Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose

Chapter 24 - The Eucharist

Page 154: Infant baptism is one polarizing issue for Protestantism. The Eucharist is another. What did Jesus mean by, “This is my body?” Catholics (and Orthodox) believe that he really meant it, and that the bread and wine become his real body and blood. Protestants took a wide range of divergent positions on it, the only commonality among them being the condemnation of what the Catholics believed. Although some Protestant beliefs on the Eucharist – such as traditional Lutheranism – are relatively close to that of Catholicism, most others hold to a purely symbolic understanding and look aghast upon Catholics who prostrate themselves before a piece of bread.
Note: Was the bread or the hand of Jesus holding the bread His body?
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19.
Note: The purpose of the Eucharist is to remember the death of Jesus Christ for your sins.

Pages 154-155: Luther took Jesus at his word, but he rejected the philosophical underpinnings of the Catholic dogma of transubstantiation in favor of something called sacramental union, the idea that Jesus is present with or beside the bread and wine. Zwingli, the Swiss Reformer, broke from the Catholic Church and from Luther by declaring the equally novel idea that the Eucharist merely signifies Christ’s body. Calvin, as usual, tried to steer a path in between his two predecessors.
Note: The Apostle Paul considered the hosts simply bread and water.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
Note: The purpose of the Eucharist is to remember the death of Jesus Christ for your sins.

Page 155: Luther and Zwingli met early on in their respective reformations to try to come to an agreement on the Eucharist, but neither would budge. They utterly failed to agree, to compromise, or even to find common ground on which to move forward with discussions. Luther trenchantly observed that if, when Jesus said “This is my body,” then it is impossible for anyone to accurately interpret the scriptures. Since Luther taught the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture, the error couldn’t be that the Bible was not clear but that others (such as Zwingli interpreted its clear words wrongly.
Note: The Apostle Paul considered the hosts simply bread and water.
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 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. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32.
Note: Do you take seriously the death of Jesus Christ for your sins?

Page 156: Calvin stressed that Christ communicates himself to us through the Eucharist, earlier in his same treatise asserting that, in the sacrament, “the Lord displays to us all the treasures of his spiritual grace.” But, lest an unwary reader think Calvin was sympathetic to Catholic Eucharistic theology, the Reformer went on to denounce in polemical terms the doctrines of transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the Mass. Calvin rejected in no uncertain terms the Catholic dogma of the Real Presence.
Note: The Apostle Paul considered the hosts simply bread and water.
Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come. 1 Corinthians 11:33-34.
Note: Do you take seriously the death of Jesus Christ for your sins?

Page 156: The situation today in Protestantism is no clearer. The spiritual descendants of each of the Reformers generally hold to the position of their forefather. Lutherans and Anglicans hold a weekly service that is liturgical and always includes a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The Eucharist for them is more than a symbol (while remaining less than the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence). Presbyterians and Reformed Protestants, following Calvin, hold to his covenantal view of the Lord’s Supper, which again is more than a mere symbol, but different from the Lutheran notion of sacramental union.
Note: The Eucharist should be viewed in a spiritual manner.
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:13-14.
Note: Do you take seriously the death of Jesus Christ for your sins?

Page 137: “This is my body.” Jesus could not have been any clearer; and yet, to the Reformers and to Protestants after them, it evidently wasn’t clear enough. Rather than re-treading ground well covered by other Catholic apologists regarding Scripture and the Eucharist, I would like to offer a brief explanation of the biblical passage that tipped the scales in my own mind on the Real Presence.
Note: The Eucharist should be viewed in a spiritual manner.
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6: 35-40.
Note: Are you in the will of God by sincerely believing in Jesus Christ?

Pages 157-158: In John 6, the Bread of Life discourse, Jesus explains that he is the living bread that came down from heaven, bread that a man can eat and live forever. Up until verse 51, a purely figurative interpretation of his words seems possible. “Believing in Jesus” is the work he wants us to do, so eating his flesh must simply be another way of saying, albeit in a strange way, that we have to believe in him. But from verse 53 to 54 and onward, in answer to the confusion expressed by the Jews at his words, Jesus does something very odd (if Protestantism is true, and the Eucharist is figurative): He makes the eating of his flesh even more graphic by using a different word for eating, rendered as the Greek trogo, denoting an animal-like gnawing.
Note: Why do Catholics always stop short of the punch line of John Chapter 6?
When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” John 6:61-64.
Note: The Eucharist should be viewed in a spiritual and symbolic manner.

Page 158: Jesus must have known that his listeners would rebel at these words, given God’s injunction in the Old Covenant against consuming blood. And his followers did what he must have expected them to do: They left en masse. So much so that he turned to the Twelve, as if they were the only ones who remained, and asked if they, too, would abandon him over this teaching. If he had been using a mere figure of speech, he would have consoled his disciples by telling them so. It would have made no sense to drive them away by leading them to believe something that he did not mean. And so the ancient Church’s teaching on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist harmonizes perfectly with the Bread of Life discourse; Protestantism’s dissenting opinions on it do not.
Note: Why did the author dishonestly not mention the verses of John 6:61-64?
“But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve. John 6:64-71.
Note: In context, Jesus Christ purposely wanted to eliminate unbelieving followers.

Page 159: Reading the Church Fathers and other early Christians, Zwingli’s purely symbolic notion of the Eucharist (shared by most Evangelicals today) is nowhere to be found. Instead we find widespread profession of the Catholic dogma of the Real Presence. Luther certainly knew this fact, being well-versed in early Christian writings, which is no doubt one reason why his teaching of sacramental union was, at least on paper, very close to the Catholic Church’s understanding of the Eucharist.
Note: Jesus Christ will not tangibly return to the earth as a wafer.
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11.
Note: Jesus Christ will not tangibly return to the earth until the end of this age.

Page 159: Take Ignatius of Antioch, for example, who lived during the apostolic age and died in the first decade of the 100s. He wrote against the Docetist heretics, who taught that Jesus only appeared to be a truly flesh-and-blood human being: 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.
Note: The Docetism heresy taught that Jesus Christ was an illusion when he was on the earth.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 1 John 1:1-4.
Note: The Apostle John accurately addressed the Docetism heresy.

Page 159: In the second and third centuries, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, and Cyprian of Carthage likewise all attested to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Note: Jesus Christ will not tangibly return to the earth until the end of this age.
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:11-14.
Note: The purpose of the Eucharist is to remember the death of Jesus Christ for your sins.

Pages 159-160: Perhaps no other doctrine presents as decisive a litmus test as does the Eucharist: Either the Church for fifteen centuries was right, or one of the Reformers was. Each Reformer confidently presented his own opinion as divine truth, with Calvin even claiming that the question “may be disposed of without much difficulty.” Really? Humility would suggest extreme caution to anyone who chose to contradict the Church’s universal teaching on such an essential issue, yet instead we get Calvin’s cavalier brashness. Luther likewise presented his innovation as patently true, and Zwingli as well.
Note: Jesus Christ will not tangibly return to the earth until the end of this age.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31.
Note: Jesus Christ will not tangibly return to the earth as a wafer.

Page 160: Christ’s words indicate that eating his flesh and drinking his blood is a matter directly concerning one’s salvation – it’s not an area where wide theological speculation is acceptable. Yet in Protestantism today the beliefs range all over, a muti-headed Hydra of private judgment that leaves honest inquirers bewildered as to what they should believe about it. No certainty can be found here except through individual bosom-burning, and such subjective feelings are too ephemeral to be trustworthy, especially with salvation at stake. The only universal commonality among the various Protestant Eucharistic theologies is the inexorable conclusion that, in believing Christ is really present in the Eucharist, Catholics are idolaters who worship bread and wine. And since the early Church taught this same Catholic doctrine early on, Christians for untold centuries were idolaters as well.
Note: Are you in spiritual communion with Jesus Christ?
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:14-17.
Note: Are you in spiritual communion with other Christians?

Page 160: If Protestantism is true, the Church has demonstrated, once again, that its beliefs were corrupted from early on and that it cannot be trusted to teach the truth on any matter of faith. For over a thousand years, nearly all Christians bowed in worship before mere bread and wine, wrongly thinking Jesus was there. Only in the 1500s was the true teaching on the Eucharist recovered. But who can say whether that true teaching on the Eucharist recovered. But who can say whether that true teaching belonged to Luther, Zwingli, or Calvin?
Note: Jesus Christ will not tangibly return to the earth until the end of this age.
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11-16.
Note: Jesus Christ will not tangibly return to the earth as a wafer.