Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Dog That Didn't Bark: Eucharistic Theology in the Early Church

In the Sherlock Holmes story “Silver Blaze,” involving the disappearance of a thoroughbred racehorse, Holmes points out a major clue:
Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
Holmes: "That was the curious incident."
Had it been a stranger, the dog would have sensed alarm, and barked.  Thus, Sherlock Holmes is able to deduce that the horse-thief is someone that the dog knows well.  In reading the Church Fathers, there are at least two areas where we find dogs that didn't bark.

I. The First Dog that Didn't Bark: Non-Catholic Eucharistic Theology

I noticed the first of these two non-barking dogs while listening to Johann Friedrich Fasch's Passio Jesu Christi.  It's transcendentally beautiful (especially track 25, Meine Laster sind die Stricke), and I've been listening to repeatedly for the last few weeks.  But Fasch was a Lutheran, from a family of Lutheran theologians, and his account of the Last Supper reflects Lutheran Eucharistic theology.  After the consecration, one of the singers (representing the daughters of Zion) proclaims:
God, for whom the infinite heavens,
and all space as space is too small,
is present here, in an unfathomable way,
with, and as bread and wine.
He would be the spiritual food of sinners,
oh love, oh grace, oh wonder.
Catholics can't affirm this without denying the Real Presence.  Christ doesn't come to us with bread and wine in the Eucharist.  The bread and wine become His Body and Blood.  He's not just present: they become Him.  It's possible that Fasch wrote this to get a potshot in at Catholics, but I doubt it.  I think instead that he was expressing, as a devout Lutheran, his understanding of the Last Supper. Had Fasch been a Calvinist, he'd have described the Eucharist in Calvinistic terms.

But this got me thinking about the early Church Fathers.  If the early Church Fathers had non-Catholic Eucharistic theology, why do we never see them affirm something Catholics deny?  That is, why do we never see them say things like Christ is “with, and as bread and wine”?  Where do we see them saying that the bread and wine remain bread and wine after the consecration?

It's not as if the Church Fathers were quiet on the Eucharist.  I've compiled a list of some select quotations from the first and second century, third century, and fourth century.  Entire books have been written on this subject.  Yet everything I've read from every Church Father is compatible with Catholic Eucharistic theology, and in many cases, compatible only with Catholic Eucharistic theology.  

For example, St. Ignatius of Antioch, a student of the Apostle John, wrote sometime between 103-110 A.D. to stay away from the Gnostics, since they “abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the Flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again.”  But of course, most Protestants likewise “confess not” the Eucharist to be the Flesh of our Savior, taking It to be a mere symbol, instead.  So we hear the Patristic dog barking, warning us that the symbolic (or merely spiritual) view of the Eucharist was not the view known to the students of the Apostles.

Likewise, as discussed here, Lutherans have historically denied that the Eucharist could be taken to the sick, believing that the Real Presence of Jesus only exists during the Liturgy.  Yet there's no question from Justin Martyr's First Apology (written between 150-155 A.D.), that after the consecration, “to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.”  There's that Patristic dog barking again, warning us that the Lutheran view of the Eucharist was not the view of the Church of 150 A.D.

Yet when it comes to Catholics, the Patristic dog never barks.  That's not to say that you can't cherry-pick some Patristic quotations, of course.  As Catholics, we believe both that (a) the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of the Lord, and (b) that the Eucharist is full of Christological symbolism (Christ chose bread and wine for a reason, after all).  So you can find plenty of Fathers talking about (b).  This doesn't contradict Catholic Eucharistic theology, and you'll find plenty of Fathers who talk about both (a) and (b).

But what you can't find -- or at least, what I haven't found -- are any Fathers who say something that Catholics deny.  There aren't any Fathers saying the sort of things that Fasch's Daughters of Zion say, for example: no one affirming that Christ is “with, and as bread and wine.”  That lack of evidence is telling.

II. The Second Dog that Didn't Bark: Outcry at Catholic Eucharistic Theology

As I mentioned above, there are plenty of Patristic citations that are incredibly Catholic.  St. Cyril of Jerusalem writes back in about 350 A.D., “You have been taught and you are firmly convinced that what looks and tastes like bread and wine is not bread and wine but the Body and the Blood of Christ.”  That's almost everything that Catholicism teaches about the Eucharist, summed up in a single sentence.  And nearly all Protestants would deny that statement as false, even idolatrous.  

Likewise, St. Ambrose (St. Augustine's mentor) writes in the late 380s that the Eucharist “is the true Flesh of Christ which crucified and buried, this is then truly the Sacrament of His Body.”  These aren't isolated claims: there are countless Fathers you can point to making these (and other similarly clear) statements about the Eucharist.  And in every case, the vast majority of Protestants would deny these statements as heretically, even diabolically, wrong.

So assume that the early Church agreed with what these Protestants now claim.  When people like Cyril and Ambrose start making these claims, what should we expect?

The answer is obvious.  We should expect to see a lot of outrage on this point.  The pure Gospel is being diluted with pagan nonsense, right?  We should see epistles and tracts written decrying this paganism, we should see Councils condemning this as idolatrous nonsense, and if the early Church is really Protestant, we should see some schisms.  After all, what would happen if, instead of Ambrose and Cyril, it was Billy Graham, John MacArthur or John Piper proclaiming this from the pulpit?  

As I'm sure you've guessed by now, that's the second dog that doesn't bark.  When Cyril and Ambrose refer to the Eucharist in unambiguously Catholic terms, no one objects.  There's no outrage, not even a hint of disagreement.  Not a bark, not even a whimper.

But maybe there's something wrong with the dog, right?  Maybe the Fathers just weren't the barking type, and would look over the rank heresy their peers were preaching because everybody means well?  Here's just the beginning of St. Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus (c. 402 A.D.):
I have learned not only from your letter but from those of many others that cavils are raised against me in the school of Tyrannus, by the tongue of my dogs from the enemies by himself because I have translated the books Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν into Latin. What unprecedented shamelessness is this! They accuse the physician for detecting the poison: and this in order to protect their vendor of drugs, not in obtaining the reward of innocence but in his partnership with the criminal; as if the number of the offenders diminished the crime, or as if the accusation depended on our personal feelings not on the facts. Pamphlets are written against me; they are forced on every one's attention; and yet they are not openly published, so that the hearts of the simple are disturbed, and no opportunity is given me of answering. This is a new way of injuring a man, to make accusations which you are afraid of sending abroad, to write what you are obliged to hide.
If you couldn't figure it out from the quotation, Jerome was being denounced by Tyrannus Rufinus and others simply for  having translated some of Origen's works into Latin (something that Rufinus would later do himself).

There was a wild outrage over this, with pamphlets published and nasty personal attacks both against Jerome, and later, by Jerome against his accusers.  My point is this: the fourth century Church was ready to go into conniptions about whether or not to translate Origen's works into Latin, and then whether Jerome or Rufinus had done it more accurately.  And we're to think that this same Church knew that idolatry and heresy was being taught, but just couldn't get themselves worked up over it?

But I anticipate a second objection: maybe it's because this is the fourth century, and Roman Catholicism has already choked out the true Gospel.  Well, then, find the origin of the Catholic “heresy” of the Real Presence, and show me where the Christians living at that time were outraged, as modern Protestant would be.  The simple fact is, we don't see this outrage in the fourth century, or the third, or the second, or the first.  The dog never barked.

