My thanks to Scott Windsor for offering me the
opportunity to debate, and for
pointing out that we can all learn
Please read what I write
carefully (and pray that I will read
carefully what SCOTT writes), with an
open mind and open heart. I
am not here to attack anyone, but to plow through
the scriptures to
ensure that we can more adequately understand what we must
and do as Christians.
Ready? Have you opened your heart and
So...the debate at hand centers on John 6 (although
exclusively), with respect to Jesus' command for us to eat His
and to drink His blood. What does He mean?
Is he speaking
My worthy opponent will probably argue BOTH
But we will let him speak for himelf.
I seek to show you that
we cannot and even should not take Jesus
literally...that when we do, we are
suddenly beset with a number of
scriptural problems and contradictions. And
since God is not the
author of confusion, by showing that Jesus is only being
in John 6 can we prohibit distorting the scriptures.
the time being, I will rely only on scripture. Scripture is God-
Tim 3:16), scripture makes us wise for salvation (2
Timothy 3:15). Therefore,
scripture should certainly allow us to
clearly build a case, one way or the
My case again is taking the negative -- Jesus' commands to eat
flesh and drink His blood are figurative.
Here are ten specific
reasons that will reinforce my view:
1. Jesus' discourse on "eat my
flesh, drink my blood" occurs
approximately two years BEFORE the Last Supper.
Therefore, it is
highly unlikely He is talking about communion, given the
gap (relative to His ministry) between these two events.
entire theme of the gospel of John is not "eat my flesh," but
that Jesus is
the Son of God, and by believing in the Son of God, we
can have life in His
name (John 20:31). This theme is reiterated
OVER and OVER in the
We must ask ourselves if we HAVE to consume the flesh of Jesus,
to do so to have eternal life, why this command to eat His flesh
drink His blood is never repeated in the gospel.
In fact, nowhere
in the synoptic gospels are we EVER told that we
must eat His flesh and drink
His blood for the purpose of having
In fact, nowhere in
the rest of the New Testament are we EVER told
that we must eat His flesh and
drink His blood to have eternal life.
This is an amazing omission on the
part of the Holy Spirit!
Are we really expected to take on isolated set
of statements from
Christ, thematically and chronologically removed from the
Supper, and force a meaning on them that causes us to wonder why
it is so salvifically imperative it isn't RESTATED in the rest of
Now, lest my opponent think that I am arguing there is a
of times Christ must say something for us to believe it, I have
more arguments that will buttress the notion that the absence
His flesh" (and the corresponding "drink His blood") is a
that it is NOT literal. It is a figurative
statement from Christ, one of His
many figurative statements that
taken figuratively lead us to the real truth
-- that we must come to
Him and believe in Him for eternal life.
is the way of salvation.
Jesus Himself in John 6 clarifies this for
John 6:35 "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will
hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst."
statement "I am the bread of life" is not a literal one
but one of the seven
(seven being the perfect number in scripture,
for it represents God) "I AM"
statements in the Gospel of John that
a. "I am the bread of life" (6:35, 41, 48, 51)
b. "I am
the light of the world" (8:12)
c. "I am the door of the sheep" (10:7,
d. "I am the Good Shepherd" (10:11, 14)
e. "I am the Resurrection and
the Life" (11:25)
f. "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (14:6)
am the true vine" (15:1,5)
All of these metaphors are used by John to
reiterate the message of
his gospel writing: Jesus is God who came to save
the world, and
belief in Him is the way to salvation.
Please note that
in the other figurative statements, nowhere are we
required to take those
statements literally, forcing us to conclude
that we must commit some act
with our flesh in order to validate the
aren't called to walk through a literal door that Jesus becomes,
called to drink from an actual vine that Jesus turns into.
should we expect to take Jesus' "eat" and "drink" literally
when it is
disconcordant to do so in light of these other great "I
3. Jesus' consistent use of "veiled" teachings -
statements - are consistent throughout the gospel of John,
always reveal the inability of the Jews to see the spiritual
in Christ. They always take him literally, and miss His
a. "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it
(2:19b) referring to the crucifixion and resurrection of His body;
Jews mock him thinking it is the temple that took 46 years
b. "You must be born again" (3:7b) referring to Jesus'
with Nicodemus; Nicodemus takes Jesus literally and asks how a
can enter his mother's womb a second time
c. "The water of
everlasting life" (4:14b) the Samaritan woman at
the well, who believes it is
water that will never need to be replenished
d. "Food to eat of
which you do not know" (4:32b) the disciples
cannot understand how Christ
consumed food when there has been no
meal for quite some time; Jesus later
adds that His "food" is to do
the will of the Father
e. "Jesus feeds
the multitudes" (chapter 6) Jesus then retreats, for
the Jews want to take
Him as their "king"; Jesus having no intention
of setting up an earthly
kingdom retreats to solitude
There are more of these figurative
statements that come AFTER
chapter six; the aforementioned are listed here to
set the theme of
Jesus' teachings. The entire gospel is replete with examples
Jesus speaking of spiritual things, and the listeners
Him because they keep taking Him LITERALLY.
