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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Eucharist
hatless

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Yes, that's right. It was all a ruse to avoid having a discussion.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:


We don't repeat Baptism. The Eucharist isn't a once thing. Why is that? I wonder if it makes visible something that is hard to see? I wonder if it is different every time?

There must be self-professed Christians who are satisfied with only having taken communion once, or maybe a handful of times, in their lives. I don't know if this attitude has ever been explored by theologians.

What I've noticed is that popular religion frequently de-emphasises communion. I mean 'popular' in two senses: firstly with reference to the large numbers of 'fuzzy faithful', who don't make a particular effort to plan their occasional church visits to coincide with communion services; and secondly, I note that Pentecostalism, now a very popular global form of institutional Christianity, doesn't spend much time encouraging or reflecting on this ritual.

As it happens, I was also surprised to discover when abroad last Easter that 7th Day Adventists didn't celebrate communion at that time. (In fact Easter wasn't mentioned at all at the Adventist morning service I attended. This was a large, well-known church, not a struggling little chapel.) If Easter isn't the right time, when is?

Mind you, even the RCC hasn't always insisted on frequent communion for everyone, so something there has changed somehow. There's a lot of ambivalence surrounding the ritual, and not just dry theological disagreement.

[ 17. February 2017, 23:21: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Gwalchmai
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The Anglican position is set out in the BCP catechism. A sacrament is defined as “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace”. In relation to the Eucharist, the outward and visible sign is the bread and wine and the inward part is “The Body and Blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper”

In this view, arguments over what happens to the bread and wine at the moment of consecration – is it magically turned into flesh and blood? (no, it isn’t) – are unimportant. What matters is “The strengthening and refreshing of our souls”. Do we actually need a pseudo-scientific explanation of what happens?

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
Yes, that's right. It was all a ruse to avoid having a discussion.

I have it on excellent authority that discussions are okay, just not answering questions.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
There is 'mere memorialism' and 'mere memorialism'.

The difference is between simple and simplistic.

In other words, the term can be used descriptively, or prescriptively/pejoratively.

The latter can legitimately be used to express a genuine belief that memorialism does not meet all the NT criteria.

But it can also be used as a rhetorical device to imply that those who subscribe to memorialism either don't know of, or can't understand, other models - a bluff which needs to be called.

[ 18. February 2017, 01:28: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I accept the church's original belief. Which is to say, that which is taught and believed in Orthodoxy.

You are begging the question.

The "church's original belief" is found in the NT.

What exactly that "original belief" was, and the extent to which Orthodox, RC and various Protestant positions reflect it, is what the thread is attempting to discuss.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
As for "apostolic" I ask you: how many times does Paul quote Jesus? Yet he gives a huge chunk of the Last Supper narrative, in the context of the worship of the church, and including the words "This is my body" and "This is my blood."

People who claim to take the bible literally somehow never include in their literalism these verses, or the related verses in John, or Christ's statement, "Unless you eat of the flesh of the son of man and drink of his blood you have no life within you."

The "plain and obvious" meaning of scripture is only plain and obvious to them when it agrees with their predetermined theology.

You are being disingenuous.

You are perfectly aware that ALL Christian traditions take some passages literally and others non literally, depending on their immediate context, and also on the broader context - what Augustine called the Analogy of Scripture.

As to John Ch.6, Christ's statement in vv.53-4 "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,and I will raise him up at the last day", must be understood in the context of vv.35,40,47 which indicate that eating/drinking is equivalent to, because imagery for, believing.

It was the crude literal cannibalistic exegesis of this passage that raised the problems the Apologists had to try to deal with.

[ 18. February 2017, 01:59: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
You are being disingenuous.

You are perfectly aware that ALL Christian traditions take some passages literally and others non literally, depending on their immediate context, and also on the broader context - what Augustine called the Analogy of Scripture.

*I* am perfectly aware of that. Many many many evangelicals and fundamentalists are NOT. They sincerely believe that OTHER people "interpret" the Scriptures, but they read them just as they are, without interpretation. Surely you have met people like that on the ship. When I find people leaning in that direction, as we have on this thread, I think it is necessary to point out what you just said. So I did.

quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I accept the church's original belief. Which is to say, that which is taught and believed in Orthodoxy.

You are begging the question.

The "church's original belief" is found in the NT.

What exactly that "original belief" was, and the extent to which Orthodox, RC and various Protestant positions reflect it, is what the thread is attempting to discuss.

It was worked out 1850 years ago. We have no need to reinvent that wheel.

[ 18. February 2017, 02:59: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:

We don't repeat Baptism. The Eucharist isn't a once thing. Why is that?

Apart, I suppose, from the trivial answer "Jesus told us to?"
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Humble Servant
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quote:
Originally posted by Gwalchmai:

In this view, arguments over what happens to the bread and wine at the moment of consecration – is it magically turned into flesh and blood? (no, it isn’t) – are unimportant.

Is this really the position of transubstantiation? That the bread and wine are physically transformed into actual flesh and actual blood?

