29
Oct
08

The Lord’s Supper and Communion with Christ – the Baptist View

As a Baptist, I would predictably side with the last approach we discussed yesterday – the symbolic view.  However, in the last few years, as I move toward the Lord’s Table with greater regularity, I tend take to the “spiritual” view of the meal—the teaching that Jesus is spiritually present with the elements.

Although I cannot hold to the Catholic (transubstantiation) or the Lutheran view (consubstantiation) of the Lord’s Supper, I do believe we Baptist could benefit with a more regular and consistent observance as these traditions practice.  At CrossPoint we have increased our awareness of the Lord’s Supper by taking the bread and juice each month.  Speaking personally, I find a spiritual refreshing that comes with taking the bread and the juice.  For the lack of a better explanation, my soul is reinvigorated each time I take the Meal.  My remembering Christ and His sacrifice creates a deeper appreciation and a more solemn understanding of my salvation.

Let’s make sure we understand another simple truth about the Lord’s Supper: it is a mystery.
The Lord’s Supper is one of the most unfathomable acts of the New Testament Church.  What takes place during that sacred occasion is inexplicable.  Yet Jesus instructed the church to remember Him through this meal, albeit an unfathomable observance.

In addition to the Meal being mysterious, I find it to be one of the most solemn and serious moments in the life of a church.  If you do not agree with the profundity of the Lord’s Supper, then read what the Word of God says in 1 Corinthians 11:27-30,

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

1 Corinthians 11:27-30

Tomorrow, we conclude our brief discussion.

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10 Responses to “The Lord’s Supper and Communion with Christ – the Baptist View”


  1. 1 Searching
    October 29, 2008 at 7:20 am

    To take this a step further Ryan… what does it mean to you that Jesus lives in the heart of believers? Is that some far off spiritual concept put forth by religion or is Jesus actually alive and dwelling in the heart of every saved person? How does this reality affect your concept of Communion?

  2. 2 Puzzled
    October 29, 2008 at 8:47 am

    In reading over this blog, and in my limited understanding of the Baptist Church structure, how can any one Baptist Church, such as Crosspoint, agree on scriptural truth when they cannot agree with another Baptist Church a few miles away? Is it an accurate statement to say each church is “autonomous?” As Ryan is saying, “At CrossPoint we have increased our awareness of the Lord’s Supper by taking the bread and juice each month.” Why only at Crosspoint?

  3. 3 john
    October 29, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Searching,
    I’d encourage you to read John 15. Jesus says He abides in us which means He lives, stays, or dwells in us–that is literal. The fact that He abides in us enables us to be able to experience Him at the Table. In fact Paul speaks of the danger of partaking of the Table if He isn’t abiding in us in 1 Cor 11.

  4. 4 Lee
    October 29, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Great blog Ryan! I remember the first time I heard you make a similar statement many years ago as you prepared us to take the Lord’s Supper. My soul bore witness to what you were saying though I had not learned to articulate it yet. Now, since I believe God is omnipresent, Christ is God, and the Holy Spirit dwells within those whose hearts are truly his, where Christ is during the meal seems to me irrelevant.

    The reformers you mentioned were debating against the original stipulation made through the doctrine of transubstantiation. If as reformers we stipulate Scripture to be the ultimate source of truth and have rejected the traditions that contradict Scripture, I wonder, why do we consider as authority the unbiblical answers of men in opposition to the unbiblical doctrine men declared authoritative? Is it not possible they all simply fell short of finding a way to define what you tried to describe above? I wholeheartedly agree there is a mystery to it! It seems the inadequate attempts to solve the mystery have caused much ado about nothing for centuries, proven to be fruitless stipulation by the resulting and needless division. Much more has been needlessly thrown out by Protestants as the branches of division continued to grow due to prejudice and much has been retained that was inspired by prejudice – factions upon factions, rubber stamping traditions as doctrine without using the word, i.e. adding to Scriputre. Given the ultimate authority we give Scripture as a denomination, it seems reasonable the imperatives for unity and the judgment upon the Pharisees and lawyers would have resulted in greater scrutiny of our own traditions that have been handed down.

    I have not verified my rantings so I offer the disclaimer that I have stated my opinion and could be wrong. Feel free to have at me if I am.

    Puzzled, if I may interject, you are correct that every Baptist church is autonomous. Hopefully, others will consider the CrossPoint’s example.

    Searching, I see you directed your question to Ryan. However, I would be delighted to dialouge with you about your question if you’re interested.

