John 6 Debate
Dr. Jim Guinee v. Mr. Scott Windsor
Third Rebuttal of Dr. Guinee to Mr. Scott Windsor
I think in the second round both Scott and I have been guilty of
expanding our responses to the point where it is asking the reader to
spend a lot more time digesting everything there. Therefore, in this
third round I will try to be much more succinct in my responses, so
that I will deal with Scott's replies and challenges, but with brevity
being the soul of my wit J
I will jump right in here and ask you to follow me carefully and closely.
The first issue pertains to the testimony of the early church fathers.
This is something that I do not dismiss, but also find troubling when
Scott invokes their testimonies.
Let me explain. I stated, "I will show that the church fathers do not
speak with the clarity and unanimity that Scott would have us believe."
Scott responded, "I never stated there was absolute unanimity nor
clarity among Early Church Fathers." But therein lies the problem. If
the fathers did not speak with unanimity, which fathers do we give
more credence to? On what authority does Scott demand that we give
certain fathers more emphasis than others? His church?
Well, that's convenient. And circular.
Now, let's get back to the scriptures, something that does not
contradict itself or even outright disagree.
Back to the feeding of the 5000. Scott argues that "The feeding of
the 5000 is a prefiguring of the Eucharist, it is not THE Eucharist."
Of course it's not THE Eucharist. That isn't the point of debate.
The point is, does the feeding of the 5000 serve as a prefigurement of
It clearly does not. There is no wine served at this miracle,
therefore no prefigurement of the blood that was shed for our sins.
In no way does Jesus explicitly connect His miracle to anything we see
in the Eucharistic ritual. We can certainly see this is indeed a
miracle, a miracle that shows Jesus' compassion and Jesus' care for
But to make it into a prefigurement of the Eucharist is simply an
unacceptable and untenable hypothesis.
Again, I reiterate a point that Scott fails to address and refute.
Instead, he says "For the true Christian who believes God is NOT the
author of confusion, then we see that they saw the literal miracle of
the feeding, and then when Jesus spoke to them about eating His Flesh
- they took that literally as well and with THAT TEACHING many of His
own disciples "turned and walked with Him no more."
Okay, let's examine this comparison.
Jesus feeds the 5,000. This is a miracle where there is literal food.
It results in the Jews coming to Jesus, although not in the manner He
wants them to come.
Jesus says, "Eat my flesh." He doesn't change any bread into His
flesh. But nevertheless we are to assume that Jesus really means He
will make literal food into His flesh. Does this result in the Jews
coming to Jesus? No, not at all.
How in the world does Scott expect us to tie these two events together
in line with his theology?
I also don't take kindly to Scott's subsequent remark: "Dr. Guinee,
with all due respect, appears to be missing the point of the Feeding
of the 5000, and though he disagrees with the Catholic position here -
he does not offer an alternative meaning for this feeding, other than
it was cause for confusion by those who were following Jesus. Now, is
my opponent really trying to say that God is the author of confusion
here? That seems to be the only valid tenant upon which Dr. Guinee can
build an argument."
Is Scott really trying to argue that since God isn't the author of
confusion, this somehow proves that all of His audience was in
agreement as to what Jesus meant by His miracle or His statements?
Maybe I am wrong in my understanding of what he is trying to do here.
It is common in the gospels that Jesus' audience did not often
understand what he was saying. Even His own apostles didn't
understand. Peter himself denied that Jesus would die on the cross!
Does Jesus get the credit for this confusion? Of course not. But
confusion nonetheless ensued!
What was the purpose of Jesus' feeding of the 5000? What is the
purpose of ANY of Jesus' miracles?
Simply this: to draw people to Him so that they can believe in Him.
John 20:30-31 says it better than I could: "Jesus did many other
miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not
recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may
have life in his name."
The next issue is something that isn't very integral to this debate,
but I'm not letting Scott getting away with his remarks. As far as
the proper way to observe communion, we have historical writings from
early popes who admonished the faithful that the cup was an integral
part of communion. And that eventually these admonishments were
overturned. Scott can bristle all he want that the cup is not
withheld from the laity, but he knows full well it happens every day.
I even made good on my promise by calling two different Catholic
churches I used to attend. Both church representatives informed me
that there ARE certain Masses held during the week where communion
consists of administering the host and only the host.
In the twenty-plus years I was a practicing Catholic, the only time
the chalice was ever offered to me was during my first communion.
How does Scott explain the fact that the Catholic church deviates from
Jesus' simple commands, to eat and to DRINK? Jesus clearly
differentiates these two actions, and so does Paul.
