by George Battey
1996 Preacher Study Notes
The history of the communion through the Christian Age is an interesting one and covers much more than merely how many cups should be placed on the table. The changes which took place through the years were wrong, but it is easy, after studying church history, to understand why these changes occurred. Once change started, it was difficult to stop that change until the supper was completely unrecognizable from the New Testament pattern.
This study helped me to understand better why we must resist even small changes, no matter how innocent they may seem, for changes in the communion have affected doctrinal beliefs about forgiveness of sin, the destiny of the dead, and the structure of church worship.
The Original Supper
The Lord’s supper, as set forth in the New Testament, was a very simple church ordinance. It contained only three elements:
- (a) a single loaf of unleavened bread (Matthew 26:17-26; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17) representing the Lord’s body,
(b) a single cup (Matthew 26:27; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25) representing the new covenant ratified by Jesus, and
(c) unfermented grape juice (Matthew 26:17-29) symbolizing the blood He shed to ratify the new covenant.
With apostolic approval, the early church observed the communion every first day of the week (Acts 20:7). It was a simple meal designed by the Lord Himself to remind Christians of the tremendous sacrifice made on their behalf.
As simple as this meal was, and as forthright as the Scriptures are about how to observe it, men soon began to tamper with the pattern. The tampering began even in the days of the apostles themselves. Paul had to write to the Corinthian church and correct their abuse and misunderstandings of the supper (1 Corinthians 11). As far as we know, they accepted the correction given by Paul and the communion was observed scripturally once more. Yet, as in the days of the Judges of Israel, “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10). More changes were to come and more changes continue even to this day. This paper is a brief outline of what occurred from the second century onward.
The second century began with the absence of all apostles. The Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve, was a document written during this time and it states that “on the Lord’s own day [Christians] gather together and break bread and give thanks.” This concurs with Acts 20:7. It also records that only those “baptized in the name of the Lord were to partake.”  So far, so good. The communion continues to be observed on the right day and offered only to members of the church.
Justin Martyr, an apologist of the second century, wrote:
“bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.”
Here is the beginning of transporting the communion to those not assembled. Mosheim concurs that, “A part of the consecrated bread and wine was carried to the sick or absent members of the church, as a testimony of fraternal love, sent to them by the whole society.”
Note Justin’s use of the word “wine.” Evidently “wine” here meant fermented wine, for an early Christian named Titian objected so much to its use that he substituted water for it in the communion.  Titian must have been a prohibitionist of the purest type, because the wine being used in those days was already diluted with water. F. W. Mattox speculates, “The wine often was mixed with water, not for ceremonial reasons, but to dilute its strength.” Hippolytus used John 19:34 in an attempt to justify the mixing of water with wine. He also advocated shaping the loaf into an image of the body of Jesus. This watered-down wine, however, was not universally practiced.
Justin concurs with the Didache that communion was to be “closed” to only baptized believers. He writes:
“And this food is called among us Eucharistia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins.”
The practice of confessing sins before taking communion began. The Didache specifically stated that before the communion, each faithful member must “confess [their] transgressions that our sacrifice may be pure.”
The communion brought Christians of the second century under suspicion. Their secret meetings were believed to be occasions for immorality and they were often accused of cannibalism because they were said to be eating the body and blood of Jesus.
More than one drinking vessel was already in use. Irenaeus, in his writings, Against Heresies, speaks of smaller cups of the supper being filled from the large one. One of the Ante-Nicene Fathers writes, “The priest says the prayer of the Oblation. . . We pray and beseech Thee, 0 Lord, in Thy mercy, to let Thy presence rest upon this bread and these chalices on the all-holy table.”
The practice of fragmenting or “breaking” the bread into several portions was practiced. Mosheim writes: “The wine was mixed with water, and the bread was divided into several portions.”
A heretical group of the second century, called the “Ophites,” a sect of the Gnostics, had an interesting communion service. Although they claimed to be Christians, they had the notion that the God of the OT was really the Devil and the serpent in the Garden of Eden was the true God trying to liberate Adam and Eve who had been imprisoned. The serpent suggested that if they would eat the forbidden fruit, they would be given the knowledge of Gnosis which would free them. They stressed the healing effects of the brass serpent of Moses and they sanctified the communion by having snakes crawl over the bread and into the wine.
The Third Century (A.D. 201-300)
The third century sees the emergence of a practice called the agape, or “love feast.” The majority of historians and Bible commentaries believe that a common meal, known as the agape, was eaten in the Lord’s Day assembly just before the communion. It is believed that 1 Corinthians 11:17-20 and Jude 12 both refer to this meal. It never seems to occur to any of these writers that the very text they use to find Biblical basis for the agape
(1 Corinthians 11), actually teaches against the practice of having a common meal in the assembly — specifically the Lord’s Day assembly!
“What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you” (1 Corinthians 11:22, NKJV).
I suppose commentators and historians believe the answer to Paul’s rhetorical question is, “No, we don’t have houses to eat and drink in.”
In spite of Paul’s clear teachings about common meals in the assembly, the third century church began practicing just that. Congregations would share an ordinary meal together and after the meal they would eat the Lord’s supper. It is said that Ignatius wrote about this feast in the early years of the second century and a passage from the Didache is offered as proof that the second century church practiced this observance, but even Davies, who offers the passage, admits it is inconclusive. The practice was clearly observable during the third century but it was soon separated from the assembly itself. It became more of a private party, but was usually conducted under the supervision of a bishop.
Communion continues to be “closed” to only baptized believers, only now mention is made that those in a “penitential state” are not to be offered the communion either.
Late in the third century, while persecution was raging, Christians continued to meet on the first day of the week, but only under the cover of darkness. Much ceremony and pomp were added to the service and, according to Mattox, gold and silver vessels came into use. Also, the elements of the communion are beginning to be looked upon as having magical powers. Some are calling it the “Medicine of Immorality.”
Persecution (A.D. 64-313)
The great persecution of the second and third centuries was much to blame for the changes in communion. Whether some of the persecuted “Christians” were actually immersed believers according to Acts 2:38, it would be impossible to know for sure, but probably they were. The Catholics and their predecessors were guilty of many things, but they were not guilty of practicing “Baptist baptism.” In fact, as will be noted later, they went to the other extreme of saying baptism was efficacious within itself. These persecuted souls counted themselves as Christians and suffered greatly for what they believed.
Nero (emperor 54-68)
The first to persecute Christians was Nero. His persecution began A.D. 64 when a massive fire broke out in Rome. Nero wanted to initiate a massive renovation and building program in Rome, but was unable to get approval for the project. By setting fire to Rome, he cleared the needed space much like Ahab did in his dealings with Naboth
(1 Kings 21).
To escape blame for the fire, Nero accused Christians of setting the fire and a persecution began, but was not world-wide in scope. This persecution was limited in and around the vicinity of Rome. During this time Paul was evidently put to death by beheading.
