08 July 2008

Kind of Interesting...

...that in all the talk about reservation and such around the Lutheran blogosphere, this has not been mentioned:

From *The Altar Guild Manual: Lutheran Service Book Edition*:

If any of the Lord's body and blood remain, they can be disposed of in a number of ways. The best way is to consume the remaining elements, since the Lord said, "Take and eat...Take and drink," and did not provide for anything that was left over. There is historic precedent *for reserving* the remaining elements against the next Communion. The hosts can be stored in a pyx or ciborium (apart from unconsecrated hosts), the blood of the Lord in a suitable cruet or flagon (apart from unconsecrated wine). What remains in the chalice, however, should either be consumed or poured into the piscina or onto the ground, since there may be crumbs or other foreign matter in it. *The reserved elements* may then be kept in the sacristy or placed on the altar or credence and covered with a white veil. It is un-Lutheran and irreverent to place unused elements in the trash or to pour the remainder of what is in the chalice or flagon into the common drain. - p. 89

Consume remaining elements OR put the consecrated hosts into the proper receptacle (not mixing them with unconsecrated hosts); put consecrated wine from flagon or cruet (or remaining individual glasses) into the proper receptacle (not mixing it with unconsecrated wine); pour remaining wine from chalice into the piscina or onto the ground.

Pour water into flagon/cruet, chalice, and the used individual glasses, then rinse out into the piscina or onto the ground. - p. 101

I note that this book contains the following on its cover page: Authorized by the Commission on Worship of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. I believe that this gives the contents the force of rubrics for our use. Thus, there is the best practice (consumption) and that practice also allowed which has historical precedent, namely, reservation "against the next Communion" [which may well be the communication of shutins].

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where does the practice of pouring the contents of the chalice onto the ground or into the piscina come from? It doesn't appear to match very well with our Lord's command to eat or drink, which still happens with reserved elements. It sounds like a receptionist practice to me.

Before someone brings up the ridiculous argument that we can never account for every molecule of wine, I understand that some wine will still end up going into the ground with the rinse water. Even Roman Catholics allow this with the rinsing of purificators. That is not my concern. I am just questioning how pouring out the wine in the chalice is appropriate when we have been told to drink it.

Chris Jones said...

Fr Weedon,

You wrote:

I note that this book contains the following on its cover page: Authorized by the Commission on Worship of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. I believe that this gives the contents the force of rubrics for our use.

I doubt this. The Commission on Worship does not make the lex orandi for our Churches. The Commission exists to "provide guidance and materials" to members of the Synod and to recommend worship materials or warn against them. But deciding on the "official" liturgy of the Synod (presumably including both text and rubric) is specifically reserved to the Convention, not given to the Commission on Worship.

Of course, even the Convention's adoption of an "official" liturgy is not our lex orandi, since a congregation is bound only to use "doctrinally pure" agendae and hymn books; it is not bound specifically to use the Synod's "official" liturgy. Thus even the Convention's adoption of a liturgy is no more than a recommendation.

William Weedon said...

Dear Anon,

I wish I knew the answer. The words from *The Altar Guild Manual* are largely a repeat of the rubric found in *The Lutheran Liturgy* (p. 422):

"He shall pour what remains of the consecrated wine into the piscina or upon the ground at a proper and convenient place outside the Church."

Piscina was added in the 1955 edition. Previously the rubric stated:

"He shall carry the chalice to a proper and convenient place without the church and pour the wine upon the ground." (no date)

William Weedon said...

Chris,

Then how do you understand the "authorized by the COW"? Why put it in at all?

I note that the following note in *The Lutheran Liturgy* does not fit with your understanding:

"On and after Easter, 1955, in any case of contradiction between these General Rubrics as they are here printed and other rubrics published elsewhere in the official service books of the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, these rubrics shall govern."

This book, The Lutheran Liturgy, has on its front page: "Authorized by the Synods Constituting the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America."

Thus, the Lutheran Church does "authorize" certain liturgies and the publication of rubrics is usually left in the hands of the Commission on Worship. That is not to say that we receive such authorizations as divinely inspired and the rubrics as divinely commanded. Far from it. But they do provide us with a form of good order which our parishes are urged to follow:

"Congregations are urged to let the basic structure of the Service remain intact. The wide choice permitted in the Rubrics makes it possible to have the Service as simple or as elaborate as the circumstances of each congregation may indicate." [TLH, p. 4]

Thus also LSB's Altar Book:

"'May' rubrics - Rubrics that contain the word 'may' are optional and may or may not be followed according to the needs of the particular circumstance or according to pastoral judgment." (Altar Book, x]

BrotherBoris said...

Why can't the pastor simply consume what is left in the Chalice instead of pouring it on the ground?

William Weedon said...

According to the first part of the paragraph he may do exactly that, and that is counseled as the better practice.

Paul McCain said...

Friend Rev. Fr. WW:

Granted, my eyesight is not what it used to be and I have fewer brain cells, but where in this quote was the part about the elements that remain at the benediction of the Supper, and are not consumed, are to be regarded and believed to be the body and blood of Christ, and as such to be distributed to the sick and shut in without the Lord's consecrating words?

I certainly do agree with the words, but don't quite see how they speak to the issue that I think is the point of contention on reservation.

My concern is with a practice being suggested whereby we believe ourselves to be reserving the body and blood of Christ. I don't think shutting Jesus away in a cabinet is very nice, not sticking him anywhere away in a box and such.

If the question is merely or only treating with the upmost reverence what remains, I am all for that. Truth be told I think we would save ourselves a lot of trouble, questions, speculations and what-not, if we simply took and eat. Eat here meaning = eat.

It seems to me that if we do believe the remaining elements to be, and remain, the Lord's body and blood, dumping it down a sanctified sink doesn't sound too kosher to me.

By the way, Mr. Jones, the book in question was authorized and approved not only/merely by the Commission on Worship, but also by a Synodically appointed doctrinal reviewer, so that's about as much of an imprimatur/nihil obstat seal of approval anything can get in The LCMS.

Can you help me understand what I'm missing in the quote you are offering?

William Weedon said...

Pr. McCain,

See "If any of the Lord's body and blood REMAIN..." "the blood of the Lord in a suitable cruet or flagon."

Paul McCain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul McCain said...

Oh, I get it. I see now.

So, the entire case for reservation is now being founded upon a phrase in the revised Altar Guild Manual?

We'll have to see about that phrase in the next printing. I believe it goes beyond what we are given to way with certainty and opens the door wide to a whole lot of opinions and speculations.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Ironically, or providentially?, the word verification I need to use to enter this comment is:

madlsb

I'm not kidding!

Phil said...

Ahh, the all-consuming question...

The various sides of this discussion in the different venues seem to dance around the real question here, the one that matters most to the layman such as myself (whose conscience is apparently at stake):

What is it that remains after the Distribution?

Whatever the analysis of the Lutheran Fathers or the Confessions produces, whatever are suggested in a particular set of rubrics, I as a layman do not care about precedent or best practice so much as the objective reality. So I'm looking for someone to deal with the question itself. Afterward we can allow our lex credendi to norm our lex orandi, if necessary.

Now the question can be answered with a "yes" or a "no," or it can be addressed by saying that it cannot be definitively answered and an answer should not be preached or formulated. Those would be answers to the question. What doesn't make sense, though, are assertions that somehow the elements should be reserved even though they are only bread and wine. It's difficult to understand why they should be reserved and treated separately even though they are objectively identical to the unconsecrated and never-consecrated elements. Why specially reserve and transport previously consecrated elements for communing the sick when you will be consecrating them again, if they are only bread and wine? Why would you need to reconsecrate them if they are Body and Blood?

I've been thinking about this question for quite some time now. A few times I attended a Lutheran church (whose statuary were featured on Pr. McCain's blog a while back), which reserved the Sacrament. Of course, the liturgical consequence of this is that it is customary to genuflect when the reserved Sacrament is present.