I also take umbrage at something else. In my previous rebuttal, I
said: "Back to Christ…Scott then goes on to talk about the miracle of
Jesus walking on water. I fail to see the importance of this miracle
in relation to his argument." Scott then responded by saying, "The
importance of this miracle further demonstrates that He is God and He
has authority over the elements. He demonstrates that even though
water should not hold up a human, by His authority it does. Dr.
Guinee's failure to see the importance and relationship of this
miracle speaks volumes."
My statement still stands. I don't fail to see the significance of
the miracle itself, but I see absolutely no connection to the
so-called miracle of transubstantiation. Not to mention Jesus is not
the only one in scripture who defied the elements. Peter walked on
water, too. Did he also turn bread into his body?
I also asserted that the theme of John's gospel is to believe in the
Son of God, and by believing, we have life in His name. Scott
responds by calling me "myopic" and complaining this isn't the ONLY
theme. I never said it was the ONLY theme. One can find less
significant themes in the gospel, but there is no question that the
central theme of this gospel is exactly what I said.
Scott is nitpicking here and he knows it.
In fact, I have the support of scripture to say "the" without meaning
"the only." Look in the gospels and you will see that James is called
THE son of Zebedee and yet we know John was also a son of Zebedee
(Matthew 4:21). Let's move on…
Scott also claims he repeats an unanswered question. He says, "…how
does one truly demonstrate "belief" in someone if they are not willing
to "obey" that Person in a direct command?"
Ah, but that's the point of debate here. I maintain that by coming to
Jesus and believing in Him IS to obey Him and obey His words. Let's
look at it again. In John 6:28 the Jews ask Jesus "What must we do to
do the works God requires?" Jesus answers, "The work of God is this:
to believe in the one he has sent." (v.29)
That is the work of God, to believe in His Son.
And then Jesus lays out in metaphorical language, as He has and
continues to do in this gospel, that it is imperative to believe in Him.
He is the bread of life, the light of the world, the light that shines
in the darkness…
Therefore, one who believes Jesus' admonition to "eat His flesh" and
"drink His blood" means "Come and believe in me" IS being obedient to
Now, when I asked Scott why Jesus does not say…
a. "Believe that I can turn bread into my flesh"
or b. "He who believes this bread is my flesh and eats it will live
I pressed Scott to explain why there is no call to believe. Just to act.
Instead of replying to this direct question, Scott mentions in John
the importance of believing. Let's examine where this is found in
"eat my flesh" and "drink my blood." Why isn't it? Because the answer
is simple, and Jesus told us that already.
Eating is coming to Him, and drinking is believing in Him.
Scott also makes my point that Jesus did not come down to earth in the
form of bread. Therefore, it is clear He is speaking metaphorically
when He says He is the bread that came down from heaven. So how can
we be expected to accept that Jesus is speaking metaphorically when he
says he is the bread that comes from heaven, but literally when He
tells us to eat it?
There is no good answer from Scott on this question. Instead, he
disappointingly reverts to a negative attack: "Dr. Guinee seems to be
trying to use a simple, even uneducated sort of argument here and that
is truly disappointing to me, to say the least - and I imagine it is
just as disappointing to those reading along and hoping for a decent
level of debate to ensue."
I am sorry I disappointed him, but I daresay he should not presume to
speak for everyone here.
Nevertheless, the point is this -- Scott agrees with my first point:
"… no, I do not believe Jesus descended in the form of bread - but
that does not change the FACT that He IS the Bread which came down
from Heaven AND that we are commanded to eat of it."
I see. So He didn't come down as actual bread but we are supposed to
literally eat this bread. That is not a tenable position, and I
believe I am vindicated in my remarks based on Scott's frustrated
reply: "I will try to make this more clear. Jesus uses a figurative
allusion to bread - declaring His Flesh IS the Bread of Life. No one
is denying there is some use of figurative language here - but that is
not the point of this debate! The point of this debate is to answer
the question regarding Jesus' COMMAND to Eat His Flesh. Just because
His Flesh at this point in time is not bread; this does not detract
from the FACT that He has COMMANDED us to eat His Flesh. THAT COMMAND
is a LITERAL COMMAND, and THAT is what we are debating here."
No one said it isn't a literal command in the sense that Jesus really
means for us to "eat His flesh." The issue however is not SHOULD we
do this, but HOW DO WE DO THIS?
If Jesus speaks figuratively, then Jesus' words are a call to come and
If Jesus speaks literally, then Jesus' words are a call to eat and
drink. No believing is required, or certainly not explicitly given.
Which one is more tenable?
Scott then inexplicably states, "And back to one of my original
arguments against Dr. Guinee's position that we're supposed to believe
somehow that figurative means it is not true."
Where does he come up with this statement? When did I ever in any of
my remarks say that figurative language isn't speaking truthfully?
Nonsense! Of course Jesus speaks truthfully. I am hoping Scott
mis-stated something or I simply misunderstood his words.
But I don't think so. He amazingly constructs some statement I never
made, and tries to foist it into this debate. It won't work. Let's
repeat his words: "…we're supposed to believe somehow that figurative
means it is not true."
The point is that Jesus makes a very compelling statement, and repeats
it. Is He speaking literally, or figuratively?
That is the whole issue right there, the debate in a nutshell. There
should be no disagreement that Jesus DOES intend for us to respond
positively to His statement. There should be no disagreement that
Jesus is speaking with absolute truth.
But, is this an example of Jesus using words that mean something else,
or using words that mean exactly what they say – is the command to eat
flesh a command to do or believe whatever "eat my flesh" symbolizes,
or is the command to "eat my flesh" a command to eat His flesh?
Moving on again…when I point out to Scott how absurd it is for us to
change figurative to literal in Jesus' discourse Scott as usual begs
the question, and attempts to read the minds of the audience in the
scriptures. He says "And Dr. Guinee, that is EXACTLY the types of
grumblings the Jews made when Jesus commanded them to eat His Flesh!
Am I the only one seeing the irony of Dr. Guinee's argumentation here?"
Remember the Jews were confused BEFORE this particular grumble.
Jesus hasn't even begun to utter "eat my flesh" and "drink my blood"
when we read in vv.41-42 "At this the Jews began to grumble about him
because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They
said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother
we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?"
So can Scott explain what is the grumble about here? It certainly
isn't "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" That comes later.
They already have a problem with Jesus' claim that he came down from
heaven. Does Scott expect us to believe that they DO BELIEVE He came
down from heaven, but THEN balk at "eat my flesh"? Hardly because
that would obviously be wrong!
Another inexplicable remark is when Scott says, probably in response
to my statement that a literal command to drink blood would have been
anti-scriptural, "let's take Dr. Guinee's argument to it's [sic]
logical conclusion - is Jesus telling them to figuratively or
symbolically drink His Blood? When I showed this argument to someone
else, they asked, "Is it okay to symbolically commit adultery as long
as you don't literally do it?"
This completely misses the mark. I have already demonstrated that
based on the levitical law, it was absolutely forbidden to consume blood.
To take Jesus literally would have been a command to violate the
levitical law. Scott has yet to explain how Jesus can command
something that would have been a sin for any Torah-observant Jew.
Even in Exodus, where the Israelites eat the lamb, they never sip an
ounce of blood. Instead, they smear it on the doorposts.
If these Jews took Jesus literally, they should have charged Him with
going against scripture.
Why don't they?
They certainly don't have a problem doing it when they think He's
violating the Sabbath, or some other law?
Next I challenged Scott on his misuse of "Truly truly" and said, "…I
challenge Scott to prove his use of "truly truly" by showing us some
scripture examples where "truly truly" is supposed to mean "I am
speaking literally." Again, the point is that Jesus affirms that HE
SPEAKS TRUTH, whether it is figurative, literal, or both."
Scott states that, "First off, we must note the change in Dr. Guinee's
argument. NOW Dr. Guinee is affirming a figurative statement can be a
This is simply false. I challenge Scott to find the text in any of my
comments where I ever claimed that a figurative statement could not be
a literal truth.
Unfortunately Scott expends a lot of time posting many wonderful
verses but from an unfortunate mistake.
After this slew of verses, he says "…Jesus still commands us to eat
His Flesh, and whether or not Dr. Guinee wants to divert through
semantics, he's still stuck with a literal command here. We MUST eat
His Flesh or we have "no life" in us."
I have never stated we should ignore this command.
We should obey it.
And one obeys it by believing in Him, by coming to Him. By believing
in His name. By believing He is the Son of God.
Now, if Scott wants to complain that "But he SAID we must EAT HIS
FLESH" and that this doesn't sound metaphorical, well, let's look at
the woman at the well.
What did Jesus tell HER?
John 4:14 "but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst."
Did Jesus literally mean for the woman at the well to drink water?
How come the Catholic church doesn't have a ritual where Jesus turns
the water into Himself and people can drink it? After all, He said,
"whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst."
Can Scott explain what Jesus means here?
If Jesus means to literally drink His water, where is this done in the
If Jesus means to figuratively drink, then what does He mean?
The same things He means in John 6.
Please note the parallel:
a. John 4:13-14 "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst."
Drinking actual water does not lead to eternal life, drinking living
b. John 6:49-50 "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and
they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that
one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down
out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever"
Eating actual bread does not lead to eternal life, eating the living
If Scott wishes to insist that eating the living bread is Jesus'
command to eat His flesh, then we must ask Him to explain where in
scripture and in the Catholic church we also drinking this water for
If he cannot do this, the debate ends right here.
