[ Eli Soriano is the founder of the Arian sect called the Church of God International that is primarily located in the Philippines. It is a schismatic sect of the Jehovah Witnesses and has similar teachings adopting the same evil heresies. The words of Eli Soriano are in italics and my response is in bold. ]
“To be ignorant may be pardonable because it is not being hopeless, but to delude oneself is another.”
“To be ignorant may be pardonable because it is not being hopeless, but to delude oneself is another.”
“After claiming that the wine in the cup of the Catholic priest is the real blood of the Lord Jesus by the process of transubstantiation, here comes Catholic apologetics saying that their mass is an unbloody manner of sacrificing Jesus Christ – something they do-again and again.”
First of all this is not the claim of Catholic apologists but the teaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus.
Catholics see the Scriptures written about the Eucharist as literal teaching by Jesus and have interpreted Jesus’ words as literal since before the NT Scriptures were written as recorded in Scripture. Catholics find no reason to interpret Jesus’ teaching to be anything but literal from a hermeneutical, historical or theological perspective.
Some Protestants, on the other hand, are very much like the proto-Protestants who were former disciples and left Jesus after His teaching in John 6, about the commandment to eat His Body and drink His Blood. They remain in the carnal sense and deny the miracle of the Eucharist. They believe that instead of being present at the one sacrifice of Christ, that what Jesus instituted is a symbolic ordinance instead.
So, what we are speaking of is two totally different practices. The first identical to what the apostles taught and put into practice which is the real presence and the second a modernist interpretation of a man Ulrich Zwingli which is a symbolic ordinance. The first is actually Christ on the Cross where the worshippers are at the foot of the cross; the second is just a remembering of what Christ did as recorded in the Bible. When a Catholic Christian remembers Christ’s sacrifice it is from being there, when a Protestant remembers Christ’s sacrifice it is recalling what is written in Scriptures about the event. Certainly, one should be able to understand the level of passion one would have after being at the foot of the cross compared to the level of one just remembering what is written in a book. So even though some do not take it lightly, even though they do not believe, it cannot be the same passion for an exercise or ordinance in supposed obedience, as the Protestant act can be described; to the Catholic practice of being present with the living corporeal Christ at the cross and eating His real body and Blood as He commanded.
It must be noted for understanding that for many of the Reformers that this approach by Zwingli was necessary to give some credibility to the new Protestant movement which denied the successive apostolic leadership of the Church established by Christ. These reformers knew full well that they had no true legitimacy and no authority from Christ. They also knew that without a legitimate episcopacy that they could not continue Holy Orders, the Sacraments nor do they have the authority to confect the Eucharist which authority can only be given by Christ through the Church. Therefore, they could not continue the Eucharist even if they desired without a valid priesthood.
(Mat 15:7 DRB) Hypocrites, well hath Isaiah prophesied of you, saying:(Mat 15:8 DRB) This people honoureth me with their lips: but their heart is far from me.(Mat 15:9 DRB) And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men.
(Mar 7:5 DRB) And the Pharisees and scribes asked him: Why do not thy disciples walk according to the tradition of the ancients, but they eat bread with common hands?
(Mar 7:6 DRB) But he answering, said to them: Well did Isaias prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
(Mar 7:7 DRB) And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men.
(Mar 7:8 DRB) For leaving the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washing of pots and of cups: and many other things you do like to these.(Mar 7:9 DRB) And he said to them: Well do you make void the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.
(Luk 6:46 DRB) And why call you me, Lord, Lord; and do not the things which I say?
Of course it is not Church traditions that is the only reason to believe in the truly, real and substantial Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord as it is the teaching directly from our Lord and from the original disciples of our Lord maintained as the deposit of truth from the very beginning of the Church founded at Pentecost. The Church has been in total agreement with this teaching and did not receive substantial disagreement until Ulrich Zwingli in the 16th century argued for a real absence of Christ in the Eucharist and sought to change it from a Sacrament introduced by our Lord to a mere exercise or as some call it an ordinance. The other rebellious Protestants were reluctant to accept Zwingli’s teaching but eventually it prevailed among the majority of Protestants because of the obvious problem the new syncretic blend of Secular Humanism and Christianity and that there was no valid clergy or teaching authority in the new Protestant movement. They had to find new man-made heretical doctrines to be a bulwark against the fullness of truth contained in the Catholic Church and adopted the heresies of the Solas, Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide and Sola Christi. Such a departure from orthodoxy made it possible and necessary to reject the foundational and fundamental teaching of the Church, which is the miracle of anamnesis, and deny the truly real and substantial Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord from their worship replacing it with an exposition of Scripture and allegorical interpretation of God’s Word instead. Instead of worshiping the corporeal Christ they worshiped mans opinion of God’s Word exposed by men without any God given authority to teach. It is not surprising that there are exponentially increasing heresies to match the exponentially increasing schisms within their body. Essentially it is a movement of division within the Corpus Christi which by these fruits it is fair to assume that this is not from God but from the author of confusion and lies. So, actually the reason that you do not accept “anamnesis “ is at least to some substantial degree because of Protestant traditions taught by Ulrich Zwingli and his followers in their protest of the teaching of Christ and the disciples in an effort to give some credibility to their new desperate syncretic movement.
