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Infrequent Communion

September 8, 2006

Traditionally, Baptists reject traditions.  In fact, we Baptists are traditionally anti-traditional.  One tradition we stick to is our tradition of anti-traditionalism.  And one of the longest standing and most time-honored of our traditions is Infrequent Communion.  For various reasons, we Baptists don’t (or won’t) celebrate the Lord’s Supper very often.  Some don’t want it to become routine, some don’t want rituals, and besides, it doesn’t really do anything for us anyway, does it?  And so, rather than allow the observance of Communion to become routine, we have allowed the non-observance of Communion to become routine.
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Not that being anti-traditional keeps us from routines.  We have plenty of those.  Just check out the weekly service schedule for a good example.  Or maybe the songs we traditionally sing… the choir’s weekly dose of Ron or Mac, for instance.  You get the picture.  We can’t escape routine.  Not that we should…
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Anti-traditional as we are, we have a tradition of keeping Communion infrequently.  We have made a routine of that too.  We routinely neglect the Lord’s Table.  Infrequent Communion has become our tradition.

This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come (1 Corinthians 11:25).

Clearly, Christ was not saying here “don’t do it often.”  But, we don’t keep it often.  We routinely neglect the Lord’s Table.  If the Lord’s Supper is in fact one of our most sacred and important ordinances, and if Christ left it to us to observe as often as we choose, shouldn’t we choose to observe it more frequently?
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This post will attempt to examine that question, hammer in hand.  We’ll begin with the notion that communion should be frequent, continue with why it should be frequent, and conclude with the blessings of frequent communion.

As Oft As

Communion should be often.  The Bible doesn’t specify how often.  The text simply says as oft as… By the way, Paul adds this to what Christ originally said at the supper.  Christ gave no indication of how often.  Paul simply says as oft as (whenever/as many times as).  God does not require us to observe the Lord’s Table weekly, monthly, annually, or even once in a lifetime.  But shouldn’t we celebrate more often than not? It certainly seems that both Paul and Christ wanted it more than a little regularly.
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For one thing, the Lord’s Supper is to be a remembrance… it is to bring to mind.

This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

If we forget to observe the Lord’s Supper, then it isn’t bringing to mind.  If we rarely observe Communion, then it isn’t bringing to mind.  Do we really want to be unfaithful in our remembering, “just to keep it special”?  And how does that help the remembrance?
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Of course, in this day, we especially value spontaneity.  “Spontaneous is better,” or so we think.  But first, I doubt that this is what Paul had in mind when he said as often as.  And secondly, in a church it can’t work that way.  We can’t be spontaneous with the Lord’s Supper.  We must plan it somewhere along the line.  Imagine the Pastor walking in fifteen minutes before the service and saying, “I feel like the Lord’s Supper tonight.”  Thirdly, even if it is to be spontaneous, it still needs to be frequent.  In other words, frequent spontaneity would absolutely be better than our current tradition of frequent neglect.
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Wives, who typically like the “romance” of “the spontaneous,” don’t value it at all if that means once every three months.  It would be better to be ritualistic in regular, frequent communion than it is to be ritualistic in our neglect of communion.  The regenerate soul craves communion with its Lord.  We want that communion to be often.  I would think we would want it to be as often as possible.

