Could You Take Communion With Pringles and Kool-Aid?

matt-chandler.jpgThus began an interesting discussion on my Facebook page yesterday between a couple guys who are part of The Fusion Community.

It ranged from what is used as the elements in the Lord’s Supper to what we’re actually doing when we take the Lord’s Supper (i.e. What is the bread and the wine?) to neoplatonism to the power of words.  Interesting stuff.  Anyone care to weigh in on this one?

Bryan McWhite
Sure. The elements are irrelevant. The essence is what matters. The Lord’s Supper began as a, well… a supper, and was one for a long time until it turned into the ‘wine and wafer’ thing. Ideally, the Lord’s Supper would be ribs, potatoes and beer. But that would get expensive. And the elders might frown on it.

Jesse Sweeney
So, what about people that believe in transubstantiation? Or that take John 6 as a literal meaning of bread = body and wine = blood?

Bryan McWhite
I think you’d have to ask someone who believes in transubstantiation. But all transubstantiation means is that the “substance” you’re partaking of changes (“trans”) into something else. I see no reason it couldn’t be pringles and Kool-Aid changing into the actual body and blood of Christ.  Everyone (even those who believe in transubstantiation) believe that John 6 is metaphorical. I mean, obviously Jesus isn’t saying that he is made out of wheat and yeast (6:48). The question is: How is he being metaphorical? I think the bread and the wine are metaphorically the body and blood of Christ (6:53-56) in the same way Jesus is metaphorically bread (6:48).

Jesse Sweeney
I was having a conversation with a mutual friend of ours about communion and I just can’t see how it is anything more than symbolic. That’s not to say that our spirits aren’t more in tune to what God is doing at the Lord’s table. Would you agree or do you think that more is happening when we partake in communion?

Bryan McInnis
FYI, I’m the “mutual friend.” I happen to know that God loves Pringles. To Him, it’s the “unblemished chip.”

Bryan McWhite
Jesse: Well, I just want to know why your “mutual friend” (and others) think something more is going on. I had a similar discussion with a “mutual friend” of mine and McInnis’s the other day and she was writing a paper on the Lord’s Supper and used similar language to what I’ve heard our “mutual friend” use: “Well, I think there’s probably something more going on than just a remembrance…” But why do you think that?  First of all, Is there anything biblical to demonstrate that something more is going on? Not that I can see. I think sometimes people merely want to believe something more is going on because that’s more mysterious and mystical. And “mysterious” and “mystical” are interesting and attractive. But there aren’t really any strong biblical arguments for Catholic and Lutheran views—or even the Presbyterian (i.e. Calvinistic) view—just speculation and tradition (Not that there’s anything wrong with tradition. But what’s the tradition based on? A tradition based on nothing biblical may not be worth keeping.)

Second, I absolutely reject the view that the “remembrance” view is a low view of the Lord’s Supper. Words have power. What we say and think and do during the Lord’s Supper is very, very powerful. God created through words. We were made new creations through words. God reveals himself through words. People hear and believe the gospel through words. Christ sustains the universe through words. It’s incomprehensible to me why people think that the remembrance view is a low view of the Lord’s Supper if the words we use are significant merely because I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that the bread is Jesus or that Jesus is floating around and through the bread.

Bryan McInnis
Great point PB [Pastor Bryan]. I think one of the reasons I struggle with this is that [Bryan’s] “symbolic” view of communion is very different than the vast majority of people who ascribe to this view. For many, symbolic means it’s just this thing we do that gets me thinking about Christ (which isn’t a bad thing). But I would contend that a solid Michael W. Smith song simply doesn’t hold the same promised value (by the power of the Holy Spirit) as The Lord’s Supper (although I suppose God can use anything, right?)

I think the common symbolic view is derivative of a sort of neoplatonism where, essentially, spirit is good and stuff is bad. It seems to me the Hebrew understanding of spiritual and secular is more nuanced (i.e. the anthropomorphisms ascribed to God). Plus, Jesus doesn’t seem to advocate a strictly symbolic understanding of the Supper (“this is my body” rather than “this is like my body”). It’s interesting to me that he does do the symbolism thing in regards to the Kingdom of God (“The Kingdom of God can be compared to…”, “The Kingdom of God is like…”). I’m not a Greek student, but why doesn’t Jesus simply say, “This is like/compared to my body”? Also, as far as I know, the early Church had a “different” (note I didn’t use “higher”) view of communion than do most evangelicals.

