Full Text for Baptism and the Lord's Supper in the Life of the Church (Text)

Baptism and the Lord's Supper in the Life of the Church David P. Scaer I. The Sacraments Viewed from Different Perspectives A Reformed theologian and an articulate defender of infant baptism claims that "The Epistles do not say a great deal about baptism."1 This statement reflects the general Reformed opinion concerning the sacraments.2 Since they are given little attention in the Scriptures, they logically do not have a necessary or really significant part in the life of the church. Lutherans, of course, have an internal immunization against shelving the sacraments in their popular slogan "word and sacrament," a phrase so much a part of Lutheran theology that it enjoys a stellar ranking of the second magnitude, slightly below the three Bola's. In the Augsburg Confession the sacraments are given a prominent place. Specific attention is given baptism in Article IX and the Lord's Supper in Article X. The office of the ministry according to Article V was instituted so that justification can become operative through the sacraments as they are applied to Christians. In the first of truly unique Lutheran articles, Augustana II, on original sin, baptism is set forth as the remedy for man's depraved condition.3 Thus Lutheran theology cannot really proceed into the great issues of sin and grace without necessarily becoming involved in the sacraments. At least superficially it seems that theology in the Lutheran sense cannot exist without a clear and explicit sacramentology. This center of theological focus on the sacraments is reflected in the general Lutheran cultural consciousness. Whether the reason of sacramental prominence is understood in every case is another question. Generally Lutherans do not have to be convinced that their children should be baptized. They have some sense of receiving the Lord's Supper especially in times of crisis. They are comfortable with baptismal fonts, altars, candles - those ecclesiastical adornments which suggest the presence of God in Jesus Christ in their worship life.4 But in spite of a general favorable disposition to a sacramentalized worship life, perhaps Lutherans are not as clear in their sacramentology as are the Reformed or Roman Catholics. Lutherans at times suffer a discrepancy between what they preach and what they practice. Lutheran theology seems to be more "sacramentalized" than Lutheran church life. While Lutheran theologians are obligated Concordia Theological Quarterly 45 (January-April 1981) no. 1:37-59. ©1981 Concordia Theological Seminary 38 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY to a sacramentalized theology through such a phrase as "word and sacrament," Lutheran worship practices suggest that the word, i.e., the preached and taught word, is the overarching center of attention. Perhaps it is too glib to observe that in theology Lutherans are closer to Roman Catholicism, while in actual practice Lutherans frequently resemble the Reformed.5 Caught between Roman Catholicism and the Reformed, the Lutherans seem to have been caught in a sacramental identity crisis from the time of the Reformation until now. The Reformed are not really tempted to "sin sacramentally." Their church life can exist without the sacraments and even prosper.6 The sacraments are desacramentalized into ritualistic ordinances, relics from the Old Testament transformed by New Testament language.7 As ritualistic laws they benefit the welfare of the community, but not as God's actual working in grace directly in the life of the believer. At best they are regarded as visible proofs of God's working somewhere in the community without direct specific divine commitment to the individual.8 At worst they are treated as virtually unnecessary additions to the Decalogue.9 The Reformed are capable of sacramental debate among themselves, but inevitably the conclusion accepts all sides of the debates as acceptable.10 Thus in the matter of infant baptism, proponents and opponents have really no difficulty in tolerating both views.11 Similarly the Reformed are quite willing to tolerate Lutheran views as long as there can be some sort of mutual détente. Tolerance for a variety of sacramental views are possible for the Reformed, since the sacraments do not belong to the heart of their theology and thus have no real essential place in their church life. Roman Catholicism takes the extreme opposite position from the Reformed. If for the Reformed church life is independent of any sacramental action, for Roman Catholicism the life of the church is subordinated to the sacramental actions.12 The personal spiritual life of the believer is subordinated to the variety of sacramental actions. To maintain the sacramental action the priesthood has been established. If the Reformed can meet God's demands for salvation without the sacraments, Roman Catholics can meet God's demands without the preaching of the word. Here, of course, we must be hesitant in our critique since there are sacramental revivals among the Reformed just as there are preaching renaissances among Roman Catholics.13 Nevertheless, in Roman Catholic theology the central action concentrates in the sacraments with preaching serving as preparatory prelude. Baptism and the Lord's Supper 39 The differences on the centers of concentration between Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism can be seen in how each opposes women's ordination. Roman Catholic objection is chiefly focused on the prohibition to engage in the sacrificial action of the mass but not necessarily in the sacramental action (as women now serve as extraordinary ministers of the eucharist) or in the preaching activity (as women have served as readers of the Scripture lessons).14 Confessional Lutheranism sees no possibility of women either as dispensers of the Sacrament or as preachers. The latter is just as, if not more, repulsive than the former.15 Lutheranism, certainly not through design, finds itself in its sacramental theology and practice wedged in between Calvinism and Roman Catholicism. Not that Lutheran theology has attempted to find the golden middle, but through its commitment to the Holy Scriptures and its understanding of tradition it has arrived at this position. The Lutheran position is so situated that any movement from its native moorings means slipping into either the Reformed or Roman Catholic attitudes toward the sacraments. If the sacraments are seen as unnecessary so far as the working of God's grace is concerned, the desacramentalized theology of the Reformed has been introduced. If the impression is given that the sacramental actions are really the only necessary constituent factors of the church's existence, then Lutheran theology has adopted a Roman Catholic posture. Lutheranism's position of the logical and theological middle between the Reformed and Roman Catholic positions has been verified by over four hundred and fifty years of Lutheran history. The threat of union with the Reformed has plagued the Lutherans since Philipp of Hesse's attempt to reconcile Luther to Zwingli's position at Marburg. This threat can be traced through Brandenberg, Prussia, Arnoldshain, and now Leuenberg. The interiors of Augsburg and Leipzig have suggested that Lutherans under certain circumstances could accommodate Roman Catholic thinking in their theology. While Lutheran sacramental theology has been historically endangered by both the Reformed and the Roman Catholic thought, neither has been seriously bothered by Lutheran sacramental thought. Both are willing to be more tolerant of Lutheranism than Lutheranism could ever be of them. Though the Reformed and Roman Catholic positions stand on either side of the Lutheran positions, both have in common what is called here a "sacramental isolation." In Reformed theology the 40 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY sacraments are isolated as ordinances which do not belong to the necessary forming of the church, because they are viewed more from the perspective of Law than of Gospel. In Roman Catholic theology the sacraments are isolated as cultic rituals dispensed by the divinely established institutional church. The sacramental action as ritual is isolated from the preached and inscripturated word as the actual conveyer of salvation among the lives of believers. Thus the absence of the appropriate sacrament is handled differently in Roman Catholicism than in Lutheran theology. In Roman Catholic theology, the absence of the necessary sacrament is resolved by intent; for Lutherans, who see sacraments as forms of the word, the problem of sacramental absence is less severe. From the Lutheran perspective baptism and the Lord's Supper are not isolated as ordinances or rituals from the life of the church; but to employ another famous Lutheran phrase, these sacraments exist "in, with, and under" the church's life. The sacramental action and efficacy permeate every corner of the church's life, as the sacraments are the actual working of Christ for salvation in the church. II. In Baptism God Establishes and Remains in His Church In the first instance, the sacraments are to be viewed not as cultic acts of the community through which the community maintains itself16 and thus satisfies the will or another commandment of God,17 but they are to be viewed, first of all, as God's gracious presence and action in Jesus Christ in the worshipping congregation. The Holy Spirit creates and sustains the church's life. The Spirit accomplishes this, not as an autonomous force or merely as the presence of God in the world in some sort of modalistic sense, but as Christ's Spirit adorned in the earthly forms of the sacraments. As baptism by the water and by the Spirit are not two actions but one, so the birth of the church through water and the Spirit is also only one divine action.18 Since the church is created by baptism, her only foundation is and remains baptism. Thus John the Baptist, Jesus, and St. Paul all view the community of believers as drawn together through baptism.19 The Matthean commission sees as one command the establishment of the church and the authorization of baptism.20 The One who establishes His church through baptism is the One who gave His life as a ransom for many21 and who has now risen from the dead. Baptism attaches future generations to the benefits of death Baptism and the Lord's Supper 41 and resurrection, a thought which later Paul would develop further. Thus the institution of the church and of baptism constitute one act. Stated negatively, without baptism the church is not established and without the church there can be no baptismal activity. Baptism does not play this role among the Reformed, as the Spirit does not establish the church through baptism itself, even though baptism may be a sign-post of the Spirit's activity.22 Equally unacceptable is any view that isolates baptism as an ecclesiastical rite with autonomous power and authority separated from the Spirit's action in the word of the Gospel.23 Wherever the Spirit is establishing the church, He does it through baptism. The church, when she becomes conscious of her creation by the risen Lord, sees this action as having taken place through baptism. Even for Jesus the possibility did not exist that the church could be extended without baptism. Believers are received into His kingdom but through water. The pericope of Nicodemus is informative for our purposes. Jesus, the Head and Bringer of God's kingdom is personally present; nevertheless the Jewish leader must be born of water and the Spirit to share in the kingdom's benefits. Even with Jesus present there can be no detour around baptism's water.24 The presence of Jesus in His church has always been maintained through baptism. Spatially and temporally Christians are removed by miles and years, continents and millennia, from the Galilean mountain where Jesus gave His promise to be with His church forever. Through baptism the words of Jesus, "Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world," continue to function as effective promise. In carrying out the command to baptize the servants of the exalted Lord remain as close to Him today as the original Eleven who first received His command and promise. Through baptism the exalted Lord maintains His incarnate presence among us.25 The presence of the Lord in Baptism cannot be identified with the sacramental presence of the Supper, but the similarity cannot be avoided.26 The One who commands us to commemorate His death by eating the sacrificial elements of the body and the blood is the same One who promises His church that He will be present with them in carrying out the baptismal command. If the Supper is the sacrament of sustenance and perseverance in the faith, then baptism is the frontier or inaugural sacrament. Those enslaved to Satan pass through baptism in order to become free in Christ. The ancient baptismal liturgies with their abjurations and denuncia- 42 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY tions of Satan depicted the theological reality of sinner turning saint in a way in which the contemporary Protestant liturgies with their concentration on parents simply cannot match.27 Concentration on family obligations during the rite of baptism is the old business of the Reformed covenant theology now appearing in the guise of a modern family session with pious religious overtones. Baptism as the sacrament of passage and transmission should maintain as many of the ancient ceremonies as possible within an evangelical setting. The special white baptismal shroud signifies the Christian's new existence given him in baptism. Such symbolism is not without meaning in the modern era. Still vivid are photographs of Viet Cong soldiers being released to the north, tossing off all the clothing given them by their captors. Everything associated with the old life has no use in the new existence. For the old existence there must be healthy contempt. Baptism maintains its efficacy throughout life simply because the Christian continues to stand at the frontier and in real danger of slipping back into the Satanic dominion. Regardless of what may be considered progress in the Christian life, the believer always stands at the beginning of His sojourn and thus is always in need of what his baptism has given. At the frontier between God's and Satan's kingdom, he again and again renounces Satan, confesses faith in the Triune God, and receives everything which baptism offers. Baptism is performed once, but its effect is daily applied. Those who do not have a life-encompassing concept of baptism suffer as much from a defective anthropology as they do from a defective sacramentology. Both Reformed and Roman Catholic theologies suffer from a defective anthropology and doctrine of justification - defects which are reflected in their understanding of the role of baptism in the Christian's life.28 In Roman Catholic theology baptism ushers the believer into the Christian life and almost abandons him. He is abandoned by the grace of baptism to the works of penance. Baptism becomes one chance in his life. If it is lost, human effort must replace divine accomplishment. In Reformed theology, baptism may signify that the believer has crossed the frontier but the really firm evidence of his regeneration is progressive and constant sanctification clearly identifiable in the life of the believer. Such a use of one's progress in sanctification robs baptism of any necessary function. Roman Catholic theology presupposes that after baptism the believer will live without sin through his own efforts. Reformed theology does not recognize the necessary dependence of the sanctified life on baptism. Lutheran theology Baptism and the Lord's Supper 43 sees the baptized as simul iustus et peccator, thus always in need of baptism and never abandoned to his own devices. Baptism corresponds to justification. One is a one-time ritual and the other a one-time divine act; but both are continually effective in the life of the Christian who as sinner must be reassured of God's acceptance of him.29 The continued effective force of baptism becomes visible and audible in the assembly of the worshipping Christian congregation. The believers assemble as the baptized, and the rite of baptism is repeated and reflected in the church's liturgy. The triune invocation derives its authority from the One who instituted baptism, and again the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost becomes the possession of the baptized. Sins are confessed as a repetition of the denouncing of Satan's kingdom and are forgiven again in the name of the Triune God to whom the believer belongs by baptism. The faith's requirements are repeated