Defining a Reformed Sacramentality: Assessing John Calvin’s Legacy of Eucharistic Presence Compared to the Works of Huldrych Zwingli, Karl Barth, Jürgen Moltmann, and the Korean Church
This dissertation seeks to identify the legacy of John Calvin’s understanding of Eucharistic presence and sacramentality in general within the Reformed tradition of the Korean Presbyterian churches through a comparison with the works of Huldrych Zwingli, Karl Barth, and Jürgen Moltmann.
Calvin’s sacramentality is based upon the sacramental principle of God being primarily present through the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, he did not fully ignore the other themes of Word, sign, and faith. Without the Word, the sign may become empty. Without faith, the presence of God cannot be experienced even though God is revealed in both general and special revelation. Calvin had a high view of the sign in the sense that he regarded the Eucharist as a means of grace. Calvin’s sacramentality engaged with all the four themes of Spirit, Word, faith, and sign.
Zwingli asserted that God is spiritually present even though he did not specifically identify that God’s presence is mediated through the Holy Spirit. God is spiritually present but is accessible only through the faith of the believer. He did not consider Word and sign as important themes in his understanding of sacramentality.
Barth’s sacramentality is that God is present through the Holy Spirit. In the relationship between sacramentality and the four themes of Word, sign, faith, and Spirit, the mature Barth understood that God cannot be present through the sign and the written or proclaimed Word.
Moltmann has argued that all the media of the presence of God can be possible only through the power of the Spirit. In the relationship between sacramentality and the four themes, Moltmann understands that Word and sign become sacraments through which God is present.
The Tonghap and Hapdong Churches are two major Presbyterian denominations which represent Korean Presbyterianism. These Korean churches see themselves as Calvinist. However, both churches show some differences with Calvin in terms of sacramentality. The Tonghap Church shares common ground with Calvin in that they both believe that God is present through the Spirit but only to believers. In addition, both see the sign as a means of grace. The sacramentality of the Hapdong Church is much closer to that of Zwingli, as both believe that God is present through the Spirit but only to the eyes of faith, and both deny the sign as a means for the presence of God.
Doctor of Philosophy in Theology (PhD in Theology)
Johnson, Todd E.
Ulrich Zwingli, Karl Barth, Jürgen Moltmann, Presbyterian Church, Sacraments, Lord's Supper
Missions and World Christianity