Eucharistic Theology. There are a number of theological views on the Eucharist.
- Real Presence. This belief is that somehow (and there are a variety of theories) the bread and wine either become or are the literal body and blood of Christ. I believe these views are unsupported by scripture, and come from those who do not understand that the Lord’s physical body is in heaven with the Father, and that He is only on earth in a spiritual sense with individuals (Matt. 28:20), and collectively where “two or three are gathered” unto His name (Matt. 18:20).
- Memorialism or Zwinglianism. This view is that the bread and wine are symbols only and represent the literal body and blood of Christ. The body and blood are in no way literally present during the Lord’s Supper. Rather than a “reenactment” of the cross, the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of Christ in which His death is “shown forth”. This view is held by Brethren, Baptists, and Anabaptists. I believe this is the scriptural position. This view was famously held by Ulrich Zwingli, who went head-to-head with Martin Luther on the issue of Eucharistic Theology at the Marburg Colloquy.
- Suspensionism. This view is that the Lord’s Supper was not intended to be kept in perpetuity, or that it was never intended to be literally done as an outward ordinance. This view is held by Quakers and the Salvation Army. This position is clearly wrong, because the Lord said “This do… until I come” (1 Cor. 11:23-26).
The Marburg Colloquy. The Marburg Colloquy was a meeting at Marburg Castle in Germany in October 1529 between four Protestant leaders including Luther and Zwingli to resolve their differences. The two could agree on just about every other point but that one. Neither would give in, and finally the conference ended. The host brought the two together for a final meeting on Monday morning.
“With tears in his eyes, Zwingli approached Luther , and held out the hand of brotherhood, but Luther declined it, saying again ‘Yours is a different spirit from ours.’ Zwingli thought that differences in non-essentials, with unity in essentials, did not forbid Christian brotherhood. ‘Let us,’ he said, ‘confess our union in all things in which we agree; and, as for the rest, let us remember that we are brethren. There will never be peace in the Churches if we cannot bear differences on secondary points.’ Luther deemed the corporal presence a fundamental article, and construed Zwingli’s liberality into indifference to truth. ‘I am astonished,’ he said, ‘that you wish to consider me as your brother. It shows clearly that you do not attach much importance to your doctrine.’ … Turning to the Swiss, the Wittenburgers said, ‘You do not belong to the communion of the Christian Church. We cannot acknowledge you as brethren.’ They were willing, however to include them in that universal charity which we owe our enemies.”— Phillip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 7, Chapter 5, Sections 107-108
That was the very last time Luther and Zwingli saw one another on earth. The two great reformers were never reconciled.