Tag Archives: Lord’s Supper

“Eating and drinking unworthily” and Christian poverty

(Old Facebook Post – Revised)

Ouch! Craig Blomberg on 1 Corinthians 11:17-34:

“Those who should refrain from the bread and the wine lest they profane the eucharist are not those with a profound sense of their own inadequacy, but those who are actually eating and Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions (New Studies in Biblical Theology) Buy on Amazon drinking in an unworthy fashion… ‘One remains hungry, another gets drunk.’ …Once one understands that the gluttony and drunkenness described take place… at the expense of the needy Christians in their midst, then ‘eating and drinking unworthily’ applies in our modern culture to any who continue glibly to partake of the Lord’s Supper, yet who have no track-record in their own lives of giving from their surplus possessions to the poor. The question of who should and should not take the Lord’s Supper in any given church could be revolutionized if we began to obey Paul’s words and apply them as they were intended in their original context.”

— From pages 187-88 of Neither Poverty Nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions, by Craig Blomberg. This is one of the very best books on its topic. Very highly recommended.

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On the danger of turning norms into absolutes

(Old Facebook Post)

One danger in biblical interpretation is the temptation to turn pragmatic norms into absolute rules. I’ve been thinking about this in relation to the question of who may baptize or serve the Lord’s Supper.

It is only natural and right, given biblical teaching about the responsibility pastors/elders bear to lead churches, and given socially-driven expectations placed upon leaders, that they will regularly perform baptisms and serve the Lord’s Supper. However, besides the command in the Great Commission about baptizing (Matt. 28:19), no biblical text gives any explicit instructions whatsoever about who should perform either of these tasks. Yet most Protestant and Anabaptist congregations have created a near-absolute rule that only ordained ministers may “administer the ordinances.” I think this does violence to Scripture, turning norms into absolutes.

Indeed, it could be argued that the more mature a local church is, the freer its individual members will be to all baptize and serve the Lord’s Supper without direct ministerial participation. As I understand it, Ephesians 4:11-12 does not say that leaders are given “for the work of ministry” (as KJV wrongly indicates), but that they are to given “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (ESV). Should not a well-equipped saint be prepared for “every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16), including baptizing new believers and celebrating the Lord’s Supper with fellow saints?

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