Monday, October 31, 2005

Global 'South-to-South': The Third Trumpet

The Global South "Third Trumpet" that was meeting last week in Alexandria has come out with its report. (ht-Kendall) What the result of all of this will be is yet to be known. The reality of what they see happening in the Western Church in the northern hemisphere is clear. There will be a lot of commenting on what is said but the impact will be seen in how the leaders of the mentioned bodies respond and take actions within their own provinces in light of what was spoken here. My initial thoughts are that individual provinces will become more focused locally and only concerned about a "communion" secondarily. Perhaps the English Church will be concerned about the Church of England and ministry here and will not look across the Atlantic or to the South for its identity but return to a focus on England and the Church of England. That seems to have been the turn in the C17 when the Church's leaders stopped looking to the Continent for its identity but rather began to take on an ethos of its own. But this is only early morning speculations and questions. Not to mention that the world has changed a whole lot since the C17 and Anglicanism has become global due to the missionary efforts and the ever-shrinking size of the world via the Internet and other technology.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Trinity 23

Collect: Amighty and eternal God,
you have kindled the flame of love
in the hearts of the saints:
grant to us the same faith and power of love,
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs,
we may be sustained by their example and fellowship;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

BCP: O God,
our refuge and strength,
who art the author of all godliness;
Be ready, we beseech thee,
to hear the devout prayers of thy Church;
and grant that those things
which we ask faithfully may obtain effectually;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

N.T. Wright: Justification by Faith

Almost one year ago, Bishop N.T. Wright gave the following lecture at a PCA congregation in the US (a group deeply divided over +Tom's writings) and simply did a brilliant job in handling those who have accused him of being dangerous. One of the interesting comments that I've read from some of +Tom's strongest opponents in that US denomination is that he takes sin lightly and pushes it a bit to the side. This is from a man who writes below that
Justification by faith, the verdict issued in the present time over gospel faith which anticipates the verdict issued in the future over the entire life, thus produces the solid assurance of membership, now and in the future, in the single family promised to Abraham, which as I have already stressed is the family whose sins have been forgiven, since the purpose of the covenant in the first place was always to deal with sin."
Since the PURPOSE of the Covenant in the FIRST PLACE was ALWAYS to deal with SIN. Is there a response or is this acknowledged? Not in the last year that I am aware of. I have yet to see any written critique of these talks and I would be especially interested to see some from those who have screamed the loudest about +Tom's lack of orthodoxy. This balanced view of Paul that encapsulates the whole Christian life is often missing from those who are most verbal in their critiques of +Tom Wright. Here is a portion of the lecture:
Justification by faith, the verdict issued in the present time over gospel faith which anticipates the verdict issued in the future over the entire life, thus produces the solid assurance of membership, now and in the future, in the single family promised to Abraham, which as I have already stressed is the family whose sins have been forgiven, since the purpose of the covenant in the first place was always to deal with sin. Justification in the present tells every believer that she or he is a beloved, forgiven child of God, a fact which must at once be put into practice in terms of full membership in God’s people, full dining rights at the family table. Justification by faith in the present is therefore equally about (a) the sigh of relief that I don’t have to earn my status in God’s people, simply to receive it, and (b) the definition of the Christian community in terms of nothing more nor less than faith itself. And this brings us back where we began: because, since the covenant community was promised to Abraham and his family, and since the Jewish people had been the embattled guardians of that promise for two millennia, nothing was more natural, but nothing would have been more fatal to God’s ultimate purposes, than for the bearers of the promise to try to confine it to Abraham’s family according to the flesh. They had been entrusted with the promise, but they had proved untrustworthy, and had not brought about the worldwide glorification of Israel’s God that had been intended. (That is what is going on in Romans 3.1–8, and it would be good to see the supposed defenders of reformed orthodoxy offering an exegesis of that passage.) But now the Messiah has been faithful, as the representative Israelite, so that God’s own covenant faithfulness would be unveiled in action in his ‘obedience unto death, even the death of the cross’. And since the covenant purpose, to deal with sin and to launch new creation, has thus been spectacularly accomplished in his work, justification in the present must be by faith alone, not by works of the Jewish Law, partly because all human beings have fallen short of God’s glory, and partly because if it were by the Law only Jews would qualify. And we know, because Paul insists on it, with that little single-syllable, single-letter word we spoke of an hour ago, that God is not the God of Jews only, but of Gentiles also, since God is one.
You can find the rest here.

Darwell Stone: The Faith of an English Catholic

"Further, the sacramental principle is the principle of society. Hebrew and Greek alike knew that it is not good for man to be alone, and that man is a social animal. Individuals realize their proper being in community with others. One does not stand alone, and he does not fall alone. He is dependent on the help of his fellows. He is affected both by his predecessors and by his contemporaries. There is no such thing as a wholly self-contained life. And the sacraments are social. In Baptism God admits the baptized into a society. In Confirmation God strengthens the social relation. In Communion God unites communicants with one another as well as with Himself. In Penance God restores the social life which sin had broken. In Unction, in Orders, in Matrimony, God treats the soul as one living and dying in the life of a society. There is nothing lost of that which is individual. Each one is as near to God and as much the object of His personal care as if there were no other. But, as in human societies, the life of the one is enriched by his union with others in the divine society of the Church."

