Sunday, March 30, 2008

Transubstantiation & The Early Church

While those who reject even “Real Presence” are so wrong on this critical issue that we can call them Christian only on account of their baptism, those who accept a modified version of “Real Presence” while rejecting Transubstantiation are considerably more reasonable.

I intend to demonstrate here however, that their viewpoints are still unreasonable in light of sacred tradition. To ensure we’re all on the same page, Real Presence without Transubstantiation is, in various forms, the belief that Christ’s body is truly made present during the act of receiving the Eucharist and the Christian truly receives Him body, blood, soul & divinity but the bread itself remains bread. Before I get into proof-texts (as Steven at Wedgewords showed in his post on "Bishop" Ridley arguing that the Church fathers rejected Transubstantiation, two can play at that game) I will argue from an ecclesiological stand point.

To accept this patently impotent doctrine (Real Presence without Transubstantiation) we would first need to reject much of what we know on the development of doctrine. Cardinal Newman explained in his essay on the same topic: as the bible should first be interpreted by light of the early Church fathers, the early Church fathers themselves should first be interpreted by the light of the later Church fathers. In other words, sacred tradition is a continuous, uninterrupted phenomenon (of divine origin). Breaking the chain of development in the interest of preserving your personal doctrine or private objection to the teaching of the Church cannot be seen as a valid. While the early Church fathers do not spell out the doctrine of Transubstantiation as clearly as the council of Trent, neither did they spell out an even more critical doctrine, the Trinity, until the council of Nicaea. Rejecting the final refinement of what we now call Transubstantiation is as invalid then, as rejecting the Nicene version of the Trinity. Because it is entirely responsible for such absolutely vital developments in Christian doctrine, sacred tradition must be fully trusted (as divinely guided) if we are to trust the Christian faith at all.

These attempts to reinterpret the Church fathers according to 16th century heresies are perfect examples of wanting to have one’s cake and eat it too (they want to feel connected to the early Church without actually adhering to their doctrine). But believing that Christ is made fully present only in receiving the Eucharist is worse than wanting to have your cake and eat it too; it’s wanting to eat your cake without actually having it.

And now for the proof-texting (which I will keep short). In regards to the quotes from the fathers in the above link, I can say first of all that even if it really were true and the fathers he quotes from didn't believe in Transubstantiation (even if they actually understood it fully and rejected it) it would not discount the doctrine. (The "mere Real Presence" doctrine would have a bit more credibility than it does presently if such were the case but Rome has spoken and the timeless voice of the Church is more authoritative than one's personal interpretation of a given Church father - or even the actual beliefs of an isolated Church father).

That being said, it is clear he (Ridley) reads the fathers very selectively. I suspect that he does the same with the Scriptures like many others of his persuasion. He quotes Chrysostom against Transubstantiation but I didn't see him mention the following quote:

It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered.
He (Steven at Wedgewords) says that Ridley briefly mentions Ambrose. I'm sure it was quite brief since of the early fathers and their understanding of Transubstantiation, Ambrose has among the clearest. I've quoted him here in this post and here again (found in the Catholic catechism directly following Chrysostom's quote above):
Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what the blessing has consecrated. The power of the blessing prevails over that of nature, because by the blessing nature itself is changed. . . . Could not Christ's word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their original nature than to change their nature.
He also did not bring up this argument from Chrysostom:
Let us then in everything believe God, and gainsay Him in nothing, though what is said seem to be contrary to our thoughts and senses, but let His word be of higher authority than both reasonings and sight. Thus let us do in the mysteries also, not looking at the things set before us, but keeping in mind His sayings.

For His word cannot deceive, but our senses are easily beguiled. That has never failed, but this in most things goes wrong. Since then the word says,"This is my body," let us both be persuaded and believe, and look at it with the eyes of the mind.

For Christ has given nothing sensible, but though in things sensible yet all to be perceived by the mind. So also in baptism, the gift is bestowed by a sensible thing, that is, by water; but that which is done is perceived by the mind, the birth, I mean, and the renewal. For if you had been incorporeal, He would have delivered you the incorporeal gifts bare; but because the soul has been locked up in a body, He delivers you the things that the mind perceives, in things sensible.

How many now say, I would wish to see His form, the mark, His clothes, His shoes. Lo! you see Him, Thou touchest Him, you eat Him. And thou indeed desirest to see His clothes, but He gives Himself to you not to see only, but also to touch and eat and receive within you.

