Two Cups in the Lord's Supper

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by fishingpipe, Feb 14, 2011.

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  1. fishingpipe

    fishingpipe Puritan Board Freshman

    I know the issue of wine versus grape juice in communion has been discussed at length here on the PB. I read through a number of the previous posts from the last few years. I hope this is not dragging that dead horse from his grave. But, I have not been able to find any thoughts on this matter on the board.

    I do have a question (specifically for my PB friends who believe wine (fermented, alcoholic) is what is commanded in scripture) concerning the practice of offering two choices for the cup in communion.

    If your church were to offer both wine and grape juice in communion, would you view it as a corrupt offering of the supper, and abstain due to the grape juice being present? Why or why not?
  2. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    I believe even the smell of alcohol is enough to "set off" a reformed alcoholic. That may not achieve the result you're looking for.
  3. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    We offer both.
  4. fishingpipe

    fishingpipe Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for the responses so far. What I am looking for, though, are those who share the conviction that Christ intended for fermented, alcoholic wine alone to be served with the bread for the Lord's supper, and whether or not they could participate in the supper if grape juice were to be introduced along with the wine. Is it a corrupt (for lack of a better word) offering to have two cups? Would you abstain until the matter was resolved one way or another? Why or why not?
  5. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    My conviction is that it should obviously be wine. But my fellow elders do not agree. Therefore, we choose unity over abandonment of the sacrament entirely.

    After all, the sacrament itself symbolizes the unity of the elect in Christ. For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 1 Cor 10:17
  6. Whitefield

    Whitefield Puritan Board Junior

    It matters to me that the contents of the cup be the juice of the fruit of the grape vine. The percentage alcohol content of that juice is irrelevant to me.
  7. fishingpipe

    fishingpipe Puritan Board Freshman

    I am speaking on the individual conscience of the believer rather than the decision of a session for the corporate body. So, if you had previously only served wine, and now began offering both, and someone in your congregation viewed the grape juice to be sinful as an element in communion, I am curious to know what would be their response? (Not something you could answer, just pointing it out for clarification.)

    ---------- Post added at 04:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:20 PM ----------

    Thanks for your response! But I am looking for answers from those who are convicted that the proper and only element is fermented, alcoholic wine, rather than a pasteurized juice.
  8. Gage Browning

    Gage Browning Puritan Board Freshman

    My church offers both, and if someone actually holds in their mind that the fermented wine is sinful, then we would patiently correct them that "wine" is not sinful. However, if for matters of conscience, it is a sin for them to partake, that is a different story. We accommodate those who are bound by their conscience.
  9. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Junior

    As a diabetic I object to the high sugar content in "ribena".:worms: More to the point in abandoning the use of a common cup (silver and alcohol being anti-microbial) we have adopted the habit of "retaining and drinking together." This is required from the front every Sunday the last five years? In the Presbyterian church I grew up in we all "drank from the same cup". I must confess to often retaining the cup and drinking after "everyone". The need to emphasise unity seems to overide what I often think of as deeply personal means of grace.

    Sorry I thought that the post was about the NUMBER of cups not offering choice.

    I would really like to hear how the choice is administered Gage.
  10. Gage Browning

    Gage Browning Puritan Board Freshman

    The choice is defined in the order of worship: outer ring, grapejuice, inner ring wine. We go up to the chancel every Lord's day to partake from the elders and it is often spoken of prior to the Words of Institution- if you desire to partake of grapejuice for matters of health or conscience, then the outer ring is juice, and the inner ring is wine. We also have several families with gluten allergies, so yep you guessed it, we even offer gluten free bread...

    ---------- Post added at 04:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:01 PM ----------

    No common cup Eoghan, we are good Southern Presbyterians...don't ya know.!
  11. Oecolampadius

    Oecolampadius Puritan Board Sophomore

    Coming from a Fundamentalist teetotaler background, I became convinced that wine and wine alone should be used in the Lord's Supper when I became Reformed. And, in my mind, I was dogmatic about this. Back then, I didn't know that our session also provided grape juice (center ring). I believe that I would probably have been offended if I had found out about it back then. However, my attitude about the whole matter changed.

    My attitude changed when I came to know a fellow Reformed believer who used to be an alcoholic. I didn't know about his past at the outset. We came to the topic of wine in the Lord's Supper during one of our conversations. He explained to me that he would love to drink wine during the Lord's Supper but he is afraid of how it might affect him since he is a recovering alcoholic. My concern for my friend made me realize how wrong I was about being dogmatic when it comes to wine during the Lord's Supper.
  12. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    I don't understand what the problem is. We offer both. What is left for someone to object to? Is it possible that someone would believe that the magic powers of the Supper are diminished because some in the room are using an inadequate element?

