Early Church Evidence Refutes Real Presence

Introduction

The real presence doctrine is probably the most important doctrine to Catholics today because it is the nucleolus of the Catholic mass. The doctrine insists that the eucharistic elements of bread and wine become the glorified body and blood of Christ when blessed by the priest. The doctrine further asserts that the substance of bread and wine are no longer present and only the accidents (characteristics or appearance) remain. Thus, the name derived from the explanation becomes transubstantiation (a change of substance). It is this belief that compels devout Catholics to worship the eucharistic bread (placed in a monstrance for the purpose of adoration) because they believe the bread to be the glorified Christ.

The doctrine also asserts that during the last supper where Jesus instituted the memorial of His passion, the bread, after being blessed by Jesus, became His literal glorified body. One major problem with this; Jesus was not yet glorified when he shared the Passover meal with His disciples. Proof of that is found explicitly in two places, John 7:39 and 17: 5. The doctrine makes no sense today, and it made no sense 2000 years ago, and the idea was unheard of in the early church.

This article will examine the writings of Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian of Carthage, Irenaeus of Lyons, Justin Martyr, Ignatius, and a contribution from Origen in order to show that the ancient church never believed, taught or even conceived any doctrine like the real presence dogma.

Many Catholics who read this will be very surprised by what they learn, especially with regards to the works of Clement and Origen. Within these writings are clear references to the flesh and blood of Christ in the eucharist being symbolical, and the words, “Eat My flesh and drink My blood” spoken by Jesus in the bread of life discourse as being metaphorical.

The primary purpose of this article is to challenge the barrage of quotes so often found on Catholic websites. I refute the catholic claims by examining the works of the early church fathers from which the quotes are taken. This way the context is not lost and the integrity of the works is not impaired.

Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria flourished at the close of the second century when he succeeded Pantaenus in the catechetical school of Alexandria. It is believed by some that Clement compiled his “stramata” (miscellaneous writings) about the time he was 40 years old. If true, he would have been born while Justin Martyr and Irenaeus were still writing, and while Polycarp was still alive. As a teacher of Christian philosophy, Clement instructed Origen who wrote during the mid third century.

Among Clement’s writings are three books called, “Paedagogus” (The Instructor). In these works Clement goes far beyond simple explanations and examples. His thoughts build one upon another in a continuous development of Christian instruction. Such is the case in a well-used quote from Clement in which attempts are made for supporting the doctrine of real presence.

“Eat ye my flesh,” He says, “and drink my blood.” Such is the suitable food which the Lord ministers, and He offers His flesh and pours forth His blood, and nothing is wanting for the children’s growth. O amazing mystery. We are enjoined to cast off the old and carnal corruption, as also the old nutriment, receiving in exchange another new regimen, that of Christ, receiving Him if we can, to hide Him within; and that, enshrining the Savior in our souls, we may correct the affections of our flesh.” (Paedagogus 1:6)

Few, if any, who read this quote from Catholic apologetic websites will ever actually attempt to read the reference in context. When presented with a borage of other out-of-context quotes seemingly supporting the doctrine, Clement’s quote appears to fit right in. This is especially true in the Catholic’s mind because the words Clement quotes are from John, chapter 6, the Bread of Life Discourse. This discourse Jesus has with the Jews is where Catholics draw their biblical support for the real presence doctrine.

Those whose faith is built on the word of God, however, will notice that Clement presents the somewhat obscure metaphors in the first half of the quote, and then explains them in the second half. The explanation is consistent with Paul’s teachings about putting off the old man and putting on Christ. (Eph. 4:21-24, Col. 3:9-10) But even if Catholics were to read just a few lines further beyond the quote, they would find words that would challenge their assumptions.

“But you are not inclined to understand it thus, but perchance more generally. Hear it also in the following way. The flesh figuratively represents to us the Holy Spirit; for the flesh was created by Him. The blood points out to us the Word, for as rich blood the Word has been infused into life; and the union of both is the Lord, the food of the babes–the Lord who is Spirit and Word. The food- that is, the Lord Jesus–that is, the Word of God, the Spirit made flesh, the heavenly flesh sanctified…” (ibid)

The words of the Lord from the bread of life discourse “Eat My flesh and drink My blood,” is, according to Clement, figurative speech. Given Clement’s credentials and with regard to how much he was admired in the church, it is not at all likely he was out on a limb here. Clement was teaching orthodox Christian doctrine, widely understood in the universal church at that time.

Giving a little context to the quote presented on Catholic websites, however, does little or nothing to sway a devout Catholic. When I presented the added context to one Catholic, he reacted with, “I admit I am completely bewildered by the Clement of Alexandria quotes you present I do not understand them and they seem to be very figurative, but they are not denying the real presence there either.” (Emphasis mine) Well, yes they do. If the doctrine hinges on Jesus’ words, “Eat My flesh and drink My blood” being literal, then Clement is indeed denying the real presence doctrine.

From a Catholic apologist at “StayCatholic.com” I received this:

“It looks like he is saying that he believes in the “Real Presence” but that he can also see some symbolism in it as well. Remember he said: “Hear it ALSO in the following way.” The word also obviously includes both views. This wouldn’t necessarily constitute a contradiction. Even in Scripture we have passages that have meanings on a number of levels.” (Emphasis his)

Obviously this apologist was trying very hard to compose a coherent response that shines brightly on the Catholic teaching, while acknowledging Clement’s obvious reference to the figurative language. I don’t know whether or not he bothered to read Clement’s Paedagogus Book 1, chapter 6, but if he did he would know that the entire chapter is an instruction on metaphors. And earlier in that chapter Clement said this:

“But we are God-taught, and glory in the name of Christ. How then are we not to regard the apostle as attaching this sense to the milk of the babes? And if we who preside over the Churches are shepherds after the image of the good Shepherd, and you the sheep, are we not to regard the Lord as preserving consistency in the use of figurative speech, when He speaks also of the milk of the flock?… Elsewhere the Lord, in the Gospel according to John, brought this out by symbols, when He said: “Eat ye my flesh, and drink my blood; ” describing distinctly by metaphor the drinkable properties of faith and the promise, by means of which the Church, like a human being consisting of many members, is refreshed and grows, is welded together and compacted of both,–of faith, which is the body, and of hope, which is the soul; as also the Lord of flesh and blood. For in reality the blood of faith is hope, in which faith is held as by a vital principle.” (ibid)

Clement continues his instruction that Christ is food with the metaphorical explanation.

“’I,’ says the Lord, ‘have meat to eat that ye know not of. My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me.’ You see another kind of food which, similarly with milk, represents figuratively the will of God. Besides, also, the completion of His own passion He called catachrestically “a cup,” when He alone had to drink and drain it. Thus to Christ the fulfilling of His Father’s will was food; and to us infants, who drink the milk of the word of the heavens, Christ Himself is food. Hence seeking is called sucking; for to those babes that seek the Word, the Father’s breasts of love supply milk.” (ibid)

And Clement concludes the chapter with this:

“Thus in many ways the Word is figuratively described, as meat, and flesh, and food, and bread, and blood, and milk. The Lord is all these, to give enjoyment to us who have believed on Him. Let no one then think it strange, when we say that the Lord’s blood is figuratively represented as milk. For is it not figuratively represented as wine? “Who washes,” it is said, “His garment in wine, His robe in the blood of the grape.” In His Own Spirit He says He will deck the body of the Word; as certainly by His own Spirit He will nourish those who hunger for the Word.” (ibid)

Clement reiterates his instruction in Book 2 and uses it to define the eucharist.

“For the blood of the grape–that is, the Word–desired to be mixed with water, as His blood is mingled with salvation. And the blood of the Lord is twofold. For there is the blood of His flesh, by which we are redeemed from corruption; and the spiritual, that by which we are anointed. And to drink the blood of Jesus, is to become partaker of the Lord’s immortality; the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as blood is of flesh. Accordingly, as wine is blended with water, so is the Spirit with man. And the one, the mixture of wine and water, nourishes to faith; while the other, the Spirit, conducts to immortality. And the mixture of both–of the water and of the Word–is called eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul. For the divine mixture, man, the Father’s will has mystically compounded by the Spirit and the Word. For, in truth, the spirit is joined to the soul, which is inspired by it; and the flesh, by reason of which the Word became flesh, to the Word.” (Paedagogus 2:2)

Clement explains the two-fold attribute of Christ’s blood. One aspect being the physical blood of His flesh that was shed for the remission of sins, and the other aspect being the Spiritual by which we receive Christ as our nourishment. To partake of the eucharist is far more than receiving communion. To partake is to receive Christ in the Spirit. The eucharist is a celebration and remembrance of the Lord’s passion to be observed by those who are born of the Spirit, for they alone are partakers of Christ’s immortality.

Clement expounds on these things elsewhere in his writings as well. One example is found among the stramata in Book 5, chapter 10:

“If, then, “the milk” is said by the apostle to belong to the babes, and “meat” to be the food of the full-grown, milk will be understood to be catechetical instruction — the first food, as it were, of the soul. And meat is the mystic contemplation; for this is the flesh and the blood of the Word, that is, the comprehension of the divine power and essence. “Taste and see that the Lord is Christ,” it is said. For so He imparts of Himself to those who partake of such food in a more spiritual manner.” (Stramata 5:10)

Clement comes nowhere close to supporting the real presence doctrine, and indeed utterly denies it through his instruction. Clement explicitly states that Jesus was speaking metaphorically when He said “eat My flesh and drink My blood.” Jesus told His disciples, “I have meat to eat you know not of …My meat is to do the will of Him who sent me, and finish His work.” Likewise, we desire the pure food of Christ as our nourishment and source for well-being and growth. Clement wonderfully instructs those younger in the faith on this intimate relationship between Christ and His church, things the carnal mind just can’t grasp.

The before mentioned apologist from StayCatholic.com also presented a bit of a disclaimer. He said, “The Church would have a problem with him [Clement] if he denied the “Real Presence.” And he hasn’t done that.

Clement indeed does deny the real presence in his writings and the Catholic Church does have a problem with him. From the time the Catholic Church began to honor saints and martyrs with feast days until the 17th century, Clement was venerated as a saint. But Pope Clement VIII revised the Roman Martyrology and was persuaded to drop Clement of Alexandria from the calendar by Cardinal Baronius. Later in the 18th century, during the reign of Benedict XIV, a protest against the act emerged. But Benedict agreed with the removal of Clement from the martyrology on the grounds that Clement’s life was not well known and some of his doctrines were erroneous.

So what are the Catholic Church’s issues with Clement? According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Clement had faulty interpretations. What does that mean? According to a quote used by the encyclopedia from Tixeront (a 20th century Catholic scholar), it means (at least in part) that Clement “used allegory everywhere.” (Catholic Encyclopedia: Clement of Alexandria) In a nutshell, the Catholic Church has a problem with Clement’s use of metaphors and symbols.

The Catholic Church is in quite a predicament when it comes to Clement. They cannot accept his metaphorical teachings, and they cannot deny the evidence showing that he was orthodox. As previously mentioned, Clement was highly admired and praised as a great Christian teacher by prominent figures in the early church. If Clement’s teaching that the bread of life discourse was to be understood metaphorically was erroneous, why do we not find any protest against him by the ecclesiastical writers of the third and fourth centuries? What we do find is praise for his skill of teaching and his knowledge of Scripture.

From Schaff’s introductory note to Clement of Alexandria – After Clement’s death, Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, said of him, “For we acknowledge as fathers those blessed saints who are gone before us, and to whom we shall go after a little time; the truly blest Pantaenus, I mean, and the holy Clemens, my teacher, who was to me so greatly useful and helpful.” Cyril of Alexandria referred to him as “a man admirably learned and skilful, and one that searched to the depths all the learning of the Greeks, with an exactness rarely attained before.” Jerome said he was the most learned of all the ancients. And Eusebius described him as an “incomparable master of Christian philosophy.”

Such admiration and praise could not been uttered for a man that was anything but orthodox.

It is interesting how easily Catholic apologists will discount any church father’s testimony if it doesn’t agree with Catholic doctrine. What is worse is that the Catholic Encyclopedia, which is supposed to be a respected source for this type of information, completely dodges Clement and Origen on the topic “The Sacrifice of the Mass.

“Passing over the teaching of the Alexandrine Clement and Origen, whose love of allegory, together with the restrictions of the Disciplina Arcani [Latin term meaning discipline of the secret], involved their writings in mystic obscurity…” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Sacrifice of the Mass)

In plain English, the reason the Catholic Encyclopedia passed over Clement and Origen is because they both clearly taught that Jesus was speaking metaphorically when He said, “Eat My body and drink My blood.” And Origen specifically referred to the eucharistic bread and wine as symbolical.

“Now, if ‘everything that entereth into the mouth goes into the belly and is cast out into the drought,’ even the meat which has been sanctified through the word of God and prayer, in accordance with the fact that it is material, goes into the belly and is cast out into the draught, but in respect of the prayer which comes upon it, according to the proportion of the faith, becomes a benefit and is a means of clear vision to the mind which looks to that which is beneficial, and it is not the material of the bread but the word which is said over it which is of advantage to him who eats it not unworthily of the Lord. And these things indeed are said of the typical and symbolical body. But many things might be said about the Word Himself who became flesh, and true meat of which he that eateth shall assuredly live for ever, no worthless person being able to eat it; for if it were possible for one who continues worthless to eat of Him who became flesh. who was the Word and the living bread, it would not have been written, that ‘every one who eats of this bread shall live for ever.’” (Origen, Commentary on Mathew 11:14)

And leading up to this explanation, Origen expounded in more detail:

“‘For if any one should turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away, and the Lord is the Spirit.’ Now some one when dealing with the passage might say, that just as ‘not that which entereth into the mouth defileth the man,’ of even though it may be thought by the Jews to be defiled, so not that which entereth into the mouth sanctifieth the man, even though what is called the bread of the Lord may be thought by the simpler disciples to sanctify. And the saying is I think, not to be despised, and on this account, demands clear exposition, which seems to me to be thus; as it is not the meat but the conscience of him who eats with doubt which defiles him that eateth, for ‘he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith,’ and as nothing is pure to him who is defiled and unbelieving, not in itself, but because of his defilement and unbelief, so that which is sanctified through the word of God and prayer does not, in its own nature, sanctify him who uses it, for, if this were so, it would sanctify even him who eats unworthily of the bread of the Lord, and no one on account of this food would become weak or sickly or asleep for something of this kind Paul represented in saying, ‘For this cause many among you are weak and sickly and not a few sleep.’ And in the case of the bread of the Lord, accordingly, there is advantage to him who uses it, when with undefiled mind and pure conscience he partakes of the bread. And so neither by not eating, I mean by the very fact that we do not eat of the bread which has been sanctified by the word of God and prayer, are we deprived of any good thing, nor by eating are we the better by any good thing; for the cause of our lacking is wickedness and sins, and the cause of our abounding is righteousness and right actions; so that such is the meaning of what is said by Paul, ‘For neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we eat not are we the worse.’” (ibid)

There are several reference from Origen that demonstrate his understanding of the eucharist and the bread of life discourse, and none of them agree with Catholic doctrine. However, it is not uncommon for Catholic apologetics sites to use references from Origen that are used to support the real presence doctrine. These references, however, are far from their context and taken from writings of doubtful authenticity known as Origen’s homilies. Unable to rely on the homilies for the topic of real presence in the eucharist, it’s no wonder the Catholic Encyclopedia decided to pass over Clement and Origen.

Tertullian of Carthage

Tertullian was from Carthage, a city located near modern day Tunis Tunisia in Northern Africa. During Tertullian’s time, the culture of Carthage was distinctly Roman. The Christian church there was likely under the jurisdiction of the church in Rome because of its close proximity. The western churches during Tertullian’s day were inconsiderable next to the chief churches of Antioch and Alexandria where Clement resided. But Tertullian exemplifies the same passion, intelligence, and dedication as his eastern brother Clement did, but with a bit more bluntness and attitude. When one reads Tertullian’s work, one can appreciate the struggles of the early church, particularly with regards to living under constant threats from the pagan government.

I once heard a Catholic who was introducing a former Protestant speaker say, “The water runs clearer closer to the spring.” What he meant by that was that the early church fathers were closer to the apostles than we are, so we should listen closely to what they had to say. His reason for saying it, of course, was to introduce a speaker who was about to testify how studying the early church brought him into the Catholic Church. The funny thing was, the speaker never mentioned any early church reference that couldn’t be readily found on any Catholic apologetics website’s borage of out-of-context quotes – “So much for studying.”

The saying, however, certainly fits Tertullian. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church is not persuaded by Tertullian, who in his treatise on baptism strongly condemned the practice of baptizing infants and small children. It appears that the Catholic Church finds some of that clear water too bitter to drink. But whether one agrees with Tertullian or not, it can be shown that he, similar to Clement, demonstrates in his writings the absence of anything like the real presence doctrine existing during his time.

Tertullian wrote a work called “The Resurrection of the Dead” in which he expounded on the unique relationship of the soul and the flesh. Tertullian taught that the two were separate entities that worked together to serve God. Tertullian strives to produce several examples of the conjoined soul-flesh relationship which sometimes reveals his philosophical tendencies rather than solid biblical teaching. And it is one of these examples that Catholic apologist target for “real presence” support.

“The flesh, indeed, is washed, in order that the soul may be cleansed; the flesh is anointed, that the soul may be consecrated; the flesh is signed (with the cross), that the soul too may be fortified; the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands, that the soul also maybe illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may fatten on its God. They cannot then be separated in their recompense, when they are united in their service. Those sacrifices, moreover, which are acceptable to God–I mean conflicts of the soul, fastings, and abstinences, and the humiliations which are annexed to such duty–it is the flesh which performs again and again to its own especial suffering.”

Exactly what Tertullian believed regarding the flesh and soul of Christians would no doubt make for interesting discussion. But the thing Catholic apologists really want to present here is the fact that Tertullian refers to the eucharist elements as the “body and blood” of Christ. But this is completely inadequate for their purpose. One would be hard pressed to find Christians who didn’t refer to the elements as the body and blood of Christ; even in the same way Tertullian did in his treaties on prayer where he said, “Will not your Station [day of fasting] be more solemn if you have withal stood at God’s altar? When the Lord’s Body has been received and reserved?

I think many Catholics are under the impression that only they refer to the Eucharist in this way. The Lord instituted the memorial by saying, “This is My body” and “This is the cup of the new testament that is in My blood; do this in remembrance of Me.” It is profoundly Christian to refer to the eucharist as the body and blood of Christ because the eucharist is the celebration of the passion of our Lord. But that does not mean that the bread and wine used in the Eucharist celebration are the literal body and blood of Christ.

Later, in chapter 13, Tertullian gives us a glimpse into his interpretation of the bread of life discourse (the biblical bases for the real presence doctrine) while expounding on the topic of flesh and soul.

“For the soul-flesh, or the flesh-soul, is but one; unless indeed He [Christ] even had some other soul apart from that which was flesh, and bare about another flesh besides that which was soul. But since He had but one flesh and one soul,–that “soul which was sorrowful, even unto death,” and that flesh which was the “bread given for the life of the world,”–the number is unimpaired of two substances distinct in kind, thus excluding the unique species of the flesh-comprised soul.”

Notice the use of the past tense in the sentence “and that flesh which was the “bread given for the life of the world.” If Tertullian believed in a doctrine like the real presence, he would not have used the past tense. Rather Tertullian would have used the present tense, or perfect see which would have been translated “is the bread…” since the act of eating it is ongoing. Also, the flesh of Christ given for the life of the world is not the glorified body of Christ as the real presence doctrine asserts, but the flesh of Christ was that sin offering for the life of the world before He was received into glory.

The biblical support for the real presence doctrine relies on the interpretation that Jesus was referring to eating His physical flesh when He said, “and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” Since Tertullian referenced the event as having occurred in the past, he could not have believed that Jesus was saying He would give his flesh to be literally eaten, but rather that He gave His flesh sacrificially at the cross for the life of the world.

Nothing in Tertullian’s works, however, is more clearly opposed to the Catholic understanding than what he specifically stated about the discourse on the bread of life.

They thought His discourse was harsh and intolerable, supposing that He had really and literally enjoined on them to eat his flesh, He, with the view of ordering the state of salvation as a spiritual thing, set out with the principle, It is the spirit that quickens; and then added, The flesh profits nothing — meaning, of course, to the giving of life. He also goes on to explain what He would have us to understand by spirit: The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. In a like sense He had previously said: He that hears my words, and believes in Him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but shall pass from death unto life. Constituting, therefore, His word as the life-giving principle, because that word is spirit and life, He likewise called His flesh by the same appellation; because, too, the Word had become flesh, We ought therefore to desire Him in order that we may have life, and to devour Him with the ear, and to ruminate on Him with the understanding, and to digest Him by faith. (On the Resurrection of the Flesh 37)

The entire Catholic interpretation of John, chapter 6, is dismantled in these few words from Tertullian. When Jesus said, “eat My flesh,” Catholic apologists like to point out that the Greek word used in John’s gospel for eat is trogo, which means to chew or gnaw. They insist that there is no way that word could be taken any other way but literal. But notice that Tertullian understood the Lord as speaking metaphorically, et devorandus auditu, to devour Him with the ear.

There are a few other places in Tertullian’s works that Catholic apologists like to use for support of the real presence doctrine. One quote often used is found in a work called “The Chaplet.” The quote used is often presented like this:

“We take anxious care lest something of our Cup or Bread should fall upon the ground.”

The purpose is to convey the notion that Tertullian is imploring caution in the handling of the eucharistic elements because they are believed to be the actual body and blood of Christ. But if that were true, why does he call them cup and bread? Tertullian often refers to the elements as the body and blood of Christ, so why not here? Perhaps the problem is Catholic editing. Here is the same quote properly translated:

“We feel pained should any wine or bread, even though our own, be cast upon the ground.”

The context from which this quote is taken doesn’t even suggest that Tertullian is speaking of the Eucharist.

“We take also, in congregations before daybreak, and from the hand of none but the presidents, the sacrament of the eucharist, which the Lord both commanded to be eaten at meal-times, and enjoined to be taken by all alike.

As often as the anniversary comes round, we make offerings for the dead as birthday honors.

We count fasting or kneeling in worship on the Lord’s day to be unlawful. We rejoice in the same privilege also from Easter to Whitsunday.

We feel pained should any wine or bread, even though our own, be cast upon the ground.

At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign.”

These things Tertullian is describing are unwritten customs that were practiced at the time. There is nothing to suggest he believed or even heard of real presence.

Irenaeus of Lyons

Irenaeus was the bishop of Lyons France (Gaul) in the mid second century. He wrote his Against Heresies around 180 A.D. an invaluable work that details Gnostic practices and beliefs and furthermore soundly and biblically refutes them. In addition to Against Heresies, there are several fragments extant that mostly come from Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History.

There are many aspects of gnosticism Irenaeus labored to refute, but for the purpose of this article I will highlight one. Gnostics believed that humans were divine souls trapped in a material world created by evil entities. Irenaeus contended that God divinely created the world and everything in it. And it was elements of the creation that Christ commanded to be received as His body and blood for a memorial of His sacrifice.

Bread and wine are created things that nourish our created bodies. These elements of creation, Irenaeus taught, are established as the body and blood of Christ whose blood was shed truly and physically. The Gnostics maintained that Christ’s body was not created like ours denying His human nature. Therefore, it did not make sense to them that the body could be eternally saved; but Irenaeus asserts that the body will be resurrected incorruptible.

This is the context in which Irenaeus describes the Eucharist. Irenaeus likens the rebirth of the believer to the Eucharist and vise verse.

“Then, again, how can they [the Gnostics] say that the flesh, which is nourished with the body of the Lord and with His blood, goes to corruption, and does not partake of life? Let them, therefore, either alter their opinion, or cease from offering the things just mentioned. But our opinion is in accordance with the eucharist, and the eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.”

Again, the context is the resurrection of the believer. Irenaeus is speaking of Christians when he said, “the fleshed nourished with the body of the Lord and with His blood.” That is, those who believe on He who was crucified for their sins are nourished with the body and blood of the Lord. Their bodies will not remain in corruption because they will be resurrected. For we offer to Him His own, that is of His own creation. But offerings in the flesh are only pleasing to God when the flesh is united with the Spirit. The flesh united with the gift of the Holy Spirit offers to God the praises of thanksgiving. Flesh void of the gift of the Holy Spirit cannot offer anything to God.

Irenaeus transfers this reality to the bread of the Eucharist by claiming that the bread, which is of God’s creation, receives a Spiritual aspect upon receiving the invocation. The bread, he states, is “no longer common bread, but the eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly.” Earthly, because it is bread which is of the creation, and heavenly, because it is blessed and received by those who themselves are both earthly (in the flesh) and heavenly (born of the Spirit).

Irenaeus clearly denies the notion held by the Catholic Church that the bread is no longer bread; he calls it, “no longer common bread.” Compare this to what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in an answer to a relevant question.


“Does the bread cease to be bread and the wine cease to be wine?

Yes. In order for the whole Christ to be present—body, blood, soul, and divinity—the bread and wine cannot remain, but must give way so that his glorified Body and Blood may be present. Thus in the eucharist the bread ceases to be bread in substance, and becomes the Body of Christ, while the wine ceases to be wine in substance, and becomes the Blood of Christ. As St. Thomas Aquinas observed, Christ is not quoted as saying, “This bread is my body,” but “This is my body” (Summa Theologiae, III q. 78, a. 5).” (Emphasis mine)

Irenaeus said the bread was no longer common bread, thus maintaining its status as bread; and the Catholic bishops say it is no longer bread at all. The earthly aspect of the bread from the Irenaeus quote is acknowledgment that the bread is of the creation. The spiritual is attached to the Eucharist itself, which is the celebration of the passion of the Lord and the unity of the body of Christ. The Catholic Church is in opposition to Irenaeus’ understanding of the Eucharist elements.

Not only does Irenaeus deny the change in substance in the bread and wine, he also illustrates in the following quote that the universal church recognized that the altar whereby we offer our gifts to God is in heaven. And heaven is where our adoration is directed, not towards the Eucharistic elements.

“Thus is it, therefore, also His will that we, too, should offer a gift at the altar, frequently and without intermission. The altar, then, is in heaven (for towards that place are our prayers and oblations directed); the temple likewise [is there], as John says in the Apocalypse, “And the temple of God was opened: ” the tabernacle also: “For, behold,” He says, “the tabernacle of God, in which He will dwell with men.”

