Thursday, April 26, 2007

Crucifed Christ vs. Resurrected Christ - Cascione's Novel View of the Supper

On April 14, in my post "We Receive only His Body and Blood and Not Him? Huh?", I openly wondered how Lutherans could talk about the received body and blood in the Lord's Supper apart from his actual and real presence. It didn't make sense. A comment to that post agreed.

Well at least now I think I've received any answer to the thinking behind such a claim. In the April 23 issue of Christian News there is a report from Reclaim News, which is essentially the theological views of the Rev. Jack Cascione of St. Clair Shores, Michigan. The brief report on page 3 of CN states the following:

"When Christ says, 'Take, eat, this is my body given for you' He means the body that was crucified, dead, and buried, not the resurrected body....The Lord's Supper is not about the risen Christ, it is about the crucified Christ.....We do not receive the whole Christ in the Lord's Supper, we receive His body and His blood. According to Baier, Chrst's soul is not present in the Lord's Supper. Therefore, the Lord's Supper can't possiblly be the whole Christ."

[Note: The quote from Baier does not support such a claim regarding the Supper. According to his own notes the footnote in Pieper's Dogmatics was referring to the reality of the death of Jesus as separation of soul from body. Baier does not appear to be addressing the presence of Christ at all in this quote.]

This logic escapes me. Or perhaps it is the same logic that lies in part behind the likes of Zwingli or Calvin? After all, it was the Reformed who wished to separate the real human presence of Jesus from his spirit (leaving the humanity in heaven out of reach of the Christian!). It is this theological understanding that essentially denied the unity of the two natures of Christ. Note what the reformers say in Article VII of the Formula, Epitome regarding the "Sacramentarians."

If the body and blood of Jesus is the real body and blood of Jesus, how can it be less than the "whole Christ"? Is there a part of our Lord that includes more than "body and blood" - or is "body and blood" only a 'part' of Jesus? And how do we separate the crucified Jesus from the resurrected Jesus? And Jesus' soul is not present in the Lord's Supper? Who has ever taught such nonsense? At least Zwingli and Calvin didn't excise out the "soul" of Jesus from his presence, even if they denied it could be here and now in the Supper.

Pr. Cascione's views on the Supper should be understood as novel at best, and false teaching at worst. His teaching here is not in keeping with the orthodox faith. While I have felt that his other views, such as those on church governance, were narrow and legalistic, these teachings are beyond this. They strike at the center of the teaching of Christ. Beware of this. Christ is the foundation of all that the church is and all that it teaches. One trifles with the doctrine of Christ only to the damage of all other doctrines.


318@NICE said...

Good post and a very important one. In the Traditional Catholic Church, we say that Christ's body, blood, soul, and divinity is in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine. Why do we include his soul and divinity as well as the body and blood? Because of the incarnation.
Very well, did Luther call the Zwinglians dogs and pigs because in their view of the Eucharist, denying any part of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ, denies the incarnation. And if one denies the incarnation in any way, he is a dog and pig.


Sam said...

I really can't fathom why Pr. Cascione is worrying about this issue. Is he predicting that this will be the next worship war? My guess is that he's run out of other things to complain about and just started picking stuff out out random. Sorry if that sounds crass... but I think it fits.

D. Engebretson said...

Pr. Cascione is a bit of an enigma to me. While I brushed off the whole church governance battle he waged before, this issue just smacked of false theology striking at the heart of Christology. I think that the "worship war" concern you mention is his suspecion of the so-called "hyper-euro" targets he is fearful are leading Missouri down a Catholic path. It's a reaction that morphed into bad theology through overemphasis. Or so it seems to me....