Communion in weddings?

Discussion in 'Ecclesiology' started by matthew11v25, Aug 31, 2006.

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  1. matthew11v25

    matthew11v25 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Is communion appropriate/allowed in weddings (given that the marriage is between believers)? and what is your reasoning from scripture?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  2. jaybird0827

    jaybird0827 PuritanBoard Honor Roll


    I seriously question that a wedding ceremony/service is the time or place to celebrate the Lord's Supper.

    Some of the issues -
    Who participates? Bride and groom only? Entire wedding party?
    People coming to the wedding are suitably prepared to come to the table and partake worthily? What about unbelieving friends and relatives? What about the fencing of the table and the administration of the sacrament and the involvement of the Session?

    Check out the Confession of Faith and Catechisms on this doctrine and review the proof texts. Do you hold to a Scriptural and confessional view of the sacraments?

    The bottom line - I think this put the burden of proof on those who want to argue that a wedding ceremony is an appropriate season in which to hold the Lord's Supper. I know how my Session would handle it.

    J. Sulzmann

    [Edited on 8-31-2006 by jaybird0827]
  3. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    Matt, Yes, IF the wedding is part of the worship service of the church.

    The modern idea of a large "production" style wedding would be incompatable with the sacrament however if you had the exchange of vows during or after the worship service it would be almost a requirement.

    In my reading of history this was often the practice--to say the vows publicly at (or often after) the public worship.

    Part of our problem is that we have linked the exchange of vows ( a religious activity) with the wedding feast to such a point that we think of them as the same thing. They are not the same. If we recognize this then saying vows in a service of the church rather than renting out the church for a production will seem more natural, and well, Christian.
  4. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    :ditto: If marriage is not a sacrament nor peculiar to the church of God, as the Westminster Assembly said, then it is primarily a civil affair with religious elements which ought to be solemnized by a minister when the parties being married are Christians. Therefore it is not a worship service, even if held in a church, any more than if a chaplain prays at a legislative meeting or an oath is taken in a court room.

    The Westminster Directory of Public Worship also recommends against solemnizing a marriage on the Lord's Day, and specifically directs that no "futher ceremony" take place other than prayer and vows.

    From a practical standpoint, I think Jay's points are well taken. From a theological standpoint, linking a marriage ceremony with the Lord's Supper and calling it a worship service leans towards the Roman Catholic view that marriage itself is a sacrament and requires a worship service.
  5. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    I believe it would be inappropriate to celebrate the Lord's supper during a wedding.

    1) The Lord's supper is meant to be celebrated as a communion of a body of believers. Weddings can include heretics, infadels and idolaters of all sorts. It would be almost impossible for a session to guard the table against such abuses.

    2) Weddings are primarily civil in their administration. This is shown by the fact that it is moral that two unbelievers can be married to each other without violation of God's law. Also, weddings are a time of civil celebration that includes acts not appropriate for the Lord's day (parties etc.). The wedding at Cana is an example of this. The Westiminster divines followed this line of thoughts when they included the following in the Directory for Public Worship:

  6. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior


    I agree with those who oppose communion during weddings.

    The argument cannot be settled on the basis of proof-texts. It has to be settled on the basis of an understanding of the nature of the church as covenant assembly and the nature of the sacraments as covenant signs and seals. See the papers on my site under dogmatics on the church and the sacraments for more on this.

    Weddings are a private/civil function. They may be held in church and officiated by a minister but that does not make them stated services. That's why we recognize marriages conducted by civil authorities. When a minister conducts a wedding, he does so by by virtue of his office but we don't regard marriage as a sacrament. That notion, however, is not entirely banished from the thinking of many people in evangelical and Reformed congregations.

    By contrast, communion is neither a private nor civil function. It was instituted by our Lord for the covenant community gathered in formal, stated assembly as the covenant assembly. This context is embedded in the institution of the supper and in Paul's rehearsal of the institution in 1 Cor 11:23-6.

    That is why, in weddings, things might be permitted (candles etc - not that these things are to be encouraged!) that could never be permitted in a covenant assembly.

    I understand that there is widespread confusion about these things, but that's because the RPW has been so universally ignored, even in Reformed churches.

    On a practical level, fencing the table in such a setting would be nightmare.

    On another matter, please email me off-list ([email protected]) would you?



    [Edited on 8-31-2006 by R. Scott Clark]
  7. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    I am not even Roman Catholic and I believe a wedding is a worship service, at least for the two believers getting married. I originally didn't believe this but my fiancee explained her view of it and I agreed with her. Therefore, when we get married, she and I will take communion. And we don't have to answer to anybody else but God.
  8. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Why do you believe weddings are a worship service?
  9. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    Because the man and woman are both Christians and they are making vows before God, and they are doing it for the glory of God. Life itself, lived for the glory of God is "worship" therefore a wedding would fall under that category.

    Even the Reformers believed that life itself was "worship" so I hope nobody says my "views are novel".
  10. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    See this thread as well. I agree with those who believe the question is not whether we should have communion at wedding, but whether we should bring weddings into the public worship of God at all?
  11. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'll check it out but I am confused why some of you are against bringing weddings into worship. Is God not pleased when two Christians make vows before Him? What is wrong with worshipping God while you are getting married? Why would we ignore Him on any day let alone that day?
  12. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Where in the Scriptures does it permit some believers to have communion and exclude others? The Lord's Supper is a sacrament of the Church isn't it? What right do you have to tell others who are communing members of the church that they must watch the means of grace but not partake?

