The Reformed View of the Lord's Supper

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Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
In the past year through many internet articles I have come to accept the Reformed view of the Lord's Supper which is Christ Spiritual Presence in the Bread and the Wine. I have also come to accept that the elements of the Lord's Supper must be bread and wine and I have also come to a weekly partaking of the Covenant meal.

Tonight since I was home sick my wife and I was listening to the "Wild Boar Podcast" by Pastor McMahon on the Lord's Supper and enjoyed them very much.

My question is, Does anybody know of a modern complete book on the Reformed view of the Lord's Supper that includes more details on the spiritual presence along with the bread and wine elements and a weekly partaking? A book that gives a complete Reformed view on the Lord's Supper in total detail?

Any thoughts?

Michael
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Thanks,

Just wondering.. What view does he hold on wine use? and frequency of the Supper?

Re Wine: only merlots are allowed. No cabernets.

Frequency: weekly.

I was kidding on the wine. He believes grape juice is not being faithful to scripture.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
Great, Sounds like a wonderful book, except..

the paedo communion... :smug:

LoL, I know you said he did not affirmed the doctrine, but I guess I will just have to skip over that section since I hold to Adultus Creedo Baptizmo and in turn hold the same for the Supper... :D

Michael

Re Wine: only merlots are allowed. No cabernets.

Frequency: weekly.

I was kidding on the wine. He believes grape juice is not being faithful to scripture.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I suggest, as a clarification to the spiritual presence idea, William Cunningham's 'Zwingle, and the Doctrine fo the Sacraments;' in "The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation." Too often Calvin's view is presented in absolute terms as if Christ is unconditionally present in the Supper, whereas the proper view is that Christ is present to the believer.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
I would agree that Christ in only present and efficious to the believer and not to the unbeliever... and of course the unbeliever by partaking will receive the curses...


Michael


I suggest, as a clarification to the spiritual presence idea, William Cunningham's 'Zwingle, and the Doctrine fo the Sacraments;' in "The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation." Too often Calvin's view is presented in absolute terms as if Christ is unconditionally present in the Supper, whereas the proper view is that Christ is present to the believer.
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
I just wanted to point out that weekly communion is not the Reformed view; while I agree that weekly is good, there really isn't a Reformed view on frequency.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
Calvin espoused it and wanted it but was rejected by the genevan government...

So, Reformed in my view... ;)

I just wanted to point out that weekly communion is not the Reformed view; while I agree that weekly is good, there really isn't a Reformed view on frequency.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
I would agree that Christ in only present and efficious to the believer and not to the unbeliever... and of course the unbeliever by partaking will receive the curses...


Michael

Scary for my former work place who (at chapel) knowingly encouraged anyone who wished to partake. Scary for the partakers AND the givers!
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Of course what I wrote I read it in aleast 3 or 4 different books....

Maybe it would be worth your while double checking references and seeing whether or not those three or four different books were justified in making that assertion.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
Regards of the government issue, I know I read Calvin's Institutes and he was for weekly communion....

Maybe it would be worth your while double checking references and seeing whether or not those three or four different books were justified in ,making that assertion.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Regards of the government issue, I know I read Calvin's Institutes and he was for weekly communion....

Was he? He did not say that every believer should commune every week. He said there should be a weekly administration without stating what is implied in your particular position -- that every church should administer the communion every week. There are letters where he agrees with other pastors holding off the communion and where he announces his own deference. I think it can be established that Calvin held to frequent communion, and that his own practice was one of quarterly celebration. But he did not teach that every congregation should celebrate weekly. His commentaries certainly do not espouse any kind of biblical necessity for such a position.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I think Michael Horton wrote an article favorable to weekly communion (or it not totally favorable, more so than most). For all of my disagreements with Horton on theonomy and eschatology, I really like his take on worship.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
In the centuries prior to the Reformation a number of serious abuses crept into the life of the church, some of which affected the celebration of the Lord's Supper. The medieval church continued to celebrate the supper (in the form of the Mass) whenever it met, but with the passage of centuries, fewer and fewer people were able to partake of the sacrament. Often only the "celebrants," that is, the presiding clergy, received the bread and wine, while the vast majority of parishioners watched the ceremony passively from a distance. Laypersons who wanted to participate in the sacrament were required to do penance before partaking of the sacrament, and that proved to be a burdensome obstacle to regular participation. As a result, ordinary Christians often received the sacrament on an annual basis only, the absolute minimum permitted by church authorities. This was the situation the Reformers found at the beginning of the sixteenth century.

John Calvin was clearly disturbed by this unbiblical practice and tried to change it in the Genevan church. He used surprisingly strong language in condemning the custom of his day:

"Plainly this custom which enjoins us to take communion once a year is a veritable invention of the devil, whoever was instrumental in introducing it...For there is not the least doubt that the Sacred Supper was in that era [the early church] set before the believers every time they met together; and there is no doubt that a majority of them took communion..."

Calvin regretted that worshipping Christians were ordinarily prohibited from receiving the sacrament and urged reform:

It should have been done far differently: "the Lord's Table should have been spread at least once a week for the assembly of Christians, and the promises declared in it should feed us spiritually.
[Inst. IV. XVII. 46, emphasis mine].

Unfortunately, the prevailing tradition of Calvin's day reasserted itself. The city fathers of Geneva were unwilling to see the Reformation go this far, at least partly because they felt obligated to examine and approve prospective communicants—a gigantic task that would have made weekly celebration impractical. Consequently, they forced Calvin to settle for a compromise: The people would receive the Lord's Supper four times a year, and the other worship services would become preaching services at which the sacrament would not be celebrated at all. This second-best solution was preferable to a weekly celebration in which most people did not participate.

Calvin could scarcely conceal his disappointment, but he nevertheless foresaw a time when matters might be put right. Towards the end of his life he wrote:

I have taken care to record publicly that our custom is defective, so that those who come after me may be able to correct it the more freely and easily.
[Bretschneider, Corpus Reformatorum, XXXVIII, i, p. 213].


Unfortunately, even defective traditions are not changed quite so "freely and easily." In our celebration of communion, we in the Reformed churches have inherited not the more Reformed practice urged by Calvin, but the less-than-Reformed compromise imposed on him by a city used to the old ways. Is it at last time to think about changing our custom?

from reformedworship

Was he? He did not say that every believer should commune every week. He said there should be a weekly administration without stating what is implied in your particular position -- that every church should administer the communion every week. There are letters where he agrees with other pastors holding off the communion and where he announces his own deference. I think it can be established that Calvin held to frequent communion, and that his own practice was one of quarterly celebration. But he did not teach that every congregation should celebrate weekly. His commentaries certainly do not espouse any kind of biblical necessity for such a position.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
But these quotes still do not require that Calvin viewed that Each and Every particular church present the L.S. on every given Sunday.

Calvin was a Presbyterian. The CHURCH in Geneva was similar to the CHURCH in Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, etc. What seems important to Calvin was that the Supper be available far more frequently than once a year, or even once a quarter. Which would mean, practically speaking, that communion could be presented on different occasions across the city. It seems clear to me that Calvin would not have supported the mandatory observance of the L.S. at each Sunday gathering of each congregation.

And that, I think, is Matthew's point about trying to make certain of Calvin's statements prove too much. What else did he say on the subject?
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I recommend "The Mystery of the Lord's Supper: Sermons on the Sacrament preached in the Kirk of Edinburgh in AD 1589" by Robert Bruce. The copy I have was published by James Clarke & Co. Ltd, London and published in 1958. I do not know if any others publish it.

Maybe Andrew could tell us if it available online...
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
This is the second time this has happened this week, but in another thread...

Just wondering if there is a complete language breakdown in our society or not?

Because the language that I read in those quotes leads me to believe that Calvin supported weekly communion in every church.

Not sure what else to say at this point...

Michael


But these quotes still do not require that Calvin viewed that Each and Every particular church present the L.S. on every given Sunday.

Calvin was a Presbyterian. The CHURCH in Geneva was similar to the CHURCH in Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, etc. What seems important to Calvin was that the Supper be available far more frequently than once a year, or even once a quarter. Which would mean, practically speaking, that communion could be presented on different occasions across the city. It seems clear to me that Calvin would not have supported the mandatory observance of the L.S. at each Sunday gathering of each congregation.