It seems to be a Roman-bashing thing - to say that the RCC believes in this "magic". But is that really the belief of the RCC? (they didn't go into it on my RCIA course, which I found disappointing). I think that if you put the elements in your mouth and eat them, you can pretty quickly discover that this hasn't happened. The priest does not store the reserved sacrament in a refrigerator. So clearly, at some level, there must be a belief that the elements are still bread and wine. The transformation must be understood metaphorically in some way or you would tie yourself in knots and leave yourself open to this kind of parody.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Humble Servant:
Is this really the position of transubstantiation? That the bread and wine are physically transformed into actual flesh and actual blood?

Aquinas follows Aristotle in distinguishing between the accidents and the substance of a thing.

The accidents (appearance, physical properties and so on) remain unaltered: the bread still tastes like bread, the wine still tastes like wine. So no, it's not a physical transformation, as that would alter the accidents.

What transubstantiation says is changed is the substance of the bread and wine, not its accidents. The substance is the essence of a thing. A chair might be made of wood, or of metal, or plastic, but it has the essence of chair. This "substance" can't be directly perceived: you can't point at a piece of chairiness.

So transubstantiation says that the substance - the essence - of the bread and wine are transformed into Jesus, but all the outwardly perceptible accidents - taste, colour, shape, chemical composition etc. - remain that of the host species.

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
There is 'mere memorialism' and 'mere memorialism'.

The difference is between simple and simplistic.

In other words, the term can be used descriptively, or prescriptively/pejoratively.

The latter can legitimately be used to express a genuine belief that memorialism does not meet all the NT criteria.

But it can also be used as a rhetorical device to imply that those who subscribe to memorialism either don't know of, or can't understand, other models - a bluff which needs to be called.

Well, yes ...

I wasn't saying otherwise. I know 'mere memorialists' who take it all a lot more seriously and reverently than those who theology might appear to incline them to do the same.

Not all 'mere memorialism' is as merely memorialist as it can appear at first sight.

Indeed, I know an Anglo-Catholic priest who'd suggest that mere memorialists aren't merely memorialist inspire of themselves ...

Work that one out ...

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Jengie jon

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The Reformed argument with Anglicanism has nothing to do with the Eucharist and all with the nature of the Ecclesiology and how power is activated within that.

Remember
Congregational - government by congregation
Presbyterian - government by presbyters
Episcopalian - government by bishops

in life
Congregationalism - primarily favours the meeting of the local congregation
Presbyterianism - primarily favours a balance of power representative democracy
Episcopaliamism - primarily favours a pattern of patronage.

I know Episcopalianism has been reformed since the 16th century but certainly, within the CofE, the pattern of patronage is still strong and kicking.

Jengie

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Baptist Trainfan
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Hang on - surely Episcopacy and Patronage aren't necessarily the same thing? In the past (I don't know how things stand now) there was patronage by (say) Oxford colleges, wealthy land-owners, ecclesiastical societies, city guilds ... a whole mishmash of things!

Surely the two are only co-terminal if the Bishops themselves are always the Patrons? - or, at least, the ones who can collate and demit clergy.

And wasn't the right of Patronage one of the fundamental issues within the 1843 spilt within the Church of Scotland - a Presbyterian denomination?

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Jengie jon

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Reformed does not equal Calvinism. Reformed Christianity is the result of the Consensus Tigurinus an agreement between the churches of Geneva and Zurich which many other continental city churches joined in on e.g. Strasbourg. The theology is, therefore, blended. With regard to the Eucharist, Zwinglian Memorialism is the dominant strand, but that does not make it the theology of Calvin nor that Calvin's Eucharist theology is forgotten but it is definitely a harmony rather than the tune.

Jengie

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Jengie jon

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Try telling that to Anglican clergy I know in Sheffield.

Right patronage in CofE
- the vicar/priest is appointed by the patron (yep, really)
- appointments for higher roles are by committee. You want to get on, you need to keep well in with those higher up.
- the point of divine right of kings was precisely that all power in the church emanated from the king.

Most of the time it is covered by a middle-class niceness where consultation happens as a norm. However, when things go wrong it is pretty obvious that the ordinary member has little power to counter things.

Realisation this week is that Bishops actually expect to be loved. Do you know anyone in the Baptist Union who expects the moderators or such to be universally loved? It just does not go with the job description.

Jengie

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Jengie jon

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Let me also explain the downside of Nonconformist power. The majority of bullying in CofE is largely top down. In Nonconformity the bullying goes in all directions within Presbyterianism and within Congregationalism bullying is most frequently congregation against clergy.

Jengie

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Baptist Trainfan
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Fair enough. As you know, my ecclesiology is congregationalist; I simply wanted to point out that Patronage (after the Anglican model) and Episcopacy do not have to equate to each other. How, for example, do things work in the RCC, TEC or among our Orthodox friends?

There is also an interesting debate to be had among Baptists as, in Britain, it has always been assumed that they are congregationalist. But, while this is explicit in many church Trust Deeds, there is nothing to say so in the over-arching "Declaration of Principle". And some of the incoming "ethnic" Baptist groups do have bishops (e.g. the Georgians, although I have not heard of any in the UK). If these churches wish to affiliate with BUGB, should they be accepted or not? - in other words, in congregational polity a "mark" of a Baptist church?

(Nothing much to do with Eucharist, this - except it does have some bearing on who presides at the Table and the extent to which you think they exercise a "priestly" function).

