A Historical Overview of the Lord’s Supper | Matthew Wiersma

by | Nov 22, 2023 | Historical Theology, Systematic Theology, Worship

 

Introduction

Every major doctrine of the Christian faith has undergone development and controversy over the course of church history, and the Lord’s Supper is no exception. From the inception of the New Covenant church, believers everywhere have cherished and esteemed the Lord’s Supper. However, much disagreement has surrounded the sacrament’s significance. Questions such as its efficacy and Christ’s presence have been particular areas of contention throughout the life of the church. This overview of the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper will be treated by considering its Patristic, medieval, Reformation and post-Reformation, and modern expressions.

 

The Lord’s Supper in the Patristic Period

From the earliest days of the church, Christians regularly gathered together to observe the Lord’s Supper. Christ, having instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper on the night he was betrayed, imbued it with special significance for believers. One sees this cherishing of the Lord’s Supper during the Patristic era in churches regularly administering it and in theologians teaching on its significance. Patristic perspectives on the Lord’s Supper can be discussed in terms of the details of the Lord’s Supper, the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, and the benefits of the Lord’s Supper.

History has preserved various details of Patristic observance of the Lord’s Supper, such as its distribution, its frequency, and its elements. Regarding its distribution, the only legitimate recipients were those who had been baptized, and authorized men acted as the distributors. The Didache in the late first or early second century teaches that “none shall eat or shall drink from the Eucharist but those baptized in the name of the Lord.”[1] This same policy is also taught in the second century by Justin Martyr,[2] the third century by Cyprian,[3] and the fourth century in the Apostolic Constitutions.[4] This insistence on baptism as a prerequisite shows that the Patristic church sought to ensure only Christians would partake of the Lord’s Supper. Because baptism was viewed as the introductory rite of joining the Christian community, requiring baptism before partaking in the Lord’s Supper ensured unbelievers would not partake of the ordinance. However, the external requirement of baptism was paired with an internal requirement. Echoing the teachings of Paul concerning worthy involvement, Origen taught that the participant must partake “with undefiled mind and pure conscience.”[5] Baptism alone was not enough to receive the Lord’s Supper. Partakers had to participate worthily in faith and purity in order to rightly participate in the ordinance. Together, the external sign of baptism and the internal cleansing of the heart constituted proper reception of the sacrament. Regarding the distributors, history records that the church officers administered the Lord’s Supper. Justin Martyr records that “when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water.”[6] The president, most likely a bishop or presbyter, presided and pronounced the blessing over the elements, and the deacons assisted in the physical distribution to the people. Just as the recipients of the sacrament were closely regulated, so were the administrators. Only baptized Christians living godly lives were permitted to partake of the Lord’s Supper, and only the church officers were allowed to preside over the celebration. The details of the Lord’s Supper’s distribution show that it was guarded and regulated by the church in order to protect its great significance.

In addition to the distribution of the Lord’s Supper, history also preserves some details concerning the frequency of its celebration. In his description of the religious practices of Christians, Justin Martyr describes what a typical weekly worship meeting entailed. On Sunday, all the believers in the area gathered in one place to hear readings from Scripture, receive instruction and exhortation from the president, pray corporately, partake in the Lord’s Supper, and furnish gifts for the needy among them.[7] Because Justin Martyr described the Lord’s Supper alongside other typical elements of worship without distinction, this has led many to suggest that the sacrament was observed on a weekly basis.[8] Upon initial consideration, one might think its unique significance would lead to guarding it by observing it less frequently, as is the case in certain modern contexts. However, the sacrament’s treasured position in the church was the impetus to observe it regularly, making it a part of the weekly Sunday liturgy. As will be seen later, the church saw great significance both in the meaning and the benefits of the Lord’s Supper, and this significance justified its frequent use. Just as Christians were meticulous in rightly ordering the details of the sacrament’s distribution, they observed it frequently as a regular part of their corporate worship.

