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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Part VII: Chapter Five of Thirty-Nine Articles: The Historic Basis of Anglican Faith

"All remembrance of Jesus by a regenerate, Spirit-filled soul is full of precious fellowship. His Spirit is present to our spirit whenever we relate ourselves to Him in our thoughts, consequently the notion of a bare remembrance of Jesus in the Lord's Supper is an impossible notion with regard to anyone who is in a spiritual relationship with the Lord."




Thirty-Nine Articles: The Historic Basis of Anglican Faith

A book by David Broughton Knox (Sydney: Anglican Church League, 1967). Revised 1976.

The author: Canon David Broughton Knox, B.A., A. L. C. D., B.D., M.Th., D. Phil. (Oxford), was Principal of Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia. Ordained in 1941 he served in an English parish and as a chaplain in the Royal Navy before becoming a tutor at Moore College 1947-53. On leave in England he was tutor and lecturer in New Testament at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford 1951-53 and Assistant Curate in the parish of St. Aldale's, Oxford. He became Vice Principal of Moore College in 1954 and Principal in 1959. He was elected Canon of St. Andrew's Cathedral in 1960. His other books include "The Doctrine of Faith in the Reign of Henry VIII" (London: James Clarke, 1961).

David Broughton Knox also founded George Whitefield College in South Africa in 1989.

Chapter Five

The Teaching of the Articles

The Lord's Supper

The Lord's Supper (or literally 'dinner') is a communion, that is, a fellowship with the Lord, and with one another in the presence of the Lord. The basis of the fellowship of the Lord's dinner is His death on Calvary for the sins of the world. He designated the food of the meal as a sacrament or sign of His body given for us and His blood shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins. As we share in this fellowship in the way that He has commanded we acknowledge and proclaim the great fact of His saving death, His sacrifice of Himself which He made for our sakes and which is the ground of the covenant of our relationship with God; we remember Jesus our Redeemer, our Lord and our coming King Who has appointed us a place at His table in His kingdom; we have fellowship with Him and He with us. "He dines with us and we with Him." (Rev. 3:20). All remembrance of Jesus by a regenerate, Spirit-filled soul is full of precious fellowship. His Spirit is present to our spirit whenever we relate ourselves to Him in our thoughts, consequently the notion of a bare remembrance of Jesus in the Lord's Supper is an impossible notion with regard to anyone who is in a spiritual relationship with the Lord.

By coming to Him and believing in Him we feed on Him the living bread which came down from heaven, we become one loaf with Him (John 6:32-35, I Corinthians 10:17). We eat His flesh which He gave for the life of the world and we drink His blood which was given for us and which cleanses us from all sin. Our souls rise in communal thanksgiving, the offering of the sacrifice of praise; and we pledge ourselves to His obedience in offering ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice to Him.

The word "sacrament" is a synonym for the word "sign" and the one word may be substituted for the other without any change in meaning. The Lord's Supper is the sacrament of our redemption. It remains a sacrament, that is, it is not to be identified with the thing signified, for that would annihilate the sign which the Lord appointed and would overthrow the nature of a sacrament.

The bread and the wine are a sign or sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood given in death for our sins, that is, they are a sign of Christ crucified for us. Our Lord's presence is not indicated by way of a sign, but is experienced through the Spirit, in reality, in accordance with His promise, by those who receive the benefit of his passion, the forgiveness of their sins.

By faith we take and eat and drink the Body and the Blood of Christ (whereof the bread and wine is a sacrament), that is, by faith we partake of His death for us, and of all its benefits. Christ in his death for us (or putting it another way, the Body and Blood of Christ) is present only sacramentally, that is to say, only by a sign (the bread and the wine) of this death being present.

But it is not Christ's presence, or Christ as present, which we eat and drink. We eat and drink the signs of His atoning death. They remain nothing but signs -- bare signs if you like to put it thus. His presence, in His risen power, is due to His promise to be among those who meet in His name, and the manner of His presence is His Spirit which He gives to all who believe in Him. He is indeed present, and we partake of that presence, if we wish to put it thus (for it is a person who is present), by fellowship with Him, as with faith we eat and drink the sign (or sacrament) which speaks to us of him.

"His presence" and "His body and blood" are not identical concepts. The true feeding on the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper depends on the reality of His spiritual presence in the heart and the mind of the worshipper. His spiritual presence is not to be thought of as dependent on a 'real presence' of his body and blood but it is the same presence in the Lord's Supper as in every other aspect of the Christian life, it is the presence of Spirit to our spirit made real by God's word, conscious in the mind of the Christian. The Lord's Supper, with the signs of His death intergrated within it, is a very vivid bringing to mind of Christ and His word and so becomes a deep fellowship with Christ. It is not, however, any different sort of fellowship from that which the Christian enjoys with the Lord in His daily life outside the congregation. But it has the added dimension of being enjoyed in the company and fellowship of others who are enjoying this same fellowship with Christ at the same time so that the consciousness of the presence of Christ's body (i.e. our fellow Christians in their relationship to Jesus) should be no less vivid than the consciousness of the presence of the Lord Jesus present to our spirit (I Corinthians 11:29). We and our fellow Christians were crucified with Christ on the Cross (Galatians 2:20). We have been formed into a unity through being in that crucified body (Ephesians 2:16). The Lord's Supper is a celebration of that event. That is why it is necessary to recognize the body and consider one another, if we are to eat the Lord's Dinner and not merely eat our own dinner (I Corinthians 11:29; I Corinthians 11:20-21).

The grace (that is, the gift or benefit from God) of this sacrament is fellowship with Christ in the Spirit on the basis of the forgiveness of our sins. No greater grace, gift or benefit is possible in this life, and it is brought about on every heart felt remembrance of Christ, a remembrance which the Lord's Supper especially and vividly evokes as we eat and drink together in obedience to our Lord's command, "Do this in remembrance of Me."

Those who, without repentance and faith, eat the bread and the wine in the context of the Lord's Supper eat the sign of His death but they are not brought into any relationship with Christ thereby. "They in no wise partake of Christ" (Article 29). For they do not recognise the divine fellowship of redeemed and Redeemer, which is the Lord's Dinner, nor acknowledge the basis of that fellowship, namely, that "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3). 


[For previous chapters of this book see: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4.1, Chapter 4.2, and Chapter 5.1].



The Seventh Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

LORD of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2 comments:

Jason said...

Wow. That's pretty heavy, man. Makes me feel like an unbeliever!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Hi, Jason...

I think the point is that the only "real presence" of Christ in Holy Communion is in the hearts of true believers and not in the communion elements of bread and wine. Of course we are all sinners and our faith wavers from time to time. We are not as faithful as we ought to be which is why we are saved by grace and grace alone!

Charlie

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