PS Cross-posted with Jengie! I agree with what you say about the general direction of bullying - but I also think that it can go in both ways in all kinds of churches. A Baptist minister wrote a good MA about 10 years ago about ministers who were bullied by their "flock" - but it can also happen in reverse.

[ 18. February 2017, 08:29: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Forthview
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It seems that we are arguing here about the meanings of words which can all be understood in different ways by different people. Surely congregation or congregationalism is simply a word describing a local gathering of the faithful within which there is the same scope for disagreement as in any larger group such as a Catholic 'parish' or a Catholic 'diocese' or even the whole 'Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church'
Someone, somewhere along the line has to have the last word and declare in some way that this is also God's word.

Transubstantiation is the Catholic church's best attempt at a particular time to express in words the mystery of the eucharist.

We should not forget that the eucharist is food and that just as we need regular food for the body we need also this food for the soul.

Admittedly for many centuries the Catholic Church did not urge the faithful to receive the eucharist regularly, but rather in a clericalist age left it to the priest to receive daily on behalf of the faithful. In general the faithful received only once a year at Easter or at the moment of death as Viaticum. That has changed in the last 150 years. Anointing of the Sick was also left to the moment of approaching death, just like baptism many, many centuries ago , but that too has changed.

From the time of St Thomas of Aquin, and probably from his pen we have the following wonderful description of the eucharist,which,I think, agrees with what Jengie Jon had to say.

O sacrum convivium,in quo Christus sumitur,
recolitur memoria passionis ejus
mens impletur gratia
et future gloriae nobis pignus datur.

in English
O sacred banquet in which Christ is received
the memory of His passion renewed
the mind is filled with grace
and a pledge of future glory to us is given.

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Jengie jon

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If I had been politer I would have used the three Thomist forms of government and related those to the three forms of Ecclesial government. There are two PhDs at least about the power battles between Elders and Ministers within Presbyterianism.

Congregationalism is both a form of church government and a group of churches. Come on Forthview, until this century there were Congregational Churches in Scotland (they are now largely URC).

Jengie

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hatless

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:

We don't repeat Baptism. The Eucharist isn't a once thing. Why is that?

Apart, I suppose, from the trivial answer "Jesus told us to?"
As I understand it the origin of the Eucharist is unclear. The Didache only mentions a meal with Jewish style prayers, perhaps like the Corinthian meal Paul criticises. When does the Passover link get established? And the drinking blood idea, so unJewish, where and when are it's origins?

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Higgs Bosun
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Try telling that to Anglican clergy I know in Sheffield.

Right patronage in CofE
- the vicar/priest is appointed by the patron (yep, really)
- appointments for higher roles are by committee. You want to get on, you need to keep well in with those higher up.
- the point of divine right of kings was precisely that all power in the church emanated from the king.

Most of the time it is covered by a middle-class niceness where consultation happens as a norm. However, when things go wrong it is pretty obvious that the ordinary member has little power to counter things.

Realisation this week is that Bishops actually expect to be loved. Do you know anyone in the Baptist Union who expects the moderators or such to be universally loved? It just does not go with the job description.

Jengie

I'm not sure that is quite right. I was involved with the appointment process when our previous vicar moved to higher pastures. We have a patronage trust as patron, who helpfully described the process, which changed perhaps 100 years ago when parish representatives were introduced. These are two people elected by the PCC.

The patron is the one who proposes candidates. The parish representatives can refuse any candidate. Finally, the bishop grants a licence to the the acceptable candidate. I guess the bishop can refuse to license the person proposed (e.g. if the bishop considered that this person might perjure themselves in swearing the oath of canonical obedience).

Nowadays, I think the most common pattern of appointment would be the one we followed. The post is advertised. The patron does the shortlisting, perhaps in consultation with the representatives. Then the shortlisted candidates are interviewed by the patron, the representatives and the bishop, who seek agreement together on the appointment.

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Jengie jon

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The two there are solely there because the patron allows them to be. They have no right to be there.

Jengie

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:

We don't repeat Baptism. The Eucharist isn't a once thing. Why is that?

Apart, I suppose, from the trivial answer "Jesus told us to?"
As I understand it the origin of the Eucharist is unclear. The Didache only mentions a meal with Jewish style prayers, perhaps like the Corinthian meal Paul criticises. When does the Passover link get established? And the drinking blood idea, so unJewish, where and when are it's origins?
I would rather ask, 'when did the Passover link get destroyed (or merely forgotten)'?

I imagine that after Paul's and Peter's martyrdom the evangelical preaching of the Gospel in the synagogues and to the Jews ceased and the Gentile church established itself.

After AD70 when the Jerusalem church lost its position, and as the Gentile Christians grew and grew in number whilst the Jewish converts dwindled, then all the Jewish references and foundations of the church were downplayed and then forgotten in the second, third and fourth generations.

The church was now living in a Greek/Roman context with fewer Jewish converts and people brought ideas and thinking from there, rather than looking to the Jewish roots of what they were doing. It might be argued then that baptism and eucharist borrowed quite heavily from the Mystery religions and some of their interpretations were overlaid on the Christian rituals.

I think it's a shame that the Passover meal itself, with all its elements (bearing in mind we don't know exactly what those elements were for a 1st Century Jewish meal) did indeed become ritualised into bread and wine received sacramentally and given by a priest.