Trajan (emperor 98-1 17)
Trajan was the first emperor to persecute Christians because they were Christians. This persecution was on a more wide-spread scale than Nero, though not world-wide yet. Trajan inherited a kingdom in which senatorial proconsuls had been trying to outdo each other in building projects. To end this, Trajan issued an edict forbidding all clubs. When he even refused to sanction a fire brigade, it was not expected that he would show much toleration to Christians.
Trajan’s envoy, Pliny, was not prepared to deal with Christians. He sent word to his master asking what course to take and Trajan wrote back:
“No search should be made for these people; but if they are denounced and found guilty, they must be punished; with this proviso, that when the party denies that he is a Christian, and shall give proof that he is not, by worshipping the gods, he shall be pardoned for his penitence, even though he may have formerly incurred suspicion.”
So, accordingly, the practice began of persecuting anyone who would not worship the gods of Rome. Even if a person had been a professing Christian, they could, by bowing to Rome’s idols, be pardoned and they would be spared any punishment.
One important fact to focus upon what the opportunity offered to accused Christians. They were given ample opportunity to reject their faith. When any did recant, it was deliberate. When any stayed faithful, it was after many trials and many bypassed opportunities to escape torture. These faithful brethren had many opportunities to spare themselves torture, but they remained loyal throughout.
Decius (emperor 249-251)
Decius was the first emperor to initiate a persecution throughout the entire Roman Empire. He issued an edict that demanded all citizens sacrifice to the gods of Rome within a specified period. The purpose of this edict was to determine the loyalty of citizens to the emperor. When a citizen appeared to sacrifice to the idols, a certificate was issued to demonstrate compliance. This certificate was much like a passport in that it was necessary to carry it at all times. If stopped by the police without possessing the certificate, one could be arrested on the spot.
This plan was painful enough for the church, but could have been worse, for the following year, Decius died and the persecution was dropped. However, two years following his death, Valerian ascended the throne and resumed the policies of Decius.
Diocletian (emperor 284-305)
Diocletian launched the most brutal and far-reaching persecution which the Christian Age ever saw. In March 303, the decree was issued that Christians could no longer hold meetings, their buildings were to be destroyed, their leaders were to be imprisoned, all “lay members” were to sacrifice to the idols, and all copies of the Scriptures were to be turned in to be burned. Eusebius described the torture which followed:
“Christians were caused to suffer in every conceivable way. The prisons ran over, and slave labor camps were set up in which Christians were worked to death in the mines.”
“In January 304, the magistrates of North Africa arrested forty nine men, women, and children as they were assembled for the Lord’s supper in a friend’s house. They were transferred to Carthage and on February 12 were brought before the proconsul and charged 'as Christians who, contrary to the decisions of the Augusti and Caesars, had frequented the Lord’s assembly.'” Each person was asked separately why they had been present at an unlawful church assembly and each replied in the same words, "As if a Christian could exist without the Lord’s Supper, or the Lord’s Supper without a Christian!” They were condemned to death and executed immediately.
In contrast to the above story, some Christians weakened under the pressure and sacrificed to the idols. Others obtained forged copies of certificates to present to police as evidence they had sacrificed to the gods.
CONSTANTINE (emperor 306-337)
Constantine I, after much struggle, emerged the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. His mother was a Christian and, after supposedly having a dream in which he saw soldiers carrying shields emblazoned with the sign of the cross, he became a lifelong friend of Christians. In 313 he issued the famous “Edict of Milan” in which Christianity became a legal religion. Not only did this legalize Christianity, but it even encouraged the spread of Christianity. Constantine declared:
“We therefore, announce that, notwithstanding any provisions concerning the Christians in our former instructions, all who choose that religion are to be permitted to continue therein, without any let or hindrance, and are not to be in any way troubled or molested Moreover, concerning the Christians, we before gave orders with respect to the places set apart for their worship. It is now our pleasure that all who have bought such places should restore them to the Christians, without any demand for payment."
This ending of persecution was most abrupt. Instantly Christians received relief from the most bitter persecution they had ever known. Now the church was free to grow without governmental interference . . . or so it seemed. Perhaps a better way to word this is to say Christianity was free to grow without governmental molestation, because the church and state would certainly mingle and interfere with one another in days to come.
Fifty-five years prior to Constantine, a doctrine had been advocated by Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, that men inherit the original sin of Adam. Along with this theory was the doctrine of “baptismal regeneration” was developing, to coincide with the doctrine of original sin. “Baptismal regeneration” grew out of the Biblical teaching that baptism was for the remission of sins, but it went further and included the idea that baptism itself was efficacious and would bring the desired results even if the candidate was unaware of what was happening. Baptism was viewed as having mystical powers of its own which, if performed by a properly ordained clergyman, saying the correct formula, the sins of an individual would be remitted. These beliefs were the soil out of which grew the practice of infant baptism.
There was a doctrine working against the practice of infant baptism. Tertullian was an outspoken advocate that baptism was for the remission of past sins, but he argued there was no remedy for sins committed after baptism and furthermore, baptism could not be repeated. Consequently, many put off baptism until old age. Constantine himself is a classic example, for he delayed baptism until shortly before his death hoping it would cover all his sins.
When Constantine brought the persecution to an end, many of the Christians who had forsaken Christianity came wanting admission back into the church. Some had sacrificed to the idols, some had turned in Scriptures to be burned, and still others had obtained forged certificates. Though it was not right, many who had lived through the persecution and remained faithful, were reluctant to accept these traitors back into the church. They had suffered the loss of property, family members, and had suffered through torture, and they were not inclined to look favorably upon traitors who had forsaken the faith.
In 311 Donatus began to teach that these traitors had committed an unpardonable sin and could not be restored to the church. Christians in general did not accept this view. A synod at Rome decided against the Donatist position and later councils upheld this decision.
The official position of the church was to allow the backsliders back, but there was a need for the backslider to show genuine proof of sorrow for his sin. This gave rise to penance, or the performance of rigorous, tedious works to demonstrate genuine sorrow. Again, this is not scriptural, but it is easy to see how the conditions of the time brought about these doctrines and beliefs. The communion was offered to those who (a) confessed their sins and (b) did penance to demonstrate true sorrow. The Didache says:
“Thou shalt confess thy transgressions in church, and shalt not come to thy prayer in an evil conscience,” therefore, before the Eucharist, the faithful must “confess your transgressions that our sacrifice may be pure” [emph. mine, gb].
In this way, worshippers were “worthy” to partake of the communion — an assumption based upon a faulty understanding of 1 Corinthians 11:27-28.
Communion Viewed as Efficacious
Just as baptism was viewed as efficacious, the communion likewise began to be viewed as having mystical powers within itself to bestow blessings upon worshippers. Over and over in the writings of “early church fathers” John 6 is appealed to as proof that there is something more to the communion than simple remembrance.
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day’” (John 6:53-54, NKJV).
