FIFTY-FIVE THESES AGAINST TRANSUBSTANTIATION
Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee
First. Together with Holy Scripture, I assert the real presence of Christ, personally, at His Sacraments and in His Word and through His Spirit. Exactly that assertion of the omnipresence there of the Son of God, impels me to deny His physical presence in and under the sacramental elements, or even in the Bible as His Holy Word. Christ Himself insists against any view of a merely `local presence’ either in Jerusalem or in Samaria: “God is Spirit; and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:20-26.
Second. Long before the incarnation of God the Son, He was indeed really present at the Old Testament preachings of His Word and at the administration of His Sacraments of Circumcision and of the Passover. Moreover, such presence must have been Spirit-ual and could not have been fleshly or physical. For the Son had then not yet become flesh.
Third. John chapter six has nothing to do with the Lord’s Supper, which was instituted only later at the very end of Christ’s earthly ministry. The RC Church and other groups which appeal to that passage to try to establish that Christ is physically present in the bread and the wine at His Supper, err greatly. For John 6:9-13 is not sacramental. Nor is it an account of transubstantiating bread and fishes into Himself, but rather a description of His miraculous multiplication of five loaves and two small fishes into many more untransubstantiated loaves and fishes sufficient to feed about five thousand mature men and perhaps also their womenfolk and their children. John 6:10 cf. Matt. 14:14-21 & Mark 6:36-44 & Luke 9:14-17.
Fourth. From John 6:26 onward, Jesus said to the folk: “Truly I tell you, you seek Me …because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” Then, in 6:32, Jesus implied that He Himself is the bread from heaven. He did not anabaptistically bring His flesh with Him from heaven-but only His Own Person, and indeed in a Spirit-ual way. He took upon Himself flesh for the first time not in or from heaven, but only from and within the womb of Mary as His earthly mother.
Fifth. In 6:33, He says that the bread of heaven is not His earthly flesh but He Who [personally and now incarnately] came down to give life to the world. When in 6:34, the believers said to Him `Lord, give us this bread evermore!’- Jesus did not pick up a piece of earthly bread and turn it into Himself. Instead, in 6:35, He said to them `I am the bread of life’ [and not `I will become the bread of life’]; he who comes to Me [and not `he who comes to a piece of earthly bread that I will turn into Myself] shall never be hue.” Yet the latter indeed does happen, between Masses, to those that from time to time come and receive the RC Mass.
Sixth. In John 6:48f, Jesus added: “I am that bread of life.” He did not say: `Earthly bread will become Me.’ Of Himself He then said: “This is the bread that comes down from heaven [not `that earthly bread will become Me just whenever an earthly priest so alleges’]. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever [not `even if any man eats the Mass on earth, he might still end up in hell’]. And the bread that I will give [not `the bread which an earthly priest may give’], is My flesh which I will give for the life of the world.”
Seventh. In John 6:52-58, “the [unbelieving] Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, `How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”‘ This shows that they had a carnal, cannibalistic, materialistic, and `localized presence’ misunderstanding of what Jesus was saying.
Eighth. In 6:53, “Jesus said to them,`Very truly I tell you, unless you keep on eating the flesh of the Son of man and keep on drinking His blood [not `unless you from time to time keep coming to Mass’], you have no life in yourselves. Whoever keeps on eating My flesh and keeps on drinking My blood, has everlasting life. “‘ That cannot truthfully be asserted of all who are merely regular communicants. “For My [then and there untransubstantiated!] flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who keeps on eating My flesh and keeps on drinking My blood [rather than keeps on having the dark-red wine withheld from him by a creaturely earthly priest], keeps on dwelling in Me [not physically but spiritually!], And I in him [not physically but spiritually!] ….
Ninth. Jesus then insisted: “`He who keeps on feeding on Me [and not `he who from time to time consumes transubstantiated bread and wine’], even he shall keep on living by Me [not `by the Mass’]. This is that bread which came down from heaven [and not `you must physically eat my flesh which came forth from Mary!’] …. He who keeps on eating of this bread [namely the Christ from heaven], shall continue living for ever [and not `might end up in heaven after a reasonable term in purgatory, yet could possibly still end up in hell for ever’]!”
Tenth. In John 6:61f, when even His disciples kept on murmuring about this, Jesus said to them [altogether Proto-Calvinistically and totally untransubstantiatingly]: “It is the Spirit Who keeps on enlivening! The flesh profits not at all! The words which I have spoken (or keep speaking) to you, they are Spirit and they are life! But there are some of you who do not believe” [such as Judas Iscariot whom Rome would have us believe nevertheless physically ate and drank the Divinity and also the very flesh and blood of Christ]. Compare John 6:64-71.
Eleventh. Literalistic transubstantiation would imply Judas was a God-eating cannibalistic infidel who here physically ate God and the flesh and drank the blood of Jesus, Who had as then not yet died. But He would then (against His Own Word in Lev. 26:29 & Dent. 28:53) have had to have given a piece of His flesh and siphoned off some of His blood for Judas’s faithless consumption thereof!
Twelfth. While insisting on Christ’s Spirit’s presence during preaching (I Cor. 2:1-4. c f. Gal. 3:1) and at water baptism (Acts 1:5 cf. I Cor. 12:13), I deny (even with the RC Church) that Jesus is physically present in or under the baptismal water. Similarly, while insisting on His Holy Spirit’s presence at His Supper, I deny that Jesus is physically present in or under the sacramental bread and wine. Indeed, I particularly deny that either the water or the wine become transubstantiated into His physical blood.
Thirteenth. It is obvious when Christ instituted the Supper and metaphorically or non-physically yet really called the bread His flesh-that His Own flesh had not yet been broken. He was, even after His consecration of the elements, in fact Himself still physically holding in His hand that which the Holy Bible still called bread and wine. Matt.26:26-29 & Mark 14:22-25 & cf. I Cor. 10:17f & 11:23-28.
Fourteenth. I heartily agree that the Ante-Nicene Fathers with their high view of Holy Scripture taught the real presence of our Saviour at His Table. For they believed what Holy Scripture here teaches. The Ante-Nicenes, holding with Holy Scripture to Christ’s Spirit-ual presence, therefore denied His physical presence in the bread and the wine. Indeed, even no Post-Nicene Church Father advocated transubstantiation-until Radbertus in 831, and more particularly Lanfranc in 1049 A.D. Nor was this false theory ever Eastern-Orthodox theory-nor even official RC theory until it became so in 1215 A.D.
Fifteenth. After the completion of the New Testament Scriptures, Clement of Rome (who was later regarded by the RC Church as her fourth pope), wrote around A.D. 99 to his “dear brethren” alias to his fellow Christians in his Letter to the Corinthians (cps. 1 & 40) that “it behooves us to do all things in order, which the Lord has commanded us at stated times. He has enjoined gifts and services to be performed …at the appointed times and hours.” Cf I Cor. 16: If. There is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor even of the Lord’s Supper; and still less of transubstantiation.
Sixteenth. Perhaps around A.D. 100, one reads in The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (ch.14): “On the Lord’s [Day] gather yourself together and break bread [but not `Physically eat the flesh of Christ’], and give thanks! …. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: `In every place and time, present to Me a pure offering!’ [Mal. 1:11 ]. Again, there is no mention of John 6:32-63; and still less of transubstantiation.
Seventeenth. Around A.D. 107, Ignatius wrote in his Letter to the Philadelphians (ch. 4): “Take 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.” The later and longer (Pseudo-)Ignatian version adds: “One loaf also is broken to all.” Once again, there is here no mention of John 6:32-63; and still less of transubstantiation.
Eighteenth. In his Epistle to the Trallians (ch. 8), Ignatius declares: “Be renewed in faith; THAT is the flesh of the Lord – and in love; THAT is the blood of Jesus Chris!” Here again, there is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor of transubstantiation; and still less of any withholding of the cup from the laity.
Nineteenth. Irenaeus pointed out in his Epistle To Smyrna 6:2 to 7:1 that heretics “have no regard for love; no care for the widow or the orphan or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty [cf. Acts 6:1f & I Cor. 11:21A. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not profess the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ Who suffered for our sins.” Here, there is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor of transubstantiation. Interestingly, in the Longer Version, there is no mention whatsoever even of the Lord’s Supper.
Twentieth. Not in the Ignatian but in the later Pseudo-Ignatian `longer version’ of an Epistle to the Ephesians (ch. 5), one reads: “If any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God.” But even then, there is no mention of John 6:32-63 and still less of transubstantiation. Indeed, none of the extant writings of the Apostolic Fathers-those authorities who knew the Apostles personally -even once quote from John chapter six to prove anything at all!
Twenty-first. In the A.D. 165 Justin Martyr’s First Apology (ch. 65), Justin says that “bread and a cup of water and wine are brought to the presiding brother. He receives them and presents praise and glory to the Father of all things through the Name of His Son and of the Holy Ghost …. And when he [the one presiding] has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people express their assent. And when the one presiding has given thanks and all the people have assented, they whom we call deacons give to each of those who are present a portion [not of any transubstantiated flesh or blood but a portion] of the bread and wine mixed with water.”
