Dr. David Anders on The Journey Home Tonight

Dec 6th, 2010 | By | Category: Blog Posts

Tonight (Monday, Dec 6) at 8:00 PM EST, Dr. David Anders will be live on EWTN’s The Journey Home. Dr. Anders earned an M.A. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1995, and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2002, in Reformation history and historical theology.


Dr. David Anders

First hand research into John Calvin’s theology led him to the realization that contemporary Calvinism had wandered a great distance from some of the most passionately held theological convictions of John Calvin himself. Calvin had the highest regard for the Lord’s Supper, Baptism, and Church unity, whereas many Reformed thinkers today regard these aspects of the faith indifferently, often referring to them as “second tier” issues.  Dr. Anders did a previous interview on EWTN which focused on his discovery of the historical John Calvin. Tonight, however, Dr. Anders will have a chance to focus more on his personal journey from the familiar world of Calvinism, into the mysterious riches of the Catholic faith. Dr. Anders is a brilliant and extremely articulate theologian with passionate heart for Christ. Don’t miss the chance to hear his story tonight.

UPDATE (December 8, 2010): Here is the video from that program:

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  1. As soon as I saw the preview on last week’s Journey Home, I set up my DVR to record tonight’s episode. I’m looking forward to it!

  2. If/when a Youtube link is put up, someone please post it here. Some of us don’t have a TV, but do love our online media… :-)

    ~Benjamin

  3. They put up the most recent show here

    http://www.ewtn.com/audiovideo/index.asp

    It takes about 24 hours to show up there and it gets replaced the following week. I think they only keep the audio of older programs.

  4. No problem Benjamin.

  5. Ditto, no TV here either!

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed your appearance on Journey Home this evening! This episode, in particular, was very helpful to me in my own journey. Thank you!

  7. Great job, Dr. Anders!

  8. I watched your interview with Fr. Pacwa this evening, and I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the focus of the conversation was atleast on the important differences between Catholicism and Protestantism; on all of the occasions on which I have watched EWTN in the past, these important differences have been avoided. Thank you for atleast being forthright in this respect. I find that most of your criticisms of Protestantism and John Calvin are straw man arguments, and you very cavalierly mentioned the “miracle of the mass” and how Luther hated Aristotelian philosophy. Where does the Scripture anywhere explicitly or implicitly talk of the doctrine of the mass as a miracle? When Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper in the upper room, do any of the Gospel writers declare this to be amongst the miracles of Jesus, or in any way hail it as such, or to be amongst His great signs? Do any of the attendant Apostles do as much? The answer is no. The wonder of the actions of Jesus in the Upper Room is that He redefines forever the terms or sign of God’s covenant with His people — from that time on, instead of being the unleavened bread and drink ( What was the traditional drink of the Passover? —for the life of me, I forget.) of the Passover, it is now the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper, which elements SIGNIFY the Body and Blood of Christ, and that we are to partake of this sacrament remembering Jesus and His death, for He in a much greater sense is our true Passover. Further, you state that Calvin had a very high view of the Eucharist. Indeed he did, but that view in no way squares with the Doctrine of Transubstantiation of the Papists. Calvin referred to the Doctrine of the Mass as “a monkey trick”, but at the same time maintained the Sursum Corda in the liturgy, signifying that we in our joy and Union with Christ in the sacrament ascend to Him in our spirit, so that in this sense only is Christ “present” both really and physically in the Lord’s Supper. Instead of condoning the doctrine of the Mass, Calvin’s understanding affirms the unique, bodily, and real presence of Christ in Heaven; as the body of Jesus was a human body, and is now a spiritual human body, but as such is still finite, it is silly and irrational to think that the priest is able, in his words of consecration, to transform the “accidents” of a starch wafer and wine into the physical and real body and blood of our Savior. That priest has to be a majician of the first order to pull that one off; indeed, he has to be more than a majician……… And, would you really want to put Aristotle’s philosophy above the clear declarations of Scripture? I have a great respect for A. but he is not infallible ; for example, he believed in Spontaneous Generation. I believe there are other very serious problems with Roman Catholicism, but time is short; at any rate, I thank you for taking the trouble to read my criticism; is not the giving and receiving of this the essence of fellowship? In Christ, A. Luse