  5. October 29, 2008 at 11:55 am

    I agree with Pastor Ryan. I believe he is following the lead of the Holy Spirit and therefore may not always “match” Baptist neighbors. We’re all human and doing the best we can as we come to understand more about Christ on this earthly journey plagued with tradition. Look at all the disciples fussed over. You’d think we would figure all this out from the disciples to us right? We have not exceeded them…we are like them. Christ is just as unfathomable in His love today as He was to them then.

    To take communion in another direction, I personally like it when the congregation does not feel any pressure to take communion corporately when a person may still be dealing with sin issues and/or working through personal hurt or anger. That’s grace. Not looking to the right or left but only within yourself to know if you are right with God. Remember the different people in scripture who were at the cross when Jesus was crucified? Look at how each responded. Was there any human pressuring them to respond a certain way? I was privileged to be part of a church which extended that kind of love and grace and encouraged brothers and sisters in Christ who may have not been ready in that moment, on that Sunday, to participate with a clean heart. (speaking figuratively…mind, will and emotions…pure motive and repentant posture in spirit). (Also once a month but freedom for lay leaders to participate with small groups if convicted to do so). Each one is responsible for his/her relationship with Christ. There is great freedom and love in releasing others to God. Only He is judge.

    Pardon me if there are more personal issues between local churches. I’m taking each response at face value since I am new. I believe whatever church body we are committed to, it is important, like a marriage, to be committed through thick and thin. (i’m preaching to the choir on that one) Leaders have an incredible load of spiritual responsibility. We should be willing to extend as much grace as we are expecting them to give and mainly, offer to serve in the areas in which God has gifted us. Ephesians chapter 4. Hebrews chapter 13.

    I am a minimalist and not strongly in favor of lots of tradition since pride often squashes love over details which ultimately are for appearance. God is not pleased with our squabbles over such things. I believe we should major on the majors and minor on the minors.

    If this blog is truly more apologetic in nature, i may be in the wrong place:) My husband has a stronger gifting in that area. Peace, love, joy and unity may tend to be my common response. Keep me accountable in this area please so i don’t frustrate those delving into logistics. Thanks again for letting me share:)

  6. 6 Searching
    October 29, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    John- I am familiar with the text you refer to, and thus my train of thought.

    Lee- It would be an enjoyable dialog. Where and when?

    Puzzled- Therein lies the struggle of organized religion. To find unity and peace while not interpreting scripture exactly the same. The unfortunate compulsion of most is to disassociate with anyone who disagrees with ones interpretation.

    Ryan- Great stuff…as always!!

    Blessings to all!

  7. 7 Lee
    October 29, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Searching, (anyone else is welcome as well) my e-mail is: leej.pressure.1@hotmail.com. I also lead a small group Sunday mornings at 9:30 at CrossPoint in room E 102. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Chandra, I mentioned apologetics in a previous response because that’s my primary discipline. Apologetics is from the Greek word “apologia,” which means “to defend” or “to give answer,” derived from 1 Pet 3:15. My favorite authors are Ravi Zacharias and C. S. Lewis. Ravi’s book “Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend” is my primary resource and what inspired the name of my small group.

    Peace to all!

    1 Peter 3:13-17 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

  8. October 30, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Thanks Lee. That’s a great verse. I hope i didn’t come across offensively. Not the intention. My husband enjoys the same authors as well as John MacArthur. I get the benefit of those teachings as my husband shares them with me. He is quite the student and i can always count on him for accurate information.
    I’m glad to know about that class. That may be something he’d like to check into. Being his wife (and opposite) I gravitate more toward authors who deal with relationships/counsel/personality profiles, etc. I enjoy what I learn from him which helps me respond in that arena.

    We are still settling in here. We did classes together at times but also benefitted greatly as he studied and prayed with men and i studied and prayed with women. It would be great to fit in both somehow.

    Blessings.

  9. 9 Lee
    October 30, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Chandra, your concern shows your heart. You did not at all come across offensively.

    It would be a blessing to meet your husband! It’s not easy finding others who share my passion for the subject. Of course, as you have found out, that does not stop us from talking to whomever will listen 🙂

    Blessings to both of you as well!

  10. October 30, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks again, Lee. I also tend to be an open book. I have to be careful about that. I’m not certain of the best way for you to meet my husband without revealing personal contact info here. Hopefully y’all can connect soon. I have observed the uniqueness of the gift. I enjoy listening to him but i’m always glad when he can find a buddy. I rarely have the wealth of information I know he’d like for me to respond with. He’s a man of few words, but significant words usually. I try to throw a surprise in there every now and then. He appreciates that, I think.

    These dialogues have been so great since Walt’s introduction. Kudos to Pastor Ryan for pressing and praying through. I’m impressed by the humility here. A friend once commented, “I wish I had the humility of Paul so i could brag about it”. funny. God bless!


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