Hard to equate the view of Ratramnus with the "Reformed" view, when this is one of the areas of greatest divergence amongst those of us who claim a relationship with that tradition. Everything from the Lutheran view to that of us Baptists, and most everything in between.
As a Baptist, a "reformed". 5-Point. Doctrines of Grace Baptist, I see the Lord's Supper as nothing more than a remembrance of Christ's suffering. "This do in remembrance of Me." There is no special presence of Christ in this observance, since He is already present in the lives of believers and in their midst corporately.
posted on 04/08/2004 10:11:27 AM PDT
(I can only say that I am a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone for salvation. -- Gen. Robt E. Lee)
I agree with you that the Eucharist is symbolic of Christ's suffering.
Since I've became a 5-point Reformer (attending a Southern Baptist Church), I'm interested in the history of where all these church beliefs and customs started from. It is my view the church slowly digress from the original teachings until the Reformation corrected the situation. Im sure Calvin and Luther would agree. :O)
Much of Luthers and Calvins beliefs stemmed from the early church fathers but while I have just started reading Reformed literature, I hesitate to use these works exclusively. From time-to-time I like to post articles (Reformed or not) I find particularly interesting on the history of the church.
Further information about the Eucharist:
Pope Gelasius (400+ AD) recognized the Eucharist both ways. (www.newadvent.org)
The Eucharist was controversial as late at the 9th century as stated in this article.
Transubstantiation became finalized in the Catholic Church at the fourth Lateran Council in 1215. (ref: http://www.justforcatholics.org/a34.htm)
The Council of Trent in 153? banned Ratramnus publications especially his views on the Eucharist from circulation. This was later rescinded in the 1900s. (www.newadvent.org)
posted on 04/08/2004 11:22:34 AM PDT
(For strong is he who carries out God's word. (Joel 2:11))
Ignatius of Antioch (disciple of John)
"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible" -- Letter to the Romans, 7:3, [110 AD]
"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" -- Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 6:27:1 [110 AD]
"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" -- First Apology, 66 [151 AD]
"If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" -- Against Heresies, 4:3332 [189 A.D.]
"He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal lifeflesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?" (ibid., 5:2)
Clement of Alexandria
"Eat my flesh, [Jesus] says, and drink my blood. The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children" -- The Instructor of Children, 1:6:43:3 [191 AD]
The Bible is forthright in declaring Jesus is literally and wholly present - body and blood, soul and divinity - (cf. 1 Cor. 10:1617, 11:2329; and, most forcefully, John 6:3271, where Christ speaks about the sacrament that will be instituted at the Last Supper ). The early Church Fathers interpreted these passages literally. Whatever else might be said, the early Church took John 6 literally. In fact, there is no record from the early centuries that implies Christians doubted the constant Catholic interpretation. There exists no document in which the literal interpretation is opposed and only the metaphorical accepted.
In summarizing the early Fathers teachings on Christs Real Presence, renowned Protestant patristics scholar, J. N. D. Kelly, writes: "Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Saviors body and blood" (Early Christian Doctrines, 440; emphasis added).
posted on 04/12/2004 4:46:17 PM PDT
(Ecce Agnus Dei)
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