Let then no one approach it with indifference, no one faint-hearted, but all with burning hearts, all fervent, all aroused. (Homily on Matthew 82:4)
As for Tertullian, keeping in mind that he often referred to the Eucharist not as bread or as a symbol of Christ but as "The Body of the Lord", a particularly strong quote of his is of course:
The Sacrament of the Eucharist, which the Lord commanded to be taken at meal times and by all, we take even before daybreak in congregations... We offer sacrifices for the dead on their birthday anniversaries.... We take anxious care lest something of our Cup or Bread should fall upon the ground.
This isn't to say that Tertullian didn't have his fair share of errors...and his contemporary Origen (not a complete stranger to theological error himself) did similarly say:
You are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries, so you know how, when you have received The Body of the Lord, you reverently exercise every care lest a particle of it fall, and lest anything of the consecrated gift perish....how is it that you think neglecting the word of God a lesser crime than neglecting His Body? (Homilies on Exodus 13:3)
So it makes me wonder what kind of scholarly dishonesty could overlook such things. I am by no means pulling out a great litany of proof texts on this subject. If you want one, here is a good list of Church father quotes on the Eucharist. On the other hand, I think Mr. Ridley's list of anti-transubstantiation is nearly exhaustive. There is just barely anything that one could twist or misread enough to think the fathers rejected this doctrine.

On a similar note, Dr. Francis Nigel Lee argues in this piece entitled "Two Hundred Theses Against Transubstantiation" that:
2. Some of the stranger attempts of Rome to defend this view (first doctrinally determined at the Fourth Lateran Council of A.D. 1215f), include appeals to Exodus 7:9-12 and various Johannine pronouncements that Christ has come "in the flesh." In the first passage, however -- where God predicts the staff of Moses would turn into a serpent -- Rome forgets that, after it occurred, this staff had lost its 'accidents' and really looked like a serpent – and that it gobbled up the de-staffed serpents of the sorcerers. But after consecration, the Romish Mass still looks like bread and wine!
Now, wait a minute. Did the fathers teach this doctrine and defend it or didn't they? Because what Dr. Lee sees as "Rome" defending a heretical doctrine by poor reasoning was first brought up by St. Ambrose (see the link above) defending this doctrine in the 4th century. You may read his piece and see how far one is willing to stretch historical credibility to deny a basic Christian dogma, but I would sooner recommend Dave Armstrong's discussion on the same subject (specifically on Calvin's Eucharistic theology versus St. Cyril of Jerusalem's).

17 comments:

Phil Snider said...

Interesting entry and helpful in its way in explaining how Roman Catholics can and do argue that transsubstantiation is implicit in the Church Fathers. Particularly, the quote from Cardinal Newman is very helpful in understanding the hermeneutical principle behind this kind of argument. I had always wondered why the arguments based on the development of doctrine have so much force in Roman Catholic theology.

Yet, it is in this hermeneutical principle that I have an issue because I think the relationship between the Bible, the early Fathers and the later Fathers is more complex and, frankly, more historical than presented in Cardinal Newman's principle. My problems are as follows:

First, where does this chain stop? That is, there is no doubt that doctrine develops over time and that, usually, this is in the direction of greater definition. That means we shouldn't expect earlier Fathers to be as precise as the later tradition is on a certain issue. Yet, does this mean that each successive generation understands the faith better, so that our understanding of Scripture trumps every other generation. I don't think you are saying this, but can you see how liberalism can creep in on this kind of progressive view of tradition?

Second, this model of doctrine presumes that the later theologians actually are right in their formulations which raises the question of why bother to even cite earlier theologians in the first place. Furthermore, how do we know they are right? We could argue that their formulations are not in conflict with earlier tradition, but I think it takes a leap to say this is what they meant. I'm enough of a historian to squirm at the invitation to anachronism implied by Cardinal Newman here, so I'm really dubious about this connection.

Third, while I grant the development of doctrine value in a theological argument, it is more along the line that a given solution must not be in conflict with the Bible or, ideally, the tradition. If it is not, that is a point in its favour. This is why I would not dismiss transsubstantiation completely as an explanation of the Real Prescence, but I'm not prepared to say that this is what the earlier Fathers meant. There are other ways of construing the passages you quote.