In Koine Greek the literal meaning of “anamnesis” is the “loss of forgetfulness” and comes from Platonian philosophy. It does not mean to recall a past event in one’s life as does the word “remembrance” (Luke 22:19). Certainly for that to be the meaning one would no longer be able to remember after a generation or two remembrances would be impossible. That is why Jesus said to the disciples that His teaching in John 6 could not be discerned with the carnal senses which would pass away with time but that this teaching was eternal and must be discerned with the knowledge from the Spirit instead for perpetuity or at least until Jesus returns again to judge mankind and unite our soul with our glorified bodies. Some Protestant exegetes are forced to understand Jesus’ teaching at the Synod in Capernaum in a very strained, twisted and awkward way saying that Jesus said the flesh will profit nothing suggesting that He really was not teaching that what we understand that we are to eat and to drink is not His truly real and substantial Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Such is an utterly an absurd interpretation following Jesus saying that one must eat His Body and drink His Blood to have eternal life.
How can anyone with intellect and reason conclude that Jesus had just do anything else but contradict the teaching that He had labored so succinctly to explain to the point that those who were His disciples but the twelve left Him never to follow Him again. He convinced them of the literalness of His words but they could not imagine by knowing that what Jesus was commanding of the faithful was to separate themselves or be cut off from the familial relationship of the Old Covenant under the Mosaic laws that forbid the drinking of blood.
Their leaving proves that they understood Jesus literally as did the 12 disciples. Jesus admitted to the twelve that this was hard teaching as they were aware of the teaching of Moses as well. Jesus did not go into another explanation saying that He was speaking allegorically but instead did not deny the literalness of His teaching even to the twelve. Instead He told them that this understanding would come from their spiritual senses rather than the carnal which is the true and only logical meaning of the flesh profits nothing. Surely it does profit if it must be eaten for eternal life as is the only logical understanding. Jesus said to the twelve that remained, Do you wish to leave also and St. Peter answered, “Where else shall we go as you have the words of eternal life”. Their spiritual senses or “anamnesis” that they drew upon kept them from leaving. What Jesus taught would be clearly and fully understood from the cross in due time when the disciples would truly experience a “loss of forgetfulness”. For truly the twelve had a prepared conscience from eternity for them to draw upon that was not unlike the law that God circumcised on everyone’s heart.
As Plato described “anamnesis” it is a prepared spiritual knowledge just as Jesus called the listeners at Capernaum to draw upon which is an intuitive knowledge that in Christian theological understanding means that it is knowledge placed in the human conscience (as defined by Pope Benedict XVI in “On Conscience: Two Essays by Cardinal Ratzinger. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007”) before becoming the Pope who said that the central anthropological and ontological meaning of conscience is anamnesis) that we can draw upon for understanding the miracles of God and thus accepting them even without reason or intellectual affirmation. Plato lacked the fullness of understanding in that he erroneously believed in reincarnation as the source of this knowledge instead of God being the source through imputation. Plato was correct in believing that the soul is immortal.
If it was not for this prepared conscience man could not even believe in God as the Holy Spirit bringing one to faith would have nothing to appeal to for this faith. Faith does not come from intellect or reason although faith is not devoid of these faculties but from a prepared conscience that can respond to the Spirit of God.
The miracle of anamnesis is that we can call on the knowledge that has been placed in our eternal soul by God. As Jesus said in John 6 the flesh profits nothing but the Spirit reveals all. Through God’s miracle of anamnesis the Mass is not a re-sacrifice of our Lord as you claim but instead we are present as the whole Church, Militant, Suffering and Triumphant in the one sacrifice for all to offer with Christ the one sacrifice to the Father from the Cross.
