What do you think about my statement of belief regarding the Lord's supper?




I was surfing the net doing some research and discovered your teaching regarding the Lord's Supper. We are currently dealing with this issue and thought I would pass on our statement of belief for authority to make the Lord's supper available in subsequent assemblies.

[The document is not copied here. It basically listed a few key verses regarding the Lord's supper with leading questions (no statements) that vaguely implied not offering the Lord's supper a second time was wrong.]

In studying the Lord's supper, it is important to cover all the verses. Your study leaves out I Corinthians 10:16-17. John 6:53-58 should also be considered, though there is debate as to whether the Lord's supper is actually being discussed.

I understand that you believe that multiple servings of the Lord's supper is allowed. That really doesn't bother me. We have brethren here that feel the same way and the table is available to them if someone wishes to partake on Sunday evening. But from my personal study, I find heavy emphasis on the fact that it is done together and that the sharing itself has symbolic meaning. Since I can't find evidence that the church offered it more than once, I decided to stick with only partaking of it once per Sunday for myself. Others will have to draw their own conclusion.

Please consider the following, your conclusion mandates three things:

  1. There is no authority for an individual to eat the Lord's Supper except in one particular assembly and that the church does not have authority to make it available to those who have not eaten.
  2. If there is no authority for it, it is sin.
  3. You are being double minded in your teaching of what is sin, how to deal with sin in the church, and our own responsibility to stand for the truth. 

Mind you I do not make these statements lightly, remember we are dealing with this issue here and it has been brought to us by our preacher.

I do find it odd that you teach this view and the church has allowed this to be posted on the web and has allowed you to continue such teaching. The result is that you condemn your congregation of sin, and you fellowship sin (according to your understanding of the Scriptures).  

How do you harmonize such action? How does your congregation harmonize such action?

You really need to learn Romans 14 better. The conclusions made by both sides are built on what is NOT in the Bible. Both those who decide to partake and those who don't are doing the best they know how to follow God's commands, as Paul told us, "Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand" (Romans 14:4). I will not ask anyone to act out of doubt (Romans 14:22-23). I will not partake at the second serving because I have doubts that this is what God wants. I won't condemn someone who chooses to do so; at worse they are doing something that has no purpose, but they are doing so sincerely. The fact that they partake causes no personal harm to my beliefs. The fact that I do not partake causes no personal harm to their beliefs.

It you are going to charge someone with sin, you need to show book, chapter and verse where it is a sin. And while you are at it, you need to explain why vegetarians are accepted as Christians when the Bible clearly teaches that meat is acceptable food. "Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him" (Romans 14:3).

I believe I have a firm understanding of Romans 14. It is talking about those who are weak in the faith such as newborn Christians needing spiritual milk rather than spiritual meat.

This conclusion which we speak of IS in the Bible.

This issue we are discussing is not a matter of those who are weak in the faith but rather those who are convicted in there belief. I pose to you that you are well learned in the scriptures that you are not new in faith and that you have no excuse for your application of Romans 14. 

I know by your posted teachings that you believe we are to judge one another within the church, otherwise there would be no discipline!

Do you hold that a person who misses the morning assembly and is able to attend in the evening that they are not under obligation to eat?

How do you harmonize Matthew 26:26-30, Acts 20:7, and I Corinthians 11:28?

I speak these thing with brotherly love and hope of unity in the church.

I have one question for you: Do you believe that it is a sin if a congregation does not offer a second opportunity to partake of the Lord's Supper?

I believe that if there is an assembly of the saints on the Lord's day, and there is someone who has not eaten (within the assembly), that it is a sin not to accommodate those brethren.

I'm glad you took more time in carefully wording your position. Since you are not a member here at La Vista and have not attended services here, you would not know that such is exactly what the congregation does. There are a goodly portion of the congregation who believe that only one serving should be offered each Lord's day, but we have nearly an equal number who see no harm in offering it a second time for those who could not make it in the morning. The opportunity is offered at both services with those who don't find authority for the second serving simply not participating in that part of the service -- beyond praying along with those who have chosen to take it at a later time. Therefore, I must conclude that your objection is not with what is practiced, but with the admission of our members that the second serving is a tradition and not a required practice found in the Bible.

You admitted as much in your answer. You stated, "if there is an assembly," thus admitting that there is no requirement in the New Testament for multiple assemblies of the church on the first day of the week. We know from command (I Corinthians 16:1-2) and example (Acts 20:7), that the church must met at least once on Sunday, but there is no mention of multiple meetings. Yet we would both agree that there is nothing wrong with multiple meetings if that is what the church chooses to do.

You had to be careful with the wording of your response because you know that many congregations in the United States and most of the congregations around the world only meet once per Lord's day. Up until World War II, that was by far the most common, if not exclusive, practice of the churches of Christ. The question of offering a second serving only arises when there are multiple services and only in how the services are viewed. Is the second meeting an extension of the first meeting, continuing after a break, or is it an entirely separate and independent worship service?

Since there is no requirement in the Bible for the number of times to meet on the Lord's day (beyond once), then it is obvious there are no directions given as to what must take place in those additional assemblies. This is why I pointed out that both sides are drawing conclusions based on what the Scriptures do NOT say. One group sees the two services as complete and independent. The other sees it as the same service extended after a break. Yet you are quick to condemn your brethren who have decided that partaking of the Lord's Supper together is essential because Paul said, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread" (I Corinthians 10:16-17). And, "Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk" (I Corinthians 11:20-21). And, "Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another" (I Corinthians 11:33).

In order to prove your contention that serving the Lord's supper is required at every gathering of the saints which happens to take place on the first day of the week, you need to show that multiple gatherings were expected or at least encouraged and that the command is that each independent gathering must include the Lord's supper. In most of the churches I have known, there is a recognition that worship includes singing, praying, partaking of the Lord's Supper, laying by in store, reading the Bible, and preaching the word of God. Yet many churches do not think that all of these elements have to be done at every gathering. At one of them, yes; but not at all of them. For example, many congregations have no preaching at one service each month and instead use that time for additional singing of praises to God. Some don't take the collection on Sunday evening, though they do so on Sunday morning.

What is happening is that you are taking a tradition, which I see causes no harm by itself, and elevating it to the level of a command when you have no command behind it. Because some do not desire to follow the tradition for themselves you wish to condemn them even when they don't impose their view on other Christians. Is that not what the Pharisees did? "Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault" (Mark 7:2). Is there anything wrong with washing your hands before you eat? Absolutely not. But is it a requirement from God? And the answer here is the same, it is not. To condemn because someone chooses not to follow a tradition is not just or of God.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding the Lord's Supper
Questions and Answers regarding Worship