Common cup for The Lord's Supper.

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Jash Comstock

Puritan Board Freshman
What are your opinions on using one or several common cup/cups for the Lord's Supper, as opposed to the little plastic cuppy's? I personally love the idea. It seems to take the focus of The Supper off of individualism and onto community. This seems so needed in our society of T.V Dinner-esque Communion services where each member sits back and is "served" The Supper, instead of coming to the elements as a communal body. Of course neither is biblically commanded, and I believe both are acceptable in light of the RPW; this is purely an opinion based question. What are your opinions?
 
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PointyHaired Calvinist

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm a common cup guy. I understand that alcohol and silver have an antiseptic quality. Our old church used to do intinction, but I don't think that counts. :smug:
 

wsmeathers

Puritan Board Freshman
I like the idea of a common, single cup about as much as I like the idea of French kissing everyone in the church. That is, I don’t know of any Biblical verses that forbid the licking of each other’s tongues prior to Communion, but I would object to the notion that I must do so in order to participate in the sacrament of Communion. So, I don’t object to others doing it at all; and I doubt that Christ would have any objections to a single cup either, unless it was being taught that it was the ONLY way to participate.
 

GulfCoast Presbyterian

Puritan Board Junior
All for it, but I want to be the first guy to take the cup, and not at the end of the line! ;)

Intinction gives me the heebie jeebies. This board must be rubbing off on me.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Alan, that was pretty funny.

It must have been easier in the days before germ theory. Sickness came from the damp night air, and demons, to be fixed with leeches for bad blood.

Iodine pills take half an hour to disinfect water. Even with wine and wiping the rim, a common cup gives me the germ creeps.
 

dudley

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I'm a common cup guy. I understand that alcohol and silver have an antiseptic quality. Our old church used to do intinction, but I don't think that counts. :smug:

I agree withy the people in favor of a common cup. When I was a Roman catholic we had communion with a common cup , actually several . One minister would hold the tray of bread and the other would hold the cup of wine. There was more than one communion station at the Lords table. Some people drank from the common cup some elected not to. It was up to the individual. I would take the bread and then drink the wine from the cup and I never got sick.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
It seems more important that there is one bread, "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." (1 Cor. 10:17)

I don't see a verse like that as it has to do with the cup that would make it so clear as that of the bread.
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
This, from a paper I wrote on the Common Cup...

Many who do not wish to use the common cup have only one objection- “the yuck factor”. It is believed that drinking from one cup will greatly increase the risk of contracting illness. This is a very real concern for many serious Christians.

Does this objection then remove the command to use a common cup? We think not. The reasons are :

1. The common cup has been used for over 2000 years. Are the dangers of illness any more pressing today than they were in Christ’s day? Do we have better or worse
methods of sanitation today than ever before? The answer is obvious. The risk of contracting a disease has always been a factor in any public setting. Yet the Lord,
who knew full well the potential of illness, still commanded a common cup.

2. Many diseases can also be contracted by handling the communion tray, or the communion loaf. The doorknobs of the Church building, a hand shake, a cough, a sneeze, a bathroom sink, are all more unsanitary than the sterilized cup used at Holy Supper. If illness is in view first and foremost, many would not attend Church at all.
You are far more likely to contract illness from the common building that you are from the common cup.

3. Strong wine (even fortified wine 12% or higher) is often used as communion wine to to kill bacteria on the edge of the cup.

4. Noble metals such as silver are scientifically proven to be strong bacteria killers.

In understanding the potential of contracting illness with the common cup, we must bear in mind one thing, “the cup of blessing which we bless”, is just that, blessed. Many old ministers have given testimony that in all the years they have been administering the common cup, no one has been made sick by it. This is the general understanding and experience of most congregations.

