There are four basic theological views regarding Eucharist in the following order:
Transubstantiation, Con substantiation, Mystery, and Bare Memorial.
The first view is the Roman Catholic view which is Transubstantiation.
Under this view, the elements of common bread and wine are changed into the
Body and Blood of Christ when consecrated properly under the hands of a priest
who has been ordained into Holy Orders by the hands of a bishop with a valid
apostolic succession. The change occurs during the Eucharistic prayer over
Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest and educator turned Reformer, argued that
the change from common bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ occurred
when the communicant consumes them at the distribution. This is Con substantiation.
Some ecclesial bodies subscribe to this view today. Luther was a great proponent for
the change of common elements into flesh and blood. He was a master exegete in NT
Greek and argued his case on the basis of the grammar and syntax of St. John's Gospel
chapter 6:48-66, particularly the tense of the verbs. For a different than literal
view of this passage of Scripture one must allegorize the text to fit one's theology.
Mystery is perhaps the oldest or more ancient historic and early Christian view of
Eucharist. The elements of common bread and wine are never changed into actual flesh
and blood, but during the consecration in the Eucharistic prayer something of a mystery
takes place and the Real Presence of Jesus Christ is there in consecrated bread and wine.
It is an act of the Holy Spirit by the invocation of an ordained priest or bishop under
Holy Orders and in apostolic succession who vicariously stands in the place of the Groom
(Christ Jesus) at His Table facing the Bride (His Church) until that great and glorious
day when He will stand in His rightful place at His Table again at the Marriage Supper of
the Lamb in Glory. The Orthodox of the East, those of us in the ICCEC and some others
subscribe to this view. The word ''remember" means, to remind, call to one's remembrance,
call to mind, it is as though that Table celebrated in that upper room is this Table
celebrated right here and now. The word remembrance is anamnesis in the Greek NT.
To better explain it, it is like the anamneatic reaction to a bee sting that some
people get when stung. Successive stings are more powerful than that of the first
in terms of strength to do damage to a person that has that kind of reaction. For us
the Eucharist is a mystery. There are many mysteries in Christianity. The Virgin birth
of Jesus Christ is a mystery. Who can adequately explain it? It is understood through
Bare Memorial is the most recent theological invention historically regarding Eucharist.
Those ecclesial bodies that subscribe to this view are mostly uniquely American groups like
Baptists, Pentecostals, Independent Charismatics, and others who are schisms off of these.
They have exported their views through their missionary efforts to other parts of the world
where these American born groups have transplanted themselves. Usually in these ecclesial
bodies the pulpit is the center of attention and what the man that fills the pulpit says or
does is the most important part of their worship along with the worship leader or team if
they have one. It is very entertainment oriented so as to please and gather a crowd. The
Table of the Lord is interestingly obscure or absent altogether. The belief is that because
Jesus Christ Himself ordered it (ordinance), then we have to do it, but it is just to remind
ourselves that He died for us and that is all. Some of these groups have drifted into
thinking that we really do not need to do Communion to just remind ourselves that Christ
died for us and so they have jettisoned it altogether and no longer do it. Others relegate
the practice of it to once a month just to fulfill the obligation and some of these have
selected an evening time when they have the fewest in attendance. This view has attributed
to Eucharist being reduced to a base activity or none at all. What you use for elements
really is not that important. Some of them use Mr. Welch's grape juice (invented in the
last 100 years) and various forms of bread. Grape juice fermented in the time of Christ
because there was no refrigeration. Since no grace is conveyed through Communion why would
it matter what elements are used? Some go so far as to use Kool Aid, etc.. Their buildings
used for worship are stark and plain or utilitarian. There is no majesty of God conveyed in
their worship just jumpy emotionalism and hype under the auspices of Christianity. It is a
man centered, man needs oriented religion.
Eucharist is known by many names such as The Lord's Table, Holy Communion, Communion,
The Table of the Lord, The Great Thanksgiving, etc.. The word eucharist is a transliteration
of eucharista in NT Greek which means "thanksgiving." For those of us in the International
Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church the Eucharist is the main event of our worship
when we come together on the Lord's day, the first day of the week, continuously devoting
ourselves to the Apostle's teaching, fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.