Found a summary online of the three major views held about the Lord’s Supper during the Reformation:
1. Symbolic memorialism of Zwingli—basically, the bread and wine are symbols of the past grace of Christ on the cross.
2. Symbolic parallelism of Bullinger—basically, the bread and wine are symbols but at the same time faith receives Christ on a parallel track.
3. Symbolic instrumentalism of Calvin—basically, the bread and wine are symbols through which, as instruments, one receives Christ.
Over the years my position on the subject of the Lord’s Supper has change slightly without really thinking specially about it.
For the first few years of my Christian life I believed in the memorial view as most Baptists do.
Over the last few years I have noticed a receiving of Christ spiritually during the services and have come to embrace symbolic parallelism, not just because it has a nice ring to it 😉 but I believe it makes the most sense based on scripture and experience.
Calvin’s view is too close the Roman Catholic teaching of ex opere operato. He basically teaches that grace is imparted THROUGH the sacrament.
It is my understanding of the scriptures that the bread and wine are memorial symbols, yet we, by faith receive Christ at the same time and participate in the blood and body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:16