This Is My Body: Luther's Contention for the Real Presence


10 thoughts on “This Is My Body: Luther's Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar (Revised Edition)

  1. Dawn Dawn says:

    Hermann Sasse is a good theologian but he is not easy to read The best part of the book is the transcript of the Marburg Colloquy between Luther and the Zwinglians This exchange is just priceless Oecolampadius You should not cling to the humanity and the flesh of Christ, but rather lift up your mind to his divinity Luther I do not know of any God except him who was made flesh, nor do I want to have another p 203.


  2. Dominic Foo Dominic Foo says:

    It is quite obvious that we do not have the same spirit With these words, Luther refused the right hand of fellowship offered by both the Reformed theologian Martin Bucer and the Zwingli This is My Body is the confessional Lutheran theologian Hermann Sasse erudite and merticulous examination into the issue of the Lord s Supper especially as it decisively split the Protestant Reformers at the Marburg Colloquy when the Lutherans and Reformed groups parted ways and refused altar and pulpit fel It is quite obvious that we do not have the same spirit With these words, Luther refused the right hand of fellowship offered by both the Reformed theologian Martin Bucer and the Zwingli This is My Body is the confessional Lutheran theologian Hermann Sasse erudite and merticulous examination into the issue of the Lord s Supper especially as it decisively split the Protestant Reformers at the Marburg Colloquy when the Lutherans and Reformed groups parted ways and refused altar and pulpit fellowship with each other.The study begins with a historical prelude to the dispute on the Lord s Supper during the Reformation by tracing the origins of the division to the two divergenting ideas on the Lord s Supper by St Augustine and St Ambrose in the patristic period St Augustine would be, surprisingly, the church father invoked by Zwingli and Bucer and later Calvin for the spiritual or symbolic reading of the Lord s Supper, being the major father responsible for the idea of the bread and wine as a sign of the body and blood of Christ More vitally, St Augustine was also responsible for the concept of spiritual eating of the Body and Blood of Christ which refers to the idea that to spiritually eat the body and blood of Christ is simply to believe in Christ s body and blood given for us This idea of spiritual communion interestingly enough, continues to be retained even in the Catholic Church at present In contrast to St Augustine, St Ambrose held to the literal view of the Lord s Supper whereby he argues that just as God said, be fruitful and multiply and so the earth was filled, likewise when Christ said, This is my Body , and is the bread the Body of Christ.Sasse traces the development of Eucharistic thought through the Medieval period cumulating in the dogma and the only dogma of the medieval period of transubstantiation Along the way he explains many other important questions concerning the Eucharist which would later take center stage in the Reformation dispute, such as how can Christ s body be at many altars at the same time when his body is in heaven, etc Sasse then goes on to explain the theological background of Luther and Zwingli, including the urgent political and ecclesiastical situation which the Protestant Reformation was confronted with just right before the Marburg Colloquy which was called by a political ruler anxious for a union of the Protestant Reformers to resist the common Catholic foe.This study includes an exciting reconstruction of the Marburg Colloquy from various eye witness accounts and reports of the Colloquy To briefly summarise the key points of contention, Zwingli s side basically invoked John 6 passage where it is written the flesh profitteth nothing to argue that eating Christ s flesh does not benefit anything but what is important is to believe in Christ s words, a conscious invokation of St Augustine s argument This is surprising as many Catholics tend to invoke John 6 which speaks of a literal eating and drinking of Christ s flesh and blood as proof of the real presence Luther agrees that a spiritual eating or spiritual communion on Christ s body and blood by believing the words of Christ does avail unto salvation, but he refuses to let this text cancel out the literal and clear Words of the Insitution, which states clearly that This is my Body , and without any contextual evidence in the passages with the Words of the Institution to suggest that they are to be interpreted otherwise, he refused to budge on philosophical or overall systematic arguements, choosing instead the literal words of Scripture over webs of systems spinned by theologians Thus he refused to challenge of why do we still need a bodily eating of Christ s flesh when the spiritual eating can already avail unto salvation, simply stating that it is not for him to question or to attempt to fit them both into an overall system, determined to simply stick to the plain and literal command and promise of Christ to eat and drink his body and blood for the remissions of sins.Of course the debate was muchcomplicated than that involving questions like how can Christ s body be at many places at the same time and still be a natural body, etc But these are somewhat philosophical questions compared to the central theological contention between Luther and Zwingli, the difference between simply trusting in the literal Words of the Instituition and obeying it s command Luther , or to need to fit them into an overall systematic theological structure by our reasoning Zwingli.Sasse then goes on to discuss the aftermath of the Marburg Colloquy with the Wittenberg Concord where Bucer later on amazingly enough agreed on a formula on the Eucharist acceptable to the Lutherans and finally the Formula of Concord by the Lutheran confessors after Luther s death censuring once for all the Calvinistic interpretation of the Lord s Supper and setting in stone and very precise and clear formula the doctrine of the objective and true bodily presence of Christ in the Lord s Supper.Sasse then goes on to discuss 20th century developments in biblical scholarship and theology as a study as to whether or not the developing biblical scholarship has managed to transcend the dispute or proven or disproven the Lutheran contention.This is a highly readable book by German theologian standards full of copious citation, massive footnotes and thorough scholarship on the history of the doctrine of the Lord s Supper through the ages, it is almost as if he has read every book pertaining to the subject But most of all, it is rigorously argued with passion from a person with clear convictions and does not pretend to hide, but instead consciously and boldly presents it before his readers and most vitally, before the Judgement Seat of Jesus Christ, making this discussion not merely that of an academic dispute but a matter of eternal salvation and damnation.And it is precisely because it pertains to our very faith in Christ, whether or not his Body be truly given in the bread for us and for our salvation, which is why Luther, unlike his contemporaries, treated the matter with deadly seriousness which you would hardly see nowadays, and knew that for the sake of his own eternal salvation and that of those who are watching him, he cannot compromise on the very presence of his own Lord and God and must surely confess him before God and man, upon which confession if we are ashamed to make, so will our Lord be ashamed to confess us on the Day of Judgement


