Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Words of Christ Still Stand

Quoting Professor John Pless from his paper “The Lord’s Supper in the Life of the Congregation”:

It was from the Formula [of Concord, Article VII] that Sasse would argue that the difference between the Lutherans and the Reformed on the doctrine of the Lord's Supper is as lively today as it was in the sixteenth century. It is not merely a debate over the how of Christ's presence but rather what is present. No Christian believes in a real absence. That was not the issue at the time of the Reformation nor is it the issue now. Thus communion announcements that ask that those who come to the altar "believe in the real presence of Christ in the sacrament" are meaningless. As Dr. Albert Collver has demonstrated the language of the real presence is not yet a confession of Christ's body and blood.

…The words of Christ still stand. He gives us His body to eat. He gives us the blood of His new testament to drink for the forgiveness of our sins. "Around the Lord's Table is gathered the church. At the Table of the Lord, the church knows what it most profoundly is: the body of Christ. There has been no doubt of this since the days of the apostles. Where the Lord's Supper is no longer known or celebrated, there the church dies, irretrievably lost" wrote Hermann Sasse in 1941.

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