Moving on…we then examine verse 53 where Jesus says "I tell you the
truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you have no life in you."
Let me not rehash everything from the last rebuttal, but a central
point here. If Jesus means to eat His flesh and drink His blood, and
a professing Christian does not comply, then Jesus' conclusion is we
have no life in us. No promise of eternal life.
If eternal life is available to us, then by what means?
If eternal life is available to us by circumventing the Eucharist,
then obviously Jesus' admonition suddenly loses its teeth for which to
chew the flesh.
Further, I maintained that the conclusion of "no life in you"
contradicts contemporary Catholic theology. Scott inexplicably
replies by saying, "…though he [i.e., me] mentions some sort of
alleged conflict with Vatican II, he doesn't document this conflict.
The FACT is there is no such "promise" to non-Catholic Christians in
Vatican II, and I would challenge Dr. Guinee to show otherwise.
Apparently Scott is suggesting that there is no promise of eternal
life to non-Catholic Christians in Vatican II?
Why don't we allow Vatican II to speak for "itself":
According to the current pope, when he was a mere cardinal, "Salvation
is accessible to those who are not members of the "Church" -- (i.e.
not Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians). It comes through
grace which originates with Christ and enlightens them in a way which
is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation." [emphasis
mine] [Source: Joseph Cardinal Retzinger, "Dominus Iesus on the
unicity and salvific universality of Jesus Christ and the church,"
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Is Scott disagreeing with this statement?
Moving to verse 54, again we have the problem of how to interpret this
literally: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal
life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
Scott can complain all he wants about taking passages out of context.
The statement from Jesus is quite clear: He does not qualify His
statement about who will be raised up on the last day. Can Scott
explain why Jesus' promise is applicable to all Eucharistic
participants and not just some?
Scott also complains by begging the question again. Read his defense
carefully…often he will get cornered with a statement of question from
me that isn't easily answered. Instead of providing a cogent
interpretation, he simply demands that we accept things he hasn't
proved. For example, he claims that the disciples who took Him
literally walked away no more; in other words, they knew what He
meant, they just couldn't accept His literal command. They weren't
willing to follow Him THAT far.
Yet at no point in John 6 had we seen anyone correctly understand and
believe in Jesus' claims of divine origin.
Can Scott really expect us to believe that these disciples believed
Jesus was the Son of God, that they really and truly believed it, and
yet when it came to "eat my flesh" they turned their noses and left?
If this is true, where is this affirmed?
Next, when I asked Scott what Jesus means by "I will remain in you,"
Scott replies by stating that Jesus "remains `in us' (why the quotes,
by the way?) so long as we remain in the `state of grace' ."
Interesting. Where does Jesus say this in John 6?
Further, why did Father George Searle ["How to become a Catholic"]
write that the state of Him being "in us" will persist for "only for a
few minutes at most"?
For that matter, let me ask Scott another question: does a Catholic in
the state of grace have to go to communion? For what purpose?
Next, I press Scott on the fact that Jesus not only says He will
remain in us, but we will remain in Him. So what kind of remaining is
this, physical or spiritual?
Rather than respond Scott first errantly states "God Himself is
spiritual, is He not literally true?" Uh, in John chapter 4 Jesus
tells the woman at the well that God is SPIRIT, not "spiritual."
Then he begs the question again. But the real question he cannot answer.
Are we supposed to believe that Jesus will remain in us physically,
but we remain in Him spiritually? Why the difference? Where in Jesus'
words can we see that He meant PHYSICALLY for Him and SPIRITUALLY for us?
Next we revisit Scott's flawed theory that those in attendance
received Jesus' words literally, and this causes their disassociation
with Jesus. Again, this is predicated on the notion that up until
"eat my flesh" Jesus' words have been understood and received.
Is this true? Of course not.
In John 6:41-42 we read that the Jews were "…grumbling about Him,
because He said, `I am the bread that came down out of heaven.' They
were saying, `Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and
other we know? How does He now say, "I have come down out of heaven"?' "
They obviously don't understand how Jesus can claim to be from heaven
when they believe His origin is natural, from earthly parents! So if
from the start they don't believe Jesus' claims of divine origin, we
can see that they don't understand and subsequently receive the truth
of Jesus' true nature – divine.
Therefore, any attempt from Scott to build a case that the audience
was okay with Jesus until He upped the ante with "eat my flesh" is
simply contradictory with scripture.
