I now think you are saying - namely, that for the Eucharist to "work" the bread and wine must be changed into the Lord's body and blood; i.e. that is the way the blessing comes, and if there is no change, the blessing the Lord intended is not bestowed. I knew that you believe it does change, but only reading these posts have I realised why you believe it is so important. You have known that (if I am right) ever since you became Orthodox, whilst to me the idea was so alien that it never entered my head. How easily we assume people understand what we think, even if they disagree with us! And how easily they (in this case I) can fail to understand what is meant!

So if, in order to receive the eucharistic blessing, you must really consume His body and blood, and if this change requires the work of a priest, and if to be a priest one must be ordained by a bishop, and if to be a bishop one must be in the line of apostolic succession... the system falls neatly into place.

If that were true (which you have yet to convince me of!), then the ordinance in our Baptist churches gets no further than obeying that part of the Communion which says, "Do this in remembrance of me"; it would be partial, a step in the right direction, but incomplete, lacking the vital, essential aspect. For without the change happening, it couldn't "work".

Have I finally understood what you are claiming? If so, the discussion is more about the nature of the ministry than about the Eucharist alone. I await your comments.

(Of course, if we are the ones who are right, it in no way deprives you of the real, dominically intended blessing - which is why I have written that anyone from a tridentine Catholic to a Plymouth Brother actually receives the same blessing from the Lord if he comes to the Table in penitence and faith.)

That is exactly what we have been trying to say! That you don’t have the fullness of the faith, and that your misinterpretation of the scriptures makes what you are partaking of nothing more than juice and crackers.

Christ didn’t come down to establish a church of relativism where “whatever you believe is okay, as long as you have good intentions.” If that were true, than every Hindu, Jehovah’s Witness, Morman, and Bhuddist who lead a moral life could consider themselves a Christian. (In fact two of those groups do consider themselves to be Christians!)

Christ came to establish one Church based on one truth. (Matthew 16:18, John 10:16, Ephesians 4:4-6)

While I have provided ample scripture to prove that the Eucharist truly is Christ’s body and blood, you keep on referring to one scripture taken out of context in Luke to prove that it isn’t. Furthermore, we don’t even believe you are taking the “rememberance” part in the correct context, as you are “remembering” it like one “remembers” fallen soldiers at a war memorial. You reflect on his sacrifice and resurrection, eat and drink the cracker and juice, and that it is it. When we “remember” it, we are not reflecting on something in the past; we are joining the Church triumphant and participating in something that goes beyond space and time. We believe in Christ’s words in John 6 that His body and blood are healing to both body and soul, and that we are receiving more than just a blessing; we are receiving eternal life through the partaking of this food we call the Eucharist.

It has been said that you are what you eat. I believe that this illustration is completely true in terms of the Eucharist.  “God became man so that man may become God” says St. Athanasius. By partaking of His body and blood, it aids us in the process of theosis; the process which we work on our entire lives to become Christ-like. (John 10:34-36) To deny the Eucharist as the body and blood of Christ isn’t merely denying a simple blessing; it is denying part of the reason for the Incarnation.

As you pointed out, the Eucharist, the priesthood, the Apostolic succession, the process of theosis, it all fits together. Nothing is separate from one another. You can’t have one without another.

That is what we mean by the fullness of the faith.

The holiness and partaking of the Eucharist is something that has been foretold to us from the Old Testament.

Quote
Wisdom of Solomon 6:10
For they will be made holy who keep holy things piously.

Quote
Isaiah 6:1-7
 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
      “ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
      The whole earth is full of His glory!”
 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said:
      “ Woe is me, for I am undone!
      Because I am a man of unclean lips,
      And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
      For my eyes have seen the King,
      The LORD of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:

      “ Behold, this has touched your lips;
      Your iniquity is taken away,
      And your sin purged.”

What Isaiah is describing is a vision of the Church Triumphant, which is in alignment with the vision St. John the Theologian described in the New Testament book of Revelation.  The coal Isaiah is referring to is the Eucharist.

The manner and the importance of understanding the Eucharist is pressed upon by St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians when he writes, “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” (1 Cor. 11:27-30) People were actually becoming sick and dying from taking the Eucharist in an unworthy manner and not discerning that it was the body and blood of Christ which they were partaking.  So this proves that not only is the Eucharist the body and blood of Christ, not only does it have implications for eternal life as stated in John 6, but it also has healing properties for our life here on earth.

You say that you see the Eucharist as a means by which grace is bestowed, and that God blesses us for it. Well how can this be when you don’t associate any healing properties with it? For isn’t grace healing to body and soul? And if it is healing to body and soul, wouldn’t that mean it had reconciliatory properties associated with it? And if it had reconciliatory properties associated with it, then it must have salvific importance associated with it as well.  For one cannot have grace without these things.

I don’t know how communion is offered in your church, but in the Baptist church I attended it was administered thusly:

The pastor of the church would sit behind a table with the words from Luke “Do this in remembrance of me (Luke 22:19)” engraved on it. No other words about Christ’s body and blood, just the remembrance part. On the table would be stacks of plates with broken crackers and trays with cups of grape juice. The elders of the church would pass the plates of crackers down the aisles, then once everyone received a cracker the pastor would recite all of Luke 22:19 (“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”) and everyone would eat the cracker. The elders would then pass out the trays of grape juice, verse 20 would be read (“Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”), and everyone would drink the juice. No prayer was said, no blessing given. Just distribution of elements and recitation of verses.

This was done once a month. No mention of grace, reconciling oneself with God, or healing was mentioned during this time.

I don’t know how it is done in your church, but if it is anything like the above, I don’t see how that is in line with scripture.

I don’t even see how what you are saying is in line with scripture. I have provided quotes from the Old and New Testament proving that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ, and that this is healing to both body and soul. It has been prophesized in the Old Testament, and has come true in the New.

