“You must eat my body and drink my blood”

“You must eat my body and drink my blood or you have no life in you.” (John 6:53)The Ultimate Gift: Communion (Walford's Advent Cross, as backdrop), Jan 2009 by johnwalford

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OK.  Jesus said it.  He says “truly, truly…” before he says it.

Do you really think it is quite as serious as that? Or are we making too much of this command?

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210 Responses

  1. The word used for “to eat” in that sentence is phago, which can mean literally or figuratively. If he meant it literally we would all be doomed because it’s impossible to do. Rather he meant it in a figurative sense, so as to say we must take in, or receive the sacrifice that his body provided as payment for our sins in order to be saved.

  2. I tend to take Christ for what he says. We should believe him when he speaks, not just believe in him when he dies on the cross for us. I don’t know that there is a difference between believing in him, and believing him, but many seem to make this distinction when it comes to sacraments. We will believe in him for our salvation, but we won’t believe him when he says this is my body, this cup is the New Testament in my blood.
    There is honest debate over whether or not John 6 is speaking about the Lord’s Supper, or not. I fall on the side that says not all of the discourse is about the Lord’s Supper, but he is definitely hinting at things to come in some of it.
    Part of this is just realizing in what way Christ communicates the efficaciousness of His sacrifice to us. Sacrifices in the O.T. were consumed, in sharing a meal with God, in eating that which he had sanctified, his sanctification was communicated to the person eating. So here when we eat his perfect sacrifice for us, we participate in that sacrifice. He gives us his body, and his blood as holy food to eat and to drink.

  3. Dorci,
    Why can’t we literally eat his body? And drink his blood? I think I do every Sunday.
    And just about any word can be taken literally or figuratively.

  4. He’s GOD. He can indeed give us his real live physically body to eat and to drink. He’s not bound to *our* physical world, nor is he stuck up there on the right hand of the Father, tethered to his throne.

    Besides, in just the verse before, when the Jews are all horrified that Jesus is saying such an outrageous thing, “Eat my body, drink my blood,” Jesus doesn’t correct them and say “oh, no, I didn’t mean ACTUALLY eat my flesh!” Instead, he makes it “worse” and says, “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”

    I know, it doesn’t make logical sense, and what’s more, it sounds horrifying and gross — about as horrifying, gross, and non-nonsensical as the idea that one man could propitiate the wrath of God by being tortured to death by a Roman. But hey, that’s what it says.

  5. I am cooking, can you tell. Nothing is burning.

    In my new Bavarian state church hymn book there is a confession in the back, which I have never read before: the ” Leuenberger Koncordie.” (1973) Certainly, you guys will be better informed than me.

    What it says, in trying to agree with others is: “In the Lord’s Supper the risen Jesus Christ gives as a gift his body and blood, which was sacrificed once and for all, with the bread and wine. In this way he gives himself without conditions to all who receive the bread and wine; faith receives this meal to salvation, unbelief to judgment.”

    What do you think? Clear enough? The lutheran/reformed united churches subscribe to this. It does not say anything specifically about forgiveness of sins. It says to salvation.

  6. Bror – Well, first, if that were even possible, it would be cannabalism. Second, it isn’t possible. Jesus’ body and blood are in heaven. When I take communion, it really is a cracker and grape juice. I don’t taste flesh and I don’t taste blood.

    Jesus also said in John 6:48, “I am the bread of life.” Does that mean that he is literally bread? No. It is a figure of speech to show that He was our spiritual sustenance.

    Jesus didn’t clear up a lot of things that He said because they didn’t want to hear. He said, “He who has ears let him hear.” Or those who truly want to understand He would make Himself known. Many times after telling a confusing parable his disciples would pull him aside later and ask Him to explain what He meant. He spoke in allegory quite frequently, using something abstract to convey a spiritual message.

    Nothing magical happens to the elements as we take them. We take communion as a representation of what Jesus told His disciples at the last supper, “as often as you drink the cup and eat the bread, remember me.” It’s a special time of remembering Jesus’ great sacrifice that was given as penalty for our sins.

  7. Elizabeth Hardwick took Flannery O’Connor to dinner at Mary McCarthy’s apartment, where McCarthy conceded that the communion wafer was a symbol of the Holy Ghost and a pretty good one, whereupon Flannery made her famous reply, “Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.”

    I agree with Flannery O’Connor on this one.

    If it boils down to just something that WE DO…then forget about it. It’s pretty much useless.

  8. This is the Gospel of the Lord.

    Praise to Thee O Christ.

  9. It’s pretty clear from what Paul teaches us in the passage in 1 Corinthians 10 (what I term the overlooked passage on sacraments) that we’re not dealing with something merely symbolic here. The early church was charged by the authorities with cannibalism because of the way it viewed the supper, and it’s pretty clear to see, when reading passages, for example, from Justin’s writings, why -there was no ambiguity on the matter. Later adjustments to this understanding in both Romanism and Genevan strands of Protestantism would simply have been alien to the life and faith of the church of the first few centuries.

  10. theoldadam, why would it be useless? It’s not the act of eating Jesus Christ that saves us, we are already saved through faith in Him.

    And it’s not just something that we do outwardly, it’s something that we do inwardly at that time (not that we shouldn’t do it at other times, but that’s when we corporately do it with our brothers and sisters) to focus on Jesus’ sacrfice, to seek Him in those moments and make sure our hearts are right – that we haven’t let in any unconfessed sin, and if we do to repent of it, so that we’re not making a mockery of His sacrifice through the way we live. It’s a very important time of spiritual reflection, not just a religious ceremony.

    • Dorci,

      I am quite familiar with the teaching that it is our work and therefore does not contain the forgiveness of sin. First off Jesus, when he instituted the Supper, promises forgiveness of sin by the eating and drinking. He does not say represents forgiveness of sin that is filled in later by those who refuse to believe the promise.

      In your response you mentioned unconfessed sin. So how on earth are we able to track down all our sin in what we think, say or do or fail to think, say or do. It would be impossible for scripture tells us that the heart is deceitful and noone can know it. Except for God of course. Sin is the symptom of our lost condition.

      Due to that the Sacrament of Holy Communion, instead of a glorious gift, becomes a burden to bear. Rather then receiving forgiveness of sin it condemns us for it is turned into a law we have to obey which we never can do perfectly.

      God’s peace. †

  11. As the Eastern Orthodox put it, we need to be “partakers of the Divine Nature.” Are we only to become holy, Christlike, symbolically? Are we only perfected symbolically?

    Was Jesus being serious when he said, “where two or more or gathered, there am I in the midst of you?” We are talking about the “real presence,” both in our gathering and in communion. However, I think any attempt to define it according to modern standards brings us to heresy. One way or another, we are to partake of the Divine Nature. If we don’t, then yes… we have no life – in the eternal sense – in us.

    This is a very good verse to bring to our attention…

  12. I just posted some thoughts related to my personal thoughts as I use my theology of the Cross (ie the Gospel) in application in my life.

    http://centralityofthegospel.wordpress.com/2009/07/26/the-gospel-a-fire-in-the-heart/

  13. As Steve knows I see the sacraments as highly “important” symbols and reminders of what God did for us through His son.

    Jesus even said do this “in remembrance” because man will go off onto his legallistic man-filled methods and we need to be reminded and re-reminded of the Gospel to more fully embrace the imputed righteousness of Christ. Man just gets forgetful and we need this reorientation to what God did for us because we will always focus on what we can do for God and that, as we all know here, is the wrong focus.

    COTG

  14. David, yes, you are right, only God can completely know the sin that we hold in our hearts. But the Holy Spirit is given to us in part to reveal to us where we have trespassed against the Lord. He will reveal it to us, convict us, and at the point we have a responsibility to confess that sin and repent of it.

    We are saved by one act alone, and that is the act that occured as Jesus Christ hung on the cross and died for our sins. There is no other sacrifice to be made.

    Of course Jesus is literally with us as we gather in His holy Name. The difference here, as I see it, is that if we believe that we must continually “eat” Jesus Christ, that becomes a work of salvation unto itself. There are no works that we can do, or that need to be done, to continue our salvation. It is done.

    centrality – absolutely, we humans tend to get busy and self-focused and the Lord gave us this thing we do so that we wouldn’t forget him. And actually, Jesus said to remember Him whenever we gather together and break bread in His name. That is more often than just the ceremony of communion, but many churches have adopted this as a way to lead people into remembering the sacrifice that was made on our behalf.

    I’ll leave you all alone now. ;o)

  15. “We are saved by one act alone, and that is the act that occured as Jesus Christ hung on the cross and died for our sins. There is no other sacrifice to be made.” wrote Dorci, above.

    So, how does that one act on the cross get transferred to us?

  16. Ephesians 2:8-9 say, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

    Acts 10:43, “All the Prophets give witness to Him, that through His name whoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins.”

    And in John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

    We receive that gift by putting our faith in Jesus Christ and accepting His payment for our sins. The moment we believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, we are saved. It’s simply an act of faith. God sees our hearts and forgives the one who has put their faith in Him.

  17. I am amazed how detached some Christians can be from the history behind the Lord’s Supper. It is based on the Passover Supper, which was a REMEMBRANCE of what God did for them. Jesus said to eat the bread and drink the wine in REMEMBRANCE of him, not so you could get some special grace or whatever some denominations believe.

    Elephantschild, that act gets transferred to us by repentant faith.

  18. Lutherans, like premillennialists, are way too literal. 🙂

  19. I think that Lutherans realize what is in them (real concerning THEIR seriousness) so they want to rely on what God has done for them.

    When Acts 2:28 says that we are given the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit when we are baptized…we do believe it.

    And…1st peter 3:21 says that”Baptism now save you…”

    This is water baptism (as verse 20 clearly says).

    The Holy Supper is the same principle. God said to do it, and he never commanded us to do anything where He would not be present in it for us.

  20. How can God actually live in someone’s heart (most Evangelicals would affirm that), but not be able to be actually present in a piece of bread and a sip of wine, when accompanied by His Word of promise?

    I don’t get it.

  21. Steve,

    It’s symbolism, not to be taken literally. 1 Peter 3 says water “symbolizes baptism.” That baptism, as clearly laid out in the rest of Scripture, is a spiritual baptism. No one is saved by works like baptisms or eating bread or drinking wine. We are saved by faith, and that’s it. Anything else is Old Covenant works, and that only leads to death.

    Acts 2 says REPENT and be baptized. It is the repentance that leads to the Holy Spirit, not the baptism.

  22. Steve, I have no problem with the idea that God COULD be present in the bread and wine. But I see little Scriptural support for that, and that’s what matters more. God could do a lot of things, but if it contradicts Scripture, He can’t.

  23. Dorci,
    To believe in Christ is to believe him. Now if he says this is my Body, this cup is my blood in the New Testament shed for you for the forgiveness of sins, I believe him. I take him literally, as literally as I would take anyone’s Last Will and Testament. Lets not forget that this was done on the night when he was betrayed, this is not a time for figurative riddles.
    I would like to point out here that when Mark records the Last Supper there is nothing said about remembrance. Not to say that there is not an aspect of remembrance there, but it obviously is not the most important aspect of the Lord’s Supper.
    Am I to believe that pretending to eat someones body and blood is less perverse than cannibalism? Lets not start saying that what God commanded us to do is cannibalism.
    As for the Passover, their again there is an aspect of remembrance, but there is also a sacrifice and the gift of salvation promised in that sacrifice, and that sacrifice was EATEN all of it. We might then learn something when Christ is called our passover lamb. The sacrifices did very little for the people, until they were consumed by someone. Most often, priests, we are a royal priest hood, we partake in the sacrifice, we eat that which has been sacrificed for us, and in that way are united to that sacrifice.

  24. Darius,

    We read it differently. The passage says that “water corresponds to this” (RSV) ‘being saved’ as those in the ark were saved.

    In Galatians, Paul says that “those who were baptized in Christ, have put on Christ.”

    “Who were baptised.” That is a passive gramatical construction of something done to you by another. In the case of baptism, it is God who is active and we who are the passive recipients.

    God’s kind heart is what leads us to repentance, and he gives us His kind heart (He adopts us) in baptism.

    Your way makes the Christian faith dependant on what you do, say, think, or feel…our way makes the Christian faith dependent on God and what He does for us.

    I would much rather rely on what God has done for me, than on my seriousness in chossing Him with a decision that I have made.

  25. Darius,
    I don’t know how much scriptural support you need to find something true, but I tend to believe if God says it once it is enough. But here you go with scriptural support.
    On the night when he was betrayed he took bread, and after giving thanks, he broke it, and gave it to the disciples saying, take eat THIS IS MY BODY…. In the same way after they had supped, he took the cup, blessed it and said drink of it all of you, THIS CUP IS THE NEW TESTAMENT IN MY BLOOD given for you for the forgiveness of sins…
    There are also quite a few verses in 1 Corinthians pointing to the fact that it is his body and blood, even as it is still bread and wine. Where Dorci gets off changing around Christ’s command and using grape juice is beyond me. Tells me she doesn’t take Christ to seriously. I would think that one would take the person who died on the cross for their sins seriously.

  26. Darius,

    We read scripture very differently.

    I read it throught the lens of Christ doing all the action for our salvation, and you read it through the lens of human co-operation.

    When Jesus says in Matthew 28 to “go unto all the world, baptizing and teaching about me…” He places baptism BEFORE teaching and the world is ‘ponta ethnae’ which translates to ALL PEOPLE (not those over a certain age)
    What is that age, anyway?

    God chooses to give faith to infants, as well as adults. That is why Jesus said that “you must become like these little ones if you are to enter the Kingdom.”

    Jesus surely would not have used little children as the examole if they were incapable of faith.

    Little children are quite capable of trust, indeed more so than adults were are jaded by the world.

    John the Baptist exhibited faith in the womb when He lept for joy at the presence of the Savior (also in the womb)

    God can, and does impart faith to little ones.

  27. “Your way makes the Christian faith dependant on what you do, say, think, or feel…our way makes the Christian faith dependent on God and what He does for us.

    I would much rather rely on what God has done for me, than on my seriousness in chossing Him with a decision that I have made.”

    That’s a straw man. I never said any such thing. I said that God’s saving grace comes to us by faith. It is a faith put there by God, and one in which He expects us to persevere. However, He gives the grace to allow us to persevere. It’s all God.

