Frequency of the Lord’s Supper: Fluidity as an in-between category

How often should we take the Lord’s Supper?  I am going to ignore Roman Catholic and Orthodox counters for the moment.  Rome used to be quite infrequent and in EO countries many do not take the Eucharist at all (sort of like a Kuyperian church).

As an autobiographical aside, I used to be a big proponent of weekly communion.  And if approached with humility, I think that is a good idea.  Unfortunately, some who advocated for weekly communion did so in an arrogant spirit.  I’ll set forth some theses.  Maybe they will help some folks work through this topic.

My own position is somewhere between weekly and monthly.  I think at least twice a month is good.  My own church does monthly and I am content with that.  Logistically, it would be harder to do it more frequently at this point.  Drawing upon Keith Mathison’s own work, even if I don’t go with his conclusion on weekly communion.

 Calvin defined sacraments as “visible words from God” (7); the offer in the sacrament is objective, but can only be received by faith. The sign and seal of a sacrament must be distinguished but can never be separated. It is a seal of the promise that believers who truly partake of it partake of the body and blood of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the bond of the mystical union between the believer and Christ (19).

How Is Christ Present? Christ is bodily in heaven and the reality and benefits of Christ are channeled to us by means of the Holy Spirit. The flesh, indeed the whole Christ, is given to us by means of the Holy Spirit (29):
1. The body of Christ remains in heaven and retains all its properties.
2. The Holy Spirit lifts our souls to heaven whereby we partake of the body of Christ.
3. Eating Christ is a heavenly action in a spiritual [read Holy Spirit] manner.
4. The presence of Christ is a real presence and a real descent effected by the Holy Spirit.

  1. I think we can all agree that the phrase “Doing it weekly just seems too Catholicky” is about as bad as one can get.
  2. Or, it makes it less “spayshull.”  The point of the Supper is not to work up a spayshull feeling. It is to let our Covenant Lord feed us.
  3. What about preparing ourselves?  I agree we should.  I just don’t think a month-long prior examination before the Supper is the way to go.

Michael Horton, following Kline, suggested that the Supper is the feast that ratifies the treaty.  So as often as we hear the word from the king and hear the Treaty being ratified, we should feast with the king.  That means every week.  I’m not ready to go that far.

I think weekly is good but I don’t think the arguments for it are 100% air tight.


About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
This entry was posted in American Evangelicalism, church, theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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