Truth

Until we repent of the loud voice the world has in the church, we have no right to lament the small voice the church has in the world. – Michael Svigel

Nope

“Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” (Mk. 16:8)

So, nope.

But by all means, don’t let scripture interfere with ideology.

The Death of Wicked Rulers

Can a wicked ruler be your ally; one who wreaks havoc by means of the law? …  God will repay them for their wickedness, completely destroy them because of their evil. Yes, the LORD our God will completely destroy them. (Ps. 94:20ff)

To All Who Would Demand Silence in the Face of Evil

The LORD sent Nathan to David. When Nathan arrived he said,

“There were two men in the same city, one rich, one poor. The rich man had a lot of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing– just one small ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised that lamb, and it grew up with him and his children. It would eat from his food and drink from his cup– even sleep in his arms! It was like a daughter to him. “Now a traveler came to visit the rich man, but he wasn’t willing to take anything from his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had arrived. Instead, he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the visitor.”  David got very angry at the man, and he said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the one who did this is demonic!   He must restore the ewe lamb seven times over because he did this and because he had no compassion.”

“You are that man!” Nathan told David. (2 Sam. 12:1-7)

You Should Love Melanchthon

“Scripture cannot be understood theologically unless it is already understood grammatically” (CR 20, 790: Non potest Scriptura intelligi theologice, nisi ante intellecta sit grammatice).

Via Ralph *Melanchthon* Keen

If you don’t read the Hebrew and Greek text, you are theologically clueless.

Tax Time…

How come if you owe the IRS they slap you with interest and penalties but if they hold your tax overpayments all year you get no interest and you can’t charge them penalties? #GovernmentTheft

#ICYMI – Because Luther Never Said That, and He Never Nailed Anything to Anything

Luther is credited with doing and saying a lot of things he never did or said.  For example, the whole ‘ here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me, amen’ never happened.  Neither did the ‘nailing of the 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church’ nor the tossing of the ink pot at the devil, nor did he utter ‘we are beggars, that’s the truth’ as his last word.

Give a look at Andreas Malessa’s little book and take a look at the table of contents and other front matter here.

indexMartin Luther hat der Nachwelt Werke mit insgesamt 80.000 Seiten hinterlassen. Seine 95 Thesen haben die Reformation ins Rollen gebracht. Der Theologe und Journalist Andreas Malessa räumt mit seinem Buch „Hier stehe ich, es war ganz anders“ mit den häufigsten Irrtümern über Martin Luther auf. Eine Rezension von Johannes Weil.

Malessa möchte mit seinem Buch „Hier stehe ich, es war ganz anders“ die Neugier wecken, welche „Lebens- und Gotteserfahrungen Luthers“ den Menschen heute nahekommen. Über jedem der 24 Kapitel steht eine These, mit der sich Malessa auf maximal zehn Seiten beschäftigt. Vor allem für geschichtsinteressierte Leser sind die historischen Hintergrundinformationen wertvoll.

Here’s the book’s info- „Hier stehe ich, es war ganz anders: Irrtümer über Luther“, SCM Hänssler, 14,95 Euro, 9-783773-156103

Hämmerte Martin Luther seine 95 Thesen wirklich an eine Kirchentür? Warf er ein Tintenfass nach dem Teufel? Floh seine Frau Katharina in einem Heringsfass aus dem Kloster und pflanzte Luther wirklich ein Apfelbäumchen?

Alles fröhlicher Unsinn. Hörfunk- und TV-Journalist Andreas Malessa erzählt uns in solide recherchierten Fakten wie es wirklich war. Unbeschreiblich unterhaltsam, kenntnisreich und voller Anerkennung für den großen Reformator. Kein Irrtum übrigens: Käthe und Martin hatten Zuschauer in ihrer Hochzeitsnacht…!   Mit Illustrationen von Thees Carstens.

Jerome Explains His Hesitancy in Translating the Latin New Testament

2014-JeromebyGhirlandaioYou urge me to revise the old Latin version, and, as it were, to sit in judgment on the copies of the Scriptures which are now scattered throughout the whole world; and, inasmuch as they differ from one another, you would have me decide which of them agree with the Greek original.

