procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Calvin on the Lord's Supper

something that struck me about this document (which i've summarised below) is just how unlike himself Calvin is here - i feel like i've been reading Luther! How i wish he had've stopped at one of his earlier editions of his Institutes - when concise he is a pleasure to read! [incidentally, his earliest edition (1536) of his Institutes was only 50pp - my copy of his 1559 edition runs to 1521pp!]

and it's also like he just couldn't get around to writing this letter - it was really in 1529 (Marburg Colloquy) and 1530 (Diet of Augsburg) when this issue came up, particularly in point 5 where he explains the disputes between protestants on the matter.

Short Treatise on the Holy Supper
of our Lord Jesus Christ

            John Calvin, 1541

Why did he write it?
It is a very perilous thing to have no certainty on an ordinance, the understanding of which is so requisite for our salvation.

  1. Why Instituted? (3-6)
    just as in Baptism we enter into a new family
    so the Word nourishes children
    BUT due to our weakness*, a visible sign is required → Bread and Wine
    • it Signs and Seals Promises with certainty
    • that we might rejoice and praise
    • to lead us to holiness, innocence and brotherly charity

  2. Fruit and Utility (7-19)
    • a mirror of Jesus’ death and ascension
    • Jesus and all his promises are found in the supper
    • receive the supper that we might receive the benefits & the benefits are only found there
    • Christ is offered to us there that we might possess him
    • spur to holiness and charity

  3. Correct Use (20-32)
    • repentant
    • as saved sinners
    • unified
    • hungering

  4. Errors (33-52)
    • not a sacrifice we make but one that has been made
    • no such thing as transubstantiation
    • not to be worshipped
    • not a Jewish festival
    • not in the bread alone but in both elements do we receive the benefits

  5. Divisions (53-60)
    Luther is interested in holding onto Jesus’ words
    Zwingli & Œcolompadius are against idolatry, thus emphasis on signs
    → Neither listen to where the other are coming from

Big Picture:
  • Jesus isn’t contained in a piece of bread (despite the jaffles you can buy on ebay with pictures of jesus - scroll down!)
  • Don’t knock the efficacy of the Lord’s Supper

* by weakness i take it he means more our mortality than our sinfulness, although his inherent dualism means these are a little too closely linked for my liking

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Blogger psychodougie said...

wow - also check out this lady with her cheese toast.

10:46 am  
Blogger psychodougie said...

she says: "I wouldn't ever want to say I think it's divine or anything about it is magical [...] It's just an image. But when I do look at it, it does make me feel tearful. That there is a Jesus and he is real."

you know Jesus is real. the cheese toast proves it. what have you to say to that, calvin?

10:49 am  
OpenID brokenreflections said...

thanks or the summary Doug, just finished reading it when you posted.

I found this quote so helpful in charting the middle path between Luther and Zwingli:

The bread and the wine are visible signs which represent the body and blood, but the name and title body and blood are given to them because they are as it were the instruments by which the Lord distributes them to us

Section 14

In response to the toast... buffonery? apishness?
... such an awesome vocabulary

11:34 am  
Anonymous Mark Earngey said...

Hahaha.... cheese-toast lady. see if you can get that in your essay!

Do you really reckon Calvin's got a bad dualism in there? ... Next you'll be saying that Calvin wasn't a Calvinist! Flip! :)

12:12 pm  
Blogger Mark said...

Looks like CH2 exam prep. Study hard and go well Dougo!

12:18 pm  
Blogger psychodougie said...

thanks stephenmac (BR)

and as if calvin's not a dualist earngey - he was the pre-incarnate kant

and other mark, yeah, just walked out. was hard but fair i think. no question on the doc specifically but i threw in a bit for another question (on his conciliation efforts - despite zwingli being long in the grave!)

5:04 pm  
Blogger Elsie said...

Wow. Willie Nelson bears an uncanny resemblance to Jesus (or should that be the other way around?).

10:55 pm  

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