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Real Presence without Confusion

Posted by Remy on April 16, 2009

Last time I said that a tran/con substantial blueprint for the Eucharist was the reincarnation of Christ. Upon further thought it is an inpanation of Christ.

But before getting into the nitty of this let me state the groundrules. All Christians believe that the Sacrament isn’t dependant on the sanctity of the officiator. Meaning he could be a left-handed goat-loving atheist and the Supper will still be the Lord’s.  Unfortunately, the Romans and the Constantinians believe that all those outside their respective churches can’t do the magic trick and therefore don’t get Jesus. Thankfully it is not their table, but the Lord’s. Also, because partaking of the Supper does not mean “having a right understanding of the Supper”, because Christianity is not intellectual assent, Jesus does not withhold Himself from feeding His people just because they get the math wrong; so transubstantial, consubstantial, insubstantial, whateversubstantial if Christ is at the head of the table it is His real presence. However faulty blueprints make a difference, whether it be to a superstitious view or a nostalgic view of the Supper, and hence my poking.

And since I can’t talk about Real Presence without talking about the confusions I’ll be brief:

  • An insistence that the true blueprints must be believed before God’s children can be fed is to turn Christianity into a system of ideas. You should confess your sin and read Dr. P.J. Leithart’s seminal book “Against Christianity”.
  • Transubstantiation is Platonistic at worse, Aristotlean at best. This false view of the world leads to the dangers of reification.
  • Tran/con substantiation makes a goulash of the body of Christ. A body cannot be locally present all over the place; it is a confusion of the two natures of Jesus.

I think the central problem of this argument has to do with a diminution of “spiritual”. Similarly to how we think “metaphorically” means “not really” we tend to think “spiritually” means “less than physical”, but rather spirit  is more physical than the flesh. Jesus could walk through walls after the resurrection, not because He was less dense, but because He was more dense than the wall. So like a doubting Thomas, those that need a physicality that they can touch, insist on a mechanic they can diagram. 

But I don’t want something so limited as that. The trannies want their teeth to masticate and their stomachs to digest, but that little bitty wafer isn’t enough for me, through the power of the Holy Spirit I want my whole body to be brought to Jesus, I want more physical than they could ever imagine. The teeth and tongue is for the weak of heart, at the table His life passes into us and becomes ours.

The tran/con substantionist don’t go anywhere, it’s self-serving in that sense, but a robust view of the Real Presence drags you all over space and time. Calvin describeds the elements as bringing us to the cross where the promise of giving His flesh and shedding His blood was performed and fulfilled. When Jesus calls Himself the Bread of Life, He isn’t looking forward to the Supper; He is the Bread of Life, the Supper looks back to Him.

Really there’s no benefit to the skinny Real Presence of trannies and connies, but only confusion, superstition, and loneliness. (Besides, they only go half way in consecrating the bread and wine, Christ’s words are “This cup is” and they’ve never taught that Christ’s cup is locally present, nor that the Platonic essence of the cup is hocus-pocus’d into your neighborhood chalice.)

Anytime I enter into this conversation I’m drawing more on others than what I’ve intuited from Scripture and I go with Calvin when he said:

whenever this matter is discussed, when I have tried to say all, I feel that I have as yet said little in proportion to its worth. And although my mind can think beyond what my tongue can utter, yet even my mind is conquered and overwhelmed by the greatness of the thing. Therefore, nothing remains but to break forth in wonder at this mystery, which plainly neither the mind is able to conceive nor the tongue express.

8 Responses to “Real Presence without Confusion”

  1. joshgibbs said

    Rems,

    When I ask you, “So what does the cup do?” and you reply with this, it kind of only confirms my suspicions that you’re afraid to answer the question truthfully. There’s no real answer here. This is more about what you don’t believe in, not about what you do.

    The closest you get is, “Calvin describeds the elements as bringing us to the cross where the promise of giving His flesh and shedding His blood was performed and fulfilled. When Jesus calls Himself the Bread of Life, He isn’t looking forward to the Supper; He is the Bread of Life, the Supper looks back to Him,” but this doesn’t unpack anything. Does the supper impart real grace? How, and what is this real grace? If the Supper is unifying, where is the unity? Is it some heavenly unity that has no place on this dirty earth?

  2. Remy said

    I think when I answer and you reply as you do it only confirms my suspicions that you’re afraid of true Biblical Christianity.

    You see how rude saying something like that is? Your highschool roots are showing again.

    * * * *

    But here’s a bit more of what I do believe: I believe the bread is His body, I believe the wine is His blood. I believe that unless you eat the flesh of the Son of God and drink His blood you have no life in you.

    Does the supper impart real grace?
    No, it does not, at least, I don’t talk that way. Through the supper by the power of the Holy Spirit we partake of Christ Jesus. For reals.

    Are there benefits in Jesus?
    Yes.

    Are there real benefits in Jesus?
    Yes, for reals. I’ll describe those sometime.

    Is “grace” a substance?
    No.

    Is “real grace” a substance?
    No, unless this is a funny way of saying “in Jesus”.

    Okay, how do you receive benefits of Christ in the supper?
    By eating in faith.

    Where is the unity of the Supper?
    In Jesus.

    Does this unity have a place on earth?
    Yes. We have it on earth already, but it is not yet complete. We achieve full unity by eating with the Savior and building heaven on earth. The Garden comes first, then the world. It is backwards to think that unity can be achieved apart from fellowship with Christ Jesus. If there is a real benefit to eating the Supper then you begin there. The weak cannot be made strong apart from the only source of Life and Strength. Closed communion denies the power of the supper.