Twenty-second. Justin adds in ch. 66: “This food is called among us Eucharistia, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true …and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink” and still less as bread and wine transubstantiated into blood-yet indeed as uncommon bread and drink! “We have been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His Word and from which our [own] blood and flesh by assimilation [but not by transubstantiation] are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus Who was made flesh …. Jesus commanded them to do as follows: `He took bread [and not at all His flesh nor His blood] and gave thanks and said, “This do in remembrance of Me: this is My body [not `this becomes My body’].””‘
Twenty-third. Notice here that Justin claims that the elements (although not common bread and common drink) are indeed truly “bread” and “drink” and not physical flesh and blood. As even Gelasius Bishop of Rome observed in A.D. 490: “By the Sacraments we are made partakers of the divine nature, and yet the substance and nature of bread and wine do not cease to be in them.”
Twenty-fourth. Justin concludes in ch. 67: “On the day called Sunday, all …gather together to one place, and the Memoirs of the Apostles or the Writings of the Prophets are read …. Then we all rise together and pray …. When our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought” etc. Here again, there is no mention whatsoever of John 6:32-63; nor of transubstantiation.
Twenty-fifth. In Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (ch. 41), he says that the Old Testament “offering of fine flour …was prescribed to be presented …as a type of the bread of the Eucharist, the celebration of which our Lord Jesus Christ prescribed in remembrance of the sufferings He endured” precisely “so that we may give thanks to God for having created the world for us” and “for having destroyed completely the principalities and powers by Him Who suffered according to His will …. Of the offerings given to Him in every place by us (the nations)-the offerings, that is of the bread of the Eucharist and likewise of the cup of the Eucharist – of these He foretells (in Mal. 1:11). Here again, there is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor of transubstantiation.
Twenty-sixth. In ch. 70, Justin defends Christians against the false charge of their enemies that God’s people were cannibals and drinkers of human blood. He does so, by saying that Isaiah 33:13-19 alludes “to the bread which our Christ gave us to eat in remembrance of His being made flesh for the sake of His believers.”
Twenty-seventh. In ch. 117, Justin told the Jew Trypho that “God, anticipating all the gifts which we bring through this Name and which Jesus the Christ enjoined us to present, i.e. the bread and the cup in the Eucharist, and which are presented by Christians in all places throughout the world, bears witness that they are well-pleasing to Him.” Here again-there is absolutely no mention of John 6:3263; nor of transubstantiation.
Twenty-eighth. Also the A.D. 180 Theophilus in his Letters to Autolycus (111:4) rebukes the “godless lips [which] falsely accuse us who are worshippers of God and are called Christians …that we eat human flesh.” However, if it had then been their teaching that in the Eucharist the bread and wine cease to exist by getting transubstantiated into human flesh and blood – Theophilus could not here have resented the false accusation of the Pagans that Christians are cannibals, as being “most barbarous and impious” (as he here indeed does).
Twenty-ninth. At that same time, in his Against Heresies IV: 17:5f, Irenaeus wrote that Jesus “took that created thing bread and gave thanks and said `This is My body [not “this becomes My body”]!’ …. It behooves us [Christians] to bring a present to God, and in all things to be found grateful to God our Maker in a pure mind and in faith without hypocrisy-in well-grounded hope, in fervent love-presenting the first-fruits of His Own created things. And the Church alone presents this pure gift to the Creator-presenting it to Him with thanksgiving. But the Judaists do not offer thus. For their hands are full of blood. For they have not received the Word through Whom it is presented to God_ We [Christians] give His own to Him, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit.” Hence we Christians present to the Triune God His Own creatures of bread and wine. And we proclaim the fellowship of the flesh with the spirit, in that the flesh of every believing human being is receptive to the Spirit. Here again in Irenaeus, neither John 6:32-63 nor tansubstantiation are mentioned at all.
Thirtieth. Around A.D. 190, in his Instructor (I:6), Clement of Alexandria repeatedly mentions John six (but not in connection with mature faith nor as regards the Lord’s Supper). Yet in his Instructor, Clement does say that “blood is figuratively termed wine” and that “the Lord’s blood is figuratively represented as milk” and that Christ “washes …His garment in wine [and] His robe in the blood of the grape” (Gen. 49:11). Indeed, in II:2, Clement distinctly says that “to drink the blood of Jesus is to become partaker of the Lord’s immortality” (which no apostate from the eucharist ever did) – “the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as blood is of flesh …. The mixture of both-of the water and of the Word- is called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith [and not ex opere operato] partake of it, are sanctified.”
