VII. The Lord's Supper.

1 Although the Zwinglian teachers are not to be reckoned among the theologians who affiliate with [acknowledge and profess] the Augsburg Confession, as they separated from them at the very time when this Confession was presented, nevertheless, since they are intruding themselves [into their assembly] and are attempting, under the name of this Christian Confession, to spread their error, we intend also to make a needful statement [we have judged that the Church of Christ should be instructed also] concerning this controversy.

STATUS CONTROVERSIAE: Chief Controversy between Our Doctrine and That of the Sacramentarians regarding This Article.

2 Whether in the Holy Supper the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are truly and essentially present, are distributed with the bread and wine, and received with the mouth by all those who use this Sacrament, whether they be worthy or unworthy, godly or ungodly, believing or unbelieving; by the believing for consolation and life, by the unbelieving for judgment? The Sacramentarians say, No; we say, Yes.

3 For the explanation of this controversy it is to be noted in the beginning that there are two kinds of Sacramentarians. Some are gross Sacramentarians, who declare in plain (deutschen), clear words as they believe in their hearts, that in the Holy Supper nothing but bread and wine is present, and distributed and received with the mouth. 4 Others, however, are subtle Sacramentarians, and the most injurious of all, who partly speak very speciously in our own words, and pretend that they also believe a true presence of the true, essential, living body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, however, that 5 this occurs spiritually through faith. Nevertheless they retain under these specious words precisely the former gross opinion, namely, that in the Holy Supper nothing is present and received with the mouth except bread and wine. For with them the word spiritually means nothing else than the Spirit of Christ or the power of the absent body of Christ and His merit, which is present; but the body of Christ is in no mode or way present, except only above in the highest heaven, to which we should elevate ourselves into heaven by the thoughts of our faith, and there, not at all, however, in the bread and wine of the Holy Supper, should seek this body and blood [of Christ].

AFFIRMATIVE THESES: Confession of the Pure Doctrine concerning the Holy Supper against the Sacramentarians.

6 1. We believe, teach, and confess that in the Holy Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and essentially present, and are truly distributed and received with the bread and wine.

7 2. We believe, teach, and confess that the words of the testament of Christ are not to be understood otherwise than as they read, according to the letter, so that the bread does not signify the absent body and the wine the absent blood of Christ, but that, on account of the sacramental union, they [the bread and wine] are truly the body and blood of Christ.

8 3. Now, as to the consecration, we believe, teach, and confess that no work of man or recitation of the minister [of the church] produces this presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, but that this is to be ascribed only and alone to the almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 4. But at the same time we also believe, teach, and confess unanimously that in the use of the Holy Supper the words of the institution of Christ should in no way be omitted, but should be publicly recited, as it is written 1 Cor. 10:16: The cup of blessing which we bless, etc. This blessing occurs through the recitation of the words of Christ.

10 5. The grounds, however, on which we stand against the Sacramentarians in this matter are those which Dr. Luther has laid down in his Large Confession concerning the Lord’s Supper.

The first is this article 11 of our Christian faith: Jesus Christ is true, essential, natural, perfect God and man in one person, undivided and inseparable.

12 The second: That God’s right hand is everywhere; at which Christ is placed in deed and in truth according to His human nature, [and therefore] being present, rules, and has in His hands and beneath His feet everything that is in heaven and on earth [as Scripture says, Eph. 1:22 ], where no man else, nor angel, but only the Son of Mary is placed; hence He can do this [those things which we have said].

13 The third: That God’s Word is not false, and does not deceive.

14 The fourth: That God has and knows of various modes of being in any place, and not only the one [is not bound to the one] which philosophers call localis (local) for circumscribed].

15 6. We believe, teach, and confess that the body and blood of Christ are received with the bread and wine, not only spiritually by faith, but also orally; yet not in a Capernaitic, but in a supernatural, heavenly mode, because of the sacramental union; as the words of Christ clearly show, when Christ gives direction to take, eat, and drink, as was also done by the apostles; for it is written Mark 14:23: And they all drank of it. St. Paul likewise says, 1 Cor. 10:16: The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? that is: He who eats this bread eats the body of Christ, which also the chief ancient teachers of the Church, Chrysostom, Cyprian, Leo I, Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine, unanimously testify.

16 7. We believe, teach, and confess that not only the true believers [in Christ] and the worthy, but also the unworthy and unbelievers, receive the true body and blood of Christ; however, not for life and consolation, but for judgment and condemnation, if they are not converted and do not repent, 1 Cor. 11:27-29.

17 For although they thrust Christ from themselves as a Savior, yet they must admit Him even against their will as a strict Judge, who is just as present also to exercise and render judgment upon impenitent guests as He is present to work life and consolation in the hearts of the true believers and worthy guests.

