Friday, January 17, 2014

Dr. Sproul, Roman Catholicism Series, Lecture 4 "Sacraments" by Teresa Beem

I am trying hard not to be emotional as I write. But Dr. Sproul had a prayer at the beginning of the lecture that asked divine help to be “fair and accurate” with presenting Catholic doctrine. He was neither fair nor accurate. 

Okay to it

Let me start with some worldview differences that Dr. Sproul either doesn’t understand or refuses to use when explaining Catholic beliefs.

Different Sources
Protestants go back to the Bible to form their worldview and create their theology. When confused, they pray and study in order to correctly interpret the written Word of God. The written Word is directly their source.

The source of Catholics dogma is not scripture. They use God’s written Word to support their theology, but it is directly sourced from the teachings of Christ--what He said, what they heard which came forth from His mouth. The early church heard the words of Christ and passed them down. The oral Word of God is supported by the written word, it is not the source of Catholic dogma. 

Contemporary subjects like contraception, cloning and euthanasia, not directly spoken about by Christ, is another matter. The church sees them as fitting under the umbrella of what Christ said was a sin. So the church does go beyond the explicit words of God and as a body rules these things to be sin because they fit into the already stated category of dogma. Dogmas can never be changed. They are truths on faith and morals that are considered infallible. (That is why abortion, same-sex marriage and a male priesthood can never be changed by the church or any pope. They are dogma or what Christ taught.)

For church disciplines, where Christ did not directly speak about a subject, the church interprets what God spoke both in the oral and written word. But disciples are not infallible and can change according to the time. (An unmarried priesthood is one of these church disciplines. Pope Francis could change that anytime the evidence shows it is necessary.)

So the church today can derive a new discipline based on scripture (such as declaring a day of fasting and prayer). But dogmas and doctrines come directly from the entire oral Word of God, which was later, in part, written down.

So when Dr. Sproul says that the Catholics decided on seven sacraments and the Protestants two, the Catholics would be horrified by that statement. For the forty days after Christ’s resurrection He taught the Apostles more about the Kingdom of Heaven than what He was able before His death. “There are more things I wish to tell you that you are not able to bear now.” (John 16:12)

Jesus taught the seven sacraments during those forty days after the Resurrection. Catholics did not look to the scripture to try and figure out the sacraments through interpretation. I am not writing that Jesus called them sacraments nor did he say explicitly seven. 
More than likely, Jesus called the sacraments “mysteries” and explained how they brought grace. Jesus commanded these rites, perhaps without fully explaining them. The Apostles obeyed them and passed them on by electing leaders who would obey these rites after they left the area or died. 

As the years passed, the church came up with terms to describe the rites Jesus instituted. They went back to Church history and the early church Father's writings as well as scripture in order to find theological terms that might describe and explain the ancient practices. 

Like all dogmas and doctrines, as we obey God, profess them, teach them, experience them we find more and better ways of explaining them. Their meanings deepen. The Roman Church (much more than Eastern Church mentality) has always desired to clarify and define all these little nuances. 

In America, the Catholic Church attempts to use Bible proof texts, when speaking to Protestants because they want to engage them inside a Protestant worldview rather than insist they come into a Catholic worldview. But when Catholics use scripture, oftentimes Protestants assume that is their source, but it is not. The source of Catholic dogma was what Christ said personally to the Apostles, what they heard with their ears, not what they read.

To the lecture on Sacraments.

[One other note. The whole theology of sacraments is extra-biblical. There is no place in scripture that says Jesus gave us two or ten sacraments. So, if the idea to a Protestant is not Biblical, then why do they assume two?]

Definition of sacrament
Dr. Sproul didn’t give the Catholic definition so here it is. The sacraments are sacred signs producing grace; the outward sign of inward grace.

Think about this in this way: A ceremony of some type, some ritual or public agreement is necessary for something to be constituted a true marriage. The words, “I pronounce you man and wife” is the moment you are married. It is efficacious and necessary for a valid marriage. That is what a Catholic means when they say the sign (the verbal pronouncement) makes it so.

