We recognize the Lord’s Supper (LS) and Baptism as the two ordinances specifically given to believers and as such realize their importance in the life of the church. Knowing that believers bring various experiences and feelings regarding the Lord’s Supper, the Elders desire to lay out the following guidance regarding Friendship’s beliefs and observance of the Lord’s Supper. We begin our theology by working from explicit statements to areas where Scripture is silent.
Explicit statements and commands
- The LS is to be done in remembrance of Jesus Luke 22:7; 1 Cor 11:24-25
- Partaking proclaims His death until He comes 1 Cor 11:26
- Participants should examine themselves 1Cor 11:28
- If we examine ourselves, God won’t judge us 31
- The LS is always described in a corporate sense Matt 26:26; 1Cor 11:25
- The LS is always shared (shared cup, broken bread) Matt 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20; especially 1 Cor 11:17-22
Logical thoughts (not always wise and sound)
- LS is for believers; believers are baptized; therefore participants must be baptized
- LS arose from Passover Luke 22:15; Passover used unleavened bread Exo 12:8-20; Luke 22:1-7; therefore LS must use unleavened bread
- The first LS utilized wine; therefore wine must be used
- LS is for believers in good standing 1 Cor 11:17-24; we only know if believers are in good standing if they are members of the church Mat 18:15-17; hence only members of that church can participate
- Women are not allowed to exercise authority over men 1 Tim 2:12; presiding over or serving LS exercises authority; hence, only men may preside and/or serve
No guidance given: The Scripture is silent regarding
- Who should preside over and or serve the elements
- The frequency, beyond “as often as you do this” 1Cor 11:26
- Mood (somber or joyful)
Conclusions and Practice of the Lord’s Supper
Main Focus: The Lord’s Supper will always focus on remembering the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Participants will be urged to examine themselves and thus partake in a worthy manner.
Theological considerations: We fully maintain all explicit statements and commands. We heavily consider Biblical examples. We carefully weigh logical considerations. We recognize freedom where the Bible is silent.
Participants: Because the LS is only for believers in good standing (self-examined), and because believers should be baptized and members of their local church, we strongly urge only those who are baptized members to participate. We leave this determination up to the individual both because the Bible encourages self-examination rather than corporate examination and in recognition of unique situations (too new to the church to have joined, a member of another church who is passing through the area, a new believer who hasn’t had the opportunity to be baptized, etc.) Those who have willfully chosen not to be baptized or pursue church membership should not participate in the LS.
Cultural adaptations: While wine most closely aligns with the original LS, we recognize both the strong feelings opposing alcohol by some believers as well as the ongoing struggle to overcome alcohol by others and choose to utilize grape juice instead for the sake of unity in the body. We also feel a shared cup and shared broken bread most closely communicates the depth and corporate intimacy of the Lord’s Supper, yet recognize hygiene concerns should be considered.
Pursuit of sound theology with room for freedom of expression:
- Recognizing God has given the elders to lead the church, we generally ask elders to preside over the table.
- We recognize the significance of unleavened bread and generally will follow that representation. However, at times we will use leavened bread for various reasons.
- We recognize the importance of observing the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis, and as such will generally celebrate on the first Sunday of the month, while varying this to add additional celebrations as it fits the life of the church.