The Lords Supper

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Steveninetx, Jan 4, 2002.

  1. Steveninetx

    Steveninetx
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    I want to know what everyone here feels about this question that has been bothering me as of late. I grew up in the Church of Christ and they took Communion every Sunday. The Baptist church I am attending now only takes Communion about 4 times a year. I always felt taking Communion was so important but both take it with a sense of humility and reverence. Any thoughts?

    P.S. You should all know that I haven't been baptised yet. My church waits for a certain amount of people to want to be baptised and then they baptise the group the same day. I didn't take Communion at Christmas because of this. I am looking forward to the day my pastor who I admire so much to tell me what day I will be baptised.

    Steven
     
  2. Rev. Joshua

    Rev. Joshua
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    Our baptist church does it every Sunday. I think doing so is important for several reasons:

    - It is a visible, tangible symbol of grace and community

    - It is the oldest act of worship in the Church and ties what we do in worship with the larger Christian community

    - It keeps the homily from being the single center of the service

    - It adds elements of taste, touch and movement to worship

    - It give people a point of connection in the service if emotionally or intellectually they cannot connect with the homily.

    Joshua
     
  3. TomVols

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    I think we Baptists do not partake of the Supper enough. For some reason, once every three months seems to be the norm for many Baptist churches. This is not enough.
     
  4. Kiffin

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    I agree with Bro. Tom that most of us don't celebrate it enough.

    My church celebrates the Lord's Supper once a month on the first Sunday of the month but I personaly feel the Lord's Supper should be celebrated on a weekly basis.
     
  5. Odette

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    My church also celebrates the Lord's Supper once a month, on the first Sunday. I've never known a Baptist church that did it more frequently or less frequently.

    --Odette
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    When Morgan Edwards travelled the country in late 1700's, he found Baptists who observed the Lord's supper weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. I guess Baptists have always held this to be a local church decision based on "as oft as ye do it". The why is emphasized above the when.

    [ January 04, 2002: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  7. Jamal5000

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    Steve,

    I agree with TomVols: we baptists--at least the churches in my area--do not hold communion enough. As our most important ritual, it should get performed as often as possible should it not?

    My church holds communion quarterly (4th Sunday in January, April, July, and October). I suspect its for financial reasons rather than anything else.

    I don't think it matters how often or seldom it is done as long as you keep in mind that you need to commemorate Jesus' sacrifice and not to forget it. That's what communion stands for.

    I hope this helps. [​IMG]
     
  8. SaggyWoman

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    The church I currently serve in does it sporadically at best.

    I would like to have it at least once a month, but most churches I have been in has done it once a quarter. Not often enough in my opinion.
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    We, too, serve it on the First Sunday of the month, in the A.M. service in January, P.M. in February etc.

    I have seen churches with it weekly, but it becomes:

    *Commonplace to the Christian who simply goes through it as a routine

    *Sacramental to the non-Christian, like in our Lutheran and Catholic neighbors, who must partake of it to "receive" Christ

    Maybe we could do it every Wednesday night? Only church members then and only the most faithful. Others might "miss" it (Sunday morning bunch; every church has them) but it could be announced, not hidden away.

    Hmmmmm :confused:
     
  10. SaggyWoman

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    I think doing it at a variety of times during the church week is a great idea! What is pitiful to me is that some people think low of it.... . that aggravates me.
     
  11. superdave

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    Biblically, once a year would be enough. Christ told them to remember his death at the passover meal, and told them to do it until he comes again. Some Baptists have taken communion to sacrament status.

    My church does it once a month. As has every church I have been a member of.
     
  12. Kiffin

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    Superdave said,

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Some Baptists have taken communion to sacrament status. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That is because it is a Sacrament. Sacrament, "An outward sign of inner reality". In both Baptism and the Lord's Supper we declare we have Christ living in us. Incidently it is only modern Baptists that have shyed away from the term Sacrament but not our forefathers.

    I think most of us preachers wouldn't like it if we only preached once a month, once a quarter or once a year but neglecting the Lord's table is something to common with us Baptists (preaching to myself also).

    [ January 08, 2002: Message edited by: Kiffin ]
     
  13. rsr

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    I think most Baptists churches don't partake of the Lord's Supper often enough.

    Kiffin: I disagree with the supper being a sacrament. A sacrament is generally understood as imparting a special grace. Early Baptists were clear in calling the Lord's Supper an ordinance, commanded of the church and, as you said, "An outward sign of inner reality." They deliberately refrained from calling it a sacrament to distiguish their beliefs from those of the Roman Catholic Church and other Protestants.

    From the 1689 London Confession:

    Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper
    1._____ Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world.
    ( Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:26 )

    Chapter 30: Of the Lord's Supper
    1._____ The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other.
    ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17,21 )
    2._____ In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one offering up of himself by himself upon the cross, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same.
    3._____ The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use, and to take and break the bread; to take the cup, and, they communicating also themselves, to give both to the communicants.
    ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, etc. )


    5._____ The outward elements in this ordinance, duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before.
    ( 1 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Corinthians 11:26-28 )


    7._____ Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.
    ( 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 )
     
  14. Kiffin

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    rsv,

    The 1689 London which borrowed much from the Westminister does avoid the use of sacrament. I stand corrected. There was amongst Puritan and Baptists at the time to abandon the term sacrament. What I should have saids is that the Earliest Confessions said,

    "That the church of Christ has power delegated to themselves of announcing the word, administering the sacraments, appointing ministers, disclaiming them, and also excommunicating; but the last appeal is to the brethren of body of the church." - 1609 Smyth Confession

    " That the sacraments have the same use that the word hath; that they are a visible word, and that they teach to the eye of them that understand as the word teacheth the ears of them that have ears to hear (Prov. xx. 12), and therefore as the word appertaineth not to infants, no more do the sacraments. " - 1611 Helwys

    You will find the term Sacrament used over and over again by our Spiritual forerunners the Anabaptists also.

