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Luther on Christ's Supper

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Luther's view of the theological and personal significance of the Lord's Supper.


Luther on the Lord's Supper

Luther, the Pastor: 1 Corinthians 11:29


Luther argued against the Roman Catholic tradition, he was urging faith. Their practice had cut off the need for faith.

Later, in this second phase, he argued against Zwingli, Carlstadt, etc. who believed that the body and blood are not actually present.

Luther blazed the middle path between Roman Catholics and those who stripped the sacrament to remembrance.


Luther's Dispute with the Roman Catholics

I. The Historical Context

A. Luther was thinking of writing such a treatise

Babylonian Captivity

B. The Catholic writings

1. Augustinus Alveld 1520

Treatise Concerning Communion of Both Kinds - Luther decides not to respond but this spurs some of his writings

2. Anonymous Italian Friar 1519

Recantation of The Augustinian...

C. The Response to the Work

Both sides took the Captivity seriously


II. The Mass: Sacrifice or Gift?

A. The Words of Institution as Interpretive Key

1. Starting point for controversy

2. Luther: it is a combination of word and sign

3. Roman Catholicism makes these a magical change beyond the understanding of the laity and between the Priests and the elements. This sucked the meaning from the sacrament and those partaking.

B. Communion in one Kind

- Luther: it should given as both

C. Transubstantiation

- Luther: Consubstantiation

D. The Mass as a Good Work and a Sacrifice

1. Luther: this is the worst captivity

2. For Luther the mass was a promise received in faith

3. Lull pg 293 - Let this stand, therefore,...this cup is the new testament in my blood... most precious sacrament. A testament ... a promise of someone about to die...


III. An Historical and Evangelical Assessment

A. The Context of the Debate

B. The Assumptions of the Debate

C. The Moves that Luther Makes

- Luther calls the sacrament "the Lord's Supper"


Luther's Dispute with Zwingli

I. The Historical Context

A. The bitter dispute with Rome reached a lull in 1525

B. Zwingli writes 2 treatises in 1525

C. Luther's followers publish sermons in 1526

D. This is followed up by other works

E. The Marburg Colloquy in 1529

F. Later attempts at concord


II. Christ's Supper: Memorial or Means of Grace?

A. The exegetical problem

- 1525 emphasis on

- 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
v16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? v17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

- 1 Corinthians 11

B. Spirit and flesh

1. Zwingli separated spiritual from physical

2. Luther: spiritual and physical united - God confronts people in the bodiliness of history. It is not an affront to Luther's thinking that the forgiveness of sin simultaneously the promise of the resurrection of the body in the end times.

C. The issue of Christology

1. Zwingli - Christ cannot be in more than one location. At the right hand of God, which is everywhere a.k.a. omnipresent. This however only applies to his divinity.

2. Luther - Different ways to talk about presence.

a. Colossians 1:19 and John 14:9

b. God is present for us only God's humanity. Christ is the one revelation of God to man.

D. The issue of Real Presence

1. Luther: true faith and a God-fearing heart attaches itself to the word. The Body of Christ does avail and it avails much. Twofold eating of the supper by the mouth and spirit. Forgiveness of sins is always connected to the real presence...

2. The real presence of Christ in the sacrament demonstrates the humanity and divinity of Christ


III. An Historical and Evangelical Assessment

A. The assumptions of the dispute

B. The moves that Luther makes

C. The challenge to evangelical practice

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