Conclusion

The Catholic position on history is that She represents the full and complete Gospel, as handed down by the Church Fathers. Her views on the Eucharist today (and justification, Mary, the papacy and the structure of the Church, indulgences, etc., etc., etc.) are all consistent with the views of the Church at any point in history, going back to the time of the Apostles, and thus, back to Christ.

Protestantism denies this, claiming that the Church believed what modern Protestants believed first, but that Catholic errors crept in over time.  The Eucharist is a single, albeit critically important, example here. My point in this post is two-fold: (1) we don't see any clear instances of the early Church proclaiming anything inconsistent with the Catholic view on the Eucharist, and (2) we don't see any objections when the Catholic view is explicitly proclaimed.

Certainly, we find both of those things easily in post-Reformation Protestantism: one need not look hard to find distinctively Protestant Eucharistic theology, and denunciations of the Catholic view.  If Protestantism were true, we'd expect to see both of those things in the early Church, as well.  As it is, we should take a clue from Sherlock Holmes: the reason the Patristic dog didn't bark is that she recognized the Catholic Church as her owner, not a stranger coming in the night.

75 comments:

  1. \\Likewise, as discussed here, Lutherans have historically denied that the Eucharist could be taken to the sick, believing that the Real Presence of Jesus only exists during the Liturgy.\\

    There are some Lutherans who practice Reservation and Benediction.

    Just mentioning.

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  2. Jack,

    That's true. That's why I said "historically." The article I linked to there is a full discussion of why those practices are contrary to historic Lutheranism (and it's written from a Lutheran perspective). God bless

    Joe

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  3. Great article. Very well put, already shared

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  4. Great use of the Sherlockismus, Joe! I'm a fan of Sir Arthur myself, and I could have very well used the "barking dog in the night" in explaining the occasional nature of the NT writings when discussing sola scriptura, but — silly me — it never occured to me. Thanks for bringing it up!

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  5. One problem with the "barking dog in the night" is that it is an argument from silence. It is not acceptable to use an argument from silence in theology because it can be used to lead people down many dangerous and unprovable paths. What did Jesus say about homosexuality? He did not "bark" about homosexuality because (fill in your answer here). This is the problem from an argument from silence.

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  6. Rev. Hans,

    I was worried about that initially, too. The reason I think that this is different is that (1) there was anything but silence about the Eucharist -- like I said, entire books have been written about Patristic commentaries on the Eucharist; and (2) some of the Fathers said things that were either true or idolatrous.

    To use your example above, it's not shocking that Jesus didn't expressly lay out the correct answer to every question facing Christians. But imagine, instead, that one of the Apostles Came out in favor of gay marriage. If Jesus was silent, and let the Apostle continue saying these things, we'd rightly read a lot more into His silence then.

    If the Fathers were quiet on the Eucharist, I'd agree that we'd have to be extranet cautious reading anything into their views. But they weren't quiet: they were Catholic. And when no one else rejects these views, I think that silence suggests consent, for the reasons outlined above.

    God bless,

    Joe

    P.S. Got your email and enjoyed it. Will try to respond soon.

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  7. If Protestantism were true! Love it. The late Michael Spencer aka the Internet Monk conceded your point in a post he wrote before his passing

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  8. hahah...I wondered how long it'd take Devin to jump on that sentence ;-)

    (I loved reading Micahel Spencer's stuff - always enlightening)

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  9. Joe said: "and if the early Church is really Protestant, we should see some schisms. "

    :-) Made me lol!

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  10. @Joe: If the faith was "handed down from the 'fathers'", then why didn't the earliest 'fathers' say anything (not that it matters if they said anything on the subject or not) about having either bread for both priests and laity, wine for just priests, or as was later blasphemed, again, either one or the other for laity (yet not both, even though "the life of the flesh is in the blood")? [Changes, changes, changes. A non-stop in the RCC.] Now about your bragging about Ignatius of Antioch: As I've stated before in other posts, Paul warned the elders about wolves coming in from among them (those he was preaching to). What, was John wiped clean from wolves coming in from among those he preached to? Can not you see that (1) Paul's warning to the elders about wolves coming in from among themselves, and (2) his teaching of divisions having to occur to see who has God's approval, is an all-out denouncement of RCC 'apostolic succession'? Anyways, again, as I've stated in other posts, the Lord's Supper MUST be symbolic since, "Not one of His bones shall be broken." Think about it, if the eucharist is the true body, blood, soul, and divinity, then His bones would be broken every time your teeth crush the host. Yet, "the Scripture cannot be broken". Also, since He called himself the Door and Vine (among others), should I take that literally and worship doors and vines as you do with the host? It's irrational. Not just eucharistic or 'apostolic succession' teachings, but almost all RCC teachings. - Look, I mean no harm. But I've been engulfed by the Great Prostitute before; and it's upsetting (after you've come to the knowledge and truth of our Lord, particularly, in being able to "hear the word of God and obey it") to see the teachings continue, especially in the insulting way you do so.

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  11. Joe: This post seems to be "the gift that keeps giving". Somewhere in the midst of michaeladdison's ... um, comment is a nugget worth exploring in another post.

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  12. @Anthony: Yea, the fact that I should've mentioned the 'symbolic' comment, first, and the 'handed down' comment, second (along with my lack of grammer and writing skills (oops, should've and grammer needed to be corrected according to the site's spell check)), does make it sound a little random. But the fact that you called the "... um, comment" a "nugget worth exploring" means that the Spirit has got you thinking since you, yourself, couldn't directly address my comment other than with sarcasm, like Joe tends to do, but in a little bit of a different way. - take care

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  13. @Anthony: I read your post. You are an instigator, to say the least. Why? Because you called me an anti-Catholic. I am anti-Catholicism. Huge, huge diff. At least a Muslim would call me anti-Islam and not anti-Muslim. Calling me anti-Catholic is saying I'm against Catholics. You could not be more wrong. I'm sincerely against the doctrine of demons, that is Catholicism. It's unfortunate that those type of comments indirectly say that the spirit of 'burned at the stake' is alive and well within you, so to speak. Any hoot, if you say I'm closed-minded about His resurrected body, what about you and the prayers to the infant Jesus? [What, is there a flux copassitor (spelling?) that can take you to pray to Him? I tell you the truth, even if there was, it wouldn't matter. Part of Yeshua's emptying of himself was having to be taught of the Spirit like other humans. Praying to a baby Yeshua is worthless. Same way with the 'Hail Mary'. In the RCC understanding of "blessed is the fruit of your womb", you'd need a flux copassitor to offer her that prayer, also. Anyways, that's not what Elizabeth was saying. Yea, the "blessed are you among women" had to do with the Great One being in her belly, but the "blessed is the fruit of your womb" had to do with God multiplying the people of Israel for obedience of His commands (check the Torah). Otherwise, if the RCC interpretation was true, than Elizabeth might of well have said, "Blessed are you for being chosen to bear the Christ, and blessed are you for being chosen to bear the Christ." She didn't compulsively repeat herself, did she?]
    What about the "handed down from the fathers" statement I made? You didn't address that in your post. The laity WAS forbidden the cup pre-VaticanII, and now they can have either, but not both. That changed. Also, o' laymen of the RCC, read the RCC encyc on the 'laity' and scroll to 'As to Doctrine'. You wouldn't even be able to have this blog pre-VaticanII. How's that "handed down", since it's quite the dramatic change? Wow, could I ever go on and on, but I won't!

