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#1 Candice

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 10:59 AM

Is it ok for the pastor to preach and present communion this way:

"Whether you are a follower of Jesus or you are not a follower of Jesus, you are welcome to participate in communion as a member of our community"?  (Meaning the church as community and the local "city" community).

 

My concern is that this is really not good.  Not good.  What is one to do?  I will not speak to any church leaders or pastors about this.  It never goes well or produces any fruit.



#2 Candice

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 11:08 AM

Just reading the Deeper Life topics, perhaps Tony Davison provided the answer:

 

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The place for the comforter is not that of one who preaches, but of the comrade who says nothing, but prays to God about the matter. The biggest thing you can do for those who are suffering is not to talk platitudes, not to ask questions, but to get into contact with God, and the “greater works” will be done by prayer (see John 14:12–13).

 

Still, I would love responses.



#3 Tony Davison

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 05:55 AM

Candice

This seems to be the way the churches are going, our church says that the communion is for the believer and goes as far to give a warning about non believers taking communion.


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#4 reader

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 06:00 AM

The preacher's heart is possibly in the right place in wanting to help but also he could be somewhat misguided in what he wishes to do.  Paul, to some degree, touches on this subject in

I Corinthians 11, especially in verses 27 - 29.  The minister you speak of could actually be leading people into doing something the New Testament speaks against.

 

23 ¶ For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;

24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.


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#5 Charles Miles

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 04:25 AM

All the churches I have ever been associated with look upon communion as a sacrament of the Church.  As Reader pointed out, this meal is for the members of the Family and is meant to have us remember who Jesus is and what He did for us.  Without that understanding and belief, the sacrament is only a snack after the sermon. A minister who invites all to take communion, without regard to faith in Jesus and what He did, is making an attempt to be all-inclusive and make everyone feel that they are a part of the service.  I believe the nonbelievers in the congregation should be asked to search themselves, think deeply about what is said at the communion table, and decide if they want to be a part of a communion one day. 


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#6 ADVRider

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 07:08 AM

Non-believers can't have communion with the saints, precisely because there is no common-union spiritually. You may have friendship and show cordiality to the community, but there is no spiritual union. So I agree with the above that while the pastor may be attempting to do the latter, he is missing or overlooking the idea that communion is rooted in spiritual ties, not community ties. He should be emphasizing the difference, even if carefully. Perhaps he is trying to woo the community into the community of Christ by showing love and he is just using inclusive language to make them feel welcome. I think that is possibly what he doing. 


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#7 Charles Miles

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 07:59 AM

ADV is probably correct that the minister is attempting to "woo" the church attendees who are not believers into feeling that they are a part of the Body by offering them communion, but I think he(the minister) has overlooked a very important bit of scripture in doing so.  1 Cor 11 27-30 really does lay out the problem for those partaking who are not in the Family.  Wonder if the minister has thought about what he is offering these people?  I know we want to make services comfortable and inviting, but ignoring  scripture to do so is very concerning to me.


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#8 Pilgrim1939

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 06:19 AM

I believe that communion is for believers. How can an unbeliever partake in something he or she does not believe in. However well intentioned I believe this Minister is in error.
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#9 Marvin Harrell

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 12:53 PM

I'm interested in what is meant in the original language here. 

 

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

 

Unworthy can also be translated as liable and is typically connected to something of judgement. Does this mean the person taking the bread and cup and are not part of the body of Jesus are thus under judgement? Verse 30 goes so far as to describing symptoms that are a result of doing so...sickness and death. If this is the case I should think someone would be dissuaded from taking the elements...right?


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#10 ADVRider

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 07:10 PM

Marvin,

I've got a book that says the Lord's Supper was originally a communal meal, not a ceremony or sacrament per se, as it has been handed down to us. The passage, according to the author, is not so much about introspection of one's spiritual condition as it is about how some members were acting.

It is in this context the verses make the most sense. Some believers were getting drunk, others were eating all the food, etc. before other members arrived and so forth. They were partaking of the "love feast" without showing any love, ergo, unwworthily and not understanding the Lord's body.