    I find it odd that you say that your way isn’t dependent on what you do, yet at the same time you say that it is. Get baptised or you’re not saved. Take communion or you aren’t part of the Body. Law, rules, do this, do that. I hear only Old Covenant ideas.

  28. It’s not a straw man. Either we trust what God does for us in baptism, or we trust in something that WE DO. Even if that ‘doing’ is making a decision.

    It might be just one small work (our decision) but it is one work too many.

  29. “I tend to believe if God says it once it is enough… I would think that one would take the person who died on the cross for their sins seriously.”

    Bror, I would be careful to be so arrogant and sarcastic. It’s uncalled for and unChrist-like. To use the logic of your statement, God once said that it was an abomination to eat pig. So I sure hope you don’t eat pork. Oh wait, God also said that all food is now clean. So, do you just ignore what He said first?

    Obviously, you don’t actually live by the rule you so snidely set out. The Bible has to be read with the rest of Scripture in mind, otherwise you’ll find tons of contradictions.

    Also, why in the world do you have to read the Lord’s Supper so literally? Jesus was anything but literal in much of what He said, why would this be any different? He also said to cut off your hand if it causes you to sin… I assume you don’t take that literally.

    As for grape juice versus wine, exactly where did Jesus say it had to be wine? On the other hand, churches that don’t like to serve wine (or are against alcohol in general) are being a bit uptight, no argument there.

  30. Is or is not physical baptism something we do? If we don’t walk into the water, we can’t exactly get baptized (or whatever the method, it’s still an action). Baptism, like communion, is SYMBOLIC. The Bible is rife with symbolism, I find it astonishing that people can miss that most important aspect.

  31. “God chooses to give faith to infants, as well as adults. That is why Jesus said that “you must become like these little ones if you are to enter the Kingdom.””

    God can, and does impart faith to little ones.

    I assume you’re arguing for paedobaptism. Sure, God can give saving faith to even babies. However, it isn’t for man to decide that or force His hand to do so by baptizing babies.

  32. All this theological infighting is fun but here is the quote that clearly lays out the analogy from Scripture that is the basis for the Lutheran view of Christ’s presence in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

    “In addition to the words of Christ and St. Paul (the bread in the Lord’s Supper “is the true body of Christ” or “a participation in the body of Christ”), we at times also use the formulas “under the bread, with the bread, in the bread.” We do this to reject the papistic transubstantiation and to indicate the sacramental union between the untransformed substance of the bread and the body of Christ. The Scriptures do the same thing when they reproduce and explain the statement “The Word became flesh,” with equivalent phrases as , “The Word dwelt in us” or “In Christ the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” or “God was with him”, or “God was in Christ”, and similar expressions. Thus the Scriptures explain that the divine essence has not been transformed into the human nature but that both untransformed natures are indivisibly united, so in the Holy Supper the two essences, the natural bread and the true, natural body of Christ, are present together here on earth in the ordered action of the sacrament, though the union of the body and blood of Christ with the bread and the wine is not a personal union, like that of the two natures of Christ, but a sacramental union.”

    from The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord

    It is this Scriptural analogy which determines the Lutheran understanding of the “real presence”. Others may disagree with this interpretation but this IS a Biblical interpretive view.

  33. re: the grape juice vs wine, please keep in mind that there are recovering alcoholic Christians who want to take communion. Setting wine before them could be setting before them a needless temptation.

    re: everything else, please take the the scripture as a whole into account when interrpreting scripture.

    If Jesus said that we have salvation through believe in Him by faith, that is all we need. The thief on the cross did not get baptized, neither did he take communion, but Jesus said that he would be with Him.

    It is by putting our faith in Him as Lord and Savior.

  34. “We read scripture very differently.

    I read it throught the lens of Christ doing all the action for our salvation, and you read it through the lens of human co-operation.”

    No, you just put your emphasis on different co-operation. We both believe that God does all the action for our salvation. I just believe that He demands that we “work out” the effects of that salvation. He saves us and sanctifies us, but asks us to participate in His work within our lives and to gain reward in heaven.

    It’s interesting that Lutherans are so literal with some stuff yet not so much with other things. God said “this is my body” so He must have meant it was literally His body. But when He said to “watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for” or “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” He didn’t really mean that. ??

  35. Darius,

    Are you kidding me?

    Lutherans believe that faith can be lost. I thought it was Evangelicals who held to the once saved, always saved doctrine.

  36. The thief on the cross is always a good counter example to legalistic attempts at adding things to justification by faith alone.

  37. I’ll get back to you on “once saved, always saved,” Steve. I gotta little mini emergency at home to take care of. 🙂

  38. Pastor Mark,

    Thanks for that clear explanation, using scripture, to make a solid case for the real presence of Christ in the scriptures.

    I think I’m at the point of saying,’we know what you believe, and why, you know what we believe, and why…and let it go at that.
    I’m pooped (for now).

  39. Darius,

    Take care of business, my friend. I too must go now.

    To be continued…

  40. Dorci said that Christ’s work on the cross is transferred to us by repentant faith.

    Where does that repentant faith come from? Does it come from a pastor using a human voice to preach out of Scripture, written on literal, touch-able, real-world paper?

    If Christ uses real-world “stuff” to bring us to faith thru the preaching of his Word, why is it so impossible that Christ would use water, bread and the “fruit of the vine” to forgive our sins?

  41. Elephantschild, it’s not impossible. It’s unScriptural. That’s the problem.

  42. Elephantschild, because the word says it is by faith and faith alone that we are saved. The whole of scripture….

  43. Darius,

    I refer you back to Pastor Anderson’s comment, our view is scriptural.

    One needs to do a bit of theology here. Many Evangelicals have a flat, reasoned way of reading the scriptures, but utilizing the scripture interpreting scripture rule, and what we know of God and His kindly heart towards sinners who are unable to save themselves, we can can see quite clearly that God does act in His Sacraments, and that He does so to take this out of our hands, and whatever feelings of being saved that we can conjur up.

    OK…now I really have to run. Talk to you later.

  44. ps…the repentant faith comes from our hearts and from our minds that believe that Jesus is who said He is – the Savior who paid for their sins.

  45. Regarding once saved, always saved: “Evangelicals” believe all sorts of things. Some believe you can lose your salvation and some don’t. Personally, I don’t believe that one can lose their salvation. Jesus said that no one that God gives Him will be lost. What we don’t know is who those people are that are “given” to Jesus. So what the New Testament repeatedly tells us is to work out our faith and salvation, not because it saves us, but because it shows and proves that God is at work in our lives (and it gains reward in heaven). My earlier comment about reward in heaven wasn’t salvation, as no works gain that. It was referring to the differing levels of spiritual reward that awaits us in heaven. For those who are saved but build their lives on straw, they will be saved but through fire (see 1 Corintians 3 for more on this). For those who fall away from the faith, they were never saved to begin with but merely like one of the bad soils in the parable of the sower.

    So, Steve, you said that you believe that you could lose your salvation? How does that happen? God saves you, but then lets you go? Or do you pull yourself out of His hand?

  46. But Matthew 26:28 says “for the forgiveness of sins,” when referring to the Lord’s Supper. And the forgiveness of sins granted in baptism is mentioned in Acts 2:38, when Peter tells the crowd to be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. The repentance in that case came thru the preaching of the Word by Peter.

    Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is life and salvation, isn’t there?

  47. Darius,

    ” But when He said to “watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for” or “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” He didn’t really mean that. ??”

    You wrote that. You tell me.

  48. So how were Abraham and David saved? Or the thief on the cross? They didn’t get baptized or take communion. To believe that baptism saves or communion saves is to reject or ignore much of the Pauline letters (particularly Romans). Righteousness comes by faith alone (but that faith is never alone, as it is always accompanied by works). That faith comes to us from God, it is not of our own doing. God gives us the ability to trust in Him. No one can believe in Him unless he is first called.

  49. Elephantschild, actually, Peter tells the crowd to REPENT and be baptized. Jesus preached repentance, not baptism. You need to read Acts 2 a little more closely and not ignore that which doesn’t fit your argument.

  50. Elephantschild, that is how, when we look at scripture as a whole, and see all the scripture that says that we have salvation through faith, and then read what Jesus said there, that we can see He is saying that His body, that would soon die on the cross, is what he was given for salvation, and that the bread and wine (actually Jesus said anytime we eat) were to be symbols to the disciples and all believers as a remembrance of what He did, because we needed a “remembrance’ so that we would not forget his sacrifice for us.

  51. One more time (I am begining to sound like a briken record)

    One can be saved without being baptized. One can also be saved by being baptized.

    What is one of the ways God calls? Baptism.

    God is not a ‘one trick Pony’. He saves when and where He will (Jesus to Niccodemus)

    Jesus told us to do it. He told us to do it for a good reason. Not for something for us to do for kicks.

  52. I knew you couldn’t leave, Steve. 🙂

  53. No, there is only one way to be saved, by faith in Jesus Christ. Anything else is a work. Baptism is simply an outward profession of the faith that has already taken place in the heart.

  54. I’ll get you for this, Darius!! 😀

  55. I really do have to go.

    Later!!

  56. Again, I repeat that the Lord’s Supper is based closely on the Passover. The Jews were commanded to remember the Passover, not because they were being saved from the Angel of death every time, but because they needed to remember and recall to mind what God had done for them in the past. The Lord’s Supper is exactly that, a remembrance of what Jesus did for us as sinners. From Scripture, it is clear that God cares deeply about His people remembering what He has done for them and for symbolism in general. Thus, that’s why He put baptism and the Lord’s Supper into effect, so that we could better grasp and remember what He’s done.

  57. So say you!

    We disagree.

    “This IS my body” “This IS my blood”

    He could have said ‘represents’.

  58. I have an interesting thought about that – the “this IS my body..”

    Ah’ll be bahck…..:o)

  59. Steve,

    Jesus also said cut off your hand if it causes you to sin. He could have said “cut out the bad habits that cause you to sin” or “this is how serious sin is that it would be figuratively better if you cut off your hand.” I fail to see why Jesus, in building on the Old Covenant idea of remembrance and symbolism, isn’t likewise using symbolism there. Any Jew (which the disciples all were) would have immediately recognized this as symbolic language and the point of the Supper as a time of remembrance just like the Old Covenant holidays.

  60. Dorci,

    If I may offer a gentle encouragement…perhaps it would be helpful to seek a timeless and universal thought rather than a new one.

    Blessings to you,
    Adam

  61. Darius,
    Your analogy to pork is not very good, as the law was fulfilled in Christ, and as you point out God now says it is clean.
    However, I pointed out that I take Christ’s words literally because it is Christ’s last will and Testament. Can you point to a place where Christ says it is figurative? Can you point to another testament that is to be taken figuratively?
    And I disagree with you concerning the passover, they were being delivered from the angel of death. Just as they were delivered from the angel of death. Or do you think that death is not the result of breaking God’s law. We now partake of THE PASSOVER LAMB, and are delivered from death, because there God forgives sins, the wages of which is death.

  62. Dorci,
    You don’t think there were alcoholics when Christ instituted the supper? I have many alcoholics partake of Christ’s Body and Blood every week. I have never seen an alcoholic reference that to why they may have fallen off the wagon. Most find it a great help staying on.

  63. Darius,
    Can you tell me where God calls his covenants symbols, or representations in the Old Testament? I cant find where he even used the word symbol. And represent is used only as a legal sense, as in “I am representing you.”

  64. Bror, where exactly does it say that the Lord’s Supper has to involve wine? Besides in your copy of “Things Lutherans Believe that Aren’t in the Bible”… 🙂

  65. Bror,

    You claim to take Jesus’ words literally, but you ignore my point that you obviously do not if you have all of your limbs still attached (unless of course you claim to be perfect). Jesus commanded that we cut them off. So what’s with that? Like most Christians, you take some of His words literally and some you don’t. Just be honest about that and we can move on. You keep talking like you’re some pious Christian because you take God seriously and take Him at His word and you put down those who disagree with you as those who don’t take God seriously or believe His word.

    The difference is that you take some words literally that were clearly meant to be symbolic (based on a full reading of ALL of Scripture).

  66. The reason the Lord’s Supper is wine is because it was wine in the Bible. Grape juice wasn’t available until the advent of pasteurization in the 19th century.

  67. “Can you tell me where God calls his covenants symbols, or representations in the Old Testament?”

    Come on, seriously? He has to use the exact words for you to see them as symbols? The Passover Lamb itself was a symbol for the coming Jesus!!!

  68. Elephantschild, so there is not theological reason for wine, just a cultural one? So why exactly does it sound like Bror (and perhaps other Lutherans) believe that it is tantamount to sin to use something other than wine?

  69. I will keep on trying to answer questions as long as they are sincere and not just trying to argue a point.

    Please, we cannot get legalistic about wine and grape juice. I would not personally feel comfortable for me or my children to take communion with wine. That’s just me. Wine was not nearly as aged and fermented then as it is now. But the point is to not be legalistic about it. We could drink kool-aid and as long as our hearts are right, that’s all that matters. And it doesn’t matter if it’s bread, or a saltine cracker. It is not in the specifics of the food, but in the remembrance.

    Adam, my thought is not anything new or original. But thanks for the encouragement. ;o)

    When we are interpreting the words in the bible, we have to remember that many words in the Greek have multiple meanings, unlike we use in the English language. Just like we have one word for love. We love our spouse and we love ice cream. Same word, different meanings. But in the Greek, they have 3 different words for love – agape, the sacrificial love; phileo, brotherly love; and eros, the sensual love. If we look at the few times at the breakfast after His resurrection that Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, all three times it is simply translated as “love.” But if you look at the translations, the first 2 times Jesus asks him if he “agapes” Him. The last time He asks him if he “phileos” Him. Different kinds of love, different meanings.

    And as I said before, the Greek word for blood in Matthew 26 is aima, which means “literal or figurative, as in the juice of the grapes.

    The word for body there is soma which means, “the body, used in a very wide application, literally or figuratively.”

    Jesus did, indeed, mean exactly what He said. The question is, what did He say? What He said does not translate in our English as exactly what we read. And when we couple the figurative language with the other parts of scripture that say that salvation is given by faith alone, and the fact that Jesus said we were to do this – for the purpose of remembering Him – not for salvation, then we can see that He was offering a way for the apostles and His believers to remember Him, not to literally eat Him and keep on being saved through that work.

