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5 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2010 - 10:17PM #1
ella
Posts: 3

Hello to all,


I recently came across an article on the internet that I hope someone here can clarify for me.  It said that Methodists believe in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  That baffled me since I always thought that only the Catholics believed that.   I was just going to dismiss it, but it appears that the article was put out by an official Methodist source.


Is this true?  If so,  can anyone explain exactly what it means?  How does the Methodist belief differ from the Catholic?


Also,  I am wanted to learn more about the Methodist church.  Can anyone recommend a good book on the basic beliefs.


Thanks so much for your help.


 


 

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2010 - 5:07PM #2
Bevo
Posts: 561

Google "This Holy Mystery."  It will explain in much detail what Methodists believe about "True Presence."  True presence is NOT transubstantiation (the Catholic view based on John 6).  In short, True Presence means that God meets us at the Table and imparts his grace upon us.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 30, 2010 - 4:52PM #3
TemplarS
Posts: 6,776

Actually, a number of Protestant Churches (Methodists, Lutherans, Anglican/Episcopals) share a belief in some form of the Real Presence (as it is usually called).  


As to the actual differences, the deeper you dig beneath the semantics and the Reformation-era polemics,  the harder it is to discern what is really different.  This is an area which is long on tradition, and short on clearly thought out theology.  It seems to me, anyway.


 

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 31, 2010 - 1:45PM #4
Bevo
Posts: 561

The historic Lutheran church held to the belief of consubstantiation.  Consubstantiation is the belief that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, but at the same time, remain bread and wine.

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 01, 2010 - 8:49PM #5
TemplarS
Posts: 6,776

Mar 31, 2010 -- 1:45PM, Bevo wrote:


The historic Lutheran church held to the belief of consubstantiation.  Consubstantiation is the belief that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, but at the same time, remain bread and wine.





Right, Bevo.  Now, my point is, compare that with the Catholic view of transubstantiation, which is that the "substance" of the elements becomes the body and blood of Christ, but the "appearances" of the bread and wine remain.


So what is this "substance"?  It's not (as modern usage would indicate) the material, the atoms or molecules of which the elements are composed (since you can get drunk on consecrated wine, and celiacs will have adverse reactions to the gluten in the bread). It's "substance" in the theological sense in which it is referred to in the Creed, as in Jesus being "of one substance" with God. Clearly not atoms and molecules; so,  while I can easily enough comprehend divine "substance" becoming present (which Catholics and Lutherans and presumably Methodists agree on)- what exactly, if it is not atoms and molecules,  is this "substance" of the bread which according to Catholics is no longer there and according to Lutherans still is there?  The difference makes sense only in some Aristotelian worldview which is a half millenium out-of-date, and these days is little more than a tautology ("What is substance? That which makes something what it is. What makes something what it is? Its substance.")  We argue about these things because we have been arguing over them for five hundred years, before we knew better.


 

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 04, 2010 - 1:07AM #6
Bevo
Posts: 561

Let me respond in this way--Methodism holds to a sacramental view of the "breaking of the bread."  Which leads to the question, what is meant by the word "sacrament?"  A sacrament is simply something very plain and ordinary (water, bread, fruit of the vine) that becomes a means of causing faith to rise in a person in order that they might receive an impartation of God's grace.  Other biblical examples of sacraments might include the laying on of hands, anointing with oil, or even Jesus mixing his spittle with dirt in curing the blind man.


In Methodism, the emphasis is not on the elements of the Supper.  The elements are what they are--bread and the fruit of the vine.  Rather, the emphasis is on the elements becoming a means of causing faith to rise in a person in order that they might receive the grace God offers at the Table.


The Orthodox church holds to the belief that all of life can and should be lived sacramentaly. There is nothing in life that cannot become a means of God's grace being imparted.  I think they are correct.


The Catholic church, and to a certain extent, the Lutheran church, places far too much emphasis on the elements.  The elements become the source of God's grace.  Methodism rejects this notion.  Rather, the elements are not the source of God's grace, but rather are a means of receiving God's grace.

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 18, 2010 - 1:55PM #7
ella
Posts: 3

Thanks so much to everyone for your imput.


If I understand correctly what I'm reading,  the Methodist belief is that Christ is truly there at communion in the sense that his spirit and grace are there.  But not that the bread and wine "become" the body and blood of Christ in a literal, material way.  Is that basically correct?   Also,  do you believe that his presence is due to the belief of the person partaking in communion?  Or is it due to the actions and desire of Christ alone?


I know that this is a complex subject that could probably be studied for a lifetime without plumbing all the depths,  but I am just trying to get a handle on it.


Actually,  I was raised in a Methodidst family,  but we basically only used it as a social outlet and didn't praticipate much after I was about 10 or so.   So I really wasn't taught much of anything about the faith.  I became Catholic and then Orthodox later in life. 

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2010 - 1:15AM #8
Bevo
Posts: 561

"But not that the bread and wine "become" the body and blood of Christ in a literal, material way.  Is that basically correct?   Also,  do you believe that his presence is due to the belief of the person partaking in communion?  Or is it due to the actions and desire of Christ alone?"


First question, yes.  Second question, a little more complex.  Being brief, the elements become a means of causing faith to rise in a person in order that they might receive an impartation of God's grace.  Christ meets us at the table.  Whether or not we choose to acknowledge his presence at the Table is our choice.  Yes, Christ's actions and desires at the Table are his alone. But by faith, we must respond and receive his invitation. 


Please Google, "This Holy Mystery."  It is a very, very good study put forth by the Methodist church on what we believe takes place at the Lord's Table.

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2010 - 1:19AM #9
Bevo
Posts: 561

Be blessed.

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 30, 2010 - 6:07PM #10
ella
Posts: 3

Thanks so much for all your imput.  It's amazing to me how much I don't know about the religion I was born into!


Out of curiosity,  how often do Methodists have communion?  I don't remember it being very often when I was a kid,  but since we didn't attend regularly maybe I just missed it.

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