Lord's Supper Analysis

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Institutes of the Christian Religion was first published in 1536 by John Calvin (1509-1564) and is his magnum opus of Christian theology. The books, of which there are four, follow the order of the Apostle’s Creed examining God the Father in the first, the Son of God in the second, the Holy Spirit in the third, and lastly the Church in the fourth and final installment. For the purposes of this paper, the 17th chapter of the fourth book will come into view as the Lord’s Supper according to Calvin is analyzed. The chapter is divided into two sections, wherein the first describes the institution of the Holy Supper and the way in which a Christian participates and understands the sacrament. The second section, which makes up the majority of…show more content…
Can one not simply believe that Christ is and that by faith in his name accomplish what the meal is set out to work? This is the question that Calvin addresses in sections 5-7, as he remarks that there are those who believe the meal to be a solely spiritual affair. It’s not that Calvin directly disagrees with those who would state this, the distinction it seems is found somewhere between semantics and theological mystery, although Calvin does believe the difference is important in lived reality, I am not convinced this is a difference of any great magnitude. Calvin does admit that eating is by faith but that ‘the flesh of Christ is eaten by believing’ as a consequence of faith. Quoting Augustine’s view on the topic, he agrees that eating is of faith, not by the mouth, but that by faith Christ is known and brought near. For Calvin, something happens that the Holy Supper that is important for Christian life, “our souls are not less refreshed by the communion of the blood of Christ, than our bodies with the bread which they eat.” The meal is a mystery as both Calvin and others have agreed, but one that must remain connected to the corporeal body of Christ, without which there is no covenant. The conclusion is that while spiritually held in the meal, the corporeal body and blood of Christ are what feed our souls and in that sacred communion we are to receive the life of…show more content…
The mystery of which is so high that human mind cannot comprehend it, and must accept the truth of what Jesus has said while also rejecting the absurdities, which are “unworthy of the heavenly majesty of Christ.” For my own reasoning, I find his argument thorough, although at times I was disappointed by his reliance on logic to explain why Christ cannot be two-fold, such as his discussion in the latter section of Christ’s appearance after the resurrection. It seems that Calvin has a propensity to downplay the miraculous outside of his own understanding of grace, which can come across as merely existential, although I know in fact he does not mean it this way. His reliance on the Spirit and his belief that it is an insult to Holy Spirit to refuse to accept the work that She dos in communicating the body and blood to us, is important to my pneumatological understanding. I agree with Calvin that it is of primary importance what we know how the body of Christ has been given up for us and how we partake of him by
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