  70. Dorci,

    I don’t know any Greek, so I will have to take your word on the interpretations. Thank you for the explanation. 🙂

    I wasn’t clear in what I was driving at, so I’ll explain byway of question. Even as your exegetical and translation skills are quite helpful, could you give some examples of Christians that espoused sacramental symbollism throughout the history of The Church; specifically prior to Zwingli and the Reformers?

    To take it at a different angle, we find examples everywhere of Christians who believed in the Real Presence and the sacramental nature of baptism. Were there people saying the opposite?

    Blessings in Christ,
    Adam

  71. Jesus said “do this in REMEMBRANCE of me” NOT “do this to be saved.” Neither baptism nor the Eucharist saves anyone. It is quite contrary to Scripture to believe they do.

  72. Darius,
    No one is arguing that we should take all Christ’s word’s literally, we are arguing that you ought to take the words of institution literally. We are arguing that we ought to take the word’s of our Lord’s last will and testament, both seriously and literally.
    We should take them seriously enough that we do not assume elements are up for change from what Jesus used.
    And I’m sorry, but I tend to assume that salvation is being offered me where the forgiveness of sins is being offered to me.

  73. I heard a sermon once in which it was argued that a better translation for the “remembrance” phrase was “do this to bring me back to you”.

    1 Cor 10:16: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”

    1 Cor. 11:27: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.”

    It sure sounds like Paul believes in the Real Presence.

  74. Dorci,
    One’s heart might not be in the right place when they assume that they know better than Jesus Christ. This is the problem Lutheran’s see in the evangelical world. “Oh, Jesus used wine because there wasn’t grape juice, he certainly would have if he had known how harmful wine was, (As if, he never saw a drunkard, or preached against drunkenness,) and there was grape juice available to him.” Hmmm, makes one wonder.
    This was not just a cultural thing. Christ used what he wanted to use, and he used it for a reason. I don’t feel comfortable calling it the sacrament that doesn’t use the elements Christ provided, or the words that he used.
    Again it is not remembrance that is the main thing here, it is the forgiveness of sins Christ offers. Remember, Mark doesn’t even mention anything about remembrance. It definately wasn’t the main thing to him. But as the Passover lamb must be eaten, so our passover lamb, Jesus Christ must be eaten.

  75. Darius,
    Absent language and context that says this symbolizes, represents etc, I am at a loss for why I should think of them as symbolically. I see no text that treats the sacraments as symbols of anything. I see literal language being used.

  76. Adam, I have no idea. I’m simply going by the bible and using a concordance to look up the meanings of the words.

    As for 1 Cor 10:16, it says that the cup and bread are the communion (or literally, partnership) of Christ. We partake of communion because we have fellowship with Jesus. He was saying this because just prior he was talking about not falling back into idolotry -because we have a relationship with Christ, and to fall back into our old way of doing things would be ridiculous.

    And in 1 Cor. 11:27 he was talking about there being divisions among the people in the Corinthian church because of some of the sinful acts that were being done.

    And, interestingly enough, that they were making a mockery of the communion by using it as an excuse to have a feast and get drunk.

    So he was reminding them the reason that they have communion is to remember Jesus and His sacrifice and that if they were taking communion in a way that wasn’t honoring Christ’s memory at all and with unrepentant hearts, then instead of honoring that sacrifice they were guilty of it.

  77. Darius wrote:
    “So why exactly does it sound like Bror (and perhaps other Lutherans) believe that it is tantamount to sin to use something other than wine?”

    It’s not a sin to offer consecrated grape juice to the 2 people in your congregation who feel bound by their consciences to avoid ALL alchol.

    It’s certainly not best practice, though. Like Pastor Erickson said, though, the Last Supper was CHRIST’s last will and testament. A last will and testament isn’t something you mess around with if you can avoid it.

    By the way, do you practice baptism by immersion? Why? Because Christ was baptized exactly that way? Why so picky about that but not about the wine vs. grape juice?

  78. Look, I seriously did not mean to upset the apple cart. If anyone has any other questions for me, you’re welcome to email me through my blog.

    My apologies to Steve.

    God bless.
    Dorci

  79. Elephantschild, please give a reasoned and Biblical explanation why we must use wine over grape juice, instead of “Because Jesus did.” That is a really weak reason, one which if carried out in other regards would be silly (do you pray the Lord’s Prayer verbatim??).

    The comparison between baptism by immersion and what liquid to use for communion is absurd; the former is clearly explained in Scripture (baptism represents the death of flesh and resurrection into spiritual life) while the latter is anything but. I am baffled why Lutherans seem to ignore so much of Scripture when it comes to sacraments.

  80. Bror, I would repeat again since you choose to keep ignoring it my example of Jesus telling us to cut off our hands if they cause us to sin. Where exactly did He say that was symbolic language? The method one must use here to understand Him is called systematic theology and using the TOTALITY of Scripture to interpret Scripture, not just reading one verse completely disconnected from the rest of the Word.

    Also, why do Lutherans want to pit His last words against everything else He said???? This is probably the most bizarre thing I’ve heard in this comment thread. I keep pointing out holes in the logic and the response is invariably “well, I take Jesus’ Last Will & Testament [whatever that is] very seriously,” like they don’t take anything else He had to say quite as seriously or literally. Where exactly does God tell us that all Scripture is God-breathed, but especially that part before Jesus died?

  81. Dorci,

    No apology necessary. 😀

    Darius,

    We are Lutherans, and we offer both (wine and grape juice).

    We don’t want to be a stumbling block to Christ for those that have a problem with alcohol. A few take grape juice.

    If someone (for whatever reason) couldn’t eat bread, we’d give them what they could eat.

    If anyone does not ignore scripture, it is the Lutherans. Our doctrine is the most scriptural of any denomination or non-denomination that I have ever seen. And I have been a part of more than a few.

  82. Our doctrine is the most scriptural of any denomination or non-denomination that I have ever seen.

    First of all, every denomination thinks that. In fact, I would hope you think that, otherwise you shouldn’t be part of that denomination. 🙂

    Second, then why are some of the commenters pitting parts of Scripture against other parts or just outright ignoring some portions? I don’t know exactly what constitutes Jesus’ “Last Will and Testament,” but whatever it is, it is apparently more important than anything else Jesus said. I don’t find THAT Scriptural.

  83. It’s impossible to “pit” Jesus’ last words against his other words, since he’s God, and therefore doesn’t contradict himself. And I won’t defend why we MUST use wine, since I didn’t say we MUST use wine.

    I never said “MUST”. I said we *should,* since Christ did. And, I also said that it’s not a “sin” to offer grape juice. In fact, I said that most, if not all, churches offer grape juice for those who cannot or do not want to take the wine. Same for the bread; churches make gluten-free wafers available to those who cannot consume wheat. So the well reasoned and theological reason is: there’s no reason not to.

    Since it’s well known that wine was the common drink in biblical times, the burden of proof is on those who say we should NOT use wine.

    And actually, I do pray the Lord’s Prayer verbatim. I also sing Mary’s song of praise in Luke 1 verbatim and Simeon’s song in Luke 2 verbatim, too. I’m a verbatim girl!

    Back to the orginal discussion on the Real Presence of Christ in the Supper, I too am baffled why verses that seem to be to clearly teach forgiveness of sins thru baptism and the Eucharist seem to be ignored by non-sacramental churches. Like, for example, 1 Peter 3:21. There are others, as well. Lots of them.

  84. One last side note on grape juice v. vino… I am not a fan of churches that think there is something wrong with using wine in communion any more than I am a fan of churches who claim that one can only use wine. The Bible says don’t get drunk, it doesn’t say don’t drink. Jesus drank and ate what the drunkards and prostitutes of the day ate and drank (at least, the Bible seems to imply that). I just wanted to make sure I didn’t get lumped into the teetotaling crowd. 🙂

  85. Elephantschild, see my comment above. I’m not saying we should not use wine. I just don’t like it when Christians like Mr. Erickson above imply that it is sin when one doesn’t use it. He said that we were changing Jesus’ COMMAND to use wine and substituting grape juice in its place. You’re saying it wasn’t a command. Which one is it, what is the Lutheran position? Please clarify.

  86. EC, regarding the Lord’s Prayer, I meant that if you’re consistent, you ONLY pray the Lord’s Prayer verbatim and no other prayers that aren’t Biblical, cause Jesus said that was the way we were supposed to pray. On a side note, Bror, could you explain where Jesus tells us that the Lord’s Prayer is a template and not the exact words we have to use every single time?

  87. Glad to hear you’re not a teetotaler, Darius! Whew! 🙂

    Jesus took the cup and said, “This is my blood.”

    What was in the cup?

    Wine. Not grape juice, not water, not mead. Wine.

    Therefore, we use wine.

    The proper Lutheran position is: WINE. In all truth, there is no reason to even offer the grape juice, even though most churches do, simply because some people are severely troubled to consume even a tiny bit of alcohol. Therefore, understanding their weakness and doubt, churches offer grape juice.

  88. EC, let’s look at 1 Peter 3. We don’t ignore it, we just interpret it correctly.

    “In [the ark] only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also…” [ESV]

    The people in the ark were saved through the flood waters, and “this water” (obviously pointing to the flood waters by the use of the word “this”) symbolizes the baptism that now saves you also. That baptism is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not the physical dunking. Now, we don’t know from this verse that Peter is talking about spiritual baptism versus physical baptism, that is true. So we have to look at other Scripture to clarify this point. So look at Matt. 3:11 (Jesus will baptize with Holy Spirit), Acts 1:5 (Jesus says John was the one who baptized with water, but He baptizes with the Holy Spirit), Acts 10:47 (they received the Holy Spirit BEFORE(!!!) they were physically baptized, which kinda indicates that salvation is NOT tied to water baptism), 1 Corinth. 12:13 (Christians are baptized by the Spirit), etc. It would seem that the preponderance of Scriptural evidence doesn’t support the idea that water baptism brings salvation.

    • Darius,

      Scripture contains only one baptism since Pentecost. This is water baptism in which two gifts are promised:

      1. The forgiveness of sin.

      2. The gift of the Holy Spirit.

      There is no Holy Spirit baptism without the water and the Triune Name going on. A person can come to faith by the Holy Spirit working that faith in hearing the word like those saints in the older testament times. They were true believers but were not baptized in a Christian baptism and were therefore not temples of the Holy Spirit.

      With all scriptural references to Pentecost Baptism we have clearly states that God is active in there delivering his gifts.

      According to these verses, baptism:

      makes disciples (Mt. 28:19)

      saves (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21)
      brings forgiveness/washes away sin/cleanses/takes away guilt (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 10:22)

      causes us to be born again (John 3:5; Titus 3:5)

      crucifies the old man, buries him, and causes the baptized one to be raised up as a new creation of God (Romans 6:3-6; Colossians 2:11-12)

      makes us members of Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:13)

      gives us the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Titus 3:5-6)

      clothes us with Christ (puts on His righteousness!) (Galatians 3:27).

      So for one to say that water baptism is anything less then God doing what he has promised is to fly in the face of the above strong words of scritpure. What other scripture should we doubt? Perhaps where St Paul says we are justified by faith apart from works of the law? Romans 3:28

      God forbid it.

  89. Let’s try the verse again, starting back at verse 18.

    18For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

    Peter is comparing baptism to the saving of the eight souls on the Ark, and says that “baptism, which corresponds to this [the water mentioned in verse 20] now saves you.”

    Baptism now saves you, not by washing off dirt, but by making your conscience clean before God.

    I don’t see anything that indicates “symbolizes.” Peter says “corresponds.”

    I can throw verses around, too! Romans 6, we’re baptised into Christ’s death. Mark 16:16 – he who believes and is baptised is saved. Ephesians 5:26 – Christ sanctifies the church by the washing of water with the word. We could go on forever.

    It really comes down to the fact that some Christians – the sacramental ones, believe the Christ instituted the use of real physical stuff, “means”, that convey his grace to us.

    The other group of Christians, (which, as Pastor Erickson pointed out, seem to have been completely absent from all of Christianity until the time of Zwingli and his friends) believe that Christ can only act in a spiritual way when He conveys his grace to us.

  90. You’re using words in only one way when they can be (and repeatedly are) used in many ways. Just because it says “baptism” doesn’t mean it means water baptism. Jesus told his disciples that they would experience the baptism that He was going to experience, but he obviously didn’t mean water baptism. You’re inferring meaning into a word that isn’t there. Stop reading your preconceptions into the text, it’s poor exegesis.

    Ephesians 5:26… this is easy. Again, just like the word “baptism” doesn’t always mean water baptism, “water” doesn’t always mean literal water. Jesus told the woman at the well that He had living water to offer which would quench her thirst forever. Obviously, He didn’t literally mean wet, physical H2O that would quench her literal, physical thirst. Likewise, the water talked about in Ephesians 5 is the spiritual water that Jesus was referring to when He was talking to the woman at the well. It’s pretty clear, if you’re willing to see it.

    “We could go on forever.

    I’d love to, so far you have yet to interpret one text properly. You read the teachings of the Lutheran church into your Bible reading rather than read the Bible for what it says and then see how it compares to the Lutheran church. We’re all guilty of this to some extent when it comes to theology, this is just your particular blind spot.

    “The other group of Christians, (which, as Pastor Erickson pointed out, seem to have been completely absent from all of Christianity until the time of Zwingli and his friends)”

    Actually, no, Paul, Peter, and others all spoke of a spiritual baptism. But name dropping doesn’t really matter, but it shows the weakness of a theological position when it keeps falling back to that. Show me Scripture, not names of early church fathers.

  91. Darius,
    If you can’t determine what Christ’s last will and Testament is, or understand why it demands to be taken literally, then I think you might be over your head. But I’ll be back in the morning to explain these things a little more for you.
    In the mean time I would like you to do me a favor, list the passages you think I am ignoring when I read Christ’s Last will and Testament, that demand I take it figuratively. I’m intrigued, I’ve read the Bible a few times now, and I haven’t come across anything that would tell me I should be taking Christ’s words figuratively when it comes to the words of institution.

