Guilty of the body and blood?

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littlepeople

Puritan Board Freshman
I am working through some thoughts on the Lord's Supper. I keep stumbling over this phrase in 1 Corinthians 11:27

"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord."

The nagging question for me is in what SENSE is an unworthy partaker guilty of the body and blood of the Lord?

What I'm really wanting to find out is how wide the spread of thought is on this topic among the reformed community. Something like a survey. Feel free to convince me with details, but my prime concern is getting a feel for the variety of opinions represented here. ESPECIALLY if you feel your understanding on this is "variant/minority" or it hasn't been expressed yet in the thread, I want your input.
 

dudley

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
This is how I understand the question you have asked.

I am working through some thoughts on the Lord's Supper. I keep stumbling over this phrase in 1 Corinthians 11:27

"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord."

The nagging question for me is in what SENSE is an unworthy partaker guilty of the body and blood of the Lord?

What I'm really wanting to find out is how wide the spread of thought is on this topic among the reformed community. Something like a survey. Feel free to convince me with details, but my prime concern is getting a feel for the variety of opinions represented here. ESPECIALLY if you feel your understanding on this is "variant/minority" or it hasn't been expressed yet in the thread, I want your input.

I am a Presbyterian and only a Protestant for a few years and this is how I understand the question you have asked. Corinthians 11:28 says “But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of the bread and drink of that cup”

If a man takes communion and knows he is an unworthy recipient of the elements at the Lords Supper than I believe he is guilty of sin. That person would also be a person who has been abandoned by God because by his own fault and freewill he has deserted the grace of God by not just doing evil but rejecting Gods grace for salvation. Such a person is already dammed to hell by the doctrine of Predestination and commit’s a further sin when taking the elements at communion when he is out of the grace of God by his own freewill and could go to hell for that very practice.

I have been doing some recent study on the doctrine of predestination and this is what I believe may also help you in understanding the question you ask. Predestination is taught clearly in the Bible: "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will …" – Ephesians 1:4-5; "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will …" – Ephesians 1:11; "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." – Romans 8:29-30

Even St. Thomas Aquinas and thus even when I was a Roman catholic I knew the Roman Catholic Church while not emphasizing the matter teaches predestination: "The causality of reprobation is unlike that of predestination. For predestination is the cause both of what is awaited in the future, namely glory, and of what is received in the present, namely grace. Whereas reprobation is not the cause of present fault, but of future result, namely, of being abandoned by God. Fault is born of the freewill of the person who deserts grace." (Summa Theologica, I, 23, 4)
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
The nagging question for me is in what SENSE is an unworthy partaker guilty of the body and blood of the Lord?
It's profane. To take the elements selfishly, out of some interest that's self-driven rather than driven by Christ and his sacrifice, is to mock and disregard his body and blood. It's just as bad as if you nailed him to the cross yourself. Selfish presumption, especially when dealing with a meal this sacred, is that sinful.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The two exegetical options refers the "liability" either to the crime or the punishment. The liability to crime renders the action equivalent to crucifying to oneself the Son of God afresh. Those who maintain the corporeal presence of Christ in the elements usually adopt this interpretation. On the other hand, if the passage as a whole is exposing the fault of failing to recognise the significant nature of the Lord's supper, then the liability is to punishment for not recognising the Lord's substitionary death when that is the instituted purpose for the commemoration.

Another interpretative option includes the question as to the proper subjects of the liability, believers or unbelievers. The subsequent verses explain that this liability to punishment is corrective rather than retributive, which would make it applicable especially to believers, or at least in so far as the judgment of charity would treat them as believers.

Again, it might be questioned whether the body is Christ or the Church. If the former then the fault lies in not recognising other members of the body of Christ in participating. While this may be a secondary issue given that some were partaking without others, it is doubtful whether this can be made the primary focus due to the fact that the apostle has delineated the importance of the commemoration for proclaiming the Lord's death till He come and has made no explicit mention of the bread representing the body of believers, as was done in chapter ten.
 
