Mark Dever/9Marks View on Communion: Too Bad, So Sad for Those Disabled, in Hospice, and In Nursing Homes.

Protostar: beginnings of a new star.
See that dark line at the very center of the “hourglass”? That’s an edge-on view of a protoplanetary disk or the disk of material being pulled into the star as it forms. James Webb/NASA

“Any fool can make a rule, And any fool will mind it.”  ― Henry David Thoreau, Journal #14


I have written about this in the past but find the need to bring it out again as I write about Chapel Hill Bible Church this week.

I am currently in the process of reviewing the GRACE Report on Chapel Hill Bible Church, Chapel Hill, NC.  I plan to write about it on Wednesday and will be interviewed about the brouhaha today. I am grateful that we got out of there when we did. There is little question that my presence would have resulted in abuse of some kind. More on that on Wednesday.

This short post will illustrate the utter lack of love and humility of those caught up in this Calvinista movement. I am not referring to “Your Daddy’s” Presbyterians who have been instrumental in serving their congregations, the downtrodden, and the lost with care and concern.

I am learning much about love and service from my Lutheran pastor, who demonstrates the very best fruits of the spirit. He told me how he visited a member in hospice care to serve him communion. He said it is an important and fulfilling part role he serves for many who struggle. I mentioned the following example of the “We know best” crowd that places themselves among the not-so-young, restless, and Reformed example of painful, made-up theology.

Mark Dever says someone(who was a member of his church) stuck in a nursing home or dying in hospice cannot have communion from his church.

This one hits me rather hard since I visit my mother numerous times weekly in an assisted living facility. So many residents look forward to a visit from their pastor or priest, and many find solace in receiving communion. Mark Dever is considered a great example by those in The Gospel Coalition and those who are ardent Reformed Baptists which he is.  Dever appears to throw the disabled and elderly on the dust heap of humanity. In fact, perhaps this is a stellar example of “communion is just a remembrance” and not really as important as is the lengthy weekly sermon given by the rule makers.

The following question was asked on the “Mailbag” page at 9 Marks.

Dear 9Marks,

I lead a small group in worship at a nursing home. They can’t go to church. I am all the church they get now. What about communion for them?

—Mike, North Carolina

Jonathan Leeman (Dever’s sidekick) says that Mark Dever’s position is (LOL) “theologically tidier.” I say that Dever presents the “Do we have a quorum?” view. All sorts of clubs and homeowners’ associations adopt this sort of a “rule.”

According to Robert’s Rules, the definition of a quorum is the minimum number of voting members who must be present at a properly called meeting in order to conduct business in the name of the group. A quorum should consist of a number that is as large as can be depended upon for being present at all meetings, when the weather is not exceptionally bad.

The definition sounds a little vague. It is! Robert’s Rules developed that definition on purpose to accommodate the diversity of organizations that use parliamentary procedure.

Such a rule sounds nice for clubs but do we actually see secular quorum rules applied by Jesus or the Apostle Paul? Nope. Mark Dever is so tied up in inventing rules that he does what my former leaders at Chapel Hill Bible Church did. He forgot about applying love and humility into the equation. Didn’t Jesus do a lot of that?

Dever, who likes to quote the Bible, doesn’t quote any direct application to his stated “quorum rule.” This is why churches have so many problems.

It’s a wonderful thing to remember those who are separated from us, especially by disability or age. Prayers, Scripture reading, visits, and encouragements of many kinds properly express Christ’s love and ours for such a brother or sister. But what about “taking them the Lord’s Supper”? No, I don’t think you can serve the Lord’s Supper to one person alone any more than you can baptize an infant. It’s outside the definition of what the Lord Supper is by its very nature. In my mind, therefore, this question is comparable to the question of how we should think about baptizing someone unable to be baptized. In the case of both the person in the nursing home and the person who is unable to be baptized, their inability morally excuses them from the command. It’s the nature of the Lord’s Supper to be an expression of the unity of a congregation (1 Cor. 10:17). While all members of a congregation may never be present, the public meeting should be one of which all members are welcome and most members usually are present. Someone’s inability to assemble with the congregation—we trust then—will be accompanied by God’s special provision for them during their trials or extended absence.”

I believe these Reformed Baptists and other Calvinists make up “godly” rules just like John Calvin did. For example, things he no longer allowed.

art, music with instruments, dancing, and theater were no longer allowed. The colors of clothing, hair styles, and amounts of food permissible at the table were regulated.

The little guy often suffers when leaders can make up rules or governance with impunity. Then, groups like GRACE are born. More on that subject on Wednesday


Comments

Mark Dever/9Marks View on Communion: Too Bad, So Sad for Those Disabled, in Hospice, and In Nursing Homes. — 142 Comments

  1. Wow . . . One of my greatest pastoral joys was taking communion to shut ins at Christmas and Easter. And as your pastor, Dee, when I was chaplain of what was then Hospice of Chatham County, NC. To observe communion with the entire family of a hospice patient was humbling and offered such hope in the midst of death.

    Too bad I did not know you in the 80’s Dee. When you were having an unhappy experience with Chapel Hill Bible Church my first pastorate was a small church the other side of Carrboro.

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  2. um…looks like they are not considering how communion should involve reflecting on Christ’s great sacrifice for us…or that participation in communion isn’t just “local” but as part of God’s church here on earth.

    But hey, at least they are being internally consistent with their own (non-biblical) beliefs, sigh…

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  3. “No, I don’t think you can serve the Lord’s Supper to one person alone any more than you can baptize an infant. It’s outside the definition of what the Lord Supper is by its very nature.”
    (Dever)

    Sounds like he missed this verse in the Bible: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” I am pretty sure that the person receiving communion and the person giving it meet the minimum number for a quorum…

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  4. What about in places like North Korea or Iran where only 1 or 2 believers may exist in a village, can’t they celebrate communion? If you were in prison by yourself, couldn’t you save some your bread and water have communion with yourself and the Lord? It s a remembrance and should be made available to all believers. Despite doctrinal differences , it is one thing that we all can share in. This is just crazy, if I was speaking to Me Dever , I would say err in making it available rather narrowing it.

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  5. Ken F (aka Tweed): Sounds like he missed this verse in the Bible: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name,

    Sounds like he also missed the scripture of Jesus healing on the Sabbath, the Sabbath made for humans, not humans made for the Sabbath. They don’t seem to be worried about who will still listen to them, if anyone, after they’ve lost all credibility.

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  6. Gus:
    Wasn’t there someone who said, “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name …”?