My book is packed away and I'm typing this on a phone, but after my move, I'll look for the relevant text and post up again. The book is "Reimagining Church" by Frank Viola if you're interested.
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#11 Charles Miles

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 08:23 AM

I would be very interested to see reputable information stating that communion was not a sacrament. Some do take things too far(in my opinion) but as time passes and historical meanings get foggy, maybe the communion was originally a full meal just like a dinner, and if so, I`m sure satan found a way to confuse the whole matter so as to distort the intent. All that aside, when Jesus said "do this in remembrance of me", then gave explanations about the cup contents as well as the broken bread, all this becomes Holy for me, and because of that....a sacrament. No, I do not think the cup contents turn into the actual blood of Christ, nor do I think the bread actually becomes His flesh, but I do think the message of what those elements represent is sacred and those partaking need to be a part of His family. If not, the penalty is stated and needs to be taken seriously, in my opinion. This is just the opinion of a child of God who believes Paul got clear instructions here and was explaining who was and who was not supposed to take part. "Unworthy manner".... we all know that only One is "worthy" of all praise, honor, and worship, so to partake of this communion meal in any manner than to be a part of His "worthy" body, is to claim worthiness that is just not there and placing ourselves in a position similar to the wedding guest who came to the feast wearing his own robe. We know what happened there.

May God bless us all and forgive us if we do not understand all this correctly,

Charlie
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#12 ADVRider

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 08:30 AM

Charlie,

Check out this link. The article shares the view I referenced in my book. There are many such articles online about communion including a corporate meal.


http://www.auburn.ed.../communion.html

Here's another

http://earlychurch.com/LoveFeast.php
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#13 Charles Miles

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 12:00 PM

Thank you ADV. The information was a great way to start my Sunday study. So there usually was a full meal, enjoyed by the congregants, and then there was a communion type service that followed. Easy to see how over eating and drinking could become a problem if there was a happy social meal and gathering before people got down to the serious side of worshipping with communion. Our church often has a Sunday "late afternoon" fellowship meal, but we have never attempted to follow that with communion, not because of heavy drinking, but the atmosphere simply may not be conducive to somber reflection. I may suggest we try the combination of fellowship and communion just to see if it works.

Thanks again.

Charlie
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#14 ADVRider

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Posted 12 June 2016 - 08:02 PM

I think what is difficult for us to grasp is that we live 20 centuries and half a world away from the apostolic church. We have buildings and many centuries of structure, forms and liturgies, etc. that the early church did not have. They were, I believe, a much more organic movement. It's not that we couldn't try to replicate the spirit and actual practices of those times, but I suspect many Christians would struggle to understand the rationale for doing so, let alone adopt the practices. It would be a long road, IMO, for many to drop current understanding of Christian practice in their local church. If you delve further, there are many things the first century church did that we don't do, or vice versa. Exploring these could be unsettling for some. Not saying we shouldn't try to understand the historical background for the texts; I think we should. Just saying I think many would have a hard time worshipping and fellowshipping the same way today. But maybe there's room for trying to capture the spirit of it, like trying a common meal. I do know there are smaller groups around the country doing this intentionally. Interesting how this topic could meld with the other, "Doing church or being church." Love to hear your thoughts.
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#15 Charles Miles

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 12:49 PM

The first century Church was very different from what we, as a body, do now. When meetings were small in-home meetings, there was almost certainly a much more personal atmosphere. A Christian of those days would probably be staggered by a congregational meeting of 2000 people, or even 500, to be sitting down to worship...much less to have a full meal and communion.

#16 Candice

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 06:57 PM

Marvin,

I've got a book that says the Lord's Supper was originally a communal meal, not a ceremony or sacrament per se, as it has been handed down to us. The passage, according to the author, is not so much about introspection of one's spiritual condition as it is about how some members were acting.

It is in this context the verses make the most sense. Some believers were getting drunk, others were eating all the food, etc. before other members arrived and so forth. They were partaking of the "love feast" without showing any love, ergo, unwworthily and not understanding the Lord's body.

My book is packed away and I'm typing this on a phone, but after my move, I'll look for the relevant text and post up again. The book is "Reimagining Church" by Frank Viola if you're interested.