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  14. Be careful about the information you get from Wikipedia. Gregory was a pope; the inspector's name is Gregson. Sorry, but being on my umpteenth trip through the Sherlockian Canon, it's driving me to distraction.

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  15. "Likewise, St. Ambrose (St. Augustine's mentor) writes in the late 380s that the Eucharist “is the true Flesh of Christ which crucified and buried, this is then truly the Sacrament of His Body.”

    You're right, Joe; He does say that. And since he's basically quoting Scripture, he's right. However, he disagrees with Romanism when he further explains:

    "58. Wherefore, too, the Church, beholding so great grace, exhorts her sons and her friends to come together to the sacraments, saying: "Eat, my friends, and drink and be inebriated, my brother." What we eat and what we drink the Holy Spirit has elsewhere made plain by the prophet, saying, "Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that hopeth in Him." In that sacrament is Christ, because it is the Body of Christ, it is therefore not bodily food but spiritual. Whence the Apostle says of its type: "Our fathers ate spiritual food and drank spiritual drink," FOR THE BODY OF GOD IS A SPIRITUAL BODY; THE BODY OF CHRIST IS THE BODY OF THE DIVINE SPIRIT, for the Spirit is Christ, as we read: "The Spirit before our face is Christ the Lord." And in the Epistle of Peter we read: "Christ died for us." Lastly, that food strengthens our heart, and that drink "maketh glad the heart of man," as the prophet has recorded."

    Ambrose, when read in context, does not here seem to be in harmony with Rome.

    -h.

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  16. HRDuaz III,

    Can you please elaborate on how what you have quoted is not compatible with what Catholics believe?

    Thanks

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  17. I apologize for misspelling your name.

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  18. @ HRDiazIII:

    That line in St. Ambrose seems to conflict only if you work with the watered-down sense of spiritual that seems to infect a lot of people. Here, as in 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, spiritual does not mean "intangible" or "emotional" but rather "immaterial" ... that is "real", but not of the same substance as the material reality we experience daily. For instance, God is written of as a spiritual Being by the early Church Fathers not because He's a vague concept or a "ghost" as we commonly think of ghosts but of a completely different order of reality separate from the material universe He created.

    Scripture gives us some hints that Jesus' resurrected body isn't the same as that which suffered and died on the Cross. For instance, the two men on the road to Emmaus and St. Mary Magdalene had difficulty recognizing him although they'd spent months in his company. For another, Jesus could appear and disappear at will, yet could eat and drink. This difference in nature is why St. Paul calls Jesus' resurrection the "first fruits": Jairus' daughter, Lazarus and the other dead man Jesus brought back to life kept the same mortal, material bodies they had before they died.

    It's a difficult concept to grasp; that is why angels appear as humans with wings, Satan and demons as humans with horns and cloven hooves, and so forth — it's human imagination trying to present that of which we have no ordinary direct experience yet is no less real than the chairs we sit on and the air we breathe. It helps me to think of the immaterial as an alternate, parallel dimension that permeates our own. Or think of C. S. Lewis' description of Heaven in The Great Divorce, as a place so much more real that by comparison we are mere ghosts and shadows.

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  19. I understand where you're coming from, Anthony. However, here is the problem: Christ's resurrected/spiritual body does not have blood.

    He is flesh and bone (cf. Luke 24:39).

    So Ambrose's identification of the body of God as being Spiritual, if you're right about how you are interpreting it (I don't think you are, btw) would still not be support for the doctrine of transubstantiation.
    ----------------------
    Brian,

    there is a contradiction between the body of Christ in the Eucharist being physical and the body of Christ in the Eucharist being physical.

    Since Romanism teaches that the elements Become the flesh and blood of Christ, and Ambrose states that the body of Christ is Spiritual (not physical), you have a problem there.

    Even if you try to get around it by claiming that in the Eucharist it is the spiritual body which the communicants feed upon, there is still that verse in Luke which tells us that Christ does not have blood, He has only flesh and blood.

    Hence, you have a contradiction.
    ---------------------------------

    But let's push this a little farther.

    If, as Anthony is claiming, the body of Christ in the Eucharist is the Spiritual, yet literal body of Christ, then not only is there no blood (which confute the Romanist Eucharist), there is also a clear contradiction.

    For the Word of God declares that there is a physical body that is subject to corruption and a spiritual body that is not subject to corruption (cf. 1 Cor 15).

    If Christ is re-sacrificed in the Mass, and if the body sacrificed in the Eucharist is Spiritual, then this is a clear contradiction of Scripture where Paul tells us that Christ's body is no longer subject to corruption (i.e. the curse of pain, death, etc placed upon all mankind at the fall and experienced Substitutionally by Christ for His elect people).

    Thus, you have a contradiction.

    Again.

    -h.

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  20. Correction:

    There is a contradiction between the body of Christ in the Eucharist being physical and the body of Christ in the Eucharist being spiritual.

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  21. @HRDiaz III: Great point on our Lord being just flesh and blood contradicting the 'real presence'.

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  22. Joe,

    (Prot Alert!)
    It's not quite right to lump all non-RCs into the uber-Zwinglian characature of "memorialist only" as you seem to have done. I'm one of those guys who wakes up in the morning, takes a deep breath and goes, "Ahhhh, Calvinism!", yet I would not deny that the bread and wine are the body and blood. The reason I would affirm this is because Jesus plainly states it to be so. But that brings up some serious existential issues which, handled badly, could lead to some even more serious theological issues. Lemme explain.

    First, when Jesus said "Take, eat, this is my body," which of His bodies was it? Pre or post resurrection? If we say pre, then which part of Him were they chewing on? Ankle? Shoulder? "But no," one might say, "Jesus's body wasn't..." Wasn't what? Wasn't like ours? I assume that you see the trainwreck up ahead there, so let's move on to the next thing.

    If we say post, then how is it that Christ's post resurrection body existed in some form before the resurrection? And if it did, wouldn't He have said, "Take, eat, this will be my body"? This is beginning to look almost as difficult as a literal 6 days -- maybe it's just poetry.

    My point here is this. All Christians know that Jesus claimed the bread was His body. We've all read the words, and so we proclaim them as true. But (in the wise words of Enigo Montoya), I do not think it means what you think it means. The problem lies in the time and place of Jesus' claim. In order for proponents of transub to be consistent, it seems one of two things must be true: Either 1) The apostles diminished the mass of Jesus' pre-res body (I mean, we're not gnostics, are we? That was a real body, right?); or 2)The apostles ate the post-res body pre-res, and Jesus got His pronouns all jumbled up. Which way do we go with this?

    And speaking of Matthew 26, it is worth pointing out that in verse 29Jesus called the stuff in the cup "wine" AFTER he called it His blood in verse 28. He also said He'd drink it again, with us, in His Father's kingdom. I say He drinks the wine with us in Holy Communion, as we commune both laterally with our brothers and vertically with the Lord. But what do you say? Does He drink wine, as the pronouns seem to say, or rather His own blood? If blood, then pre-res or post-res? And what are we to make of Him calling it wine? If you object to the Lutheran lyric, surely you'd object to this.

    BTW, I do think the dog barked more than you allow. But one thing at a time.

