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1 Corinthian 11:27-9 "in an unworthy manner ... not discerning the body"

David Young

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I took the Communion service at a Presbyterian church this morning, and as we always do in Baptist churches, I read 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul relates the institution of the Lord's Supper (or Eucharist). He warns people not to partake of the bread and wine "in an unworthy manner .... not discerning the body." I usually take this to mean not focussing on the truth that the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ, and that as we partake we should sincerely realise what we are commemorating: the event of Calvary for our redemption; and that we should come in sincere repentance and spiritual faith. What is the Orthodox understanding of these verses?
 

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I believe and confess, Lord, that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. I also believe that this is truly Your pure Body and that this is truly Your precious Blood.  (Prayer of Saint John Chrysostom)
 

TheTrisagion

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Right before we commune, the Priest says: "With fear of God, faith, and love, draw near". I believe the short answer is that if we approach the Chalice while disregarding any of those dictates, we are approaching unworthily. I would also note (as I'm sure you are aware), that Orthodox hold to the belief that the wine and bread are truly the Body and Blood of Christ once they have been consecrated. It would be considered that someone would unworthily partaking if they did not believe in that truth.
 
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David Young: I think almost all of what you say would be sound to us.l
as others have said though, it is the very body and blood we are receiving.
Also, we are giving thanks for what We receive..                             


Having edit problems
 
 

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David Young said:
I took the Communion service at a Presbyterian church this morning, and as we always do in Baptist churches, I read 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul relates the institution of the Lord's Supper (or Eucharist). He warns people not to partake of the bread and wine "in an unworthy manner .... not discerning the body." I usually take this to mean not focussing on the truth that the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ, and that as we partake we should sincerely realise what we are commemorating: the event of Calvary for our redemption; and that we should come in sincere repentance and spiritual faith. What is the Orthodox understanding of these verses?
The traditional Greek text says, "to soma tou Kiriou" -- the body of the Lord. Not that this changes the import, but it does make things very clear. As for "unworthily," the passage begins with St. Paul upbraiding the Corinthians for strife, schisms, and gluttony. But, yes, it seems quite plain to me that the description is of one who brings down a judgment upon himself, being one who did not discern, as he approached communion, that this is the body of the Lord.
 

minasoliman

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David Young said:
I took the Communion service at a Presbyterian church this morning, and as we always do in Baptist churches, I read 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul relates the institution of the Lord's Supper (or Eucharist). He warns people not to partake of the bread and wine "in an unworthy manner .... not discerning the body." I usually take this to mean not focussing on the truth that the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ, and that as we partake we should sincerely realise what we are commemorating: the event of Calvary for our redemption; and that we should come in sincere repentance and spiritual faith. What is the Orthodox understanding of these verses?
Commemorating is weak in English. Anamnesis from what I learned is to live at the moment of Calvary, Resurrection, Ascension, AND glorious second coming of Christ, truly eating and partaking of ALL OF Him through His Body and Blood.  We must do so with fear and trembling, and as you say, with repentance and faith.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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David Young said:
I took the Communion service at a Presbyterian church this morning, and as we always do in Baptist churches, I read 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul relates the institution of the Lord's Supper (or Eucharist). He warns people not to partake of the bread and wine "in an unworthy manner .... not discerning the body." I usually take this to mean not focussing on the truth that the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ, and that as we partake we should sincerely realise what we are commemorating: the event of Calvary for our redemption; and that we should come in sincere repentance and spiritual faith. What is the Orthodox understanding of these verses?
The bread and wine don't "represent" the Body and Blood of Christ.  They are the Body and Blood of Christ.  And - as Mina has said - this is not mere "commemoration" in the sense that most modern English speakers might mean it.  This is no memorial meal.  Anamnesis is indeed the right word.
 

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The edgy (c.a. 2010) thing to say is that Paul "really meant" not being greedy, the body being the needy who are going without.
 

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It's worth discussing the context of this verse - the misbehaving Corinthians who were not properly acting as the Body of Christ - in their assembling they were showing preference to some and neglecting others.

There are Presbyterians and other Reformed folks who are coming around to seeing that this verse has been improperly used as proof-texting against the practice of paedocommunion.
 

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There are at least three layers of discernment commanded:

First and foremost, that, as others have already noted, "is" means "is" ( not "represents" or "is a symbol of") and that Christ is truly present, given and received.

