Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


Does John Gospel really teach that bread and wine turn into Jesus? No!

The Catholic Church celebrates the Mass and thinks the priest turns bread into Jesus and wine into his blood without any detectable change.  This doctrine looks as if it were taught by Jesus in John 6.  Its not what it seems. 

WHY JOHN 6 CANNOT MEAN TRANSUBSTANTIATION

John 6 does not teach the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation for these reasons.

*  In John 6 Jesus preaches in a Jewish meeting house at Capernaum. Why didn’t he preach it in the Temple or at a religious feast or Passover meal?   The context isn't right for a sacramental or eucharistic interpretation.
 
* The Jews sternly required that flesh for eating have no blood in it. The blood had to be drained off. Blood was sacred and the symbol of life. Thus Jesus saying you can eat my flesh meant eat my corpse if you take him literally. Also then, drink my blood meant drink my life. This contradicts the Catholic doctrine that the living body of Jesus is received in communion. It teaches that the bread is both the body and blood of Jesus. And it teaches that the wine is also the body and blood of Jesus. But Jesus separates them.
 
* Jesus said he was the manna of life like the manna of the Hebrews was essential for their lives. We are told in the Old Testament that God gave Israel manna which was "bread" that fell from Heaven to feed them in the desert. The Eucharist is not as essential for spiritual life as the manna was for physical. If it is then anybody who does not receive the Eucharist will be damned. The Church has never taught this.
 
The manna was not bread and did not really fall down from Heaven. It appeared overnight on the ground by natural causes. Jesus would have known this. Even his use of the manna was about symbolism. 
 
* The psalms and the Old Testament say that God gave the Hebrews the manna. The Jews Jesus was preaching to must have thought that Moses gave the manna. He corrected their error for he said that it is not Moses who gives the bread from Heaven the manna but God the Father in Heaven. In a passage full of metaphors and symbols this is important. He was saying that the bread is not human bread. God's bread from Heaven is invisible food and has nothing to do with communion wafers.
 
Moses prayed for the manna and God gave it. Do the Jews mean that Moses gave them the bread by praying for it? Jesus says the real bread from Heaven is not given by Moses but by God. He rejects the view that anybody has to ask God to give it to you - God gives it to you directly. God even gave the manna of his own accord and it was not because of Moses or his prayer. There is no room in this for the notion of Catholic priests giving you the bread from Heaven, the wafer turned into Jesus by their prayer. There are no mediators.
 
Jesus is using the manna as a parallel for the bread he will give that is his flesh. It will then not be obtained by anybody's prayer but from God directly. This understanding demolishes the Mass which presupposes that prayer is needed through which God turns the bread into Jesus.
 
* Jesus said that those who eat his bread will never hunger and it is his flesh and he who eats it will live forever.
 
Therefore it is permanent nourishment or permanent sustenance. The Catholic Eucharist is not permanent nourishment for Jesus only feeds you until the communion wafer is turned into ordinary food in the stomach which takes about ten or fifteen minutes. If he stays behind after the wafer is gone then it is impossible to see what the Eucharist would need to be received over and over again for.
 
When Jesus says you will never hunger if you eat him and when there is no hint that you need to feed on him over and over again as in the Catholic Mass - the chapter indicates that one feeding with him lasts forever. The Jews asked Jesus in the chapter to be fed always.
 
* The passage starts off with Jesus saying he is the bread of life using evident symbolism for he is not bread. At this verse Catholics believe he changes the subject to transubstantiation. “I [myself] am this Living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he will live forever; and also the bread that I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh” (v51). So, the first part is symbolism and the second part is literal according to Catholics. But you can’t use symbolic language and then switch to literal language that looks like symbolic talk without warning. Jesus would not have done that for that would only confuse his hearers. He would have said that he was speaking literally now and that the bread he will give is his flesh.
 
There is supposed to be symbolism in the second part of the sentence because the Catholics say the Eucharist is not bread but is the flesh of Jesus and Jesus calls it bread here. So, it is symbolically bread.
 
* The doctrine of transubstantiation or the real presence implies that what looks like bread and wine to unbelievers is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The Bible forbids lying under all circumstances and by implication it forbids deception. It forbids disguise and Jesus is disguising himself as bread and wine. The Church may reply that we are told by Jesus that it is him not bread and wine and if we won’t believe him then we can hardly say he deceived us. But who is saying it? John who wrote years after the events. And owing to the gospel being only assumed to be John’s work it is doubtful that he did say it. We don’t even know who he was or if he was really an apostle. John saying Jesus said it is not the same as Jesus saying it. We are no better off. To the crime against God of idolatry, the Mass adds the crime of accusing God of double standards.
 
* Ego Eimi
 
John 6:35 has Jesus saying "I am the living bread" - this is ego eimi ho artos tes zoes in the original. Ego Eimi is used in John a lot for I am.
 
John 8:24: ean gar me pistuesete hoti ego eimi
John 8:28: tote gnosesthe hoti ego eimi
John 8:58: prin Abraam genethai ego eimi
John 13:19: hina pisteusete hotan genetai ego eimi
John 18:5: legei autois Ego eimi
John 18:6: hos oun eipen autois Ego eimi
John 18:8: eipon humin hoti ego eimi
 
Ego eimi has been linked to God saying in the Old Testament that I am who I am. It is thought by some but by no means all that Jesus is calling himself God by using those words. The words in the Old Testament are taken by Christians to refer to God as in the spirit who is existence itself. God is existence. If they are right then Jesus is saying that as God he is the bread of life. He is not necessarily the bread of life as man. If so, then bread of life needs a spiritual interpretation. John 6 is then about spiritual nourishment.
 
* John 6:57 has Jesus saying that as man he lives by the Father so he who eats Jesus will live by Jesus. Jesus means that he lives by the Father as man for the Father creates him and keeps him in existence. So Jesus creates the person and keeps that person in existence who eats him. What does he mean? How can eating Jesus keep you in existence if God is keeping you in existence?  Obviously there is symbolism. Many observe that John 6 never clearly mentions grace. It is always about life being sustained. Catholics assume life means or includes grace. Many argue that grace would be the central theme if the chapter were really about a sacrament for a sacrament is all about the grace. Is Jesus using hyperbole - you really need me to live in every sense of the word, even to live in this world and in the next? That makes the texts about eating Jesus' flesh and blood to be really about depending on Jesus. If a woman eats her husband's flesh she does not need his flesh literally. It is about her needing him. If you turn to John 17:5 Jesus wants the glory he had BEFORE the universe was even made or before he became man. He is looking back. This does not fit the Catholic notion that Jesus planned to rise again in his body so as to be able to leave us his body and blood.

OBJECTION: Jesus is fully man and fully God. It is wrong to assume that 6:57 is about Jesus depending on God for existence as man. Jesus is referring to the fact that there is one God who is three persons. The Son proceeds from the Father. Without the Father there would be no Son. Jesus even as God and not as man depends on God. Many reject this interpretation for it makes no sense to say that God depends on nothing to exist and then to say that the Son depends on the Father. The trinity doctrine is irrational but it is improved by the thought that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are three self-existent or self-dependent persons.
 
* Jesus using the present tense and saying things like “unless you eat my body”, which is an invitation to the Jews does not prove that he had no intention of turning bread and wine into himself. Some say it does for there was no Eucharist then. But it was available in the sense that Jesus could have given them his body and blood there and then. However the Church says only the baptised could receive the Eucharist. But Jesus is inviting Jews here! If baptism is needed then Jesus did not mean transubstantiation and the present tense would disprove the Eucharistic interpretation.
 