Lastly, let me remind you that, by basing your argument on Cardinal Newman's hermeneutical principle, you have already lost your Protestant audience. Protestants who like the Fathers (i.e. in the same theological universe as I inhabit) repeatedly emphasize the opposite hermeneutic. That is, that the authority of the Fathers is entirely dependent on their congruence with Scripture. That is, we test the Fathers against Scripture, not as Scripture with the earlier Fathers and the later Fathers with all of them as Cardinal Newman seems to be saying. You are already facing an uphill battle if you truly want to convince a Protestant of your position.

Now, for the record, I'm not prepared to dismiss transsubstantiation entirely, but I will say that I don't think the patristic record endorses it either. That something real is happening, I fully accept, but, frankly, I just don't know how it works. And, at the end of the day, I don't have to. God knows what he's doing with it and that is enough for me.
Peace, Phil

Pontificator said...

I am always amused when someone cites the Fathers in support of a Reformed understanding of the Eucharist, whether it be Calvin, Ridley, or Waterland. It is true that specific citations from specific individuals (Augustine being the principal culprit) can be invoked, but there is no question that the Church Fathers, as a whole, believed in a realistic understanding of the eucharistic presence. Darwell Stone's *A History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist* remains the best book in English on this subject. Sadly, it has not yet been archived, but it has recently been reprinted. On the question of the Eucharist, evangelicals and Reformed cannot creditably appeal to the Church Fathers.

But I think we may concede that "transubstantiation," as it was formulated, e.g., by Thomas Aquinas, was unknown to the Church Fathers, because Aquinas's formulation is dependent upon Berengar in the same way that the Nicene formulation of the Trinity is dependent upon Arius. But this does not mean that we do not find the roots of the doctrine in the Church Fathers. In my essay "Eating Christ" I suggested that the consensual eucharistic dogma should be termed "real identification."

Tim A. Troutman said...

Phil & Pontificator: thanks for the comments.

Phil,

You said:

"I think the relationship between the Bible, the early Fathers and the later Fathers is more complex and, frankly, more historical than presented in Cardinal Newman's principle."

You're definitely right about that. I was just paraphrasing a principle that he spoke about in the introduction to his book-length essay on the subject. He goes into considerable detail to defend and expound this principle which I haven't completed reading yet.

"First, where does this chain stop?"

Thats a fair question and a good one. There must be a line somewhere. This would lead us though back to the question of ecclesiology. This sort of hermeneutic could never work within the Protestant theological framework but not because the principle itself is flawed but because it can only make perfect sense given the Catholic ecclesiology. Protestants aren't off the hook though by merely discounting Catholic ecclesiology. I think they still have to wrestle with this problem, only that it cannot make perfect sense within their ecclesiology. In other words just because it doesn't fit doesn't mean it's false. We must allow for the possibility that our ecclesiology may be wrong.

And the point I was alluding to which has been made ad nauseum on this subject is that if we are going to reject Transubstantiation because this 'development of doctrine' doesn't fit our ecclesiology then we can just as easily reject the Trinity on the same grounds.

"Yet, does this mean that each successive generation understands the faith better, so that our understanding of Scripture trumps every other generation. I don't think you are saying this, but can you see how liberalism can creep in on this kind of progressive view of tradition?"

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you here but I would like to bring up an interesting point on this subject that had never crossed my mind until recently. Chesterton pointed out, as he often does, in his book "Heretics" that the real "progressives" in society aren't (what we would call) the liberals - the "open minded".. A truly progressive person not only respects and learns from tradition but he assumes it. In a progressive world, we end up not with broader minds and ambiguous ideals but with more dogmas and laws which are even narrower than our ancestors. To quote directly from Chesterton (or rather my memory if it serves me well) "Trees have no dogmas and turnips are singularly broad minded." Therefore, what some think of as progression is actually digression.

It is in that same spirit that I think we can imagine a sensible solution to your question. I am not discounting your point though, I think it's a valid one. Still, I do think that we have some superiority over the early Christians in that we have a greater "deposit of faith" or database to work from. Those earliest Christians didn't have the concept of Trinity that we have and then it should come as no surprise that they may not have phrased Eucharistic theology exactly like Aquinas did.

"Second, this model of doctrine presumes that the later theologians actually are right in their formulations which raises the question of why bother to even cite earlier theologians in the first place. Furthermore, how do we know they are right?"

