MT. HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." John 17:17

Top

Letter 1 - George Klein Replies To John Niehaus


Aug. 1, 1982

Dear John,

  Fr. John Kummer was stationed here at Holy Trinity during my Spring institute in Rome. By the time your letter came to him; he had been assigned to St. Martin Parish in St. Martin, Ohio. I read your message and wonder if our paths had not crossed somewhere in the past. You seem to know so much about the Catholic religion that I sense you came from that background, and yet on some points you seemed so misinformed or a misunderstanding of the Catholic position. The Mass is central to Catholic worship and life, as you duly noted. That is because the main liturgy, Eucharistic sacrifice is intimately bound up with Christ's all redeeming sacrificial death on calvary as seen from 1 Cor. 11:26; 1 Cor. 10:16-21.

  You say that Christ did not believe in transubstantiation. He didn't believe it: He knew its reality. Transubstantiation is a physical explanation of the reality of Christ's real presence. Christ says: "this is my body... This is my blood" not this stands for, symbols, reminds you of the body and blood. Paul would never have said "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthy sins against the body and blood of the Lord (1 Cor. 11:27) if he didn't understand that this was indeed the very body and blood of Christ. If I abuse a picture or symbol of Christ, I am not guilty of His body and blood. He does not call this fruit of the vine His blood when that verse refers to the messianic banquet where as man and sacraments are God's means for this world. You say Christ's promise of the Eucharist the year before nullifies any real presence because Christ speaks of spirit and life, not flesh. But the whole episode of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes was to be a sign of something much greater than physical food: the people couldn't see beyond the food for the body, because of their earthly mindness. Over and over again (52, 54, 56) Christ insists on the reality of the Eucharist.

  Christ's sacrifice is the one and only truly perfect sacrifice. The mass does not add to it, but makes that sacrifice present to us 1 Cor. 11:26. It is not sacraments, commandments, faith, good lives, prayer, altar calls, charismatic gifts, speaking in tongues, that will save us, but agape love rooted in grace. We must be brought unto the redeeming death of Christ and live that life of Grace Eph. 2:8. The sacraments and mass can help us achieve that. But you surely must remember your catechism lessons about the sacraments giving grace unless we place an obstacle in the way of their functioning and prevent them from being part of God's chosen instruments. This is not progressive salvation, but cooperative salvation in which a free willed creature under the grace of God works out his salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). To take the Biblical exhortation to faith to be the soul element in salvation is to emasculate the scriptures: even the devils believe and tremble (James 2:19). To say it is faith alone that saves would put the scriptures in conflict with themselves. For in Eph. 2:8 we are saved by grace, James 2:24 by works, by baptism in 1 Pet. 3:21; Titus 3:5, by works of mercy Matt. 25:41-46, by the law Rom. 2:13, by childbearing 1 Tim. 2:14, and by love 1 Cor. 13.

  I hope the above reflection will give you something to think and pray on.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. George Klein                            Top



Letter 2 - John Niehaus Replies To George Klein

 
Aug. 4, 1982
 
Dear Father Klein:
 
  Thank you for your letter of August 1, 1982. I am always glad for any response to my literature. Our paths may have crossed in the past if you were ever assigned to St. Saviour's Parish in Rossmoyne. I grew up in that Parish.
 
  When the Lord's supper was established, Christ was there himself, personally, talking to the disciples, so that it is clear and plain that the bread which he held in His own hand could not be His body, but could only represent it, and the wine in the cup could not be His blood because He had not been wounded and all of His blood was flowing in His body, so the wine only represented His blood.
 
  Christ used figurative language because the Lord's supper grew out of the Passover feast. The Passover feast was purely a memorial. It was in memory of the saving of the Jews alive, when the destroying angel passed over the Jews in Egypt and destroyed the Egyptians. Moses, when describing the Passover said, "This day shall be unto you for a memorial, and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations" (Exodus 12:14). "And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand and for a memorial" (Exodus 13:9).
 
  Just as the Passover was a memorial feast for the Jews, so Jesus, instituted the Lord's Supper as a memorial feast for Christians. It was the last Passover in the earthly life of Jesus, and He made it, at its close, the first Lord's Supper. It was the night before the crucifixion, and forever thereafter the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper were to be taken by His followers as a memorial of His sacrifice of Himself for them. For He said, "This do in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19). And again in 1 Corinthians 11:24, "This do in remembrance of me," and in the next verse, "This do ye, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." The only purpose or object given anywhere in the New Testament in the words of Christ Himself, as in remembrance of Him. It was a sacred memorial love feast in memory of His love and sacrifice of Himself for us. If I were to show you a photograph of my son and say, "this is my son," you would not take these words literally. The Scripture is written with such common language that it is obvious that the Lord's Supper was intended primarily as a memorial and in no sense a literal sacrifice.
 
  If the Mass could present to us Christ's sacrifice, one application, by one Mass, would suffice for eternity since His salvation is perfect. The fact that you offer Mass for the same people very Sunday proves that last Sunday's Mass was invalid, for it accomplished no Divine Eternal work. Repetition proves incompleteness. The Mass can only say, "This will be continued," Jesus said, "It is finished." Hebrews 10:12, 13, 17 and 18 testify to the unique completeness of His work, a work which can never be continued, repeated or re-enacted.
 
  If the Mass perpetuates or continues Calvary, Calvary was not a completed reality. If Calvary is perpetuated, renewed or repeated in the Mass, Calvary was not and is not an intrinsic perfection.
 
  The Roman Catholic doctrine that Christ is sacrificed in every celebration of the Mass, is directly contrary to God's Holy Word (Romans 6:9).
 
  It is Jesus Christ who saves, and He alone. Salvation is the free gift of God because of the merits and sufferings of Christ, to all who repent and trust in Christ. Will you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your perfect, all-sufficient Saviour?
 
"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Romans 4:5.
 
Sincerely,
John Niehaus                                    Top
 
 


Letter 3 - George Klein Replies To John Niehaus

 
Dear John,
 
  I received your prompt reply of August 4. I was stationed at St. Savior's 1969-1973 and I may have trained you as a Mass server. Was your father a policeman and your uncle a priest? More to matters at hand.
 
  You say that since Christ was present personally to the Apostles at the Last Supper, the bread and wine He held in his hands could not have been His body and blood, but only represent it. But why so? For man impossible: for God it is possible. That same Christ who set at table with the apostles that night still didn't cease to be present in the Blessed Trinity of heaven. Why is it so impossible for Him to be present physically and sacramentally at the same time? You say Christ used figurative language. But He does not say that. "This is my body: This is my blood" "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood you shall not have life in you." " For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink, the man who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."
 
  If this is only a symbol why would Paul write the Corinthians: "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord." That is more than symbolism. If I take and eat that picture of your son, or mutilate or urinate upon it, I am not guilty of your son's body and blood. Of insulting him; yes, but of touching his very self and especially his body and blood, no. So St. Paul certainly understood the Eucharist to be the real presence, not a symbolic one.
 
  You use the Passover Meal as an argument against the reality of the Lord's Supper. In doing so you are mixing your scriptures. The Jewish Passover sacrifice was directly related or typed to the sacrifice of Calvary and only by indirection related to the Last Supper. Paul tells us that Christ our passover has been sacrificed, 1 Cor. 5:7 and relates that to Christ's death. It is John who specifically relates Christ's death to the passover because he notes in 18:28 that the chief priests would not go in to Pilate because they did not want to be defiled and not celebrate the passover. Of 19:31, He has Christ dying on the Jewish Passover as the fulfillment of a type. The blood of the lamb (of God) sprinkled on the doorpost (of the cross) saves God's people from death (of the soul) and slavery (of Satan). Only indirectly is the passover related to the Eucharist. In the synoptics, Christ celebrates the Jewish Passover and then moves on to the Eucharistic celebration. It is Luke who more accurately notes the distinction: Lk. 22:14-18 Passover: Lk. 22:19-20 the Eucharist. the Eucharist, and to some extent the Passover, was to be a memorial. But a memorial is more then a bare remembrance. For the Eucharist it was a "proclaiming the death of the Lord until He comes" 1 Cor. 11:26. For the Jews, Yahweh was alive and acting in their yearly passover celebration, working as He had with rightly deeds at the 1st passover exodus. The closest thing we have to this today is a memorial foundation. Money, for example, is gathered to honor some great boy scout leader's memory so that it is, as it were, that great individual active and working (even after his death) among scouts helping them and supplying their needs.
 
  Mass doesn't multiply or add to Calvary: it is Calvary bought down, made present in our own times as St. Paul states 1 Cor. 11:26. Your "repetition proves incompleteness" would only be true if mass and calvary were separate. If such were the case, we would be indeed adding to Christ's sacrifice making it incomplete and imperfect. But if mass makes present Christ's great sacrificial act, then indeed we do not add to it. Christ's sacrifice though perfect and complete was not renewed perfectly, neither by some who stood beneath the cross, nor backsliders in Paul's day (1 Tim. 1:19-20) Nor by those who once knew the Lord, but have abandoned and made void His death in their lives. It is Jesus Christ who saves, and the mass is testimonial to that great sacrifice of His.
 
  "Is not the cup of blessing we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread we break a sharing in the body of Christ?" paul writes the Corinthians (1 Cor. 10:16). Christians from the earliest age have understood this as the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. St. Ignatius of Antioch who succeeded St. Peter at Antioch said of the Docetist heretics "They keep away from the Eucharist and prayers because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our redeemer Jesus Christ which suffered for our sins." Don't you think that Christians like Ignatius who lived during the life time of our Lord and knew the early Church would have a truer understanding of the meaning of the Eucharist than someone who came 16 centuries later with a newer interpretation?
 
  When Christ first promised the Eucharist (John 6) it caused controversy. Some of the Jews found the reality of this hard to accept: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat (6:57)" They sought another symbolic explanation. But Christ gave no other one. In fact He stressed over and over again the reality of His body and blood. This is truly His flesh and blood: unless you eat and drink of the flesh and blood of the Son of man you will not have life in you. When Christ spoke of Baptism to Nicodemus, He spoke about being born again. Nicodemus took this literally: he had to enter into his mothers womb. Christ gives him a symbolic explanation: baptize being born again of water and the Holy Spirit. Now Christ promises literally His own body and blood. The Jews take this literally and ask a further or symbolic explanation. But Christ gives no other but insists on the reality of the Eucharistic body and blood. Even some of His disciples walk away saying: this is a hard saying (6:14). He would not call them back to give them an easier explanation. We must be like Simon Peter: "Lord to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life 6:67). Are you walking away from the reality of Christ's words?
 
Yours in Christ,
Fr. George W. Klein                        Top
 
 
 

Letter 4 - John Niehaus Replies To George Klein

 
Aug. 23, 1982
 
Dear Father Klein:
 
  Thank you for your response to my letter of August 4. My father was a policeman for the city of Deer Park, but retired a couple of years ago and is now working for Father Philip Seher at St. John's in West Chester. Yes, my uncle, Father Robert Maunel is still pastor of St. Michael's Church in Ripley, Ohio. I first became a Mass server at St. Saviour's in 1963, when the Mass was still in Latin, and graduated from Moeller in 1971. I probably served Mass for you many times.
 
  The doctrine of transubstantiation was a controverted topic for many centuries before officially becoming an article of faith of the Catholic Church. The idea of a corporal presence was vaguely held by some, but it was not until 831 A.D. that Paschasius Radbertus published a treatise openly advocating the doctrine of transubstantiation. Even then, for almost another four hundred years, theological war was waged over this teaching by bishops and people alike until at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 A.D., it was officially defined and canonized as a dogma.
 
  The belief of transubstantiation was first practiced by pagan religions. The historian Durant said that belief in the transubstantiation as practiced by the priest of the Catholic Church is one of the oldest ceremonies of primitive religion (The Story of Civilization, p. 741). In Egypt, priests would consecrate meat cakes which were supposed to become the flesh of Osiris (Encyclopedia of Religions, Vol. 2, P. 76).
 
  The Christian Church for the first three hundred years remained somewhat pure and faithful to the Word of God, but after the pseudo-conversion of Constantine, who for political expedience declared Christianity the state religion, thousands of pagans were admitted to the church by baptism alone without true conversion. They brought with them pagan rites which they boldly introduced into the church with Christians terminology, thus corrupting the primitive faith. This unholy alliance also allowed the continuance of the pagan custom of eating and drinking the literal flesh and blood of their god. This is actually how transubstantiation entered the professing church.
 
  When Jesus said, "this is my body" and "blood", He did not change the substance, but was explaining that He is the one "represented" by the passover bread and wine. Jesus did not say "touto gignetai", this has become or is turned into, but "touto esti", which can only mean this represents or stands for. It is preposterous to hold that the Son of God turned a piece of bread into Himself.
 
  The Catholic Church says that Christ requires us to eat His flesh and to drink His blood, and that He instituted the Lord's Supper as the means by which we may do that. To prove this assertion, the Catholic Church quotes verses 53, 54 and 55 of the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel. When our Lord spoke these words, the Lord's Supper had not yet been instituted. The ordinance was not established until a whole year later. Our Lord would not tell the Jews that in order to have eternal life they must eat His flesh and drink His blood in an ordinance which had not existence. What suggestion of the bread and wine (and the transubstantiating them into Chris's flesh and blood), in the Lord's Supper, would those words of our Lord have furnished to the Jews at that time? None whatsoever. Could they have understood Christ to mean the Holy Communion? No, not at all, because there was no Christ's flesh and to drink His blood was something which they were to do immediately, if they would have eternal life. Christ did not say "Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood a year from now, ye shall have no life in you." But he said, Except ye do it, that is except you do it now, ye have no life in you now.
 