    Though the 1689 London avoids using sacrament, it actualy defines the Lord's Supper as a sacrament, "Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses."

    In other words they were saying the Supper was not just a naked symbol but one actually communes and feeds on Christ by faith. Grace is given in the sense that our faith is strengthened when we partake of the elements by faith in what they represent.

    There is a differance in calling Baptism and Lord's Supper Sacraments and Sacramental Theology of Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy.
     
  15. rsr

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    Kiffin:

    Should have thought of the Smith & Helwys confessions, though I might not have used them because of the preponderance of Reformed Baptists here.

    I think the only difference we have -- and I suspect it's a matter of terminology -- is grace being provided by the ordinances. If you mean spiritual communion, I have no problem. If you mean grace in the Reformed tradition, how can anyone do anything, such as be baptized or partake of the supper, that would lead to grace?

    I do not mean to be tedious. Thanks for your reply.
     
  16. superdave

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    Using the term sacrament, and denying communion to be such, was specific. It is not a sacrament as the connotation of the word would define, but an ordinance. It imparts no grace or favor. When I say some Baptists have elevated it to Sacrament status, I was referring to their inordinate focus on outward manifestations of faith, or rituals that can obtain or improve ones level of grace with God.

    That it cannot do, it is as Jesus said, a symbolic rememberance of his death which gave us all the grace we need.

    And I was not totally serious about once a year, but if you really want to be Biblical... (Actually Jesus did say "As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you do show the Lord's death till he come", he didn't seem to care how often that was!)

    But, hey, Jesus disciples didn't really get the whole, "eat my flesh and drink my blood" stuff either. It's not surprising that many people view those statements as literal. He made those types of comments before the last supper as well, and the disciples and the religious leaders alike said they couldn't understand what he was saying.
     
  17. Kiffin

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    Grace simply means favor and not that the Bread and Fruit of the vine convey grace but our participating in the Supper does convey strengthening grace from God in that if I take the Supper by faith my faith is strengthened and I receive assurance of Salvation as I rededicate myself to Christ in remembrance of His sacrificial death. It can also be said that Grace is conveyed when we hear the word of God or receive answered Prayer. It has nothing to do with Salvitic Grace in the elements but simply the Word and the Sacraments/Ordinances are gifts to us.

    The term "Remembrance" is not talking about having a meal to simply rememeber Calvary in the same way we remember the birth of the USA on July 4th. The Hebrew mindset meant more. The example of the widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings 17:18 is a good illustration of this. She accuses Elijah of recalling her sin from the past; and the result of this remembering is the death of her son. "Remember" to the Hebrews was to transport an action from the past to the present in such a way that it is personally present today. The idea of the Lord's Supper as a mystical play that RCC teach is not the view no more than a naked symbol idea. Remembrance at the Lord's Table was the restoration of this past event as one took from the table and that a real feeding upon Christ body and blood took place in a spiritual way. We are called to eat and drink in Remembrance of Him.

    The Hebrew view of “Remembrance” was not just a mental exercise of remembering Christ death 2,000 years ago. It actually means a recalling of the crucified and Risen Christ in such a way that one made it present and actual and we commune with Christ as well as our fellow believers as we eat by faith.

    John Gill stated,
    "It is by faith believers eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ; it is by faith Christ dwells in their hearts; and it is by faith they live upon him, and by him; "He that eateth me, even he shall live by me", #Joh 6:57 it denotes a participation of Christ, and of the blessings of grace by him: to eat of this bread spiritually, is no other than "the communion of the body of Christ",



    In the book of Acts we see the Lord's Supper being celebrated daily (Acts 2:41). The writings of the early Fathers also testify of Communion being celebrated every Sunday. The Reformation Anabaptists celebrated Communion every time they met be it a worship service, prayer meeting etc.. and Leon McBeth's Baptist history also confirms Baptists celebrating the Lord's Supper every Sunday in the 1600's. It was the Second Great Awakening and Finney Revivals in the 1800's that diminished the idea of the Supper to a naked symbol.

    There is no command to celebrate the Lord's Supper every Sunday no more than there is a command to have preaching every Sunday but certaintly most preachers wouldn't like to preach once a year, once a quarter would they. I personaly think that we should celebrate it every time we meet (not just Sundays) in that it is a rededication of ourselves to Christ each time we partake and keeps the cross ever before us. One of the main reasons I think Baptists got into this mode of infrequent Communion is viewing Sunday Worship as a Crusade like Billy Graham atmosphere to see people saved when actually it is for Worshipping God.

    [ January 09, 2002: Message edited by: Kiffin ]
     
  18. Michael Wrenn

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    Kiffin,

    This is something we agree on. Rather than a mere remembrance, the Lord's Supper was and is a "re-membering", as you rightly explain.

    In the New Testament the risen Christ became known or recognized by His disciples when they broke bread. I love the Book of Common Prayer liturgy where the this prayer is offered: "Lord, be known to us in the breaking of the bread."

    There is no hint of transsubstantiation in this; rather, it is firmly based on the New Testament.
     

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