I am fully aware that the Orthodox Church embraces the word mystery, but on this there is no mystery. Scripture is clear as to what the Eucharist is and what it is not. So aside from Luke 22:19, what other evidence can you provide to demonstrate that the Eucharist is not the body and blood of our Lord? How can you prove our practice is wrong, and is not in line with scripture? Please enlighten me, because I would really like to know.
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2009, 02:45:50 PM »

No prayer was said, no blessing given. Just distribution of elements and recitation of verses. This was done once a month. No mention of grace, reconciling oneself with God, or healing was mentioned during this time.

I don’t know how it is done in your church,

Very similar, but there are usually at least two or three prayers; often the service is thrown open for anyone to lead the congregation in prayer. The themes of God's grace and our reconciliation to him via Christ's death are very prominent. We make no reference to present physical healing, but the motif that the Supper points forward to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and thus to our eternal life, is also frequent. We have two communion services a month, one in the morning, and one in the evening.

We don't use crackers, but a bread roll. I suspect those who use crackers do so because the Passover bread was (I think) unleavened. We use what is called "de-alcoholised wine", which I personally think is crazy. What is the point in fermenting grape juice, then removing the alcohol? Might as well use grape juice, as many churches do, if one really must adopt the mid-Victorian abstainers' ideas. I confess it troubles me, and it blows out of the water any claim that the people are following a strictly 'sola scriptura' religion. Nonetheless, it is the juice of the vine, which is what the scripture stipulates it should be.

I went to one church (Anglican) where there were two chalices, one with wine one with juice, for people to choose which to take from if they had medical or conscientious reasons for not taking the wine. That made good sense to me.

Quote
How can you prove our practice is wrong...?

By "practice" you mean, I think, the belief in the change in the bread and wine. I suspect that it is not susceptible to proof. In whatever way one believes God blessed the sacrament to us, it must be a matter of faith, not sight, as is all our walk with him. I would not attempt to prove it, nor do I think it would be a very great gain if I did.
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2009, 03:07:21 PM »

By "practice" you mean, I think, the belief in the change in the bread and wine. I suspect that it is not susceptible to proof. In whatever way one believes God blessed the sacrament to us, it must be a matter of faith, not sight, as is all our walk with him. I would not attempt to prove it, nor do I think it would be a very great gain if I did.


David, this hardly seems fair.  You assert that we are wrong, but offer no proof?  You have asked us to prove we are right, and we have done so (at great length using both scriptural and non-scriptural sources).  How is it that we must prove our position (which is the older, more traditional understanding of the Eucharist when one looks chronologically), but you won't prove yours?  I'm sorry, but you can't just say that we're wrong and not offer proof as to why or how.  You have made many assertions like this with no proof (such as the one about our ritual and church design distracting from Christ).  Why the assertions with no proof?  Is it because there is none?  If there is none, maybe you should examine those assertions a little more closely.  I say this with love, my friend.  I pray you understand that.
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« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2009, 03:39:15 PM »

Nonetheless, it is the juice of the vine, which is what the scripture stipulates it should be.

And the proof for this would be where?

I went to one church (Anglican) where there were two chalices, one with wine one with juice, for people to choose which to take from if they had medical or conscientious reasons for not taking the wine. That made good sense to me.

So the people can be divided in taking communion as to which interpretation of scripture is right? That hardly seems logical.

By "practice" you mean, I think, the belief in the change in the bread and wine. I suspect that it is not susceptible to proof. In whatever way one believes God blessed the sacrament to us, it must be a matter of faith, not sight, as is all our walk with him. I would not attempt to prove it, nor do I think it would be a very great gain if I did.

So essentially you are saying that after I have provided scriptural, academic, and historical proof that our beliefs are correct, that they are wrong because you say they are wrong. Am I understanding you correctly?
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2009, 04:33:09 PM »

David, Maybe Matthew 9:17 and the preceding verses might help understand why new wine can't be placed in an old wineskin.  The new wine is the Holy Spirit dwelling within renewed people, who cannot be constrained by the old precepts of the Law (Orthodox Study Bible commentary on Matthew 9:13-17).

Of course, Sola Scriptura may interpret the above passage as simply one can't put new wine in an old wineskin without the old wineskin leaking, bursting and spoiling the new wine.   Sad

Or better yet, if the body of Christ is the new wineskin and the new wine is the Holy Spirit and Orthodox Christians invoke the Holy Spirit to bless the new wine being poured over the new wineskin, how does a cracker and grape juice fulfill the same roles?   Huh
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2009, 05:34:34 PM »

You assert that we are wrong, but offer no proof 

It would not be hard - though it would be time-consuming for us both - to go to learned theology tomes printed over the past 500 years, and even back over arguments advanced in the writings of different monks in the 700 years before that, and list all their arguments why the eucharistic references are better taken non-literally. You could just as easily make a contrary list of all the arguments why they should be understood literally. All we would end up with is two people, or two sets of people, each more convinced of what they started out with because they have now rehearsed it, and those same people feeling even more unbridgeably distant from each other. I do not believe this would be edifying for either of us.

Quote
You have made many assertions ... such as the one about our ritual and church design distracting from Christ

I don't think I ever said it about church design - indeed, the very opposite, that some of your churches are very conducive to meditation and prayer; and I think all I said concerning ritual was that the risk exists and that some people fall into it. This is not susceptible of proof, but I think at the Last Day it will be seen that all our churches have had people in them who were content to rest in externals and never penetrated to a heart religion. There is sadly every reason to believe this is the case in Baptist and Methodist churches, and certainly God frequently reproaches those who did this in scripture. I do not believe those scriptural warnings have become redundant, nor that they are not needed in Orthodoxy but only in western Christianity (unless you feel those last two words constitute an oxymoron).
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2009, 06:14:11 PM »

You assert that we are wrong, but offer no proof 

It would not be hard - though it would be time-consuming for us both - to go to learned theology tomes printed over the past 500 years, and even back over arguments advanced in the writings of different monks in the 700 years before that, and list all their arguments why the eucharistic references are better taken non-literally. You could just as easily make a contrary list of all the arguments why they should be understood literally. All we would end up with is two people, or two sets of people, each more convinced of what they started out with because they have now rehearsed it, and those same people feeling even more unbridgeably distant from each other. I do not believe this would be edifying for either of us.