Besides the distribution and frequency of the Lord’s Supper, the identity of the elements is also recorded, although largely assumed, during the Patristic era. Regarding the first element, it is well-attested that Christ’s body is represented by bread. Men such as Justin Martyr[9] and Irenaeus[10] clearly identify bread as the first element of the Lord’s Supper. However, more oblique terms tend to be used for the second element. For example, Irenaeus refers to the second element as the “cup of blessing” in one of his discussions of the Lord’s Supper, which does not specify the drink contained in the cup.[11] Similarly, the Didache uses the plain term of “cup” in its treatment of the Lord’s Supper’s second element.[12] This more indirect manner of speaking is common in Scripture as well, which typically refers to the second element as the “cup” or occasionally the “fruit of the vine” (e.g. Matt. 26:27-29; 1 Cor. 11:23-32). However, Justin Martyr is very explicit in identifying the second element. When describing the Christian practice of the Lord’s Supper, he specifically identifies the second element as wine mixed with water.[13] Whether or not all Christians mixed water into the wine of the Lord’s Supper is not abundantly clear. However, Justin Martyr’s testimony clarifies that wine is the main drink used in the cup, and the mixture of water was common enough not to warrant further explanation or clarification.

Church history not only preserves the details of the Lord’s Supper but also preserves various Patristic views of the Lord’s Supper’s meaning. One view of the Lord’s Supper is that it is a sacrifice, which is argued by the Didache,[14] Justin Martyr,[15] and Irenaeus.[16] However, the meaning of this sacrifice sometimes varies. For example, in one discussion Irenaeus speaks of the bread and cup as the sacrifice.[17] In another discourse, he asserts that the elements consist of earthly and heavenly realities, such that the Christian’s flesh is nourished with Christ’s body and blood.[18] Taken together, this seems to indicate that Irenaeus saw the sacrifice as both the bread and wine as well as the Lord’s body and blood. Cyprian uses even stronger language regarding this sacrifice, saying that the priest offers a “true and full sacrifice” in the Eucharist[19] and that “the Lord’s passion is the sacrifice which we offer.”[20] In addition to being viewed as a sacrifice, a second view of the Lord’s Supper is that it is for the remembrance of Christ and his salvific work. Although Justin Martyr understands the ordinance to be a sacrament, he also viewed it as a “remembrance of his being made flesh for the sake of his believers”[21] and “of the suffering which He endured on behalf of those who are purified in soul from all iniquity.”[22] Similarly, Cyprian also uses the language of remembrance with respect to the Lord’s Supper, even linking it with his discussion of the sacrament’s sacrificial nature.[23] Although other perspectives may be added, the Patristic view of the Lord’s Supper’s meaning generally includes memorial and sacrificial aspects, although the exact nature of the latter varies among writers.

In addition to the details and the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, the Patristic writers also discussed the benefits of the Lord’s Supper. In general, the benefits are described as spiritual in nature. For example, Ignatius of Antioch called the sacrament “the antidote that we should not die but live in Jesus Christ forever.”[24] Clement of Alexandria is more specific, saying that “they who by faith partake of it are sanctified both in body and soul.”[25] Augustine was more specific by propounding a view that would heavily influence later understandings of the Lord’s Supper. He understood the sacraments to communicate grace ex opere operato, meaning that the sacraments are effectual by the mere performance of them, regardless of who performs or receives them.[26] In addition, he acknowledged that Christ was truly present in the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper, but he did not understand the elements to be Christ’s literal body.[27] According to Berkhof, Augustine “asserted that the substance of bread and wine remain unchanged” and “maintained that the wicked, though they may receive the elements, do not partake of the body.”[28] Although Augustine’s view is not identical to the fully developed Roman Catholic doctrines of the sacrament’s operation and Christ’s presence in it, his language about the nature of the sacrament make gradual movements in that direction. Despite some diversity found among Patristic writers, there is a constant theme that spiritual blessing is received through participation in the sacrament.

 

The Lord’s Supper in the Medieval Period

The central importance of the Lord’s Supper was not unique to the Patristic age. Throughout the medieval period, the church retained its focus on and reverence for the sacrament. Much of this period entailed discussions of Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper. Similar to the Patristic age, there was both unity and diversity in considering this question. The church recognized that Christ was present in the Lord’s Supper, but the manner of his presence was in dispute. At the end of centuries of debate, the modern Roman Catholic doctrine emerged.