  92. Bror,

    You are spot on. The words of institution are definitely Christ’s last will and testament. And the key to understanding them is in the phrase “on the night He was betrayed”. The context of betrayal is the interpretive key – for any of you out there who care to think about it. With regard to the real presence I posted the Lutheran biblical argument earlier which clearly supports the biblical view that the “finite can contain the infinite”. Unfortunately it seems to have met with confused silence – or indifference. I admire your valiant efforts on this blog but I’m afraid “the clay is baked” – if you get my drift. Wipe off the dust and go hunting!

  93. I have a feeling I will be stepping into a hornet’s nest here … =)

    Baptism is ONE of the ways that the Holy Spirit comes to a person. Lutherans also believe that faith/the Holy Spirit comes through hearing the Word of Christ, as well. So it is knocking down a straw man to say, “See? The Holy Spirit came BEFORE baptism in that passage so Baptism can’t possibly have anything to do with salvation!”

    I find it interesting how virtually all the passages in the epistles having to do with Baptism are redefined by evangelicals (and I used to be an evangelical) as “spiritual baptism.” Every time Baptism is mentioned, well, there’s supposedly no actual water involved. But how do you know that the “Baptism with the Holy Spirit” spoken of by John is necessarily divorced from water baptism? This is a relatively recent concept in the 2000-year history of the church.

    I am not particularly impressed by those who think that the early church fathers have nothing to teach us because we are so much more enlightened now about what the Bible REALLY means. It is very interesting how some claim to “only believe what the Bible says” when really their theology is influenced by those who have come before them just like everyone else (except in this case it is Zwingli and the Anabaptists and perhaps even Calvin). No one comes to the Bible completely without any influence. I am less apt to trust those who would be innovators when it comes to God’s Word. Lutherans claim – I think rightly – that their interpretation of God’s Word is what has been taught by the Church from the earliest times.

    In any case, I think one of the things that is causing everyone to talk past each other here is the fact that evangelicals tend to think of salvation as a completely past event. To them, your sins were forgiven once in the past and so they think that you no longer need or would have any desire for the forgiveness of sins on a regular basis. And so for them it’s either salvation by hearing the Word or salvation by Baptism, it can’t possibly be both. But God is constantly forgiving our sins and giving us ways to know that this forgiveness is for us, through Word and Sacrament. God does not necessarily work in cookie-cutter ways.

    Blessings,
    Dawn

  94. Nicely put, Dawn.
    Those who come to appreciate any kind of Reformational faith will, sooner or later, realize just how far modern evangelicalism has departed from the ‘faith once delivered’ to the saints in the early church – as I noted before, there was no original ambiguity concerning the meaning and the use of the sacraments. As someone who came from the evangelical/charismatic camp, I understand just how long that process can take – it took me a decade of study and consideration – and I am very aware of the reticence amongst most evangelicals to go there, but the means God uses are much broader than those deemed orthodox by many of our very contemporary approaches. Hopefully, conversations like this one might spur one or two to make further and deeper enquiries – it certainly did for me.

  95. Hmm, so the early church holds sway? You do realize that the Catholic Church was pretty much the only game in town for centuries? Does that mean we should be beholden to them on theology? This is nonsensical, ESPECIALLY coming from Lutherans.

  96. So, Bror (and Pastor Anderson), you both admit that the Last Will and Testament are more important than Jesus’ other words… okay, at least I now know the exegetical standard you use. I would disagree strongly, all Scripture and everything that Jesus said is equally valid and important.

  97. Darius,

    I don’t believe I said that the early church should “hold sway”. I did say that we should not think that they have nothing to teach us about how the Bible should be interpreted. “Me alone with my Bible” is not the historic understanding of Sola Scriptura, though many these days want to define it that way.

    Dawn

  98. Understanding that the Christian faith wasn’t invented the day we “came to know Jesus” isn’t the same thing as being beholden to the Catholic church for our theology.

    All the others have been trying to point out is that there have been Christians who believed, taught and confessed the one true faith long before Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli.

    And they all confessed the real presence of Christ bodily in the Sacrament and were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins.

  99. “I find it interesting how virtually all the passages in the epistles having to do with Baptism are redefined by evangelicals…”

    Nice use of the word “redefined.” By using it, you get to put evangelicals as the outsiders. You DEFINE it one way, we define it another. No one is redefining anything. It’s quite clear for those who have eyes to see that most of those verses discussing baptism are talking about a spiritual baptism. Physical baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality (or at least a professed reality, not all who are baptized are saved). Physical baptism has no saving value, and nothing in Scripture tells us otherwise.

    Mainly, my primary issue is not so much with y’all’s theology. While it is incorrect based on a complete look at Scripture, I still view you as brothers and sisters in Christ. What is of more concern to me is the willingness among some on here to stir up division in the Body and put down the faith of others over this issue. We all take Scripture seriously, which is why snarky comments like Bror’s are unhelpful at best.

  100. EC, by that understanding, then you Lutherans are no less unorthodox than Reformed Christians, since you all are relatively new to the game compared to the Catholic church. We should return to the days of transubstantation and the purchasing of indulgences.

    OR, perhaps the Church is always in a state of reformation and no one group of people, no matter how long ago they lived, had it just right. Even the Reformed today probably have some theology not quite perfect.

  101. Darius,
    Mark and I never said that Christ’s Last Will and Testament were more important than anything else he ever said. What we are saying is that it is very important, and its context makes one take it literally. It is extremely important though. It may be more important than the time he cracked the joke about the priest and the pharisee, by the lake with his disciples.
    See, I don’t know about you. But when I die, I expect people to take my Last will and Testament seriously.
    Now I would like you to show me what Bible verses I am ignoring when I take it seriously and literally. I realize that you do not know your Bible well, so I recommend you take a few days before you try to answer that, and study hard, maybe find a Lutheran book on the subject “This is my Body,” By Hermann Sasse would be a good starting point. Read up on what it is we believe before you start trying to poke fun at it in such a feeble manner.
    Lutheran’s take all Christ’s words seriously, but we also let context dictate interpretation. We would not take one of Christ’s Parables Literally, though we are serious. As I do take Christs words about chopping off my hand should it cause me to sin, seriously. But then If I were to take it literally I think I would have killed myself a few years ago, as my heart also causes me to sin. And then that would be sin too. But I do find what he has to say about the seriousness of sin there to be very serious, which is why I am glad that he gives me his body and blood every week for the forgiveness of sins.
    As for Baptism, Darius, there is only one baptism, for a baptist you sure don’t know your bible well if you think there is more, just read Ephesians 4. Ever think that just because they call it being baptized by the Spirit, in Acts, it might not have really been a baptism at all, but a figure of speech, as when Christ talks about his death and resurrection as a baptism?
    Peter sure thought that the Holy Spirit was given when he baptized with water in Acts 2:38-39 and would even give that gift to your children. In any case when Christ promised the disciples they would be baptized by the holy Spirit not many days from now, he was not promising that every christian would have flames of fire on their head at some point in there life. He was promising that the Holy Spirit would come to the disciples in a special way, soon. They already had the Holy Spirit though, John 20, makes that clear.
    But I suppose I need your code book to figure out when water means water, and doesn’t mean water in Paul. And Baptism doesn’t mean baptism. I don’t know how you would interpret Ephesians 5, to be anything but what it says it is, water and the word.
    You know what I like about you baptists? Your like a chiuaua, you bark a lot, and then get your feelings hurt when someone barks back. Lets face it you are as guilty as anyone for division in the Body of Christ, and quite frankly I didn’t see Jesus walking around saying lets get along the issue doesn’t matter when he was talking to Pharisees and Sadducees, in fact he was quite snarky. See it is my own version of those bracelets you guys plagued us with in the nineties, the WWJD bit. Just you haven’t read the Bible enough to understand that.

  102. “I realize that you do not know your Bible well.”

    Wow, and someone here said you’re a pastor?? Do all pastors talk so condescendingly to other people and make everything so personal? I am certain it’s not honoring to God to do so. You have repeatedly done so to anyone who disagrees with you. I would recommend looking at your own heart on how to represent Christ best through your words. You constantly assume things about others that aren’t true. Stop this, please, it’s a rather annoying habit. What makes you think I’m a baptist or that I like WWJD bracelets or that I haven’t read the Bible??? Your pride is overwhelming, and I know a thing or two about pride (I’m not innocent in that regard). If I were at all leaning toward believing the Lutheran belief here, you would have pushed me far away from doing so by now with your incessant personal attacks. It’s unbecoming of someone who professes Christ, much less a pastor!

  103. I’m done with this conversation, once people turn nasty, a discussion loses its luster. Thanks Steve, Dawn, and EC for the CIVIL discussion, I’ll respond to any further comments you make but am otherwise done with this topic.

  104. Darius,

    I just re-read my post – and rubbed my eyes real hard to be sure I wasn’t missing something. I did not write that the the Lord’s Last Will and Testament are more important than His other words. With regard to your analysis of my exegetical approach you, of course, are mistaken. Every passage of Scripture is to be understood in the light of every other passage. At the same time every passage must be considered in it’s context, ‘What did it mean then?’…. which is precisely why the Words of Institution are to be understood in the light of “in the night in which He was betrayed”, the immediate context given us by the writer, which I see as more than a simple reference to time.

    The general exegetical principle since the Reformation – at least among Lutherans and many Protestants has been the “native and natural sense of the text”. For Luther – and I include myself in his school of thought – justification by faith (or, the righteousness of God is another way of saying it) became the exegetical center, flowing out of the cross and resurrection.

    The BIble itself teaches us that the Scriptures do not confront us with logical propositions or some mysterious, unconscious power but with a Person. Therefore the goal of exegesis is to present the text in such a way that Christ is made known through Law and Gospel so that the Living Word, as it chooses, will make Himself known to the sinner in judgment and mercy.

  105. I don’t disagree with anything you said, Pastor Mark. Except, you infer some importance into “in the night in which He was betrayed)” which seems quite extrabiblical. That would be like me taking the section “headlines” throughout the Bible as inspired rather than just a nice synopsis of the text to come. The Last Will & Testament is to be taken no more seriously than anything else in the Bible. Jesus also said He is the tree… does that mean He’s literally a tree made of wood? What tells you that it is not a good idea to take him literally there but it’s fine to take him literally when He says that He’s the bread? It seems so arbitrary.

  106. Darius, I believe if you reflect on the nature of betrayal in the context of the disciples and what Jesus is doing and saying in this story – and His entire purpose for coming among us – you just might come to a different conclusion. The words are there, after all. They are not “extra-biblical”, as you say. Red letter Bibles are in error. It’s all God’s Word.

    By the way, isn’t theological infighting just as about as much fun as one could possibly have?! Have a good one….

  107. Darius, you wrote to Pr. Anderson: “you infer some importance into “in the night in which He was betrayed” which seems quite extrabiblical.

    How can that be “extrabiblical” when the text clearly states that it was the last night – the last few hours, actually, of Christ’s life?

    I don’t get it.

  108. Darius,
    Again I am mystified. If you want me to play nice, then you play nice. Simple as that. Maybe I have found the tone of your posts a little condescending too? Claiming that we have extra biblical biases, rather than asking why we believe what we believe. Accusing me of ignoring scripture, yet not being able to give any that you can rightly claim I am ignoring.
    And I don’t know why you think I assume you are a Baptist. I judge on the doctrine you espouse, and it is Baptistic. (I really don’t care what church you belong to, and whether or not it calls itself Baptist.)If you don’t want to be called a Baptist, then stop using Baptist doctrine.
    What I find crazy, is you either don’t see how condescending you are, or at least have been earlier in these posts, or you are not much able to take what you have been dishing.
    If you want honest conversation, then answer the questions that are posed to you, that is the polite thing to do. Be polite, and I will be polite, but the road goes two ways.

  109. EC, yes, the night was important, since it was the fulfillment of all of history. But what makes Jesus’ words there different than anything else He said? That is what is extrabiblical, to infer some extra seriousness into the words of a man who was always serious.

    Bror, nevermind, you don’t get it. Peace, brother.

  110. Darius,
    Would you like people to compare your last will and testament to the joke you cracked at the bar last night? Or do you want people to pay a little extra attention to what you are saying there?
    Perhaps when your will is read, and you divy up your property the lawyer will be able to say, well he really didn’t mean to give you this car, but he really wanted me to have it?
    Again, On the night when he was betrayed, is setting the mood for what follows, it is to be taken seriously, deadly seriously, because Christ is facing his death and knows it, and he aint laughing. He isn’t going to be speaking in parables here, cracking jokes, or saying things he doesn’t mean.

  111. Darius wrote: “But what makes Jesus’ words there different than anything else He said? ”

    That is precisely the question exegesis is intended to answer!

  112. As Chemitz (and all Lutherans for that matter) points out: One of the things the Reformed deny and falsely assume that there are only two kinds of eating in the LS. The Baptist have none of these. In any case the Reformed (Zwingli through Calvin) all affirm the spiritual eating and the physical eating. They assume, due to fallen human reasoning, that there is no other form of eating, namely sacramental. So when they hear of “eating of the flesh and blood of Christ” they assume that means the Capernatic eating (cannibalism) of the body and blood the way one eats say a steak. Of course Jesus roundly rebukes this in the John 6 passage in which this false dilemma finds its name.

    The first eating is simply the normal bodily eating of the bread and wine that is consumed as normal food. The second eating is the spiritual eating, which is right and true, in which eating becomes more or less another way of saying faith grasping hold of Christ. This kind of eating or faith is not in and of itself limited to the LS, which is why the LS is something special. One can spiritual eat of Christ, believe, without the bread and wine and LS sacrament.

    The third kind of eating is the true sacramental eating. Whereby by the mystery that is by design and purpose against and offensive (as are ALL articles of faith) to fallen human reason and the senses, the true and very body and blood of Christ is truly eaten and drank. It cannot be explained because AS an article of faith it necessarily offends reason as the Cross itself does, it is both foolish and weak to the old Adam, fallen man and unbelief. It is an article of faith that must necessarily hang ONLY on the Word of God, in this case the institution of the supper in which the Son of God says plainly yet in offense to reason, “This is My body/blood…take eat/drink…given/shed for you”. Like all articles of faith it confronts human reason and senses so as to offend and slay them and says, “God will be found savingly ONLY at His naked Word”.