I think how wonderful it could be had the full meal been carried over with all the Exodus and redemption imagery retained and fulfilled in Jesus, and all the different bread and wine elements kept in the context of the shared meal.

It became what it became guess but it would be interesting to focus a bit more on the Passover meal / Jewish breaking of bread meal that was the forerunner of the Eucharist that developed later.

[ 18. February 2017, 09:48: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]

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Albertus
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I'm not entirely sure that's true, Jengie, though I'm willing to be corrected. As I understand it, on my very sketchy knowledge, a PCC and/or bishop can refuse a patron's offer of an appointment, subject to the patron having a right of appeal to the archbishop. So there is a legal right of veto by the parish, but it can be overridden. But a patron cannot just impose an incumbent of his/ her own volition.

[ 18. February 2017, 09:52: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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Albertus
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Sorry to double post, but what i take to be the relevant section of the legislation is here.

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fletcher christian

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I can't speak for the CofE but it's not correct for other parts of the Anglican Communion where a patron essentially acts as a failsafe. A board or council is comprised of various interested parties of anyone from the local community, usually with two or three members/employees of the institution concerned (a school for example) and two members of the local Anglican/Episcopalian parish that the institution resides in. It's not a hard and fast rule, but generally speaking one parish member is elected by the parish and approved (or not) by the vestry/council. The other member may be elected in the same way but the patron has a right of representation should they wish to exercise it and may appoint a member at the approval of the vestry/council. Normally this would be someone form the local parish. It doesn't have to be, but it would be unusual not to. Sometimes you might want someone with a special skill or experience in a similar institution. In such instances an appointment from outside the parish may be wise and gratefully accepted. The patron themselves has a right to chair meeting if they so desired, but in my experience this is rarely done unless there is a particular reason - which could either be the simple fact of the church's previous involvement and investment or the board/council has hit a rocky patch and requires and outside and somewhat impartial chair. The chair can only cast a vote in certain circumstances; usually when the council/board is comprised of an even number and find themselves evenly split on an issue. It's not an easy position to take for the chair - hence why it tends to be avoided by the patrons!

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
You are being disingenuous.

You are perfectly aware that ALL Christian traditions take some passages literally and others non literally, depending on their immediate context, and also on the broader context - what Augustine called the Analogy of Scripture.

*I* am perfectly aware of that. Many many many evangelicals and fundamentalists are NOT. They sincerely believe that OTHER people "interpret" the Scriptures, but they read them just as they are, without interpretation. Surely you have met people like that on the ship. When I find people leaning in that direction, as we have on this thread, I think it is necessary to point out what you just said. So I did.

quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I accept the church's original belief. Which is to say, that which is taught and believed in Orthodoxy.

You are begging the question.

The "church's original belief" is found in the NT.

What exactly that "original belief" was, and the extent to which Orthodox, RC and various Protestant positions reflect it, is what the thread is attempting to discuss.

It was worked out 1850 years ago. We have no need to reinvent that wheel.

Like virtually everything if not everything in the texts, apart from the sense data, nothing is ontological.

Apart from the Incarnation of course ...

[ 18. February 2017, 11:22: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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ExclamationMark
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Baptist but far from memorialist. Calvin is right - Christ communicates with us at the table and is present. The Spirit of God - being in the believers and fundamental to the fellowship of the same - lifts us up.

I go with 1 Corinthians 11.

Remember = not just recall with thanks but be "re - membered" (joined with Christ and one another)

Proclaim = preach Christ through word, deed and life.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Like virtually everything if not everything in the texts, apart from the sense data, nothing is ontological.

On the contrary, everything is ontological. How can it not be? Even dreams and vain imaginings are happenings in a physical brain.

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Forthview
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JJ the description of congregationalism to which you point me indicates that : it emphasizes the right and responsibility of each properly organized congregation to determine its own affairs'
That has always been my understanding of congregationalism also.Who,however, determines what a 'properly organised' congregation is ?
No problem with determining their own affairs,but how does one know that 'its own affairs' are in harmony with the teachings of Christ ? How does the 'properly organized congregation link in with others who may also claim to be properly organised congregations.

The Catholic catechism says that the word 'church' designates the liturgical assembly, but also the local community or indeed the whole universal community of believers. These three meanings are inseparable. The Church is the People that God gathers throughout the world. The Church exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all, a Eucharistic assembly. The Church draws her life from the Word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes the Body of Christ.

This is, of course, a picture of what the Church
continues to strive to become. We know that the Church is made up also of imperfect human beings.
The possibilities for strife,for bullying,for abuse of power are there equally in a congregational, presbyteral/Presbyterian or Episcopalian system.

Just as all presbyters (priests) are not necessarily members of a Presbyterian Church,not all Episcopalians are necessarily members of the Church of England or even members of the Anglican Communion.

We often use words which have a different meaning for different Christians,even those who use the same language. 'Congregation' ,for example, has a different meaning for Catholics and members of the Church of Scotlan

Individual Christians may have differing understandings of what is meant and understood by the word 'eucharist'but ultimately there is a unity of thought there and that is what I would always wish to promote.