Read it all here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Simon and Jude Apostles

Almighty God,
who built your Church upon the foundation
of the apostles and prophets,
with Jesus Christ himself as the chief corner-stone:
so join us together in unity of spirit by their doctrine,
that we may be made a hoply temple acceptable to you;
through Jesus Christ you Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

you revealed yourself to us
through the preaching of your apostles Simon and Jude.
By their prayers,
give your Church continued growth
and increase the number of those who believe in you.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Abp Williams on Hooker

++Rowan Williams gave a talk yesterday on Richard Hooker. Hat tip to Simon over at Thinking Anglicans for posting the link. ++Williams writes,
What allows his system to have such an odd and counter-intuitive application is simply his most basic theological conviction: the world exists so that God may be imitated and participated as diversely as possible. So far from belief in the Incarnation of God the Son limiting the range and vitality of human difference, we now have in this doctrine a ground for discerning how diversity may be harmonised by seeing differences as distinct ways of offering the one eternal gift of God’s life to each other so that each distinct subject becomes able to reflect God’s life more completely. Belief in the Body of Christ gives us the means of discerning where and how diversity becomes symphonic. Of course it does not do so automatically, and there is no charter here for simple postmodern or consumerist plurality – an abundance of possible possessions surveyed by a set of monolithic, undifferentiated choosing wills. But Hooker’s world is one shaped by a maker’s intention; and that intention is unmistakeably the diffusion of bliss in a world of history and difference, a world therefore of argument and interpretation, even, we could say, of that intellectual charity which takes trouble with the recalcitrant stranger in order to make him or her a partner in discourse.
Now, I do not pretend to be a Hooker scholar but I find this paragraph a bit puzzling and only wonder how much of this interepretation of Hooker is reading our present situations back into him? Is this really Hooker's world?

But another important thought he brings out in this article concerns the extent to which scripture is given and seeking to use it outside its purpose actually destroys its credibility. I put it here for another thought.
The ‘sufficiency’ or perfection of Scripture, argues Hooker, is a matter of its perfect capacity to do what it is meant to do. If we try to make it do more than it is meant to, we destroy its credibility; if we suggest, for example, that nothing except what is commanded in the Bible can be other than sinful, we paralyse a great deal of ordinary human life. A reductio ad absurdum – no order could ever be given unless backed by the Bible, and Hooker imagines theologically acute domestic servants waiting for their masters to produce a biblical warrant for ordering them to light a fire or cook a meal. But the underlying point is wholly serious. The Bible is neither a complete nor an incomplete law book. We have to break through the sterile opposition between Catholic and puritan error, Catholics arguing that all sorts of things are obligatory under divine law that are not contained in the Bible, puritans countering with the claim that everything not commanded in Scripture is in effect prohibited. Both extremes, by couching their question in terms of what will please God and further their salvation, miss the main thing, which is that Scripture uncovers the ‘abundant’ purpose of God in creation and redemption, the glory that human creatures in communion with Christ are made to manifest.

Read it all here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Evening Lecture

Well, just a quick report and note of thanks for those who prayed for my lecture and panel discussion this evening on Lancelot Andrewes. All went well and everyone seemed to have a good time. Maybe it was the gracious addition of good wine provided to all by Bishop Sykes that helped it all along. Good drink is quite the adorning quality to meetings of theological discussion here in Durham. The evening ended with my going to Dr. Stephen Hampton's home who lives within the Cathedral college and we continued with wine and stimulating theological discussion. It turned out to be a great evening.

Worship and Theology: Lancelot Andrewes in Durham, Easter 1617

This evening at 5.15 I am a participant on a panel to discuss a lecture that was to be given today by The Rt. Rev'd Dr. Kenneth Stevenson, Bishop of Portsmouth. He has recently taken an illness and had to cancel his trip here to Durham for the annual Michael Vasey Lecture. The lecture has been made available to the public and it will include the participation of Dr. Stephen Hampton (St. John's Sr. Tutor), Dr. Alan Bartlett (Cranmer Hall) and myself. The lecture will be covering the only sermon preached by Andrewes in Durham in 1617 being Easter-Day. The sermon was taken from Matthew 12.39,40 concerning Jesus' treatment of Jonah. Andrewes had numerous references to the Eucharist in this sermon and ends his sermon with a discussion of it being the pinnacle of worship. I will be discussing the instrumental means of the Sacrament and how Andrewes weaved it into the life of the Church's calling. He deals a lot with signum in this sermon and naturally would come to a discussion on the Eucharist as sign and what he meant by that. Here is a quoation from the text of Andrewes' 1617 sermon here in Durham:
And even so pass we to another mystery, for one mystery leads us to another; this in the text, to the holy mysteries we are providing to partake, which do work like, and do work to this, even to the raising of the soul with “the first resurrection.” And as they are a means for the raising of our soul out of the soil of sin—for they are given us, and we take them expressly for the remission of sins—so are they no less a means also, for the raising of our bodies out of the dust of death. The sign of that body which was thus “in the heart of the earth,” to bring us from thence at the last. Our Saviour saith it totidem verbis [as many words], “Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My Blood, I will raise him up at the last day”—raise him, whither He hath raised Himself. Not to life only, but to life and glory, and both without end.
I would appreciate any prayers offered on my behalf as well as the other participants. Thanks.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Catholics and the Eucharist

A hat tip to Dr. Marianne Dorman for sending me this article in the Tablet. It is an article to describe what the Roman Church teaches about the Eucharist to confused Catholics. It's main focus is presence but also speaks of the instrumental efficacy of the sacraments. Save the term Transubstantiation--as it would be a problem due to the baggage that it carries--I do not find early C17 Anglican theologians disagreeing with what is written here. One can find this langauge specifically in the writings of Andrewes, early Cosin, Thorndike, (later C17) Taylor and Johnson. I will leave a few paragraphs to open the discussion on the differences and what seems to be changes in positions. I hope our Roman and Orthodox friends who visit will feel free to discuss this.
Catholic teaching is clear: Christ is not physically present in the same way that other people and objects are present, but he is sacramentally present. His presence, in other words, is not corporeal or dimensional. So, for instance, when the host is broken, Christ is not broken. When we eat the host, we receive Christ, but Christ is not chewed or broken down by our digestive juices. Indeed, Christ does not cease to be in heaven when he is made present at the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, the reality of the bread gives way to the reality of Christ.

What were appearances of bread and wine when it was, before the consecration, bread and wine that was present, are now, after the consecration, the signs of Christ’s presence as our food and drink. What were appearances of bread and wine now tell us something about the reality that is present: not bread, but Christ, who is given for our nourishment, by sharing in his life. In other words, the appearances have now become signs and, as Herbert McCabe once said, while appearances show us something, signs tell us something. Signs are language. The difference is that appearances are simply and sometimes misleadingly apprehended, while signs have to be understood. The appearances of bread and wine become in the Eucharist the sacramental signs of Christ’s real presence. Sacramental signs are, however, not just pointers, but effective signs: that is, they effect what they signify.

THIS IS why the Church can speak of the eucharistic presence which comes to be without the involvement of natural causes or the changing of one thing into another. God is the reason why there is a world of natural causality: every natural cause is effective only because of the creative causality of God. In the Eucharist, the bread doesn’t turn into the body of Christ by acquiring a new form in its matter: Christ is not fashioned from or made out of bread. But, by God’s power, the whole existence of the bread gives way to the existence of the living body of Christ. The difference between what happens in the Eucharist and what happens in substantial change is the same as the difference between substantial change and the creative act of God by which existence itself comes into being, from nothing.

Aristotelian language proved itself inadequate to explaining the Eucharist, even in the hands of St Thomas. But it is not only Aristotelian language: language itself is inadequate. No language could be adequate, ever, to explain this mystery of faith. That language breaks under the burden of mystery is not peculiar to the matter in hand but is a characteristic of all language employed in theology. Of necessity, theological language teeters permanently on the brink of nonsense.

The artice is written by Alban McCoy who is religious books adviser of The Tablet, and Catholic chaplain to Cambridge University. He is also the author of An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Catholicism, published by Continuum

Friday, October 21, 2005

Paul: Fresh Perspectives: N.T. Wright

Bishop N.T. Wright's new book on Paul: Fresh Perspectives is now out and available for those here in the UK.

Eucharistic Presence and the Theology of Disclosure

A few posts earlier I mentioned that I would post some stuff by Fr. Robert Sokolowski from his book Eucharistic Presence: A Study in the Theology of Disclosure. I took note of the specific distinctions that he is making between the three historical acts: 1) The Last Supper, 2) Christ's death/resurrection 3) What takes place at the Altar. These three acts become one in the Eucharistic celebration and transcend time as they come before the Transcendent God. Sokolowski writes the following on Eucharistic Sacrifice. Take note of his distinctions of sacrament and sacrifice. He, like Thomas Aquinas, as well as my topic of dissertation, Lancelot Andrewes, also spoke of the Eucharist as Sacrifice and Sacrament. Here is Sokolowski:

After all, besides being a true sacrifice, the Eucharist is also essentially a sign. As Vonier says, the Eucharist is a sacramental sacrifice and not a natural one.7 It involves a representation. While it would be theologically incorrect to deny the sacrificial character of the Eucharist and the real presence of Christ in the sacrament, it would be no less incorrect to deny its character as a sign. Indeed, if the Eucharist were simply a new natural sacrifice and not a sacramental one, the altar would become a rival to the cross.8 The Eucharist accomplishes what it signifies, but this accomplishment does not eliminate its being as a sign; the Eucharist continues to signify. Since it is a sign, its distinctive mode of appearing becomes part of what it is; even an ontological reflection on the Eucharist would have to take into account its mode of presentation. Being a sign is not a matter of just psychological interpretation or of something that occurs "only" in our minds. We can react to the Eucharist as a sacramental sign only because it is such a sign.

The fact of being a sign takes on particular importance in the Eucharist, because the Mass can be considered a true and proper sacrifice each time it is offered only if the sacramental appearance brings an increase in identity and being. If the new appearance did not have something entitative about itself—in the way in which manifestation in all its forms is a dimension of offering—the present celebration would fail to distinguish itself appropriately from the event that occurred only once. The necessary range of differences would not be available to allow the sacramental reenactment of the original action. Thus, it is in the area of presentation that the new element of the liturgical celebration takes place; it is there that we can find the differences within which the identity of the redemptive action of Christ can be sacramentally disclosed. James T. O'Connor observes that the Council of Trent left many issues concerning the Eucharist open for further theological discussion, and among them "it left unexplained the novum (the new element) present in each Mass." It is not that more is offered in the Mass than in the original sacrifice or that something else is offered, but the mode of presentation is changed, along with the new datives for this presentation, who are then drawn into the offering. The sacramental sacrifice both is and is not "new," in the way—analogously—that a picture both is and is not other to what it depicts, and a quotation both is and is not a new statement.'"

The Mass is different from such worldly analogues, however, because at its core it is a presentation not just before us but before the eternal Father. The Eucharist is a reenactment in time of the action of the incarnate Son before the Father; what is it to quote, image, recall, and proclaim this act before God the Father? The original sacrifice is not "past" for the eternal Father in the way it is past for us; hence quotation and representation before the Father are not like quotations and representations exercised simply among men. The Eucharist transcends time for us because it presents itself before the transcendence of God. In these and many other respects, the way in which the Eucharist is a sign is an issue for the theology of disclosure.

E.L. Mascall and the Sacrifice of the Church

I often wonder why men such as Fr. Eric Mascall do not receive the recognition that one would think would obviously come with a man who was so blessed with the knowledge of sacramental grace that one reads in his works. That seems how it usually is with those who go on to make great marks in the Church, which are usually the greatest after they have gone on to meet their Creator. In his work, Corpus Christi, Mascall speaks of the offering that the Church is able to make to God and unites the gifts of bread and wine to the offering of Christ's Body and Blood that Jesus himself united at the institution of the Eucharist. Mascall puts it like this:
All that the Church can do of her own initiative, if the phrase may be allowed, is to bring to God the fruits of the earth as they have passed through the hands of man, the priest of the natural order. She brings them to God, as his Son brought them to him at the Last Supper, and in obedience to the command that he there; she brings them to God to be transformed and made a sacrifice by God's acceptance. And if man was unfallen Adam, that would be the whole story. Man is not, however, unfallen Adam; he is fallen and redeemed by and in the New Adam, who at the Last Supper declared that the bread and wine were his Body and Blood. Man's sin-stained gifts of bread and wine are totally ineffective, but they are all that he has to offer. He cannot bring a worthy offering of the fruits of God's creation, yet he must bring what he can. He brings his bread and wine into the realm of redemption and does with it what the Redeemer has commanded him to do. He speaks of it as if it were in that pristine state in which unfallen Adam might have offered it. He puts it into the hands of God to be transformed by God's acceptance. And lo! when God accepts it, it is transformed into the one offering which is unstained and worthy, the offering of the Body and Blood of Christ. God has, as it were, slipped underneath man's stained and inefficacious offering the pure and altogether sufficient offering of his Son. Taking the fruits of creation from the hands of his Church he has re-created, redeemed and restored them. So, in the Eucharist, not only the redeemed community but also the redeemed material order is offered to God the Father in the ascended Christ. 181 l82