Thirty-first. So too in Clement’s A.D. 194 Stromata (I:1 & 10 and IV:26): “The Saviour, taking the bread, first spoke and blessed. Then, breaking the bread, He presented it so that we might eat it according to reason, and that knowing the Scriptures we might walk obediently …. Moses says Melchizedek King of Salem, Priest of the Most-High God, who gave bread and wine – furnished consecrated food for a type of the Eucharist.” Here, there is no transubstantiation but only the ProtoProtestant doctrine of the real Spirit-ual presence of God at the Lord’s Supper to the eye of faith.
Thirty-second. In his A.D. 207 Against Marcion III:19-22, Tertullian wrote that “God …called His body bread” and that “He has given to His body the figure of bread, Whose body the Prophet of old [Jer. 11:19] figuratively turned into bread …. With this agrees also the prophecy of Malachi [ 1:11 ]: `I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord [to the Judeans]; neither will I accept your presents. For from the rising of the sun [in the East] even unto the going down of the same [in the West] -My Name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place a gift shall be presented to My Name, a pure presentation’ -such as the ascription of glory and blessings and praises and hymns.” No mention here of the Lord’s Supper, and still less of the Mass!
Thirty-third. Also again in his Against Marcion IV:40, Tertullian insists: “The Law prefigures His passion …. Moses had declared that there was a sacred mystery: `It is the Lord’s Passover’ [Lev. 23:5]…. When He [viz. Jesus Christ] so earnestly expressed His desire to eat the Passover, He considered it His Own Feast …. Having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body by saying, `This is My body’ [and not `this now becomes My body’] that is, the figureof My body. Yet there could not have been a figure, unless there were first a veritable body.”
Thirty-fourth. Tertullian continues: “In order however that you may discover how anciently wine is used as a figure for blood, turn to Isaiah [63:1] who asks, `Who is this that comes from Edom, from Bosra, with garments dyed in red, so glorious in His apparel, in the greatness of His might? Why are Your garments red, and Your raiment like his who comes from the treading of the full wine-press? … He represents the bleeding condition of His flesh under the metaphor of garments dyed in red-as if reddened in the treading and crushing process of the winepress from which the labourers descend reddened with the wine-juice like men stained in blood.”
Thirty-fifth. “Much more clearly still, does the book of Genesis [49:11] foretell this, when (in the blessing of Judah out of whose tribe Jesus Christ was to come according to the flesh), it even then delineated Christ in the person of that patriarch, saying: `He washed His garments in wine, and His clothes in the blood of grapes.’ In His garments and clothes, the prophecy pointed out His flesh and His blood in the wine. Thus did He now consecrate His blood in wine- Who then (by the patriarch) used the figure of wine to describe His blood.”
Thirty-sixth. We would also cite Tertullian’s On the Resurrection of the Flesh (ch. 37), where he declares “`The flesh profits nothing’ [John 6:63] …. W e ought therefore to desire Him in order that we may have life, and to devour Him with the ear and to ruminate [or `chew the cud’] on Him with the understanding and to digest Him by faith. Now just before the passage in hand, He had declared His flesh to be `the bread which comes down from heaven’ [John 6:5 I] …. Because He perceived that they were going to be scattered from Him, He says: `The flesh profits nothing.”‘ A stronger argument against the later error of transubstantiation, is hard to imagine!
Thirty-seventh. Only in the A.D. 251f Cyprian do we find the very first beginnings of unbiblical sacramentalism in relation to the Lord’s Supper. This is clear from his statement in his Treatises IV: 18. There he writes: “We ask that this bread should be given to us daily – so that we who are in Christ and daily receive the Eucharist for the food of salvation, may not by the interposition of some heinous sin be prevented …from partaking of the heavenly bread …. He Himself predicts and warns, `I am the bread of life which came down from heaven. If any man eat of My bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread which I will give is My flesh, for the life of the world’ [John 6:58]. When therefore He says that whoever shall eat of His bread shall live for ever, as those who partake of His body and receive the Eucharist by the right of communion are living, so on the other hand we must fear and pray lest any one …being withheld from communion and separated from Christ’s body-should remain at a distance from salvation.”