For As Often As… Ye Do Shew the Lord’s Death

We commune with God individually in prayer and meditation on the Word. Imagine if your son decided to stop having his devotions so regularly… after all, it is a routine, isn’t it?  And routines are bad, aren’t they? “Dad, my devotions have become too routine, so I’ve decided to have them infrequently, just to keep it special.”  I’m imagining your response.  “Well, son, some routines are, well, okay, I guess…” or maybe you’d be stronger.  We need fellowship with God every day.  Just as we need to talk to our family every day, if possible.  Do husbands stop talking to their wife because “it has become too routine”?  And if we understand Communion in the context that Pastor Brandenburg gave, as a mutual intimacy between husband and wife, the idea of infrequency becomes even more repugnant.  “Honey, let’s keep the intimacy to every other month, just to keep it special!”  Yikes!  Do parents stop talking to their children because they want it to be special?  The point is, we want communion.  We commune with God corporately in public worship.  We commune corporately in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).  The first reason that The Lord’s Supper should be frequent is because that’s what believers desire.  True believers want communion.  Frequently.
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The second reason for frequent observances of the Lord’s Supper is because we want to commune with the body of Christ, to partake of his blood.  As one body, we partake of that one bread.  We commune with Christ and his people.  We want our fellowship to be frequent.  We want our cleansing to be frequent.  It is that blood that cleanses us from all sin.Â
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A third reason is because Communion is a remembrance.  It is a reminder.  It is a commemoration.  As an act, it re-presents Christ to our mind.  We see the bread, and remember his broken body… broken substitutionarily. [1]

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.

We eat the bread, and are reminded that we are partakers of that one bread… Christ in us.  We see the cup, and remember the blood of Christ: sacrificially shed blood.  The cup of the wrath of God, which Christ drank.  The cup of blessing, which we drink.  The New Testament in his blood, which he shed for us.Â
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A fourth reason for frequency is that in Communion, we do shew the Lord’s Death.  We proclaim it.  We preach it.  We announce it publicly… as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.  Every time we partake of the Supper, every time, we show the Lord’s death.  So, Communion is a part of letting your light shine before men.  Which is why I oppose celebrating the Lord’s Supper in secret on a Tuesday night.  Nothing like installing a street light in your living room closet.  When we partake of the Supper, we preach the gospel. As one commentary says,

The Greek does not mean to dramatically represent, but “ye publicly profess each of you, the Lord has died FOR ME” [WAHL]. [2]

Shouldn’t this public profession be frequent?  (Romans 9:33; 10:11)
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Finally, Communion should be frequent because we shew His death till he come.  Perpetually—we preach it until the end of the age, when the work of the gospel is fully preached.

In Remembrance of Me

There are many blessings in frequent communion.  It certainly gives us regular communion with Christ and his people.  It pleases God.  We can certainly believe that we are doing God’s will in regularly remembering his substitutionary death and sacrificially shed blood.Â
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In celebrating Communion, we are blessed to proclaim the Lord’s death.  We are blessed to partake, for Communion is a grace—it is a gift to us.  Every time we partake, we receive of that grace.
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And we are blessed with real, meaningful communion with Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).  So, it is more than a ritual.  It is a ritual full of meaning and benefit to the believer.  It is a worthwhile tradition.
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Shouldn’t we then make it a custom to frequently celebrate the Lord’s Supper?  Some might wonder, “How often?”  I doubt that God will be saying, “You are doing this too often.  We are having too much Communion here.”  Maybe our question should be, “How often can we do it?”  I’m thinking that God wants it often, and so should we.
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Footnotes

[1.] Invented Word, of uncertain origins, probably traceable to bad grammar habits and late-night bloggings.

[2.] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. 1997. A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments. On spine: Critical and explanatory commentary. Logos Research Systems, Inc.: Oak Harbor, WA   Â

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  1. September 8, 2006 at 5:39 pm

    I wish my church would offer communion more often. I can’t even recall when the last one was, it seems like it is usually once a year.

    On the other hand’ the church we attended Mallet as teenagers seemed to do it so much it was more of a ritual, then a rememberance, after a year it definitely losts its meaning.

    An steady balance is important in a Christians life.

  2. September 8, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    I would definitely agree. My former church observed communion every first Sunday of the month. I also interned in a church that observed it only once a year. The church I am an assistant in now observes it a few times a year. I like the once a month method best, but I have not let it bother me or made an issue of it. Every pastor has a different view on it, and though I agree with doing it more frequently, I do not think it is something to make a big issue of.

  3. September 8, 2006 at 9:58 pm

    Brother Makri,

    Could you stop making such a big issue of it!?!? Just kidding:) We practice it once a month, and, yes, the first Sunday evening.

    A good point from a fresh look at this text.

  4. September 9, 2006 at 12:04 am

    Good post!

    I liked the illustrations used. They helped drive home the point of how important communion is.

    Thanks

  5. September 9, 2006 at 6:25 am

    I truly think we should have infrequent communion more frequently! 😉

  6. September 9, 2006 at 10:39 am

    Good Jerry. I liked that.

    The point of the post was NOT to cause discontent with the way your church does it. I hope the pastors out there won’t think that was the point. Our church actually practices communion infrequently. I preached this to my church, and we intend to get a little radical with it… every Sunday for a month. I only wanted to cause us to rethink the issue.

    By the way, Michael, I noticed your comment as well (I think accidently put under the post before mine). When Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper, he was replacing the passover. Certainly we are not restricted to once a year. However, I do believe that the Local Church has authority to observe as oft as they wish.

  7. September 11, 2006 at 11:37 am

    Upon further review, I think that Michael’s idea of once a year is more biblically defensible than once a month. In the Bible, we see daily, weekly, and we can stretch to say annually. But where does monthly come from?

  8. September 11, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    Does anyone think that they were observing the Table in Acts 2? How many days was that after Passover?

  9. tjp
    September 12, 2006 at 2:16 am

    Personally, I don’t think either the day or frequency of the Lord’s Supper is an issue and may even be much-ado about nothing. The early church practiced and observed various things we wouldn’t observe today. What was descriptive of early church practice isn’t necessarily prescriptive for all time. I think the Lord’s Supper falls into this precaution.

    Just my thoughts.

  10. September 13, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    So, tjp, if the day or frequency of the Lord’s Supper is a non-issue, then is once in a lifetime okay? And if so, is it okay if I happen to be sick when my once in a lifetime rolls around?

    Certainly, the Bible stresses that we are to approach the table. And it certainly is an issue that we do, and when we do.

    Hammer Time, I would say yes to your question, and I don’t think it matters how many days that was after Passover. Are you implying that they did not yet know to observe the table any time other than Passover? And if so, when did they learn to do this? Somewhere along the line, the Corinthians picked it up. And they weren’t waiting for Passover.

  11. September 13, 2006 at 9:24 pm

    What makes you think they were having communion in Acts 2? I’m not seeing any juice there. Can you show me that they were doing MORE than simple fellowshipping while eating food?

  12. September 13, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    Nice there, hammerhead. Next thing, you’re going to want an invitation to the convention.

    I would say, just off hand, that the fact that the Bible makes a point of saying “breaking bread” indicates that it was more than simple fellowship. Breaking bread is the same terminology used for Communion. I would wonder if you have any reason to think that they were NOT celebrating the Lord’s Supper.

  13. tjp
    September 14, 2006 at 1:07 am

    Mallet Factor,

    I understand your point. But I think it’s a dull one, if not a bit exaggerated. Besides, it distorts the practical implications of Scripture on this issue. Although I don’t believe Christians must share the gospel message everyday, that certainly doesn’t mean I advocate their not sharing it at all. The same is true of communion. Because I don’t believe it’s a heaven-or-hell issue that we observe communion every week or even every month, that certainly doesn’t mean I advocate not observing it at all.

    The fact is the Bible suggests no set day. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor. 11:26). And neither should we. If there is a set day in Scripture, God was careful to hide it from us.

    The little phrase “for as often” may mean either daily (Acts 2:46) or even weekly (Acts 20:11). Or it could even mean as often as the church decides, which 1 Cor. 11:26 suggests. Since there is no express command about its frequency, I would hesitate to make the Table a calendar item. Frankly, much of what the early church did, especially in the way of practice, was descriptive and not proscriptive.

