Lord's Supper in private?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by BroChris, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. BroChris

    BroChris
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    Someone asked me if it was ok to partake of the Lord's Supper in private. The question caught me off guard...I've never thought of having it outside of the fellowship of believers. But I can't think of anything wrong with it either, except that communion implies fellowship.

    I also thought about how the Lord's Supper is often taken to individuals who are not able to join the congregation (the "shut-ins"). If this is ok to do, would it be acceptable also for say, a man and his wife to observe the Lord's Supper privately?

    One more thought. Traditionally, it has been said that preaching must accompany the Lord's Supper because since it is a symbol of Christ's sacrifice (and not a sacrifice in itself), then one must be reminded each time what the symbol actually symbolizes, else the ordinance has no meaning.

    What do you think? What does Scripture say about these things?
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    It is a local church ordinance. When pastoring, my local church gave me permission to observe the Lord's Supper with shut-ins, and even with a group traveling in Israel at the Garden Tomb.

    It is NOT "private" per se, as so many liturgical groups believe it has grace-imparting capacity, so give it to everyone in the hospital, etc.
     
  3. Bible-boy

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    Dr. Bob is 100% correct. It is a local chuch ordinance. Therefore, it is not something that can be done alone. The church can designate pastors and/or deacons to take communion to its shut-in members and the like. However, even this act is being carried out under the authority of the local church.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    I had a personal communion set I used when I was a pastor of a local church. It was used for the elderly and chronically ill who could not get out to church. When I retired, I gave the set to a young Anglican minister because I no longer had the authority of my local church to administer the Lord's Supper.

    Quite agree that communion was intended for the local church and for baptized members of that church in good standing, according to their own witness.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. BroChris

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    Maybe I wasn't clear enough in my post. I understand that this is how the Lord's supper has traditionally been administered, but is there anything in the Bible to back this up, or is it merely tradition?

    For instance, did Paul write somewhere that it had to be observed with the body of believers, and that it had to be given by a minister? All that keeps coming to my mind is "Do this in remembrance of me" and also the verse pertaining to taking the Lord's supper in an unworthy matter. These speak nothing about the proper mode of administering it, only of the proper spiritual reflection by which it is taken.

    I'm not trying to lessen what we can learn from the historical church in any way. I know that we can learn immensely from it. But just because it has always been a certain way, does not necessarily mean that it has to be that way...
     
  6. Michael Wrenn

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    Chris,

    I agree with you and disagree with the others. The Lord's Supper can be partaken of at any time, by any believer(s), anywhere, with no clergy necessary. There is nothing in scripture to say otherwise. This "Lord's Supper by local church only" is merely a Baptist tradition. And I bet some think only the Catholics have "sacred tradition. ;)
     
  7. TWade

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    The way in which the Lord's Supper is handled among most Christians appears to me to be slanted more toward church tradition than what we witness in scripture.

    I can find no reason why two, three, four believers should be denied remembering the Lord outside of the church building and with the absence of ordained clergy. It is a feast of the Lord for believers to remember Him until He comes.

    I truly believe we are missing a bigger blessing with the way we administer His Supper today. I say this in kindness. [​IMG]

    If anyone is interested, here is an article that we may glean from:

    http://www.ntrf.org/supper.html

    God bless!
     
  8. Jim1999

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    Historically, it is not only the Baptist who restrict communion to the local church. At one point in history, not any one could partake at any Anglican Church. It was restricted to Anglicans. It was also historically true of most churches. The modern idea is that any or all could partake whenever they pleased.

    On the presence of clergy, it is not a requirement. The Plymouth Brethren have no clergy, but they observe the Lord's Table every Sunday at a meeting of the brethren only. Outsiders are not invited.

    It is evident in the New Testament that the practice of remembering the Lord by the drinking of wine and breaking of bread was done by the assembled body of believers. Thee is not one instance of it being done in isolation.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    The protection of the table and its administration should be done by the body assembled. There is absolutely no reason to observe communion outside the local church. As Jim says, there is no instance of communion apart from the local church in the NT and that, not reason or reasonability, is our guide of practice.
     
  10. LarryN

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    I've also partaken of the Lord's Supper at the Garden Tomb, on two separate occasions- both times with my own pastor "officiating", if you will- and with several other pastors present.
    It's a beautiful, memorable, peaceful place to take of the Lord's Supper- even with the large, noisy bus station just on the other side of the outer wall, on one side!
     