If one has to read the theology tomes from the past 500 years to establish an arguement, this tells me two things:

a) the belief of the Eucharist merely being a remembrance is not scripturally based
b) this is new theology, and not in concordance with the ancient church of the Apostles.

I don't have to read all of the theology tomes of the past 2000 years to know the belief I presented is true. I've presented scriptural and historical evidence to prove that it is true.

You say that it would not be beneficial for either party to discuss the validity of the point. If that is true, then why did you make the post that initiated this entire discussion of "naughtily" suggesting that your Eucharist is the same as ours. Did you really think we would let that slide?

Furthermore, if what Christ said in John 6 is true, and that He who eats His body and drinks His blood will have eternal life, then this is a matter of salvific importance. I don't know what could be more important to discuss than that?

You seem to have a "relativist" approach to Christianity to think that it's okay for us to have all these different interpretations of scripture as long as we all love Christ. The interpretations you don't like, or rub you the wrong way (i.e. ordination of gay bishops) you dismiss as false in accordance to YOUR interpretation of scripture. I'm still trying to figure out what your basis for truth is.

Please don't answer me with "scripture" because I have provided a scriptural arguement for this discussion which you have refused to accept.

I have asked repeatedly for you to explain certain scripture passages I have quoted, or to provide more scripture passages to prove your point, and you have done neither.

If the arguement for the Eucharist merely being a symbol is true, then it should be an easy arguement to present.
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« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2009, 02:29:00 PM »

"As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains and was gathered together and became one, so let thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy Kingdom."  Eucharistic prayer from The Didache.

The bread, once scattered over the hills in the form of wheat and now gathered into one loaf, symbolises our oneness in Christ: "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread."

My conscience would be troubled if I wrangled over the matter of the Lord's Supper, for it would be to take something which the Lord wants to show forth our unity, and to make it a cause of division. My conscience forbids me to go further in that direction. Sorry to decline your request therefore.

It would be easy enough for you to counter every one of the Protestant arguments, and probably for us to counter every one of yours, and we would look very little different from a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness casting Bible verses and theological reasoning at each other. It is not a seemly sight, is it?

But please don't say our view makes the bread and wine "merely" anything. Even if the Zwinglians are right and it is a bare memorial and nothing more, it is still calling to our memories the most astonishing and sacred thing that ever happened since Creation, that incomprehensible event when God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. The memory of that could never be "mere". That is not to say I personally hold the Zwinglian view, but I just put that caution.

What good would I have done you if I persuaded you to adopt a Protestant view of the Eucharist? If the Protestant view is wrong, I would have deprived you of the joy of knowing your are partaking of the Lord's body and blood; if the Protestant view is right, what would you have gained? For on our view you are already feeding by faith on the benefits of the shedding and breaking of that blood and body: I would have added nothing spiritual to you.

Your view is perfectly tenable; so is ours. This must be the case, for men of great learning and intellect have held both. In the end, it is a matter of faith.

Also, your doctrine stands or falls, if my earlier post and its replies are true, by your doctrine of apostolic succession, episcopacy and priesthood. So even if we engaged in the contest of matching up against each other our arguments regarding particularly the bread and wine, there would be a whole hinterland of theology behind that contest which we would not have addressed. The task would be immense, beyond my skill or knowledge, and (as with the Eucharist itself) different views could doubtless be traced back through the Reformation, the Middle Ages, the Fathers and to the source itself, the New Testament.

I am more than happy to have told you as best I could how we celebrate the Lord's Supper, and what theology different strands of Protestantism hold concerning it. I am just as happy to have come to a much clearer and (I hope) fairer understanding of your theology. That has been of real benefit. But I feel constrained to stop short of risking divisive strife over what should unite, for I think only that union can please the Lord.
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« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2009, 12:55:19 PM »

How does David Young explain the fact that the Greek word used for "eat" as in "Eat My Body" translates to something like "chomp" or "grind"?  Why would Christ use such a physical, earthy word when He could have just said "consume"?  Why would so many of His disciples have fallen away after this "hard saying" if He was just telling them to remember Him with a metaphor?
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« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2009, 01:01:52 PM »

How does David Young explain the fact that the Greek word used for "eat" as in "Eat My Body" translates to something like "chomp" or "grind"?  Why would Christ use such a physical, earthy word when He could have just said "consume"?  Why would so many of His disciples have fallen away after this "hard saying" if He was just telling them to remember Him with a metaphor?

I agree. Jesus put emphasis on the similarity between His "body" and the "manna" people actually ate in the wilderness. He made it clear that people would EAT His body in the same way as the Israelites had eaten manna. The act of consumption would be identical (physical).
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« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2009, 10:07:07 AM »

How does David Young explain the fact that the Greek word used for "eat" ...translates to something like "chomp" or "grind"? 

Remember I am no spokesman for Protestantism - just a humble unknown with an interest in Orthodoxy! However, here are two offerings in answer to your question - neither of which (I feel sure) you will agree with!

1) What they drew away from was in fact the words in the previous verse (v. 65), "No-one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." In other words, they obejcted to the doctrine of election and human inability to turn to God, as taught by Augustine and  Calvin. It was not the Orthodox doctrine of the Eucharist which drove them away in this verse.