Andrewes: The Study of Antiquity

There is scholarly debate about where Andrewes was early on his life. There have been a number who have placed Andrewes within the Continental Reformation and some have quite surprisingly said he was with the Puritan camp very early in his career. Both do not seem to give justice to what Andrewes wrote and said about the place of Antiquity in his theology. He doesn't use Continental reformers to justify his practices or that of the Church of England in the early C17. Rather he says things like the following to the Scots in a Whitsun sermon.
The Spirit comes not upon us now at our conception in the womb, to anoint us there. No, we behove to light our lamps oft, and to spend much oil at our studies, ere we can attain it. This way come we to our anointing now, by books—this Book chiefly, but, in a good part also, by the books of the ancient Fathers and lights of the Church, in whom the scent of this ointment was fresh and the temper true, on whose writings it lieth thick, and we thence strike it off and gather it safely." (l6l7. Preached at Holyrood.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Beatification soon for Cardinal Newman?

Rome, Oct. 19 (CWNews.com) - Reports of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Cardinal John Henry Newman have given a new impetus to the cause for beatification of the 19th-century British convert.

"At last we have a miracle cure," said Father Paul Chavasse, the provost of the Birmingham Oratory, an institution founded by Cardinal Newman in 1848. He was referring to reports that an American deacon was cured of severe chronic spinal problems through Cardinal Newman's intercession.

Read it all here.

Wouldn't this be interesting?

The Honour of Mums

Well, I have survived the first twenty-four hours as father, laundry man, lunch-maker, taxi to school, football and rugby, homework drill instructor, doing dishes, cleaning house, etc, etc. Oh yeah, I have to study too! Rhea has gone to the States to go sailing with her parents for 10 days and will be home on 29 Oct. It has been 14 months since she last saw her parents so I thought that the mid-term break would be a good time for her to go and see them. Rhea's parents moved onto a 52 foot sailboat (It's an Island Packet and you can see it here) this summer and sailed from Florida to Maine. They are now in Boston and Rhea will be sailing south with them to Norfolk, VA. She will return home from J.F.K. Rhea's parents are on their way to the Tortuga Islands for the winter once these hurricanes clear out. When her parents leave Norfolk, they will be going to Bermuda and then to the Islands in the Caribbean.

I don't know how much blogging will get done as I am home with our two year old and she keeps me busy during the day.The scriptures are so true when they speak of the honour and the blessings of a wife! By the time this break is over the kids will be ready for Rhea to be back for sure!

One thing that is regularly a topic of conversation around here is that Abigail always wants to sit on Rhea' lap for family worship. I sometimes ask to hold her and she wants her mother. Abigail loves to twirl Rhea's hair into knots and she does her own as well. So, I thought, when Rhea leaves Abigail will be missing her and will want to sit on my lap! Now is my chance to hold her in the evening, I thought. I held out my arms to pick her up last evening when we were doing family worship and she went to my son Matthew to sit on his lap and stayed there until we finished. I couldn't believe it! Matthew has short hair like mine, so maybe it's not the hair. I'll try again tonight! :-) The moral of this entry is that Dads just can't replace mums. Impossible! We don't have that "special" way about things. The recurring phrase has been, "mum does it like this or has us do this or that." I imagine they will transform me before it is all over.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

E.L. Mascall: Eucharistic Sacrifice

I recently finished E.L. Mascall's book Corpus Christi where he deals with the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist within its theological framework. He adds an appendix to the fourth chapter on the Eucharistic Sacrifice and places it within its creational framework and then ties it to the liturgical rite. He does this by explaining the theology behind the way of offering the bread and wine that comes from human hands that is brought to the altar and "received," and then transformed, which is followed by their being offered for the redemption of the whole world. This is not something that is added to the sacrifice of Christ for His act accomplished all that was needed for our redemption once and for all. It is not a different sacrifice but one and the same sacrifice. For every earthly Eucharist is our participation in the One heavenly Eucharist. Mascall concludes the book by defining the Eucharistic sacrifice in three aspects:
There are, in short, three aspects of the Eucharistic sacrifice. First, the Eucharist is the perpetual sacramental presentation in the Church's midst of the one full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice of Christ, as the means by which sin is atoned for, the Church is made, and the world is brought under the mercy of God. Secondly, the Eucharist is the means by which human lives are made acceptable to God by their union with the perfect life of his Son and are transformed by his acceptance. Thirdly, the Eucharist is the means by which the material creation is presented to God by the perfect Man, in whose immaculate body matter itself has been united to Godhead, and so, in the Eucharist, not only man but the sub-human realm as well is transformed by the divine acceptance. Bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ; man's natural food becomes his supernatural food. So in the Eucharist the final transformation and glorification of the created world is eschatologically anticipated. The Father's creation is offered to him by and in his Incarnate Son, in whom he is well pleased; and, being accepted by him in the beloved, it is transformed into an eternal sacrifice by which he is for ever adored.
God transforms the work of human hands (bread and wine) and makes them worthy of offering in the same way he transforms us to make us worthy of offering ourselves for the life of the world (Rom. 12.1-2). It is important to understand that Mascall begins here, not with the order of redemption, but creation and this creation has and is being redeemed by Christ. Our Eucharistic offerings are the celebrations of that ongoing transformation in the Incarnate Son as we are drawn up into him in this rite. The one thing that really stands out in the above quotation is Mascall's intentional emphasis that speaks against a prevailing neo-Gnostic view of "spirituality" that finds itself immersed in both Protestant and Catholic spirituality and individualism today. What is obvious for Mascall is that the work of redemption is the transformation of all of creation. Man is the pinnacle of creation who stands between and within time and eternity possessing body and soul that is being transformed from glory into glory.