And that, I think, is Matthew's point about trying to make certain of Calvin's statements prove too much. What else did he say on the subject?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Michael - we celebrate the Lord's Supper weekly and have been doing so since October of last year. The elders are convinced that, "as often as you do this" means to do it often. We are purposed not to allow the sacrament to become just another thing we do. It is a time of solemn meditation and a spiritual feast of which Christ is the center. With that in mind we could find no good reason not to celebrate it weekly.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
:amen:


Michael - we celebrate the Lord's Supper weekly and have been doing so since October of last year. The elders are convinced that, "as often as you do this" means to do it often. We are purposed not to allow the sacrament to become just another thing we do. It is a time of solemn meditation and a spiritual feast of which Christ is the center. With that in mind we could find no good reason not to celebrate it weekly.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
... Calvin would not have supported the mandatory observance of the L.S. at each Sunday gathering of each congregation.
This is the position of the Westminster Directory for Public Worship; i.e. frequency of the sacrament is left to the descretion and wisdom of the congregation's elders and a particular frequency is not mandated in Scripture. THE communion, or supper of the Lord, is frequently to be celebrated; but how often, may be considered and determined by the ministers, and other church-governors of each congregation, as they shall find most convenient for the comfort and edification of the people committed to their charge. And, when it shall be administered, we judge it convenient to be done after the morning sermon.

The Westminster Assembly do add that if this sacrament cannot with convenience be frequently administered, it is requisite that publick warning be given the sabbath-day before the administration thereof: and that either then, or on some day of that week, something concerning that ordinance, and the due preparation thereunto, and participation thereof, be taught; that, by the diligent use of all means sanctified of God to that end, both in publick and private, all may come better prepared to that heavenly feast.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
My question is, Does anybody know of a modern complete book on the Reformed view of the Lord's Supper that includes more details on the spiritual presence along with the bread and wine elements and a weekly partaking?

I would suggest you find a copy of Thomas Cranmer's A defence of the true and Catholike doctrine of the Sacrament of the body and bloud of our Saviour Christ.

Also:
http://anglicanhistory.org/reformation/ps/ridley/lords_supper.pdf
http://anglicanhistory.org/reformation/ps/ridley/determination_decretals.pdf
 
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Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
In the past year through many internet articles I have come to accept the Reformed view of the Lord's Supper which is Christ Spiritual Presence in the Bread and the Wine. I have also come to accept that the elements of the Lord's Supper must be bread and wine and I have also come to a weekly partaking of the Covenant meal.

Tonight since I was home sick my wife and I was listening to the "Wild Boar Podcast" by Pastor McMahon on the Lord's Supper and enjoyed them very much.

My question is, Does anybody know of a modern complete book on the Reformed view of the Lord's Supper that includes more details on the spiritual presence along with the bread and wine elements and a weekly partaking? A book that gives a complete Reformed view on the Lord's Supper in total detail?

Calvin's view was more than just saying Christ was spiritual present at the Supper. According to Calvin, we actually commune and our nourished with the physical body of Jesus by faith, as we partake of the elements by mouth. It's not that Christ descends down. But we are actually transported into heaven by faith, through the Holy Spirit, to commune with Christ in heaven. This is in other circles known as "virtualism."
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Calvin's view was more than just saying Christ was spiritual present at the Supper. According to Calvin, we actually commune and our nourished with the physical body of Jesus by faith, as we partake of the elements by mouth. It's not that Christ descends down. But we are actually transported into heaven by faith, through the Holy Spirit, to commune with Christ in heaven. This is in other circles known as "virtualism."

Its like talking to someone on a cell phone.

See my last two podcasts at APM on the Lord's Supper.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
I recommend "The Mystery of the Lord's Supper: Sermons on the Sacrament preached in the Kirk of Edinburgh in AD 1589" by Robert Bruce. The copy I have was published by James Clarke & Co. Ltd, London and published in 1958. I do not know if any others publish it.

Maybe Andrew could tell us if it available online...

Not sure if the sermon you referenced is included, but some sermons by Robert Bruce on the Lord's Supper may be found here. :cheers:
 
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