24 March 2008

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In the doctrine of Transubstantiation, nevertheless, as in almost all of her corruptions, the Church of Rome has not so much absolutely removed the foundation, as it hidden it by wood, hay, and stubble of human devise. Truth can sometimes be reached by running the corruptions of it back to the trunk on which they were grafted. -- C.P. Krauth, *The Conservative Reformation* p. 629


Anonymous said...

Don't the Scriptures teach that in the Eucharist the bread and wine simply ARE the actual body and blood of Christ? Is this view allowed by the Lutheran confessions or is it condemned as Transubstantion?


William Weedon said...

Let's let the Lutheran Symbols speak for themselves:

"Of the Sacrament of the Altar, we hold that the bread and wine in the Supper are Christ's true body and blood. These are given and received not only by the godly, but also by wicked Christians." SA III VI:1

And the Symbols do not hesitate to confess a change:

"Vulgarius, who does not seem to be an unimportant writer to us, says clearly that 'bread is not a mere figure, but is truly changed into flesh.'" Ap X:55

What is rejected with transubstantiation is not the fact of that the bread is and becomes the body of Christ, nor the language of change, but the philosophical theory which purports to explain HOW the change happens - the vacating of substance and the replacement with another substance, while the accidents remain the same. Too much explanation!

William Weedon said...

Oh, also that to insist that the change happens in such a way that the bread itself is annihilated goes against the Scriptures which speak of the consecrated element as bread, and against a father such as Irenaeus who can speak of the Sacrament consisting of an earthly and a heavenly reality together.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Weedon,

thank you for your clarifications. You have understood the Confessions in the most Scriptural and catholic way possible in your 10:42 reply. I fully agree that we must beware of too much explanation where a miracle is concerned.

The problem I have encountered with Lutheranism, however, is the prevalent notion that the bread and wine themselves are not Christ's Body and Blood per se but are merely vehicles to transport the invisible Body and Blood to the communicant. This impression is reinforced when Lutherans speak of Christ's Body and Blood as IN, WITH, or UNDER the natural bread and wine, thus drawing a distinction between the bread and wine and the Body and Blood.

But if we draw such a distinction, then we are no longer simply affirming that the elements ARE Christ's Body and Blood. Are we not saying, instead, that the elements merely CONTAIN Christ's Body and Blood? Have I drawn a false distinction here?