The Gospel of John
(James J. Barker)


Lesson 17

THE RC DOCTRINE OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION

(John 6:50-66)



INTRODUCTION:


1.     Tonight will be our third message from “the Bread of Life discourse.”  My message tonight is entitled, “The RC Doctrine of Transubstantiation.”

2.     The word “transubstantiation” means a change of substance. The Church of Rome teaches that the whole substance of the bread and wine is changed into the literal physical body and blood of Christ.

3.     In other words, transubstantiation is the focal point of the RC mass, and the mass is the focal point of the RC religion.  Devout RC’s believe that if they miss mass they are in the state of “mortal sin,” and that if they die in the state of mortal sin they cannot go to heaven.

4.     This is all very important to RC’s.  Since we are living in the biggest RC city in America, it would be wise for us to know what the RCC teaches.   For example, what is the “mass”?  Is it similar to a Baptist worship service? 

5.     A Catechism of Christian Doctrine asks the question: “What is the Holy Mass?” and the answer is given: “The Holy Mass is the sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, really present on the altar under the appearance of bread and wine, and offered to God for the living and the dead.”

6.     I am dealing with this subject tonight because the RCC bases their doctrine of transubstantiation on John 6.  We will look at these Scriptures tonight and see that they are misinterpreting them.

7.     I went online and looked up “transubstantiation” at the Catholic Encyclopedia.  They offer several Scriptures, but foremost is John 6.  They also refer to I Corinthians 11, and the Synoptic Gospel accounts of the Lord’s Supper.

8.     We will try and deal with these various Scriptures tonight, but let me start out by stressing that John 6 has nothing do to with the Lord’s Supper.  Our Lord did not introduce the Lord’s Supper to unbelievers (cf. John 6:36, 41-43, 52).

9.     In John 6, our Lord is not instituting the Lord’s Supper.   He did not  establish that ordinance until shortly before His crucifixion (cf. Matt. 26:26-29). 

10. Some confused Protestants mistakenly teach that the RC mass is basically the same as the Lord’s Supper.  A few years ago, Promise Keepers, an ecumenical men’s movement, published a book entitled, Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, and in that book charismatic pastor Jack Hayford made this statement: “Redeeming worship centers on the Lord's Table. Whether your tradition celebrates it as Communion, Eucharist, the Mass, or the Lord's Supper, we are all called to this centerpiece of Christian worship.”

11. During the Inquisition, godly Christians were burnt at the stake for repudiating the mass.  Now we have the sickening spectacle of so-called “Christian leaders” promoting the RCC and their blasphemous mass.

12. The doctrine of transubstantiation and the power of the priests is clearly stated by Alphonsus Ligouri (1696-1787) in the following words:    

“With regard to the power of the priests over the real body of Christ, it is of faith that when they pronounce the words of consecration, the incarnate God has obliged Himself to obey and come into their hands under the sacramental appearance of bread and wine. We are struck with wonder when we find that in obedience to the words of His priests—Hoc est corpus meum (This is my body)—God Himself descends on the altar, that He comes whenever they call Him, and as often as they call Him, and places Himself in their hands, even though they should be His enemies. And after having come He remains entirely at their disposal and they move Him as they please from one place to another. They may, if they wish, shut Him up in the tabernacle, or expose Him on the altar, or carry Him out­side the church; they may, if they choose, eat his flesh, and give Him for the food of others. Besides, the power of the priest surpasses that of the Blessed Virgin because she can­not absolve a Catholic from even the smallest sin” (The Dignity and Duties of the Priest).

13. That is quite a statement!  God must obey the Romish priest when he says a few words in Latin. The priest supposedly is endowed with this unusual power by the bishop at the time of his ordination to change the bread and wine into the literal living body and blood of Christ, which is then known as the “host,” and so to bring Him down upon the altar.

14. Here is a quote from Loraine Boettner, “And that body is said to be complete in all its parts, down to the last eyelash and toenail! How it can exist in thousands of places and in its full proportions, even in a small piece of bread, is not explained, but is taken on faith as a miracle.  It must not be supposed for a minute that modern Roman Catholics do not literally believe this jumble of medieval superstition. They have been taught it from infancy, and they do believe it. It is the very sternest doctrine of their church. It is one of the chief doctrines, if indeed it is not the chief doctrine, upon which their church rests. The priests preach it literally and emphatically several times a year, and Roman Catholic laymen dare not express any doubt about it” (Roman Catholicism).  Much of this material is from Boettner’s book.

15. After the adoration of the consecrated “host,” the uplifted hands of the priest pretend to offer to God the very body and blood of Christ as a sacrifice for the living and the dead. Then, in the observance of the eucharist he pretends to eat Him alive, in the presence of the people, also to give Him to the people under the appearance of bread, to be eaten by them.

16. This doctrine of the mass is based on the assumption that the words of Christ in John 6:53-56 are to be taken literally, not figuratively.

17. If they are right, then our Lord was encouraging cannibalism, that is, the eating of human flesh. Rome attempts to deny this, but it is hard to see how they can.  The Bible teaches: “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat (Genesis 9:4).