New Andrewes book for purchase

Last evening I was speaking with my friend, Dr. Marianne Dorman, and while on the phone UPS showed up at her door with a package, which was her new book just published on Lancelot Andrewes. The book is titled Lancelot Andrewes: Mentor of Reformed Catholicism in the Post-Reformation Church in England, 1555-1626 and it can be ordered from Rosedog book's yahoo store. Congratulations Marianne!

Monday, October 17, 2005

E.L. Mascall on Eucharistic Sacrifice

"The sacrificial character of the Mass does not consist in its being an event which happents [to Christ] after his Ascension and which in some way repeats or imitates his death, but in its being the means by which the whole sacrificial action of Christ, centred in the Cross and culminating in the Ascension, is made sacramentally present in his Church. It is [not a repetition of the sacrifice,] nor is it the completion of the sacrifice; [it is simply the sacrifice itself], present in the unique mode of a sacrament, present, that is, simply and solely because the sacramental species are the divinely ordained effective signs of it...It is in the sacramental order that the Mass is a sacrifice." Corpus Christi 96, 97.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Abigail's First Communion

Today was a very exciting day for the Steel family as we were able to celebrate Abigail's coming to her first Eucharist. Abigail is almost three (January) and she was admitted today with a number of other children at St. Chad's Church of England parish in East Herrington in Sunderland. I am finishing up my placement at St. Chad's as I am being enculturated into the C of E as a priest while I am studying for my PhD degree on Andrewes. Fr. Jeremy Chadd was very kind to include Abigail in this group of children that really made first communion quite special for Abigail and our family. Rhea will have a bit more to say about it all on our family blog site. After the Eucharist service, we went to a family's home for a wonderful lunch and celebration. Great fun was had by all. The best part of it all is that now my entire family celebrates the Eucharist together, at least once a week.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

St. Teresa of Avila, 1582

Lord, by your Spirit you raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus to show your Church the way to perfection. May her inspired teaching awaken in us a longing for true holiness. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Reading: John 15:1-8
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Rich Lusk on Paedofaith/ M.F. Sadler

A friend and former colleague of mine, The Rev'd Rich Lusk, has recently had a new book published on paedofaith. Here is what the book is dealing with:
At what point is it reasonable to suggest that a covenant child has faith? When she can articulate the gospel? When he can explain the concept of justification? Only after they have gone through an extended period where their faith is tested and proven to be real faith? Or is the capacity for faith directly linked to a certain age or level of maturity?

The Scriptures indicate that we can be confident that our children have faith from the womb and that we can expect that faith to flower and bloom throughout their life by God's grace.

What is the nature of such faith? From where does it come and what do the Scriptures have to say about it? How can anyone say that an infant has the capacity for faith?

In this book, Rich Lusk answers these questions and more, giving hope to Christian parents that their little ones do indeed belong to Christ and have the capacity to trust Him.

Another book that needs to be read and reviewed is M.F. Sadler's book Second Adam and the New Birth. This book is an outstanding biblical theology of baptism and one that every Anglican should read as well as those who subscribe to paedobaptism and the theology that is behind children's place in the Church.

You can order both of these books from Athanasius Press. It's a great time to start buying Christmas presents and these are two that every stocking should carry this year!

Iraqi Christians and the 'War on Terror'

Here is a perspective that won't get much attention in the US or UK. Thanks to Alastair for the link.

Since June last year, when the interim government took office, Christians have been leaving Iraq in their thousands. Christians living in cities have been targeted by gangs of fundamentalist thugs operating a policy of ‘ethnic cleansing’ under the eye of the occupation forces. Their homes have been burned, businesses looted, and the women and children subjected to intimidation, murder and rape.

In the northern city of Mosul (near the biblical city of Nineveh, where there is a shrine to Jonah), thousands of Christians have been forced out of their homes and their businesses looted.

In short, what is happening is a modern-day holocaust which is deliberately being under-reported in the interests of political agendas and the oxymoron known as the ‘war on terror’ while the world looks the other way.

In the words of one Iraqi Christian, the US and Britain have succeeded in replacing the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein with the dictatorship of Islam and paved the way for a possible civil war.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sokolowski: Eucharistic Presence

Today I received a copy of Robert Sokolowski's book Eucharistic Presence: A Study in the Theology of Disclosure and I think I may write some thoughts about it as I slowly read it in any spare time that I have. It is a book that I will probably use later on in my dissertation as I think about ways that we can appropriate Andrewes' eucharistic theology towards more fruitful discussions to develop a better understanding of these complex issues in the Church. The chapters are really quite short but look packed with material. It may create some new eucharistic material here on the blog! The author is a priest in the Roman Catholic Church and has taught philosophy at The Catholic University of America since 1963. I am not sure if he is still there or what his present position is. Maybe a short review of each chapter over the next several weeks or so would bring some thoughtful discussion. We'll see. If any of the readers here have looked at the book and would like to make an opening comment, it may help to get us thinking.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

T.S. Eliot on Andrewes

When comparing the two preachers, Andrewes and Latimer, Eliot wrote the following in his work, For Lancelot Andrewes: Essays on Style and Order and said:
It is not merely that Andrewes knew Greek, or that Latimer was addressing a far less cultivated public, or that the sermons of Andrewes are peppered with allusion and quotation. It is rather that Latimer, the preacher of Henry VIII and Edward VI, is merely a Protestant; but the voice of Andrewes is the voice of a man who has a formed visible Church behind him, who speaks with the positive authority and the new culture. It is the difference of negative and positive: Andrewes is the first great preacher of the English Catholic Church."
This is indeed true. Andrewes is the father of English Catholicism and was all about renewing the Church on its foundation with a view to changing the present. Andrewes' theological foundation was described by him as one canon reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period. This was the framework of all of his thought and ecclesiology. The Church existed to defend Andrewes; not for him to defend her.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Eucharistic Presence and G.L.C. Frank's Dissertation

I had a great day today reading G.L.C. Frank’s dissertation on Eucharistic Presence in the Caroline divines set within their European context. I actually finished this huge beast of a work! It is a big dissertation but well worth the read. If Fr. Frank comes by again and sees this I would like to pause and thank him for a very good and insightful work indeed. I have taken some 50 pages of notes from it and undoubtedly my chapter on Andrewes’ view of presence will be sprinkled with footnotes from this thesis. There was one very interesting thing that caught my attention today due to the recent discussion on the eucharistic theology of The Very Rev’d Dr. Paul Zahl. What struck me was that there are many in the Reformed and sometimes Anglican traditions, who claim to hold to Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith as the foundation on which the Gospel stands or falls. Fine! Interestingly enough though, in reading Fr. Frank’s thesis he reminds us that,
One must keep in mind that the Gnesio-lutherans, following Luther' lead, had taught the legitimacy of adoring Christ in the eucharistic elements. Luther, in addition to retaining the elevation in both the German and Latin Masses, explicitly stated in 1525 that while he did not teach that the form of bread is to be adored, he did teach that the body of Christ in the bread is to be honoured.

We must all remember that a few years before Luther’s death he still held to and confessed the adoration of the Sacrament on the altar. Fr. Frank pointed out that
The feast of the victory of Lutheranism over Melancthonianism was celebrated in the principality of Brandenberg with prayers for the preservation of the doctrine of justification by faith and the doctrine of the sacrament's adoration. 428
Now, isn’t interesting how this feast celebrates both Luther’s view of justification by faith and the preservation of the adoration of the Christ on the altar in the Sacrament? These two went together for Luther and I only wonder how it is that they have become so isolated from one another in Reformed thinking. Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith seems to be wrapped up in his sacramental theology. If this is true of Lutheran theology (I have not read enough to make a substantial case), why have so many claimed one (justification by faith) so strongly and yet vehemently rejected the other (Luther's sacramental theology)?

On another NOTE:
Fr. Frank concludes his research stating that the Caroline divines were on a path of reformulating and expressing the doctrine of presence in a way that was distinct from the generation before. It was also distinct from what was being said on the Continent that was influenced by a more Calvinistic view. Fr Frank then goes on to rehearse this by showing how all those he looked at (Saravia, Andrewes, Cosin, Montague, Laud, Forbes, Taylor and Thorndike) drew from the Reformers and he named those they used. BUT, I found it very interesting that only one out of these he looked at in this entire thesis was hardly mentioned in the conclusion at all. There was no connection made of Andrewes’ use of Lutherans or Continental Reformers in any of his writings or sermons. All of these in the list above echoed many things Andrewes said but Andrewes does not reference the Continental Reformers or Lutherans but ONLY the Eastern and Western Fathers in his writings and sermons. The only thing that disappointed me was why Fr. Frank didn’t make more out of what was so obvious to me in his conclusion concerning this. Why is Andrewes not connected in this way with any Reformer? My answer to this will be in my chapter on Andrewes’ view to Eucharistic presence.

This was a great read and full of excellent resources and I commend it highly to any who can get their hands on it. If Fr. Frank comes by, I would like to get a copy of this if it is at all possible.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bishop N.T. Wright and the Wrightsaid List

Here is Bishop Tom's latest response to questions from the Wrightsaid list. The Wrightsaid list is a discussion group on issues in Paualine studies generally and the writings of N.T. Wright specifically. You will find the questions that Bishop Wright answers will frequently challenge us to think outside our theological "boxes." Here is a set of questions and answers from the October batch.

Here is part of an answer that includes infant faith. I'm sure I could think of some who would squirm at this!
Infants can perfectly well have this faith in embryonic form; when a loving mother feeds her baby, she is or can be preaching the gospel through the unconditional love she offers and the baby can respond. There’s lots more I could say about that but no time now. The question comes when someone is older, and mentally capable, and the implicit and embryonic faith has to grow up and stand on its own feet. At this point assent to events is important, not to turn faith into a work but because the gospel message is precisely that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead. I’m not sure what’s implied by the question of assent and rejection being ‘exactly equal’. I am reminded of C. S. Lewis’s examples of questions which even God finds unanswerable: is yellow square or round? How many hours are there in a mile?

The Final Shipment

Well, I have been super busy today but no studying!!! The remainder of our household items from the States arrived and I have been unpacking boxes and boxes and boxes of books and other items. We now have all that we own in the UK and are settling into our new home. We are quite happy to be here. Now that everything is here it really feels like home. Rhea was happy to have her furniture and especially the table that was made for us by our friend Chuck Murphy. Chuck was one of my parishioners in the States. Thanks again Chuck (and all who chipped in!) We still love the table! The children were happy to see the rest of their things too. But, they didn't have much left in the States. All of Rhea's dishes and pictures are here and nothing was damaged on the long journey. (That includes the crystal!)+ I am particularly happy to have my complete library now. I sold quite a bit when I went home this past June to pack everything and get it out of our storage. I knew I wouldn't have the room for it here. But, it's good to downsize the library now and again. It leaves room for more books in the future! But there are still a couple thousand or so volumes to sort through! I'll sign off now as I have more unpacking to do so that I can get back to my work tomorrow. Hopefully I can blog something more interesting.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Andrewes: Preparation for Holy Communion

Taken from the Preces Privitae

We then remembering too, O sovereign LORD,
in the presence of Thy holy mysteries,
the salutary passion of Thy CHRIST,
His lifegiving cross,
most precious death,
three days sepulture,
resurrection from the dead,
ascent into heaven,
session at the right hand of Thee, O LORD,
that we, receiving in the pure testimony
of our conscience,
our portion of Thy sacred things,
may be made one with the holy Body and Blood
of Thy CHRIST;
and receiving them not unworthily,
we may hold CHRIST indwelling in our hearts,
and may become a temple
Yea, O our GOD,
nor make any of us guilty
of Thy dreadful and heavenly mysteries,
nor infirm in soul or body
from partaking of them unworthily.
But grant us
until our last and closing breath,
worthily to receive a hope of Thy holy things,
for sanctification, enlightening, strengthening,
a relief of the weight of my many sins,
a preservative against all satanic working,
a riddance and hindrance of my evil conscience,
a mortification of my passions,
an appropriation of Thy commandments,
an increase of Thy divine grace;
and a securing of Thy kingdom.

The Priest as Father

Taken from George Herbert The Country Parson:

CHAP. XVI. The Parson a Father.