Second, that His presence contains the breadth of the faithful around the world.  All who are of the Body of Christ are mystically present with their Head.  Those who cannot discern and appreciate the presence of Christ in their neighbor in the pew (including the noisy child, the elder with the hacking cough, etc, etc) commune at their own peril.

Third, that His presence is not confined by time or space, nor even by that little boundary that we call death and so therefore all the faithful of every time and every place, from the Holy Apostles to the child that was Baptized moments before are all conjoined in that which another ancient Creed calls "the communion of saints".
 

David Young

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Thank you all. Much to mull over in all this. It seems that the replies concerning body are pointing in three directions:
  • the body as literally that physical human body in which our Lord was born at Bethlehem, lived, was crucified, and (now glorified) still lives
  • the body as the church
  • the teaching that the bread and wine are his body (not represent or symbolise)
And that the replies concerning unworthily are pointing in two directions:
  • the catalogue of reproaches which the apostle writes in much of 1 Corinthians
  • the need for reverence, repentance and faith when we take the bread and wine.
Am I understanding y'all correctly so far? Apart from is/symbolise, I think we are at one on all this. As I wrote above, it being a passage I often read out when I housel a congregation, I am often brought to ponder it.
 

minasoliman

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David Young said:
Thank you all. Much to mull over in all this. It seems that the replies concerning body are pointing in three directions:
  • the body as literally that physical human body in which our Lord was born at Bethlehem, lived, was crucified, and (now glorified) still lives
  • the body as the church
  • the teaching that the bread and wine are his body (not represent or symbolise)
And that the replies concerning unworthily are pointing in two directions:
  • the catalogue of reproaches which the apostle writes in much of 1 Corinthians
  • the need for reverence, repentance and faith when we take the bread and wine.
Am I understanding y'all correctly so far? Apart from is/symbolise, I think we are at one on all this. As I wrote above, it being a passage I often read out when I housel a congregation, I am often brought to ponder it.
I think you summarized it pretty well.
 

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NicholasMyra said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
The bread and wine don't "represent" the Body and Blood of Christ.  They are the Body and Blood of Christ. 
False dichotomy!
Not when taken in the proper context.
 

rakovsky

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When Paul says to discern the body, he means to discern that the body is on the altar table. There are several proofs for this as the Lutherans and Catholics and Orthodox showed. One is that the same Greek word for discern or judge was used in the preceding chapter to refer to discerning or judging that the bread is the body:

15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say.
16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

Another proof is that if he is just telling us to discern that the bread is merely a symbol, then it wouldn't explain how the failure to discern could cause illness in 1 cor. 11. After all, even atheists can discern that the bread is a symbol of Jesus, just like a statue is a symbol of a person.
 

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rakovsky said:
Another proof is that if he is just telling us to discern that the bread is merely a symbol, then it wouldn't explain how the failure to discern could cause illness in 1 cor. 11. After all, even atheists can discern that the bread is a symbol of Jesus, just like a statue is a symbol of a person.
Suppose nobody argues that body & blood would be just symbols, then `discern´ could still mean something else than to understand a difference between things, couldn't it? Peshitta uses prš ܦܪܫ which is the verb that words like Pharisee comes from. It has meanings like `to separate´.
 

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It sounds like distinguish, which is not far from the meaning of discern.
 

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sestir said:
Suppose nobody argues that body & blood would be just symbols, then `discern´ could still mean something else than to understand a difference between things, couldn't it? Peshitta uses prš ܦܪܫ which is the verb that words like Pharisee comes from. It has meanings like `to separate´.
First, Paul was writing in Greek, not Peshitta Aramaic.

Second, in Greek it says to discern/judge that this bread that we eat is the body in 1 Cor 10, leading into the meaning of discerning/judging the body in 1 Cor 11.

Third, it doesn't make sense if Paul is demanding that believers "separate" Jesus' body from the bread, when (A) even atheists "separate" the communion bread from Jesus' body and (B) Jesus says "this is my body", not "this is not my body".
 

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I rather expected some replies to at least include reference to the bread and wine actually being the body and blood of Christ, but I can't help feeling that this is placing too much emphasis on mental grasp of the doctrine, thus shifting attention to some extent away from the heart's need for reverence, repentance, faith and gratitude. Let me put it like this:
  • Suppose for a moment that we Baptists are right and that the bread represents or symbolises his body without being it. The fact that you Orthodox believe it really is his body is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts by the Spirit via the housel to those Orthodox who come with repentant, believing hearts.
  • Now suppose for a moment that you Orthodox are right and that we Baptists lack the true understanding of the nature of the bread and wine. If, in our cerebral unenlightenment, we take the bread and wine in gratitude that Christ died for the remission of our sins and are genuinely sorry for them and sincerely desire God's help to put them away, surely once again this is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts via the housel to those Baptists who come with repentant, believing hearts.
I cannot see therefore that this particular tenet, held either way, invalidates either your or our sacrament, for God looks on the heart.
 

minasoliman

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Indeed God looks to the heart.  But even you as a Christian can admit doctrine matters, and practice matters.

For instance, Christ says "no one comes to the Father except through Me".  So many people with good intentions believe in Jesus in order to go to the Father.  However some of those people believe Jesus is not equal to the Father.  Can we really use the excuse that "God looks to the heart" so long as they are repentant and sincere?

If Christ in John 6 made no excuse on the fact that we have to eat His body and drink His blood, then the heart of man requires it.  Christ said clearly, if you don't eat His bread and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  That's a very serious statement.
 

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  Context is everything. Our bodies are members of Christs body. Discerning the body is therefore referring to ourselves. By going to the chalice we unite with Christ through his passage in life ,cross and resurrection. It means to judge ourselves and discern whether or not we are worthy of partaking of the communion and uniting to his body. As members of the church our bodies are interchangeable with Christs. He doesn't want us to be in a state of sin when we partake.

1 Corinthians 6:15

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!

 

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minasoliman said:
If Christ in John 6 made no excuse on the fact that we have to eat His body and drink His blood, then the heart of man requires it.  Christ said clearly, if you don't eat His bread and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  That's a very serious statement.
Good point.
Another argument in favor of the real presence is that in John 6 it says that some followers of Jesus couldn't accept this teaching that they would have to "eat" and "chew" (phagon & tragon) Jesus' "flesh" and that they left Jesus, with Jesus replying by insisting that indeed they must do this. Jesus effectively used the literal meaning of this statement as a test of faith, instead of calling the lost followers back by saying "No, you don't truly eat my flesh, it's just a parable".

Why would Jesus use the literal meaning as a test of faith if he never meant it literally?
 

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David Young said:
I rather expected some replies to at least include reference to the bread and wine actually being the body and blood of Christ, but I can't help feeling that this is placing too much emphasis on mental grasp of the doctrine, thus shifting attention to some extent away from the heart's need for reverence, repentance, faith and gratitude. Let me put it like this:
  • Now suppose for a moment that you Orthodox are right and that we Baptists lack the true understanding of the nature of the bread and wine. If, in our cerebral unenlightenment, we take the bread and wine in gratitude that Christ died for the remission of our sins and are genuinely sorry for them and sincerely desire God's help to put them away, surely once again this is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts via the housel to those Baptists who come with repentant, believing hearts.
I cannot see therefore that this particular tenet, held either way, invalidates either your or our sacrament, for God looks on the heart.
I understand what you are saying: If a person comes to the table with gratitude to Jesus but rejects the teaching that Jesus is in the bread, why should his communion be invalid?

There are many reasons. Let's say that a person comes to the sacrament of baptism with gratitude, but does not believe that the Holy Spirit actually comes to him despite the Bible's teaching. Isn't the person at a spiritual loss?
Or let's say a person comes to the sacrament of marriage with gratitude, but doesn't believe that he will or can unite with his wife in any way. Again, the deficiency creates a loss.

The Lutheran argument for real presence is that Jesus' body can be anywhere or everywhere, like it can go through walls and matter like in John 21, and thus in bread. Calvin rejected this, arguing instead that Jesus' actual, real, direct, literal body itself can only be stuck up in one place, heaven, and cannot be on a table. So the "Reformed" understanding again shows deficiency.
 

