John 6 Debate
Dr. Jim Guinee v. Mr. Scott Windsor
Third Rebuttal of Mr. Windsor to Dr. Guinee
For my third rebuttal, I am approaching this differently. I will not be quoting every word of Dr. Guinee and then replying, but will respond in my own words to the sections/topics Dr. Guinee has posited.
First Dr. Guinee objects to the fact that I am using the “same argument” throughout, and to that I agree - I call that “consistency.” He feels he has cornered me and that I am avoiding exegetical problems, but he has not yet been able to demonstrate that when Jesus said we must eat His Flesh - that He didn’t mean it. That MUST be Dr. Guinee’s argument and he MUST prove that point - for that is what this entire debate hinges upon. Thus far we have seen no such “proof,” rather we have seen many distractions into other subjects. It almost seems as though Dr. Guinee is frustrated that I am not following him down every “rabbit hole” and that I am sticking to the REAL POINT of THIS debate.
1) Dr. Guinee’s “first issue.”
The matter of proving this from “Scripture alone” (sola scriptura). That is not a point of this debate and I will not be distracted into it. What we are here to do is to debate whether or not Jesus really meant we must eat His Flesh and drink His Blood or we have “no life” in us. He then mentions the Trinity and then Transubstantiation, and asks, “Why shouldn’t we do this with something that is so salvifically important? The question itself is a distraction - whether or not we could, or even should, is not the matter of this debate - THIS debate is to show valid evidence that Jesus spoke literally when He commanded we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood. Thus, this “first issue” is dismissed on the grounds of irrelevancy.
2) Next issue... how often Scripture refers to communion and the allegedly “amazing omission” the “rest of the New Testament” is supposedly silent on the issue of having to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood. He continues the logic of this being such an “isolated” comment - yet when I point out that there is no “omission,” since it is right there in John 6, he accuses me of misunderstanding him. I understood perfectly - and the point Dr. Guinee seems to have missed is that since it is there - even if it’s only there ONCE, then it is NOT an “omission.” How many times must Jesus command us to do something before we “must” obey Him?
Dr. Guinee’s argument here is that Jesus’ command is figurative and that what He really means is “just believing” in Him is all that is necessary. Yet, Jesus never backs down from this literal command! While most of His disciples grumbled, and “turned and walked with Him no more” over this very teaching - Jesus lets them walk! Why? Because they understood Him exactly the way He said it - and they could not abide by one who commands we must eat His Flesh and drink His Blood. Without correcting or changing a single word, He further challenges The Twelve, “Will you also leave?” If “just believing” was all He meant, then He let the multitudes walk away with the wrong impression! They took Him literally, and no amount of rationalization can change that fact.
Next Dr. Guinee argues five points based on Hebrews 9:24-28. His five points have absolutely NOTHING to do with the topic at hand here! We are SUPPOSED to be discussing whether or not Jesus spoke literally in John 6 in regard to His command to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood. His questions dealt with the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist and whether or not Jesus suffered once or many times. These questions (which have been answered before in the Catholic Debate Forum on Yahoogroups - hereafter “CDF”) are for another discussion.
After this, Dr. Guinee goes into yet another distraction - asking me about which biblical priesthood Catholic priests belong to. Again Dr. Guinee, this is NOT the topic of THIS DEBATE! He even (parenthetically) states that he realizes this is NOT the discussion we’re having here. Feel free to ask in CDF.
3) Dr. Guinee concedes that if Jesus commands us one time to do something, we are just as admonished to do it as if we were commanded a hundred times. He then tries to minimize the command of John 6 by bringing up Matthew 5:30, to which I answer - yes! If your right hand will make you go to hell (stumble) then cut it off!
4) “Next there is the issue of Jesus saying, ‘he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’ (v. 53) Scott’s reply is an odd one. He says ‘Coming to Him and believing in Him would also necessitate obeying Him!’ I don’t follow - coming to Him and believing in Him IS obeying Him.” Those are things which would show a partial obedience, but if you are not willing to obey Him when it comes to a direct (and repeated) command to eat His Flesh - then you are not fully obeying Him. If you knowingly outright reject this command - then you are not merely disobedient - but you stand in rejection of Him. To use an analogy, while driving my car I can wear my seatbelt, drive the speed limit, stop at stop signs, etc. and I am obeying the law - so far as these are concerned, but if I am driving on the wrong side of the road - and doing so on purpose, then I am in outright disobedience and defiance of another part of the law. I hope this helps Dr. Guinee follow the argument.