Though this passage has nothing to do with the communion, yet it was and is appealed to over and over again to demonstrate there is something mysterious and mystical about the communion service. Eusebius, the “father of church history,” was one of the few early writers who understood that John 6 had nothing to do with communion.
Early on, writers began to view the communion as being mystically efficacious. Irenaeus speaks of eating “unto the remission of sins.”
Cyprian believed spiritual life itself came from the communion and without it, one would die spiritually. He used the passage in the Lord’s prayer about “daily bread” to justify eating the Lord’s supper every day. He believed the communion was so worthy that penalties would ensue the irreverent — “penalties such as choking, strange fires, the hands scorched to cinders, and assaults by evil spirits and even insanity.”
About ninety years after the death of Cyprian, Cyril of Jerusalem was consecrated. He is noted for using the Lavabo, i.e. the ritual cleansing of the hands before communion. He stressed John 6 to the point that if any Christian did not assemble for communion, he would forfeit salvation. He taught that the communion was depicted in the marriage in Cana. There the water was literally changed into wine, and in like manner the communion wine is literally changed into the blood of Christ. Cyril was also the first to clearly advocate the idea that the communion had power to help the dead.
The efficacious communion began to be celebrated at the tombs of martyrs and at funerals. The bread and wine would be held high into the air by the bishop so all the assembly could see the miracle of the transformation of ordinary bread and wine into the actual body and blood of the Lord. It was believed that prayer offered in the presence of the bread and wine would be more effective than in their absence. Thus, before communion, many prayers and lengthy prayers were added to the service — for the whole earth and for the living and the dead.
Though long in coming, the doctrine of transubstantiation was officially recognized as a dogma of the Catholic (Western) church during the Fourth Lateran Council (1215).
Cyprian’s theory that men inherited Adam’s sin was a persistent doctrine which would not die. Augustine popularized this theory and taught that baptism should be administered as soon after birth as possible, for without it, even infants could not enter heaven, but would be consigned eternally to a place called “limbo.”
Baptism took care of inherited sin, but beyond this, something must be done about sins committed by each man himself, or “actual sin” as it was called. It was believed that some men led such good lives that their good works would cancel out their “actual sins,” and at death these rare individuals could enter heaven immediately. But what about everyone else? Everyone else, it turned out, must pay for their sins before they could obtain bliss in heaven. Hence, the idea of purgatory — a place of “purgation” where men make up for the sins they committed after baptism.
The pictures of the tortures and agonies in purgatory became more and more vivid and anxiety increased as this doctrine was emphasized. It became natural for people to want some way of shortening their stay in purgatory. Various ways were devised, and one of those ways has a direct bearing on the communion. One disastrous idea was that the Lord’s Supper was a propitiatory sacrifice — i.e. an actual sacrifice offered to God which satisfies His wrath toward sin. This sacrifice (communion), when offered in the name of a Christian in purgatory, would reduce the time he would be confined there and would hasten his entry into heaven.
The idea of the communion becoming an efficacious sacrifice was a natural conclusion for men to make once they have accepted the doctrine of transubstantiation. If the bread becomes the actual body of Christ and the wine His. actual blood, then, when the bread is broken and the wine is poured out on an altar, the events of Calvary are actually being re-enacted and have as much merit as the historical crucifixion itself. If the historical crucifixion of Jesus carries enough merit to counteract inherited sin, then surely this re-enactment of the crucifixion could counteract “actual sin.” This, then, is the beginning of the “Sacrifice of the Mass” — the idea that Christ is sacrificed every time communion was administered. In 1562 the Council of Trent declared:
“In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and sacrificed in a unbloody manner, who once offered himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross . . . The victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different . . . If anyone says that the sacrifice of the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving . . . but not a propitiatory sacrifice . . . let him be anathema” [emph. mine, gb].
This reasoning provided an appealing way for men to shorten their agonies in purgatory. Each Mass offered in one’s name after death would reduce one’s time of suffering in purgatory. But these Masses were not free — a price had to be paid. Here was a perfect solution to Medieval society. The church was anxious about how to raise money and men were anxious about spending time in purgatory. Money for Masses solved the worries of both. Wealthy people were doubly privileged, for they could not only arrange for Masses to be done perpetually in their own names, but in the names of their family members as well. Extremely wealthy people could arrange for Masses to be offered for themselves daily.
Soon the demand for Masses far outnumbered the priests available to offer them. Furthermore, a priest is restricted to one full Mass and personal communion per day. This problem gave rise to an abuse known as “the dry Mass.” Laurence Stookey writes:
“The priest needed to offer, let us say, eight propitiatory Masses on a given mourning. Seven times he read his way through the formulary right up to the point of consecrating the bread and wine, then backed up and started over; only the eighth time did he complete the rite. Furthermore, all of this the priest had to do on a fasting stomach — that is, before breakfast (hence our word for the meal that “breaks the fast”). The rate at which the hungry priest worked his way through seven “dry” Masses on his was to the full Mass is not difficult to imagine.”
There was a mental exercise in which worshippers could engage in, known as the “Allegorical Mass.” Here, every action taken by the priest is allegorical of something which occurred at Calvary. For example, when the priest ascends the altar stairs, the worshippers were to imagine Jesus ascending the staircase of Pontius Pilate to face judgment and sentencing.
The belief that the bread and wine actually became the body and blood of Jesus presented the problem of what to do with the remaining elements when Mass is over. It was decided at the close of Mass, the priest must drink all the wine and then cleanse the chalice carefully lest any trace remain. If any wine is spilled, special, ceremonial rites were developed for its removal. Because the wine could spill so easily and readily when offering it to the worshippers, it became the practice that only the officiating priest could drink the wine. This practice of withholding the cup was called “receiving communion in one kind,” because the worshippers were receiving only one element of the communion. All others could receive only the bread, but it was argued that after the “miracle of the Mass” had occurred and the bread was changed into the actual body of Jesus, it contained enough of the blood within it to suffice for communion.
Even when the laity received the bread, great care must be taken lest it be dropped. It became the practice for the priest to place the bread directly upon the tongue of the communicant while an assistant held a tray under the worshipper’s chin in case the wafer should be dropped or ejected. The people were taught to swallow the bread whole, lest by chewing they mutilate the body of Christ in an impious manner. There was another reason why the wafer was placed directly upon the tongue of the worshippers. In the past, some unsophisticated members would take the wafer handed to them and slip it into their pockets, taking it home for other uses — as medicine during some grave illness, or rubbing it like a “lucky rabbit’s foot.”
Bread which was not eaten was saved for a variety of purposes: to be taken to the sick and dying and, interestingly, if more communicants appeared for communion than there was consecrated bread available, rather than repeat the act of consecration, the priest could simply use this bread which had been reserved, for, after all, it was sanctified bread. Because consecrated bread would often be reserved for long periods of time, it was unsuitable to continue using ordinary bread, though it was used in olden days and is still used in Eastern Orthodoxy. Hence, unleavened wafers were used because they took up less space and could be stored longer.