The Sacraments and the Early Church

The Christian church began observing these mysteries (later called sacraments) from the beginning. One way of proving this is through the early church writings. Second century bishop, Tertuallian gives us a glimpse because he wrote to some pagans refuting that the Christians had adopted the sacraments from Mithraism. 

The devil whose work it is to pervert the truth, who with idolatrous mysteries endeavors to imitate the realities of the divine sacraments. Some he himself sprinkles as though in token of faith and loyalty; he promises forgiveness of sins through baptism; and if my memory does not fail me marks his own soldiers with the sign of Mithra on their foreheads, commemorates an offering of bread, introduces a mock resurrection, and with the sword opens the way to the crown. Moreover has he not forbidden a second marriage to the supreme priest? He maintains also his virgins and his celibates (Tertullian, De paraescriptione haereticorum, 40:3-4).
Likewise [the Mithraists] honor the gods themselves by washings. Moreover, by carrying water around, and sprinkling it, they everywhere expiate country-seats, houses, temples, and whole cities: at all events, at the Apollinarian and Eleusinian games they are baptized; and they presume that the effect of their doing that is their regeneration and the remission of the penalties due to their perjuries (De Baptismo, ch. 5).
There are hundreds of quotes from the early fathers supporting the Catholic sacraments. I have 50 pages of them in pt. 12 font that is only a small portion of them. Later I will give a few more.

Last Rites/Extreme Unction 
Dr. Sproul gets the idea of Last Rites (Extreme Unction) wrong. The church has always had anointing of sick people. But since I don’t think anyone thinks that is a big deal, let me know if you want it explained and I will do a post on it.

Mortal/Grave Sins
Dr. Sproul defined a mortal sin as one that destroys justifying grace in the believer's soul. I looked in the Catechism and other places but could not find a Catholic source that used the term "justifying." Catholics say a mortal sin is one that kills grace. That may seem like I am being picky, but there might be people that think a sin of that type is an automatic ticket to hell. It is not. 

To explain a venial versus moral sin, here’s a parallel: Someone falls into a swimmin pool (like someone falling into sin). There may be someone who comes near a pool and kinda wonders what it will feel like jumping in. They are tempted. Then because they are peering over too much they accidentally fall in. That is not a grave sin. That is a venial sin. Or lets say a person behind them pushes them in. Again that is not a grave sin. A mortal sin has several preconditions: 1. It has to be a very serious sin--such as hating someone, abortion or murder or stealing or idolatry, etc. Not like telling a little white lie or feeling anger at someone when they don’t deserve it. 2. The person has a full and clear understanding that a sin is mortal and will kill grace. 3. With intent to sin, a person does something of their own free will.

A person accidentally becoming addicted to alcohol is not a moral sin, for they are not fully willing themselves to sin. But that doesn’t automatically get an alcoholic off. They must try and become sober. It is just not a sin that will cause you to loose grace. 
St. John tells us that there is a sin that causes death (or mortal sins). 

“If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that.” John 5: 16
And Christ said blasphemy won’t be forgiven, so there are  degrees of sin, some of them mortal sins. That is biblical.

The Eye of the Tornado
Dr. Sproul called Justification and Authority the eye of the tornado for the true difference between Protestants and Catholics. After I read the joint declaration between the Lutherans and Catholics on Justification a few years ago, I don’t think that the theology is near as different as the Church and Reformers thought. It is mostly semantics. So that is no longer a real difference. 
However I would totally agree that the eye of the storm is authority. 

However, because Dr. Sproul really hacked the Catholic doctrine on Justification, penance and merits to pieces, I need to clarify them.

R.C. Sproul again says the church instituted the sacrament of penance. No absolutely not. Christ instituted it. The church obeyed by doing it. Why this is so important a point to a Catholic is because it would be like a widow being accused of only knowing her husband through his memoirs. No, she didn’t get her information from a book but knowing him, living with him, having children with him.

Penance is very biblical. Israel did penance.

If an Israelite stole something, not only would he have to return it but he would have to add a fifth to it (penance) as well as then make a sacrifice of reparation.

Most sins break your relationships with two people: the one you sinned against and God. Both 
must be restored. There is also a two fold consequence--eternal (the life to come) and temporal (life here). If you were to steal something you would not only have to go to jail (temporal punishment), but ask forgiveness from God (eternal punishment). Since Christ paid our eternal punishment all that is required is to confess and repent to heal the eternal wound. All eternal consequences were paid for by the Cross. 

Penance is not about eternal consequences. Penance is about the temporal consequences to our sin. If you can’t repair the sin for some reason with your fellow man, then penance takes care of that for you. I know someone who stole something as a young man and they became so embarrassed the they never went back and faced the person and returned the item they stole. Many decades passed and the guilt returned and they tried to find the person to make amends, but he could never locate them. This man would need to do penance, not to satisfy his eternal punishment, but the temporal.

Penance is also for the purpose of spiritual discipline to help you not fall into that sin again. What if a young man confessed to his priest that he was having difficulties with pornography. For his penance (spiritual discipline) the priest might say that the young man should not turn on his computer without saying an "Our Father" prayer and to stop and kneel and pray it every time he was tempted. This is the point of penance, to become holy. It has nothing to do with satisfaction for eternal life. 

Dr. Sproul gave a very limited and poor explanation of indulgences, so if you wish to know more about that let me know and I will write another blog post. 

Catholics do not trust in their own merit. Nor do we have a certain number or volume we must attain to gain salvation. 
That is a complete misunderstanding of Catholic doctrine. In the second century, the technical Latin term for "merit" was introduced as a synonym for the Greek word for "reward." And the New Testament is replete with texts about merit/reward:
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you. Matt. 5: 12

For the Son of Man will come...and then He will reward each according to his works. Matt. 16: 27

I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven. Luke 16: 9

For [God] will reward every man according to his works: to those who by perseverance in working good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. Rom. 2: 6-11

 There will be . . . glory and honor and peace for every one who does good. Gal. 6:6–10

And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11: 6

(See also Matt. 5:46; 6:1; 10:41; 20:8; 24: 46 see whole context, Mark 9:41, Luke 6:23, 35; 14:12; 19:17; 23: 41; John 4: 36-38; 12; 26)

Catholics do not believe that one must do good works to come to God and be saved. This is exactly the opposite of what the Church teaches. The Council of Trent stressed: "[N]one of those things which precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification; for if it is by grace, it is not now by works; otherwise, as the Apostle [Paul] says, grace is no more grace" (Decree on Justification 8, citing Rom. 11:6). 

From Catholic Answers:

