The Theory of Sacrifice in the Mass -- By: Ron J. Bigalke, Jr.

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 10:29 (May 2006)
Article: The Theory of Sacrifice in the Mass
Author: Ron J. Bigalke, Jr.

The Theory of Sacrifice in the Mass

Ron J. Bigalke, Jr.

Pastor, Author, Speaker

In this article Dr Bigalke discusses an issue that should never be neglected by Bible-believers. Evangelicals must understand that there are fundamental differences between the biblical doctrine of Christ’s substitutionary atonement and the Roman Catholic view of the Mass.

The Roman Catholic theory of the sacrifice of the Mass is based upon the presupposition that there is need of a perpetual offering of the body and blood of Christ and that this offering is to occur in the Mass.1 It should be noted there is variance among Catholic theologians regarding the perpetual offering of Christ. For example, the greatest Roman Catholic theologian, Thomas Aquinas, referred to the Eucharistic sacrifice,2 and wrote, “Although Christ’s passion and death are not to be repeated, yet the virtue of that Victim endures for ever” (citing Heb. 10:14).3 Furthermore, he stated,

The celebration of this sacrament is called a sacrifice for two reasons. First, because, as Augustine says (Ad Simplician. ii), “the images of things are called by the names of the things whereof they are the images; as when we look upon a picture or a fresco, we say, ‘This is Cicero and that is Sallust.’“ But, as was said above (79, 1), the celebration of this sacrament is an image representing Christ’s Passion, which is His true sacrifice. Accordingly the celebration of this sacrament is called Christ’s sacrifice. Hence it is that Ambrose, in commenting on Heb. 10:1, says: “In Christ was offered up a sacrifice capable of giving eternal salvation; what then do we do? Do we not offer it up every day in memory of His death?” Secondly it is called a

sacrifice, in respect of the effect of His Passion: because, to wit, by this sacrament, we are made partakers of the fruit of our Lord’s Passion. ... Consequently, according to the first reason, it is true to say that Christ was sacrificed, even in the figures of the Old Testament: hence it is stated in the Apocalypse (13:8). ... But according to the second reason, it is proper to this sacrament for Christ to be sacrificed in its celebration.4

Aquinas sought to distinguish between the “offering of the sacrifice” and the “consummation of the sacrifice.” For instance, there is the actual sacr...

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