Fruit of Which Vine?

1364007_wine_grapeWhen it comes to the practice of Holy Communion many churches use grape juice as opposed to wine. Is the blood of Christ given through grape juice as it is wine? For those who believe Communion symbolizes something, this is not an issue for symbols are shadows which deliver nothing. However, should you rightly confess from Scripture that Holy Communion delivers the gifts of Good Friday to us, namely the body and blood of our crucified and risen Lord, then the question becomes acute: does grape juice contain and deliver the forgiving blood of Christ just as wine does?

It is always good to begin with the Catechism which nicely teaches that the phrase, “fruit of the vine” means wine, and nothing else:

289.   What are the visible elements in the Sacrament?

The visible elements are bread and wine.

935. Matt. 26:26-27 Jesus took bread … Then He took the cup.

Note: “The fruit of the vine” (Luke 22:18) in the Bible means wine, not grape juice. See also 1 Cor. 11:21.

ProhibitionPropaganda Grape juice was commercially developed circa 1890 when Thomas Bramwell Welch developed unfermented wine now commercially marketed and sold as grape juice. Prior to that date grape juice was never commercially produced for the mold that grows on the skin of the grapes is toxic to humans. Yes, a vintner and many of us have eaten grapes picked off vines but this is all-together different from commercial mass-production.

An avowed teetotaler who believed wine to be inherently sinful Welch made it his goal to develop a non-fermented drink for Communion. In 1890 Thomas Welch applied Louis Pasteur’s technique of pasteurization upon wine for the purpose of arresting the fermentation process. Welch and his Reformed friends must think that Jesus “sinned,” when he used wine—but that is another discussion.

The term, “fruit of the vine” is a technical term which means simply, “wine.” It is akin to the phrase, “the twelve,” being a technical term for the apostles, not a numerical head count of those who had gathered. Jesus loved all his disciples. But when the Scriptures speak of the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” (Jn 13:23; 19:26, passim) this is a technical term to specify St. John. When our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper at the Passover gathering he used wine. This is still the drink used by Jews to this day who celebrate the Passover.

Here in the Upper Mid-West we have technical terms as well. When you attend a party and ask for “cold one,” you would be disappointed if the host brought you a Pepsi and not a beer. Should you use the technical term, “barley pop,” for a drink you would be perplexed if handed a Root Beer. In certain geographic regions and cultural gatherings these are technical terms for a specific drink and not mere descriptions of a beverage. To do so would show one was seriously blind to the zeitgeist, the “spirit of the age,” and the cultural setting.

To those who say that “fruit of the vine,” is not a technical term for wine the possibilities then far surpass mere grape juice. If “fruit of the vine,” is to be understood as an agricultural description and not a technical term then according to my count there are eight (8) possibilities and why should anyone settle simply for “grape juice”? Fruit of the vine would include:

  1. Grapes
  2. Watermelon
  3. Cantaloupe
  4. Squash
  5. Tomato
  6. Strawberries
  7. Pumpkins
  8. Muskmelon
  9. Zucchini
  10. Cucumbers

Through the power of spoken word in the Words of Institution Jesus places his sin forgiving blood in wine, and only in wine. To change the element(s) is to do more than deviate from being “right,” and veering into “error,” which is no doubt what happens. The gift of forgiveness is bypassed and the person has drunk only grape juice, or any of the ten other possibilities listed above.

In order to have a marriage you need specific elements—male and female—and anything that changes these elements such as two women or two men is not a marriage in God’s eyes. In similar manner to have Holy Communion one needs the elements to which Jesus has promised to attach his life giving blood. As will be shown shortly our Lutherans Confessions clearly, and to our modern ears, audaciously, make the claim that when one changes the elements which Jesus has prescribed—such as substituting grape juice for wine—one does not have the sacrament.

When Jesus said, “this do,” he meant using bread and wine in addition to the Words of Institution and the act of distribution. These two elements also are contained in his command, “do this” (Lk 22:19). This is what our Lutheran Confessors teach in the Lutheran Confessions and which I confess as well. But do not listen to me. Listen to what all pastors swear to teach at their Ordination vows. From the Book of Concord we read:

Christ’s command “This do” must be observed unseparated and inviolate. (This embraces the entire action or administration in this Sacrament. In an assembly of Christians bread and wine are taken, consecrated, distributed, received, eaten, drunk, and the Lord’s death is shown forth at the same time.) St. Paul also places before our eyes this entire action of the breaking of bread or of distribution and reception (1 Corinthians 10:16).[1]

As an earthly marriage is negated when the elements of a man and a woman are changed from Christ’s institution in the Garden of Eden so too is the Lord’s Supper negated when the elements are changed. In the original context of the above quote the Confessors are addressing the Corpus Christi processions which still happen in Roman cultures and countries. The Confessors say the Sacrament ceases to be the Sacrament when the use instituted by Christ is not fulfilled; be it either the Corpus Christi procession, or in today’s context by changing which elements are used. The principle enunciated by the Confessors is still applicable:

To preserve this true Christian doctrine about the Holy Supper, … the following useful rule and standard has been derived from the words of institution: Nothing has the nature of a Sacrament apart from the use instituted by Christ or apart from the action divinely instituted. This means, if Christ’s institution is not kept as He appointed it, then there is no Sacrament. … The use or action here does not mean chiefly faith. Nor does it mean the oral participation alone. It means the entire external, visible action of the Lord’s Supper instituted by Christ: the consecration, or words of institution, the distribution and reception, or oral partaking of the consecrated bread and wine, of Christ’s body and blood. Apart from this use, it is to be regarded as no Sacrament…. [2]

Without ambiguity we read: “If Christ’s institution is not kept as He appointed it, then there is no Sacrament.” The Confessions explain that Christ’s institution—the “use” and “action” Jesus has instituted—encompass three criteria: 1) the words of institution, 2) distribution and reception, 3) as well as the elements of bread and wine wherein Jesus promises to place his body and blood. And then the Confessions state that should we depart from this use, which among the items listed includes using wine, we have no sacrament. We depart from the “use” or “action” prescribed by Jesus when we no longer have “bread” and “wine.”

This article is offered not to be “right” or prove others “wrong.” It is offered to deliver comfort and forgiveness to people based on the Lord Jesus’ command and promise. Our faith, sincerity, and action do not make the Sacrament. What creates the Sacrament is when we receive what Christ has commanded and promised as we speak the Words of Institution over bread and wine. The certainty of following our Lord’s loving promise and not our own rationalist ideas is what comforts sinners and brings forgiveness.

Due to the fall people suffer in all sorts of manner; allergies, alcoholic issues, etc. A nice solution which preserves Christ’s mandate found in the Words of Institution and in the elements to be used is as follows. I instruct the Altar Guild to fill an individual communion cup with water and then place one or two drops of wine within which significantly dilutes the wine—but wine is still the element used! Sensitivity to personal issues is considered and faithfulness to Christ’s words is observed which enables people who know their need to receive the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

In Christ,

Pastor Weber

 

 



[1] “Solid Declaration, The Holy Supper,” in Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 2nd edition, gen. ed., Paul T. McCain (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2005): 575:84.

[2] “Solid Declaration, Article VII, The Holy Supper,” in Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 2nd edition, gen. ed., Paul T. McCain (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2005): 575-576:85-87.

About Pastor Karl Weber

Karl has been serving St. Paul’s Richville LC and St. John’s, Ottertail, MN since Labor Day, 2004. He was raised in the Roman Church receiving his BA from Fordham University. Before going to seminary he was a computer programmer in Minneapolis. He served as a short term missionary in Guatemala and Kenya, East Africa. He spent time as a member of the ELCA and studied two years at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN pursing his M. Div. before transferring to the LCMS for theological reasons and continuing his studies at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. He was ordained in 1991 and earned his D. Min. in May 2002 from the same institution. He has contributed study notes to The Lutheran Study Bible. He enjoys deer hunting, going to the gym, swimming, and reading. He is married to Mary and has five wonderful children.

Comments

Fruit of Which Vine? — 119 Comments

  1. @Matthew Mills #49

    Purificator is much better than the word I used. My bad. I bet that term was used long before the threat of micro-organisms was known. So I’m speculating that a modern notion of ‘sanitizing’ something wasn’t in play when it was chosen.

    CatholicReference.com says, “A small piece of white linen, marked with a cross in the center, used by the priest in the celebration of Mass. It is folded in three layers and used by the priest to purify his fingers and the chalice and paten after Holy Communion.” So, it is apparently purifying in terms of respectfully removing any remnants of Communion rather than being sloppy about it. I suppose its an easy leap today to think its somehow meant to be removing germs.

  2. Since cup just as well means many cups perhaps we could also say, “My Father, if it be possible, let *these cups* pass from me …”

  3. @ #12 “…undercut your chosen moniker.”

    It is The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, founded in 1847, that is the most significant continuing confessional body of Lutherans in the United States. Those Lutherans continuing to be Lutheran in theology are found in the conservative denominations such as The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

    R. Albert Mohler Jr., President
    The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
    The Briefing, 2) ELCA continues to prove it is neither Evangelical, nor Lutheran, nor a Church.
    Evangelical Lutheran Church elects first openly gay bishop, Los Angeles Times (Catherin Saillant)
    June 3, 2013

  4. @Tim Jackson #1
    No problem. I think we basically agree on the big point: anyone approaching the altar worrying about whether the body and blood of their crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ is pure enough to touch their sinful lips has some profound theological issues. Quite a contrast w/ Isaiah 6:5-7.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  5. I believe no one has any worries about the purity of that which is in with and under the bread and wine. Where did you get that strange impression? I think that many congregations and pastors use little cups to avoid spreading germs from one person to another. It’s not a big issue with most pastors.

  6. I wish there were a way to accurately poll pastors to see if they would get rid of the individual cups if they could do it without an (unnecessary) riot happening.

  7. @John Rixe #5
    That would be clearly Nestorian were it applied to the hypostatic union, and I admit it gives me the willies when applied to the sacramental union as well. We don’t receive Christ’s divinity outside of the hypostatic union, nor do we receive his body and blood outside of the sacramental union. Luther lapped the consecrated wine he had spilled from the dusty stone floor in front of the altar not because he didn’t understand germs, but because he did understand that in the case of the sacramental and hypostatic unions the finite contains the infinite.
    Jesus enters our physical world, and we wrinkle our noses? Lord have mercy.

  8. See comment 41, pg 1.  For those pastors who think it’s important, they can instruct and guide their congregation in a positive manner as Pastor Schroeder did in two cases.

    @Tim

  9. @John Rixe #8

    And there’s a pastor in AK that was forced out of his congregation for moving the Baptismal font to the back of the sanctuary, so all congregations are not created equal.

    A pastor is not sinning by using “Jesus jiggers.” Again, there is nothing inherently evil or wrong about the cups themselves; the problem is in the spirit that advocates for them.

  10. @Matthew Mills #7

    You got me there. Are the germs crawling around on the cup part of the hypostatic union or the sacramental union?

    I’m in over my head again. 🙂

  11. @John Rixe #10
    Receive Jesus w/ joy, and don’t sweat the germs. (You get more sharing the Peace anyway.) There’s a reason that a slice of our communion liturgy comes from Isaiah 6, we are in the physical presence of our God, and the filthiest thing at that altar rail is me. Anyone worried about germs in the Supper is missing the point.

  12. @Matthew Mills #11

    Fortunately, I never met anyone who worried about germs. One reason is because there has always been a little cup option. This is a non-issue, and I apologize for dragging it on. Maybe I am a troll. 🙂

  13. @Matthew Mills #9,

    If, as stated,

    A pastor is not sinning by using “Jesus jiggers.”

    then should such cups a pastor uses to distribute the blood of our Lord Jesus to penitent communicants be referred to as “Jesus jiggers”? Would it similarly be okay to refer to the common communion cup as a “Jesus jug” or a “Messiah mug”?

  14. It’s a classic chicken and egg question: which came first? The shot glass or the little plastic individual cup? Who is imitating who?

  15. @Tim Jackson #15 : “It’s a classic chicken and egg question: which came first? The shot glass or the little plastic individual cup? Who is imitating who?”

    According to Wikipedia, the first use of a shot glass was noted in American Law Reports Annotated, Second Series, Vol. 66, 1930, p. 754, although common use of the shot glass occurred after Prohibition.

    The small plastic cup was first patented by W.R. Price, et. al (filed on May 9, 1957; granted April 7, 1964).

    But the individual communion cup was first used in 1893, and by 1920 was being used by a number of churches including the Lutheran Church. So the individual communion cup came before the shot glass or the first use of the small plastic cup.

  16. @Carl Vehse #13
    @Lifelong Lutheran #16

    I think it’s ok to use foolish terms for foolish things. Even if they aren’t sinful per se (and they aren’t) as a solution w/o a problem individual cups are silly as heck. Again, what’s offensive is approaching the body and blood of our crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ and fussing about whether they are pure enough to touch our sinful lips.

    @Quasicelsus #14
    Thanks.

  17. @Carl Vehse #44

    J.T. Mueller (and you by agreement) accidentally contradicts both Luther and SD VII here. However, enough has been pointed out about SD VII already. Therefore, perhaps Luther’s Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper will move you.

    [caps not meant as shouting but italics]

    “In reference to this particular cup, then, Matthew and Mark may be understood as saying that each of the apostles had a cup before him on the table, or at least that there were more cups than one. But now, when Christ gives a new, special drink of his blood, HE COMMANDS THEM ALL TO DRINK OUT OF THIS SINGLE CUP … The bread he could readily – indeed, he must – have so distributed that each received a piece for himself. But the wine he could not have distributed in this manner, but had to serve it in a cup for them all, indicating verbally that it was to be a drink in common for them all…by taking in his hands A PARTICULAR LOAF, IN PREFERENCE TO ALL OTHER LOAVES, blessing and breaking it…For they saw from this new gesture following the farewell that he was beginning anew, giving thanks anew, pronouncing the blessing anew; further, that he took A SPECIAL LOAF WHICH HE DIVIDED AMONG THEM ALL AND PASSED HIS CUP AMONG THEM ALL, and concluded this supper WITH ONE LOAF AND ONE CUP. They doubtless thought that he knew exactly what he was doing and saying, so there was no need for questions…”

    Nonetheless, we question it? Nonetheless, we don’t know exactly what he was doing?

    He took one loaf. He took one cup. He distributed a piece of the one loaf to all. He gave a drink from the one cup to all. And He says, “Do this.”

    And Luther says, “That’s what He did; He instituted a Supper with one loaf and one cup.” And the Formula says that Luther’s Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper is to be referred to in any disagreements among us about the Supper.

    Unfortunately, in trying to prove that we don’t believe we should literally swallow the cup itself, J.T. Mueller disagrees. Or maybe it’s just whoever quotes his specific point as an abstract, dogmatic principle. I’ve never heard of any pastor swearing to teach J.T. Mueller quia. I have, however, heard of pastors who swear to teach the Confession quia. Therefore, let’s be charitable to Mueller [and you], and assume he [and you] didn’t intend to contradict the Confessions.

    Let’s just do the Institution the way Jesus instituted it [and Luther confessed it to be]: One Bread and One Cup from One Christ for One Body.

  18. Matthew

    Again, do you know or have you heard of anyone approaching the body and blood of our crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ and fussing about whether they are pure enough to touch our sinful lips?    This seems preposterous but I’m willing to look at your evidence if you know this has happened.

  19. @John Rixe #20
    I’m referring to people who are worried about germ transmission. I’m glad to hear that it isn’t an issue for you, but where else did these little cups come from if no one saw germ transmission as an issue?

  20. The germ transmission is not about the content of the cups.  It’s about the cooties running around the container rim that came from the previous communicants.  Right or wrong, the perception is the small cups don’t have cooties, the common cup does.

  21. @John Rixe #22
    Perhaps that is the perception, and that is the real issue because it turns reality on it’s head. Like Moses kneeling before the burning bush, or Isaiah facing God on His throne, the communicant is in the very physical presence of the God who created the heavens and the earth. Like Isaiah we need to be made pure by God, and here we are worrying about Christ’s blood harbouring cooties. Only someone who had totally lost all conception of what is happening in the mass could think like that. Again, Lord have mercy.

    (And the final Satanic insult is that unless your altar guild uses rubber gloves to load the trays, the individual cups have all been fingered around the edge in a way more likely to transmit germs than a properly wiped common cup.)

  22. Yeah, I just got strep. I’m not going to be partaking in the common cup for a bit, or shaking hands in peace. I don’t believe this is sinful, disparaging, unhelpful, ridiculous, or misguided. I don’t think my action insults the Body and Blood, or my Brothers and Sisters. I would be the filthiest thing at the rail. I am the contaminant. Jesus makes the promise that the cup contains His Blood, for the forgiveness of sins. There is no claim that my strep is null and void at the rail, the exchange of peace, or in the pew.