What am I then to do? I know enough to know that genuflecting is an act of Sacramental adoration. So if I genuflect thinking that the Sacrament is present but am only adoring bread and wine, I'm an idolater (artolater). But if I willfully don't genuflect, and am mistaken, then I've refused to acknowledge Christ as He is present. Until I am certain of what objectively remains after the Distribution, I am uneasy in a church which reserves anything in their tabernacle.

I hope this provides a picture of what the "conscience" is that might be offended.

William Weedon said...

I'd say it just takes our Lord simply at His word and gives good counsel.

Have you considered that "nothing has the character of a sacrament apart from use" is not the same thing as saying that the bread and wine CEASE their sacramental union with our Lord's body and blood? Does not have the character of a sacrament means that there is no grace available to the user apart from reception, no? Isn't that THE point of the Peter's study you've recommended in the past on the phrase?

William Weedon said...

Phil,

Thanks for bringing it to a very concrete level. The difficulty is that inside of Lutheranism you have ALL of four answers given historically.

There are those who have upheld the understanding (unhelpfully characterized as receptionist) that there is a duration of the presence which runs from consecration (or Our Father) to the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. Pr. McCain falls into this category, I think.

There are those who have upheld the understand that what our Lord speaks regarding the bread and wine causes them to be exactly what He declares, and that how long it takes for that bread and wine to be consumed do not alter the objective truth of His declaration, provided that they were taken and blessed with His words for consumption and not for other purposes that were outside of His command. Those who hold this view (including myself) do not thereby believe that reservation is a must, but that if it IS done what is reserved IS the Lord's body and blood. The Altar Guild Manual speaks in this way.

There are those who strictly hold to receptionism (Loehe, surprisingly) and who insist you needn't worry about what is spilled or dropped for the Lord joins His body and blood only to that which is eaten and drunk and to nothing else. This was a teaching that Pieper, the great dogmatician of the LCMS borrowed from late Lutheran Orthodoxy, and is likely the most popular still among LCMS types.

There are those who taken the view (Sasse especially comes to mind) that we have no idea what the reliquae are, because our Lord has not told us, and that consumption is the absolute best practice to remove the question from even being allowed to arise. I suspect that this is the one most Lutherans would

However, as to the genuflection, I would like to observe that in the ancient church, where private reservation was practiced, there was no particular reverence shown to the consecrated elements (such as arose in the Middle Ages, beginning from the north of Europe and gradually spreading to Rome).

Chris Jones said...

Fr Weedon,

Then how do you understand the "authorized by the COW"? Why put it in at all?

The Synod by-laws state that the COW is to "clear all literature related to corporate Christian worship in liturgy and hymnody" published by Synod agencies or CPH. I think the statement that the Altar Guild manual is authorized by the COW is the "clearance" that the by-laws call for. ISTM that this is part of the COW's responsibilty to "recommend or warn against" worship materials. That's different from authorizing the Synod's official liturgy, which is specifically reserved to Convention (and so excluded from the authority of the COW).

COW's authorization is no more than a recommendation because "recommendation" is all that the COW is empowered to do by the by-laws.

William Weedon said...

Well, then, Christopher, let us note that the Synod's COW recommends to our parishes either consumption or reservation, and declares unLutheran the practice of trashing consecrated but unused elements. I think the weight is still considerable in that case.

Rt. Rev. Jack Bauer said...

Paul Cardinal McCain wrote:

Oh, I get it. I see now.
So, the entire case for reservation is now being founded upon a phrase in the revised Altar Guild Manual?

We'll have to see about that phrase in the next printing. I believe it goes beyond what we are given to way with certainty and opens the door wide to a whole lot of opinions and speculations.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Ironically, or providentially?, the word verification I need to use to enter this comment is:

madlsb

I'm not kidding!

+++++++++++++++

I'm thinking there are bigger fish to fry at CPH than worrying about things like that. Especially when it isn't wrong...

A pause between consecration and distribution isn't setting it outside the use. I think St. Aristotle is creeping in -- the four causes.

Paul McCain said...

Let me, if I may, and I do thank my good friend Pastor Weedon, with whom, obviously, on this issue I strongly disagree. But it's ok, he is allowed to be wrong, just occasionally. It happens so rarely, to tell the truth.

There is a lively discussion underway across several blogs on the question of what the left-over bread and wine are when the celebration of the Lord's Supper is concluded. There are some unfortunate accusations being made that those who do not regard the consecrated bread and wine that remain to be the body and blood of Christ are receptionists. They are missing a very important distinction. Melanchthon and his followers were trying to fix the moment of the presence of Christ to a definite point within the action of the celebration of the Lord's Supper to the moment when bread and wine passed the lips of the communicants. This is "receptionism." For more on this distinction and these details see this excellent summary of the issues.

Let me try to make my case, without rancor or ill will. I intend neither, though I must confess my weak flesh gets the better of me and I get frustrated by these conversations. And I apologize for letting these frustrations show too much in my words.

I realize that I am not being sufficiently clear.

My point on the question of the reservation of the elements at the conclusion of the Divine Service [the Mass, if you will] is that the Formula of Concord appeals frequently to Martin Luther as the chief teacher of the churches of the Augsburg Confession. They do so explicitly and most firmly in the doctrinal article on the Lord's Supper [FC SD VII] where they basically say: "These are the main points, but for more information, for fuller details, see Luther's writings on the Supper."

But there is more, there is in the Formula a direct reference to a key document by Luther, the so-called Wolferinus conference, it has been called by Pastor Teigen, the "lost Luther reference" because it is omitted in most modern editions of the BoC. And where does this reference appear? Precisely where our Confessions set forth the principle/axiom that apart from the intended, instituted use, there is no Sacrament, the so-called "nihil" rule, from the Latin: nihil, or "nothing." The phrase is: "Nothing has the character of a sacrament apart from those instituted by Christ, or apart form the divinely instituted action" [FC VII.85]. The Formula appeals directly to Luther.

Please let us not suggest, or think, that Luther's writing and teachings on the Supper, and particularly what he has to say on these very issues, have little or no bearing on these questions. Luther's writings on these issues are not in any way to be regarded as merely personal opinion. No, not at all. They were, by the Formula itself, elevated to confessional status. In fact, they have everything to do with this issue.

It is precisely in this discussion in FC SD VII that there is a reference to Luther's Works. Now, here is where it gets really interesting. In modern English editions of the Formula, because they rely on the BKS [sadly, far, far too much!], you do not see the most interesting reference for our purposes. I'm pleased to report that in the Concordia edition the reference has been restored, reflecting the German 1580 edition, the authoritative first-edition of the Formula. The reference that is "lost" (but now found) appears in SD VII.87, which points the reader for more information on the nihil rule by stating it and then saying we hold to this rule "as Luther has explained it." The BKS incorrectly points the reader to WA 30,11,254,255; cf. Smalcald Articles, Pt. III, Article XV, 4. This is simply, and plainly, wrong. There is nothing here to be found about the instituted use or what, precisely, Luther meant by the actio in the famous "nihil" rule. K/W gets it right, and cites the letter by Luther referred to here.

A careful look at the original form of the Formula, the German, says that we are to look to the Jena edition of Luther's Works, that famous edition put together by the Gnesio-Lutherans, under the sponsorship of his Electoral Grace, Duke Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous (my personal favorite Lutheran hero of the Reformation).

What is to be found in the Jena edition when we look there, in volume IV? That's a tough one, because the critical edition of the BKS, gives us no idea where to look in any modern edition of Luther's works for this obscure reference. When one goes to the Jena edition, and looks in Volume IV, what does one find? [I've seen this with my own eyes, in the Jena edition in the rare book holdings of Concordia Theological Seminary, how I came to find it, I'll explain at the end of this post].

