Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hyper-Baptist And The Practice Of The Lord’s Supper.

First Two Articles:
  • Am I Southern Baptist Part Two

  • Hyper-Baptist Want Control Of Your Prayer Life

  • Over the years Southern Baptists have neglected the Biblical mandate of the Lord’s Supper. In trying to create a uniquely Baptist style for practicing the Lord’s Supper, most churches neglect it all together. There are two main ways that the practice of the Lord’s Supper has been neglected, in its meaning and in its practice. The desire of Hyper-Baptists to create a Baptist style of doing the Lord’s Supper has corrupted the Biblical view of the Lord's Supper. My challenge for Hyper-Baptist and regular Baptists alike is to return to a Biblical model for practicing the Lord’s Supper.

    If Southern Baptists are going to return to a Biblical model for practicing the Lord’s Supper, we must understand its Biblical meaning. The foundational theme of the Lord’s Supper is fellowship and communion. During the original
    Lord’s Supper, Jesus invited His followers to take bread that symbolized His body and to eat. He also gave them wine that symbolized His blood and told them to drink. He told them they were to continue to observe the Lord’s Supper until His return.

    The meaning of the Lord’s Supper is clear. When one takes the Lord’s Supper they are identifying themselves with Christ’s Lordship, His death and Resurrection, His Kingdom, and His Return. The Lord’s Supper is an act of worship and the Early Church in
    Acts 2 practiced the Lord’s Supper every time they meet together. How could you truly worship Christ and deny taking His body and His blood? Clearly the Lord’s Supper belongs in every worship service. The Lord’s Supper also gives us a basis for fellowship with other believers. What units us as believers in Christ? His body and His blood unite us and it's meaning defines who we are as His people. The Lord’s Supper recognizes the universality of God’s Kingdom. Through taking the Lord’s Supper we are identifying ourselves with every believer who trusts in the Lord Jesus.

    The area that gets most Southern Baptists in trouble isn’t the meaning, but the practice of the Lord’s Supper. First, most Southern Baptist churches are guilty of making the Lord’s Supper insignificant. Most churches only practice the Lord’s Supper once a quarter or four times a year. Then they normally observe it in their least attended service. Some churches will think they are better because they do it once a month. If you aren’t doing the Lord’s Supper every time you meet for worship, you have fallen short. I’m challenging every church to observe the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, not because I said so, but because scripture does.

    Another dangerous area for Southern Baptists is the issue of the Lord’s Supper being
    “open” or “closed”. Let me explain what I mean. Scripture is clear that the Lord’s Supper is to be observed by Christians only. Therefore the terms “open” or “closed” refer to which Christians can observe the Lord’s Supper in your church. The term “open” means any Christian in your service is welcome to enjoy the Lord’s Supper with the other believers in the church. The term “closed” means that the Lord’s Supper is restricted to only the Christians present who are members of that local church. Much is being said by Hyper-Baptists that the Baptist Faith and Message supports “closed” Lord Supper practices. As a regular Baptist, I’m more concerned with what the Bible says than what the Baptist Faith and Message says. I have read The Baptist Faith and Message and it says that those who take the Lord’s Supper should be members of the church. So the question is how we define “the church”. Biblically, the church is Christ’s body. Therefore every person who confesses Christ as Lord can take the Lord’s Supper at any time. Therefore Southern Baptists should have an “open” Lord’s Supper observance.

    Lastly there is no set “Baptist” way of performing the Lord’s Supper. Your church can use wine, juice, loafs of bread, crackers, or little bread pellets in the actual observing of the Lord’s Supper. Your church can have the elders, deacons, or men pass out the sacraments. I personally enjoy the practice of the people coming forward and getting the sacraments. My point is don’t get stuck in a rut in how you do the Lord’s Supper and don’t lose the Biblical meaning of it either. Don’t worry if Hyper-Baptists tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Most of them are more concerned with being Baptist than being Biblical.

    If you are a pastor I encourage you rethink how you’re doing the Lord’s Supper in your church. If you are a member of a church, talk with your church staff about their practices concerning Lord’s Supper. It should be the desire of every Christian to make the observance of the Lord’s Supper important again and together we will succeed.


    Blogger gmay said...

    OK Preacher,
    Interesting thoughts. I think this debate happened years ago between Hyper Baptist and those who eventually became Church of Christ. Perhaps reading around that debagte will give great food for thought and investigation.


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