    This is why it is important to see the difference of the reformed versus Luther on this. The reformed formularies speak of signs/seals, and in the LS the sign are the elements of bread and wine, and the significance, they say, is the body and blood of Christ up in the fiery heavens. Luther speaks of signs and seals yet in the LS the sign/seal is the body and blood of Christ, and the significance and that which is sealed is the enjoyment of Christ and all His benefits as Chemitz points out. Chemitz astutely understands that a distinction is made between, for example, THE SEAL versus THING SEALED. One has to keep also in mind what the sign/significance of the Reformed is versus what it is for Luther when thinking about the seal/thing sealed. For what is sealed in the Lord’s Supper is Christ and all His benefits and the seal is not mere bread and wine but the real and true body and blood of Christ.

    This is the tremendous eschatological component of the sacrament (baptism is similar), in that a true and real foretaste of that which we will receive at the last judgment is already actually and really given to those who in fact do partake of the LS. That foretaste is the seal and the seal is the real and true body and blood of Christ Jesus.

    So it is to say that the spiritual eating spoken of in John 6, whereby the Capernaic/cannabilistic assertion is thoroughly rebuked, which is figuratively spoken for as faith (and explicitly said so) is in fact faith that believes in Christ and what His body and blood are for us. But the sacramental eating and drinking of the body and blood of Jesus in the mystery hanging on the Word alone and against human reason, solely issued in the LS, is the actual eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ. The sacramental eating is the seal, the body and blood of Christ received and taken as ordained by Christ (eating and drinking), of the enjoyment of Christ and all His gifts (that which is sealed BY the seal…the actual body and blood of Christ) which the spiritual eating enjoys.

    Thus, the spiritual eating can actually, not theoretically, eschatologically (now/not yet), enjoy a REAL, not spiritual, foretaste of Christ and all His gifts because that which brings it though hidden under the elements by the Word alone (utterly undetectable to reason and the senses, an article of naked faith) is the very and true body and blood of Jesus Christ (as Christ clearly speaks) and thus seals it.

    Here is the important difference between the Reformed and Luther on this issue and on this issue at the end of the day the difference between two opposed religions upon which no common ground whatsoever if found (the LS, sacraments in general and the Gospel). The crucial “FOR YOU” down to earth is present only when the sign/seal is the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and that which is thereby signified/sealed by the very body and blood of Christ is the grace of God itself. That is in opposition to the Reformed formula that speaks of the sign/seal being variously bread/wine, and that which is signified/sealed the body of Christ (up in the fiery heaven and away from the congregation itself).

    It is also worth pointing out, Chemitz makes this very point, that in the very first controversy regarding the LS that the Apostle Paul Himself appeals NOT to other Scriptures, but the very Word’s of institution themselves and them alone! Thus, point out what Jesus clearly meant “THIS IS MY BODY/BLOOD…”. So that it may be discerned so. False teachers divert the eyes to those scriptures they think support their claims, Paul does not.

    Larry

  113. “He isn’t going to be … saying things he doesn’t mean.”

    Ah ha! So elsewhere Jesus does that, huh? There we have it, you put more emphasis on one part of Scripture over another. That’s wrong, and I’ll let Pastor Mark explain why since you won’t listen to me.

  114. Yes, Darius,
    And I will explain, thank you, you can read if you like, but I find your answer to be very comical after you chastize me for snarkiness. I would say something about a pot and a kettle, but Omarosa might call me a racist.
    The fact that Ruth was a Moabetess has never been much an article of faith for me.
    So when Jesus gives a parable I understand, that he might not literally be a door or a vine, yet I understand the message and take that seriously. But on the night when he was betrayed, when he says this is the New Testament in my Blood, I take it that he is serious about what he is literally saying.
    Now do you take everything Jesus says Literally, or figuratively? Do you not let context decide?

  115. Where is the theology police when you need them?

    Lets change to something less controversial …. like Free Will, TULIP, pelagianism, open theism, and is God responsible for evil? :-).

  116. Luther rightly recognized that all heresy finds its roots in the original heresy of enthusiasm. Whether it was the Pope or the other Reformed, that which does not stay adhered to the Word of God nakedly. We are all enthusiasts by fallen nature, and it often manifests itself in heterodox confessions. Often it is indeed very subtle. While the Pope overtly says that his heart has the right to interpret Scripture, more subtle shades of “god withinness” emerge in other protestant confessions. E.g. when Reformed confessions assert that the efficacy of the Sacraments, which contain the Word, is sometimes effectually attended by the Spirit and other times not. From this is drawn the insidious “Order of Salvation” whereby the eye is turned away from Christ only slightly, so that the Spirit is “to the side” or “just in front” or “just behind” the Word itself and to a Gnostic operation of the spirit (which is not the Spirit) somewhere else. Both Zwingli and Calvin could not get past this. Zwingli would say that the spirit makes a man able to rightly interpret the Word. Which is not at all different from the Pope’s ex cathedra. Luther saw this antichristic principle of enthusiasm.

    It’s really not at all that far removed from Joseph Smith’s religion in if you find yourself witnessing to a Mormon, which I’ve had a fair amount of experience, they will tell you regarding the Bible being the Word of God, “only as it is rightly interpreted”.

    Thus, where Luther would say of the Sacrament of the LS “by the virtue of the words of institution spoken”, Zwingli, Bucer (Calvin’s teacher) would say “according to the meaning of words of institution”. Granted it is very sly and very subtle, very Genesis 3:1 like, “hath God really said”. This is the way enthusiasm fundamentally works, it just “gets a teeny tiny bit away from the Word”, just enough to give it plausible deniability to say, “See I’m sticking to the Bible too!” That’s how the “god-withinness” operates, it claims to be of the Spirit, just speck from the Word.

    Larry

  117. Theology Police? We have Theology Police? Why aren’t I on the force?
    Nothing is more controversial than theology, nothing.

  118. But what makes Jesus’ words there different than anything else He said? wrote Darius.

    THEY AREN’T. That’s what we’re trying to get at. What Jesus said in the last hours of his life jives with what he said any number of other places, mentioned ad nauseum above. Anytime one of the Lutherans try to offer biblical support for what we’re trying to say, you accuse of of “ignoring large parts of Scripture” without telling us WHAT verses we’re ignoring that supposedly support your adamant assertion that Jesus pulled a Clinton when he said “This is…”

  119. EC, that’s not true. I’ve shown you (the Lutherans here) multiple verses that you don’t read literally, and you have either ignored them or said “well, that’s different” without explaining how you come to that conclusion (outside of saying “because Luther or our Lutheran books say so”). Why is the “Last Will & Testament” to be taken literally when God and Jesus is anything but literal in most of the Bible (though always serious!)? I have yet to see a good explanation of that apparent switch to the literal. Is there a secret code that Luther found hidden in one of the ancient manuscripts that said “Beyond this point, Jesus was not using any symbolic language, and if you believe it is symbolic, you are a heretic and a denier of Christ”?

    Jesus says in one verse that He is a tree, which all the Lutherans agree is symbolic of the life He brings to us, the “branches.” And later He says He is living water, which is what, half literal and half symbolic? And how does one drink that? Do we have to gulp a little water down when we get baptized? And yet later still He says that the bread and wine are His body and blood. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Jesus becomes the literal meister? Or, in keeping with the context of His entire life (and in doing so, making a lot more sense considering the rest of Scripture), is He once again using figurative language, this time to explain how to remember His broken body and spilt blood? It takes a lot more theological and mental gymnastics to arrive at the literal view.

    Here’s a good discussion of this issue: .http://www.wcg.org/lit/bible/literal2.htm

    Please note this in particular: “Do not work for food that spoils,” he told the people, “but for food that endures to eternal life” (John 6:27). What is that life-giving food, the source of eternal life? It is Jesus.

    When Jesus told people that they must eat his flesh (verse 53), he did not mean it literally. Even when he said that his flesh was “real food” (verse 55), he did not mean it literally. He explained that flesh is not important (verse 63). To be given eternal life, we need something spiritual.

  120. Darius,
    I must concur with others on this blog regarding your essentially non-biblical refutation of our position. I posted a blog entry earlier on this topic which clearly stated how Lutherans have put forward the biblical argument for how the finite can carry the infinite. This is the classic exegetical argument. So far, anyway, no one here has responded with an alternative based in Scripture. Lots of Scriptural assertions but no clear scriptural exegesis.

    Along with Zwingli and other protestants you are free to argue for the “real absence” of our Lord in His supper. I will stick with Luther’s conservative reformation and the vast majority of the Christian Church who affirm His “real presence” – which we confess is clearly biblical.

    That’s all from me on this topic.

  121. The short answer for why is not “Lutheran” but the history of the church. On ANY article of faith, that which rises to the level of a dogma – is that these are established upon a clear word. The Word’s of institution are clear, the weight of which (a will and testament) adds to that weight. They are repeated with the same clarity four times.

    And again one cannot miss this fact that if we want to see how a controversy has been handled given a doctrine, if its available, then Scripture is the first and foremost norm. We must ask was there a controversy regarding the LS captured within the NT? The answer is “yes”. Paul’s 1 Cor. Epistle which predates the Gospels is and it captures the Apostles answer, better the Holy Spirit’s method and answering of this issue regarding the controversy of the LS in Corinth. Paul’s appeal is not to other scriptural passages, as it is so weighty that the LS be established correctly the Holy Spirit via Paul appeals not to other scriptural passages for the answer, method or rule but the very same and exact words of institution themselves. It is heretics who seek out other verses to weigh in their opinions regarding the LS thinking they’ve found the norm whereby the words of institution must be understood. But again, Paul did not, rather the very words of institution. The weight of this argument alone is utterly insurmountable and makes the entire enterprise of going elsewhere nothing and to be eschewed.

    It’s really as simple as one person put it once, “If Jesus had only said, ‘this is My body’, we’d know.” The point is obvious.

    What Lord’s Supper is it in which only bread and wine are handed out and the new instituted words, according to the Reformed/Baptistic doctrines say, “This is NOT the body of Jesus Christ, this is NOT the blood of Jesus Christ.” Those are not the words of Christ at all! Nor is such the Lord’s Supper.

    Larry

  122. Thankfully, this is not a heretical issue (at least, I hope not for your sake). You’ll find out what Jesus really meant when we get to heaven.

    Oh, and by the way, the history of the Church is first Catholic. So, by your standard, Catholics have a leg up on you.

  123. “Jesus also said in John 6:48, “I am the bread of life.” Does that mean that he is literally bread? No. It is a figure of speech to show that He was our spiritual sustenance”.

    OK, so it’s all about the spiritual –
    then why bother with something as mundane as the physical at all?
    Why take communion, practice baptism, seek to grow through the word – aren’t these actually just physical things, like us?
    What is the point?

    If God does not meet us at the table, in the Word and in baptism, what value do they hold? And why would He meet us in such? Isn’t He in heaven, so why place any credence on ink and paper, bread and wine or water? Surely, there must be a more direct, a more spiritual means?

    It may be worth reflecting on where such spirituality will leave us!

  124. Howard, because we live in the physical. Thus the parables (besides the fact that Jesus didn’t want everyone to understand). People relate best to something they can understand. For example, the Temple was a physical symbol of what God could (and would) do with His people.

    That’s not to say that God isn’t present in those ceremonies… He is, since wherever people are gathered in His name, He promises to be there. But none of those options save anyone, only Jesus saves through faith in His sacrifice. As Paul repeatedly pointed out, salvation didn’t come to Abraham or Isaac because they did the right ceremonies, it was due to their faith. Ceremonial law-keeping without true repentance or faith brings death, if we learn anything from the Old Covenant, it’s that.

    I also want to point out something… Jesus abolished the need for ceremonies and temples and sacrifices and priests to get to God. He now lives in us by way of the Holy Spirit. We don’t need to go anywhere to “meet” Him.

  125. Actually it is very much and specifically a heretical issue, it IS an essential issue because it IS why there is not communion (alter) fellowship between denominations. Also, we have an ill conceived modern concept of “denomination”. Denomination is best understood as “a confession”.

    This is why Luther would not give to Zwingli nor Bucer (Calvin’s predessessor) them the hand of fellowship and said they are of another spirit, many not the Holy Spirit nor of the Christian faith on this issue. So it is very weighty and essential.

    Nonetheless, even a heretic is not beyond the grace of God in Christ. Zwingli and Calvin held heretical doctrines just as much as Rome did on the doctrine of the LS.

    Plus another helpful distinction is between “those weak in knowledge” and those “weak in faith” due to heretical teaching. Those weak in knowledge should not ascend into a pulpit, “not many of you should be teachers”, but UNDER an orthodox pulpit. Those laymen weak in faith, faith falsely taught need to be under the same FOR THERE faith.

    Larry

  126. Another way to look at this, is to not at the outset to see it as an issue of heresy that departs the very serious essence of the Son God’s Word’s instituting it – is to not even have the right understanding of the Word of God from the beginning to even enter into the discussion about the LS or sacraments. One must realize that even Zwingli knew this and would not in ANY way shape or form had allowed what is today modern Baptist of the most Reformed, Calvinistic and conservative nature attend his version of what he called the Lord’s Supper. He at a minimum understood the principle of the weight of God’s Word which roundly condemns such in road heresy of His Word.

    So the first thing one must grasp before entering into learning on this is to accept that reality first, otherwise one cannot prevent false affections from driving the boat. Once one “gets that” the rest is at least easier to grasp.

    Larry

  127. Darius wrote,

    “If I were at all leaning toward believing the Lutheran belief here…”

    So why are you here, Darius? To condescendingly insist (with a very strong sense of authority) that your view is glaringly obvious and all of us Lutherans are hopelessly blinded by outside influence (when you yourself are not free from such influence)? I find it laughable that you lecture some of the folks here about divisiveness when you admit that you have no actual interest in learning what Lutherans actually believe and teach.

    I was going to applaud you for actually believing something to be objectively true and for being willing to stick up for those beliefs (even though I believe you are wrong). That is a very rare thing these days. But it seems rather self-serving to pull out the “you’re being divisive” card when you seem to be very heartily contributing to that divisiveness.

    As for your comments about how we should all be Roman Catholics because that was supposedly what the church was originally, you seem to be buying into the Roman Catholic notion that what they now teach is what was taught from the beginning of the church.

    Elephantschild wrote, “All the others have been trying to point out is that there have been Christians who believed, taught and confessed the one true faith long before Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli.”

