How To Take the Lord’s Supper

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 4 weeks ago

Source.

While the sacrament of communion or the Eucharist — which is present in many Christian denominations and involves consuming bread and wine in remembrance or exaltation of the body and blood of Jesus Christ — has shifted in presentation and delivery over the centuries, most contemporary churches have similar systems.

Parishioners may be called to the pulpit to receive bread or a wafer from a church leader and to drink from a common cup of wine or — in the case of some more conservative denominations — grape juice. Alternatively, deacons may pass around a tray of wafers or small hunks of bread, followed by small disposable cups of juice. This is a common enough approach that most religious goods stores carry specific communion trays with slots for 1-ounce cups.

However, in the age of megachurches — as well as that of a global pandemic, which caused many churches to reconsider the sharing of bread and use of a common cup — an alternative delivery system for the Eucharist has increased in popularity in recent years. And it’s something of a booming business.

These days, when attendees enter Southeast, they’re guided to a row of long tables filled with small, plastic two-packs of wafers and juice. These aren’t a new product, but they have been primarily used to deliver the sacrament to individuals who are hospitalized or otherwise infirm, or when worshiping outside the walls of a physical church. When indicated by leadership from the pulpit, worshipers serve themselves and eventually dispose of the cups and wrappers in the large recycling cans that are now stationed outside the sanctuary doors.

You can read Kenneth Gentry’s book on wine for yourself.  Nothing irks me more than Christians who think they’re holier than God.  In the time in which the NT was written, refrigeration didn’t exist.  Any grape juice quickly turned into wine.  And if you want to somehow figure out an engineering solution to that dilemma (refrigeration didn’t exist until Carrier), you have to deal with Deuteronomy 14:26-27, and tell me how the term “strong drink” can be interpreted in any fashion than one which can make you inebriated if abused.  And just to be sure not to neglect those among us who rely on tithes, Moses makes sure we invite our local pastor when consuming wine.

Look, I’m not trying to tell you what to do with your life, nor do I have strong opinions about the modern practice of using pre-packaged do-dads for communion.  But Jesus instituted His supper with wine and unleavened bread, and that’s the way it should be taken.  To say that conservative churches sometimes use grape juice means only that they are in slavery to the temperance movement created by do-gooder social gospel ladies in northern churches.

I recall a lecture by R.C. Sproul once in which a student asked him why we couldn’t take the Lord’s Supper with crackers and coke.  Sproul screamed, “Because Jesus didn’t institute it with crackers and coke.  He used wine and unleavened bread.”


Comments

  1. On December 4, 2022 at 9:46 pm, George said:

    Jesus turned water into wine. He drank wine. As did all the apostles.
    The strong drink mentioned in Deuteronomy was not wine. Man has always had ways to concoct alcoholic spirits.
    In the Big Bend area of Texas there are numerous pre-historic cave dwellings.
    In connection with these many have Sotol pits; where the Sotol cactus was turned into a strong alcoholic drink. It is still being made in Mexico along with Tequila and Mescal. I do not mean to infer that this type of human enterprise was limited to that region or limited in scope. The Apaches made Tizwin. Mankind has always had a penchant for mind altering substances; since time immemorial.

  2. On December 4, 2022 at 9:48 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    I know George. Wine and strong drink are two slightly different things. My point is “a fortiori.” From the lesser to the greater. It’s a point of logic.

  3. On December 5, 2022 at 6:46 am, Joe Blow said:

    Its funny, a few years ago I moved from (liberal, episicipal, unitarian) New York to (baptist, primative baptist, and new baptist) Tennessee… heard all the jokes about how a baptist won’t say hello to you in the liquor store (all true, too!)
    Growing up I had friends that had to learn latin phrases b/c they went to a Catholic school and By Gods Grace we are saying the mass in Latin!
    I’m with you, the Good Book says wine, we drink wine. I can see how the KungFlu, etc. might make you pass on the common cup (Gawd, what if someone had herpes, or a cold sore?), but we are admonished to “put our faith in the Lord”, are we not? Maybe thats how we all catch one of the highly-survivable variants and generate natural immunity? The Lord works in mysterious ways…
    I’m reminded of the old saw about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. You can appreciate the logic in the argument, however, traditions exist for reasons, too. A drop of alcohol contained in a sip of wine is NOT going to make anyone an alcoholic, nor taint their spirit. Perverting ancient gospel to appease modern feel-good vibes is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard… but that is the pox on our world today, isn’t it?

  4. On December 5, 2022 at 8:38 am, George said:

    I think we are on the same track. We should follow Jesus’ teaching.

  5. On December 5, 2022 at 11:50 am, Latigo Morgan said:

    Follow the money.

    Jesus made it simple. Others complicated it to improve profits.

    Also, water was a good way to get sick with bacterial and parasitic infections. Wine does not have that danger associated with it. Abuse of wine, though…..

  6. On December 5, 2022 at 1:04 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Abuse anything and it becomes sinful. Food, for example. The vanity that comes with going to the gym is another.

  7. On December 5, 2022 at 6:57 pm, Pat H. Bowman said:

    I don’t disagree with the overall perspective of this post. One thing I will add as another viewpoint is that many churches–ours included–have a high population of people who have struggled with alcohol abuse and are now clean and sober. While an ounce of wine does nothing for me one way or the other–from the point of view of an alcoholic beverage–it might be bad for an alcoholic. This could become a complex subject quickly, but I thought I’d throw it out there. I would hate for a brother to stumble because I insisted on having wine at communion. At the same time, as I said at the beginning, I agree unleavened bread and wine is the optimal solution.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Religion and was published December 4th, 2022 by Herschel Smith.

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