23.11.10

Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper

In his doctrine of the Lord's Supper, Calvin tries to find the via media between Luther and Zwingli. Already in the first edition of the Institutio, which appeared in the year of the Wittenberg Concord, his doctrine was almost complete. Without mentioning names, he rejects the understanding of the Words of Institution held by Luther on the one hand, and by Zwingli and Oecolampadius on the other hand. Neither is the bread the body or the body is the bread, nor is the bread a mere sign or figure of the body. In the Sacrament 'we are spiritually fed', that is, our souls are fed with the body and blood of the Lord. There is no Real Presence of the body of Christ in the sacrament, as Luther believes, for the body of Christ exists, locally circumscribed, in heaven.

From This Is My Body, Luther's Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar (Revised Australian Edition, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide, 1977), pp261-262.

Compiler's note: These words are a masterpiece of condensation - Sasse succeeds, in about 150 words, where others who have written books on the subject have failed - he has pinned down Calvin's doctrine of the sacrament.

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