In the same sort of way we know that the Bible is right. Faith is intimately involved (but not only faith). It does make sense but one doesn't have to understand it fully. It requires having the same sort of trust in the Church as in the written Word. As I've already mentioned before, Protestants have this level of trust on certain doctrinal developments (like the Trinity and the canon) but not others (like Transubstantiation, Mariology etc) and this is not only inconsistent ...it's theologically problematic.

"Third, while I grant the development of doctrine value in a theological argument, it is more along the line that a given solution must not be in conflict with the Bible or, ideally, the tradition."

Catholics agree that everything must line up with the Scriptures. The Scriptures are inerrant - the early Church fathers are not. Nothing can be in conflict with the Scriptures and still be true. But this only begs the question - who authoritatively interprets the Scripture? And we're back to our ecclesiological square 1. You know what I would say here.

The Church teaches that by Christ saying "this is My Body", His words affect the status of a bread in the sort of way (at least metaphorically) that a general would say to a private "you are a sergeant" and by the general's very words in that instant, the private is no longer a private but a sergeant.

"Lastly, let me remind you that, by basing your argument on Cardinal Newman's hermeneutical principle, you have already lost your Protestant audience."

My primary concern was to show that Mr. Ridley's quotes were hardly adequate arguments against early Church father belief in Transubstantiation. In fact, they're not even close. Whatever one chooses to believe, the real evidence is stacked in favor of Transubstantiation.

"the authority of the Fathers is entirely dependent on their congruence with Scripture. That is, we test the Fathers against Scripture, not as Scripture with the earlier Fathers"

I never said we test the Scriptures by the early fathers - I said we should first interpret the Scriptures by the light of the early Fathers. Or perhaps a better way to say it is: we should test our 21st century interpretations of Scripture by their 1st, 2nd & 3rd century ones. The opposite of which would be testing the fathers by our 21st century interpretations of Scripture which would be a little silly and unfortunately is the practical application of "testing the fathers by Scripture". And in our 21st century interpretations of Scripture, we have an enormous amount of tradition built in whether we're Protestant, Catholic or Hindu. The question then becomes, does our tradition extend back to the apostles?

This doesn't mean the fathers aren't subject to the Scriptures. In reality they are. But it is for the Church to say who is and who isn't and on which points. Again - we're back to ecclesiology.

Phil Snider said...

Tim;

One or two things occur to me on reading your comments.

First, could you clarify what you mean by saying that the hermeutical concerns I raised are solved with reference to ecclesiology? I have a glimmer of what you mean, but I'm really not sure here.

Second, I had been wondering when we would run into this issue, but I do have to ask. What is the authority of St. Thomas Aquinas in your scheme. He did, after all, enunciate the current position on transsubstantiation which was later taken up by the Council of Trent (I think I'm right on that). Is his authority equivilent to the Fathers or is it inferior? This is an important question, of course, because, if you are right that Aquinas merely formulated the position held by the Fathers more precisely, this would seem to suggest a similar degree of authority in his writings. Could you clarify this?

Peace,
Phil

Tim A. Troutman said...

Phil - I just meant that you're right : given a Protestant ecclesiology, Newman's hermeneutic principle doesn't work. I don't necessarily assert that assuming a Catholic ecclesiology would appease all objections one might otherwise have to this principle (I haven't really thought about it).

As for Aquinas, I'm not really one to say or talk about how much authority he has or doesn't have. He is a "doctor of the Church" and as I understand it, pretty well recognized as the greatest. He did make theological errors though (albeit only a couple according to the Church). It is the council of Trent that had the real authority.

I know this doesn't really answer your question - I just don't know the answer.

Pontificator said...

Thomas Aquinas's contributions to the Church's understanding and formulation of the eucharistic presence are immense and even decisive. But the Council of Trent did not dogmatize his formulation of transubstantiation, just as the Council of Nicaea did not dogmatize Athanasius' specific formulation of the Holy Trinity. For one thing, not all the Tridentine Fathers were Thomists. Some were Scotists, and Scotists disagree with Aquinas on key points on transubstantiation. Trent quite deliberately refrained from arbitrating between disagreements between the schools.