  23. @Matthew Mills #23

    I want to put this in the best possible context. I’m afraid I’m still extremely insulted by “Only someone who had totally lost all conception of what is happening in the mass could think like that.” I apologize if I’m taking it the wrong way.

  24. @Matthew Mills #18 : “I think it’s ok to use foolish terms for foolish things.”

    By this do you mean that it is “ok” to refer to the cups a pastor uses to distribute the blood of our Lord Jesus to penitent communicants as “Jesus jiggers” and “silly as heck”?

  25. @Ernest Antine #19
    Well then how come we don’t use one loaf? And you would need an awfully long loaf to serve 50 or 100 people. Are the wafers made from one loaf?
    And, Matthew Mills, it’s fine that you prefer the chalice but you don’t need to question the faith of those that prefer the individual cups that have been used for many years.

  26. @Matthew Mills #23
    I have worked on altar guild. At our church the used cups are loaded onto the trays and then washed in hot soapy water. There is a device that holds the glasses in the trays while they are being washed. Even if a church doesn’t have that system the women loading the trays with clean glasses would have clean hands after washing the glasses. The glasses are definitely cleaner than a chalice that has been used by 50 people and wiped quickly with a cloth.

  27. @Matthew Mills #23

    In my entire life I’ve never met a single person worrying about Christ’s blood containing cooties.
    You seem to be conjuring up a fantasy problem that doesn’t exist. How many of these strange folks do you know?

  28. Hmmm, interesting comments from all, “very” interesting…but in the end, the real problem with individual cups is how to cleanup after the Holy Meal. Of course, all pastors do dispose of every element at the Altar, right? Well, we know the answer.

    With the common cup, we can rinse and consume the blood/wine, but what about the residue in the little cups?

    You need to gather them, need to rinse them in water bowl, then dispose of the water/blood/wine mixture to the ground.

  29. @John Rixe #31
    Why the individual cups then? What is the real problem that required us to break away from nearly two milenia of church practice? What are the personal cups for?

    If individual cups are the solution to a fantasy problem that doesn’t exist, great. Let’s rejoin the historical church and get rid of them. That would be like Christmas, my birthday and Father’s day all rolled together (w/ chocolate cheese cake.)

  30. @Ernest Antine#19 , your histrionic eisegetics regarding SD VII in #8, p. 1, are, in Matthew Mills’ guidance about “foolish terms for foolish things”, “silly as heck.” What Martin Luther states in the excerpt is not to be interpreted as a mandate from the Lutheran Confessions to use only a common cup and a loaf of bread anymore than Luther’s view of geocentrism is to be interpreted as a mandate.

    Maybe you need to see if you can change the mind of a person who refers to individual communion cups as “Jesus jiggers”, but not sinful to use. Then you might work you way up through the CTCR; previously, after presented with Scripturally and confessionally sound arguments on a topic, they have revised their stated position. You may be able to convince them to alter the CTCR’s previous position on individual communion cups.

    Or you could just work on removing that scotoma that prevents you from see that “In the absence of a specific Scriptural mandate, either method of distribution, when performed in a reverent manner is acceptable.” BTW, the “reverent manner” doesn’t include referring to what the pastor gives a communicant as a ‘Jesus jigger.’

  31. @Matthew Mills #33
    Perhaps no one has answered you. We use both common and individual. We also have some people dip at times. I would rather have a coughing person come and take the body, and then the blood from a little cup, then not come up. I also do not want to keep others from coming up.

    In the end, both methods still forgive sins, strengthen faith.

    In fact, all do kneel, right? And take the bread from the pastors hand, right? Of course not.

  32. @Matthew Mills #30: “Why do you prefer the individual cup?”

    I sometimes use the common communion cup and sometimes use the individual communion cup. In either case I do so because of Christian liberty and to stand in Lutheran opposition to legalistic ritualists and those falsely claiming the use of individual communion cups or multiple common cups during the Lord’s Supper is contrary to Lutheran doctrine.

  33. @Lifelong Lutheran #39
    @helen #38
    Our grandparents didn’t survive. They all died, a lot of them from infections.:-)

    And you can show me where they got those “infections” from a chalice?

    We all die, sooner or later, but I don’t know of any who did so from taking the sacrament!

  34. @Pr. Mark Schroeder #41
    @helen #20 Helen, you might be pleased to know that in two congregations when I guided them to the common Cup (with the concession of intinction), two Altar guilds just loved me!

