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Friday, June 02, 2006 

A Superb Post At Gottesblog

Father Eckardt over at Gottesblog has a superb post on the administration of the Eucharist. He takes on the question: do men who receive grape juice as the second kind in the sacrament receive the forgiveness of sins that is promised in the Eucharist? His answer is a simple; no they do not.

His thought process in drawing the conclusion he does is the fact that faith must believe the Word of God recorded in the Gospel according to St. Mathew 26:27-28
Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Here our Lord does not mention grape juice but refers to a very real element, wine. Faith must believe the very words of Christ. Here Jesus gives us an earthly element that, through His words, becomes a mystery that only faith can comprehend. He does not say that the wine in the cup is “like” his blood; he says that the cup is his blood. It is the same blood in that cup that in just a few short hours will flow down the cursed tree that He will be nailed to. He means what he says!

St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:29,30 write
For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

St. Paul states for a fact that some didn’t recognize what it was that they were doing and in the process died after eating and drinking the Host and the Cup respectively. A number of the Corinthians thought the Eucharist something akin to brunch at the local Kountry Kitchen and not as a holy thing God. In treating the Euchrist lightly and without the due respect a holy thing of the Lord, they died!

Lutheran confess in AC X “Of the Supper of the Lord they teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise”. It is the very body of Christ because Christ says it is! We also confess that both kinds are to be used in the administration as we confess in AC XXII 9-12 “But it is evident that any custom introduced against the commandments of God is not to be allowed, as the Canons witness (dist. III., cap. Veritate, and the following chapters). But this custom has been received, not only against the Scripture, but also against the old Canons and the example of the Church. Therefore, if any preferred to use both kinds of the Sacrament, they ought not to have been compelled with offense to their consciences to do otherwise. And because the division of the Sacrament does not agree with the ordinance of Christ, we are accustomed to omit the procession, which hitherto has been in use”. If the Lord of heaven and earth wanted us to use grape juice he would have surely said so. Introducing grape juice as a substitute conflicts with the command and the promise of our Lord and therefore can not have any salvific merit.

A student once asked me in my Sunday school class why don’t we use Oreos and milk instead of bread and wine. The student merely wanted to know where is the proof that Scripture commands what to use as the Host and the Cup. I pointed to the same verses in the Gospel according to Matthew as well as the Corinthian verses as the proof texts that the use of bread and wine is not adiaphra! Sure at any time we can use Oreos and milk and call it the Eucharist, but it would not be a holy thing commanded by God. A group of children “playing church” can pretend to administer the Sacrament by passing out Ritz crackers and Kool-Aid but all the wishing in the world will not make what they do holy.

It is refreshing to see that there are pastors like Father Eckardt that are willing, no matter how much flack they catch. confess the words of Christ as truth.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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