Aha! It is none other than the the famous Wolferinus correspondence! I'll reproduce it below, then note the point that I believe applies directly to our conversation, since this clearly is correspondence the Formula is pointing us to "for more information/more details/if you want to understand what we mean and believe, here you go" Please read this carefully:

The fourth volume of the Jena edition volume contains the Latin writings of Luther from 1538 to 1547. Here, folio pages 585 and following are obviously the reference to which the SD VII.87 directs us. It is Luther's second letter to Wolferinus, 20 July 1543:

Grace and peace,

Indeed, why should I not have been disturbed and saddened, my dear Simon Wolferinus, when I saw you two, living together in one town and the ministers of one church, agreeing completely in doctrine, but carrying on between yourselves with such a bitter spirit, because of a matter which you have neither examined closely enough, and which is not that important if it were examined more closely? Look at these propositions of yours, and see whether or not such a terrible outcry is in keeping with charity and brotherly love. I see that Satan is tempting you, by making a beam out of a splinter, or rather a fire out of a spark. You could have solved this by a meeting between the two of you, since it is not a matter of being against the madness of the papists, but against a colleague of yours in the ministry and in religion.

Indeed Dr. Philip wrote rightly that there is no sacrament outside of the sacramental action; but you are ending the sacramental action much too hastily and abruptly. If you do it in this way, you will appear to have absolutely no sacrament. For if such a quick breaking off of the action really exists, it will follow that after the speaking of the Words [of institution], which is the most powerful and principle action in the sacrament, no one would receive the body and blood of Christ, because the action would have ceased. Certainly Dr. Philip does not want that. But such a decision of the action would bring about inti scruples of conscience and endless questions, such as are disputed among the papists, as, for example, whether the body and blood of Christ are present at the first, middle, or last syllable. Therefore, one must look not only upon this movement of instant or present action but also on the time. Not in terms of mathematical but of physical breadth, that is, one must give this action a certain period of time, in a period of appropriate breadth of time, as they say, "in breadth."

Therefore, we shall define the time of the sacramental action in this way: that it starts with the beginning the Our Father and lasts until all have communicated, have emptied chalice, have consumed the hosts, until the people have been dismissed and [the priest] has left the altar. In this way we shall be safe and free from the scruples and scandals of such endless questions. Dr. Philip defines the sacramental action in relation to what is outside it, that is, against reservation of and processions with the sacrament. He does not split it up within [the action] itself, nor does he define it in a way that it contradicts itself. Therefore see to it that if anything is left over of the sacrament, either some communicants or the priest himself and his assistant receive it, so that it is not only a curate or someone else who drinks what is left over in the chalice, but that he gives it to the others who were also participants in the body [of Christ], so that you do not appear to divide the sacrament by a bad example or to treat the sacramental action irreverently. This is my opinion and I know that it is also Philip's opinion too.7



Now....dear friends, please note what our Dr. Luther, our chief teacher and father in Christ as Lutherans, has to say, the man to whom our Confessions make explicit appeal in the Formula, at this very point.

Therefore, we shall define the time of the sacramental action in this way: that it starts with the beginning the Our Father and lasts until all have communicated, have emptied chalice, have consumed the hosts, until the people have been dismissed and [the priest] has left the altar. In this way we shall be safe and free from the scruples and scandals of such endless questions.

My appeal therefore is that we heed Dr. Luther and let this resolve these questions. There is no good reason to follow any other practice.

I hope this helps to clarify my position on this question and why I believe what I do.

Those who still choose to label my position as "receptionism" must also so label Dr. Luther a receptionist, and must choose to ignore what the Confessions say about his position in this matter: it is not merely his opinion, it is explicitly cited as part and parcel of the Formula of Concord.

I commend to you all Pastor Teigen's excellent research on this lost reference.

Now a bit of personal background on why I've always found these issues fascinating, and important:

I exhaustively researched these issues and questions myself when I was at the seminary during my graduate studies. We were in the thick of the debate on this issue for Dr. Teigen's excellent book on the meaning of the consecration. The WELS had tried to force small Lutheran churches under its control to renounce anything that appeared to teach that the Words of Institution are what bring into effect the Real Presence [which, by the way, is precisely what the Scriptures and the Confessions teach!]. Dr. J.A.O. Preus brutally attacked Dr. Teigen for his research on the moment of the real presence, and Dr. Eugene Klug had joined him on the warpath. Rev. Dr. John Stephenson had entered the fray on Dr. Teigen's side, eliciting from JAO Preus a scathing attack. Stephenson, you see, as a newcomer to The LCMS, broke a cardinal unspoken rule, "Thou shalt never take strong public issue with what another LCMS seminary professor has said or written!" He had gone after Klug who had attacked Teigen's book. This in turn precipitated an attack by JAO who, frankly, badly botched a review of Teigen's book. His brother Robert, on these points a much better scholar and student of the Confessions than his brother, JAO, sided with Teigen.

[That rule, by the way, still holds true to this day: note, for example, the appalling lack of critical review of the K/W edition of the BOC. Professor Roland Ziegler is the most recent transgressor of the rule, with a strongly worded, and very correctly recounted, criticism of K/W — for swapping into the BOC a text of the Apology that was explicitly rejected for inclusion in the BOC by its editors. But I digress.]

At any rate, I just happened to be around at the time of this controversy and did a lot of research on this as an assistant to Dr. Robert Preus in the Systematics department. I was sent to the rare book room to verify and confirm Dr. Teigen's assertions about the Jena edition. Dr. Teigen was quite entirely correct. Where Klug had gone wrong was in trying to defend the weak position held by Pieper, and before him by Walther, who in turn had unfortunately depended too much on Quenstedt and Gerhard, rather than returning to Luther and Chemnitz, as Dr. Teigen had done.

So, I am not without some background on the intricacies of these details and discussions. It is unwise for pastors, and I've noticed lately it is younger pastors doing this more than most, to label positions "receptionist" when it is painfully obvious that they themselves have done little, or no, research on these matters, but are merely repeating the positions of certain highly-liturgical pastors, like my friend Pr. David Petersen and others. While I respect these men, and do not wish in any way to disparage their ministry, they are not correct on these and other liturgical issues. I shall not, as they often do, attempt to explain their positions through rather odd psychoanalyzing of their person and their work.

There have been several decades of debate and intense research and discussion on these issues in our circles, crossing Synodical lines, and it would be incorrect to assume it is only in the past ten or twenty years that there has been serious attention given to all these questions and issues.

I'm particularly tantalized by what Dr. Teigen found when researching this issue as well in his excellent article:

This letter of Luther to Wolferinus gives the definition of the time or the action of the Lord's Supper. The writer examined volume four of the Latin Jena edition (published in 1583) in the rare book room of Concordia Theological Seminary Library, Fort Wayne. The temptation was strong to pursue a side-trail to discover the provenance of this particular volume, because the words that are underlined in the translation above were heavily underlined in the Latin text with a large "N.B." written on the margin. The pages were otherwise free from markings. Some theologian, apparently several hundred years ago, had caught the significance of this definition of the time or the action as set forth by Luther and referred to in SD VII.87.

Indeed, Dr. Teigen. I've seen that same volume and noted the remarkable underlining. My question to my friends and gentlemen opponents on this particular issue is simply this: have you caught the significant of this definition of the time and action as set forth by Luther and referred to in SD VII.87? In my respectful opinion, some have not. But I hope and pray that they do and thus free us from what amounts to endless, useless, fruitless and even harmful speculations and questions that do not edify, but only tend to divide and distract us from our Lord's Most Holy and Venerable Supper!

Randy Asburry said...

