Tuesday, July 15, 2014

John 6 and AOMin.org Revisited

On the aomin.org blog a person who uses the pseudonym of "TurretinFan" (hereafter "TF") posted a blog against the Catholic belief in the Eucharist truly being the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.  Since one has to be registered at aomin.org (and I can see no way to do that there) to post comments, I am posting my reply here.

> TF: Roman Catholics like to try to claim that they are
> just taking Jesus “literally” when they interpret “this
> is my body” to mean that what was in Jesus’ hands was
> not bread but his physical body [FN1].

sw: No, we don't "try" to claim that, we do claim, accept and believe the words of our Lord and Savior.

> TF: Three passages in John help to illustrate the problem
> with that approach: John 4, John 6, and John 7.  In the
> first, Jesus refers metaphorically to living water, in
> the second Jesus refers to himself as food and drink, and
> in the third Jesus offers drink to those who thirst.
> In John 4:6-15, Jesus interacts with the Samaritan woman
> at Jacob’s well.  He asks her for water, she objects
> because he’s Jewish, and he responds that she should
> be asking him for water, because the water he offers
> is better than the water from Jacob’s well. She
> misunderstands him as speaking physically, even after
> some further explanation.  She wants to stop the labor
> of drawing water and misunderstands Jesus’ comments
> about “never thirst.”

sw: Certainly there is a spiritual message here, but it is also physical.  Those who will "never thirst" will physically never thirst for the spiritual refreshment in the eternal (a physical reality) drink He will give to them.  Eternal life (or death) is and/or will be a physical reality.

> TF: In John 6:26-71, Jesus interacts with a number of
> “disciples” who want Jesus to repeat the miracle of the
> loaves that’s reported at the beginning of the chapter.
> Jesus explains that the person who believes on him will
> never thirst and whoever comes to him will never hunger,
> calling himself the “bread of life” that “came down from
> heaven.” Jesus insists that the bread he offers is better
> than the manna that the people ate in the wilderness.

sw: The bread, which is His body, IS better than the manna that the people ate in the wilderness!

> TF: Jesus talks about them eating his flesh and drinking
> his blood, but they take him physically and go away in
> disgust.  Jesus explains that the words he speaks are
> spirit and life.

sw: Precisely!  His words ARE "spirit and life" (spiritual and literal)!  Just as the story in John 4 relates, there IS a spiritual side to Jesus' words - but there IS a literal side too!  His words are LIFE, and ETERNAL LIFE (which is a physical reality).  To simply stand on a metaphor is to lose the REALITY of eternal life, which Jesus promises to those who partake in His body and blood.  Later, on Holy/Maundy Thursday, He physically provides them with the spiritual food - which IS His body and IS His blood.  We claim, accept and believe our Lord and Savior's words!  Now, did Jesus call out to them, "Hey wait disciples!  I was only speaking in metaphors, come back and hear the explanation!"???  No, He let them walk away, not because they did not believe Him, but because they DID believe Him and would not claim, accept and believe the words of our Lord and Savior!

> TF: Jesus asks the twelve if they will go away too,

sw: Note, He still doesn't change or explain away the command - rather He further challenges The Twelve.

> TF: but Peter (speaking for the group)

sw: Thank you for recognizing Peter's leadership/spokesperson role.

> TF: says that they will stay with him because they believe
> and know that his words are the words of eternal life.

sw:  Precisely!  And what were those words?  "If do not eat My flesh and drink My blood, then you have NO LIFE in you."  "NO LIFE" is the physical reality of the spiritual truth - their physical eternity will be one of separation from God in death.

> TF: In John 7:37-39, Jesus interacts with those at the
> temple for the feast.  Jesus offers the thirsty people
> water.  John explains to us that Jesus is speaking
> about the Spirit as the “rivers of flowing water.”

sw: And did the Holy Ghost NOT come from Him?  Did this NOT really happen?  Was the REAL descent of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost NOT a real event?  My friends, "spiritual" does NOT mean "not real!"

> TF: These passages illustrate Jesus’ fondness for using
> food as a metaphor for trust in him.  We approach the
> Lord’s table by faith, coming to Him as represented by
> the bread and cup.  We gain a benefit from this if we do
> so by faith, but not if we do so any other way.  It is
> not the physical elements that provide the benefit we
> receive, it is the Spirit.

sw: We approach His table in TRUE Faith when we claim, accept and believe our Lord and Savior's words!  That which we see/perceive as bread, in reality IS His body!  That which we see/perceive as wine, in reality IS His blood!  He did not command us to participate in a metaphor, no, He commanded we eat His flesh and drink His blood, and then He provides the means to REALLY do just that!  We claim, accept and believe the words of our Lord and Savior.

> TF: Remember what Jesus said about clean/unclean foods:
> (Matthew 15:17)
> Unfortunately, it seems our Roman Catholic friends and
> relatives fail to understand this.  Christ is our
> spiritual food and drink, not our physical nourishment.

sw: The section TF refers to is critical of the pharisees violation of God's Law.  The reference is to the Corban/Korban/Qorban Rule - wherein "the law" allowed for someone to give to the temple that which they should have given in support of their parents and "justify" the crime against their parents because it was given to the temple.  The challenge to Jesus was over the fact that the Apostles did not wash their hands before eating bread, and Jesus said that it was not unwashed hands which corrupts the man - but an unclean heart.

> TF: Isaiah 44:3; Psalm 105:41; Isaiah 48:21; Psalm 78:20;
> 1 Corinthians 10:4
> The blessings we receive in Christ are primarily spiritual
> blessings.  We drink the spiritual drink from the
> spiritual Rock, and that Rock is Christ.  He is our Rock,
> we trust in Him.

sw: Interesting.  While the passages, for the most part, speak of spiritual truth - they also speak to a physical reality.  Psalm 78:20 actually recalls a physical reality in the striking of the rock - and challenges that if He can provide water from a rock, can He not provide flesh for His people?  Interesting that TF would select this passage which argues FOR the Catholic position!


> TF: Footnote 1: I should add that the Roman Catholic
> position is particularly absurd in that it takes “this
> is my body” as implying that the bread ceases to be
> bread and becomes the body, blood, soul and divinity
> of Jesus.  Likewise, it is claimed that “this is my
> blood” implies exactly the same thing about the
> contents of the cup.  That’s quite far from taking the
> words literally, in which the bread would just be the
> body, and the contents of the cup would just be the blood.

sw: And how does one separate the soul and divinity from the body and the blood?  Oh ye of little faith.

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