5) Dr. Guinee concedes the fact that Jesus promises that He WILL give His Flesh... and thus there isn’t really a problem that “communion isn’t ritually established here.” He then goes on to remind us that John 6 says “those that eat and drink (His Flesh and Blood) WILL live forever. There is no equivocation here... But Scott does not believe in faith alone, in the security of salvation - therefore he must admit that there are Catholics who eat this bread and do NOT live forever.” Certainly I do believe that there are Catholics who will go to hell - but the REASON they will go to hell is that they didn’t “persevere.” St. Paul repeatedly stresses the need to persevere in the faith - or be LOST. We don’t read St. John to the exclusion of St. Paul!
6) The “I am...” statements is the next subject. Dr. Guinee attempts to differentiate from “truly literal” and “literally true.” So, with respect to John 6 (keeping us on task here) when Jesus say we are to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood - whether we take that as “truly literal” or “literally true” doesn’t seem to matter, now does it?
7) Dr. Guinee asks, “So what happened in John 6 when the Jews did what Scott believes we must do?” The Jews took Jesus literally - but did not have the faith necessary to believe that Jesus would provide them with the means to fulfill His command. Just as Abraham had faith that the Lord would provide when God ordered him to sacrifice Isaac, we too must have the faith that Jesus DID provide the means to fulfill His command - and He did so in instituting the Eucharist.
8) Dr. Guinee’s “lengthy treatise” on the Old Covenant prohibition of blood consumption is off-topic for THIS debate! The question is “Did Jesus speak
literally when He declared we MUST eat His Body and drink His Blood or we have no life in us?” Points a, b and c are all irrelevant to this argument and I will not address them here. Dr. Guinee is free to bring up these topics in the CDF (Yahoogroup). Point d, he acknowledges that my point is that he has contradicted himself - but he doesn’t point out the contradiction nor does he show us how he was not contradictory. Dr. Guinee believes I am cornered by this distraction argument - and I am not. Yes, I have answered with the same argument - Jesus commands us to do this, so we MUST DO IT, and unless Dr. Guinee can prove to us that Jesus didn’t really mean it when He repeatedly issued this command in John 6 - then I stand on that (very solid and unassailed) argument.
Point e) of this section Dr. Guinee asks, “So on what basis does Scott argue that in this case they a) get the literal message b) get the spiritual message c) reject those messages?” First off, they “get the literal message” and that is evident by their grumblings over what Jesus said. Second, I never said they “get the spiritual message” - so Dr. Guinee has introduced a straw man here. Third, they “reject those messages” when they walked away - and that is quite obvious from the text. Fourthly, I haven’t said The Twelve fully understood Jesus - my only argument here is that they BELIEVED IN HIM and that was evident by them STAYING WITH HIM.
9) Dr. Guinee, after rephrasing his question asks, “Jesus starts this discourse with the claim that He is from heaven, and the Jews say, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?’ How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven?’ Is Scott claiming that the Jews DO come to accept this statement from Jesus? That Jesus is the Son of God and His origin is from heaven?” My direct answer to this question is, “No, they did not ‘come to accept this statement from Jesus,’ but Dr. Guinee has changed the argument from “understanding” to “accepting.” MY argument is that they understood what Jesus was saying - literally - but they did NOT accept it, and thus they “turned and walked with Him no more.”
10) “Did the Israelites eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood?” My answer is “No, how could they? They turned and walked with Him no more!”
11) Dr. Guinee states, “But when Jesus supposedly changes wine into blood and bread into flesh, not once does any gospel writer confirm this.” He continues, “Scott does not provide an adequate explanation of this problem.” Dr. Guinee seems to believe that since there was not a huge reaction to this miracle, that it wasn’t a miracle. I find Dr. Guinee’s reasoning here to be lacking - for he does not give us adequate reason to believe they HAD to have some sort of “astonishment” to prove a miracle happened. When St. Peter walked on water, is it recorded anywhere that the rest of the Apostles were astonished by this miracle? No, so by Dr. Guinee’s logic, that miracle didn’t happen. The REAL POINT here is that in John 6 Jesus declares we MUST eat His Flesh and drink His Blood - then at the “Last Supper” (the first Eucharist) Jesus provides the means to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood by declaring bread and wine to BE His Body and Blood.