  The discourse of Christ (recorded in this chapter) was delivered by Him the day after He had performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand, and in consequence the people had followed Him across the Sea of Galilee. He chided them for doing so in John 6:26. Christ then instructed them in verse 27 to "Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you." Evidently this "meat" was symbolic meat, because material meat cannot endure unto everlasting life. The Jews then asked Jesus in verse 28, "what shall we do, that we might work the words of God?" He answered them with great plainness, saying "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." Here He tells us plainly that the one thing necessary is to believe on Him. The Jews then asked Him, "What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from Heaven to eat." To which Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life; he that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst." Observe here that to come to Jesus is the same as to believe on Him, and to believe on Jesus is the same as to come to Him. He that comes to Jesus, or believes on Him, has everlasting life. The phrases, "shall never hunger" and "shall never thirst" clearly mean, to have everlasting life.
 
  The Jews murmured against Jesus because He said, "I am the bread which came down from Heaven" (verse 41), and He answered them by again affirming that belief in Him gives everlasting life (verse 47). And now for the first time He names His flesh (verse 51).
 
  We see that by the words "bread" and "flesh" Christ means the same thing. The bread of which He had spoken before was His flesh, He tells us. He said He would give His flesh for the life of the world, and He did that when He allowed His flesh to be nailed to the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind. Thus to eat the flesh of the Son of man is the same as to eat the living bread which came down from Heaven. And to eat the living bread which came down from Heaven. And to eat the living bread which came down from Heaven is come to Jesus, to believe on Jesus, nothing more and nothing less. Whosoever believes on Jesus feeds on the living bread, and eats His flesh and drinks His blood.
 
  Jesus said: "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." And the Holy Spirit tells us, in 1 John 4:15: "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." Thus we see that to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus is the same as to confess that Jesus is the Son of God, in other words, to believe in Him.
 
  And in a further effort to draw away from thoughts of material flesh, Jesus said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (verse 63).
 
  Thus it is clear that to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man means to believe on Him, because in each case it is the one condition for obtaining everlasting life.
 
  The sixth chapter of John's Gospel shows clearly that the eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood of Christ are not done with the mouth, but with the heart and mind, by believing in Him as the Son of God. In this chapter our Lord only set forth faith in Him as the Son of God as the condition for obtaining everlasting life.
 
  All true Christians believe that they must eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ if they are to have eternal life. Christians do this by faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Is Christ really present in the Holy Communion? Yes, Jesus christ is really present in the souls of His followers, by faith, in the Holy Communion, but He is not present in the bread and wine at any time as He is present only in His divine nature.
 
  The Bible says in Acts 19:26; "They be no gods, which are made with hands." See also Psalm 115 about gods, "the work of men's hands." The Bible forbids us to make any representation of likeness of God. (Exodus 20:4-5) God demands an undivided worship in spirit and in truth, and to worship or bow down to an idol or wafer or any other thing, is to commit an act of idolatry.
 
  In 1 Corinthians 11:25-16, Christ said, "this is the new covenant in my blood... For as oft as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death till he come." In these words He used a double figure of speech. The cup was not literally the new covenant, although it is declared to be His body. they did not literally drink the cup, nor did they literally drink the new covenant, nor was the bread literally His body, or the wine His blood. After giving the wine to the disciples Jesus said, "I shall not drink from henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come." So the win, even as He gave it to them, and after He had given it to them, remained the fruit of the vine! Paul too says that the bread remains bread in 1 Corinthians 11:28. No change had taken place in the element.
 
  Because of the tremendous importance of the crucifixion of Jesus it is grievous and dangerous to partake unworthily of the bread and the cup which point to His death (1 Corinthians 11:27). To regard the cup and the bread as if they had no spiritual significance (without remembering the Lord's death as set forth in the Lord's Supper), is to partake unworthily. It means that a believer who receives the bread and the cup while in a state of cold carnality or while indulging in open sin, receives them unworthily. All believers should be very careful in heart-searching examination when they partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine (1 Corinthians 11:28). The believer is to be honest with himself and with God, and if there be any unconfessed sin in his life, he is to confess that sin (1 John 1:9). All unconfessed sins should be confessed and forsaken by the believer before partaking of the Lord's Supper.
 
  If the wine you took at Communion is real blood, and you drank it, do you know what you would be doing? You would be violating the entire Word of God. Three times God told you not to put blood in your mouth(Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:14, Acts 15:29). Jesus said that "whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life." If you have eternal life by eating His flesh and drinking His blood how come you have to go back and eat Him again? If you received eternal life, then you are saved forever.
 
  In your letter you made a doctrinal error, that is thinking when Christ spoke of being born again to Nicodemus, He was speaking of Baptism. John 3:5 says, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." If you will re-read John chapter 3 you will not find the word baptism in the entire chapter. Being born of the Spirit is one's spiritual birth and being born of water is one's physical birth. Man is born once of water in the flesh, he needs to be born again, of the Spirit from above. John 3:6 says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh (water birth), and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (the new birth).
 
  Genesis 1:20 tells us that the first thing that brings forth life is water; and Proverbs 5:15-18 tells us that a man's wife is the fountain from which the water brings his offering. When speaking of the new birth (John 1:13) the Bible said it was not the will of man. Every baptism can be effected only if the will of man is employed. Both the application of water and the recitation of the proper formula require the will of man, and the Bible says this cannot be the New Birth. The Lord Jesus said that the new birth was an absolute prerequisite to Heaven, and it can't be Baptism because this needs human administration.
 
  The actual administration of salvation is the work of the Holy spirit. There is only one sacrament (Calvary) and only one administrator (the Holy Spirit). Eternal infinite salvation can only be purchased by an Infinite Saviour and administered by an Infinite Person, the Holy Spirit.
 
  My friend, turn from all reliance on yourself, your own efforts, and all your works and sacraments, and open your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. Receive Him as your personal Saviour, rely on His shed blood, and trust Him to save your soul.
 
  "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
 
Securely in Christ and Sincerely yours,
John Niehaus                                   Top
 
 
 
 

Letter 5 - John Niehaus Replies To George Klein

 
 
September 28, 1982
 
Dear Rev. Klein:
 
  I hope this letter finds you in the best of health since it has been over a month that I have received a letter from you.
 
  The apostle Paul made some alarming comments about those who would preach another way of salvation from that of God's grace appropriated in one's life by simple faith in God's Word and in Christ's death and resurrection. "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed"(Gal. 1:8). In Paul's time the Catholic Mass did not exist, nor did a Roman preisthood. His simple gospel of salvation did not need them. And any other "gospel" was, and is false.
 
  "And if by grace; then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is not more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more of grace: otherwise work is not more work"(Romans 11:6). Grace excludes human works, including any rites, sacrifices, ceremonies, such as baptism or Mass, as a means of obtaining salvation or grace. Attempting to achieve merits and salvation by any human means excludes the acceptance of God's grace.
 