in the credal recitation. True worship of the church is the commemoration of baptism. As baptism is the frontier sacrament, it is most appropriately made available for infants and other children, who are at life's threshold. Baptism as the birth into new life finds its parallel in actual birth, i.e., a birth into sin, even if the parallel is obviously negative.30 Denial of infant baptism also gives evidence of either a defective theology or a weak anthropology. Those who hold a severe doctrine of original sin and see no possibility of infant salvation through baptism and faith suffer from a Manichean theology with children consigned to a divine evil disposition. Baptists with a Calvinistic orientation belong here. Those who see no need for regenerating grace in children are Pelagian in their anthropology. The Lutheran Confessions see this as the position of the Anabaptists and condemn it.31 Even those Reformed who do practice infant baptism cannot overcome a certain inconsistency between this practice and their theology. Baptism itself cannot attest to either divine election or personal salvation of the baptized child as these are demonstrated by certain later marks of sanctification or the privilege of birth within the Christian community.32 The act of baptism reflects not so much God's grace and election, but rather the faith decision of the believer. Baptism loses its significance as a divine act and becomes a human work. Thus baptism is best administered to a self-conscious adult who has made a faith decision for himself. It is correctly noted that for Lutherans infant baptism is the proper form, to which adults are admitted; for the Reformed the reverse is true. The exception is made for children. The denial of infant 44 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY baptism in every case not only shows a defective sacramentology; more important it shows a defect in either theology or anthropology. Even among some Reformed who practice infant baptism, defective theology and anthropology exist. Since Baptism is the frontier sacrament, sin in the life of the Christian requires a return to this sacrament daily. Each falling away requires a recleansing through baptism. Nicodemus must be born again. The disciples though baptized by John continually must again become like children to enter the kingdom. Each day the old Adam must be drowned and the new man, standing on the threshold of God's kingdom, must desire the sincere milk of the word.33 The cantankerous old sinner must be daily transformed into a child who only wants God as his Father. III. Baptism and Faith Baptism is never the coordinate of faith in the sense that God has established two sine qua non's for salvation. Asking which is more important than the other fails to recognize that the nature of each is qualitatively different. The question of their necessity should not suggest that baptism and faith have become, in fact, the eleventh and twelfth commandments, now viewed as mandated requirements for salvation. Faith should rather be viewed as a recreation of that attitude in man in which he was originally created. In that original state man waited for and clung to every word spoken by God. Baptism is God's act in recreating the fallen creature so that he is again shaped back into the form in which the first man was created. Faith is a reinstitution of the original state of righteousness within men. For this reason the confession of sins is not a part of baptismal faith itself, but is the necessary prerequisite for it. Baptism is pure grace, as it is the act of God alone. It is the embodiment of sola gratia. The baptismal state of pure grace is perfectly complemented by a faith which puts its total trust in the One present in baptism. Baptism as God's act alone happens only once, but faith as baptism's required, necessary, and natural response is nothing else but the entire Christian life now returned by God's grace to the original state of righteousness. This solves the apparent tension between the non-repeatability of baptism and its enduring and daily significance, a dilemma solved differently by some Protestants and Roman Catholics.34 Among the former, baptism as a human work can be repeated to demonstrate what it signifies. Among the Roman Catholics baptism is a divine work, administered once, but its significance is nonrepeatable. The response of faith is not necessary for the for- Baptism and the Lord's Supper 45 giveness of sins and is not necessary to the baptism itself. For Lutherans baptism's meaning, reality, and power are not exhausted by the moment and the rite of baptism. The moment of the baptism does not exhaust its meaning. Baptism is not only the immersion of the body but also the immersion of the total life, from birth to death, in baptism. Here baptism gives us the clue to the entire Lutheran understanding of the sacramental effect in church life. Living for Christ means living sacramentally. Commitment to the sacraments is nothing else than commitment to Christ. Without the sacraments or sacramental living, the presence of Christ in the church must be detrimentally affected. Faith in Christ means finding Him in the sacraments. In baptism sola gratia is perfected by sola fide. Luther's suggestion that crucifix and baptismal certificate be placed over the Christian's bed did not mean that atonement and baptism were two parallel acts with both contributing to salvation. Rather the crucifix and baptismal certificate suggest that the timeless benefits of the historical death of Jesus are incorporated in baptism so that its water does, in fact, become the building block for the new creation. Baptism preserves the theological implications of the crucifixion and thus transcends time. Baptism as initiation or frontier sacrament does not impose intellectual and theological demands and thus children remain the prime candidates for its reception. Open to debate is the ancient church practice requiring lengthy instruction for adult catechumens before being baptized. The Words of Jesus are quite clear in placing the learning of the didache after and not before baptism. Baptism presupposes confession of sins and includes the proclamation of kerygma.35 But does the proclamation of kerygma really include the didache, especially when the didache is clearly placed after baptism in Jesus's command? If baptism is the initiation sacrament standing at the frontier of Christian life, it is also the sacrament of the goal and thus embraces the totality of Christian and church life. Everything offered by Christ is found here. Baptism is the perfect parallel to justification which is perfectly complete from the divine perspective but a constantly new reality in Christian life. The baptized infant and the elderly adult lack nothing. An all-comprehensive concept of baptism does not, to be sure, negate the amplification of baptism in the didache, but requires it. Intolerable, however, are the suggestions that baptism is incomplete and necessarily needs preaching and other sacramental action for efficacy and validity. But such is, indeed, the position of the Reformed and 46 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Roman Catholic communions. Where the Reformed practice infant baptism, it is the beginning of a process. Roman Catholics hold a similar position but find the lack filled up by other sacramental actions. Historically even Lutherans have incorporated both kinds of thinking into their baptismal theology.3ó The Lutheran cliche, "word and sacrament," could falsely give the impression that baptism as a rite needs the corrective or complementary activity of preaching and faith. But baptism is the all-encompassing sacrament. Preaching should not be viewed as a separate function but rather it re-presents to the believer that same Christ in whose death and life he shared through baptism. Preaching directs unbelievers to baptism to find Christ and believers back to baptism to reestablish their faith in Him. The organic unity between baptism and preaching must be preserved. In a similar sense commitment to Christ in baptism is also a commitment to theology as didache, not in the sense of new revelation or of some type of evolutionistic growth of church doctrine, but in the sense that all of church theology is the amplification of kerygma which is the foundation and the core of baptism. Hence theology