    --Charlie

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  23. HRDiazIII: Jesus does not deny that he has blood in Luke 24:39. Here, he's making the point that he's not a ghost — pretty much the same point I was making. To turn it into an exhaustive list of his physical components is to commit an out-of-context fallacy.

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  24. Anthony,

    Christ says that He, in His resurrected body, has flesh and bones, not flesh and blood.

    Can you show me another place in Scripture where the phrase "flesh and bones" is used to describe human corporeality?

    Since this is the resurrected Christ speaking in His resurrected body, the phrase "flesh and bones" is significant.

    Which brings us back to my second point: If you literally consume Christ's body and drink His blood, then does this not make the resurrected Christ subject to corruption?

    I think Charlie said much of what I was thinking about this issue.

    -h.

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  25. @ HRDiazIII: You haven't refuted my argument; you have merely restated yours. The fact that Jesus said it may lend it significance, but it doesn't lend it exclusivity. You might as well argue that the Hebrew/Aramaic idiom "flesh and blood" (e.g. Mt 16:17) excludes hair and bones.

    In reference to your second point: No. The one doesn't necessarily follow from the other.

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  26. HRDiaz III,

    Just so I'm clear, are you suggesting that Jesus also doesn't have skin? Or hair? Fingernails / toenails? Etc.?

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  27. Also, you asked:

    "Can you show me another place in Scripture where the phrase "flesh and bones" is used to describe human corporeality?"

    Yes.

    Genesis 2:23, "The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”"



    Michael,

    You went from arguing that the Eucharist was invalid because traditionally, Catholic laity only consumed under one species and "the life of the flesh is in the blood," to claiming HRDiaz was making a "great point" when he denied that Jesus' Body even has blood (even though this contradicts your own claims). It seems clear that you're willing to accept any argument against the Eucharist, no matter how absurd or contradictory. You should revisit how your biases are coloring your critical thinking on this issue.

    God bless,

    Joe

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  28. Anthony & Joe,

    My point is that Christ's statement seems to have more significance since He is in His resurrected body, which is different from ours.

    That's pretty much it.

    And I think that is enough to refute the Romanist error of transubstantiation. Like I said in my last post, Charlie pretty much articulated what I was thinking.

    -----------

    As for the sarcastic comments regarding toenails and hair, I take "flesh and bone" to be a metonym for the entire human body. That is why the absence of "blood" in Luke 24:39 is significant - because He includes everything BUT blood. Whereas in Scripture the common idiom seems to be "flesh and blood" (cf. Matt 16:17, 1 Cor 15:50, Eph 6:12, and Heb 2:14).

    Also, regarding Genesis 2:23, you haven't shown me a similar use of the phrase "flesh and bone" which serves to signify the entire physical person. Adam doesn't say "I have flesh and bones!" and thereby signify his own physical person. Rather, Adan says "she is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh," indicating that the phrase signifies the unity of two individuals.

    The same is true in Gen 29:14, Judges 9:2, 2 Sam 5:1, 2 Sam 19:12-13, and 1 Chron 11:1. In every instance in which flesh and bone are mentioned here, the context is unity with another.

    I guess we could lump together any phrase that has a superficial resemblance to the words of the Lord God Christ in Luke 24:39. I would rather be a little more cautious in my interpretation of Scripture.

    -h.

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  29. Diaz,

    I answered your claims about St. Ambrose here.  There's no question, from even a cursory reading of On the Mysteries, that you're taking that single sentence wildly out of context, and reading into it all sorts of things that aren't there.  Of course the Eucharist is spiritual food.  We're not talking about eating turkey here.  We don't eat to get full, or to get drunk (see 1 Cor. 11).  But that doesn't mean it's not Jesus' Physical Body.

    As for your other claims, nobody is being sarcastic. It's in no way clear why you think that the phrase "flesh and bones" means flesh, hair, fingernails, bones, and not blood. As Michael (ironically enough) pointed out above, "the life of the flesh is in the blood."

    When a body is alive, the flesh and blood are united. This is true for Christ as well, and the point of John 19:34: when Jesus' Body and Blood are separated, it shows that He is dead. That's why the Eucharist memorializes His Death, by signifying the Body and Blood. This is also why the priest breaks the Bread. To signify the Resurrection, a small piece of the Bread is placed in the Chalice. But both the Bread and the Wine are entirely the Body and Blood of Christ, because He's Risen and is quite alive.

    I also think that if you weren't being defensive, you'd admit defeat on this point. Genesis 2:23 is just blatantly clear. Adam refers to Eve as his flesh and bones, because her corporal being comes from him. That obviously includes her blood as well.

    It's sheer special pleading for you to say that "flesh and bones" means the whole person (including blood) for Eve, but the whole Person (minus Blood) for Christ. That's not sarcasm. That's rebuttal.

    God bless,

    Joe

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  30. @Joe: Come on. You're taking GIGANTIC, impossible strides to say I was contradicting myself. I said, "the life of the flesh is in the blood" to point out that under only one species, YOU contradict the Word. And I first pointed out the 'species' thing to note a huge change in the so-called 'handed down from the fathers'. Also, Mr. Diaz made me think, "Wow, I can't think of any Scripture that Christ has any blood in His resurrected body, since it's on the alter in heaven for our sins!" That said, the 'real presence' contradicts in a resurrected way (His not having blood) and a flesh on earth way (His bones being broken if taken literally, and also the needing of both 'species' since "the life of the flesh is in the blood").

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  31. "I answered your claims about St. Ambrose here."

    I responded.

    "There's no question, from even a cursory reading of On the Mysteries, that you're taking that single sentence wildly out of context, and reading into it all sorts of things that aren't there."

    What did I read into that sentence? I just said that I think he is in disagreement with Rome. That's it.

    "Of course the Eucharist is spiritual food. We're not talking about eating turkey here. We don't eat to get full, or to get drunk (see 1 Cor. 11). But that doesn't mean it's not Jesus' Physical Body."

    Joe, I know that the Eucharist is spiritual food. and I know that it isn't turkey. But I disagree with you about whether or not it is actually the physical blood and flesh of Christ.

    "As for your other claims, nobody is being sarcastic."

    Of course not.

    "It's in no way clear why you think that the phrase "flesh and bones" means flesh, hair, fingernails, bones, and not blood. As Michael (ironically enough) pointed out above, "the life of the flesh is in the blood."

    There is an ontological difference between Christ's resurrection body and our bodies. Therefore, I opt for reading the text of Luke 24:339 more closely. Why? Because "flesh and blood" is a metonym for the corporeal body of a creature and so is "flesh and bone," but the former is not applied by Christ to His glorified body while the latter is applied to it. If there is an ontological difference between a glorified body and non-glorified body, then I don't see the problem with understanding Christ's phrase to be a figure of speech pertaining only to Himself.

    (continued...)

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  32. (cont)

    "When a body is alive, the flesh and blood are united. This is true for Christ as well, and the point of John 19:34: when Jesus' Body and Blood are separated, it shows that He is dead."

    When a corruptible body is alive. Your argument here assumes that they are ontologically identical. But there is no reason to suppose this. Paul tells us that glorified bodies are incorruptible, Christ's body on the cross is corruptible. But Christ is now alive forevermore. Wouldn't your understanding of the Eucharist, therefore, make Christ's body corruptible?

