Over the years there have been a great many controversies concerning the taking of communion, or the Lord’s supper as it has become known in many circles. Last night we studied Paul’s words on the topic from 1 Corinthians 11:23-34. During my study I came across the following quote from Bishop J.C. Ryle, the former Bishop of Liverpool. He was expounding on one significant difference between Catholic and Protestant understandings of communion. Often we may have interaction with those who come from a Catholic perspective and understand the Lord’s supper to be a time when the body and blood is actually present. When we are in conversation with them, how should we respond? Bishop Ryle answers the question in rather eloquent fashion and I would commend his thoughts to you.
Grant for a moment that the Lord’s Supper is a sacrifice, and not a sacrament . . . You spoil the blessed doctrine of Christ’s finished work when he died on the cross. A sacrifice that needs to be repeated is not a perfect and complete thing. You spoil the priestly office of Christ. If there are priests that can offer an acceptable sacrifice to God besides Him, the great High Priest is robbed of His glory. . . . You overthrow the true doctrine of Christ’s human nature. If the body born of the virgin Mary can be in more places than one at the same time, it is not a body like our own, and Jesus was not the “last Adam” in the truth of our nature.