Friday, October 5, 2012

What happens in Holy Communion?

This Sunday is World Communion Sunday and like thousands of other churches around the world my church will be participating. As Presbyterians our understanding of what happens at the Lord's table is derived primarily from John Calvin, and ultimately we hope from the Bible. In other words we believe Calvin's understanding to be closest to what scripture teaches. This is a subject that Calvin thought long and hard about and ultimately there was a fork in the road between Calvinists and Lutherans that continues to this day.

Here's a great quote from Keith Mathison's book on Calvin's doctrine of the Lord's Supper (click on the link below for more).

Calvin is convinced that the main problem with most explanations of the Eucharist is that they assume that a local, corporeal presence is necessary in order for believers to truly partake of the flesh and blood of Christ. He believes that this assumption is false, and that it gave rise to theories such as transubstantiation and the ubiquity of Christ’s body. He is convinced that many of these controversies could be avoided if this unnecessary assumption were rejected. Calvin is convinced that believers may truly partake of the body of Christ and that such partaking does not require the local, corporeal presence of Christ’s body because the Holy Spirit is able to unite the believer with Christ regardless of the physical space between them.

I think Calvin gets it right, but whatever your understanding, and whether your church calls it the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion, I hope it's a regular part of your Christian life.

via The Reformed Reader

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