The “yuck factor” is not new to the Church. It has always been with us. Should we then use it to erase all biblical doctrines on this subject and 2000 years of Church tradition? Are we wiser than our fathers? Are we wiser than God?​

If anyone ins interested in the full article, you can contact me for it.
[email protected]
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Is the common cup a more important circumstance of the supper to retain than say the table posture or sitting at table?
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
It seems more important that there is one bread, "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." (1 Cor. 10:17)

I don't see a verse like that as it has to do with the cup that would make it so clear as that of the bread.

I would respectfully disagree dear brother.

The Common Cup in Scripture

The first thing we should take notice of is the fact that at the institution of The Lord’s Supper, Christ did not give each of the disciples their own cup. These are the words we find in Luke 22:17, “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come” .

When Christ instituted the sacramental meal of the New Covenant, it came at the end of the supper of the Passover (Mark 14:18; 1 Corinthians 11:25). Yet our Lord did not give the disciples their own cups as He instituted Holy Supper, but took one cup and blessed it. Now some would say that Christ would not have used individual cups because the Passover meal had a common cup. Exactly. There is a continuum in the institution of Holy Supper with that of the Passover, though it superseded it. On the basis of the old Passover, and the new Lord’s Supper, the disciples then each drank from the single cup and passed it to the next disciple until everyone had partaken.

In fact, every time the Lord’s Supper is mentioned in the New Testament, the single cup is also mentioned.

Notice,

“And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it” (Matthew 26:27).
“And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it” (Mark 14:23).
“And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come” (Luke 22:17).
“Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20).
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)?
“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (1Cor 10:21).
“After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:25).
“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor. 11:26).
“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28).

By quoting these texts, we find that in every case the singular article is used when referencing the cup. The same is found in the original. Never do we find the Greek using the plural noun or the plural article in reference to the wine of the Lord’s Supper. By doing this, the Holy Spirit has made it very clear as to how He expected the element of wine to be distributed. The emphasis is on one cup (singular), not personal cups (plural). In fact, there is far more biblical data to prove a common cup than there is to prove a common table or sprinkling in baptism. All three doctrines however, are biblical.

The command given by Christ is simple, and its conclusion, unavoidable. “Take this, and divide it among yourselves” is the command of Luke 22:17. Further, our Lord says in Matthew
26:27 “Drink ye all of it”. In both instances the Lord’s emphasis is on the single word “it”. We are to divine “it” (the cup held by Christ), among the many, and drink, everyone, from “it” (the same cup.) Let us remind ourselves of Paul’s words in Col 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Individual cups are not found anywhere in Scripture, or the confessions, and has crept in by “the rudiments” (the thoughts), of this world.
“What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it” (Deut. 12:32).
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Pastor Lewis,

I don't really disagree with you, but I'll disagree for the sake of this thread to think through things.

It is interesting to me that he continually and descriptively says, "The cup" or "this cup" etc. when he could have said, "the one cup" or "this one cup".

You see he didn't have to say "the one cup". But he also didn't have to say, "one bread". He could have said "because there is bread", but he doesn't he adds the word "one" in there. That was available to describe the cup but he doesn't use that in the same context. Why not?

Just some thoughts.
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
Pastor Lewis,

I don't really disagree with you, but I'll disagree for the sake of this thread to think through things.

It is interesting to me that he continually and descriptively says, "The cup" or "this cup" etc. when he could have said, "the one cup" or "this one cup".

You see he didn't have to say "the one cup". But he also didn't have to say, "one bread". He could have said "because there is bread", but he doesn't he adds the word "one" in there. That was available to describe the cup but he doesn't use that in the same context. Why not?

Just some thoughts.

Because we believe in the perspicuity of the Scriptures, we would take at face value, in context, the singular article of the word cup that is used in each instance. This would indicate a single cup, or "the one cup", if you will, by contextual exegesis. That would be an a priori understanding of the text. This is why the common cup has been universally used by our forefathers. I would argue that individual cups are a modern independent fundamentalist invention, right around the same time as the temperance movement came to the fore in the USA.