  The Roman Church is sincerely trying, through the sacraments, and especially the Mass, to please God, to merit salvation, or even to worship Him. By relying even in part on human merit and traditions which are opposed to the Bible, she is excluding herself from all possibility of salvation by God's grace.
 
  Read carefully Romans, Chapters three through five, and Hebrews, Chapters seven through ten, to understand the Biblical basis of salvation and acceptance with God, and the fact that the Roman priesthood and the Roman Mass are unnecessary and unscriptural.
 
  That Christ may be physically eaten by those who participate in the Mass, is considered to be blasphemous to those who believe that His body was resurrected from the tomb, physically elevated to Heaven, where He is now seated at the right hand of God. That the consecrated Eucharistic wafer should be considered the body of Christ, to be carried in procession, or to be elevated before the faithful for their veneration, is exactly the type of idolatry that both Old and New Testaments decry as rebellion against God and refusal of His reality as Spirit.
 
  That the Mass can be called an "unbloody" repetition of the Sacrifices of the Cross, is both blasphemous and heretical. Blasphemous because Christ's body can never again be subjected to sacrifice, and heretical because only bloody sacrifices are of benefit for the remission of sin.
 
  "This man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God"(Hebrews 10:12). There are no more offerings for sin, nor are there any repetitions of that unique sacrifice.
 
  "Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood is no remission"(Hebrews 9:22). Therefore an "unbloody" sacrifice in the Mass is an heretical addition to the plan of God, and a forbidden means of seeking the remission of sins.
 
  The witness of the infallible Word of God condemns the Mass not only as useless, but as false and heretical. It is an offense to God and falsely offers hope for salvation and of the pardon of sins, falsely offers the promise of "grace" to those who participate.
 
  If a Catholic believes the official teachings of his church, he believes he can be saved only through the mediation of the Church, through the ministry of Roman priests, through the sacrifices and sacraments which the Church administers. A Bible-believing Christian believes that he can be saved only by renouncing every human tradition, rite and work, and trusting solely in the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the only way to true salvation, to be truly "born-again", is faith in what the Bible says about Christ and His offer to salvation to "whosoever believes on Him". And proof of true salvation is obedience to Scriptural teaching in every area of faith and practice.
 
  To try and prove the Catholic meaning of the Eucharist by quoting St. Ignatius of Antioch, as you have done is fruitless. The Encyclopedia Brittanica has this to say about Ignatius of Antioch's letters: "In the 4th Century these letters were corrupted by the heavy insertions of an interpolator and the collection was augmented by six letters forged under Ignatius' name."
 
  The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, Page 136: "Substituting of false documents and tampering with genuine ones was quite a trade of the Middle Ages." Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. III, Page 484, "Writers of the 4th Century were prone to describe many practices as of Apostolic origin which certainly had no right to be so regarded. Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. XII, Page 786: "In all these departments(it names the Fathers - of which Ignatius was one) forgery and interpolations, as well as ignorance had wrought mischief on a great scale."
 
  You have no assurance that Ignatius ever wrote what you quoted in your letter. And, even if he did, "we have a more sure word of prophecy"(2 Peter 1:19). The Word of God is the only source of infallible Truth(John 17:17).
 
  You did not answer my letter of August 23, is that because you can give no answer? The Catholic Church has made a definite departure from the true Scriptural conception of salvation and is sending millions of souls to Hell. Why don't you turn from this idolatrous system and by faith trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your all-sufficient Saviour?
 
I am praying for you that you might be saved.
 
Sincerely, 
John Niehaus                                   Top
 
 
 

Letter 6 - George Klein Replies To John Niehaus

 
Feast of St. Francis
 
Dear John,
 
Sorry for the long delay in answering your last letter. Letter writing has never been one of my strong points, and especially when it is to be a lengthy one.
 
  You seem to have a big hang up on Transubstantiation. As I mentioned in my previous letter, that is a philosophical explanation of a divine reality, the reality of the real presence of the Lord's Body and Blood. It is that reality with which we are concerned. How you or anyone can translate: "Touto Estin to soma mou" as "this represents or symbolizes my body" is beyond the stretch of imagination let alone the greek language. If Christ were to say it symbolizes or represents His Body, He would say: "epmnveu el somatos mou" or "mimvnskei somatos mou."
 
  You say that John's 6th chapter cannot apply to the Eucharist because Christ promises that in eating of it now they shall have eternal life, and the Eucharist was not given until a year and a half later. But you fail to note that the promise is related to the future eating of the Eucharist. Christ says that He is the Bread come down from heaven and that the bread that He will give is His flesh for the life of the World(vs. 51). Besides, even with your explanation of the bread and wine as the Body and Blood of Christ on the cross, you still have the problem of present life with a future sacrifice. This is called in scripture exegesis, "Realized eschatology." That which is in the future is projected as already existing in the present. St. Paul does this in the Ephesian letter (2:6) where he has the present redeemed already raised up and reigning with Christ.
 
  Your analogy with the "meat that endureth until eternal life" is not a very happy illustration as the real translation if food-meat is Elizabethan english for food, which is the way the greek reads. The Eucharist is the food that makes us to endure until eternal life. When you take verse 29 that we are to have faith in the One the Father has sent, and then conclude that this is "the one thing necessary" to believe, you have added to the text. Surely faith is fundamental, but so is the receiving of Christ's Body and Blood(vs. 52). The challenge of the Jews to best Moses' manna is answered by Christ that they must have faith. After all, you could see the food of manna, but without the eyes of faith you will not be able to see Christ in the Eucharist. The Eucharist satisfies a spiritual hunger if we are willing to come to Him and believe. Coming to Him and believing in Him are necessary for any real reception of the Eucharist. Eating and drinking Christ's Body and Blood are more than just coming and believing in Him; otherwise Christ would not have insisted over and over again even with an oath (Amen, I say to you) that we must eat His flesh and drink His Blood, and that His flesh is real food and His Blood real drink. Note carefully that the coming to Jesus and the believing in Him are all related to the 1st section of the discourse where Jesus is presented as the Bread from heaven; it is in the 2nd section (51b ffF) that Jesus promises that He will give us His flesh and blood.
 
  God does indwell us through faith(1 John 4:15) but that does not preclude Christ's special Eucharistic indwelling.
 
  Naturally the Eucharist is "spirit and life". To look at it with human material eyes of our body only is to see nothing. To see it with the eyes of faith is to recognize the precious gift of God. The 6th chapter does indeed show clearly that the eating and drinking of the Lord's Body and Blood is a matter of heart and mind, but it is also a reality not a mere symbol. In reply to Nicodemus' question of the new birth being real and physical or not, Christ gives him the answer of a spiritual birth of Baptism(3:5); this is paralleled by the Jews(6:52) seeking a non-literal understanding of the Eucharist, but Christ gives them only a literal one (53-57).
 