    We do it the same way, except it is the outer ring that is grape juice.
  13. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    No. I believe wine is the most biblical option. However, I place the matter of wine vs. grape juice on the same level as leavened vs. unleavened bread. I have a position on these matters and if the brethren in my church will oblige, our practice will mirror that. But if not, then I resign myself to the church's judgment without controversy.
  14. fishingpipe

    fishingpipe Puritan Board Freshman

    That's why I'm posing the question, in hopes of getting some opinions on the matter. So far the replies have not been about the question in the OP. But, I'll bite for a moment.

    I've always wondered why God's grace is not sufficient for the alcoholic. If a brother struggles with the wine, should he take the bread alone until he has dealt with that sin, and can then take the thimble of wine?

    What accomodations do we make for sin? Our bodies are corrupt and have sickness and allergies. Do we offer less than what Christ used because of our weaknesses and sin?

    I think of WCOF Chapter 27, Section II. "There is in every sacrament a spiritual relation or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified; whence it comes to pass that the names and the effects of the one are attributed to the other."

    I've always thought of wine being chosen by Christ to represent his blood because of its attributes. It's red. It's alive (fermenting). It brings us joy (alcohol content).

    Grape juice is purple. It's pasteurized (dead). There's no joy in it except maybe for my kids at snack time.

    I think of WCOF Chapter 29 Section V. "The outward elements in this sacrament, duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, yet sacramentally only, they are sometimes called by the name of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ; albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly, and only, bread and wine, as they were before."

    I think the representation is important.

    I think of WCOF Chapter 29 Section VII. How the elements appeal "to their outward senses."

    I think about the Regulative Principle of Worship when two things are offered. Do we know what was used by Christ? If so, why do we substitute or add to it?

    But these are not the answers I'm looking for in the OP, nor am I looking for a debate. I just figured I'd give my opinion on the matter in hopes of getting some responses to my OP. Besides, these things have been hammered out pretty well in earlier topics in the last few years here on the PB.

    I'm probably getting in way above my "pay grade" now with this post. But these are the things I am wrestling through right now, and am hoping to get some reasonable answers to them.

    Maybe the small handful of churches I have been to that serve wine alone are very few in number, and I won't get an answer to the OP. So far the bulk of the answers to my OP have been concerning why grape juice is used, and I have a pretty good idea on why it has been chosen by many in terms of their seeking to accommodate the alcoholic and those who are allergic.

    Your thoughts (and patience with your brother) are really appreciated. The PB has been a great place to think, reflect, and learn for some time.
  15. jwithnell

    jwithnell Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Here's another facet: some insist on using wine only because it is what is used in the scripture and to signify the unity in the church. We may not have only one cup in the way it is served, but it is one drink, wine.
  16. Soonerborn

    Soonerborn Puritan Board Freshman

    I struggle with this question. I question the validity of the argument of offering grape juice solely for the "recovering alcoholic". The question for me is, what are the proper elements. Is it wine? Or is it grape juice. Period. If it is wine, then God ordained this substance as the element and any attempt by the church to change it is sinful and misguided.

    If your church is having a big feast, do you limit the food so the glutton among you won't stumble? Are you causing the thief to stumble when he handles the offering plate full of cash? Do you cause the man who lusts to stumble by being in a room full of women?

    I think the ultimate question is, what is the proper element for the Lord's Supper. If it is wine, we cannot change it. I am not making that point with this post. I am simply saying that if it is wine, then we are not at liberty to change it.

    At this point, others may ask me if I have seen the destructive effects of alcohol. Yes, I have..personally and in those close to me. Yet, we cannot try to "help others" by changing what God has ordained.

    PS..Just as a side-note, the Methodist church has this on their website:

    "Why do most Methodist churches serve grape juice instead of wine for Holy Communion?"

    "United Methodist Book of Worship says, "Although the historic and ecumenical Christian practice has been to use wine, the use of unfermented grape juice by The United Methodist Church and its predecessors since the late nineteenth century expresses pastoral concern for recovering alcoholics, enables the participation of children and youth, and supports the church's witness of abstinence."

    Again, my point is it is OK to offer grape jucie if God ordained it as the element, but we are not at liberty to change the element simply because of "pastoral concern".
  17. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    The answer to this question is even more succinct: Dr. Welch was a Methodist. He invented it initially to replace evil wine in the LS.


    I wasn't trying bait you, JJB. I guess I don't understand the OP.

    Here is a poll from a few years ago:
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