A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series December 29, 2013 - First Sunday after Christmas
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, Luke 2:22-40 for the First Sunday after Christmas, December 29, 2013.
It is from The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, Article VII: The Holy Supper.
Today we behold the same salvation of which Simeon sang. Like him, we too are given the body of Christ in the Holy Communion. Here we also see "the fall and rising of many." For wherever Christ comes in the flesh, the thoughts of hearts are truly revealed, that is, faith or disbelief.
STATUS OF THE CONTROVERSY: THE CHIEF CONTROVERSY BETWEEN OUR
STATUS OF THE CONTROVERSY: The Chief Controversy between Our Teaching and that of the Sacramentarians In This Article.
2] Some Sacramentarians strive to use words that come as close as possible to the Augsburg Confession and the form and way of speech in our churches. They confess that in the Holy Supper Christ's body is truly received by believers. Still, when we insist that they state their meaning precisely, sincerely, and clearly, they all say this in unison: Christ's true essential body and blood is absent from the consecrated bread and wine in the Holy Supper as far as the highest heaven is from the earth. For their own words state this: "We say that Christ's body and blood are as far from the signs as the earth is distant from the highest heaven." 3] Therefore, they understand this presence of Christ's body not as a presence here on earth, but only with respect to faith. In other words, our faith is reminded and excited by the visible signs, just as it is by the Word preached. It elevates itself and ascends above all heavens. It receives and enjoys Christ's body, which is present there in heaven. Yes, they say they receive Christ Himself, together with all His benefits, in a true and essential way, but nevertheless only in a spiritual way. For they hold that as the bread and wine are here on earth and not in heaven, so Christ's body is now in heaven and not on earth. So nothing else is received by the mouth in the Holy Supper than bread and wine. . . .
7] They understand the words of the Supper, "Eat; this is My body," not properly, as they read, according to the letter, but as expressions. So, eating Christ's body means nothing other than believing. Body means a symbol, that is, a sign or figure of Christ's body. The body is not in the Supper on earth, but only in heaven. The word is they interpret . . . in a symbolic way. . . . But they are use to cursing and condemning the following as horrible blasphemy: Christ's body is essentially present here on earth in the Supper, although invisibly and in a way beyond understanding. It is received orally, with the consecrated bread, even by hypocrites or those who only appear to be Christians.
112] With heart and mouth we reject and condemn as false, erroneous, and misleading all Sacramentarian opinions and teachings. These do not agree with, but contradict and oppose, the doctrine presented above, founded on God's Word:
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.
Lord grant you faith in His grace alone for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen