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Luther Statue

10 January 2007
  Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries

Originally posted at Necessary Roughness. Please leave any comments there.

I don’t remember who exactly in the #tabletalk IRC chat room directed me to this book in answer to my question, “What was meant by ‘the communion of saints’ in the Apostles’ Creed?” I thank them nonetheless.

Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries, originally written in German by Werner Elert and translated into English by N. E. Nagel, is a fascinating book detailing early church practice, the schisms that occurred and why, and even a couple of attempts at unification.

Elert answers the question by going first to the Creed in the original Greek and then to the Latin that has been used in church liturgy. He argues that the Greek follows more closely with a “communion of holy things” rather than a communion of people. The phrase simply means Holy Communion. The Latin language did not denote as specifically as the Greek the difference between people and objects, so holy people, or “saints” as we know it, worked its way into the Creed.

Throughout the book the author emphasizes that the coming together of people does not constitute the Sacrament of Holy Communion. People of different beliefs have been brought together and even forced to take communion together by emperors in an effort to show church unity where there was none. Elert tells the reader, “The fellowship-nature of the Sacrament is in this that Christ incorporates into Himself those who partake of it.” The words of Christ in the creation of the Lord’s Supper “are without analogy and are therefore not to be explained by means of other examples.”

The reader is led from the true doctrine of the earliest believers into increasing degrees of human defenses and human error. The episcopate, the canon of the New Testament, and the Rule of Faith which manifested itself in the confession of creed and doctrine, defended the Gospel early on. The episcopate and the Rule of Faith were expanded and given more power, eventually causing more schisms. Penitential periods for gross sin started out as a time for re-instruction but turned into punishments and penances. Civil government got involved and began to enforce unity through coercion rather than discussion.

A background in Greek and Latin is helpful but not necessary to understanding this book. It is a fast and easy read, a credit to both Elert and his translator. I came away with this with an adjustment in my thinking about church discipline: ideally, refusal of the Lord’s Supper and excommunication are not new punishments but outward indications of the split one has already done himself from what is taught in the Bible. The first half of this book would be of wonderful use in a Bible study, and the rest is simply good history.

Here is  my testimony on how I was cured of HIV by Dr Akhigbe,with his natural herbal medicine.  on a regular basis in efforts to help others when I could. As you may know, each donation is tested.  Well, on July 6th I had a meeting with a Red Cross representative and was told that I had HIV. “What went through your mind when you heard that "Rose" Good question reader! To be honest, I thought my life was over, that I would ever find love, get married, have children or anything normal. Lucky for me I have an amazing support system.  My family supported me then I never thought that I was invincible to STD s or pregnancy or anything else parents warn their kids about. I just didn’t think about it. I was in a monogamous relationship and thought that I asked the right questions.  We even talked about marriage Scary.  During that time I was in college and donated blood on a re as well. who helped me in search of cure through the media.there we saw a good testimony of sister 'Kate' about the good work of Dr Akhigbe natural herbal medicine cure.then I copied his email address and contacted him. A good herbalist doctor with a good heart, he is kind, loving and caring. He replied back to my message and told me what to do. After a week the doctor sent me my herbal medicine and instructed me how to take it.Yes it worked very well, after drinking it I went to the hospital for another test and everything turned negative. What a wonderful testimony I can never forget in my life. Dr Akhigbe is a man who gave me a life to live happily forever so all I want you all to believe and know that cure of HIV is real and herbs is a powerful medicine and it works and heals.  Dr Akhigbe also used his herbal medicine to cure diseases like:   HERPES, DIABETES, SCABIES, HEPATITIS A/B, STROKE, CANCER, ALS, TUBERCULOSIS, ASTHMA, PENIS ENLARGEMENT, MALARIA, LUPUS, LIVER CIRRHOSIS, DEPRESSION, HIV/AIDS, EPILEPSY, BACTERIAL, DIARRHEA, HEART DISEASES, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, PARKINSON'S, ALZHEIMER, COLD URTICARIA, HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS,INSOMNIA,  BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS, SCHIZOPHRENIA, JOINT PAIN, STOMACH PAIN, CHROME DISEASES, CHLAMYDIA, INSOMNIA HEARTBURN, ,  THYROID, MAR BURG DISEASES, MENINGITIS, ARTHRITIS, BODY WEAK, ANTI VIRUS, SMALLPOX, DENGUE, FEVER, CURBS, CHANCRE, AND OTHERS VARIOUS DISEASES/ VIRUS.   You are there and you find yourself in any of these situations, kindly contact Dr Akhigbe now to help you get rid of it. Here is his email address:      or you can write to him on whats app with his phone number:   +2348025012866
  My appreciation is to share his testimony for the world to know the good work Dr Akhigbe has done for me and he will do the same for you.
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