Home > Lord's Supper, Sacrament of the Altar, Holy Communion, the Eucharist: Doctrine and Practice > “Is” Does Mean “Is” — What Lutheran Churches Must Always Be Clear About

“Is” Does Mean “Is” — What Lutheran Churches Must Always Be Clear About

May 30th, 2010
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“The great doctrinal discussion which should begin between the churches that earnestly want to be Lutheran will have to deal with especially two doctrines: the doctrine concerning the Word of God and the doctrine concerning the Sacraments. Indeed, both doctrines will have to be treated alongside one another; for the means of grace cannot be sundered. Just as they belong together in the life of the church, even so they belong together also in theology. A person cannot at one and the same time have a Calvinistic or Crypto-Calvinistic doctrine concerning the Lord’s Supper and a “Lutheran” doctrine concerning the Word. When recently a pastor (with whom I am unacquainted and who hails from a North-German Lutheran Territorial Church) let it be known that I should ponder the fact that the Lord Christ had not at all spoken the word “is” in the Words of Institution, since Aramaic does not use a copula in that sort of sentence, I do not know what it is at which I should marvel the more: the erudition which does not know how to translate an Aramaic sentence in keeping with its meaning or this broken relation to the Holy Scripture.1 God’s word is, for the church of Christ in all ages, not an original text (Urtext) which is to be discovered behind the Greek and Hebrew words of the New and Old Testaments by scholars; rather, God’s Word is the Bible itself as it was given to us. I adduce this example only in order to show how closely the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Lord’s Supper is connected with the doctrine2 that the Holy Scripture is really (realiter et essentialiter) the Word of God. Corresponding to the est in “Hoc est corpus meum” there is an est in the doctrine of the Scripture. “Hoc est verbum Dei” is what the church must be able to say concerning the Holy Scripture; otherwise it has no Holy Scripture.”

Toward Understanding Augustine’s Doctrine of Inspiration, Herman Sasse, Letters to Lutheran Pastors XXIX, Feb. 1953

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  1. Sven Wagschal
    May 30th, 2010 at 09:52 | #1

    Sad fact: one can hear this nonsense (no “is” in Aramaic etc.) up to this day from “lutheran” theologians.

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