Therefore we can conclude
that Jesus does NOT wish for us to take
Him literally, lest we miss His
4. Another note on the literal and figurative language
gospel of John: note how the pattern of going from literal
figurative in order for Christ to make a teaching point is broken
the Catholic insists on a literal interpretation of "Eat my
keep going from a literal point so that Jesus can use it to make
So, let's go back to the bread of life!
When Jesus and the
Jews begin discussing the bread of life, we DO
start with literal bread,
because the Manna from heaven WAS literal
bread from heaven.
in order for Jesus to be literal when He says "Eat my flesh"
I think we have
broken our pattern
We had literal turning into figurative to make a
Drinking water -- living water
Born of water -- born
Bread of life -- belief in Christ
But when the Catholic
takes Christ back into the literal, the
pattern is broken.
drinking of blood was forbidden in the Old Testament,
particularly from a
living creature. In fact, before the levitical
law was established God
instructed Noah: "Everything that lives and
moves will be food for you. Just
as I gave you the green plants, I
now give you everything. But you must not
eat meat that has its
lifeblood still in it." [Genesis 9:4-5]
the levitical law it CLEARLY states:
"...therefore I said unto the
children of Israel, Ye shall eat the
blood of NO MANNER OF FLESH: for the
life of all flesh is the blood
thereof: whosoever eatheth it shall be cut
Please note the Hebrew word is "basar," which
refers to the flesh of
MEN and ANIMALS. So how can Jesus command the Jews,
apostles to break the Written law of God???
think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets: I came
not to abolish
but to fulfill. For truly I say to you (that) until
heaven and earth shall
pass away not one iota or tittle shall in any
way pass from the law until all
comes to pass. Whoever then shall
break one of the least commandments and
shall teach people so, shall
be called least in the kingdom of heaven."
When Jesus is crucified, the law is lifted, and yet in
Acts 10, it
appears the apostles are still abiding by the dietary
"He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while
was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened
something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its
corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well
reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told
up, Peter. Kill and eat.' `Surely not, Lord!' Peter
replied. `I have never
eaten anything impure or unclean.' " [v. 10-
Certainly Peter could
not have claimed to have NEVER eaten anything
unclean if the restrictions
have been removed.
Moreover, when the early church begins to understand
dietary restrictions of the levitical law are lifted, blood is
"But that we write unto them, that they ABSTAIN from
idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and
BLOOD." (Acts 15:20; see also Acts 15:29)
Even if Jesus changed
the Law concerning eating and drinking blood,
He had not done so yet, because
his reference to clean and unclean
foods came chronologically later than when
Jesus spoke in Capernaum
in John 6.
Thus another reason why we cannot
and should not take John 6
6. In John 6, after Jesus has
repeatedly affirmed that He gives His
flesh and blood for the world, the Jews
and many of His disciples
are scandalized. By eating the flesh, and drinking
the blood? No,
the scandal is His claim to be divine:
of the disciples, when they had heard this,
said, `This is a hard saying, who
can understand it?' Then Jesus
knew IN HIMSELF (implies they quibbled out of
listening range) that
His disciples murmured at it, He said unto them, `Does
you?' " [John 6:60-61]
Is eating the flesh the scandal?
Jesus' response suggests otherwise:
"What and if ye shall see the Son of
man ascend up where He was
before?" [v. 62]
Remember this whole
discourse starts with Jesus claiming to be the
true bread FROM HEAVEN and
that "No man hath seen the Father, save
He which is of God, He hath seen the
The assertion of divine sovereignty, v 64, referring back to v
and v 44ff, was a stumbling block and an offense. The Jews
they had free will to come to God on their own, and Jesus told
they couldn't, but that only those whom the Father gave to the
could come, and only those drawn by the Father to the Son could
and be saved.
7. Much has been made of Jesus' "eat my flesh" and
"drink my blood."
Catholic apologists will quickly note that the word for eat
is "trogos," which means to "gnaw" or "crunch." And as Karl
suggests, "This is not the language of metaphor." However, one
to discern literal and figurative usage not on the choice of
themselves but the context in which they are used.