There is also a fragment extant from Irenaeus that sheds a bit more light on the question of the Eucharistic bread’s substance. Apparently during the persecutions at Lyons, one of the accusations placed upon Christians was the charge of cannibalism. This charge was made because the non-Christians heard that the Christians ate the body and blood of Christ. This fragment from Irenaeus shows that the Christians indeed did not consider that the Eucharist was the literal body of Christ.

“For when the Greeks, having arrested the slaves of Christian catechumens, then used force against them, in order to learn from them some secret thing [practiced] among Christians, these slaves, having nothing to say that would meet the wishes of their tormentors, except that they had heard from their masters that the divine communion was the body and blood of Christ, and imagining that it was actually flesh and blood, gave their inquisitors answer to that effect. Then these latter, assuming such to be the case with regard to the practices of Christians, gave information regarding it to other Greeks, and sought to compel the martyrs Sanctus and Blandina to confess, under the influence of torture, [that the allegation was correct]. To these men Blandina replied very admirably in these words: ‘How should those persons endure such [accusations], who, for the sake of the practice [of piety], did not avail themselves even of the flesh that was permitted [them to eat]?’” (Fragment 13)

The slaves had heard from their masters that the eucharist is the body and blood of Christ and so confessed it to be. But Irenaeus clarifies for us that the slaves confessed in ignorance by saying they imagined it was actually flesh and blood. Irenaeus’ point is made even clearer in Blandina’s reply to the Greeks’ attempt to make he and Sanctus confess the same. The slaves themselves would not even eat the meat that was permitted them to eat much less the literal flesh of Christ. To Irenaeus the idea of real presence in the Eucharist as believed by Catholics today would have been ridiculous.

Justin Martyr

(Justin the Martyr, also known as Justin of Caesarea) (100 – 165)

Of Justin’s extant writings, three are referenced here: the first and second portions of his apology written to Emperor Antoninus (138-161), referenced as first apology and second apology, and Justin’s Dialog with Trypho the Jew.

In Justin’s first apology, he gives a rather detailed description of the celebration of the Eucharist for the purpose of contrasting it with certain pagan distortions of truth.

“But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation. Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to genoito [so be it]. And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion. And this food is called among us eukaristia [the eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.” (First Apology, 65-66)

Earlier in his apology Justin defended against accusations that Christians partake of human flesh and blood. Here, in his description of the eucharist, he is making it clear that Christians do not partake of flesh and blood in any carnal way, but rather bread and wine mixed with water: “to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water.” Justin then asserted that though Christians partake of bread and wine, it is not common bread or common wine, but that the bread and wine are connected to Christ who became incarnate and was sacrificed at Calvary for those who believe. This food, i.e. bread and wine mixed with water, which by transmutation nourishes the body, is what the Christians call the flesh and blood of Christ. Justin therefore, refutes the accusations that Christians partake of human flesh and blood.

Justin gives an example of what the pagan government did tolerate and even honor, while persecuting Christians for what appeared to them to be a similar behavior. Among them were certain men who performed evil magic and were honored and revered by the pagan leaders. Justin even names some of these men: a Samaritan named Simon for whom they erected a statue in his honor with the inscription, “To Simon the holy God.” Another was Meander, a disciple of Simon who persuaded his followers that they would never die. Marcion also, who, among other heresies, denied that God was the creator of the universe.

All these, Justin explained, are called Christians. But the authorities only persecute the true Christians who hold the apostolic teachings. And in summing this up, Justin wrote:

“And whether they perpetrate those fabulous and shameful deeds–the upsetting of the lamp, and promiscuous intercourse, and eating human flesh–we know not; but we do know that they are neither persecuted nor put to death by you, at least on account of their opinions.” (ibid, 26)

To put it in context, Justin first referred to the eating of human flesh a shameful deed; then he explained that the Eucharist celebration does not involve consuming human flesh in any way. The bread and wine mixed with water are symbolically the body and blood of Christ. The accusation that Christians ate human flesh was used to persecute Christians, while others who may have actually done that were not persecuted. The purpose of Justin’s explanation of the Eucharist was to counter the accusation that Christians ate human flesh.

Justin continues to make his point in his second apology. Here Justin shows that feasting on human flesh is contrary to the Christian mindset.

For what sensual or intemperate man, or who that counts it good to feast on human flesh, could welcome death that he might be deprived of his enjoyments, and would not rather continue always the present life, and attempt to escape the observation of the rulers; and much less would he denounce himself when the consequence would be death? This also the wicked demons have now caused to be done by evil men. For having put some to death on account of the accusations falsely brought against us, they also dragged to the torture our domestics, either children or weak women, and by dreadful torments forced them to admit those fabulous actions which they themselves openly perpetrate; about which we are the less concerned, because none of these actions are really ours, and we have the unbegotten and ineffable God as witness both of our thoughts and deeds.” (2nd Apology, Chapter 12)

Justin thoroughly refuted the claim that the Eucharist is literally flesh and blood in his apologies. In a debate with a Jew named Trypho, Justin deals directly with the Eucharist as he did in his first apology. To Trypho he wrote about many Old Testament types and how they pointed to Christ and His church. With regards to the Eucharist, he said:

“And the offering of fine flour, sirs, ‘I said,’ which was prescribed to be presented on behalf of those purified from leprosy, was a type of the bread of the eucharist, the celebration of which our Lord Jesus Christ prescribed, in remembrance of the suffering which He endured on behalf of those who are purified in soul from all iniquity, in order that we may at the same time thank God for having created the world, with all things therein, for the sake of man, and for delivering us from the evil in which we were, and for utterly overthrowing principalities and powers by Him who suffered according to His will.

This is the very definition of the Eucharist – a celebration of the remembrance of the Lord’s passion in which Christians offer thanks and prayer. The offering of fine flour was part of what the cleansed leper was required to offer. Justin tells Trypho that this offering was a type of the bread of the Eucharist. He goes on to explain what the bread of the Eucharist represents, thus by similarity, what the fine flour presented by the leper represented.

The bread represents what Jesus offered in the past, that is, His suffering flesh, which He endured for the sake of those who believe on Him. According to Justin, the fine flour presented by the leper pointed forward to the same thing. But the Catholic Encyclopedia does not agree. Under the topic of “The Sacrifice of the Mass,” they say this:

“A heated controversy had raged round the conception of Justin Martyr (d. 166) from the fact that in his “Dialogue with Tryphon” (c. 117) he characterizes “prayer and thanksgiving” (euchai kai eucharistiai) as the “one perfect sacrifice acceptable to God” (teleiai monai kai euarestoi thysiai).”

Unwilling to accept Justin’s definition, the Catholic encyclopedia continues with an objection: “Did he intend by thus emphasizing the interior spiritual sacrifice to exclude the exterior real sacrifice of the eucharist? Clearly he did not, for in the same “Dialogue” (c. 41) he says the “food offering” of the lepers, assuredly a real gift offering (cf. Leviticus 14), was a figure (typos) of the bread of the eucharist, which Jesus commanded to be offered (poiein) in commemoration of His sufferings.”

The problem with this reasoning is Jesus never commanded the bread to be offered, but rather taken or received (lambano); “Take, eat, this is My body.” He then commanded His disciples to do this (poiein) in remembrance of Him; that is, to break bread in remembrance of Him and offer the sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving, not offer the bread as a sacrifice. The encyclopedia article continues to become more desperate as it continues on:

“He [Justin] then goes on: ‘of the sacrifices which you (the Jews) formerly offered, God through Malachias said: ‘I have no pleasure, etc’. By the sacrifices (thysion), however, which we Gentiles present to Him in every place, that is (toutesti) of the bread of eucharist and likewise of the chalice eucharist, he then said that we glorify his name, while you dishonour him.’ Here ‘bread and chalice’ are by the use of toutesti clearly included as objective gift offerings in the idea of the Christian sacrifice.”

You know you are in trouble when you have to resort to defining common Greek words like toutesti (that is). Perhaps the Catholic quire will believe it, but certainly not anyone seeking the truth. Justin continues to develop his point as the dialog progresses. Justin makes his point even more clearly in chapter 70 where he connects a prophecy of Isaiah with the Eucharist.

“They [the words of Isaiah] are these: ‘Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; those that are near shall know my might. The sinners in Zion are removed; trembling shall seize the impious. Who shall announce to you the everlasting place? The man who walks in righteousness, speaks in the right way, hates sin and unrighteousness, and keeps his hands pure from bribes, stops the ears from hearing the unjust judgment of blood closes the eyes from seeing unrighteousness: he shall dwell in the lofty cave of the strong rock. Bread shall be given to him, and his water[shall be] sure. Ye shall see the King with glory, and your eyes shall look far off. Your soul shall pursue diligently the fear of the Lord. Where is the scribe? where are the counselors? where is he that numbers those who are nourished,–the small and great people? with whom they did not take counsel, nor knew the depth of the voices, so that they heard not. The people who are become depreciated, and there is no understanding in him who hears.’ Now it is evident, that in this prophecy[allusion is made] to the bread which our Christ gave us to eat, in remembrance of His being made flesh for the sake of His believers, for whom also He suffered; and to the cup which He gave us to drink, in remembrance of His own blood, with giving of thanks.”

Justin explicitly stated that bread (not the flesh) is given by Christ in remembrance of His flesh, and that the cup is in remembrance of – not is – His own blood. If Justin believed in transubstantiation i.e. the real presence, he would have certainly stated it here, instead he refutes it.

In ending his exhortation to Trypho on the subject of sacrifice, Justin affirmed the definition of true Christian sacrifice in this statement:

“Ezekiel says, ‘There shall be no other prince in the house but He.’ For He is the chosen Priest and eternal King, the Christ, inasmuch as He is the Son of God; and do not suppose that Isaiah or the other prophets speak of sacrifices of blood or libations being presented at the altar on His second advent, but of true and spiritual praises and giving of thanks.” (ibid, chapter 118)

Truly it is as Justin said, “giving of thanks, when offered by worthy men, are the only perfect and well-pleasing sacrifices to God.” (ibid, chapter 117)

Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius of Antioch wrote seven letters that are extant. The situation Ignatius was in while composing his seven epistles is unique to say the least. Showing his love for Christ and His church, Ignatius selflessly and voluntarily presented himself before the Emperor Trajan as a Christian bishop and was subsequently charged and condemned to death by wild beasts.

All seven letters were written while Ignatius was a Roman prisoner in rout to Rome where he was to be killed. Four of the letters were written during a stop in Smyrna where Pollycarp was bishop; they consist of his letter to the Ephesians, the Magnesians, the Trallians, and the Romans. The remaining three letters to the Philadelphians, the Smyrnaeans, and Polycarp were written from Troas where they tarried a few days.

The works of Ignatius can be somewhat confusing because of what are called, long recensions. The long recensions are longer versions of Ignatius’ letters that were created in the late fourth or early fifth century. Even the authenticity of the short (or shorter) recensions is in question by some scholars. Nevertheless, I will treat the short recensions as authentic because they are generally believed to be authentic, and I have found a clear reference to one of them in the writings of Irenaeus.

From Ignatius’ letter to the Smyrnaeans, there is a quote that has become somewhat famous in Catholic apologetic circles. The quote has been credited for convincing many former Protestants that the Catholic Church is Christ’s true church, not that any of these people needed Ignatius to help them get there; they were headed there anyway. But the quote is believed to be quite powerful in persuading Catholic leaning inquisitors. Here is the quote:

“They abstain from the eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again.” (From Chapter 7)

As always, in order to understand the quote, the context must be considered. Who are “they?” Why do they not confess the eucharist to be the flesh of Christ? And what does Ignatius mean by “Eucharist and prayer?”

Who was Ignatius referring to? Prior to making the above statement, Ignatius identified the heretics in a couple of different places. “He [Jesus] suffered truly, even as also He truly raised up Himself, not, as certain unbelievers maintain, that He only seemed to suffer, as they themselves only seem to be Christians.” (ibid, Chapter 2) And, “For what does any one profit me, if he commends me, but blasphemes my Lord, not confessing that He was [truly] possessed of a body? But he who does not acknowledge this, has in fact altogether denied Him, being enveloped in death.” (ibid, Chapter 5)

The they Ignatius was talking about are Dosetists (Greek: dokesis). The word means, “to seem.” Docetism claimed that Christ did not exist in human form. And, as Ignatius points out, they claim He only seemed to suffer, to which Ignatius replied, “They only seem to be Christians.”

They do not confess the Eucharist to be the flesh of Christ because they didn’t believe he truly suffered. And the Eucharist itself, Ignatius describes, is: “our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again.” In other words, the Eucharist is the celebration of the passion and resurrection of our Lord. Ignatius goes on to say this:

“Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that ye should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion [of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved.”

It is utterly criminal what the catholic apologists have done to the compassionate work of Ignatius. They attempt to make it look as though the Dosetists objected to the Eucharist because they didn’t believe the bread and wine used to celebrate it to be the literal flesh and blood of Christ. That simply isn’t true; rather, Ignatius conveys that the gift of God is eternal life made possible by the sacrifice of Christ. That sacrifice is what the Eucharist is all about. It is the sacrifice and suffering of Christ the Dosetists spoke against and, therefore, abstained from celebrating the Eucharist in which thanksgiving is offered for Christ’s passion.

There is absolutely no contextual support for claiming that Ignatius was referring to the Eucharist bread as being the literal flesh of Christ. That is merely assumed by those who already believe it. We should also keep in mind that Ignatius was about to be martyred, and this letter to the Smyrnaeans was written to exhort the church to keep the unity in truth, obeying the Gospel of Christ, and to be aware of heresies like Docetism. If there had been anything like the sacrifice of the mass or Eucharistic adoration existing during that time, Ignatius would have certainly included something about it in this letter.

