The Lord's Supper...

What about the Eucharist???

By Nick Law

The word Eucharist {yoo'-kuh-rist}, from the Greek eucharistia ("thanksgiving"), has been used to describe what is called the SACRAMENT that Jesus Christ instituted at the LAST SUPPER. It is variously described as the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, and the MASS.

Sacraments are Christian rites that are believed to be outward visible signs of inward spiritual grace to which the promise of Christ is attached. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches accept seven sacraments: BAPTISM, the EUCHARIST, CONFIRMATION (or Chrismation), CONFESSION, ANOINTING OF THE SICK, MARRIAGE, and HOLY ORDERS. The Council of Trent (1545-63) declared that all were instituted by Christ. Protestants accept only baptism and the Eucharist as instituted by Christ. The Anglican (Episcopal church, however, accepts the other five as sacramental rites that evolved in the church).

Interpretations of the meaning of the Eucharist vary. Some writers of the 2nd century held that the Eucharist consists of two realities, an earthly and a heavenly. In the Middle Ages, the doctrine of transubstantiation was developed; it has remained the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic church. According to this position, the substance, or inner reality, of the bread and wine are changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, but the accidents, or external qualities known through the sens (color, weight, taste), remain unchanged. Other interpretations of the Eucharist were emphasized at the time of the Reformation. Protestant positions range from the Lutheran view of consubstantiation, which holds that Christ is present along with the unc nged reality of the bread and wine, to the symbolic interpretation of the Eucharist as a simple memorial of Christ's death.

It is obvious that the early church, under the direction of the apostles and those who lived very near the time of the apostles, did not believe in nor practiced Transubstantiation. It is clear from their own quotation that in the first century the bread was viewed as a remembrance of the body of Christ, and not the body itself. It is equally clear that the wine was viewed as commemorating the blood of Christ, and not as the blood itself. It was almost 1200 years after the establishment of the church before transubstantiation was definitely set forth. Doesn't it seem unlikely that all of those infallible popes over that 1200 year period did not see fit to declare Transubstantiation as an article of faith if they themselves believed and practiced it?

Another question that I believe must be answered arises from one of the quotes in the Baltimore Catechism, in which an attempt was made to prove the possibility of Transubstantiation.
The Baltimore Catechism, Lesson 26 said:

"Because the appearances of bread and wine remain in the Holy
Eucharist, we cannot see Christ with our bodily eyes in this
sacrament. We do see Him, however, with the eyes of faith. Our bodily
eyes, moreover, do not deceive us when they see the appearances of
bread and wine for these appearances really remain after the
Consecration of the Mass. By the appearances of bread and wine we
mean their color, taste, weight, shape, and whatever else appears to
the senses."

"Our Lord was able to change bread and wine into His body and blood by
His almighty power. (a) God, who created all things from nothing, who
fed the five thousand with five loves, who changed water into wine
instantaneously, who raised the dead to life, can change bread and wine into
the body and blood of Christ."

I do not doubt the power of God, but I do doubt the logic of the reasoning of the Catholic authorities. The miracles that they used to prove their point prove far too much. In each case of the Bible miracles there was substantial evidence that a miracle had taken place. When God created all things from nothing, where there had been nothing there was then all things - real things that could be seen and touched (Genesis 1; Rom.1:20; Psalms 19:1-6). When five thousand were fed with five loves, five thousand ate something that was real, that could be chewed and tasted. When they were filled, there was much evidence of the miracle left over (John 6:1-13). When the water was changed into wine, it did not retain the physical qualities of water, it became wine (John 2:9, 10). When Lazarus was raised from the dead, Lazarus himself was evidence of the miracle (John 11). The point is that miracles were faith producing, not faith dependent. When our Lord performed a miracle there was ample evidence that a miracle had taken place. The evidence of Transubstantiation is that nothing has happened. An appeal to ones's personal faith is not sufficient. God's miracles produced faith, they did not depend on it. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).

We need to listen to the word of God as written by Paul to the Corinthian saints to learn the truth of the Lord's Supper. 1 Corinthians 11:23-29:
"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."

My friend, if you are a Catholic, ask your priest to prove that transubstantiation was always believed by the Church.
He will not be able to do it. Why not turn from the traditions of men and turn back the things that are written in the word of God?

[Editor's Note: Thanks to Nick Law for the article! He can be reached at 16335 Miller Street, Athens, AL. 35611]

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