Administration of the Lord's Supper

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Bethel

Puritan Board Freshman
Who administers the Lord's Supper in your church? WCF 29.3 and LC 169 states that the minister should administer this sacrament. I assume that would include the Pastor and Elders. What about men called randomly from the congregation? These men are not deacons (there's not a deacon body). Would you consider this proper administration of the Lord's Supper?

Blessings,
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
We have an Elder (or both) give instruction at the table. Deacon(s) or men whom the Elder(s) have requested, assist with the distribution of the elements. Four are needed for our room configuration. We currently have two Elders and two Deacons. If one (or more) is not present, they get help. I'm convinced that as long as an Elder presides at the Lord's Table, any brother is allowed to assist with distributing the elements, at their request. LBC 30:3
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
If we're defining "administration" as prayer and speaking the words of institution, one of the pastors does that. He and someone else (usually an elder or deacon) then hold the elements for congregants coming forward.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
A distinction should be made between administering the sacrament (the minister - PCA BCO 58-5 ) and the distribution of the elements (elders, but ordained deacons may be called upon to help take it to the pews, members pass to each other down the row.) I think about 44 men are used for the distribution of the elements. At the weekly service, the minister administers the sacrament, and 4 ruling elders distribute the elements as the members come forward.
 

Bethel

Puritan Board Freshman
I didn't think about the difference between administration & distribution. I'm trying to determine if this is the proper way to conduct the Lord's Supper: Pastor leads liturgy and congregation responds, Pastor prays & then calls 2 men from the congregation (no prior notice; not elders or deacons) to hold the plate and the cup. The congregation moves forward to take the Lord's supper by intinction. The Pastor stands to the side available for anyone who has prayer needs. The only other elder stays seated and takes communion like the rest of the congregation.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
In my church, only elders administer but anyone might help distribute (although that too is usually just the elders unless not enough of them are present).

If it's taken in the pews, distributing would seem to me to be a picky thing to squabble over, since—if you think about it—everyone who's seated actually helps pass it around from person to person. So are the guys standing in the aisles really doing that much more than those seated in the pews? Elders might want to survey who's there to guard against the wrong person participating, but I see no reason why they should be the only ones to handle the serving plates at a family meal.
 

Bethel

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for all of the input. The means of distribution surprised me, but it appears to be within the proper limits. It's different from what I'm use to which is why I asked.
 

JoannaV

Puritan Board Sophomore
I didn't think about the difference between administration & distribution. I'm trying to determine if this is the proper way to conduct the Lord's Supper: Pastor leads liturgy and congregation responds, Pastor prays & then calls 2 men from the congregation (no prior notice; not elders or deacons) to hold the plate and the cup. The congregation moves forward to take the Lord's supper by intinction. The Pastor stands to the side available for anyone who has prayer needs. The only other elder stays seated and takes communion like the rest of the congregation.

My only quibble would be with the part I bolded. Perhaps one of those men could that day have something troubling him which would prevent him from participating in the Lord's Table, and this method does rather put him on the spot. Then again, that could also be true when an elder/deacon is just assumed to be responsible for that job each and every time.
 

fishingpipe

Puritan Board Freshman
We're a mission work with 80-90 folks. For distribution we have one ordained elder from the original church we were planted from (he is not functioning in an "official" capacity in our own body yet - we have a provisional session of elders from churches in our region and our home missionary - but I hope he is an elder with us when we are particularized) and a provisional session of three deacons from the previous church all of whom are members here. For administration the visiting pastors have assisted. Mostly it's been Dr. Joey Pipa or Dr. Sid Dyer, both of whom preach about every month or more.
 

Stargazer65

Puritan Board Freshman
Usually and elder and two to three deacons, there is a duty roster so they know ahead of time who is doing it. One of these men has a duty to read the applicable scriptures and disuss the nature and meaning of the Lord's Supper. The rest help distribute it in the pews.

I'm not sure if there is enough detail in the scripture or confession to say what we or you are doing is wrong. I don't know much about the correctness of intinction except a lot of churches do that. We keep the elements separate because that seems consistent with scripture.
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
Because intinction involves some form of dipping the bread into the wine. This means that the cup itself is not drunk by the recipient. Rather the wine is received only as the bread has been dipped into it.

The Biblical picture, as most Reformed read it, would be that we partake of the bread and the cup, which is to say, that we actually drink from the cup, and enjoy communion in both kinds in the fullest and richest sense.

Intinction historically was practiced in the RCC as a kind of compromise: the laity is not denied the wine altogether but is not to be trusted with drinking from the cup. I am quite curious as to why you all practice intinction.

Peace,
Alan
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Why is that?

At the very least, it is a warning sign of Romanish tendencies. I'd certainly either dig further or move on. Best case scenario would probably be theological ignorance behind that. But it could be much worse.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Best case scenario would probably be theological ignorance behind that.

I'd guess there's a good chance it just hasn't been thought through theologically. Many, many churches are not as cerebral as the typical PuritanBoarder. They're likely to choose the come forward/intinction method because it somehow feels good to them, or for practical reasons like taking less time. If this and who holds the plates are concerns to you, you need to nicely ask for an explanation.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor

Well first I'd appreciate you not taking our Lord's name in vain when you disagree with something...as for beating the dead horse, I presume you are refering to the topic of intinction. I don't see how this is beating a dead horse when Bethel specifically asked for input on the issue and freely admitted areas of ignorance on the subject.