“First off, history records that Catholics had arguments as to what transubstantiation would mean in their ritual of the Eucharist: whether wine becomes blood and the bread, the body of Christ, but the appearance of the substance of wine and bread are still the same; or whether wine really becomes the blood of Christ, and the bread his body. In the first, the change is in the meaning as thought so in the mid-twentieth century; in the second, it is literal. Pope Paul VI was saying so in 1965 with finality: it is the literal body and blood of Christ. And now, they find comfort that transubstantiation has plunged back to emphasizing that wine is still wine in appearance, bread is still bread in appearance, but those are equally still the body and blood of Christ. It now has a different name: Real Presence (Source: Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: transubstantiation).
Still and all, even to the uninformed, that is double-speak of the highest degree and thriving in appearance of the delusion, just so to continue in a practice not commanded in the Bible.”
Certainly the Eucharist is food for the believer if one is to believe Jesus’ in His colloquy at Capernaum. It is food for endurance till eternal life. It provides the grace necessary to complete the race. Jesus compares it to the manna that was eaten in the desert to sustain the Israelites. But Jesus is speaking of the New Covenant requiring a new sustenance which is His Body and Blood. In making this comparison He says that real bread comes from the father just as He and then says that He is the bread of life. If one eats this bread they will live forever. The disciples listening to Him began to realize that Jesus was not speaking metaphorically but literally and then we come to the following verse:
(Joh 6:52 DRB) (6:53) The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat
Then Jesus said in unambiguous literal language:
(Joh 6:53 DRB) (6:54) Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.
The following verse indicates the purpose of eating His body and drinking His blood. It is so that we can “abidete” or in other words remains in Him by the Grace bestowed by the act of receiving His Body and His Blood. But the Eucharist benefits us even more in that it augments our union with Christ as the principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist is an intimate union with Christ.
(Joh 6:56 DRB) (6:57) He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him.
An additional benefit of the Eucharist is that it is impossible to unite to Christ without the cleansing of past sins and preserving us from future sins through His grace. This is part of the sanctification process where we grow in our faith in him which separates us further from the risk of mortal sin. Additionally, the Eucharist participation renews, strengthens and deepens ones incorporation into the Church which is achieved through Baptism. It joins us to the entire Church Militant, Suffering and Triumphant.
This is what St. Ignatius said about the Eucharist at the end of the first century, “ the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes live forever in Jesus Christ.”
One may ask the question does God’s spiritual work always require a physical channel. “Always” is a very dangerous position to take when speaking of God as God can as our sovereign creator do things however he wishes. So this is really not a matter of “always” but instead, did God use the physical channel of Jesus transforming simple bread and wine into His body and Blood to bestow the Grace of eternal life.
I was reading another apologist’s commentary some time ago and He related how some Protestants get an almost Docetist view when it comes to the Eucharist. They have no problem believing something to be spiritual but when it comes to mixing spirit and matter they seem to experience intellectual and theological mind block. This is the usual excuse for not believing in Sacraments because a spiritual reality is being conveyed by means of matter. They may even believe that this is a violation of the divine plan. Matter instead of being used is to be avoided which would explain why some have difficulties understanding the incarnation. Many believe that it would be much easier if God did not dirty himself with matter. The Eucharist proves that God loves matter because He comes to us under the appearance of bread and wine. In doing so there is in contradiction in Christ being physically and Sacramentally present.
One may question how can Christ be present in the Eucharist and be also in heaven and that is a fair question. First of all, in my explanation let me make it clear that how Christ performs this miracle is a great mystery that we accept on faith through our spirit to His. If we look at the account of the last supper we see Jesus present in two ways. He is present at the table in a natural way and is present also in a sacramental way which is no different than the Eucharistic experience today and through the history of the Church. How this is done while being a mystery is not impossibility just because it cannot be understood fully with our reason. We can all accept as Christians that God is everywhere and that He is present in a spiritual sense when we are gathered together. This is no greater a mystery than him reigning in heaven in His glorified body and on earth in His natural body. If he can create the universe from nothing can he not make bread and wine into His Body and Blood? These things may be beyond our understanding but certainly not beyond God’s abilities.
For those who do not believe in the real presence there are the difficulties of the following verses:
(1Co 11:26 DRB) For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.
(1Co 11:27 DRB) Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.
(1Co 11:28 DRB) But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice.
(1Co 11:29 DRB) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.
(1Co 11:30 DRB) Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you: and many sleep.
