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What is Bread - ΑΡΤΟΣ in the NT

What is Bread - ΑΡΤΟΣ in the NT

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Published by: pastorcurtis on Jun 05, 2012
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IN THE NEW TESTAMENTWITH IMPLICATIONS FOR SUFFERERS OF CELIAC DISEASE AND THEINTERPRETATON OF JOHN 6:1-15Heath R. CurtisPastor of Trinity Lutheran in Worden, IL, and Zion Lutheran in Carpenter, ILINTRODUCTIONThis paper explores the question of whether products baked from grains other than wheatcan qualify as the
(“bread”) of the Lord's Institution. This is an especially pressingquestion today in regard to those who suffer from Celiac Disease (CD), which causes a person to be intolerant to the gluten in wheat flour. Gluten is the agent which makes it possible for wheatto be made into bread by causing the elasticity necessary for a kneadable dough. Without gluten,the particles do not adhere to each other and whatever substance their mixture yields cannot be baked into bread. Additionally, dough is unleavenable without gluten. Rabbi Jacob Neusner chimed in on the controversy concerning CD and bread in the Eucharist in an open letter notingthat a bread is not unleavened if it could not be leavened to begin with: “The definitive trait of unleavened bread, broken 'in memory of Me,' is that it derives from wheat, which can beleavened but has not been."
Thus, as alcohol is a necessary component of grape wine as opposedto grape juice, so is gluten a necessary component of bread.I. STAYING WITHIN THE LORD'S INSTITUTIONAll pastors and theologians of the Augsburg Confession agree that we are bound by theLord's Institution of his Supper. We do not have authority to change that Institution. No one of uswould recognize as valid a celebration of the Supper which substituted Swedish meatballs for  bread or vodka for wine. In both cases some aspect of bread and wine is still there (alcohol in thevodka; wheat flour to help the meatballs stick together). But in both cases the earthly elementsare so discongruent with our Lord's commanded elements that we cannot say that such acelebration adheres to the Lord's Institution. Nor can we say with anything approachingconfidence that the Real Presence exists where his Institution is not followed.However, whether a paten full of small hosts or a large loaf,
whether one chalice or 
'Gifts of Finest. . . .Rice?'
Chronicles Magazine ( 
August 2001).
In another matter of pastoral practice regarding the Supper the issue of “loaf vs. hosts” and “chalice vs. smallcups” arises. While this matter does not directly pertain to the question under discussion here, we might note thefollowing. The standard defense for using a number of small hosts instead of one loaf is that in our Lord's Institutionof the Supper, He “breaks” the loaf before speaking “Take, eat, this is my body...” Hence, the widespreadacceptance of a “broken loaf,” that is small hosts, instead of a large loaf. However, with the cup, the Lord makes aspecial point of distributing from one vessel: “But now, when Christ gives a new, special drink of his blood, hecommands them all to drink out of this single cup. . . .The bread he could readily—indeed, he must—have sodistributed that each received a piece for himself. But the wine he could not have distributed in this manner.” Luther,
Confession Concerning Christ's Supper 
1528) LW 37.311. That being said, as Luther points out in the same work,the word “cup” is a synecdoche for the wine in the cup (see the next footnote) – thus, while perhaps not following aBiblical example, individual cups or a number of chalices filled with wine still do not leave the Lord's Institution behind.
Curtis- 2several chalices and a flagon are used is immaterial to the validity of the Supper (i.e. to stayingwithin the Lord's Institution). Our Lord's Institution is not done violence by these things becausehis Institution is focused on the
ipsissima verba
: "This (bread) is my body. . .this (cup of wine) ismy blood." Thus the bread and the wine in the cup
are the elements required to be within theLord's Institution. It is his Supper, his Institution, so he names the elements.This highlights the distinction between the concern for having valid elements and fallinginto a Zwinglian replicationism. Duplicating every detail of the Supper was important for Zwingli precisely because he did not believe in the Real Presence. For him the Supper wasexclusively about remembrance and therefore every detail was important. For the churches of theAugsburg Confession, however, the focus is on the Institution of the Lord's presence under breadand wine. For us the details of wooden dishes, nighttime celebration, etc. are unimportant – thatis, they fall outside the Institution, the command to Do This. But at the same time, because wevalue the Real Presence, adhering to the Lord's Institution, his Promise, is vital to us.II. BREAD AND WINEA. LUTHER'S LEXICAL LAPSE1. THE LUTHER QUOTE THAT STARTED THE SPECULATIONThe point at issue, therefore, is staying within the Lord's Institution. Faith is adhering tothe Lord's Promise, not trying to force new promises upon him that he has not made. He has not promised his bodily and bloodily presence under any other form than that of bread and wine – thus the line separating valid from invalid sacramental matter must be drawn somewhere: preferably where Christ has drawn it.Concerning those suffering from CD, the question becomes the definition of 
