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Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Croghanite, May 3, 2009.
Did not know this. I wanted to pass on the information.
I've heard about communion tokens. From a Curt Daniels lecture in the 75-hour series on Calvinism.
He covers almost everything.
Is this a question of pro or con or just for informational purposes?
Interesting that lead was used.
I was passing on the info. Discuss all you want brethren.
I do wonder why they used tokens instead of just informing the folks they were admitted to the table. I just came across the information so I have not thought much about it.
Presumably it was because they didn't want to risk someone "sneaking" past without having actually been approved, requiring each person to turn over their token--though why someone couldn't just borrow/steal someone else's, I'm not sure.
Or create counterfeits.
Presumably that would be too much effort for such a person to go to, merely to attend a sacrament at the local church.
It seems to me that this is going a far bit beyond Scripture. Guarding the table is needful and Paul instructed that this be done by admonishment. He did not say, "Mint ye tokens for the admittance to the table." [or two token, if you will]
In the Scottish communion season many people would come from other districts and the communions were attended by large numbers which did not allow for careful personal attention; hence the use of the token in admitting people to the table. They indicate the conscientious concern of the Session to oversee the communion, and obviously required the people to use the tokens with discretion.
I actually appreciate the impetus behind them. I don't think it would work today, nor would I want to see it implemented. But I believe it is incumbent on the pastor(s) to protect others from eating and drinking judgment on themselves. And yet I also believe it would be wrong to deny to the table one of Christ's sheep who could worthily partake. So I've often been perplexed about how the table ought to be properly fenced. Though we (pastors/elders) try to get around to any visitors prior to the service, someone could slip through, particularly if they arrive late. So we fence with a verbal warning/exhortation. But ultimately that leaves it to the conscience of the individual whether or not he or she will partake. I've often wondered whether or not that is sufficient protection on my part.
I know that if someone counterfeited a token , I'd be in the clear. But am I in the clear with just a warning? I honestly don't know. Like I said. I'm not in favor of the tokens, but I appreciate the idea behind them ... very much actually.
These tokens certainly would explain less frequent celebrations of the Lord's Supper. Can you imagine having to get around to everyone personally each week or even month?!?!
It was a joke.
I was uncertain owing to the lack of a smiley in your post. Therefore, I answered seriously, so as not to risk laughing at a serious post.
However, with your permission, I will now laugh at you:
Pastor Matthew has hit the nail on the head with the history of communion tokens. The Session would issue their own members with a token and they would hand it in at the service they visited.
They are still used by some Presbyterian churches in Scotland to this day. Usually at the Saturday preparatory service after the service has ended all intending communicants will be asked to remain for a few minutes. The Session will be constituted, there will be prayer made for those who come to the Table on the following morning and the Pastor will distribute to each person a token as they leave. At the communion service as we take our seats an elder will be present to receive the token.
Now supposing you turn up on Sunday morning with no token, you will be given one at the door.
Personally, I don't think it has any value in our current situation. However, some people receive benefit from it and I am sure that is why it continues in some congregations. The original situation where people travel to other congregations Communion has more or less passed, and besides the crowds aren't so great.
Some larger congregations in the Free Church of Scotland will issue membership cards to their own members and an elder will visit prior to communion. The card will be handed back in at some point in the communion service, either in the offering plate or to an elder at the door. I think the Church of Scotland also does this.
A number of congregations will have in addition to the Communion season, Communion services where no preparatory services have taken place. On these occasions neither tokens or cards will be used.
This seems to me to go way beyond 1 Cor. 11:27-32.
Not always lead and pewter
It was not always lead that was used. I have brass, bronze, aluminum, and unidentified white metal Communion tokens in addition to lead and pewter. I have Church of Scotland, assorted Presbyterian, a few Congregational and even a couple of Scottish Episcopal Church Communion tokens.
I think it was called "Fencing the Table" as coined by the Scottish who abided by it...
Someone correct me if I'm wrong
I can understand "fencing the table" by giving a strong warning from 1 Cor. 11:28. But I find no biblical or confessional warrant for examining a person each time before communion and issuing them a metal token.
I think what they did was to issue the tokens on a prior service to those who are members to be used at the communion the next day.. I'm trying to find the info for this still =(
There are factors that they had to deal with probably at that time which warrent-ed such practices? I stand to be corrected...
I clicked on the home page link and found this gem. Bible Gum "One to Chew, One to Share."
I am thinking of the modern equivalent being a plastic membership card that could be swiped on a computer inside the door which would bring up all your communion history and any flagged reasons why the elders think you should not take it etc... with a complex sign up form with lots of boxes and "refer to question 22a" splashed throughout.
hahaha wouldn't that be the day... =p
I think the same warrant would be the warrant behind examining them at all. For one thing, it's fulfilling the positive side of the 6th commandment. The shepherds are to protect the sheep. Bear in mind that you don't have to be an unbeliever to unworthily partake.
I'm NOT arguing for the tokens. Just throwing my at your post.
If this is a 6th commandment issue and under the requirement of a shepherd protecting the sheep (both solemn responsibilities), would you say that a pastor is to personally examine each communicant prior to each celebration of the Lord's supper?
The clearest statement in the Scriptures to this matter says this examination (and responsibility) is the responsibility of the communicant (1 Cor. 11:28 - ἑαυτον).
Presbyterian Church Communion Tokens
“Called to Confess” by Cornels Harinck
Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
This is not directed at you Gesetveemet, but at the linked page.
This is one of my pet peeves: why go to the trouble of quoting Calvin and not cite the source? I like to collect quotes and snippets, but refuse to use them unless there is a way to check the original.
I searched for the source before I posted but could not find it either. The bottom quote is supplied with the book reference.
I wonder if Harinck cites the source.
I guess I could say:
I am making fun not of tokens, etc. but of the lack of references in a quote.