The Lord’s Supper

Volume XII
By: John R. Stephenson

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Preface to the General Introduction
General Introduction

Part One: What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

1. A Sign of Contradiction
2. On the Night He Was Betrayed
3. Hail True Body
4. The Church’s Heartbeat

Part Two: This Do

5. In His Person and Name
6. Eucharist and Sacrifice
7. As Often as You Drink It
8. Our Sad Divisions

Part Three: The Benefits of This Eating and Drinking

9. A Divine Synergy
10. A Real but Useless Presence?
11. Forgiveness, Life, and Salvation
12. Our Heaven on Earth

Appendix One: Note on Nomenclature
Appendix Two: Three (Unequal) Ways of Speaking
Appendix Three: A Scholastic Footnote with Scriptural Content
Appendix Four: This Bread and This Cup

From the Book

“The central dogmatic thesis of this book is that whenever the church militant legitimately celebrates her Lord’s Supper, the exalted God-man Jesus Christ performs a miracle in earthly time and space by giving His body to be eaten and His blood to be drunk under blessed bread and wine. Since this marvel is intimately connected with our Lord’s divine person in its two natures and His justification of the ungodly, it lies at the very heart of the faith once delivered to the saints” [pp. 2-3].

“As it magnifies His person and work, His Supper necessarily becomes, with the Lord Himself, ‘a sign that is spoken against’ (Lk 2:34c). Nowhere do the grace and truth of God in Christ and the unity of the church find more powerful expression than in the sacrament of the altar. Because this is so, Holy Communion serves as a lightning rod for the remorseless assaults launched by unbelief and heresy against incarnate God” [pp. 4-5].

What reviewer’s have said about The Lord’s Supper

“There seems to be a growing appreciation of and desire to receive the sacrament of the altar among members of the Lutheran Church. . . . Dr. Stephenson’s new book on the eucharist is well suited to help pastors feed and sustain this growing sacramental piety. It should be in every pastor’s library. Here we have a highly competent treatment of the Lutheran Church’s theology of holy communion. Not only is the author thoroughly familiar with Martin Luther’s writings on this doctrine and the writings of leading Lutheran scholars since then, he also shares with us the contributions of leading Catholic theologians such as Johann Auer and Joseph Ratzinger. . . . This book argues that the health and preservation of Christ’s church is intimately bound up with the Lord’s Supper. This sacrament is the church’s heartbeat (67-80), because holy communion is the gospel. . . .”
–Vernon P. Kleinig, Lutheran Theological Journal (Australia)

“Many North American Lutherans gravitate toward either Evangelicalism or mainline Protestantism. Yet when it comes to the Sacrament of the Altar, most American Protestants are heirs of Zwingli. . . . Given such a context where the symbolical view prevails, it behooves us to delve deeply into the doctrine and practice of the Sacrament. To that end, John R. Stephenson has given us an excellent treasure. . . . As one would expect, the volume is particularly strong in laying out the classical Lutheran position articulated in the 16th-17th centuries. Stephenson does the reader the service of giving extensive quotations in the footnotes. He also interacts with modern challenges, such as Hans Lietzmann’s views and recent ecumenical developments. . .  Stephenson has given the church a great resource that is well-written, well-researched, and insightful. Morever, it offers interesting discussions on a wide variety of topics, such as nomenclature, transubstantiation, and distinctions regarding local, definitive, and repletive presence. May his fine treatment move us to frequent Communion and to say with Luther, ‘I love it from the heart, this dear, blessed Supper of my Lord Jesus Christ.'”
–Paul Raabe, Concordia Journal

Dr. John R. Stephenson is Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario. A prolific writer, he is also the author of Eschatology (Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics, vol. XIII) and numerous articles. Dr. Stephenson is also the General Editor for Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics.