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Subject:Impetus for our understanding of the Eucharist
Time:07:25 pm
Does anyone know what the impetus is for Luther (and our) understanding of the nature of the Eucharist? I'm referring specifically to the Sacramental Union instead of transubstantiation.

Originally, in regards to Luther, do you think it was to cut down on certain abuses revolving around the Eucharist? An effort to not take the scriptures too far (a beautiful and frustrating thing about Lutheranism, in my opinion)? The simple matter that bread and wine are still there, at least according to our senses?

Thanks for the input.
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basswhooper
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Time:2010-07-24 02:47 am (UTC)
A) I'm glad to see someone posting here. It's been far too long!

B) I know naught of Luther's impetus for our thoughts on the Eucharist, save that as he and his comrades debated the point he kept writing "This is my body" in Latin on the table before him.

One of my former pastors said something during my adult membership class that always stuck with me is that while the Greek/Western mind requires things to be one thing OR another, the Jewish mind can allow for things to be one thing AND another. For instance, the Jewish understanding of the Passover meal is that they are participating in that night so long ago right along with their ancestors, AND they are having a commemorative meal in the present (something which I try to keep in mind during communion).

So it is bread and wine, AND it is the body and blood of our Savior.

Hope that helps!
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leoetiquette
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Time:2010-07-24 01:11 pm (UTC)
As far as my studies show, the impetus was double-fold: an effort to read Scripture without reading our assumptions into Scripture (as you suggest) and a rejection of Aristotle's prevailing influence in Christian theology.

But having said that, the Confessions do speak about transubstantiation relating as much to the priests "doing" the transformation as whether the bread remains. So that's certainly about abuses as you suggested too.
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chaz_lehmann
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Time:2010-07-24 06:55 pm (UTC)
Two things:

Lutherans have no "theory" of the Lord's Supper, and Rome's use of Aristotelian philosophy to explain the Supper turns into just that.

Luther wanted to acknowledge the presence of all four elements, as we see in 1 Corinthians.
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quodscripsi
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Time:2012-02-06 06:12 am (UTC)
Just passing thought looking for something from years ago and I thought I would clarify Chaz's comment with some context.

Luther was taking a stand for or choosing a sides in debates regarding the Eucharist that had been taking place in Europe for a good century before he began writing. As Chaz notes he was siding with the Nominalists against the Aristotelian Scholastics in the question of the nature of the change in transubstantiation. He expressed this best in the Smalcald Articles III.VI.5 "As regards transubstantiation, we care nothing about the sophistical subtlety by which they teach that bread and wine leave or lose their own natural substance, and that there remain only the appearance and color of bread, and not true bread. For it is in perfect agreement with Holy Scriptures that there is, and remains, bread, as Paul himself calls it, 1 Cor. 10:16: The bread which we break. And 1 Cor. 11:28: Let him so eat of that bread."

The other important issue rare discussed these days is the issue of Eucharist in both kinds. At the end of the Middle Ages it was usual practice to only give the laity the bread and not the wine. This was rejected by various groups most notable the Hussites who were a Czech movement at the beginning of the 15th century.

So while everyone likes to talk about the transubstantiation issue it was really a much more minor issue at least between Lutherans and Romanists then many other issues in regards to the Eucharist such as only giving the laity the Eucharist on Easter, the both kinds issue, and performing full masses with Eucharist where only the priest partook. Luther clearly understood that the transubstantiation issue was more of an academic theological issue then anything else. The reason people like to focus on this is to try and bring Luther closer to the Radical protestants like Zwingli. It was the one issue Luther was absolutely in disagreement with the Radicals about and was completely unwilling to compromise on. As a christian newspaper I recently saw at an elderly pastor's house I visited summarized the Lutheran belief on Communion is "IS is IS" which is written in contrast to the Radical view that "IS is Represents".
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