Friday, July 11, 2008

Profaning the Body and the Blood of the Lord

1 Cor. 11:27-34 (ESV)
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. [28] Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. [29] For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. [30] That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. [31] But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. [32] But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
[33] So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— [34] if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

The Lord’s Supper is not something to be taken lightly. It is the gospel itself, the most sacred of sacred, it is a participation in the most holy sacrifice ever made, the sacrifice of Christ’s holy Body and Blood on the Cross. The Lord’s Supper is Holy. To take it in an unworthy manner is to profane the sacred. To profane means to treat something as profane, meaning common, or not holy. Profane things are not bad in and of themselves they are merely not holy. The meals we eat at home are profane, they are common. For this reason we have no qualms with sharing our meals with whomever we please. But it is a sin to treat the holy things of God as if they were not holy. That is to not give them the proper respect they deserve. One can do this in many ways. We can approach the Lord’s Supper unrepentant of our sin. This is something we have to leave for the most part to the individual, if their sin is not open and manifest. But if they say they are repentant of it, and do not want to return to it, we have no choice but to believe them. Only God can search a person’s heart. We can, as the Corinthians did, treat the Lord’s Supper as any other meal we might have during the week, and serve it to anyone regardless of their professed beliefs, either concerning God or concerning the nature of the supper. False belief is also a sin. Or we can fail to discern the body; the word here means to distinguish it. This means that those who do not believe it is anything more than bread and or wine, are not discerning that it is the body of Christ. In this case, he does not receive the blessing Christ attaches to His body and blood, but eats and drinks judgment on himself. Those who do not believe it is the body and blood, are actually calling Christ a liar. They may be doing so unwittingly, but they are doing it nonetheless. We have a duty to correct such unbelief.


Es ist das Heil said...

Sure would be a lot easier to correct such unbelief with a good English translation. (As you mentioned earlier this week!).

apollo819 said...

I agree, that would be a tool to help "correct such unbelief", but the gift of faith will be only receptive to the "Chosen Few".

Bror Erickson said...

I'm torn on translations. Most have their problems. i've been trying to locate my Luther Bibel, It is now lost in a stack of books somewhere in my office, which is a book stackers dream. I find English translations have more problems than translations in other languages, Spanish, German, Swedish, etc. They are not as gun shy when it comes to sacramental language. The reformed, who dominate the english theological world, are bound and determined to make the translation support their weak theology concerning the sacraments. Yet even if the translation were better teaching would still be needed. As I tell my parishoners, I'm not judging whether or not one has faith when I turn them away from the table, that isn't the issue. I can never tell who does and doesn't have faith, there is absolutely no way to know. What I do know with those I receive is what they have been taught to believe. That is my responsibility. I can't be responsible for their faith, I can be responsible for what they have been taught they should believe.

Es ist das Heil said...

Apollo819 has a great point. Even if we give them the truth in Black and White they won't necessarily receive it.
The Elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened (from unbelief), as it is written,
God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear!
Romans 11:7,8
What do you think Pastor?

Bror Erickson said...

I don't disagree with the doctrine of election. I do think though we still have a responsibility to present the Gospel as clearly as possible.
The Lutheran (Biblical) view of election, however is much more dynamic than Calvinist interpretation. I don't think it is a matter of God having written out all the names of the elect before creating the world. Eternity is not time going on forever. God is outsided of time, yet he works in time through his word, calling those whom he would save. He desires all men to be saved. So we have a responsibility to be clear with God's word.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Erickson,

Let me say I believe that the bread and wine IS Christ’s body and blood. I personally have wrestled with this coming from a background that started out as an unbaptized SB child, atheist/agnostic adolescence through 32 years of age, a very Paulinian type of conversion (not experience) but due to a strong preaching of Christ for me at 32. I went back to the only Christian denomination I knew anything about, SB. Then slowly over time became reformed-ish in the Baptist line to Reformed. ALTHOUGH the things that moved me in the sacramental understanding was Luther not Reformed. I won’t belabor that for time but would be glad to elaborate if asked. Presently here in the SB/Bap southern wasteland we attend a PCA church which we went to during my/our conversion over to believing infant baptism. Although I’ve found out that I was moving toward infant baptism per Luther and not Reformed (didn’t know the difference until after the fact). Eventually I’ve come to firmly confess what Luther said on the Supper and have written myself extensively in my “own language” how I began to understand that from my background and what “things” seem to cause the problems along the way. We have not found a good Lutheran church yet and some of the LCMS “Ablaze” stuff really scared us (we came from that stuff under HEAVY Warren like churches, once you’ve been burn’t and starved in that you have a tendency to buck real quick at ANY sign of it again – it’s PURE HELL with smiles to be under).

All that to lead to a couple of questions regarding the Lord’s Supper in particular believing it IS the body and blood (Luther and NOT Calvin). When someone like us believe that but yet take the supper in say a PCA church, out of necessity presently, is that profaning? PCA is a Calvinistic church and as such the doctrine is what it is, but I and my wife believe that it IS the Lord’s Body and Blood. The question is this, does a person believing such, even if he/she is 1 out of a 100 in that body/church that does so, receive Christ’s body and blood and as such the blessing. I suppose another way to look at it is ‘how utterly objective is the Lord’s Supper’? If the pastor and 99 out of a hundred there in one day don’t believe this and one does is it still the body and blood of Christ and does that one receive it?

Of course that goes back to killing my old Baptist thinking on baptism, baptism in the Trinity is baptism nonetheless that in a SB church they deny it by calling it believers baptism. It’s utterly objective, thus, I need not be rebaptized (which is nonsense) if I later join with another Christian denomination, PCA, LCMS, etc…

The second is a harder question and I think I know the implecation/answer. This means that a LOT of protestant denominations drink judgment A LOT of Sundays. And of these it means that within that “a lot”, we are not speaking of obvious heretical teachers like Warren or Olstean or Word of Faith folks, but real solid theologians in the Reformed camp. Is that the implication? If so how is that reconciled with today’s ecumenical efforts that I even see with Lutherans in which we talk much about the Gospel as a word but tip toe around or not even discuss the sacraments much or even as I’ve heard kind of just let it seem like we agree?

I’ll give you an example on baptism I discussed with a good Baptist friend of mine who is a part time pastor and very solid on Gospel as far as without considering the sacraments goes. He himself once had a debate with another Baptist about membership, the other guy was pretty Baptist strict on the issue. My friend said that he would not prevent a person baptized as an infant or by another mode from becoming a member and would dare not tell him/her that if they think God had given them something in baptism God had not. I told my friend, “That sounds good and as if you are supporting the Gospel for that other person but I’m afraid you don’t understand how the devil in the conscience attacks us here. For when I nearly wanted to commit suicide for years over assurance and my baptism (did I get baptized as a believer or not), this torment came to me because I did not as Luther proclaims boldly hear, due to the doctrine, that God objectively DID GIVE me His name and Word in baptism and it was OBJECTIVELY whether I believed it or not His work. When you say, ‘if they think…’, you are undercutting that Word and Name and don’t even know it. Because it matters little if “I think/believe” it so, in fact that is utterly useless. What matters is “Did GOD DO… and SAY…””.

I love your postings here, packed with RICH 200 proof Gospel! I located you through Steve’s web sight, another 200 proof Gospel warrior I love to read for encouragement in this desert, whom I located through FivePintLutheran who is the same! Although I think we crossed paths indirectly over on Internet Monk’s site on some discussions.


Larry (of Kentucky)