During the sacrament of the Eucharist in the Catholic denomination, it is taught that the wine becomes the actual blood of Christ. The term is called Transubstantiation. As far as I know, only Catholics believe this.

During the Protestant version of the communion ritual, it is believed that the wine and bread are symbols of the blood and body of Christ. Did early Protestants believe that this ritual engages in idol worship or is there another reason why they changed the ritual?

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    Can you call it idol worship when the "idol" is the true God? Also, no one is worshiping the sacraments, themselves; they are using them in their worship of God. – Steven Doggart Apr 10 '14 at 19:49
  • @StevenDoggart I'm a little confused by your comment and wish to not start a conversation here. We could continue in chat. First, yes, you can make an idol of the true God - else everyone would say, "oh this idol is okay because it's for the TRUE God". Secondly, are you saying that you do not worship the blood of God, why wouldn't you worship the blood of God? I'll start a chat room. – The Freemason Apr 10 '14 at 20:02
  • Just FYI, I didn't mean to offend with this question. However I anticipated it being a provoking question and feel that the leadup to the question is an elephant in the room regarding how a majority of protestants view the Catholic ritual. I was raised Catholic and consider myself baptist/nondenominational Christian now. Often this has been brought up in conversation. – The Freemason Apr 11 '14 at 14:02
  • Meta question about the closing of this question – The Freemason Apr 11 '14 at 20:12
  • Your "lead up" read like a soap box rather that a question and I'm pretty sure that was the main problem with the question. The bit you added is fine on it's own, so I edited that to be the main question. – Caleb Apr 11 '14 at 21:45

This question is missing the real point of WHY Protestants would believe that Transubstantiation is idolatry.

Communion was never questioned as not being the actual blood and body of Christ until after 1000 years after Christ. Even the pagans believed that Christians were cannibals from the practice and understanding of Communion.

Anglicans and some Episcopalians (there are differences) have a wide range of Eucharist beliefs - most believe in the actual presence of Christ in the two species.

Henry VIII split from the RCC and became the head of his church by his own authority for his own political and personal agenda, though he maintained many of the practices of RCC.

All Protestants claim their own authority to define theological practices rather than maintaining historical practice from the time of Christ. Protestants must proclaim that Transubstantiation is idolatry to disprove Catholic authority of this foundational Christian practice. Protestants claim "Sola Scriptura," but practice their own traditions based from political divisions during the Renaissance and not accurate theology or even Scripture. Protestant choose to ignore and reinterpret (using eisegesis) the Bible to fit their theology or worldview (or in the case of Luther, to take out books or add parts to the Bible to change the meaning).

  • I had the why, but it was edited out. Please see the edits to the question. – The Freemason Apr 13 '14 at 23:11

Simple answer: Not all

The opinions of the early Reformers were divided on this issue, with Luther on one end of the spectrum:

When asked whether Lutherans should do away with the Elevation of the Host in the liturgy, Luther consistently replied in 1544: By no means, for such abrogation would tend to diminish respect for the Sacrament and cause it to be undervalued . . . If Christ is truly present in the Bread, why should He not be treated with the utmost respect and even be adored? Joachim, one of Luther's friends, added: We saw how Luther bowed low at the Elevation with great devotion and reverently worshiped Christ. {Table Talk, ed. Mathesius (Leipzig ed., 1903), p.341. From Hartmann Grisar, Luther, 6 vols., London: 1917, vol. 4, pp. 239-240}

Although Luther's view differed somewhat from transubstantiation and he argued strongly against the concept of the mass as sacrifice, his view of the real presence of Christ in the host did not allow him to view it as constituting idolatry.

And Zwingli at the other end:

If idolatry is to be banished, then one must have recourse to the pure preaching of the Word. This is exactly what Zwingli engaged to do. He began a series of discourses on the books of the New Testament, and introduced the preaching of the Word at every service. He was well called "the trumpet of the Gospel." He was perfectly successful in introducing and grounding the reformation of the Church and of the fatherland by an uninterrupted vindication of the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures. For him the Church was at its purest where the preaching was at its strongest. In God's light we see light. Where faith in Christ is thriving, idolatry will wither away. And faith comes by the hearing of the Word. Zwingli knew this and acted upon it. In a public disputation at Zurich, in 1523, Zwingli set forth sixty-seven theological theses outlining the reformed doctrine. Thus he declared that "Christ who offered Himself once, is for ever a perfect and satisfactory sacrifice for the sins of all believers, from which we conclude that the Mass is no sacrifice." In Romanism the Mass is the pivotal act of worship; but if the very concept of a propitiatory sacrifice in the Mass is anti-biblical, then Zwingli was not reluctant to expose it as such. The spiritual welfare of the people was at stake. People were to serve God in truth, not in the bondage of superstition. And if transubstantiation is false, then Romanists are evidently idolatrous. Zwingli would not tolerate this.

This was an extrememly controversial issue amongst Protestants in the 16th Century, and after an increasingly heated dispute via correspondence, the outcome of the Marburg Colloquy on this particular issue (despite agreeing with each other on everything else) was that they could not come to agreement.

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