18 8. We believe, teach, and confess also that there is only one kind of unworthy guests, namely, those who do not believe, concerning whom it is written John 3:18: He that believeth not is condemned already. And this judgment becomes greater and more grievous, being aggravated, by the unworthy use of the Holy Supper, 1 Cor. 11:29.

19 9. We believe, teach, and confess that no true believer, as long as he retains living faith, however weak he may be, receives the Holy Supper to his judgment, which was instituted especially for Christians weak in faith, yet penitent, for the consolation and strengthening of their weak faith [Matt. 9:12; 11:5. 28.

20 10. We believe, teach, and confess that all the worthiness of the guests of this heavenly feast is and consists in the most holy obedience and perfect merit of Christ alone, which we appropriate to ourselves by true faith, and whereof [of the application of this merit] we are assured by the Sacrament, and not at all in [but in nowise does this worthiness depend upon] our virtues or inward and outward preparations.

Negative Theses: Contrary, Condemned Doctrines of the Sacramentarians.

21 On the other hand, we unanimously reject and condemn all the following erroneous articles, which are opposed and contrary to the doctrine presented above, the simple faith, and the [pure] confession concerning the Lord’s Supper;

22 1. The papistic transubstantiation, when it is taught in the Papacy that in the Holy Supper the bread and wine lose their substance and natural essence, and are thus annihilated; that they are changed into the body of Christ, and the outward form alone remains.

23 2. The papistic sacrifice of the Mass for the sins of the living and the dead.

24 3. That [the sacrilege whereby] to laymen one form only of the Sacrament is given, and, contrary to the plain words of the testament of Christ, the cup is withheld from them, and they are [thus] deprived of His blood.

25 4. When it is taught that the words of the testament of Christ must not be understood or believed simply as they read, but that they are obscure expressions, whose meaning must be sought first in other passages of Scripture.

26 5. That in the Holy Supper the body of Christ is not received orally with the bread; but that with the mouth only bread and wine are received, the body of Christ, however, only spiritually by faith.

27 6. That the bread and wine in the Holy Supper are nothing more than [symbols or] tokens by which Christians recognize one another.

28 7. That the bread and wine are only figures, similitudes, and representations of the far absent body and blood of Christ.

29 8. That the bread and wine are no more than a memorial, seal, and pledge, through which we are assured that when faith elevates itself to heaven, it there becomes partaker of the body and blood of Christ as truly as we eat bread and drink wine in the Supper.

30 9. That the assurance and confirmation of our faith [concerning salvation] in the Holy Supper occur through the external signs of bread and wine alone, and not through the true, [verily] present body and blood of Christ.

31 10. That in the Holy Supper only the power, efficacy, and merit of the absent body and blood of Christ are distributed.

32 11. That the body of Christ is so enclosed in heaven that it can in no way be at once and at one time in many or all places upon earth where His Holy Supper is celebrated.

33 12. That Christ has not promised, neither could have effected, the essential presence of His body and blood in the Holy Supper, because the nature and property of His assumed human nature cannot suffer nor permit it.

34 13. That God, according to [even by] all His omnipotence (which is dreadful to hear), is not able to cause His body to be essentially present in more than one place at one time.

35 14. That not the omnipotent words of Christ’s testament, but faith, produces and makes [is the cause of] the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper.

36 15. That believers must not seek the body [and blood] of Christ in the bread and wine of the Holy Supper, but raise their eyes from the bread to heaven and there seek the body of Christ.

37 16. That unbelieving, impenitent Christians do not receive the true body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper, but only bread and wine.

38 17. That the worthiness of the guests at this heavenly meal consists not alone in true faith in Christ, but also in the external preparation of men.

39 18. That even the true believers, who have and retain a true, living, pure faith in Christ, can receive this Sacrament to their judgment, because they are still imperfect in their outward life.

40 19. That the external visible elements of the bread and wine should be adored in the Holy Sacrament.

41 20. Likewise, we consign also to the just judgment of God all presumptuous, frivolous, blasphemous questions (which decency forbids to mention) and [other] expressions, which most blasphemously and with great offense [to the Church] are proposed by the Sacramentarians in a gross, carnal, Capernaitic way concerning the supernatural, heavenly mysteries of this Sacrament.

42 21. Hence we hereby utterly [reject and] condemn the Capernaitic eating of the body of Christ, as though [we taught that] His flesh were rent with the teeth, and digested like other food, which the Sacramentarians, against the testimony of their conscience, after all our frequent protests, wilfully force upon us, and in this way make our doctrine odious to their hearers; and on the other hand, we maintain and believe, according to the simple words of the testament of Christ, the true, yet supernatural eating of the body of Christ, as also the drinking of His blood, which human senses and reason do not comprehend, but as in all other articles of faith our reason is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and this mystery is not apprehended otherwise than by faith alone, and revealed in the Word alone.