In his letter to the Philadelphians, Ignatius wrote, “If any one walks according to a strange opinion, he agrees not with the passion [of Christ.]. Take ye heed, then, to have but one eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to [show forth] the unity of His blood.” (Letter to the Philadelphians, Chapters 3 and 4)

There is only one sacrifice for sin, one flesh of Christ, and one altar in heaven, and one truth which is in Jesus Christ. He exhorted the Philadelphians to come together to give thanks and praise, to celebrate the passion of Christ in unity and love. This exhortation is echoed in His letter to the Ephesians where he said,

“Take heed, then, often to come together to give thanks to God, and show forth His praise. For when ye assemble frequently in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and the destruction at which he aims is prevented by the unity of your faith. Nothing is more precious than peace, by which all war, both in heaven and earth, is brought to an end.” (To the Ephesians, Chapter 13)

Notice, he didn’t exhort them to come together to participate in offering up Christ in an un-bloody sacrifice.

Most of Ignatius’ letters were exhortations to peace, unity, and vigilance, but his letter to the Romans was quite different. The thing that troubled Ignatius most was the potential hindrance of his martyrdom by the Christians in Rome. Ignatius wanted to make clear to the church in Rome his desire to be martyred. Fortunately for us, doing so provided opportunity for him to expound a bit on his understanding of the bread of Christ.

“I am the wheat of God, and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of God.” (Letter to the Romans, Chapter 4)

Ignatius identifies himself as wheat and bread of God. This comes from the biblical understanding of the Eucharist celebration. The Apostle Paul said, “For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” (1Cor. 10:17) That bread representing not only the body of Christ that was broken for us, but also our oneness with him. And, the Lord promises we too will suffer persecution because if we are one with Him, the world will hate us as it does Him. A better explanation is found in the words of Irenaeus who referenced Ignatius’ words:

“And therefore throughout all time, man, having been moulded at the beginning by the hands of God, that is, of the Son and of the Spirit, is made after the image and likeness of God: the chaff, indeed, which is the apostasy, being cast away; but the wheat, that is, those who bring forth fruit to God in faith, being gathered into the barn. And for this cause tribulation is necessary for those who are saved, that having been after a manner broken up, and rendered fine, and sprinkled over by the patience of the Word of God, and set on fire [for purification], they may be fitted for the royal banquet. As a certain man of ours said, when he was condemned to the wild beasts because of his testimony with respect to God: “I am the wheat of Christ, and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of God.” (Irenaeus Against Heresies, 5:28)

By calling himself the wheat of Christ and the pure bread of heaven, Ignatius identifies himself to be in union with Christ’s passion. And this is what Ignatius wanted more than anything, to partake of the bread of God; that is, to be martyred for his faith and live forever more with Christ. He eloquently explained to the church in Rome that he desired the ultimate prize: eternal life made possible by the flesh and blood of Christ.

“For though I am alive while I write to you, yet I am eager to die. My love has been crucified, and there is no fire in me desiring to be fed; but there is within me a water that liveth and speaketh, saying to me inwardly, Come to the Father. I have no delight in corruptible food, nor in the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, the heavenly bread, the bread of life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became afterwards of the seed of David and Abraham; and I desire the drink of God, namely His blood, which is incorruptible love and eternal life.” (To the Romans, Chapter 7)

Ignatius speaks of the Spirit of God within him (there is within me a water) beckoning him to come. He had no delight in corruptible food such as earthly bread, but rather the living bread come down from heaven, namely, the flesh of Christ that was sacrificed for the sins of the world. And for drink he desired not corruptible wine, but the incorruptible blood of Christ shed for the remission of sins. Ignatius was about to encounter his Lord face to face!

Attempts to use Ignatius’ words here to support transubstantiation are nothing short of ridiculous. It is incomprehensible to think that anyone could ignore the obvious context of this letter (or any of Ignatius’ letters) just to promote their agenda. Unfortunately it will continue to be the case. But for those who truly desire truth and are willing to take the time, the agendas of some will not prevail over truth.

Conclusion

The church of the first three centuries, indeed, did not possess a real presence doctrine; the writings of the church fathers from that era certainly portray that. In particular, Clement of Alexandria and his student Origen explicitly deny that such a doctrine could have existed. But it has been demonstrated in this article that even clearly explicit references from authentic sources denying the notion of transubstantiation is not enough to convince devout Catholics that their beloved doctrine is false.

While researching this article, I asked the Catholic website, “The Real Presence Association” to do the right thing and remove their out-of-context quote from Clement from their borage of other quotes used to support their cause. I did this specifically to get their reaction, knowing they would not actually remove the quote. I was trying to gather a collection of responses to Clement’s statement that the eating of the flesh of Christ was a metaphor from various Catholic websites. Few responded to my requests. But The Real Presence Association did respond, and I was a bit surprised by their defensive posture. Here is the response:

The Real Presence Association’s comments originally appeared here but were removed on their request.

Responses to strong evidence that refutes Catholic dogma will always draw sharp criticism from those who dearly love the Catholic Church. But for those who are willing to listen to the evidence and evaluate for themselves what is true, compelling evidence against Catholic doctrine will be heeded.

The real presence doctrine of the Catholic Church was, in fact, unheard of in the early centuries of the Christian church. It is interesting to think about how central the sacrifice of the mass is in Catholicism, and yet nowhere in early church do we find direct reference to it; only obscure evidence that, when taken in context, proves to be evidence to the contrary.

Test all things; hold fast that which is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21

1,399 Responses to Early Church Evidence Refutes Real Presence

  1. You talk about Jesus using this Greek word or that Greek word; I’m pretty sure He didn’t use any Greek word. Either John, or a stenographer working with him, used the words in question. As I said, trogo was used consistently for present tense and there is really no argument you can formulate that would suggest Jesus used a more graphic word after verse 53.

    But rather than be reasonable you decide to build an elaborate straw man by supposing Jesus used the word trogo, and ended it with the conclusion that He would be lying if my interpretation were right. I guess you see it that way because you are faced with the same conundrum as those so-called disciples. They didn’t believe Jesus when He told them to believe in Him and have eternal life, and apparently you don’t either.

    I am simply amazed at your presumptuous attitude. All I asked was, “And what about Him telling them that the flesh profits nothing and that it was a spiritual teaching?” Instead of telling me what you believe this to mean, you proceeded to state what you assume I believe about it. Then when you find out you were wrong, you accuse me of not being clear. Are you kidding me?! All I did was ask you a question! These assumptions are the source of your accusations of Gnosism. You even you said that you misrepresented my viewpoint and that this misrepresentation is what led you to imply that I have Gnostic tendencies. You are hurling accusations at me that are based on your own misinformation and then turning around and blaming me for it! You can’t get more obstinate than that.

    Well, maybe you can; you said:

    “Like it or not, my point still stands, you didn’t expose anything, you didn’t debunk anything. All you did is simply Proof by Assertion. I gave explanations as to why your viewpoint of the Eucharist is a kind of Docetism, yet I’m simply being labelled as “asserting”. Quite amusing indeed.”

    What is being exposed here is your misguided assumptions of what I believe, which you yourself admit is the source of your accusations. You gave explanations as to why the viewpoint of the eucharist which you created is a kind of Docetism, not my viewpoint. You can’t even comprehend my viewpoint. I may as well be talking to an atheist. If you don’t get what I’m saying then I guess you can do nothing else but be amused.

    Your comments on Tertullian are so ridiculous it hardly bears mentioning. However, it would be a disservice to readers if I didn’t at least point out the obvious twisting of logic you implemented to defend your doctrine. It is incredibly obvious that Tertullian interpreted Jesus’ words regarding eating His flesh and drinking His blood as metaphorical, even you saw it. But you can’t have Tertullian not believing as you do so you come up with what is probably the lamest excuse for him not interpreting it literally. You say he would have taken a literalistic turn had he been commenting on the eucharist. But, you say, this literalistic interpretation takes a backseat when he discusses the topic of the unprofitableness of the flesh? So according to you, Tertullian has two opposing interpretations – one metaphorical and one literal – of the same Scripture. If that is true, where is the literal interpretation? It doesn’t exist, Tom. You are making it up because you don’t like what you are confronted with. You can’t accept what you see because you can’t seem to see past your ideology.

    Apparently a new thought hit you while you were writing, that perhaps Tertullian was thinking of the earlier part of the discourse. Saying that Tertullian’s comments were not based on verse 53 and beyond is without merit, because one of the central points was how “they thought His discourse was harsh and intolerable, supposing that He had really and literally enjoined on them to eat his flesh.” You really should stop spinning this and concede that he understood Jesus metaphorically.

    Your comments on Tertullian using the word, figura, in the original Latin as pertaining to the outward appearance of Christ’s body is a stretch to say the least. Tertullian used the word figure synonymously with types many times. This is obvious because you know, for instance, that Jesus was not actually Adam. But to me it is just as obvious that bread isn’t Jesus either. Tertullian’s point was that Jesus offered His flesh sacrificially, not that He offers it sacramentally.

    I thought this was interesting:

    “They were thinking about cannibalism when Christ said that instead of understanding it in spiritual and mystical terms.”

    Where did Jesus say His teaching was mystical? He said it was Spirit and life, not Spiritual and mystical! I would say His message is mystical to anyone that lacks the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    You speak of the elements as having a new mode of existence, if that is true why do you still refer to them in their old mode of existence. For that matter, why did Paul refer to them in the old mode of existence; or Jesus when He referred to the cup as the fruit of the vine?

    Your long commentaries cover too much ground and I don’t have time to spend on everything. I think we are at an impasse on Ignatius since all you seem to do is be defensive about what I say. The question I asked you regarding having life in us outside of receiving the Catholic or Orthodox eucharist, wasn’t satisfactorily answered because you either did not understand what I was after or you did and wanted to avoid a direct answer. I wanted to know if you consider Protestants, who oppose your real presence doctrine, to have life in them through faith in Christ?

    • Tom says:

      It is rather unfortunate that your tone turned into polemic. You don’t have to cover all of my comment and that’s fine. All I want are proper points against them which was perfectly the tone of this argument before this comment of yours here. First off, I noted in my previous comment about the Greek word for “Truly” which Christ used to refer to His flesh and His blood being the true food and true drink. This is presented after the instances of the Disclosure which would be the metaphor for Faith and the Resurrection. But unexpectedly there isn’t any proper reply against this and all I got is simply typical Fundamentalist scare tactics. If your interpretation or viewpoint is truly correct, you could’ve easily gloss over my main points without resorting to displaying your own superiority complex and making false projections about me. You could’ve easily tackled the point I made or attempted to but to my utter surprise, it is not even the case. I’m instead being casted amongst the ranks of the unbelieving disciples instead of actually arguing against the invalidity of my position. I explained crystal clear why Jesus would be lying if He didn’t meant what He said literally from verse 54 onwards in the Disclosure in my previous comment. I didn’t merely assert that it was the case as I explained,

      ” But this vividness also takes a corporeal turn as Christ uses ἀληθής in verse 55 which Strong’s Concordance notes to be defined as, “unconcealed, true, true in fact, worthy of credit, truthful.” This means there’s nothing hidden here, it is pure unconcealed Truth. The Disciples were shocked when He proclaimed that one must eat His flesh and drink His blood which Christ simply responds as “unconcealed” Truth towards them. Is He lying to them? If we take this to be a metaphor, it would be “concealed” Truth since none of the Disciples understood that He was being metaphorical but yet, He told them that to eat His own flesh and drink His blood to be “unconcealed” fact which would make no sense within the context and linguistical structure used.”

      But rather than arguing against this, I get is the claim that I’m building a strawman which of course isn’t the case. The only metaphorical instance of Trogo is used in a vivid manner to express a given point. In the Bread of Life Disclosure, the same happens, though it is not metaphorically as with the word “ἀληθής” used which gave it a corporeal turn which would indicate a literal consumption of His flesh and blood. But the disciples were too fixated on this to even realize that this must be taken in a Spiritual and Mysterious manner which the disciples didn’t due to their carnal mindset which is why the “flesh profits nothing”. But of course all you can do about this is claim that those who take this to be such simply don’t have the Holy Spirit in them. From your reply one only have to ask, is such a reply filled with mere ad hominem and boasting really fitting for one that have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them? I don’t think so. Just because Jesus said that His words are of the Spirit and the Life doesn’t mean that it is merely those “words” that are such, it is the reality that they point to that makes them of the Spirit and the Life. Things of the Spirit transcends physical laws and events which adds an element of mystery in them due to the incomprehensibility by the human mind which makes “mystical” a befitting word.

      After this apparent ad hominem and display of self pride, you go on to actually once more misrepresent my position again. Yes the Bread and Wine have a new mode of existence but I also make clear that they retain their old identities which is why it is not a contradiction to refer to them as such. Given this your question is simply null. It doesn’t pose any problems with what I conveyed.

      Having settled this it is time to get to your strawman about your question which I did answered by saying,

      “Now regarding your appeal to verse 63, this would be of no help at all. St John Chrysostom for example took this verse to refer to the Carnalness of the Disciples in their hearing which makes sense.”

