Regarding David Currie’s “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic”
Chapter 2, Communion and the Real Presence
This is to discuss why I do not believe the real presence to be true as brought forth by David Currie is his book, “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic.” It is not an exhaustive study on the topic; however, at the end I do add some other reasons and evidences against the real presence doctrine. For each of the statements quoted from his book, I note the page (from the paperback) and indent the paragraphs. After each quote, I follow with why I disagree with his statements just quoted.
May the Lord be glorified despite this feeble attempt.
Pg 35: If Jesus had meant to teach Lutheranism, he could have said in a clear way “This bread contains my body.” If he had meant to teach Evangelicalism, he could have said in a clear way “This bread only represents my body.” But he didn’t say either. Yet he was clear. In the clearest way he could say it, he said, “This is my body” (Mt 26:26-28).
The argument that Jesus MUST be specific, in the way WE think something should be specific, when he describes something in order for it to be actually what He said is fallacious. Jesus can speak any way He wishes in order to convey whatever ideas He might. The fact that He might NOT be specifically clear about what He’s trying to say in things is shown in that mostly everything He taught people was in parables, and this was done in order to purposely hide truths from those to whom it was not given to understand. This is shown in the following scriptures:
Matt 13:11, 15 – “11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.”
15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (it was not given to them to understand [vs 11]; their eyes have been closed so that they will not understand because it’s not been given to them to understand – it was purposely withheld by God lest they be [to prevent the from being] saved)
Mark 4:11-12 – “11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” (again, God purposely withholding the ability to understand to prevent them from being converted and their sins from being forgiven)
Luke 8:9-10 – “9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.” (God does not want them to understand, so Jesus speaks in parables to keep these things hidden from them — it’s not given to them to understand)
Catholics’ underlying premise for this John 6:26-59 passage is that Jesus MUST have cleared up any confusion for these people, and because He didn’t any further than He did, then they must have been rejecting the literal, or physical presence doctrine; but, as shown in the above verses, Jesus doesn’t need to clarify, and so their rejection was not understanding that Jesus was speaking spiritually, and not physically (which is what He indicates that He was doing – speaking spiritually); see the comments regarding pages 36-37 below.
Pg 35-36: It (the feeding of the 5000) occurred near Passover, one year before the Last Supper (which occurred on Passover). A year later, the apostles would naturally remember and associate this sermon with the Last Supper, in much the same way that we reminisce each Thanksgiving about what has happened at past Thanksgivings.
This may or may not be true, and it cannot be used as an argument to create some sort of link, just because one THINKS they MIGHT have reacted or thought a certain way. So this link between the two events cannot be established based on this.
Pg 36-37: Mr. Currie quotes only Jesus’ statements in John 6:26-59.
What Mr. Currie fails to do in examining the John 6:26-59 passage in scripture is examine the whole chapter. Mr. Currie claims that Jesus went on to explain the analogy of the bread being His flesh. What Mr. Currie doesn’t do is continue on in the chapter where Jesus goes on to explain why the disciples, who departed after not being able to understand the eating of the flesh, departed:
John 6:60-66 – “60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
Here Jesus says the flesh profiteth nothing! He was speaking of things in spirit terms, whereas these disciples who fell away (because it was not given them to understand) were trying to understand things in terms of carnal vs. spirit, not carnal vs. carnal (which is the argument Catholics make: the disciples who fell away couldn’t believe in the carnal or fleshly nature of the bread).
Pg 38: If the flesh we eat for eternal life is meant in only a “figurative way”, or “spiritually speaking”, then so is the flesh of the crucifixion! Jesus equates the two. Either they are both literal, or they are both figurative.
This not only isn’t necessarily true by logical argument, the fact that Jesus was actually comparing spiritual vs. carnal is clear in verses 60-66, as discussed above.
Also, if Jesus is being literal throughout this passage, speaking carnally only, then verse 35, which says “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”, would need to be taken carnally. So then, if someone eats the bread then they should actually never thirst or hunger again, physically, which we know is not the case with anyone. Jesus is comparing spiritual with spiritual: eating spiritually to have spiritual life.
Pg 38: Jesus taught that in order for us to have eternal life we must “eat his flesh”. He repeats this phrase, or its variations, six times. Four of the times, the Greek word used is very graphic; it can be translated “to chew”. This word is never used symbolically anywhere in the New Testament, the Old Testament, the Septuagint, or even in ancient secular literature.