  If, as you say, Christ is only present in His divine nature only, then He isn't present in you and me. Idolatry is indeed a serious sign; If the Eucharist were only a symbol then indeed it would be idolatry to worship it. Since it is a reality (although a hidden one) it is an act of worship.
 
  The "cup" of 1 Cor. 11:25 is obviously not the New Testament. The cup stands for it's contents as you can readily see by comparing that reference with its parallel sections in Mk. 14:24 & Lk. 22:20. Christ's Blood and not the cup is the blood of the New Testament. In drinking its contents they were drinking literally the Blood of Jesus, the sacrificial offering of the New Covenant. 1 Cor. 11:26 1 Cor. 10:16-21.
 
  John, you must not have read my letters very thoughtfully. Your statement that Lk. 22:18 calls the Eucharist the "fruit of the vine" and thus proves that it was only wine, was answered in my previous letter. Luke does not call the fruit of the vine "his blood" because that section of the passover meal before the Eucharist contained a cup of wine; so this verse refers to the Messianic banquet in heaven. Luke begins the Eucharistic banquet in verses 19-20.
 
  Again, Paul would never have said "whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the body and blood of the Lord (1Cor. 11:27) if the bread were only a symbol. You insult God, but you are not guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ in abusing a symbol.
 
  To say that eating and drinking the Lord's Body and Blood would violate the O.T. restriction on blood drinking is to argue from desperation. Surely you can see a difference between the Lord's Body and Blood and human or animal blood. There was a curse to hang anyone on a tree therefore they really did not crucify Christ on a tree! And your argument that in eating His flesh and blood we have eternal life and therefore need not go back to receive the Eucharist again is like saying that if we believe in the Son (Jn. 3:36) we have eternal life and so we can stop believing because we already have that life.
Salvation is indeed the work of Christ and sanctification that of His Holy Spirit. But the Lord deals with us in human ways. As He came to us in a visible tangible way through the Incarnation, so He has seen fit to make His presence among us in visible tangible signs we call sacraments, one of the most important ones being that of the Eucharist. If Christ's presence in the Eucharist is just a mirage instead of a reality how do you explain the fact that Theresa Neumann, the stigmatist of Bavaria could live for near 30 years on the Eucharist alone, having taken no food or water apart from her daily Mass & Communion. Or is this just another Vatican trick. How do you explain the many healings at Lourdes, many of which took place during the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament? if this is an empty symbol?
 
  Your history and your use of it is much deficient. True, the doctrine of Transubstantiation was a medieval development as an explanation of the real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. But the basic belief of Christ's real presence was always there, before the so called corruption of the Church by Constantine. Christians of the earliest centuries knew and acknowledged the real presence. Ignatius of Antioch whom I quoted was an apostolic father. I tried locating your reference of Will Durant but couldn't find anything on page 741. Even if pagans practiced a kind of Communion service that is no reason to deny the reality of the scriptural Eucharist or to say that Christians borrowed that idea from ancient pagans. That is like saying that we should not practice Baptism because it was borrowed from the pagan taurobolium initiation rite, or that the Christians believed in a risen Christ because of their being influenced by the Osiris myth of ancient Egypt.
 
  Constantine may have had some less desirable influences on the Church history, but to make him the scape goat of all weakness & wrongdoing in the Church is a simplistic view of history, more like some Protestant preacher's prejudice against the Church. I would like to see real hard critical evidence for such a sweeping indictment about massive Constantinian corruption in the Church. He did indeed free the Church and favor her with material benefits. No doubt there were favor seeking Christians who sought political advantages in Christianity, but that would be true in any age, and I dare say among Protestants as well as Catholics.
 
"Ye see then how that by works a man is justified and not by faith alone" James 2:24
 
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Klein                                       Top
 
 

Letter 7 - John Niehaus Replies To George Klein

 
Dear Rev. Klein:
 
  I am sorry for my delay in answering your letter of the Feast of St. Francis. Did you receive my letter of September 28, for you make no mention of it in your letter?
 
  Since I have only a high school education, I find some things in your letter that I do not have an answer for. However, I find in the New Testament that the Lord's Supper or the Last Supper is never described as a sacrifice. Never in the New Testament is there one hint that the Last Supper is a sacrifice. The teaching of the New Testament is against any propitiatory sacrifice in the Christian dispensation, except the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, once for all.
 
  Here is what God the Holy Spirit says in the New Testament:
"Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more"(Romans 6:9). "He died unto sin once"(Romans 6:10). "Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's; for this He did once, when He offered up Himself"(Hebrews 7:27). "Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Nor yet that He should offer Himself often(the very thing the Catholic Church claims to do in the Mass).... but now once in the end of the world He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself... So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many"(Hebrews 9:24-28). "We are sanctified through the offering of the body of sacrifice for our sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God."(Hebrews 10:12).
 
  Christ sat down as token that His sacrificial work is finished; and because He made on the cross one full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, a sacrifice which can never be repeated, therefore the seat He has taken is at the right hand of the Almighty Father in Heaven. He never descends from that exalted place to offer or to be offered upon any alter, because He has made one sacrifice for our sins forever.
 
  Since, according to God's Word, "Christ dieth no more," and "He died unto sin once," and the offering of Christ was made "once for all," and there was "one sacrifice for our sins forever," and therefore there is "no more offering for sin," how can the Catholic doctrine be true, that the sacrifice of Christ is repeated in every celebration of the Mass? Clearly this Catholic doctrine is directly contrary to God's Holy Word. I would like to know where does the Bible speak of a Catholic priest who is to bring sacrifices for sin. In Hebrews 10:26 it says there are no more sacrifices for sin, that Christ is the only sacrificial priest and mediator of the New Testament and that by this one, non-repeatable sacrifice on Calvary, He saves us "to the uttermost, once for all." It is clear in the Scriptures that there is no propitiation for sin today apart from the all-sufficient work of Christ on the cross.
 
  In John 6:48, Christ says, "I am that bread of life." This is the first of the seven "I am" titles of Christ found in this Gospel. He says, "I am the light of the world," "I am the door," "I am the good Shepherd." Here we have grammatical metaphors describing His relationship with people. In John 6, the Lord is drawing a contrast between Himself as the bread of life and the manna which Israel ate in the wilderness. If you will carefully re-study John 6, you will see that the Lord, for example, was shortly to offer Himself as the substitutionary victim and everything points to His work on the cross, not to people eating Him under the appearance of bread and wine. Consider again these points, the Lord's Supper had not yet been instituted when Christ delivered this discourse. Secondly, christ was here addressing Himself to unbelievers. Thirdly, the eating and drinking at the Lord's table are for those who have been saved.
 
  The Catholic Catechism says that: "The sacrifice of the Cross differs from the sacrifice of the Mass chiefly in this that on the Cross Christ physically died and shed His blood while in the Mass, Christ, who can die no more, continued to offer Himself in sacrifice dying sacramentally without the physical shedding of His blood." Again it says, "Holy Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross."
 
