Lutherans/Body

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Question
Peace!
Many people in the new testament touched the body of Jesus. Now there is this bread that people eat at Lutheran services. How is touching this bread different from touching of the body of Jesus that people did in the Gospels?

Answer
Lutherans teach, along with Scripture that the bread eaten in the Lord's Supper "is" the body of Christ.  This is in contrast to the Roman Catholic teaching that the bread "becomes" the body of Christ and is no longer bread, in spite of appearance.  It is also in contrast to the Calvinist teaching that one physically eats bread, but the believer's heart ascends to heaven to feed on the body of Christ in a spiritual manner.  Additionally, it contrasts most strongly against the protestant teaching that the bread only symbolizes or represents Jesus' body (like a divinely-mandated object lesson).  

Since Lutheran theology does not desire to speak where Scripture has not spoken, they rarely say  more than that the bread "is" the body of Christ, though, and leave further reconciliation of the mystery to exist in tension.  It is bread, yet it is the body of Christ.  I fear I would not do justice to the nuance of this paradox if I try to summarize, so instead I will point you to two classic Lutheran treatments of this topic.  The first is Luther's "Confession Concerning Christ's Supper," in which he discusses the idea that Jesus body and blood are truly (not merely spiritually or symbolically) present in the Lord's Supper.  An excerpt of this writing can be found at:

http://books.google.com/books?id=Ve7Sybjp5s8C&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=confession+con

Additionally, the Book of Concord, which is an official declaration of the Lutheran position on the matter, explains Christ's presence in the Lord's Supper in response to many controversies and errors.  A translation of this document can be found at:

http://bookofconcord.org/sd-supper.php

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Rev. Jason P. Peterson

Expertise

I welcome the opportunity to answer questions regarding the beliefs and practices Lutheran Christians, especially questions comparing Lutherans with other Christian denominations or questions which contrast between various kinds of Lutherans. I am especially familiar with the more conservative Lutheran denominations (LCMS, ELS, WELS, etc.). I also take a great interest in examining new Christian movements and popular trends in Christianity from a Lutheran perspective. In addition, I can answer most questions about the original Greek text of the New Testament and its meaning, as well as questions regarding liturgy, evangelism, and preaching. A special area of interest in my ministry is race track chaplaincy/ministry, and I would love to provide information and guidance for anyone interested in this area.

Experience

I have been a pastor in the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod for the past six years at St. John's Lutheran Church in Burt, IA. I currently serve as chairman of the Commission on Ministerial Growth & Support of the Missouri Synod's Iowa District West and as Track Chaplain at Algona Raceway in Algona, IA. I also write as a religion columnist for two local newspapers.

Organizations
Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Publications
Algona Upper Des Moines (newspaper) Bancroft Register (newspaper)

Education/Credentials
B.A. Concordia University - Ann Arbor, MI (Biblical Languages) M.Div. Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN (Exegetical Theology, Pastoral Ministry & Missions)

Past/Present Clients
Zion Lutheran Church (Columbia City, IN) Zion Lutheran Church (Altamont, IL) St. John's Lutheran Church (Burt, IA) Zion Lutheran Church (Lu Verne, IA) Algona Raceway (IA) Fairmont Raceway (MN) Hancock County Speedway (Britt, IA) Clay County Fairgrounds Raceway (Spencer, IA)

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