      When I said I wasn’t clear it is obvious that this misconception was to deal with the Greek word “Trogo” which I realized after consulting the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon and reading about tenses of the Greek language. But all I got was the accusation that I didn’t answer the question which is rather preposterous in itself. Also, when I said that you “wasn’t clear” it is obvious I meant your question which I explained why such is the case referring to its vagueness and ambiguity. It is only because of your agreement with Tertullian that I concede that this isn’t the case at all and that it was a misattribution due to the ambiguous nature of the question itself. I’m no stranger to debate and often, opponents would not lay out questions with ambiguity that could easily make anyone answering have some misconceptions about them. What you are doing is the opposite of what a proper person would do in debate which is to lay out questions clearly so that opponents wouldn’t have any misconceptions. I mean asking this, “And what about Him telling them that the flesh profits nothing and that it was a spiritual teaching?”, can easily lead anyone to concede that the asker of the question presupposes a dualistic separation between the flesh and spirit given the lack of any clarification and whatnot. But rather than admit that such ambiguity can easily give misattributed and misguided opinions about your question, you simply instead called me “obstinate” which simply demonstrate a refusal to admit flaws and mistakes. I willingly admitted any misconceptions and misattributions I made about my points and your position. But when it comes to something so simple as admitting the vagueness of your question which wouldn’t affect the truth value of your position, you simply lashed out ad hominems and rants.

      Next off is a rather ridiculous accusation about my argument that your viewpoint of the Eucharist is a kind of Docetism. It’s simply you making more assertions and accusations rather than attacking the argument itself. Also, I never said that I misattributed your position of the Eucharist, only about generalizing Orthodox believers for claiming your position to be a kind of Docetism which I acknowledge but I didn’t claim that my argument for why such is the case is a misattribution of sorts. I also didn’t “create” a strawman of your viewpoint of the Eucharist, you don’t even believe that Christ is present in the Eucharistic elements which is the main point of contention of my argument that your viewpoint of the Eucharist is a kind of Docetism. Only if you somehow believe that Christ is somehow present in the Elements only then you can claim that I “created” a strawman of your viewpoint of the Eucharist and attacked that Strawman. But this is hardly the case at all, I presuppose that you don’t believe that Christ is present in the Eucharistic elements throughout my arguments and I compared it with pure unadulterated Docetist thought. But instead of refuting this, you either make assertions or make false accusations like you are doing in your current comment. Admittedly, even Atheists I discussed with don’t resort to this kind of name calling or superiority complex. But it seems here, you are simply doing what men like Dawkins and Hitchens would do, only to be on the differing sides of the spectrum.

      Regarding your point about Tertullian, once more even more assertions, claiming that they are “ridiculous”. If they are so ridiculous why don’t you actually address them rather than flat out claim that they are such.

      • Tom says:

        I accidentally pressed “Enter” while typing this so I would have to lay the rest of my intended response in another comment.

        Continuing from where I left out about Tertullian I did acknowledge that he took the statements of Christ asking the Disciples to eat His flesh and drink His blood metaphorically, to mean Faith. But I also noted that this is prior to verse 54 before “Trogo” was introduced which I explained. Tertullian wasn’t even referring to these verses and as I also explained is arguing why the “unprofitableness of the Flesh” doesn’t undermine the Resurrection. He is viewing the Disclosure within this framework and so, the Eucharist would take a backseat or simply be not present at all given the main topic addressed which I also noted didn’t contradict or oppose the Real Presence. But instead of noting this you decide to create a false dilemma in which he is having two contradictory interpretations of the Bread of Life Disclosure which he is not as I explained before arguing that,

        “What I’m interested in is whether or not this refers to verse 54 onwards of the Disclosure. This metaphorical understanding could very well relate to the earlier part of the Disclosure where Jesus used “Phago” when referring to the eating of His flesh, which at this point is about Faith and the Resurrection.”

        But this explanation I gave was deliberately ignored and instead I’m greeted with more ad hominems and false projections. If this is how you are going to refute the notion of the Real Presence, it wouldn’t work at all. That’s simply like Dawkins claiming that God doesn’t exist and that theists can’t accept that the fact. What you are doing is similar if not the same, ignoring the point I made which I stated,

        “Once more we get the reference to the carnal motives and mindset of the Disciples and we get the confirmation that he is referring regarding digesting Christ by Faith to verse 51 of the Disclosure which is still about Faith in Him. Nothing in the entire chapter about the Disclosure does Tertullian made any reference or mention verse 54 in which Christ refers to His flesh as true food and His blood as true drink. It is after all at this point that the Disclosure becomes Eucharistic in nature, amplified by the use of “Trogo” and “ἀληθής”.”

        The so called “He had really and literally enjoined on them to eat his flesh” since I have mentioned in my previous comment about how that is also the thinking of the disciples due to their fixation on carnal things. In fact, I even said as you quoted that, “They were thinking about cannibalism when Christ said that instead of understanding it in spiritual and mystical terms.” How does this contradict what Tertullian said and His view of the Eucharist? Given this, your dilemma is nothing more than a meticulous strawman which you put up alongside ad hominems, self boasting and false projections of my position.

        Next off regarding Tertullian’s use of “Figura” it is once more assertion again rather than properly addressing the argument. I made clear why “Figura” as used in relation to the Last Supper would have to be the Literal sense rather than the Typological sense which he employed the term. Even then, Tertullian’s use of Typology is not solely symbolic as in the modern use of the term which doesn’t lend your argument that he is being symbolic any credence. He wouldn’t have hypothesized that Marcion might argue that Christ pretended that His body was bread if “Figura” wasn’t used in the sense as to refer to an “outward form”. So from this, your argument here wouldn’t make sense since it is contingent upon the basis that Christ did not pretend that the Bread is His Body and that the bread is really His Body hence being a “Figura” or “outward form” of it as one of the possible uses of the term allows. So once more, the argument isn’t addressed, just another assertion without much proof.

        Moving onwards to St Ignatius, there’s nothing you did that addresses my argument as to why he takes the viewpoint of the Real Presence. Once more another Proof by Assertion rather than addressing the argument at hand. Getting to your question, I did answer it satisfactorily, using a quote by reknowned scholar NT Wright who is Protestant since he is an Anglican bishop. Also, you cannot claim that all Protestants or Protestants in general are on your side. They are not. The Lutherans are happy to concede Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharistic elements or that the Methodists don’t really want to explain it and not want to reduce it to a mere “signpost” as NT Wright noted about the memorialist position on the Eucharist. At best you can only either say many or some Protestants but not them in general. I think NT Wright himself provided an answer to your question by explicitly saying, “Now, if you are isolated or for some reason can’t partake of the sacraments, I believe God does have ways of making it up to you.” which I believe to be true as well. But rather than getting a reason why it is not a satisfactory answer, I get the assertion that it is not one.

  2. My tone didn’t turn polemic, it turned to frustration.

    For instance, you agreed that John’s use of the word trogo was consistently used as the present tense of eating, yet you go on as though Jesus was speaking Greek. You continue to tell me how He used phago prior to verse 54 and trogo afterword to amplify a point as if my position on the matter was completely irrelevant. What is irrelevant is your position on His use of the words phago and trogo because it is absolutely certain that Jesus was not speaking Greek.

    Yes, Jesus said His flesh is true food and His blood true drink, but you claim that if He were speaking metaphorically he would not have used the word, “true” (Greek adverb: alethos). However in John 15 Jesus said, “I am the true vine.” Here the word true is the Greek adjective, alethinos. These two words are from the same root word, aletheo, which in English is “true.”

    The adverb alethos can indeed be properly translated as “unconcealed reality,” likewise with the adjective alethinos. The problem with your position is that you seem to think unconcealed reality means physical reality, but it does not. If we take your line of thought to John 15, we would interpret Jesus as saying, “I am in reality a vine.” But Jesus is not actually a vine, nor is He commanding us to consume His actual body and blood.

    The reality Jesus is speaking of is spiritual. Now before you go accusing me of being Docetic or Gnostic, take a look at John 4:23.

    “But the hour comes and now is, when the true (alethinos) worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth (aletheia); for the Father seeks such to worship him.”

    The true worshipers worship the Father in spirit and in “unconcealed reality.” The true worshipers consume the body and blood of Christ in spirit and “unconcealed reality.” The true worshipers don’t consume Christ in the eucharist; they consume Him every minute of every day by abiding in Him.

    Jesus said,

    “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him.” (Jhn 6:56)

    Later He said,

    “You are now clean, because of the word that I have spoken to you: abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (Jhn 15:3-4)

    This is spiritual reality spoken in metaphors of flesh, blood, and vine.

    Tertullian rightly stated that the Jews didn’t understand that His word is the life giving principle. And to His disciples Jesus said, “You are now clean, because of the word that I have spoken to you.” This is what it is all about, Tom. Christ does not abide in use by eating His actual body and drinking His actual blood; He abides in us through faith.

    You say Tertullian doesn’t make any reference or mention of verse 54; that is false. Tertullian said, “They thought His discourse was harsh and intolerable, supposing that He had really and literally enjoined on them to eat his flesh.” Are going to tell me that this is not a reference to verse 54?

    Now I’ll turn to your own ad hominem and false projection – not that I am offended by it because I can handle it. But I do like to point out hypocrisy when I see it. You say I am not a proper person because I was ambiguous when asked you this:

    “What about Him telling them that the flesh profits nothing and that it was a spiritual teaching? Have you considered these things?”

    I expected a yes or no with perhaps an explanation of what you thought about it. In return you would have found out what I believe. But apparently you thought you knew so much about me already that you could just assume what I believe, and when you found out your assumption was wrong, you decided to blame me for it. And now you call me the “opposite of a proper person” because I caused you to have misconceptions about me? It’s just absurd!

    So was I proper in asking this question?

    “Do you consider Protestants, who oppose your real presence doctrine, to have life in them through faith in Christ?”

    Your answer:

    You cannot claim that all Protestants or Protestants in general are on your side. They are not. The Lutherans are happy to concede Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharistic elements or that the Methodists don’t really want to explain it and not want to reduce it to a mere “signpost” as NT Wright noted about the memorialist position on the Eucharist. At best you can only either say many or some Protestants but not them in general. I think NT Wright himself provided an answer to your question by explicitly saying, “Now, if you are isolated or for some reason can’t partake of the sacraments, I believe God does have ways of making it up to you.” which I believe to be true as well. But rather than getting a reason why it is not a satisfactory answer, I get the assertion that it is not one.”

    Maybe it was my poor use of commas that caused you to be misled. I was not saying that all Protestants are on my side; I’m asking you about those who oppose your real presence doctrine and believe they have life in them through faith in Christ. Both times I asked the question I was clear about the people in question being opposed to the real presence doctrine.

    Most people would understand what I was asking, but you seem to be on a different playing field. If you say this is still too vague for you to understand then either you’re avoiding answering or you are so inside your theological box you simply can’t comprehend any other points of view. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

    • Tom says:

      At least the ad homs and false projections have been taken out of this comment which is gladly appreciated and at least there is actually a proper argument in regards to the use of “Truly” in John 6.

      Getting to your first point, it seems that the main contention against my misinterpretation is that Jesus didn’t speak Greek and this is true. Unfortunately for you, this does not lend any case in refuting my position since there isn’t any definite explanation as to why such is the case. Of course in the Aramaic Peshitta, there isn’t any distinction or increase in intensity but is the case that “Truly” as used also refers to “Truth” as one of its definitions which the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon defines as,

      “2 true Com. P Ex18:21 : ܓܒܪ̈ܝܼܢ ܫܪ̈ܝܪܝܢ P Mt22:16 : ܫܲܪܼܝܪ ܐܲܢ̱ܬ BT BB 160b(42) : שריר וקיים sound and established. (a) truthful Syr. (b) of evidentiary weight, reliable Syr. Rechts3 192:6 : ܗܿܝ ܐܚܝܕܘܬܐ܂ ܝܬܝܪ ܫܪܝܪܐ ܡܼܢ ܗܿܘ ܫܛܪܐ that fact of possession is more reliable than that contract. Rechts3 194:15 : ܥܠ ܣܗܕܘܬܐ ܫܪܝܪܬܐ ܘܕܒܦܘܫܟܐ concerning reliable and doubtful testimony. (c) fem. adj.as a subst.: see s.v. šryrh, šryrtˀ Syr.”

      If Jesus was therefore being metaphorical, then it entails that He is not giving the truth in “evidentiary weight” or being “truthful” since He is basically giving a false impression upon the unbelieving Disciples that they cannot comprehend the actual real Truth which He is telling them that is of the fact that His flesh and blood are the true food and true drink which is of “evidentiary weight” and “truthful” which is in actuality not exactly the case at all which once more raises the problem of Jesus intentionally lying to the Disciples. Given the flexibility of the original Aramaic, it would be quite difficult to establish an increase in intensity hence both words for “eat” bearing the same meaning which in itself can also mean “to accuse”. The tense law still holds as usual but, with the word “Truly” meaning “Truthful” and “of evidentiary weight”, this is parallel to what was written in the original Greek which the Peshitta translated from.

      Consulting the HELPS Word Studies, it defines “aléthinos” as,

      Cognate: 228 alēthinós (an adjective, derived from the other adjective of the same root/alēth-, 227 /alēthḗs, “true to fact”) – properly, true (real), emphasizing the organic connection (authentic unity) between what is true (228 /alēthinós) and its source or origin (note the -inos suffix). See 225 (alētheia).

      228 /alēthinós (“substantially true”) refers to what is essentially true – connecting (visible) fact to its underlying reality. 228 (alēthinós) then emphasizes the integrity of what is true, down to its inner make-up (reality, “true inside and out”).