Ok, I’m done. Bryan, please go ahead and shoot a million holes in my arguments. Ready. Go.

Jesse Sweeney
What Bryan [McInnis] said, after some discussion, was that the burden of proof was with the people who believe as [Pastor Bryan does]. The text doesn’t say it’s symbolic but it does say, “This is my body,” implying that something more is taking place. And Bryan [McInnis] is not a Catholic and doesn’t believe in transubstantiation, but as he explained to me, “I would contend that it’s not as easy as the ESV commentators would suggest [in the ESV Study Bible]. I think they are imposing a highly Hellenistic interpretation on these words. The Jews didn’t divide spiritual and material worlds so clearly. For the Jews (and Jesus obviously was a Jew) everything was spiritual. That’s why the levitical laws addressed things so mundane as clothing. You can’t simply say, “This is spiritual and that is material.” To say that communion or baptism is only symbolic, I think, is to impose a worldview that Jesus didn’t ascribe to.”  I guess I just don’t see it, McInnis.

Bryan McInnis
You don’t see what?  Also, PB, I want to reiterate that your understanding of symbolism is rad, but very different than that of many of the evangelicals I’ve spoken to, whose view on communion sometimes seems to be an opposite end of the spectrum response to transubstantiation.

Bryan McWhite
Good thoughts, fellas. A couple of response:

1) This really doesn’t matter to me much. I think the Catholic view is heretical (yes, I used that word) because it calls into question the once-for-all sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross. After that, it’s just like millenial views to me. There’s just not enough evidence to adjudicate. So (with millenial views), as long as you believe that Jesus is coming back physically and that we need to be faithful to him in the meantime, whatever you think is fine with me. As long as you think we should have the Lord’s Supper regularly together as believers and that it should nourish us spiritually in some sort of way, whatever you think about how that happens is fine with me. This isn’t even in the same hemisphere as a hill I would die on.

2) Bryan: You’re rad.

3) Bryan and Jesse: The “Why didn’t Jesus say ‘This is like my body?'” argument is very weak because (a) it’s an argument from silence, (b) the word “like” is not necessary to form metaphors (e.g. “Jesse is a tool” is a metaphor.  “Jesse is like a tool” is a simile.), and (c) Jesus himself formed metaphors without the word “like”—especially in the book of John. Unless you think Jesus really is bread (John 6:48: ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς. Lit.: “I am the bread of life”) and a door (John 10:9: ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα· Lit: “I am the door”).

I agree that neoplatonic thought affects how we view things, but I don’t think that has anything to do with this discussion. I’m not saying that bread is physical and the Spirit of Jesus is spiritual, therefore they cannot coexist in the same entity. I’m saying, where’s the biblical evidence? I think your argument is attacking a scarecrow.

Bryan McInnis
Good. I hate scarecrows.

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22 thoughts on “Could You Take Communion With Pringles and Kool-Aid?”

  1. Our Gospel community had a prayer night last night (praying through the Lord’s prayer). Fifteen minutes before start time I realized that I forgot to buy the Welch’s. But I has some 3 buck chuck. It would have made a lot of sense to use wine, but alas, didn’t know the “rules” from the “mothership”. So, we had wafers and cranberry juice during our time of praying through “Give us this day … forgive us our debts …” Then the men and women split up for continued prayer and the men snacked on chex mix and cookies – as if we were continuing the meal. It felt just about right, but wine, steaks and baked potatoes would have been even better … this didn’t contribute to the meaning of the meal, but … well … I just wanted to hear myself write.

  2. “I am the vine”…

    Lutherans that I have talked to hold that the Lord’s Supper brings salvation, not just a spiritual blessing. For them, God saves people through it (along with faith and physical water baptism). They read everything Jesus said literally (except the parts they don’t, like “If your eye causes you to sin…”). Wouldn’t that be more along the lines of a heretical view as well, PB? After all, what they’re saying is that they can do something to be saved or to save others.