    Clearly 1 Cor. 11:26 does stress we observe the Table, but it is careful to tell us neither when nor how. That suggests its frequency is less important than the fact of its observance. Yet there are some who desperately want a when or a how, even if they have to read between the lines to find it.

    I’m sure of one thing, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup” does not mean “for as often as we come together.” If the latter were the case, the early church quickly departed from the command, for it appears they early-on gave up on the daily observance.

    Imagine if we took ! Cor. 11:26 to mean “as often as we come together.” That would mean the average independent Baptist church would find itself swamped in hypocrisy and disobedience. After all, I don’t know too many Indy-Fundies who observe communion on Wednesdays and Sundays, do you? I’m sure there are a few out there, but I haven’t run across them.

    Although I think the frequency of the Table is a non-issue, I do not think it is unimportant. It’s not. But it should not be a first-order concern. In fact, this is exactly the attitude of the early church.

    There are many things to wrangle over, to be sure; but whether we observe the Table daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or even annually is not one of the great issues facing the church. To me, the tenor and tone of Scripture on this matter is fairly clear: We should observe the Table and be consistent in it.

    Personally I enjoy monthly or quarterly. But that’s just me.

  14. September 14, 2006 at 1:12 am

    I understand that there could be some uncertainty over the terms (ie. breaking bread instead of Lord’s Supper), but if we somehow arrive at the conclusion that the breaking of bread is only sometimes the Lord’s Supper, how could you ever determine which was which from the book of Acts alone? If the breaking of bread was not the Lord’s Supper, that means, only the Gospels and 1 Corinthians records the early church doing this – which would seem a kind of strange omission.

    Of course, I have my own opinion – which is believing that those passages are referring to the Lord’s Supper – but my reason for posting is wondering why others think it isn’t or is only referring to that part of the time (and how could you ever determine it then?).

    I think the Lord’s Supper had more impact and value to the early Christians, and it was a regular part of their fervent walk with the Lord – whereas today, so many times even good solid churches take it for granted, as some ritual to do, rather than something with real emotional and spiritual impact on our lives. As a young believer, though I was in more watered down churches, I appreciated the regular partaking of the Lord’s Supper – it was an event I highly prized, something with so much meaning to me. Then later I became IFB (been at the same IFB church for over 8 years now – and only one, though I have visited about 2 others – one good and one bad), and my pastor only has it about once or twice a year, and he never announces it ahead of time. So if you are sick or cannot make it to church on that exact service, several years can easily go by when you miss out – and I HATE that! It is one of the biggest disappointments I have faced in my spiritual life. In those 8 years, I have probably only partaken of the Lord’s Supper at this church maybe four times (perhaps one or two more – I never tried to count them, I just know I have missed many if not most of them). I feel like I go into “Lord’s Supper” withdrawals! I sure don’t want ritualism – but I would really love to have it more regular – or frequently more infrequently! 😉

  15. September 14, 2006 at 5:42 am

    tjp,

    I think I understand your point, and I agree that the Scriptures do not prescribe a particular frequency of celebrating the Lord’s Supper. I know Mallet Factor has said they are going to celebrate Communion every Suday for a month, but he did not say they would be celebrating it weekly. The general point was that we in Independent Fundamental Baptist churches have generally gone to the extreme point of ‘hardly’ observing rather than ‘often’ observing. This, I also admit, is true.

    Some churches never know until they enter the auditorium that they will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and they can hardly remember the last time they did. Others, celebrate on the Tuesday before the last Thursday in May, unless it is a leap year :-). In which case they celebrate on February 29th. (Of course, I’m being a little facetious here.)

    For those of us that celebrate somewhat frequently, we may not see the point of this essay. For others, its refreshing to see some type of biblical argument for observing more often than not.