  Things that are different cannot be the same. Also an unbloody sacrifice is ineffectual. The book of Hebrews(9:22) says that without shedding of blood there is no remission. Since the Mass is unbloody, it cannot be a sacrifice for sin.
 
  You said that Christians of the earliest centuries knew and acknowledged the real presence in the Eucharist. May I quote some early Christians? TERTULLIAN says: "Taking the bread and distributing it among disciples He said, "This is my body," that is to say, the figure of my body." ST. JOHN CRYSOSTOM says: "The bread after the consecration is worthy to be called the body of the Lord, although the substance of the bread remains in it." POPE GELASIUS declares: "The sacrament of the body of blood of the Lord is truly a divine thing, but the bread and wine remain in their substance and nature bread and wine." BIGILIUS says: "The flesh is in Heaven it is not on the earth." ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM writes: "We participate with all confidence and though it were of the body and blood of Christ, because in the symbol of the bread and wine the body is given and in the symbol of the wine the blood of Christ is given." ST. AUGUSTINE declares: "The Lord did not hesitate to say "This is my body"" when he gave the symbol of His body."
 
  If the elements that are supposedly transubstantiated into the body of Christ remain unused for a considerable time, they go bad as any ordinary bread or wine would do. Would this be possible if the miracle of transubstantiation were real? The Scriptures say of the body of Christ: "Thou wilt not suffer thy Holy One to see corruption"(Acts 2:27). The fact that corruption is possible is a clear indication that no transformation has taken place in the elements nor change of substance.
 
  The poem I am enclosing is not for the sake of being unkind, but to illustrate the inconsistency of the teaching that priests have power to change bread and wine into flesh and blood of Christ.
 
  If a person takes communion without confession of sin, he is guilty of the body and blood of Christ (1 Cor. 11:27-29); he is so much as saying that the body of Christ had sin. He being physical, not eternal, damnation upon himself, as in verse 30(see also "damnation" used in the physical sense in Romans 13:1-4). Because the Corinthian Christians were partaking of the Lord's Supper with unconfessed sin, many were sick and some had died. Before a Christian takes communion, he should confess his sins (verses 31 and 32), and then he would not be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. You have interjected the thought of abusing when that is not what the Bible is talking about. Jesus did make it clear that the partaking of Himself was spiritual and not fleshly(John 6:63).
 
  I am also enclosing a lecture that was recently delivered in Dayton, Ohio. I would like you to give me your opinion of it.
 
  One inherent attribute of Deity is Infinity. If God is not infinite, He is not God, He is "a god". To express belief in the infinite person of God, and then to deny the absolute infinity of God in a contradiction in terms. Jesus is God, He is Infinite, the things He does are infinite. To profess belief in His infinity and at the same time to think His work of salvation has to be implemented, supplemented and completed in maligning His Name and denying His essential Deity. Catholics have the Mass as a perpetuated sacrifice to take away sins - they need it because their "Christ" did not perfect the work of salvation. They have an involved structure concerning Confession and Penance, because their "Christ" did not do a complete work in absolving them from sin. They have a dreaded, yet hoped for, ordeal in the future, after death. "Purgatory," a place of cleansing. They need such a place of cleansing because their "Christ" did not fully purge them from sin.
 
  The Christ of the Bible is the One who performed one full complete sacrifice for sins. You may answer that infinity, or everlasting life, is the sum total of Christ's work plus our work. In that case, His work was not in itself Infinite, and it is impossible to add finite quantities and get infinity. What is the sum of Infinity plus 5!?
 
  Because Christ's atonement was infinite, it can only have a non-producting memorial, i.e., the Lord's Supper.
 
  Thank you for taking time to answer my letters,
 
Sincerely yours in Christ,
John Niehaus                                  Top
 
 
 

Letter 8 - George Klein Replies To John Niehaus

 
Feast of St. Andrew
 
Dear John,
 
  I finished your tape on the Mass by Bill Jackson and am returning it with this letter. I was surprised at times by the knowledge even detailed at points about the Catholic Faith, but then at other times he would show some severe misunderstandings of these matters. His nit-picking tendencies at times to magnify trivial matter gave a number of cheap shots. His "craw, Hocuspus, sticking your tongue out at the priest" were a few instances. But a frequent effort to see things Catholic in a negative, belittling, distorted way surprises me that you would be receptive to this kind of approach. The tale about blood pouring out of the Eucharist up to a boy's shoulders, the priest re-eating a Eucharistic vomit or the rules about the mouse eating the Eucharist are more worthy of the hate catholic literature of Jack Chick. They negate some otherwise valid points that the speaker might propose. Finally, some serious incorrect historical facts show that the man didn't always do his homework.
 
  He does seem to have a big hang-up on Transubstantiation. As I have mentioned before, this is a philosophical explanation of the basic religious/scriptural teaching of the real presence. He tells us it is not a difficult concept to grasp and then goes on to give a clear and good explanation of accidents and substances. He then applies it to the Eucharist as the substance changing with the accidents of bread and wine remaining. Then he proceeds to wipe it all out by saying this is illogical and absurd. "Faith is a believing of something that isn't true" he has a catholic student exclaim. Here after so lucidly explaining the mater which he said that he would, he ends up in saying that you can't understand or explain it. That is either a weakness of logic or an unwillingness to understand. Transubstantiation is a philosophical explanation for those who like to try and delve more deeply into the mystery of how Christ is really present in the Eucharist. The reality remains with or without the philosophical explanation. That truth does not conflict with reason, although it transcends it.
 
  Calvary is complete, so the Mass is not a repeat, the speaker insists. Complete and continuous can not be together. If the Sacrifice of Calvary is complete we need not a repeat in the Mass. True, if Mass were other, or added to Calvary, but if Mass is Calvary made present in our day then there is no conflict(antithesis). Check the 2nd page of my Assumption letter.
 
  Mass is not effective (says the speaker) because it is repeated, like the continuous knocking on the door shows you are not effective in gaining entrance. Mass is a re-presenting Calvary to some people render Christ's sacrifice ineffective in their lives. To ask the question, "Are you complete and perfect in going to those 1,000 Masses" would be to ask the question, "are you complete and perfect by the Sacrifice of Calvary?" If we are made perfect once and for all, why does Paul urge us to grow to full maturity of Christ (Eph. 4:15)?
In Jn. 6:54 you say that eating and drinking the Body & Blood of Christ cannot be the Eucharist because such a one has eternal life. That eternal life is god's grace which Christ told the Jews in John 5:24 they have if they have "faith in Him who sent me." Both are present tense. That life Christ gives to His sheep Jn. 10:28.
It almost seems a deliberate misunderstanding or misstatement of the Catholic position when Bill Jackson says that at the Last Supper there were 26 hands & feet present in the Eucharist, or in a church of 1000 communicants there are a thousand Christs. That surely is to make Catholic teaching look strange. Christ comes to each of us without making a thousand Christs. Christ came down on this earth in human form while yet remaining in the bosom of the Father. We don't say there were 2 Christs (or two Sons of God), one in heaven and the other on earth. Your illustrations of the faithful Catholic who goes to Mass for 99 years, misses Mass on his 100 birthday dies and goes to Hell is surely an injustice, over simplification and demeaning of the Catholic position. Unless you accept the "once saved always saved" of some Protestants, a good Evangelical could lead a Christlike(born again) life and in a moment of weakness deny or abandon the Lord and unrepentant go to his everlasting perdition. Ezekiel 18 testifies to this. But would God allow such a one to die unrepentant?
Your preacher friend(and you too, John) surely must know that missing Mass isn't a mortal sin. One can miss Mass because he is sick; a person might not realize the seriousness of the obligation. Missing Mass, abortion, fornication, blasphemy, drunkenness are serious matters: they may not be mortal sins.
 