    This is American sentimentalism.
  13. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    God is pleased when I walk with my boys? Is that worship? Shoudl we have communion then? God is very pleased (He says so in His Word) when my wife and I have marital relations. Is that worship? Should there be a called gathering? Shoudl we have the Supper?

    The points is that the Supper is a communial meal (hence the common term for it: "communion" ) that is to be a part of the corporate gathered worship of the Lord's people. A wedding is not that. It does not occur on the Lord's Day, not everyone is invited, and the RPW is not followed (nor should it be). It is a public taking of vows.
  14. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    For what it's worth, my wife and I took communion when we got married 4 years ago. I regret it and repent of it. My leanings were to not do it but I hadn't thought all of the way through it. I went along with her, because she wanted to. Now it is difficult watching that part of the ceremony on video.
  15. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    You know what? I'm getting sick and tired of answering people's questions the best I can and getting nothing but sarcasm back? You want to be sarcastic? I can do it to. One, I'm not American. I don't care what kind of sentimentalism it is; I am not American. Kindly refrain from that "phrase" when talking about me. Thank you.

    Two, who are YOU to say that we can't have communion. I was trying to protect unbelievers from taking communion, therefore I wanted it to be her and I. Besides, it is our wedding before God; not anyone else's.

    Three, if you can't be a little more polite, then don't bother me.
  16. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    Stupid questions normally call for stupid answers. But the only answer to your questions is "yes", those are all acts of worship. According to the Reformers and myself.

    EVERY day is the Lord's Day. Do not put your legalistic battering rams upon me. I said, and I MEANT it, that I will answer to God. Not you or anyone else.:banghead:
  17. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior


    Your argument seems to be that

    1) if you make vows then it's a worship service;

    2) all of life is worship

    Is this your argument?


  18. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    So...should I come to you guys before I decide whatever I do? If I am not going to be considered a Christian because I believe differently than you on stupid trivial matters, then that's fine. I enjoyed my time here. Bye.
  19. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    Anything in life done to the glory of God is worship. Working hard at your job is worshipping God. The Reformers said it. I agree.
  20. matthew11v25

    matthew11v25 Puritan Board Sophomore

    I do not believe a wedding is a "worship service". If any one is wondering (some of the responses seemed to imply it), I am also against communion in a wedding. But, it is something that I have seen in weddings (and discussed, coming from an evangelical and R.Catholic background) I have been too, and I was wondering what everyone's response would be. I believe the burden of proof is DEFINETLY upon those that desire the Lord's Supper in their wedding.
  21. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thank you for at least being respectful in your disagreement Matthew. Would that others could do the same.

    Maybe the burden of proof is on me, but I do not feel the burden to prove it. We are going to do it, thousands of other couples do it, and we will answer to God for it.
  22. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I have been at a Baptist wedding where communion was performed. Other than that it was the most Christ-centered wedding I've been to. There was an attempt to verbally fence the table, but basically it was open communion. I think the communion was at best sentimentalism there. I agree with Fred, Dr. Clark, Andrew and the others reasoning that the Lord's Supper should not be celebrated at a wedding.
  23. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    Another respectful disagreement. :up: That's fine.

    I myself though, disagree with them. And they won't be my judge so this is really nothing to argue about. I regret the fact that I shared my belief as it really angered the "holier than I am" types.
  24. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

  25. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    And I will add that you just put down as "holier than I am types" an ordained pastor and seminary professor in a respected seminary who were doing their best to challenge you to think through your desires through argumentation.

    Personally, I think you owe them an apology for trying to help.

    Edit: what you consider attacks are what most logicians call reductio ad absurdums. In other words,, a person will take another person's reasoning and apply it to a similar situation that will appear absurd in order to demonstrate the faulty thinking. That was what Fred was doing. He has a pastor's heart.

    [Edited on 8-31-2006 by crhoades]
  26. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    I agree with Josh here Brian. I am saying this with all seriousness and calmness. I wish to see you learn from others on this board (not that everyone has it "all right" here, but there are many elders and pastors that we should respect and learn from). However, I have seen a couple of threads lately where it seems like you are letting your emotions get the better of you. Please treat others with respect, and you will get it.

    If you are anything like me (and I suspect that you are), you have much to learn, and we should take correction and guidence from our elders with humility, not rebellion, even if we end up disagreeing.
  27. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    No I am not and I'm getting rather tired of being accused of such. Did you SEE the way they attacked me? If "I" had done that, you would have had a problem with me. And please, don't tell me what I believe is ridiculous and untrue. It is funny how I am always too defensive while nobody else takes responsibility for being too much of a jerk.
  28. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

  29. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    What was the purpose? I'm not stupid. I knew I was going to be attacked. I simply shared what I believed and stated the fact that I will be accountable to God and not anyone else. Someone asked me about that and I RESPECTFULLY answered them. Then I was attacked. I must learn to keep my beliefs to myself I guess.
  30. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    Of course.
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