* “Jesus said to them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, you cannot have any life in you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood” (verse 53). Life means the fullness of life and grace that comes from being in a relationship with God that endures for all eternity. Catholics say he was only saying you cannot be saved if you know you need to eat the flesh of Jesus and drink his blood in the Eucharist but refuse to do it. But the Jews didn’t know. Nothing in John 6 hints that they were true believers or had any real reason to believe Jesus was the Son of God. Their hostility proves they were not. So Jesus was saying that unless they ate and drank him they had no hope in the full literal and rigid sense. The Church never taught that the Eucharist is that necessary for salvation or life which indicates that the passage was not taken in the Catholic sense in the early centuries of the Church. It would be madness and blasphemy to say that you could go to Hell for not eating communion wafers as if the presence of God and Jesus inside you without communion meant nothing. Even Jesus declared people saved without the Eucharist meaning that eating his body or drinking his blood stands for accepting him as the saviour who sacrificed his body and blood for you. Jesus didn’t say you won’t have life in you if you don’t eat and drink but that you won’t have any life in you. This emphasis is striking and tells us a lot. It tells us that Jesus was saying there is no grace or happiness or relationship with God at all in a person who does not eat his body and blood. It is so obvious that he couldn’t have meant that if you take the eating and drinking as physical acts that it is undeniable that eating and drinking must stand for getting strength and changing your life through loving Jesus and being loved by him as your saviour who spilled his blood on your behalf.  The Jews would have taken the words “unless you” literally for what other way would you have taken it if you had been in that audience? That was how they were meant then. To take eat and drink as referring to communion makes the passage so ridiculous that it must be rejected. This was all said by Jesus in reply to the Jews when they asked how he could give his flesh to eat which made it clear that if they were taking him to be referring to real eating they were wrong!
 
* Jesus said that whoever eats his flesh lives in him and he lives in that person. Lives means takes up residence in. Jesus staying in you fifteen minutes is not him living in you. He links this taking up residence in you with eating him. If he meant he was literally giving you his body then this excludes the Catholic doctrine of the Mass. Somehow God is able to give your soul the literal body of Jesus invisibly and without sacraments. The Catholic Church would have no philosophical or logical problem with that view but it says it is false for it contradicts its doctrine that the Mass is needed and is the centre of Christian life. The Church is contradicted by its Bible so true Christians then eat Jesus all the time. Jesus then is not present in the communion wafer of Mass.

The Catholic response is that Jesus means that if you eat his body though this feeding stops as soon as the wafer disintegrates, Jesus' spirit stays in your soul and lives in it. This is a very forced interpretation. It is like saying that, "If John drinks for a little while in my pub he lives in it", makes sense. "If John drinks 24/7 in my pub then he lives in it", is what we would expect.

Catholics teach that you must already have Jesus's spirit living in your soul if you are to eat his body so they don't believe their own response.

The desire to have Jesus in the form of bread actually smacks of idolatry and a hankering towards it. It means that the Church rejects and despises the friendly Jesus of the gospel of John who does not do things like that but mystically unites his body to his people in all times and all places. It means there is more concern for getting people to believe Jesus is in the wafer than in them.

If Jesus as God dwells in his people that is the only kind of presence that matters. His body and blood would be immaterial. They add nothing. So why the fuss about how great eating the body of Jesus and drinking his blood at Mass?

John’s gospel says that those who eats the flesh of Jesus and drinks his blood abide in him and he abides in them which matches what he says about how the vine and the branches also abide in him. Eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking his blood are metaphors for an intimate relationship with him. The Church is seen as a communion where all are joined into one vine or Church by the Holy Spirit. So as opposed to you ingesting God God absorbs you into himself.  To eat the body of Jesus really means to let him eat your body.  To drink his blood is to give him your blood to drink.  It is about what you are giving not him.
 