  3. Darius, The Lutherans you have talked to are whack. Lutherans officially believe in faith alone through grace alone. That’s the party line. There is no co-operation in salvation (leave that to Catholics). Yeah, that would be heretical, but it aint Lutheran.

    You ever read Luther, bro?

  4. No, I haven’t read Luther, but the Lutherans I’m talking about quote him a lot. He sounds a bit whack himself on some issues… then again, who isn’t?

  5. I think perhaps the fact that Jesus (and the disciples later on) *actually used* bread & wine might be something worth taking into account.

    But if it really doesn’t matter, consider this my offer to bring in chips and salsa next week for communion. (I mean, we already do the dipping part anyways, right?) Seriously, just say the word!

  6. Here’s a cliff notes summary of why I think something ‘happens’ beyond symbolism in the Lord’s Supper:

    1. Jesus says ‘this is my body.’ This was Luther’s lynchpin. Those of us who are big fans of interpreting scripture literally whenever possible need to grapple with Jesus’ actual words here. He could have said ‘this points to my death’, or ‘this symbolizes my crucifixion,’ but he chose these particular words.

    2. Jesus Christ is present everywhere. Jesus is in my Raisin Bran cereal and my Ice Cream Sunday, so one can never say that communion is a mere symbol, as if it were the one place in creation that is devoid of Christ’s presence.

    3. Jesus Christ is powerfully present in His Word, which definitionally is spoken over the elements in the Lord’s Supper. So now, not only do we have a Christ who’s present in the elements de facto, we also have His Word spoken over those elements. These, along with Jesus’ command to take and eat those same elements, mean that Christ is present in, with, and under the elements through the power of the Gospel proclamation. Can you say ‘yummy!’

    4. Anyone who preaches the gospel believes that God works through physical objects to transmit grace. What is preaching but soundwaives, ear drums, and brain waives? We also use instruments, bibles, video screens, etc to convey the gospel, and God works through them. God’s spirit uses physical objects and atoms and molecules to do his saving work. He must, or he couldn’t save any one of us.

    5. Jesus spoke metaphorically about himself all the time (I’m light of the world, I am the living water…). But sometimes, his words go beyond symbolism (I am the resurrection and the life). At such times, his words convey a dynamic reality in his own character and will.

    6. Symbolism in the Lord’s Supper is not either/or. The wedding licsence in my file drawer is symbolic, reminding my wife and I that we’re married (thankfully, we don’t need to pull it out to remember, but you get the idea). But it’s also more than a symbol. It’s a legal document, without which we wouldn’t be married. Same with communion. Sure it symbolized the glorious cross. But it also conveys God’s glorious grace. Communion is both a symbol and a sacrament, a sign and a vehicle.

    7. Scripture talks about baptism and communion as if something poweful is going on when you recieve them. Romans 6 says that when you’re baptized, you’re baptized into His death. Colossians 3 says that we are made one in Christ through baptism, as a rejection of the prior categories that define our lives. Paul says that when we recieve Communion, we proclaim a poweful message about Christ, and that when we recieve it unworthily, we drink danmation unto ourselves. Take any symbol laying around your house and eat it, and I guarantee you (other than getting sick), none of those things will happen to you.

    Crap. That turned out long. Sorry about that.

  7. Matt,

    First of all, great post on Boyd and Piper!

    Now back to the topic at hand… I always like to go back to the historical framework for the Lord’s Supper and how the disciples would have heard it rather than how we hear it with Calvin and Luther whispering in our ears. And the context was the Passover. God commanded that the Israelites annually partake of the Passover Supper in remembrance of what He did. It was only at the original Passover that any salvation occurred. Likewise, the salvation that came through the new Passover Lamb, Jesus, happened at the Cross and resurrection ALONE. “It is finished” were His words. No more saving work to be done. Now we’re to only believe.

    With that in mind, it makes sense then that Jesus told us to partake of the Lord’s Supper “in remembrance” of what He did. Like all of the ceremonies God set up in the Old Testament, Communion is an opportunity to stop, rest, and remember what God has done and be encouraged in our spirits by that knowledge… sounds kinda like the Sabbath, don’t you think?