    "That's why the Eucharist memorializes His Death, by signifying the Body and Blood. This is also why the priest breaks the Bread. To signify the Resurrection, a small piece of the Bread is placed in the Chalice. But both the Bread and the Wine are entirely the Body and Blood of Christ, because He's Risen and is quite alive."

    see above.

    "I also think that if you weren't being defensive, you'd admit defeat on this point. Genesis 2:23 is just blatantly clear. Adam refers to Eve as his flesh and bones, because her corporal being comes from him. That obviously includes her blood as well."

    I'm defending my point of view. If that's what you call being defensive, then in a sense you're right. But if you mean I'm just stubbornly clinging to a failed argument, you're wrong. I laid out the differences above.

    However, regarding Eve - she has a non-glorified body. This is the difference you are glossing over. Is non-glorified man's body of the same constitution as the glorified body of Christ?
    From my reading of the NT, I don't think that they are constitutionally identical.

    "It's sheer special pleading for you to say that "flesh and bones" means the whole person (including blood) for Eve, but the whole Person (minus Blood) for Christ. That's not sarcasm. That's rebuttal."

    That's not rebuttal, it's poor reasoning.

    Again, if Christ's glorified body is constitutionally different from non-glorified man's body, then similar phrasing about "flesh" and "blood" could very well present a difference of meaning when applied to either. Therefore, "flesh and bones," which is not what Adam and Eve and the rest of the writers say (they say something along the lines of "you are my flesh and you are my bones," or you are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh), does not necessarily refer to the same thing.

    When Adam says that Eve is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, he is identifying their unity as man and woman. The same is true of Laban and all the other passages I referenced in my last post.

    When Christ uses the phrase "flesh and bones" He does not identify others with Himself, but speaks only of Himself. Because He has an ontologically different body, can you not grant at least the possibility that He is referring to His body as being without blood?

    -h.

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  33. H.R. Diaz,

    You write:

    There is an ontological difference between Christ's resurrection body and our bodies. Therefore, I opt for reading the text of Luke 24:339 more closely. Why? Because "flesh and blood" is a metonym for the corporeal body of a creature and so is "flesh and bone," but the former is not applied by Christ to His glorified body while the latter is applied to it. If there is an ontological difference between a glorified body and non-glorified body, then I don't see the problem with understanding Christ's phrase to be a figure of speech pertaining only to Himself.

    If I'm understanding you correctly, you're essentially saying that:

    1. "Flesh and blood" means the whole body, including fingernails, hair, and bones (which aren't mentioned).

    2. When Adam says that Eve is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones, he means her entire corporeal existence, including fingernails, hair, and blood (which aren't mentioned).

    3. When Christ says Flesh and Bones, He means that His whole Body, including fingernails and hair (which aren't mentioned), but excluding Blood.


    Even granting that the post-Resurrection Body is different from corruptible flesh (which I do), and granting #1 and #2, I'm genuinely not understanding how you're making the jump to # 3.

    Like I said, this all seems like a bunch of special pleading. You've basically admitted as much, saying "I don't see the problem with understanding Christ's phrase to be a figure of speech pertaining only to Himself." The problem is that there's absolutely nothing to indicate that when Christ says, "Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have," that He really means to deny that His Body has Blood.

    Even in Heaven, Christ seems to be depicted as having Blood (see, particularly, the Lamb imagery in Revelation). I just see nothing supporting your interpretation, other than your own desire for it to be right.

    Remember, you're viewing this as some sort of game-ending argument against the Real Presence in the Eucharist. If that's true, and given that the Apostles actually examined the Body of Christ, we should expect that when the earliest Fathers (like Ignatius) declared a belief in the Real Presence, that one of those who had seen Christ's Body used this argument to nip that heresy in the bud, right?

    Otherwise, it looks like we're back to my original point: why don't we hear that Patristic dog barking, if your arguments are as strong and as true as you think that they are?

    In Christ,

    Joe

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  34. I deferred earlier to Tony's excellent answer to your original comment. But I wanted to point two things out briefly. First, you wrote:

    @Joe: If the faith was "handed down from the 'fathers'", then why didn't the earliest 'fathers' say anything (not that it matters if they said anything on the subject or not) about having either bread for both priests and laity, wine for just priests, or as was later blasphemed, again, either one or the other for laity (yet not both, even though "the life of the flesh is in the blood")? [Changes, changes, changes. A non-stop in the RCC.]

    The Catholic Church's position has remained the same throughout all time: both the species of Bread and of Wine contain the full Christ, Flesh and Blood, Soul and Divinity. That's why St. Paul says that "whoever eats the Bread or drinks the Cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the Body and Blood of the Lord" (1 Cor. 11:27). So whether the Church offers the laity one or both species makes no difference in terms of how much of Jesus Christ the laity receives.

    Having said that, the Church is also bound to offer up both species in the Mass, because that’s how Christ established It in the Last Supper. Which is why, even if the laity are only going to receive under the species of Bread, both species are consecrated, and the priest consumes the Chalice.

    The Bread is always offered to the laity, and always has been. The priest always consumes the Bread and Wine. The decision to offer the laity the Cup is discretionary, but of no theological import. The Diocese of Kansas City offers the laity the Cup; the Diocese of Arlington generally does not. Yet they agree completely on Eucharistic theology.

    So it looks to me like the Church’s belief has remained 100% consistent throughout two thousand years. If that’s your best example of these non-stop “changes, changes, changes,” I don’t think we’ve got too much to worry about.

    In the midst of this, you also play fast and loose with the facts: your allegation of blasphemy claims that the laity were offered one or the other, but not both. The laity is never offered only the Chalice. Second, you wrote:

    Now about your bragging about Ignatius of Antioch: As I've stated before in other posts, Paul warned the elders about wolves coming in from among them (those he was preaching to). What, was John wiped clean from wolves coming in from among those he preached to? Can not you see that (1) Paul's warning to the elders about wolves coming in from among themselves, and (2) his teaching of divisions having to occur to see who has God's approval, is an all-out denouncement of RCC 'apostolic succession'?

    This is why I keep asking for your view of Church history. You make wild claims (including that Catholics aren’t in the Church), but don’t bother outlining anything remotely coherent, like a view of the early Church.

    Is it your view that the Apostles left only heretics as their successors? Or how else can you account for the fact that no Christian appears to have disagreed with Ignatius, who you are apparently categorizing as a wolf?

    It's one thing to say that wolves will slip in among the shepherds. It's quite another to accuse every shepherd appointed by the Apostles as being wolves.

    In Christ,

    Joe

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  35. Joe,

    you wrote:

    "If I'm understanding you correctly, you're essentially saying that:

    1. "Flesh and blood" means the whole body, including fingernails, hair, and bones (which aren't mentioned)."

    Yes. As when Paul says that "flesh and blood" cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. The corruptible flesh and blood of man cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven.

    "2. When Adam says that Eve is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones, he means her entire corporeal existence, including fingernails, hair, and blood (which aren't mentioned)."

    Yes. He doesn't say "I am flesh and bones," but that she is one with his flesh and with his bones, the same is true for every other OT reference.

    "3. When Christ says Flesh and Bones, He means that His whole Body, including fingernails and hair (which aren't mentioned), but excluding Blood."

    Yes. Because Christ's usage is different from that of Adam. With whom is Christ identifying Himself? He's only referring to Himself, to His resurrected body. He doesn't say you are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh (which is what Adam and others in the OT say); he says "I have flesh and bones, unlike a spirit." (my paraphrase)
    Christ's body, however, is also unlike the body of the disciples who are referred to as having "flesh and blood."