Next, Scott states, "What I have done is demonstrate (cogently) that
Jesus did indeed say those words - and His disciples could not handle
the teaching, so they turned and walked away from Him. If, as Dr.
Guinee asserts, this was only a figurative statement - AND - these
disciples understood it in a figurative way - then why would they have
felt so strong as to walk away from Him? Clearly THEY took Him
literally, and for THAT REASON they walked away from Him - thus my point."
I never said the disciples understood Him figuratively. I said they
focus on the literal words and become confused.
Now, is this a case where Jesus allows honest truth seekers to get
away simply because they're not theologically sophisticated enough to
No. They don't understand Jesus because THEY DON'T WANT TO.
Jesus already knows who will and will not receive His message. In
John 6:64 it ,"For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did
not believe, and who it was that would betray Him."
I don't appreciate Scott's remark that I "scoff" at anything, nor do I
find "…what he is doing is NO DIFFERENT than what those disciples did,
who `turned and walk with Him no more."
With all due respect, Mr. Windsor, I have walked with Jesus for many
years now. Further, in walking with Jesus, I believe He is the bread
of life that came down from heaven, I believe He is the Son of God.
Did any of these disciples believe that? The burden of proof is on
you to prove it. You cannot and will not.
But go ahead and try.
Next we re-examine the question of why Jesus ties "What if this
offends you?" to "What if you should see the Son of Man ascending to
where He was before?"
Why doesn't Jesus relate the stumbling to a literal view of communion?
Scott replies by saying, "Jesus acknowledges that what He just said,
the literal view of eating His Flesh, is what caused them to stumble…"
Oh really? Where is that explicitly proven from the text?
Scott then states, " - and THEN relates to the Son of Man ascending
into Heaven. If they would not believe what He said about eating His
Flesh, then would they believe if they saw Him ascending? THAT is the
question! The POINT of this passage is they, the grumbling ones, do
not believe Him and cannot accept this teaching – so they walk away,
understanding Him perfectly – but in disbelief of Him."
Again, go back to the beginning of the discourse…it is impossible to
prove that any of these dissenters really believe that Jesus is the
Son of Man who has descended from heaven. So how can Scott maintain
they understand Him perfectly but don't believe Him?
If they didn't believe Jesus descended from heaven, then why would
Jesus add to their disbelief with an even more astounding miracle –
changing bread into His flesh, wine into His blood?
This would be like me teaching statistics and after the first chapter,
my students grumble because they do not believe that I am teaching
them accurately, and instead of addressing this problem, I move to a
much harder chapter expecting them to believe me NOW.
Next is the issue of grumbling, and my associating this grumbling with
a similar event and reaction in Exodus. Scott states that "No, Jesus
is NOT a barley loaf - but He's a different type of Bread. THIS Bread,
if they fail to eat of it, they will have no life in them."
So Scott is saying that Jesus is not literally bread from heaven but
at the same time He is literal bread.
That's quite an interpretation – that when Jesus says He is the bread
that came down from heaven, He doesn't mean literally, but when He
commands us to eat this bread, suddenly He means it literally.
Scott then complains that I objected to his pulling in St. Matthew for
help in understanding John 6, but saw no problem with me "running" to
Exodus. The difference is in the wording.
In the synoptic gospels, Jesus doesn't say "This is my flesh." But in
John's gospel, we clearly have the same event being discussed (the
feeding of manna) but the reported disbelief of the Jews, disbelief in
the form of GRUMBLING (i.e., John the writer goes to the point of
choosing the same words that appear in Exodus to describe how Jesus
Speaking of the Last Supper (communion not recorded in John's gospel),
I pointed out that it takes place BEFORE Christ is crucified.
Therefore, there can be no atoning power in the bread and the wine,
given that Christ has not yet become sin on our behalf, and gone to
the cross with our sins.
Scott replies, "Jesus, being God, is eternal. He always is, was and
will be. He is not constrained to OUR perception of time." What is he
talking about? Is Jesus dying daily?
Next, in scripture Matthew (26:27-28) tells us that "And when He had
taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, `Drink from
it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured
out for many for forgiveness of sins.' "
Scott replies, "Dr. Guinee quotes these words, but is he READING them?"
Yes, Mr. Windsor, I am reading them. Are you?
What does Jesus say about the blood of the covenant?
Is it consumed with respect to sin? No, it isn't. It is POURED OUT.
Did the priests in the old covenant drink blood during the sacrifices
for sin? No, they did not. They poured out the blood. the blood of
your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the LORD your God
Further, Jesus tells the disciples when breaking the bread "Do this in
remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19). How can the Catholic communion
remember Christ when He is supposedly physically present on the altar?
You remember someone when they have departed, not when they are present.