The Greek word to which Mr. Currie is referring is Strongs 5176, the word “trogo”, which in the King James is translated “eateth”. However, Jesus also uses the Greek word for “eat” in relation to His flesh, which is Strongs 5315, the word “phago”. This word is used symbolically in the following references:
Rev 2:7 – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
Rev 2:17 – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”
The Hebrew word used for eating which shows symbolic usage for eating of Christ and His blessings is Strongs 0398, the word “akal”, as used in the following verse:
Song 5:1 – “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”
So, the argument cannot emphatically be made that Jesus must be talking only physical eating when He even used potentially symbolic examples in the same set of verses.
Pg 39: Catholics believe that Jesus is really present in the consecrated Host. This is the only way to explain adequately Paul’s assumptions in 1 Cor 11:23-32: “Whoever eats the bread of drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.” How could one be “guilty” of the Body and Blood of Christ if the service is only a memorial? Granted, the service is done in remembrance. Evangelicals and Catholics agree on that. But Catholics teach that it is more than that. We must recognize (discern) the bread for what it truly is, “the body of the Lord”, or be judged. How much clearer could Paul be in this? I could find no textual basis for the Evangelical teaching that communion is only a memorial.
This is NOT the only way to explain what Paul is saying here, and to assert that is fallacious. A person can be guilty of sinning against the body and blood by MOCKING what Jesus did on the cross (sacrifice His body and shed His blood) by participating in the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, thusly mocking the actual body and blood (ie. Christ Himself). If I take an ambassador from a king, who is a representative of the king, and mock the ambassador, my action is also an evil action (or sin) against the king.
Pg 40-41: The consecrated elements of the Eucharist are treated with utmost respect by Catholics because, in spite of appearances, there is the Real Presence of Christ in these elements. Jesus said it. Paul taught it. Never would the leftover elements be tossed into the garbage at the end of a Catholic Mass as is done in many Evangelical communion services. We treat them (the Eucharist elements) as we would treat God, because that is what they are in their real substance, although in appearance they do not differ from ordinary bread and wine.
What happens if unknown to anyone a crumb from it falls on the ground, and what if it gets vacuumed up or eaten by a mouse? And, is it even possible for all of the wine to be drunk out of a cup? There will always be a little bit in there, even molecule sized portions of the wine in the cup, which means that some of Jesus is being washed down the drain or otherwise.
Pg 41: In the early Church, everyone who wrote anything about the Eucharist believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the elements of Communion. Ignatius was the second bishop of Antioch and died a martyr at about the same time the Apostle John died. Speaking of the Docetist heretics, who denied the humanity of Jesus, he wrote, “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” (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, 7). I thought that I had had seen something new in John 6, until I noticed that Ignatius equated the flesh of the Eucharist with the flesh of the Cross, just as John had recorded Jesus as doing.
Iranaeus was a disciple of Polycarp who remembered Polycarp’s firsthand stories about the Apostle John. He used the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist to prove the resurrection of the Christian dead: “The Eucharist becomes the body of Christ” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5.2.3). “How can they say that the flesh which is nourished with the body of the Lord and with his blood passes into corruption and partakes not of life?” (4.18.5)
The early church fathers were facing the threat of Gnosticism, and specifically Docetism in the church, in that, the Gnostics believed all flesh was evil, therefore Jesus could not have been real flesh and blood – it only appeared that way (Docetism). The fight was over JESUS, and not over the elements being real flesh or symbolic. Iranaeus and others were proving Jesus’ real flesh and blood in their arguments (which Catholics use to supposedly prove transubstantiation).