    "Even granting that the post-Resurrection Body is different from corruptible flesh (which I do), and granting #1 and #2, I'm genuinely not understanding how you're making the jump to # 3."

    I don't think it's a jump at all.

    "Like I said, this all seems like a bunch of special pleading. You've basically admitted as much, saying "I don't see the problem with understanding Christ's phrase to be a figure of speech pertaining only to Himself."

    It's not special pleading. lol

    (cont)

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  37. "The problem is that there's absolutely nothing to indicate that when Christ says, "Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have," that He really means to deny that His Body has Blood."

    I didn't say that He meant to deny that He had blood. I'm saying that since the expression "flesh and blood" refers to the corruptible body of man, and Christ was raised to life incorruptible, it follows that if His body is different and He refers to His body as flesh and bones, as opposed to flesh and blood, then that is cause enough for us to stop and consider the importance this manner of self-identification.

    "Even in Heaven, Christ seems to be depicted as having Blood (see, particularly, the Lamb imagery in Revelation)."

    Yes, He is depicted as having blood. But His blood was shed once for all, and the book of Revelation is apocalyptic literature...

    "I just see nothing supporting your interpretation, other than your own desire for it to be right."

    Well, if you don't see it, you don't see it. But don't reduce my position down to my desire to rebel against your religion :) I honestly disagree with your religion's interpretation of Scripture. I think you guys are wrong about the Eucharist.

    "Remember, you're viewing this as some sort of game-ending argument against the Real Presence in the Eucharist."

    Am I really viewing it that way? I think it is one of the many ways that the doctrine of transubstantiation is shown to be Scripturally indefensible.

    "If that's true, and given that the Apostles actually examined the Body of Christ, we should expect that when the earliest Fathers (like Ignatius) declared a belief in the Real Presence, that one of those who had seen Christ's Body used this argument to nip that heresy in the bud, right?"

    You are affirming the consequent in your argument; therefore, your argument is fallacious. Your argument reduces to:

    p1: If it is the case that the apostles believed in transubstantiation, then we would never see the apostles correcting the fathers (supposed) interpretation of the Eucarist.

    p2: We never see the apostles correcting the fathers.

    C: Therefore, it is the case that the apostles believed in transubstantiation.

    Leaving aside the question of whether or not the fathers believed in transubstantiation, your argument is fallacious.

    "Otherwise, it looks like we're back to my original point: why don't we hear that Patristic dog barking, if your arguments are as strong and as true as you think that they are?"

    Whether or not they believed in the doctrine of transubstantiation is a matter of debate.

    -h.

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  38. Diaz,

    You refuted your own argument. Your original version of the post said:

    p1: If it is the case that the apostles did not believe in transubstantiation then they would have corrected the fathers (supposed) interpretation of the Eucarist.

    p2: The apostles did not correct those who (supposedly) believed in transubstantiation.

    C: Therefore, it is not the case that the apostles did not believe in transubstantiation.


    That's the accurate form for what I'm arguing (not your updated version), and it's not affirming the consequent. If the Apostles denied the physical Real Presence, they'd have rebuked their followers who believed in it. And if the Fathers denied the physical Real Presence, they'd have rebuked their followers who believed in it.

    This isn't a case of affirming the consequent at all. If your belief about the Eucharist was the one held by the Fathers and the Apostles, they would behave in a certain way. They don't, period.

    As for the rest, you acknowledge that Christ is depicted as having Blood in His Resurrected Body in Revelation, and you acknowledge that the phrase "flesh and blood" includes bones, and that there's no reason to assume that the phrase "flesh and bones" doesn't include blood. You even say: "I didn't say that He meant to deny that He had blood."

    And yet you're still saying that this "is one of the many ways that the doctrine of transubstantiation is shown to be Scripturally indefensible." Indefensible? Really? You've basically conceded that there's no particular reason to believe that your interpretation is true (and in fact, at least some Scriptural evidence that you're wrong, coupled with plenty of Patristic evidence), and yet you're still talking like your argument is so strong that it renders the faith of the Fathers "indefensible."

    So you, reading a single sentence out of context, have a better grasp of the nature of Christ's Resurrected Body than the very students of the Apostles who saw and touched Him? And you call yourself "more cautious in my interpretation of Scripture" for taking this view?

    In order to make this productive, let's get down to brass tacks. Do you concede that:

    (1) at least some of the Early Church Fathers believed in Real Presence in a sense that you would find idolatrous and contrary to the Gospel? and

    (2) that these Fathers were never rebuked by anyone for holding these views?

    Establishing your views on the basics is probably more successful than running this pet theory on Luke 24:39 into the ground anymore.

    God bless,

    Joe

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  39. Joe, you are arguing fallaciously. I just made a mistake in my first post.
    That's why I deleted it and posted it again.

    I didn't refute my own argument, either. My point still stands untouched.

    Regarding your desire for productive discussion:

    (i.)It's possible that some of them believed things that were completely unbiblical. Sure.

    (ii.)I think it is fallacious to assume that they NEVER were refuted by fellow teachers. The written documents may not present this, but that doesn't mean it never happened. You are arguing from silence.

    -h.

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  40. H.R. Diaz,

    You only made the “mistake” of presenting my argument honestly the first time, which showed that it wasn't logically unsound. And I agree: that first draft was my argument. And you haven’t shown it to be logically unsound. You instead rewrote it as a straw man that wasn’t my argument.

    But to get on to the more productive topics:

    (i) That's not really an answer to my question, is it? One can believe unbiblical things (and surely, many people did and do) without it being idolatry, right? What I'm asking is if you believe that at least some of the Fathers held views on the Eucharist that are rightly considered damnable heresy and idolatry?

    (ii) You're misunderstanding what the fallacy of an argument from silence. To paraphrase what I wrote in response to Pastor Hans, if you claimed, "Jesus never talked about gay marriage, so He must have approved," you'd be making a fallacious argument from silence. But if one of the Apostles endorsed gay marriage, and Jesus said nothing in response, that silence would be meaningful, wouldn't it? In that second case, we're not dealing with an argument from silence, but with the principle qui tacet consentit (as Tony Layne pointed out in one of his follow-up posts to this).

    You're actually much closer in arguing from silence in your own response. After all, if there was no evidence over the course of the first eight centuries of Christianity that anyone believed in the papacy, but I supported my belief by claiming, "The written documents may not present this, but that doesn't mean it never happened," you'd rightly regard my belief as an argument from silence, and an irrational one. But that’s exactly how you’re arguing here.

    Maybe somewhere Protestants existed, and just didn’t leave a trace. Certainly, that’s a non-falsifiable hypothesis. No amount of evidence could ever disprove that claim, since you could always claim that even when they were writing Catholic things, or going to Mass, they were secretly Protestants in their hearts. But there’s a problem with that theory.

    We’re called to proclaim the Gospel and to be a light upon a hill. This is also why my original argument works. It’s not acceptable for Christians to simply remain mute in the face of heresy and evil, particularly one that replaces the Gospel with idolatry.