Scott states, "Noting again, this is NOT the subject of THIS DEBATE!
Dr. Guinee is sure seems to be attempting to distract us from the REAL
TOPIC." Yet isn't Scott the one who stated that we shouldn't read
scripture outside of its context. Doesn't Jesus' words at the Last
Supper count as giving us the context to understand what He meant?
Scott then says, "We are remembering Him for what He DID for us,
nearly 2000 years ago." Jesus said to remember HIM, not "what I did."
Then Scott says "On my anniversary this year we're going to have a
big party to "remember" the event that my wife and I participated in
25 years ago - and both of us WILL BE present at this party." Mr.
Windsor, in your anniversary you are remembering an EVENT, not a
In the second half of the rebuttal, we take another look at Scott's
use of the church fathers with respect to how some of them may have
Unfortunately, this section features more of Scott's inaccurate and
sometimes pejorative remarks, something that was not characteristic of
his previous writings. I can only speculate what has begun to
For example, Scott writes, "It's amazing that Dr. Guinee seems to be
affirming that one can believe in Jesus without adhering to what He
commands us to do!" With all due respect, this is an egregious remark
on his part. I have not affirmed any such thing. I have repeatedly
attempted to explain that I and other Christians who see Jesus' words
in John 6 as figurative ARE OBEYING HIM AS WE UNDERSTAND HIM.
Then Scott complains about my omission argument – the dearth of
references to communion in scripture, the absence of repeated commands
in scripture to "eat His flesh," and the absolute lack of anything
that explicitly demonstrates any piece of bread in scripture ever
turned into the flesh of our Lord.
Mr. Windsor, I may not be able to prove my thesis, but the weight of
scripture is clearly on my side and it's flattening the precious few
passages you have on your side, passages that lack any clear teaching
of transubstantiation, and passages that continually result in
contradictions with other scripture, Catholic theology, and Catholic
practice of communion.
Now, let's move quickly to the finish line, lest my reader lose
patience with me.
Scott objected that I cite two early writings which argue from silence
and therefore do not affirm his position.
I see his point, but does he see mine? As soon as he drags up writings
from a church father, can I not also produce writings that fail to
mention transubstantiation (whether or not the word is used is
irrelevant, I agree) or even contradict it?
Scott says about Clement and the Didache, "It's one thing to
challenge what I have presented, but it is irrelevant to point out
other writings which have not quoted/cited and do not explicitly
support my argument." Well, Mr. Windsor, the burden of proof is on
YOU to show a plethora of church fathers who teach the Catholic view
of communion. If most of them do not, your appeal to tradition is
even shakier than your exegesis of scripture.
How many church fathers have you perused and found them explicitly
teaching how Catholics view communion today? Further, simply because
you may find a father or two that sounds Catholic-like does not offer
much evidence, especially since none of them ever QUOTE FROM the very
gospel whose words we are debating!!
Next is the issue of Ignatius. As in other cases, Scott simply
extracts a small piece of this individual's writing largely devoid of
context. SO when I produce a different writing from the same church
father, showing how loosely he used metaphors to describe communion as
well as Christ, he objects!
Scott then references Ignatius' letter, which does nothing but
diminish his argument. Let's read it: "within me says: "Come to the
Father." I have no taste for corruptible food or for the delights of
this life. Bread of God is what I desire; that is, the Flesh of Jesus
Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for my drink I desire His
Blood, that is, incorruptible love."
This is the only time I am aware of that Ignatius sounds like he is
affirming the Catholic view of communion. But when you read the
entire letter, he never mentions communion at all. He begins talking
about his impending death and how he desires not the things of this
Scott then that "the FACT is that the concept [i.e.,
Transubstantiation] that the bread and wine are no longer mere bread
and wine, but become the Body and Blood of Christ is clearly
referenced throughout the Early Church Fathers, including St. Ignatius."
Wrong. Ignatius never says anything about the bread and wine no
longer being mere bread and wine.
Ignatius argued against the Gnostic Docetists, who denied that Jesus
had a true physical existence, or that that he actually died and rose
"They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not
confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ,
Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His
goodness, raised up again."
Ignatius states that the Eucharist is the body of Christ without given
any details about the nature of the change, if any, in the elements.
The problem with the Gnostics concerned the person of Christ and not
the nature of the Eucharist. The heretics did not participate in the
Eucharist because they do not believe in what the Eucharist
represents, namely the true, physical flesh of Jesus, who actually and
really suffered on the cross, and which was really resurrected from
On to Justin Martyr: Scott says "He asks if St. Justin is advocating
for the Catholic view of John 6? I must answer with an emphatic YES!