“And the Catholic Church teaches only Christ is capable of meriting in the strict sense—mere man cannot (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2007). The most merit humans can have is condign—when, under the impetus of God’s grace, they perform acts which please him and which he has promised to reward (Rom. 2:6–11, Gal. 6:6–10). Thus God’s grace and his promise form the foundation for all human merit (CCC 2008). 
“Virtually all of this is agreed to by Protestants, who recognize that, under the impetus of God’s grace, Christians do perform acts which are pleasing to God and which God has promised to reward, meaning that they fit the definition of merit. When faced with this, Protestants are forced to admit the truth of the Catholic position—although, contrary to Paul’s command (2 Tim. 2:14), they may still dispute the terminology.  
“Thus the Lutheran Book of Concord admits: "We are not putting forward an empty quibble about the term ‘reward.’ . . . We grant that eternal life is a reward because it is something that is owed—not because of our merits [in the strict sense] but because of the promise [of God]. We have shown above that justification is strictly a gift of God; it is a thing promised. To this gift the promise of eternal life has been added" (p. 162). 
It all goes back to when you believe you are born-again, because all Christians know you must have good works after you have entered the family covenant with God and are His child. Both Catholics and Protestants believe you have good works after justification not to be justified.
The Early Church Fathers Quotes on Merits
So what did the early church believe about merits and rewards? Here's some quotes. (This is by no means a full list, only a selected few) 
Ignatius of Antioch"Be pleasing to him whose soldiers you are, and whose pay you receive. May none of you be found to be a deserter. Let your baptism be your armament, your faith your helmet, your love your spear, your endurance your full suit of armor. Let your works be as your deposited withholdings, so that you may receive the back-pay which has accrued to you" (Letter to Polycarp 6:2 [A.D. 110]). 
Justin Martyr"We have learned from the prophets and we hold it as true that punishments and chastisements and good rewards are distributed according to the merit of each man’s actions. Were this not the case, and were all things to happen according to the decree of fate, there would be nothing at all in our power. If fate decrees that this man is to be good and that one wicked, then neither is the former to be praised nor the latter to be blamed" (First Apology 43 [A.D. 151]. 
AthenagorasFor . . . the examination relates to individuals, and the reward or punishment of lives ill or well spent is proportioned to the merit of each." (The Resurrection of the Dead 25 [A.D. 178]). 
Theophilus of Antioch"He who gave the mouth for speech and formed the ears for hearing and made eyes for seeing will examine everything and will judge justly, granting recompense to each according to merit. To those who seek immortality by the patient exercise of good works [Rom. 2:7], he will give everlasting life, joy, peace, rest, and all good things, which neither eye has seen nor ear has heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man [1 Cor. 2:9]. For the unbelievers and the contemptuous and for those who do not submit to the truth but assent to iniquity . . . there will be wrath and indignation [Rom. 2:8]" (To Autolycus 1:14 [A.D. 181]).  
Irenaeus"[Paul], an able wrestler, urges us on in the struggle for immortality, so that we may receive a crown and so that we may regard as a precious crown that which we acquire by our own struggle and which does not grow upon us spontaneously. . . . Those things which come to us spontaneously are not loved as much as those which are obtained by anxious care" (Against Heresies 4:37:7 [A.D. 189]).  
Tertullian"Again, we [Christians] affirm that a judgment has been ordained by God according to the merits of every man" (To the Nations 19 [A.D. 195]).  
Lactantius"Let every one train himself to righteousness, mold himself to self-restraint, prepare himself for the contest, equip himself for virtue . . . [that he] may gain for himself incorruptible treasures by good works, that he may be able, with God for his judge, to gain for the merits of his virtue either the crown of faith, or the reward of immortality" (Epitome of the Divine Institutes 73 [A.D. 317]).  
Cyril of Jerusalem"The root of every good work is the hope of the resurrection, for the expectation of a reward nerves the soul to good work. Every laborer is prepared to endure the toils if he looks forward to the reward of these toils" (Catechetical Lectures 18:1 [A.D. 350]).  
Jerome"It is our task, according to our different virtues, to prepare for ourselves different rewards. . . ." (Against Jovinian 2:32 [A.D. 393]).   
Augustine"We are commanded to live righteously, and the reward is set before us of our meriting to live happily in eternity. But who is able to live righteously and do good works unless he has been justified by faith?" (Various Questions to Simplician 1:2:21 [A.D. 396]). 
"He bestowed forgiveness; the crown he will pay out. Of forgiveness he is the donor; of the crown, he is the debtor. Why debtor? Did he receive something? . . . The Lord made himself a debtor not by receiving something but by promising something. One does not say to him, ‘Pay for what you received,’ but ‘Pay what you promised’" (Explanations of the Psalms 83:16 [A.D. 405]).  
"What merits of his own has the saved to boast of when, if he were dealt with according to his merits, he would be nothing if not damned? Have the just then no merits at all? Of course they do, for they are the just. But they had no merits by which they were made just" (Letters 194:3:6 [A.D. 412]).  
"What merit, then, does a man have before grace, by which he might receive grace, when our every good merit is produced in us only by grace and when God, crowning our merits, crowns nothing else but his own gifts to us?" (ibid., 194:5:19).  
Council of Orange II"[G]race is preceded by no merits. A reward is due to good works, if they are performed, but grace, which is not due, precedes [good works], that they may be done" (Canons on grace 19 [A.D. 529]). 
These quotes perfectly express Catholicism's doctrine of merits today. 