      Thayer’s Greek Lexicon makes it clear how alēthinós allows for the use of metaphor defining it as,

      1. that which has not only the name and semblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name (Tittmann, p. 155; (“particularly applied to express that which is all that it pretends to be, for instance, pure gold as opposed to adulterated metal” Donaldson, New Crat. § 258; see, at length, Trench, § viii.)), in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real and true, genuine;

      source: http://biblehub.com/greek/227.htm

      Given this definition, Truth can be expressed metaphorically when “alēthinós” is used which means that it doesn’t pose any problems with Jesus declaring Himself to be the “True Vine” in John 15. This is so given that “underlying reality” in itself presupposes a hidden reality which is hidden from that which is perceived. Given this, metaphor is permissible to serve as a connection to this “underlying reality” which is what Jesus is doing when declaring Himself to be the “True Vine”, connecting the properties of Vine to Himself which fulfills the definition of “alēthinós”. Such would not be possible with “aléthés” given that it refers to unconcealed “Truth” and it doesn’t imply “that which has not only name and semblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name).

      Having settled that, it’s time to move onto John 4:23 which you didn’t really make any form of argument. All you are doing is simply projecting your own personal interpretation onto the verse itself rather than actually gave an explanation as to why Christ isn’t consumed in the Eucharist. But let’s get to the fundamental part of your argument, John 15:3-4 which does not demolish or affect my argument for the Real Presence in anyway at all. To abide in Christ is to do as He commands as written in Scripture and it just so happens that in the Bread of Life Disclosure, he revealed without any concealment that His flesh and blood is true food and true drink which the Faithful must consume to gain Eternal Life. This means that this doesn’t in anyway contradict or opposes the Real Presence, it further necessitates it given how the Eucharist is part of abiding in Him and being nourished by Him. Not by mere passive faith alone but through an active Faith which submits and obeys His Will.

      Of course now I would cite the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament to show just how an “unconcealed reality” is one that is without anything that is “Hidden”, that it is really the case as it is which Metaphors do not convey,

      Etymologically ἀλήθεια has the meaning of non-concealment. 17 It thus indicates a matter or state to the extent that it is seen, indicated or expressed, and that in such seeing, indication or expression it is disclosed, or discloses itself, as it really is, 18 with the implication, of course, that it might be concealed, falsified, truncated, or suppressed. ἀλήθεια, therefore, denotes the “full or real state of affairs.” From the time of Homer the subst. and neut. of the adj. have been normally used as the acc. obj. of a verbum dicendi, and the adv. ἀληθῶς usually means “really” or “truly.” As in judicial language the ἀλήθεια is the actual state of affairs to be maintained against different statements, so historians use it to denote real events as distinct from myths, and philosophers to indicate real being in the absolute sense

      Moving onwards to Tertullian, once more a parroting of the points which I rebutted. It is obvious that he didn’t make any reference to verses 54 given the fact that as he writes later on in the chapter,

      “Now, just before (the passage in hand), He had declared His flesh to be “the bread which comes down from heaven,” John 6:51 impressing on (His hearers) constantly under the figure of necessary food the memory of their forefathers, who had preferred the bread and flesh of Egypt to their divine calling.”

      Here, it is obvious that this is referring to the passages before verse 54 given his explicit mention of “before(the passage in hand) and then the quotation of John 6:51 which is also where He declares,

      ” if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

      This led to the Jews being shocked as they questioned “How can this man give us His flesh to eat” which reinforces the point that it is the earlier metaphorical verses which he is referring to rather than verses 54 onwards which is where the Disclosure reaches its literal point. Also as I noted in my previous comment, Tertullian himself wrote that Jesus places His own flesh under the same category as that “Life giving principle” which I see is now ignored here all for the sake of conceding that he favors a metaphorical take on the Eucharist. But as it is obvious, his use of “Figura” in relation to the Last Supper confirms that he pretty much believes in the Real Presence. Here when he is arguing for the Resurrection, he didn’t mention or go through verse 54 of the Disclosure which is where it starts to get literal. After all it is already before that which they got the misconception that Jesus is enjoining them towards cannibalism which is why he needn’t have to go through verse 54. They already believed that Jesus will enjoin them to cannibalism and held onto this thought before and after verse 54. Of course even before this comment, I mentioned on previous comments how the Jews were thinking carnally rather than Spiritually hence their misguided view that Jesus is really asking them to cannibalize Him during the Disclosure.

      Now to unveil your own self pride and boastfulness. It is simply easy to admit that you were vague which I extensively explained before why in my prior comment. Nowhere did you take or make any effort to be clear in your question that in itself presupposes a dualistic viewpoint of the Flesh and Spirit. You are expectant of people to know what goes on in your head when they just don’t. If I ask a question for example in the same manner as you did such as ” What about X is not true and Y is the case?”, it immediately presupposes that X isn’t true and that Y is somehow in some sense the case. Looking at your question, the same occurs

      “And what about Him telling them that the flesh profits nothing and that it was a spiritual teaching?”

      This presupposes that the Flesh literally profits nothing given zero clarification in the comment which you asked this question and that it is somehow the Spirit that profits. Questions presuppose truths. Asking one to choose between X or Y presupposes Free Will and similarly with your vague question, it presupposes some form of antagonism between Flesh and Spirit. But of course rather than simply admit its vagueness which doesn’t destroy your self image or invalidate your position, you rather make a big fuss over it. I even make clear after your clarification that my presuppositions isn’t the case but when it comes to me pointing the reason for my presuppositions, I get a desparate Culliton who simply wants to act as if he makes no mistakes.

      Of course once more, the same situation occurs because of your failure to take into account your use of basic grammar. Anyone reading the question would have the presupposition that Protestants in general do not believe the Real Presence. But no, you decide to once more place responsibility for misconceptions upon me for your own mistake in the first place. A simple “I don’t mean all Protestants take my position” and a removal of the comma is good enough and wouldn’t as with your previous vague question, cause any harm. But no, you simply want to make a huge fuss about it rather than to actually focus on the main argument at hand. Even your first question about those that don’t believe in the Real Presence doesn’t make any specifications in the first place which is fine since it refers to those that don’t believe which I answered but of course what I get is you whining about how I’m either dodging the question or that I didn’t answer it satisfactorily, both of which without any proper reason at all. But then you decide to meticulously make it as if Protestants in general are on your side by framing the question in such a manner which is something I merely pointed out. Of course I knew what you actually meant given your first question but the fact that the question is framed in such a way that it seems that you are placing Protestantism as a whole as supporting your view is an oddity which I needed to point out. But of course I get more false projections from you once more rather than actually pointing out why my answer is unsatisfactory or is simply dodging the question.

  3. As far as “ad homs and false projections” go, get over it and stop being hypocritical.

    So when you say, “unconcealed truth” you seem to suppose that anybody, even nonbelievers can understand what is being said. This is your argument regarding the unbelieving disciples, yet you told me that they thought Jesus was referring to cannibalism. Was Jesus as a truth referring to cannibalism, Tom?

    You arrogantly say I make no real argument regarding John 4:23. Well, here is what I said:

    “The true worshipers worship the Father in spirit and in “unconcealed reality.” The true worshipers consume the body and blood of Christ in spirit and “unconcealed reality.” The true worshipers don’t consume Christ in the eucharist; they consume Him every minute of every day by abiding in Him.”

    But based on your interpretation of John 6, you believe we must eat His actual body and drink His actual blood in the eucharist in order to abide in Him. So you are saying that only Catholics and Orthodox faithful can have life in them, because according to those faiths only they have the authority to enact the real presence of Christ in the eucharist. That means everyone outside of those faiths is without Christ.

    Fortunately true Christians worship in spirit and truth, not carnal acts of mysterious cannibalism. Eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood is abiding in Him. Even John tells us that we know He abides in us by the Spirit He has given us. The context of the discourse also establishes this fact.

    As for Tertullian, you didn’t rebut anything; all you did was draw attention away from the subject at hand.

    “In a like sense He had previously said: He that hears my words, and believes in Him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but shall pass from death unto life. Constituting, therefore, His word as the life-giving principle, because that word is spirit and life.

    Then he said:

    “He likewise called His flesh by the same appellation; because, too, the Word had become flesh, we ought therefore to desire Him in order that we may have life, and to devour Him with the ear, and to ruminate on Him with the understanding, and to digest Him by faith. ”

    “Desire Him that we may have life.” How do we have life; by His word. As I quoted Jesus saying, “You are now clean through the word that I have spoken to you.” Also, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (Jhn. 5:24)

    His flesh is regarded as life-giving for the reason Tertullian specified, and that is, because the Word became flesh and that flesh was given for the life of the world. In other words, Christ gave His life for our sins, that is, for whoever will believe on Him. But you don’t believe this. You are so fixated on the eucharist that you even accuse me of claiming Tertullian was taking a metaphorical view of it. My position from the beginning was that the bread of life is not about the eucharist.

    “If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

    You say this lead the Jews being shocked. Really? The word used was, “machomai,” it means to contend. They contended with one another. They weren’t in agreement with one another over what He was saying. So this doesn’t lend to Tertullian referring to this portion. Besides, Tertullian clearly stated that they supposed that He really and literally enjoined on them to eat His flesh. Firstly, this alone tells us that he did not interpret Jesus words in verse 53 and beyond literally, secondly, your argument is grammatically incorrect, and thirdly, you have very clearly demonstrated your bias by falsely associating my position on the bread of life with the eucharist.

    I like how you clarify that the Jews had the misconception that Jesus was enjoining them to cannibalism. This is quite amazing in light of the fact that you spent so much effort stressing how His words were “unconcealed” truth, and if the Jews did not understand what He was saying He must have been lying to them; right, Tom?

    Let me remind you of what you said:

    “The Disciples were shocked when He proclaimed that one must eat His flesh and drink His blood which Christ simply responds as “unconcealed” Truth towards them. Is He lying to them? If we take this to be a metaphor, it would be “concealed” Truth since none of the Disciples understood that He was being metaphorical but yet, He told them that to eat His own flesh and drink His blood to be “unconcealed” fact which would make no sense within the context and linguistical structure used.”

    But Tom, you are saying they didn’t understand Him. You said they thought He was speaking of cannibalism! So what was the unconcealed truth, Tom? Was it unconcealed truth that they must eat Him mystically? If so, why did they not understand? Was Jesus lying; was He being unclear?

    As far as my so-called vague question you keep harping on, I made clear what my expectations were. I expected what any normal person would expect. Apparently you are unable to get past the fact that you assumed wrongly. Let it go, Tom.

    As far as my last question that you continue to avoid answering, you said…

    “Anyone reading the question would have the presupposition that Protestants in general do not believe the Real Presence. But no, you decide to once more place responsibility for misconceptions upon me for your own mistake in the first place. A simple “I don’t mean all Protestants take my position” and a removal of the comma is good enough and wouldn’t as with your previous vague question, cause any harm.”

    Interesting; well, here is what I said:

    Maybe it was my poor use of commas that caused you to be misled. I was not saying that all Protestants are on my side; I’m asking you about those who oppose your real presence doctrine and believe they have life in them through faith in Christ. Both times I asked the question I was clear about the people in question being opposed to the real presence doctrine.”

    Was I not clear about them being in opposition to real presence? You want to claim you answered the question, but your answer was about people who are unable to be present for the eucharist. Here is what you said:

    “I think NT Wright himself provided an answer to your question by explicitly saying, “Now, if you are isolated or for some reason can’t partake of the sacraments, I believe God does have ways of making it up to you.” which I believe to be true as well.”

    Does it sound like this guy is talking about people who are opposed to the real presence? Seriously, Tom, how do you not get this?

    • Tom says:

      Once more the usual assertions and nothing much that actually go against my main argument. But let’s start with your assertion that given “unconcealed truth” entails cannibalism, it does not follow given that I explicitly mentioned in previous comments that the Jews were viewing this through the lens of their carnalism. Did this not come to you after reading my past comments and replies. It is very apparent that all you are doing is putting on rants here instead of addressing the argument properly as in every normal argument. Because of the fact that the word “Truly” used is reference to absolute “unadulterated” truth and as the Theological dictionary of the New Testament explains which I cited in my previous comment stating that it denotes the “full or real state of affairs.” it logically follows that the real state of affairs is that one must eat His flesh and Drink His blood. That both of these substances are what one needs to attain Eternal Life. The mode of consumption was never stated which means that to assume this mode to be through cannibalism would be to think carnally since this literal consumption would be of a higher spiritual level. But of course despite my explicit mention of this, lo and behold it was tossed out of the bathwater in your comment. The unconcealed truth in the statement made by Jesus was simply that one have to consume His flesh and blood. Nothing is said about “How” it is done. The Disciples having their carnal mindset presupposed this to be done through the means of cannibalism which is not the case in the Real Presence.

      Of course once more I directly addressed your so called point that “true believers” abide in Christ through faith which in itself presupposes obedience to His Will and word, meaning that the command to consume His flesh and blood still holds. But on a rather interesting twist you decide to presuppose that the Orthodox believe that Protestants and non Christians are without Christ. But this is pure absurdity. Any Orthodox would like the Anglican bishop NT Wright would say that God would somehow make it up to them through other means. But of course rather than accepting this answer to your question you claim that he is not talking about those who oppose it. True but it doesn’t mean that his answer is wrong since it presupposes those who can’t receive the true Eucharist to have it made up to them through other means which we would not know of. After all it is your non belief in the Real Presence that you will not even bother to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, just a mere representation of these entities in the toned down Eucharist which NT Wright himself attacked as I noted. But even then, those that can’t receive it will have it “make up to them” by God which is my point of view as well. But rather than to actually accept this, you decide to make a huge rant as you are doing right now.

