Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next chapter, the Catholic apologist continues his section on Sacraments and the specific topic of the Lord’s Supper as he counters evangelical Protestants’ arguments that Jesus Christ instituted communion only as a memorial rather than as a sacrifice when He said, “Do This in Remembrance.”
First some background: The centerpiece of the Roman Catholic religion is the mass with its celebration of the “eucharist” (Greek: thanksgiving). The Roman church alleges that during the “eucharist” portion of the mass, its priests mysteriously transform bread wafers and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ (i.e., transubstantiation). The priests then offer the consecrated “host” (Latin: sacrificial victim) to God the Father as a supposedly efficacious sacrifice for the sins of the congregants and any others who are named. The congregants then line up to receive a Jesus wafer from the priest, believing as they are told, that consuming the Jesus wafer endows them with graces enabling them to resist temptation and obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) in order to possibly merit salvation at the moment of death. Catholics obtain their heterodox views from their church’s erroneous interpretations of John 6 and the Last Supper accounts in the four gospels.
Broussard acknowledges that Protestants strongly object to the Catholic interpretation of the Lord’s Supper. Evangelical Protestants view the Lord’s Supper as a memorial of Christ’s sacrificial offering of His body and blood on the cross. Protestants cite Luke 22:19 as one of their proof texts:
“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Broussard recognizes that Luke 22:19 is a serious challenge to the Catholic interpretation, for Christ Himself refers to the Lord’s Supper as a memorial. Broussard attempts to overcome the evident meaning of “Do this in remembrance of me” with three arguments.
Firstly, Broussard argues that “do this” (Greek: touto poieite, this do) can possibly be translated as “offer this” (i.e., offer this sacrifice). As we’ve seen previously, Broussard is playing fast and loose with his Greek lexicon. It would have been an oxymoron for Jesus to instruct His apostles to offer an actual, efficacious sacrifice only in remembrance. Broussard must overcome the word, remembrance, for his theory to make sense, but what will be his approach?
In his second argument, Broussard suggests that the “remembrance” referred to in Luke 22:19 applies not to the apostles, but to God the Father. He presents Numbers 10:10 as his supporting proof text:
“They (i.e., burnt offerings and fellowship offerings) will be a memorial for you before your God.” (NIV).
Broussard is suggesting that the last sentence of Luke 22:19 should be restated as “Offer this sacrifice as a memorial before God of me.” In other words, God the Father is supposed to do the remembering, not the apostles. This forced interpretation contradicts the clear meaning of the text. Jesus’s command, “Do this,” is a present active imperative directed at the apostles. THE APOSTLES were to eat the bread and wine as a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. God the Father does not need to do any remembering of the event.
Lastly, the Catholic apologist attempts to cover all possibilities by suggesting that IF Jesus did in fact intend for the apostles to do the remembering, then the ritual is still much more than a symbolic ordinance as Protestants believe. He argues that the Catholic liturgical celebration of the eucharist is not just a remembrance or a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice, but that it “actually makes present the event remembered” (p.130). Catholics claim that they don’t repeat Jesus’s sacrifice, which Scripture plainly precludes (“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” – Hebrews 10:12), but rather they claim to re-present Jesus’s one unique sacrifice. Broussard cites Exodus 13:8,14 and a reference to the “Mishnah Pesachim” of the Jewish Talmud regarding Passover observance laws; that Jews were to forever celebrate the holiday as virtual participants in the liberation from Egypt rather than as mere commemorators. Broussard is grasping at straws once again. Not one single Jew believes the events of the Passover and Exodus are being re-presented at Passover celebration the way Catholics claim the eucharist re-presents Christ’s unique sacrifice on the cross. However, it’s quite ironic that Broussard appeals to unbelieving Jews who observe the Passover feast and yet reject the Messiah Who was symbolized by the sacrificial lamb and its blood that was applied to the Israelites’ door posts. Likewise, Catholics claim to re-present Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and yet reject the Savior and salvation that only comes by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
Broussard continues his defense of the Catholic version of the Lord’s Supper in the next two chapters. Next week, we’ll dig deeper into the Roman Catholic church’s sophistry by which it craftily substitutes re-present in place of repeat in regards to its 128 million annual sacrifices of the mass.
Next up: “Once and For All”