Friday, May 10, 2013

Anglican Myths 13: Eucharistic Adoration

In the previous installment of Anglican Myths, I wrote against the practice of invoking the saints in prayer, which, in short, is nothing else but idolatry, the worship of another creature other than God. In this installment, I will discuss another practice currently being promoted on other Anglican blogs as something authentically Anglican and not completely harmful to the soul. 

Honestly, I feel rather silly that this even needs to be discussed. It remains something wholly incredible to me that a thinking person could ever come to the conclusion that our Lord intended for the Eucharist to be worshipped and adored, even if coming from a "Catholic" perspective! It reeks of paganism and medieval accretion. As in other practices, this practice contradicts the teaching of Scripture and the teaching of our fomularies. It contradicts Scripture in two manners, first, it distorts our Lord's purpose for this Sacrament, and, secondly, it is literally idolatry, worshipping a piece of bread, instead of God Almighty, which is directly contradictory to Scripture. Secondly, it plainly contradicts our Church's teaching about the nature of Christ's presence in the Sacrament and our Church's clear condemnation of the worship of the elements of the Lord's Supper.

Firstly, our Lord instituted the Lord's Supper as a spiritual nourishment to Christians by receiving his body and blood in our souls by faith. Did he not say "Take and eat"? There is no implication anywhere in the Bible that Communion was meant to be used in any other manner other than in reception of the elements. The modern services of "Eucharistic Adoration" or "Holy Hour" are not even medieval practices, they originate in the Baroque era, the 18th and 19th centuries. The medieval Church did have other manners of idolatry by worshipping the Sacrament in other ways (such as Corpus Christi). "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth" the Scriptures are clear, we are to worship God "in spirit and in truth" and not to be images or idols of Him (such as the Golden Calf) or other gods (Baal, Asherah, etc.), "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them." The Scriptures are clear that we are not to worship things made by human hands, such as bread, "They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed" (Is. 44:9). "Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 Jn. 5:21). "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry" (1 Cor. 10:14). "Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led" (1 Cor. 12:2). For, these idols cannot do anything to help us and, in fact, spit upon the face of Christ's work for us at Calvary. "Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation" (Judges 10:14).

The Formularies speak in various places against the practice of worshipping the Sacrament:
"The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them." (Art. 25) 
"The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped." (Art. 28)
Likewise, the worshipping of material things is a misuse of the temple of God, the Church, as the Homily on Idolatry states, "The Church or house of GOD, is a place appointed by the holy Scriptures, where the liuely word of GOD ought to bee read, taught, and heard, the Lords holy name called vpon by publike prayer, hearty thankes giuen to his Maiestie for his infinite and vnspeakable benefits bestowed vpon vs, his holy Sacraments duely and reuerently ministered, and that therefore all that be godly indeed, ought both with diligence at times appointed, to repayre together to the sayd Church, and there with all reuerence to vse and behaue themselues before the Lord" (Homily against the perill of Idolatrie, and superfluous decking of Churches). The use of the Church in this manner is a gross misrepresentation of what the house of God is intended for, that is, the preaching of the Word and administration of Christ's sacraments, not to be a house of idolatry. The use thereof is "contrary to the which most manifest doctrine of the Scriptures, and contrary to the vsage of the Primitive Church" as well. 

This practice is so far removed from Anglicanism that it is hard to fathom that any Christian would advocate its practice, much less a sincere Anglican. It is repugnant to the teaching of Scripture, the Fathers, and our Church's Formularies. 

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