Let's just look at the last part Dr. Guinee quoted, "...and by the
CHANGE OF WHICH our blood and flesh is nurtured, IS BOTH THE FLESH AND
BLOOD OF THAT INCARNATED JESUS!" That is precisely the Catholic view!"
Is it? Justin Martyr calls the Eucharistic bread and wine "the flesh
and the blood" of Jesus. Justin believed in the physical presence of
Jesus in the Eucharist. However Justin also believed that the bread
and wine do not cease to be bread and wine. He speaks of their
partaking "of the bread and wine" over which thanksgiving was
pronounced. Elsewhere Justin calls the consecrated elements "bread"
and "the cup." They are the flesh and blood of Christ insofar that
they are given in remembrance of his incarnation and blood.
"Now it is evident, that in this prophecy [allusion is made] to the
bread which our Christ gave us to eat, in remembrance of His being
made flesh for the sake of His believers, for whom also He suffered;
and to the cup which He gave us to drink, in remembrance of His own
blood, with giving of thanks" (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho).
Clearly, while Justin believed in the physical presence of Jesus in
the Eucharist, he also believed that the elements remained bread and
wine given in remembrance of Christ. Therefore Justin Martyr's view on
the Eucharist is dissimilar from the Roman Catholic transubstantiation.
I also have no idea why Scott claims that I have erred in my
scholarship. He says "There aren't 70 chapters in St. Justin
Martyr's First Apology! In fact, the "Conclusion" is Chapter 68."
I challenge him to prove this (not that it's essential to the debate).
Read this url and you will see I have taken the aforementioned chapter
reference from it, chapter 70:
Perhaps these scholars have erred, Mr. Windsor?
Moving onto Theophilus, Scott raises a good point. If this church
father was asserting the early Christians were not cannibals, does
this not mean that the early Christians WERE eating the flesh of Jesus?
Well, Mr. Windsor, is it your assertion that every Roman Catholic
during every Mass is a cannibal?
Then Scott appealed to Iraeneus, who clearly does sound Catholic.
But again, has Mr. Windsor read these writings, and read them in the
context in which they were written? Who were a constant challenge to
the early Christians?
What did the Gnostics refuse to do? Partake of communion with
Christians. Why? Because they didn't believe Jesus was really God in
the flesh, that He ever took on human form.
But those Gnostics who did partake of the Table of the Lord, were
openly criticized by the church as being inconsistent.
"How can they (Gnostics) be consistent with, themselves when they say
the bread for which they give thanks is the body of their Lord and the
cup his blood, if they do not say he is the Son of the Creator of the
world? ... Let them either change their views or avoid offering the
bread and wine. But our view is in harmony with the Eucharist, and the
Eucharist confirms our view". (Irenaeus, Against Heresies IV.xviii.4, 5)
Scott then says, "I have no problem acknowledging that dissenting
opinions can be found, especially as we progress through history."
Thank you, that is the problem Martin Luther had as well – that
dissenting opinions WERE found in the early church, often very
contradictory to each other. Even among popes.
But scripture cannot contradict scripture.
Lastly, I believe Scott sidesteps or misunderstands the issue
surrounding Ratranmus amd Radbertus. This controversy between two
Catholic monks shows that both views were present in the Catholic
church at least up to the eleventh century. The debate continued until
the thirteenth century when the final decision was taken by the
Lateran Council in 1215.
How does Scott explain the fact that for centuries there was no
consensus in the church on the proper understanding of "eat my flesh"?
He cannot appeal to church persecution, as in the case of the Trinity,
because the church had centuries of unfettered growth and a relative
absence of persecution, therefore such a doctrine, if it were THE
doctrine, would have and SHOULD have been formulated long before the
cusp of the Middle Ages.
In closing...I have shown repeatedly that every time we take the
Catholic view of communion, we run into verses that contradict it, we
run into Catholic theology that contradicts it, we run into Catholic
practice that contradicts it.
Scott maintains he has "founded my argument in Scripture." No, Mr.
Windsor, you have found a few verses and asked us to interpret the
rest of scripture in light of these few verses. It doesn't work.
Isn't it odd, Mr. Windsor, that whenever a Protestant church dissents
with Rome, it usually agrees on so many wonderful truths – Jesus is
the Son of God, Jesus is God in the flesh, etc.
But not one of them have ever found "eat my flesh" to be literal, and
more than that, salvifically necessary.
Doesn't it seem strange that Jesus' words, that are such an
exhortation, are never found to be part and parcel of salvation?
In closing, let me quickly address Scott's closing statements and
1. Jesus declares that He is the Bread of Life - which comes from down
We agree on this.
2. Jesus' own words state we MUST eat His Flesh - and drink His Blood
(and repeated several - times) in John 6.