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David Young said:
I rather expected some replies to at least include reference to the bread and wine actually being the body and blood of Christ, but I can't help feeling that this is placing too much emphasis on mental grasp of the doctrine, thus shifting attention to some extent away from the heart's need for reverence, repentance, faith and gratitude. Let me put it like this:
  • Suppose for a moment that we Baptists are right and that the bread represents or symbolises his body without being it. The fact that you Orthodox believe it really is his body is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts by the Spirit via the housel to those Orthodox who come with repentant, believing hearts.
  • Now suppose for a moment that you Orthodox are right and that we Baptists lack the true understanding of the nature of the bread and wine. If, in our cerebral unenlightenment, we take the bread and wine in gratitude that Christ died for the remission of our sins and are genuinely sorry for them and sincerely desire God's help to put them away, surely once again this is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts via the housel to those Baptists who come with repentant, believing hearts.
I cannot see therefore that this particular tenet, held either way, invalidates either your or our sacrament, for God looks on the heart.
He Who looks in the heart and sees what it holds said "he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body," and is the One Who struck them sick that they died.
 

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David Young said:
I rather expected some replies to at least include reference to the bread and wine actually being the body and blood of Christ, but I can't help feeling that this is placing too much emphasis on mental grasp of the doctrine, thus shifting attention to some extent away from the heart's need for reverence, repentance, faith and gratitude. Let me put it like this:
  • Suppose for a moment that we Baptists are right and that the bread represents or symbolises his body without being it. The fact that you Orthodox believe it really is his body is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts by the Spirit via the housel to those Orthodox who come with repentant, believing hearts.
  • Now suppose for a moment that you Orthodox are right and that we Baptists lack the true understanding of the nature of the bread and wine. If, in our cerebral unenlightenment, we take the bread and wine in gratitude that Christ died for the remission of our sins and are genuinely sorry for them and sincerely desire God's help to put them away, surely once again this is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts via the housel to those Baptists who come with repentant, believing hearts.
I cannot see therefore that this particular tenet, held either way, invalidates either your or our sacrament, for God looks on the heart.
  • If the Baptists are right, and Jesus is not present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, then anyone who does believe so would be in idolatry, because they are worshiping a piece of bread.
  • If the Orthodox or Catholic view that it is, in fact Jesus, is true, than anyone who eats the Eucharist without true faith does it to his own condemnation.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's the view shared by both Orthodox and Catholic Churches.
 

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michaelus said:
David Young said:
I rather expected some replies to at least include reference to the bread and wine actually being the body and blood of Christ, but I can't help feeling that this is placing too much emphasis on mental grasp of the doctrine, thus shifting attention to some extent away from the heart's need for reverence, repentance, faith and gratitude. Let me put it like this:
  • Suppose for a moment that we Baptists are right and that the bread represents or symbolises his body without being it. The fact that you Orthodox believe it really is his body is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts by the Spirit via the housel to those Orthodox who come with repentant, believing hearts.
  • Now suppose for a moment that you Orthodox are right and that we Baptists lack the true understanding of the nature of the bread and wine. If, in our cerebral unenlightenment, we take the bread and wine in gratitude that Christ died for the remission of our sins and are genuinely sorry for them and sincerely desire God's help to put them away, surely once again this is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts via the housel to those Baptists who come with repentant, believing hearts.
I cannot see therefore that this particular tenet, held either way, invalidates either your or our sacrament, for God looks on the heart.
  • If the Baptists are right, and Jesus is not present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, then anyone who does believe so would be in idolatry, because they are worshiping a piece of bread.
  • If the Orthodox or Catholic view that it is, in fact Jesus, is true, than anyone who eats the Eucharist without true faith does it to his own condemnation.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's the view shared by both Orthodox and Catholic Churches.
No.
 

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Porter ODoran said:
michaelus said:
David Young said:
I rather expected some replies to at least include reference to the bread and wine actually being the body and blood of Christ, but I can't help feeling that this is placing too much emphasis on mental grasp of the doctrine, thus shifting attention to some extent away from the heart's need for reverence, repentance, faith and gratitude. Let me put it like this:
  • Suppose for a moment that we Baptists are right and that the bread represents or symbolises his body without being it. The fact that you Orthodox believe it really is his body is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts by the Spirit via the housel to those Orthodox who come with repentant, believing hearts.
  • Now suppose for a moment that you Orthodox are right and that we Baptists lack the true understanding of the nature of the bread and wine. If, in our cerebral unenlightenment, we take the bread and wine in gratitude that Christ died for the remission of our sins and are genuinely sorry for them and sincerely desire God's help to put them away, surely once again this is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts via the housel to those Baptists who come with repentant, believing hearts.
I cannot see therefore that this particular tenet, held either way, invalidates either your or our sacrament, for God looks on the heart.
  • If the Baptists are right, and Jesus is not present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, then anyone who does believe so would be in idolatry, because they are worshiping a piece of bread.
  • If the Orthodox or Catholic view that it is, in fact Jesus, is true, than anyone who eats the Eucharist without true faith does it to his own condemnation.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's the view shared by both Orthodox and Catholic Churches.
No.
Really?  Then what happens to people who receive the Eucharist but doubt that it is the Body and Blood of Jesus?
 

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I agree with David Young. The Baptist bread and wine is not the Body and Blood of Christ.  ;)
 

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michaelus said:
Porter ODoran said:
michaelus said:
David Young said:
I rather expected some replies to at least include reference to the bread and wine actually being the body and blood of Christ, but I can't help feeling that this is placing too much emphasis on mental grasp of the doctrine, thus shifting attention to some extent away from the heart's need for reverence, repentance, faith and gratitude. Let me put it like this:
  • Suppose for a moment that we Baptists are right and that the bread represents or symbolises his body without being it. The fact that you Orthodox believe it really is his body is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts by the Spirit via the housel to those Orthodox who come with repentant, believing hearts.
  • Now suppose for a moment that you Orthodox are right and that we Baptists lack the true understanding of the nature of the bread and wine. If, in our cerebral unenlightenment, we take the bread and wine in gratitude that Christ died for the remission of our sins and are genuinely sorry for them and sincerely desire God's help to put them away, surely once again this is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts via the housel to those Baptists who come with repentant, believing hearts.
I cannot see therefore that this particular tenet, held either way, invalidates either your or our sacrament, for God looks on the heart.
  • If the Baptists are right, and Jesus is not present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, then anyone who does believe so would be in idolatry, because they are worshiping a piece of bread.
  • If the Orthodox or Catholic view that it is, in fact Jesus, is true, than anyone who eats the Eucharist without true faith does it to his own condemnation.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's the view shared by both Orthodox and Catholic Churches.
No.
Really?  Then what happens to people who receive the Eucharist but doubt that it is the Body and Blood of Jesus?
Salvation isn't a game of "hot lava," as much as that seems to excite you based on post history so far.
 

TheTrisagion

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Porter ODoran said:
michaelus said:
Porter ODoran said:
michaelus said:
David Young said:
I rather expected some replies to at least include reference to the bread and wine actually being the body and blood of Christ, but I can't help feeling that this is placing too much emphasis on mental grasp of the doctrine, thus shifting attention to some extent away from the heart's need for reverence, repentance, faith and gratitude. Let me put it like this:
  • Suppose for a moment that we Baptists are right and that the bread represents or symbolises his body without being it. The fact that you Orthodox believe it really is his body is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts by the Spirit via the housel to those Orthodox who come with repentant, believing hearts.
  • Now suppose for a moment that you Orthodox are right and that we Baptists lack the true understanding of the nature of the bread and wine. If, in our cerebral unenlightenment, we take the bread and wine in gratitude that Christ died for the remission of our sins and are genuinely sorry for them and sincerely desire God's help to put them away, surely once again this is not going to detract from whatever blessing it is that God imparts via the housel to those Baptists who come with repentant, believing hearts.
I cannot see therefore that this particular tenet, held either way, invalidates either your or our sacrament, for God looks on the heart.
  • If the Baptists are right, and Jesus is not present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, then anyone who does believe so would be in idolatry, because they are worshiping a piece of bread.
  • If the Orthodox or Catholic view that it is, in fact Jesus, is true, than anyone who eats the Eucharist without true faith does it to his own condemnation.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's the view shared by both Orthodox and Catholic Churches.
No.
Really?  Then what happens to people who receive the Eucharist but doubt that it is the Body and Blood of Jesus?
Salvation isn't a game of "hot lava," as much as that seems to excite you based on post history so far.
I have no idea what you are trying to say.
 

NicholasMyra

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Antonious Nikolas said:
NicholasMyra said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
The bread and wine don't "represent" the Body and Blood of Christ.  They are the Body and Blood of Christ. 
False dichotomy!
Not when taken in the proper context.
If it takes misleading context to convey, why use that context?
 
