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Differing definitions of "Christian"

Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby historyb » 18 May 2009, 21:28

cyranorox wrote:Who is offering grape juice!?!? And what could be the supposed justification for this practice? Christ himself drank and blessed wine, even made wine miraculously. Christ approves of wine; who presumes to disapprove?


Many Christians who think they know better, I been in that argument many times myself.
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby Bluegoat » 18 May 2009, 23:30

historyb wrote:
cyranorox wrote:Who is offering grape juice!?!? And what could be the supposed justification for this practice? Christ himself drank and blessed wine, even made wine miraculously. Christ approves of wine; who presumes to disapprove?


Many Christians who think they know better, I been in that argument many times myself.


A friend of mine's mother, a Baptist, was once asked to pick up the juice for their communion service. She decided to save them a dollar and got No-Name instead of Welshes. The congregation was incensed that they were drinking juice made by unknown pagans instead of good Baptists.

The Lutheran church I grew up in also offered juice as an option.

I can't say I approve of the practice, but I guess if your theology of the sacraments doesn't require certain elements, then you can do what you like.
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby john » 18 May 2009, 23:32

cyranorox wrote:Who is offering grape juice!?!? And what could be the supposed justification for this practice? Christ himself drank and blessed wine, even made wine miraculously. Christ approves of wine; who presumes to disapprove?


For what it's worth, Mormons use bread and water for their sacrament.
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby historyb » 18 May 2009, 23:38

Bluegoat wrote:
A friend of mine's mother, a Baptist, was once asked to pick up the juice for their communion service. She decided to save them a dollar and got No-Name instead of Welshes. The congregation was incensed that they were drinking juice made by unknown pagans instead of good Baptists.


I remember all the time Welshes was used for communion in church when I was growing up, I can not drink it at all without think about communion. :lol:
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby friendofbill » 19 May 2009, 12:51

I can't see too much importance in what elements are used for communion, really. When Jesus said "Do this in remembrance of Me," it seems to me He tied the remembrance to the act and not to the physical elements. do what in remembrance of Him? The Passovr Seder, a meal, a communal participation.

Certainly, His presence cannot be limited to or contained in a piece of bread or a cup of liquid. He could as easily point to the Andromeda Galaxy and say, "This is my body," or to a fistful of dirt, or to any one of us. If we do not see Him in everything and everywhere, I wonder if we are not limiting Him to the horizons of our own perception.
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby Adam Linton » 19 May 2009, 13:50

friendofbill wrote:I can't see too much importance in what elements are used for communion, really. When Jesus said "Do this in remembrance of Me," it seems to me He tied the remembrance to the act and not to the physical elements. do what in remembrance of Him? The Passovr Seder, a meal, a communal participation.

Certainly, His presence cannot be limited to or contained in a piece of bread or a cup of liquid. He could as easily point to the Andromeda Galaxy and say, "This is my body," or to a fistful of dirt, or to any one of us. If we do not see Him in everything and everywhere, I wonder if we are not limiting Him to the horizons of our own perception.


But the Passover Seder is not just any meal--but a very specific meal, with particularly specified foods. The ritual was substantially fixed in Jesus' time. It provides the basis/interpretive context for understanding. And yes, he could just as easily have pointed to the Andromeda Galaxy and said, "This is my body," or to a fistful of dirt.

But he didn't. And the Lord's Supper is a participation in what he did do. The Anglican tradition's stress on the use of the original elements underscores sharing/participating in the historic continuity--with what Jesus did, and with what the church, following him, has done. "Do this [particular thing] in rememberance of me."

For those that would wish to undertake a very detailed academic study of the question, I'd recommend Joachim Jeremias' Eucharistic Words of Jesus.

Needless to say, we're touching here on debates have have been going on for a long time--and not likely to get settled and time soon!
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby Bluegoat » 19 May 2009, 18:09

Are we really sure that the Last Supper was a Passover meal? It seems to me that it is pretty unclear. Also, as I understand it, the meal in Jesus time did not have the same form then as it does later in Jewish history?