    My teenage kids, who helped me wash all those little glass containers on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, [the better to get home before morning] would have loved you, too!

    And so should the church financial secretary have done. 🙂

  35. No argument. I just grew up using the individual cup so I’m used to it AND it is more sanitary. Our grandparents seemed to accept the individual cup and not make a big deal out of it.

  36. @Matthew Mills #33

    “What is the real problem that required us to break away from nearly two milenia of church practice?”

    I’ve been thinking about this question during this thread. I think the real problem is the legal way things began to be thought about rather than a relational way. We have this problem, sin, it makes us guilty. What difference does a common cup make in delivering the solution to the problem vs an individual cup, be they metal or plastic? None. So is a common cup *necessary*? In this way of thinking about it, no. Either cup delivers the goods. Thus, ‘the Cup’ is necessarily explained away as a technical term for a common cup that can just as well mean “many cups” because a the cup is just a tool. Any sort of organic, deeper meaning to “the Cup” is disregarded as being secondary or accidentally implied.

    The way “the Cup” has been explained away to mean “many cups” as just as valid for the right reception of the Supper reminds me of arguments for women pastors (I’m not saying yall are in favor of that, ok?). After all, a woman can function and do tasks just as well as a man in terms of being a pastor. Or it doesn’t have to be a woman, just plug some guy from your church in and have him do the functions of a pastor. As long as he’s got the Word, what’s the big deal? It’s God’s Word that makes it the Supper, who cares if it’s a layman or an ordained woman. It’s God’s Word that does everything, why does any of that other stuff matter? After all, ‘the Cup’ doesn’t mean one cup it just as well means many cups and everything is still fine.

    It seems like a weak position to argue from scriptural things because the Bible becomes my IRS code for complying with God’s demands. If we can find a loophole to make things easier, go ahead. It’s still “legal”, but it seems to me that the same Jesus who told us of the Father’s love for His prodigal son doesn’t have this bare minimum “What can we get away with and everything still be valid” approach to his relationship with us. Why are we so confident he’s pleased with this attitude that manifests itself not just in individual plastic, but in other problems we see today?

    I don’t really blame the folks who take the individual cup today and were taught that way. They just inherited a tradition and way of reading the Bible from their parents and pastors. I heard it on Issues Etc once, “…the Church is always reforming”. The Reformation is never done, in a sense, I guess. Not in the way that those guys mean who want gay marriage and women pastors, but we do have to constantly measure our views and inheritance in light of Scripture.

  37. @Carl Vehse #34
    Then you might work you way up through the CTCR; …

    Carl, we’re supposed to have a quia subscription to the Bible and the Confessions.

    People should not only not be obligated to every CTCR document/CCM decree… most of them should be discarded, (saving perhaps the CTCR minority reports, which usually had Kurt Marquart’s name on them).

  38. @rev. david l. prentice jr. #35
    I would rather have a coughing person come and take the body, and then the blood from a little cup.

    Pr. Prentice,
    We have communion at every Divine Service. So if I’m coughing, I stay home. I think people are likely to be infected by my cold long before they get to the rail and I shouldn’t wish it on them.

    Two weeks is a far cry from the quarterly intervals of my growing up years, after all!
    [And I have a selection of confessional Lutheran sermons on line meanwhile, so I am not entirely bereft of the Word.]

  39. @helen #42: People should not only not be obligated to every CTCR document/CCM decree…

    I agree. My suggestion was only that a person who thinks that a Lutheran church should have their pastor use only one common cup and one loaf of bread when officiating at the Lord’s Supper might want to run those arguments past the CTCR first… before requesting his comments be inserted into the Book of Concord.

  40. @Carl Vehse #44

    It would be great if there was enough unity in the Lutheran world to have a second official Book of Concord or document of some kind to bring some resolution to fights since the Formula. The Nicene Creed took two Ecumenical councils to work out (and the filioque came in even later), it shouldn’t be a shameful thing to admit some things need refining today that weren’t on the radar screen back then. I don’t know if all the Lutherans would make it out of the room alive if you put us in there in order to work out our differences …

  41. @Tim Jackson #45: It would be great if there was enough unity in the Lutheran world to have a second official Book of Concord or document of some kind to bring some resolution to fights since the Formula.