Indeed I am or was aware of the term Congregational Church.In my home town there was an E.U. Congregational Church.I think that the building is still there but I'm not sure what is is used for.I have to confess that it is only in the last few years that I have known what E.U. stands for.It was just lumped together by most inhabitants (both Catholics and Protestants )of the town as one of the many Protestant churches to be found.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Like virtually everything if not everything in the texts, apart from the sense data, nothing is ontological.

On the contrary, everything is ontological. How can it not be? Even dreams and vain imaginings are happenings in a physical brain.
Of course everything is as it is in itself. Whatever that is. The sacrifice of Christ was real. PSA was made up. The Eucharist too. And real presence on top of that. I'm using ontological as in the Trinity, mapped to, congruent with the economic. Hypostatic. The Eucharist, like marriage, PSA, is economic (perceived in the world?). To make it ontological, immanent, fundamental, ultimately and fundamentally true, so, hypostatic as in the Trinity, is ... what a lot of people have done.

I can't.

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Gamaliel
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So, Mudfrog, seeing as the exact format of the 1st century Passover meal has been lost, and all we have are ersatz 'seder' style approximations in ecumenical services on Maunday Thursday, (not that I have a problem with those) - then what's wrong with having a sacramental rite performed by a priest?

The richness of symbolism -Exodus and so on - hasn't been lost - the Jews retain that - but on a sense has been fulfilled in Christ.

There's no point in bemoaning the passing of a putative 1st or 2nd century Jewish ritual. How about relishing what we have, rather than what you believe we have lost?

I can put up with the most boring sermons ever preached or the most execrable songs ever sung if there's a communion involved - because if I believe I am in some sense receiving the body and blood of Christ then the rest of what goes on is put firmly in perspective ...

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
Baptist but far from memorialist. Calvin is right - Christ communicates with us at the table and is present. The Spirit of God - being in the believers and fundamental to the fellowship of the same - lifts us up.

I go with 1 Corinthians 11.

Remember = not just recall with thanks but be "re - membered" (joined with Christ and one another)

Proclaim = preach Christ through word, deed and life.

I'll go along with this 100% - but then I am a fairly "High Church" Baptist. You can put that down to both my Anglican background and the influence of working in an ecumenical URC/Baptist church over the last 11 years.

The Baptist "prayer book" "Gathering for Worship" has an order for Communion (one of several) which "invites the worshippers to share in an act of dynamic re-membering". It says: "When we re-member: broken damaged and dismembered aspects of our past lives are put together again; mind and body and soul in the present tense enjoy wholeness; and helplessness in the face of the unknown future gives way to resurrection hope". These thoughts are reflected in the liturgy.

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
So, Mudfrog, seeing as the exact format of the 1st century Passover meal has been lost, and all we have are ersatz 'seder' style approximations in ecumenical services on Maunday Thursday, (not that I have a problem with those) - then what's wrong with having a sacramental rite performed by a priest?

The richness of symbolism -Exodus and so on - hasn't been lost - the Jews retain that - but on a sense has been fulfilled in Christ.

There's no point in bemoaning the passing of a putative 1st or 2nd century Jewish ritual. How about relishing what we have, rather than what you believe we have lost?

I can put up with the most boring sermons ever preached or the most execrable songs ever sung if there's a communion involved - because if I believe I am in some sense receiving the body and blood of Christ then the rest of what goes on is put firmly in perspective ...

Well, it means we have actually lost the intimacy of that kind of worship - the Jews still gather in the home for this type of remembrance meal and the Apostles carried on that tradition in Acts 2 - Breaking bread in their homes.

We had a Jewish family across the street from us and you could see them on a Friday night in their dining room for their Sabbath meal and sometimes I felt quite envious.

I'm surprised that you would be advocating for a priest to perform this ceremony?


May I ask about your final point about boring sermons and execrable songs but receiving the body of Christ?

In the last module of my degree I did a study on the shared experience of sacramental worship that a Salvation Army congregation had when united with the Methodist congregation.
We were 'homeless' and shared every Sunday evening service with our Methodist friends.

I wanted to know what was 'happening' when the time came for communion and most of the Methodists and not a few of the Salvationists knelt at the rail to receive bread and juice.

Were the people who did not go to receive denied the reception of grace?
Did only those who were kneeling receive grace?
What did those who knelt think was happening to those who were still sitting?
What did those who were sitting think was happening in the hearts and minds of those who were kneeling?

My overall question was do we all equally receive the same grace in that service whether we partake of the communion or not?

After my qualitative study the conclusion seems to be yes. Communion was not seen to be necessary - though often very helpful - to the reception of 'the Lord Jesus'.

Would you say that only in ritual observance of communion can one receive the body and blood of Jesus?

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G.K. Chesterton

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Gamaliel
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Well, one could argue that chewing a piece of bread and drinking a sip of wine is a pretty 'intimate' thing to do, whether it happens in a ceremonial cathedral type setting with all the trimmings or in a Brethren Gospel Hall.

I mentioned the sacerdotal aspect and the priest because you seemed to suggest that there was something reprehensible about that in and of itself and implied that the fact that there was a priest involved necessarily makes the whole thing more remote and distant.

I don't think that's necessarily the case.

It's not all down to impressions and experiences, of course, but one of the most powerful 'apprehensions' if you like that I can remember in a communion setting happened in a very 'average' Baptist chapel in South Wales. No fanfare, no flashing lights, no wringing out of the emotions ... but from a few things the bloke presiding at the table said and prayed it was suddenly as if I felt intimately connected in some inexplicable way with events in Palestine 2000 years ago ...

