The Instigator
Con (against)
6 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

In the Eucharist, the bread and wine become Christ's literal body and blood.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/1/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,572 times Debate No: 20816
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
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I would like to issue this challenge to Mr.Infidel. His last debate on this topic wasn't debated well by his opponent, so I'd like a chance to do a better job.

Transubstantiation -- the Catholic doctrine in which during Communion the bread and wine because Christ's literal body and blood.

As a Protestant I reject this doctrine and hold that during Communion (commonly referred to as The Lord's Supper) the elements do not change but are purely for memorial purposes.

For the purpose of this debate, God is assumed to exist and the Bible is assumed to be the Word of God.

If Infidel accepts, he may make the first argument, if he wishes.


I thank my partner for his debate challenge. I agree to the debate parameters. We are not debating if the Bible is true; rather, we are debating if the Bible teaches that the Eucharist is as Catholics understand it to be.

I'll use this round as acceptance only.

Good luck, and I await your opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Mr.Infidel for accepting this debate, and I hope to offer him a challenge worthy of his knowledge on the subject. Good luck to him, as well.

The traditional Catholic view of Transubstantiation is that the bread and wine offered during Communion, despite the fact that they still taste like unleavened bread and wine, changes essence and becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to save us all from our sins. There are several problems with this interpretation of the Eucharist.

The actual Last Supper is found in Matthew 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-26, and Luke 22:14-23. Luke's the most detailed account of the three. [1] Notice what Jesus says after He breaks the bread, "do this in remembrance of me." Look also in 1 Corinthians 11:24-26, in which Paul is describing the Last Supper and recounts that Christ said as often as you do these things (eat the bread and drink the wine), do them in remembrance of Him. [2] Communion was instituted as a memorial of Christ's death on the cross. By taking Communion, we proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. That is the purpose of Communion.

1. Christ often spoke figuratively of Himself and His ministry.

Jesus taught the people using parables, which are fictional stories to express a spiritual truth (the possible exception being Lazarus and the rich man, which some believe was not a fictional story).

Jesus often spoke in metaphor about Himself. He has said, "I am the vine" (John 15:5), "I am the door" (John 10:7, 9), etc. Are we to conclude that Jesus believed Himself to be a vine or door? Of course not. They were metaphors. Christ is the true vine because we, as His followers, are the branches. We must remain attached to Christ in order to prosper. Christ is the door because He is the only way to get to Heaven. So when Christ said during the last supper, "this is my body" for the bread and "this is my blood" for the wine, there is no reason to take Him literally, especially since He didn't cut a piece of His flesh off and pour His blood into a chalice.

2. When God institutes a change, it is always outward.

Consider the wedding in Cana in John 2:1-12. The hosts ran out of wine, and Mary told Jesus. So He changed the water into wine. He didn't just give it the "essence" of wine but leave the appearance and taste of water. He literally changed it, at the molecular level, into wine. We see this because of what the master of the feast said to the bridegroom: "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!" Not only did Jesus literally change the water into wine, He changed into the good stuff.

Additionally, when someone devotes their life to Christ and He changes them, it's never just an inward change. The change is always outward. What good is it to say you're a believer if your actions don't back up your claims? (James 2).

God wouldn't just change the "essence" of the bread and wine, leaving the appearance of bread and wine and the taste of bread and wine, if they did change they would change completely.

3. Cannibalism and consumption of blood were condemned in the Law.

Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came not to destroy but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17). Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it. Under Jewish law, consumption of blood was forbidden (Leviticus 7:26-27), as was cannibalism (Genesis 9:1-6, John 6:52). Jesus would not have condoned consuming His own flesh and blood because these were forbidden under the Law. In fact, why was consuming blood forbidden? "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement" (Leviticus 17:11).


I believe I have conclusively shown why the Communion should only be taken as a memorial and that there is no change in the elements when believers take Communion.

I look forward to Pro's response.



Thank you for challenging me to this debate.


Transubstantiation is the teaching that the bread and wine literally becomes the flesh and blood of Christ. [1]

Verses in question

1 Cor 11:23-29 "For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself." [2]

C1: The early church fathers understood the eucharist to be literal

1) St. St. Irenaeus of Lyons
There are three sources which confirm that St. Irenaeus understood a literalship of the eucharist. The first is his famous essay Against Heresies which he wrote in the year 180 C.E.

[Christ] has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own Blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own Body, from which he gives increase to our bodies." [3]

2) Justin Martyr

Justin Martyr, Apology, I.66-67, 2nd century:

Communion in the Body and Blood of Christ

It is allowed to no one else to participate in that food which we call Eucharist except the one who believes that the things taught by us are true, who has been cleansed in the washing unto rebirth and the forgiveness of sins and who is living according to the way Christ handed on to us. For we do not take these things as ordinary bread or ordinary drink. Just as our Savior Jesus Christ was made flesh by the word of God and took on flesh and blood for our salvation, so also were we taught that the food, for which thanksgiving has been made through the word of prayer instituted by him, and from which our blood and flesh are nourished after the change, is the flesh of that Jesus who was made flesh. Indeed, the Apostles, in the records left by them which are called gospels, handed on that it was commanded to them in this manner: Jesus, having taken bread and given thanks said, ``Do this in memory of me, this is my body.' Likewise, having taken the cup and given thanks, he said, ``This is my blood', and he gave it to them alone. [4]

C2: The original listeners understood Jesus to be literal

"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, yet have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he taht eateth me, even he shall live by this bread shall live forever....Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmered at it, he said unto them, Does this offend you?...From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him." -John 6:53-65

This is an interesting anecdote that happened in Jesus' life. I wish to draw some observations from the passage:
  1. Many were offended
  2. Jesus said that "whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood has eternal life."
  3. Jesus did NOT correct those who walked away.
  4. Many people left the disciplehood of Jesus.
It is quite unusual that Jesus would not have corrected those who walked away. Why didn't Jesus respond something like "Hey, wait a minute! I'm just being figurative! Come back ya suckers!" Normally, Jesus DOES correct those who misunderstand him--yet not in this case which should cause us to stop and wonder if Jesus is indeed literal.

I look forward to your reply. Good luck :-)



2. See also Mt 26:26-28; Lk 22:15-20; and Jn 6:51-56

3. St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, 180 A.D. Quoted;

4. Justin Martyr, Apology, I.66-67, 2nd century. Quoted:;
Debate Round No. 2


Again, I thank Pro for taking me up on this challenge. I will say a few more words about my opening argument and then respond to Pro's argument.

1. Christ often spoke figuratively of Himself and His ministry.

Christ's ministry was filled with parable and metaphor. We notice that when Christ instituted Communion, He didn't literally pour His blood into a chalice and cut a piece of His flesh off for the Disciples to consume. He said "this is my body...this is my blood." If I were to hold up a piece of bread and tell someone "this is my body," then hold up a cup of wine and tell that person "this is my blood, which I shed for you," no one's assumption will be that I am speaking literally. The assumption will be that I am using the bread and wine as a metaphor for my body and blood.

2. When God institutes a change, it is always outward (as well as inward).

To clarify what I meant, whenever God institutes a change the change always happens on the inside (e.g. when someone becomes saved, the Holy Spirit changes that person from the inside out). However, that change is always reflected on the outside, as well. It's meaningless to claim you've been changed by God unless you are a markedly different person than you were before.

When Jesus changed water into wine, it was obviously wine. The master of the feast even praised the bridegroom for bringing out the good stuff. As such, if the bread and wine literally became Christ's body and blood, it would no longer be bread and wine but would be flesh and blood. This would also be reflected in how it tastes.

3. Cannibalism and consumption of blood were condemned in the Law.

Jesus did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. He would not have suddenly changed a key aspect of the Law just because it's Him. Jesus was a Jew; in fact, He was a perfect Jew. He led a sinless life so that He could be our substitute in dying for our sins. Christ would not have gone against the Law, otherwise He would have sinned and humanity would still be dying in our sins or making animal sacrifices for them. Jesus was our "passover lamb." He was the sacrifice for our forgiveness of sins. If consumption of blood was forbidden because life is in the blood and the animal was sacrificed for sins, how much more should we not consume Christ's blood because He was sacrificed for our sins?

Now on to Pro's contentions.

C1: The early church fathers understood the Eucharist to be literal.

First of all, not all early church fathers understood the Eucharist to be literal. [1] Secondly, this is simply an appeal to popular opinion, which is usually a fallacy. People who agree with popular opinion can still be wrong, and I believe I have offered significant evidence to show that a belief that the bread and wine become Christ's literal body and blood is fallacious.

C2: The original listeners understood Jesus to be literal.

First of all, John 6:53-65 is not even in reference to Communion. Communion isn't even in mind here. In fact, Jesus is making a parallel to the Israelites walking in the desert, consuming manna (the bread from Heaven). Jesus, Himself, has come from Heaven to be our spiritual manna. He comes to offer everyone, everywhere eternal life.

For additional understanding of Jesus' words here, let's also consider John 4:13-14. Jesus met a Samaritan woman by a well and asked her to give Him something to drink. After an exchange, He tells her that if she knew who He was, she would be the one asking a drink of Him. Let's see what Jesus says here: "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that i shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

Here Jesus is talking about water that He can give that springs up into eternal life. Like the body and blood, there is not "literal water" in view here. It is a metaphor for the Spirit. Jesus did not give her literal water to drink so that she would have eternal life.

So let's look at Pro's four points:

1. People were indeed offended.

2. Jesus did say the words in question.

3. Jesus did not correct many peoples' understanding. In fact, He was fulfilling prophecy by speaking in parable so that "Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand, lest they should turn and their sins be forgiven them." The twelve disciples were chosen by Christ for His ministry, the others were not. Whenever Jesus correcting incorrect understanding, it was always to the 12 and not the larger group that Jesus often taught.

4. Many people did, indeed, leave the disciplehood of Jesus. But again, it was only given to a few to know the mystery of the kingdom of God that Jesus was directly teaching.

I look forward to Pro's response.



Mr.Infidel forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Well, it seems my opponent has closed his account and has forfeited the debate. Please vote Con.


Mr.Infidel forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by BennyW 5 years ago
I really want to debate someone one this taking the pro side.
Posted by KeytarHero 6 years ago
Well, that's just great. It seems Mr.Infidel's account is no longer active.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF