So, I’m sitting at the DMV in Union County, NJ, several years ago. And, as much as I could complain about the DMV, the one in Union County was always good to me. Nevertheless, I always brought a book just in case they got backed up. I don’t remember what book I was reading, but it was something “Christian.” A guy sits down next to me and asks what I’m reading. When a stranger asks a Christian reading a Christian book what he is reading, it is like a hungry fat man being asked if he’d like a piece of pie. Something beautiful is about to happen.
I told him and determined that this was my chance to tell this man about Jesus, which I love to do. However, this guy had another plan. He was the evangelist! He asked about my faith enough to discern that I was one of those “born-agin’ types.” Then he invited me to hear the glories of the Roman church. I politely let him know that I respected his zeal, since I myself was once part of the Roman church, but was no longer. I thought that would slow him down. Not a chance. He drilled in deeper.
“Do you know why I came back to the Roman Catholic Church?” he asked. “No,” I replied (but you are going to tell me, aren’t you?). “It was because of the Eucharist. It is there that I truly commune with Jesus.” For those not initiated in Catholic tradition, the Eucharist comes form the Greek word for grace. It would translate, loosely, the gift, or the gracious gift, thankfully received. That is what Catholic’s call “the Lord’s Supper.”
Being as tactful as I am, I said, “Thanks, but I don’t do wafer worship.” He kept his powder dry and said, “It isn’t wafer worship, it is…..blah, blah, ….whatever.” I prayed, “Please have the DMV call one of us away.” The discussion ended politely when one of us had to go. He recommended a book to me that I still have not read (“Rome Sweet Home” or something like that –crazy, in the Bible, Rome represents the evil Empire and Jerusalem the good city….but that’s neither here nor there).
The Catholic church taught me that when I took communion I was consuming the actual body of Christ (we rarely got the body and the blood, wine was only for sometimes). This was a sacrament. In other words, “grace” came through taking it. By taking the Eucharist, or the Communion, I was receiving Christ regularly, and regularly receiving grace and forgiveness. In fact, I was sinning when I missed Mass (Catholic for “church service”), because I was neglecting the Lord’s body.
The Catholic conception of the Eucharist is a blasphemous abomination, and it is wafer worship. Why do I say that? The liturgical Mass portrays an altar, where Christ’s crucifixion is reenacted. But this is not merely symbolic. The Priest has the power to transform, through the Mass, the bread and wine into the body of Christ. God forbids this. In Hebrews, we see that Christ was crucified once, for all. It is blasphemous to suggest that this is an on going event (See Hebrews for more, esp 6:6).
Next, Jesus is clear that what goes into the mouth does not make a man unclean because it passes out of the body. The principal cuts the other way too. Nothing going in the mouth makes a person holy. “All who believe” are saved. We are saved by “grace through faith,” not “grace through the blessed wafer.”
Yes, we do “eat” Jesus, but this is by faith, not body. None of the Apostles ever took a bite of the Savior in order to gain forgiveness. Paul teaches extensively on the nature of salvation, as does Peter and James, and the author of Hebrews, and John. Not one of them say that it is the duty of the leaders of the church to change bread into a body, nor to gain forgiveness through the eating of bread. In fact, Paul said to teachers who taught that Christians needed to be circumcised to be saved that they “ought to mutilate themselves.” To the popes who say that we must eat bread in order to be saved, I say, “May they eat their own hands!”
The closest the Bible comes to the idea that Jesus was to be bodily consumed is references in John 6 where Jesus says that to be saved you must, “Eat the flesh and drink the blood,” and that “My flesh is true food and my blood true drink.” But this is a reference to His actual physical body being the means of salvation for it would be His actual flesh that would die for them and His actual blood that would be spilled for them. True bread and drink, because forgiveness of sins comes from His real body. But Jesus, throughout John’s Gospel points to eating and drinking as receiving Him by faith. He told the woman at the well in John 4: “If you knew who it was who was talking to you, you’d ask Him for a drink of water.” She asked for that drink. He didn’t give her any water. But He did giver her the drink. “Come to Me all who are thirsty,” He said, but He didn’t give them water. Why not? He used physical thirst to refer to spiritual drink!
“I have bread you know not of,” He said in John 4 to His apostles. Again, comparing spiritual nourishment to physical bread. In fact, in John 6, the passage the popes point to in order to justify their abomination, Jesus settles that matter with these words:
John 6:35 “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
In this text “coming to” Jesus is made the equivalent of receiving bread and “believing” to taking a drink. To come to Jesus is eating for it takes away the hunger, and believing is drinking because it takes away the thirst.
To tell worshipers that they are getting spiritual gain from taking a blessed wafer is a sin. The Catholic church should repent of this sin, for they are giving false hope to many. The true believers among them are being derailed, living in chains when they should be free from such foolish traditions. To the many who are lost in their midst, they receive false comfort, believing that keeping the laws of men takes away their sins.
Wafer worship is an abomination, an invention of men, and not of Jesus, not of the Apostles. I could never return to the Roman Church for as long as they claim to crucify and quazi-cannibalize Jesus afresh every week. We are saved by grace, through faith in Jesus, whose body was true food of my spirit, for it was broken for me; Whose blood was true drink for my soul for “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.”
Note: I did not explain in this text why I value Communion as an active part of worship, which I do. As Jesus said, “This do in remembrance of Me.” And as Paul said, by communion, “We declare the Lord’s death until He returns.”
Note 2: I intend these posts to explain to people who might want to know: Why I am not a Catholic? I have no desire to entertain long debates with Catholics, change Catholics through these posts, nor insult Catholics. These are my true reasons, no more, no less. (And, yes, I know that many of the early fathers taught conceptions of the Eucharist that look very much like the Catholics. I have studied the Fathers. I also know that they are men, but the Bible is the standard, not the Patristic writings –after all Origin mutilated himself, and many of the patristic writings have some very strange doctrines! It’s the Bible for my money.)
Coming soon Part 3…