Now I think the juiciest irony has thus far gone unmentioned: "The Altar Guild Manual" has been published, not just once, but also a second time in a recent revision, by none other than (drum roll, please) *CPH*. And that part stayed the same, I believe. That must make it truly authoritative! :-)

Kidding aside, it seems to me that the simplest way to come at this issue is to realize that our Lord (Scripture here!) gave us the Sacrament and teaches us what it is: His holy, life-giving Body and Blood under the bread and wine (okay, so a little Luther creeps in here ;-). However, our Lord does not tell us at all if/when it ceases to be His Body and Blood, nor what to do with it after the celebration. Hence, whatever it is during (yes, I do trust our Lord's words!) and after the distribution, let's treat it with great respect.

We can certainly play our little "Twister game" using various quotes from various authors in their various sources and on various sides of this matter, and thus get all tangled up like pretzels in discussing the matter, but one thing remains clear: those elements used on the Altar are set aside for the Lord's use - that is, they are holy. Let's treat them as holy (i.e. not mix them with the unconsecrated elements or merely an irreverently dump them in the trash, etc.).

So, I say simply consume them with due reverence and be done with it - "the best practice."

However, I'm not sure what exactly is at stake if the elements are reverently set aside either, say, for the next Communion, including shut-ins. Any pastor worth his salt, ISTM, will still say the Verba in the liturgy of Communion with the Homebound (e.g. in the LSB Pastoral Care Companion). Besides, I don't think Lutherans really have to worry about any "Corpus Christi" processions, adorations, etc. soon breaking out in their midst. It's just not one of our "pressing issues" of theology or, more specifically, ecclesiology.

Also, the Passover account from Exodus would seem to provide some great Biblical support for this "best practice" of simply consuming the reliquae. God actually instructed Moses and the Israelites to consume it all, no questions asked. IMHO, we can't go wrong with that.

It seems that various legitimate ways of handling the reliquae have come down to us, ways that have been reverently practiced throughout the centuries of the Church's life since the Ascension and Pentecost. Why be dogmatic about something that our Lord did not even address? After all, I believe Luther's hermeneutic was correct: If God's Word in Scripture does not forbid it, then it's something to be handled in Christian freedom.

Rev. Benjamin Harju said...

Rev. McCain,

I do not know why you think any Lutheran would advocate (or has advocated) administering the reserved Sacrament to shut-ins or sick without the Verba. The Confessions expressly require the Verba to be spoken, in the consecration of the Sacrament (obviously), but also because we want the recipient to hear and believe that the Sacrament is Christ's Body and Blood.

FC SD VII.79-82 (K/W), "Indeed, in the administration of the Holy Supper the Words of Institution are to be clearly and plainly spoken or sung publicly in the congregation, and in no case are to be omitted. This is done, first, so that Christ's command, 'Do this,' may be obeyed. Second, it is done so that Christ's words will arouse, strengthen, and confirm the hearers' faith in the nature and benefits of this sacrament (that is, the presence of Christ's body and blood and the forgiveness of sins, and all the benefits that have been won for us by Christ's death and the shedding of his blood, which are given to us in his testament). Third, it is done so that the elements of bread and wine are sanctified and consecrated in this holy practice, whereby Christ's body and blood are offered to us to eat and to drink, as Paul says [1 Cor. 10:16], 'The cup of blessing that we bless...' This of course takes place in no other way than through the repetition and recitation of the Words of Institution." [Emphasis mine]

Certainly, in the face of papistical abuse and superstition spread among the people, this speaks to public celebrations or private ones, not what to do in case you have a reserved sacrament (true reservation compared with papastical reservation was not handled in our confessions, but only guarding against papistical abuse). In the case where true reservation is determined to be necessary, as in ancient times, the Verba should be spoken before the recipient of the Sacrament so that what is unfulfilled above (the 'Second') may reside with what is fulfilled (the 'First' and 'Third').

Of course, if we impede the sacramental action by setting it out or aside for worship and adoration, or just toss it in the trash, then we have done violence to Christ's gift and both divided and confused the Sacrament, and thus it is no Sacrament. Divided because we put something in the midst of it that is not normally there - worship apart from eating and drinking. Confused because we try to make the Sacrament about something other than what Christ instituted. (Just to note, time is always found involved in the sacramental action, and we are not likely to face a reoccurance of worship of the Sacrament outside of its use among Lutherans anytime soon. Best practice is of course to consume ASAP, which I advocate, but this is not a divine law, esp. in cases of necessity.)

Rev. McCain, as for your very patient, very long comment here, I have already responded to it on my blog after you posted it there. Thank you for your candor and thoroughness.

As for Phil's question:

I wonder if this is the same Phil I went to college with???? Your congregational experience sounds familiar, though I don't know what statuary Rev. McCain featured.

Phil, as a layman, if you are unsure about reservation, and you find yourself in a situation where your conscience is troubled, let the pastor involved know, and kindly ask him to show deference to your conscience and grant you certainty through the use of our Lord's Verba.

Paul McCain said...

We can certainly play our little "Twister game" using various quotes from various authors in their various sources and on various sides of this matter,

Randy, my friend, may I respectfully ask you to have a care when you speak like this? You are referring to the text of the Formula of Concord, which is not merely a matter of "various quote from various authors." I do think they are well worth considering and I welcome your careful response to the arguments I've put forward based on the text of the Confessions.

What does FC SD VII.87 mean and what does it not mean? I believe the evidence points very clearly to a clear meaning and intention.

Now, to your other points:

I could not agree with you more on the point you make about how we treat the consecrated elements during their proper use and the actions of the Eucharist in the Divine Service: they are the body and blood of Christ: period, end of story.

And after? Ideally they are consumed, if not, treated with great respect and reverence as those earthly elements that have hosted our Lord's body and blood. It is analagous to how we treat a human body at death. We can not say for sure when soul leaves body, but we know the union has ended and we treat the body with the greatest of respect [this is why I abhor cremation, by the way, a whole other can of worms there]. We agree on this point, I believe as well.

And, as I've made clear elsewhere, yes, finally, for me, if you are in fact saying the Verba, not as mere "reminder" or "for the sake of the laity"-- I've got no big beef with the private speculations of some of my brothers. So, we agree there.

I concur with the best practice. If anything, this debate will strengthen all our resolves to advocate for that practice.

While I concur with your general rubric on adiaphora, of course, we are not saying that simply because a given point is not explicitly mentioned that means it is ok: this is the argument I run up to constantly in regard to WO, for example: nowhere is it mentioned explicitly in the Confessions, therefore it is not something to be a point of division.

I think, in fact, our Confessions assert as dogma a proper understanding and use of the proper, intended use and the action of the Lord's Supper within the Divine Service.

Thanks for the conversation.

Oh, about that book...I thank Brother Weedon for bringing this error in the text to my attention. It will be corrected in the next printing.

Paul McCain said...

Pr. Harju, I engaged some of your points on your own blog. I would still like to hear your specific response to the meaning and intention of SD VII.87.

Paul McCain said...

let the pastor involved know, and kindly ask him to show deference to your conscience and grant you certainty through the use of our Lord's Verba.

No, in fact, let the pastor do what he must do: speak the Words of Institution, not as mere concession to a weaker conscience, or to some "doubt" but precisely because that is what we are given to do by our Lord and what we Lutheran pastors are pledged to do by our Confessions.

To advance any other reason for speaking the Verba is an error.

Scott Larkins said...

Chaos!

So what do our Orthodox Brothers do?

Just curious.

William Weedon said...

"It will be corrected."

I assume that you wouldn't presume that kind of authority for yourself, but you'd first have to consult with the author, the Commission on Worship who authorized the text, and the doctrinal reviewer who declared that there was no theological error in the writing?

William Weedon said...