    As far as the regularity of observing, this may come down to a simple recognition of human nature. Normally, if we don’t develop some type of schedule for doing something, we’ll soon neglect it all together. Other things will loom more important and we’ll put it off until we hardly remember the last time we did it. This happens with evangelism as well as observing the Lord’s Supper and other practices also.

    Anyway, thanks for visiting our blog. And someday, maybe you could let us know what ‘tjp’ stands for!

  16. September 14, 2006 at 7:35 am

    Mallet Factor said,

    “Nice there, hammerhead. Next thing, you’re going to want an invitation to the convention.

    I would say, just off hand, that the fact that the Bible makes a point of saying “breaking bread” indicates that it was more than simple fellowship. Breaking bread is the same terminology used for Communion. I would wonder if you have any reason to think that they were NOT celebrating the Lord’s Supper.”

    MalletFactor,

    I chose the name HammerHead because I was starting to feel like a kid in the eighties showing up to a basketball game without hightops. I’m sure you remember.

    In answer to your question:

    Was Paul observing the Lord’s Supper in Acts 27?

    Ac 27:35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.

    If breaking bread equals communion then Paul was either having “private communion” or very open communion with heathen soldiers and sailors. Even if he was only participating with the other believers that were present they were certainly not practicing this with the entire assembly. There would even be a possibility of “close communion” if that was the case.

    The same non-assembly communion would be going on in Acts 2:46 IF the breaking bread means that they were observing the Lord’s Supper. After all, it does not seem plausible that 3,000 plus members were all getting into each house.

    Now, in 1 Corinthians where it is clear that the ordinance is being dealt with, we see the bread and the cup. Of course, this is also the case at the Last Supper. And, we also see that it is an assembly matter.

    I am not inclined to believe that every time we see bread broken we are reading of the Lord’s Supper. I do see it everwhere that we read of the bread and the cup.

    For the record, we practice closed communion.

  17. September 14, 2006 at 11:07 am

    I am not inclined to believe that every time we see bread broken we are reading of the Lord’s Supper. I do see it everwhere that we read of the bread and the cup.

    Do you believe that none of those references of breaking bread refer to the Lord’s Supper? I would really like to sort this out. I agree that Acts 27 certainly seems like normal meal time. (Well, as normal as you can have in the midst of a raging storm, on the verge of a shipwreck…)

  18. September 14, 2006 at 11:22 am

    Jerry and others,

    I’ve been thinking about the fact that Acts is part 2 in a two part series written by Luke. The Gospel of Luke is the “former treatise” (Acts 1:1).

    The last mention of breaking bread in Luke is found in 24:30. There Jesus “took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.” Of course, this was the occassion of the Lord eating with the two disciples in Emmaus. Certainly this was not the Lord’s Supper. It was fellowship that involved bread-breaking.

    The instance of breaking bread before Luke 24 would be found in Luke 22. Of course, there you find the bread and the cup. This is what Paul refers to in 1 Cor 11:23-29. There we find bread-breaking and cup-partaking. Notice: “As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew forth the Lord’s death till he come.” It does not separate the two. His death is shewed forth when both are done. All through that passage it is both: eating and drinking.

    Unless we see both I do not believe we should be assuming both took place. The unfolding message from Luke to Acts seems to be: Both–memorial service. Bread only–fellowship. Then, 1 Corinthians reveals: Both–memorial service.

    Do you think that Theophilus would have automatically assumed the Lord’s Supper in Acts 2 given the fact that he would have seen simple fellowship with bread-breaking in the close of Luke’s Gospel?

    Another interesting thought: The Passover was not for a stranger unless he decided to “join up” with Israel. Also, it was not to be taken out of the house. Of course, the NT house is the Local NT church–the body of Christ. See Exodus 12:46-48. Just like the Lord’s Supper is the LORD’s supper, the passover was the LORD’s passover–Exodus 12:11 “It is the LORD’S passover.” I wonder if any of this would be a good example of closed communion?