The Reformers (A.D 1517-1775)
When we examine the abuses and superstitions which existed during medieval times, it is no wonder that the Reformers were moved to action. That action came when the Renaissance brought men to the point of re-examining long held religious positions. Men began to read the Bible for themselves and they awoke to the novel idea that religious authority resided within Scripture, not within the decisions of councils.
The communion was one of the major focal points upon which the Reformation was ignited, being outweighed only by the question of papal authority and the infamous “sale of indulgences.” Passages, which had previously been unheard of, were being read by religious thinkers with honest hearts and were creating doubt that the communion was an efficacious sacrifice after all. Nine passages in particular caused great concern:
“who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself . . . not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another; He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”[emph. mine, gb] (Hebrew 7:27; 9:25-28, NKJV).
“By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. . . But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.. . For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified . . . Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” [emph. mine, gb] (Hebrews 10:10, 12, 14, 18).
How could it be argued that Christ was being actually sacrificed each time Mass occurred when these passages declare plainly that Jesus was sacrificed “once for all”?
John Wycliffe, who pre-dated the Reformation by one hundred thirty years, became outspoken in rejecting the doctrine of transubstantiation. He was at that time the professor of theology in Oxford and this stand put him in disfavor with the chancellor of the university. This would only cause him minor problems compared with his translating work.
Martin Luther, the “father of the Reformation,” was born in 1483 and reared a devout Catholic. He entered the priesthood and rose rapidly in the Augustinian Order. In 1511 he made a business trip to Rome for this Order and was shocked by the widespread immorality which he observed there. Though disheartened, he made his rounds to all the sacred shrines hoping to receive every blessing which could be derived from such a pilgrimage to the “Holy City.” Luther was, at this time, very loyal to the Pope. In one church he was stunned when he observed a priest saying the Mass in Latin, but not performing the “miracle” of transubstantiation before giving the bread to the worshippers. Later, the priest laughed to the other priests because the people could not tell the difference.
In 1517, Johann Tetzel came to the area of Wittenburg, Germany, where Luther was residing, selling indulgences. While Luther was preaching sermons about salvation by faith, Tetzel was selling indulgences to some of Luther’s parishioners in a booth at Juterbock only a few miles away. On October 31, 1517, Luther, in opposition to the indulgences, nailed a document to the door of the church building listing ninety-five theses against the Papacy in Rome and the indulgences. He offered to debate anyone who differed with him on the subject. Soon began the writing warfare between Luther and John Eck over indulgences.
In 1520, Luther wrote a composition entitled, “On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church.” This was an examination of the sacramental system of the Catholic church. Within this paper, Luther examined all seven sacraments of the Catholic church and eliminated all but two: baptism and the Lord’s supper. He thought there could be sacramental value to repentance, but not in the form of penance as developed by the hierarchy.
Luther rejected the idea of transubstantiation, but was too cautious to reject all aspects of the doctrine. He advanced the doctrine of consubstantiation, or the idea that the bread and wine did not literally change into the body and blood of the Lord, but the Lord’s body and blood were present “with, in, and under” the bread and wine. So, while the bread remains bread and the wine remains wine, there is a mystical, mysterious real presence of the Lord’s body and blood in both elements.
Zwingli, the Swiss Reformer, was not as timid as Luther. He was a keen debater and sat on the town council. He removed pictures of idols from church buildings. He removed all instrumental music from churches. The doctrine of transubstantiation was rejected altogether and the communion was taught to be strictly a memorial supper with no real or spiritual presence of the Lord in any of the elements.
Since the Reformers, Luther and Zwingli, were in constant danger from the Catholics, it was in their interests to unite their followers and efforts. Accordingly, representatives from Luther and Zwingli met in the castle of Philip of Hesse in Marburg in 1529. This was a mediating session in hopes of working out their differences. Out of fifteen propositions, these representatives discovered that they agreed on fourteen points, but the one, disagreeable point concerned the communion. Both sides agreed that the priests could not perform the “miracle” of transubstantiation. Yet Luther’s side insisted that the actual body and blood of Christ were present in the elements.
Zwingli and Luther eventually met face to face in person to discuss this matter further. Luther argued that if iron were heated until it was red hot, it was still iron, but with heat inside of it. He argued that in the same way, the bread and wine retained their physical properties, yet had the body and blood of Christ contained within them. Zwingli contended the bread and wine were strictly representative of the body and blood, nothing more. Luther took a piece of chalk and wrote on a banquet table, “this is my blood,” and he insisted that Jesus meant what He said. Zwingli agreed that the Lord “meant what He said,” but he made a powerful counter-argument by demonstrating that after Jesus said, “this is my blood,” He then said He would not drink any more of the “fruit of the vine,” showing it was still only “fruit of the vine” even after calling it his blood. Luther refused to agree and declared Zwingli had a different attitude than himself and he was unwilling to extend fellowship to Zwingli.
Martin Bucer, John Calvin, and others took a mediating position in contending that the Lord’s body and blood were present spiritually within the communion elements.
Also worthy of mention are John and Charles Wesley who came a hundred and fifty years after the Reformation, began. One notable thing these brothers stood for was weekly communion on the first day of the week.
The Restorers (A.D. 1775-1996)
The Restoration Movement brings us to events of which we are generally more familiar with in the church of Christ. F. W. Mattox begins his chronicles of the Restoration with James O’Kelly, Abner Jones, and Barton W. Stone, before ever mentioning the Campbell family. This period of history is rich and interesting as men began to break further and further away from manmade traditions and were looking more and more to the Scriptures for guidance.
Thomas Campbell had left for America before his family, hoping to prepare for their arrival. Waiting in Scotland for word from Thomas was the rest of the Campbell family. Alexander attended the University in Glasgow during the wait. There Alexander met Greville Ewing who had established an independent congregation and was practicing weekly communion. This appealed to Alexander and, upon arrival to America, he was pleasantly surprised to learn that his father was reaching similar conclusions about communion and other Bible subjects.
In 1811, Thomas and Alexander Campbell organized an independent congregation called the Brush Run Church. Thomas was appointed as the elder and Alexander was licensed to preach. The next day after being founded, the congregation met for worship and celebrated the Lord’s supper for the first time. In their determination to follow the Scriptures, they decided to have weekly communion since there was “approved precedent” for it.
By 1820 the Campbells had only four congregations and less than two hundred members who accepted their principles of Restoration. In contrast, Barton W. Stone had fellowship with five hundred congregations with fifteen thousand members. What made the difference? Among other things, Stone was more liberal in whom he fellowshipped and in what he taught. Although Stone was himself immersed in 1807, he did not make immersion a “test of fellowship.” He felt such matters should be left to each man’s conscience. Also, he did not observe the Lord’s Supper often, believing that the communion was too sacred to be observed on a regular basis. Stone made the following admission:
“The only distinguishing doctrine between us and [the Campbells] was, that they preached baptism for the remission of sins to believing penitents. This doctrine had not generally obtained amongst us, though some few had received it, and practiced accordingly. They insisted also upon weekly communion, which we had neglected.”