  8. Thanks Darius.

    It’s wise not to trade the scriptural witness for Reformation categories, but I see them in line with one another, rather than opposed. Each of us comes from a tradition passed down through the Reformation, a tradition which is always seeking faithful ways of going back to the roots (scripture) for the most God-honoring interpretation. And some of their findings, discoveries, and interpretations we don’t want to leave in the 1500s.

    The problem with saying that “all is accomplished on the cross” is that Christ saw the need to do lots more after he died, like rise, spend time with his discpiles, send the Holy Spirit into the infant church, and build that church until he returns to take us home forever. Plus, when Jesus died, I didn’t exist yet, even if my name was written in his book of Life from the foundation of the world. Thus, I wasn’t initiated into the Family of Christ until I was baptized into His death. So when I baptize folks, I remind the individual and family that God uses baptism to draw a line from Christ’s cross to our foreheads, so that the “It is finished” work at Calvary becomes “It is finished” work in me. Lutherans are funny that way, as we see election and justification happening in and through the Word and sacraments, as if God is using the elements (both in preaching and sacraments) like an artist uses a bruch to make his mark.

    And to the topic of the Passover Meal I’d have 2 points. First, remember that Jesus inturrupted the meal, disrupting it, turning it on its ear, and inserting himself as the new passover lamb. So Jesus clearly is shifting that ritual to affirm his person and work, rather than upholding the precise nature and formula of the rite itself. For Christians, he changed the passover meal forever. We now have the Lord’s Supper. And secondly, even when the Jews ate the passover, they weren’t simply remembering what happened to their ansestors historically. They were commanded to insert themselves into the historical narriative (“We were slaves…”). So even the Passover Meal itself was a means of connecting Jews to something that happened centuries earlier, which gives Christians another reason for doing so in Communion.

  9. I would add something…if I could think of something helpful to add to the discussion. Matt, thanks for providing some (intelligent) representation for “Team Real Presence”. You always have a way of laying waste to my attempts to settle into a denominational framework.
    In that regard, I give up.

    Pb, where you at?

  10. pb – i give you full permission to insert my previous thoughts sent via email. why? because this would then put “team real presence” as the communion overlords.

    matt – whoever you are, you’re rad and i dig your cliff notes; espeically note #2, which is the large majority of my own response i passed to pb.

    mcinnis “maverick” – your wingmen (and lady “goose”) have arrived. and i think you stole the usage of “rad” from me. your welcome.

    jesse – no theology, just my sincerest congratulations on your upcoming wedding dear brother.

  11. “Thus, I wasn’t initiated into the Family of Christ until I was baptized into His death.”

    True, but that baptism is by the Holy Spirit, not a physical water baptism. Water baptism symbolizes what the Spirit does to us.

  12. Thanks Darius. In my theology, I don’t separate the Holy Spirit’s work from baptism itself. While the Spirit works powerfully to draw us to the font, I also believe He also works powerfully at the font itself (or the tub, depending on your church!). So, when Paul is talking about what happens in baptism (see above notes on Romans 6 and Col 3), I think that a plain reading is most appropriate: He’s really talking about baptism… not some other spiritual experience having nothing to do with baptism.

    But believe me, I fight all the time against the rediculous notion that baptism is some kind of ‘one and done’ magic act that removes the need for ongoing repentance and discipleship. Rather, appeals to God for a clean conscience (I Peter 3:21), and it initiates me into a lifelong journey of daily repentance (Luther’s ‘daily baptism’), without which I’ve wasted the benefits that God offers through Christian initiation.

    Feel free to listen to my last message about baptism here: http://calvary.org/318302.ihtml (entitled “God’s Visible Words: Baptism,” on 11/4/09). Hopefully that will clarify how we teach in this area.

  13. Hmm, we read in the Gospels that Jesus doesn’t baptize with water but with the Holy Spirit.

    I want to return to this: “Thus, I wasn’t initiated into the Family of Christ until I was baptized into His death.”