We agree Jesus said it, we agree Jesus meant for us to obey it.
We disagree that Jesus meant it literally.
Had Jesus meant it literally, He would have called the Jews to violate
God's holy law, a law against consuming blood that was present back to
the DAYS OF NOAH.
I challenge Mr. Windsor to find ANYTHING in the Old Testament that
prefigures the consumption of blood, let alone the actual CONSUPTION
3. At the celebration of the first Eucharist, - Jesus takes bread and
declares "This IS My
Body." With wine He takes it and declares - "This IS My Blood."
We agree He said it. We disagree on what He meant.
Jesus declared "This is my blood," and Mr. Windsor should be rebuked
for capitalizing a word that isn't found this way in scripture.
Further, as I have shown, this blood was POURED OUT, not consumed. And
Jesus said He would not drink from the fruit of the vine until He
drank it anew in the kingdom.
Scott cannot and will not be able to explain why Jesus will drink His
own blood in heaven.
4. We're primarily dealing with St. John the - Apostle, and when we
look to what one of his disciples taught we found a very literal -
representation of the Eucharist as being the
Body and Blood of Christ.
We find a very metaphorical gospel that is replete with "I am"
statements that teach who Jesus is.
In response to Scott's so-called answers from me (as he sees them):
1. Dr. Guinee pokes fun at Jesus' words, and challenges "Did He come
down as a loaf of- bread?"
I ask Mr. Windsor to retract these words. I do not and would not poke
fun at Jesus' words.
2. Dr. Guinee has no real answer here. He asserts that this is a
figurative statement, but all we have is his assertion.
Wrong, Mr. Windsor, you have the weight of scripture that demands you
interpret his words figuratively. When you do, you do not violate
scripture, you do not have Jesus commanding the Jews to sin, etc.
3. Dr. Guinee's answer here is "Nor can he (referring to me) claim
that since Jesus held up a piece of bread and said, "This is my body"
that this proves the bread was His body when he said it." In other
words, Dr. Guinee does not believe Jesus' own words here! Jesus
declared, "This IS My Body" and Dr. Guinee questions this. I don't
need to "prove" anything here, I just need to trust the words of my
Lord and Savior.
I take umbrage at Mr. Windsor's repeated odious comments that seek to
malign my understanding of God's word. I may be wrong, but it is my
recollection that at no point in this debate have I mocked Mr. Windsor
for believing what he believes.
I expect the same treatment from him.
I suppose if I held up a picture of my daughter and said "This is my
daughter" Mr. Windsor would actually believe that I am teaching him
the picture IS my daughter.
Wouldn't this extraordinary claim necessitate some proof from me?
4. With regard to quoting from St. Ignatius, a disciple of St. John
the Apostle, again Dr. Guinee doesn't really deal with St. Ignatius
and tries to divert us into reading other Church Fathers.
Diversion, nothing. I attempt to show that a wider context and
additional readings will reveal that the Catholic view was largely
absent, and those fathers that sounded Catholic actually write more
like something akin to Lutheranism or the like. They would be
Perhaps I am in good company. Perhaps I am also done for now.
I thank all of you for listening, no matter how poorly you may have
received my words.
I am, as I believe is true for Scott, the humble servant of Christ our
Dr. Jim Guinee
P.S. In my haste to end hastily, I believe I failed to summarize in
some way that would challenge Scott and the reader, much as he did
Therefore, let us examine "Eat my flesh" with respect to eternal life
one more time. Jesus clearly says that those who eat His flesh will
have life in them, will be raised on the last day.
SO again, does He mean this figuratively or literally?
If we are to eat and drink unto salvation, we are to conclude Jesus
means one of three things:
1) Eating and drinking are tantamount to coming to Christ and
believing in Him. That is precisely what Christ meant, nothing else
and nothing more.
Obviously Scott objects to this interpretation.
2) We are to eat and drink unto salvation. No mention of believing.
Just an obedient response.
None of us would agree with this. It contradicts scripture – we all
affirm that belief IS essential to salvation.
3) We are to a) believe in Jesus and b) eat/drink Jesus. This means
that salvation is a product of faith + obedient response. And yet in
scripture we are told that our righteous acts do not save us (Titus
3:5-6), and righteous acts only come from those who have faith in
Christ (Eph 2:8-10).
Therefore, if Scott is right, salvation = faith in Christ plus
ritualistic consumption of Christ
Faith + Good work
This contradicts scripture. It is by grace through faith and not
works we are saved (Eph 2:8-9). There isn't a single verse in
scripture that teaches salvation is a product of faith and good works.
Salvation is conceptualized as a free gift.
Is Scott really willing to affirm a salvation formula of faith + good
works = salvation?