The Orthodox in general consume all. However, on Maundy Thursday a consecration is made that is kept for the whole year for the sick and shutins. Additionally, during Lent some of what is consecrated on Sundays is kept for distribution at the liturgy of the presanctified during the week. They have nothing that approximates, though, the uniquely Roman practice of the cult of the blessed Sacrament.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Pr. Weedon, the reserved gifts are also used to commune the newly-baptised.

The Liturgy of the Presanctified is one of those delightful east-west ties, having been written (it is said) by St. Gregory the Dialogist--known to the west as Pope St. Gregory the Great.

Oh, and as to "it will be corrected"--Orwell's "memory holes" come to mind.

The unworthy priest,

Fr. Gregory Hogg

Scott Larkins said...

Pr.Weedon,

In my humble estimation it appears you have the Tradition of the Church on your side. However, both Constantinople and Rome would say you guys don't have anything to worry about anyway, because Lutherans don't have valid a priesthood to effect the consecration of the Eucharist.

I'm just sayin'.

Father Hollywood said...

Someone had asked why the Lord's blood would be poured on the ground. It's to keep it out of the common sewer. The traditional practice is to pour it into a piscina, a special drain that leads to a blessed parcel of land (similar to a Christian grave plot).

Not having a piscina, my practice is to consume everything - unless there is a lot left over for some reason (which does happen once in a while) - in which case, I pour the Lord's blood into the holy ground immediately next to the church building - (a consecrated structure).

It's not receptionism to do this, but actusally the opposite - it's "consecrationism" - since receptionism erroneously makes it the Lord's blood dependent on our reception of it. A receptionist would treat the reliquiae as no longer the Lord's blood (which, if you think about it, is a form of consubstantiation, in which the divine and holy are separable from each other, the elements being merely "conduits" for the sacred, which belies our Lord's word "is"), and might even pour it back in the bottle or serve it with dinner.

My congregation also picked up the nasty habit of "Jesus jiggers" back in the 1980s during the AIDS hysteria (prior to that, we had only a chalice). My practice with them is to wash each jigger thoroughly, and all the water used to cleanse them (which contains the Lord's blood) is poured into the ground in the same way.

Not long ago, someone wiped up some of the Lord's blood with a paper towel. My practice in such a case was to burn it (another form of "consumption" in which matter is converted to energy). This is the traditional way to dispose of holy things, and is even applied to secular things that are venerated in a manner of sorts, like national flags (which is also interesting that some treat American flags with more respect than the Lord's body and blood).

As my friend and brother Latif Gaba was explaining to me recently, holy things that cannot be consumed by fire (such as broken chalices or other metal vessels), but must be disposed of, are traditionally buried in a plot of blessed ground - not unlike how we treat the body of a deceased saint.

Our congregation had a ton of LWs (which contain an abbreviated Psalter) left over after we changed to LSB. We also had a bunch of Bibles that were worn out and needed to be disposed of. Rather than toss these holy things set apart for worship, these earthly things that contained the Lord's holy Word into the garbage, we burned them.

The point of consuming the reliquiae is that they are the body and blood of the Lord - until they are consumed. I consume everything rather than leave the Lord's body and blood lying about possibly to be defiled or mixed by accident with the common (profane) elements. I'm not opposed to reservation, but I think consumption is a better practice. And I think Pr. Weedon actually had the reliquae stolen from his sacristy on one occasion.

Besides, if the pastor is making the shut in calls himself, he can simply consecrate in the presence of his parishioners (which is also my practice). Some churches may follow the ancient practice of having deacons bring the Lord's body and blood to the sick and shut in, but most of us simply don't have deacons.

As far as the "outside of the use" passage in the Formula, I found Edward Frederick Peters' "The Origin and Meaning of the Axiom: 'Nothing has the Character of a Sacrament Outside of the Use' in Sixteenth Century and Seventeenth Century Lutheran Theology" to be an outstanding treatment of it (in spite of the paper's length and overblown title). It's published in two parts, spiral bound, by CTS Press (the Fort Wayne Seminary).

There is a difference between saying the unconsumed (or not yet consumed) elements are not a sacrament (which they are not if they are not consumed) vs. saying they are not Jesus (which the Symbols don't say). That is a leap of logic that, like rank receptionism, pegs the divine presence not on the Lord's words but rather on our actions. In fact, the reason parading consecrated hosts around and never eating them *is* an abuse is *because* it is not ordinary bread. Carrying unconsecrated bread and wine in a procession isn't offensive (which was traditionally done during the offertory).

Luther's Large Catechism quotes Augustine: "'Accedat verbum ad elementum et fit sacramentum'... [which] means that when the Word is added to the element or the natural substance, it becomes a sacrament, that is, a holy, divine thing and sign" (LC 4:18). Obviously, to define a sacrament in this way is not to consider it's use. This "broad definition" of a sacrament is different than the "narrow" definition used in the formula. For the way the Formula is using the term, it is only a "sacrament" if you make use of it. In other words, the Lord's body and blood are present regardless of who is in church, but when *I* eat and drink, it is a *sacrament*, as opposed to it *not* being a sacrament for the visitor sitting next to me who does not consume, but merely sees the Lord's presence with his eyes.

Dixie said...

Chaos!

So what do our Orthodox Brothers do?

Just curious.


And to speak to what is believed, the Orthodox believe the reserved Sacrament continues to be the Body and Blood of Christ...no expiration date. The relique are not treated with reverence because Christ once was present...but because Christ continues to be present in what remains.

And if you look at the underlying discussion here...that is where it seems the Lutherans differ. It seems most of the Lutherans will agree that any of the Eucharist remaining must be treated with reverence...but it appears they don't agree on why the reverence is necessary. (once present vs. continues to be present)

For you, Scott, as a Roman Catholic and for me as an Orthodox...we agree that Christ remains present. And I think the Western Rite Orthodox even have some kind of adoration practice that ultimately ends with consumption of Christ's Body and Blood...similar, though not identical to the Roman Catholic practice of Eucharistic Adoration.

I don't think either RCC or EO teach that if the Sacrament is abused (thrown in the trash) that Christ is no longer present. Was this thinking ever present in Christianity before Lutheranism?

The Mad Papist said...

"Jesus jiggers" LOL! Never heard that term before. One of the most offencive practices in modern Lutheranism. I never quite got over it. Receptionism is, and always has been a cancer in Lutheranism. One of the top 20 reasons I Poped.

William Weedon said...

Scott,

And that is exactly where Lutherans take great exception to those who turn to Rome and the East for sacramental validation. It is easy enough to demonstrate:

That doctrine cannot be apostolic which is in disagreement with the teaching of the Apostles as recorded in the NT.

The apostles know of no distinction between presbyters and bishops, but use the terms interchangeably for the same office.

A distinction between the two made church divisive on which ordination's validity is made to hinge is ipso facto contrary to apostolic teaching, and the Church that upholds it to that extent has removed herself from the apostolic foundation.

The Mad Papist said...

"Take care, then who belong to God and to Jesus Christ - they are with the bishop. And those who repent and come to the unity of the Church - they too shall be of God, and will be living according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If any man walk about with strange doctrine, he cannot lie down with the passion. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons."

-Epistle to the Philadelphians, 3:2-4:1, 110 A.D.

ST. IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH

William Weedon said...

What's a bishop according to Ignatius, my friend. Check out how he uses the word.

If you've not read Piepkorn on this, you really must. He's got the goods.

The Mad Papist said...

Bishop Weedon,

It is a simple fact that the Catholic Church both East and West has always been and always will be Episcopal. To argue otherwise is historical isegesis. So what's the ecclesial model Missouri has adopted?

Congregationalism?

How Quaint.

Nuff said;)

All in good fun.

Really.

William Weedon said...