THe Countrey Parson is not only a father to his flock, but also professeth himselfe throughly of the opinion, carrying it about with him as fully, as if he had begot his whole Parish. And of this he makes great use. For by this means, when any sinns, he hateth him not as an officer, but pityes him as a Father: and even in those wrongs which either in tithing, or otherwise are done to his owne person, hee considers the offender as a child, and forgives, so hee may have any signe of amendment; so also when after many admonitions, any continue to be refractory, yet hee gives him not over, but is long before hee proceede to disinheriting, or perhaps never goes so far; knowing, that some are called at the eleventh houre, and therefore hee still expects, and waits, least hee should determine Gods houre of coming; which as hee cannot, touching the last day, so neither touching the intermediate days of Conversion.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Al Kimmel critiques Paul Zahl

I was reading the critique published on Fr. Al Kimel's blog concerning a very interesting topic that is very much a part of my own present research in the Eucharistic theology of Lancelot Andrewes. If Fr. Kimel is correct about what Dr. Zahl is getting at then his position on sacramental presence (absence) and objectivity is wanting of what Anglican theology has said. This is especially true of the Eucharistic theology of Lancelot Andrewes and what I know the other Caroline divines believed about presence. Here is an example of what Andrewes said about these issues in 1598. He begins by setting his interpretation within the tradition of the Fathers and particularly Basil in reference to this text. The direct fruit of Eucharistic efficacy for Andrewes is the forgiveness of sins. He calls this the whole fruit of Religion. Referencing St. Basil he says,
That at the celebration thereof, after the Sacrament was ministered to the people, the Priest stood up and said as the Seraphin doth here, Behold this hath touched your lips, your iniquity shall bee taken away, and your sinne purged. The whole fruit of Religion is, The taking away of sinne, Isaiah the twenty seventh Chapter and the ninth verse, and the specially wayes to take it away, is the Religious use of this Sacrament; which as Christ saith is nothing else, but a seale and signe of his blood that was shed for many for the remission of sinnes, Matthew the twenty sixth Chapter and the twenty eighty verse…
Andrewes says,
For the Angell tells the prophet, that his sinnes are not only taken away, but that it is done sacramentally, by the touching of a Cole, even as Christ assureth us, that we obtain remission of sinnes by the receiving of the Cup: Now as in the Sacrament, we consider the Element and the word; so we are to divide this Scripture.
The point for Andrewes is that God can use either word or Sacrament but is pleased to take away sins by the touching of the Sacrament to the lips. Andrewes mentions that God can do what He will with His word.
It pleased God to take away the Prophets sinnes by touching his lips. And albeit he can take away our sins, without touching of bread or wine, if he will; yet in the councell of his will, he commandeth unto us the sacramental partaking of his body and blood. It is his will, that our sins shall be taken away by the outward act of the sacrament: The reason is, not only in regard of ourselves, which consists of body and soul, and therefore have need both of bodily and Ghostly meanes, to assure us of our Salvation; but in regard of Christ himself, who is the burning Cole.
The following comments by Fr. Kimel are interesting and worth some more research and thought:
As one reads through Short Systematic Theology, one is struck by how untraditional and modern Zahl really is. He jumps from the first century to the sixteenth century reformers and then to twentieth century existentialism. There is little engagement with the Holy Tradition. The Church Fathers have no place in his theology, much less the medieval scholastics or mystics. Zahl is sometimes described as a hyper-Lutheran, because of his strong emphasis on the unconditionality of grace; but this description is only partly true. While grace is the central feature of his theology and is formulated along Lutheran lines, it has been detached from Luther’s incarnational vision and reinterpreted within the iconoclasm of the Swiss reformers. Thus Zahl’s emphatic rejection of Catholic and Orthodox sacramentalism. This rejection is not grounded upon the witness of the Bible. It is a product of Dr. Zahl’s metaphysical commitments and his embrace of a problematic construal of deity.
Quoting Martin Luther Fr. Kimel writes,
As Martin Luther declaimed in response to the anti-sacramental gospel of Ulrich Zwingli: “No God like that for me!”
It's interesting how often theologians or Reformed Christians embrace strongly Luther's doctrine of grace yet isolate it from his sacramental theology. Can one embrace Luther's doctrine of justification in isolation from his sacramental theology? According to Fr. Kimel, Luther says no. He continues on with the following critique and questions:
All Christians will agree with Dean Zahl that the risen Christ is powerfully present in the event of sacrificial love; but I am almost tempted to say, so what? How does that touch my life? How do I enter into that love? How do I unite myself to my Savior? How am I filled with the Spirit? It is true that every actualization of love, every victory of good over evil, every triumph over injustice and wickedness is a manifestation of the risen Christ. But as Luther might ask, Where is Christ for me? If the risen Jesus is not present in the proclamation of the gospel and its sacramental enactments, if he is not the one who speaks to me the gospel words of promise and who gives himself to me in his eucharistic Body and Blood, then what good is this absent Jesus for me, the incorrigible sinner?
This is in response to this quotation by Dr. Zahl provided by Fr. Kimel:
We also understand Jesus to have existed in continuity with the risen Christ. But he is no longer present in the tangible world. He is present neither in sacrament, nor in the words of the Bible, nor in the visual image, nor within his present potential presence arising from the future hope. He is present, rather and only, in the works of love, in the fruit from the belovedness that the gospel story engenders when it grasps us. (p. 49)
Leave your thoughts.

Who says?

++Robin Eames is presently speaking at Virginia Seminary on the 'reality of communion' and will have two or three more lectures following this one. There is the recurring question at the end of this lecture that IS the question that continues to come back to all of us again and again. At the closing of the lecture, ++Eames leaves the hearers with these questions:
As far back as 1920 the Lambeth Conference concluded:

"The Churches represented in (the Communion) are indeed independent, but independent with the Christian freedom which recognises the restraints of truth and love. They are not free to deny the truth. They are not free to ignore the fellowship."(1)

The Windsor Report(2) took this question and commented:

"This means that any development needs to be explored for its resonance with the truth, and with the utmost charity on the part of all – charity that grants that a new thing can be offered humbly and with integrity, and charity that might refrain from an action which might harm a sister or brother."