2) The Eucharist does very much have a relevance to our physical body, for our Lord said in his John 6 discourse, "And I will raise him up at the last day" (verse 40). The symbolism of the bread and wine, eaten (chomped, if you like) and drunk very much reminds us of God's eternal plan for our physical nature.

There! I am sure we could spend 500 years (as others have) sending arguments and counter-arguments to and fro, but one should be honest enough to admit that both your doctrine and ours can be candidly drawn from scripture.
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« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2009, 03:13:50 PM »

His disciples already knew that He was offering a "new way".  Why would they object to His being the Son?  It seems more likely (and it is the accepted Orthodox interpretation) that what disgusted them was that they would have to drink His blood.  Remember the Hebrew aversion to blood and consuming it from animals- how would they have felt about partaking of the flesh and blood of a Man? 

Some of my family are Baptists, so I know very well how they can "draw from Scripture" whatever it is they want to proof-text.  The difference is that among Orthodox, all are in agreement on the faith (if not outward organization) and the meaning of Scripture according to the unbroken Holy Tradition.  Any individual Baptist, such as yourself, can posit a claim for whatever point they want to make by pointing to a passage out of context or interpreting it on their own.
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« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2009, 01:53:09 PM »

Why would they object to His being the Son? 

Any individual Baptist, such as yourself, can posit a claim for whatever point they want to make by pointing to a passage out of context or interpreting it on their own.

1) No: I said they were objecting to the idea that they were unable to come to the Son of themselves, it had to be granted them by the Father; that is, they were dead in trespasses and sins, unable to respond to God's call, and needed his action to raise them from their spiritual death and draw them to Christ. Calvinists call these teachings "total depravity, unconditional election, irresistible grace". People always turn away from them.

2) Indeed he can - but I very much hope I don't do so!
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« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2009, 06:12:02 PM »

PUZZLED

I put this question on the Believer's Baptism thread, but no-one replied, but as it is basically the same question as the following, I thought I'd put it here as well and hope for elucidation.

Let us assume for one wild, elusive moment that you are all right, and that salvation comes via baptism and the Eucharist performed by an Orthodox priest. My twofold question is:

1) If it takes between two and three years between conversion and baptism, as the illuminand is taught the Faith, it must happen fairly often that someone professes faith but dies before he is baptised. What is his state of grace when he passes into eternity? Is he a child of God, a new creation in Christ, adopted as God's son, cleansed from sin, born of God? or is he lost?

2) There are times when it is not possible for the faithful to take Communion. We have mentioned Communist Albania in earlier exchanges, and it serves as an example. I know that (though I do not know why) the Evangelical community did not break bread during those years: my guess is that the missionaries who left in 1940 held a high view of the ministry - there had been a long-term Presbyterian input - and the believers assumed they needed an ordained minister. Be that as it may, what of the Orthodox? Many must have gone for months, years or even decades without the bread and wine. How then did they receive Christ and nourish their union with him during that time? How did it affect their salvation?

I am not trying to catch you in a contradiction in your theology - nothing like that: I am simply puzzled as to how you handle and explain such circumstances, for although we value and revere baptism and the Lord's Supper, we see them as nourishing rather than effecting our union with Christ.

A MERE SYMBOL – A BARE MEMORIAL

I wrote in an earlier post that you misunderstand me if you think I have been putting forward a view of the Lord’s Supper which could be described by the above words. That teaching is ascribed to Huldrych Zwingli, but those who read his writings say that his thoughts on the matter are unclear or inconsistent. Be that as it may, it is sometimes known as the Zwinglian view, and a good number of my friends probably hold it: it is not something we often discuss.

I have written elsewhere about why we do not believe in the epicletic transformation which Orthodoxy teaches, but I should add that it is not only or merely a symbol.

Certainly one purpose of the Communion is to help us to call to mind our Lord’s death for our redemption. But if it were only a symbol, the congregation might as well just watch when the minister breaks the bread, and watch the wine being poured; then the elements could be put away and everyone could go home.

Or the church could use a crucifix, or an empty cross, an icon, a painting of crucifixion, a picture of a hill with three crosses, or a model of an empty stone tomb.

But He gave us bread and wine and said “Eat… drink…” Why? Because it is more than just a symbol.

For one thing, the scriptures repeatedly tell us that man lives by bread, and when we ‘chomp’ (as one post says) the bread it becomes part of our physical body: Man ist, was man isst, as the Germans say: You are what you eat. Similarly, the wine enters the bloodstream, and you feel it – at least, in those churches which take sola scriptura seriously enough to use proper wine. All this points not only backwards to the crucifixion, but forwards to the resurrection of the body; and to the present, as we feed on Christ by faith.

The scriptures talk of Judah washing his vesture in the “blood of grapes” – a worthy symbol of our cleansing.

Crushed grapes are also associated with wrath, by Isaiah, Jeremiah, John: a worthy token of Christ’s suffering God’s wrath at Calvary in our stead.

The scriptures also describe wine as an evidence of God’s goodness, especially the Pentateuch and Psalms.

Isaiah begins his 55th chapter likening wine to salvation.

As we come and bear these biblical metaphors in mind, humbly and believingly, the Lord there and then by his Spirit strengthens, quickens, vivifies, deepens our faith and the Communion thus becomes a means of grace, an instrument in God’s hands of our growth in Christ.

In pointing towards the final Marriage Supper of the Lamb, when Jesus says he will again drink the fruit of the vine with us, it also reminds us that he is with us by the Holy Spirit as we gather at his Table: it is a real presence, but not (we believe) by transformed bread and wine but by spiritual grace and union.


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« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2009, 04:03:15 AM »

On the question on what happens to a believer who dies before entry into the Church via Baptism or Baptism-Chrismation, to my knowledge, there is such a thing as Baptism of (or was it "in" please correct me if I'm wrong) Blood. We believe that the person not yet baptized, has received the same grace of baptism because of the faith which he holds and has lived out.