    Darius, the “one true faith” does not equal Roman Catholicism, as you seem to assume. There was a “catholic” (universal) faith long before there was Roman Catholicism, which is a medieval corruption since it denies justification by faith alone – the central doctrine of Christianity.

    Dawn

  128. Larry,

    When you use the word “heretical,” are you saying that those who have a different/wrong belief regarding the Sacraments are not Christians? That’s how I’ve always understood the word “heretical.” Maybe a better word for it would be “heterodox.” Wrong belief regarding the Sacraments can lead to loss of faith though that’s not always the case. Many (if not most) people do not think these issues through to their logical conclusions. Wasn’t Pieper the one who was distinguishing between orthodox, heterodox and heretical?

    Blessings,
    Dawn

    • Dawn,

      Being you and I come from a similar background I understand your question, and glad you asked to allow for clarification. No, wrong views does not mean “not Christian”. A heretic can be a Christian, we don’t ‘read hearts’ like the baptist do and try to ferret out the “elect/regenerate”. But in saying that we do not say that a just let heresy and heretics go without being explicit about it.

      Yes, Pieper is the best to read on this orthodoxy versus heretic. A nice distinction is that the heretic is really the one claiming to be a preacher teacher or holding the office, as opposed to the layman. That’s tough in our American disrespectful “everybody is a self made man” kind of thinking. We tend to forget or blur the offices and laymen.

      Pieper makes, if I recall correctly, makes a nice distinction on these issues between “weak in faith” versus “weak in knowledge”.

      I think examples help best because they are real life and dare I say practical as to Gospel versus heretical false gospels in showing why we MUST be clear about heresies.

      The former is misinformed (weak in faith), e.g. a suffering baptist under the torments of believers baptism wondering if they are really saved/regenerate/elect. His/her conscience is falsely taught by the HERESY of the HERETICAL doctrine dredged up by HERETICS. As such he/she has real faith but is suffering spiritual starvation for Christ, he/she is nearly loosing Christ because of the HERETICAL doctrine on the sacrament of baptism in particular and the devil (via the heretical doctrine) is tempting them to be rebaptized (a great sin) based on faith (idolatry), rather than cling to the Word given in the waters of baptism (baptism itself). His/her faith is weak due to the false heretical doctrine and the devil is tempting them away from Christ in this.

      The later (weak in knowledge) is more like a modern preach/teacher who has adhered to a heresy and not really learned at all. He should not ascend to a pulpit but rather be UNDER an orthodox pulpit to learn.

      Heterodox churches are heterodox because they preach, teach and confess the “mixed praise” (heterodoxy) and that mixed praise IS heresy that has departed essentially from the faith. That’s why Lutherans don’t take the LS, which it is not, in heterodox churches…its another meal or rite if you will. Why would any Christian want to take a distribution of bread and wine (mostly grape juice which is another issue inherent to heterodoxy thinking) want to receive elements thus according to heterodox doctrine, “this is NOT the body of Christ, this is NOT the blood of Christ”, again according to THEIR OWN DOCTRINE. I can have “just bread and wine” at an Italian restaurant.

      Hope that helps,

      Larry

  129. Darius wrote:
    “Howard, because we live in the physical”.

    So where, then, is the “spiritual” meant to be evidenced –
    in heaven alone, where Christ resides?

    Where does the physical meet with Christ now?
    Purely in a symbolic fashion in our acts,, whilst something ‘spiritual’ goes on in heaven?

    Re:’ceremonies’
    “None of those options save anyone, only Jesus saves through faith in His sacrifice”.

    Now I’m confused – are the Lord’s Supper, the ministry of the Word, and Baptism “Options”? Aren’t these the actual means God uses to bring the gifts of grace and faith to us- perhaps these are too physical?

  130. Howard,

    God uses faith as the means to bring grace and salvation to us, the Bible says so repeatedly.

    Dawn,

    Please note that I only accused Bror (I would amend that and add Larry possibly) of being divisive, by implying that those who disagree with him are not Christians. He got personal and quite condescending to both Dorci and myself from the get go and was generally quite a jerk (sad to see in a pastor!). Please point out where I have been condescending, unless you mean where I disagree with you. If it is condescending to disagree, then yes, I am guilty. Read the comments closely and you’ll see who needs to take a timeout and who has been civil. You, thankfully, have been the latter).

    As for my interest in Lutheranism, I meant that if any of you had made a Scripturally compelling case, I would still be turned off by the likes of Bror and Larry who won’t have fellowship with non-Lutherans. I have had fellowship with Lutherans before, but maybe they were more open-minded like yourself and understood that this issue, while serious, isn’t something to break fellowship over.

    In my opinion, Lutherans took an important step away from the Catholic church, but were unwilling to completely break with the Catholic church. The other Reformers finished the job (or at least took another giant step away from the CC). Many evangelicals lump the two together in fact, considering Lutherans a slightly more orthodox version of the CC. Part of this is probably to blame on all of the nominal Lutherans running around just like nominal Catholics. The Lutheran church, for whatever reason, seems to breed a lukewarm faith. I understand it with Catholics, since they promote the idea that as long as you confess to the priest, you can live however you want. I’m not sure why Lutherans are struggling with that problem.

  131. “”God uses faith as the means to bring grace and salvation to us, the Bible says so repeatedly.””

    Exactly so. How? HOW does God the Holy Spirit do that?

    I know how **I** believe that faith comes to me. Darius, in your theology, what brings that faith to a person?

    Where does faith come from? From my heart? Or from God?

    If it comes from God, then HOW does that happen?

  132. “In my opinion, Lutherans took an important step away from the Catholic church, but were unwilling to completely break with the Catholic church.”

    Ah, yes. The Incomplete Reformation. Not a new idea.

    We didn’t “completely break with the Catholic Church” because not every single thing the Catholic Church taught or teaches is wrong. Duh.

    Every church body has “nominal ______s” running around. Don’t pull that as an argument as to why Lutheran theology is wrong.

  133. I was raised as a nominal Roman Catholic. And I spent a fair amount of time in several Evangelical churches.

    The one thing that I noticiced is that R. Catholic theology and Evangelical theology are basically the same at their core.
    ‘A lot of God and a little bit of me and my efforts (at righteousness).’

    Only it usually turns out the other way around…’a lot of me and a little bit of God.’

    That is what happens in a co-op, semi-Pelagian view of the life of faith.

    Lutheran theology, at it’s best, takes the righteousness and salvation project and leaves it totally in the hands of God, where it belongs.

    This is why we place so much emphasis on Word and Sacraments. It takes the ball out of our court (where all the trouble is).

  134. EC, I’m not saying that all denominations don’t have nominal adherents. Of course they do. Catholics and Lutherans just seem to breed a higher percentage of them. I can’t tell you how many Catholics and Lutherans I know or have known who have no idea what living a Christian life is about, yet they attend church all the time. I know fewer evangelicals who fit that category.

  135. Steve, yet you say that it takes actions like the Lord’s Supper or baptism to be saved… I don’t see how that squares with the view that God does all the saving work.

    God saves, and only after He transforms us with a heart of flesh do we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” That does NOT mean that the work leads to salvation. It leads to purification of the Bride and reward in heaven. And God enables that to happen by first taking away our heart of stone.

    Meanwhile, it seems that Lutherans (correct me if I’m wrong) see people as continually being saved and that the heart of flesh could turn back to a heart of stone. I don’t see how that is Scriptural. We are regenerated ONCE and then sanctified.

  136. And I’ve known plenty of “evangelicals” (ie non-Lutherans) who don’t understand justification and sanctification.

    It’s still bad support for proving that a denomination’s theology is off. People are sinners, and misuse and scorn God’s gifts. That doesn’t mean the gifts are flawed.

  137. There are two chruches. There are the ones that sit in the pews on Sunday, and then the ones that Christ knows. The Church that belongs to Jesus.

    All churches have both people in them. The wheat and tares grow together.

    The key is to stay faithful to Him in preaching and teaching and offereing the Sacraments (which He instituted) and let the chips fall where they may.

    I know many Lutherans who seemingly don’t have a clue. Is God at work there? We hope so.

    And I know many Evangelicals who likewise seem clueless as they are so wrapped up in their “religious” projects and piety, that they drip with pride.

  138. St. Paul says, “for those of us who are BEING SAVED.”

    Yes we certainly feel it is a process. One that is started by God, continued by God, and completed by God.

  139. EC, I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that God’s saving faith is dependent on something we do. He transforms the heart FIRST, which then allows us to trust Him and repent of our sin. It seems like Lutherans, while claiming that God is doing everything, hamstring Him and only allow Him to work through physical acts like water baptism or communion.

  140. Steve,

    Paul also says that the Corinthian Christians WERE justified and saved. A past event. So what’s the deal?

    The deal is that it is an already/not yet situation. We were saved once and for all when God gave us a heart of flesh, one which cannot turn back to stone (unless God’s work is ineffectual, which I doubt you’re willing to say). But we are BEING saved in that He is working in us to purify His Bride and we will be finally and totally saved when He returns. Until then, we groan for the day when we leave this fallen nature behind. See Romans 8:24: “For in this hope [the complete salvation to come], we were saved.”

  141. You forgot the preaching of the Word, Darius!

    The means of grace: the Sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) and the Word.

    The sacraments aren’t something we do. They are GOD’S WORDS acting upon us.

    God’s work. Not ours.

  142. “One that is started by God, continued by God, and completed by God.

    That’s true in a way. We were saved completely at the moment we were born again. Yet He is sanctifying us and will eventually glorify us in His time. And none of our participation in that sanctification can happen outside of that initial and ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. But there is participation, otherwise you have to ignore about 85% of the the New Testament commands to be holy, to bear good fruit in keeping with repentance, to confess our sins to one another.

  143. Darius,
    No, saving faith is not dependent on something we do. However saving faith not only believes in Jesus, but also believes Jesus. Saving faith trusts that what Jesus says is true, and therefore Jesus is offering the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation through those physical things he has given us like Baptism and communion. Therefore the faith that has been given us as a gift from God seeks forgiveness, life and salvation in Baptism, and Communion. These are not our works, but Christs, and it is the Holy Spirit that draws us to them through faith.
    To me it is not that we are hamstringing God at all, we are seeking him where he has told us we can undoubtedly find him. It is you who are saying, “no, he isn’t there, he isn’t doing anything in these “physical” things. Indeed, he cannot be there, he cannot be doing these things, or make salvation dependent upon them.”
    As my post yesterday on my blog “Faith desires baptism, even the faith of little children” points out, it is not faith that despises the gifts of God, or doubts his word.

  144. I’ll say this again for the benefit of those who may not have heard me say it before, God can make the stones shout, if He so desires.

    He can save someone apart from any Sacraments and He can save them with the Sacraments.

    HE has chosen to also save with the Sacraments. This wasn’t our idea…it was HIS.

    We think He did this precisely to keep us off our little holiness projects that are the source of so much trouble and self-righteousness and pride.

  145. When someone makes their ‘decision for Christ’, what is one of the first byproducts of that decision?

    Pride.

    “Well, ‘I’ did it. ‘I’ made the right decision. ‘I’ am now saved.”

    Relying on what God does (in the Sacraments) ‘for us’ …on His decision, ‘for us’…removes the ‘I’did it’ factor and gives all the credit, all the glory, to God.

  146. EC, then why do Lutherans say that if you baptize kids, you can save them? That’s something you do, and then the Lord is held hostage to saving them. It sounds similar to the pagan and superstitious views of the tribal world (and is similar to the Catholic idea that praying for a dead person can affect their eternal abode). People would do certain rituals which would then cause God to save their loved ones. God doesn’t save through rituals, He never did. The Israelites made the mistake of believing that the Old Covenant sacrifices saved, let’s not make that very same mistake. The letter kills, the Spirit brings life.

  147. We do not DO the actual baptizing. God does. We bring them to the font.

    God baptizes. God saves. He chooses (did not Jesus say that? – “I choose you, you do not choose me”)

  148. Is anyone actually reading my comments or are you just tilting at windmills???

    Bror, yes, I understand, you think I am an apostate and unbeliever. I think you’re a misguided brother in Christ who needs to spend some time looking at his own heart (which we all do). Until you can read my comments and respond with intellectually honest replies, I don’t know how to dialogue with you. I clearly said that saving faith is from God, and yet you somehow have the audacity to claim that I said otherwise. It boggles the mind.

    “When someone makes their ‘decision for Christ’, what is one of the first byproducts of that decision?

    Pride.

    “Well, ‘I’ did it. ‘I’ made the right decision. ‘I’ am now saved.””

    Steve, who are you talking to? It seems a straw man has entered the room and you are having a conversation with him. I didn’t say anything about “making a decision.” God changes the heart, only after which do we have the eyes to see.

    I pity the Lutheran view that we can’t have any confidence in our salvation because it is dependent on what we do. It isn’t, it’s 100% dependent on God. And if we see the fruit of His work, we can know that we are saved. Paul’s pretty confident in his salvation in 2 Corinthians 13…. I guess that was just his pride speaking?

  149. In so many of these Evangelical churches, thay are on an escalator ride upward and onward, all focused on themselves and their “fruits”.

    The whole project started with themselves, and continues with themselves.

    They (many of them) drip with a phoniness and pious veneer. THEY HAVE TO! Otherwise they won’t fit in, and “look like the “saved”.

    It starts with them, it continues with them, and it will end with them…with God as the cosmic stable boy who helps them get up into and stay in the saddle.

    (hence the tagline in the header of this blog)

  150. “We bring them to the font.”

    This isn’t “doing” something??? That’s the definition of doing something. You dip (or sprinkle or whatever) the child in the water, now God has to save him. Sounds like man-centered works to me.

  151. You are ascribing to us that which Evangelicvals are gulity of.

    We place NO confidence on that which we do.

    Do you understand that we believe that we do not baptize?

    God baptizes. We do no work in the Supper. Jesus does it all.

    How many times must we repeat this fact before you will hear us?

  152. I’m sorry you were in such a poor evangelical church, Steve. It obviously has tainted your view of the Body and understanding of the Word. The true Church recognizes that we are all fallen creatures who are being sanctified by the working of the Holy Spirit and anything we “do” is only possible by His power and His prodding. After all, what are we that we did not receive?