In the case of Iranaeus though, if he had proved the real presence during his arguments, this would have defeated his own case. Here is a quote leading up to this quote followed by the full quote of which Mr. Currie used part:
“How can they [Gnostics] be consistent with, themselves when they say the bread for which they give thanks is the body of their Lord and the cup his blood, if they do not say he is the Son of the Creator of the world? . . . How can they say that the flesh which is nourished from the body of the Lord and from his flesh comes to corruption and does not partake of life? Let them either change their views or avoid offering the bread and wine. But our view is in harmony with the eucharist, and the eucharist confirms our view. We offer to God his own things, proclaiming rightly the communion and unity of flesh and spirit. For as bread from the earth when it receives the invocation of God is no longer common bread but the eucharist, consisting of two things-one earthly and one heavenly-so also our bodies when they partake of the eucharist are no longer corruptible but have the hope of the resurrection to eternity.” (Against Heresies IV.xviii.4, 5)
“But if the flesh is not saved, neither did the Lord redeem us with his blood nor is the cup of the eucharist a participation in his blood nor the bread which we break a participation in his body. . . . He [the Gnostic] acknowledged the created cup with which he moistens our blood as his own blood, and he confirmed the created bread from which our bodies grow as his own body. Since therefore the cup that has been mixed and the bread that has been made, from which things the substance of our flesh grows and is sustained, receive the word of God and the eucharist becomes the body of Christ, how do they say that the flesh which is nourished from the body and blood of the Lord and is a member of him is incapable of receiving the gift of God which is eternal life?” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies V.ii.2, 3)
The language is difficult, in that, Hebrew/Jewish thought looked at words vs. deeds; and in the prophetic symbolism, words and deeds stood for and had the power to effect the reality they represented. This is realist terminology vs. realist thought. Any “change” effected is that the bread is not “common” anymore, or is now rather holy; it does not infer that the bread itself actually changes. It can be looked at more similarly to where Christ says in Matt 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Here, Irenaeus is arguing the physical resurrection of the saved, and therefore Jesus actually being true flesh and blood. Since the elements are real flesh objects used by Christ to show His death, therefore all matter must not be evil, thusly the Gnostic idea is shown to be false. Had Irenaeus been arguing that the elements were transformed into something different than what they appeared, the Gnostics would have completely agreed, and then gone on to compare and use it to confirm their belief that Jesus was something other than what He appeared – that He appeared to be something, but wasn’t really that, and that there would be thusly no physical resurrection. The language used was typical for the day, using realist terminology without the realist thought behind it.
As for Ignatius’ quote Mr. Currie uses, it does not necessarily need to be taken as literal flesh, and to do so is a logic fallacy. It could be viewed as a symbolic quote, and certainly would fit if he was indeed trying to convince Gnostics of the real flesh of Christ during His life.
Here are other quotes from early church fathers, many who the Catholics use in defense of the real presence:
“Now it is evident, that in this prophecy [Isa 33:13-19] 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 Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, ch 70)
“Taking bread and distributing it to his disciples he made it his own body by saying, “This is my body,” that is a “figure of my body.” On the other hand, there would not have been a figure unless there was a true body.” (Tertullian, Against Marcion IV. 40)
“”Observe” he (Cyprian) says, in presenting the cup, to maintain the custom handed down to us from the Lord, and to do nothing that our Lord has not first done for us: so that the cup which is offered in remembrance of Him should be mixed with wine. For, as Christ says, ‘I am the true vine,’ it follows that the blood of Christ is wine, not water; and the cup cannot appear to contain His blood by which we are redeemed and quickened, if the wine be absent; for by the wine is the blood of Christ typified, that blood which is foreshadowed and proclaimed in all the types and declarations of Scripture.” (Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, book 4, ch 21, quoting Cyprian)
“Now, as to follow the letter, and to take signs (such as the sacrament of the body and blood of the Lord) for the things that are signified by them, is a mark of weakness and bondage; so to interpret signs wrongly is the result of being misled by error.” (Augustine, On Christian Doctrine 3,9).
“And she hath furnished her table: “that denotes the promised knowledge of the Holy Trinity; it also refers to His honoured and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper. (Hippolytus, Fragment from Commentary on Proverbs 9:1)
Pg 44: The Eucharist is central to worship in the Catholic Church. We believe that Christ (body, blood, soul, and divinity) comes to us and feeds our souls when we participate in Communion. On a practical level, the Evangelical has reduced the soul of man to little more than his intellect. As a result, Evangelical sermons tend to be from twenty to fifty minutes long every Sunday. That is how Evangelicals feed the souls of their faithful, through the mind. For them there is little way other than through the mind for the soul to be strengthened. For the Catholic, however, the will is the essential part of the soul. It is fed directly through its participation at the Mass. There is still the intellectual part of worship, but in the elements of the Eucharist, God can directly strengthen the Christian’s soul against temptation.