I believe others can give a clearer explanation as I am still new to the faith.
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« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2009, 05:38:36 AM »

We believe that the person not yet baptized, has received the same grace of baptism because of the faith which he holds and has lived out.

I believe others can give a clearer explanation as I am still new to the faith.

Thank you. I should like to hear from the others you mention too on this; it seems to bring your belief remarkably near to ours, and it also seems to have some relevance to the question of such groups as the early Quakers and Salvation Army people, who practised no sacraments yet were very much men and women of fervent evangelical (small e-) trinitarian faith.

If what you say is true - and I suppose this ought really to be on the Baptism thread - it raises again the question of what 'eis' means in the Nicene Creed: one baptism "for" the remission of sins, for at a glance I can perceive no difference between what you write and what any Baptist would write.

More please...

(We may as well leave it on this thread, I suggest, as it is really a wider question regarding both sacraments (we have but two) and not only about baptism.)
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« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2009, 06:04:06 AM »

It would not be hard - though it would be time-consuming for us both - to go to learned theology tomes printed over the past 500 years, and even back over arguments advanced in the writings of different monks in the 700 years before that, and list all their arguments why the eucharistic references are better taken non-literally.

Certainly the monks and Christians of old Ireland took the Eucharist as the literal Body and Blood of Christ our Saviour.

Here is something from the Irish Leabhar Breac (pron. yower brek), the "Speckled Book," which is a compilation of mixed material starting from the 7th century.

It stresses, in a passage about the Eucharistic offering, the reality of the Body and Blood of Christ upon the altar.


"The body which was born of the Virgin Mary, without any stain,
without destruction of her virginity, without opening of the womb,
without presence of man, and which was crucified by the unbelieving
Jews out of spite and envy, and which arose after three days from
death, and sits upon the right hand of God the father in heaven, in
glory and in dignity before the angels of heaven. It is the body the
same as it is in this great glory, which the righteous consume off
God's table, that is, off the holy altar. For this body is the rich
medicine of the faithful, who journey through the paths of pilgrimage
and repentance of this world to the heavenly homeland. This is the
seed of the resurrection in the life eternal to the righteous."



The numerous extant ancient Irish monastic Rules contain references to the "realism" of the Presence of the Lord, and His continuing Presence in the consecrated species. These are most often in the context of penances for those who are irreverent or who neglect to receive Communion when they should. I once collected these passages, and I'll have a look on the computer and see where they have hidden themselves.
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« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2009, 06:54:19 AM »

It would not be hard - though it would be time-consuming for us both - to go to learned theology tomes printed over the past 500 years, and even back over arguments advanced in the writings of different monks in the 700 years before that, and list all their arguments why the eucharistic references are better taken non-literally.
.

Let's look at another monk, far removed from Ireland.   He lived in the city of Damascus.  He was Saint John of Damascus and he lived in the early 8th century, which is the timeframe you are asking about.

He wote a book called  "On the Orthodox Faith" - it was rather like the first catechism produced in the Church.

Here is part of Chapter 13.

Concerning the holy and immaculate Mysteries of the Lord.

"The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of
Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself.

"Wherefore with all fear and a pure conscience and certain faith let us draw
near and it will assuredly be to us as we believe, doubting nothing. Let us
worship it in all purity both of soul and body: for it is twofold. Let us
draw near to it with an ardent desire, and with our hands held in the form
of the cross let us receive the body of the Crucified One: and let us apply
our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, in order that
the fire of the longing, that is in us, with the additional heat derived
from the coal may utterly consume our sins and illumine our hearts, and that
we may be inflamed and deified by the participation in the divine fire.
Isaiah saw the coal. But coal is not plain wood but wood united with fire:
in like manner also the bread of the communion is not plain bread but bread
united with divinity."


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« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2009, 07:00:04 AM »

Ane more from this holy monk from the city of Damascus...


"But it is not beside the point to say that just as bread is naturally
changed by eating and wine and water by drinking into the body and blood of
the eater and drinker, without their becoming any other body than the body
of him who existed previously, so the bread which was prepared at the
offertory, the wine and water, too, by the invocation and coming of the Holy
Spirit are supernaturally changed into the body and blood of Christ in such
a way that they are not two things but one and the same... Nor are the
bread and wine the symbol of the body and blood of Christ, far from it! —but
the very body of the Lord endowed with divinity since the Lord himself said:
This is —not the symbol of Christ— but my body, nor the symbol of blood but
my blood."


Chaper 13.

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« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2009, 01:48:01 PM »

Let me try to explain how Orthodoxy looks to the outsider, including the teaching regarding the changed bread and wine. It is all to do with the seeming “accretions” Cleopas and I have mentioned, things we believe have been added by Orthodoxy to the pure and primitive Christian faith.

The idea that icons are a meeting-place between the living and the departed is strange to us.

The belief that the relics of the saints are a channel of God’s power and healing is also strange.

Praying to the saints is something we do not see in scripture.

Praying for the dead is not found in the Hebrew canon nor the New Testament.

Evangelicals do not pray to angels as do Orthodox; we prayer only to God.

We do not see chrismation – anointing with oil – as a sacrament whereby the Holy Spirit seals the new Christian.

We have no place for a sacrament of penance nor for confession to a priest as part of the ‘mechanism’ of entering or receiving God’s forgiveness.

The idea of priesthood is alien to our faith, and so therefore are vestments and other accompaniments to priesthood.

Linked to this is the belief in apostolic succession for ordination to the Christian ministry.

Baptismal regeneration is also something we fail to find in scripture, in the sense that baptism applied to an infant works a spiritual effect in the soul – or for that matter, to an adult, if not accompanied by repentance and inner faith.

