Sunday, April 17, 2005

Luther's Warrior Children

With apologies to Rev. John Frame and his lecture on Machen's Warrior Children, the reason why Protestants don't know when to stop fighting may actually lie with Dr. Luther himself.

Today in the Lutheran catechism class we began discussing the Lord's Supper. As far as I can tell, the difference between the Lutheran and Reformed views of the Supper is not something we should fight over. Neither of us are memorialists, and neither hold the Catholic view of transubstantiation. Both believe in the same purpose for the Supper. Both say it's a means of grace and, significantly, affirm that Christ is present in a special way like no other.

The difference comes down to how Christ is present. Reformed say that Christ is spiritually present. The Lutherans talk about a Real Presence (don't confuse with consubstantiation), which means that Christ's human nature is also present "in, with, and around" the elements. The Westminster Confession of Faith denounces the Lutheran view, apparently because it violates human nature (how can Christ's human body be both here and there?). Lutherans reply that resurrected human nature is capable of this and then accuse the Reformed of separating the two natures of Christ, which of course the Reformed deny.

So the real difference comes down to what we believe about the nature of a resurrected human body, something that Scripture chooses not to tell us much about. But sadly enough, the focus of our class today (and others I've been in) is on the difference that separates Lutherans from the Reformed, to the point that the blessing of the Lord's Supper, its purpose in the life of the believer, gets over shadowed and easily forgotten about.

Like protestors looking for a cause, we focus too much on teaching people what to reject, without first ensuring they know what to affirm.

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