    That sounds so very vaguely familiar. I wonder who in all of history could have said such a thing.

    If only that had been recorded in a historically significant document somewhere so we could better understand what was being said.

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  7. I’m heartsick at this lack of loving concern to those in nursing homes and the elderly. Too many churches are choosing to focus on young people (they’re the next generation, must get/keep them in church) to the point where us “older folks” no longer feel welcome. In my church, there are several young pastors with small children and pregnant wives. Funny thing, only the senior pastor has gray hair–the rest are all in their early to mid-30s. I no longer feel as though I fit in. I’m seeing this in other local churches as well. They say from the pulpit that older folks are welcome. If so, where are the older pastors?

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  8. Dever: “It’s the nature of the Lord’s Supper to be an expression of the unity of a congregation (1 Cor. 10:17)”

    1 Cor. 10:17 — “Because there is one loaf, we the many are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf.”

    Wouldn’t the “unity of a congregation“ be a spiritual thing? Isn’t the thought of somebody being with the congregation in spirit appear to be sufficient if somebody wants to drink bread and drink from a cup in remembrance of Christ and to “proclaim the Lord’s death until He should come” (cf. 1 Cor. 11:24-26)?

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  9. Old Timer:
    I’m heartsick at this lack of loving concern to those in nursing homes and the elderly. Too many churches are choosing to focus on young people (they’re the next generation, must get/keep them in church) to the point where us “older folks” no longer feel welcome. In my church, there are several young pastors with small children and pregnant wives. Funny thing, only the senior pastor has gray hair–the rest are all in their early to mid-30s. I no longer feel as though I fit in. I’m seeing this in other local churches as well. They say from the pulpit that older folks are welcome. If so, where are the older pastors?

    The widow and the mite come to mind. Isn’t it quite the coincidence that those who probably paid in their entire life but now were on fixed incomes and have limited resources might not be on the radar of some of those in leadership who make top dollar and would not compromise on that for a second.

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  10. If theological tidiness is a major criterion, it would be a lot simpler still to adopt Preterist theology, and simply stop Communion observance altogether since, in Preterist thinking, Jesus returned in AD70 to judge Israel and, per Paul, the observance is a proclamation of the Lord’s death until he come . This would also alleviate the burdensome problem of protecting people from themselves through the fencing of the table.

    No-one will find this proposal appealing; I offer it as a critique of the privileging of “theological tidiness.”

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  11. Chuckp,

    “If you were in prison by yourself, couldn’t you save some your bread and water have communion with yourself and the Lord?”
    +++++++++++++

    i’m with you. Of course one can.

    (i’ve had bread and wine on my own on occasion [the remembrance thing] when I really, really needed a visceral reminder of multiple realities to gear up for a very difficult endeavor)

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  12. Mr. Dever seems, in spirit, to have gone far away from this portion of the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew:

    “34“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God, appointed to eternal salvation], inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me [with help and ministering care]; I was in prison, and you came to Me [ignoring personal danger].’ 37Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40The King will answer and say to them, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it for Me.’

    (from the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 25)

    I’d be worried about Mr. Dever, sure. Particularly if he is ‘preaching’ something that is turning away from compassion and care for the sick. Very sad, this report.

    Perhaps the Good Lord, in His great mercy will yet provide some kind of intervention that will point Mr. Dever to Christ . . .

    sometimes that ‘mercy’ takes a strange form of intervention, but is needed to change a person’s perspective and we all have encountered some form(s) of that kind of mercy so we know, we know, it can be painful, but helps us on ‘the journey’.

    Sounds like he is saying openly he is in trouble. . .

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  13. Ken F (aka Tweed): “No, I don’t think you can serve the Lord’s Supper to one person alone any more than you can baptize an infant. It’s outside the definition of what the Lord Supper is by its very nature.” (Dever)

    Susan K: internally consistent

    elastigirl,

    It’s vital we stop looking to church officers to define sacraments. (Some eastern church attenders see “communion” as part of initiation, unlike Augustine.) Your practices do not conflict, in my mind, with what I wrote below. If I was present among a quorum of two I might still abstain from (say) bread and just take juice as a prayer for those in need.

    I’m not imputing to any of you the prevalent wrongful intensity of attachment. Any concept you may have resembling “intercommunion” has IMO to be anti-organisational. The mistake of the question asker was in asking Dever at all.

    Samuel Conner,

    As a non-preterist I think Jesus may have expected the church to consider not having a “communion ceremony” as church, after 130 AD when they separated from jewish observance (the “ordinance” given was about not separating from jewish observance) (communion was a jewish ceremony).

    In the light of typical “intercommunion” sentimentality and the fact that nearly all attenders of nearly all churches have come from other churches with the implied good wishes of those church organisations, it’s essential to notice how the biggest centralisers have blasphemed the institution * , hence as a personally notorious church (s)hopper I abstain for the sake of my conscience towards others (and I don’t call it an “ordinance” any more than I follow Pius X’s “frequent” or JP II’s compulsory eucharist ideas).

    { * resulting in “some” becoming dead hands / dead on their feet }

    In my young Roman days, it was normal for most parishioners to “not go up” most weeks, incidentally affording tactful cover to politicians with startling policies. Sitting out was then no more a sign of an inferiority complex ** than it was of pooping the party (as protestants have accused me of doing; even Romans nowadays say something).

    { ** Rome had linked the sacraments to intrusion into private life from the 1920s }

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  14. Michael in UK,

    I have hinted at legalism here and there; I have hinted at the Holy Spirit economy which Jesus intended to be discerned in sacraments (for Jesus to die and rise, was to ascend and distribute gifts unvetoed).

    BTW nothing about Rome is as said by either Romans (bosses or pew sitters) or non Romans; no Roman believes in transubstantiation which is impossible because Jesus doesn’t obliterate things; whereas Real Presence would make sense to anyone if we are set on strengthening others’ integrity especially by supplicating.

    The YRR likewise have the mental reservation method.

    Hence remembrance is a suitable concept provided it doesn’t acquire organisational or sentimental baggage (remembrance and Real Presence are different aspects of thing not rivalling each other) (Jesus said, when / if we do it, to remember His action through us towards “fellow orphans”)

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  15. JDV: The widow and the mite come to mind. Isn’t it quite the coincidence that those who probably paid in their entire life but now were on fixed incomes and have limited resources might not be on the radar of some of those in leadership who make top dollar and would not compromise on that for a second.

    What we see in churches. The pastors are highly enterprising in a business way.

