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Interpreting the Eucharist with Dr. Linden DeBie


Easter is the season for reflecting on the meaning and importance of the Eucharist in worship and in our lives.

And so the timing is perfect for joining our guest lecturer Rev. Dr. Linden DeBie who is presenting his talk entitled "Reformed Eucharistic Theology and the Case for Real Presence" on both our campuses this spring.

On our New Jersey campus, Rev. DeBie met on the evening of March 5th with an enthusiastic group of students, faculty, and leaders from RCA churches in the region. On Thursday April 18, everyone is welcome to join us for dinner as Dr. DeBie presents the same lecture again on our New York campus, from 5:00 to 6:16pm. Please RSVP to Rev. Barbara Fillette, Director of the Reformed Church Center at bfillette@nbts.edu . The cost is $5 for guests, and no charge for students, faculty and staff.

Dr. De Bies talk leads attendees through an intricate presentation of the sixteenth-century Reformation arguments about the meaning of the sacrament of communion, focusing on the theological understanding of John Calvin, Lutherans, Zwinglians and the Roman Catholics of his time.

And then he hones in on the 19th century debate between Charles Hodge of Princeton Seminary and John Williamson Nevin of the Mercersburg Seminary. Dr. DeBie shows how today these arguments are as lively and meaningful as ever.
Dr. DeBie helps us gain a fuller appreciation of Nevins insights into the gift of the Eucharist and the way the sacrament enables us to receive not only the benefits of Christ's act of atonement on the cross, but also the way he imparts his life to us.


His point is that the Lords Supper is more than just remembrance of and belief in the atonement of Jesus Christ for our sins by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The "more" is the focus of Christs spiritual presence. Christ is spiritually present in the Holy Supper in such that he unites himself to believers through the sharing of the bread and the wine. Dr. DeBie focuses our attention on grasping a two-fold aspect of the Eucharist. We are both receiving the merits of Christs sacrifice as we are being united to both Christs divinity and humanity. This works toward the mystical transformation of our bodies into the resurrection people we are meant to be.
Dr. DeBie, in his analysis of Nevins seminal work on Eucharistic theology: The Mystical Presence, makes a strong case for a more incarnational understanding of the Lords Supper.

While the Reformation questions of "How is Christ present in the sacrament?" and "What is the mode of his presence?" remain of theological interest today, Dr. DeBies discussion of the Mercersburg Movement that Nevin helped launch advances the case that there is an infinitely more important question: "How might we more and more receive the blessed life of the Savior into our lives?".


In light of this question we might achieve a fuller theological understanding of the meaning of the Eucharist, address some of the impediments to ecumenical dialogue and move toward an ecumenical theology of Eucharist.




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