Medieval controversy over the presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper is commonly thought to begin with the writings of Paschasius Radbert. In the early ninth century, he began propounding the view that the bread and wine became the physical body and blood of Christ. He asserted that the substance of the elements is changed into Christ’s body and blood, even though their appearance remained as bread and wine. For Radbert, this was the only explanation that made sense of Christ’s famed words, “This is my body,” when the sacrament was instituted.[29] Several men opposed Radbert’s view, most notably Ratramn. Ratramn argued that the elements of the Lord’s Supper do not turn into the physical body and blood of Christ. Ratramn saw this as confounding the outward sign with the spiritual reality. Nevertheless, Christ is still present in the administration of the Lord’s Supper, and Christ’s body and blood is received by faithful believers in a spiritual manner.[30] In contrast to Radbert, Ratramn cites a number of Patristic writers in support of his perspective, such as Ambrose, Augustine, Isidore, Jerome, and Fulgentius.[31] As a result of this debate, Radbert’s view became the prevalent one, such that Julian of Toledo eventually claimed that the authority of the universal church supported the position.[32] Although controversy continued in the following centuries, with men such as Berengar of Tours taking a similar perspective and line of argumentation as Ratramn, the view of Radbert gained widespread acceptance.[33]

Once the physical presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper was accepted, the next question was addressing in what manner Christ was physically present. One proposed theory was impanation. According to this view, “the elements of the Supper are believed to remain as bread and wine, but to include within themselves miraculously the body and blood of Jesus.”[34] However, the theory of transubstantiation eventually gained acceptance. This theory relied upon the Aristotelian concepts of substance and accidents. An entity’s substance is its essence or nature, whereas its accidents are its external characteristics. Applying these concepts to the Lord’s Supper, theologians argued that the substance of the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. This change occurs when the words of consecration are spoken during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. However, the accidents of the elements remain the same, such that they still retain the characteristics of bread and wine to the external senses.[35] This doctrine of transubstantiation was eventually codified as the official church teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in 1215 by the Fourth Lateran Council.[36]

In addition to transubstantiation, the doctrine and practice of the Lord’s Supper developed in other ways. A significant development was the acceptance of a view known as concomitance. This perspective claims that the entirety of Christ is contained in each element, making the reception of both elements unnecessary. The acceptance of concomitance altered other practices relating to the Lord’s Supper. One example is found in the practice of giving communion to baptized infants, commonly called paedocommunion. Formerly, some of each element was given to them. However, because bread could be difficult for infants to swallow, wine became the only element served to them since the doctrine of concomitance taught that they would still receive all of Christ. Under this same rationale, the manner of serving the sacrament to the laity was changed. Formerly, the laity partook of both the bread and the wine. However, because serving the cup could lead to spills and thus desecrating Christ’s blood, the wine became reserved for the clergy, and only bread was served to the laity. Interestingly, this concern eventually led to the rejection of paedocommunion altogether, since administration to infants could lead to spills as well.[37]

Despite the codification of these views into church faith and practice, opposition persisted. John Wycliffe was highly critical of transubstantiation and offered numerous arguments against it, including the lack of biblical support, the lack of historical support, the counterintuitive nature of the doctrine, and the idolatry of worshiping the elements. John Hus brought his own arguments against the practice of withholding the wine from the laity, arguing that it did not accord with the authoritative example of Christ.[38] These men and their followers recognized that doctrines surrounding the Lord’s Supper had strayed far from their biblical and historical roots, and there was the need for reformation according to the Word of God.

 

The Lord’s Supper in the Reformation and Post-Reformation Periods

The Protestant Reformation was a movement that sought to reform church doctrine and practice according to biblical examples recorded in the apostolic and post-apostolic ages. Certain doctrines, such as those articulated in the ancient ecumenical creeds, were received heartily as reflecting the biblical and apostolic faith. However, the Reformers found many other doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church to be scripturally deficient. Chief among them were Rome’s doctrines surrounding the Lord’s Supper, such as transubstantiation and the eucharistic sacrifice. As the Reformers debated the precise meaning and significance of the Lord’s Supper, three primary positions emerged, which are typically associated with Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin. These positions were eventually adopted by the Protestant churches of the post-Reformation period.

Martin Luther protested against the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, noting three particular errors in The Babylonian Captivity of the Church. First, he criticized the practice of only administering one element of the Lord’s Supper to the laity, noting that such a practice had no biblical or logical basis. Second, he repudiated the doctrine of transubstantiation, understanding it to be a philosophical imposition which did not take Christ’s words of institution in their plain and natural sense. Third, he rejected the sacrificial aspect of the Lord’s Supper and the numerous abuses that arise as a result of this view.[39] Instead, Luther put forth his own perspective, which is commonly called consubstantiation, although many Lutherans eschew this terminology. This view “hold[s] that bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ, and are given and received not only by the godly, but also by wicked Christians.”[40] Although Luther taught that the bread and wine are not changed in any way, he also believed in the “real presence of the whole person of Christ, body, and blood, in, under, and along with, the elements.”[41] He defended this view by asserting that the words, “This is my body,” should be interpreted literally, that Christ is omnipresent, and that Christ’s incarnation meant that Christ’s human nature was ubiquitous just like his divine nature.[42] Luther’s distinct perspective became the view accepted by post-Reformation Lutherans.

A second perspective promoted during the Reformation was that of Huldrych Zwingli. Zwingli joined with Martin Luther in rejecting the Roman Catholic view of transubstantiation, grounding his criticism on Scripture’s teaching that Christ’s body is located at the right hand of the Father. He further argued that a sacrament by nature is a physical sign of a spiritual reality, not the reality itself, and that, “This is my body,” is most naturally understood figuratively, not literally.[43] For Zwingli, the Lord’s Supper should be thought of as a memorial of the sacrificial death of Christ for his people. However, his views regarding Christ’s presence are somewhat unclear. Some claim that Zwingli held to a bare memorialism, such that the remembrance of Christ’s death is the only significance of the sacrament. However, many scholars disagree with this claim. [44] Although Zwingli repudiated the physical presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, “he did not deny the spiritual presence of Christ.”[45] This, however, was not acceptable to Luther, as was seen at the Marburg Colloquy in 1529. The purpose of this great meeting was to unite the young Reformation movement’s Lutheran and Reformed branches, led by Luther and Zwingli, respectively. Although the two men were able to agree on a number of crucial doctrinal points, they were unable to reconcile their differences concerning the Lord’s Supper.[46] Since then, the Lutheran and Reformed branches of Protestantism have remained distinct, and Zwingli has remained associated with a memorial view of the sacrament.

The third major perspective of the Lord’s Supper during the Reformation was John Calvin’s. John Calvin articulated a doctrine of the Lord’s Supper that mediated between Luther and Zwingli. Like Zwingli, Calvin asserted that Christ’s physical body was in heaven at the right hand of the Father. However, like Luther, Calvin clearly emphasized the presence of Christ in the administration of the Lord’s Supper. According to Calvin, the believer partakes of the body and blood of Christ through the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit.[47] The manner of the believer’s partaking in Christ is spiritual rather than physical. By participating through faith, the believer’s soul is nourished on Christ just as his body is nourished on bread and wine. Because this participation in Christ requires faith, unbelievers do not partake of Christ in the sacrament.[48] In articulating this view, Calvin specifically rejects the Lutheran view, which rests upon the assumption that Christ’s human body is ubiquitous and therefore physically present in the elements. Calvin views such a perspective as mixing Christ’s divine and human nature into some sort of third nature, which is neither truly God nor truly man.[49] Rather than demanding that Christ’s body be brought down to the Christian, Calvin saw Christ as lifting the Christian up to him by the work of the Holy Spirit.[50] Christ’s real spiritual presence in the Lord’s Supper as espoused by Calvin became the prevalent view espoused by the Reformed churches. Together with the Lutheran and Zwinglian perspectives, Calvin’s view sought to restore the Lord’s Supper as understood and practiced by the original apostolic churches.

In the post-Reformation period, perspectives on the Lord’s Supper among Protestants continued to fall under the general perspectives espoused by Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin. The Lutherans reaffirmed Luther’s view of consubstantiation, defending it against their Reformed opponents whom they collectively labeled as Sacramentarians.[51] Meanwhile, the Reformed and Presbyterian churches adopted Calvin’s more explicit view of Christ’s real spiritual presence in favor of the more ambiguous Zwinglian view. The Westminster Confession of Faith codifies this perspective most famously and clearly, asserting that faithful believers “really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death.”[52] The Congregationalists and Particular Baptists also codified Calvin’s perspective in their own doctrinal standards. Despite their differences, the Protestant Reformers and their successors believed that they were not introducing a new doctrine of the sacrament but saw themselves as restoring the purity of the original ordinance given by Christ. Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church responded by reiterating its commitment to its distinctive doctrine of the Lord’s Supper in the Council of Trent.[53]

 

The Lord’s Supper in the Modern Period

In contrast to the Reformation age, the modern age shows comparatively less development in the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. Nevertheless, certain ideas and trends have gained some prominence. Some ideas were theological, such as John Wesley viewing the sacrament as a means of conversion for unbelievers, or the Roman Catholic Church emphasizing the sacrifice of the mass as a re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Other developments pertained to the elements themselves, such as the replacement of alcoholic wine with non-alcoholic grape juice among many Baptist churches. Additional trends included the ecumenical movement’s attempt to minimize doctrinal differences between various theological traditions. For example, the World Council of Churches issued a document in 1982 called Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, which sought to unify and harmonize denominational views concerning the Lord’s Supper and other subjects. Although the ecumenical movement had some influence among mainline churches, evangelical churches have largely retained their distinct denominational identities concerning the sacrament.[54] The modern age has not presented large developments in the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper but rather has been characterized by subtle nuancing of existing perspectives or flattening the distinctions that once separated denominations.

 

Conclusion

The Lord’s Supper is a doctrine that has undergone various periods of development over the course of church history. Each age was characterized by its own unique emphases, from the pursuit of clarity in the Patristic age to the codification of church dogma in the medieval period, and from the corrections of the Protestant Reformation to the settling of the modern period. Although much controversy has erupted over the past two millennia, such conflicts were over an ordinance that is dear to the heart of every Christian. A Christian’s understanding of the Lord’s Supper affects his understanding of the hypostatic union, sanctification, and other related doctrines. The doctrine of the Lord’s Supper is worth debating so that the church may hone its understanding and better remember the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, who purchased salvation for his people through the sacrifice of his body and blood upon the cross.

 

About the Author

Matthew Wiersma is a husband, father, and currently a gifted brother at Providence Reformed Baptist Church in Irvine, CA. He graduated from CBTS in 2020 with a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies and aspires to the office of elder. His academic interests include symbolics, historical theology, and ecclesiology.

 

 

[1] “The Didache (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles),” The Apostolic Fathers in English, ed. Rick Brannan (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), 9.5. Logos.

[2] Justin Martyr, “The First Apology of Justin,” The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, vol. 1 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, (Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1885), LXVI. Logos.

[3] Cyprian of Carthage, “The Epistles of Cyprian,” Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Novation, Appendix, vol. 5 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. Robert Ernest Wallis (Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1886), LXII.8. Logos.

[4] “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles,” Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies, vol. 7 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe (Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1886), II.V.XXXIX. Logos.

[5] Origen, “Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew,” The Gospel of Peter, the Diatessaron of Tatian, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Visio Pauli, the Apocalypses of the Virgil and Sedrach, the Testament of Abraham, the Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena, the Narrative of Zosimus, the Apology of Aristides, the Epistles of Clement (Complete Text), Origen’s Commentary on John, Books I-X, and Commentary on Matthew, Books I, II, and X-XIV, vol. 9 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Allan Menzies, trans. John Patrick (Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1897), XI.14. Logos.

