Constitution of the elements

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NaphtaliPress

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I understand the concern with going "off script" when it comes to commands and prescriptions. However, this still doesn't resolve the issue for the third world country where the elements may not be obtainable. Not observing the Lord's supper would also be a sin for a Christian church. So, what is the answer for those brothers and sisters?
If you don't have a minister, you can't have the Lord's Supper. I don't see how we lower the importance of the prescribed elements versus any other factors that we would agree mean one has to wait till those are in place to have the Lord's Supper.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
If you don't have a minister, you can't have the Lord's Supper. I don't see how we lower the importance of the prescribed elements versus any other factors that we would agree mean one has to wait till those are in place to have the Lord's Supper.
Yes, I agree with the not having a minister. I am saying this is a legitimate church with a minister that does not have access to bread and wine specifically.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Well, this certainly brings up more questions. I would be for all the things in this post, but I can tell you that my church does not do the 2nd or 3rd points as prescribed (all drinking from one cup and sitting around a table). I would be surprised if any OPC did this (but it certainly could happen).

I didn't think we were talking about what churches do, but about what Scripture prescribes...
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I didn't think we were talking about what churches do, but about what Scripture prescribes...
Perhaps I have gotten myself confused and have gotten of topic. Sorry about this. I will read and observe for a bit before jumping back in.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
If you don't have a minister, you can't have the Lord's Supper. I don't see how we lower the importance of the prescribed elements versus any other factors that we would agree mean one has to wait till those are in place to have the Lord's Supper.

I would say if your church is using any kind of bread and grape juice, people might ask, "Well, are we not partaking of the Lord's supper?" I would say you are partaking of the Lord's supper though veiled or not as purely. The elements that are being used (e.g. grape juice) do not symbolize and therefore do not show forth very well what Christ wanted the elements to show forth but the words of institution are still there (hopefully) to call to memory and proclaim Christ's pouring out His blood.
 

NaphtaliPress

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I would say if your church is using any kind of bread and grape juice, people might ask, "Well, are we not partaking of the Lord's supper?" I would say you are partaking of the Lord's supper though veiled or not as purely. The elements that are being used (e.g. grape juice) do not symbolize and therefore do not show forth very well what Christ wanted the elements to show forth.
I'm addressing the argument that was raised for making use of what we may not recognize as common bread and the use of any kind of liquid other than that derived from grapes. I agree juice is not so great a corruption to make it not the Lord's Supper; but I do believe it should be wine. But not coca-cola.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I'm addressing the argument that was raised for making use of what we may not recognize as common bread and the use of any kind of liquid other than that derived from grapes. I agree juice is not so great a corruption to make it not the Lord's Supper; but I do believe it should be wine. But not coca-cola.

Agreed.
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
It still queries the question of how far is Scripturally, ecclesiastically, and individually acceptable from some Biblical standard, as to defining bread and wine?

I admit I may be overly alarmed, but in an age of tweaking genetics well beyond God's design I don't find an absence of need toward clarity regarding communion elements.
 
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NaphtaliPress

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It still queries the question of how far is Scripturally, ecclesiastically, and individually acceptable from some Biblical standard, as to defining bread and wine?
For confession based churches this is settled with the Westminster standards and directories for worship which are clear on bread and wine. I do not know if anything has ever come up from the mission field that asks and got answered on this in particular in PCA, OPC, etc.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I know in Pakistan alcohol is illegal. But Gods law is above man’s. You could make the wine but I assume most churches do not do this. I’m not sure of any society does not have bread…
 

SeanPatrickCornell

Puritan Board Junior
For confession based churches this is settled with the Westminster standards and directories for worship which are clear on bread and wine. I do not know if anything has ever come up from the mission field that asks and got answered on this in particular in PCA, OPC, etc.

Do the Westminster Standards and the Directory for Publick Worship actually define what bread and wine are though? I didn't think they did.
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
I would agree it's sad to think we may have reached a point where we may need to define these, though many a church long have regarding wine and the grape.
 

NaphtaliPress

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No; who'd of thunk it was needed? Nor do they define a man and a woman. Nor do they define "six days" and that was used to kick the door open to all sorts of views 20 years ago in the PCA.
Do the Westminster Standards and the Directory for Publick Worship actually define what bread and wine are though? I didn't think they did.
I would agree it's sad to think we may have reached a point where we may need to define these, though many a church long have regarding wine and the grape.
 

Jacob E. Carne

Puritan Board Freshman
Common Bread: https://reformedbooksonline.com/top...ords-supper/common-bread-in-the-lords-supper/

Summary: Jesus and Paul used the word "Bread" not "Unleavened bread" or "Leavened Bread" though both were available for him to use. Therefore, it is the bread that is common to the society/culture you find yourself in, in which it should show forth the symbol of feasting and sustenance. The bigger issue is that it be ONE bread. GF, or not doesn't matter. Is it bread?

