My new book, Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper, was released this week by Zondervan. A link for Lifeway Christian stores (in a pdf file) will let you see the book and also provides a good description of it. You can order it from our Web site for $12, plus shipping, or from any major store or online source. The book seeks to answer numerous questions about the Lord’s Supper and includes a Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran and Roman Catholic contribution. I honestly do not know another book like it, especially since we included the Catholic view of the Mass. I believe it fosters both good biblical thought and the right measure of helpful ecumenism. I hope you will agree and I hope you will read it.

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  1. Dozie October 31, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    What is the man on the pew to do with a book like this? Select from the menu? Conclude that all the views are equally relevant? Pity how far Christianity has fallen!! Pity that a Catholic took part in this kind of ground-leveling theology.

  2. Nick Morgan November 3, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    Dozie, Dozie, Your perspective seems so negative. It would be very beneficial for serious Christians of all the major Traditions; Roman Catholic; Eastern Orthodox; and Protestant-Evangelical to become more familiar with one another’s views on this most vital of sacraments. Many Protestants have little or no accurate understanding of what the RCC teaches about the Eucharist and they’re not very likely to pick up our Catechism to find out! Likewise, many Catholics do not accurately understand the differing views of the sacraments among Evangelicals, and therefore tend to misrepresent them. If we as Roman Catholics take our Lord’s prayer in John 17 seriously, then we are obligated to interact with our “separated BRETHREN” in the other Christian traditions to better understand them and to share what we truly believe. This kind of serious and orthodox ecumenism is badly needed in the Whole church today if the wounds of division in the Body of Christ would ever be healed! God bless!

  3. Dozie November 6, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    I could not disagree with you more. Nothing could be more dangerous to the souls of many than to introduce them to false teachings. For academic purposes, may be, yes. We should not dangle the souls of many to doctrines already dogmatically declared false. How much time are you going to devote to someone who says there are other equally credible ways to the “Father” other than Jesus? What about the Trinity? What about Moslem or Mormon understanding of who Jesus was? Would you recommend to your parish’s catechism class book on the “Four Views of Who Jesus Really Was”? It seems to me that we have constructively done away with the idea of heresy.
    Is there any safe Catholic doctrine anymore?
    Is it because we have become accustomed to a culture of debate and arguments, that any body can question the Church’s teachings on key doctrine and we simply rejoice because he/she is feeding the debate-crazy society? To admit the so called other views of the Eucharist is to directly deny the Catholic principle on the matter – the Catholic view is the ONLY correct view; it correctly apprehends the mind of Christ on the subject. If the Catholic view was incorrect, I submit to you that no one would be required to believe anything in the Bible.
    Thankfully, the Catholic view on the Eucharist is not just one of four views. This is what the Church teaches and I hope you that is what you believe as well. If it is, any serious insinuation of three other views should not be entertaining to you. The catholic therefore, before being curious about other views should know what the Church teaches; today, the debate culture has reduced the number of people who know and believe Church teachings to, I’m told, 30% of the membership.

  4. Nick Morgan November 8, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Thank you for your response. And yes, I DO hold the Roman Catholic view of the Eucharist. It was my conviction about the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist that helped bring me back to “Rome”. However, I was an Evangelical for about 13 years, and I still have many Evangelical friends whom I know are serious committed Christians and, I am convinced, truly my brothers and sisters in Christ. I had to wrestle for years with the doctrine of the Eucharist, which was always referred to as the “Lord’s Supper” by Evangelicals. I only wish someone had written this book sooner. It wasn’t until I really studied the views of Luther, Calvin, the Orthodox, and finally the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on the Eucharist that I became truly convinced from the heart of the truth of the RCC’s doctrine about this and the other 6 sacraments. I don’t believe any of the “official teachings” of the Catholic Church are “up for grabs”, but I DO believe honest discussion and dialogue among serious but charitable Christians is important and valuable. Even the debates about the core doctrines of Christian orthodoxy in the 4th and 5th centuries weren’t settled without discussion and serious debate. Yes, I believe most Evangelicals have a low and inadequate view of the Sacraments, and a book like this might get someone thinking. I believe when an Evangelical arrives at accepting even the views of Luther or Calvin on the Eucharist they have come a long way theologically! (and spiritually) However, it is impossible to deny God’s Providential hand over the Reformation event, tragic as it was, and the continuing existence of Protestant and Evangelical Church Bodies, and our own Magisterium was “forced” to recognize this by the time of Vatican II. Now among Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical Christians, no one would argue that any of the Doctrines confessed in our historic creeds (Nicene, Athanasian, Chalcedonian) are “up for grabs” in any way, though some would debate the “binding authority” of the Creeds, which I don’t. So historic Christian doctrine is settled as far as Creedal orthodoxy goes, which is why no serious Christian in any of the great Traditions would acknowlege Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, United “Oneness” Pentecostals; or Unitarians as being “within the pale of orthodoxy”; but our continuing “in house” disagreements are real and cannot be glossed over or ignored. But for me as a Catholic to simply claim “Rome has spoken” as an authoritative statement to my Evangelical friends doesn’t “wash with them” because though many of them respect our current and recent Popes, they don’t accept our claim to Papal apostolic authority. But they do acknowlege the supreme authority of Jesus Christ and His revelation in the Scriptures.
    One other point needs to be made here, these types of books are generally read by Evangelicals, not frequently by Catholics. So it is very valuable for a doctrinally sound Catholic Priest to explain to our Protestant brothers and sisters what we really believe about the Eucharist. My experience as an Evangelical was that many if not most, really don’t understand accurately the RCC teaching here.
    Do you have any Protestant or Evangelical friends? It’s always helpful to understand where they are coming from and why they misunderstand or reject our belief.
    BTW, it’s interesting to read about the Orthodox Church’s teaching on the Eucharist, which in many ways is very similar to ours and yet differs because of their rejection of the definitions posed by medeival scholastic theology. I am still convinced that each major Christian Tradition has much to teach the others. If I understand our Catechism correctly, this DOESN’T make me an unfaithful Catholic, but puts me in step with the “Ecumenical spirit” of the Church promoted by our late Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. As always, God bless you my brother!

  5. Dozie November 9, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    The problem with a book like this is that it is essentially subversive, probably, without intending to be so. It subverts the Church and crowns the individual the magisterium of one. The duty of the theologian, from the Catholic perspective, is to explain the Church’s teachings and make them more accessible to the faithful. It is the Church that is the mother and teacher. The Church of Jesus Christ does not burden her children with deciding which doctrines to believe. Rather, she instructs them in the faith. To propose four views of the Eucharist without conclusive remark regarding which three are false and which one is true is a disservice to the truth, to the people and to God Himself. In the end, there can’t possibly be four views of the Eucharist; why then propose what is not impossible? It is possible that all four views are incorrect, but they can’t all be correct. The theologian working in the service of the Church strives to make known what he or she has learned about the same faith that is held in common in the Church – never a separate or different faith.
    For those of us born in Christian homes, we begin to learn the faith literally at the foot of the Church (in CCD classes); we do not create our own dogmas and doctrines. It should be the same faith even if we reach age 120. At no point should we become the final judge of what we should believe, rather we should receive with faithful docility the teachings of the Church as we express in the Act of Faith: “O MY GOD, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I BELIEVE THESE AND ALL THE TRUTHS WHICH THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHES, BECAUSE THOU HAST REVEALED THEM, WHO CANST NEITHER DECEIVE NOR BE DECEIVED.” For example, I have not personally researched any of the books of the bible to determine the authorship or decide why they should or should not belong in the Christian Canon; I accept them as the word of God purely on the Church’s testimony.
    In any case, for a Christian, the kind of book as we are discussing, is an unnecessary burden, if the book is not intended merely as an exercise in literary entertainment. It can be hurtful rather than helpful, the ecumenical intensions not withstanding.

  6. Nick Morgan November 10, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Dozie, I appreciate your whole-hearted committment to the teaching and Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. If only more of our brother and sister Catholics were more faithful to our Lord and the teaching of our Church. And as a Catholic I agree with your statements about the Church being our “mother” and teaching us Christian truth and dogma rather than asking us to figure it out on our own. However, as I stated in the previous post, this book is primarily aimed at Evangelical-Protestants who don’t hold to a single teaching Magisterium but do accept the authority of the Scriptures. And as we both know this creates difficulties in understanding and interpreting certain doctrines that the RCC has officially defined for us. Protestants of various denominations do disagree with one another about the nature and efficacy of the Sacraments of “the Lord’s Supper” and “Baptism”. So a book like this is very valuable for those who are still wrestling with these doctrines theologically, as well as those who are genuinely interested in ecumenical dialogue among the various Christian Traditions. Therefore I still believe having a Roman Catholic Priest contribute a chapter explaining and defending the Roman Catholic teaching on the Eucharist is vital toward the discussion, and also might serve to clarify misunderstandings that many Evangelicals have about what the RCC church believes and teaches about this most blessed sacrament. That being said, certainly if another Roman Catholic or a genuinely interested Protestant asked me what to read about the Eucharist, I would recommend our Catechism and maybe some books by Dr. Scott Hahn. But as a Catholic who loves the whole Body of Christ and am also grieved by our divisions, I am convinced that books like this are valuable in this day of openness to ecumenical dialogue among Christians; and I’m very grateful that Dr. Armstrong was willing to have the Roman Catholic teaching accurately presented by a Roman Catholic Priest. Sadly, very few Evangelicals would be willing to take this step. God bless you my brother!

  7. Dozie November 11, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks for your time. End.

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