Monday, November 22, 2010

Krauth on Sacrament and Sacrifice.

Charles Porterfield Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology: As Represented in the Augsburg Confession and in the History and the Literature of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2007), 591.

"The idea of sacrifice under the Old Dispensation sheds light upon the nature of the Lord's Supper. . . . Sacrifice through the portion burnt, is received of God by the element of fire; the portion reserved is partaken of by men, is communicated to them, and received by them.  The eating of the portion of the sacrifice, by the offerer, is as real a part of the whole sacred act as the burning of the other part is.  Man offers to God; this is sacrifice.  God gives back to man; this is sacrament.  The oblation, or the thing offered, supplies both sacrifice and sacrament, but with the difference, that under the Old Dispensation God received part and man received part; but under the New, God receives all and gives back all: Jesus Christ, in His own divine person, makes that complete which was narrowed under the Old Covenant by the necessary limitations of mere matter."

23 comments:

  1. Wonderful and beautiful quote, thanks for sharing

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  2. Jim- You're welcomed. I think it's an important one for several reasons. First, I think it overcomes the criticism from Forde and others that God movement needs to be understood as being towards us and not towards himself in redemption. Substitution means a dual movement of the Son towards us and the Father. The language of "offering up" and the "confirmation of a testament" in Hebrews and in other NT authors I think makes this dual movement clear. Secondly, I think it helps us appreciate the fact that as Scaer has pointed out, the Eucharist is both a sacrifice from God's perspective and a testament from ours. I would argue for this reason that Lutherans can understand the Eucharist as sacrifice, just as long as they avoid the Roman Catholic notion that by being joined to Christ we some how participate in his self-giving to the Father. That makes the Eucharist into a work and not a promise- so it's dead wrong.

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  3. But that's the thing, Jack. The froehliche Wechsel (joyous exchange) means "in the place of," not "instead of." Jesus takes our place and simply by that, He gives us His, i.e. Himself: the Person is the Work but the Person is the Work. As Forde says, Jesus goes ahead of us as signified by His Baptism at the river of Jordan. There is movement at all. In justification, we are entirely passive.

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  4. The simultaneous movement of *both* God and man confuses between Jesus as Sacrament (Gift) and Jesus Exemplar (Model). The movement that we make towards God is that movement that we make towards our neighbour whom God hides behind the masks (larva). This is simply because the Incarnate or Revealed God, the Crucified One, is standing beside us leading the way ...

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  5. Sorry, Jack, but I am well and truly offended when the Krauth quotes on the "Eucharist"(!) are "misused" by modern-day Lutherans within the LCMS to promote their *liturgical* proclivities which run counter to Luther's view on the nature of the Sacrament of the Altar and worship.

    Now you even have ministers genuflecting at the WOI when Sasse himself has pointed out so clearly that there is no such thing as a "moment of consecration." It just doesn't simply fit into Luther's understanding of the Lord's Supper. Genuflecting and kneeling is done in common with the laity as together constituting the one "priesthood of all believers" at reception and reception alone.

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  6. Jason- I appreciate your concerns. I will respond to them one-by-one.

    1. My reference here is to Christ's self-giving in his sacrifice on the cross. This is an eternal event, since as an eternal divine person, his act of sacrifice through his human nature stands eternally before God the Father. Hence, (as David Scaer puts it) the Eucharist is from God's perspective a sacrifice (i.e. Christ as eternal mediator holds up his sacrifice to the Father) and for us a self-donating sacrament or testament. Both David Hollaz and Luther agree with this. Luther explicitly says that the Word of promise spoken in the sacrament is both to us and to the Father. I completely agree that Christ's movement in relationship to us is one way and that we are completely passive in this. I'm just talking about Christ's self-offering to the Father also.

    2.I refer you to the last statement. I'm not confusing the two because I'm not saying that we participate in Christ's movement towards the Father. I am dead against the idea of our participation in Christ's self-offering. I think it's horrible.

    3. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to disagree with you and Sasse on this one (BTW, both I and my minister bow at the moment of consecration). I would say that a moment of consecration is Luther's position. I would reject the idea that the body and blood are communicated only in the act of reception. This is actually a Melanchthonian idea, with antecedents in Aristotle. The notion is that a certain series of causes must be present for the sacrament to be realized. I consider it to be highly inconsistent with Luther's view to say this. If it is only in reception that this takes place, then you are saying that your "work" of reception is what makes the body and blood present and not God's Word of promise pronounced over the elements.

    With regard to bowing before the sacrament, again, Melanchthon rejected the idea whereas Luther encouraged it. Chemnitz agreed and said that "only an Arian heretic" would not bow before the creator God present in, under, and with the bread and the wine.

    Again, this does not mean that we should have Eucharistic adoration services or keep consecrated hosts on display. Luther is correct: Jesus said take and eat, not take and worship. But that does not exclude us showing reverence in the presence of Jesus himself. Otherwise, we become Arians or Zwinglians.

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  7. Good Doctor,

    I don’t think that you have to find yourself in the unpleasant position of disagreeing with Sasse, because you don’t disagree with him, at least as far as I have read in Sasse. I certainly am willing to be corrected if I am wrong, but I do not believe I am. Sasse’s concern, as Luther’s, was about the exact moment of consecration (or more commonly “moment of presence”). On that point no one knows. However, Sasse never doubted that the Words of Institution plainly tell us what is there, as he notes in his 1952 The Lutheran Understanding of the Consecration, “The consecrated bread is the body of Christ also when it lies on the altar or when the pastor holds it in his hand. This is the Lutheran View.” (We Confess the Sacraments, Vol 2 p. 139. CPH, 1985). As I say in this regard, we are not concerned about when but about what tells us what is present, and the Words of Institution tell us what is present, “This is…”

    Also, Sasse does not take issue with Luther when he writes, “As far as Luther himself is concerned, there cannot be the slightest doubt that he ever limited the Real Presence to the instant of distribution and reception. He never abandoned the view that by the words of consecration bread and wine ‘become’ the body and blood of Christ” (“This is My Body, p. 139. Openbook 1977).

    And so, as is the practice in my parish, I join you, your pastor, and all the saints and angels in genuflecting before the Body and Blood of Christ in the Words of Institution. (We even ring our Sanctus bells to rouse the sleepers!)

    Pax,
    Rev. Fr. John W. Berg

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  8. Sasse's concern was precisely not the "moment of consecration." According to Sasse, to speculate on that is precisely to also talk about the duration of the presence. As he says, there is no "dogmatic definition" in the Lutheran church on the matter because no can know for sure since Scripture is silent and the Confessions are also discreetly so.

    What Sasse also said was that Luther did not have a "theory of the moment of consecration," and statements made by Luther in support of that cannot be regarded as definitive or conclusive since there are also statements where Luther seemed to think that there is actually a pre-consecration presence simply because the WOI is not a formula which can separated from the rest of the sacramemental action.

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  9. I disagree that UOJ is the root of the problems now afflicting the LCMS, whatever they may be, but I do believe strongly that the novel fascination with genuflecting at the WOI is not the end of the matter but is bound to lead to more dangerous ground.

    The "moment of consecration" has no support from neither Luther nor Lutheran orthodoxy and we can see why.

    The identity of the Sacrament of the Altar with that of the Last Supper and the Cross, contrary to Rome, is not tied to "ontology," i.e. its performance as a (Godward) ritualistic sacrifice. Rather, the Sacrament of the Altar is simply the extension in time and space of the eschatological event that was the Last Supper and the Cross.

    As an eschatological event, the question of the "precise moment" is simply irrelevant, because both God and sinner, forgiveness and faith are comprehended in the Sacrament. You cannot talk about the Sacrament as is the sheer physicality of the presence of Our Saviour is the main thing without at the same time forgetting this:

    That the WOI (the usus) always implies and comprehends the eating and drinking (sumptio). These are not separable acts - they are one and the same. Faith is implied and included simply by virtue of the WOI as promissio - promise which says what it does and does what it says and what it says is not that "This is My Body" ... but "This is My Body BROKEN for YOU" ...

    This is why the Lutheran tradition wisely refrained from deciding on the "moment of consecration" - its association with the medieval backdrop of "transubstantiation," the "absent Christ," recitation of the Canon in Latin and inaudibly (with the back facing the people), the doctrine of the Sacrifice of the Mass, etc. is simply too intertwined to disentangled.

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  10. A "moment of consecration" points to a "fixed mathematical point in time." By extension, this imply that the WOI is a formula and belongs to the essence of the Lord's Supper. But if the Lord's Supper is eschatological, then time and space fades into the background, and is indeed bracketed for what happens here and now is simply an extension of what happened on the night in which Our Lord was betrayed where He instituted the Lord's Supper AS he was giving it to His disciples.

