Question About Communion
In an email to Jacob it was asked:
Can you offer any biblical insights into the orthodoxy of last Sunday’s communion service at my church. Pastor Tim Brown, Calvary Chapel Fremont, has been doing communion every Sunday for over a month – looks like it’s corresponding to Lent, but he didn’t say that. I was troubled by this communion invitation since it was more mystical than I’ve ever heard him get, and I did not participate – something I have never done before.
Am I being oversensitive, as my husband thinks? I respect your insights and if I was wrong in my judgment then I welcome correction. I know my pastor is friends with Jon Courson and it seems like my pastor was taking a similar outlook on things as Courson did at that one conference where he offended other pastors.
Thank you for your counsel. Below is the verbatim transcript and the link to the actual sermon he did on suffering.
Pastor’s Remarks – April 6, 2009:
“I think it is significant that we are going to the table of the Lord this morning where we are invited to eat and drink of Jesus. ..It’s so weird, I was thinking about this, you know next Sunday is Easter Sunday. In the Bible; in the New Testament, there was no annual commemoration of Easter. That just was developed in church history. I think at one point, some pope said,’Let’s do Easter,’ and so you know we’ve been doing it ever since for some reason – not for some reason; we know why.
Now I think every week – just Sunday – just the day Sunday; we worship on the day Sunday, that is a celebration of the resurrection because Jesus Christ rose from the dead on what day? On a Sunday. And so we’re here on resurrection day and so really, we’re commemorating; we’re celebrating resurrection every week.
Jesus never really instituted a ceremony to celebrate the resurrection. He did institute a ceremony to remember and to celebrate his death, his crucifixion on the cross and his death. And it’s so interesting to me that it’s not so much that Jesus has the church every week come and partake of the resurrection, which obviously we do because we’re born again through the spirit, but he says hey listen what’s important to focus on our my wounds, my suffering.
He invites us every week to come and to eat of his suffering; to partake of his wounds. God invites the church, not just into the heighth of his power and of his victory at the resurrection, but he invites us into the deepest suffering that he ever experienced. He says church, I want you to remember that. And I want you to live in that place of my deepest suffering…(Tim talks about his own lack of suffering in his own life- surgery, etc.)…
When I come into, when I retreat into the deepest wounds of Christ I find healing taking place in my life and in my heart. The pain doesn’t go away. I can still be going through the same thing and I can still grieve, but I tell you, my heart is encapsulated; my heart is sheltered in the love of Jesus Christ. I can’t explain it. There’s no formula for it. But as you partake, as you eat of Christ at the point of his deepest pain, something will happen in you. The wounds of Christ are for your cleansing. The wounds of Christ are a salve to your soul. The wounds of Christ are for your forgiveness. The wounds of Christ are for your strength; the wounds of Christ are for your healing and so we are invited into the depths this morning to eat of Christ.
We’re told that on the night that he was betrayed, our Lord took bread and he broke it (Tim breaks matzo bread holding it up) and he said this is my body given for you, take and eat it all of you. And in the same fashion he took the cup and he said this is the blood of the new covenant which is shed for the remission of sins. Take and drink it all of you.
And so, Lord, we come this morning. We come into the wounds of Christ. We come into the deepest part of your suffering to find strength; to find cleansing, to find salve; to find healing; to find forgiveness. And Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters in this room her this morning, Lord if there be any that have been soaking in pain and suffering that they moved away from the posture of worship… that they would be drawn back this morning. That when they eat and drink of Jesus, as they worship God, as they worship you this morning; as they take up the word of truth again, Lord, that you would strengthen them…Lord this morning as we eat and drink of you; as we worship you…Lord we love you…in Christ’s name. Amen.
Come up and partake of the body and blood of Christ.”
There is an incomplete and I dare say deficient understanding of the Lord’s Supper in the text below inclding one partial error.
The Last Supper was a Paschal Seder where the Afikomen would have been used for the institution of the Lord’s Supper. This was a broken piece of matzah which was striped, pierced, wrapped in a napkin in a ”symbolic burial” ritual and placed under a triclenium table (today under a table cloth) to be “resurrected” at the end of the Seder. Hence the Passover is not just a memorial of His death but a testimony to His resurrection and return. This comports with what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11, “We proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes”.
It is typical of so many pastors that they do not understand the Lord’s Supper (or much of the rest of Scripture) because they read a Judaic/Oriental book with a Hellenistic/Occidental mind oblivious to the Sitz im Leben (the original historical and/or sociological setting). They cannot properly teach what they themselves have never been taught (although I would not call this false doctrine or false teaching, just biblical ignorance).
Additionally, the Greek text of Paul’s communion narrative quotes Jesus as saying “Do this in rembrance of me”; the Greek text actually says amemnesis (where we get the clinical term “amnesia”) – literally,”That you may never forget Me.”