    A second official Book of Concord raise the question of whether it would contain new doctrine not in the first Book of Concord. The idea of additional doctrine not in the first Book of Concord was a view held by Wilhelm Loehe and contributed to his breaking with Walther and the Missouri Synod.

    There is Walther’s Kirche und Amt on the doctrine on church and ministry. We can’t even get all members of the Missouri Synod to agree with that document, which presents no new doctrine.

  42. @Carl Vehse #34

    But Prof. Vehse, you shouldn’t reference a CTCR political comprise since you died long before it happened. : )

    Seriously though, I’m starting to see your point. A private opinion Luther casually shared during a dinner conversation does have the exact same weight as a publicized doctrinal magnum opus from which our Confessions admit to have drawn their position. Oh wait…that’s silly.

    But silliness abounds. Earlier, you gladly quoted an excerpt from Francis Pieper’s closest follower, J.T. Mueller, in the manner of an authoritative dogmatic mandate to support your position. Then, you dismiss Luther’s careful exegesis (recommended by the Formula) with the charge of geocentrism?

    Luther privately told some friends he thought the brand new, never before heard of Copernican theory was dumb because it contrasted all known science. Almost every single person in Luther’s day, including most major scientists, also thought heliocentricity was crazy. The theory gained traction approximately 100 years later. 300 years after that, Pieper publicly mandated in his Christian Dogmatics V.1 that it is unworthy of a Christian to interpret the Scriptures using the now well accepted Copernican “theory” because the Bible never speaks optically.

    Dismissing a magnum opus of “the foremost teacher of the churches that subscribe to the Augsburg Confession” (SD VII.41) because of an unrelated private opinion? Meh. Dismissing it for that reason after asserting the doctrinal authority of someone who held the exact same false private opinion but helped assert it publicly as the official teaching? That’s just really, really silly.

  43. @Ernest Antine #47: A private opinion Luther casually shared during a dinner conversation does have the exact same weight as a publicized doctrinal magnum opus from which our Confessions admit to have drawn their position.

    Luther’s mention of “a certain new astrologer” in his June, 1539, “Table Talk” conversation, probably originated from Joachim Rheticus, an astronomy professor at Wittenburg and was not as casual as assumed. In May Rheticus had requested permission for a leave of absence to study with Copernicus about his heliocentric theory. Rheticus’ name would already have been familiar to Luther because of a recent scatalogical battle at the university between Luther and another Wittenberg professor, in which Rheticus was actually an “innocent bystander,” but was became entangled with “guilt-by-association.”

    Also, Luther’s view cannot be dismissed as just a “dinner conversation,” but was a view in agreement with a reference to geocentrism in the Apology (VII/VIII.50), a document written by Melanchthon in 1530 and confirmed at Smalcald in 1537 as a confession of faith. The geocentric view was decades later presented in the Solid Declaration (VI. 2-6).

    Luther privately told some friends he thought the brand new, never before heard of Copernican theory was dumb

    That statement is self-contradictory. Also Luther objected not to the Copernican theory because it turned the world of astrology upsidedown, but because it contradicted Scripture.

    Earlier, you gladly quoted an excerpt from Francis Pieper’s closest follower, J.T. Mueller, in the manner of an authoritative dogmatic mandate to support your position.

    Mueller’s exegetic excerpt was presented in #44 (p. 1) as it related to an earlier passage from Scripture given in #41. The excerpt came from a book called Christian Dogmatics: A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology for Pastors, Teachers, and Laymen , published by CPH, summarizing Pieper’s German volumes, and was used for many years as a seminary textbook.

    Then, you dismiss Luther’s careful exegesis (recommended by the Formula) with the charge of geocentrism?

    No, you are confused. I wrote, “What Martin Luther states in the excerpt is not to be interpreted as a mandate from the Lutheran Confessions to use only a common cup and a loaf of bread anymore than Luther’s view of geocentrism is to be interpreted as a mandate.” It was your interpretation I was dismissing (there is a difference!).

    Almost every single person in Luther’s day, including most major scientists, also thought heliocentricity was crazy.

    The heliocentric model was not considered crazy. It was in fact taught at Wittenberg by Rheticus, and later by Erasmus Reinhold, but as a useful mathematical model for astrological calculations. It was not considered as a model of the actual movements of the earth, planets, and sun, except by Copernicus, Rheticus, and a handful of other 16th century astronomers.

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