can never be a mere collection of isolated theological truisms or dogmatisms, each existing with its own autonomous truth value; but theology is the natural and expected development of what is contained in baptism. All theology must in some way conform to the Gospel presuppositions of baptism; with such a view contradictory theologies are impossible and cannot be tolerated as an expression of denominational traditions. New Testament scholars in the modern era have attempted to identify the basic kerygma. A few elements identified are these: Jesus is Messiah or Son of God; He died for sins; He rose; and He will return.37 Without debating the precise lines of the kerygma these basic ingredients of baptism must be amplified in each aspect of theology. Theological error is, in effect, a denial in some sense or another of the basic kerygma attached to baptism. Without this kind of view, theology is little more than an intellectual exercise in truisms. Maintaining true orthodoxy would be at best an indication of loyalty to God. Where theology is viewed as the necessary understanding required by baptism, then theology is always a return to baptism and hence to Christ who is present for His church in baptism. The Lord who commands baptism is also the Lord who gave His church the didache. This didache is preserved in the New Testament. The command to baptize is part of the didache itself. The ones who are committed to the teachings of Jesus are the very ones who are obligated to baptize and they are required to understand what Baptism and the Lord's Supper 47 constitutes it. Just as there can be no dichotomy between the word and the sacrament, the kerygma and baptism, so there is no tension between baptism and Holy Scripture. The author and the content of both are the same. Thus the Christian assembly in its worship not only repeats the contents of baptism through confession of sins, Trinitarian invocation, and apostolic credal confession, but in listening to the Gospel also fulfills its baptismal commitment. The reading of the Gospel is the amplification of the essence of baptism within the life of the church. IV. The Lord's Supper as Sacrifice and Sacrament Baptism is the all-embracing sacrament; and by committing the believer to Christ, it also therefore commits him to observe the didache and thus to receive His Supper. The Lord's Supper is a more penetrating sacrament in that it directs the focus of the baptized to the atonement. It is more Calvinistic than Lutheran to work from a general concept of sacraments to Baptism and the Lord's Supper specifically. What is said of baptism should not simply be transported over to the Lord's Supper. Whereas baptism places the believer in Christ, the Supper makes Christ part of the believer. The actions of each are reversed. The Christ incorporated in the believer through the Supper is specifically Christ in His atonement. Strictly speaking, the Supper is the commemoration of His death and not His life, resurrection, or return. Ernst Sommerlath, who first approved and then withdrew his approval of the Arnoldshain Theses, made a significant observation in noting that the document spoke of the exalted Lord rather than the historical Jesus as having instituted the Supper. He pointed out that St. Paul had said that it was on the night of betrayal that Christ instituted the sacrament.38 The issue raised by Sommerlath was essential. First of all, it pointed to the necessity of upholding the historical character and content of the Gospel accounts, especially against the Bultmannian understanding that placed the institution of the sacraments within the worshipping congregation and not with Jesus Himself.39 This, of course, is not to deny the influence of the early church on the form made final in the New Testament. However, maintaining the historical character of institution of the Supper is not the only matter at issue. For if maintaining the historical quality of the Supper's institution were really the only point, then the Reformed limitation in seeing the Supper only as a memorial or perpetuation of the first historical Supper would be the correct view.40 48 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY There is more at stake in the Supper than commemorating one calendar date in the life of Jesus to the exclusion of other dates. When only the historical significance of the Supper is commemorated, then only an annual celebration would be appropriate.41 The second and equally important factor in the sacrament beyond and behind the historical institution of the Supper is the atonement, which is the fountain of its saving effects. Here a distinction is being made between the death of the historical Jesus and the act of atonement without in any way separating them.42 The attention of focus in the Lord's Supper is neither the commemoration of the original Supper nor merely the death of Christ as historical event, but the atonement as sacrifice of Christ to God for the sins of the world. At this point the place of the mass as sacrifice in Roman Catholic theology must be mentioned. The charge of Arianism against the German theologian Hans Kung was necessary from a Roman Catholic point of view. Had his teaching been permitted to stand, the concept of the mass as the unbloody sacrifice of God would have been destroyed and the cultic life of that church would have been rendered ineffective. Without in any way acquiescing in the Roman view that the Supper is first sacrifice and then sacrament, the force and efficacy of the Lord's Supper derive ultimately from Christ's sacrifice as atonement and not the sacramental ritual itself. The Lord's Supper is the other side of the coin from Christ's sacrifice to the Father. While the death of Jesus must from an historical perspective be viewed as a one-time calendar-day occurrence, His death as sacrificial atonement appears before God as a constant and eternal reality.43 What men view as historic crucifixion, God views as everlasting sacrificial atonement. What God views as eternal sacrifice, the church receives as sacrament. Sacrifice and sacrament describe the same "thing" but from different perspectives. Crucifixion and atonement are not two different events, but one event viewed from two different perspectives, human and divine. The Lord's Supper is the presentation of the sacrificial atonement among Christians at worship.44 Three things point to this view. First, the Supper is placed by the Synoptic Evangelists within the context of the Lord's suffering.45 Secondly, St. Paul is careful to situate the Supper on the night of betrayal.46 Thirdly, the words of institution themselves involve sacrificial language and may be considered as Jesus' own explanation of the significance of His death.47 Baptism and the Lord's Supper 49 Apart from the sacrament, several ways to commemorate historically the Lord's death still are being attempted. Crucifixes are reminders of the historical event itself, but without additional explanation do not explain the atonement. The same can be said for the stations of the cross. The medieval passion play remains surprisingly popular not only among Roman Catholics, but also among Protestants on both sides of the ocean. The passion play is comparable to the traditional Roman view of the Mass. Whereas the passion play reenacts the historical events, the Mass, according to a traditional understanding, reenacts the sacrifice. All these remembrances attempt in some way to make the past event contemporary to faith through symbol and reenactment. Christ died once, but He also died for all men, in all places, and in all times. From this tension of historical uniqueness and the desire for contemporaneousness have come the attempts of "representation." In the Lord's Supper the tension between the crucifixion as atonement and the necessary constant appreciation of that death are resolved. From the perspective of God, the atonement of Christ is eternal, even though it is anchored in a specific history. His crucifixion is historical, limited to time and place; but His atonement is cosmic in that it is performed equally for all and extra-cosmic because it is an act occurring between Christ and God alone. As crucifixion happens historically, atonement is made to God eternally. As atonement happens eternally, the church is continually fed eternally by the Supper of the Lord. The Lord's Supper