Thirty-eighth. Nevertheless, in other cases, Cyprian cites from John chapter six with no reference to the Lord’s Supper whatsoever. See for instance his Epistles 72(73):11 and his Treatises II:7 & IV: 14 & XII:I :T:22 & XI:3:T:19.
Thirty-ninth. Yet even in Cyprian, there is still no trace of the mass or of any transubstantiation. Consider, for instance, his Epistle 63:2f (62:2f) to Caecilius, where Cyprian insists: “Nothing must be done by us but what the Lord first did on our behalf, as that the cup which is offered in remembrance of Him should be offered mingled with wine …. We find in Genesis [9:20f] also, in respect of the Sacrament in Noah, this same thing was to them a precursor and figure of the Lord’s passion; that he drank wine …. Noah, setting forth a type of the future truth, did not drink water but wine, and thus expressed the figure of the passion of the Lord.
Fortieth. He continues: “Also in the priest Melchizedek we see prefigured the Sacrament of the offering of the Lord-according to what Divine Scripture testifies and says: `And Melchizedek King of Salem brought forth bread and wine ` [Genesis 14:18] …. Our Lord Jesus Christ,” he explains, “offered a sacrifice to God the Father – and offered the very same thing which [the High Priest] Melchizedek had offered, that is, bread and wine – to wit, His body and blood.”
Forty-first. Cyprian goes on: “In the blessing of Judah, also this same thing is signified, where there also is expressed a figure of Christ …. When the blood of the grape is mentioned [Gen. 49:11], what else is set forth than the wine of the cup of the blood of the Lord? … When the water is mingled in the cup with wine, the people is made one with Christ, and the assembly of believers is associated and conjoined with Him on Whom it believes …. In this very Sacrament, our people are show to be made one – so that in like manner as many grains collected and ground and mixed together into one mass make one bread, we may know that there is one body with which our number is joined and united.”
Forty-second. Also in his Epistle 75(69) to Magnus, Cyprian says: “When the Lord calls bread which is combined by the union of many grains, His body-He indicates our people whom He bore as being united. And when He calls the wine which is pressed from many grapes and clusters and collected together, His blood-He also signifies our flock linked together by the mingling of a united multitude.” Clearly, Cyprian is devoid of transubstantiationism.
Forty-third. The A.D. 254 Origen, in his Commentary on Matthew XI: 14, states: “The food which is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer, as respects its material part, goes into the stomach; but as regards prayer which is added to it, according to the proportion of faith, profits. It enlightens the mind which beholds that which is profitable. Nor is it the matter of the bread but the words spoken over it which profit men who do not eat unworthily. And these things I speak of the typical and symbolical body No worthless person is 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’ [John 6:51 ].” This is the very opposite of transubstantiation!
Forty-fourth. Also in Origen’s Commentary on John, and specifically on chapter six thereof, there is no hint of ex opere operato sacramentalism. Nay more, in 1:23 & VI:26 & X:13 (“the Word of God is not flesh and flesh only”), there is not even a hint of it referring to the Lord’s Supper. So too the remaining references to John chapter six in Origen’s Commentary on Matthew (XII:5 & XII:33 & IV: 14).
Forty-fifth. Also in the A.D. Novatian’s Treatise Concerning the Trinity (ch. 14), the whole thrust is against transubstantiation. Asks Novatian: “If Christ is only man-how is it that `even as the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself [John 5:26] – when man cannot have life in him[self] after the example of God the Father, because he is not glorious in eternity but made with the materials of mortality?If Christ is only man-how does He say: `I am the bread of eternal life which came down from heaven’ [John 6:51], when man can neither be the bread of life (he himself being mortal)? Nor could He [then] have come down from heaven-since no perishable material is established in heaven!”
Forty-sixth. The A.D. 265 Gregory Thaumaturgus in his Twelve Topics 10:E cites John 6:55f only to establish Christ’s Deity and without reference to His Supper. The A.D. 315 Lactantius in his Divine Institutes IV: 15 refers John chapter six – simply to the miraculous but not at all to the Sacrament of the Eucharist. And the A.D. 320 Eusebius in his Evangelical Demonstrations VIII: 1, states that Christ “gave again to His disciples the symbols of the divine economy- and appointed them to eat bread as a symbol of His Own body.”
