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10. John Calvin and the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper: A Contemporary Appraisal

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Chapter Summary

How are we to assess the contemporary significance of John Calvin's theology of the sacraments, and the Lord's Supper in particular? This question leads to several closely related ones. According to some, Calvin's account of the Lord's Supper caused schisms rather than healed them - thus how can it have any ecumenical value for today? This chapter examines three topics related to Calvin's theology of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. It explores Calvin's eucharistic theology in relation to the possibility of finding commonality with other Christian traditions. The chapter also explores whether Calvin's sacramental theology in general, and eucharistic theology in particular, involves - and necessarily leads to - a word-centered faith that displaces a key role for the sacraments. Finally, the chapter analyzes Calvin's account of the Lord's Supper as an icon of Gospel, a sacrament of union with Christ, as an account worthy of contemporary retrieval.

Keywords:eucharistic theology; gospel; John Calvin; Lord's Supper; sacramental theology



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