Lutheranism and the Omnipresence of Christ's Humanity

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Hamalas

whippersnapper
I'm preparing to preach on Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 18 tomorrow night which has several questions laying forth the Reformed view of Christ's humanity in the context of His ascension. My understanding is that they put this in to respond to the Lutheran view of the ubiquity of Christ's human nature. I was trying to find out more about what Lutheran's believed on this and came across this article by a Lutheran pastor: http://justandsinner.blogspot.com/2010/05/defense-of-omnipresence-of-christs.html

I'd love to get your thoughts. :)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Lutherans are... Lutheran? They aren't Reformed. Reformed aren't Lutheran. The Protestant world is divided. Christology, Sacraments, Extent of the Atonment; those are the big ones.

Lutherans and Reformed speak of the communication of attributes (communicatio idiomatum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communicatio_idiomatum ) in distinct ways. For Lutherans, the communication (in today's terms we might say "borrowing" or "attribution") of natural (to the nature) properties is made nature-to-nature. Reformed folk think this just creates Eutychianism by confusing (important Chalcedonian term) the two natures, since neither nature thus strictly retains its own properties that distinguish it from the other.

The Reformed conceive of said communication as a taking place "a step above" the two natures, and is predicated of the Person possessing both natures. Consequently, the Lutherans accuse the Reformed of crypto-Nestorianism. But, we answer, we are not separating the natures from one another; but they are enclosed in the one Person.

Both traditions are comfortable using the text Act.20:28, "...feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." God, who is Spirit, and has not a body like men (WSC and Children's/First Catechism) is still said to have "blood" in this text. The doctrine of communicatio idiomatum solves this issue.

Heidelberg L.D.18 (Q.46-49) teaches our understanding, that the Ascension means at least this: Jesus' humanity is someplace else, away from us. "Act.3:21, "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also," Jn.14:2-3. Php.1:23, "...having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ."

Lutherans teach that Jesus humanity, by virtue of his divinity, is able to continue in the world by means of his eucharistic sacrament. This is very comforting to them. It is also quite spiritual and indescribable. It also divides them from the Papists. But, they adamantly oppose as almost unChristian the Memorialist interpretation of the Supper (sacramentarians, they call those); and they accuse (Confess, actually) the Reformed of being "crafty (sneaky) sacramentarians."

The Reformed recognize real, spiritual communion with the true body and blood of Christ in the Supper. It's... indescribable, mysterious. But, by not affirming Christ's humanity in the mouth of partakers (and both worthy and unworthy), this creates an insuperable offense to the Lutherans. Despite our denying crass Memorialism, they would make mere Memorialists of us. Despite our affirming a spiritual partaking of Christ in the Supper (worthily, by faith), which thing they affirm, they deny that we have the Supper.

But, our Lord is in heaven. Jn.16:7; "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you." Hard as it is for a time to be parted from our Lord in body, while we wait the reunion there is some actual advantage to be gained; minimally, the plan of God is so much better advanced, and we are blessed by possession of Holy Spirit (who brings us near our dear Christ in the Supper).
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
The Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ) who proceeds from the Father and the Son ministers the whole Christ to His people through the Word and Sacrament, both natures, but Christ's human nature remains in Heaven.

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