The labour is one of love, but at the same time both perilous and presumptuous; for in judging others I must be content to be judged by all; and how can I dare to change the language of the world in its hoary old age, and carry it back to the early days of its infancy?

Is there a man, learned or unlearned, who will not, when he takes the volume into his hands, and perceives that what he reads does not suit his settled tastes, break out immediately into violent language, and call me a forger and a profane person for having the audacity to add anything to the ancient books, or to make any changes or corrections therein?   –  St. Jerome

Fortunately, he listened to his better angels instead of his fears (all of which, by the way, were realized).

Stupid Hans Pfriem

A farmer goes off to the field with his sack around his neck. In it he carries wheat, rye, barley, etc., and confidently takes a handful of seeds, casts them around himself, and sows the field. Behind him follows a boy, who carries the harrow and rakes the seed that is sown, so that it is well covered with earth. Over across from these seeds, we will put a great oaf and stupid fool, who thinks he is extremely clever and even dares to reform and find fault with God in heaven, as is said of the cart driver Hans Pfriem—that in paradise he had wanted to outwit and find fault with everything.

This same Hans Pfriem sees the farmer with the sack and the boy with the harrow and lays in, saying: “My dear man, what are you doing there? Have you no sense? You are casting the good grain onto the earth. Don’t you have children, servants, and livestock at home who could eat it? Why do you so shamefully squander the good grain and cast it into the earth? And that is not enough for you, but another person follows after you, trampling and covering over everything with the horses and raking it in with harrows. What is wrong with you, that you are making such a wretched waste of your grain so that it is of no use to anyone?”

If the farmer were irritable and short-tempered—the sort of hotheaded fellow, of which one finds many, who cannot put up with anything, then he would doubtless leap up and give my Hans Pfriem a crude send-off, saying: “Fool, what have you to do with me? Go your way; leave me in peace.” He would probably pick up a clod of dirt as well and answer such a master of cleverness with that, so that he would lie on his back and roll his eyes like an ox about to be slaughtered. A wise farmer, however, does not do that, but rather says: “Friend, be silent! You do not yet understand what I am doing. But come again in a half-year or a quarter-year; then I will show you what I have just done.

For at that time every single grain that I now cast and sow in the earth will produce a stalk with a thick, full ear. And then, in return for the seed that now has been cast and raked into the earth, I will gather tenfold, or even twenty-, thirtyfold again. And for that purpose, the dear sun and the rain will serve me, by God’s working, so that the grain comes up in the field, turns green and grows.”

Hans Pfriem objects to this, saying: “Ha! Your claims amount to nothing. I see neither stalk nor ear, but I see you casting the good grain into the mud and raking it under. How could anything come from it?”

“Calm down,” says the farmer. “I am casting the grain out and raking it into the earth deliberately, not so that it will perish and die in the ground, but, on the contrary, so that it will take root and produce fruit. That is why I pray to God when the grain is sown: that there may be rain, sun, and wind, so that it may first soften and decay in the earth, and then, once it has taken root, that it may break forth from the earth again, grow, and bear fruit.”

St. Paul says that you, too, are just such a Hans Pfriem and a great fool when you ask: “How will the dead rise again?”

So Martin Luther.

Red Theology: On the Christian Communist Tradition

In Red Theology: On the Christian Communist Tradition, Roland Boer presents key moments in the 2,000 year tradition of Christian communism. Defined by the two features of alternative communal practice and occasional revolutionary action, Christian communism is predicated on profound criticism of the way of the world. The book begins with Karl Kautsky – the leading thinker of second-generation Marxism – and his oft-ignored identification of this tradition. From there, it offers a series of case studies that deal with European instances, the Russian Revolution, and to East Asia. Here we find the emergence of Christian communism not only in China, but also in North Korea. This book will be a vital resource for scholars and students of religion and the many aspects of socialist tradition.