. Wemight first answer by asking what the Church has always used for the
in the Lord's Supper.The earliest and only evidence we have is wheat bread – leavened in the East and unleavened inthe West. This continues to be the case in all of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxytoday.
Thus, the burden of proof falls on those who claim that something other than wheat breadqualifies as
.One such person is F. Pieper, who argues that this element in the Supper can be fulfilled by "rye, wheat, barley, or oatbread. . .as long as it is baked from water and the flour of somegrrain."
In this Pieper is following Walther 
, who was following Baier 
, who does not quote anyLutheran dogmatician in his favor but undoubtedly had in mind this statement from Luther.
As Luther pointed out, that Christ says the “cup” is his blood is an obvious synecdoche for the
the cup.See Luther's
Confession Concerning Christ's Supper 
(1528) LW 37.330.
“The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat,and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition. It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that itwould not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter[.]” Vatican, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament,
 Redemptionis Sacramentum
 para. 48
This is merely the mostrecent restatement of the Church's understanding of 
, which predates the Reformation and is common to thewhole church, East and West (see below for quotations from the Council of Florence of 1439). This has beenconsistently and clearly upheld since the time of Florence through Paul V's
 De Defectibus
of 1572, the 1917
Codex Iuris Canonici
can. 815, and finally the 1983
Code of Canon Law
, can. 924 §2.
F. Pieper,
Christian Dogmatics, vol. III.
(St. Louis: CPH, 1953) 353-354.
Curtis- 3If the rule is to be that one is so strictly to follow the example of Christ and not theWord alone, then it will follow that we should observe the Last Supper nowhere but inJerusalem, in the upper room. For if incidental circumstances are to be strictly binding,the external places and persons must also strictly be adhered to. And it will come tothis, that this Last Supper was only to be observed by the disciples, who were the onlyones who were addressed at that time and commanded to observe it. And what St. Paulsays (I Cor. 11[:17ff.]) will become utter foolishness. Also since we do not know andthe text does not state whether red or white wine was used,
whether wheat rolls or barley bread were used,
we must by reason of doubt at this point refrain fromobserving the Last Supper, until we become certain about it, so that we do not makeany external detail differ a hairsbreadth from what Christ’s example sets forth. Yes, wemust also previously in a Jewish manner have eaten the paschal lamb [emphasisadded].
 I argue that Luther has allowed his polemic, as happens often enough, to overrun his exegesis.Insisting on wheat bread
following "the Word alone" and not merely following "the exampleof Christ" in a replicationist manner.2. THE CONFESSIONS AVOID LUTHER'S SPECULATIONI believe, with all due respect, that Pieper, Walther, Baier, and Luther have made a graveerror in allowing for non-wheaten bread in the Supper. Before proceeding with this narration,however, it is important to note that the Confessions do not follow in their line. The Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, VII.48 states that in the Sacrament Christ used and spoke of only“rechtem natürlichen Brot und von natürlichem Wein (Latin: “de vero naturali pane et de veronaturali vino.” “true, natural bread and natural wine.”).” Here there is no comment on Luther'sextra-confessional speculations about the sort of grain that may be used for this
. This is allthe more significant since Chemnitz knows of arguments about wheat bread in the Eucharist andmentions them in the
:For it is certain that bread is of the essence of the Lord’s Supper. Whether it should beof wheat, whether leavened or unleavened, was at one time debated with great heat, andarguments were gathered from Scripture about the grain of wheat and about the day of the Lord’s Supper. But the church judged correctly that these things are free and not of necessity for the sacrament” (
 Examination of the Council of Trent vol.
II, trans. F.Kramer [St. Louis: CPH, 1978] 540).Here Chemnitz would seem to second Luther's comments – but only in the most anemic
C.F.W. Walther,
 Pastoral Theology,
trans. and abridg. by J.M. Drickamer. (New Haven: Lutheran News Inc.,1995) 130-131.
J.W. Baier,
Compendium theologiae postivae,
ed. C.F.W. Walther (St. Louis: Luth-Concordia Verlag, 1879)Part. III. Cap. XI.6 "
triticeus non solum, verum etiam frumentarius alius. . . .Quamvis enim quoad species frumentidifferent, tamen in esse panis convenient 
." 'Not only wheat, but even any other grain. . . .for even should the speciesof grain differ, nonetheless they agree in being bread.'
 Against the Heavenly Prophets in the Matter of Images and Sacraments
(1525), LW 40:133.

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