makes the atonement manifest and contemporary for faith. The sacrificial atonement occurring in, but not limited to, time and space appears in the church not as a one-time commemorative meal but as sacrament limitless within time and space.48 Within this context the "Sacrament of the Altar" is perhaps its best description. The altar is not only sacramental in that from this place the worshipping congregation is fed, but the altar is also sacrificial in that from it Christ's atonement presents itself to the Father. For the altar on which the atonement presents itself to God is the same altar from which the sacrifice now as sacrament is offered to the people. The Supper is the presence of the atoning sacrifice within the congregation. The eternal sacrifice and the temporal sacrament are but two sides of the same act. In this sense, the Supper is both sacrifice and sacrament. The double significance of the Supper as sacrifice and sacrament is suggested by the accounts of Matthew and Mark, on one hand, and Luke and Paul, on the other. Matthew and 50 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Mark see the institution of the Supper primarily as a conclusion to the sacrifice for sin as required by the Old Testament. The use of the terms "body" and "blood" signify that death as sacrifice is already accomplished. Reference to the blood as concluding the terms of the covenant emphasizes the idea of sacrifice even more. The old covenant, which cried for satisfaction by blood, has been satisfied by the blood of Christ. Now in the Supper Christ's blood is presented to God's people as evidence and proof that the former covenant can make no claims upon them.49 The Lucan and Pauline accounts stress the Supper as the sacrament which is the new covenant. Since the terms of the old covenant have been satisfied, God is able to establish a new relationship with man commemorated in the sacramental celebration. The sacrificial blood of the Supper becomes evidence for faith in the sacrament.50 Since the Reformed do not see the necessary connection between the atonement for sins and the Supper, there can be no understanding of the sacrificial and sacramental dimensions of the Supper.51 Roman Catholic theology places a high sacramental value on the Supper simply because it has a high sacrificial view of the Supper.52 However, contrary to Roman thought, Christ is the offerer of the sacrifice within the dimension of eternity, and not the priest or the church within the human context. The adversary relationship with the Reformed has forced Lutheran thought to concentrate on the nature of the Real Presence as the center of the sacrament.53 Luther's Small Catechism endorses this understanding and sees the forgiveness of sins as next in importance. But the relationship of the presence of Christ to the forgiveness of sins is not really explained, except maybe to the extent that Christ's gracious presence logically implies forgiveness.54 The discussion of the Real Presence immediately involves Lutherans and Reformed disputants in the philosophical possibilities of the finitum non capax infiniti, with final discussion centering in different understandings of incarnation. This discussion is vital to sacramental and incarnational theology, and the Lutherans cannot give up their historic position; nevertheless, the discussion on the nature of the Real Presence should not prevent us from recognizing the presence of Christ in the Supper not only as a sacramental, but also as a sacrificial presence.55 He is not present as the "whole Christ," or as "Christ with body and soul" or as "Christ by the power of the Spirit."56 He is present with His body and blood, those evidences indicating that His sacrifice is for us accomplished but for God present and continued reality. The distinction between the body Baptism and the Lord's Supper 51 and blood means that life has ceased, death has occurred, and the sacrifice has been offered to the Father. Today we call the element of bread the host, i.e., the victim of sacrifice.57 The blood of the sacrament is poured out as sacrificial blood. The sacramental elements of body and blood need no further blessing from an omnipotent God. The elements are present in the sacrament not as a demonstration of God's omnipotence, but as the presence of the eternal sacrifice of Christ within the context of the worshipping congregation. The appropriation of the forgiveness of sins does not depend on the form in which it comes, but the word, baptism, and the Supper must be distinguished in regard to form. The word proclaims what God has done in Christ. Baptism involves the baptized in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The Supper presents to the believer the actual sacrifice, i.e., Christ's body and blood. Here is more than simply another form of the word of God, since the sacrament conveys to Christians the actual elements sacrificed to God. The traditional liturgy verifies the sacrificial nature of the Supper. In the sacrament the congregation greets Christ with the Trisagion and the Agnus Dei. The Supreme Holy One of Israel has become the Sacrificial Lamb. Christ is adored both in heaven and on earth, as the One who fills all places and as the One who came as Sacrifice to God and Sacrament to His people. Acknowledging the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament, but failing to recognize and adore Him as sacrificially present leaves us with a truncated view. Calvin saw in the corda sursum an endorsement for his understanding of a local session of Christ in one place in heaven. The suggestion that Christ is present in the sacrament for the benefit of forgiveness but is present only in heaven for adoration seems to adopt this Calvinistic aberrant understanding of Christ's human nature. Failure to recognize the sacramental presence as sacrificial indicates that the Real Presence is viewed merely as a demonstration of divine omnipresence. FOOTNOTES 1. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Children of Promise (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1979), p.29. 2. The Reformed are caught in a tension between their unsacramental theology and their allegiance to the Holy Scriptures which, they admit, do attribute to the sacraments a certain saving efficacy. The passage from which the previously cited quotation was taken demonstrates the Reformed dilemma. "This is one view, but we need not spend unnecessary time on it. To be sure, a 52 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY measure of real truth underlies it. Christ undoubtedly instituted baptism, and with the word and the Lord's Supper it may rightly be described as a means of grace. At least, many evangelical Christians accept this definition. Nevertheless, its interpretation as an almost automatic instrument for the infusing of grace finds little or no support either in the teaching and practice of the New Testament, or the anticipatory signs and types of the Old. The only possible verse which can be adduced for this understanding is John 3:5, even if water is meant literally here the saying does not tell us anything about its mechanical functioning. In Acts, baptism is said to be for the remission of sins, but again nothing is said about its serving as an automatic instrument. The Epistles do not say a great deal about baptism. This is strange in any case but especially so if it was intended, and operated, as an indispensable agent of salvation." Op. cit., pp. 28-9. Bromiley recognizes that the Reformed are plainly uncomfortable with the appropriate Biblical references. A careful reading of the passage shows that the Scriptures attribute a saving efficacy to the sacrament of baptism; however he disagrees with his own exegetical conclusion. 3. CA II. "De peccato originis." Original sin is said to bring damnation to all "qui non renascuntur per baptismum et spiritum sanctum." Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche (sixth revised edition; Gottingen, Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1967), p. 53. All citations from the original languages of the Lutheran Confessions will be taken from this edition and will be abbreviated BK. In the Large Catechism Baptism and the Lord's Supper each receive one of the five sections. In the Small Catechism two of the eight sections focus on these two sacraments. In the Reformed churches, the sacraments are simply not given this devotional, theological, and confessional prominence. 