This is a tremendously informative work.  And it is as wide ranging as it is ideological.  From Kautsky to the early Church to Paul to Luther Blissett’s wonderful novel ‘Q’ (about the anabaptist lunacy of the 16th century) to Calvin to Luther, and Marx and Engels, to Bruno Bauer and on to Christians and Bolsheviks to communism in China and Korea.  And lots in between.  Each chapter is its own focus and they are not interlinked in any way but as a chronological/ geographical storyline.

What readers encounter here is a round-robin on Christianity and Communism.  Boer is a wonderful writer and his phrases are expressive and his connection to the subject matter oozes out of every line.  Boer loves his Communism, and one gets the impression that he wants readers to love it too.

But Boer is very explicit in naming his Communism as Christian communism, and that is the real goal of this work.  I.e., to show that communism and Christianity are not at all incompatible.  Whether Boer proves his case is something each reader of the work will need to decide for her or himself.

He writes, for example, in his chapter on the novel ‘Q’-

I have argued that Q offers a comprehensive recovery of the radical, revolutionary dimensions of the Reformation, especially for a range of Left wing movements today. It is indebted to the Marxist tradition of identifying the revolutionary strain of Christian thought and practice, whether in terms of early Christianity, Thomas Müntzer and the Peasants, or the Anabaptists at Münster.

Boer, it seems, sees radicalism as the roots of everything interesting in the world.   Further on Boer makes a rather odd remark:

Müntzer, Münster and the Anabaptists were not the only manifestations of radical theology and politics during the European sixteenth century. In this chapter and the next, I turn my attention to the ‘magisterial’ Reformation – although Müntzer too was called Magister Thomas…

Does Boer think that ‘magisterial’ means that the Reformations so named are led by ‘Masters’ (Magister) (i.e., people who held advanced degrees)?  Because it doesn’t.  ‘Magisterial Reformation’ refers to the fact that the cities of Wittenberg, Zurich and Geneva lent political support to the reforms initiated by the Reformers.  The Reformers were joined in reform by the Magistrates.  Hence the ‘Magisterial Reformers’.  Or perhaps Boer is simply trying to make a point that escapes me.  I do find it odd that he appears to misunderstand the term.

Calvin too, it turns out, has communistic sympathies which he can scarcely control.  As Boer opines

Time and again Calvin espies the radical possibilities of the Bible and theology, only to try to contain it within his own carefully constructed boundaries, from where it breaks out once again.

Moving forward, Boer focuses on issues of decreasing interest to me personally.  Marx, Engels, their reading of Luther, etc.  Nevertheless, I did find Boer’s descriptions incredibly interesting, even if he appears to misunderstand Luther- doubtless because he reads him anachronistically through the lens of is self professed Christian Communism.

Indeed, the chief takeaway of Boer’s engaging work is that, like Karl Barth’s 1919 commentary on Romans, the reader learns much more about Boer (and Barth) than one learns about their historical object.  Boer’s book is self revelatory.  And for that reason alone it’s worth reading.

In this volume’s pages one learns a great deal about how a modern reader of texts reads texts through a particular prism and the overwhelming power of presupposition.  The present work is an excellent introduction to Roland Boer’s vision of Christian Communism.

Enjoy it.

On This Day, in Zurich, in 1525

The Council abolished the Catholic Mass in the Churches of Zurich.  As Zwingli wrote that same year

Nothing, therefore, of ours is to be added to the word of God, and nothing taken from His word by rashness of ours. To this some one might here object: “Yet many have found rest even in the word of man, and still do find it; for today the consciences of many are firmly persuaded that they will attain salvation if the Roman Pontiff absolve them, grant them indulgences, enroll them in heaven; if nuns and monks tell beads for them, and do masses, hours, and other things for them.” To this objection I answer that all such are either fools or hypocrites, for it must be the result of folly and ignorance if one thinks one’s self what one is not.

Amen.

BNTS News

British New Testament Conference 2019
Paper proposals must be submitted by Friday 19 April

The deadline for submitting proposals for papers for the 2019 British New Testament Conference is near: please submit your proposals to the relevant seminar chairs by Friday 19 April.

The conference takes place at Liverpool Hope University, 5–7 September 2019. To see the full call for papers, visit this page.

Via Steve Walton.