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David Young said:
I took the Communion service at a Presbyterian church this morning, and as we always do in Baptist churches, I read 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul relates the institution of the Lord's Supper (or Eucharist). He warns people not to partake of the bread and wine "in an unworthy manner .... not discerning the body." I usually take this to mean not focussing on the truth that the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ, and that as we partake we should sincerely realise what we are commemorating: the event of Calvary for our redemption; and that we should come in sincere repentance and spiritual faith. What is the Orthodox understanding of these verses?
To take communion "unworthily" is to be in sin, not in a state of grace.  Hence one does not actually receive the body and blood of Christ - that is how I read 'discern' here, not discerning the body.  So, yes, you do approach communion in sincere repentance and faith in the Real Presence of Christ as body and blood.  In this manner, one 'discerns' (or truly receives) the body of Christ.
 

rakovsky

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christiane777 said:
To take communion "unworthily" is to be in sin, not in a state of grace. Hence one does not actually receive the body and blood of Christ - that is how I read 'discern' here, not discerning the body.  So, yes, you do approach communion in sincere repentance and faith in the Real Presence of Christ as body and blood.  In this manner, one 'discerns' (or truly receives) the body of Christ.
I think this is questionable. If as the Church teaches, the body of Christ is objectively present in the bread, then one does "actually receive the body and blood of Christ" physically, but it just doesn't have the spiritual benefit that really counts.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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NicholasMyra said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
NicholasMyra said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
The bread and wine don't "represent" the Body and Blood of Christ.  They are the Body and Blood of Christ. 
False dichotomy!
Not when taken in the proper context.
If it takes misleading context to convey, why use that context?
There's nothing misleading or hard to discern about the context.  An Evangelical clergyman articulated the traditional belief of his denomination that the bread and wine on the altar was a mere representation of the Body and Blood of Christ: a memorial meal.  Several Orthodox Christians then replied with something to the effect that the bread and wine were Body and Blood indeed.  To dwell on the fact that they also "represent" the Body and Blood would be akin to dwelling on the fact that Christ was indeed a "prophet" in the face of Islamic assertions that He was a prophet pregnant with the meaning that He was not also God in flesh.  In context, everyone knew that Pastor Young meant by the bread and wine being representations of the Body and Blood and how that did or didn't align with the Orthodox conception of the Eucharist.
 

rakovsky

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Antonious Nikolas said:
There's nothing misleading or hard to discern about the context.  An Evangelical clergyman articulated the traditional belief of his denomination that the bread and wine on the altar was a mere representation of the Body and Blood of Christ: a memorial meal.  Several Orthodox Christians then replied with something to the effect that the bread and wine were Body and Blood indeed.  To dwell on the fact that they also "represent" the Body and Blood would be akin to dwelling on the fact that Christ was indeed a "prophet" in the face of Islamic assertions that He was a prophet pregnant with the meaning that He was not also God in flesh.  In context, everyone knew that Pastor Young meant by the bread and wine being representations of the Body and Blood and how that did or didn't align with the Orthodox conception of the Eucharist.
Agreed.
The other thing Calvinists and Low Church Anglicans will try to argue to make their position sound like it aligns with the patristic position is that the bread is not just a mere "representation". To explain this, they say that the bread is in effect the body, conveys grace, and things like that. But they still stop short of saying that the bread has or is objectively and directly the body itself.
 

sestir

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rakovsky said:
sestir said:
Suppose nobody argues that body & blood would be just symbols, then `discern´ could still mean something else than to understand a difference between things, couldn't it? Peshitta uses prš ܦܪܫ which is the verb that words like Pharisee comes from. It has meanings like `to separate´.
First, Paul was writing in Greek, not Peshitta Aramaic.
Let's assume he did write it in Greek.

rakovsky said:
Second, in Greek it says to discern/judge that this bread that we eat is the body in 1 Cor 10, leading into the meaning of discerning/judging the body in 1 Cor 11.
Would you say which verse or quote some text so I can learn exactly what this argument is?

rakovsky said:
Third, it doesn't make sense if Paul is demanding that believers "separate" Jesus' body from the bread [...]
I agree!  :D
It makes more sense to separate holy things from unholy things.
 

rakovsky

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Sestir,
You asked for the verses. Here is the first time Discern/Judge appears with the same word in Greek, in 1 Cor 10:
rakovsky said:
When Paul says to discern the body, he means to discern that the body is on the altar table. There are several proofs for this as the Lutherans and Catholics and Orthodox showed. One is that the same Greek word for discern or judge was used in the preceding chapter to refer to discerning or judging that the bread is the body:

15. I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say.
16. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
Here is the second verse using the same Greek word:
1 Corinthians 11:29
For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
biblehub.com/commentaries/1_corinthians/11-29.htm
Here is the Greek of the above verse:
ὁ γὰρ ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων κρίμα ἑαυτῷ ἐσθίει καὶ πίνει μὴ διακρίνων τὸ σῶμα.