This point alone destroys Dr. Guinee’s argumentation for it provides us the MEANS to take what He said in John 6 to be literal. Whether or not we argue for the literal interpretation of the transubstantiation here (which is truly another debate unto itself), the FACT that we are told that bread and wine IS His Body and Blood - we CAN fulfill the LITERAL command of John 6.
12) The three points of section 12 are all related to proving transubstantiation - which is NOT the topic of this debate, so I will not be answering these at this point. Dr. Guinee is free to ask these questions in CDF - or in a future debate, but here and now it is a distraction from the John 6 debate. My reason for bringing up the Eucharist is, as stated in my answer to section 11, that it provides us the MEANS to fulfill what He commands in John 6. If Jesus had never celebrated that first Eucharist - THEN we might be discussing something totally different - but He DID celebrate that first Eucharist, and His words are echoed by St. Paul later on, and by St. John’s disciple, St. Ignatius - and all throughout the history of the Church.
13) Dr. Guinee asks, “Where in (S)cripture are we ever told that Jesus will physically return to us prior to His second coming?” He claims I have “eschewed this argument” when I refer to the “Mystery of Faith” and Jesus saying, ‘This (IS) My Body.’” Well, what more can I say here? Jesus said, “This IS My Body” and Catholics BELIEVE HIM - Dr. Guinee rejects this statement from Jesus. We are also told, by Scripture, that we must “do this” (that which He just did) as often as we partake of that (Eucharist), so what more Scripture does Dr. Guinee need?
Again, this is really a side-topic and not really on-topic. I have answered because I used the Eucharist to show that Jesus had provided us with the MEANS to fulfill His repeated command of John 6. The REAL point here is that in John 6 Jesus commands us, repeatedly, to eat His Flesh - then at the Eucharist He declares bread to BE His Body. We do not need to get all caught up in defining the Mystery of Faith or the definition of transubstantiation, what IS pertinent to THIS debate is that He commands us to eat His Flesh - and later He provides His Flesh/Body to us.
14) The question in section 14 is, yet another, question about transubstantiation and not pertinent to THIS debate. Again I would encourage Dr. Guinee to ask this question in CDF, or challenge me to another debate on transubstantiation (which I will affirm here and now that I would accept).
15) Dr. Guinee states he asked in the previous rebuttal (actually, this was from his opening statement) : “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 speaking literally. What would prevent this lost sinner from going to Mass on Sunday and immediately consuming the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved? Would it not be pleasing to God for him to do so? If not, why not?”
Dr. Guinee then posts my answer: “Physically, nothing would, but if he approaches and receives that Eucharist unworthily, then he would not be eating and drinking to his salvation, but to his judgment!”
Next Dr. Guinee responds: “This answer makes no sense, because I clearly stated that the person in question is a ‘non-Christian, a lost sinner.’ If he is lost, what does it accomplish for judgment to be placed upon him for approaching and receiving the Eucharist unworthily? Can Scott explain this? Further, can Scott clarify what it means to receive the Eucharist ‘unworthily’?”
I respond: First off, if this person read John 6 and BELIEVED IT, then we really couldn’t be referring to him as a “non-Christian” could we? He BELIEVES what Jesus said, and then attempts to DO what he believes was commanded by Jesus - in other words he is FOLLOWING the Christ! Wouldn’t that minimally be considered a “Christian act?” Second, we are ALL “lost sinners,” yes, even Dr. Guinee is too - but through the grace of God, we CAN have eternal life IF we persevere in the Faith. We cannot be persevering in the Faith if we are refusing to DO what He commands of us. So based on this further explanation - only God can judge if this person is truly “lost,” and that judgment will come on the Last Day.
To answer Dr. Guinee’s “further” question (and I apologize for not being as clear as I could be the first time), to “receive the Eucharist unworthily” is answered in 1 Cor. 11:28 - “But a man must examine himself” (NASB) - it’s right there in the context of the statement about eating and drinking judgment upon one’s self (11:29). We must make an examination of conscience - and if we find by this examination that we have mortal sin upon our soul, then we should not approach the Eucharist until we have approached the Sacrament of Reconciliation - to do so would be to eat and drink unworthily. I hope this answers your question more completely this time.
With this, I conclude this Third Rebuttal. I will reserve further comment for and I look forward to the “Live Chat” section of this debate, which we will try to get scheduled as soon as possible so that we can wrap up this debate with our closing arguments after the Live Chat. (And for those who are counting, my actual rebuttal, prior to this paragraph, contains 2745 words - which is about one quarter of what I posted in my Second Rebuttal!)
Your servant in Christ our Lord,