  3. K B K B says:

    EXCELLENT exegesis of Luther s theology Recommended reading


  4. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    A case where my DNF really doesn t speak to the overall quality of the book and why I have two categories of DNF the bulk of the book, which treats the stated topic in its historical context, is absolutely brilliant, and worth re reading several times over I just got permanently stuck near the end, where he turns to contemporary mid twentieth century ecclesial matters of which I have no knowledge, involving something called the liturgical movement In the bit of it I got through, he see A case where my DNF really doesn t speak to the overall quality of the book and why I have two categories of DNF the bulk of the book, which treats the stated topic in its historical context, is absolutely brilliant, and worth re reading several times over I just got permanently stuck near the end, where he turns to contemporary mid twentieth century ecclesial matters of which I have no knowledge, involving something called the liturgical movement In the bit of it I got through, he seems to speak as though the reader will automatically know what s at issue in these affairs without the author spelling it out When I m reading older books I find that that type of assumption, rather than just the fact that they re speaking of contemporary concerns, can be what makes it feel really dated


  5. Mark Trigsted Mark Trigsted says:

    Read this last semester For Dr Ferguson s Ecclesiology and Sacraments Class Not required but for my paper The Best in depth Lutheran Commentary on the Marburg Colloquy That I have found Still not convinced i of the Lutheran position, but sure strengthened both my belief in a real presence of Christ in the Sacrament and my admiration for Martin Luther


  6. David Cochrane David Cochrane says:

    This is a wonderful summary of the doctrine of Holy Communion The record of the Colloquy at Marburg did much in resolving issues I had with the Real Presence of the Real Jesus in the Sacrament I strongly suggest it for clarification of these issues.


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About the Author: Hermann Sasse

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the This Is My Body: Luther's Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar (Revised Edition) book, this is one of the most wanted Hermann Sasse author readers around the world.