J. W. McGarvey, considered by some to be the finest scholar produced by the Restoration Movement, and others continued to fight the doctrine of transubstantiation. McGarvey wrote an excellent treatise on the communion in which he argued that Jesus could not have meant that the bread and juice were His actual body and blood. As the disciples understood Him that night in the upper room, we today are to understand Him as meaning the elements merely represent and symbolize His body and blood. He argued that the “blessing” pronounced by Jesus over the bread was not a magical formula to change the elements into literal flesh and blood, but, as the alternate wording suggests, He was only giving “thanksgiving” to God for the elements (Matthew 26:26-27; Mark 14:22-23; Luke 22:19;
1 Corinthians 11:24). McGarvey pointed out that we are to give thanks in like manner. A powerful point was made concerning 1 Corinthians 10:16-21: *
“Let it be observed also, that, in order to communion of the Lord’s body and blood, it is no more necessary that the Lord himself be in the bread and wine, than that, in order to commune with demons, the demons must be in the meats and drinks offered to them. The term communion, in this place, has the sense of participation.”
“Open” versus “closed” communion became an issue in the 1800s for the Restoration Movement. Wayne House, in chart form, demonstrates that the Catholic, Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli movements all practice “closed” communion. Under the Zwingli position, he notes the following: “Some groups practice closed communion, where participants must be a member of the denomination. Others practice closed communion, where one must be a member of the local church assembly.”
From the writings of Robert Graham in the Christian Quarterly,  there was a desire on the part of Disciples to associate with the Baptists. The Disciples desired to meet and commune with the Baptists but were rejected when the communion was passed. Evidently communion was being withheld for disciplinary reasons because of the stand Disciples made on issues of baptism, predestination, eternal security, etc. Communion was viewed as evidence of fellowship. The Baptists were not offering communion to the Disciples because they were not in fellowship with them. Graham was appalled by this, because the Baptists, while withholding communion from the Disciples, were at the same time offering it to Pedo-Baptists with whom they differed.
Should the communion, then, be “open” to any and everyone who attends the assembly? This was the question of the day. McGarvey addressed the issue head on.
“The much disputed question, Who is entitled to partake of the Supper? must be settled like all the others, by the Scriptures. It was given to the disciples of Jesus, and to them alone. To these then it must be forever confined. But all the disciples had been baptized; and consequently, only baptized believers are scriptural participants. The unfortunate dispute as to what baptism is, has given rise to this question, and it can never be settled but by settling the baptismal controversy. Those who hold immersion alone to be baptism, are compelled by a necessary inference from their position to conclude that immersed believers alone are entitled to this ordinance, even though their practice may not be in harmony with this conclusion. This sacred privilege is further limited by the conduct of the believer subsequent to his baptism. He who eats, not discerning in the loaf the Lord’s body, eats unworthily, and brings on himself condemnation. In this no man can judge his neighbor, except by the neighbor’s avowal; and consequently it is only when such an avowal is made that one can on this ground be debarred. Again, we are forbidden to eat with a disciple who is a fornicator, or a covetous man, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner (1 Corinthians 5:11). It is supposed by some that this prohibits eating social meals with such persons; but whether this view is correct or not, it certainly forbids eating with them the Lord’s Supper. It requires the church to withhold the cup and the loaf from all such characters. The supper is a holy institution, and it is polluted by the touch of unclean hands (1 Corinthians 10:19-21)."
In McGarvey’s interpretation, to “not eat” with an immoral brother (
1 Corinthians 5:11) meant not to share the communion with him.
Another issue arising in the late 1800s concerned the number of cups to be used in distributing the fruit of the vine. Early in the Restoration Movement, congregations commonly used either one or two cups. The number of vessels was not an issue at that time. An issue did arise, however, when Dr. J. G. Thomas, a physician and a minister, became concerned over people drinking after each other from the common cup. Accordingly, he invented the first set of individual communion cups. The first congregation using the new invention was the Vaughnsville Congregational Church in Putnam County, Ohio in 1893. In March 1894 Thomas received a patent for his newly invented tray to hold the small cups.
The Christian Standard at the turn of the century placed an ad in their paper for the individual communion sets. Within the ad was published a letter from a pastor who had used the sets in his congregation with great success. He states, “Besides the convenience of the Service, it is handsome.”
McGarvey was opposed to all of this and wrote against individual cups in 1900. Both he and Lipscomb thought the worry over germs and microbes was ridiculous. McGarvey’s famous article on microbes is filled with satire of most excellent quality.
“We have always been a little squeamish about drinking out of the same cup with certain persons that we could name and now, seeing that by doing so there is a risk of our swallowing some of their microbes, the practice has become intolerable. It is true that our Lord appointed it this way; but then He may have forgotten, just at the moment, that He had made all these microbes, and that they were such awful things; or else He thought that, as in the case of our new criticism, the age in which He lived was not prepared for a revelation on the subject, and so He left matters as He found them. Perhaps He reflected that the many millions who were destined to premature graves by swallowing these microbes at the Lord’s Supper, would die in a good cause, and He therefore left them to their fate until an enlightened age would correct the evil. We have now reached that enlightened age, for the Spirit is still leading us into the new truth; and we propose to stop that needless waste of human life by having individual cups from which to drink the wine. If any man cries out against it as being unscriptural, exclusive or finicky, or anything of that sort, we will call him a legalist, a literalist, a Pharisee, a back number, a last year’s almanac, and a whole lot of things that we use to silence croakers with.”
Although McGarvey opposed individual cups and instrumental music, he did not “draw a line of fellowship” over these issues.
Brother Ronny Wade wrote that C. E. Holt of Florence, Alabama may have been the first “non-instrumental” preacher to advocate the use of individual cups. In the July 11, 1911 issue of the Gospel Advocate, a letter from brother Holt appeared:
“I do not claim that this is the only scriptural way of taking the Lord’s supper, but it is as scriptural as any other way, and besides it has the advantage of being clean. We are aware that some brethren ridicule the idea that microbes can be transmitted from one to an other by the common cup, yet the weight of authority is against them.”
In this very same issue of the Gospel Advocate, David Lipscomb responded to the following question: “Will you kindly give your opinion as to the scripturalness of the use of individual communion sets in partaking of the Lord’s Supper?” In response he wrote: “Does anyone think that it was instituted by Jesus and observed by his disciples as an individual communion service? If not, why do it now?” Later, after a visit from G. C. Brewer, Lipscomb would renege and state that in the paper that he did not feel individual cups were wrong provided the grape juice began in one cup and, after the blessing, the small cups were filled from the larger common cup. This made it easier for advocates to get the individual communion set into the majority of the congregations.