[6] Justin, “First Apology,” Apostolic Fathers, LXV.

[7] Ibid, LXVII.

[8] Gregg R. Allison, Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 637. Logos.

[9] Justin, “First Apology,” Apostolic Fathers, LXV.

[10] Irenaeus of Lyons, “Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenæus,” The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, vol. 1 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, (Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1885), XXXVII. Logos.

[11] Ibid.

[12] “Didache,” Apostolic Fathers, 9.2.

[13] Justin, “First Apology,” Apostolic Fathers, LXV.

[14] “Didache,” Apostolic Fathers, 14.1.

[15] Justin Martyr, “Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, a Jew,” The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, vol. 1 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, (Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1885), XLI, CXVII. Logos.

[16] Irenaeus of Lyons, “Irenæus against Heresies,” The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, vol. 1 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, (Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1885), IV.XVII.5. Logos.

[17] Irenaeus, “Fragments,” Apostolic Fathers, XXXVII.

[18] Irenaeus, “Against Heresies,” IV.XVIII.5.

[19] Cyprian, “Epistles,” Fathers of the Third Century, LXII.14.

[20] Cyprian, “Epistles,” Fathers of the Third Century, LXII.17.

[21] Justin, “Dialogue,” Apostolic Fathers, LXX.

[22] Ibid, XLI.

[23] Cyprian, “Epistles,” Fathers of the Third Century, LXII.14.

[24] “Ignatius to the Ephesians,” The Apostolic Fathers in English, ed. Rick Brannan (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), 20.2. Logos.

[25] Clement of Alexandria, “The Instructor,” Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire), vol. 2 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe (Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1885), II.II. Logos.

[26] Allison, Historical Theology, 640.

[27] Ibid, 640-641.

[28] Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines (1937; reprint, Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1949), 260. Logos.

[29] Allison, Historical Theology, 641-642.

[30] Ibid, 642.

[31] Geoffrey W. Bromily, Historical Theology: An Introduction (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1978), 162.

[32] Allison, Historical Theology, 642.

[33] Ibid, 643.

[34] Donald K. McKim, “Impanation,” The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms. 2nd ed. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014), 160. Logos.

[35] Allison, Historical Theology, 643-644.

[36] Berkhof, History of Christian Doctrines, 261.

[37] Allison, Historical Theology, 645-646.

[38] Ibid, 646.

[39] Ibid, 647-648.

[40] Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church: German-Latin-English (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1921), SA III VI 1, accessed February 13, 2019. http://bookofconcord.org/.

[41] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology. 4th Revised and Enlarged ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 652. Logos.

[42] Allison, Historical Theology, 649.

[43] Ibid, 650.

[44] G. Stephen Weaver, Jr., “Christ Spiritually Present and Believers Spiritually Nourished: The Lord’s Supper in 17th-Century English Particular Baptist Life,” Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies (2015), 94-97.

[45] Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 262-263.

[46] E. H. Klotsche, The History of Christian Doctrine. Revised ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1979), 192.

[47] Allison, Historical Theology, 654.

[48] Berkhof, History of Christian Doctrines, 263.

[49] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill and trans. Ford Lewis Battles, The Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1960), IV.xvii.30. Logos.

[50] Ibid, IV.xvii.31.

[51] Concordia, SD VII.

[52] Philip Schaff, The Evangelical Protestant Creeds, with Translations, 3rd ed., vol. 3 of The Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical Notes (New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1882), WCF XXIX:7. Logos.

[53] Alister E. McGrath, Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought, 2nd ed. (Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 141. Kindle.

[54] Allison, Historical Theology, 657-658.

 

 

 

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God is Wise, and Hidden, and Revealed | Tom J. Nettles

God is Wise, and Hidden, and Revealed | Tom J. Nettles

Job mocks the repetitive irrelevance of the presentations of his comforters. He particularly derides the speech of Bildad for his restatement of the obvious that God is more powerful than his creatures. With seething sarcasm, Job quips, “How you have helped him who has no power!” Just telling me that God is stronger than I is neither enlightening nor particularly insightful in expanding our understanding of the ways of God with his creatures.

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