Sunday, 11 February 2007

The bread and cup

“[W]hat the bread and cup as visible words specifically say, is precisely something about the embodiment of Christ in the life of the church. That Christ is indeed present as body, that he is not in our midst as a disembodied pure spirit, is itself an essential part of the gospel proclamation. If Christ were not present in the body, every gospel-address would be false.”

—Robert W. Jenson, Visible Words: The Interpretation and Practice of Christian Sacraments (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1978), p. 107.

6 Comments:

michael jensen said...

hmm, yes, Lutheran view... never understood it personally. Don't really understand what he is getting at here either.

Anonymous said...

I think he's just saying that the gospel is the proclamation of Jesus' bodily resurrection; so if Christ isn't "present in the body", the gospel would be false.

michael jensen said...

OH, ok, that makes more sense. Sorry for being dense!

kim fabricius said...

Hi Michael,

Anonymous may be right, but I don't think you are being dense; after all, Jenson is a Lutheran. But even if, like me, your are a Calvinist, you should have no problem with a bodily presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper. As B.A. Garrish argues in Grace and Gratitude: the Eucharistic Theology of John Calvin (1993), though, according to Calvin, Christ is not spatially present in the sacrament, he nevertheless meets us as embodied person to embodied person, lifted up (Sursum corda!) in the Spirit as we are into the presence of the ascended Jesus.

michael jensen said...

Ah, my copy of that book (G-e-rrish) lies in a cardboard box in Australia, alas...

Do you think Cranmer would have thought this too?

kim fabricius said...

Yes, Michael, I do. Indeed I remember arguing in an essay I did for my theology degee at Oxford that Calvin's understanding of the eucharistic presence is actually higher than Cranmer's - though which Cranmer I can't remember, and, of course, I was then a young whippersnapper. By the way, that essay too must be lying in a cardboard box somewhere - or in some unapproachable recess in my study!

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