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MarieP

Puritan Board Senior
This is how I've thought of it: Anytime we sin, we really are guilty of the body and blood of Christ. It was our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross- in the words of the hymn, "Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee? Alas, my treason/ Jesus, hath undone Thee!/ Twas I, Lord Jesus/ I it was denied Thee/ I crucified Thee" Paul is reminding us of what sin is and showing how ironically twisted it is to partake of the elements while we engage in the reason why He had to die as He did.

I don't know if that's explicitly a Baptist view or not...I've never heard that phrase expounded except that it's bad to be guilty of Christ's body and blood.
 

captivewill

Puritan Board Freshman
I am working through some thoughts on the Lord's Supper. I keep stumbling over this phrase in 1 Corinthians 11:27

"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord."

The nagging question for me is in what SENSE is an unworthy partaker guilty of the body and blood of the Lord?

What I'm really wanting to find out is how wide the spread of thought is on this topic among the reformed community. Something like a survey. Feel free to convince me with details, but my prime concern is getting a feel for the variety of opinions represented here. ESPECIALLY if you feel your understanding on this is "variant/minority" or it hasn't been expressed yet in the thread, I want your input.
The sin Paul is addressing is the sin of promoting and pushing self ahead of others in the Christian fellowship in effect despising others for whom Christ gave His body and shed his blood. This is the "manner" which is unworthy. We must regard and treat others in Christ in accord with the fact that for them He gave His body and blood.
No one is worthy of such a gift and no one deserves such treatment of grace. But the worthiness is provided by Christ and we in turn and in kind behave ourselves according to His behavioral for those folks And especially of course when we gather to remember His sacrifice.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
It's just as bad as if you nailed him to the cross yourself
Would it be fair (to you) to categorize this as a hyperbolic sense of guilt?
You know, this isn't something I've thought through all that carefully, so I might be wrong. But when I said that, I didn't mean it to be hyperbole.

Say you're a believer in Corinth. You're part of a fellowship of saints, saved and made holy and joined together in spite of huge cultural differences, all by the blood of Christ. Then you come to the table with selfish motives and disdain for your fellow saints. You aren't just scorning your Christian brothers. You're spurning the blood of Christ and making a mockery of it. It is a sin comparable to putting him on the cross in the first place. You are in some real sense participating in the mockery and insult that happened there. Not in the sense that the sin of anyone who was actually there is somehow transferred to you. But you are sinning in pretty much the same way they did.

Paul often tends to correct sinners not so much by telling them "you're breaking God's law" (even if they are), but rather by saying "you're not living in line with the gospel, the cross and your salvation." This is an extreme example of that, using a harsh accusation indeed, but one appropriate for a particularly profane sin.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
The first part of the verse clues me into something "Therefore whoever...", the word whoever is a universal statement which implies to me that he is anouncing an across the board ruling on any form of unworthy reception, not just the particuler problems at Corinth. This like any other ethical question is larger than just a few paragraphs of particulers can exaust. This implies that we as individuals should always be examining ourselves to see if we are worthy but we should always remember that the sacrament is meant to strengthen our faith and not deny ourselves over morbid introspection. I have to say I do not really know where to draw the line for individuals but I know there is a line.

My concern with interpreting this warning as only those particuler things which are mentioned by Paul here is that we can do other things that are just as bad and have a legal loophole so to speak.
 

littlepeople

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks everyone for the responses so far.

Dudley: I'm having a hard time connecting the dots from your explanation of unworthiness to guilt associated with Christ's body and blood. I will keep re-reading though, and maybe the light-bulb will start glowing. Sometimes I'm a dull-headed reader.

Rev. Winzer thank you for this very helpful response. You came right to the heart of the questions that I'm sifting through

the exegetical options can refer the "liability" either to the crime or the punishment
The other important distinction:
includes the question as to the proper subjects of the liability, believers or unbelievers.