Fighting to be first in the “Who’s Who In Religious Innovations,” was G. C. Brewer. He wants the credit of being the first to advocate the use of cups:
“A good many of the fights that I have made have been with my own brethren on points where I believed them to be in the wrong. I think I was the first preacher to advocate the use of the individual communion cup and the first church in the State of Tennessee that adopted it was the church for which I was preaching, the Central Church of Christ at Chattanooga, Tennessee, then meeting in the Masonic Temple. My next work was with the church at Columbia, Tennessee, and, after a long struggle, I got the individual communion service into that congregation. About this time, Brother G. Dallas Smith began to advocate the individual communion service and he introduce it at Fayetteville, Tennessee; then later at Murfreesboro. Of course, I was fought both privately and publicly and several brethren took-me to task in the religious papers and called me digressive. Brother Smith came to my rescue and, in the year 1915, Brother David Lipscomb wrote a short paragraph in the Gospel Advocate saying that he had changed his view in reference to the communion cup and that he did not believe it was any digression or in any way a corruption of the service to use as many cups as might be demanded by the occasion. This brought that controversy to an end and, from then on, the churches began using the individual communion cup everywhere.” [emph. mine, gb].
If what Brewer says is accurate, he pushed and advocated the use of individual cups long before he actually installed them into the services of the church. Note the words “fight” and “long struggle” in Brewer’s own writings. Neither he, nor his helpers were as interested in unity among brethren as they claimed they were. Contrary to what Brewer thought, the controversy did not “come to an end.”
A great number of debates were waged over the usage of individual cups — both written and oral. Some of the more well known defenders for the usage of only one cup were H. C. Harper, Dr. G. A. Trott, Homer King, Homer Gay, J. D. Phillips, E. H. Miller, and Ervin Waters. The most widely circulated debate was probably the Porter-Waters Debate when Ervin Waters met Curtis Porter on November 7-10, 1950 in Quincy, Illinois over this very issue. To this very day brethren from both sides of the controversy look to this debate as a point of reference. The arguments made by both debaters are still in use today.
Other issues arose which revolved around the cup. Should the cup have a handle or not? If so, how many handles should there be — one or two? Should the cup be made of silver or not? Would it be scriptural to have one cup when blessing the fruit of the vine and then pour the juice into other containers after the blessing? If it could be poured into other containers, how many would be allowed? These were minor issues compared with the question of how many containers should be used. That is, these other issues never caused a split in the church that resulted in another brotherhood being forged. Congregations may have been split, but such disturbances were localized and did not carry far reaching effects.
Next came the problem of bread-breaking, or fragmenting the loaf into one or more pieces before the worshippers partake. This seems to have become an issue just after the cup issue. Evidently, when brethren began to question the number of cups to be used in communion, they also questioned how many loaves should be used and whether or not the loaf must remain whole or should be fragmented. The practice of breaking the loaf in half or fragmenting it centered around the meaning of the expression “break bread” as used in Acts 2:42, Acts 20:7 and
1 Corinthians 10:16. It was assumed by the bread-breakers that this meant the loaf must be fragmented or at least broken in half before partaking. Those insisting the loaf must remain whole correctly interpreted “break bread” to mean “break off a portion for the purpose of eating.”
Churches using individual cups were not affected by this controversy because they had already broken away with their individual cups. To them, if more than one cup could be used, it was easy to justify the use of more than one loaf, and in some cases, wafers. Plurality of cups and plurality of loaves seemed to go hand in hand. To accept one was to accept the other. Thus, the controversy was confined to churches using one cup.
The debate between J. D. Phillips and Bob Musgraves (a one cup man himself from Elk City, OK) occurred between 1930 to 1932. This was considered by some to be the definitive debate which solidified both sides of the division. Both men were held in high esteem by the sides they represented. Phillips contended the loaf must remain in one piece and Musgraves contended for fragmenting the loaf. In 1938 Phillips debated again. This time it was against G. W. Roberts in Flemington, Pennsylvania on, not only the bread-breaking issue, but cups and classes as well. Phillips was, by this time, gaining recognition as the “brotherhood expert” on the subject. J. S. Beddingfield was another opponent around 1941 in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area. That same year Beddingfield would also meet Ervin Waters on the same issue.
The Wine Question
The final issue we will discuss at length is the use of alcoholic or fermented wine in the communion. It was as though the use of individual cups and bread-breaking were not enough to wrangle over. Faithful brethren also had to fight an effort by some to push fermented wine into the communion. This was occurring sometime in the mid-1920s. The Apostolic Way carried an article by H. C. Harper on the subject in 1925. The deep south and the state of Texas were the two areas where fermented wine became an issue and there seemed to be no connection between these two movements. That is, those pushing fermented wine in Texas were not the same ones pushing wine in Mississippi.
In 1928, The Apostolic Way carried a written discussion between W. G. Tucker (a wine advocate) and D. L. Shelton (unfermented grape juice). Tucker was a strong advocate of wine and was moderately successful in persuading some congregations to follow along with his ideas. When he came to the New Salem, Mississippi congregation, he caused a split in the church over the use of wine. The New Salem congregation secured brother H. C. Harper to meet Tucker in a debate. This occurred in 1927 and would last three days. Later Harper would have a written debate with A. J. Trail in 1933. This debate was first published in the paper of which Harper was the editor — The Truth. It was later reprinted in tract form by Lynwood Smith.
T. E. (“Nong”) Smith, Lynwood Smith’s grandfather, became the local leader at New Salem to fight this unscriptural practice. He correctly pointed out that the Lord’s Supper was instituted during the Jewish feast of unleavened bread — a time when all leaven was to be removed from the houses. Smith correctly argued that fermented wine contains leaven and therefore could not have been what Jesus used. Brother Smith’s arguments were weighty with brethren concerned about “doing Bible things in Bible ways,” but his arguments were meaningless to those unconcerned about Biblical authority. T. E. Smith became recognized by many as the “brotherhood expert” on the wine issue. Later, Smith’s son Carlos took up the cause and became the next “expert.” When brother Homer Gay wrote his tract, The Inside of the Cup, he admitted he got most of his argumentation and material from Carlos Smith.
Other debates in those days included a debate between T. E. Smith and Hewitt Smith in 1930. This was a written debate published in Harper’s The Truth. There was also the T. E. Smith — R. T. Case debate in 1939. A synopsis of brother Smith’s material on the wine issue was published in tract form by Lynwood Smith entitled, Emblems of the Body and Blood of the Lord.
Texas, as was usually the case with most church troubles, also became a hotbed for the wine issue. A former editor of the Old Paths Advocate, William Freeman Jones, began to put out his own paper, Footprints of Time. Freeman teamed up with Wesley Ballard and John Staley and began to push the wine question. Sometime between 1950 to 1952 Ervin Waters debated Staley in Waco, TX.
- a) Should a second offering of communion be offered in the evening for those unable to attend the Sunday morning service?
b) It is scriptural to have communion after sunset on Sunday evening? Is this still the first day of the week?
c) Do the Scriptures require meeting on Saturday night for communion?
d) Must the communion be in the afternoon, for, after all, who ever heard of eating a supper in the morning?
e) Does the order of the church services matter and can the communion come during any portion of the service?
f) Can raisin water be used for communion when fresh grape juice is unavailable?
g) Do the Scriptures require a song to be sung after the communion?
h) Can oil be used in making the unleavened loaf, or must flour and water only be used?
i) Should salt be added to the loaf recipe?
j) Must whole wheat flour be used when making the loaf?
k) Is it scriptural to use bottled grape juice that has vitamin C added?
1) Is it scriptural to have table clothes on the Lord’s table?
m) It is scriptural to set the table without clothes?
n) What color should the table clothes be?
o) Should the brother in charge of the table partake first or last?
p) Should the brother in charge of the table stand or sit while communion is passed?
There is no doubt that some of these issues are posed by brethren and sisters who have some personal agenda to push, but probably most of the issues are discussed in a spirit of true concern to restore the communion to its original state as Jesus and His apostles observed it. Some of these issues involve mere preferences while others involve divine pattern and principles. A careful study of Romans 14 is in order as well as a careful study in rules of hermeneutics. Though brethren generally agree that personal opinions cannot be pushed to the point of division, we need to learn how to distinguish between an opinion and divine law. In almost every case, Scriptures are appealed to in an effort to prove a point as a matter of law. Yet, if sound hermeneutic principles were applied, it would be discovered that mere human opinion is often being promoted.
If an item can truly be proven to be part of the divine pattern for communion, then let us insist on that item no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” [emph. mine, gb] (Matthew 5:19).
P. 0. Box 633, Morrow, GA 30260
- 1 This is a very old document. It was published in 1883 and the dates for its original composition range from A.D. 60 to late in second century. (Davies, 81).
2 Via Mattox, 70.
3 Dollar, Apr., 1960, 147.
4 Lived 103-165, Mattox, 68.
5 Via Mattox, 70; cf. Davies, 104.
6 Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History, via Brandt, 190
7 A pupil of Justin Martyr, Davies, 82; lived 125-200, Mattox, 71.
8 Mattox, 120.
9 Justin, via Mattox, 69; cf. Davies, 104; Mosheim, via Brand, 189; Dollar, Apr. 1960, 148.
10 Mattox, 119-120.
11 Called by Davies, “the first author of any learning, [who] still wrote in the language of the New Testament” (p. 122). He was martyred in about 230 according to Dollar, July, 1960, 256, footnote 36.
12 Davies, 151.
13 Dollar, Apr. 1960, 148.
14 Via Mattox, 69.
15 Davies, 107.
16 Davies, 87-88; cf. Mattox, 67.
17 Lived late in the second century (Walton, #6).
18 Via Dollar, Apr. 1960, 152.
19 Ante-Nicene Fathers to 325 A.D., Vol. VII, p. 544, via Phillips, The Voice, 26.
20 Via Brandt, 189 cf. Davies, 151.
21 Mattox, 76.
22 Agape is a transliteration of the Greek word, which means “love.”
23 2 Peter 2:13 in some Greek texts also use the expression “love feast.” Examples of historians who take the position that the agape was eaten in the assembly and then the communion, see NDT, 236; Mattox, 119-120; Davies, 106.
24 Davies, 106.
25 Davies, 106-107.
26 Davies 106, 153.
27 Mosheim, via Brandt, 190.
28 Mattox, 119-120.
29 Mattox, 120.
30 Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus, lived 37-68, Webster, 1391.
31 Unger, 917.
32 Davies, 35.
33 Marcus Ulpius Trajanus. Lived AD. 52 or 53-117, Webster, 1402.
34 Mattox, 93.
35 Davies, 76.
36 Davies, 76.
37 Davies, 77.
38 Gaius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius, lived 201-25 1, Webster, 1372.
39 Davies, 116.
40 Davies, 116.
41 Mattox, 97.
42 Mattox, 97.
43 Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletinus, lived 245-313, Webster, 1372.
44 Mattox, 97-9 8; Davies, 118.
45 Mattox, 97-98.
46 Davies, 118.
47 Davies, 118.
48 Those who miss the Lord’s Day assembly for work or pleasure should blush at such stories as these.
49 Constantine I, lived 280?-337, Webster, 1370.
50 Mattox 99.
51 Mattox, 99.
52 Mattox, 117-118.
53 A Christian martyr. Died in 258, Webster, 1371,
54 ibid., 118-119. “Baptismal regeneration” is what the church of Christ is often accused of advocating. This is an untrue and unfair accusation, for, although we teach that baptism is for the “remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), we teach that it is the blood of Christ, applied by God at the point of baptism (Acts 22:16; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:1-7; 1 Peter 3:21; Hebrews 10:22) which takes away sin, provided baptism is preceded by faith in Christ (Mark 16:16), repentance (Acts 2:38), and confession of faith in Christ (Romans 10:10). The illustrations of the brazen serpent (Numbers 21:9) and Naaman (2 Kings 5) demonstrate our position on baptism as simply being a positive command of God. Belief in “baptisma1 regeneration” explains why Spanish Conquistadors would baptize entire Indian villages on pain of torture and death. These heathen Indians were going to be baptized, forgiven, and saved “if we have to kill them in the process!”
55 An early “church father” who lived 160?-230, Webster, 1401.
56 Mattox, 118-119.
57 Mattox, 115.
58 Mattox, 153; see also p. 162.
59 Via, Davies, 107.
60 Many untaught brethren read this passage at the communion table and thus wrongly apply it. This does not apply to the communion because,
- (a) the communion is never mentioned in this passage,
(b) these words were spoken before the communion was ever given making it impossible for the disciples and the apostles to understand this as referring to the communion, and
(c) the context itself demonstrates the communion is not under consideration at all.
62 Dollar, Oct. 1960, 343.
63 An apologist. Lived 130-200, Mattox, 78.
64 Dollar, July, 1960, 256.
65 Dollar, July, 1960, 255.
66 Dollar, July, 1960, 254.
67 Lived 315-386, Mattox, 151.
68 Davies, 204.
69 Dollar, Oct., 1960, 344.
70 Mattox, 151.
71 Mosheim, via Brandt, 191.
72 Mosheim, via Brandt, 191; Stookey, 74-75.
73 Cyril of Jerusalem advocated this. Davies, 267.
74 Mattox, 188; NDT, 326. Though this was the official acceptance of the doctrine, the exact “founder” of the idea is open to debate. The NDT states that “Paschasius Radbertus is usually regarded as the first propounder of transubstantiation” (NDT, 326). Mattox would argue that “John of Damascus (700-750) seems to be the first to clearly defend a literal change from elements into actual flesh and blood” (Mattox, 152). Dollar leaves the impression that Cyril of Jerusalem was getting close to the doctrine any where from 348 to 386 (Dollar, Oct. 1960, 344). So the answer to this question is much like the answer to the question, “Who was the first Pope?” You get as many answers as the number of people you ask.
75 The bishop of Hippo, lived 396-430, Webster, 1363.
76 “Mass” comes from the Latin, missa, which means “sent.’ The custom was to “dismiss” the congregation at the close of a regular service before serving the supper. (Dollar, Apr. 1960, 145).
77 NDT, 237.
78 Stookey, 73.
79 Stookey, 75.
80 This was decided at the Council of Trent which lasted from December 1545 to December 1563. Cf. Mattox, 292.
81 Mattox, 292.
82 Stookey, 76. This veneration of the bread and wine are tantamount to idolatry. Yet, on the other extreme, some brethren show disrespect at best and profanity at worst in their treating the loaf and juice as though it were nothing. After communion in one congregation, the brethren give the children the leftover bread to eat and the juice to drink. In another congregation, after services, the loaf was thrown into the men’s toilet and left floating. It seems we have generally lost respect for things used in worship. While we should not worship anything as an idol, yet there surely there is room for respect for a loaf that was used in worship to God. Brother Homer King believed the leftover loaf should be burned in fire because the leftover bread of consecration in the OT was burned. J. Durham, President of Washington College in Irvington, CA believed the same (via Brandt, 111).
83 Stookey, 78.
84 Stookey, 76.
85 Stookey, 77.
86 The Renaissance, or “rebirth” was a “transitional movement” which brought Europe from the medieval to the modern era. It began in Italy in the 14th century and lasted into the 17th century (Webster, 971).
87 Catholic scholars have felt the sting of these passages and many books have been written in an effort to counteract this obvious contradiction of Scripture. The NDT lists several works which have been published with this end in view (NDT, 237).
88 Lived 1320?-1384, Webster, 1405.
89 Mattox, 225.
90 Mattox, 244.
91 A German Dominican monk. Lived 1465?-1519 (Webster, 1401).
92 Mattox, 244-245.
93 Mattox, 247.
94 Ulrich Zwingli. Lived 1484-1531 (Webster, 1406).
95 Mattox, 255.
96 Mattox, 257.
97 Called the “Peacemaker of the Reformation.” Lived 1491-1551. He influenced Calvin and tried to reconcile warring Lutherans, Swiss Reformers, and Catholics. (Walton, #34).
98 Lived 1509-1564. (Walton, #32).
99 NDT, 236-237.
100 House, #80.
101 Mattox, 286
102 Mattox, 311-3 13.
103 Mattox, 326.
104 Mattox 327.
105 Mattox, 341.
106 Mattox, 341-342.
107 Mattox, 347.
108 McGarvey, via Brandt, 3 19-320.
109 House, #80.
110 Via, Brandt, 263.
111 This is confirmed by Mattox, 329-331.
112 A Pedo-Baptist is someone who practices infant ‘baptism” by sprinkling.
113 Via, Brandt, 322-323.
114 Cf. W. F. Harper, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in San Diego, via Brandt, 346. The apostle Paul made the communion “closed” in 1 Corinthians 10:21 when he plainly stated, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.” In other words, if a person is a partaker of the “table of demons,” the communion is to be closed to him.
115 The definitive historical account over the controversy of individual cups is Ronny Wade’s, The Sun Will Shine Again Someday. It would be a “re-invention of the wheel” to research the topic again and I would not come close to what he has produced in this excellent volume.
116 Wade, 61.
117 Wade, 60.
118 The paper issued by the Christian Church. (Wade, 61).
119 Wade, 62.
120 McGarvey, “Microbe,,” Christian Standard, March 31, 1900, via Wade, 62.
121 Wade, 65.
122 Wade, 65. To dispute this often made claim, brethren James Orten and Alton Bailey wrote a tract entitled, Sanitation in Communion. Those interested in this aspect of the subject should consult that work.
123 Via Wade, 65-66.
124 Brewer, xu-xisi.
125 For a fairly comprehensive list of most arguments used to justify plurality of cups and how to scripturally respond to those arguments, see my book, Debate Notes: Individual Cups. See also The Communion, tract by J. Ervin Waters; The Divine Pattern Advocate, by Alfred Newberry; The Cup of the Lord, tract by J. D. Phillips, Ronny Wade Pub.; The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness, tract by J. D. Phillips, Ronny Wade Pub.; Last Supper and Lord’s Supper, by I. Howard Marshall, Eerdmans Pub. Note: I. Howard Marshall Is not a New Testament Christian as we understand the Scriptures, yet, here are his conclusions listed on the back cover of his book: “The Lord’s supper should be celebrated frequently in the church, and there is good reason for doing so on each Lord’s day . . . The New Testament envisages the use of one loaf and a common cup. It would be good to maintain this symbolism today.” Marshall is a very scholarly and respected writer among denominational writers. Concerning the symbolism to be found in the container itself, see Ellis Lindsey’s research paper: “The Meaning of ‘Cup’ in Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25.” This is considered by many to be the definitive work on the subject.
126 This information came from private conversations with Lynwood Smith and Ronny Wade. I spoke with both on December 1, 1996 and received essentially the same information from both. For a helpful article which gives a brief outline of the bread-breaking arguments and the scriptural response, see Bennie Cryer’s article in, Old Paths Pulpit, No. 2, Lynwood Smith Pub., pp. 214-221. Also see , The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness, tract by J. D. Phillips, Ronny Wade Pub., pp. 7-15; Lindsey-DickSon Debate on One Loaf in Communion, Ellis Lindsey Pub.; How Should We Break the bread? Why?, tract by E. H. Miller; The Communion, tract by J. Ervin Waters, pp. 13-22.
127 A rare exception to this would be brother Claude Mickey from Tulia, TX. He and his brethren are unique in that they believe the grape juice must be in one cup before and while being blessed, but may be poured into as many as four other cups after the blessing. Although they use a plurality of cups after the blessing, they believe only one loaf may be used, but they believe it must be broken in half.
128 This information came from private conversations with Lynwood Smith and Ronny Wade. I spoke with both on December 1, 1996 and received essentially the same information from both.
129 Wade, 109.
130 Wade, 109.
131 Wade, 109-110.
132 See Jerry Cutter’s article, “The First Day of the Week,” OPA, Oct., 1984.
133 See Duane Permenter’s article in Preachers’ Study Notes, 1993. See also J. Durham, via Brandt, 111.
134 Issues involving the ingredients of the loaf, see Greg Gay’s article, “The Bread Which We Break,” OPA, Sept., 1982. This has since been put in tract form.
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Bibens, Smith, ed. Preachers’ Study Notes 1993. Buffalo, Missouri: Christian’s Expositor Pub., 1995.
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