Blessings!
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Good answer, (again I don't really disagree).

Greek question, can't the same of what you said about the cup be said about the bread (without the use of the word 'one')?
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
Yes, that is why historically, the crust is cut off a large thick loaf, scored length and width, and broken off in pieces as it is passed around.

:)
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
If we did a common cup, I would feel it a duty of love to sit out of communion -- I have the virus that causes mono, stays in the body and re-emerges. I don't understand it well enough to be certain I would not be passing it along: my entire family got it when my mom did, when I was a child.

It seems (speaking as a woman who is mindful of such details in her own home) quite in keeping with true love and union (which are surely the substance of what we are attracted to in a common cup) to be mindful of those of us who would feel responsible for communicating something that can significantly alter another person's health.

In my small reading of Calvin it seems that careful avoidance of superstition about circumstances is as much a part of our reformation heritage as careful avoidance of will worship?

I don't mean to argue this, just to throw it out for consideration. :)
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
My church uses a common cup (with trays for those who prefer it).

After what seems like 100 years taking communion in Baptist churches with individual trays, I'm too set in my ways to jump over the yuck factor yet. If my conscience begins to bother me, I will consider the common cup. However, as long as my church offers the option, I'd rather pass the distraction of the yuck factor during communion.
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
If we did a common cup, I would feel it a duty of love to sit out of communion -- I have the virus that causes mono, stays in the body and re-emerges. I don't understand it well enough to be certain I would not be passing it along: my entire family got it when my mom did, when I was a child.

It seems (speaking as a woman who is mindful of such details in her own home) quite in keeping with true love and union (which are surely the substance of what we are attracted to in a common cup) to be mindful of those of us who would feel responsible for communicating something that can significantly alter another person's health.

In my small reading of Calvin it seems that careful avoidance of superstition about circumstances is as much a part of our reformation heritage as careful avoidance of will worship?

I don't mean to argue this, just to throw it out for consideration. :)

I completely understand. Respectfully, I don't think it is superstition, but is based on solid exegesis on which Calvin himself relied as did 2000 years of Church history (Be it Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthadox, or Protestant). In my congregation, I am the last to drink from the cup at the last seating of Holy Supper, in part to live to the command that a minister must be the servant of all, and also to show that it is a blessed cup. To date, I have not been infected by any harmful germs. I have seen a lot of lipstic glazing the wine as I sip it! That is yuck for me!
On a simular note, I have a friend who is a physicist, who has done significant research on the noble metal of silver, demonstrating that it kills almost all germs on contact.

In one case, I knew of a man with HIV (contracted by a blood transfusion in the 70's) who went last at the table so to avoid communicating his disease. In particular cases, I would happily have a secondary cup for such souls, so that they might partake with the people. The exception should not make the rule, however, and we should be mindful of serious (known) infections at the same time. But as a rule, the common cup is the Biblical and historical modle.
Blessings!
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
It seems more important that there is one bread, "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." (1 Cor. 10:17)

I don't see a verse like that as it has to do with the cup that would make it so clear as that of the bread.

Agreed. A common loaf is emphasized in Scripture as having meaning. Not so clearly with the cup.

And even the loaf is broken before we eat it. No one insists that we take a bite directly out of the common loaf and then pass it to the next person. No, we each have our own piece. Likewise, it's fine to pour out the "cup" into individual cups. "Broken" and "poured out" are part of the language of institution, too.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
We use a common cup, or two or three common cups, here in the FCoS, FCoS (Continuing), FPCoS and APC.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
It seems more important that there is one bread, "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." (1 Cor. 10:17)

I don't see a verse like that as it has to do with the cup that would make it so clear as that of the bread.

Agreed. A common loaf is emphasized in Scripture as having meaning. Not so clearly with the cup.

And even the loaf is broken before we eat it. No one insists that we take a bite directly out of the common loaf and then pass it to the next person. No, we each have our own piece. Likewise, it's fine to pour out the "cup" into individual cups. "Broken" and "poured out" are part of the language of institution, too.