    So you’re saying that I wasn’t a Christian until I was baptized last year? Until that point, I was unsaved? Where do you find this in Scripture? Too bad for the thief on the cross if this is true…

  14. D-man (Now that we’ve gone back and forth a couple times, I feel like we’re close enough to use nicknames. Feel free to make one up for me too, bro!)

    Here’s my take on your question (then I promise I’ll shut up for a while). At the moment of baptism–which is the rite of Christian initiation–I was formally initiated into the Body of Christ. I have no doubt that God loved, claimed, or worked in me leading up to that moment, but that is the moment that I was initiated into the fold, so to speak. And Paul says that when I was initiated into the Body through baptism, I was baptized into His death. Something powerful happened to me.

    So for me, God does something in and through the sacraments beyond communicating. He conveys. And I think scripture affirms that.

    And to the original question of this topic, I think that we’re called to be obedient in the Lord’s Supper by using the elements that Jesus used. If you’re stranded on a desert island and only have cough syrup and tootsie rolls, I suppose that will work. But if not, use the Fruit of the Vine (wine or grape juice), and some kind of wheat-based breat substance (so those darn plastic-tasting wafers barely qualify, but they pass the test). Unless of course you have a wheat alergy, and then… 🙂

  15. Matt,
    (And I want to be careful here because I really love my job)
    I totally understand that Scripture seems to highlight that God does, indeed, do something through the sacraments; however, this action appears contingent upon faith–and I would say the faith of the individual, since the Biblical account of baptisms all occur with people who have professed faith. I can’t find a single, Biblical occurrence of infant baptism.
    Which begs the question: Is what happens through the sacraments something we do (i.e. believe enough/rightly to warrant the grace conferred through the rite)? If so, then, of course, it wouldn’t be grace (I’m not necessarily talking about saving grace, by the way).
    But faith itself is a gift, right? So to say that we ought not be baptized/receive communion until we have provided some sort of faith proclamation works not to point out who is righteous enough to receive grace, but rather seeks to remain faithful to the Biblical paradigm of individual/saving faith preceding sacramental grace while pointing to God as the author and perfecter of the faith. Interestingly, at Calvary we tell people that unless they have been baptized, they should not receive communion; however, we don’t require anything prior to baptism–which seems to set up a sort of sacramental hierarchy.

    PB, your turn.

  16. Okay, here goes. I’m not sure if I should jump in at the beginning or the end. Maybe I’ll jump in with Matt’s long(er) post, since it’s probably the best short(er) articulation of the Lutheran view that I’ve seen:

    1. Now, Matthew, you know you can’t play the “literal” trump card like it’s an ace up your sleeve and get away with it in a room full of evangelical inerrantists, right? For shame. Two major problems with what you’ve said here: (a) We all know Jesus uses metaphor and (as I said to McInnis) metaphor does not require qualifications like “this points to” or “this symbolizes” or “this is like.” Which is exactly why Jesus can say things like “I am the door,” when he doesn’t mean (“literally”) that he’s made out of wood. And (b) if you were really as much of a literalist as you you’re claiming to be here, you would have a Catholic view of the Lord’s Supper! After all, Jesus doesn’t say, “My body is present in this.” He says, “This is my body!”

    2. “Jesus is in my Raisin Bran cereal” is now my favorite quote of the year, but it won’t do biblically or theologically. Where do you get such an idea? And before you say, “Ephesians 4:6,” let me preempt that by saying that Paul is clearly talking about believers in the context, not “things” (as all major commentators agree). Jesus has a physical body wherever he is and now dwells permanently in believers through the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), but I can’t find anything in Scripture that would give the idea that Jesus is “in” everything or that there would be a particularly concentrated “in-ness” in the elements of the Lord’s Supper. You got anything on that for us?

    3. Again, I’m not sure on what you’re basing the idea that Jesus is “present” in his word? The word of Christ dwells in us (Col. 3:16), the word brings about faith (Rom. 10:17), the word is the power of God that causes salvation (1 Cor. 1:18), etc., but nowhere can I find Scripture that tells me that Jesus inhabits his word. Got anything on that one?

