If this needs to be in a different forum, please feel free to move -
OK - just typed a full post, clicked submit, and got the error that I wasn't logged in... go figure....
Anyway, here we go again:
Background: I have been the pastor of my current church for approximately 2 years now, and served as an associate pastor prior to this pastorate. I will be completing my Seminary work next May... Our church is a conservative Missionary Baptist congregation (BMAA).
When I came here, I asked about their previous observances of the Lord's Supper - it had been nearly a year!). AS we made plans to start it back up, I asked about who provides/prepares. The chairmen of the deacons said that he and his wife would handle it, unless someone else wanted too. I asked if she would be making the bread, or buying it. She indicated that they would just buy it because it was much simpler (no-one has time anymore???).
Fast-forward 21 months or so...Tonight was our Lord's Supper celebration/observance. I felt "inspired" to investigate alternatives to the dry/hard/tasteless commercial bread (Broadman) that we have been using. I called up the deacon who has been taking care of this and shared what I had in mind - and he said "great" - just be sure it is unleavened (well...yeah...heheh).
I show up this evening with my container of bread I had made (did some serious digging, including Jewish sources for traditional recipes for passover/unleavened bread (also for Feast of Unleavened Bread). I also believe I have a grasp on the concept of what leaven is and what it represents....
First thing I am asked - "You didn't put anything in it, did you?"
My respone: "it's unleavened, and I followed a Passover-appropriate, no-leaven recipe".
Their reply - "No - you did use just flower and water, right?"
I said, "there is a little olive oil and salt" - which is perfectly appropriate...
To which I got the response "well, unleavened bread is flour and water only - that's why we get that bread put out 'by the association' (what association? They buy it from Lifeway, which is SBC, which we are not).
They say that that bread (again, Broadman) is just four and water.
I just asked where that mandated recipe came from, and the deacon's wife said "when we use to make it, we always used just flour and water".
So I went about my other preparations, assuming that they would just use the store-bought stuff.
Strangely, when time for the Lord's Supper rolled around, the deacons had the bread I made there to use....??!!!
After the service, while we were cleaning up, I found the Broadman communion bread boxes (3 in the kitchen). All of them said "Ingredients: Pure wheat flour and Vegetable Shortening".
So I mentioned the the deacon that the Broadman bread has vegetable oil and he said - "yeah - they are flour and water"...
So I again said - no, the box says flour and vegetable shortening... and he gets a puzzle look on his face, says - "they are suppose to be flour and water"...
Doing a bit of checking - Broadman does have several varieties of communion bread - with ingredient lists varying from one that uses only Flour and Water (in compliance, from what I have learned, is Roman Catholic Canon Law #924)
But the vast majority of such products contain at least some oil, and many contain salt and even sugar.
In my previous research, I found that bread appropriate for the Passover (the reason we make the assumption that Christ used unleavened bread in the first place) and for the Feasts of Unleavened Bread can contain several things besides flour and water. Nearly all recipes contain oil and salt, and quite a few contain a little sugar or honey.
What I am trying to figure out - what, outside of Roman Catholic Law, gives us a strict definition of "flour and water only" for unleavened bread for the Lord's Supper? I am a firm believer in backing up our church practices, beliefs, doctrines, and faith with God's Word. The only hint in God's Word regarding bread for the Lord's Supper is that Christ took "the bread", which logically would be unleavened as we assume that they are celebrating Passover week - a time when faithful Jews clean out their homes of all traces of leavening (not just those related to cooking/food).
But where in the world do we take a leap from unleavened bread to "flour and water only"? Is it some clinging to transubstantiation (Catholic) - that anything but flour and water represents impurity? Seems like an awfully legalistic endeavor with no end... start looking where you get the flour... is it bleached, is it from wheat grown without chemicals (organic?), is it from a variety of wheat native to the area of Israel? how about the water? From the tap? It has all sorts of crud in it.... bottle water? What's the source?
Which again brings out a whole other argument regarding the application of "The Law" to the New Testament Church.... Ugh.
Glad I didn't offer to grow some grapes....!!!
I sure would like some input! I have scoured my Bible, and even Bible software looking for some indication. Bread recipes in the Bible... well I see oil and salt... not to mention the historical fact that flour in that time could be made out of more than just wheat...
Subscribed and eagerly awaiting!