Forty-seventh. This brings us to Nicaea. (A.D. 325). Suffice it to say that even a century later, also the great Augustine follows his fellow-African theologians the older Tertullian and Cyprian in their non-transubstantiationistic theory of Christ’s real presence at the Lord’s Supper. Thus he says that Judas ate only the bread of the Lord, while the other apostles ate the Lord Who was the bread. Indeed, in his 25`h Treatise on the Sixth Chapter of John, he rhetorically asks: “Why do you prepare the teeth and the belly?” And then he himself answers: “Believe-and you have eaten!” See too his Christian Doctrine III:3f
Forty-eighth. It was only in A.D. 831 that (by Radbertus in his book The Body and Blood of the Lord) one first finds propounded the most novel notion that “the substance of bread and wine is effectually changed (efcaciter interius commutatur) into the flesh and blood of Christ”-so that once the priest has consecrated it there is “nothing else in the eucharist but the flesh and blood of Christ.” Transubstantiation was never accepted in any part of the Church Catholic whether Greek, Roman, or Proto-Protestant (alias Culdee or Waldensian etc.), until the Roman Church proclaimed it dogmatically as an article of her faith at the 4th Lateran Council in 1215.
Forty-ninth. Even since A.D. 831, many Roman Catholics still opposed such transubstantiation. So: Ratramnus, Berengarius, John Scotus Eriguena, Rabanus Maurus, Walafrid Strabo, Christian Druthmar, Florus Magister, Eusebius Bruno (Bishop of Angers), Frollant (Bishop of Senlis), and Elfric. Also, according to the famous RC Cardinal Bellarmine in his De Sacramento Eucharistea (111:5 and 4 dII q.6 art. 1,2 and q. 3 art. 1,2 and I:5) – even the celebrated Cardinal Cameracensus said: “Transubstantiation cannot be proved from Holy Writ …. To this Cardinal Roffensis, Cardinal Cajetan and also Scotus all concur.” Indeed, the RC scholars Gabriel, Nicolus, Cusanus, Tapper, Hessel and others all present the “Protestant” interpretation of John 6:54. See Dr. P.G. Logan’s Ph.D. dissertation The History and Doctrine of Transubstantiation, Sydney, 1994, pp. 84f.
Fiftieth. As Dr. Calvin says in his Commentary on John 6:53f “This sermon [of Christ] does not refer to the Lord’s Supper, but to the continual communication which we have apart from the reception of the Lord’s Supper …. As far as young children are concerned, Christ’s ordinance forbids them to participate in the Lord’s Supper – because they cannot yet try themselves or celebrate the remembrance of the death of Christ …. It is wrong to expound this whole paasage as applying to the Lord’s Supper.”
Fifty-first. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion (IV:18:5), John Calvin argues: “If Christ is sacrificed at each mass, He must cruelly be slain every moment in a thousand places. This is not my argument, but the apostle’s: `Nor yet that He should offer Himself often’; `for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world’ (Heb. 9:25f)… Though they [the Roman theologians] insist a hundred times that this sacrifice is bloodless (anaimakton), I will reply that it depends not on the will of man to change the nature of sacrifice. For in that way, the sacred and inviolable institution of God would fall. Hence it follows, that the principle of the apostle stands firm: `without shedding of blood is no remission’ (Heb. 9:22).
Fifty-second. The true presence of our Saviour in the Lord’s Supper, then, is aptly professed in the Westminster Confession of Faith (29:2): “In this Sacrament, Christ is not offered up to His Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sins of the quick or dead (Heb. 9:22f); but only a commemoration of that one offering up of Himself, by Himself, upon the cross, once for all, and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same (I Cor. 11:24-27). So that the Popish sacrifice of the mass-as they call it-is most abominably injurious to Christ’s one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect (Heb. 7:23-27 & 10:11-18).”
Fifty-third. Westminster says (29:6): “That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of Christ’s body and blood (commonly called Transubstantiation by consecration of a priest or by any other way is repugnant not to Scripture alone but even to common sense and reason; overthroweth the nature of the Sacrament; and hath been and is the cause of manifold superstitions, yea of gross idolatries(Acts 3:21; I Cor. 1:24f; Luke 24:6,39).
Fifty-fourth. The words of the Westminster Confession (29:7) aptly summarize the eucharistical teachings of the Holy Scriptures as well of the Ante-Nicene Church: “Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible element in this Sacrament (I Cor. 11:26f), do then also inwardly by faith really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally but Spirit-ually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified and all benefits of His death: the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet as really but Spirit-ually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses (I Cor. 10:16).”
Fifty-fifth and finally. Let all heed Jesus, Who said: “The hour is coming, and is now, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit…. …. God is Spirit; and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit …. It is the Spirit Who enlivens. The flesh profits nothing. The words which I spoke to you, they are Spirit!” John 4:23f & 6:63.