The 3rd Mark Of The Apostolic Church... Who Has The Right To The Lords Table?

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by tyndale1946, Apr 17, 2003.

  1. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    3. The third mark of the apostolic church was that the members, being baptized believers, came frequently around The Table of The Lord, and commemorated the suffering and death of their precious Redeemer, by partaking of common bread to represent His body broken, and common wine to represent His blood shed for them. The two practices of Baptism and The Lords Supper, or Communion, were called ordinances of the church, and were strictly observed. Baptism represented the initiation into the Divine life by an identification with Christ in His death and burial and resurrection, and by the regenerating and cleansing efficacy of The Holy Spirit; while communion represented the continued support of the new internal heavenly life by spiritual food, even the body and blood of The Son of God, thus assimilating the children of God more and more to the perfect image of Christ. Life must not only be begun, but it must be supported with proper food; and the Christian life is both spiritual in its origin and spiritual in its continuance, and all is of God. Only those persons who made a credible profession of faith in Christ were baptized (that is, immersed in water in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost by the apostles; and only those persons thus believing and thus baptized were admitted by the apostles to the ordinance of The Lord’s Supper. Life cannot be supported before it is begun. The apostles, to whom Christ first gave the symbols of His broken body and shed blood, were themselves baptized believers, several of them having been previously disciples of John the Baptist. Christ’s commission to the apostles authorized them first to preach or teach or disciple, then to baptize, then to teach to observe all his commandments, one of these commandments being the ordinance of His Supper. On the day of Pentecost, accordingly, after Peter had preached the gospel, those “gladly receiving” it, were baptized; and “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41-42). At Troas only the “disciples” came together to break bread (Acts 20:7). It was not upon the unbaptized or unbelievers, but upon “the church of God” (1 Cor. 1:2), that Paul enjoined the observance of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-34); and he praised the brethren for keeping the ordinances as he had delivered them to them (1 Cor. 11:2).

    If “brethren” walked “disorderly,” the apostle commanded the church to “withdraw” from such (2 Thess. 3:6) and “not to eat or commune with a man called a brother, but really a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner” (1 Cor. 5:11). It was plainly implied that the church was to judge the qualifications or disqualifications of persons for the sacred ordinance of communion. As it was the Table of The Lord, none but those who were declared by Him to be qualified could be admitted to it. Persons who were unregenerate, therefore could not be permitted to commune; persons who, even if they were regenerate, had not been baptized (that is, immersed in the water in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost) could not be allowed to commune; persons who, even though regenerate and baptized, walked disorderly, could not be permitted to commune. These requirements, laid down by the Divine Head of the church, plainly exclude from the Lord’s Table infants, unrenewed adults, and even Christians, if only sprinkled or poured and not baptized, and even properly baptized Christians, if their conduct is unbecoming the gospel of Christ. In regard to these laws of exclusion, the church has no discretion; they were unchangeably instituted by her Divine Master, and are to be faithfully executed by her as long as she has existence on the shores of time. In the apostolic church only those who “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and in fellowship” communed (Acts 2:42); the cup and the bread were “the communion of the body of Christ”—the many members constituting “one bread and one body” (1 Cor. 10:16,17). The primitive church so heartily loved and fellowshipped one another that they had all things in common (Acts 2:44; John 13:34, 35; 1 Cor. 13:13; 1 John 3:14-18)—a blessed union of life and love that will be perfectly realized in glory, Christ (Ps. 17:15; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 3:19; 1 John 4:8). For communion and worship the apostolic church at first met “daily” (Acts 2:46), and afterwards weekly, on the first day of the week (John 20:19, 26; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10). The churches were not told by Christ how often they were to observe this blessed ordinance, but, “as oft as they did it, to do it in remembrance of Him” (1 Cor. 11:25). Thus was the sacred Supper to be a symbolic and grateful commemoration of our adorable Redeemer, who laid down His precious life for us; an impressive personal profession of our personal faith in Him and His atonement for us; a symbol of church fellowship; and a prophecy of the marriage supper of the Lamb in Heaven (Matthew 26:29; Rev. 19:9).

    The Lord’s Supper is nowhere in the scriptures called a “sacrament or seal” of salvation, an effective “means of grace,” nor do the scriptures teach the gross material Catholic doctrine that the bread and wine become the veritable body and blood of Christ (transubstantiation), or the almost equally gross Lutheran doctrine that the real body of Christ is in, with and under the bread and wine (consubstantiation). The verb “to be” sometimes in all languages means “to represent” or “symbolize,” as in Genesis 41:26-27; Exodus 12:11; Ezekiel 37:11; Daniel 7:24; Matthew 13:38-39; Revelation 1:20, 17:9, 12, 18. Christ calls Himself “the door” (John 10:9), “the good shepherd” (John 10:11), “the way, the truth, the life” (John 14:6), “the true vine,” and Paul calls Christ “that rock” (1 Cor. 10:4). And so when Christ says, “This is my body—this is my blood,” referring to the bread and wine in His Supper, He speaks, not literally, but figuratively, meaning, “this represents my body—this represents my blood.” The bread and wine are the blessed emblems and memorials of our once dying but ever-living and ever-loving Lord, who is now bodily absent from us, and whom we are thus to remember, and show His death till He come (1 Cor. 11:25-26). They are in no sense to be deified and idolized, as in the Catholic pretended sacrifice of the “Mass” which has become a chief element of Romish worship. The monstrous papal doctrine of the “Mass” is not only a contradiction of our senses and reason, but a contradiction of our faith, which assures us that the offering of the body of Christ was made once for all, by that one offering forever perfecting them that are sanctified, and that His glorified humanity is seated at the right hand of The Father upon His mediatorial throne (Heb. 10:10-14; 1:3; 7:24-27). The idolatrous doctrine of transubstantiation was first explicitly taught by Paschasius Radbert, A.D. 831 and was first decreed as an article of faith at the instance of Pope Innocent III., by the fourth “Lateran Council,” A.D. 1215. This was more than a Millennium too late for it to be a doctrine of the apostolic church. Neither the apostles nor any of their real spiritual successors or followers could tolerate for a moment the idea of “crucifying the Son of God afresh” (Heb. 6:6); only a man made, carnal, unbelieving, unfeeling, ambitious, covetous “priesthood” could ever have devised or sanctioned the gross heathenish idolatry of the “Mass,” which they pretend to be an efficacious sacrifice for the sins both of the living and the dead, and which they assiduously use for the purpose of replenishing their purses and perpetuating their power over a superstitious people. —The bread used by Christ was “artos”—a pure unleavened wheaten loaf (Ex. 12:8-20; Matthew 26:17; Ex. 29:3) and the wine was the “fruit of the vine,” the pure fermented juice of the grape. Unfermented juice of the grape is but a mass of leaven—it is must, and not wine; fermentation is the natural clarification of the juice. Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to “keep the feast”, not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:8).

    Paul’s expression is figurative; and Christ seems to have used unleavened bread because it was on hand during the Passover. It is probable that the disciples in Acts 2:46 and 20:7 used common, that is leavened bread; this, however is not certain. The Greek Catholics used leavened, and the Roman Catholic unleavened bread, the latter being in the form of small, thin, round wafers, introduced in the eleventh century, and bearing upon them either the initials of Christ or the initials I.H.S. (IESUS HOMINUM SALVATOR, Jesus the savior of men); the Greek loaf is stamped with the characters I C X C N I K A (Iesous Christos Nika, Jesus Christ Conquers). These are human devices of an idolatrous character, utterly unknown to the apostolic church. The Greek “Church” gives in a spoon the eucharistic bread and wine sopped together; beginning in the twelfth, and fully establishing the innovation in the thirteenth century, the Latin “Church” gives the wine to the priest only, on the pleas that the body (represented by the bread) contains the blood, and that there is danger of spilling the blood if passed from one communicant to another, and that the “church” only sanctioned that which had become a custom, and that the priest being, as they pretend, successors to the apostles, should drink the wine. But the Apostles, at the Last Supper, represented the whole church; and Christ, speaking of the wine, says, “Drink ye all of it” (Matthew 26:27); and Mark says “They all drank of it” (14:23); and, instead of the body containing the blood, the very separation of the two elements, the bread from the wine, the body from the blood, indicates the death of Christ. This withholding of the wine or cup from the “laity” or private members caused the Hussite War in Germany (A.D.1420-1433). Men thus make the commandments of God void by their traditions. —As infant baptism was introduced in the third century, so was infant communion; and the latter continued in the Latin “Church”; the Pedobaptist Protestant “Churches,” through professedly baptizing (but really rhantizing or sprinkling) infants, inconsistently withhold communion from infants—every argument for or against the one practice is equally valid for or against the other; there is no reason or scripture for either. Through the fascinating eloquence of Robert Hall (1764-1831), an Arminian “Baptist” preacher of England, the most of the English churches called Baptist practice open or general communion; but the “Strict Baptist” in England practice close communion. In America the Baptist who first settled here suffered so much from the persecutions inflicted upon them by other denominations that they were at first compelled to observe close communion; and those adhering to the scriptures and the apostolic precepts still practice, not a general or open, but a strict close communion.

    From Hassells Church History... Brother Glen [​IMG] & Sister Charlotte [​IMG]
     
  2. Frogman

    Frogman
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    Brother,

    I will not be able to respond to this until after this weekend. We are leaving for Alaska in the morning. I will print and take a copy of the third mark with me and study it while gone. Then I will be prepared to post on it when we return. I have already read it and made some marks on it, but you guys will have to wait until probably next Tue. evening to see what I have to say, unless you have read enough of my jabber and skip to pretty well know what I will say :eek:

    God Bless All with a wonderful and beautiful Easter weekend and most of all may your worship be blessed with the Presence of Him who by the Spirit of Holiness was raised from the grave. Amen.


    Anybody interested here is a link to a study by J.R. Graves that may be relevant:

    http://dallasii0.tripod.com/missionarylandmarkbaptist/id16.html

    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]

    [ April 17, 2003, 10:59 PM: Message edited by: Frogman ]
     

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