Maybe Protestants should read the Bible more...

Jesus Christ did say that the sacrements were necessary to have enternal life and St. Paul confirmed it. Maybe Protestants should read the Bible more, and read all of it, not just the parts they want to keep.

Many Christian faiths outside the Catholic Church do not believe in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The reply of the Catholic Church is this: Mathew 26:26 - 28 And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke; and gave to His disciples, and said: "Take ye and eat. THIS IS MY BODY" And taking the chalice, He gave thanks, and gave to them, saying; "Drink ye all of this." "For this IS MY BLOOD of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins"

Acts 20:11 "When Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten..." St. Paul explained clearly what "breaking bread" meant. 1 Cor 10:16 "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?" St. Paul continued, 1 Cor 11:27 "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." St. Paul in these words confirmed Catholic teaching that the "bread... of the Lord" is truly Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, and that the "cup of the Lord" is the same substance: "Whoever ... eats the bread or drinks the cup... will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord."

Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, "Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall be all taught of God.' Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Then Jesus said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever."

My response is in Green:

Well thanks for writing me. I still say you are misinterpreting these verses. There are subtle differences from what you are saying. For example here is Matthew 26:26-28: (Matthew 26:26-28 NIV) While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." {27} Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. {28} This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Would you agree that Christ had not yet died, His body had not yet been broken and His blood had not yet been shed? He was showing them the symbol of what was to come. He did not make the bread His body and He did not make the wine His blood, but He was showing them the symbolism of what we are to do in remembrance of His sacrifice.

Before I address the rest of your statements let me ask you a question. Do you believe Jesus ever lied? I hope your answer is; of course not! Well if eating the symbolic bread and drinking the symbolic wine were necessary for our salvation then indeed Jesus did lie! Here is why: (Luke 23:40-43 NIV) But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? {41} We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." {42} Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." {43} Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." This thief never took communion, yet Jesus said that he would be with Him in Paradise that day. What about the Old Testament Saints? What about Abraham, Noah, Moses, Elijah, David, etc...? They never ate the symbolic bread or drank the symbolic wine? So do they have eternal life or not?

You told me that I need to read my Bible more, well it might surprise you to know that I read it a lot and I think because of that I understand what Jesus was saying. To see you have to look at some other things that are written in the Bible. I will quote a couple of passages and then comment on them.

(Ezekiel 3:1-4 NIV) And he said to me, "Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel." {2} So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. {3} Then he said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it." So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. {4} He then said to me: "Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them.

(Revelation 10:8-11 NIV) Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: "Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land." {9} So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." {10} I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. {11} Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."

What do these two passages show us? Well again they are symbols. Ezekiel and John were both told to take the scroll which was God's word and eat them. Why? Because they were to make God's word a part of them. That is exactly what Jesus is saying, we must make Christ part of us (i.e. by symbolically eating His flesh and drinking His blood). That is why the thief did not need to take communion nor did the Old Testament Saints, because they had already done what was required, they had made Christ a part of them, by believing and having faith in Him.

I will agree that we are commanded to observe communion in remembrance of Christ, but the teaching of the Catholic Church that Christ is re-sacrificed day after day for the forgiveness of sins is wrong. They can say it is one sacrifice that is re-presented daily, but that is just word games if the sacrifice has to be re-presented to the Father daily then it is the same as Christ dying multiple times and that is unbiblical!! (Hebrews 7:27 NIV) Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

DECREE ON THE MINISTRY AND LIFE OF PRIESTS
PRESBYTERORUM ORDINIS
PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS,
POPE PAUL VI
ON DECEMBER 7, 1965

Chapter I

The same Lord, however, has established ministers among his faithful to unite them together in one body in which, "not all the members have the same function" (Rom 12:4). These ministers in the society of the faithful are able by the sacred power of orders to offer sacrifice and to forgive sins,(5) and they perform their priestly office publicly for men in the name of Christ.

(5.) Council of Trent, 23rd session, chapter 1, canon 1: Denzinger 957 and 961 (1764 and 1771).

Notice this teaches that the ministers "are able to by sacred power of orders to offer sacrifice and to forgive sins." Was Christ death on the cross the final and perfect sacrifice or not? If so then why do priests offer sacrifices?

Catechism of the Catholic Church

1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different." "And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory."

Notice again that the above quote says that the victim (Christ) is the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests... Again it says that "the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner..." This goes against Scripture.

So why does Paul tell us that anyone who partakes of the bread and wine with a unclean heart is profaning the body and blood of Christ? That again is easy, the bread and wine do represent Christ's body and blood so for a person to take it in an unworthy state is profaning Christ.

Now I have another question for you. If communion is needed to obtain eternal life and once our sins are forgiven we do have eternal life, then why must a person take communion more than just once? My answer is because it is something we do to honor and remember what Christ did for us.

Let me quote another passage of Scripture:

(John 6:35 NIV) Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

I want to state right here that I believe in taking the Bible literally anytime it makes sense, but I also admit there are plenty of places where you have to realize that it is not meant to be take literally. Here is my point, if you are going to take the "eat my flesh and drink my blood" literally then you should also take this passage literally. So do you believe that Jesus really meant that if you eat His flesh physically and drink His blood physically you will never be hungry physically again or be physically thirsty again? I guess I should ask you, have you ever been hungry or thirsty again?

Now if Jesus was not talking about physical hungry or thirst then this verse makes total sense. I have never been hungry or thirsty spiritually after I gave my life to Him and made Him a total part of my life. So if that is what He is talking about, why isn't that what He is talking about all the way through? It is!!

One last question begs to be answered. You quoted in your discourse that the Jews when they heard Jesus say anyone who does not eat His flesh or drink His blood does not have life. So the question is, why would Jesus state it this way if He knew they would misunderstand? Again we have to go back to Scripture to see:

(Matthew 13:10-16 NIV) The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" {11} He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. {12} Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. {13} This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. {14} In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. {15} For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' {16} But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. Jesus spoke this way so that people could not understand it on their own. Either they had to be open to what God was saying or they would miss the truth all together. So it is not surprising that Jesus spoke like this or that most of the people rejected Him and what He was saying. The disciples and other true believers on the other hand were not troubled by what He said because they were allowing God to speak to their hearts.

The Jews had very strict dietary laws set down by God through Moses, believe me cannibalism was not lawful for a Jew, so why didn't the disciples question Jesus about this? Because they understood what He was talking about. That is what He meant in the last verse: (Matthew 13:16 NIV) But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

I won't deny that I need to read my Bible more, and study it more, but this is not one of the subjects which I don't understand. If you care to believe that every time you take the Eucharist that Christ is re-sacrificed then go ahead, but I stand firm on my conviction that you are not only mistaken but that the whole concept is unbiblical. Christ died (was sacrificed) for our sins once for all never does He have to again be presented or re-presented to the Father as a sacrifice. He has finished His work of redemption and has sat down at the Father's right hand. Amen!!

Ralph

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