Catholic Heaven and Protestant Heaven
Again the idea of heaven is different among Catholics and Protestants. American Catholics use the word heaven (life beyond the grave) in Protestant ways because that is the cultural norm and Catholics thought it unnecessary to always make the distinction. But technically the Catholics believe the Kingdom of Heaven begins at baptism for the believer. Catholics do not see the Second Coming as ushering in heaven. We are in heaven now when we are in the Catholic Church. We are preparing for the capitol city of Heaven (the New Jerusalem) to come down to earth and Christ will reign. Not to say Heaven will be restricted to a new earth, but the New Earth is a perfect earth 

The Catholic Church is not the completion of heaven but the seed, the beginning of heaven. What Catholics look forward to once they die to to be able to see Jesus face to face (the Beatific vision)--not a new place to reside. The Kingdom of Heaven came with Christ. Christ is coming again to receive His Kingdom, His Bride. Now instead of worrying about our eternal salvation Catholics are focused on preparing for the wedding feast when Christ comes and be coming that perfect, pure and spotless Bride.

We don’t earn merits for heaven because we are already there. We earn merits/rewards that we may share in His glory and help others share in God’s glory. This isn’t a matter of emphasis, it is a matter of definition. Catholics live in the Kingdom, in the eternal covenant, in the family. 

Treasury of Merits
Dr. Sproul does not understand the doctrine of the treasury of merits. He says the Protestants believe in an infinite treasury of the merits of Christ. That is exactly what Catholics believe.

I find it unbelievable when so much evidence is out there about what Catholics actually believe that a man as smart as Dr. Sproul will continue to repeat absolute lies about Catholic doctrine. It reminds me of Adventist professors... good men! Smart men who believe and repeat garbage and think it to be true. I just have to shake my head in disbelief.

The Lord’s Supper: the Real Presence and Sacrifice

Since this is getting so lengthy I will take this one sacrament--the Lord's Supper--and show how the early church fathers passed on the teachings of the Apostles and how they continue to be preached by the Catholics today. 

These quotes will specifically show the Catholic theology of the real presence of the Eucharist (the body and blood are not symbols, but mysteriously the true body of blood of the risen Christ). And these quotes will show how the early church saw the mass as a sacrifice of the Eucharist (a new covenant, bloodless sacrifice.)

1st Century
The Didache"Assemble on the Lord’s day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. Anyone who has a difference with his fellow is not to take part with you until he has been reconciled, so as to avoid any profanation of your sacrifice [Matt. 5:23–24]. For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, ‘Everywhere and always bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is the wonder of nations’ [Mal. 1:11, 14]" (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]).  
Pope Clement I"Our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate those who blamelessly and holily have offered its sacrifices. Blessed are those presbyters who have already finished their course, and who have obtained a fruitful and perfect release" (Letter to the Corinthians 44:4–5 [A.D. 80]). 

2nd Century
Ignatius of Antioch"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible" (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).  
"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).  
"Make certain, therefore, that you all observe one common Eucharist; for there is but one Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and but one cup of union with his Blood, and one single altar of sacrifice—even as there is also but one bishop, with his clergy and my own fellow servitors, the deacons. This will ensure that all your doings are in full accord with the will of God" (Letter to the Philadelphians 4 [A.D. 110]).  
Justin Martyr"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).  
"God speaks by the mouth of Malachi, one of the twelve [minor prophets], as I said before, about the sacrifices at that time presented by you: ‘I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord, and I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands; for from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name has been glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering, for my name is great among the Gentiles . . . [Mal. 1:10–11]. He then speaks of those Gentiles, namely us [Christians] who in every place offer sacrifices to him, that is, the bread of the Eucharist and also the cup of the Eucharist" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 41 [A.D. 155]).  
Irenaeus"He took from among creation that which is bread, and gave thanks, saying, ‘This is my body.’ The cup likewise, which is from among the creation to which we belong, he confessed to be his blood. He taught the new sacrifice of the new covenant, of which Malachi, one of the twelve [minor] prophets, had signified beforehand: ‘You do not do my will, says the Lord Almighty, and I will not accept a sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is my name among the Gentiles, says the Lord Almighty’ [Mal. 1:10–11]. By these words he makes it plain that the former people will cease to make offerings to God; but that in every place sacrifice will be offered to him, and indeed, a pure one, for his name is glorified among the Gentiles" (Against Heresies 4:17:5 [A.D. 189]). "If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" (Against Heresies 4:33–32 [A.D. 189]).  
Clement of Alexandria"’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children" (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]). 
3rd Century 
Tertullian“... the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God" (The Resurrection of the Dead 8 [A.D. 210]).  
Hippolytus"‘And she [Wisdom] has furnished her table’ [Prov. 9:2] . . . refers to his [Christ’s] honored 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 [i.e., the Last Supper]" (Fragment from Commentary on Proverbs [A.D. 217]) 
Origen"Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink’ [John 6:55]" (Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D. 248]).  
Cyprian of Carthage
"He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]. All these warnings being scorned and contemned—[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to his body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord" (The Lapsed 15–16 [A.D. 251]).  