4. Reformed and Lutheran church edifices are noticeably different. The stark appearances of Reformed structures project clearly the idea of the absence of the transcendental God. Lutheran churches, on the other hand, traditionally are so adorned to suggest that God is present in the person of Jesus. By maintaining the Old Testament prohibition against images the Reformed, according to their peculiar interpretation, will ultimately have a truncated Christology and sacramentology. The Reformed, not unlike the Moslem, prohibition against graven images is evident in their worship structures and reveal that these two groups may, indeed, share similar views of God's transcendental nature. Hermann Sasse describes the removal of the altar and other changes in Zuerich in 1525 when the Reformed liturgy was introduced. This Is My Body (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1959), p. 131. 5. Lutheran sacramentology developed into its classic form in opposition to the Reformed rather than Roman Catholicism. Thus Lutherans criticized the Roman Church for sacramental abuses, CA XXIV, but judged the Reformed as having no Sacrament of the Altar at all. "Because the Reformed publicly declare that they do not have the intention of celebrating the Supper with the Real Presence of Christ's body and blood, but pronounce such a Sacrament an abomination, they are in fact not celebrating the Supper Christ gave to His Church." Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, translated by Walter W. F. Albrecht (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953), III, p. 371. Sasse is of the same opinion, op. cit. For a fuller discussion of the Lutheran condemnation of the Reformed position in CA X, cf. Hans-Werner Gensichen, Damnanus: Die Verwerfung von Irrlehre bei Luther und im Luthertum des 16. Jahrhunderts (Berlin: Lutherisches Verlagshaus, 1955), pp. 71-84. Baptism and the Lord's Supper 53 6. H. Sasse states that for Luther the transsubstantiation of the Roman Church was the lesser heresy in comparison with Zwingli's view. Op. cit., p. 286. The lack of sacramental necessity among the Reformed is seen in that for them there is no compulsion to baptize infants when their life is endangered but that such baptism should wait for the regular worship assembly. "We teach that baptism should not be administered in the Church by women or midwives." The Second Helvetic Confession, 5. 191. "Although it be a great sin to condemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it, or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated." The Westminster Confession, 6. 143. 7. The Reformed perspective on sacraments flows from the basic hermeneutic of Reformed theology that the New Testament is to be understood from the Old Testament. Here enters the peculiar Reformed concept of the covenant. From their earliest confessions to their most recent writings, they are generally consistent in this understanding. "Are infants also to be baptized? A. Yes, because they, as well as their parents, are included in the covenant and belong to the people of God . . . infants are also by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, to be incorporated into the Christian church and distinguished from the children of unbelievers. This was done in the Old Covenant by circumcision. In the New Covenant baptism has been instituted to take its place." "Question 74," Heidelberg Catechism. The Scots Confession (Chapter XXI) sees circumcision and Passover as sacraments of the Old Testament now merely replaced by baptism and the Lord's Supper. No substantive difference between the sacraments in the Old and New Covenants are noted. The same approach is taken by Bromiley. Op. cit. 8. While the Reformed do use the word "sacraments," they are much more at home with the term "ordinances." Vernard Eller's In Place of Sacraments (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Win. B. Eerdmans, 1972) is an explicit attempt to scrap the term "sacrament" altogether. Consider this question and answer in the Shorter Catechism (1958), a revision of the classical Heidelberg Catechism. "Q. 92. What is a sacrament? A. A sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein, by sensible signs, Christ and the benefits of the new covenant are represented, sealed, and applied to believers." The idea that the sacrament is an act of the community rather than of God can be traced down from Reformed theology into Rationalism, Schleiermacher, and into certain critical views of the New Testament which place the origin of the sacraments not with the historical Jesus but rather in the community which He established. The eighteenth-century German theologians, J. A. L. Wegscheider, a Rationalist, and F. V. Reinhard, a Supranaturalist, both saw baptism as symbolizing the child's birth within the Christian family. Schleiermacher differed little from this view, but in addition saw the baptism of infants as the beginning of a process leading into fuller Christian consciousness. David P. Scaer, The Doctrine of Infant Baptism in the German Protestant Theology of the Nineteenth Century (unpublished Th. D. dissertation, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, 1963), pp. 22-72. His view was that baptism was the ratification of a family or covenant relationship already existing for the child and the beginning of a process to be completed later by a conscious faith. The Geneva Reformer frequently uses the word "ordinance." John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Win. B. Eerdmans, 1966), p. 534-5. 9. While the Reformed make every attempt to describe the sacraments as 54 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY belonging to the realm of grace, they do in fact belong to the realm of the law. As mentioned in footnote 6, the Reformed are really more comfortable in calling the sacraments ordinances. Bromiley who comes startlingly close to the Lutherans on the matter of infant faith shows his real prejudice in calling baptism and the Lord's Supper "the so-called sacraments instituted by Christ" (op. cit., p.17). The legal aspect of the sacrament becomes clear in the Reformed understanding of the sacrament as symbol of an absent reality. The sacramental symbol or ordinance is mandated as ritualistic law, but is not necessary as a conveyor of salvation. In Lutheran theology the sacrament is itself the reality of grace and even without a specific mandate would have an attractiveness because of the sacrament's benefit to the recipient. In Reformed theology, the law is needed to bind symbol and absent reality. Without the law symbol and reality would drift apart. This in fact happens when the Reformed do not become incensed about the absence of baptism in the life of the Christian. Bromiley, op. cit. pp. 12-26. This is related to their concept of covenant as placing obligations of the law upon believers. Of Zwingli, Sasse says, "But by rejecting also the Real Presence he again made the sacrament a human action, . . " (op. cit., p. 405). 10. The Reformed tolerance for the Lutheran position already begins with the Marburg Colloquy of 1529 where Zwingli pleaded with Luther not to consider him a heretic. Hermann Sasse remarks, "While Zwingli regarded Luther's view as wrong, he was prepared to tolerate it because in his opinion the question of the sacrament did not belong to the essentials of the Christian faith." Op. cit., p. 292. 11. A popularly written, attractive, and deceptive example of this approach is found in The Water That Divides by Donald Bridge and David Phypers (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1977), which attempts to make defenders and deniers of infant baptism accept one another. The back cover states, "In this book a Baptist and an Anglican get together to face the issue squarely and create understanding between those who disagree." 12. The invention of the limbo infantium, the place reserved in the afterlife for unbaptized infants, demonstrates the absolute sacramental necessity. A semi-Pelagian anthropology prevents putting infants in hell with those who committed actual sin and the lack of the sacrament prevents them from entering heaven. 