But perhaps that 'pouring out' from THE cup should be done in the administering of the sacrament instead of 'in the kitchen'. :)
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
It seems more important that there is one bread, "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." (1 Cor. 10:17)

I don't see a verse like that as it has to do with the cup that would make it so clear as that of the bread.

Agreed. A common loaf is emphasized in Scripture as having meaning. Not so clearly with the cup.

And even the loaf is broken before we eat it. No one insists that we take a bite directly out of the common loaf and then pass it to the next person. No, we each have our own piece. Likewise, it's fine to pour out the "cup" into individual cups. "Broken" and "poured out" are part of the language of institution, too.

But perhaps that 'pouring out' from THE cup should be done in the administering of the sacrament instead of 'in the kitchen'. :)

Then how could it be "the cup of blessing which we bless?" ala Paul's words? Bring the whole congregation into the kitchen for the blessing before the service? ;-) No, the clear exegetical and historic model is the common cup, blessed before the people, and passed out to the communicants. "Drink ye all of IT". That does not mean "drink every drop”, but drink “everyone form the cup itself”. That is the “it” .

Blessings,
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
It seems more important that there is one bread, "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." (1 Cor. 10:17)

I don't see a verse like that as it has to do with the cup that would make it so clear as that of the bread.

Agreed. A common loaf is emphasized in Scripture as having meaning. Not so clearly with the cup.

And even the loaf is broken before we eat it. No one insists that we take a bite directly out of the common loaf and then pass it to the next person. No, we each have our own piece. Likewise, it's fine to pour out the "cup" into individual cups. "Broken" and "poured out" are part of the language of institution, too.

But perhaps that 'pouring out' from THE cup should be done in the administering of the sacrament instead of 'in the kitchen'. :)

I like that. Though for large churches, I could see some of it being poured on the spot while the rest was done ahead of time, similarly to how many churches break some bread on the spot but also have pieces already cut.
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
"Yes, that is why historically, the crust is cut off a large thick loaf, scored length and width, and broken off in pieces as it is passed around."

If the bread is distributed in small pieces, as opposed to passing a loaf and everyone bites off a piece -

it seems to me the same argument would apply. Jesus uses the singular (this is MY body, etc.), does He not, in describing the loaf of bread?

My question here is not be argumentative but to see the same standards applied to the bread as the cup.

If, as is being posited, we should all drink from a common cup because of the singular references at the institution of the Lord's Supper, should we all bite from a common loaf for the same reason?
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
"My question here is not be argumentative but to see the same standards applied to the bread as the cup.

If, as is being posited, we should all drink from a common cup because of the singular references at the institution of the Lord's Supper, should we all bite from a common loaf for the same reason?

The Lord's command is, "This is my body, wich is broken for you. Take, eat". This is done when the communicant pulls off (take eat) a piece of the one loaf. "Drink ye all of it", is the command for the for the cup. The references to mode are far more numerous for the cup than for the bread (14/1). Why? I don't know, but they are. I get why some are uncomfortable with the common cup because of the "yuck factor", but the exegesis is too clear, in my mind, to simply pass over. The whole idea of individual cups is a brand-spanking new idea, that came in at the same time as the temperance movement under the banner of American Fundamentalism and the insistence of grape juice. It has never been an argument in history before. I personally find that amazing IF there is an actual sound exegetical argument for the other. Add it all up, and you have a solid foundation for the common cup. I'm not saying you have to agree with it. But the exegetical evidence, along with the historical testimony is singular through the ages.

Blessings,
JL
www.frcpp.org
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
When Chalmers got rid of the table, did they pass the common cup up and down the pews or did multiple cups come in then? I think perhaps there were always more than one goblet in Scottish practice; I recall the reference in the Directory to "large cups," large being a reference to size or to "many" if used in the old use. I'm not clear which now.
 
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