Monday, September 15, 2008

Convenient Nonsense Part I "Figure" "Figura"


Heretics be gone!


I have been reading the humorous blog of Turretin Fan and I am quite amused by his latest posts in which he titles "An Inconvenient Conciliar Truth" In his latest article I had to laugh at his reasoning in which he tries to tell his readers that the 7th Ecumenical Council denies the doctrine of Transubstantiation. He writes, "Council of Constantinople (754) - Implicitly Denies the to-be-invented Doctrine of Transubstantiation" He then quotes this statement by the 7th Council,

"The only admissible figure of the humanity of Christ, however, is bread and wine in the holy Supper. This and no other form, this and no other type, has he chosen to represent his incarnation. Bread he ordered to be brought, but not a representation of the human form, so that idolatry might not arise. And as the body of Christ is made divine, so also this figure of the body of Christ, the bread, is made divine by the descent of the Holy Spirit; it becomes the divine body of Christ by the mediation of the priest who, separating the oblation from that which is common, sanctifies it."

First of all nothing in this passage dispels anything of the doctrine of the bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood. Of course we know that that term transubstantiation wasn't used in the early Church, but the teaching that the bread and wine being changed into the substance of Christ's Body and Blood is as ancient as the Christian faith itself is. What this passage does tell us is that the figure, (meaning form or reality of the form) is divine by the descent of the Holy Spirit.

TF (the man with no real name)tries to claim indirectly that the use of the word figure, denies the teaching of Transubstantiation. Now what is really amusing is that this guy has been on James White's "team" of apologists as well. He also cannot grasp the definition or use of the word figure. This is no surprise since his mentor Dr. White can't grasp it either since we have witnessed him use the same weak argument before. I wonder where they both get their argument from? Any ideas? Of course, John Calvin. Calvin used this argument when debating the definition of the Latin word figura in Tertullion's writings when trying to deny the age long teaching of transubstantiation. The word figure used in the translation of these ancient documents was derived from the word figura in Latin, which simply means "material shape" or "form". For example Tertullion and Saint Ambrose used this word when referring to the consecrated elements in their writings. For someone to make a claim that the use of the translation of the word figure in these documents prove that the writers intended to deny the dogma of transubstantiation is absolute nonsensical and is a clear sign of poor scholarship. If we investigate the use of the term figura in ancient Latin we will learn that the word meant much more than the use of the term figure that is used in modern English today.

Craig Alan Satterlee did a study on Saint Ambrose of Milan and his preaching. He wrote the following when he addressed St. Ambrose's use of the term figura in relation to the consecration. He writes, "He understood the Bread and the Wine of the Eucharist to be the "figure" (figura) "representing" (repraesentare) of the flesh and blood. The Latin words figura and repraesentare have a more definite sense than the corresponding English words and suggest the idea of exhibiting or making present the sacred realities of which they speak. In other words there is no distinction between the real or symbolic presence of Christ. The bread of the Eucharist is the same flesh that was crucified and buried."

So this seemingly "ace in the hole" that these charlatans have crafted is once again nothing more than an illusion used to deceive people into denying a principal and chief Christian dogma. The use of the term figure confirms what the Church has been teaching for 2000 years. Yet Calvin and his followers insist on their own gospel and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ambrose of Milan's Method of Mystagogical Preaching
By Craig Alan Satterlee
Published by Liturgical Press, 2002

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