Saturday, December 1, 2007

More on Communion

www.Connected to Jesus
We are connected to Jesus individually and personally in the Lord's Supper. But we are also connected to each other.
....FIC - John Braun - 12/07
This Supper is not just a memorial meal for everyone to join in. Scripture makes that clear when it speaks of “proclaiming the Lord’s death,” receiving the Sacrament “in an unworthy manner,” and eating and drinking “without recognizing the body of the Lord” and instead of forgiveness receiving “judgment” (
1 Corinthians 11:26-29). A person must know what the Sacrament is all about. This sacrament is different than Baptism. Baptism initiates faith and is the entry point for most believers, including children. But this sacrament is for believers who know and who have been instructed.

The apostle Paul also reminded Christians to examine themselves before coming to the Lord’s Table. This sacrament is not meant for those who cannot “examine themselves” Those coming to the altar must be able to reflect on who they are and what they are about to do. Children and those with certain diminished mental abilities should not attend. Simply, communicants must be able to examine themselves lest they do something they don’t know and understand—lest they receive the Sacrament “without recognizing the body of the Lord.”


How is this done? Luther said that only faith makes us ready to receive the Sacrament. His question was “Who then, is properly prepared to receive this Sacrament?” His answer was the answer of the Scriptures: “. . . he is properly prepared who has faith in these words ‘Given’ and ‘poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins’ ” (The Reception of Holy Communion, Luther’s Small Catechism). .....
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Does our faith merit us worthy of the Lord's Supper? J.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

More communion stuff? Really? There's nothing else in the WELS to talk about?

We've gone around in circles about communion many, many times. I don't think there's anything else to be said.

I'm bored.

Anonymous said...

The True Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ given and poured out for us for the forgivness of sins? Yeah, boring.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on, I didn't say that Communion was boring. I said that the endless arguments about it here are boring. Give me a break, read what the comments actually say.

Michael Schottey said...

Faith does not merit us worthy. The only thing that merits us worth to receive the Lord's Supper is the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

However, how are the gifts of God received? Faith is another gift of God, and it is the vehicle by which God bestows his grace.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith."

Anonymous said...

Discussing the True Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ given and poured out for us for the forgivness of sins? Yeah, boring.

(I did read your blashpemous post. Obviously no one can commune on this blog, so common sense, of which you have little or sanctified Christian common sense of which you have little, tells us that discussing the issue is matter at hand. If you are bored go and read Chemnitz's "Lord' Supper" and Volumes 35-38 of the American Edition of Luther's Work, and then maybe the subject won't be such a yawner for you.)

Anonymous said...

My common sense (limited though it may be) tells me not to bother even responding to what you wrote. It wouldn't do any good anyways, since you seem to lack even a basic ability to read words in context and comprehend what they actually mean.

John said...

Mr. Boring,

What is it you would find interesting?

Anonymous said...

John,

Maybe this blog has run its course. We've talked about communion...repeatedly. We talked about fellowship. In your latest post you brought up "churchianity" again, which you already talked about in one of your first posts. We're going in circles. You've made it clear what issues you have with the WELS.

If there isn't anything new to write about, maybe the time has come to close down shop or turn it over to someone else with fresh things to discuss.

John said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I will gladly hand over the keys.
Please submit your first post and then you can be off and running.

don't stop said...

Maybe this blog has run its course.

This blog will not have run its course until the false doctrine in the WE?S is rooted out.

John, the synod-minders will try to beat you down but don't stop. You have provided a much needed forum for discussion. You have also allowed a variety of perspectives to speak out. This guy/girl just wants to take his ball and game home. I say let him go, and we will stay and play. :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe faith does "merit" us worthy to commune since faith is a gift from God. Without it, one shouldn't commune.

That being said, I've heard some say children should be allowed to commune earlier. If faith is a gift, when does it begin? In the womb? At baptism? After catechism? It comes by hearing the word of Christ. Could it then become a matter of discerning when someone is capable of examining themselves? I thought to commune you're to at least know the Commandments, Lord's Prayer and the Creed? Are there some communing adults who might not be able to do this? Kids could know and also be aware of their sin and that salvation is through Christ alone. Why deny the benefit of the sacrament to a set age or grade? I have a first grader and am curious. The sacraments and divine service show what God does for us, not what we do for Him, right?

Maybe, as mentioned by a previous blogger, this has been discussed ad nauseam, but it's not always the easiest to read 100+ blogs with a lot of impertinent information. I appreciate the willingness to discuss again.

Rob

Anonymous said...

Rob,

Faith is the big issue. Some in WELS and elsewhere (inadvertently, I hope) ended up saying that there is infant faith and then some other kind of faith for those older who can receive the Sacrament of the Altar. This should be discussed.

Anonymous said...

Where in the BOC (or elsewhere) is information about the current guidelines for communing children?

I also recall reading on a previous blog within this site about two faiths - corporate and personal. Where in the Scriptures or BOC are those defined and discussed?

Thanks for the help.

Rob

C said...

Rob,

In answer to your question on the two faiths, NOWHERE. See the Athanasian Creed. There is one faith. See Ephesians. There is one faith.