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  11. Thus, the WOI as promise is not a reference point for abstract notion of real presence but concretely delivers what is says - the bequeathment of the Last Testament of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, that is, the WOI does not point to what it can do for the species of bread and wine although that is imporant but more significantly of what the WOI does for YOU ... "This is My Body broken for YOU ..., ... This is My Blood of the New TESTAMENT" ...

    So, the WOI does not effect sacramental union in terms of the real presence but the "sacramental union" in terms of the God-Man and the sinner. Recall the original intent and action. In short, the WOI effects the Sacrament qua Sacrament. This is why the WOI is actually repeated in concise form at the distribution. Hence, the WOI presupposes real presence as much as it implies a eating and drinking of its reality.

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  12. The ringing of the bell was done in the context of the Canon of the Mass being recited in Latin and inaudibly. Thus, the one way in which attention to the WOI could be aroused or heightened was by way of the bell.

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  13. Herr Successor,

    To divine Sasse’s concern, a second coming aside, can only come from the words of Sasse himself. After the quote I adduced - “The consecrated bread is the body of Christ also when it lies on the altar or when the pastor holds it in his hand. This is the Lutheran View” - Sasse immediately writes,

    “This view certainly does not allow one thing that the Roman teaching knows: the precise designation of the moment at which the Real Presence begins and the moment when it ceases. We have observed that Luther in one place takes into account that the Lord’s Prayer, which precedes the Words of Institution, belongs to the action that is attended by the Real Presence. When we say that the consecration brings about the Real Presence, we are not making a statement about what Roman theology identifies as the moment of consecration.” (We Confess the Sacraments, Vol. 2 p. 139. CPH, 1985)

    Sasse goes on to discuss the scholastic/Thomistic business about the exact moment. Luther’s reason for his “from the Lord’s prayer on” was not as you say, an uncertainly about the power of the consecratory word, but as Luther himself says “In this way we will be sure and free from doubts and from the offensive, interminable questions.”

    Sasse is clear “Rome’s error is not that the words of consecration effect the Real Presence but that it understands the consecration as sacrifice” (Ibid, 124).

    Again Sasse notes “When one considers Luther’s statements, one notices a very realistic ‘Catholicizing’ attitude that is downright offensive to late Protestants of all confessions. First of all, it is determined that the Real Presence begins with the Words of Institution, which effect it” (Ibid. 132).

    The Lutheran Church knows of no Sacrament that is not to be distributed (to wit, the Nihil rule), but Luther and the Lutheran Church confess (FC TD VII, 78) that it is the Word of Christ “This is my body” spoken by the celebrant that tells us what is present, a body before which some bend the knee (and prompted by bells!) It was Melanchthon and latter day Protestants who find the Presence (of some sort) in the action of the Supper and not in the elements of bread and wine, the precursor to receptionism.

    And I wholeheartedly agree that the Supper is an eschatological event, but that in no way depontenates a Consecration spoken in time, a wonderful nexus to be sure.

    Sincerely,
    John

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  14. Herr Successor,

    To divine Sasse’s concern, a second coming aside, can only come from the words of Sasse himself. After the quote I adduced - “The consecrated bread is the body of Christ also when it lies on the altar or when the pastor holds it in his hand. This is the Lutheran View” - Sasse immediately writes,

    “This view certainly does not allow one thing that the Roman teaching knows: the precise designation of the moment at which the Real Presence begins and the moment when it ceases. We have observed that Luther in one place takes into account that the Lord’s Prayer, which precedes the Words of Institution, belongs to the action that is attended by the Real Presence. When we say that the consecration brings about the Real Presence, we are not making a statement about what Roman theology identifies as the moment of consecration.” (We Confess the Sacraments, Vol. 2 p. 139. CPH, 1985)

    Sasse goes on to discuss the scholastic/Thomistic business about the exact moment. Luther’s reason for his “from the Lord’s prayer on” was not as you say, an uncertainly about the power of the consecratory word, but as Luther himself says “In this way we will be sure and free from doubts and from the offensive, interminable questions.”

    (to be continued due to my prolixity)

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  15. Sorry about the second post, the first half of my response. Google said I had overstayed my welcome.

