I’m giving serious consideration to taking our entire Sunday School program through the Heidelberg Catechism beginning this fall (and continuing for as long as it takes!). One of the resources I’m working through to help me in preparation is Kevin DeYoung’s The Good News We Almost Forgot.
I was interested to read this from DeYoung on the question of how the (evangelical) Lord’s Supper differs from the Catholic Mass:
To be fair, Catholic theology does not consider the Eucharist a re-sacrifice of Christ. “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice…” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1367). Thus, Catholic theologians do not agree with the Heidelberg that the Mass is “nothing but a denial of the one sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ.” The sacrifice of Christ and the Eucharist are one sacrifice performed in different ways, they would argue. Official Catholic teaching does not argue that Christ’s death must be repeated over and over. Rather, it teaches that in the Eucharist the death of Christ is pulled into the present for us to enjoy sacramentally. No Catholic who knows his official theology would claim that the Mass repeats the atoning sacrifice of Christ, because the sacrifice is “ever present” (CCC 1364).
I’m almost ashamed to admit that this is the first time I have ever heard this distinction. Are evangelicals closer to Catholics in our understanding of the real presence of Christ at the Table than we may have previously imagined?