The previous comments to which you refer were a sad attempt by an anonymous person to shoe-horn an English translation of Scripture into a WELS doctrinal statement that is neither clear nor correct. Note though, that for some of the WELS doctrinal statements to square with Scripture and the Confessions (Ministry, Fellowship) this is the kind of thing that goes on and has to be done to make them fit.

You may want to start in the BOC Large Catechism, Part IV on Infant Baptism. This will lay a foundation in what the Reformers taught about infant faith, which would be a good place to start when discussing reception of the Lord's Supper.

C

Anonymous said...

"The previous comments to which you refer were a sad attempt by an anonymous person to shoe-horn an English translation of Scripture into a WELS doctrinal statement that is neither clear nor correct."

1. It's ironic that a person named "C" would make a point of pointing out that a comment was posted anonymously.

2. If you would have taken the time to read those anonymous comments, you would realize that this isn't a matter of "shoehorning" an English translation. The distinction is made in the original Greek.

3. No one even claimed there were two different kinds of faith. That's a strawman. There are, however, two different uses of the word "faith" in Scripture.

4. This distinction between fides qua and fides quae has been made far, far earlier than any WELS doctrinal statements. In fact, this distinction is so well known in theological circles that it's even found on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.e. (I'm sure people are already chomping at the bit to criticize that last sentence. For the record: I don't recommend basing theology on wikipedia. I'm simply demonstrating how well known and easily accessible this distinction is.)

5. Those who deny that there is such a distinction aren't true Lutherans, since they must then define faith simply as a personal, subjective thing (fides qua) and deny that faith has an objective content (fides quae). This clearly contradicts Luther's insistence that faith must always have an object.

6. I get the feeling that most people on this blog have read a couple of theological journals (the most sarcastic the better) and think they know theology. Fighting so strongly against the common distinction between fides qua and fides quae, belies an incredible ignorance of real theological knowledge. Every first-year theological student understands these things.

C said...

Speaking of ignorance, how does the distinction between fides qua and fides quae relate to fellowship? Not in your own words, please, but in those of the nameless countless theologians refered to on the other thread.

No one is arguing against the distinction between fides qua and fides quae but against how some anonymous person (I don't know what else to call you, since you didn't provide a pseudonym as was requested) used it to try to justify the WELS statement on fellowship.

Yes, faith must always have an object, hence ther is ONE saving faith--in Christ.

C

C said...

Oh, as for your straw man charge, here's what the anonymous on the other thread wrote,

"the difference between an expression of faith and an expression of THE faith. The first would be the "whatever you do"/vocation sort of expression of one's personal faith. The second would be a confession of corporate belief. Scripture uses this very same semantic difference. I believe that the WELS statement refers to the latter (though it doesn't clearly make that distinction). Vocation is an expression of personal faith, but isn't a confession of the corporate faith. Prayer, though, is an confession of the corporate faith."

Personal faith vs. corporate faith are two different things according to this poster. As you wrote, faith always has an object. Maybe this is just sloppy writing from Anonymous, but the personal faith seems to be divorced from any meaning or object and just a "personal, subjective thing" to which fellowship principles do not apply. This cannot be. Faith always has an object. Your confession and your faith does not change whether you are fulfilling your vocation out in the world or receiving God's gifts in the Divine Service.

C

RNN said...

Dear Fides guy (Your name until you give yourself one--so I don't have to refer to you as "anonymous"),

Thank you for bringing the distinction between fides quae and fides qua to our attention. However, I think you are taking it beyond what it is. It is a distinction; it is not a separation. It is two ways of looking at the same thing.

What is faith? It is belief in the Triune God, as confessed in the creeds (statements of belief). Note that both things are present here: what is believed and also a person's belief in that object. That is what confirmation is: when you stand before the church and confess that your faith is the faith of Scripture, as confessed in the Creed and the Catechism.

So the word faith means both: the object of belief (fides quae) and the belief in that object (fides qua). But it is the same faith; sometimes one aspect of faith is in mind, sometime the other. At no time can you have a faith that is a personal faith apart from the fides quae. Well, actually, you can, but then it is no longer saving faith in Christ--it is faith in your dreams, or whatever. (The faith expressed by Cinderella--the dreams that you dream will come true if you keep beleiving. Oddly similar to Joel Osteen, et. al. but that's another thread).

So then, how would one express a personal faith without expressing the faith? This is where your logic breaks down. I also would like to see some theologian who used this distinction in the fellowship discussion. To my knowledge, there aren't any. But please correct me if I am wrong.

For an excellent work on fellowship, try a book translated by Norman Nagel, written by Werner Elert: Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries. Nowhere in this book is it recorded that a theologian used the fides quae/qua distinction in discussion of fellowship. But then again, no one in the first four centuries defined fellowship as every joint manifestation of a common faith either.

Do I qualify as a self-labelled theologian because I read books instead of theological journals? I don't want to keep myself under some delusion, so please tell me if I also suffer from an incredible theological ignorance. Thanks!

RNN

Anonymous said...

Mr. Fides,

"I get the feeling that most people on this blog have read a couple of theological journals (the most sarcastic the better) and think they know theology."

Nice ad hominem. Is this the white flag?