From Bishop to Baptist, the Eucharistic Doctrine

This is a polemical barb against the all-too-common practice, in fear of Romish appearance, of ‘clarifying’ that we believe the sacraments have no real efficacy whatsoever. Take, for example, the statement that in the Lord’s Supper we ‘remember’ – for even proclamation would be insufficiently sectarian – the death of our Lord. I have nothing against the concept of anamnesis (‘remembrance’), but the rationalism is such that, more than just suppressing one possible interpretation of anamnesis, it even erases the biblical language of proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes.

Now, Herbert Thorndike on the holy Eucharist (cited afore by Peter Escalante):

Let me suppose in the first place that the elements, by being deputed to become this Sacrament, are not abolished for their substance, nor cease to be what they were, but yet begin to be what they were not, that is, visible signs, not only to figure the sacrifice of Christ’s cross – which being so used they are apt to do of themselves, (even) setting the institution of Christ aside – but also to tender and exhibit the invisible grace which they represent to them that receive.

This, against the vain fantasies of the Anglo-Catholics, is the doctrine that the eucharistic bread and wine, consecrated as the Body and Blood, are ‘so called and named and signified to us, not because the substance of their nature and kind is abolished, but because it comes no more into consideration, as not concerning the spiritual benefit of them that communicate.’ See the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith xxx.7 on the same:

Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.

Observe the similarity: both Thorndike and the Particular Baptists profess the Calvinistic Reformed doctrine of Christ’s real presence in the sacrament. Well, isn’t that interesting, that this should be the common belief – shared by a bishop of the established church on the one hand and by the Baptists on the other – that many Protestants in the Church have now departed from?

As Nicholás Gómez Dávila says, ‘More than one presumed “theological problem” comes only from the lack of respect with which God treats our prejudices’ (Escolios a un Texto Implícito: Selección, 247).

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