Regarding the hermeneutics of dogma, Cardinal Manning formulated the matter quite pointedly:

"The doctrines of the Church in all ages are primitive. It was the charge of the Reformers that the Catholic doctrines were not primitive, and their pretension was to revert to antiquity. But the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be Divine. How can we know what antiquity was except through the Church? No individual, no number of individuals can go back through eighteen hundred years to reach the doctrines of antiquity. We may say with the woman of Samaria, 'Sir, the well is deep, and thou hast nothing to draw with.' No individual mind now has contact with the revelation of Pentecost, except through the Church. Historical evidence and biblical criticism are human after all, and amount at most to no more than opinion, probability, human judgment, human tradition.

"It is not enough that the fountain of our faith be Divine. It is necessary that the channel be divinely constituted and preserved…. [T]he Church contains the fountain of faith in itself, and is not only the channel divinely created and sustained, but the very presence of the spring-head of the water of life, ever fresh and ever flowing in all ages of the world. I may say in strict truth that the Church has no antiquity. It rests upon its own supernatural and perpetual consciousness. Its past is present with it, for both are one to a mind which is immutable. Primitive and modern are predicates, not of truth, but of ourselves. The Church is always primitive and always modern at one and the same time; and alone can expound its own mind, as an individual can declare its own thoughts. 'For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him? So the things also that are of God no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God.' The only Divine evidence to us of what was primitive is the witness and voice of the Church at this hour." (The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost [1881], pp. 227-228.)

Newman would probably want to qualify some of this, but I think that he would agree with the gist of Manning's argument.

Tim A. Troutman said...

Pontificator: great quotes. Thanks for chiming in that is very helpful.

Steven W said...

Tim,

While these are Bishop Ridley's quotes and not my own, I think we can perhaps understand him more charitably than a simple and "deceptive" (your term) proof-texting.

In his day, there were several classic phrases that served to illustrate the larger whole. He felt that once these phrases were expounded, the larger language could be understood in terms of it.

For instance, we can harmonize all of your Chrysostom quotes with the ones Ridley gave, especially such, what he feels to be decisive, expressions as: "not the true body of Christ, but the mystery of the body" and "although the nature of the bread tarry in it still."

Especially important is to notice that Chrysostom will change what he "calls" the bread.

So I think you need to at least try to see what Ridley is up to here.

Also, I purposefully left out his citations of Origen because of the wider criticism I knew would come on him (though I personally like Origen a lot). I think the quote you listed is actually pointed at emphasizing the proper handling of the word. Origen is using the common practice of his day as a lever by which to move to something else.

The majority of the Fathers serve equally well for all of the positions articulated during the time of the Reformation (except for the Anabaptists, of course). I do think that one has to affirm that the patristics typically affirmed the continuing presence of the bread's substance, even after consecration, so certain forms of transsub. seem to be out of bounds.

Other than that, I'd say it is rather inconclusive. Whenever the Reformers engaged the Lutherans, for example, they tended to stick to the question of ubiquity, for they saw much more aid from the Patristics on that question.

Steven W said...

Scratch "deceptive." Your word was "dishonest."

Tim A. Troutman said...

Steve, as Aquilina said of Tertullian, no one ever accused me of excessive tact.

I don't know Ridley and I didn't even read his piece that you're referencing. It is sort of an underlying belief of mine that there is some dishonesty going on with anyone who can look at the early Church fathers and come out thinking like the reformers. The dishonesty lies first and foremost (perhaps exclusively) with one's self. As a result, when he writes a piece like this, the "dishonesty" has already done its damage - I'm quite sure he's being honest now. He really believes it but only because he hasn't been completely honest with himself. Not that I go around psychoanalyzing like this - I just wanted to clarify in what sense I meant dishonesty.

Still a better way to say it would have been "I disagree with him".

As for reconciling Chrysostom's quotes one with another, I have no doubt whatsoever one could do it. Apologetic work is more of an art than a science. We all know what kind of crazy reconciliations can be made if we have our backs against the wall. One needn't look further than our Scriptures to see how long we are willing to "sit still" to borrow from Pelikan's illustration of Protestants' (while he still was one) reconciliation of certain Johanine texts versus their rejection of something to do with Mariology... Can't remember at the moment.

