The Lord’s Supper

A resource for New Philly campus pastors. Written and compiled by Christian Lee (Nov 2014).[1]

Our Theology: Our view of Communion (aka Eucharist, Lord’s Supper) is that of John Calvin. Here is a summary of the various views:

  1. Transubstantiation (Roman Catholic). Believes that the bread and wine actually and literally become the body and blood of Christ when the priest says, “This is my body,” during Mass. Every time the Mass is celebrated, it is believed that the sacrifice of Christ is repeated, although not in the same way as the Cross.
  2. Consubstantiation (Lutheran). Luther rejected the RC view that the bread actually becomes the physical body of Christ. But he insisted that the physical body of Christ is present “in, with, and under” the bread, similar to how water is present in a sponge.
  3. Memorialism (Zwingli). Teaches that the Lord’s Supper is simply a remembrance of Christ’s suffering. It denies any form of physical or spiritual presence of Christ in the bread and wine.
  4. Spiritual Presence (Calvin). Teaches that the Lord’s Supper is more than just symbolic but that Christ is spiritually present during the sacrament through the power of the Holy Spirit.

What is the meaning of Communion? Jesus instituted two ordinances (or sacraments) for the church to observe. First is baptism which is observed once as a sign of one’s salvation through faith in Christ. Second is Communion which is observed repeatedly as a sign of continual fellowship with Christ. Communion brings us into Christ’s presence, it causes us to remember the price Jesus paid to forgive our sins and give us everlasting life, it provides spiritual nourishment (John 6:53-57), and it gives us a vivid reminder that we who are many are united as one body as we eat of one bread (I Cor. 10:17). It also proclaims Christ’s future return when we shall feast with great joy in God’s presence (Matt 26:29, I Cor. 11:26).

Who should partake in the Lord’s Supper? There are two qualifications that should always be mentioned. Read aloud I Cor. 11:27-30.[2] Then explain that only those who have personally and individually repented and put their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior should partake in the Lord’s Supper and that each Christian should examine themselves before partaking in the Lord’s Supper.

Who should administer the Lord’s Supper? At New Philly, Pastor Christian has only authorized the male campus pastor to preside the Lord’s Supper. If the campus pastor is not available, please have an ordained, male New Philly pastor preside. If one is not available, please postpone it. New Philly is open to a female pastor administering the elements but because such a move may distract and hinder those with a traditional, denominational background, Pastor Christian would like to reserve the exclusive right to make such exceptions. The person administering the Lord’s Supper should be dressed in semi-formal or formal attire.

Who should distribute the elements and is there a dress code? Ushers should consist of active leaders who are mature and in good standing with the church. They should be dressed in semi-formal attire (no cut off jeans, t-shirts, hats, caps, etc.). Very important: Before the service, make sure to coach the ushers on the logistics of distribution and collection (be sure to think through logistics beforehand).

How should I officiate? Here are the logistics you should follow for the first 7 times you lead. Afterwards you can feel free to improvise a bit.

  1. Have the worship leader play background music about the Cross or have the Tech Team leader play an audio file. Come forward and explain the meaning of the Lord’s Supper (in your own words; feel free to refer to the question above, ‘What is the meaning of Communion?’) and then explain the two qualifications for participation with its warnings. If they do not meet the requirements, kindly ask them to refrain and pass the plate.
  2. Explain that you will now distribute the bread. Ask everyone to hold onto it so everyone can partake together. Give the elements to the ushers for distribution and once everyone has received the bread read I Cor. 11:24 (NIV), “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ Let’s eat of the bread together.”
  3. Explain that you will now distribute the wine (if it is wine and not juice, explain that it is real alcohol). Ask everyone to hold onto it so everyone can partake together. Give the elements to the ushers for distribution and once everyone has received the wine read I Cor. 11:25, “In the same way, after supper [Jesus] took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ Let’s drink together.”
  4. Finish with, “Whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” Finally, give instructions for an orderly and quiet clean up.

How frequently should we celebrate the Lord’s Supper? There is no biblical guideline given for its frequency. In light of I Cor. 14:26, “Let all things be done for edification,” New Philly campus pastors are encouraged to host it at least twice a year and at most four times a year.



Footnotes
  1. This material was compiled using Wayne Grudem’s Bible Doctrine as the primary source.
  2. 1 Cor. 11:27-30 (NIV), Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

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