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« "Obama found time for 33 fundraisers in June" | Main | 'He needs to resort to the tyranny of “shut up” because he cannot trust his ideas or arguments to hold up under debate' »

Monday, July 02, 2012


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Tim Chesterton

'Just' a symbol is a rather inaccurate view of what thinking Protestants, at least, believe. I think if Mark Shea wants Protestants to listen to Catholics, he'd do well to pay them the same compliment.



In all fairness, I don't think Mark includes the people you're taking umbrage in thinking he's including.

I think this particular statement (and I chose it as the title of this post purposely) is his constraining caveat:

"Memo to Protestants eager to save Catholics from the Catholic faith"

Hope that helps.

Tim Chesterton

Indeed - I didn't perhaps give that sentence the weight it deserves.

I too, as an Anglican, have been on the receiving end of people who have used the 'only a symbol' language. My reply tends to include the following questions?

'How carefully do you treat your wedding ring?'

'When you're away from home on a long trip, how do you treat the photograph of your wife that you took with you?'

'Are you aware that strictly speaking a dollar bill is not a dollar - it's a note for a dollar's worth of gold? So we can just throw dollar bills away, right?'

'Is your country's flag important to you? If you, why? It's just a symbol, right?'

I think symbols are enormously powerful, and in many cases, they effectively deliver that which they symbolize. Zwingli, I think, didn't believe this, but John Calvin (Reformed/Presbyterian) and Thomas Cranmer (Anglican) definitely did.

Tim Chesterton

Sorry, that should have read 'If so, why?'


I used to think along those lines but was always troubled by the fact that so many disciples were willing to abandon Jesus over a symbol... albeit a powerful one...

It always bothered me.

Now, if it was something other than symbolic... something quite literal, then I could understand the abandoning...

And now do...

Tim Chesterton

Rick, I don't feel inclined to pursue a controversy with you over this issue. I know that we both believe that when we receive Holy Communion we are meeting the living Jesus and feeding on him; that's good enough for me.


Tim, I didn't mean to communicate that I was looking for a fight on this...


If your actions and reactions aren't controlled by your love for Jesus Christ AND your fellow man, then you've missed the point entirely. There's not a doctrine in the world that has ever saved a single person, except the doctrine of the cross and the risen Christ. There are far more admonitions against strife, mockery and wagging tongues in the Bible than there are discussions of Holy Communion. If we'd make a doctrine of that, it would serve us all better.

Tim Chesterton

Not at all, Rick. I was not criticizing you - simply indicating why I had decided not to respond to your last point. After all, disputes between Catholics and Anglicans (and between Anglicans and Anglicans!) about the exact nature of the presence of Christ in Holy Communion have been going on for centuries! It's not likely that either you or I would serendipitously discover the knock-out argument that would convince the other, and since friendship-in-disagreement is not an unusual thing for us, I was disposed to leave it at that!

God bless you, brother.

chuck aka xtnyoda

It has always seemed to me that The Lord's Table should be the one place that we should all be able to join together.

When we celebrate communion at our church I always make it clear from the start that all believers, regardless of denomination, are invited to join us, yes even desired to join us.


Catholics misrepresenting Protestantism and/or Protestants ... and shrieking that Protestants misrepresent The One True Bureaucracy and/or One True Bureaucrats.

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