Reports of damage in the royal tomb of Cyrus II in Pasargadae- A Guest Post

After releasing some news regarding the flooding in Fars province and the resulting damage from the flood in Persepolis and Pasargadae, the Head of World Cultural Heritage Site of Persepolis has found it necessary to comment on this issue.

Hamid Fadaii indicates that about 2400 meters of underground waterways have been found and excavated at the terrace of Persepolis so far. Those waterways cover almost all of the palaces of the Terrace. During the time of Achaemenids as the buildings existed completely, the rainwater on the roofs flowed through ceramic tubes installed within the walls which emptied into those waterways.

The waterways, as he says, have all been built more or less at the same width to ease the flow of water during heavy rains. In some places, they have about 6 meters in height and 50-80 centimeters in width. The Achaemenid architects have carefully designed them with proper a slope to guide the flow of water to the southeast corner of the Terrace.

It seems that the waterways continued to work very well until the end of the Achaemenid dynasty. After the invasion of Alexander and destruction of some parts of the Terrace, the debris resulting from this destruction gradually filled the waterways.

Parseh-Pasargadae Research Foundation initiated excavations and dredging the waterways in 2003. In this project, the Iranian archaeologists working with the Foundation found out that the main waterway which provides an exit for the water gathered by the waterways on the Terrace is located at the southeast corner.

H. Fadaii indicates that making such a discovery faced some major obstacles, i.e., tons of debris and dust removed from the Terrace during decades of archaeological excavations at Persepolis and deposited at the southeast corner of the Terrace. Such a huge amount of debris and dust had closed the main waterway.

However, as the excavations of the waterways started once again under the supervision of the Archaeological office of the World Cultural Heritage Site of Persepolis in 2012, that waterway was cleaned. Since then, the rainwater gathered in the waterways on the Terrace has been guided to the southeast corner and the main exit. Now the problem of gathering water from the Terrace has been solved with the help of the original waterways and excavations and regular dredging by the staff of Foundation.

The Head of the World Cultural Heritage Site of Persepolis adds that there is no problematic gathering of water resulting from recent heavy rains. The slight number of water gatherings on the surface of the Terrace during the rainfall is due to the differences in the levels of the buildings and the ground which have also been solved with the efforts of the staff.

Regarding the situation of the tomb of Cyrus II at Pasargadae, Hamid Fadaii says that the tomb is protected from the flood and it has not suffered from any damage during the March and April rains of 2019. According to him, the tomb of Cyrus II is located between two rivers, i.e., Polvar River on the east and Subatan River (Tang-e Xersi) on the west of the tomb. Since those two rivers are capable of draining water from the heavy rain and guiding the flood properly, the tomb has not been damaged from any flood during its long history. He noted that the video which was released recently from the flood close to the tomb is showing the seasonal Subatan River which flows about 150 meters west of the tomb and joins with the Polvar River at the entrance of Tang-e Bolaghi.

Fadaii indicates that the efforts of Parseh-Pasargadae Research Foundation in the first decade of 2000 to protect the tomb from the flood at Pasargadae were very promising. The staff of the World Cultural Heritage Site of Pasargadae have built a protective wall between the tomb and Subatan River, dug a protection canal behind the tomb and used gabion river barriers there to protect the tomb as well as possible. With those efforts, the tomb, as well as other monuments at Pasargadae, have been protected during the recent flood in Fars.

Soheil Delshad
PhD Student at the Institute of Iranian Studies, Free University of Berlin

La Critique textuelle de l’Ancien Testament: Dominique Barthélemy

This recent volume, edited by Adrian Schenker, Clemens Locher, and H. G. M. Williamson will be of interest to all text critics:

La Critique textuelle de l’Ancien Testament de Dominique Barthélemy est le commentaire textuel le plus développé de la Bible hébraïque qui existe aujourd’hui. Il offre aussi l’histoire de l’exégèse ancienne et moderne de très nombreux passages difficiles. Cette œuvre monumentale fut réalisée entre 1969 et 2015. Elle est à la fois le fruit d’un travail collectif, du Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, et d’un auteur individuel, Dominique Barthélemy, décédé pendant le travail. La publication posthume de la rédaction inachevée fut toute une aventure. Ce Cahier de la Revue biblique retrace l’histoire de ce grand projet et situe celui-ci dans la perspective des recherches actuelles sur le texte de la Bible hébraïque.