    John

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  16. Herr Successor,

    Sorry. In my haste I missed your 10:55 post and was answering your 9:40, 10:10 and 10:56 posts, though what I wrote answers your 10:55 as well. First of all, I should say I am answering you according to the Lutheran doctrine for which you chided genuflecting celebrants. If they don’t believe as Lutherans or Roman Catholics, they should be chided, but not Lutheran celebrants who actually believe they are holding up Christ’s true Body and Blood with their surpliced arms. Believe what you will, but don’t enlist Sasse for support as I have illustrated from Sasse’s own words.

    Much of what you say in your 10:55 post is true. But the Words of Institution DO effect a sacramental union in the elements, according to Lutheranism, AND the partaking in faith of the Body and Blood of Christ with mouth effects a wonderful sacramental union of God and man. (An aside, do you believe that the true physical body and true physical blood of Christ rest on the altar, or at best, in the celebrant’s hands, or at least in the communicant’s mouth? If my “googling” is correct you are not a Lutheran. Please correct me if I am wrong.) As any Lutheran can tell you we do not confess a presence in the elements that are consecrated NOT for eating and drinking, (In other words we don’t have monstrances on our altars, no matter how lovely they look…) but it is the Word that tells us what these elements are and what and for what reason we are eating and drinking them.

    Your position, by the way, is similar to that of the Wisconsin Synod which says Christ spoke proleptically here, that what Christ REALLY said, “This WILL be my body… this WILL be my blood.” The Lutheran confessors will have none of that word play, “is” means “is”. Anyway, we are discussing two issues here, what Sasse and Lutherans believe and we are slipping into why Lutherans believe what they do, which time and space on this blog probably will not allow.

    Sincerely,
    John

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  17. Sounds like you all have it wrapped up. Just to restate my position: My concern for a moment of consecration would be simply to affirm that the words of promise make the sacrament objectively real apart from the work of reception. I had forgotten whether or not Sasse addressed the issue. My main concern was Luther's position. Jason, I agree with your concern about the mathematical point business to the extent that its important that we don't try to posit what syllable makes the bread the vehicle of the body of Christ. Nevertheless, I think its important that we reject receptionism.

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  18. Herr SSP (i.e. John),

    It's clear from This is My Body and the Selected Writings on the Church and Scripture where Sasse has an article on the Moment of Consecration that he did not believe in that at all.

    It's clear that Luther did not hold to a moment of consecration. No theologian worth his salt would insist on that. Eugene Klug in his Sacramental Presence in Orthodoxy only wrote what is the *consensus*. And I have not even cited the WELS (which doctrinal outlook I do not for one moment favour) where are quite a good number of discussion on that subject of the moment of consecration.

    Here's the issue: Does the WOI include or exclude receptionism? The Words of the Institution reads thus: This is MY ("I") Body ("It") broken for YOU ... that's the nexus of the Gospel. The WOI "simultaneously" implies and includes the sumptio. Why?

    Well, temporal sequence is of no consequence for what is actually an eschatological event. You cannot mix up what is eschatological with "ontological," the idea that the sacramental acts performed in time and space can fit neatly and precisely with the sacramental reality as the alien in-breaking of the God-Man.

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  19. Herr SSP (i.e. John),

    Yes, I chide the practice of genuflecting at the WOI simply because that's not the only practice which is inimical, contrary to the spirit, intent, and theology of the Sacrament of the Altar. You have SSP-type ministers who elevate coram Deo. Elevation as the dramatic proclamation of the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world is to be done facing the people. That's the Gospel. Was Jesus crucified upside-down or was even the Cross tilted in any way? And does non-genuflecting make the Sacrament any less "real"?

    Fact of the matter is that the Verba is not only the Word which makes the reality but the reality itself. As we all know, no Verba, no Sacrament. The Verba is added to the earthly species of bread and wine to make the Sacrament. Therefore, the Verba effects the Sacrament of the Altar, which is the self-giving reality of the Body and Blood of the Crucified One.

    Not only does genuflecting at the WOI do not add one whit to the reality of the Sacrament, it detracts from it. As I shared before, the medieval backdrop of the moment of consecration is too entangled for its to be disentangled. To untie the Gordian knot, one can only see the recitation of the WOI as the reality itself, and not pointing to the reality which was what the original intention of the moment of consecration - it had to do with a localised Jesus in heaven whose presence here on earth can only be in the form of a "substance."

    As such, the WOI encompasses the entire action of usus and sumptio, where the "temporal" or "sequential" gap between consecration and communion fades into the background.

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  20. And so, the WOI does not "bring down" an omnipresent Jesus Who in His Flesh is always and everywhere never apart from His Person. Instead, the WOI as an eschatological event extends and incorporates the sacramental action in time and space into the original event of the Last Supper. Understood in this light, the WOI itself is an eschatological promise where the WOI recited by the priest is dependent upon the WOI as originally spoken by Jesus. To posit that the recitation of the WOI effects the real presence at that moment in time and space and only at the moment is to contradict that. It is to ignore the fact that the Narrative is both intensely historical and eschatological. The WOI recited by the priest is not an addition to the Last Supper. It is identical to the Last Supper (species idem numero). The difference between the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is that we do not go back in time but time "catches up" with us - the Last Supper and the Cross comes to us. This is what the Sacraments are: The Crucifixion made present to us in time and space.

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  21. Dear Jack,

    Thank you for your time.

    And Herr SSP (i.e. John), we are no pietists, we are not Charismatics ... all of these are denial of sola Scriptura-sola fide. But the Gospel is always at the centre, heart and core of our thinking. Sheer physicality is never enough.

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  22. Herr Jason,

    I formulated an answer to your 4:30 post and as I was about to post you posted again, and again, and again. So first an excerpt from my not-quick-on-the-draw post.

    Though I am a theologian hardly worth spit let alone salt, I have quoted Sasse from his works and Sasse on Luther and he says quite the opposite of what you say he says. The quotes I adduced indeed are quite clear. As a good Lutheran I can appreciate assertions (cf. “The Bondage of the Will”) but you simply assert. What is clear is that you are confused about the issue of the “consecration” and the “moment of consecration” and about what Sasse wrote and what he and Luther believed on the issue.

    Now. You lecture the straw man you have set up who believes all sorts of nonsense and lecture him (whom I suppose you presume to be I) on the nature of the Sacrament because he elevates/genuflects and you attribute to me real or imagined errors (I suspect the latter) of the SSP by the not so subtle eponym you grant me. For example, you say it adds nothing to the sacrament. Who said it did? You say it detracts from it, Luther and I disagree. Perhaps your affinity for and membership in the Anglican church has colored your thinking here (info from your blog). Rome is not the greatest enemy on this point (transubstantiation aside) but Protestantism of the Episcopalian/ELCA variety and watered down Synodical Conference Lutheranism. An undefined and unlocated in the bread and wine presence of Christ is the threat which is posed to the teaching on the Real Presence today. The act of genuflecting is not adding to the sacrament, it loudly and humbly confesses it. To find an objection to the practice by appealing to Synodical Conference receptionists’ lack of belief in the Real Presence on the Altar and in the hands of the celebrant is disingenuous and is throwing dust in the air (your appeal to Klug). Let me remind you, Melanchthon and the cypto-Calvinists also had a problem with it - artolatria.

    You veer off and castigate this straw man “Understood in this light, the WOI itself is an eschatological promise where the WOI recited by the priest is dependent upon the WOI as originally spoken by Jesus. To posit that the recitation of the WOI effects the real presence at that moment in time and space and only at the moment is to contradict that.”

    And who said that the words the priest speaks are not dependent upon the Dominical words and command? Bugaboo SSPers I suppose. But you are wrong in your conclusion. The Words of Institution spoken by the celebrant do effect a real presence for they are the words of Christ. This is what the confessors said as they marshaled Luther for their and my confession,

    “Here too if I were to say over all the bread there is, ‘This is the body of Christ,’ nothing would happen, but when we follow his institution and command in the Supper and say, ‘This is my body,’ then it is his body, not because of our speaking or our de-clarative word, but because of his command in which he has told us to speak and to do and has attached his own command and dead to our speaking.” (FC TD VII 78).

    The celebrant’s words are as effective as the Lord’s for he “has attached his own command and deed to our (the celebrants’) speaking.”

    You still have not answered my question on your belief in the presence in the elements which considering your church affiliation I think is fair. I think that is the answer.

    Let me answer the bulk of your posts by saying; attributing beliefs, views, words and manner of phrasing to one’s opponent that are not their own should be beneath any theologian worth his salt.

    Jack, thanks, I think we’re done, I am anyway.

    Sincerely,
    SSP* John

    *(Not a member, but I’ll have to check it out)

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