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:: Tuesday, December 09, 2003 ::

Orthodoxy: Not Taking the Eucharist Seriously Enough? -- Part I:

A while back I made a comment on a blog about the practice of open communion I concluded with this paragraph:

--For us the Eucharist is an end, not a means. It shows forth a unity and communion *already* established; it is not to be used as an evangelistic tool or a way to create unity. Closed communion has always been the teaching of the Church for 2000 years.--

Felix responded and, although it took me a while, I finally had some time to make a few comments: First off, he wrote,

"I imagine it's possible for you to make this last sentence only because you limit "Church" to your own expression of that. I might equally say that Believer's baptism has always been the teaching of the Church if I don't recognize paedobaptists as members of the Church. I have trouble with your statement historically, but we can leave that to one side."

Well, if we have to include every single person on earth who "believes in Jesus" to be fully a member of the Church, then your conclusion here follows. The problem with this relativistic definition of "Christianity" is that it has no foundation or precedent in Scripture or in the history of the Church.

As another blogger named Karl pointed out a Christianity that allows for contradictory teachings isn't Christainty as the Church Fathers and St. Paul understood it.

Felix continued, "I don't know that I really understand the Eucharist in this end or means kind of way. It's what we do. It expresses some things, it cements others, it is a means of grace and a manifestation and it serves to create other things. I think there's actually *more* to it that you have suggested."

Of course there is more to it! What I was trying to point out is that the Eucharist is intricately tied together with doctrine, praxis, apostolic continuity, etc. Like sex within marriage, the Eucharist is only for those who are already joined together into the one Faith.

We would actually say something more radical than "its what we do." Rather, the Eucharist is what we ARE. Partaking of the Eucharist is an act of ontology.

"I also find the [Orthodox] position troublesome because I don't think it takes the Eucharist seriously enough."

Wow! Now, that's a new objection! To our ears this is tantamount to telling Mother Teresa, "You know, you just don't take the plight of the poor seriously enough!" Spend some time in worship with us. Study our hymnography. Read the lives of the saints. Pray the daily offices, especially the pre- and post- communion prayers. In time, you'll realize how the Eucharist is our life.

Part II coming soon....

:: Karl :: 8:14:00 AM [Link] ::

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