Paul is not saying to discern that some allegorical collective "body" of believers exists.
Paul is requirin  to discern (διακρίνων) that the bread is in fact the communion of Jesus' body, or per the words of Jesus for the Communion ritual, "This [food] is my [Jesus'] body".

There are many reasons why as a matter of careful literary interpretation the non-Lutheran Reformed Protestant reinterpretation fails. Jesus handed them a piece of physical matter and said "This is my body", by which he definitely referred to what was physically sitting in his hand.

The real source of the Reformed reinterpretation is not something found directly in the gospels or Church fathers. Instead, the basis is actually modern age skepticism. Calvin's argument stated many times was that it was absolutely impossible for Jesus' body to be in the bread. It was impossible, he claimed, for Jesus' body to be in two places at once or scattered in bread. Then, based on his own skeptical-based conviction, he reinterpreted the gospel passages to match his skeptical beliefs.
 

sestir

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15. I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say.
15. Ὡς φρονίμοις λέγω , κρίνατε ὑμεῖς ὅ φημι .
I see, thanks!
κρίνω and related words are common in biblical Greek, for example κρίνω occurs 271 times in a typical Septuagint. In chapter 11, verse 29 we have διακρίνω which differs by the prefix δια-. I was surprised to find, yesterday, when I looked in a couple of lexicons, that "separate" was the first sense listed for διακρίνω in Chantraine's (etymological) and Liddel & Scott's (classical) dictionaries, and another sense was to `set apart for holy purposes´.

Since my lexicons record Greek language from a couple of centuries before Paul's lifetime, I guess translators have preferred the contemporary (koine) senses, such as `distinguish´.
 

rakovsky

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1 Cor. 11 came up in a debate over infant baptism that I read yesterday. The Lutheran side was arguing against Infant Baptism on the basis that infants supposedly could not "discern" the Lord's body and thus should not receive the Eucharist.

Fr. Gregory Hogg replied to this argument from an EO perspective. He noted that first, some infants can "discern" suprisingly much, like which food that they want. Fr. Hogg also noted that declarations and rules can be conditional and fact-specific. He noted that he gave his kids a rule like they can't cross the street without holding his hand, and that although he never revoked this rule, conditions simply changed due to them growing up whereby it no longer applied to them. In the case of infant baptism, the rule aimed at adults making a correct judgment as to whether the Real Presence is in the Elements would not apply if they are too young to make a judgment on the topic.

Here is my own reading of the relevant verses: First, 1 Cor. 11: 27 has: “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. ” This is Paul’s main concern. Would Paul see an infant who takes the bread in a childlike way as doing so “unworthily?” Matthew 18 records Jesus saying, “3. Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5, And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.”

To take the Communion in a childlike way does not seem particularly “unworthy.”

Based on the next two verses, Paul may be worried that people look at the elements and solidly reject the Christian teaching on the topic instead of discerning the body, making their manner “unworthy.” The infants don’t have some kind of hostile attitude to the Real Presence. 1 Cor. 28 has, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”

The verse says “let”, not “must”, and it says man, not “men, child, infants,” etc. The verse clearly encourages people to examine themselves first but isn’t making it an absolute requirement. Should mentally ill elderly people with Alzheimer’s be banned from communion? I am doubtful that the RCs and Lutherans would impose such a strict mental rationality limit.

1 Cor 11:30 has: “For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” The verse does not say what the “judgment” is. Would the “judgment” not be case dependent, as with someone who is anti-Christian and openly hostile to the teaching about the direct Presence in the elements, compared to someone with childlike innocence?
 

JTLoganville

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Lutherans have always practiced infant Baptism.

A special section on infant Baptism is appended to Martin Luther's Larger Catechism chapter on Baptism.
 
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