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  16. Dee, the article you’ve linked to is from 2015, although still on the 9Marks website and still an opinion of Mark Dever, I assume. Dever’s opinion was reported by Jonathan Leeman, who critiqued Dever’s view, saying that he disagrees with Dever somewhat.

    I find this interesting. I have often thought of Leeman as the intellectual “hit-man” of 9Marks, giving theological validity to what Dever and others say. Here he seems more flexible, agreeing with Dever only that “the Supper should almost always be served in the gathering of the church,” yet saying “I do think you can serve the Supper to a member who is physically unable to attend” and says “Notice that I included the italicized word “almost” several sentences ago.” He also cites the baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch as an example of an ordinance conducted outside the full gathering of the church, so kudos to him there.

    Not sure if Leeman was poking fun at Dever a bit for saying that Dever’s opinion was “theologically tidier,” or that this is an effort to toss a bone to critics of 9Marks, giving the illusion that 9Marks can be flexible.

    Anyway, this crowd feels the need to pontificate on everything, very much like John Piper, who also writes articles for 9Marks.

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  17. Many years ago before going to seminary and being ordained to serve as a pastor I was a youth minister. During a youth retreat I led in serving communion to the youth during a worship service. That Sunday night I was called before the deacon board of the church because I served communion without an “ordained” deacon present and because I was not “ordained.” When asked to justify my action, I stated that I didn’t know that Jesus was ordained and there were no deacons at the Last Supper that I was aware of . . .

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  18. Muff Potter: Just who the eff’ do they (Dever and company) think they are?

    The New Calvinists truly believe that they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the one true gospel to the church which has lost it along the way. Calvinism = Gospel to Dever and company. In their minds, there is no room for other expressions of faith. That’s why 90+% of believers worldwide for the last 500 years have rejected the tenets of reformed theology. It’s just a lifeless, loveless list of jots and tittles delivered by lifeless, loveless legalists.

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  19. Luckyforward: I was called before the deacon board of the church because I served communion without an “ordained” deacon present and because I was not “ordained.”

    It’s a sorry bunch of church leaders who are more concerned about rules than souls under their watch. There’s a huge difference to being truly called by God vs. being ordained by men.

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  20. Ted: this crowd feels the need to pontificate on everything

    The young, restless and reformed jump out of bed every morning, tune into Twitter, and soak in Piper Points, Mohler Moments, Dever Drivel, etc. They have no spiritual minds of their own, so they must feed on the pompous peremptory pontifications of their idols.

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  21. Max:
    I’ve been following New Calvinism and its band of elites for several years.I have yet to hear anyone accuse them of being a loving bunch … arrogant, yes … but not loving.

    Their RIGHTeoueness will not allow it.

    “There’s no Hate like Christian Love.”
    — Meme I’ve been seeing lately

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  22. Muff Potter:
    Just who the eff’ do they (Dever and company) think they are?

    GOD’s Holy Elect, with a Get-Out-of-Hell-Free Card personally awarded by GOD before the Foundation of the World.

    And they will always be reminding you of that FACT.
    Never underestimate the RIGHTEOUSNESS and Arrogance of GOD’s Speshul Pets.

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  23. This type of sad thinking from the Baptists also goes back to their misunderstanding of Communion or the Eucharist. In the LCMS, the Lord’s Supper/Communion/Eucharist actually is a means of grace, where Jesus is physically present, that God uses to forgive sins and strengthen the faith of the recipient. In Baptist circles, you have mostly bare memorialism, or perhaps a spiritual presence, where the receiving of the supper is more an intellectual exercise, and does not convey the benefits of forgiveness of sins. I applaud your pastor for his actual care of the souls under his care, and pray blessings on his ministry.

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  24. Max: What they are really saying is that the older folks’ money is welcome.

    We the Predestined Elect hate your guts with GOD’s Perfect Hatred and get all turned on down below at the thought of watching all of you burn in Hell for all Eternity, but WE WANT YOUR MONEY NOW! YOU GOTTA GIMME! GOD SAITH!

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  25. I continue to reflect on this origin post and it REALLY troubles me… While, from previous posts on TWW, I have learned of Mr Dever’s “policy”/theological position. As outlined above, there are plenty of scriptural references which fundamentally differ from Mr Dever’s.

    But, as is also mentioned above, Christ’s commandment to love each other, and how we treat each other, and especially fellow Christians treat each other, love should trump all others…
    For Christians that are in the process of leaving this physical world, and that have a personal, deep appreciation and desire for the administration of the “sacraments”, ( and I an not necessarily referring to the RC view), I do not see how one could apply Mr Dever’s “policy” with a good conscience…

    In my opinion, I have no respect for anything Mr Dever says…

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  26. Sandra F:
    I think these Dudebros’ lifeblood is *control* just like their spiritual father, Calvin.

    If they can’t make a rule about something, and then enjoy the subsequent pleasure of enforcement, they aren’t truly living!!

    They LOVE to Hold the Whip.
    Just like their Omnipotent GOD – op.cit. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

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  27. Ken F (aka Tweed): “No, I don’t think you can serve the Lord’s Supper to one person alone any more than you can baptize an infant. It’s outside the definition of what the Lord Supper is by its very nature.”
    (Dever)

    Chapter 837, wherein Mr. Dever points out that the infant baptism churches, which often follow the oldest forms of Christian liturgy, also tend to take Communion to people at home, in nursing care, etc.

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  28. Headless Unicorn Guy: We the Predestined Elect hate your guts with GOD’s Perfect Hatred and get all turned on down below at the thought of watching all of you burn in Hell for all Eternity,

    Yours is a good paraphrase from an actual quote from Jonathan Edwards, one of Dever’s heros.

    The saints in glory will know, concerning the damned in hell, that God never loved them, but that he hates them, and will be forever hated of God. This hatred of God will be fully declared to them; they will see it, and will see the fruits of it in their misery. Therefore, when God has thus declared his hatred of the damned, and the saints see it, it will be no way becoming in the saints to love them, nor to mourn over them. It becomes the saints fully and perfectly to consent to what God doth, without any reluctance or opposition of spirit; yea, it becomes them to rejoice in every thing that God sees meet to be done.

    Here is the context for the quote:
    https://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/contemplated.htm

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  29. Friend: Chapter 837, wherein Mr. Dever points out that the infant baptism churches, which often follow the oldest forms of Christian liturgy, also tend to take Communion to people at home, in nursing care, etc.

    Infant baptism churches have a sacramental view of communion (and baptism) in which the elements are the means of grace. That grace can be taken out of the church to people.