    4. This is a clever argument, Matt, but I think it’s a sleight of hand. We all agree that God uses physical objects to do things. But most people do not believe that the physical objects convey grace. In other words, not everyone believes that these physical objects in some way contain grace, which is what you seem to be saying. I believe that God’s giving of grace is completely non-material and only accompanies the preaching of word. I do not believe that God pours his grace into the sound waves emitted by my vocal cords. That seems like a physical and spatial category. I mean, the bread and wine don’t weigh more after the words of invocation because of the grace that’s being conveyed by them, do they?

    5. I think I agree with this. But I’m not sure how it furthers your argument. You might have to expand on that one a little bit.

    6. Nope, your illustration breaks down here, bud. You certainly would be married without the license. Weren’t people married long before marriage licenses were used (e.g. Adam and Eve, Abram and Sarai, etc.). In the same way, the Lord’s Supper can symbolize a reality (our status in partakers of the atoning death and resurrection of Christ) without actually being the reality (that, again, would be a Catholic doctrine of communion). We would still be united to Christ in his death and life without the Lord’s Supper (say, if we lived in a place where bread and wine weren’t available).

    7. I agree that these two ordinances are massively powerful. But it won’t do to compare them to other symbols “lying around the house.” They aren’t like any other symbols. I think bad things happen to people who ab-use the ordinances as a result of God’s poured out anger/discipline against those who ab-use them. Not because there’s something in the bread that can harm you if you eat it unworthily. You kind of make it sound like Paul believes (in 1 Cor. 11) that there is some sort of divine toxin in the bread that is triggered in those who have unconfessed sin. I doubt there’s anything in Scripture that would support that. Rather, I think God disciplines those who partake in the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner in the same way he may discipline those who watch porn. It’s not that the porn is indwelt by some mysterious power that will “get you” when the web browser opens. It’s that God brings consequences (sometimes physical) to spiritual offenses.

    Great stuff, man! Take another swing at these if you’d like! I love the dialogue!

  17. Lyle,

    I can only assume it was wine. Paul talks about people defiling the Lord’s table by getting drunk when taking communion.

    I can only assume that it was customary to have wine with the passover supper. I doubt it was iced t or just water.

    Do you have a point for asking your question or are you simply trying to back someone into a corner? Because it sounds like you are simply trying to muddy the waters. My point is that it doesn’t matter if it was wine or shasta. But the act is what is important.

  18. I think he may have been responding to me(?)

    Luke 22 17-18 and parallel verses essentially say he drank “fruit of the vine” which if you’re a prohibitionist means he drank grape juice. Most others believe he was drinking the wine that would have accompanied the Passover feast, as the original Jesse stated. The early church must have thought it was wine because that’s what they used as well.