People who refuse to believe in the real presence believe that this represents a metaphor. But, if it is a mere metaphor, how can one be “guilty of the body and Blood” when one receives unworthily? As one scholar put it “Plain and simple reason seem to tell us that the presence of Christ’s body is necessary for an offense committed against it.” (Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman, Lectures on the Real Presence) It would seem reasonable that one cannot be guilty of Christ’s body and Blood if it is not present in the Sacrament. Other scholars said ” No one is guilty of homicide if he merely does damage to the statue or picture of a man without touching the man in person.” (Rumble and Carty, Eucharist Quizzes to a Street Preacher) The question might be asked in light of St. Paul’s teaching, can one be theologically satisfied in the meaningless belief in a Real Absence than the fuller meaning of a Real Presence.
Here is the defense:
“There can be no question of a grievous offense against Christ Himself unless we suppose that the true Body and the true Blood of Christ are really present in the Eucharist.” (Source: Online Catholic Encyclopedia.http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05573a.htm).
If what is in the cup is the real blood of Jesus, how can the mass be an unbloody sacrifice?
With God all things are possible. We simply trust in Him rather than the criticisms of men devoid of His divine grace. We trust the messenger Jesus rather than those who through their carnal senses try to understand those things that are discerned in the Spirit. We trust the teacher Jesus and not men.
If what is in the cup is only symbolic blood, it is also symbolically bloody, doesn’t it follow?
Of course not as you remain in the carnal sense which Jesus said would prohibit understanding that comes from the spiritual senses. You are like the proto-Protestants who left Jesus in Capernaum never to follow Him again.
Someone criticizing me said that I misappropriated the prophecy in Malachi 1:11 for me after which she claims that it is rightfully for the Catholic Church, for they are the only group that has the incense mentioned in the prophecy. Let us read,
MALACHI 1:11 (KJV)
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
I dare say, this verse does not apply to the Catholic Church for the simple reason that they do not understand the verse! The incense mentioned in the prophecy is not the literal incense that Catholic priests burn at their altars! Notice what is said in this verse.
REVELATION 5:8 (RSV)
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints;
How can literal incense reach God’s throne when it cannot even penetrate into the atmosphere? That they in the Catholic Church do not know the meaning of the verse they are appropriating for themselves is certainly misappropriation!
Again, like those that left Jesus at Capernaum you remain in the carnal sense and do not trust the messenger Jesus who said that only in the spiritual sense can we understand the things of God. Jesus illustrated that those in Capernaum remained in the carnal sense instead of the spiritual and as a result did not discern the truth of Christ’s words. Trust the messenger Jesus
“The sacrifice that Christians should always offer is not the Lord Jesus Christ for when He offered Himself in Calvary He made an offering “once for all and once forever.” The Bible says so.
HEBREWS 10:12 (KJV)
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;”
That is correct and it is precisely what the Jesus and the Church teaches.
“And what is that sacrifice that Christians should offer to God? Take note that it is not something outside of the one doing the sacrifice.
HEBREWS 13:15 (KJV)
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”
This is precisely what the Church practices fulfilling the prophecy of Malichi.
“Prayers and praises are the sacrifice that we should offer again and again to God, “that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name,” and not the mass of the misled Catholics. It jives with the prophecy in Malachi that says, “My name shall be great among the Gentiles.””
As I said before, the Church teaches one sacrifice for all and NOT a sacrifice offered “again and again” as you claim. It is instead a representation of the one sacrifice for all through Christ’s miracle of anamnesis.
“Praying and praising His name is symbolic of the incense which is pure sacrifice that will reach the throne of the Almighty! It is not something material, for then, not everyone would have access to it. It is not something readily found in those who prefer to delude themselves by way of ascribing spiritual presence to bread and wine that they call Christ’s body and blood – which they offer again and again.”
You clearly lack the understanding of Scriptures in regards to the Mass which appears to intentional out of prejudice for your doctrines of men. I find that your eisegetical approach to Scriptures in this teaching on the Eucharist is not based on any true, plausible, or scholarly biblical understanding. You seem to be unable to escape your carnal understanding of Christ’s own teaching that He taught could only be understood in the spiritual senses of an individual. He warned in John 6 not to rely on the carnal senses as did the proto Protestants that left Him in Capernaum. Those , the disciples, remained with Him because they were willing and able to discern His teaching in the spiritual sense it was intended.
“And mind you, the greatness of His name will be known from the east to the west, not otherwise!
The Catholic Church started its mission of misleading people from the west! Beginning with their rituals, they really do mislead a lot.”
You truly missed in being able to prosecute your eisegetical belief that Jesus was speaking symbolically even though He said that He was speaking literal truth in John 6:64. You make a claim of the Church founded by Christ personally is misleading people but yet you could not support such a case in your commentary with anything but uninspired carnal beliefs devoid of spiritual discernment. God bless!