Nowhere in the Bible is this stated anywhere, that these things happen. In fact the Bible states that things happen differently:
Eze 36:26-27 – “26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (He gives a new heart and puts His Spirit in us)
Prov 4:23 – “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (the will is moved by the heart, which is moved by the Spirit if the Spirit chooses to do as such)
2 Thess 2:13 – “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:” (we are sanctified the workings of the Spirit from within us)
Pg 44: As a teen, I believed in the presence of a demon world. Witnessing for Christ on the beaches of America, we saw evidence of it. It always puzzled me that the worshippers of Satan in the sixties and seventies would parody the Mass when they worshipped. I could not understand why demons, who knew right doctrine but rejected obedience to it, should foster hatred of the Catholic Mass if the Mass were merely a medieval superstition. If the Mass had not been instituted by Christ, then why would Satan worshippers make it the centerpiece of rebellion? Now I see that such a parody is a sure sign of rebellion against Christ precisely because the Mass was instituted by Christ at the Last Supper.
The Mass, or the taking of Communion, may be mocked, but that doesn’t prove the real presence of the Jesus in the elements.
Pg 45: Catholic teaching on the Eucharist also helped me understand a passage on Zechariah that is unexplainable from an Evangelical perspective. “On that day…all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them” (Zech 14:20, 21).
This verse had been an enigma to me for sixteen years, ever since I had been a student at TEDS. I vividly remember standing in a hallway, in conversation with a man whose specialty was eschatology (future events as prophesied in Scripture). A young man approached us and asked the specialist about this verse from Zechariah. His question was, “If Jesus’ sacrifice is final and complete, why will there be sacrifices needed in Jerusalem after the death and Resurrection of Jesus?” The scholar’s face momentarily clouded with annoyance, and I have never forgotten his next statement. He admitted that he knew of no plausible Evangelical explanation of this passage.
The reason this verse is such a problem for Evangelicals is that virtually all of them agree that it speaks of events occurring in the Kingdom that Christ would come to establish (still in the future for Zechariah). But here is the problem. After Christ had died and set up his Kingdom, why would sacrifices still be performed in Israel? There is no good Evangelical response to that question.
“On that day”, or “In that day” (KJV) is referring to the time of Christ’s reign after anti-Christ. These sacrifices are type pictures of the spiritual sacrifices that are offered up to the Lord at the time. In fact, we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices now:
Rom 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
So, it’s not inconceivable that Zech 14 is referring to spiritual sacrifices, and therefore at a minimum doesn’t need to be this Catholic interpretation of it. Also, Heb 10:10 says, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”, so the idea the Zech 14 is referring to spiritual sacrifices fits perfectly, since Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all.
Pg 46: The concept of making Christ’s past sacrifice efficacious in the present is not foreign to Evangelicals. That is precisely what Evangelicals believe happens when a person puts his faith in Christ. One day Christ’s work on the Cross has not yet benefited the person, and the next it has been applied through faith. Catholics believe their sacrifice of the Eucharist makes the grace of the Cross available today. Granted, it is a much more physical method.
There are no scriptures that say the Eucharist makes the grace of the Cross available today, and this act of bringing forth grace is works-based salvation, in that, Catholics believe by doing the work of the Mass they bring forth God’s saving graces. This is untrue, as the Bible clearly indicates this saving work is a sovereign work entirely of grace performed by God on the heart of man so as to regenerate and justify him without man’s methods:
John 6:29, 44 & 65 – “29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (belief is a work of God)
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”
Rom 8:30 – “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
Eph 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Gal 2:16 – “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Pg 46-47: I am amazed that Evangelicals totally miss the meaning of another important messianic prophecy. Karl Keating has pointed out in his book Catholicism and Fundamentalism: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek’ “ (Ps 110:4). By definition, a priest offers a sacrifice. What did Melchizedek offer? Some Evangelicals are unaware of the fact that it was bread and wine that Melchizedek brought out to Abraham as an offering (Gen 14:18).
The next logical question is, “When did Jesus offer bread and wine as a sacrifice?” The only instance recorded in the Gospels is the Last Supper. Isn’t it logical, then, that unless Evangelicals can point to another time Jesus fulfilled this function of the Melchizedekian priesthood, Jesus saw the Last Supper as the institution of a sacrifice? Otherwise the imagery of Psalm 110:4 is emptied of meaning.
Christ in the order of Melchizedek had to do with Christ being the superior priest, His priesthood replacing the old priesthood, and His kingdom being perpetual (Heb 7). A sacrifice at the time involved animal sacrifice, which would indicate that this bringing forth of the bread and wine was nothing more than the bringing forth as simply food, although one could say it was a shadow of the Communion elements.
And so, the logical flow that Melchizedek’s bringing forth the bread and wine must be a sacrifice just because he is a priest and anything a priest brings forth must be a sacrifice cannot be directly made; and then the “next logical question” that Jesus bringing forth bread and wine must be a sacrifice based on Melchizedek’s example is based on a false premise and therefore also doesn’t follow.
Pg 48: This idea of Mass as sacrifice also explains best why 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 quotes Jesus as saying during the Last Supper, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” As Scripture scholar Father Mitchell Pacwa, S.J., has pointed out, the Greek word for “remembrance” in this passage is a very technical word. Interestingly, it is also a relatively rare word in Scripture. Outside of its uses in the Last Supper, it is used only one other time in the New Testament. This is in Hebrews 10:3, where the remembrance is the act of carrying out a sacrifice. “Those sacrifices are an annual reminder [remembrance] of sins.” If an Evangelical were to check his Greek Old Testament, he would find the word used only twice. Both times the remembrance is actually a sacrifice: “Put some purse incense as a memorial…to be an offering” (Lev 24:7) and “Sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, and they will be a memorial for you” (Nb 10:10). (This word occurs two other times in the Old Testament – in the headings to Psalms 37 and 69. These were added later by commentators and so are obviously not actual Scripture, but they can indicate the meaning of the word Jesus used. Both speak of that Psalm as being used in conjunction with a memorial sacrifice. The Catholic Old Testament has one more occurrence, of a different nature, in Wisdom of Solomon 16:6).
This Greek word “remembrance” is more than just “think about me by recalling this event to mind.” It is a word fraught with sacrificial overtones, used in the Bible to mean “remind yourself of something by participating in a sacrifice.” What a strange word for Jesus to use if he did not intend to set up the Eucharist as a sacrifice. In fact, Jesus’ choice of this rather rare word is unexplainable if he did not view the Last Supper as a sacrifice.
The issue isn’t the sacrifice here, it’s the reminder: something is a reminder of something else, and that’s all. It is a logical fallacy to say that just because sacrifices were a reminder means that Jesus’ reminder was a sacrifice. Granted there are sacrificial overtones, but Jesus WAS about to be the sacrifice in the case of the Lord’s Supper, so it does not make sense that he would offer a sacrifice when He was the sacrifice to be sacrificed. The Lord’s Supper was a memorial of HIM and HIS sacrifice.
Interestingly, Mr. Currie quotes from the Catholic Bible Wisdom of Solomon 16:6 which uses the word “remembrance”, and says, “But they were troubled for a small season, that they might be admonished, having a sign of salvation, to put them in remembrance of the commandment of thy law.”, which is a non-sacrificial memorial, and therefore actually counters his own hermeneutic argument.
Other points not in response to Mr. Currie’s work directly:
- Why does the sacrifice need to be perpetuated? Peter Stravinskas (well known Catholic author) “Because the salvation promised and earned is conditional;…” This is not true.
Eph 2:8-9 – “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Salvation is a gift; we don’t receive grace from an act of ours (ie. Communion).
- By taking Communion, we “show” the Lord’s death till He come,:
1 Cor 11:26 – “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”
Shew here is Strong’s 2605, “Kataggello”, which is used in the Bible in other places as “preach” (Acts 4:2; Acts 13:5; Acts 13:38; Acts 15:36; Acts 17:3; Acts 17:13; 1 Cor 9:14; Phil 1:16; Phil 1:18; Col 1:28), “show” (Acts 16:17; Acts 26:23; 1 Cor 11:26), “declare” (Acts 17:23), “teach” (Acts 16:21; Col 1:28), “speak of” (Acts 3:24; Rom 1:8; 1 Cor 2:1; Phil 1:17)
These examples would lend to the idea that the Communion act is to show or preach forth Christ’s death. There’s no indication it anything more than that.
- As Christians, we are all priests, so the whole priest/Mass arrangement is false. If that Catholic doctrine was true, we should be able to do our own Masses, confess our sins one to another for absolution, etc.