  3. asteroidb612login said

    Rems,

    You act like your reformed theology came forth out of the earth from whole cloth in 1509. The ideas about space and time being flung about find their roots wholly in the Apostolic Churches.

    We believe that the Sacrifice of Calvary is made present on the altar every time the Sacrifice is offered. We believe, not only that we are being brought into the heavenly places and made a part of the Divine Liturgy being offered in Heaven, but also that Calvary is being made present there.

    When we partake of the Eucharist, Jesus on the cross is put into our mouths. Don’t talk to me about minimizing the space/time weirdness that’s going on there. We recognize it wholly and entirely.

    As regards Christ’s body being present on every altar in the world, I’m at a loss as to how this poses a problem for you. Christ isn’t a man, He’s the God-Man. His body is no more limited by your human conceptions of physicality than God being Three and One is bound by your human conceptions of logic.

    Of course it doesn’t make sense. What in the hell makes you think that the operations of the Trinity are going to make sense?

    Why would you think the Risen Christ is constrained in His full bodily presence by your petty categories of spatial presence? You’re making Aristotle look like an amateur in the game of rationalism.

    He’s on the altar and He’s in heaven, fully God and fully man in both places. Accept it or get ready for your head to burst.

    Finally, “trannies”? Really? Is that the level of discourse we’re seeking here? Are you trying to convince anyone or just prance around with your opinions? I mean for reals.

    I have enough respect for you as a human person to not skewer and parody the things you hold most holy. I don’t think it’s such a stretch to ask for the same in return.

  4. Matt Yonke said

    That was Guido above. Sorry, again, for the falsifying login.

  5. Remy said

    As I said, the blueprints make no difference in what’s happening on the table, but there are implications elsewhere for the views that deny that body means body, and yes, that’s the transubstantiationists (whew) that do that.

    To import an attribute of the Divine nature into the human nature of Christ is to confuse the natures and rejects the confession of Chalcedon. Perhaps the confession is wrong, but I’ve been inclined to go with it for a number of reasons.

    To say that the resurrection changes everything and Jesus doesn’t have a human body anymore really weakens the worldchanging event of the incarnation. It makes it only a temporary thing, Jesus was only with us halfway, His pouring out only goes so far, one foot in, one foot out.

    Not only that, but this hokey-pokey view of the incarnation causes other problems as well. If the resurrected body takes on omnipresence, added to the omniscience the Roman church already grants to saints, then the new earth becomes that much more Mormonistic. Just a thought.

    As for trannies, I really just got tired of typing. I don’t really associate transvestites with Romanists…although this whole thing of Christ looking like bread when He’s not bread is a little kinky.

    To compare which view is more mysterious is really kind of a fruitless endeavor, perhaps too charging each other with rationalism, because I see tran. much more rationalistic than saying “through the power of the Holy Spirit”. My complaint is your blueprint doesn’t do as much as my blueprint, it doesn’t have Aristotlean drawbacks or incarnational asterisks.

    But I’d be interested in hearing of any drawbacks if you’ve got some for me.

  6. Josh said

    Rems,

    Ah, the straightforward reply! Or reasonably so! Many thanks.

    I suppose I take an issue first with your notion of grace. I thought Doug Jones sorted this out for us years ago. Grace isn’t fairy dust. Grace is a loaf of bread when you’re hungry. Grace is a boat when you’re drowning.

    As for the Eucharist providing unity on earth (the last question you dealt with) I think that the present state of American Christianity prohibits “unity” as a benefit of your notion of “open communion.” In fact, the “open communion” practice of Protestant Christianity, so long as it has existed, has resulted in what American Protestant Christianity looks like today. If that’s what you want, well, you’re welcome to it.

    You write, “Really there’s no benefit to the skinny Real Presence of trannies and connies, but only confusion, superstition, and loneliness.” Thing is, you have little experience in what you’re arguing against; yours is the propositional, intellectual approach. It’s an enduring chill. Matt and I, on the other hand, have intimate experience with your position. “Loneliness” is a real laugh, though. And this coming from someone who hasn’t even participated in the supper. I’m sure Guido and the 50 million people who he communes with in this country alone are real lonely. “Confusion” was a good one, too, though. I got sick of being confused while I was in Geneva.

    If it matters, though, and that we might agree on something: I, too, support open communion between all Protestants, and like yourself and most Protestants, I don’t believe the actual flesh of Christ is present in the bread you eat and I don’t believe the actual blood of Christ is present in the wine you drink. Honestly, I believe the internal logic of your position is completely sound. All of your arguments are valid given their premises, which is why it’s so hard to see beyond them.

  7. Remy said

    Josh, I think you agree with my notion of grace or, so as not to claim ownership, we agree on our notion of grace. I don’t believe in abstract grace or grace goo either.

    Much of Protestant Christianity practice closed communion. Baptists are so awful that you must be a member of that particular church or you may not commune. American Protestant Christianity in that case is Rome and Constantinianism on steroids. So really, it isn’t what I want.

    The “loneliness” would be connected to the iconophilia. Obviously I don’t say such things to convince you.

    But in arguments such as this the charge of “rationalism” gets us nowhere. When you say things like I haven’t “participated in the supper” though I am a child of God, a brother to Jesus, I see nothing but the sinister lies of a system, a man-made barrier that strips me of my right to eat at the family table. You say “Jew and Gentile” and Jesus says “done away with”, you say “Circumcision of the flesh” and Jesus says “done away with”.

    My so-called rationalism is me saying “I belong to Jesus and He feeds His sheep” and your not-at-all-rationalism saying “it’s more complicated than that”.

  8. I probably shouldn’t have snapped so hard about the tranny comment, Rems. My bad. More later.

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