      Getting to Tertullian, you once more make more assertion. Here’s what I actually said if you simply decide to not read my comments or decide to turn a blind eye away from it,

      “Here when he is arguing for the Resurrection, he didn’t mention or go through verse 54 of the Disclosure which is where it starts to get literal. After all it is already before that which they got the misconception that Jesus is enjoining them towards cannibalism which is why he needn’t have to go through verse 54. They already believed that Jesus will enjoin them to cannibalism and held onto this thought before and after verse 54.”

      Given this, my point still stands, all you are doing is trying to brush this fact away by claiming that I’m dodging the issue when I pretty much tackled it head on. Also, using Tertullian’s saying that we should “desire Him in order that we may have life, and to devour Him with the ear, and to ruminate on Him with the understanding, and to digest Him by faith.” doesn’t automatically entail that your position is correct. No doubt, Tertullian believes that Christ’s flesh is “Life giving” because it is the same flesh that suffered, died and was resurrected for the world. But this doesn’t automatically entail that he is a memorialist like you. Anyone who believes in the Real Presence can without any doubt make that same claim. But of course if Christ’s flesh is “life giving”, then it follows that it profits as well just as the spirit “profits” the flesh. But of course you decide to draw a very huge strawman of my beliefs, claiming that I don’t believe that Christ suffered, died and resurrected claiming flat on after saying about it that I don’t believe in it. Wow, just wow. Your position from the beginning is indeed true that the Bread of Life isn’t about the Eucharist, we all get that and aren’t as obstinate as you decide to make me to be. But unfortunately it does have Eucharistic allusions, particularly due to the peculiar structure of the later part of the disclosure which I have extensively argued referencing the original Greek in its true definitions unlike the toned down versions you used and even referencing the Aramaic Peshitta itself. So there’s no excuse. Even Tertullian knows this and knew that the Jews thought that Jesus was literally enjoining them to eat His flesh which is of course thanks to his own clarification later in the disclosure, is regarding their carnal mindedness which they had due to the earlier part of the disclosure before where He was really literal. Given this carnal mindset, they wouldn’t interpret it in a Spiritual and mystical manner, they would instead interpret it in the sense of cannibalism all the way once Jesus started saying that one must eat His flesh and drink His blood. The Disclosure is Spiritual in nature as Tertullian himself noted but just because it is Spiritual, it does not automatically refutes the notion of the Real Presence of the Eucharist.

      Getting to your notion about the Jews arguing amongst each other. Yes they did but it is pretty obvious that this argument was the result of their shock towards Jesus’ proclamation prior which in fact reinforces the point that Tertullian was referring to the earlier part of the Disclosure in which the Jews had the wrong understanding since it was about Faith and the Resurrection prior to verse 54 which is where Jesus intensifies this and becomes real serious. Of course with their minds set on Jesus actually meaning cannibalism, it would automatically entail that they would have the same mindset be it before verse 54 of the Disclosure. Of course this doesn’t mean that verse 54 onwards needed to be interpreted metaphorically, it means that it must be interpreted Spiritually. Don’t tell me Spiritually automatically presupposes that nothing physical would be included as this is the only presupposition one have to take to deny the actual eating of Jesus’ own flesh and blood in the Eucharist. But thankfully we know this isn’t the case given insights from the original Greek used. It is from this that we know Tertullian himself did not focus on the later aspects of the Disclosure, their carnal mindset caused them to have the thought of Jesus literally enjoining them to eat His flesh in the cannibalistic sense through verse 51 which in itself explicitly mentioned Jesus proclaiming that one must eat His flesh which is the bread He would give for the world. It is after this that the Disciples argued amongst themselves after being shocked by this revelation which is the understanding that was then attached to them which is supposed to be taken to be a Spiritual thing. This is why Tertullian did not deny the Eucharistic value of the Disclosure or automatically rejects the Real Presence, He is simply focusing upon the disciples’ carnal mindset which is focused upon material things rather than Spiritual. So what you did only reinforced the aspect that the Disciples thought that Christ literally enjoined them to eat His flesh given verse 51 a thought which they held onto throughout the Disclosure which is precisely why they left. Also, where did I associate your position with the Eucharist, in my arguments they are opposed to each other? Never have I ever made any implication or suggestion that you take the Bread of Life Disclosure to mean the Eucharist. This is rather an absurd assertion in itself.

      I already dealt with your question in earlier but I would be touching up on this here as I have a some more things to note. Firstly, while Jesus’ use of “aléthés” means “unconcealed truth”, it doesn’t follow that it means that the explanations of the “truth” would be conveyed. It is simply the Truth stated unconcealed as fact in black and white. For example the statement “Particle A is entangled to Particle B” entails the truth that Particle A is indeed entangled to Particle B. What is not entailed is how A and B are entangled together but it doesn’t mean as well that they are not entangled together given that it would automatically dismiss the statement. Given “aléthés ” being used by Jesus in the later part of the Disclosure to refer to the state of His flesh and blood being True food and true drink, it follows that such is indeed the case which He reinforced its “truthfulness” by saying “Amen, Amen” prior, which further consolidates the fact that Jesus is indeed being literal at this point. But as with the statement about the entanglement of Particles A and B, Jesus never disclosed as to “how” the Flesh and Blood would be eaten, only that one actually have to eat them which preserves the reality of the command to eat His flesh and drink His blood and the possibility that the act could be done through various means which is shown to be through the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Not only that of course but the fact that “aléthés” is not used in a metaphorical sense or used to disclose truth in a metaphorical manner simply confirms the literalness of Jesus’ insistence that one have to eat His flesh and drink His blood as the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon notes its usage in classical Greek Literature that,

      ἀληθ-εύω, fut. -εύσω X.Mem.1.1.5, al.:—speak truth, A.Th.562, Hp.Prog.15, Pl.R.589c; περί τι Id.Tht.202b: with neut. Adj., ἀ. πάντα speak truth in all things, Batr.14; πολλὰ ἀ. X.An.4.4.15; τὰς δέκα ἡμέρας ἠλήθευσε he rightly foretold . . , ib.5.6.18; ἀ. τοὺς ἐπαίνους prove their praises true, Luc.Ind.20; τοὔνομα `make good’, Them.Or.1.4c.

      2. of things, to be, prove true, σημεῖα Hp.Prog.25:—Pass., to be fulfilled, of conditions, ἐπὶ τούτοις -ομένοις X.Cyr.4.6.10, freq. in Arist.:—Act. of reasoners, arrive at truth, Id.Metaph.1062a25:—Pass., ὁ λόγος -εύεται is in accordance with truth, Top.132b4, al.; ἀληθεύεσθαι κατά τινος to be truly predicated of . . , ib.132a31, al.: fut. Med. in same sense, EN1100a35, al.

      ἀληθ-ής [ᾰ], Dor. ἀλᾱθής, ές, (λήθω, = λανθάνω: ἀληθὲς τὸ μὴ λήθῃ ὑποπῖπτον EM62.51):—unconcealed, so true, real, opp. false, apparent:

      I. Hom., opp. ψευδής,in phrases ἀληθέα μυθήσασθαι, εἰπεῖν, ἀγορεύειν, ἀληθὲς ἐνισπεῖν, Il.6.382, Od.13.254, 3.254, 247, al.; in Hdt. and Att. τὸ ἀληθές, by Trag. crasis τἀληθές, Ion. τὠληθές (Hdt.6.68, 69), or τὰ ἀληθῆ, by crasis τἀληθῆ, etc.; ἀληθέϊ λόγῳ χρᾶσθαι Hdt. 1.14, etc.; οἱ ἀληθέϊ λόγῳ βασιλέες 1.120; ἀληθεστάτη πρόφασις Th.1.23.

      2. of persons, etc., truthful, honest (not in Hom., v. infr.), ἀ. νόος Pi.O.2.92; κατήγορος A.Th.439; κριτής Th.3.56; οἶνος ἀ. `in vino veritas’, Pl.Smp.217e; ὁ μέσος ἀ. τις Arist.EN 1108a20.

      3. of oracles, true, unerring, ἀλαθέα μαντίων θῶκον Pi. P.11.6, cf. S.Ph.993, E.Ion1537; of dreams, A.Th.710.

      II. of qualities or events, true, real, φίλος E.Or.424; ἀ. τὸ πραχθέν Antipho 1.6; genuine, ἀ. εἶναι δεῖ τὸ σεμνόν, οὐ κενόν Men.596.

      2. realizing itself, coming to fulfilment, ἀρά A.Th.944.

      III. Adv. ἀληθῶς, Ion. ἀλη-θέως, truly, Simon.5.1, Hdt.1.11, al., A.Supp.315, etc.

      b. actually, in reality, γένος τόδε Ζηνός ἐστιν ἀ. ib.585; ἀ. οὐδὲν ἐξῃκασμένα Id.Ag.1244, cf. Th.1.22, etc.; τὴν ἀ. μουσικήν (sc. οὖσαν) Antiph.209.6:—ὡς ἀ. in the true way, really, E.Or.739, Pl. Phd.63a, etc.; ἡ μὲν γὰρ ὡς ἀ. μήτηρ D.21.149: Comp. -εστέρως Pl. R.347e, -έστερον Antipho 3.3.4: Sup. -έστατα X.Mem.4.8.1.

      2. neut. as Adv., proparox. ἄληθες; indeed? really? ironically, S.OT 350, Ant.758, E.Cyc.241, Ar.Ra.840, Av.174.

      3. τὸ ἀληθές truly, Ion. τὠληθές Herod.7.70.

      B. not forgetting, careful, γυνὴ χερνῆτις ἀ. Il.12.433, cf. Nonn.D.24.233:—the sense honest is post- Hom.

      Given this, it follows that Jesus is being serious that the disciples must actually eat His flesh and drink His blood which is my main point of contention. This is the truth and the Jews took it in the wrong manner, presupposing that it is actually cannibalistic despite Jesus not making the claim that it is, He simply said that one must eat His flesh and drink His blood which if the Jews were understanding the statement in the correct manner would know that it wouldn’t be done in the carnal sense and would instead be of Spiritual significance which is time and time again what I was arguing about. The problem however is when such statement is mere metaphor which would immediately entail that Jesus is lying to the Jews given that they thought such is the case when in actuality Jesus never actually meant for that to be in such a manner. But if He is being literal, then it is fitting to say that the Jews being carnal minded took it wrongly whilst still maintaining an understanding that it is a literal statement which meant that Jesus told them the Truth true and pure but having took it wrongly which is why Jesus clarified that it was supposed to be “Spiritual” and that the Flesh profits nothing in reference to their carnal understanding. Such is akin to Einstein’s hatred for Quantum Mechanics due to the fact that it destroys his belief in Newtonian Determinism. Similarly, the Disciples didn’t understand correctly because of their belief that Jesus is a tool to their material needs and gain which is connected to the feeding of the five thousand earlier in the chapter. But going back to the example of Einstein, does this mean that the other physicists that believe in the truth of Quantum Mechanics lying when they made it known that Newtonian Determinism is false? Of course not. But by your line of thought this is the case as your questions themselves presuppose. By claiming that the Disciples took it wrongly, to you it entails that Jesus is lying based on your questions. But this is not the case as Jesus was being clear, it is the carnalness of the disciples that made them took things wrongly. Just because Jesus didn’t disclose the mode of how the eating of the Flesh and Blood will be doesn’t mean that He is lying given the fact that His flesh and blood would still by default be consumed be it in some way or another.

      Of course all this fuss comes up all because of your fixation on a mere part of my comment rather than its value as a whole as I stated just right after which you ironically cited that,

      “that He was being metaphorical but yet, He told them that to eat His own flesh and drink His blood to be “unconcealed” fact which would make no sense within the context and linguistical structure used.”.

      But the main thing which is supposed to be “unconcealed” is the fact that the Disciples have to eat His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life. It is as I explained prior not a matter of how the act would be done which is what the Jews in their carnal understanding presupposed to be done through cannibalism eventhough Jesus never said that. He simply said that one must eat His flesh and drink His blood which He truly meant to be done in a spiritual manner through the Eucharist. Given this, such is simply a mere strawman of my position. The main focal point here is not the wrong understanding of the Disciples about how the eating and drinking of Christ’s flesh and blood would be carried out which I never said must be the case in order for Jesus not to be lying to the disciples. The only prerequisite is that the statement He made about eating His flesh and drinking His blood must be true which is why the belief in the Real Presence in the first place. If He meant it metaphorically He is simply delivering Truth with underlying implications and realities given its nature as a metaphor. A metaphor is not unconcealed truth, it is rather a figurative sign pointing or proclaiming the truth which would involve concealment given how the sign used is not the object of the metaphor itself. The object is hidden behind the sign used hence meaning that Jesus would be lying, particularly given the original Greek and Aramaic used.