18. No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood” (Leviticus 17:12).

19. Again I will quote Boettner, “The Roman Church acknowledges that in the mass there is no visible change in the bread and wine, that they continue to have the same properties: the same taste, colour, smell, weight, and dimensions. It should be sufficient to refute this doctrine to point out that it involves an impossibility. It is impossible that the attributes or sensible properties of bread and wine should remain if the substance has been changed. It is self-evident that if the attributes of flesh and blood are not there, the actual flesh and blood are not there. When Jesus changed the water into wine at Cana of Galilee, there was no question but that it was wine. It had the properties of wine. But since the bread and wine in the eucharist do not have the attributes of flesh and blood, it is absurd to say that any such change has taken place. That which contradicts our reason must be pronounced irrational. Yet the adherents of Rome, under threat of eternal condemnation, are forced to believe what their church tells them, even though it contradicts their senses. The effect cannot be other than detrimental when men are forced to accept as true that which they know to be false” (Roman Catholicism).

20. When the Roman priest consecrates the wafer it is then called the “host,” and RC’s worship it as God, which is nothing but idolatry.

21. “A curious and interesting item in connection with the doctrine of the Church of Rome is that the efficiency of a priest’s action in performing any sacrament depends upon his ‘intention,’ and that if he does not have the right intention in doing what he professes to do, the sacrament is invalid” (Boettner, Roman Catholicism).

22. The Council of Trent declared: “If anyone shall say that intention, at least of doing what the church does, is not required in ministers while performing and administering the sacraments, let him be anathema” (Sess. VII, Can. ii).

23. The Creed of pope Pius IV says: “If there is a defect in any of these: namely, the due matter, the form with intention, or the sacerdotal order of the celebrant, it nullifies the sacrament.”

24. And Cardinal Bellarmine, who is considered one of the foremost authorities, says: “No one can be certain, with the certainty of faith, that he has received a true sacrament, since no sacrament is performed without the intention of the ministers, and no one can see the intention of another” (Works, Vol. I, p. 488). 

25. What confusion!  This was a very lengthy introduction.  Now I will attempt to give a brief exposition.

 

I.    OUR LORD WAS USING FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

1.     We have dealt with this already, and will say again that our Lord equates “coming” and “believing” with “eating” and “drinking.”  You are saved by coming to Christ and believing in Him (cf. 6:47-51).

2.     Understanding this eliminates a lot of confusion.

3.     Consider John 6:40.  Every one which believes in the Son of God has “everlasting life.”  This is the theme of John’s Gospel (cf. 3:16-18, 36; 5:24; 6:47; etc.).

4.     Our Lord adds at the end of John 6:40, “and I will raise him up at the last day” (cf. 6:54).

5.     Consider the language of John 4:13, 14 (cf. 6:35). 

6.     The woman at the well misunderstood our Lord (4:15).  The Jews misunderstood our Lord (John 2:19-21; 6:41).

7.     Nicodemus misunderstood our Lord (John 3:3, 4). 

8.     And the RCC has misunderstood our Lord.

9.     Consider 7:37-39.  Again we see the figure of speech – “thirst” (cf. 6:35).

10.When we come to Christ and believe in Him we receive into our souls the benefits of His body and blood, which were offered on the cross for our sins.

 

II.    THE BIBLE OFTEN USES FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

1.     The Bible often uses metaphors, allegory, hyperbole, symbols, parables, similes, euphemism, irony, fables, riddles, typology, and various figures of speech (cf. I Chron. 11:17-19).

2.     The prophet Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them…” (15:16).  We use similar expressions to this day.

3.     The Lord instructed Ezekiel to eat His words (Ezek. 2:8-10).

4.     Fundamentalists believe in a literal interpretation of Scripture, but we allow for figurative language.

5.     Bible college students all over the world are taught David L. Cooper’s “Golden Rule of Interpretation”: “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.

 

III.    THE DANGER OF SUBSTITUTING RITUAL FOR GENUINE SPIRITUAL POWER

1.     New Testament Christianity is based upon the preaching of the Gospel.  Ritualism, sacramentalism, and all forms of popery are devilish inventions, which undermine the Gospel (cf. John 4:20-24).

2.     Catholicism (as well as liberal Protestantism) is a carnal, superstitious religion, which attracts and impresses the unregenerate by its ornate ritualism.

3.     It is all very colorful and sensual, but to the spiritually minded it is also very oppressive and demonic.

 

CONCLUSION:


What a scourge the Mass becomes in the hands of Rome to drive its votaries to obedience. Armed with it Rome forces them to come continually to her shrines, and to pay unceasingly for the support of her vast ritualistic display, her temporal, material pomp and glory. And after all the gifts and fanatical devotion of her deluded followers what does she offer them at last? Heaven? No! — Purgatory! This awaits them all, from Pope to the humblest devotee. Purgatory! A place of pain and of uncertain release.  But purgatory is only one piece of the whole system of superstition, intimidation and deception. It is quite a logical attendant on what precedes it, for purgatory demands more masses, and consequently a continual bondage on the one hand and an inflow of receipts on the other.  By contrast how beautiful, comforting and sustaining is the Christian’s belief! For him there are no attractions in the Mass. He realizes he is washed from his sins in the precious blood of Christ, that he is sealed by the Holy Spirit to the day of Redemption (the resurrection), that his name is written in the Lambs Book of Life, and that Heaven is his home. This is the Gospel — the glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, and enjoying it he can triumphantly exclaim — ‘Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift!’” – Charles Cook, 1912



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