Not really. Not enough said. Not in good fun. For these are not matters of fun, but of deadly earnest. When you impose upon the Church what is not Scriptural in the name of the Church, that's a Church the Scripture denominates by another name. If you believe that the polity as it now exists is what has always existed, the challenge to you is to read the reputable historians who dispute this. READ Irenaeus and what he said about the presbyterate. READ the evidence about popes granting abbots in presbyteral order the right to ordain to the priesthood. READ the history of Sts. Luidiger and Willehad. But if one takes the Cardinal Manning approach (which is the only one open to Rome, truthfully) that "we will overcome history with dogma" there can be no honest investigation of what the history reveals.

The Mad Papist said...

Yep.

The Catholic Church from the time of the Apostles to the fall of Rome was Congregationalist. They had to great See's you know. The Presidency of Rome and Constantinople. Elected every three years at convention.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Pssst..
Somebody had better let the Orthodox in on it.

The Mad Papist said...

Sorry TWO great Sees.....

Having trouble trying to work and blog at the same time.

The Mad Papist said...

"....When you impose upon the Church what is not Scriptural in the name of the Church, that's a Church the Scripture denominates by another name...."

Hmmmmm......Anti-christ perhaps?

Now does this go for the Orthodox as well, or just the Papists? Lord knows their dogma is chalked full a unbiblcal nonsense;)

The Mad Papist said...

Shhhhhhh...

Ya know what I think McCain. I think there's a Jesuit behind every curtin at St.Pauls-Hamel. Better send the Lindberg goon squad to straighten things out. And that Fr.Hollywood guy.

Sheeeze.

The Mad Papist said...

Pr.Weedon.

I prefer to read St.Jaroslav Jan Pelikan over A.C. Piepkorn. Although I have much respect for the later.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teMlv3ripSM

Randy Asburry said...

McCain said: "[first citing my earlier comment:] We can certainly play our little "Twister game" using various quotes from various authors in their various sources and on various sides of this matter,

"Randy, my friend, may I respectfully ask you to have a care when you speak like this? You are referring to the text of the Formula of Concord, which is not merely a matter of "various quote from various authors.""

Um, no, Paul, I was referring to the blogosphere discussion in which one blogger marshals his quotes from his source and then another blogger marshals his quotes from his other source. Please do not read into my words any nefarious slur against or dismissal of the FC. Far from it.

I'm also glad that you recognize the points we hold in common. I also hope that you can see from other comments and contributors to the discussion thus far that they too are saying much the same things while also advocating responsible pastoral practice, even though it might be different than what you might do.

McCain also said: "Oh, about that book...I thank Brother Weedon for bringing this error in the text to my attention. It will be corrected in the next printing."

I don't see why it would need to be; it's not advocating anything that goes against Scripture or the Confessions, or even against responsible pastoral practice that the Church has recognized for centuries. I'm sure there are "bigger fish to fry" than revising a book that's already passed doctrinal review just so it can now pass your personal criteria.

Pr. H. R. said...

If any readers of Weedon's blog have missed the hoe-down over at Cyberstones. Here's a summary.
(And a PS for Presbyter-Episkopos Weedon: Spot on comments to Scott and the Mad Papist. As Piepkorn notes, even the lads at the Pontifical Institute for Biblical Studies these days don't try to argue a distinction between presbyter and bishop in the NT - just isn't there.)

An attempt at a summary:

The Basics:

We all agree on the best practice: consume all the elements consecrated at each service immediately and hold separate services for shut ins.

If that best practice, for local reasons, is not followed, the remaining elements are to be treated with great honor until the next Communion during which the entire Service of the Sacrament should take place.

In that latter case, this question which is before us (are such elements reserved for future distribution still the Body of Christ and Blood of Christ while they are being reserved for that future distribution) arises and calls out for discussion for several reasons:

A) It would seem an important question of piety for those who are traveling to the shut-ins with such consecrated elements. They will want to deport themselves differently based on whether they 1) believe such elements to be the Very Body and Blood of Christ, 2) believe them to be nothing but bread and wine, or 3) remain willfully agnostic on the matter.

B) How one might answer the question before us also has implications for other doctrines (the Word of God, the mode of presence in the Supper, what a Sacrament [actio sacramentalis] is in the first place, etc.)

Now, if I might, a summary of where I see the argument after a day or two of fervent discussion.

1. Rev. McCain claims that such elements reserved for distribution are not (no longer) the Body and Blood of Christ. He is hanging his hat on three arguments:
A) FC SD VII.87
B) There is no command in Scripture to lengthen distribution past a short period of time.
C) A certain interpretation of Luther's Wolferinus correspondence.

2. I (and, it appears that Weedon and Petersen are sympathetic) would assert that they are the Body and Blood of Christ. Because,
A) After the Verba we, in accordance with the simple statements in the Evangelists and Small Catechism, believe that in the Lord's Supper the bread is the Body of Christ and the wine his Blood.
B) We find no statement in Scripture that would ever cause us to infer that this ever ceases to be the case in the course of a distribution.
C) Further, Luther affirms this in the Wolferinus correspondence when he says that the actio sacramentalis, should be considered in effect from the Verba (or perhaps the Lord's Prayer, depending on how you want to translate Oratio Dominica) until the "chalice has been emptied and the remaining bread consumed."
D) A statement from the Table Talk also directly affirms that Luther understood it this way (Rev. McCain, however, discounts quotations from the Tischreden)
E) So we may summarize our position: all Lutherans agree that the Presence of our Lord certainly continues through the whole distribution. If there is a pause in the distribution, whether for five minutes, five hours, or five days, we see nothing in the Scriptures or Confessions that would encourage us to call these consecrated elements anything other than what Jesus called them in that consecration: His Body and Blood.

3. Prs. Brown and Cwirla have pleaded
A) for good practice as listed above
B) that brothers not condemn one another on this point
C) that the question before us is at best speculation and if the good practice is followed the whole matter becomes "no harm, no foul."

--
Responses:

To Rev. McCain's points:

1. A): As Pr. Weedon and I have argued repeatedly, FC SD VII.87 simply says nothing at all about the question at hand. As the text clearly has it, It is directed against Roman practices and says nothing about a Lutheran Lord's Supper with a long-term distribution.

1.B): Neither is there a command that the eating all has to take place within a giving amount of time. Where the Scriptures are silent, surely charity should prevail even if we both agree that such long distributions are best avoided. Some brothers (even Pr. Cwirla) disagree and reserve elements (in accord with longstanding rubrics). We can argue that such practice is less than best - but I think we can hardly condemn it out of hand as resolutely unbiblical: that would be legalism.

1.C) I confess that I find Rev. McCain's analysis of the Wolferinus correspondence as unconvincing as his analysis of the FC SD. Luther says the presence continues until "the chalice is emptied" and "the remaining bread consumed." According to the rule of logic, the best interpretation that Rev. McCain can hope for here is that this actually says nothing about the consecrated elements that remain in the Church after everybody leaves. Luther does not address that in this quotation. If he had addressed it, charity would cause us to assume that he would be consistent with his 1540 Tischreden statement.

Further, Rev. McCain's arguments to the contrary on the Luther quotes rest on these faulty assumptions: The Wolferinus letter and the Tischreden contradict one another (which I do not believe, as illustrated above) and Luther's thought always improved over time.

To Prs. Brown and Cwirla:
3.A) Agreed.
3.B) Agreed.
3.C) Agreed as far as it goes - but see above for why I think the question is worth discussing. But I understand the point of view that encourages us to simply avoid such questions - even though I do not always believe that such avoidance is possible. But perhaps I could frame it this way, in three easy points, and please Prs. Brown and Cwirla:

1) It is certainly impious to call elements that have been consecrated "Not the Body and Blood of Christ." (Prs. Brown and Cwirla have said as much - contrary to Rev. McCain's position.).

2) If it is in error to call such elements the Body and Blood of Christ during an hours or days long pause in distribution, it is an error born of piety rather than impiety.