  The priest so ignorant of the scriptures seems unbelievable. I have never heard of the Hebrew used as a text for the Mass. Contrary to what the preacher says, Mal. 1:11 is not a prime text for the Mass; O.T. types are vague shadows of N.T. truths. Prime texts are Mtt. 26:6-8 & 1 Cor. 11:17-29. Bill Jackson hasn't done his home work in history. Vestments are not vestiges of pagan Rome. They were the types of clothes people (christian or pagans) wore in the early days of the Church as regular clothes. Clothe styles changed but the church kept the old style in her Mass worship. Another inaccurate slur was the description of the priest muttering to an altar card words that even Julius Caesar couldn't understand. That is a cheap shot. Latin was the spoken medium of the early christians. Though not as flowery and ornate as that of Caesar(being the language of the common people) it would have been understood by him. Worst of all was the implication that because a wafer was used in some pagan worship service, the corrupted church borrowed this from them and understood it as the Lord Himself. That is strictly garbage; historical tommyrot. The host form didn't come into practice until the late middle ages. Loaves of Bread was used for centuries.
 St. Gregory I(590-604) upbraids a woman who smiled when she received back part of her loaf of bread: the good pope told her she should realize it was Christ not concentrating on the loaf she had given. The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist was professed long before any called corruption by the Constantinian Church. there was no borrowing from pagan ideas there was the continuous belief of the Church in the real presence from the time of the Apostles 1 Cor. 11:17-29. It was some of the Protestants who broke that tradition by establishing a contrary one. The use of the philosophical term (Transubstantiation) to express that reality was introduced at the IV Latern Council, but the reality of that belief has always been professed from the earliest times.
 
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Klein
 
  I was going to answer your letter with this mailing, but as that will require more time I shall send tommorrow or later.                                         Top
 
 
 

Letter 9 - Bill Jackson Replies To George Klein

 
Dear Rev. Klein,
 
  As your letter to John Niehaus concerned me and my tape on the Mass, John sent it to me. With his permission, I am writing direct to you. any reply to this should be directed to John.
 
  Many of the items on the tape which you felt to be over-simplifications, distortions or "cheap shots" were not meant to be disrespectful. However, the tape was primarily prepared to give a very brief and not-too-heavy view of the Mass, and was aimed at informing Christians. It was not meant to be a profound theological discussion, and I am sorry if you took offense at any of the ways in which truths were stated.
 
  The story about blood pouring from the boy's mouth was actually told to a friend of mine. He was in an older Catholic culture (French Canadian), and I always point out to my friends that practices vary from place to place and from culture to culture.
 
  You said, "Transubstantiation is a philosophical explanation for those who like to try and delve deeply into the mystery of how Christ is really present in the Eucharist." I would challenge this statement. The R.C. church's teaching about Transubstantiation is basic. I could not take my time (or yours) to cite all the mentioning of this in catechisms; St. Peter's Catechism says "the change which takes place in the Holy Eucharist is most suitably described by the word 'transubstantiation.'" This same word was used in Paul VI's "Mysterium Fidei" - and it cannot be relegated to obscure philosophical importance. Transubstantiation is one of the basic problems of the Roman Catholic Mass.
 
  A Catholic Dictionary of Theology, Vol. I, page 9, gives the following quote form 5th century R.C. teaching: "Let any crumb of the holy Body which falls to the ground be searched for, and if it be found, let the place be scraped should it be of earth, and the dust therefrom mixed with water and given to the faithful as a draught of blessing."
 
  If Mass is a re-presentation of Calvary today., it would have the same infinite power to save as calvary does. In answer to your question, yes, we are made perfect by the Sacrifice of Calvary. See Hebrews 10:14. You should know enough to realize that maturity and essence are different. A child is as human as a man - a new-born child of God is as much a child of God as a mature saint.
 
  Eternal life is not God's grace - I don't see how you come to such a conclusion. Eternal life is what it implies - a life that never ends.
 
  When I said that statement about the 26 hands and feet being present, you seem to feel I did so to make Catholic teaching look strange. Those of us whom the Lord has blessed with salvation and who have seen the many theological problems of Rome do think Catholic doctrine is strange.
 
  I do most heartily accept "once-saved, always saved" theology, because it is clearly taught in the Bible. since salvation depends solely on His infinite work on our behalf, this salvation is infinite - both its quality (being able to save from all sin) and quantity (everlasting). If I have everlasting life today, I will have it a week from next Tuesday and a million ears from now!
 
  Ezekiel 18 is not talking about a New Testament believer.
 
  St. Peter's Catechism states, "It is a mortal sin to neglect through our own fault and without a sufficient reason to hear Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation." No one said that mission mass because of illness was a mortal sin - but missing Mass deliberately is a mortal sin and could result in eternal Hell.
 
  Books (authorized R.C. ones) that use Malachi 1:11 to "prove the Mass are numerous. Have you read THE TEACHING OF CHRIST - page 435? You will note that, in my tape, I agave much more emphasis to Mt. 26:26.
 
  Cardinal Newman, in THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, named 16 Roman Catholic practices, among them "sacerdotal vestments" that "are all pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church." Do you seriously mean to tell me that the ancient Romans wore the amice, alb, cincture, maniple, stole, chasuble, cope, humeral veil and surplice?
 
  I hope I have not worn you out with this lengthy letter. I think, for purposes of discussion, it would be most profitable to concentrate on the nature of the Mass - is it infinite or finite. This will be the most important question you will ever answer.
 