---------- Post added at 02:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:22 PM ----------

I'd also like to add this to the intinction discussion, from the WLC:

Q. 169. How hath Christ appointed bread and wine to be given and received in the sacrament of the Lord's supper?
A. Christ hath appointed the ministers of his word, in the administration of this sacrament of the Lord's supper, to set apart the bread and wine from common use, by the word of institution, thanksgiving, and prayer; to take and break the bread, and to give both the bread and the wine to the communicants: who are, by the same appointment, to take and eat the bread, and to drink the wine, in thankful remembrance that the body of Christ was broken and given, and his blood shed, for them.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
I have never heard of g*sh referred to as the taking of the Lord's name in vain. I'll watch it around here.

Anyway, that was my own personal thought regarding the topic of intinction, as I've been serving on a presbytery study committee regarding the topic for the past year now. Please forgive me and carry on.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
I have never heard of g*sh referred to as the taking of the Lord's name in vain. I'll watch it around here.

Anyway, that was my own personal thought regarding the topic of intinction, as I've been serving on a presbytery study committee regarding the topic for the past year now. Please forgive me and carry on.

Well I don't know what the official PB stance is on that word, so I will defer to the mods. I apologize if I jumped on you Rae, I just didn't want us to blow over the topic because it seems like it might actually be profitable to discuss since Bethel seems to have questions. And if you've been studying/discussing the topic for over a year now, then you could certainly contribute to this discussion. What are some of your thoughts?
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
In my church, only elders administer but anyone might help distribute (although that too is usually just the elders unless not enough of them are present).

If it's taken in the pews, distributing would seem to me to be a picky thing to squabble over, since—if you think about it—everyone who's seated actually helps pass it around from person to person. So are the guys standing in the aisles really doing that much more than those seated in the pews? Elders might want to survey who's there to guard against the wrong person participating, but I see no reason why they should be the only ones to handle the serving plates at a family meal.

Agreed entirely.
 

interalia

Puritan Board Freshman
A TE administers, and RE's distribute to the congregation as they come forward. We distribute via intinction, with no hats tipped to Rome. I've studied all the responses on this board on the intinction matter, and have found none of the anti- to be convincing. There should be grace on this issue absent direct mandate.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
I have never heard of g*sh referred to as the taking of the Lord's name in vain. I'll watch it around here.

Anyway, that was my own personal thought regarding the topic of intinction, as I've been serving on a presbytery study committee regarding the topic for the past year now. Please forgive me and carry on.

Well I don't know what the official PB stance is on that word, so I will defer to the mods. I apologize if I jumped on you Rae, I just didn't want us to blow over the topic because it seems like it might actually be profitable to discuss since Bethel seems to have questions. And if you've been studying/discussing the topic for over a year now, then you could certainly contribute to this discussion. What are some of your thoughts?

My thoughts will be unpopular here (and are unpopular in committee). :) Suffice it to say that I haven't found arguments that say that intinction is invalid or even contrary to the command of Christ to be convincing.

I won't comment further just yet, since the committee's work isn't yet complete (and my mind may yet change). I shouldn't have said anything in the first place! Again, forgive me.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Michael and Rae,
You both say you haven't heard/found any arguments against intinction to be convincing, but I'd be curious as to what the arguments are for intinction. In other words, why do you practice it? Is there something benefical to it?
 

dudley

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
In my Presbyterian congregation the minister gives the instruction and reads the words of the Lords Supper , Only the minister. Then the elders come forward to assist with distribution of the bread and wine.

At the 9:30 service the elders bring first the trays with the bread to the pews, the tray is passed in the pew everyone who's seated they pass it around from person to person and each person takes a small piece of the broken bread. Then they bring the trays that hold the little plastic cups and in the same manner everyone takes a small cup of the wine.

At the 8 am and 11 am service the people come up to the table and the minister with the help of the Elders hold trays of bread and one person holds the cup of wine. We then take a piece of bread and dip it into the wine, which is intinction. I have no problem with intinction for distribution purposes as the elements are symbols only of the broken body of Christ and the blood of Christ. They are bread and wine and symbolize the Lords memorial which the minister acts out with the words at the table before distribution.

Just to note intinction as far as I know was not practiced in the RCC it was only in the Russian Rite churches. Before Vatican II I received only the bread wafer. Then in recent years the bread was taken in the hand by the person and the cup was offered to be drunk from. I prefer the small cups or intrinction and not the current RC practice which I think is unsanitary. The person holding the cup cleans the rim after each person sips. At leas that was the way until I left the catholic church in 2006. Some catholic churches still deny the wine to the laity.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Michael and Rae,
You both say you haven't heard/found any arguments against intinction to be convincing, but I'd be curious as to what the arguments are for intinction. In other words, why do you practice it? Is there something benefical to it?

The same benefit that's derived from any other logistical decision regarding the mode of administration (eg: individual cups vs. a single cup) -- decency and order.
 
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