See the link for the table of contents.

The Zurich Consensus

THE CONSENSUS TIGURINUS
WRITTEN BY CALVIN, 1549
FOR THE PURPOSE OF UNITING ALL BRANCHES OF THE REFORMED CHURCH IN A COMMON DOCTRINE AS TO THE LORD’S SUPPER

HEADS OF CONSENT

The whole Spiritual regimen of the Church leads us to Christ

I. Since Christ is the end of the Law, and the knowledge of Him comprehends in itself the entire sum of the Gospel, there is no doubt bat that the whole spiritual regimen of the Church is designed to lead us to Christ; as through Him alone we reach God, who is the ultimate end of a blessed (holy) life; and so whoever departs in the least from this truth will never speak rightly or fitly respecting any of the ordinances of God.

A true knowledge of the Sacraments from a knowledge of Christ

II. Moreover since the Sacraments are auxiliaries (appendices) of the Gospel, he certainly will discuss both aptly and usefully their nature, their power, their office and their fruit, who weaves his discourse from Christ; not merely touching the name of Christ incidentally, but truthfully holding forth the purpose for which He was given to us by the Father, and the benefits which He has conferred upon us.

Knowledge of Christ, what it involves

III. Accordingly it must be held, that Christ, being the eternal Son of God, of the same essence and glory with the Father, put on our flesh in order that, by right of adoption, He might communicate to us what by nature was solely His own, to wit, that we should be sons of God. This takes place when we, ingrafted through faith into the body of Christ, and this by the power of the Holy Spirit, are first justified by the gratuitous imputation of righteousness, and then regenerated into a new life, that, new-created in the image of the Heavenly Father, we may put off the old man.

Christ, Priest and King

IV. We must therefore regard Christ in His flesh as a Pries:, who has expiated our sins by His death, the only Sacrifice, blotted out all our iniquities by His obedience, procured for us a perfect righteousness, and now intercedes for us that we may have access to God; as an expiatory Sacrifice whereby God was reconciled to the world; as a Brother, who from wretched sons of Adam has made us blessed sons of God; as a Restorer (Reparator), who by the power of His Spirit transforms all that is corrupt (vitiosum) in us, that we may no longer live unto the world and the flesh, and God himself may live in us; as a King, who enriched us with every kind of good, governs and preserves us by His power, establishes us with spiritual arms, delivers us from every evil, and restrains and directs us by the sceptre of His month; and He is to be so regarded, that He may lift us up to Himself, very God, and to the Father, until that shall be fulfilled which is to be at last, that God be all in all.

How Christ communicates Himself to us.

V. Moreover in order that Christ may manifest Himself such a one to us and produce such effects in us, it behooves us to be made one with Him and grow together in His body. For He diffuses His life in us is no other way than by being our Head; “from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body” (Eph. 4:16).

Communion spiritual. Sacraments instituted.

VI. This communion which we have with the Son of God, is spiritual; so that He, dwelling in us by His Spirit, makes all of us who believe partakers of all the good that resides in Him. To bear witness of this, both the preaching of the Gospel and the use of the Sacraments, Holy Baptism and the Holy Supper were instituted.

The Ends of the Sacraments

VII. The Sacraments, however, have also these ends:—to be marks and tokens of Christian profession and (Christian) association, or brotherhood; to incite gratitude (thanksgiving), and to be exercises of faith and a pious life, in short, bonds (sealed contracts) making these things obligatory. But among other ends this one is chief, that by these Sacraments God attests, presents anew, and seals to us His grace. For while they indeed signify nothing more than is declared in the word itself, yet it is no small matter that they are presented to our eyes as lively symbols which better affect our feeling, leading us to the reality (in rem), while they recall to memory Christ’s death and all the benefits thereof, in order that faith may have more vigorous exercise; and finally, it is of no little moment that what was proclaimed to us by the month of God, is confirmed and sanctioned by seals.

Thanksgiving

VIII. Moreover, since the testimonials and seals of His grace, which the Lord has given us, are verities, surely He himself will beyond all doubt make good to us inwardly, by His Spirit, what the Sacraments symbolize to our eyes and other senses, viz., possession of Christ as the ountain of all blessings, then reconciliation to God by virtue of His death, restoration by the Spirit unto holiness of life, and finally attainment of righteousness and salvation; accompanied with thanksgiving for hese mercies, which were formerly displayed on the cross, and through aith are daily received by us.

The signs and the things signified are not separated, but distinct

IX. Wherefore, though we rightly make a distinction between the signs and the things signified, yet we do not separate the verity from the signs; but we believe, that all who by faith embrace the promises therein offered, do spiritually receive Christ and His spiritual gifts, and so also they who have before been made partakers of Christ, do continue and renew their communion.

In the Sacraments the promise is chiefly to be kept in view

X. For not to the bare signs, but rather to the promise which is annexed to them, it becomes us to look. As far then as our faith advances in the promise offered in the Sacraments, so for will this power and efficacy of which we speak exert itself. Accordingly the matter materia) of the water, bread or wine, by no means present Christ to us, nor makes us partakers of His spiritual gifts; but we must look rather to the promise, whose office it is to lead us to Christ by the right way of faith, and this faith makes us partakers of Christ.

The Elements are not to be superstitiously worshipped

XI. Hence the error of those who superstitiously worship (obstupescunt) the elements, and rest therein the assurance of their salvation, falls to the ground. For the Sacraments apart from Christ are nothing but empty masks; and they themselves dearly declare to all this truth, that we must cling to nothing else but Christ alone, and in nothing else must the free gift of salvation be sought.

The Sacraments (per se) have no efficacy

XII. Furthermore, if any benefit is conferred upon us by the Sacraments, this does not proceed from any virtue of their own, even though the promise whereby they are distinguished be included. For it is God alone who works by His Spirit. And in using the instrumentality of the Sacraments, He thereby neither infuses into them His own power, nor abates in the least the efficiency of His Spirit; but in accordance with the capacity of our ignorance (ruditas) He uses them as instruments in such a way that the whole efficiency (facultas agendi) remains solely with Himself.

God uses the instrument but in such a way that all the power (virtus) is His

XIII. Therefore, as Paul advises us that “neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase” 1 Cor. 3:7); so also it may be said of the Sacraments, that they are nothing, for they will be of no avail except God work the whole to completion (in solidum omnia efficiat). They are indeed instruments with which God works efficiently, when it pleases Him, but in such a manner that the whole work of our salvation must be credited solely to Him.XIV. We have therefore decided that it is solely Christ who verily baptizes us within, who makes us partakers of Him in the Supper, who, in fine, fulfils what the Sacraments symbolize, and so uses indeed, then instruments, that the whole efficiency resides in His Spirit.

How the Sacraments confirm

XV. So the Sacraments are sometimes called seals, are said to nourish, confirm, and promote faith; and yet the Spirit alone is properly the seal, and the same Spirit is the originator and perfecter of our faith. For all these attributes of the Sacraments occupy a subordinate place, so that not even the least portion of the work of our salvation is transferred from its sole author to either the creature or the elements.

Not all who participate in the Sacraments partake also of the verily

XVI. Moreover, we sedulously teach that God does not exert His power promiscuously in all who receive the Sacraments, but only in the elect. For just as he enlightens unto faith none but those whom He has foreordained unto life, so by the hidden power of His spirit. He causes only the elect to receive what the Sacraments offer.

The Sacraments do not confer grace

XVII. This doctrine refutes that invention of sophists which teaches that the Sacraments of the New Covenant confer grace on all who do not interpose the impediment of a mortal sin. For besides the truth that nothing is received in the Sacraments except by faith, it is also to be held that God’s grace is not in the least so linked to the Sacraments themselves that whoever has the sign possesses also the reality (res); for the signs are administered to the reprobate as well as to the elect, but the verity of the signs comes only to the latter.

God’s gifts are offered to all; believers alone receive them

XVIII. It is indeed certain that Christ and His gifts (dona) are offered to all alike, and that the verity of God is not so impaired by the unbelief of men that the Sacraments do not always retain their proper virtue (viz); but all persons are not capable of receiving Christ and His gifts (dona). Therefore on God’s part there is no variableness, but on the part of men each one receives according to the measure of his faith.

Believers have communion with Christ, before and without the use of the Sacraments

XIX. Moreover, as the use of the Sacraments confers on unbelievers nothing more than if they had abstained therefrom, indeed, is only pernicious to them; so without their use the verity which they symbolise endures to those who believe. Thus in Baptism were washed away Paul’s sins, which had already been washed away before. Thus also Baptism was to Cornelius the washing of regeneration, and yet he had already received the gift of the Holy Spirit. So in the Supper Christ communicates himself to us, and yet He imparted himself to us before, and abides continually in us forever. For since each one is commanded to examine himself, it hence follows that faith is required of each before he comes to the Sacraments. And yet there is no faith without Christ; but in so far as in the Sacraments faith is confirmed and grows, God’s gifts are confirmed in us, and so in a measure Christ grows in us and we in Him.

Grace is not so joined to the act of the Sacraments, that their fruit is received immediately after the act

XX. The benefit also which we derive from the Sacraments should by no means be restricted to the time in which they are administered to us; just as if the visible sign when brought forward into view, did at the same moment with itself bring God’s grace. For those who are baptized in early infancy, God regenerates in boyhood, in budding youth, and sometimes even in old age. So the benefit of Baptism lies open to the whole course of life; for the promise which it contains is perpetually valid. It may, also, sometimes happen, that a partaking of the Supper, which in the act itself brought us little good because of our inconsiderateness or dullness, afterward brings forth its fruit.

Local imagination should be suppressed

XXI. Especially should every conception of local (bodily) presence be suppressed. For while the signs are here in the world seen by the eyes, and felt by the hands, Christ, in so far as He is man, we must contemplate as in no other place but heaven, and seek Him in no other way than with the mind and faith’s understanding. Wherefore it is a preposterous and impious superstition to enclose Him under elements of this world.

Exposition of the words of the Lord’s Supper, “This is my body.”

XXII. We therefore repudiate as absurd interpreters, those who urge the precise literal sense, as they say, of the customary words in the Supper, “This is my body,” “This is my blood.” For we place it beyond all controversy that these words are to be understood figuratively, so that the bread and the wine are said to be that which they signify. And verily it ought not to seem novel or unusual that the name of the thing signified be transferred by metonomy to the sign, for expressions of this land are scattered throughout the Scriptures; and saying this we assert nothing that does not plainly appear in all the oldest and most approved writers of the Church.

Concerning the eating of the body of Christ

XXIII. Moreover, that Christ, through faith by the power of His Holy Spirit, feeds our souls with the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood, is not to be understood as if any commingling or transfusion of substance occurred, but as meaning that from flesh once offered in sacrifice and blood once poured out in expiation we derive life.

Against Transubstantiation and other silly conceits

XXIV. In this way not only is the invention of Papists about transubstantiation refuted, but also all the gross fictions and futile subtleties which are either derogatory to His divine glory or inconsistent with the verity of His human nature. For we consider it no less absurd to locate Christ under the bread, or conjoin Him with the bread, than to transubstantiate the bread into His body.

Christ’s body is in heaven as in a place

XXV. But in order that no ambiguity may remain, when we say that Christ should be contemplated as in heaven, the phrase implies and expresses a difference of place (a distance between places). For though, philosophically speaking, “above the heavens” is not a locality, yet because the body of Christ—as the nature and the limitation of the human body show—is finite, and is contained in heaven as in a place, it is therefore necessarily separated from us by as great an interval as lies between heaven and earth.

Christ is not to be worshipped in the bread

XXVI. But if it is not right for us in imagination to affix Christ to the bread and wine, much less is it lawful to worship Him in the bread. For though the bread is presented to us as a symbol and pledge of our communion with Christ, yet because it is the sign, not the reality, neither has the reality enclosed in it or affixed to it, they therefore who bend their minds upon it to worship Christ, make it an idol.