3) So long as what has been consecrated is always kept separate from what has not been and is always treated with the utmost respect, there is no cause for this issue to break fellowship between confessors of the Augsburg Confession.

I think those three points will please everyone except perhaps Rev. McCain (and of course they will not please receptionists - from whom I'm surprised we've not heard more). And I will add a fourth that I hope Prs. Brown and Cwirla would also endorse:

4) However, if someone (like the offending party in the Eisleben/Wolferinus episode) were to take Rev. McCain's opinion into actions like mixing the consecrated with the unconsecrated or treating them flippantly after the Benediction, that would be a different, more serious, and troubling matter.

+HRC

PS for Rev. McCain: It is clear that you take seriously your role as CPH Publisher and Editor and equally clear that you are not a Receptionist. Will you then be moving forward in trying to get CPH to remove the Receptionist teaching in Pieper vol. III and Koehler's Summary of Christian Doctrine (and I assume in its in Mueller, too, though I don't have it in front of me)?

Paul McCain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul McCain said...

Here is my response to Pr. Curtis' response to Weedon's comments to what I said, and what Petersen said, and I've posted this response over at Petersen's response, to my response, as well as on my blog site, responding to Pr. Curtis' response to my response there.

I've dropped my comments on Pr. Curtis' comments through his remarks, to make it more fun to read.

Paul McCain said...

Pr. Curtis, thanks for a very well done presentation of your opinions and this summary.

Here's my attempt at a summary of the debate, cross-posted from Cyberstones:
http://redeemer-fo.../blog.php?msg=9876

An attempt at a summary:

The Basics:

We all agree on the best practice: consume all the elements consecrated at each service immediately and hold separate services for shut ins.

If that best practice, for local reasons, is not followed, the remaining elements are to be treated with great honor until the next Communion during which the entire Service of the Sacrament should take place.

In that latter case, this question which is before us (are such elements reserved for future distribution still the Body of Christ and Blood of Christ while they are being reserved for that future distribution) arises and calls out for discussion for several reasons:

A) It would seem an important question of piety for those who are traveling to the shut-ins with such consecrated elements. They will want to deport themselves differently based on whether they 1) believe such elements to be the Very Body and Blood of Christ, 2) believe them to be nothing but bread and wine, or 3) remain willfully agnostic on the matter.

B) How one might answer the question before us also has implications for other doctrines (the Word of God, the mode of presence in the Supper, what a Sacrament [actio sacramentalis] is in the first place, etc.)

Now, if I might, a summary of where I see the argument after a day or two of fervent discussion.

1. Rev. McCain claims that such elements reserved for distribution are not (no longer) the Body and Blood of Christ. He is hanging his hat on three arguments:
A) FC SD VII.87
B) There is no command in Scripture to lengthen distribution past a short period of time.
C) A certain interpretation of Luther's Wolferinus correspondence.

2. I (and, it appears that Weedon and Petersen are sympathetic) would assert that they are the Body and Blood of Christ. Because,
A) After the Verba we, in accordance with the simple statements in the Evangelists and Small Catechism, believe that in the Lord's Supper the bread is the Body of Christ and the wine his Blood.
B) We find no statement in Scripture that would ever cause us to infer that this ever ceases to be the case in the course of a distribution.
C) Further, Luther affirms this in the Wolferinus correspondence when he says that the actio sacramentalis, should be considered in effect from the Verba (or perhaps the Lord's Prayer, depending on how you want to translate Oratio Dominica) until the "chalice has been emptied and the remaining bread consumed."
D) A statement from the Table Talk also directly affirms that Luther understood it this way (Rev. McCain, however, discounts quotations from the Tischreden)
-----------------------------
[[McCain note: "Discount is too strong a word, I express reservations (no pun intended) about the realiability of the TT due to the nature of their context and how they were recorded. Also, on this point, Pr. C, as I've pointed out elsewhere, you need to consider the chronology. The TT remark was made before the Wolferinus correspondence, leading me to believe that Luther was in the process of formulating his own opinion on this, which opinion was asserted more definitively with the Wolferinus correspondence.]]
----------------------------

Curtis continues:

E) So we may summarize our position: all Lutherans agree that the Presence of our Lord certainly continues through the whole distribution. If there is a pause in the distribution, whether for five minutes, five hours, or five days, we see nothing in the Scriptures or Confessions that would encourage us to call these consecrated elements anything other than what Jesus called them in that consecration: His Body and Blood.

---------------------------------------- ----

[[McCain: I do not regard a five day "distribution" to be in fact a distribution, but an interruption of the actio of a proper celebration of the Sacrament. I'm dubious about a "five hour" distribution, which to me, would men a five hour Divine Service where there is literally a five hour period of time from consecration through benediction. Does that happen anywhere? I see nothing in the Scriptures or Confessions to justify this view of the distribution. But definitely concur that within the proper use, within the actio of that use, from consecration through benediction it is the body and blood of Christ, which depends not at all on the reception of it, nor the faith of the receiver, not the intention of the pastor, but wholly and alone on Christ's Word of Promise.]]

-------------------------------

Curtis continue:

3. Prs. Brown and Cwirla have pleaded
A) for good practice as listed above
B) that brothers not condemn one another on this point
C) that the question before us is at best speculation and if the good practice is followed the whole matter becomes "no harm, no foul."

----------------------------------
[[McCain: I'm not aware of anyone "condemning" anyone. Saying somebody's opinion is an error and incorrect is not a 'condemnation' so permit me to suggest we tone down the rhetoric on this point a bit.]]
----------------------------------

Responses:

To Rev. McCain's points:

1. A): As Pr. Weedon and I have argued repeatedly, FC SD VII.87 simply says nothing at all about the question at hand. As the text clearly has it, It is directed against Roman practices and says nothing about a Lutheran Lord's Supper with a long-term distribution.

1.B): Neither is there a command that the eating all has to take place within a giving amount of time. Where the Scriptures are silent, surely charity should prevail even if we both agree that such long distributions are best avoided. Some brothers (even Pr. Cwirla) disagree and reserve elements (in accord with longstanding rubrics). We can argue that such practice is less than best - but I think we can hardly condemn it out of hand as resolutely unbiblical: that would be legalism.

1.C) I confess that I find Rev. McCain's analysis of the Wolferinus correspondence as unconvincing as his analysis of the FC SD. Luther says the presence continues until "the chalice is emptied" and "the remaining bread consumed." According to the rule of logic, the best interpretation that Rev. McCain can hope for here is that this actually says nothing about the consecrated elements that remain in the Church after everybody leaves. Luther does not address that in this quotation. If he had addressed it, charity would cause us to assume that he would be consistent with his 1540 Tischreden statement.

Further, Rev. McCain's arguments to the contrary on the Luther quotes rest on these faulty assumptions: The Wolferinus letter and the Tischreden contradict one another (which I do not believe, as illustrated above) and Luther's thought always improved over time.

--------------------------
[[McCain: There is no evidence presented that Luther condoned as an ongoing practice a "five hour" or "five day" distribution. The TT, assuming it is reliable, must be understood in light of the much more clear assertion in the Wolferinus correspondence, which came later and represents Luther's more mature and considered opinion. Please also note that the issue here is not Luther's opinion, but what the BoC specifically points us to in Luther's writings. That is the only bearing Luther's writings have here, not any opinion that might touch on the point. That is a key hermeneutical point of interpreting the BOC. Pr. Curtis is, in my opinion, neglecting this key point of interpreting the BoC and Luther's writings as used in them.]]

To Prs. Brown and Cwirla:
3.A) Agreed.
3.B) Agreed.
3.C) Agreed as far as it goes - but see above for why I think the question is worth discussing. But I understand the point of view that encourages us to simply avoid such questions - even though I do not always believe that such avoidance is possible. But perhaps I could frame it this way, in three easy points, and please Prs. Brown and Cwirla:

1) It is certainly impious to call elements that have been consecrated "Not the Body and Blood of Christ." (Prs. Brown and Cwirla have said as much - contrary to Rev. McCain's position.).

--------------------------------
[[McCain: I do not regard them to be the body and blood of Christ, but speak of them reverently as the host of Christ's body and blood. Because they have served as host, they are to be treated with all dignity, honor, respect and reverence. You may still consider that "impious" but my position is not quite as crassly put as your comment might suggest.]]
-----------------------------------

Curtis continues:

2) If it is in error to call such elements the Body and Blood of Christ during an hours or days long pause in distribution, it is an error born of piety rather than impiety.

3) So long as what has been consecrated is always kept separate from what has not been and is always treated with the utmost respect, there is no cause for this issue to break fellowship between confessors of the Augsburg Confession.

---------------------------------
[[McCain: Nobody, and I mean nobody, has suggested any 'breaking of fellowship.' We need to be able to say that a person is wrong and incorrect and give our reasons without rushing to such conclusions and thereby effectively squelching a debate and discussion with what strikes me as rather a passive-aggressive way of dealing with a criticism from a brother in Christ. I do not assume anyone has accused me of having fallen away from the true faith because I do not concur with their view, and nobody should assume the same of me or anyone else who disagrees with them.]]
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Curtis continues:

I think those three points will please everyone except perhaps Rev. McCain (and of course they will not please receptionists - from whom I'm surprised we've not heard more). And I will add a fourth that I hope Prs. Brown and Cwirla would also endorse:

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[[McCain: None of these issues really are of any consequence to receptionists, since they dont' believe the body and blood of Christ can be said to be present apart from the physical receiving of them into their mouths. This entire conversation probably strike those who hold that view as ridiculous, from start to finish (no pun intended).]]

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4) However, if someone (like the offending party in the Eisleben/Wolferinus episode) were to take Rev. McCain's opinion into actions like mixing the consecrated with the unconsecrated or treating them flippantly after the Benediction, that would be a different, more serious, and troubling matter.

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[[McCain: And that is something I've made very clear I would have the gravest of, forgive me again, "reservations" with as well. As for Pieper and Mueller, if you, Pastor Curtis, believe those remarks to be so objectionable you may feel free to appeal them to the Commission on Doctrinal Review, per the Synod Bylaws. I have my hands full enough at this point with some other issues, including the misuse of a manual for altar guild ladies, which has apparently been elevated to the level of binding rubrics and justification for the error of reservationism.

Final thought from McCain: What Pr. Curtis has not dealt with in this very well presented summary is my chief concern: the manner in which pastors commune people from reserved elements that they regard to be, and remain perpetually, the body and blood of Christ. They are, in some cases apparently, presenting them to those being communed in such a way that the Words of Institution become merely an assurance of a past even, or a "declaration of grace" rather than a proclamation of absolution, delivered with their full force as the great "This is...for you" but instead, "This was said to be at some point in the past." That's my chief pastoral concern and as I've said before, if they are NOT doing that, then I don't care what their private, speculation is, but if they are doing THAT, then I'm extremely concerned and would appeal that they not do it that way.

Also, Pr. Curtis failed in his summary to mention Professor Ziegler's excellent presentation on these issues:
www.ctsfw.edu/library/files/pb/940

I believe Professor Ziegler's presentation lays out precisely why, historically, Lutherans do not practice reservationism, and I commend it again to any/all interested in this issue.]]

William Weedon said...

Am I missing it or has any pastor supported your "read" of the SD? I know you cite Ziegler's paper. I wonder if he'd say the same as you that after the celebration what remains is only bread and wine (although bread and wine that once had been in sacramental union with our Savior's body and blood). But as I'm counting them up, those who disagree with the statement that what remains is NOT the Lord's body and blood:

Harju, Weedon, Petersen, Curtis, Maxwell (going by the AGM), Brown, Eckardt, and conditionally Cwirla [who practices reserving].

The only one who is saying what you are saying appears to be you. There may be others, but they sure haven't chimed in on the discussion.

Does it not give pause? Does it not at least suggest the *possibility* that there's another way to read the SD than you are reading it?

The Mad Papist said...

Paper Popes Rock! No?

LOL. LOL.

Paul McCain said...

Not sure precisely what you are specifying as "my read" of SD VII.87.

I am still wondering where in our Confessions you guys are extracting the practice of reservationism and communing with the elements as if they are the body and blood of Christ after the conclusion of the actio of the Supper, as specified in SD VII.87.

I continue to have deep reservations about your reservationism.

You choose affirm what remains is the body and blood of Christ. In light of what our Confessions say about the actio, I have my doubts, therefore, I can not say it is and if pressed will say it is not.

I'm particularly bothered by the practice of speaking the Verba in a conditional/past tense kind of way to communicants.

That is what really bugs me most of all.

If you are assuring me that you use the Pastoral Care Companion's communion of the sick and shut-ins, as printed, [doing the red, saying the black], I would be happy to say, "I'm good!"

Our speculations and opinions aside, of course.

The Mad Papist said...

Oh I don't know....

...."Just like the pied piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes,
Swaying to the symphony...
Of destruction".....

William Weedon said...

Scott,

I really would suggest speaking to your priest about whether it is spiritually healthy to post as you have posted here. I am not asking you not to post, but the tenor of the posts is troublesome. A short time ago you were telling me how you couldn't leave the Augsburg Confession, and now you are poking fun at those who hold to it. It's not spiritually healthy. Please do consider asking your priest to review what you've written here and obtain his counsel on whether this sort of interaction is spiritually beneficial for you.

The Mad Papist said...

Ummmm.....

O.K.

Postings shall cease. Nothing persanal Pr. Weedon. "My Priest" would enjoy the banter.

God bless!

Really.

Christine said...

Postings shall cease. Nothing persanal Pr. Weedon. "My Priest" would enjoy the banter.

Lame. Very lame. I doubt that any clergy of integrity would enjoy *that* kind of banter.

FWIW, the Catholic priests I have known have great respect for Lutheran reverence and theological acumen. I heard a wondeful homily at a Catholic parish on what was a Reformation Sunday in the Lutheran Church that the Reformers were quite right that the Church catholic is always in need of reformation. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is highly regarded by Catholic priests.

Scott is on a "convert's high" but will, in time, come crashing down through a good dose of humility and hopefully wisdom when he understands that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, not the Pope. The Church belongs to the Lamb who died for her.

The Mad Papist said...

Apologies,

The venom spewed my way by former Lutheran Brethren has been vicious. It has gotten the best of me lately causing me to behave in a way unbecoming a Christian. Not to mention the fact that I sound like an idiot. I am truely sorry if I have offended anyone.

God bless.

Rev. Benjamin Harju said...

I am going to suggest that citing the rubrics of our hymnals is out of play. Why? Because Rev. McCain has demonstrated that these rubrics can be changed at will (either his alone - which I doubt - or at the whim of a select group that does not actually represent any authoritative consensus of anything).

Likewise, Rev. McCain, I believe I and many others have given you compelling arguments as to why your teaching about the limited duration of the actio is out in left field. Frankly, this debate has moved me to seriously believe that you are holding to a private - or at least vast-minority - opinion in comparison to the catholic Church that our confessions say we stand with and do not contradict.

Rev. McCain, I can't make you believe what we believe. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. I will ask you, though - in all brotherly affection and sincerity - to look at what you are saying: are you seeing limits that don't exist? Are you treating our Lord's Verba as a legal pronouncement - which can then be dissected to show its limitations, rather than a gospel pronouncement that very simply does what it says, gives what it says, and is not concerned about limits and durations because of its very gospel-ness. That doesn't mean we become careless about whether we observe the Institution, but merely reveals that the Institution is not legal data, but pure and overflowing gift.