    It’s one of the reasons I was not a good Baptist – the focus on one’s ability and obedience without recognizing the presence of Christ was upsetting to my spirit. It is a theological viewpoint; I just disagree with it.

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  30. JDF, AVA re the widow’s mite, I sadly agree with you. Once folks are on a fixed income and can no longer give as much as they used to, pastors lose interest. It’s my understanding that in some churches the pastor and the congregation (per his request) are kept apprised regarding the finances, but not the names of the donors. Great idea, yet I’m skeptical that such information doesn’t somehow leak out.

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  31. Given that James 5:14 onwards encourages any who are sick to call for the elders of the church to visit, pray over and anoint them, there seems to be no good reason why the same elders cannot visit and administer the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to them provided that other relevant conditions are met, a fact recognised by the Presbyterian church as follows- “ In this country, as early as 1835, Samuel Miller allowed for this with careful qualification. American churches since then allow it with varying restrictions, addressing the issue otherwise than within the Confession itself. In his commentary on the Confession, G. I. Williamson summarizes the necessary qualifications for the practice: “The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper may be administered in private homes, provided there is an assembly of believers, and provided there is faithful preaching of the Word and the administration of church discipline in that place also.” See: RPCNA Testimony at 29.4; OPC Directory for the Public Worship of God (2000) IV.A.3; PCUSA Book of Order 2002-2003, W-2.4010; PCA Minutes of the 7th General Assembly (1979) 102; Samuel Miller, D.D. Presbyterianism the truly primitive and Apostolical Constitution of the Church of Christ (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1835) 90-92; G. I. Williamson, The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co., 1964) 223-224”

    The Confession referred to is the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    RC Sproul and other Baptists say similar things.

    Mark Dever is entitled to his opinion but he is wrong.

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  32. In the interests of balance Heinrich Bullinger did argue against taking the Supper to the sick – “ Neither is there any necessity to constrain us to minister the sacrament to the sick. For as prisoners are absent from receiving the Lord’s supper without danger of salvation, so likewise are the sick and those that are ready to die. For being nevertheless by perfect faith gathered to the body of Christ, and although they be absent in body yet being in mind present with the congregation, they be also made partakers of all spiritual good things. And it is sufficient for them, that as long as they have been in health they have been always present at the holy mysteries. The feast of passover was not celebrated everywhere, but at Hierusalem only, in one place. But how many were there, think we, that by reason of their bodily health impaired with sickness, and for old age, could not travel to Hierusalem from so large and wide a kingdom? And although no man brought them home a piece of the paschal lamb in their pockets, notwithstanding they did communicate with the whole church of Israel. And who doubteth but that by the coming of Christ the condition of the Christians is not impaired?.”
    (Decades of Heinrich Bullinger, Fifth Decade, Ninth Sermon)

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  33. Mark Dever was the speaker at The Faithful Conference at Christ Covenant in Charlotte. Kevin DeYoung interviewed him and the interview is on DeYoung’s podcast. Mark Dever was asked what his strengths and weaknesses were. As a weakness, he said a lack of empathy. Mark lived in rural Kentucky and grew up alone with his parent’s encyclopedia and great books. I am not a psychologist, but if one lacks social interaction, a lack of empathy seems a likely outcome. He also stated that he did not think he should have become a pastor, that he was more comfortable researching and studying.

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  34. Old Timer: Once folks are on a fixed income and can no longer give as much as they used to, pastors lose interest.

    Been there. Seen this. A lot.

    Everyone can be involved, after security checks. However, most often the lead pastor sets the agenda with all resources directed toward his latest project.

    Never seen elderly, minors, disabled, etc. vulnerables, as featured on the agenda.

    $$$ and social status sets the path, the pace, the power.

    Interesting that a famous historical church and community revival in Wales occurred subsequent to two frail stay-at-home widows who prayed. One was blind, the other disabled with arthritis. Circa 1940’s, 1950’s?

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  35. Re communion: we don’t need to get caught up in clericalism. As oft as we eat and drink…..Communion is available. No third party necessary.

    That said, clerics who refuse to do this with or for the ill, the prisoner, etc, are proof there is nothing to clericalism. Wind and air, no substance.

    And I have attended churches where old people were explicitly told they should stop attending the services. They could work the nursery or provide parking lot attendants but “If anyone comes in and sees a bunch of gray hair they won’t be back.” Of course, if you stopped letting your tithe attend you could expect a child to die, a grandkid to get leukemia, etc.

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  36. “Fencing the table” is the official practice of the PCA. One must be a “member in good standing of an evangelical church” to participate in the Supper. It is assumed that those who refuse to “member up” are sinning. In reality, many people (myself included) have valid reasons for being “church homeless.” I think it is the fencers who are not “discerning the body” when they exclude their fellow Christians. “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in…”

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  37. Muff Potter: Their god has way more in common with molech and chemosh, than with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    Yes, it is a very pagan view. And if you think that one quote was bad, you should try reading the whole piece from which it came. The part about saved parents of the unsaved rejoicing in the eternal conscious torment of their own children makes me wonder why anyone thinks Edwards is such a great theologian and role model.

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  38. Lowlandseer: “ Neither is there any necessity to constrain us to minister the sacrament to the sick. For as prisoners are absent from receiving the Lord’s supper without danger of salvation, so likewise are the sick and those that are ready to die. For being nevertheless by perfect faith gathered to the body of Christ, and although they be absent in body yet being in mind present with the congregation, they be also made partakers of all spiritual good things. And it is sufficient for them, that as long as they have been in health they have been always present at the holy mysteries. The feast of passover was not celebrated everywhere, but at Hierusalem only, in one place. But how many were there, think we, that by reason of their bodily health impaired with sickness, and for old age, could not travel to Hierusalem from so large and wide a kingdom? And although no man brought them home a piece of the paschal lamb in their pockets, notwithstanding they did communicate with the whole church of Israel. And who doubteth but that by the coming of Christ the condition of the Christians is not impaired

    Sounds like he’s been born again bone idle.

    Keep in mind back in the day, ministering to the sick could make you sick & ministering to prisoners may be a one way trip to the Inquisition.

    Reminds me of Monty Python & the Holy Grail

    “When danger reared its ugly head,
    Sir Robin bravely turned and fled….”

    Maybe Dever has the same hangup.

    Praise be….

    Heroes of the faith.

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  39. linda: Of course, if you stopped letting your tithe attend you could expect a child to die, a grandkid to get leukemia, etc.

    … that teaching or culture that says that if you are needy in any way (sick, disabled, unemployed, homeless by hurricane, elderly frail, etc.), you have been unfaithful to God, so karma… and stop whining to the church. Get your act together so God will bless you. So come back when you’ve got a big fat tithe.

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  40. Lowlandseer,

    Thank you.

    Lowlandseer: n the interests of balance Heinrich Bullinger did argue against taking the Supper to the sick – “ Neither is there any necessity to constrain us to minister the sacrament to the sick.

    As a Lutheran, I take communion more seriously since we believe that our Lord is actually present. That thought has changed my concern for the Supper. It is truly a means of grace.

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  41. Dale Rudiger: a lack of empathy

    This has come up before with the New Calvinists. There appears to be a lack of empathy among narcissistic NeoCal church leaders, some within their ranks believing empathy is a sin.

    Dale Rudiger: He (Dever) also stated that he did not think he should have become a pastor, that he was more comfortable researching and studying.

    He’s obviously not a pastor by the true definition of that office.

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  42. Dever thinks he is king dictating truth to the masses. The reality is that Jesus said to do this in remembrance of Me. He did not say inside a building dedicated as a church. He did not say by a special clergy classes. Instead we are all supposed to be priests.

    The holiest times I have done this has been in a small group with no pastors present. I am not into any kind of big arguments about the physics of what happens or why. Jesus just said to this. If you find yourself alone, as I often times do, then just do it. Leave the gobbledygook aside. Jesus died for us. Thinking deep about that is enough.

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  43. Mr. Jesperson: Jesus said to do this in remembrance of Me. He did not say inside a building dedicated as a church. He did not say by a special clergy classes. Instead we are all supposed to be priests.

    In my congregation, lay members and ordained folks can deliver Communion to people in hospitals, confined to home, or in nursing facilities.

    Several times, Communion has been brought to me when I was recovering from serious illness. It meant the world to me—so very healing, tender, and holy.

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  44. The Last Supper took place on a Friday evening, which was the beginning of the Jewish sabbath/Shabbat. Shabbat meals traditionally include a number of blessings, such as a blessing over the wine and a blessing over the bread (starting to sound familiar?) before everyone partakes in the meal.

    Jesus was enjoying the equivalent of a Sunday evening dinner with his “church family” (granted, a very special Sunday evening dinner).

    If we’re really trying to be “biblical” here, we should all be celebrating communion in small gatherings right before a shared meal. Not as part of a larger gathering in the local religious building at an event that’s preacher-focused instead of community-focused.

    I think maybe Mr Dever has a poor understanding of the point of symbolism. He’s making man for the sabbath instead of sabbath for the man.

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  45. Max: New Calvinists truly believe that they alone hold truth. They certainly have a passion about restoring the one true “gospel” (their theology)

    They would be shocked (or not) to realise they hold to evolutionism (Teilhardianism or exaggerated dispensationalism): religion has turned into the depersonalising manoeuvring that it was destined to be, in these times. They evolved into dinosaurs while we stick with living Holy Spirit as endowed unvetoed at Ascension!

    YRR are evolutionists! They think they can get away with their mental reservations (“internal agnosticism” Mr Jesperson calls it, double mindedness in the Bible) but some of us sneakily acquired wider experience than them over the years and now recognise what we see.

    They have at any rate arrived at the point where they truly believe that they truly believe. Truly “true” belief by contrast is based on one’s own degrees of inference (a J H Newman concept) which, in their codependence, they aren’t allowed to allow to themselves or others (the real meaning of man as measure and of humanism).

    Wild Honey: communion in small gatherings right before a shared meal. Not as part of a larger gathering in the local religious building

    Just like in the letter of James!

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  46. dee,

    I had the opportunity to speak with Mark last Sunday morning after he taught Sunday School. I told him that I was writing a book about empathy and he received the first four chapters. They discuss about twenty reasons a person could be without a church home. He received it and took my email address. I have not heard back from him yet. The title of the book will start “No Supper For You” and discusses the misunderstanding of 1 Cor. 11 and the practice of keeping people apart from the Lord’s Meal.

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  47. Wild Honey: He’s making man for the sabbath instead of sabbath for the man.

    Beyond Sabbath, man for the system as defined by a man/men at the top.

    In contrast:

    1. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength: the only hierarchy. Man under God. Directly, individually, no middle man or patriarchy, institution, system. No bait and switch where the church/pastor is god or represents god.
    2. Love your neighbor (close proximity) as yourself. Lateral. Whatever we do for the least of the least, we do for Jesus. Least of the least would be the vulnerable, widows, orphans, displaced, disabled, needy through no fault of their own. What church does this? Churches are set up with all resources flowing to the pastor people at the top of the hierarchy. They are not the least of the least. But they would have us believe that giving to them and their planes & projects is giving to God. Not so fast.

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  48. Wild Honey: If we’re really trying to be “biblical” here, we should all be celebrating communion in small gatherings right before a shared meal. Not as part of a larger gathering in the local religious building at an event that’s preacher-focused instead of community-focused.

    I appreciate your idea, but my own experience of Communion is not “an event that’s preacher-focused instead of community-focused.”

    I have watched or received Communion mainly at Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Catholic, and Russian Orthodox services. Although the Presbyterian and Methodist rituals I have seen are simpler, the liturgies make it clear that Communion is a special and holy time. I always experience it as sharing the sacrosanct alongside others, lay and ordained, strangers or known to me. Even when I do not partake, I benefit from the sense of holiness.

    One huge distinction is the emphasis on the sermon in some churches. Traditional liturgy tends to deprive the preacher’s words of monopoly power. Some preachers who disdain Communion might be jealous.

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  49. Ken F (aka Tweed): The part about saved parents of the unsaved rejoicing in the eternal conscious torment of their own children makes me wonder why anyone thinks Edwards is such a great theologian and role model.

    Simple.
    “IT’S NOT *ME* DOWN THERE! PRAISE GAWD IT ISN’T MEEEEEEEE!”
    Talk about throwing your own children under the bus…

    “I GOT MINE!
    I GOT MINE!
    I DON’T WANT A THING TO CHANGE
    NOW THAT I GOT MINE!”
    — Glenn Frey

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  50. To be fair: in those groups that believe grace is dispensed in, with, or around the elements, to refuse to take that grace to shut ins and dying is despicable. It basically writes them off as non humans. However, that said, in a group that does not believe the elements are mediums of grace, it is understandable not to carry the elements to those that cannot be in the fellowship. If you see it as a memorial and as a witness, not a means of grace, there is no need or reason to take it outside the service, and doing so implies a whole different theology.

    Sometimes our own worldview gets in our way. But for those that want or need communion and cannot go to church, there is no reason not to have it privately.

    Yes, my pastor if he reads this may kick me out of membership.

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  51. Dee

    I emailed you a copy of a screen shot of a tweet that Mark Dever apparently made on 10/28 of this year that someone posted. Dever said:

    “Please stop celebrating the Lord’s Supper outside the context of the local church. Without intending it, it individualizes & subjectives Christian faith & undermines church membership & discipline (See I Cor 11).”

    This tweet really doesn’t surprise me. From what I have seen, Mark Dever is big on control of church members and thus the push to try and find a way to restrict communion to use a means of control.

    I sure don’t see anything in I Cor 11 that in any way supports Dever’s claim. As others have said, various leaders and apparently Dever have made what they call the “local church” an idol. Thus really not surprising Dever making this claim and twisting scripture that 2 Peter 3:16 talks about.

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  52. Max: I’ve been following New Calvinism and its band of elites for several years. I have yet to hear anyone accuse them of being a loving bunch … arrogant, yes … but not loving.

    Well if you read I Cor 13 it talks about what someone is like when they don’t have love. This includes sounding like “a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.” The passage says that despite all they do that might appear quite sacrificial without love you are nothing and gain nothing.

    Sadly especially as one moves up in leadership there is quite the tendency to forget this admonition.

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  53. linda: in a group that does not believe the elements are mediums of grace, it is understandable not to carry the elements to those that cannot be in the fellowship.

    Hmm, am I misreading the boast? Maybe they’re really saying, “Those guys take dumb old bread and wine to the sick. We don’t even visit them!!!”

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  54. Steve240: Well if you read I Cor 13 it talks about what someone is like when they don’t have love. This includes sounding like “a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.”

    Both of which are LOUD unpleasant grating noises (like an all-media Incoming Nukes Alarm Tone) that can drown out everything else.

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  55. GEFS!

    Meanwhile; if someone cannae attend a gathering of the church, then “their inability morally excuses them from the command”. Moreover, “Someone’s inability to assemble with the congregation – [the marks brothers] trust then – will be accompanied by God’s special provision for them during their trials or extended absenc”e.

    So, here’s the thing. The assumption behind those two claims is what always seems to be the assumption in certain kinds of parachurches. That is, all the responsibility is on the believer, to give to the church organisation. It’s the christian who is commanded to attend the meetings – not the organisation that is commanded to care for its members. It’s the housebound member who gets the gracious exception so that they don’t need to demonstrate their commitment to membership by turning up for bread and wine.

    If you’re really looking for loopholes, a better one would be that the housebound member’s inability to travel morally excuses the congregation from limiting Communion to their gatherings.

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  56. ChuckP: I wonder if I was in thr hospital or home bound, would Denver’s church still accept my offering if I couldn’t be present?

    That would be a solid yes.

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  57. Steve240:
    Dee

    I emailed you a copy of a screen shot of a tweet that Mark Dever apparently made on 10/28 of this year that someone posted.Dever said:

    “Please stop celebrating the Lord’s Supper outside the context of the local church.Without intending it, it individualizes & subjectives Christian faith & undermines church membership & discipline (See I Cor 11).”

    This tweet really doesn’t surprise me.From what I have seen, Mark Dever is big on control of church members and thus the push to try and find a way to restrict communion to use a means of control.

    I sure don’t see anything in I Cor 11 that in any way supports Dever’s claim.As others have said, various leaders and apparently Dever have made what they call the “local church” an idol.Thus really not surprising Dever making this claim and twisting scripture that 2 Peter 3:16 talks about.

    https://twitter.com/MarkDever/status/1586062858399252480

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  58. Mr. Jesperson: Mark’s true God: Mammon.Did Jesus not say something about that?But all the bigwigs conveniently forget.It is like a septic tank all wrapped up in beautiful Xmas wrappings and bows for everyone to get excited about.Come over and take a wif and pass out…

    My thought is that Mark Dever’s “true god” is something along the lines of:

    – Power
    – Money
    – Fame

    All while trying to put on a facade of “serving” the body of Christ. Sadly something like this is similar for other leaders in his camp like C.J. Mahaney

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  59. Wild Honey:
    The Last Supper took place on a Friday evening, which was the beginning of the Jewish sabbath/Shabbat. Shabbat meals traditionally include a number of blessings, such as a blessing over the wine and a blessing over the bread (starting to sound familiar?) before everyone partakes in the meal.

    Jesus was enjoying the equivalent of a Sunday evening dinner with his “church family” (granted, a very special Sunday evening dinner).

    If we’re really trying to be “biblical” here, we should all be celebrating communion in small gatherings right before a shared meal. Not as part of a larger gathering in the local religious building at an event that’s preacher-focused instead of community-focused.

    Don’t forget to add foot washing as part of this that some churches do as part of communion.

    With the hierarchy these churches set up, maybe it should be:

    – the lead pastor washing the feet of the others people on stall including assistant pastors
    – the group leaders washing the feet of regular members

    Foot washing is a humbling experience in some ways. Maybe if more churches and especially leaders practiced this is might help leaders retain some humility. Humility sadly is lacking in a lot of leaders.

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  60. The following link, while written in the context of Capitol Hill’s lawsuit against the authorities banning meetings during Covid, nevertheless gives an insight into his reasoning behind disapproving of “private” communion for the sick.

    https://baptistnews.com/article/mark-dever-says-in-person-worship-is-essential-to-biblical-christianity/#.Y398OnGnwkg

    In other articles (by others who hold similar views) you find a fear of “fetishising” the sacrament, as if it had magical properties.

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  61. Lowlandseer,

    From the article:

    “In the five-minute video, Dever argues that Christianity is a unique religious tradition because of its emphasis on gathering.”

    Ha, yeah, right. The man has never heard of a Native American powwow, never heard of Orthodox Jewish weddings where thousands attend (or an ordinary minyan), never heard of a pilgrimage to Mecca, never heard of the nine-day Hindu festival of Gangasagar Mela, where people gather on the banks of the Ganges.

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  62. linda: It basically writes them off as non humans.

    All groups have social mores or norms and purpose.

    If these are Christ-like, then the group is a part of the Body of Christ. If the norms are not Christ-like, then the group is not of the Body of Christ.

    If not, no matter what they call themselves, the wheel has left the Temple, the Holy Spirit is not there, and God is not among them.

    Even when God is not there, people go to, engage in and support “church”, for lots of reasons. Human connection without God is still human connection. For some, the whole ordeal is more about the human connection than the God connection.

    Church can be like a rock concert, a chamber of commerce networking event, a speed-dating scene, a potluck buffet, a self-help seminar, a café coffee club, a people-watching pastime, a book club, a baking show competition, a meeting of the minds or think tank, a predator’s hunting ground (the Dark Side of church, potentially), etc. Nothing to do with God but lots of interaction with some person’s (or some people’s) purpose, but not God’s purpose.

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  63. JDV: various leaders and apparently Dever have made what they call the “local church” an idol.

    For the leaders, the local church is their ATM. Put in their pastor code, and out comes the cash. Cash cow is another term.

    For the attendees, they have to pay to play … communion. Since the sacrament is only allowed at the machine where they pay up and then receive … that is where real communion takes place, as designated by these leaders. The leaders own and control the ATM.

    Fortunately, for those who read the Bible, nothing about Jesus is pay to play. Nothing about Jesus’ followers resembles an ATM or Cast Cow.

    There is the one account in the NT where a rich young ruler approaches Jesus and Jesus tells the guy to donate his wealth to the poor. This would apply to wealthy pastors.

    For the wealthy who are not pastors, the mandate is to donate wealth to the poor and needy, NOT to a pastor, his airplane, his various estates, his pockets, his projects.

    Nowhere in the NT are pastors and church leaders at the receiving end of wealth and salaries from churches. They receive support for travel (room and board when traveling) and they are mandated to not overstay in one place.

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  64. Ava Aaronson: Nowhere in the NT are pastors and church leaders at the receiving end of wealth and salaries from churches. They receive support for travel (room and board when traveling) and they are mandated to not overstay in one place.

    The description of church leaders and church helpers in 1 Timothy 3 does not use the word pastor.

    In the NT, pastor is neither a job nor a profession nor a livelihood.

    Pastor is mentioned once in Ephesians 4 as one of the GIFTS of the Holy Spirit to the church. Why are churches paying salaries and for airplanes for a gift of the Holy Spirit?

    There are 18 gifts given by the Holy Spirit to the Body of Christ: Romans 12, 1 Cor 12, Eph 4. Is anyone else (other than pastors) using their gift from the Holy Spirit to the church as a way of making money? A job? A salary? The Body of Christ has to pay for this “gift”?

    The fact that traveling disciples in the NT received room and board as they ministered from church to church doing evangelism and discipleship has been blown way out of proportion to supplying “pastors” with enormous wealth and accoutrements making for a lavish pastor lifestyle – interpreted falsely as faithfulness to God. This arrangement is not of God, according to the NT.

    Church leadership collection of and accumulation of wealth from churches is false teaching.

    The Good News and Body of Christ Membership are not bought/sold. Access to God and to the Kingdom of God are not via financial transactions.

    If Christians can sort out controversies such as Young Earth Creationism, Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, Can Christians Divorce & Remarry, Christians Use of Birth Control, etc., with biblical study and discernment, certainly the current church model of ONE Holy Spirit given gift being paid to run the church – pastor – can also be carefully reconsidered.

    (Seminary theobro wiseguy professors don’t approach this issue because they are in on the grift, training the pastor-professionals as their own salaried profession. Poor training – obviously, when child abuse, DV, and sex abuse run rampant in churches and even among seminary-trained clergy. Seminary professors select their apologetics carefully, to keep their grift system in place. How highbrow and Polite Society of the professors, to publish great theological debate about … nothing of value, really.)

    Pastor Gone Wild seems to be the current state of affairs in churches.

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  65. Friend–among some Baptists there is no more significance to the Lord’s Supper than putting a cross or fish symbol on the back of your car. It is a memorial, a witness, and no more. So those groups of course see no reason to take communion to someone who cannot attend church. However, the healthier of those groups would absolutely visit with the sick person and pray with them. Just they do not see the ordinance as a means of grace. It is not conferring grace, nor is Jesus any more especially present when the bread and wine are present than He is any other time.

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  66. linda,

    That’s a lovely set of beliefs, and I’m sure it all works together for thoughtful, sincere believers. It’s even somewhat reminiscent of Quaker beliefs that all moments are equally holy. Quakers traditionally will not take an oath, because there should not be a special standard of honesty in, say, a courtroom. (Instead, Quakers will affirm.)

    One problem lies in denigrating other people’s beliefs about sacraments. Another lies in turning Communion into a thing that is simultaneously 1) so sacred it can only be done in a group, and 2) so marginal that we don’t bother providing it to people who can’t join the group.

    I keep hinting around about this: Communion is a red herring here. They are covering for their decision to abandon the vulnerable.

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  67. linda: Of course, if you stopped letting your tithe attend you could expect a child to die, a grandkid to get leukemia, etc.

    AKA The Sorcerer siccing his familiar spirits on you for Extortion purposes.
    “O GREAT CHEMOSH! O GREAT BA’AL! SEND DEATH AND DESTRUCTION DOWN ON THESE MINE ENEMIES!”
    You find that shtick all through Appalachian & Pennsylvania Dutch tales of conjure-men and witch-men. Using their Mighty Magickal powers to shake people down for peanuts.

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  68. Steve240: Foot washing is a humbling experience in some ways. Maybe if more churches and especially leaders practiced this is might help leaders retain some humility. Humility sadly is lacking in a lot of leaders.

    The Bible is a great and wonderful thing, but how much of that way back there and then stuff do you (generic you) wanna’ try and extrapolate into this here and now?
    Just because it says such and such in this and that chapter and verse, does it mean that I’m obliged to do it too?
    I think not, and no offence, but I don’t want anybody washing my feet so long as I’m perfectly capable of doing it myself.

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  69. Friend,

    I come from a low-church background. One did communion every Sunday, and I think did it well. In the others, it was typically an afterthought. Not that they were trying to be disrespectful or less appreciative or anything. But the main part of Sunday service was definitely the lecture-I-mean-sermon. Music and prayer were more bookends. The sermon was the main point. And community definitely didn’t happen during the service, any “communing” with fellow attendees needed to happen in Sunday school or over donuts and coffee in the lobby.

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  70. Last thoughts on this. The Founders Ministries, 9Marks and Mr Dever are fond of quoting J L Dagg’s Manual of Church Order, especially chapter 5 on Communion. Here you find laid out all their arguments for denying Communion to paedobaptist ministers and the sick –
    “ The rite was designed to be social. Of the three purposes which it serves, as enumerated in the last section, the third requires that it be celebrated by a company. It could not serve as a token of fellowship between the disciples of Christ, if it were performed in solitude. To perpetuate a social rite, society is necessary; and the disciples of Christ, by his authority, organize the societies, called churches. As these are the only divinely instituted Christian societies, we might judge beforehand, that the supper would be committed to these, for its observance and perpetuation. This we find to be true. Paul says to the church at Corinth, “I praise you that ye keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you.” “I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you.”(19) He then proceeds to mention the institution of the supper, and speaks of it as observed by the whole church assembled. Of some other matters, he says, in this connection, “We have no such custom, neither the churches of God;”(20) but everything in his account of the Lord’s supper, accords with its being a church rite; and with this, all that is recorded of its observance at Jerusalem and Troas, perfectly harmonizes. The administration of the rite to a dying individual, as is practiced by some, has no sanction in the Word of God.”

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  71. Lowlandseer: The administration of the rite to a dying individual, as is practiced by some, has no sanction in the Word of God.”

    The Word of God has no sanction of great metal birds that men fly in either.
    Does that mean we shouldn’t book passage on them?
    The way I see it, Do this in remembrance of me… means just that, no more, no less.

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  72. Steve240,

    “Foot washing is a humbling experience in some ways. Maybe if more churches and especially leaders practiced this is might help leaders retain some humility. Humility sadly is lacking in a lot of leaders.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    i’d rather just run with the idea of valuing people more than persnickety fastidiousness (say, in a political, theological, or sexuality context).

    make a special meal and enjoy it with perceived opponents/reprehensible/yucky people.

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  73. Lowlandseer: “ The rite was designed to be social. Of the three purposes which it serves, as enumerated in the last section, the third requires that it be celebrated by a company. It could not serve as a token of fellowship between the disciples of Christ, if it were performed in solitude.

    Interesting. So communion is merely a “token of fellowship” between x number of believers. There exists no “grace” to the individual believer. Luke 24:35 “hen the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.” Jesus was with two men on the road to Emmaus when He performed this efficacious breaking of bread.

    Jesus also said, “Wherever two or more of you are gathered…” So, if a pastor performs the breaking of the bread-there are two. That appears to be a quorum in God’s institution.

    I am so relieved that I have found the means of grace in the Lutheran view of communion. Jesus is present and that is not just to some “quorum” but to each individual believer. It’s a twofer in other words.

    I doubt our pastor would find Dever’s system of belief at all convincing. Communion has become far more important to me as I have come to believe in Jesus’ presence. It’s no mere token to me or to those in my cchurch.

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  74. Muff Potter,

    i love the scene from Toy Story III where the toys end up at the local garbage dump sliding down to the incinerator. They were all mad at each other because of different views on things.

    but they all grab each other’s hands for help and support and look at each other eye to eye in pure honest recognition of each other’s humanity.

    if a disaster hits (natural or otherwise), we all will do the same.

    why wait til then?

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  75. Muff Potter: The Word of God has no sanction of great metal birds that men fly in either.
    Does that mean we shouldn’t book passage on them?

    Because those Great Metal Birds are filled with DEMONS.
    That’s why Creflo Dollar has TWO private jets and Kenneth Copeland has THREE.
    For those on the bottom with only ONE Private Jet, check out @PastorPlanes on Twitter.

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  76. dee: Jesus is present and that is not just to some “quorum” but to each individual believer. It’s a twofer in other words.

    “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

    Hebrews 12.1-2 We are surrounded. By a great cloud of witnesses… the heroes of the faith as noted in the Hall of Faith of Hebrews 11.

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  77. Friend: their decision to abandon the vulnerable

    An honest query to you all: while YRR may be right that God is improvident, because they surely must be right about quite a lot of things (despite our establishing we’re not impressed with their concept of “protecting”), what I’d really like to hear from you is your various opinions of your own: do you yourselves think God is provident or improvident? Thank you.

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  78. Friend–I agree with you totally that groups that do not believe in the real presence in some special sense in the elements or with the elements or around the elements should still visit the sick and shut ins if requested. But in those groups, expecting or insisting on the elements being brought denies their root theology. Not going to happen, nor should it.

    That said, many of us have been in groups that have those teachings and also enjoyed the freedom that came with that theology to have private communion (alone) or to simply ask friends and family to join you in it. No clergy needed.

    The real issue, I believe, is not about the elements or who visits. It is circling back to priestcraft and clericalism, believing somehow that if you don’t have a shaman do the rite it isn’t real, and if the shaman doesn’t come to you Christ doesn’t come either.

    Which is, in my never humble opinion, quite simply hogwash.

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  79. For the communion antiphon:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urt-v7TCdOk

    Just A Closer Walk With Thee – Kirkekonsert Melhus Kirke 27. november 2022

    190 views 28 Nov 2022
    Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Trad. Tekst Scott Joplin, tilpasset av Tor Arne Vannebo.

    Vokalsolist: Evy Levik
    Piano: Christine Goedecke
    Trompet: Knut Rangøy og Olav Egil Rolseth
    Trombone: Tor Arne Vannebo
    Bass: Olav Isak Sjøflot

    Lyd og videoproduksjon: Olav Isak Sjøflot

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  80. I guess these men don’t really believe Jesus. Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name there I Am in the midst of them.

    They love the book of Matthew so much that it’s used as a battering ram to force reconciliation yet discard anything that doesn’t fit in the scope of control they create for Christ’s church.

    Where there are TWO or Three in His name all our seniors need our disabled need is one person to partake communion with and that would be the pastor. Why wouldn’t any pastor bring communion to where our seniors and disabled are to do communion?

    Why? They don’t want to get off their butts and actually go to where they are needed. These men collect six figure salaries, fly around the world for speaking engagements, go on amazing family trips but can’t drive five miles down the road to minister to their elderly and disabled? Even worse say that it can’t be done and excluding them from the body.

    All I can say is wow, wow, wow what a bold move and statement! Playing around with Christ’s body like this. It saddens my heart that our seniors and disabled are being excluded like this but whoa to them who encourage this among the body!

    I believe we should challenge the church to go to places where seniors and disabled people who can’t get to church bring it to them. Ask Christ to open the doors and bring the church to the care homes. If the pastors don’t participate to bad leave them at home. God will raise up his church to minister to these men and women.

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  81. shauna: All I can say is wow, wow, wow what a bold move and statement! Playing around with Christ’s body like this. It saddens my heart that our seniors and disabled are being excluded like this but whoa to them who encourage this among the body!

    It seems I remember a beautiful young Rabbi in Judea who said “Woe unto you!” quite often to the religious elite of his day.

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