The enormity of what we were doing and celebrating came vividly home to me in a very real way.

Now, I'm not saying that this was the only way such a thing could have happened ... it could just as well happened through the reading of a passage of scripture or the words of a hymn - and I can cite instances where those have deeply affected me too. I'm sure we all can.

I'd begin to scare the Protestant horses a bit too if I were to say that iconography has affected me that way at times too - and again without any great build-up and ra-ra-rah ...

I would agree that we have lost the family type intimacy of Jewish worship and, like you, I'd have been envious of your Jewish neighbours in that respect. But most churches these days have some form of small group activity - and those can be intimate too - but perhaps in a different kind of way.

One of the things I've noticed about the Orthodox - and it's something I've seen in Jewish synagogues too - is that the faithful are completely 'at home' in their services and remarkably unself-conscious. There's a strange combination of relaxation and reverence at one and the same time - indeed, to 'western' eyes it can look somewhat slap-dash and irreverent to an extent - people wandering around, or nipping in and out of the service at times ...

On my comment about boring sermons and execrable songs, the point I was making was that if I'm in a communion service then that, for me, is the main - but not the only - focus. So it might not be the most scintillating or impressive sermon I've ever heard, the style of music might not be to my taste but whatever else is going on I'm still going to receive the body and blood of Christ in some way that I don't understand.

That doesn't mean that anyone else there who doesn't partake doesn't receive grace or that only those who receive communion are receiving grace. Why should it?

That's why I don't get particularly upset when I attend an Orthodox Liturgy or an RC Mass (which I've done on fewer occasions) and am unable to 'communicate' along with the Orthodox or the Catholics. I'm saddened that we aren't in full communion with one another but I still feel that I am participating in some way - even if it's only by joining in with the Lord's Prayer and the recitation of the Creed. I still receive grace in some way, but not in the same way as if I were in full communion with them.

If you'll excuse this analogy ... it'd be a bit like if I drove to someone's party and so didn't have an alcoholic drink because I was driving or I'd given it up for Lent or for some other reason. Does that mean I'd enjoy the party less because I didn't have a glass of beer or wine?

No, of course not. I'd still enjoy the atmosphere, the conversations, the music perhaps ... I wouldn't 'need' the alcohol to enjoy the party.

Wine can enhance a meal but that doesn't mean that every meal has to be accompanied by a glass of wine.

I enjoy a pint - in moderation - but that doesn't mean I can't equally enjoy a convivial time over a cup of tea or coffee.

So - no, I don't think those who didn't received communion in the Methodist setting you describe were somehow losing out - nor that those who did were somehow gaining greater benefit. It's not up to me to determine such a thing in the first place. I don't have X-ray vision to determine the spiritual state of people's souls.

I don't think your 'qualitative study' tells us anything. I'd say it was asking the wrong question.

Is it better to kiss my wife, squeeze her hand or say some kind of endearment? It's a ludicrous question.

As to your final question:

'Would you say that only in ritual observance of communion can one receive the body and blood of Jesus?'

Well - first up - as the eucharist or communion or the Lord's Supper - call it what we will - is an ordinance/ritual/sacrament that purports to convey such a thing - then it's an odd question to ask.

Are we receiving the body and blood of Jesus when we read the Bible or hear a sermon? Well no, because that's not what that activity claims to be doing. That doesn't make it any the less important. We may feel 'united' to Christ in the fellowship of the word of God - as it were - we may feel the written word conveying to us the Living Word - the Word made flesh ...

Great. Bring it on.

But we are not doing the same thing as we are when we 'remember Christ's death until he comes' through the physical action of receiving communion.

If I walk up a hill or cycle up it instead, I still get to the top of the hill (hopefully) but if I walk I haven't cycled and if I cycle I haven't walked ...

If you are asking whether it's possible to receive grace outside of the ordinances, the 'dominical sacraments' or whatever we call them according to our respective traditions and perspectives - then of course we do. Nobody is saying that the Eternal and Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth is restricted to working solely through a particular practice or form of words ...

Remember my mantra, both/and not either/or ...

A while ago I visited a nose-bleed High parish in South Wales with my brother. As it came to communion, the visiting priest (the parish priest was on holiday) made it clear that they only accepted people to communion who had been confirmed. I've not been confirmed. So I didn't go forward to receive.

Did I feel cheated in some way? Did I feel that I'd been denied grace? Did I feel that the rest of the service had been a complete and utter waste of time? No, of course I didn't.

That's not how I think and not how I approach these things. It seems like a false dichotomy to me. What can we get away with not doing? What can we push to one side as unnecessary?

I don't think about it in those terms.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Martin60
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I am confirmed and I wouldn't have gone forward.

That makes me so bloody angry. And NOTHING does. I mean I forgive my estranged grandma and her sister their exclusion, but my mother!

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Gamaliel
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We all roll differently, Martin60.

I didn't make me angry. I was a visitor. When I visit people's houses I abide by their house rules.

Had I been confirmed, I might not have received either - not because of anger but because when I thought about it, I didn't particularly feel 'prepared'.