  153. Sounds like man-centered works to me.

    You are mistaken then. We were ordered to bring them to the font by Jesus. Matthew 28, “Go, baptize…”

    We are ordered by Jesus to recieve the body and blood, “DO THIS….”

    The delivery end of these things is all God…all the time.

  154. Yes, let’s finish that sentence… “Do this in REMEMBRANCE of me.”

    “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

    I don’t see how you can read that sentence and say “See, we’re actually drinking Jesus juice whenever we take communion.”

  155. Darius,

    When you have a theology of co-operation, which “free will, decision theology is…the natural outcome will be this obedience project, super sticky sweet veneer of phoniness that is present in Evangelical circles. I have been to many and I know many (my neighbors) who go to these places. They march in lockstep like a little fascist, religious army. Afraid to be themselves, afraid to admit who and what thet really are.

    I lay the law on them. Are you guys doing what Jesus tells you to do?

    Are you visiting the prisoners in the jails? Are you spending you weekends at the old folks and nursing homes? Are you inviting the homeless into your homes? Are you living on a thin margin of income and giving the rest to the poor?

    I expose their phoniness with the Law of God. Hoping that they will see where their little religios projects are leading them.

  156. The word remember (in the greek) as used means to actually bring a thing into the present.

    Where you there? What are you remembering?

  157. “Are you visiting the prisoners in the jails? Are you spending you weekends at the old folks and nursing homes? Are you inviting the homeless into your homes? Are you living on a thin margin of income and giving the rest to the poor?”

    And if they are Christians, their answer will likely be yes to at least some of those questions. But none of that saves, that is merely the fruit (or proof) of the inward condition of their heart, something God transformed.

  158. You really hate evangelicals, don’t you? “Fascist phonies”… nice.

  159. Not at all.

    I criticize my own (Lutherans) all the time, as well…when the criticism is deserved.

    And I never judge whether or not they are Christians.

  160. The fascist remark is due to appearances only. I use that word to emphasize the sameness that pervades many Evangelical chruches.

    People are very different, but in so many of those places, if you don’t act a certain way, speak a certain way, carry your bible a certain way…then some look upon you as maybe a little less of a Christian than you ought to be.

  161. My point in laying the Law down (God’s point as well, I believe) is to expose us and our unrighteousness. To expose the fact that we do not live as Christ would have us live. We put ourselves and our interests first. When we do engage in those kinds of activities it is usually when it is convenient for us and won’t cost us too much.

  162. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

    I don’t see how you can read that sentence and say “See, we’re actually drinking Jesus juice whenever we take communion.”

    Because the whole passage (not just your favorite part) says “This is my blood” that’s why. It’s BOTH a participation in the physical body of Christ, a participation in the church AS the body of Christ, AAAAND a rememberance.

    Why is so hard to accept that things can be more than one thing? Christians are both sinners and justified saints. The bread is the little tasteless wafer AND the body of Christ. God the Son is both seated at the right hand of God the Father AND walking with us in our daily lives. Water baptism is BOTH water baptism AND baptism of the Holy Spirit. Remember Nicodemus?

    Lutherans don’t put limits on what God is capable of; we just limit where WE look for him to the places he’s promised to come to us: the preaching of the Word, and baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.

  163. Dairus,
    Faith is passive. We absolutely have a hundred percent confidence in our salvation, because God saves us apart from anything we do. We believe him whole heartedly. Which is why we do not doubt that he is saving us, when he baptizes us, and forgives our sins in Communion. And it is the faith that he has given us that draws us to these things, nothing in ourselves. It is the faith of parents, that gift of God, that possesses them to bring their child to the font, where Christ does the baptizing.
    Now you have asked for me not to get snippy. Believe me, right now, I am bridling my tongue. If you don’t want to be insulted, then don’t insult.
    What faith is it that doubts the words of Christ? How does faith believe in someone, whom it does not also believe? If Christ says he forgives my sins in the LS, am I not to believe him? If he says that he saves in baptism, am I not to believe him? Is he a liar? Am I to trust a liar with my salvation?

  164. Darius,

    One of the reasons that I started this blog was to have a place where people of other Christian faith traditions could see, many for the first time, some of what Lutherans believe and why we believe it.

    I’m not out to convert people and make them all Lutherans. That jsut won’t happen.

    But clarity is always a good thing.

    So, if nothing else, you now understand how the Lutherans view the Sacraments a whole better than you did before (probably), even though you don’t agree with us.

    And we have gained a better insight as to how you and many other Evangelicals view baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

    So, something good has come from these discussions.

    I’m not ending the conversation, just trying tp place things in their proprer perspective.

    Thanks, my friend.

    – Steve

  165. “EC, I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that God’s saving faith is dependent on something we do. He transforms the heart FIRST, which then allows us to trust Him and repent of our sin. It seems like Lutherans, while claiming that God is doing everything, hamstring Him and only allow Him to work through physical acts like water baptism or communion.”

    This here is the center of the difficulty and having come from that myself I fully understand that struggle. One has to more or less neutrally keep this paradigm in mind, step back as it were and ask a most neutral question, “what is the truth” “where is God FOR ME, savingly.” For the devil has so introduced this theology of glory and Gnostic way of thinking that what is white appears black and vice versa.

    One way to begin thinking about it is to realize, without details, that at least in principle here is what the devil’s strategy is; he camouflage’s true grace (where God has said in essence ‘here I am for you’ with a camouflage of works salvation and paints truly works salvation with a white wash of “grace like color”. So for example when God told Noah to build an ark to save them, everyone else possessed by the devil’s secret word (thinking it to be God and salutary and right) laughed at Noah and thus the Word God Himself gave him. Thus, they did not enter into the saving ark but perished. The devil makes true food look like poison and true poison look like food. And the devil doesn’t say, “I’m the devil here to kill you” but rather “I’m an angel of light, even God here to help you”. Like a false policeman only garbed externally in a policeman’s uniform, he tricks you so he can lure you off to kill you. This is the devil’s mode of operation, and he uses Scripture to do so! The white devil is more deadly than the black devil ever was, a true wolf in sheep’s clothing is the white devil.

    Take one example, baptism. It is God’s work, God’s Word, God’s name. That is it’s basis. Scripture is crystal clear on this a baptism is ONLY a baptism when it is “In the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…” with or without faith. It is not based on faith. A baptism is not a baptism based on faith which is idolatry, basing a holy thing, baptism on a creature, faith. A pure violation of the first commandment. Thus, it is God’s work. Here God, through the incarnate Son of God’s voice has said, “Here I am for you savingly (the promise is to you…”)”. Thus just like the Ark here God has extended His Word through the creation, He uses the creature, water, to speak (this is by the way linked to the incarnation, Christ did not come as a wispy spirit but conceived of the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary) and say, “HERE, HERE, HERE I am FOR YOU savingly”. Just like ordering via the hands of Noah the construction of the Ark, yet it was the vehicle or means of salvation for Noah’s family. God said to Noah, “HERE, HERE, HERE in the Ark I will save you.” Not somewhere else and not by some Gnostic disconnected spirituality which the fallen unrighteous sought. That’s why the scoffed at Noah. The Spirit does not operate nakedly upon the soul, not because He cannot, but because God has chosen by His sovereign will to say HERE, HERE, HERE I will be FOR YOU and not over there, or over there, or over there, nor in some wispy spiritual realm. Thus, God is not found savingly in meditation like the Gnostic religions, but in simply unassuming Word, water, bread and wine. These unassuming things are scoffed at, just as Ishmael laughed (persecuted) Isaiah for believing in circumcision. God sovereignly limits Himself in order to dispense His pure grace.

    In these sacraments the grace of God is utterly, absolutely and totally hidden from reason and experience and only see as “eyes of faith”. In these faith comes WITH the Word, where the Word is not neither is faith, when the Word disappears, faith goes with it! Thus comes faith in the naked/Word, water/Word, bread/Word, wine/Word – the Word is the Word only the elements differ and thus is faith strengthened by the same. The Word informs faith as to what to believe.

    Therefore, the devil whose ultimate battle is against the Gospel to be the antichrist primarily meaning “in the place of Christ” and thus only secondarily “against Christ” by being “in the place of Christ”. Thus, he brings out the camouflage and white wash. Camouflaging to many that which is truly grace, and white washing that which is truly works salvation so that which is camouflaged is eschewed by the believer as “works” (but it is really grace), so as to lead them astray over to the white washed works were they partake of secret surreptitious works. In this way the devil shows himself the sine quo non insidious, sinister true murderer of souls. He is the true adder hidden among the flowers with poison fangs ready to strike the child of God who innocently comes to smell the pleasant odor of the flower and view up close the beauty of its odor. Then he strikes and bites to inject his deadly venom when unexpected.

    By this strategy and device he leads true children of God away from God’s out pouring of grace in baptism and the Lord’s Supper to put them back UNDER the noose of bondage, back to Egypt so that they slowly and secretly find themselves working their way to heaven via “means of works” and “means of damnation”. At length they will be so subtly drawn into this and so bewitched by it they will not recognize it, possessed thus; “thinking they are now pulling it off” or “despairing of any hope knowing they are not”. This is how the devil murders souls! The devil does not charge them at a distance swinging his sword that they might flee at the sight of it, but rather lures them in with ginger bread cookies into his layer that he might devour them.

    So he says to a man with a sarcastic condescending tone, “Baptism saves? Jesus really gives you His body and blood actually for the actual forgiveness of your sins? Hath God really said that? No surely not. The Holy Spirit operates immediately upon you and your heart so that you are like God. Eat of this word and you will not surely die but indeed with such an operation of the spirit be like god yourselves.” Then the system of works erects itself slowly hiddenly without being called works, even denied as works and even while affirming in nouns and verbs “faith alone”. So in one heterodox prison the works is the pestilential system, while in the heterodox protestant churches the works system is built upon various ideas of proving one’s salvation/faith/rebirth/election to be true and real…what evidences do I have I am saved/have faith/am reborn/am elected? And in both (Rome and heterodox churches of Protestantism) one slowly has two groups slowly being murdered by the devil. Group A the super Christians thinking they are pulling it off, and Group B the despairing daily fighting off the whispers from the devil to even hang themselves they have not hope seeing none of these works to prove the above. The tread mill of works is always that, a treadmill of works, just a different color in Rome versus heterodox Protestantism.

    Larry

  166. In a sense it is as simple as this, until the “for you” the individual has come you have not heard the Gospel nor have not really believed, but are still a false confessor in only an historical faith (i.e. I believe Jesus died and all and all for what He said, but is it FOR ME, it appear not so). That’s why God gave the sacraments, to bring the FOR YOU of the Gospel. These are the mighty Sword of the spirit of which the apostle speaks. Suffering the great trial of “God is the enemy”, apparently, like Job, is what these gifts of Gospel are for. Calvin et. al. cannot so arm the believer!

    Larry

  167. A clarification on devisiveness by way of analogy. If “white” is the truth of all things and we all at once and one time confess this so, then all such confessions contrary to the truth are really divisive by their definition and any introduction. For pure harmony exists in the truth alone. So when along comes persons X, Y and Z and say, “Yes but ‘white’ means this gray shade, that gray shade and this other gray shade and that is what we believe – you pure white believers are being divisive.” It must be immediately recognized that the REAL divisive person(s) are those who introduced, maintain and defend the falsehood’s of gray. If they call the “white” (the pure truth) believers divisive they are false hypocrites for only the truth is not divisive but unifying by ITS very definition. Yet it unifies not by accepting that which is truly divisive but by killing utterly that which was introduced as truly divisive in the first place.

    L

  168. Actually, He promised to be among us whenever we are gathered together. But you’re forgetting that He already lives in us, so there is no need to “come” to us like He’s out there in heaven waiting for us to take communion.

    Jesus also said he’s a tree and we are branches. I don’t see why you ignore that verse. By your theology, we should be proclaiming to the world that Jesus intends us to be oak branches. And since He is God, anything is possible. Who are we to deny that He could be a man AND a tree?

  169. “If Christ says he forgives my sins in the LS, am I not to believe him?”

    He never says that! Stop making things up. Show me where He said that if you take the Lord’s Supper, He’ll forgive your sins.

  170. Darius, Matt. 26: 26-28

    26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

    DRINK THIS, THIS IS MY BLOOD, POURED OUT FOR YOUR FORGIVENESS.

    Now you’re going to tell me that that not only does “is” not mean “is”, but “forgiveness of sins” here doesn’t mean “forgiveness of sins.”

  171. Larry, you misunderstand what I mean by divisive. Bror basically resorted to snide name-calling from the start, belittling anyone who dared to disagree with his almighty understanding of Scripture. Disagreement isn’t necessarily divisive, questioning people’s faith and salvation and making snide comments like “it tells me she doesn’t take Christ too seriously.” For Bror (and anyone who struggles with staying civil in disagreement, which I have at times struggled with in the past), I would recommend 1 Corinthians 13. We can be right and still be mean. Bror may be right, but he has no clue what it means to be loving in disagreement or how to disagree without being disagreeable. And God seemed to put a big emphasis on love. TRUTH should be proclaimed, not prideful rants about the weakness of someone else’s faith. It scares me that none of the Lutherans on here have indicated any problem with his conduct. I know you all are friends, and it is hard to hold friends to account, but it is also the most loving thing to do if done with the right attitude and intentions.

    • Darius I do not misunderstand what you mean by diviceness at all. I have explained it very clearly.

      Being loving is an act of the will not emotional hissy fits. By an act of the will Bror is being most loving by calling that which is false and deadly to the souls of sheep the poison that it is.

      What you fail to grossly understand is that the Cross is polemical by design against all that is against it. Whether it is the outside unbeliever saying “Jesus is one way so is mine so don’t be divisive and unloving” or a false doctrine within the church that directs via a doctrine from Christ is being a divisive.

      To be quite blunt I would rather have Bror at my death bed, in my last hour of suffering when the devil is whispering the various “hath God really said” giving me the Word and Giving me the body and blood of Christ so that I might know the truth.

      Larry

      • Nevermind, being mean must be the Lutheran way. Thankfully, some of the commenters on here have been quite civil and kind in their disagreement.

      • No one is being “mean” to you, and you should stop falsely accusing of such.

      • Actually, he was mostly mean to Dorci, who you may have noticed is no longer here. Just forget it.