  19. Sorry PB, but to respond to your points, this is gunna get long:
    1. Believe me, coming from a stumbling mainline denomination, it’s an honor being in a room full of evangelical inerrantists! Yet, even the most literalistic among us would acknowledge the need to sort metaphor from non-metaphor in scripture (I am the door vs. I am the Life). So in this case, I simply think Christ was speaking literally about the Lord’s Supper (this is my body)… Now to your point (b): you can’t assert that anyone who holds to a literal interpretation of Christ’s words is by necessity adopting the Catholic view, as if that were the only and necessary logical outcome of any Real Presence argument. Roman Catholics qualify their dogma through complex layers of substance vs. essence language, which are a far cry from most Lutheran formulations of the Real Presence.
    2. Now PB, if you’re asserting that Jesus isn’t omnipresent, I think that the owness is on you to back that up biblically. It’s not hard for me to biblically show that Jesus is everywhere, since I believe that Christ is everywhere God is, and God is everywhere Christ is… that’s why both John 1 and Colossians 1 can read Jesus back into Genesis 1 to declare that Jesus created all things. I’m not sure how one can read “without Him, not one thing came into being” and not embrace Jesus’ omnipresence.
    Now for biblical references (if you separate Jesus’ presence from God’s presence, I’ll grant that these will mean nothing to you): Psalm 139:7-10 (Where can I flee from your presence…” assumes the answer, “nowhere!”). Acts 7:49 (“Heaven is my throne, earth is my footstool.”) In Matthew 3 & 4, John the Baptist and Jesus both say that the “Kingdom of God has come near,” declaring the nearness of God’s presence to everyone (believers and unbelievers). In Acts 17:27-28, Paul tells a crop of unbelievers that God is “not far from each one of us,” and that “in him we live and move and have our being.” Colossians 1:17 says that Jesus holds all things together. I could go on…
    The notion that salvation is only found through Christ’s cross doesn’t assume that Christ isn’t everywhere. Thus, missionaries who have arrogantly thought they were ‘bringing Jesus’ to a foreign culture realized that Jesus was already there working in the natives, preparing them to receive Him through the Gospel.
    Please correct me if I’m wrong but by your logic (Jesus is either in heaven or inside believers), if there were no Christians in Hawaii, wouldn’t Jesus would have to hitch a ride in the soul of a believer in order to get there. Or, if a non-Christian crew of astronauts flew to the moon, Jesus wouldn’t be with them. Help me with this, cuz it doesn’t sound right.
    3. Here’s my take on this one: Biblically, God’s Word is more than rhetoric, logic, and persuasion; God’s Word (the same Word that took on flesh) is nothing other than God—alive, active, and present. I can’t separate God from His Word any more than I can separate Jesus divine from human natures. You wonder how I can assert that God is present in His Word, but I don’t see how you can deny it. If God’s not present in His Word, then something other than God is operating with Divine power and force in His Word. Here again, can you find a biblical passage that asserts that God is absent in His Word, or that he rides upon it like a motorcycle but doesn’t absorb it?
    4. Does you really believe that God’s giving of grace is “completely non-material”? If so, how could anyone with a body be saved. It doesn’t work to say that His love and grace just accompany the physical (like a spiritual side car), because at some point he’s got to save a 5 foot, 10 inch, fidgety goofball named Matt. He doesn’t just redeem a disembodied, non-physical ghost floating around inside my body, and He promises to raise my body—not just my soul—from the dead. To me, arguing that God’s grace is non-material represents dualistic thinking, in which the physical world is bad and must be kept separate from the ‘spirit world.’ But the incarnation of Christ illustrates how God can inhabit or absorb or use the physical without losing his purity, majesty, or Divinity, and it demonstrates how God uses means to accomplish His will without compromising anything in his Nature. After all, He made and owns everything. Why on earth couldn’t He work in and through it?
    5. Hey dude, if we agree on 1 of these 7 items, I don’t want to say anything that changes that!
    6. I think you misunderstood me. My illustration wasn’t meant to say that every marriage in history works according to Minnesota’s legal process, but only that mine does. And my license is both a symbol of my marriage and a means through which my marriage came about. I married about 10 couples this year, and we all needed to sign a legal document, which I had to send to the county in order for the couples to be legally married. Thus, those licenses are symbol + means, which illustrates how a given thing (like the Lord’s Supper) can be both. Does that make more sense?
    7. If the sacraments are merely symbolic, why would they be different than another Christian symbol in your house or church, like say a Cross, a Jesus fish, or a manger scene? If they’re purely symbolic in nature, what makes the Bread and Wine any more powerful or meaningful than any of those Christ-centered symbols (If your answer is “because we eat them,” just make a cookie out of any of the above symbols and repeat my question)? And why does scripture elevate Baptism and Communion above all these other symbols by saying that God does profound things during their operation?
    And finally, the Real Presence argument would reject the notion that there is some ‘triggered toxin’ in the elements other than God’s own presence. Your criticism here is based upon the assumption that God is not present in the elements (which I reject), so that He either needs to lace the wafers with some kind of poison or elsewhere judge the offender as He does with other sins. So we have a different premise.
    Thanks for the space to blab. At the very least, we’re clarifying where we differ! Sorry if I sounded curt… I’m trying to be brief(er)!

  20. Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing ?I usually don’t post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful ? Please, can you PM me and tell me few more thinks about this, I am really fan of your blog…

  21. Maybe you could change the page name title Could You Take Communion With Pringles and Kool-Aid? :: the weight of glory :: to something more suited for your subject you make. I enjoyed the the writing withal.

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