13. Preaching simply has no firm place in Roman Catholic tradition. The Reformation was a protest against this lack. Only the future will reveal whether preaching will be restored in the Church of Rome. The use of the vernacular has opened new possibilities. 14. The movement in Roman Catholicism to ordain women priests is more theologically vigorous than was its Protestant counterpart a generation ago. The present pontiff Paul John II's firm opposition to the practice has not dampened enthusiasm. Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza calls for the ordination of women, the use of feminist terms in liturgy, and understanding God as Mother and Daughter along with the traditional Father and Son. "Towards a Liberating and Liberated Theology: Women Theologians and Feminist Theology in the USA," Doing Theology in New Places, edited by Jean-Pierre Jossua and Johann Baptist Metz (New York: Seabury Press, 1979), pp. 22-32. 15. While Roman Catholics see ordination connected with the power to consecrate the sacrament, Lutherans see the pastoral office and with it ordination as pastoral supervision over the congregation especially through preaching and in the administration of the Lord's Supper. The level of Baptism and the Lord's Supper 55 tolerance for women clergy is, in reality, lower for Lutherans than Roman Catholics. The concentration for Lutherans is on Paul's admonition against women serving as authorities within the worshiping congregation. Cf. Bertil Gartner, Didaskolos: The Office, Man and Woman in the New Testament, translated by John E. Halborg (Lund: Gleersupske, 1958). 16. As mentioned above, the Reformed perspective of seeing baptism as an act of the community was perpetuated by Schleiermacher. "Baptism as an action of the Church signifies simply the act of will by which the Church receives the individual into its fellowship;..." The Christian Faith, II, edited by H. R. Mackintosh and J. S. Stewart (New York: Harper and Row, 1963), p. 619. Edmund Schlink wrestles, in my opinion unsuccessfully, to avoid placing baptism's origin within the earliest Christian community as maintained by much of contemporary exegetical scholarship. The Doctrine of Baptism, translated by H.J.A. Bouman (St. Louis: Concordia, 1972), pp. 26-30. 17. In By Oath Consigned Meredith G. Kline goes one step beyond seeing baptism as an expression of divine legislation in seeing it as an act of divine sentencing: ". . . baptism is a sign of incorporation within the judicial sphere of Christ's covenant lordship for a final verdict of blessing or curse" (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Win. B. Eerdmans, 1968), p. 102. 18. CA II, "qui non renascuntur per baptismum et spiritum sanctum," might suggest that baptism and the Holy Spirit are two disconnected causes of salvation. Such a misunderstanding is not permitted by CA V, "Nam per verbum et sacraments tamquam per instrumenta donatur spiritus sanctus, qui fidem efficit," BK, pp. 53, 58. 19. Baptism is not merely an association with the outward association of believers as set forward by the Reformed, the eighteenth-century Rationalists, and Schleiermacher, but actual participation in the una sancta. In this respect there is no difference between the baptismal theologies of John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul. The words, "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit" (Jn 3:5), are spoken within the context of John's baptism, but written within the context of the apostolic baptism. 20. The command to baptize is part of the commissioning of the apostles as guardians and pastors of the church (Mt 28:16-20). Baptizing here does not refer only to the administration of water in the name of the Trinity, but also to that preaching which brings about faith. Baptizing has to be understood within the entire framework that Matthew has developed in his Gospel. With this view baptism will not develop into an isolated sacramental ritual which anyone can administer at any time and place, but it will be understood as belonging to the very essence of God's plan of bringing His kingdom among men. 21. Mt 20:28; 26:28. One cannot avoid seeing the sacramental imagery in the Johannine corpus where baptism is viewed in intimate relationship with the atoning blood (Jn 19:24; 1 Jn 5:6). 22. For a lucid study of this in Reformed theology see Ulrich Asendorf, "Luther's Small Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism," Luther's Catechisms - 430 Years, edited by David P. Scaer and Robert D. Preus (Fort Wayne: Concordia Theological Seminary Press, 1979), pp. 1-7. 23. Scaer, Doctrine of Infant Baptism, op. cit., pp. 73-156. 24. The Reformed have always had exegetical difficulties in dealing with those Scripture references which attribute to baptism or water a saving efficacy. In commenting on the typical baptismal passages, i.e., Eph 5:25-6; Tit 3:4;1 Pt 3:21, Calvin writes, "Nay, the only purification which baptism promises is 56 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY by means of the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, who is figured by water from the resemblance to cleansing and washing. Who then can say that we are cleansed by that water which certainly attests that the blood of Christ is our true water and only layer?" Op. cit., p. 513. 25. Jesus' words, "And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28:20), cannot be understood as another proof text of divine omnipresence, but rather as Christ's promise of His gracious presence where His command to baptize is carried out. 26. Reformed and Anglican rather than Lutheran theology have moved from a general concept of sacraments. The original classical Reformed confessions, i.e., the Scots Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Second Helvetic Confession, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles set forth extensive sacramental theologies before specifically handling baptism and the Lord's Supper. In the Lutheran Confessions baptism and the Lord's Supper are handled under separate articles. The closest that Lutherans come to this is in CA XIII, "De usu sacramentorum," which, as the title indicates, speaks not of the essence of the sacraments but of their functioning. While Christ is present in the Supper in a unique way, He is also present in baptism as the one who receives the believer into Himself and thereby into His benefits. 27. The Taufbuchlein preserved the exorcism. "Fahr aus, Du unreiner Geist, and gib Raum dem heiligen Geist." BK, p. 538. The Reformed have from the beginning excluded this. Cf. Second Helvetic Confession (5.190). 28. In Reformed theology only conscious persons can enjoy the full benefits of baptism, so infants remain inferior candidates for this rite. The baptized also may not look to his baptism for certainty about his salvation and election, since his election remains hidden with God. Calvin is evidently not overly concerned about the absence of baptism. Op. cit., pp. 546-8. Roman Catholic theology is at least semi-Pelagian, as is evident in its concept of limbo infantium. While attributing great power to baptism to overcome original sin, its synergistic understanding of justification becomes evident in that any monergistic understanding of baptism is annulled by its view of penance. 29. Paul's great section on justification precedes his great section on baptism. Rm 5 and 6. Also 1 Cor 6:11. 30. For an adequate study of New Testament baptismal terminology see J. Ysebaert, Greek Baptismal Terminology (Nijmegen: Dekker and Van De Vegt, 1962). For a parallel of the birth into sin and the birth into life see James 1:15, 18. 31. Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration XII, 2. BK, p. 1094. 32. Lutheran theology stands in danger of adopting the covenant theology of the Reformed when it allows baptism to be celebrated and understood as -a recognition of the child's birth into a Christian family. The use of sponsors and not parents for the baptismal rite would help prevent the intrusion of Reformed thought. 33. Luther's Small Catechism, IV: "Das Sakrament der heiligen Taufe." 34. The Reformed attach saving efficacy not to the moment of baptism itself, but to faith. The Westminster Confession, 6.144. Thus there is no problem in making the benefits of baptism efficacious later in life. The Roman Catholics, of course, have resorted to penance. 35. In Mt 28: 18-20 the Gospel preaching which works faith should be seen as belonging to the activity required by the word baptizein and not didaskein. 