    The simple fact is, if you were right, it wouldn't be hard to find evidence of this at all. We'd see polemics written left and right against the Catholic heresy of transubstantiation, we'd see schism away from the Catholic Church, etc. In other words, we'd see everything that we see in Protestantism today. We don’t see any of that. Instead, all of the evidence suggests that the early Church believed that the Eucharist really was the Flesh and Blood of Christ. I don't know what more could possibly be shown on this point.

    God bless,

    Joe

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  41. Joe, you can disagree with me, but please don't accuse me of dishonesty.

    I honestly disagree with you.

    My answers were sufficient, but I'll phrase them the way you want me to ;)

    (i.) Since I'm not omniscient, yes, I concede that it's possible that some of the fathers believed in the Eucharist in the sense which you believe it. It is a logical possibility.

    (ii.) I'm not arguing from silence. Maybe I should have been clearer. I'll try again:

    It is fallacious to assert that those who held to the view you hold, if there were any, were Never rebuked for their beliefs.

    It is a hasty generalization. Now, I guess you can talk about probabilities, but that is just speculation. It isn't "factual."

    The written documents that we have do not exhaust the entirety of ecclesiastical history.

    Does that suit your needs?

    -h.

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  42. H.R.Diaz,

    It wasn't your disagreeing with me that I found sketchy (you're hardly the first), but the way that you laid out a fair presentation of my argument, deleted it, and replaced it with a strawman. Having said that, I don't doubt that you honestly disagree.

    For the rest, I'm sorry if you think I'm being pushy, but I really do find your answers here evasive. Let me rephrase the questions, to see if I can get clearer answers:

    (i) In the early Church, do we see those Eucharistic views that a good Christian (from your perspective) would describe as idolatrous heresy?

    (ii) Do we see any evidence that anyone holding the above allegedly-heretical views was ever rebuked or challenged in any way -- by anyone?


    Answering these questions should require omniscience: just a basic knowledge of the Church Fathers.

    And certainly, it's true that the written documents that we have do not exhaust the entirety of ecclesiastical history. But moving away from epistles, the remaining evidence is even more incredible: just look at the Liturgy of St. James to see what the early Liturgy was like, and what it says about the Church's belief in the Eucharist.

    God bless,

    Joe

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  43. Joe:

    Regarding (i.), I honestly don't know. I'm not well read enough. But I am in the process of learning. That being said, from what I understand there is disagreement among scholars of the Patristic era.
    Hence, my answer.

    Regarding (ii.), I don't know.

    I can't speak in terms of universally held beliefs in the early church apart from what the Scriptures tell me. Since Scripture is the sole infallible rule for faith and practice, for me, I turn to it whenever I am seeking deductive certainty.

    Inductive "sciences," historiography and archeology, leave us only with tentative hypotheses.

    I'll read up and come back and bug you some more :)

    -h.

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  44. Diaz,

    Thanks for your responses. Honest, straightforward, and simple enough that even I could understand them (humble, too, to boot). I appreciate that you're learning Patristics, and encourage you along the way in it. Feel free to keep "bugging" me about the Fathers -- they're one of my favorite parts of the Christian faith.

    You do raise an interesting claim in your comment: that "Scripture is the sole infallible rule for faith and practice." Can I divert the topic to ask a couple questions on this point? If so, I'm curious:

    (1) Who says that Scripture is the sole infallible rule for faith and practice? I get the Scriptura, but not the sola.

    (2) By what standard do you know which Books are Scripture?

    God bless,

    Joe

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  45. 1. Scripture tells me (cf. Matt 4:4).

    2. God reveals His Word to His elect (cf. Matthew 11:25-27, 13:10-17, 16:13-17; Luke 24:27 & 44-45; John 3:3; 7:16-17; 8:47; 10:1-6, 24-27; 1 Corinthians 2:11-16; et al).

    -h.

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  46. @Joe:
    1) I didn't directly call Ignatius a wolf. Hence, you're guilty of bearing false witness. What I meant was: I don't care about your 'but the father's said...' attitude. I guess I didn't explain myself, yet you still put words in my mouth, so to speak.
    2) Quoting 1 Cor 11:27 made no point whatsoever since if you take The Supper in an unworthy manner, your faith is in an unworthy condition.
    3) Joe, I'd say my best example of 'changes, changes, changes' is the HUGE diff of what the laity were able to do pre-VaticanII compared to post-VaticanII. Anyways, going back to the Lord's Supper example, you confirmed the changes in your stating that one diocese can have the cup and one can't.
    4) With the little bit I've read of the 'fathers', some have quite the insight. But, since Catholics seem to use them so much, I go away from them since, as Mr. Diaz has pointed out, there writings could very well be 'supposed'. I'd rather hear the Word, as should you.
    5) For conscience sake, those brothers in Christ under false doctrine should be outside the church. Yet, for those who truly fear God, He has stated that those who fear Him will be blessed; He's also stated, "I will bless those who bless you." And for those who fall into the "I will bless those whom bless you" (whether the direct or spiritual descendant of Abraham), or "blessed are those whom fear the Lord our God," who am I to know how, when, why, or where that will be fulfilled. Let God be the judge. Yet for those fellow fundamentalist whom automatically, directly condemn Catholics, it is written: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." Again, let God and His Word be the judge. - His plan is PERFECT, and whether a point is made in judgement or mercy, He does what needs to be done to bring the largest amount of people possible to Him. Period. Glory to His Holy Name!
    [Don't take my, "Catholics could get into heaven," attitude for granted. I wouldn't be on this site, or other Catholic sites for that matter, if the Scripture didn't point out how tough it can be for Catholics, her daughters, and her step-daughters to enter into The Gates. - Joe, you're my brother in Christ, but sometimes even brothers and sisters in Christ need to be corrected.]

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  47. First you learn well about Eucharist and its importance unless you will be a shameless barking dog

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  48. Michael,

    I don't think you know the meaning of "bearing false witness." In any case, I referred to "Ignatius, who you are apparently categorizing as a wolf?" You said you didn't "directly call" him that. Right. That's why I said you were apparently categorizing him as a wolf, rather than directly calling him one. You're hinting at it, rather than saying it outright. But I hate playing these sorts of games. Say what you mean, and stop beating around the bush.

    "Joe, you're my brother in Christ, but sometimes even brothers and sisters in Christ need to be corrected."

    I like this about you. So far, I think your corrections have all been misguided and baseless, and that you've been unable to substantiate any of them. But I really do appreciate that you're acting out of Christian charity: it's what motivates me to try and persuade you on the other side. We both agree that the other may be saved, but want each other to come to the fullness of the Truth. I am thankful for that.

    In Christ,

    Joe

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  49. Diaz,

    (1) How does Matthew 4:4 show that "every word that comes from the Mouth of the Father" is limited to written Scripture?

    (2) So is it your interpretation that anyone who doesn't have the proper canon of Scripture isn't elect?

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  50. 1. Yes.

    2.Yes: The elect of God will recognize His voice, or else Christ's Word is false.

    -h.

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  51. Let me add an important qualification to 2.

    One may possess a copy of the Scriptures that has corrupted books in it, e.g. a Bible containing the Apocrypha, and not believe those books, see and understand them to be teaching error, but never vouch to remove them from the Scriptures for other reasons.

    This is a difference, in other words, between possessing the correct canon and believing it.

    -h.

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  52. hahaha sorry. I just woke up :/

    Deuteronomy is itself referring to the written Word of God (cf. Josh 1:8). What God spoke to Israel was to be written down.

    Moreover, what is written is what has been revealed by God for their rule of faith and practice. Contextually, then, Christ is utilizing the Scriptures in obedience to command of the Scriptures to live by the Scriptures alone.

    Also, in the context of Deuteronomy, God says that what He wants His people to live by is that which has been revealed, and that which has been revealed is all that is contained in the book (cf. Deut 29:29).

    -h.

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  53. Diaz,

    You say:

    Contextually, then, Christ is utilizing the Scriptures in obedience to command of the Scriptures to live by the Scriptures alone.

    The alone is what I'm still missing. Both Joshua 1:8 and Deuteronomy 29:29 refer to the Law specifically, not to Scripture in toto. And neither say to do only the written portions of the Law.

    The Law, as you may be aware, included both those parts written in Scripture and additional rabbinical traditions, some of which were considered binding. For example, Deuteronomy 12:21 refers to oral commands of the LORD ("as I have commanded you") which aren't found in the written Torah.

    And to point out the obvious, Jesus' public ministry wasn't part of the written Law. Nor was it (at the time) part of any written Scripture. If someone refused to accept any doctrines not found in the written Law, wouldn't they have to reject Jesus Christ?

    God bless,

    Joe

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  54. Dude. I just lost everything I typed out in response to your last response. argh. I'll try to rewrite it and post it on my blog if you want to check it out -

    involutedgenealogies(dot)wordpress(dot)com

    Not trying to spam or anything; I'm just pressed for time. Writing for my own blog, I can stay within my schedule.

    So a detailed response should follow...

    but for now:

    1. There is no mention made of unwritten commands that are not contained in the books of Moses.

    2. The Law refers to more than just the books of Moses, for the canon is developing. Moses adds the words of Deut 12 to the Law in deut 31.

    3. Joshua, therefore, refers to everything from genesis - deut.

    4. Joshua adds his own words to the Law in Josh 24.

    5. The commands of David are recognized as legally binding, just as much as Moses' are, in Ezra and Nehemiah.

    6. The Lord Jesus refers to the Psalms as "the Law" in John 10 & John 15.

    7. The Lord Jesus shows that "the Law" "the Word of God" and "The Scripture" the Scripture are synonymous terms in John 10:34-35.

    8. Paul follows suit and identifies the psalms, proverbs, Isaiah, and, indeed, the entire OT canon as the oracles of God, which he says are "the Law" (cf. Ro 2:1-3:20).

    9. Christ's entire ministry is contained in the Law, i.e. the Old Testament (cf. Psalm 40:6-8, John 5:39-40, & Luke 24:27 & 44-45.

    10. Christ's doctrine was not His own but His who sent Him. Therefore, it is all contained in the OT as well.

    Soli Deo Gloria.
    -h.

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  55. Just to spit on the fire here, but when Adam refers to Eve as "Flesh of my flesh..." She is in fact in possession of a "glorified" body as she was immaculately created and this was before the fall...just sayin....

    Also Joe if I didn't mention it before I loved this post...

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  56. @Joe: 'Misguided and baseless'. Hmm..., I'm sorry using the Word is misguided and baseless to you. Well, get back to me if you need me to draw things out to you, paint a picture, explain in eighty sentences what can be explained in two, or whatever needs to be done to reach your hardened-heart.

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  57. Joe and Hiram,
    Seems Ambrose himself uses Hiram's chp and verse in Luke as a defense for the Catholic position.

    Found it interesting was researching for my own coming post on this topic.

    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/34044.htm

    He starts the relevant part in Chap. 4 vs 123. In 125 he mentions specifically Luke 24:39 as precisely the reason for believing in the Real Presence.

    :-D

    Just thought it was interesting.

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  58. I know that this thread is over a year old, but got around to investigating the history of the Bloodless Body theory that H.R. Diaz articulates above, and wrote a post responding to it.

    I.X.,

    Joe

    P.S. Michael, thanks for the Ambrose link -- I used it in the comments.

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  61. Robert,

    I’m glad that you find the Ambrose reference illuminating. Can you tell me more?

    And what does your defending the indefensible point relate to?

    I.X.,

    Joe

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    2. Robert,

      You’ve brought up several topics, so if I miss some of them, feel free to remind me:

      1) The Eucharist. You said that “Ambrose was speaking of a spiritual reality which is Eucharistic reality,” a reality that can’t be reduced “to the merely physical using Greek metaphysics.” If you read the full context of what Ambrose says, he describes the Eucharist as physical and spiritual. And if you read what the Church teaches about the Eucharist, and has always taught about the Eucharist, it’s that the Eucharist is physical and spiritual.

      If you think that the Catholic doctrines regarding the Eucharist are that it’s only the Flesh and Blood (and not the Soul and Divinity) of Christ, then I’d be interested in your basis for this, because

      the Church teaches the opposite quite clearly:

      “The whole Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine—the glorified Christ who rose from the dead after dying for our sins. This is what the Church means when she speaks of the "Real Presence" of Christ in the Eucharist. This presence of Christ in the Eucharist is called "real" not to exclude other types of his presence as if they could not be understood as real (cf. Catechism, no. 1374). The risen Christ is present to his Church in many ways, but most especially through the sacrament of his Body and Blood.”

      Of course, understood correctly, there’s no way to defend the idea that a spiritual-only Presence is “more real than” the Real Presence in the Eucharist, as Christianity has always understood that doctrine.

      2) The Development of Doctrine. Here’s a post that I wrote explaining development of doctrine. Certainly, the Church grows and changes: She doesn’t look the same now as She did even twenty centuries ago, or twenty years, or even twenty minutes ago. But having said that, the truth doesn’t, and can’t, change.

      A belief in an immediate purgatorial process in the afterlife is found within pre-Christian Judaism, and dates back to the earliest days of the Church. That doctrine is more clearly articulated now (mostly, by affirming what we don’t believe), but it’s not a new teaching. Indulgences are merely the application of the binding and loosening power found explicitly in Scripture.

      3) The Priesthood. I appreciate that you’ve prayed on this. I have, too, and have come to opposite conclusions. Fortunately, Christianity isn’t based on our subjective prayer experiences, or no two Christians would believe the same thing. More fortunately still, we have thousands of years of unbroken Judeo-Christian teachings about the nature of the priesthood. The Old Testament priesthood was always mediatory. The New Testament priesthood is modeled off of it, and all Christians are called to mediation. The notion that the priesthood isn’t mediatory is indefensible, as a matter of history and theology.

      4) The unity of the Church. I agree. Jesus Christ founded a Church, and it’s a scandal that so many Christians reject that Church, or ignore Her God-given Maternal authority. (In fairness, many do so ignorantly). Would that we were all joined under the aegis of our Mater et Magistra.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    3. By the way, what religion do you practice, if any?

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    1. Robert,

      I'm still baffled at what you find uncivil about me trying to determine your religious affiliation, but I'll take a slightly different tack. Understand that I'm trying to find some sort of common ground upon which to reason and dialogue with you. In that vein:

      1) Do you believe that Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church?
      2) Do you believe that He chose Twelve Apostles, entrusting a ministerial office to them?
      3) Do you believe that He established His Church upon Peter?
      4) Do you trust the Bible? Do you believe it to be inspired?

      I can show you how Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium all point to the intercessory priesthood. But I'm not sure what status you give to Scripture, Tradition, or the Magisterium.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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