  9. I really enjoyed your comments last night December 6th on the Journey Home. My wife and I have learned so much more from listening to you on two different occasions. However, it is not possible for us to travel to another parish when we often hear “funny” theology at our parish. Our children have left this parish and are now into home schooling. They are able to travel to other parishes for Mass. It is twenty five miles to another parish and there is no guarantee that solid doctrine will be heard from the pulpit. God bless you. Dick and Sylvia

  10. Arthur,

    Welcome to CTC. You said,

    When Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper in the upper room, do any of the Gospel writers declare this to be amongst the miracles of Jesus, or in any way hail it as such, or to be amongst His great signs?

    What do you expect them to say? None of the gospels say that the raising of Lazarus was a miracle. So you were right when you said, “The answer is no” but it doesn’t prove your point.

    Further, you state that Calvin had a very high view of the Eucharist. Indeed he did, but that view in no way squares with the Doctrine of Transubstantiation of the Papists.

    Arthur, we call you by the name you call yourselves, please return us the favor by not using terms that are intended to insult. Secondly, no one ever claimed that John Calvin believed in Transubstantiation.

    it is silly and irrational to think that the priest is able, in his words of consecration, to transform the “accidents” of a starch wafer and wine into the physical and real body and blood of our Savior.

    That does sound pretty silly. Who believes that? You should study what Catholics believe before rejecting it because it only makes you look bad. (Especially when you’re charging that Dr. Anders is attacking straw men… remove the plank from your own eye first…)

    And, would you really want to put Aristotle’s philosophy above the clear declarations of Scripture?

    No, we wouldn’t. First, anyone who is familiar with Aristotle would know that he would have rejected Transubstantiation as an impossibility. Second, anyone familiar with Church history would know that the doctrine of Transubstantiation was around (even the technical term) long before Aristotle’s works were available to the Latin West. The way the fathers spoke of the Eucharist is incompatible with Calvin’s theory. They spoke of a change taking place during the consecration – of the bread & wine being changed into the Body & Blood. Calvin rejected that. There is no need to get into complex metaphysics, Calvin simply rejects the simple way that Christians had been speaking about the Eucharist for 1,500 years.

  11. Here are some ‘clear declarations of scripture’ about this matter:

    John 6

    47″Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

    48I am the bread of life.

    49″Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.

    50″This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.

    51″I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

    52Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”

    53So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.

    54″He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

    55″For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.

    56″He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

    Arthur, you said, “it is silly and irrational to think that the priest is able, in his words of consecration

    Christians believe that the dead rise, God became man, 5,000 were fed from one basket, and a virgin conceived a child. Therefore, it is odd so speak of this miracle being ‘irrational.’

  12. Yes! We Lutherans also believe, teach, and confess that Christ’s body and blood are truly present in the Lord’s Supper. For one must get around that pesky word “is”….

  13. Arthur,

    The priest calls down the power of the Holy Spirit during the Consecration of the Mass the change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Paraphrasing here but: With the Holy Spirit, all things are possible.

    Linda

  14. Hi Richard,

    Given your situation I would encourage you to work to restore Catholic orthodoxy in your local parish. Easier said then done I know, but if serious errors are being taught I think you need to take your concerns to your Bishop. Pray and work for the restoration of the teaching wihin your parish that it would come to faithfully speak in accord with the Church’s Magisterium. On a large scale I think God’s deep concern for the American Church can already be seen through the appointment of Bishops over the past two decades. Many of these Bishops are fully aware of the destructive effects of liberal theologies within the Church since the 1960’s and are eager to restore local parishes to fidelity in Christ and the teaching of his bride, the Church. I’ll pray for your parish!