      Rather than drawing up strawman of my comments, why not quote the whole thing instead as I continued after the part of my comment you cited to misrepresent me that,

      ” But no, you simply want to make a huge fuss about it rather than to actually focus on the main argument at hand. Even your first question about those that don’t believe in the Real Presence doesn’t make any specifications in the first place which is fine since it refers to those that don’t believe which I answered but of course what I get is you whining about how I’m either dodging the question or that I didn’t answer it satisfactorily, both of which without any proper reason at all. But then you decide to meticulously make it as if Protestants in general are on your side by framing the question in such a manner which is something I merely pointed out. Of course I knew what you actually meant given your first question but the fact that the question is framed in such a way that it seems that you are placing Protestantism as a whole as supporting your view is an oddity which I needed to point out. But of course I get more false projections from you once more rather than actually pointing out why my answer is unsatisfactory or is simply dodging the question.”

      This chunk of course is a reply to the later part of your comment which is simply placing false projections and having the expectation of other people to know what would go on at the back of your head as you said just after your citation of your comment that,

      “Most people would understand what I was asking, but you seem to be on a different playing field. If you say this is still too vague for you to understand then either you’re avoiding answering or you are so inside your theological box you simply can’t comprehend any other points of view. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.”

      This is an obvious indirect ad hominem and false projection which you are bringing up, particularly when your questions both have been answered through my citation of NT Wright. Saying that,

      “Does it sound like this guy is talking about people who are opposed to the real presence? ”

      Does not in anyway invalidates my answer. You are unable to partake of a proper Eucharist because of your disbelief in the Real Presence in the first place. He explicitly said in his lecture “some reason” which could mean those who don’t believe or couldn’t see the necessity of the Eucharist, just like you who as NT Wright also said in the same lecture “reduce the Eucharist to a mere signpost”. But of course there are serious implications of rejecting the Real Presence as I noted before from endorsing a type of Docetism to Jesus actually lying in the Disclosure, unless you somehow decide to interpret the Disclosure in a Predestinarian manner but a lie is still a lie Predestinarian interpretation or not. Calvin can escape this since he views that the Predestined would actually eat the Body of Christ in the Eucharist through Faith, an actual eating that is real. But you can’t since no actual eating of Christ occurs in your Eucharist. Of course there are much more implications than those two that I pointed out.

      • Tom says:

        I have to make an amendment here about one of my statements which I would quote,

        ” where did I associate your position with the Eucharist, in my arguments they are opposed to each other? Never have I ever made any implication or suggestion that you take the Bread of Life Disclosure to mean the Eucharist. This is rather an absurd assertion in itself.”

        It should be as the following,

        First off, it is really obvious that you don’t believe that Christ is present in the Eucharistic elements. You also based on your article and the fact that you argued against Tertullian’s use of “Figura” is further testimony that Tertullian clearly in your opinion is a memorialist like you. If your position is simply about the Bread of Life Disclosure being about Jesus’ Sacrifice and Faith, you could’ve easily dismissed my concession regarding his use of “Figura” when arguing against Marcion as red herring but obviously, you didn’t and responded to it. So therefore by claiming that the Disclosure have nothing to do with the Eucharist which you also claimed to be Tertullian’s view, what you are really doing is to simply strengthen the thesis that Christ is not present in the Eucharistic elements as Scripture and the Church Fathers themselves believed. Of course this is not the case and wouldn’t be any issue if you didn’t make your ludicrous statement that,

        “My position from the beginning was that the bread of life is not about the eucharist.”

        Of course we all know that simply because if such is the case, the Real Presence would be in your point of view invalidated or that the case for it would be weakened. From your conclusion regarding Tertullian that he never believed or heard about the Real Presence in the first place, it is easy to see how you are really contradicting yourself by accusing me of claiming that I accused you of having the opinion that Tertullian took the Eucharist symbolically. But this is not an accusation, is pretty much fact in itself given how you actually addressed my argument about Tertullian’s use of Figura and your conclusion about him from your own article is pretty much a testimony that my so called “accusation” isn’t one at all.

        Without the Bread of Life Disclosure being about the Eucharist or the Real Presence, you can simply decrease its validity which is why you even raise this up in the first place and argue how it is impossible for any Eucharistic allusions to be present citing Tertullian in hopes that it would decrease the validity of this position of the Real Presence which is of course why I actually said in my previous comment that,

        “Also as I noted in my previous comment, Tertullian himself wrote that Jesus places His own flesh under the same category as that “Life giving principle” which I see is now ignored here all for the sake of conceding that he favors a metaphorical take on the Eucharist.”

        After all if the Bread of Life Disclosure is not about the Eucharist and nothing Eucharistic is present in it, does it mean that the Real Presence position’s validity is reduced given the decrease in sources that can be used to argue for it? It is obvious that you reject the Real Presence. Any actual eating of Christ or His presence in the elements is rejected by you and so your goal is to somehow prove that the Real Presence is unbiblical and is not the viewpoint of the Church Fathers in your effort to debunk it or more accurately, debunk Catholicism which is quite ironic since the very same church sprouted the many things Protestants believe in but not to stray off topic, it is clear that if Tertullian don’t believe that there’s any Eucharistic allusions in the Bread of Life Disclosure, it entails that he doesn’t believe or increases the possibility that he doesn’t believe in the Real Presence but this doesn’t make sense of course since he didn’t specify that he didn’t or made any statements that would deny it as I had argued. Given his use of “Figura” as well, it pretty much serves as an absolute confirmation of the Eucharistic elements being the Body and Blood of Christ.

  4. I’m going to end this here because it’s just getting absurd. So I’ll take the last word. What you said in the following quote is indicative of your style of debate:

    “It is very apparent that all you are doing is putting on rants here instead of addressing the argument properly as in every normal argument.” (Tom)

    You continually project this sort of defense because you apparently want me to buy into your manipulation of facts and evidence. I would have to be drinking the same Kool Aid as you are to do that. The fact is I will never address any of your arguments properly in your opinion, because your ideological thinking will not allow you to accept any validity in my arguments.

    Your arguments are simply absurd. You told me that if we take Jesus words metaphorically it would be “concealed” truth because none of the disciples would have understood Him. Then you went further by saying, “He told them that to eat His own flesh and drink His blood to be “unconcealed” fact.”

    To summarize your opinion: Jesus could not have been speaking metaphorically because His hearers would not have understood Him, and for that reason He would have been speaking “concealed truth.” But because He said they must truly eat His body and drink His blood, they would have understood Him correctly because He was speaking “unconcealed truth.”

    But then you have this other opinion as well where you say they did not understand Him because they thought He was enjoining them to literally eat His flesh and drink His blood. But this opinion implies that that Jesus was speaking “concealed truth,” because none of the disciples understood Him (your words).

    The Orthodox opinion on this is that Jesus is really and mystically present in the elements. If the truth was not concealed from them, as you say, why were they shocked and disgusted? The answer is what you said; they thought He was speaking of cannibalism. This means that your whole unconcealed truth argument is a lie. You refuted your own argument and no amount spin will get you out of it.

    The other difficulty you have is in believing Jesus’ words literally. He said unless we eat His body and drink His blood we have no life in us. Given your interpretation it would mean we would have to literally eat His flesh and drink His blood to be saved. But for some reason you don’t exactly want to go there. So you just believe for no good reason that Jesus wasn’t being totally honest and that God will find a way to save those who believe in Him but fail to recognize the real presence doctrine. In Catholicism this is called the ignorance clause.

    The real ignorance, however, is with you, because you fail to recognize the many times Jesus spoke of salvation by faith. In fact in the discourse itself Jesus said it seven different times. Don’t think it escaped me that every time I quoted Jesus saying these things you ignored the reference. You write responses with thousands of words which amount to nothing more than lecturing on your misguided opinions.

    The Scriptural truth is, we are saved by faith in Christ. This is echoed throughout the New Testament. In only one place does Jesus tell us to eat His body and drink His blood, and only after the Jews carnal reaction and His repeated proclamation to believe in Him and receive eternal life. They would not believe in Him when He spoke plainly to them so He then spoke in terms that would offend them through their own train of thought. But He let them know before they walked away, that the words He spoke were Spirit and life. But because they would not believe they walked away.

    The references for us abiding in Christ and He in us are plenty. I’ve presented them in these discussions many times. Every reference speaks of us abiding in Him through His word except for John 6. But in John 6 we do recognize, as did Tertullian, that based on the context of the discourse it is His word that is the life giving principle. And it is by His word and our faith that we abide in Him and He in us; and we know this by the Spirit has given us.

    • Tom says:

      You can have the last word here as I would allow my arguments to speak for themselves and for the readers to judge. It was admittedly an enlightening discussion in the beginning but it unfortunately have to end up this way just as with once more the same false projections you are displaying rather than to actually address my arguments. At this point to keep with your words I will end this critique here.

      Of course at least I can appreciate your gesture as not being as that of John Newbold and Blessedarethepureinheart since I don’t really see how both of their arguments actually address yours and I’m glad to see that even if I do not find your arguments to be satisfactory, it is at least better than what they thrown at you.

      But I will note a few things here, firstly an “ignorance clause” is better than pronouncing judgement upon anyone immediately since it is up to God and if God is merciful, He will by some other means make it up to them as NT Wright puts it. It’s the same with the issue of who’s Saved. Don’t tell me the entire Sentinelese Island are going to be Eternally Damned since none of its residents actually heard the Gospel or even in the first place have knowledge about God. Are they going to be eternally damned when they die? We don’t know and it is boastful to say that they would hence the so called “ignorance clause” used which is out of humility rather than dodging the issue.

      Secondly, your take on why Jesus deliberately intensified His language from verse 54 onwards in the Disclosure is simply akin to God deceiving the Disciples and then telling them later that it is not the case. The lie is still there and God still lied since He is intentionally appealing to their carnal mindset and intentionally rousing such a reaction from them in the first place which raises ethical concerns about God’s own Nature. God cannot lie and the Disclosure is of serious concern so any deliberate intention to make the Disciples lie would be by definition, deception, even if He revealed later that such is not the case. The deed had been done and He still lied.

      Thirdly, I had answered why the “unconcealed truth” argument which I used isn’t a lie, extensively in my last comment. The Truth value of something doesn’t necessitate knowing “how” the Truth works or operates, it is simply acknowledging the reality of that Truth. Similarly the Truth that one have to Eat Jesus’ Flesh and drink His Blood is a reality but we weren’t told at the Disclosure how this Truth would operate. I used the principle of Quantum Entanglement to explain this, the entanglement between two separate particles is there but it is not known how this entanglement actually works. This is parallel to Jesus’s statement in the later part of the Disclosure. I gone through this extensively in my previous comment so I’ll leave it at that.

      I’ll leave things at that and if the rest is yours. I would let the reader judge whose arguments are more concise and logical.

  5. John Newbold says:

    But Brian, you still have not addressed Paul’s comments that we should not eat the Bread unworthily. If it’s just a piece of bread…

  6. Okay, John. Why don’t you make the case for why 1Cor. 11:27 compels you to believe the Catholic doctrine of real presence and I will respond to it on Monday. I hope you will give this some thought and not simply state that it’s a logical conclusion.

  7. John Newbold says:

    Brian, three times I have asked how is it possible to eat a mere piece of bread unworthily. Three times I have either been ignored or answered with a question. So for the fourth time I ask it. How can the consumption of any food be considered to be done in an unworthy manner?

  8. First of all, John, you didn’t address any of the context I tried to bring into the discussion. I’m not sure why you think you have right to demand explanations from me. Nevertheless I will give the explanation and I expect in return a reasonable explanation from you as to why you are so convinced of transubstantiation from this chpter.

    The focus of Paul’s reprimand of the Corinthians is not the bread, as you apparently think based on your flippant description of it being a “mere piece of bread.” The eucharist is a holy institution that the Corinthians were abusing. In the midst of coming together to renew and confirm their covenant with God, they were confirming their covenant with sin by their behavior and factions.

    They were guilty of the body and blood of the Lord by profaning the institution of the eucharist. These actions apparently attracted a disciplinary reaction from God, as Paul said some are sick and others dead because of it. They ate and drank judgment on themselves by feasting and not respecting the institution of the Lord’s memorial. It would be like you going to mass one day and seeing parishioners and clergy who came there for the purpose of feasting and getting drunk, and not allowing you anything. Do you think they would be eating and drinking judgment on themselves?

    There it is in a nutshell. Now tell me how you see this from the context of the chapter.

  9. John Newbold says:

    A tad touchy today, eh? Brian, I’ve noticed that whenever I or BPH do address an issue not to your liking you usually comment that we didn’t say anything. So I’ll leave it at that. As to my demanding an explanation from you, I merely pointed out that I had asked a question several times and you chose to ignore it. At least this time you didn’t. As far as being flippant, nothing is further from the case. The bread is either the flesh of Jesus or a mere piece of bread. I would think that with a Protestant’s ‘either/or’ philosophy that this would be the way to address the issue for you. Apparently, you feel the Eucharist is something else. Perhaps you’re substituting ‘ the institution of the Eucharist’ for the word ‘bread’.

    Take a look at the verses 23-30. When Paul says ‘eating the bread unworthily’ , he is obviously, in the immediate context, talking about the bread, not the entire Eucharistic institution.

    Again, we must come back to the fact that you say it is the Holy Spirit who has guided you and put the scriptures in perspective for you and yet feel that you are not infallable while claiming all others to be fallable.

    Jesus was very clear…”This IS my Body” not “This symbolizes by Body”. Did the perfect teacher choose the wrong words? Or is it that you know of a Christian demonination prior to the Reformation that denied the Real Presence? Those that did were heretics!

    What Jesus preached in John 6 is definitely a hard saying, but I for one will not turn away and follow him no more. For me, He is the Way, the Light and the Truth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: