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What Luther Says

Last Sunday, I Drank From The Common Cup For The First Time (Because I Was A Hypocrite!)

The Sacrament of Communion.

The Lutheran explanation is simple. It's the Biblical one too. That is, in the bread and wine, the Lord is present in, with, and under the elements.

I'll admit, as a recent convert from Evangelicalism to becoming a Confessional Lutheran, I'm still learning about the beautiful mystery that is the Lord's Supper as one of His holy Sacraments and as a means of grace for me (1 Corinthians 11:17-34).

For instance, it was only within the last few months that I learned about the importance of taking Communion with reverence since those within the American Evangelical crowd rarely (if ever) talk about the Sacraments.

1 Corinthians 11:28-32 (ESV) 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

So, you can imagine my surprise (and sheer delight!) to learn what we Lutherans believe and teach about Holy Communion based on what God's Word already tells us about it.

This has been one of the many joyous discoveries I've been given since escaping Evangelicalism and becoming a Confessional Lutheran.

Evangelicals will say that it’s not the frequency that matters (how often we celebrate the Lord's Supper at church), but the heart attitude of those who participate.

Yes, we should most definitely partake with reverence, love, and a deep sense of gratitude for the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who was willing to die on the cross to take upon Himself our sins. But why wouldn't we want to celebrate it as often as possible? Thankfully, Lutherans have historically believed that you can never celebrate the Lord's Supper enough when believers come together.

What is the Lutheran view of Holy Communion though?

Is The Lord A Bush? Examining The Lutheran View of Communion

What Do Lutherans Believe About The Lord’s Supper?

As I've studied this subject more closely in recent months, I've come to realize that there is still much for me to learn, and I can't wait!

In addition, I've discovered that as faithful as Lutheran doctrine is to Biblical doctrine, we still have our controversies much like American Evangelicalism does.

Fruit of Which Vine?
The Cup: The Chalice In The Celebration of The Sacrament of The Altar

Now, you might think that raising such objections as the ones presented in the above referenced posts is "pious" or "self-righteous" or more about the "traditions of men" and the Law than about fidelity to God's Word and to Grace.

My simple rebuttal is this: When and why did we even think to change things in the first place? I mean, God's Word is pretty clear when it says that Jesus used bread and wine as opposed to wafers and grape juice, isn't it?

What Led To Grape Juice Being Used In Communion?

I'll never look at Welch's Grape Juice the same again. As usual, we see that it was pragmatism that replaced pure doctrinal truths. I don't want us to get sidetracked though. Hopefully, all of that helps to put us all on the same page regarding the gift that is the Lord's Supper.

I bring all of this up for a specific reason. Last Sunday's service was like none other for me!

You have to understand the background of what's been going on at my church lately in order to truly appreciate where I'm coming from here. Interestingly enough, the Board of Deacons held a meeting with the Interim Pastor the day before (on Saturday) to specifically discuss my letter and concerns about the role of "Lay Deacons" within our congregation. Specifically, the use of Lay Deacons to administer the Sacrament

Of course, the initial reaction from people has been mixed, as noted, but I'm trusting the Lord to work through His Word for I've done all I can in being confessional and faithful to Him and the truth of the matter. I will continue to do so, and I will continue to do so with a clear conscience and a loving and long-suffering heart fueled by God's grace.

I'm not quite sure why I decided to drink from the Common Cup last week, but I'm pretty sure it had to do with all that I've been reading about Communion. Regardless, I'm so glad I did.

Not that a person is a "better" Christian per se if they do, but as I thought about things more deeply than I ever had before, I just kept thinking how all the excuses that kept me from doing it in the first place were the very same excuses that people give for not utilizing Deacons Biblically and confessionally within our church and that really bothered me as it should.

What a hypocrite I would be if I didn't follow 2,000+ years worth of church tradition (not to mention the way that Jesus and the Apostles did it) simply because of my own personal preferences! What a hypocrite I would be if the same excuses I was challenging when it came to the use of Lay Deacons within our church were the very same excuses I was content to use to defend my decision to keep from drinking from the Common Cup.

Those excuses of mine?

"Well, that's just the way I've always done it before..."

"It's just easier and quicker to grab the small individual cup and move on..."

"I refuse to drink from the Common Cup because I'm worried about getting germs and getting sick from other people..."

That last excuse is rich, isn't it?

I heard another Pastor point out how absurd that one is out of all the others. I mean, we're worried about "germs" when we drink wine with His presence? Seriously? Are you kidding me?

If so, then can we really say that our hearts and minds are properly focused on the true meaning of this Sacrament as a means of grace for us?

It's actually the other way around, isn't it? We, as sinners, should look at it in reverse, shouldn't we? For how can our sinful lips and mouths dare to touch anything that has to do with the body and blood of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Yep. That one really convicted me. I'm glad it did.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, I'm enjoying all that the Lord is teaching me about Him, His Word, and about His Sacraments in this day and age.

This may have been the first time in my life that I received Communion with the kind of reverence and thoughtfulness that God expects me to each and every time.

Sure, I still have many questions (like is Communion still valid for me if it's a Lay Deacon who administers it?), but I need to walk before I run.
[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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