If we are going to make the Eucharist just about Christ saying he was in the elements of the world, I'm not sure I see the point in it as a special celebration at all - why not go with the "celebrate Christ at every moment, no need for special occasions, particular products, or time set aside kind of approach?
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby Adam Linton » 19 May 2009, 18:27

Bluegoat wrote:Are we really sure that the Last Supper was a Passover meal? It seems to me that it is pretty unclear. Also, as I understand it, the meal in Jesus time did not have the same form then as it does later in Jewish history?


Very good question; one that is substantially debated. The great Anglican liturgical scholar, Dom Gregory Dix, in his classic, The Shape of the Liturgy, thought not--that it was rather a fellowship meal.

In my own opinion, however--and with all due respect to Dix--the balance of the evidence strongly indicates that the Last Supper was a Passover supper. The work from Jeremias mentioned in my previous post would be an important articulation of this viewpoint. [The whole question of the sequence and dating of events in the week of the Crucifixion--i.e., Synoptic (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) as potentially different from John--is involved here, as well.]

However, even with Dix's view, the fellowship supper had specific form and elements, as well--including blessings over the bread and the cup of wine. So on either view, the historic integrity of the elements remains a key issue.

You are also right that there is some development of the Passover Seder after the destruction of the Temple--but not all that much. See Jeremias and other sources on this.
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby Bluegoat » 19 May 2009, 18:30

Adam Linton wrote:
Bluegoat wrote:Are we really sure that the Last Supper was a Passover meal? It seems to me that it is pretty unclear. Also, as I understand it, the meal in Jesus time did not have the same form then as it does later in Jewish history?


Very good question; one that is substantially debated. The great Anglican liturgical scholar, Dom Gregory Dix, in his classic, The Shape of the Liturgy, thought not--that it was rather a fellowship meal.

In my own opinion, however--and with all due respect to Dix--the balance of the evidence strongly indicates that the Last Supper was a Passover supper. The work from Jeremias would be a classic articulation. [The whole question of the sequence and dating of events in the week of the Crucifixion--i.e., Synoptic (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) as potentially different from John--is involved here, as well.]

However, even with Dix's view, the fellowship supper had specific form and elements, as well--including blessings over the bread and the cup of wine. So on either view, the historic integrity of the elements remains a key issue.

You are also right that there is some development of the Passover Seder after the destruction of the Temple--but not all that much. See Jeremias and other sources on this.



I'll have to have a look. I tend to be suspicious of Dix, so I will take his opinion with a grain of salt.

In any case, from the POV of Eucharistic theology, I don't see that it makes much of a difference. It seems more of historical interest to me.
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby Adam Linton » 19 May 2009, 18:32

Bluegoat wrote:I'll have to have a look. I tend to be suspicious of Dix, so I will take his opinion with a grain of salt.


Indeed, check out Jeremias; it's a workout, but much worth it--and I think that he's right on the question at hand.

All the best.
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby Adam Linton » 19 May 2009, 18:44

historyb wrote:I remember all the time Welshes was used for communion in church when I was growing up, I can not drink it at all without think about communion.


And there are some of us, as well, who have that experience with Port wine!
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby postodave » 19 May 2009, 21:02

Gerald Priestland who is a Quaker was having tea and biscuits with the Archbishop of Canterbury - I forget which one. The Archbishop challenged Priestland on the question of why the Quakers do not keep Christ's command to 'do this in remembrance of me.' 'What do you think we are doing now?' said Priestland and added wryly, 'I think he looked at his garibaldi with more respect.'
So I drew my sword and got ready
But the lamb ran away with the crown
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby john » 20 May 2009, 01:10

Adam Linton wrote:And there are some of us, as well, who have that experience with Port wine!


I know exactly what you mean, but only if you replace "communion in church" with "living in Portugal". :wink:
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Re: Differing definitions of "Christian"

Postby Amy » 01 Jun 2009, 18:03

I currently attend an evangelical protestant church. But I don't really identify with that. I like how many of my friends refer to themselves--as "Christ-followers." I think there is more accuracy in that. It is very popular to say you are "growing in your faith." But honestly, that really seems to me to be very internal, focused on some sort of self-discovery. In reality, I think growing in our faith means (or should mean) that we are doing more and more of what Jesus did, becoming less self-serving. Sometimes I hear people complain that as a church, we don't have a ministry for feeding the poor, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless. Why do we need a "ministry" for that? Why can't we just go out and do it?
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