    Peace in Christ, Jeremy

  15. …but we do reject Transubstiation and any other attempt to explain how it happens…

  16. Great episode.

    Dr. Anders explanation of original sin was the best I have ever heard.

  17. Loved this episode! Great apologetics work yet again, Dr. Anders.

  18. Sean,

    Exactly. At RCIA, one of the candidates raised her objection to the True Presence with the same “it’s irrational and inconceivable” argument. I said essentially the same thing. I told her, “So, you believe that God existed before anything, and all creatures seen and unseen were created by Him out of nothing (no pre-existing material), that this God is One in essence and Three Persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), that he ordered everything in the universe, that He created our first parents, that they sinned against Him by disobeying His commandment at the urging of the devil, one of his fallen angels (a spirit), that He, the Creator of all things including man, became Man Himself to save His fallen people (rather than just declaring them saved) and was born of a Virgin who conceived of the Holy Spirit, that, instead of conquering the world by slaying all of His enemies, He, God, died at their hands willingly and in a most humiliating way (something that is still a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the wise), that this God-Man rose from the dead, stayed with His Apostles for 40 days afterward, ascended into Heaven, and will come again at the end of time, when all of the dead will rise again, to Judge the living and the dead. You can believe all of this without flinching, so how can you close your mind to even the mere possibility that Christ God, by His own will and power, can make Himself present in Bread and Wine for His believers to consume?”

    She just looked at me and said, “Well, you know, you’re right.”

    I finished by saying that, “What I proposed obviously isn’t meant to ‘prove’ that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist in any way, but merely to show how inconsistent it is to believe that God can do anything, yet cannot do this and to open your mind to the possibilities of an infinite God as you seek to learn more about what the Church teaches.”

    I didn’t want to go further because we had limited time and also because our priest was going to speak on the Eucharist in a week’s time anyway. We were able to move on after that though.

  19. I know it’s futile to get into the “where in the Bible does it say” arguments because the fundamental difference between Catholics and Protestants is authority. But Tim rightly points out the flaw in this argument in his example of Lazarus. Also, if Arthur wants to be consistent, he’ll have to ask himself where in the Bible does it say that the Bible (Protestant Bible) is the sole authority over Christians? Then he’ll realize that asking such a question is folly for his own belief system. But there are several rather explicit verses that support the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Aside from the explicit terms, “This is my Body”, and “This is the cup of my Blood” (not this is ‘like’ my body or a ‘symbol’ of my body), Sean illustrated some others. Here are a few that are good as well, I believe. Because they are not only clear, but they also support the belief because of the seriousness with which one must approach the Eucharist.

    1 Cor 10:16-17
    The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread.

    1 Cor 11:23-29
    For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.
    For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

  20. Also, those are some of my favorite verses because it is common for Protestants to read the Scriptures in light of St. Paul (their rendering of St. Paul, that is). All Scripture has to be understood through the looking glass of their particularly chosen texts from St. Paul’s epistles, and only by their interpretation of those texts. So, when St. Paul says something like, “The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?”, their only recourse is to say that St. Paul really didn’t mean it that way… he meant it another way. But, that’s where their system is exposed once again… because they use St. Paul to (supposedly) interpret their way past the explicit Epistle of St. James Chapter 2. So, St. James didn’t mean it because you have to read St. James through [their interpretation of] St. Paul. With that confidence in St. Paul, you’d think they wouldn’t need to jump to interpretive hoops to explain away St. Paul’s view of the Eucharist.

  21. Christians believe that the dead rise, God became man, 5,000 were fed from one basket, and a virgin conceived a child. Therefore, it is odd so speak of this miracle being ‘irrational.’

    Perhaps the best term isn’t “irrational” but it certainly is “unverifiable” by definition. All of the miracles you mention could have been verified – the apostles saw Christ, 5,000 people had their bellies filled, and a virgin did have a child.

