Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tying Up Some Loose Ends....

In recent posts I wrote a defense of  Transubstantiation and showed some writings from Ignatius of Antioch. It occurred to me today that the two dovetail nicely into a third topic. That topic being the idea that one of Catholicism's bedrock claims for Transubstantiation relies on John 6. Ignatius was a student of John's and he was so blatantly Eucharistic in his thinking so clearly a defender of the Real Presence that that should speak volumes to us about the topic.

Now if John was the last living apostle (tradition says he was), and one of his students teaching from one of his texts says that we are to take Christ literally in the account of the Bread of Life Discourse (Jn. 6:48-70); wouldn't he (John) have done something (written something against Ignatius, counseled others that he (Ignatius) was "off the reservation", something, anything).

It stands to reason it's not like the early church was free of disagreement or that the Church Father's didn't know how to call someone out for teaching what they thought was heresy. I mean I realize this was a couple hundred years later but just look at how St. Jerome hands Rufinus his ass:

"I have learned not only from your letter but from those of many others that cavils are raised against me in the school of Tyrannus, "by the tongue of my dogs from the enemies by himself" because I have translated the books Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν into Latin. What unprecedented shamelessness is this! They accuse the physician for detecting the poison: and this in order to protect their vendor of drugs, not in obtaining the reward of innocence but in his partnership with the criminal; as if the number of the offenders diminished the crime, or as if the accusation depended on our personal feelings not on the facts. Pamphlets are written against me; they are forced on every one's attention; and yet they are not openly published, so that the hearts of the simple are disturbed, and no opportunity is given me of answering."

So clearly church fathers knew how to disagree. Now returning to the topic at hand, men of goodwill can and have disagreed mightily about the Lord's words in John's Gospel as well as other passages Catholics proclaim as teaching the Real Presence; however if a student of the last living apostle was already that far afield how can any of us proclaim the Truth, unless of course that was Truth.

After all John was (to borrow from the six degrees of separation idea) one degree from Christ; ergo Ignatius was only two. Now if someone two degrees from Christ was preaching, teaching and expounding on the idea that He was fully, truly present in the Eucharist. If that wasn't the catholic view, then when did such heresy began and take such root to be the Catholic view.

After all if Christ couldn't maintain His promise to lead us into all truth (Jn. 16:13) or that the Gates of Hades wouldn't prevail against His church (Matt. 16:18). Then He also failed to be with us always even unto the end of the age (Mt. 28:20).

After all Ignatius was as I said living mere decades after Christ and he taught a Real Presence. If that was false then, it would still be false today. However as we see in John 6:55. Christ promises to raise us up on the last day if we "eat His flesh and drink His blood." has a great selection of quotes from the Early Fathers discussing the Eucharist and the Real Presence. Some of which have been mentioned in this space before.

And if you missed Joe's recent post at Shameless Popery about the Early Church remaining silent in the face of this "heresy" check it out.

Another great post of recent vintage is this one from Brantley over at Young, Evangelical and Catholic.

So if this is such a grave heresy, where is the evidence? Has that big, evil, monolithic Catholic church merely destroyed it all in order to maintain power? Is it hidden in some wing of the Vatican Archives, or could it maybe, just maybe be that Catholics have held the same view for lo, these 2,000 years because the Apostles handed that view on and succeeding generations maintained it as part of the Deposit of Faith.

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