Jesus did not
say touto gignetai ("this has become" or "is turned
into"), but touto esti
("this signifies, represents" or "stands
And Jesus is not the
first in the Bible to claim figuratively that a
glass of liquid was really
"blood": One time, David's friends heard
him express a strong desire for
water from the well of Bethlehem. In
spite of extreme danger, these men broke
through the enemy lines of
the Philistines and brought the water to him. When
David found out
that these men had risked their lives in this way, he refused
drink the water, exclaiming, "Is not this the blood of the men who
in jeopardy of their lives?" [II Sam. 23:17]
Interestingly, when Jesus
presides over the Last Supper, all three
synoptic gospels use the word
"phagos" when Jesus says "Take, eat,
this is my body" [Matthew 26:26; Mark
14:22] and "eat this passover"
[Luke 22:15]. Further, when Paul speaks about
communion in 1 Cor 11,
he does not use "trogas" but "phagos."
stated, Jesus spoke in Aramaic, so John's Greek language may
suggest part of
John's stylistic writing. John might have
used "trogos" instead of "phagos"
for several reasons:
a. Think of how similar "crunch" is to "crush."
Remember Isaiah says
He was CRUSHED for our iniquities -- His body was
crushed on our
b. According to biblical scholars John's Gospel
was written partly
to defend against the heresy of docetism, the false belief
Jesus was not really a human being, He only seemed to be a
being. they took this heresy to the point of arguing Christ
SEEMED to suffer. With John using "flesh" instead of "body," as
as "crunch" instead of "eat" -- THE FLESH (has to be real then)
CRUSHED. Blows a hole in their silly theory, doesn't it?
hearkens us back to John 1:14 "And the Word was made FLESH, and
8. Romans 8:9-11 says, "it is by the Spirit and only by the
that Christ dwells within us."
ONLY by the Spirit? This would
contradict taking in his literal
Further, Paul refers to the
Israelites being spiritually nourished
in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10),
partaking the SAME Christ we do.
We must ask ourselves -- did the
Israelites eat the flesh of Jesus
Christ and drink His blood?
Mr. Windsor will surely not argue that prior to the incarnation
our Lord Jesus Christ that He availed His flesh and blood to
Israelites, will he?
No. Since they obviously did not receive
Christ's literal body and
blood, Paul must be speaking of "eating" as
9. Christ accomplished an enormous amount of miracles, so
we have only a truncated version (John 21:25), and while the
accounts of the miracles we know He performed are never
detailed, we are given enough to know that a miracle DID
Lazarus rose from the dead, the water turned into wine, demons
exorcised, lame walked, blind saw. There is always enough
of the miracle to not only know it occurred but the
astounding reactions of
Yet there is not one detail in any of the Four Gospels
turned bread into flesh, and wine into blood, and certainly
astonishment recorded on the part of the Apostles.
No where in the
Bible do we ever see a miracle performed where the
evidence indicated no
miracle had taken place. Yet, after the priest
performs his super natural act
of transubstantiation, the wafer and
wine look, taste, smell and feel the
same. It has the appearance of
a counterfeit miracle because no noticeable
change has occurred.
When Jesus changed water into wine, all the elements of
changed into the actual elements of wine.
"Then he told them,
`Now draw some out and take it to the master of
the banquet.' They did so,
and the master of the banquet tasted the
water that had been turned into
wine. He did not realize where it
had come from, though the servants who had
drawn the water knew.
Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, `Everyone
the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the
have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till
[John 2:8-11] This, the first of his miraculous signs,
performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and
disciples put their faith in him.
10. The belief that Christ is
literally present in the elements is
not supported by scripture, due to the
verses that suggest Christ
will have a second coming, when He will be
returning to earth. Until then he is at the right hand of
Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3), and will return to us "in the same
you have watched Him to go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).
It is true his
presence remains with us, but not in bodily and
perceptible mode in which it
will be again at the last day (Acts
1:11). Much like the sun hangs in the
heavens, and yet brings its
light to earth, we have Christ seated by His
father's side and yet
shining his light down to earth.
On a somewhat
related note, in 1 Corinthians Paul says "For whenever
you eat this bread and
drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death
until he comes." [1 Cor
Why is the Lord's death proclaimed "until He comes" if the wine
bread have already been transubstantiated? There is no mention here
any physical presence, but the communion is spoken of as
In conclusion, I believe I have laid out for you my
specific arguments for a figurative interpretation of the
discourse in John 6, the only interpretation that makes
I will now sit and allow Mr. Scott Windsor to present
I will expect him to deal with the arguments I have
presented, at a
certain point in the debate.
Further, I will expect
him to answer a number of questions, the
first of which I will leave for him
and other Catholics to ponder.
Romans 8:5-8 says "For those who are
according to the flesh set
their minds on the things of the flesh, but those
who are according
to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set
flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and
because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it
not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to
so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
So if Jesus
really does command us to literally eat His flesh, a non-
Christian, a lost
sinner, reads John 6 and believes Jesus to be
would prevent this lost sinner from going to Mass on Sunday and
consuming the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ in order to
Would it not be pleasing to God for him to do so?
Dr. Jim Guinee