  172. Matthew 26:28, “this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    –Jesus Christ, approx. 32 A.D.

  173. Jesus commanded that we baptise and that we partake of Him in His Supper.

    Anytime the Lord is present, he forgives your sins.

    That’s why we do it. We still continue to sin..we still need forgiveness.

    The Word of God is living and active. We have a realtionship going on here.

    When someone in my family offends me, I don’t say I forgave you (a long time ago) I say, you are forgiven…right now.

    Makes sense, doesn’t it? Not that everything God does has to make sense to us.

  174. Or even better:

    Matthew 26:27, 28, “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for “this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

    Jesus Christ, Approx. 32 A.D.

  175. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit…”

    EC, are you going to tell me that “am” doesn’t mean “am”?

    The BLOODwas poured out for our forgiveness, not some wine. The wine represents that. The blood hadn’t even been poured out yet when He said that. So did them drinking that cup at the Last Supper give them forgiveness for their sins? People just can’t get away from the rituals of the Old Covenant.

  176. Ooops…the Lord’s Supper is the new covenant!

  177. We still continue to sin..we still need forgiveness.

    Yes, that was accomplished on the Cross and when God replaces our hearts. We ARE forgiven. “Forgive as the Lord FORGAVE you.” The forgiveness has been done, why add on to what Jesus did on the Cross? Jesus paid it ALL.

  178. Yes, Steve, but you treat it like it’s the Old Covenant.

  179. Not really, Darius.

    Jesus told us to do it, and He never told us to do anything where he would not actually be present there, in it, for us. “Lo I am with you until the end of the age.”

    The continuing nature of forgiving sins is the relational aspect.

    My kids are always forgiven by me, but I want to hear them say thay are sorry and I want to tell them I love and forgive them, today…not just say, ‘well, you know that I fogave you for everything you were ever going to do wrong the minute you were born.

  180. I’m not saying that we aren’t to confess our sins… God tells us to do so both to Him and to each other (probably would help if Christians did this a whole lot more, huh?). But the forgiveness has already been given, you don’t have to earn/receive it again and again.

  181. We cannot forget that “this is My blood” does not mean only the blood poured out on the Cross, nor does the “this is My body”, but rather the incarnation, His life, death AND resurrection entirely…this is contained in the entirety of the Lord’s Supper as Paul makes plain in 1 Cor. Thus, to see it only at the Cross is to miss the entire point of the Lord’s Supper and its eschatological declaration. For we drink that blood which is also life giving and is incorruptible and risen indeed and receive a taste of that forgiveness we shall receive on the judgment at the last day, and are connected to all saints everywhere and in every way, enjoined to the constant worship that now goes on in heaven continuously (Rev. 4), and are connected even to those dear one’s of ours who have fell asleep, asleep in the wounds of Christ.

    Larry

  182. Everyone is different. Some are a bit more confrontational (harsh) than others (Lutheran or not).

    We try and keep it civil here, and a reminder to that end for all involved is a good thing from time to time.

    Thanks, all.

  183. We never earned it and are not earning it now.

    But we have received it and are still receiving it.

  184. I think at this point we might agree to disagree.

    No sense in us getting angry with each.

    Jesus tells us that behavior like that is akin to murder, you know.

    All are welcome, and I really do enjoy the dissenting opinions.

    It is a chance to hear the other side.

    I think we may have reached an impasse in our hearing.

    Again, I’m not stopping anyone from continuing, but let’s try and ratchet down the emotional side of this that might retain a civil tone.

    If you want to throw knives (either side), get each others e-mail addresses and have at it.

  185. No anger here. I generally don’t get offended, but I will point out when others are acting rude or mean (and welcome any and all constructive criticism in that regard of me).

    That said, I’m cool with agreeing to disagree. 🙂

  186. So what have we learned, class? Lutherans are cannibals while Evangelicals are fascists. 🙂

  187. 😀

    Many ideas and competeing theologies have been offered here.

    I have learned to look into them, compare them to scripture while looking at my own heart, what I am really about at my core (myself).
    and then to see what God has done for me to make me His own and to keep me in His faith, without me having to get on my horse and prove myself.

  188. Darius,

    Probably the best most brotherly thing I can do is recommend two of the best books on the issue. This really takes some time alone learning in which short sound bites don’t suffice and can be understood wrongly. I’m a very slow reader and digestor of materials myself. If you read these you will at least, even if you still don’t agree at the end, understand more clearly the sides of the issues. I grant in our day and age it has become greatly confused.

    Here are those books and I’d recommend reading them in this order:

    1. “This Is My Body” by Herman Sasse.
    2. “The Lord’s Supper” by Martin Chemitz.

    The first one lays a very sound foundation and frames the arguments back then by all parties involved, putting it in to context, most of which all of us moderns have lost (even Lutherans). I found myself saying, “I never considered it that way”, numerous times. We often have two things against us; (1) timeline blinders and (2) assumed doctrinal blinders. ALL of us. In Sasse’s book he has the actual transcripts of the debates between Luther and Zwingli and Bucer and others, the actual record of what took place. Sasse does a great job of laying the foundation and framing the “what was at issue”. A lot of it will be eye opening, it was for me in more than one way.

    The second book will answer well all the questions you’ve brought up here but in an orderly way so as to allow one to ponder them best. Even if you still disagree, you’ll at least better understand.

    Read them as you yourself can best pace and digest them, I’m a very slow reader so it took me a while…your pace is your pace, faster/slower whatever.

    That’s the most brotherly thing I can offer you, because to be honest I can’t regurgitate it as well as they do.

    Yours truly and blessing in Christ alone,

    Larry

  189. Darius,

    “People just can’t get away from the rituals of the Old Covenant.”

    I really don’t have a dog in this particular fight since I’m not Lutheran anymore, but I think where hairs are crossed in this conversation is on the issue of catholicity. This is what the Augsburg Confession has to say on the issue:

    “5] Only those things have been recounted whereof we thought that it was necessary to speak, in order that it might be understood that in doctrine and ceremonies nothing has been received on our part against Scripture or the Church Catholic. For it is manifest that we have taken most diligent care that no new and ungodly doctrine should creep into our churches. ” (AC, Conclusion)

    The Lutheran reformers believed they were, in fact, in continuity with what the Church had always taught and practiced until late papalist innovations began taking the train off course. The radical reformer position was one in which the whole history of The Church was called into question. Alexander Campbell once said that he endeavoured to read the Scriptures as though nobody before him had read them. He was much later than Simons, et.al, but I think this fits the modern evangelical paradigm.

    So, Lutherans believe they read the Scriptures with the mind of the whole history of the Church. Radical reformers read the Scriptures as though they’d never been read before. As such, when a Lutheran adheres to what you refer to as “Old Covenant” practices, he is simply exercising this sense of catholicity. Because the first Christians merely Christianized the Jewish liturgies, the Lutheran will see contemporary evangelical worship and doctrine as terribly out of step with the way worship was conducted throughout the history of both the Old and New Covenants. In addition, because we see in Acts the apostles coming out of the temple after praying the canonical hours, the Lutheran sola scriptura paradigm is not at all offended on this issue. They see in Scripture much of the history that the radical reformers rejected.

    I hope that helps rather than muddles.

    Blessings in Christ,
    Adam

  190. Thanks Larry.

  191. That’s the trouble of trying to be involved in a conversation from the other side of the world – loads happens before you can get back!

    Darius wrote:

    “God uses faith as the means to bring grace and salvation to us, the Bible says so repeatedly”.

    And how is that gift (faith) mediated to us?
    Is it not through, for an example, the means of the preached word?
    Doesn’t God use physical means to bring grace and salvation to us?
    If such means are irrelevant, then how is anyone made right with God?

  192. Darius,
    I do get a bit nasty in argumentation sometimes. I readily admit. I can actually be quite civil and have been trying to be with you since you have shown yourself to be able to dish it and not take it. Which is what I have found with many evangelicals and/ or baptists. It’s amazing though that you don’t think calling others cannibals is a bad thing, but when we ask for your reasoning are unable to give it. Dorci started right off with the cannibal thing which shows no respect.
    Again I generally figure if a person can dish it they can take it. Otherwhys they ought not dish it. You baptists have been dishing for so long though, that you no longer even know that you are dishing. You say the most insulting things in the world, and then don’t even realize you were being insulting, and act as if we are not being Christian when we are a little sharp in our response.

  193. I’m only remarking again because it seems a shame to let the comments sit at 199. Here’s to 200! 🙂

  194. The cannibals thing was a joke; I’m amazed how thin your skin is. Pray tell where I said anything insulting. I disagreed with you, that’s not an insult I hope. I’ve asked several times for someone to point out where I was insulting or mean, and no one has taken me up on the offer. I’ve repeatedly quoted your mean comments, and no one has disagreed that they were mean. They’ve just basically said it’s okay to be mean when you’re right, which is absurd and anti-Christian sentiment.

  195. Thanks for the discussion folks. It was quite informative to hear what Lutherans believe… I wasn’t aware of some of this before. Hopefully, in the future, you can be more charitable to those dreaded evangelicals and not pre-judge him based on what you think he believes because he’s an evangelical. I don’t agree with plenty of things that evangelicals do, but I do generally agree with the doctrinal theology and gospel as laid out by Calvin and the Reformers. Just as many Lutherans smear the name of Christ with their lifestyle or beliefs, so do many evangelical Christians. There are tares in all congregations, as Steve mentioned earlier. Just remember not to lump them all together…

  196. When all is said and done we all smear the name of Christ with our lifestyles and beliefs, the former because of the later, that’s why He came to die for us and for nothing less than that.

    I’m no longer a Calvinist so good luck (old Calvinist joke) with your reading through those books, you will not find yourself disappointed.

    Yours truly,

    Larry

  197. Darius wrote,

    “Please point out where I have been condescending, unless you mean where I disagree with you. If it is condescending to disagree, then yes, I am guilty.”

    No, it’s not condescending to disagree. I (and apparently several others on this blog) have found the tone with which you disagree to be quite condescending. Your tone is not, “This is what I believe to be the correct interpretation of Scripture, and here is why I believe this.” No, from the beginning of your posts it’s been more like, “I’m right and you’re wrong, and anyone who doesn’t agree with me is blinded by unbiblical ideas.” You come across (to me, at least) as someone who has no interest in understanding why Lutherans come to the conclusions they come to, and who continues to insist that they believe things that they most certainly do not believe – like the idea that we are saved by works and not by faith (or by a mix of the two) because we believe that our sins are forgiven in the Sacraments.

    I don’t have a problem with you disagreeing. I understand why you do. I used to believe the exact same things that you believe and would have probably used the exact same arguments. You cannot at all see how someone could possibly read the Bible differently – I used to be the same way. Why? Because that’s what I was taught from childhood: “The Lord’s Supper is only symbolic; Baptism is only symbolic.” I refused to even consider other views because to me they were obviously unbiblical. I had no conception of there being any other way to understand the passages in question.

    Yet, when one takes passages like Romans 6:3-4 and 1 Peter 3 at face value (to name a few) and consider what the historic understanding of the Church has been, the “spiritual only” view is not so obvious at all. A lot of Lutherans are shocked that anyone would not take these passages at face value, which you have obviously discovered here. I happen to understand both views and reject your view based on a lot of consideration and study, but I am not going to say that what I believe about these things should be obvious to everyone (having been on the other side of this argument for so long). The problem is that your tone was very polemical and combative almost from the start of this thread, so I’m not sure why you were so shocked that others would respond in kind.

    Dawn

  198. Darius wrote,

    “The cannibals thing was a joke; I’m amazed how thin your skin is. Pray tell where I said anything insulting.”

    I happen to agree with Pr. Erickson on this one. Referring to the sacramental eating and drinking of Christ’s body and blood as cannibalism is very insulting to Lutherans, as is your calling it “drinking Jesus juice.”

    It’s very convenient to mask those kind of insults by saying, “It was only a joke.” That’s just it – it’s really not a joking matter. It’s not a matter of us being thin-skinned, it’s a matter of you not showing basic respect for our beliefs, even though you disagree. If you want to win us over to your point of view, making demeaning jokes about the Lord’s Supper is NOT the way to go about it.

    Dawn

  199. “No, from the beginning of your posts it’s been more like, “I’m right and you’re wrong, and anyone who doesn’t agree with me is blinded by unbiblical ideas.””

    If that’s uncivil, then please look at Larry’s and Bror’s comments and tell me they’ve been civil. Larry has repeatedly implied that I represent the devil’s position.

    As for the cannibalism joke, if you can’t take a joke, that’s fine. It’s terribly thin-skinned though, since you notice that at the same time I said Lutherans were cannibals, I said evangelicals were fascists. Obviously a joke to anyone not hoping for a fight. Seriously, if you can’t even read my comments correctly and in context, why should I trust you to read the Scriptures properly? It’s this basic reading comprehension which seems to escape some of the Lutherans on here. I know that this paragraph is condescending, but you are getting absurd.

  200. Oh, I’ll grant you the “Jesus juice” comment. I meant to edit that but forgot. I apologize for being snarky there.

  201. Dawn wrote: “A lot of Lutherans are shocked that anyone would not take these passages at face value, which you [Darius] have obviously discovered here.”

    I’ve not been shocked at how Darius sees these verses… I’ve had this very same argument with many people over the years (I spent two years as a Lutheran at a Baptist boarding school, after all.)

    I just see, very clearly, where the “presuppositions” that Darius accuses Lutherans of having play into his own interpretations of Scripture.

    Like you, Dawn, said, it’s very hard to wrap your mind around a clear, face-value meaning of a passage that you’ve been taught from birth can’t POSSIBLY mean what it seems to mean if you take it at face value.

  202. Darius,
    Listen, my skin isn’t that thin. I really don’t care if you do think I am a cannibal, and I have joked about it myself with others. However, when someone opens up an argument accusing me of cannibalism, as Dorci did, then that sort of sets the tone now doesn’t it? And then you jump in, and can’t take back what your dishing. So I’ve been trying real hard to reign it in, though I do enjoy a knock out drag it out argument now and then.
    I think everyone here though has been reading you quite well. We’ve dealt with your kind before, and we will deal with it again. Just next time you are going to try undermine the faith of one of our children by telling them they can’t trust Jesus to do what he said he did in their baptism, realize you’re on thin ice.

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