 

Marvin,

I've got a book that says the Lord's Supper was originally a communal meal, not a ceremony or sacrament per se, as it has been handed down to us. The passage, according to the author, is not so much about introspection of one's spiritual condition as it is about how some members were acting.

It is in this context the verses make the most sense. Some believers were getting drunk, others were eating all the food, etc. before other members arrived and so forth. They were partaking of the "love feast" without showing any love, ergo, unwworthily and not understanding the Lord's body.

My book is packed away and I'm typing this on a phone, but after my move, I'll look for the relevant text and post up again. The book is "Reimagining Church" by Frank Viola if you're interested.

 

I have read this view of communion and what is considered taking communion or eating and worshipping at these feats "unworthily" or "an unworthy MANNER".  Not that any of us is "worthy".  It's about the manner.   But, yes, this makes sense that early believers would get together in this manner (thinking Corinthian church).  Must have been bread broken, etc. 

Still, this means, as most of you agree, that communion is for the gathering of believers. 


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#17 ADVRider

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 09:40 PM

Still, this means, as most of you agree, that communion is for the gathering of believers.

If you think about it, the verse is directed at believers, not the unsaved. The warnings are to the saints. So in one sense, there is no additional danger to an unbeliever if he came to your communion; he's already in jeopardy as an unbeliever. In spite of how these verses are commonly interpreted, taking communion does not save a non-Christian person, but it does not condemn him either; he is already under condemnation. So the verses cannot refer to a non-believer who takes communion in an "unworthy manner"; it can only refer to the Christian. Also true because the non-Christian isn't really partaking of communion, as you point out. Again brings me to the conclusion that the pastor was just trying to be inclusive. If there were tangible love in that fellowship, a meal type communion gathering could have the possibility of winning someone. How do we know unbelievers weren't invited to the early church love feasts? Jesus dined with the "sinners" quite often it appears. Also if you think about it, church suppers where we invite the lost are a perfectly acceptable and common form of outreach. Isn't it interesting these bear resemblance to the early "love feast"? So if the Lord's Supper refers to a meal and the sacrament, it seems to me the "warnings" refer to what was taking place at the meal. I'm suggesting the meal here is the main point of reference for what we call communion, and if so, we have no issues with inviting unbelievers to a church meal. The question is, Is that type of meal, communion? Or is communion only the serious partaking of grape juice and crackers? If it's the latter, I agree unbelievers have been traditionally discouraged from participating. If it includes the former idea, I think we've been inviting unbelievers to join us for a long time.

Long post I know, but gives some food for thought as to what really constitutes communion. And the true context of these verses. Candace, I'm not suggesting in any way that non-Christians have fellowship with the Light; I am merely saying it may be okay to invite them to your love feast or your church supper, whatever we want to call it. I do agree though that if our view of communion is limited to partaking of the elements, the preacher would be remiss if he did not explain what the meaning of communion is and what he is inviting them to

#18 Tkulp

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 09:22 PM

The first century Church was very different from what we, as a body, do now. When meetings were small in-home meetings, there was almost certainly a much more personal atmosphere. A Christian of those days would probably be staggered by a congregational meeting of 2000 people, or even 500, to be sitting down to worship...much less to have a full meal and communion.

Act 2:40  With many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, "Save yourselves from this perverse generation!"
Act 2:41  So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added.
Act 2:42  They were devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Act 2:43  Reverential awe came over everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles.
 

Act 2:46  Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts,
Act 2:47  praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved.[saved G4982 - to save, that is, deliver or protect}



#19 Tkulp

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 09:38 PM

ADVRider Quote

"If there were tangible love in that fellowship, a meal type communion gathering could have the possibility of winning someone. How do we know unbelievers weren't invited to the early church love feasts?"

 

Act 5:10  At once she collapsed at his feet and died. So when the young men came in, they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
Act 5:11  Great fear gripped the whole church and all who heard about these things.
Act 5:12  Now many miraculous signs and wonders came about among the people through the hands of the apostles. By common consent they were all meeting together in Solomon's Portico.
Act 5:13  None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high honor.
Act 5:14  More and more believers in the Lord were added to their number, crowds of both men and women.