Common Cup: https://reformedbooksonline.com/top...of-the-lords-supper/wine-in-the-lords-supper/ and https://reformedbooksonline.com/topics/topics-by-subject/the-lords-supper/the-common-cup/

Summary: The contents of the cup should be wine (i.e. alcoholic wine), and it should be drank from a common cup. The rationale for this is Jesus used wine, and the great many symbols in Scripture of wine and the Lord's supper of which something like grape juice does not symbolize but wine does that must be shown in the Lord's supper.

Common Table (as opposed to individual seats amongst non-communicants): https://reformedbooksonline.com/topics/topics-by-subject/the-lords-supper/sitting-at-the-table/

Summary: Communicants should sit around a table together as shown throughout Scripture and distinct from non-communicants showing the distance from God's people vs not God's people.
Those links are helpful not just for the explanatory paragraphs but especially the citations and footnotes to other works! They are also helpful with the recent health related discussions and the "supposed risks" of common bread common cup. Good stuff.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Do the Westminster Standards and the Directory for Publick Worship actually define what bread and wine are though? I didn't think they did.

Bread means bread, wine means wine.

Talk to someone on the street in 1600's or 2022, what is bread; what is wine? Everyone is going to have similar answers that don't really matter for the Lord's supper. Bread is bread and wine is wine. The only time that changes (for no good reason) is when people in the church start talking about the Lord's supper.
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
Well, to wander a bit, I'd agree it generally oughten not to be a denominational dividing point(s). 'We' have so many reformed ones now it's becoming a challenge to create a unique name apart from walking on each other.
 
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Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
The Korean translation of the Bible uses the term “rice cake” (떡) instead of bread. That translation choice dates from the late 19th century, but it hasn’t been changed, even in recent versions, and even though, everywhere, everyone uses bread in the Lord’s Supper. I can’t say whether rice cake was ever actually used in the Lord’s Supper.

I wish they’d update the translation. “Rice cake” is heavy with cultural connotation. It’s a celebratory food you’d find at weddings or a baby’s first birthday.

Wine made of grapes is also not local. Rice wine (of many varieties) is the traditional alcoholic drink. Today you can get grape wine without any difficulty, but almost every church here uses grape juice, since Korean Christians have a tendency to be opposed to alcohol.

In the Lord’s Supper, we should be using bread, defined as baked dough made of some kind of grain flour, and wine, defined as an alcoholic beverage made of grapes. I cannot see any room for any substitutions in the pages of Scripture. On the mission field, I grant, this can be a challenge, but I imagine that bread is easier to figure out than grape wine, requiring only an oven and grain. And if you don’t have grapes, you should get to planting. Grapes ferment easily, so that detail doesn’t need worrying about. If your climate is unsuited to any type of grape, it is inhospitable indeed, but you should look into having wine shipped in.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Please read the exchange more closely.
I think it’s a fair comment. When does “bread” mean anything but bread? The wafers that the Romanists use can hardly be called bread, for instance. They do not at all convey the point of Christ’s appointing bread.

When does “wine” mean anything but a fermented drink made of pressed grapes? I mentioned “rice wine” above, but that is only an English-language attempt to describe a foreign drink for which we had no words. The word “wine” (in English, and in many other languages) is etymologically tied to “vine” and “vineyard.” Wine is also necessarily fermented.

“Bread” and “wine” have meanings, and people know what they are. If, in the administration of the Lord’s Supper, you were to substitute the bread for chocolate cake, people will say, “That’s not bread.” It’s common to replace wine with grape juice. Everyone knows it’s not wine. They just think it’s a better idea to use grape juice instead.
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
The Korean translation of the Bible uses the term “rice cake” (떡) instead of bread. That translation choice dates from the late 19th century, but it hasn’t been changed, even in recent versions, and even though, everywhere, everyone uses bread in the Lord’s Supper. I can’t say whether rice cake was ever actually used in the Lord’s Supper.
It's very heartening to see our Korean family follow the dictates of Christ despite any etymological or other difficulties in Scripture conveyance.
 
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reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
I think it’s a fair comment. When does “bread” mean anything but bread? The wafers that the Romanists use can hardly be called bread, for instance. They do not at all convey the point of Christ’s appointing bread.

When does “wine” mean anything but a fermented drink made of pressed grapes? I mentioned “rice wine” above, but that is only an English-language attempt to describe a foreign drink for which we had no words. The word “wine” (in English, and in many other languages) is etymologically tied to “vine” and “vineyard.” Wine is also necessarily fermented.

“Bread” and “wine” have meanings, and people know what they are. If, in the administration of the Lord’s Supper, you were to substitute the bread for chocolate cake, people will say, “That’s not bread.” It’s common to replace wine with grape juice. Everyone knows it’s not wine. They just think it’s a better idea to use grape juice instead.
The "wafer" thing, though - I may need some clarity on what is intended there. Or, maybe I am indeed misunderstanding "bread". If I may, are you meaning this communion element ought to be more like a loaf (a thing to then be "broken") ?

