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Thread: Book Plunge: Understanding Four Views on the Lord's Supper

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Book Plunge: Understanding Four Views on the Lord's Supper

    How should we see the meal?

    Link

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    What do I think of John Armstrong's book published by Zondervan? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    We often think that the table of the Lord should be where we find unity. In an ideal world, this would be so, but we do not live in that ideal world. Unfortunately, it seems that when we come to the Lord's table, even when we get there, we get into a debate about what is going on. We might as well learn to understand each other.

    In this book, we get the views of a memorial view more in line with the Baptist tradition, the Lutheran view, and the Roman Catholic view. All come together with a mutual respect displayed for one another and in conversation. Each states his view to have it critiqued by the others.

    I find myself more in line with the Baptist view. Many of the others honestly seemed to be incredibly similar to me and at times seemed hard to understand. All sides did strive to engage with Scripture to show the points they were arguing.

    One aspect that surprised me was how little interaction there was with the early church. I remember Thomas Aquinas being cited at times, but I don't remember people like Justin Martyr or Tertullian or others. It would have been good for some to try to give further demonstration that their view was the view of the original church that way. This was especially a shock when it came to the Roman Catholic position.

    Many of these also addressed practical questions. Who can come to the table and how often should we come to the table? What about children at the table? All of these are important questions, but at the end, I am left with another question that might seem odd, but hear me out.

    What practical difference does all of this make overall?

    I am not against understanding what Jesus said and better making sense of it, but am I to think that you will not live a devout and holy life if you hold to the Memorial view as opposed to the Lutheran view? Is there anything in the text that indicates that unless a priest or a pastor says the right words or whathaveyou over the elements, that they do not become the body and blood of Jesus?

    When we read the text, the text tells us in 1 Corinthians to examine ourselves. God will provide on His end, but we need to make sure that we are treating His gift properly. Most of the Christians today do not seriously think about the Lord's Supper. While this is a shame, there is one right thing. They do it because Jesus told them to do it. If it drives them to live a holier life, all the better.

    Also, I really don't see churches today observing what I think is the Lord's Supper anyway. Most of us have what my wife has called "The Lord's Snack." When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, there were people going home hungry and some getting drunk. How many people are going to take a little piece of bread or a wafer and say "I couldn't eat another bite!" or get a little bit of wine and go home drunk as a skunk?

    For us, it's also individualized. In some Protestant churches, you can get the elements individually wrapped for you. In all branches, what I have seen is something very individualistic. A priest or pastor presides and people come up one by one and receive the elements that way. There is no unity. There is no need for you to know the person behind you or in front of you. In the ancient world, a meal was a communal experience. That is not going on in our churches today.

    I am not against us striving to understand what Jesus said all the better, but I do hope we return to a table of unity soon. When we exclude fellow Christians from the table, I just consider this tragic. If we are all going to partake of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb together someday, should we not learn to partake of the table put before us together today?

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Isn't church worship in general supposed to be a communal experience? My parish has a communal meal after the liturgy (so does Jawa Man's). If you look at the institution of the Lord's Supper, however, the key point was not the meal (which, after all, was already a common Jewish experience), but the breaking and distribution of the bread and sharing of the wine.

    By the way, in my (largely Baptist) Protestant experience, ushers distribute the elements to the people in the pews rather than have people come forward.

    It would have been nice if the book had covered the Orthodox view as well, which is that of the early church fathers.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    One of the writers did mention it would have been nice to have an EO representative. Of course, I would debate as to whether or not that was the view of the Fathers and it would have been good to see some debate on that. Scripture is necessarily primary, but I don't see any reason to dismiss the Fathers.

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    I still struggle with "how often". The Bible doesn't tell us that.

    To me, "every week" seems to make it less special. Once a quarter (Baptist churches often do that) seems way too seldom, and if you happen to miss that quarter's Lord's Supper service, it's at least 6 months between.

    Currently, we're doing the first Sunday of every other month, but I'm inclined to want to do it more frequently than that. Perhaps once a month.
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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    I still struggle with "how often". The Bible doesn't tell us that.

    To me, "every week" seems to make it less special. Once a quarter (Baptist churches often do that) seems way too seldom, and if you happen to miss that quarter's Lord's Supper service, it's at least 6 months between.

    Currently, we're doing the first Sunday of every other month, but I'm inclined to want to do it more frequently than that. Perhaps once a month.
    I would receive the Eucharist every day if I could. It is that precious to me. Of course, to me it is not merely a memorial, which perhaps changes my perspective on frequency.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio

    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

  6. Amen Chrawnus amen'd this post.
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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    I would receive the Eucharist every day if I could. It is that precious to me. Of course, to me it is not merely a memorial, which perhaps changes my perspective on frequency.
    That just seems kinda weird to me, like my spiritual condition would be dependent upon some physical act or "work".

    OTOH, I suppose I could say the same thing about the importance I place on my daily "quiet time".
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    tWebber thewriteranon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    That just seems kinda weird to me, like my spiritual condition would be dependent upon some physical act or "work".

    OTOH, I suppose I could say the same thing about the importance I place on my daily "quiet time".
    Does taking your medication every day make it less important? I technically can function without my medication but I'm much better if I take it frequently. That is analogous to the Eucharist imo.

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    That just seems kinda weird to me, like my spiritual condition would be dependent upon some physical act or "work".

    OTOH, I suppose I could say the same thing about the importance I place on my daily "quiet time".
    It's not at all about doing it to enhance my spiritual condition. Receiving the Eucharist is receiving the body and blood of Christ. I long for that, like a thirsty man longing for water.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio

    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thewriteranon View Post
    Does taking your medication every day make it less important?
    A) My daily medical routine consists of taking a baby aspirin once a day, when I remember, so, yeah, not vitally important.
    2) My Salvation and spiritual life are through Christ's work on the Cross, and the Holy Spirit living in me - 24/7/365

    I technically can function without my medication but I'm much better if I take it frequently. That is analogous to the Eucharist imo.
    This may be the very first time in recorded history I respond to you with...

    (you're one of my favorite posters)
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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    It's not at all about doing it to enhance my spiritual condition. Receiving the Eucharist is receiving the body and blood of Christ. I long for that, like a thirsty man longing for water.
    Obviously, I don't see it that way... we do it in remembrance, and I don't really see it as some kind of transfusion or revitalizer. But, quite honestly, if it works for you, great!
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