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.


Blogger jon said...

Thanks for this post, Jeff. Where did Fr Frank write his dissertation? Could you provide full biblographic info for it?

3:07 am  
Blogger Jeff said...


here is the bibliographic info:
Frank, G.L.C., ‘The theology of Eucharistic presence in the early Caroline divines,examined in its European theological setting’, University of St. Andrews, PhD, 1985.

7:56 am  
Blogger Derek the Ænglican said...

Modern-day Lutheranism has certainly disassociated the theology of justification from the sacrmanets. The American ELCA in particular repudiates it despite the attempts of the "Evangelical Catholic" wing to reclaim it. ELCA Lutheransim is too solidly rooted in Norwegian/Danish/German Low Church Lutheranism to sustain such a revolution.

5:32 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Thanks Derek. Do you know any good resources for the view of Luther's uniting his doctrine of justification by faith and his sacramental theology?


6:30 pm  
Blogger Derek the Ænglican said...

Um...gee. My second Master's is in Lutheran Confessional Theology and I'm drawing a blank.

Two people come to mind who could have plausible said something about it. The first is a fellow named--if I'm recalling it correctly--Loehe who I believe was part of the Buffalo/Albany area synod in the nineteenth century. He's enjoying a revival among some Evangelical Catholic sorts and may well have connected the two. The only other who potentially could have written on it is Nicolai Gruntvig founder of the "Happy Danes."

As far as current authors, I don't know of any but I know some people I can ask. I'll give it a shot...

4:32 am  

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