Bread Breaking - The Lord’s Supper

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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
As my family is working through Exodus, we hit the initiation of The Passover Feast in Exodus 12. In explaining and discussing with my family, I also brought up discussion of the Lord’s Supper. As a family, we are also reading through Van Dixhoorn’s Confessing the Faith, which brought us to the Lord’s Supper Chapter of the Confession. It dawned on me tonight that actually “breaking bread“ seem’s to be required by a Westminster Confession understanding of what a minister should be doing among other items in a series. Like the specific instructions given in Passover, it is clear our Lord cares about the details. Related, it seems the “breaking of bread” is indeed required by Christ.



What are your thoughts? Does Westminster require “bread breaking”? Should Session’s and Ministers subscribing to Westminster take exception for excluding bread breaking?

Westminster Chapter 29, Paragraph 3:

3. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants;a but to none who are not then present in the congregation.b
a. Mat 26:26-28 and Mark 14:22-24 and Luke 22:19-20 with 1 Cor 11:23-27. • b. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 11:20.


Would the confession here not also require a common cup, or at least a single cup as symbol to be present?
 
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C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
What are your thoughts? Does Westminster require “bread breaking”?
The Confession does indeed require some form of breaking. The Apostle Paul seems to see blessing and breaking as two primary acts in the administration of the Supper.

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?—1 Cor. 10:16
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Both the Scripture passages that most directly apply to the Lord's Supper and the confession specify breaking the bread, so it ought to be part of the rite. That said, it is not necessary for every communicant to receive a piece of bread that has been personally broken by the minister. It is sufficient for the minister to break one piece as a demonstration.

The argument for a common cup is harder to make. It is less clear from Scripture that only one cup was used at the institution or that there was a special, symbolic cup, and the confession wisely does not specify one cup. I would think a cup of some kind ought to be present and referred to, but I have never seen the Supper observed without some kind of cup. How would you bypass the use of a cup? Everyone drink directly from the bottle, I suppose.
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Sophomore
Scripture is clear on breaking of the bread (although I've never seen it done, SBC or OPC) but not clear on a singular cup. I may be wrong but the account of the last supper seems to insinuate that Christ filled their cups individually, correct?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Again from Gillespie's English Popish Ceremonies (from a section where he explicitly is dealing with what is and is not indifferent in the institution of the Lord's Supper as far as the actions).
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Ray

Puritan Board Freshman
Here's a teaching sermon on the Common cup. He also has a older version on Sermon Audio
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
It seems even the PCA BCO requires the minister to break bread, maybe this is just another unspoken white elephant along the same lines as the Grape Juice. My understanding is that Chapter 55 is binding (along with baptism), while the other parts of the DOPW are not binding in the PCA. So I am still scratching my head.

BF816FA1-C568-4BC5-8702-D86E99AF80DA.jpeg
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Are you saying the minister does not even break the symbolic or actual loaf used? I recall one minister even painstakingly breaking one of those Chiclets shaped bits in a church once where those were used.
It seems even the PCA BCO requires the minister to break bread, maybe this is just another unspoken white elephant along the same lines as the Grape Juice. My understanding is that Chapter 55 is binding (along with baptism), while the other parts of the DOPW are not binding in the PCA. So I am still scratching my head.

View attachment 7344
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Are you saying the minister does not even break the symbolic or actual loaf used? I recall one minister even painstakingly breaking one of those Chiclets shaped bits in a church once where those were used.
Well, I am not looking to point out any specific church, just what I have seen before. But yes, from my OP, I have in mind the decision to leave out breaking all together. Even from by baptist days it was just cracker and juice, no breaking.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Well, I am not looking to point out any specific church, just what I have seen before. But yes, from my OP, I have in mind the decision to leave out breaking all together. Even from by baptist days it was just cracker and juice, no breaking.
Okay; but if it were my PCA church I'd point out what you noticed in the BOCO.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
Are you saying the minister does not even break the symbolic or actual loaf used? I recall one minister even painstakingly breaking one of those Chiclets shaped bits in a church once where those were used.
I know this discussion is more immediately concerned with the Presbyterian practice, but I will add, in the SBC churches that I grew up in, there was absolutely no breaking of the bread in the observance of the Lord's Supper. The thinking (or lack thereof) was likely that since we have these little wafers/crackers already in small peaices, the actual act of "breaking of bread" is superfluous. I doubt not that this was the mindset in many Protestant churches using the little cups and communion crackers, including many congregations in the PCA.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
I cannot recall being in a Presbyterian or Reformed church where the minister did not break the bread. My gut tells me you would find bread-breaking in most PCA churches, just based on the dozen or so I've visited when Communion was being served.
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Sophomore
I can concur with Pastor Sheffield's assessment, having grown up in 'non-denominational' Baptist churches and the SBC. I still to this day have never seen bread broken in a worship service. There is no reason not to do so within the Baptist churches I've been in, no one even thought of it. In the OPC, I have had communion twice since coming in October, and joining in January. We are a new mission work, and did not establish a communion schedule until recently, and for some reason Covid prevented the minister from breaking any bread.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Our minister breaks the bread each Lord"s Day. The only change due to Covid is that we now pass out pieces of bread in a small cup. The minister still breaks a loaf, but that isn't what is passed around.

Before, the two halves of the broken loaf were passed around, and each congregant pulled a bit off.

We are a no-go on the common cup. I think that is a harder case to make exegetically.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My non denominational church always breaks the bread, or rather, used to. Now its cracker packets and each household sort of breaks them up if needed.
 
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