Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Different Views of the Supper

Yesterday Justin Taylor posted a quote by J.I. Packer about the Lord's Supper. He entitled it What Should You Be Thinking About During the Lord's Supper. The quote and most of the comments stem from classic Reformation ecclesiology.

I decided to leave a comment describing what we do as a church family eating the Lord's Supper. One person responded by asking about kids and unbelievers. I then responded to that. The tenor of the conversation is a positive one. I encourage you to read the post and comments, and then leave your own thoughts on the matter.

The Supper is very important to the life of the church. The better we understand God's plan for his meal, the better we can celebrate it in a manner that pleases him.


Ted Bigelow said...

Dear brother,

Your comment on Justin Taylor’s blog, "What we think about is whatever we are talking about while we’re eating" made me remember some questions I've wanted to ask of men like yourself who advocate the Lord's Supper being a part of a larger common meal. I’ve had these questions ever since I read the pro- home church, and very well written book, “ekklesia” edited by Steve Atkerson (NTRF.org).

Paul says “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:27). We know he isn’t referring to spiritual preparation for eating only, but something amiss during the act of eating. What might that “unworthy manner” be if Paul is referring to eating the bread and cup while talking with others about almost any topic?

2nd, Paul isolates what is being consumed and that can bring judgment apart from the common meal: “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner…” He doesn’t say, whoever eats the common meal in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.”

How then can the meal itself be eaten in a worthy way while yet the bread and cup, which are eaten as part of the common meal in your home church fellowship, not be?

Eric said...


Thank you for writing. I appreciate that you use the word brother, for that is what we are in Christ.

The context of I Cor. 11:17-34 is key. Paul condemns the manner in which some of the Corinthian Christians are eating the meal. He writes in 11:20-22, "When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not."

Paul is clearly talking about a shared meal together; he refers to some going hungry. He specifically describes the unworthy manner. They weren't waiting for one another. Some were even getting drunk.

Eating in an unworthy manner is eating in a self-serving, gluttonous, unloving manner. This is not what Christians are to do.

Instead, we are to share a meal together, with the bread and cup representing the body of Christ. We feed on him as we are together. We believe this is the model we see in scripture; therefore, this is what we do.

Mac said...

To possibly shed a little more light on the top[ic. Christ in the gospels said "as often as you do this do this in remembrance of me" The last supper was a meal amongst believing friends. During the meal is when it occured if we look at the context. This coupled with the Corinthian passage seems to make things retively clear on the subject. I agree with you brother in that it is a part of a larger common meal. 1500 years of tradition is hard to break. it is however very freeing. so how often, as often as you do this, do what? eat a meal together and fellowship in the Lord. I often wonder how Christ would feel in seeing the tradition and peity in present day communion. It is not supposed to be a funeral snack, but rather a remembrance and celebration in the atoning Grace of His ressurection. It is more of a heart attitude not so much litergy or ceremony. It is truly a blessing hearing you put forth the notion. I stand with you brother in the Grace and service of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus The Christ.

Eric said...


Thank you. The meal truly is a pleasure. One additional bonus I find to eating together is that it does away with formality. Putting food in your mouth is a real world experience. It is a sort of leveler. It brings us together as we feed on Christ.

Now that I'm a part of this, I can't imagine sitting through another Lord's Supper ceremony that amounts, as you say, to a snack. I hope more and more brothers and sisters in Christ begin to experience the joy of a full supper.

Jeffrey said...

There's an old saying: "you don't realize how far you've drifted until you see the shore afar off". Usually it's used in the context of deteriorating morals, but I just experienced it in reverse. While reading this, I realized just how full my experience with this small fellowship has become. My heart goes out to believers trapped in the system.

Eric said...


I agree. The community we experience when we gather truly is special. I can't imagine going back into the institutional system. Frankly, it would seem really weird to me to have to sit through a ceremony and eat a yucky snack, all without getting to talk to anybody.