It is a sad fact that churches today follow tradition rather than scripture. Even Reformed churches stick to systems and not to what God actually says. We could go through a long list of these traditions and each one is useless. One such tradition is how we treat Communion (also called The Lord’s Supper).
Though a simple activity in scripture, it has become laden with human interference. For example, nothing in scripture tells us that only a pastor/ordained minister can give communion. The communion is to be shared, not led as if by a manager.
It is thought that the pastor must lead and pray, and then hand out the bread and wine to elders/deacons. None of this is found in scripture. Indeed, there are no commands, except to say we should hold communion together on a regular basis.
But, we are NOT told how often we should hold it, or on what day, or for how long, or what the whole content of the communion will be. Thus, some will hold it once a week, others once a month, and yet others once a year! Yet, denominations and even local independent churches hold to fixed times and dates.
The wine used at the Last Supper was fermented wine. It is no good saying “it could not be fermented because yeast was not allowed during the Passover”… the wine had already been made. And, besides, how many people know that there can be no such thing as wine without yeast? This is because grapes have natural (wild) yeasts on their skins and these yeasts are also in the atmosphere. Until fairly recently (one hundred years) wild yeasts were used for spontaneous fermentation of wine. Some wine producers still use wild yeasts others use cultured yeasts to control the fermentation and the character of the wine. By definition wine is made from fermented grapes and fermentation produces alcohol using yeasts. Yeasts are removed from the wine at the end of the fermentation process, but they have to be used in the process of making wine. (WineMaker, October 2005).
It was common practice, anyway, to drink fermented wine, as a number of references suggest. Whether fermented or not, wine was used at the first communion. Christ had already gone through the usual Jewish Passover rites. Then came the part that made it special for believers – He gave new meanings to the wine and bread, different from meanings given by Jews.
The meanings are symbolic, so the meanings given by Roman Catholics and others are false and blasphemous. Communion is taken so that we may remember what Christ did for us on the cross. The wine is just wine and the bread is just bread: it does not change into an actual body or blood! The whole communion is simply a remembrance; we are to remember Christ and His sacrifice. The bread is torn into bits, because this represents how His body was torn by wicked men, and pinned to a cross. The wine (or similar drink, such as grape juice) represents the blood He lost as a result of being tortured and hanged. The blood is important because God says it contains life. Thus, by losing His blood Jesus lost His life, for us.
The elaborate methods and rites used by many churches are nonsense. The way Christ did it was simple and to the point, and is all we need to do. Any Christian can offer the bread and wine. It need not be done by the pastor or an elder (‘elder’ is another name for ‘pastor’), or a deacon. It can be someone different every time. Or, why not just place the bread and wine on a table and let people come and get them?
If there is only a small number of people, why not sit around a table and take bread and wine individually? And, if you wish, eat and drink as soon as you get these things? There is nothing in scripture to say otherwise! Nor is there a command to say we must pray at the same time, or before, or after, the communion. What I am getting at is the simple truth of scripture. Read it properly and not with a denomination in mind, or human tradition. Prayer is up to you. If you are led by God to pray then do so… but it is not commanded. Or, you can just take the wine and bread and leave it at that. Someone should remind others why communion is taken.
The cups need not be special glasses. They can be plastic tumblers, or even tea-cups. The point being that the container for the wine is not relevant. The bread in the Passover was unleavened, but you can use ANY bread for the purpose of communion, even leavened.
The first communion was part of a meal. The communions held by the first churches were usually part of a meal. In our own church we have communion at the start of a small meal, which comes just after the Bible study, so it is all one activity. In scripture this is called a ‘love feast’, because it shows love by the brethren, who join together as followers of Jesus Christ, around one table.
When coming to communion a Christian must be careful not to take it if he has got anything against any other Christian. He should refrain until he has put the matter right, at least in his own heart. If he has openly opposed another Christian for no good reason, then he must go to him and offer friendship after repenting. Then, he can take communion.
Really, communion is a very simple remembrance. We must not make it into something more detailed. Nor must we say only an ordained man may ‘give’ communion. It is CHRIST Who gives communion! We are all equals in His sight, and the pastor or pastors are only members like anyone else, equal to, and not above, them. Unfortunately, even good churches today are riddled with falsity and false traditions. It is our duty to shun them and bring back godly, biblical truths, and follow only good traditions… and there are only two – baptism and communion. Only when we get back to scripture will God bless us.
(Also read longer studies in 1 Corinthians 11, John 21, etc., for scriptural arguments. Also, ‘Wine in Jesus’ Time’, A-413).
© March 2012
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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