Don't get me wrong, I don't jump through hoops and perform rigorous feats of self-examination before receiving communion - but I do try to prepare as best I can. On that particular occasion, I didn't feel particularly prepared anyway ...

Besides, what's the big deal?

If I couldn't receive communion in that particular church because of their polity on eucharistic hospitality, why should I be offended or upset? I can always go to another Anglican or other church where they don't have that particular stipulation in place and I could receive there.

They are entitled to regulate their communion practices as they see fit. Why should that cause me any offence? It's not as if it spoiled my day in some way.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mousethief

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One thing the Orthodox -- particularly the Slavic and Arabic versions -- do a lot and well is eat together. Coffee hour is rarely just coffee and biscuits. We adore potlucks and communal suppers and parties. We are very "intimate" in the sense of eating together.

A Jewish shabbos "service" is just one family. Yes it's intimate but the same family eats together the other 6 days of the week too.

Our potlucks bring the whole congregation, and visitors, together to sit down at table (or at folding chairs around the perimeter of the parish hall, depending on the set-up) and fellowship. I'd say more than 75% of the Sundays of the year we have some kind of beyond-just-biscuits viands, and once a month an official potluck, which tends toward lavish and OTT.

Where am I going here? I guess, if a (local) church doesn't have intimate eating-together times, it's their own damned fault.

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Martin60
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You're too decent mate. I'm not. We call any of that crap Christian? Would Jesus?

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Stoic29:
It seems to me, for discussion purposes, that there can be two broad answers:

1) The Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ. As to how this happens, we don't truly know. Regardless of how, we know that it truly is Christ Himself.

or

2) The Eucharist is a memorial supper and we do not consider the Eucharist to be truly the Body and Blood of Christ Himself.

i would agree, particularly if the first option were edited slightly to say "the Eucharist is truly communion in the Body and Blood of Christ." I think transubstantiation, consubstantiation, sacramental union, spiritual presence, etc., are all encompassed in that first option.

As for me, I'm firmly in the Calvin camp, specifically where he says:

quote:
I shall not be ashamed to confess that [this] is a secret too lofty for either my mind to comprehend or my words to declare. And, to speak more plainly, I rather experience than understand it. Therefore, I here embrace without controversy the truth of God in which I may safely rest. He declares his flesh the food of my soul, his blood its drink. I offer my soul to him to be fed with such food. In his Sacred Supper he bids me take, eat, and drink his body and blood under the symbols of bread and wine. I do not doubt that he himself truly presents them, and that I receive them.
Institutes 4.17.32. (And noting that "symbols" does mean "bare symbols." Here there is a sense of the elements being connected to what they represent.)

quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Would you say that only in ritual observance of communion can one receive the body and blood of Jesus?

I wouldn't go that far; God can do what God chooses to do.

But I would say that it is only in the Lord's Supper, however observed (and by whatever name called), that Christ has assured us that we will be fed with his Body and Blood.

I would also say that regardless, he commanded us to break the bread and take the cup as his memorial, as the proclamation of his death and resurrection, until he comes again. Do we need more reason to do so?

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
One thing the Orthodox -- particularly the Slavic and Arabic versions -- do a lot and well is eat together. Coffee hour is rarely just coffee and biscuits. We adore potlucks and communal suppers and parties. We are very "intimate" in the sense of eating together.

....

Where am I going here? I guess, if a (local) church doesn't have intimate eating-together times, it's their own damned fault.

Many churches in the American South tend to do this well, too.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Gamaliel
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I'd be surprised if Mudfrog's SA Citadel doesn't go in for food and fellowship.

Most churches I know do, irrespective of tradition. Some do it more than others, but they generally have their equivalents. But

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
One thing the Orthodox -- particularly the Slavic and Arabic versions -- do a lot and well is eat together. Coffee hour is rarely just coffee and biscuits. We adore potlucks and communal suppers and parties. We are very "intimate" in the sense of eating together.

A Jewish shabbos "service" is just one family. Yes it's intimate but the same family eats together the other 6 days of the week too.

Our potlucks bring the whole congregation, and visitors, together to sit down at table (or at folding chairs around the perimeter of the parish hall, depending on the set-up) and fellowship. I'd say more than 75% of the Sundays of the year we have some kind of beyond-just-biscuits viands, and once a month an official potluck, which tends toward lavish and OTT.

Where am I going here? I guess, if a (local) church doesn't have intimate eating-together times, it's their own damned fault.

We would say that is a sacrament.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I'd be surprised if Mudfrog's SA Citadel doesn't go in for food and fellowship.

Most churches I know do, irrespective of tradition. Some do it more than others, but they generally have their equivalents. But

Tomorrow evening we will have Informal Worship.
We will still sing, pray, read the word and hear a bit of preaching, but after that we will eat!

That too is a sacrament. Christ will be present.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
It was worked out 1850 years ago.

Trouble is, it wasn't.

You might not agree with the eucharistic views of Calvin, Luther or Zwingli, but they were intelligent men who were steeped in church history, including patristic theology (read Calvin's Institutes), and who were not challenging accepted interpretations for trivial reasons (except for Luther, of course, who only precipitated the Reformation, as everyone knows, because he wanted to get married....bloody sex fiend!)

To suggest that it was "all sorted out 1850 years ago" is ahistorical obscurantism.

