Holy Communion or Unholy Chaos?
The Ecumenical Movement's Use of the Lord's Supper
The Ecumenical Movement views the Lord's Supper as a tool to strengthen and develop an understanding of fellowship in the faith that is not seen as "uniformity but a communion of rich diversity."
How is it possible that the most holy night of our Lord's life has given rise to dissension and disunity in Christendom? How can it be that our Lord's Sacred Meal has become the cause of turmoil, confusion, and a splintering of fellowship among Christians who trace their theological ancestry to Rome, Wittenberg, Geneva, or Zurich?If you have a current subscription or current on-line account please log-in here to read the rest of this article.
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] Perhaps the best treatment of the Early Church's view of church fellowship, particularly as it relates to the Lord's Supper, is Werner Elert's Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries, translated from the German by Norman Nagel
(St. Louis: Concordia, 1966). This book, presently out of print, will be reissued this summer.
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] Also, in 1580 it is reported that Reformed preachers in Oldenburg required communicants to confess that the Body and Blood of Christ were not present in the Holy Sacrament. See the magisterial article on Supper Fellowship in Martin Wittenberg, Church Fellowship and Altar Fellowship in the Light of Church History, translated by John Bruss in Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology
(Reformation 1992) Vol. I, No. I, 23-57.
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] Thus, one reads in the Lutheran Formula of Concord
, "It is not our faith which makes the sacrament, but solely the Word and institution of our almighty God and Savior, Jesus Christ, which always remains efficacious in Christendom...so whether those who receive the Sacrament believe or do not believe, Christ nonetheless remains truthful in his words when he says, 'Take eat, this is my body.' This he effects not through our faith, but solely through his omnipotence." (Solid Declaration, Article VII.89).
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] John Calvin, Zurich Consensus, translated by Ian D. Bunting in The Journal of Presbyterian History, Volume 44
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] Quoted in the Formula of Concord
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] Catechism of the Catholic Church
(English Translation, United States Catholic Conference, 1994; Liguori Publications, 353).
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] See Michael Kinnamon and Brian Cope, eds., The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices
(Geneva: World Council of Churches Publication, 1997; jointly published with Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI),4.
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] Kinnamon, 4.
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] Kinnamon, 4. 10Kinnamon, 453, emphasis added.
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] Ecumenical Proposals: Formula of Agreement
(Chicago: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 1996), 21.
No bio information available for this author.
Issue: "Unity in the Truth: Ecumenism Without Compromise" Sept./Oct. 1998 Vol. 7 No. 5 Page number(s): 20-23
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