Hoagies & Stogies: Communion

What did Jesus mean by “this is my body”? Real Physical Presence (Lutherans) or Real Spiritual Presence (Calvinists)? About 80 men showed up at the largest H&S event ever, to hear pastors John Kent and Mike Brown tackle this question that is as old as the Reformation.

If you missed it (or if you didn’t!), you can download .mp3:

  • Part 1: Opening, rebuttal, and closing statements (1:14:02, 16.9MB)
  • Part 2: Q&A (0:15:44, 3.6MB)
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7 Responses

  1. […] Hoagies & Stogies: Communion […]

  2. […] Opening, rebuttal, and closing statements (1:14:02, 16.9MB) Part 2: Q&A (0:15:44, 3.6MB) From:Hoagies & Stogies: Communion Blogorrhea __________________ Gil Garcia Rehoboth Reformed Church (RCUS) La Habra, CA "Indeed, one […]

  3. Very interesting debate. I kept waiting for Mike Brown (Reformed) to ask John Kent (Lutheran) about why, if the Lutherans insist on taking “This is my body” literally, why do they not also take the text “This cup is the New Covenant” literally as well. The Lutherans do not insist that the cup of wine is a literal covenant. But why not? Here, their position does not seem consistent, and even Zwingli, at the Marburg Colloquy brought up a similar argument, saying that Christ, on the cross, said to the apostle John, “Behold, your mother” (even though, of course, Mary was not literally John’s mother). Zwingli said that he, too, could choose to be stubbornly literal and state over and over that Mary was John’s literal mother. Of course, context is everything. That is why the Lutherans will agree that the cup of wine is not a literal covenant. In the same way, the context shows that the bread is not literally Jesus’ body at the Last Supper, because Jesus is standing there (in his physical body), tearing apart bread, giving it to his disciples, and calling that his “body.”

    • Your Majesty,

      Thanks so much for listening and commenting!

      Your final sentence there I think is an excellent point, a question I have asked myself.

      What do you mean by “The Lutherans do not insist that the cup of wine is a literal covenant”? Do you mean that they read that sentence more as “This cup is a sign that signifies the New Covenant”? That would seem to be analogous to the Reformed understanding of the bread. That’s a good question, and one I have not heard before.

      So I guess that Lutherans would affirm, by analogy to “This is my body”, that the wine is Christ’s blood, but then you ask, “Why don’t you just believe Jesus, who said “This cup is the New Covenant”? They couldn’t possibly retreat into “Well, the wine is the blood, and the cup that holds the wine is the covenant,” could they?

      • RubeRad,

        You’re exactly right: When the Lutherans read Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood,” they don’t insist that Christians are drinking a literal covenant (if that were possible to do!) when they participate in the Lord’s Supper. Yet–and here is the great puzzle–they insist that Christians who don’t take Christ’s word’s “This is my body” literally are guilty of rationalism. They say (with Luther), “I am a captive and cannot free myself. The text is too powerfully present, and will not allow itself to be torn from its meaning by mere verbiage.” Huh??? Then why not argue the same way with the text, “This cup is the new covenant”?

        Lutherans wouldn’t retreat into saying that the wine is the blood but the cup that holds the wine is the covenant because they (rightly) consider “the cup” to be a synecdoche (that is, “the cup”–a container–is used to refer to the contents of the cup–the wine).

  4. What if the “New Covenant” is Christ Himself?

  5. […] also related H&S on Images, Communion, and […]

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