New Testament Restoration

Q. Our friends recently cut all ties with us when we did not attend a New Testament Restoration Meeting. One of the topics was celebrating the Lord’s Supper as a full meal every Sunday. We are not convinced that the Lord’s supper must be a full meal, celebrated weekly. With the emphasis on ‘must be’. The full meal part is a concern because the preparation and menu have the potential of distracting from the remembrance of all that Jesus did for us. We are startled to think that our friendship has been destroyed over this topic. Any thoughts?

A. The early church basically re enacted the Last Supper each week when they met. It was a full meal that ended with communion. We know this because Paul complained to the Corinthians about the way they observed it in 1 Cor. 11:17-22. In what’s probably just one of Christianity’s latest fads, some churches are trying to restore 1st Century practices. For instance, there were no professional clergy in those days. The elders of the congregation were the teachers and were elected from among the group, not brought in from the outside. They didn’t have fancy buildings either, but met in homes and all members were considered to be ministers, first to each other and then to the community at large.

If history is any example, this move will only be implemented partially in many congregations, and may involve only the fellowship meal. I really can’t imagine that any pastor would give up his paid position to become “just” one of the elders, and most congregations are too large to meet in someone’s home.

When I was a pastor we celebrated communion every week, but only shared a fellowship meal once a quarter. The church I currently attend in Mexico serves lunch after each Sunday service but only celebrates communion once a month. In both cases the communion is separate from the meal. This gives everyone the freedom to participate and the different purposes of the two events never become confused like they did in Corinth.

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