  11. Trust in the Lord

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    I have had communion at my home many times with my family and I see nothing wrong with it cause it does not specify anywhere in the bible that it must be taken in a church given by the pastor or with an assembly of believers....it is just tradition....this is something that I love sharing with my family....brings us closer to the Lord as a family and individually....I do like what it says in 1 Corinthians 11:26
    For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

    Sometimes once a month just doen't cut it for me I love being with the Lord and sharing what the Lord commands more often than once a month cause I sometimes don't make it to church for that day and then I miss out...My Mom and Dad are constantly on the road not travelling but working and they don't have a church to go to so I suggested them to have communion on there own...better than missing out....
     
  12. Michael Wrenn

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    Grace; Trust,

    I agree with you both.

    All,

    Suppose there is an isolated Christian without benefit of a local congregation. Would you prohibit such a person from partaking of the Lord's Supper on his/her own? If so, how is this anything other than legalism and rigid traditionalism? Do you really think Jesus would forbid this person from remembering His sacrifice with a simple meal of bread and wine? If you do, your concept of the Savior is very different from mine.
     
  13. Michael Wrenn

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    P.S. There is also not one instance in scripture of anyone driving to church in a car; do any of you do such an unbiblical thing?
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    Why would there be an isolated Christian without benefit of a local congregation?? Such a believer would not be obedient to the great commission to establish churches. IN this scenario, there are greater problems than the Lord's supper.

    As for driving a car, that is comparing apples to oranges. The Bible does not give explicit instructions on how we are to get to church; it does give explicity instructions on how we are to observe the Lord's supper. The instructions of 1 Cor 11 address "when you come together as a church." Therefore, the Lords' Supper is for "when you come together as a church.

    There seems to be the impression that communinion is the only way to remember the Lord's death. Such is not the case and that argument should be dispensed with.

    We must think of the purpose of the Lord's Supper ... It is a corporate celebration that is memorial. Therefore, to miss it is not spiritually hindering. This is why I say there is no reason to break the biblical pattern by observing it outside the local church assembly.
     
  15. TWade

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    Where you have believers assembled, you have a church. The church isn't the big white building on the corner. It is the body of believers, whether they gather in a building, hall, store front or home makes no difference. So that when a group of believers assemble in my home or anyone else's, it is a church gathering and has every privilege to fellowship and partake in the remembrance of the Lord through His supper.

    10-4 Over and out.... [​IMG]
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    Not exactly ... a dinner meeting is not the church. It is the church when it is gathered as the church. You are right that it has nothing to do with the building. We all know that. But we should not have so weak an ecclesiology as to suggest that any meeting of any believers is a church meeting. Paul specifically denotes the coming together as a church. Let's not give that up in favor of some weaker ecclesiology.
     
  17. TWade

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    I agree.
     
  18. Dr. Bob

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    Let's look at the scripture. When did they "do" communion . . and who "did" it?

    It was when the church - organized group, not your dinner party or swimming pool set - met. The church had officers, elders, deacons, etc. In Acts, they had the Apostles too.

    So we are talking about church function, not individuals, and we're talking about whoever the church gives this responsibility to (in other words, it does NOT have to be "clergy" or "ordained"; the church can vote to have John Doe lead the communion, or no one to lead and all share).

    Acts 2 and I Cor 11 are fairly limiting. [​IMG]
     
  19. Bible-boy

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    Ah...

    Isn't there a verse about all the disciples leaving in one Accord? :confused: They drove a Honda! :D
     
  20. David Mark

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    I agree [​IMG]

    When considering the Lord's supper, I look at the first one. Only Judas is a questionable participant, yet he was there to fulfill a prophesy. The rest were true believers, it must have been a positive, encouraging but solemn event. The Lord led it, served his friends and considered what he was about to go through. And it appeared that there was real food and a real supper going on. The Apostle gives more good instructions on the Lord's supper too. They should add to the Lord's example, not take away from his example.

    I have a question: How can an unbeliever discern the Lord's body and blood? I don't think he can. Why would anyone put an unbeliever in that position? Here take this bread and drink this cup and consider the Lord whom you do not believe in. Don't you know the folks you are inviting to participate in this? You should.

    Dave.
     

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