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Regarding: “Should non-believers be allowed to take communion?”
In my opinion, the big problem applying the bible to communion is that our modern communion is so vastly different from the “agape feasts” of the early church.
It seems like the biblical Lord’s Suppers were more like our current pot lucks than the little crackers and shot-glass of grape juice we ritually eat now.
Would your church allow non-believers to eat at a pot luck? Every church I’ve attended would not only allow non-believers but would welcome them — as long as they are there as sincere seekers, not trouble-makers.
So, I guess that’s how I view communion — while it is primarily for Christian unity I’m not going to turn-away sincere seekers.
(That’s being said — I can’t really criticize Dr. Brown’s position. I think he makes a valid point in light of I Cor 11.)
Whether the communion “meal” is big or small isn’t what’s so important. What’s important is how we partake of it.
It’s “every man for himself” in regards to recognition of the Lord’s sacrifice and the meaning of it. Reflecting upon his work at the cross and the serious meaning of it in regards to myself is what it’s about, as we all do it together.
I’ve participated in holy communion in a small group at times and sometimes as soon as it’s finished, my neighbor has behaved in ways in which I think holy communion is finished indeed.
But who am I to judge a neighbor? I am to judge myself during holy communion.
While I agree with your sentiment, I’m think form does matter in this case.
We have abstracted communion to the point where it really isn’t a supper or a feast anymore.
Instead it’s a ritual.
Now, I probably like ritual more than most Evangelical Christians but rituals and fellowship are fundamentally different in form.
And, I think, the last supper was meant to be fellowship. (with the spiritual presence of Jesus, of course.)
— that’s my two cents worth, anyway. I can totally understand how people see it otherwise.
When we take the whole of scripture as a guide, instead of just a few verses, there is quite a different picture of the “Lord’s supper” than is commonly painted. It was not an institution of something new, but an explanation of something old. Messiah didn’t start a new tradition of eating and drinking tiny portions of bread and wine that is reminiscent of pagan sun worship.
The Church has once again removed or changed not only the form, but the relevance of something that was commanded to be a testimony of YHWH’s faithfulness. Messiah was doing a Passover Seder with His disciples. He was not doing communion. Yes, when we celebrate Passover according the Y’shua’s instructions, we are communing with Him but not partaking of communion.
So the Biblical feast that YHWH commands his children to do in remembrance of His deliverance of them out of slavery, both physical and spiritual, which takes many hours of preparation and soul searching and the ramifications of which are supposed to be contemplated in every meal for a whole week, has been reduced to 10 minutes on a Sunday now and then.
The cup after the Passover meal, not the sip during a church service, represents the Master’s shed blood. It is not a potluck, but a commanded meal once a year on a specific day done in a specific way with our families in our homes in which we are to declare and rejoice in YHWH’s redemption of us. The unleavened bread that is eaten on that night (it is supper not breakfast) represents the sinless sacrifice of our savior whose body was broken for us. The unleavened bread is supposed to be the only kind of bread we eat for a whole week after Passover…constantly pointing us back to the lamb of YHWH that takes away the sin of the world and reminding us that being in communion with Him purges us from the leaven of sin.
What a drastic difference between the Church’s communion service or potluck and YHWH’s Passover.
Paul, in 1 Cor. 5:8, writes to the Corinthians, “Let us keep the feast not with the old leaven…”, not let us take a few minutes to take a sip and a crumb. There is a difference between a feast and a small snack. He says, “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper…What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? ” in 1 Cor 11:20, 22a. Where are we to partake of Passover? In a house, not a church.
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
When are we to partake? After the Passover is killed after dark.
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
What happens if we partake in an unworthy manner?
2 Chronicles 30
18 For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one
19 That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.
20 And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
1 Corinthians 11
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
Passover is one of YHWH’s feasts…the communion service is not. Partaking of the broken unleavened bread and the third cup of wine during the Passover feast was never meant to be separated and changed into what we mistakenly call the “Lord’s supper” or “Communion.” A little snack before lunch on Sunday or a potluck on a day of our choosing is not “Keep[ing] the feast.
I just thought you all might like to know.
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