Indeed, infant baptism itself cannot be specifically exemplified or taught from scripture.

We honour the Virgin Mary, but we see no teaching of her perpetual virginity in scripture, nor of her being ‘our Lady’ or the height of exaltation in the titles and rôles assigned to her by Orthodox.

It seems to us that the idea of the bread and wine of communion being changed into the Lord’s body and blood is another of these ‘accretions’: that is, this teaching is part of a much wider and longer-lasting process of adding to the faith once delivered to the saints.

So we have two problems:

1) Accepting Orthodox Holy Tradition as true and therefore accepting the concept of the changed bread and wine is not a change of belief in one matter, but (like the proverbial dominoes) leads to a whole chain of further changes. Once Tradition becomes our basis of belief, as the only valid hermeneutical principle for grasping the true faith taught in scripture, one must embrace all these ‘accretions’ and doubtless others too. Dare I say it is not a matter of a cafeteria (or buffet, as we say in Britain)? One must accept the whole banquet.

2) We have exchanged our different interpretations of the eucharistic passages of scripture, and we should (I think) concede that both the Protestant and the Orthodox teachings on this are entirely possible if one takes only the scriptures as one’s guide. Your teaching can indeed be taken from the Bible, as can ours. But your teachings on other ‘accretions’ listed above cannot be found in scripture; they are wholly a matter of Holy Tradition. Therefore, if you lead us forward from the New Testament to Ignatius then to Justin, Irenæus and so forth, you are not really adding only one teaching to us: you are in reality adding a whole package of teachings which we must accept. If on the other hand you worked backwards, and tried to convince us first of some of the later ‘accretions’ (if such they be), you would have a hard task. Working backwards in time, we should have had to swallow much more difficult ideas before we finally reached Ignatius as the earliest attestation of your eucharistic doctrines.

So when I ponder the question, “Are the Orthodox right about the Eucharist?” I cannot do so in isolation, but I must take into account that the answer “Yes”, from your starting-point, would of necessity lead unstoppably on to all the other ‘accretions’, which (unlike your eucharistic doctrine) are not mere possible interpretations of scripture, but are entirely absent from scripture.

That is the problem you must overcome. I am not sure I have expressed it very well, but do come back to me and ask me to try again if I haven’t.


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« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2009, 05:48:35 PM »

Let me try to explain how Orthodoxy looks to the outsider, including the teaching regarding the changed bread and wine. It is all to do with the seeming “accretions” Cleopas and I have mentioned, things we believe have been added by Orthodoxy to the pure and primitive Christian faith.

The idea that icons are a meeting-place between the living and the departed is strange to us.

The belief that the relics of the saints are a channel of God’s power and healing is also strange.

Praying to the saints is something we do not see in scripture.

Praying for the dead is not found in the Hebrew canon nor the New Testament.

Evangelicals do not pray to angels as do Orthodox; we prayer only to God.

We do not see chrismation – anointing with oil – as a sacrament whereby the Holy Spirit seals the new Christian.

We have no place for a sacrament of penance nor for confession to a priest as part of the ‘mechanism’ of entering or receiving God’s forgiveness.

The idea of priesthood is alien to our faith, and so therefore are vestments and other accompaniments to priesthood.

Linked to this is the belief in apostolic succession for ordination to the Christian ministry.

Baptismal regeneration is also something we fail to find in scripture, in the sense that baptism applied to an infant works a spiritual effect in the soul – or for that matter, to an adult, if not accompanied by repentance and inner faith.

Indeed, infant baptism itself cannot be specifically exemplified or taught from scripture.

We honour the Virgin Mary, but we see no teaching of her perpetual virginity in scripture, nor of her being ‘our Lady’ or the height of exaltation in the titles and rôles assigned to her by Orthodox.

It seems to us that the idea of the bread and wine of communion being changed into the Lord’s body and blood is another of these ‘accretions’: that is, this teaching is part of a much wider and longer-lasting process of adding to the faith once delivered to the saints.

So we have two problems:

1) Accepting Orthodox Holy Tradition as true and therefore accepting the concept of the changed bread and wine is not a change of belief in one matter, but (like the proverbial dominoes) leads to a whole chain of further changes. Once Tradition becomes our basis of belief, as the only valid hermeneutical principle for grasping the true faith taught in scripture, one must embrace all these ‘accretions’ and doubtless others too. Dare I say it is not a matter of a cafeteria (or buffet, as we say in Britain)? One must accept the whole banquet.

2) We have exchanged our different interpretations of the eucharistic passages of scripture, and we should (I think) concede that both the Protestant and the Orthodox teachings on this are entirely possible if one takes only the scriptures as one’s guide. Your teaching can indeed be taken from the Bible, as can ours. But your teachings on other ‘accretions’ listed above cannot be found in scripture; they are wholly a matter of Holy Tradition. Therefore, if you lead us forward from the New Testament to Ignatius then to Justin, Irenæus and so forth, you are not really adding only one teaching to us: you are in reality adding a whole package of teachings which we must accept. If on the other hand you worked backwards, and tried to convince us first of some of the later ‘accretions’ (if such they be), you would have a hard task. Working backwards in time, we should have had to swallow much more difficult ideas before we finally reached Ignatius as the earliest attestation of your eucharistic doctrines.

So when I ponder the question, “Are the Orthodox right about the Eucharist?” I cannot do so in isolation, but I must take into account that the answer “Yes”, from your starting-point, would of necessity lead unstoppably on to all the other ‘accretions’, which (unlike your eucharistic doctrine) are not mere possible interpretations of scripture, but are entirely absent from scripture.

That is the problem you must overcome. I am not sure I have expressed it very well, but do come back to me and ask me to try again if I haven’t.




And almost all of these issues are based on your theological presuppositions and flawed perspective on grace.
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« Reply #34 on: March 08, 2009, 06:08:21 PM »

almost all of these issues are based on

(a) your theological presuppositions and
(b) flawed perspective on grace.

(a) Obviously you are right, otherwise there wouldn't be anything to discuss on the discussion forums. But are you able for a few moments to imagine yourself into my presuppositions and see from that viewpoint what Orthodoxy is offering? That is, to "understand where I am coming from"? Not to persuade you, but for you to understand us, as I am (I think) gradually coming to understand you better.

(b) Grace? How are we wrong on grace? Or do you mean the channels through which the believer receives it?

But I am right, aren't I? It's all or nothing: it all belongs together 'of a piece'. I mean, if the basis for your eucharistic theology is Holy Tradition, then by accepting that I am led inevitably on to accept all the things I mentioned in my list which are not part of Evangelical life and faith? I mean, for example, a chap can't very well say, "I'll go along with you on ther Eucharist, but you're wrong about praying to the saints," can he?

(By the way, most or all of my list I owe to Bp Kallistos Ware's writings.)

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« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2009, 11:06:45 AM »

Sorry, when I first saw this I couldn't respond, and have been distracted otherwise:

How does David Young explain the fact that the Greek word used for "eat" ...translates to something like "chomp" or "grind"? 

Remember I am no spokesman for Protestantism - just a humble unknown with an interest in Orthodoxy! However, here are two offerings in answer to your question - neither of which (I feel sure) you will agree with!

1) What they drew away from was in fact the words in the previous verse (v. 65), "No-one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." In other words, they obejcted to the doctrine of election and human inability to turn to God, as taught by Augustine and  Calvin. It was not the Orthodox doctrine of the Eucharist which drove them away in this verse.

Since the doctrine of election and human inability to turn to God fits quite fine with the Middle Eastern predisposition to fatalism, whereas cannibalism is not a part of Middle Eastern cuisine or diet and so does not appear on the menu, I fail to see why they would be bothered by Calvin and not by us.

But that's a moot point, as the text itself is clear:
Quote
59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? 62 “What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? 63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.

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2) The Eucharist does very much have a relevance to our physical body, for our Lord said in his John 6 discourse, "And I will raise him up at the last day" (verse 40). The symbolism of the bread and wine, eaten (chomped, if you like) and drunk very much reminds us of God's eternal plan for our physical nature.
You are what (or Whom) you eat.

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There! I am sure we could spend 500 years (as others have) sending arguments and counter-arguments to and fro, but one should be honest enough to admit that both your doctrine and ours can be candidly drawn from scripture.

The Jews, Muslims,Mormons and atheists make the same claim.  How are you different?

almost all of these issues are based on

(a) your theological presuppositions and
(b) flawed perspective on grace.

(a) Obviously you are right, otherwise there wouldn't be anything to discuss on the discussion forums. But are you able for a few moments to imagine yourself into my presuppositions and see from that viewpoint what Orthodoxy is offering? That is, to "understand where I am coming from"? Not to persuade you, but for you to understand us, as I am (I think) gradually coming to understand you better.

The problem for some of us is that we were in those presuppositions and from that viewpoint saw what Orthodox is offering.  Myself, I was proselitzed by Baptists, the Vatican folks, JWs, Mormons, Muslims, Jews (my maternal grandmother was from a Jewish family), Evangelicals in the demoninational sense, non-Demoninational Protestants in the denominational sense.  But never the Orthodox: I stumbled upon it, and a disinterested agnostic pointed out that I had been won over by their argument I read.

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(b) Grace? How are we wrong on grace? Or do you mean the channels through which the believer receives it?

For starters, do you believe Grace is Created, or not?

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But I am right, aren't I? It's all or nothing: it all belongs together 'of a piece'. I mean, if the basis for your eucharistic theology is Holy Tradition, then by accepting that I am led inevitably on to accept all the things I mentioned in my list which are not part of Evangelical life and faith? I mean, for example, a chap can't very well say, "I'll go along with you on ther Eucharist, but you're wrong about praying to the saints," can he?

Why not?  You go along with us on the Canon of Scripture-a part of Tradition-but say we are wrong about Tradition's interpretation of it.

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(By the way, most or all of my list I owe to Bp Kallistos Ware's writings.)

Unfortunately his grace's Orthodoxy is not what it once was.
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« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2009, 12:56:41 PM »

Since the doctrine of election and human inability to turn to God fits quite fine with the Middle Eastern predisposition to fatalism, whereas cannibalism is not a part of Middle Eastern cuisine or diet and so does not appear on the menu, I fail to see why they would be bothered by Calvin and not by us.

You make a good point. I have ordered my Orthodox Study Bible (NT): doubtless it will shore up your argument here. I shall dwell on this further - and doubtless have to change my sermon notes for next time I preach on John 6. Maybe you are right and it was the concept of consuming his flesh and blood rather than the concept of human inability which repelled them.

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The Jews, Muslims,Mormons and atheists make the same claim.  How are you different?

I think we are different in many ways, not least by our acceptance of the Nicene Creed (notwithstanding discussion of the preposition 'eis'.) We are, I think, Christians: the others are not.

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For starters, do you believe Grace is Created, or not?

I probably don't understand the question. Which probably means my answer wouldn't be Orthodox even if I happened to stumble on the right words in replying. But I have no wish to devise a delphic answer: let's say, the question baffles me.

 
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you...say we are wrong about Tradition's interpretation of it [the canon of scripture].

That's not really what we have said. I think I said that your interpretation and ours regarding the eucharistic passages are both possible, if one takes only the text of scripture, but that other matters are not interpretations of things mentioned in scripture but are additional beliefs. In itself of course that does not mean they are wrong; but it does mean they are not interpretations of biblical passages. I listed some examples a few days ago and needn't repeat my list. It came largely from Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Church", so whether his Orthodoxy is not less orthodox than it once was or not, is probably not relevant, as that book is (I think) still highly regarded among you.

