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The Roman-Catholic Church argues that Christ has established the ministerial priesthood (as distinct from the priesthood of all believers, cf. 1 Peter 2:9), at the first supper.

Particularly, Catholics affirm that the Greek words used in Luke 22:19:

[...] Do (poieite) this in remembrance (anamnēsin) of me.”

symbolize the sacrificial aspect of the Lord's supper, and also the continuous nature of it (not that Christ is to be re-sacrificed over again, but that his blood and body is to be represented/offered/scarified again).

Any Protestant response, regardless of denomination will suffice.

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  • Why is this tagged with Catholicism if it's just asking for the protestant view?
    – jaredad7
    Oct 20 at 14:02
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    @jaredad7 tags don't scope the questions, they say what the question is about. This is about a comparison between Catholic and Protestant understanding of doctrine so it's appropriate
    – Peter Turner
    Oct 20 at 15:27
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This whole subject is dealt with, admirably and historically, by the Wikipedia article Lord's Supper in Reformed Theology and I thoroughly recommend it.


The word ποιέω in Greek (see Strong 4160 and, therein, Thayer's comments in particular) covers a variety of concepts expressed in English by 'make' 'do' 'fashion' and (notably in this case) 'cause' and 'prepare'.

The word has a very broad spectrum of concept, which can be conveyed (mostly) by the word 'effect' in English : 'cause to occur' or 'effectively cause to be so'.

Therefore 'do' this cannot be forced to mean 'cause a supernatural thing to occur' or 'make a profound alteration to be so'.

In order to understand what part of the very broad spectrum of meaning is (in context) to be attached to ποιέω one must needs observe the following noun phrase 'in the of Me remembrance' (literally, see Biblehub).

... this do in the of Me remembrance [literal Luke 22:19]

ἀνάμνησις, anamnesis - ana/mneia again/mention - (see Mounce) is only used four times in scripture, three times in connection with the remembering of the supper, Luke 22:19, 1 Cor 11:24 and 25, and once (significantly) Hebrews 10:3 :

But in those (sacrifices there) is a remembrance again made of sins every year. [KJV]

The contrast is with the remembering one's own sins, repeatedly.

Instead, Jesus institutes a memorial of his sacrifice.

I am going to repeat that, so needful is it to state it :

Instead of remembering one's own sins repeatedly, Jesus institutes a memorial of his sacrifice.


Hebrews specifically remonstrates against the repetition of a sacrifice, showing how ineffectual such a repetition is, Hebrews 10:2, Hebrews 10:14, Hebrews 10:18.

Instead, there is one sacrifice.

And it is to be remembered - not repeated.

It is a memorial, not a 'sacrament'. It is an 'again mentioning'. What is to be 'effectively caused' is an 'again mentioning'. It is not a repetitive ritual : it is an oft reminder which is 'mentioned'; the emphasis being on intelligent (and shared) communication for mutual benefit. It is a gospel matter not a ritual matter.

The Question by the OP, is a very astute one, noting the wording precisely.

The word ποιέω requires to be defined (due to its exceedingly broad spectrum of meaning) by the context of 'remembrance'.

'Effectively cause (in the context of memory) to be so'.

Thus 'remember Me' rather than 'remember your sins'.

Remember his suffering, remember his sacrifice, remember his obedience to the Father, remember his love to the sheep.

'Effect this in memory of Me'. 'This' being the taking of an ordinary loaf, breaking it open, and distributing it in a simple memorial of an utterly unique occurrence.

The alternative is to repeatedly detract from that unique occurrence by instituting a repetitive occurrence that draws attention to itself, and draws attention away from Christ.

The sacrifice of Christ purges once and purges forever. It does not need to be repeated : only to be remembered :

For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. Hebrews 10:2 KJV.

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    FWIW, Catholic doctrine is not that the sacrifice is repeated either. ewtn.com/catholicism/library/calvary-and-the-mass-12566
    – Peter Turner
    Oct 20 at 13:37
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    @PeterTurner In the sense of bread being made flesh, there is a sacrificial repetition. And the eating of it is a sacrificial matter, so I have to disagree, but without any desire at all to dispute in comment.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 20 at 13:58
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    @NigelJ Thanks! It does offer an answer to my question. Even known, I have a little personal disagreement of the sacrament side, it was a really good answer. I'm curious of one thing, I've heard "anamnesis", or particularity the tense there, is somehow indicating "to do this continually". Any thoughts of that?
    – Dan
    Oct 20 at 15:42
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    @Dan Nouns do not have tense : verbs do. The prefix ανα, ana means 'again' so that would suggest repetition. 'Continually' is ambiguous and one might suppose one is supposed to do nothing else in one's life than that thing. But ana makes it clear that it is an orderly repetition.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 20 at 17:17
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    @OrangeDog The verb poeio is to be understood in the context of anamnesis. The noun tells us what part of the broad spectrum of meaning (of poeio) we are to understand. We are to effect a remembrance. Not 'do' something supernatural. But I do not wish to dispute in comment and I leave my answer as it is.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 21 at 3:02
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The phrase in Luke 22:19, “do this in remembrance of me” is subject to different interpretations. I will provide a Lutheran answer.

Literally in Luke 22:19, it is “do this into (Greek eis) my remembrance.” The question becomes, Who is to remember whom? The Greek allows for at least two options: (1) our remembering Christ (the dominant Protestant view), and (2) Christ remembering us (the Catholic, Orthodox & Lutheran view). In other words, the phrase can be translated alternatively as “do this in order to remember me,” or “do this as a reminder to me (so that I'll remember you).” Perhaps it is both.

A God-ward “reminder” is found in Num 10:9-10:

When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blast on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the LORD your God and rescued from your enemies. Also at your times of rejoicing—your appointed feasts and New Moon festivals—you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the LORD your God.

So, who is remembering in Holy Communion? God or people?

It is not just what we do for God, but also rather what God does for us in remembrance – i.e. kind of like the days of Noah in the Bible in which the rainbow acted as a sign of remembrance for God to establish his covenant. Genesis 9:12-16 states:

When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.

Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

Our prayers are brought before God that he may remember. Think of the thief on the cross, who said, "remember me when you come into your Kingdom." Christians take Communion with the thought of, "Do this in remembrance of me" - i.e. that God may remember me.

David prayed more than once that God would "remember" him or his righteous deeds (Ps 25:6-7; 89:50; 106:4; etc.). See Deut 9:27; Nehemiah, 13:14,22, 29, 31). Jesus urged us to pray persistently to God:

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly (Lk 18:7-8).

God chooses to use the causality of prayer as we call upon him to remember us – especially in prayer. The Lord's Supper is not so much a "Divine Service" to God. Rather, it is mostly God's way to give "Divine Service" to us. Jesus gives us his body, blood, soul and divinity to us under the form of the bread and wine in Holy Communion. It is a sacramental union of the two natures in a Chalcedonian Christological sense - i.e. the earthly elements (bread & wine) and the heavenly power (illocal body & blood) exists, distinct but not separated.

The Lutheran Confessions speaks of how in Baptism and in the Lord's Supper Christ offered the grace of God. He "sacrifices himself" on the altar for eating and drinking so that believers can receive salvation in all its fullness. The sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving (sacrificium eucharisticum) is offered up through Christ in the Holy Spirit's power as access to the Father through Christ's sacrifice on the cross. See "Confessing one faith: A joint Commentary on the Augsburg Confession by Lutheran and Catholic theologians."

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    Since our Lord repurposed the Passover into a remembrance of Himself, shouldn't we look at the institution of Passover in Exodus 12 to see who is to remember whom? vs. 25-27 "And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses." It looks to be our remembrance of His deliverance. Oct 20 at 11:42
  • When the Jewish people celebrated the Passover, they said in the Passover ritual, "not our fathers only, but us also from Egypt did the Holy One redeem." It's an ongoing reality of redemption (i.e. now and not yet) that is celebrated.
    – Jess
    Oct 21 at 17:38
  • Even if that is so the remembrance still seems to be their remembrance of God's deliverance and not God's remembrance of them. Oct 22 at 13:06
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The Lutheran understanding of sacrificial language in the Lord's Supper, is that to make a distinction between two types of sacrifices, namely:

  • Propitiatory sacrifices

These type of sacrifices bring about (or merit before God) the remission of sins, and require the shedding of blood (cf. Hebrews 9:22)

  • Eucharistic sacrifices

This is a thanks giving sacrifice, Greek eucharistia for “thanksgiving”, that do not require shedding of blood, nor merits the remission of sins.

The Lutherans understand the Eucharsit to be the latter, nor the former.

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    The Eucharist is indeed a thanksgiving sacrifice for Catholics. After all, the word "eucharist" in Greek means "thanksgiving". Catholics sacrifice bread and wine (and time, money, indeed they are called to sacrifice their whole selves), but no blood is shed. There is a theory that, the reason Mass is celebrated on Sunday, is because thanksgiving sacrifices were not allowed by Jews on the Sabbath. Since the Eucharist is a thanksgiving sacrifice, it was celebrated the day after.
    – ken
    Oct 20 at 19:41
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    Hi Ken, thanks for answering! I think you're 100% right, and I am aware the sacrifice of the mass is a non-bloody one. But the idea in my answer, was that Catholics view the Eucharist as both a thanks giving sacrifice and a propitiatory one (be it blodless), where as Lutherans only view it as thanks giving. I'm still figuring things out, but I believe this to be correct.
    – Dan
    Oct 20 at 20:02
  • This is a long read, and I don't know if it's all doctrine, but give it a shot if you're interested: newadvent.org/cathen/10006a.htm
    – ken
    Oct 21 at 13:34
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My own faith group practices complete congregational autonomy, so there is nobody who is authorized to speak for all of us, but I can tell you what has been taught and practiced in every congregation where I have attended.

For starters, we take communion every Sunday, so we spend a lot of time reading and hearing the passages involved.

The interpretation followed is that "this do" applies to what Jesus had just commanded the disciples to do: To divide up a portion of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, and to consume them.

As for "in remembrance of Me", it is interpreted to mean that we do this in order to remember Jesus' death on the cross. It is very common for the man leading the communion portion of the service to quote from chapter eleven of First Corinthians, where Paul states that the purpose of communion is to remember Christ's death.

I have not seen even a hint of a belief that these passages establish a separate priesthood, and I am fairly confident that any suggestion of such a thing in my faith group would be seen as twisting them.

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