Anyhow, I'm not interested in clever reconciliations or apologies and I don't think you are either. We all just want to know the truth of it. I didn't spend much time proof-texting for this very reason. I can proof-text all day long and so can you, Ridley or anyone else. And it's not likely, from my perspective, that anyone who can proof-text their way out of James chapter 2 (particularly verse 24) in favor of a Protestant understanding of justification is going to be convinced by any amount of text I am able to produce from the fathers. How much easier it is to proof-text one's way out of an errant document than an inerrant one. If they can do so with the latter (and they can), the former is a walk in the park.

You said:
"I do think that one has to affirm that the patristics typically affirmed the continuing presence of the bread's substance, even after consecration,"

I don't think so. I can think of a select few quotes that would be ambiguous on the subject and maybe one or two that seems to imply consubstantiation but this does not amount to a typical affirmation. It merely amounts to a few fathers being sloppy with their language primarily because they weren't dealing with heresies which denied the liturgical norms of Transubstantiation (however they might have varied from ours).

From the Eastern mass of Chrysostom (which I frequent) how one could walk away understanding anything less than Transubstantiation is utterly beyond me. I haven't studied the history of the liturgy so I don't know how much it has changed over the centuries but I would need to see some pretty hefty arguments if one were going to try and convince me that the entire driving substance of the liturgy has completely evolved.

You said:
"Other than that, I'd say it is rather inconclusive."

That's a fair position. But to dismiss it as inconclusive isn't - not for such a critical doctrine. After all, it's either idolatry or a divinely ordained cult. Again, we are brought back to the question of ecclesiology. We trust the voice of the Church (as she has always existed) as divine and her interpretations as authoritative or we re-define "Church" to that which preaches the gospel as we ourselves see it.

Steven W said...

I don't know Ridley and I didn't even read his piece that you're referencing. It is sort of an underlying belief of mine that there is some dishonesty going on with anyone who can look at the early Church fathers and come out thinking like the reformers.

Well my only advice for you is to not continue the role of e-apologist until you've simmered down for a while.

This sort of presumption is condescending and you'll come to regret it later on. It is the biggest problem in RCC/EO and Protestant dialog.

Tim A. Troutman said...

Thanks for the advice but I think I'm well within my rights.

I said I think Ridley is guilty of "dishonest scholarship" you disagree. As far as I'm concerned, that's the extent of the damage done.

If you're not convinced by my arguments, then we can just leave it where it is. But as for whether or not I will stop defending my faith... well I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

Steven W said...

To say that anyone who can read the Church Fathers and come out "thinking like the Reformers" is being dishonest and that this is the underlying presupposition that fuels your treatment of such individuals is the problem.

Just trust me on this one. I've done the same thing contra Roman Catholics, and it isn't good for anybody.

Assume the person is being honest, but is just wrong.

Tim A. Troutman said...

Steven, in my first reply I said:

"Still a better way to say it would have been "I disagree with him". "

You didn't like me calling him dishonest. I get it.

Tom said...

Father Adrian Fortescue's work The Greek Fathers does an excellent job of demonstrating that the Eastern Fathers believed that the bread and wine at the consecration (the question of the epiclesis or the words is where there is some difference) become the body and blood of our Lord. Truly reading the Fathers and seeking what they believed will lead one to either Rome or the East, not Wittenberg or Geneva or Canterbury. Then the question becomes did the Greek Fathers accept Roman juridical primacy. Any other conclusion is at best a selective reading of the Fathers.

Tom said...

Tim,

I just read Dr. Lee's comments. Surely he can't be serious that the Road to Emmaus account does not lead to a Eucharistic understanding. The two disciples say explicitly, "we recognized Him in the breaking of the bread." At the moment of the breaking of the bread our Lord is gone in His physical presence and is there in His substantive presence. That's the whole point of the story. In fact, this story provides the paradigm for the Divine Liturgy (Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist). Then to say St. Ignatius does not teach that the Eucharist is the flesh of Jesus Christ when he actually quotes him saying just that is simply bewildering. I would love to see a Teaching Elder on the floor of Presbytery say that he believes that the Eucharist is the flesh (the self-same flesh) of Jesus Christ and see what would happen. The argument often goes, The Roman Church can't be the Church because, well, she just can't be the Church!

Tim A. Troutman said...

Tom, thanks for the comments. You're right - Dr. Lee made a number of mistakes in that essay. Another big blunder is that he said John 6 had absolutely nothing to do with the Eucharist! Talk about a stretch of credibility...