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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To suggest that everybody had it wrong for 1500 years and then suddenly they got it right is beyond belief.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

Posts: 63536 | From: Washington | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
Shipmate
# 812

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I've heard anyone claim that the only reason Luther precipitated the Reformation was to get his leg over ...

Although I've heard similar charges levelled at Henry VIII.

Nor have I heard anyone suggest that the Reformers were anything other than intelligent. 'Learned Germans ...' was how the Ecumenical Patriarch addressed them in his reply to Melanchthon's letter - before going on to to highlight what he felt to be flaws in their theology and approach.

Of course, the Orthodox shared many aspects in common with Rome but not some of the issues that acted as a catalyst for the Reformation and Counter-Reformation - or at least not to the same extent.

From an Eastern perspective, they could understand some of the Reformers' concerns but regarded the whole thing as two sides of the same coin - the Reformers perpetuated the same errors as Rome had and were simply taking certain medieval Scholastic emphases a few stages further.

I've heard some Orthodox claim that the Reformation was simply a spiritual renewal movement and needed corrective that got out of hand.

Whatever view we take of it, let's put it in a proper historical perspective not an overly romanticised one.

Meanwhile, I hope you have a good time at your informal worship meeting and bun fight, Mudfrog. It's up to you whether you regard it as sacramental or not. It's not up to me to determine whether it is or isn't or the degree to which Christ is present - even if we can think of it in those terms.

As I said to you upthread, carrying out a qualitative study, as you put it, to determine what was going on at the Methodist communion service in an attempt to identify who was or wasn't receiving grace is the wrong question to ask. It's a nonsensical thing to do and simply an attempt to rationalise and defend your own SA position.

'Look, those people who don't receive communion are receiving just as much grace as those who do. Therefore it justifies not receiving communion.'

That doesn't tell us anything about the licitness or otherwise of the practice.

'The wind bloweth where it listeth.'

I'm not going to church at all today. Shock, horror. I've been invited down to Birmingham to participate in a poetry workshop and meet some friends.

Would it make sense to 'measure' and contrast that with what I would derive from attending a church service instead?

No, because they are different things and do a different 'job'.

I doesn't even occur to me to compare them any more than it would occur to me these days to try to work out who was benefiting the most at a Methodist communion service - those Methodists and Salvationists who received and those who didn't - or whether they were all equally 'blessed'.

For a kick-off God is everywhere present and filleth all things and is around at poetry events in Birmingham - he's rather partial to poetry, I think - as well as a worship services of one form or other.

For another, it's none of my business and I no more have an X-ray machine to assess the condition of people's souls if they attend a church service of whatever kind today or whether, like me, they choose to do something else instead.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15997 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
Shipmate
# 812

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I've heard anyone claim that the only reason Luther precipitated the Reformation was to get his leg over ...

Although I've heard similar charges levelled at Henry VIII.

Nor have I heard anyone suggest that the Reformers were anything other than intelligent. 'Learned Germans ...' was how the Ecumenical Patriarch addressed them in his reply to Melanchthon's letter - before going on to to highlight what he felt to be flaws in their theology and approach.

Of course, the Orthodox shared many aspects in common with Rome but not some of the issues that acted as a catalyst for the Reformation and Counter-Reformation - or at least not to the same extent.

From an Eastern perspective, they could understand some of the Reformers' concerns but regarded the whole thing as two sides of the same coin - the Reformers perpetuated the same errors as Rome had and were simply taking certain medieval Scholastic emphases a few stages further.

I've heard some Orthodox claim that the Reformation was simply a spiritual renewal movement and needed corrective that got out of hand.

Whatever view we take of it, let's put it in a proper historical perspective not an overly romanticised one.

Meanwhile, I hope you have a good time at your informal worship meeting and bun fight, Mudfrog. It's up to you whether you regard it as sacramental or not. It's not up to me to determine whether it is or isn't or the degree to which Christ is present - even if we can think of it in those terms.

As I said to you upthread, carrying out a qualitative study, as you put it, to determine what was going on at the Methodist communion service in an attempt to identify who was or wasn't receiving grace is the wrong question to ask. It's a nonsensical thing to do and simply an attempt to rationalise and defend your own SA position.

'Look, those people who don't receive communion are receiving just as much grace as those who do. Therefore it justifies not receiving communion.'

That doesn't tell us anything about the licitness or otherwise of the practice.

'The wind bloweth where it listeth.'

I'm not going to church at all today. Shock, horror. I've been invited down to Birmingham to participate in a poetry workshop and meet some friends.

Would it make sense to 'measure' and contrast that with what I would derive from attending a church service instead?

No, because they are different things and do a different 'job'.

I doesn't even occur to me to compare them any more than it would occur to me these days to try to work out who was benefiting the most at a Methodist communion service - those Methodists and Salvationists who received and those who didn't - or whether they were all equally 'blessed'.

For a kick-off God is everywhere present and filleth all things and is around at poetry events in Birmingham - he's rather partial to poetry, I think - as well as a worship services of one form or other.

For another, it's none of my business and I no more have an X-ray machine to assess the condition of people's souls if they attend a church service of whatever kind today or whether, like me, they choose to do something else instead.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15997 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
Shipmate
# 812

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That should have read, 'I've never heard anyone claim ...'

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15997 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged



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