Before posting, I had arrived at 4 possible interpretative avenues based on the same variables you pointed out.
1. unbelievers/crime
2. believers/crime
3. unbelievers/punishment
4. believers/punishment

I have them laid out like a punnet square chart, and I wanted to know which quadrants people line up in.

I was not concerned with what you discount in your last paragraph. I'm assuming "discerning the body" is shorthand for discerning the body and blood of Christ.
 

littlepeople

Puritan Board Freshman
Ya'll forgive me for being so obnoxious with the questions. I've just got to get these responses condensed into something concise. Don't infer from the question that I'm necessarily disagreeing with you.

Anytime we sin, we really are guilty of the body and blood of Christ
So this would be liability of the crime directed to (We) believers right? Would you put a distinction between believers and unbelievers in this guilt? When an unbeliever sins, is it an act equivalent to crucifying Him? Or is that only true of believers? Or is it only true of false believers?

---------- Post added at 08:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:29 PM ----------

William, I see that you are establishing the unworthy manner to be despising the body (bride) whom Christ redeemed. I see where this can be understood as despising the body and blood of Christ himself. From your post, I'm not able to connect the dots from despising Christ's body and blood to being complicit/guilty/liable in regard to that body and blood. Is this hyperbole in reference to the act of partaking unworthily? Or is this simply showing the equivalent punishment/moral weight/guilt of despising His redeemed body compared to actually sharing in his sacrifice?


despising others for whom Christ gave His body and shed his blood. This is the "manner" which is unworthy.


---------- Post added at 08:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:42 PM ----------

Jack K, Thanks for the clarification. I think you are saying that you don't intend hyperbole, but then it seems like you are confirming the hyperbole?? lol sorry I'm thick-headed lol
Maybe this will help:
Is it?
You're spurning the blood of Christ and making a mockery of it. It is a sin comparable [in action] to putting him on the cross in the first place.
or
You're spurning the blood of Christ and making a mockery of it. It is a sin comparable [in moral consequence] to putting him on the cross in the first place.
The first option seems to fit the definition of hyperbole. The second option intends to equate the weight of punishment for the two compared actions (unworthy partaking vs liability in body/blood)

---------- Post added at 08:58 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:52 PM ----------

My concern with interpreting this warning as only those particuler things which are mentioned by Paul here is that we can do other things that are just as bad and have a legal loophole so to speak.
While I am very interested in what constitutes unworthy partaking, I really want to know how that unworthiness is to be equated with the body/blood of Christ. I do think the two inform eachother though.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Jack K, Thanks for the clarification. I think you are saying that you don't intend hyperbole, but then it seems like you are confirming the hyperbole?? lol sorry I'm thick-headed lol
Maybe this will help:
Is it?
Originally Posted by Jack K
You're spurning the blood of Christ and making a mockery of it. It is a sin comparable [in action] to putting him on the cross in the first place.or
Originally Posted by Jack K
You're spurning the blood of Christ and making a mockery of it. It is a sin comparable [in moral consequence] to putting him on the cross in the first place.The first option seems to fit the definition of hyperbole. The second option intends to equate the weight of punishment for the two compared actions (unworthy partaking vs liability in body/blood)
I meant that it's a sin comparable in action. Maybe you and I just define "hyperbole" differently. It my mind it means an exaggeration. I think it's no exaggeration to say that taking the supper in a way that makes a mockery of the cross is comparable in action to taking part in the crucifixion. Not that both sins can't be forgiven. But sometimes we do need to be jarred awake to the fact of just how heinous our sin really is.
 

littlepeople

Puritan Board Freshman
hmmm. I'm still perplexed because we are using the same definition of hyperbole. Respectfully, If I were to write a scathing mockery of Lady Gaga's music; someone might say that I slaughtered her. That would be a hyperbole. Now if I hacked her up with a slingblade (Kaiser blade whatever), someone might likewise say that I slaughtered her. Surely these aren't equivalent actions? one is murder, the other is mockery

---------- Post added at 09:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:55 PM ----------

and i apologize if I am coming across argumentative. I'm very thankful for your interaction.
 
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