* After the change of bread into the body of Jesus and wine into his blood no physical change can be detected. The Church says that the change still happens. What makes the bread bread is gone and replaced with what makes Jesus' body Jesus' body. This is not a physical change. The Church says there is a change but not a physical one. This denies that the physical Jesus really was his body - Jesus is really the ghostly thing that makes his body his body. In 1 John we read condemnations of the antichrists who said that Jesus was not a real man - those who deny that Jesus came in the flesh. The same person wrote the gospel and the letter so the Catholic doctrine should be rejected. 1 John implies that the Mass blasphemes Jesus so severely and is so anti-Jesus that nobody has the objective right to attend Mass. Also, Protestants are betraying their faith by attending Mass. To attend Mass implies that you think it is not bad enough to stay away from. The Protestant cannot argue, "I attend Mass because I have some agreement with the Catholic faith. I attend to honour the good teachings of the Church that I agree with. I do not attend to imply that I think one faith is as good as another." That would only hold if Catholicism didn't make serious errors in the Mass. Even the Nazis have some good teachings - you don't invite them to your parish hall and say, "Oh I disagree with them a lot but they have so much good to offer and it is the good I want to focus on." You know by instinct that to do that is to condone them. You know you are making an excuse. You don't argue that you give your child a hardcore porn to teach them about sex and that they can get some good out of it and that makes it right.
 
* The John 6 passage comes so close to transubstantiation language and still does not teach it. Doesn’t that show that it probably opposes the doctrine? It is a clear hint.
 
* If Jesus had been talking to Greek students of Aristotle who knew of his doctrine that the things we can sense about bread are not the bread but the real bread is something called substance that has no parts we might have a little reason to think that he was talking about transubstantiation. Even then Aristotle's students would have agreed with Aristotle that though the physical things we can sense about the bread are not the bread but the bread is something different it does not mean that the something different can become Jesus Christ without any physical change being apparent.
 
To Jesus' Jewish listeners, if bread becomes flesh it cannot keep the physical qualities of bread and still change. Also, Roman Catholicism itself cannot explain transubstantiation. How does it know that the change prevents the bread being bread and also the body of Jesus Christ at the same time? If substance is invisible and undetectable then we don't know what it is only that it is. We don't know what it can do! Also bread is only what we call a collection of things that are not bread. Chemicals and minerals and so on. The calcium in the bread is not bread. The bread does not have a single substance at all - it is made up of countless billions of substances. Yet the Church says that if a priest tries to transubstantiate a calcium supplement into Jesus it won't work. The magic only works with bread. John 6:44-46 has Jesus stating that the Father has already taught the people before him. Jesus also said in these verses that the prophets predicted that the people will be taught by God and whoever has heard the Father comes to Jesus. This hints that what he has to say about the bread of life and eating his flesh and drinking his blood must be interpreted by looking for clues in the Old Testament. It says nothing about bread and wine turning into the flesh and blood of Jesus.
 
We conclude that John 6 knows nothing of transubstantiation. Since it comes close to the language of transubstantiation and then excludes it, it is obvious that it is hinting that this miracle cannot happen. Even if the passage seems to teach transubstantiation John might have put down what Jesus said without knowing himself what Jesus was on about. The words might be inspired by God but that does not mean we can understand them. If that is the case then it is seriously wrong to create a Eucharist of Transubstantiation on the words of Jesus in John 6.

THE MASS CONTRADICTS "GOD IS SPIRIT SO WORSHIP HIM ONLY IN SPIRIT"

John 4:24 has Jesus telling a woman that God is spirit and all who worship him can only do so in spirit and in truth.  This is inspired by the ten commandments - they command that you worship God without any kind of image.  The commandment bans bowing before or serving images.  Catholicism does serve images by enshrining the communion wafer!

John has Jesus telling Nicodemus that what comes from flesh is flesh and what comes from spirit is spirit.   Here he is clear that the two are fundamentally separate.  The idea of bread becoming Jesus' flesh as spiritual food contradicts that dichotomy. 

Conclusion
 
John 6 does not teach transubstantiation. In fact it declares that to attempt the miracle, to celebrate Mass, is a grave sin and totally opposed to understanding the gospel. Transubstantiation is an unusual and strange idea. It is a very vague and difficult doctrine. It needs to be taught with extreme clarity. Jesus didn’t say, “God has the power to do anything. He can turn bread into flesh while it remains seeming to be bread.” Without this clarity we cannot assume Jesus taught the doctrine.