The Sola Scriptura Eucharist Challenge

it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.

President Bill Clinton to the Grand Jury


One of the most amusing things about some of our anti-catholic protestant friends is the great Sola Scriptura contradiction.

While we Catholics (as Paul Told us) use both scripture and tradition to establish our beliefs many of our protestant friends reject this for Sola Scriptura, by scripture alone.

This has many weaknesses the most glaring being that nowhere in scripture does it say what books are a part of scripture but there is a much more basic challenge that comes up and that’s involving the Holy Eucharist.

Now as people who use Tradition we Catholics can show many early church fathers talking about the Eucharist as the real body & blood of Christ but that doesn’t hold any weight for some so let’s play in their park: Sola Scriptura and quote a fellow by the name of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 26:26-28

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.

Note the IS.

Mark 14:22-24

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.

There’s that pesky IS again

Luke 22:19,20

Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.

Three Gospels three IS but in John 6:35-69 it’s nailed down. The full reference takes it home but lets look at specific verses in sequence

Verse 35

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.

Christ declares himself the bread of life

Verse 41

The Jews murmured about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven,”

The Jews mumble about it

Verse 48-51 he repeats it and expands

I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

Verse 52 the Jews are incredulous

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?”

Verse 53-58 Jesus triples down

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Then note verse 60 his disciples (not “the jews” meaning a general reference to the people there since they were all in fact “jews” but  specifically his disciples who knew him, had seen his deeds and were following him.)

Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

So the disciples have doubts, many followers of Christ have doubts at one time or another.  What does Jesus do?  Does Jesus explain this is a parable?  Does he say this is symbolic?  Nope he quadruples down in verses 61-63

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

And a bunch of his disciples scoot Verse 66

As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

But when asked by Christ if they want to take off as well Peter says no way Verses 68-69

Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

So there you have it, Jesus specifically and explicitly saying we must eat his flesh and drink his blood, and repeating it to the point where many of his disciples leave, but the Apostles given that chance stay and declare him the Holy one of God and this is followed by Jesus stating explicitly at the last supper that this IS my body and this IS my blood in not one, not two but three gospel accounts. The Eucharist explained sola scriptura.

So now I challenge my sola scriptura friends who declare the Eucharist a “magic trick”:

Find me somewhere in the Gospel where Jesus Christ says this is NOT his body and blood? Find me a passage in Paul’s letters where it says this, or in Luke’s Acts of the Apostles, or John’s, Peter’s or James’ letters.

Remember Sola Scripture, Luther won’t do, Calvin won’t do, Miller or even Billy Graham won’t do. If you’re going to contradict the direct words of Jesus Christ the Son of God, you’re going to need something more than a man who lived 1500 years or more after his death.  Only inspired scripture can hope to contradict inspired scripture. In fact given that these are said by Christ you’re going to need a new testament source to contradict the blood of the new covenant.

If you can’t find this, then I submit and suggest you’re going to have to rethink that whole sola scriptura thing not to mentioning rethinking the reality of the Eucharist.

Unless like Bill Clinton you say it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.