Yours sincerely,
Bill Jackson                                   Top
 
 

Letter 10 - George Klein Replies To John Niehaus

 
Epiphany 1982
 
Dear John,
 
  This is a long and long delayed reply to previous letters. Trying to check out some of your references and the rush of Christmas activities has played havoc with time and scheduling. In a previous letter you stated that, "That Christ may be physically re-created in the Mass is considered blasphemous to believers in a died, resurrected and ascended Christ." Allowing for you touch of poetic license in your "re-created" (made present would be better), I could equally say that to deny that Christ is physically present is blasphemous to those who read God's word and believe it. The Mass would be idolatry IF it were not the Body & Blood of Christ. But since it is the real Body and Blood of Christ the Eucharist should be venerated, worshipped and adored and received. The infallible word of God gives witness to this reality. The truth of the real presence is stated unequivocally in the promise of the Eucharist John 6:51-69. If you will re-read my St. Francis letter you will see the thrust of the arguments. Christ is the bread of life. That is a metaphor as you correctly note in your All Satins Day letter like when He says, "I am the Door , light, Good Shepherd." But then he goes on in 51 to say that He will also give us His Body and blood as food and drink. He does not say: "I am the Door and I will give you a door, etc." We are dealing with a 2nd reality in the bread figure, and in this 2nd reality Christ insists over and over again that it is for real, not to be understood metaphorically. His words are "spirit and truth", not to deny the reality of what He had so clearly and firmly asserted, but to make us realize that we could not look at this great reality with human eyes but only with the eyes of faith - spiritual eyes - in order to really grasp it. Where from this section you can relate these words to Christ's sacrificial death on the cross rather than to the eating of the Eucharistic food is beyond me and beyond the text of John 6. This promise of Christ was fulfilled at the Last Supper when the Lord really did give the Apostles His body and blood. "This is my body, this is my blood" - not this stands for, reminds you of or is a symbol for my Body & Blood. That such was the understanding of the early Christian and Apostolic Church is made clear by Paul in 1 Cor. 11:27- to abuse a symbol is not to be guilty of the Body & Blood of Christ. Reread my Aug 1 letter.
 
  You asked where in the N.T. the Mass or Last Supper is described as a sacrifice. True, the word itself is not used, but the concept is three. Just as the word Trinity is not mentioned in the scriptures but the idea of the Trinity (3 persons in one God) is found in the scriptures. The words of institution tell us that the Mass is a sacrifice. This is my Body BEING GIVEN UP FOR YOU. This is my victim of OT sacrifices was offered up, the blood was spilt out at the foot of the altar. See how Paul states this clearly in 1 Cor. 11:26. In 1 Cor. 10:16-21 the contrast is made between pagan sacrifices and the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Baptism is God's means of salvation read 1 Pet. 3:21 Titus 3:5.
 
  You have so surely focused on faith as necessary for salvation in your letter that it needs no repeating. If we don't believe Christ's revelation we have no basis for a relationship with Him. But faith can't stand alone. "And though I have faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing". 1 Cor. 13:2 Of also L John 3:23. "Faith without works is dead" James 2:26, "You see how by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." In fact in Mtt. 25:41-46 Christ will judge us on our good deeds; nothing is even said of faith. to say that salvation comes through faith alone contradicts the scriptures; it is an unscriptural supposition. Paul tells us that Christ exists for us in His Church. Eph. 1:22-23. To be "in Christ" is to be in His Church Eph. 3:21. To say, then, "the only way to true salvation, to be truly "born again" is faith in what the Bible says about Christ and His offer to salvation 'whoever believes on Him'" is to ignore the full scripture teaching.
 
  Christ's death is central to the christian faith. Without it, faith, works, sacraments, preaching of the gospel, gifts of the H.S., Mass, the Church would be nothing. But the effects of this great perfect sacrifice are brought to us through these means. How can you brush aside these means when the scripture affirms them? There is indeed only one sacrifice for sin, Calvary. Mass does not add to it, but makes present that sacrifice in our own time. (In similar way a recording of a concert we heard long before makes present that very same concert, though in a different mode, to us at another time.) Things that are different can be the same if that difference is not substantial. The music of the recording is the same exact music you heard at the original concert (even to a botched note in each) yet there remains accidental differences between the live performance and the canned tape/record. Since the appearances (elements?) of the bread and wine are not changed into the Body & Blood of the Lord, they can be changed or corrupted. The Body & Blood of Christ are not corrupted as you infer in your objection to transubstantiation.
 
  If a person takes communion without confession or sin, he is guilty of the body and blood of Christ; he is so much saying that the body of Christ had sin. He brings physical, not eternal, damnation upon himself, as in verse 30. Surely you can't imagine that if a person takes Holy Communion unworthily he will die; common experience contradicts that. The Christian witness to the real presence is to be found in the Fathers. St. Cyril of Jerusalem speaks of the transmutation of bread and wine into the Body & Blood of Christ. St. Augustine was too much of a sacramentalist to deny the reality of the Eucharist. If you want quotes I shall send them. As far as your contrary quotes, you did not give any references. If you do send them give the Migne volume number & paragraph so that I can check the context. Since you have a very negative opinion of the Fathers, this probably would be a waste of time to pursue them. Your quote on the Catholic Encyclopedia regarding the unreliability of the church fathers proved inaccurate. The page number cited was about the history of charity in the church; the only reference to Ignatius of Antioch was a very positive one. I have not been able to get hold of a copy of Durant's book to check the context of his statements. Neither my brother-in-law nor the Dayton public library had that particular volume.
 
  Your poem, John, was a new low. It was not only offensive and insulting but it was sick. How could any mentally healthy person let alone being warmly humane, even suggest poisoning another human being over religious disagreement? And what kind of christian man of faith in a good and loving Lord can you be if you hold up and praise as righteous a poem which takes delight in killing one's "enemies". Surely Christ who told us to love them, would be embarrassed at that. I am including an outline from a man who is a Congregationalist who came to a realization of the real presence from his study of the scriptures. He was the son of an American missionary who spent most of his life in China without being subject to the "corruption" of Rome. This outline is drawn from his latest book "Healing the Family Tree". His name is Kim Mcall. I refer it to you not  just because it deepens one's biblical appreciation for the real presence, but more especially for its positive approval.
 
Jan 3, 1983
 
  I did manage to locate your quotation from the Catholic Encyclopedia. It was from the old version. You 2nd quote was much absurd. "writings of the 4th century were prone to describe many practices as of apostolic origin which certainly had no right to be so regarded (e.g. lenten fast of 40 days)" You omitted the parenthesis as the example they were referring to. The whole article is part of an article on Celibacy - nothing to do with Eucharist, real presence, Transubstantiation. The last item was not to be found on page 786 vol. 12. the article deals with residency and is no way related to the topics under discussion (e.g. Eucharist). Solid non-Catholic scholarship (e.g. Lightfoot) has established the authenticity of Ignatius' letter.
 
  I found the quote from Durant's book. If you will consider the previous page you will see where it does not even imply that the real presence was derived from the pagan forms of religion, but from the Church's understanding of the Last Supper words. That item were pagan meal feasts with their gods is an historical circumstances. So did the pagans have the Taurobolium metiation rite which some would like to see as the basis for christian baptism or the Oseris myth as the origin of Christians' belief in Christ resurrection. I hope you would not claim linage here any more than you would for the Eucharist.
 
Fr. Klein


 
 


 
                                                                         Top

© 2015 Mt. Hope Baptist Church