Tag Archives: communion

Baptist Dysfunction #3

As we walk through the list of Baptist distinctives, we come to an issue of church polity and practice. Jesus Christ entrusted the church with many things, two of which get a special spotlight (and rightly so): Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. There’s not a lot of controversy here, but I’ve got a few questions about these…

SacramentsStainedGlass01Two Church Ordinances

#1 – Believer’s Baptism

I know why we baptize believers – in obedience to Christ, for identification with His death and His church, and to proclaim the gospel. I also get the picture from the New Testament that baptism symbolized rebirth, so why can’t a believer be re-baptized when he rededicates his life? What would be the issue with re-preaching the gospel or identifying again with the church if one has become distant? Why can’t a Christian be baptized again? I mentioned that idea one time to some Christian leaders and they shot it down with disdain. Their answer was, ‘Well Jesus only died on the cross once, so you should only get baptized once.’  Not only does than answer lack basic logic, but it also implies an unhealthy connection to salvation.

Furthermore, at what point did churches get so particular about ‘receiving’ the baptism from other churches? I understand that some baptisms are given under false pretense (as if it is part of salvation) or by the wrong mode (sprinkling instead of immersion), but why do we dismiss baptisms from other brethren? Is it to pad our numbers? Is it because we are that distrusting of their water districts? I truly don’t get it!

Also, why don’t we work as hard for baptisms as we do salvation decisions? Why do we compare our baptism numbers (isn’t that a little self-aggrandizing)?  Some don’t, but many IFB pastors worship the numbers… or rather worship themselves through the numbers. They judge their entire lives by how many are in the pew on Sunday. If we count, we should count how many families had devotions this week, or how many people showed real patient love with a difficult person, or many hours our church spent praying for their co-workers… Those numbers are worth counting (if you’re gonna count)!

#2 – The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper was given to the church as a sacred sacrament. It’s one of the major things that we are urged to do together that reveals the gospel. Some churches practice it once a year, others once a quarter, while others once a month. So why don’t we do it more often? I’ve know…because we don’t want it to get old / ritualistic… Right! So why do we do it exactly the same way every single time? We read the same verses and the same people pass the trays the same way. Every. Single. Time. Why? Would it be a sin to be creative with communion?

With regard to the ordinances, why -in most churches- are only ordained men allowed to participate?  I have never seen anything more beautiful than a father baptizing his child or when parents lead their family in communion.  Just because the church was entrusted with these doesn’t mean we get to monopolize them! Agree? (And by the way, I think foot-washing should be considered… maybe not as an ordinance, but at least practiced occasionally. Humility & soap would go a long way to clean up some of the stink in our churches!)

 

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

Other Articles  |  Bio

Advertisements

Creative Communion

Communion is always a special day at church.  It is one of only two ordinances that separate the church from other spiritual organizations.  Every time we share it, it is a sacred day of self-examination and spiritual closeness.  This week’s communion was more wonderful than I’ve experienced before.  Instead of the normal: deacons in suits, sitting up front, folding the cloth, serving the silver platters… we shared the bread and juice in a different way; and it was so good, I recommend it to you, too!

There are two parts to communion – two distinct emphases.  The first is what we often have shared together – it is remembrance of Christ’s death.  Jesus and his Apostles said: “Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” (Matthew 26:26; 1 Corinthians 11:24)  Yet there is a second part of communion which is often left out… the celebration of Christ’s return.  Just as the bread looks backward to salvation past (from sin’s penalty), the juice looks forward to the promise of salvation future (from sin’s presence).  In 5 of the 6 passages in the Bible which speak of the Lord’s Supper, our hearts are pointed forward with hope to His return: “till he come.”  “For this is the blood of the new testament (covenant, promise)…I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 11:26; Matthew 26:28-29)

First, we followed up a message about commitment by writing down the thing(s) that most often holds us back from giving God 100%.  A sin, any unforgiveness, an addiction, a destructive thought pattern, pride, a loose tongue… you name it, we wrote it down.  Then we brought our sins and problems to the cross and nailed them there – literally.  Hammer and nails were provided to remind us how Christ took our sins upon Himself when He died on the cross.  We nailed our papers to a rugged, railroad-tie cross and left them there.  What a release!

Second, unleavened bread was set at the altar, near the cross (unleavened, since leaven in the Scriptures is a picture of sin, and Jesus was totally pure).  A few at a time, we took the bread, knelt at the altar and remembered the price that Christ paid for our sins.  We looked inward to see if there was anything to confess to God before we shared the bread.

Next, as people finished the bread, they were asked to come up onto the platform.  The three steps would symbolize Christ’s time in the grave and his triumphant resurrection.  Once on the platform, with smiles and song, we enjoyed the cup of promise.  We lingered and rejoiced together because of God’s forgiveness.

Lastly, we made our way off the platform, but did not return back to our seats.  We fellowshipped in the aisles and sang together a song or two (In Christ Alone & Beautiful, Terrible Cross).  In this same setting, we gave our tithes and offerings, and then we were dismissed.  What a beautiful note on which to end the service.

Praise the Lord for a sweet time together!

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

Other Articles  |  Bio