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« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2009, 05:29:28 PM »

I probably don't understand the question. Which probably means my answer wouldn't be Orthodox even if I happened to stumble on the right words in replying. But I have no wish to devise a delphic answer: let's say, the question baffles me.

In Orthodox theology, David, Grace is "Uncreated", that is, Grace is God Himself- it is the Uncreated Energy of the Holy Trinity. Grace, for us, is not something which did not exist and was called into being by God. Rather, Grace is God's Divine Energy emanating from Him, kind of like how sunshine emanates from the Sun.
No doubt you know the saying: "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun." To "go out in the sun" means to expose oneself to sunshine- it doesn't mean to actually stand "in the surface of the Sun". In the same way, we cannot make direct contact with the Nature of the Transcendent God (the Sun), however, we do directly encounter Him in His Divine Energies (the sunshine). This is Grace.
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« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2009, 06:11:04 PM »

Grace is "Uncreated", that is, Grace is God Himself- it is the Uncreated Energy of the Holy Trinity. Grace, for us, is not something which did not exist and was called into being by God. Rather, Grace is God's Divine Energy emanating from Him, kind of like how sunshine emanates from the Sun.

I don't think I've ever heard or read anything to the contrary. I thought that's what we all believe.
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« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2009, 06:29:27 PM »

I don't think I've ever heard or read anything to the contrary. I thought that's what we all believe.
Actually, Roman Catholics and some others hold that Grace is either created (gratia creata accidentalis) or uncreated (gratia increata substantialis), and the latter is identified as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
From the Orthodox point of view, the Uncreated Divine Energies emanate from all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity and they are not identified as being the Person of the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2009, 09:47:07 PM »

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We honour the Virgin Mary, but we see no teaching of her perpetual virginity in scripture, nor of her being ‘our Lady’ or the height of exaltation in the titles and rôles assigned to her by Orthodox.

Grace and Peace David,

Have you ever read the Protevangelium of James? You'll find 'a' foundation for Mary's Perpetual virginity there. It also seems to establish a foundation for what we tend to interpret as the infancy narrative of Our Lord being born in a cave as apposed to a house with an attached animal shelter as it the practice in Bethlehem.
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« Reply #41 on: April 27, 2009, 12:57:31 AM »

So when I ponder the question, “Are the Orthodox right about the Eucharist?” I cannot do so in isolation, but I must take into account that the answer “Yes”, from your starting-point, would of necessity lead unstoppably on to all the other ‘accretions’, which (unlike your eucharistic doctrine) are not mere possible interpretations of scripture, but are entirely absent from scripture.

That is the problem you must overcome. I am not sure I have expressed it very well, but do come back to me and ask me to try again if I haven’t.

I guess, for me, it's just a package deal!
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« Reply #42 on: April 27, 2009, 07:46:14 AM »

Grace and Peace David,

Have you ever read the Protevangelium of James?

Thank you - yes. Someone pointed me to it, and I found it most informative. (I believe it was GreekChef or Handmaiden who directed me there.)
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« Reply #43 on: April 27, 2009, 09:12:22 AM »

I don't think I've ever heard or read anything to the contrary. I thought that's what we all believe.
Actually, Roman Catholics and some others hold that Grace is either created (gratia creata accidentalis) or uncreated (gratia increata substantialis), and the latter is identified as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
From the Orthodox point of view, the Uncreated Divine Energies emanate from all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity and they are not identified as being the Person of the Holy Spirit.
The Catholic Church rejects the idea that Grace is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit only and not the other Three persons of the Trinity.
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« Reply #44 on: April 27, 2009, 09:21:52 AM »

I don't think I've ever heard or read anything to the contrary. I thought that's what we all believe.
Actually, Roman Catholics and some others hold that Grace is either created (gratia creata accidentalis) or uncreated (gratia increata substantialis), and the latter is identified as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
From the Orthodox point of view, the Uncreated Divine Energies emanate from all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity and they are not identified as being the Person of the Holy Spirit.
The Catholic Church rejects the idea that Grace is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit only and not the other Three persons of the Trinity.

Perhaps I have misunderstood the Catholic Encyclopedia, but it seems to suggest this:

"The crowning point of justification is found in the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is the perfection and the supreme adornment of the justified soul. Adequately considered, the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit consists of a twofold grace, the created accidental grace (gratia creata accidentalis) and the uncreated substantial grace (gratia increata substantialis). The former is the basis and the indispensable assumption for the latter; for where God Himself erects His throne, there must be found a fitting and becoming adornment. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the soul must not be confounded with God's presence in all created things, by virtue of the Divine attribute of Omnipresence. The personal indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the soul rests so securely upon the teaching of Holy Writ and of the Fathers that to deny it would constitute a grave error. In fact, St. Paul (Romans 5:5) says: "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us". In this passage the Apostle distinguishes clearly between the accidental grace of theological charity and the Person of the Giver. From this it follows that the Holy Spirit has been given to us, and dwells within us (Romans 8:11), so that we really become temples of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 3:16 sq.; 6:19). Among all the Fathers of the Church (excepting, perhaps, St. Augustine) it is the Greeks who are more especially noteworthy for their rapturous utterances touching the infusion of the Holy Ghost. Note the expressions: "The replenishing of the soul with balsamic odours", "a glow permeating the soul", "a gilding and refining of the soul". Against the Pneumatomachians they strive to prove the real Divinity of the Holy Spirit from His indwelling, maintaining that only God can establish Himself in the soul; surely no creature can inhabit any other creatures. But clear and undeniable as the fact of the indwelling is, equally difficult and perplexing is it in degree to explain the method and manner (modus) of this indwelling."
Source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06701a.htm
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