 "What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction" (ibid., 272). 
4th Century 
Cyril of Jerusalem"The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ" (Catechetical Lectures 19:7 [A.D. 350]).  
"Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul" (ibid., 22:6, 9). "Then, having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth his Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before him, that he may make the bread the Body of Christ and the wine the Blood of Christ, for whatsoever the Holy Spirit has touched is surely sanctified and changed. Then, upon the completion of the spiritual sacrifice, the bloodless worship, over that propitiatory victim we call upon God for the common peace of the churches, for the welfare of the world, for kings, for soldiers and allies, for the sick, for the afflicted; and in summary, we all pray and offer this sacrifice for all who are in need" (Catechetical Lectures 23:7–8 [A.D. 350]).  
Ambrose of Milan"Perhaps you may be saying, ‘I see something else; how can you assure me that I am receiving the body of Christ?’ It but remains for us to prove it. And how many are the examples we might use! . . . Christ is in that sacrament, because it is the body of Christ" (The Mysteries 9:50, 58 [A.D. 390]). "We saw the prince of priests coming to us, we saw and heard him offering his blood for us. We follow, inasmuch as we are able, being priests, and we offer the sacrifice on behalf of the people. Even if we are of but little merit, still, in the sacrifice, we are honorable. Even if Christ is not now seen as the one who offers the sacrifice, nevertheless it is he himself that is offered in sacrifice here on Earth when the body of Christ is offered. Indeed, to offer himself he is made visible in us, he whose word makes holy the sacrifice that is offered" (Commentaries on Twelve Psalms of David 38:25 [A.D. 389]).  
Serapion"Accept therewith our hallowing too, as we say, ‘Holy, holy, holy Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth is full of your glory.’ Heaven is full, and full is the earth, with your magnificent glory, Lord of virtues. Full also is this sacrifice, with your strength and your communion; for to you we offer this living sacrifice, this unbloody oblation" (Prayer of the Eucharistic Sacrifice 13:12–16 [A.D. 350]).  
Gregory Nazianzen"Cease not to pray and plead for me when you draw down the Word by your word, when in an unbloody cutting you cut the Body and Blood of the Lord, using your voice for a sword" (Letter to Amphilochius 171 [A.D. 383]). 

John Chrysostom
"When you see the Lord immolated and lying upon the altar, and the priest bent over that sacrifice praying, and all the people empurpled by that precious blood, can you think that you are still among men and on earth? Or are you not lifted up to heaven?" (The Priesthood 3:4:177 [A.D. 387]). 
"Reverence, therefore, reverence this table, of which we are all communicants! Christ, slain for us, the sacrificial victim who is placed thereon!" (Homilies on Romans 8:8 [A.D. 391]).  

"‘The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not communion of the blood of Christ?’ Very trustworthy and awesomely does he [Paul] say it. For what he is saying is this: What is in the cup is that which flowed from his side, and we partake of it. He called it a cup of blessing because when we hold it in our hands that is how we praise him in song, wondering and astonished at his indescribable gift, blessing him because of his having poured out this very gift so that we might not remain in error; and not only for his having poured it out, but also for his sharing it with all of us. ‘If therefore you desire blood,’ he [the Lord] says, ‘do not redden the platform of idols with the slaughter of dumb beasts, but my altar of sacrifice with my blood.’ What is more awesome than this? What, pray tell, more tenderly loving?" (Homilies on First Corinthians 24:1(3) [A.D. 392]).  