Since the publication of Windsor I have personally given much thought to what all this means for the meaning of 'bonds of affection'. In the course of that consideration I have found myself returning to the whole question of limits to diversity. Are there essentials on which there must be universal acceptance if Provinces are to be in complete communion? Are there issues which diversity protects, on which there can be disagreements, but which are not essential to full communion? If there are to be different levels of essentials or non-essentials in this sense – who decides into which category any action by an individual Church should fall?
Who decides? That's the ultimate question that continues to come back and scream in all of our ears when dealing with all sorts of differences. There are indeed times that individuals decide on issues that are indifferent as we see in Paul's letters to the Romans in the fourteenth chapter. But, concerning the "restraints of truth," who decides? Who decides what is true? The issue of authority is the ISSUE and will always be the issue since it is pride that is the most destructive sin in any and all relationships. The sin of pride affects all of us and is deeply rooted in the depths of the ugly side of humanity. All sorts of questions about the nature and attitude of submission come to my mind when I read stuff like ++Eames' lecture. What does it mean to submit to authority and what attitude does submission display when asked to submit to God or those whom God has given authority? Leave your comments.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

St. Francis of Assisi

you helped Saint Francis to reflect the image of Christ
through a life of poverty and humility.
May we follow your Son
by walking in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi,
and by imitating his joyful love.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading: Galatians 6: 14-18
But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God. Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Alms are an inheritance and a justice which is due to the poor and which Jesus has levied upon us.

- Saint Francis of Assisi

Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.

- Saint Francis of Assisi

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Eucharist and the Fathers

The following passage from Ignatius is very early (110 A.D.). He states the importance of believing that the Eucharist is the literal body and blood of Christ.
Let Us Stand Aloof from Such Heretics. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again.

Letters of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter VII
The following passage from Justin Martyr is very early (150 A.D.). He affirms that the bread is the body of Christ and the wine is the blood of Christ.
And this food is called among us the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, "This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;" and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is My blood;" and gave it to them alone.
The First Apology of Justin, Chapter LXVI, Of the Eucharist.
The following letter from Irenaeus is very early (150 A.D.). He makes very clear statements regarding the Eucharist.

Chapter II -- By shedding His true blood for us, and exhibiting to us His true flesh in the Eucharist, He conferred upon our flesh the capacity of salvation.

2. But vain in every respect are they who despise the entire dispensation of God, and disallow the salvation of the flesh, and treat with contempt its regeneration, maintaining that it is not capable of incorruption. But if this indeed do not attain salvation, then neither did the Lord redeem us with His blood, nor is the cup of the Eucharist the communion of His blood, nor the bread which we break the communion of His body. For blood can only come from veins and flesh, and whatsoever else makes up the substance of man, such as the Word of God was actually made. By His own blood he redeemed us, as also His apostle declares, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins." And as we are His members, we are also nourished by means of the creation (and He Himself grants the creation to us, for He causes His sun to rise, and sends rain when He wills). He has acknowledged the cup (which is a part of the creation) as His own blood, from which He bedews our blood; and the bread (also a part of the creation) He has established as His own body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.

3. When, therefore, the mingled cup and the manufactured bread receives the Word of God, and the Eucharist of the blood and the body of Christ is made, from which things the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they affirm that the flesh is incapable of receiving the gift of God, which is life eternal, which [flesh] is nourished from the body and blood of the Lord, and is a member of Him?--even as the blessed Paul declares in his Epistle to the Ephesians, that "we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." He does not speak these words of some spiritual and invisible man, for a spirit has not bones nor flesh; but [he refers to] that dispensation [by which the Lord became] an actual man, consisting of flesh, and nerves, and bones,--that [flesh] which is nourished by the cup which is His blood, and receives increase from the bread which is His body. And just as a cutting from the vine planted in the ground fructifies in its season, or as a corn of wheat falling into the earth and becoming decomposed, rises with manifold increase by the Spirit of God, who contains all things, and then, through the wisdom of God, serves for the use of men, and having received the Word of God, becomes the Eucharist, which is the body and blood of Christ; so also our bodies, being nourished by it, and deposited in the earth, and suffering decomposition there, shall rise at their appointed time, the Word of God granting them resurrection to the glory of God.

Irenaeus Against Heresies, Book V, Chapter II
The following passage from Irenaeus (about 150 A.D.) remarks on those who reject Christ by referring to Him as the heavenly wine.

Therefore do these men reject the commixture of the heavenly wine, and wish it to be water of the world only, not receiving God so as to have union with Him.
Irenaeus Against Heresies, Book V, Chapter I, Paragraph 3
The following passage considers the belief in the Eucharist as necessary for salvation.

And the angel answered and said unto me: If any man shall have been put into this well of the abyss and it shall have been sealed over him, no remembrance of him shall ever be made in the sight of the Father and His Son and the holy angels. And I said: Who are these, Sir, who are put into this well? And he said to me: They are whoever shall not confess that Christ has come in the flesh and that the Virgin Mary brought him forth, and whoever says that the bread and cup of the Eucharist of blessing are not this body and blood of Christ.

The Vision of Paul, Paragraph 41
The following passage from the Didache is very early (100 A.D.). Note that the Eucharist is considered to be holy.

9:1 But concerning the Eucharist, after this fashion give ye thanks.

9:5 And let none eat or drink of your Eucharist but such as have been baptized into the name of the Lord, for of a truth the Lord hath said concerning this, Give not that which is holy unto dogs.

The Didache, Chapter 9
The following letter from Ignatius is very early (110 A.D.). He affirms that the bread is the body of Christ and the wine is the blood of Christ.

I have confidence of you m the Lord, that ye will be of no other mind. Wherefore I write boldly to your love, which is worthy of God, and exhort you to have but one faith, and one [kind of] preaching, and one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ; and His blood which was shed for us is one; one loaf also is broken to all [the communicants], and one cup is distributed among them all: there is but one altar for the whole Church, and one bishop, with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants.
Letters of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, Chapter IV, Have but One Eucharist
    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

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