1 Pet 2:5 – “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
1 Pet 2:9 – “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;”
Rev 1:6 – “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
- If the elements are actually Jesus, they must be less than Jesus because Jesus is bottled down to bread and wine, which just ends up being idolatry. The whole work of the Cross cannot be bottled down into any act we do: it was all so much greater than anything we could ever act out.
- The Creed of pope Pius IV: “I profess that in the Mass is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there is truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that there is a conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood, which the Catholic Church calls Transubstantiation.”
The Mass CANNOT be a propitiatory sacrifice. Propitiation was Jesus appeasing the wrath of God due His children and winning the favor of God toward them. That sacrifice was done by Christ alone at His death: propitiation for His children’s sins was made then and there, once and for all:
Heb 10:12 – “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”
Any other propitiatory sacrifice or even perpetuation of the first sacrifice for the purpose of propitiation says the first propitiating sacrifice, Christ’s, wasn’t enough or didn’t do the job throughout time itself. There is no indication in the Bible that anything we can do can bring about or influence propitiation to happen.
- Does there need to be abstaining from foods or water before taking Mass? Jesus had His Communion time during the meal process: so this shows this abstinence idea to be man-made:
Matt 26:26 – “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.”
- Consider the pomp of the Mass vs. the simplicity of Christ’s Last Supper. Also, all of the actual rituals and acts performed during a Mass are man-made: the Bible speaks nowhere of these items to be performed.
- The Mass is the calling down of Jesus’ body into the elements at the whim of the priest. No one has this kind of authority over God at any time: God is never in obedience to man. God placed His Son in the hands of man in HIS timing, whereas the Mass is doing it in man’s timing. Also, this puts the actual person of Christ in the hands of man, to be controlled by him. And what if “Christ” is dropped on the floor accidentally?
- If the Mass is a perpetuation of the sacrifice and not a re-crucifixion, then Christ could never have died because the sacrifice would be over if He had. When is the sacrifice over?
- The Levitical law never allowed the eating of the sacrifice, and all eating of blood is forbidden in Scripture. To counter this, the Catholic might say that this was speaking of physical blood, and the wine is still wine with Christ’s blood presence in it (which in itself is somewhat contradictory), but eating His blood goes against basic principles of conduct with a sacrifice.
Deut 12:16 – “Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water.”
Lev 10:17 – “And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.”
Acts 15:29 – “That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”
- There are many metaphors Jesus uses for Himself: the door, the rock, the lion, the vine, etc. A Catholic answer to this is that these objects’ very nature can have a symbolic sense: Christ is like a door since we go to heaven through Him; but a piece of bread is in no way like His flesh: “of its very nature it cannot symbolize the actual body of Christ.” (Rumble & Carty) Well, that doesn’t necessarily hold true: the very nature of a metaphor is to name something symbolically, so indeed “this [the bread] is my body” is the naming of His body in a different way, and doesn’t necessarily imply literality. Christ is creating the metaphor Himself right there! Just because we haven’t thought of a thing as symbolic in our own minds doesn’t mean it isn’t such a thing, and that Christ cannot make it to be so.
- Creed of pope Pius IV: “If there is a defect in any of these: namely, the due matter, the form with intention, or the sacerdotal order of the celibrant, it nullifies the sacrament.”
Cardinal Bellarmine: “No one can be certain, with the certainty of faith, that he has received a true sacrament, since no sacrament is performed without the intention of the ministers, and no one can see the intention of another” (Works, Vol 1, p 488).
So, if the priest is not “right”, the Mass is null and void. So, in reality a Catholic’s faith and hope is partially in the work of Jesus, and partially in the work of the priest, which is simply unbiblical. Also, if the Mass becomes void, then the elements are worshipped when Jesus isn’t there, thus causing blatant idolatry, since the elements then are just the elements. And as stated, no one can know whether or not they are committing idolatry or not. Also, what if, using Catholic theology, a baby is baptized (baptism being a Catholic sacrament) by a priest with bad intent, and that now pagan (because of the unknowingly bad baptism) baby grows up to become a priest or pope, then every Mass or edict they give is null as well.
- If any part of the elements are withheld from the laity, then that is unbiblical.
Mar 14:23 – “And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.”
1 Cor 11:27 – “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”
These clearly imply anyone participating in the Lord’s Supper to drink the cup.