  19. September 15, 2006 at 12:40 am

    Thank you, Hammerhead, I think that was a really good answer! I will have to think about the last paragraph, but the rest made a lot of sense considering the context (I had never thought of comparing Luke’s usage in his Gospel in this respect – though I have done that in some other studies).

    I have been saved for 14 years – the first six years was in various churches that all were a bit ecumenical – so therefore practiced some form of Open Comunion – and of course, they always taught that breaking of bread was always referring to the Lord’s Supper – because they wanted to observe it wherever, whenever, and with whomever. However, since then I have learned that it is a church ordinance, to be observed when the church is gathered together – not a bunch of solo Christians or some ecumenical hodgepodge of people. I have just never thought to seriously critique my previous understanding of those passages (in Acts) that we have been discussing – so I truly appreciate being able to arrive at a more Biblical conclusion here. God bless.

  20. September 18, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    “Hammerhead” a.k.a Pastor Mitchell,

    Sorry you were feeling left out. By the way, I had Converse Weapons (Bird, a hometown hero).

    Regarding what you have said about “breaking bread” (here’s a quote for a refresher):

    “Was Paul observing the Lord’s Supper in Acts 27?

    Ac 27:35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.

    If breaking bread equals communion then Paul was either having “private communion” or very open communion with heathen soldiers and sailors. Even if he was only participating with the other believers that were present they were certainly not practicing this with the entire assembly. There would even be a possibility of “close communion” if that was the case.

    The same non-assembly communion would be going on in Acts 2:46 IF the breaking bread means that they were observing the Lord’s Supper. After all, it does not seem plausible that 3,000 plus members were all getting into each house.

    Now, in 1 Corinthians where it is clear that the ordinance is being dealt with, we see the bread and the cup. Of course, this is also the case at the Last Supper. And, we also see that it is an assembly matter.

    I am not inclined to believe that every time we see bread broken we are reading of the Lord’s Supper. I do see it everwhere that we read of the bread and the cup.

    For the record, we practice closed communion.”

    It seems like (maybe only to me) you are assuming what you should be proving here. Maybe I’m wrong. But it looks like you are assuming “closed communion”, and then interpreting these passages through the filter of that assumption. The Bible may very well teach “closed communion”, but we need to make sure that Scripture defines our traditions, and that our traditions are not defining Scripture.

    The reasoning, particularly that Paul was not celebrating Communion on the ship, certainly sounds right. In fact, I’m comfortable with that. It might throw us a curve if the passage means Communion. But the fact that we aren’t comfortable with that answer does not mean it isn’t possible. Maybe a solid exegisis would be helpful.

  21. September 19, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    Pastor Mallinak,

    I am writing from the standpoint of one who is convinced that the closed communion position is the Biblical position. I’m sorry that I didn’t make that clear earlier. I was assuming that you were already convinced of the same. Is that the case or was my assumption wrong?

    It would be of great interest to me for you to take a few minutes to give me your thoughts on the first five paragraphs of post #18 that I wrote. If you don’t have the time I understand.

  22. September 21, 2006 at 3:15 pm

    Pastor Mitchell,

    I’m not putting you off. I’ll try to answer you by the end of next week.

  23. September 25, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    Pastor Mitchell,

    First, I appreciate your attention to the details of “breaking bread” in the book of Acts. When I first answered this (#12), it was “off-hand”, so I appreciate your pointing out the problems with it.

    On the other hand, you are making me think hard, which maybe I don’t appreciate so much! (I have to throw in the winks so the guys over at SI can admire our tone over here).

    Now, to an answer (or at least a feeble attempt at one).

    1) The passage in Luke 24:30 certainly appears to be simple fellowship on the surface. However, at that table, Luke uses the same terminology as the Bible uses for the Supper. I think that is significant. I also think it is significant that it was this act of taking, blessing, breaking, and giving that opened their eyes so that they knew him. Was it the Lord’s Supper? I don’t think we can discount that possibility. There certainly was a symbolism here.

    2) I don’t think we can dogmatically say that both the bread and cup must be mentioned in order for the reference to be speaking of the Supper.

    3) You said, “Unless we see both I do not believe we should be assuming both took place.” That’s fine that you believe that. I’m not sure how to answer you on that one. I’m assuming that you have a reason to believe that this is the requirement of Scripture (both mentioned = the Supper, otherwise fellowship). I don’t see this requirement.

    4) You said, “Do you think that Theophilus would have automatically assumed the Lord’s Supper in Acts 2 given the fact that he would have seen simple fellowship with bread-breaking in the close of Luke’s Gospel?” I’m struggling with the “given the fact” part here. Given what fact? Has that already been proven? What was the proof?

    The Bible, in many places, utilizes the typology of “breaking bread”. I don’t think we can relegate them and treat them as unconnected, random ideas. There is a symbolism throughout.

    I hope that answers your questions, though I am sure you will have a response. I’ll read it. In fact, I’ll welcome it. But I am behind on answering questions, so I must move higher up the blog! See you on another post.

  24. November 12, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    First off, I confess I know this is a very old conversation that many may have not only assumed was over, but may have forgotten all about it! I apologize for “resurrecting an old thread.”

    That being said, I am new pastor of a church that I have been a member of for more than 20 years. I have served on the staff of the church since 1992. Our church has always practiced “open communion”. I am thoroughly convinced that the Bible indeed teaches us “closed communion”. I am beginning to instruct our church through preaching on the subject. Here is a link to a sermon I preached this past Sunday evening if your interested (http://revonator.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/time-to-consider-the-lords-table/). I have seen nothing but positive reception from the church to this point.

    Now to my question. I don’t want to ask you how we should go about it, but I do want to know how your churches practice closed communion. Please, if you would, give me a description of how and why (as much as possible) your church observes the Lord’s Supper.

    I am particularly interested in how you make sure that only the church members are participating without being unnecessarily callous to the non-members and visitors that may be there. Do you have a special service? Is it a part of a regularly scheduled service? Again, please describe how and why your church observes.

    If this is a bad place to pose this question, I would love to be pointed to a good place 🙂 I really do want some godly, Scriptural counsel on this.

  25. Joshua
    November 12, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    My church practices open, but I was at a closed communion church recently. One of the men mentioned that when they are going to have communion, the Pastor just mentions it on Sunday morning: “We’ll be taking the Lord’s Supper tonight”.

    All the members then come 30 minutes early for the evening service and they partake then. It’s a smallish church, but they said it worked well for them. Is that the sort of thing you are looking for?

  26. November 12, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Joshua

    Yes, in fact, that is a bit of what I am asking. I am looking for input just like that. I want to find the best way for our church to observe the Lord’s supper in what I feel is the Scriptural way. We have never practiced any way other than “open”.

    BTW, that link up there was messed up with the parenthesis the message I preached is here: http://revonator.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/time-to-consider-the-lords-table/ if you care to see it.

  27. November 13, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    We practice “closed.” I announce that non-members will be dismissed at the final prayer, as only members practice communion in our church. Thanks for coming. If you want to hang around, that would be great. We end the evening service with prayer and then two verses on the piano and clavinova (organ). We begin the Lord’s Table.

  28. November 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Dear brethren,

    If you have the chance, I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on my work “Acts 20:7 and worship on the Lord’s Day” at http://thross7.googlepages.com in the Ecclesiology section. I want to believe in closed communion, but the fact that in Acts 27 the breaking of bread is not the Supper does not really completely deal with the exegetical evidence that Acts 20 is the Supper, and, if it is the Supper, that Paul partook. I would like a closed person to deal with the evidence I present in my article that the Supper went on in Acts 20.

    Right now I would say that I am closed, but without an explanation for Acts 20, which is not a stable/tenable long term position.

    Thanks.

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