Series: “What's the Big Idea?"
Sunday, November 19th, 2017: “SOLUS CHRISTUS: Christ Alone” • Pastor David R. Stokes
The Protestant Reformation was a process—sometimes a messy one. There were great moments, such as when Martin Luther posted his ideas in Wittenberg, and when he had his “tower” experience about Justification by Faith. But it’s clear from history that even sincere reformers found it hard to agree on certain matters.
Probably the greatest controversy among reformers in the early years of the movement was one that arose between Luther and his Swiss counterpart—Ulrich Zwingli. It was over the issue of Communions (a.k.a. The Lord’s Supper). They participated in what is remembered as “The Marburg Colloquy.”
Both men rejected the Roman Catholic notion of “transubstantiation,” or the idea that elements of the Eucharist actually and miraculously became the real body and blood of Jesus, and therefore “how” people were to “receive Christ.” Justification by faith debunked that error. But these strong minded men argued passionately about what The Lord’s Supper was and meant.
Luther opted for a view that came to be known as “consubstantiation” (in fairness, this is not a label that those who called themselves Lutheran today are comfortable with). In a sense, this was a concession to the Catholic idea—that the presence of Christ exists in some sense in the elements themselves.
Zwingli saw The Lord’s Supper strictly as an important MEMORIAL for believers and the church. His view, by the way, survives in our day in churches like Expectation Church.
Sometimes disagreements between godly leaders has led to the establishment of new movements—even denominations. That’s not always a bad thing—especially if people are serious about Biblical interpretation. But it should never be about personality or mere preference.
- Why is The Lord’s Supper an ORDINANCE and not a SACRAMENT?
- What clear movements of God have happened in history leading to separation from other groups?
- How does The Lord Supper related to The Passover?
- What does it mean to “examine” ourselves before partaking of The Lord’s Supper?