36. A new liturgy being circulated in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Baptism and the Lord's Supper 57 makes an explicit mention of confirmation as part of the child's further growth. Regardless of how harmless the suggestion might be, it would be best if it were avoided entirely. Confirmation by Schleiermacher and others was viewed as a complementing rite. Der Christliche Glaube (Berlin: Reimer, 1836), II, p. 382. 37. For a conservative treatment of this problem see F. F. Bruce, "History and Gospel," in Jesus of Nazareth: Savior and Lord, edited by Carl F. H. Henry (Grand Rapids: Win. B. Eerdmans, 1966), pp. 87-107. 38. 1 Cor 11:23. In all four Gospels the Greek word for betraying or handing over, paradidonai, is used by Jesus to indicate the act that begins His suffering. While the idea of historical dating is significant in the word, the greater reality of atonement cannot be excluded from it. 39. John L. McKenzie, "VII. The Sacraments in Bultmann's Theology," in Rudolf Bultmann in Catholic Thought, edited by T. F. O'Meara and D. M. Weisser (New York: Herder and Herder, 1958), pp. 151-66. The sacraments' origins are placed within the Hellenized development phase of the church. 40. The emphasis on the sacrament as a communal meal can be found in Eller's In Place of Sacraments, op. cit., pp. 117-8. The original Reformed confessions were, however, quite explicit in seeing the sacrament as a commemorating of Christ's death and not the meal itself. E.g., Westminster Confession, XXIX, 6.146. 41. Calvin wrote on frequent attendance at the sacrament. Op. cit., pp. 601-2. He understood the New Testament church as providing the sacrament at every regular service. In actual practice the Supper is not frequently celebrated among the Reformed. 42. Luther, as opposed to Melanchthon and the Reformed in general, concentrated on the body and the blood of Christ as being present in the sacrament and not the living Christ, the whole Christ, or Christ as God. Calvin goes one step further than Melanchthon and shifts the attention from the total Christ as present in the Supper to the Holy Spirit. Sasse, op. cit., pp. 295-330. 43. In our century Hermann Sasse has seen this motif both in Scripture and in Luther. The "proprium of this sacrament" is said to be "the eating and drinking of what Christ had sacrificed for us." Ibid., p. 329. 1 Cor.11:25, 26. The reference to the sacrament as a proclamation of the Lord's death must be more than presenting it as a past historical action, as the words follow directly after the words "body" and "blood," which indicate a special type of sacrificial death has taken place. 44. This thought is preserved in the hymn, "Sancti, venite, Christi corpus sumite," where Christ is described as "ipse sacerdos exstitit et hostia." The Latin hymn originated from Ireland about 680 A.D. W.G. Polack, The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal, third revised edition (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1958), pp. 220-1. 45. Martin Kahler is obviously right in seeing the Gospels as "'passion narrative with extended introduction. "'Quoted from Ralph Martin, "The New Quest for the Historical Jesus," in Jesus of Nazareth, op, cit., p. 27. If the Supper had been instituted in a section dealing with Christian life, it might be possible to understand it in a non-sacrificial way. I hasten to add that any separation between atoning death, sacrament, and Christian life is artificial. 46. See note 38. 47. Next to Matthew 20:28, 26:28 must be considered the clearest explanation of Jesus' death as atonement. Matthew and Mark in their words of institution 58 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY stress the blood as sacrifice and Luke and Paul as a new covenantal arrangement between God and His Church. "In the Synoptic context the Last Supper seems to be given an interpretation of Jesus' death and its meaning. Mark and Matthew seem to extol the blood of Jesus as blood of the covenant and thus to remind us of Ex 24, 8, whereas Luke and Paul stress also the newness of the covenant by suggesting Jer 31, 31. The common interpretation of the Synoptics is nevertheless the same: Jesus is going to suffer and die for others, which by Matthew is understood to be for the sins of others." Tibor Horvath, The Sacrificial Interpretation of Jesus's Achievement in the New Testament (New York: Philosophical Library, 1979, p. 80. 48. The Lord's Supper is only one supper, even though it is celebrated in many places and times. The Supper is, therefore, not repeated but continued. 49. In Ex 24: 5-8 the blood sacrificed to God is sprinkled upon the people as the evidence that atonement has taken place. Christ's atonement is the certainty in the Lord's Supper that the people's sins are forgiven. 50. This thought is put forth in the Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, VII, pp. 48-51. 51. In Reformed theology Christ's sacrifice does not playas prominent a role as it does in Lutheran theology. In the classical Reformed confessions, God, creation, providence, and election are presented before and apart from any Christology. It is from this point in their theology that the Reformed have developed their natural bias against holding a sacramental view with any meaning. Regardless of an innate synergism in Roman Catholicism, their sacraments, especially the Eucharist, are viewed in the light of Christ's death. Regretfully in Roman Catholicism sacraments are also viewed as obligations, reflecting an innate synergism. 52. Sasse, ibid. Lutherans have been fully aware that synergism is the natural result of placing the sacrificial power in the hands of the priest. 53. Lutheran theology, since Luther's confrontation with Zwingli at Marburg, has had to concentrate on the possibility and nature of Christ's presence within the Supper. Behind the Reformed view of the sacrament was a more basic philosophical understanding of Christ's human nature as being confined to heaven. Even if Calvin was a more pliable theologian than Zwingli in using more traditional terms, he did in the end state that Christ is still confined to one place in heaven. "Unless the body of Christ can be everywhere without any boundaries of space, it is impossible to believe that he is hid in the Supper under the bread." "The only question, therefore, is as to the mode, they [the Roman Catholic scholastics and Lutherans by implication] placing Christ in the bread, while we deem it unlawful to draw him down from heaven." Institutes, II, pp. 585, 587.FC X, in spite of its rejection of transsubstantiation and other Roman Catholic abuses is in the main part devoted to a refutation of the Reformed philosophical worldview. The hymn, "Herr Jesu Christ, du bast bereit't," reflects the Lutheran interest in maintaining the omnipresence or volipresence of Christ's human nature. "Though reason cannot understand, Yet faith this truth embraces; Thy body, Baptism and the Lord's Supper 59 the sacrament itself and not merely with the words; Luther wanted to guard against regarding participation in the sacrament without faith as bestowing forgiveness. "Luther's Use of the Small Catechism," Luther's Catechisms—450 Years Later, op. cit., p. 54. Also Edmund Schlink, Theology of the Lutheran Confessions, translated by H. Bouman (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1961), p. 205. 55. Tom Hardt comes closest to expressing this idea when he writes concerning Luther's views: "This does not mean that the Lamb is slaughtered again before the face of the Father in such a way that body and blood are separated. The exalted Lamb freely exercises His freedom to let His body alone be present under the bread and His blood alone be present under the wine. Their union in the resurrected life in the face of the Father does not form an obstacle to different elements being consecrated to convey them to the church here on earth." On the Sacrament of the Altar: A Book on the Lutheran Doctrine of the Lord's Supper, unpublished manuscript in Concordia Theological Seminary Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1978, p. 60. 56. Calvin did, in fact, turn the Lord's Supper into the Spirit's supper. The distance between the human Christ and the church at the Supper is traversed by the Spirit, who actually conveys the Supper's gifts. Institutes, II, pp. 582-3. 57. CA X.