"In ancient times, because men were very imperfect, God did not scorn to receive the blood which they were offering . . . to draw them away from those idols; and this very thing again was because of his indescribable, tender affection. But now he has transferred the priestly action to what is most awesome and magnificent. He has changed the sacrifice itself, and instead of the butchering of dumb beasts, he commands the offering up of himself" (ibid., 24:2). 
5th Century
John Chrysostom
"What then? Do we not offer daily? Yes, we offer, but making remembrance of his death; and this remembrance is one and not many. How is it one and not many? Because this sacrifice is offered once, like that in the Holy of Holies. This sacrifice is a type of that, and this remembrance a type of that. We offer always the same, not one sheep now and another tomorrow, but the same thing always. Thus there is one sacrifice. By this reasoning, since the sacrifice is offered everywhere, are there, then, a multiplicity of Christs? By no means! Christ is one everywhere. He is complete here, complete there, one body. And just as he is one body and not many though offered everywhere, so too is there one sacrifice" (Homilies on Hebrews 17:3(6) [A.D. 403]).  
Theodore of Mopsuestia
"When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood’; for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit not according to their nature, but receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord. We ought . . . not regard [the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit" (Catechetical Homilies 5:1 [A.D. 405]).  
"Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, ‘This is my body’ [Matt. 26:26]. For he carried that body in his hands" (Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10 [A.D. 405]). 
"I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ" (Sermons 227 [A.D. 411]). 
"In the sacrament he is immolated for the people not only on every Easter Solemnity but on every day; and a man would not be lying if, when asked, he were to reply that Christ is being immolated. For if sacraments had not a likeness to those things of which they are sacraments, they would not be sacraments at all; and they generally take the names of those same things by reason of this likeness" (Letters 98:9 [A.D. 412]). 
"For when he says in another book, which is called Ecclesiastes, ‘There is no good for a man except that he should eat and drink’ [Eccles. 2:24], what can he be more credibly understood to say [prophetically] than what belongs to the participation of this table which the Mediator of the New Testament himself, the priest after the order of Melchizedek, furnishes with his own body and blood? For that sacrifice has succeeded all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, which were slain as a shadow of what was to come. . . . Because, instead of all these sacrifices and oblations, his body is offered and is served up to the partakers of it" (The City of God 17:20 [A.D. 419]). 
Council of Ephesus
"We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his holy flesh and the precious blood of Christ the Savior of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his flesh, he made it also to be life-giving" (Session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius [A.D. 431]). 
Sechnall of Ireland
"[St. Patrick] proclaims boldly to the [Irish] tribes the name of the Lord, to whom he gives the eternal grace of the laver of salvation; for their offenses he prays daily unto God; for them also he offers up to God worthy sacrifices" (Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick 13 [A.D. 444]). 
6th Century 
Fulgentius of Ruspe

"Hold most firmly and never doubt in the least that the only-begotten God the Word himself became flesh [and] offered himself in an odor of sweetness as a sacrifice and victim to God on our behalf; to whom . . . in the time of the Old Testament animals were sacrificed by the patriarchs and prophets and priests; and to whom now, I mean in the time of the New Testament . . . the holy Catholic Church does not cease in faith and love to offer throughout all the lands of the world a sacrifice of bread and wine. In those former sacrifices what would be given us in the future was signified figuratively, but in this sacrifice which has now been given us is shown plainly. In those former sacrifices it was fore-announced that the Son of God would be killed for the impious, but in the present sacrifice it is announced that he has been killed for the impious" (The Rule of Faith 62 [A.D. 524]).

I can furnish these types of quotes from the early church fathers on all the sacraments as well as Bible texts that support each sacrament. Please let me know if you would like me to. 

One more short comment. Dr. Sproul spoke about the dividing of God's human nature and body as being in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the risen body of Christ, not the human body.

Thank you for reading and God bless you.

1 comment:

Stephen Korsman said...

Thanks for this series ... taking on a "big" name like this is something I'd find daunting - but you've done well!!

I always found the initials "RC" to be rather ironic :-)

One comment - blasphemy being unforgivable ... it's blasphemy against the Holy Spirit that won't be forgiven, and most people consider this to be a final and permanent rejection of grace, rather than saying something rude or contrary to the Holy Spirit.