I mentioned that our church offers a wine/wafer combo set (though not a personal preference). I've read where there are Waffle Houses in Korea (not American affiliated). And I'd agree I'd stare if my breakfast of eggs and grits also included grape jelly and a round communion wafer instead of white bread toast (a thing that looks more like bread or the "bread" of Scripture). If that's more the meaning.
 
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Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
Summary: Communicants should sit around a table together as shown throughout Scripture and distinct from non-communicants showing the distance from God's people vs not God's people.
I’ve never heard this argument. Wouldn’t it then follow that your church size is limited by the size of your table? Or is it just a table that seats 12 that is used serially until the whole congregation has partaken?
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I’ve never heard this argument. Wouldn’t it then follow that your church size is limited by the size of your table? Or is it just a table that seats 12 that is used serially until the whole congregation has partaken?

First, https://reformedbooksonline.com/top...he-lords-supper/sitting-at-the-table/#holding

Second, it should be the aim to be creative in setting up tables/chairs so that it would be possible for all to sit at the same table. Table(s) can be set up in a straight line, or a square, etc. Be creative.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Does anyone's church actually do this though I wonder?

Yes, a good many. Ours does, and quite a few in the RPCNA, Free Church (Continuing), etc. It should be somewhat confusing to most communicants, when the minister says something like, "we come to the table, Christ's table." But no one is coming to the table, there's only the elements being brought to the communicants in their pews/chairs. Yet this sacrament is to show forth that future hope we have in the marriage supper of the land, do you not think that you are brought to sit at Christ's table? Or you remain distant away from His table with the "unclean" non-communicants (who at Christ's marriage supper if they remain without faith will be in eternal punishment)?

Hey, we used to be in the PCA, no one did this that I knew of, nor the OPC. But I want to encourage all of you, this is the way 1) our fathers celebrated the supper, especially in the reformed and presbyterian background, and 2) and more importantly, this is what the Bible prescribes, and being reformed we hold to the RPW, so....

 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Yes, a good many. Ours does, and quite a few in the RPCNA, Free Church (Continuing), etc. It should be somewhat confusing to most communicants, when the minister says something like, "we come to the table, Christ's table." But no one is coming to the table, there's only the elements being brought to the communicants in their pews/chairs. Yet this sacrament is to show forth that future hope we have in the marriage supper of the land, do you not think that you are brought to sit at Christ's table? Or you remain distant away from His table with the "unclean" non-communicants (who at Christ's marriage supper if they remain without faith will be in eternal punishment)?

Hey, we used to be in the PCA, no one did this that I knew of, nor the OPC. But I want to encourage all of you, this is the way 1) our fathers celebrated the supper, especially in the reformed and presbyterian background, and 2) and more importantly, this is what the Bible prescribes, and being reformed we hold to the RPW, so....

This is easier said then done regardless of how literally or not the prescription is supposed to be read. Getting the OPC or the PCA to adopt this practice would take great effort (and I am not saying it isn't worth it), but I believe there are bigger issues in both denominations at the moment. Also, I have found within the reformed camp, the "RPW" is defined very differently based on who you ask (again, I am not saying they are right, just stating the facts). For example, some believe that it means certain things have to be present in a worship service and as long as those elements are present additional ones can also be added. I don't agree with that interpretation, but I find this is how many reformed churches operate.
 

NaphtaliPress

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Does anyone's church actually do this though I wonder?
Before we moved buildings, my old church had several long tables set up up front and it was just enough for all to get around it, without going to a succession of tables. My current church does the typical passing of the elements for which we can blame Chalmers leading the way for in the early 18th century (he placed napkins on the backs of all the pews and said to think of them as narrow tables, or some such).
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Before we moved buildings, my old church had several long tables set up up front and it was just enough for all to get around it, without going to a succession of tables. My current church does the typical passing of the elements for which we can blame Chalmers leading the way for in the early 18th century (he placed napkins on the backs of all the pews and said to think of them as narrow tables, or some such).
This is what my church does as well. Passing the trays and then drinking and eating with the pastor when directed.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
This is easier said then done regardless of how literally or not the prescription is supposed to be read. Getting the OPC or the PCA to adopt this practice would take great effort (and I am not saying it isn't worth it), but I believe there are bigger issues in both denominations at the moment. Also, I have found within the reformed camp, the "RPW" is defined very differently based on who you ask (again, I am not saying they are right, just stating the facts). For example, some believe that it means certain things have to be present in a worship service and as long as those elements are present additional ones can also be added. I don't agree with that interpretation, but I find this is how many reformed churches operate.

Orthodoxy comes before orthopraxy
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Orthodoxy comes before orthopraxy
This is easy to say on an internet forum friend. I don't disagree, but we also need to live in the real world and attack the bigger issues first. In both the PCA and the OPC, there are several issues of orthodoxy that need to be worked out that I believe take precedent. For the PCA, the sodomy issue. For the OPC, the issue of feminism and observing the sabbath (perhaps the PCA has this one too).

Edit: If you can't even get members to come to church on Sunday in the first place or even care about ever taking the Supper, I would say that is a bigger issue.
 
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