    But the mass? There’s no way since via transubstantiation the elements still look, smell, and taste like bread and wine. Not to be insulting but you could just as well claim that the elements become pizza or prime rib. That’s a fundamental difference. In that sense, it is “irrational” to ask someone to believe in a miracle that can’t be verified in any way if they don’t accept your presuppositions.

  22. Steve G,

    Thomas didn’t believe without seeing, either.

  23. Steve,

    You’re right that there are differences in the miracles mentioned and in Transubstantiation. Catholic doctrine does teach that Trans. is a unique miracle. But there are other non-verifiable miracles. e.g. the forgiving of the invalid’s sin which, as Jesus explained, was a greater miracle than the perceptible and verifiable miracle of raising him to walk. Also the Incarnation itself, could never be verified or falsified per se. There is no way to put Jesus under a microscope to see if He was God. True, His divinity could be verified by Him performing divine feats, which you and I believe that He did, but there are plenty of miracles related to the Eucharist that could claim the same sort of status. You might not believe them, but the atheists don’t believe the claims about Jesus’ divinity either – even with events that you and I take to be verified.

    Because of this, it is incorrect to call the Eucharistic miracle ‘irrational’ unless you are prepared to say the same for the other miracles such as the Incarnation.

  24. Sorry – I got my wires crossed re: the invalid. (I think) we Christians would understand it as a greater miracle to heal one’s sins than to raise him to walk whereas Jesus merely said that it would be easier to do the latter than to say the former. At any rate – my point is still the same.

  25. Also, there are cases of eucharistic miracles. Obviously, the veracity of the miracles is unverifiable, in your view. So what would it take for you to believe? “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”… ?

  26. Steve G.,

    By “verifiable”, it seems you mean attested to or recorded in Scripture. However, the Real Presense of the Lord is verifiable by that means, as Sean and I have demonstrated. Of course, then it comes down to interpretation and who’s interpretation is correct… which comes down to who, if anyone, has the authority to interpret Scripture, which may raise the question of how the Bible came to be in the first place… again leading to a matter of authority.

    From a Catholic perspective, we believe the Sacred Scriptures fully and unequivocally verify the truth of Christ’s Real Presense in the Eucharist. Protestants either have to gloss over those texts or work miracles of biblical exegesis in order to convince themselves that Christ and the Apostle didn’t mean what they said. Not to mention that the Gospel accounts were written by several different Apostles and their disciples (St. Luke and St. Mark were not of the original Twelve, so alot of what they wrote they handed down… in my eyes, an argument for oral tradition if there was any). You’d think that if “This is my body” is not what Christ meant and that writing this in the Sacred Scripture could possibly mislead the flock into idolatry at an early stage, the Apostles and their disciples would have made sure to soften the language a bit.

    Not to mention historical record in which it is plain to see that Christians from the Apostolic Age until the Protestant Reformation held the view of the Catholics and Orthodox. So, if you say that the miracle of Christ truly being Present in the Eucharist is unverifiable, the only possible way you can do that is by saying it is so scientifically (referring to Tim’s statement). And if that is your stance, you may as well apostacize now because, scientifically speaking, no miracle can be certified. Miracles remain in the realm of mystery, and that is one reason why we call the miracle of the Eucharist a mystery.

  27. Correction: St. Luke and St. Mark were not of the original Twelve, so alot of what they wrote was handed down to them… in my eyes, an argument for oral tradition if there was any

  28. Benjamin and others,

    We have updated the post to include the video from the program.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  29. @BW

    Yes! We Lutherans also believe, teach, and confess that Christ’s body and blood are truly present in the Lord’s Supper.….…but we do reject Transubstiation and any other attempt to explain how it happens…

    Don’t want to go off topic imagine if i said this:

    Yes! We “Taperans” also believe, teach, and confess that God Really did become man. …but we do reject the word Incarnation, and any other attempt to explain how it happens…

  30. How difficult it is for us humans to follow truth when it leads us to where we do not wish (for whatever reason) to go. I have noted from following the 500 or so conversion stories on EWTN’s JH (Journey Home) program that this process can take the most honest and courageous man several years!

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