Does the type of bread used for communion matter?

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Ben Zartman, Apr 5, 2019.

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  1. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

  2. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    With respect to your first response, I don't think that you are understanding my point. Scarcity, as used by Bavinck et al. certainly means the inability to procure wine and bread, such as during famine, in which case other substances may be substituted as elements without guilt. Clearly that is not the case in American churches today. However, my suggestion is that as a lay communicant, who is unable to procure the elements for oneself, you are placed in the same position as those churches in times of famine. You are wandering in the wilderness in a church that is depriving you of wine or, less likely, bread. Thus you, as the communicant, may partake of the irregular element so long as your conscience allows. This does not relieve those who, in shepherding the congregation, arbitrarily depart, as you put it, from the prescribed elements. That this is not what the older divines meant I grant, but it seems a reasonable extension of it.

    That is, of course, if we grant the older position. Perhaps you do not, for if you view grape juice as a violation of the RPW then surely it is not authorized even in times of famine where bread and/or wine cannot be procured. When Israel was separated from the temple in the divided kingdom, they were not authorized to set up their own high places for worship. If the use of other substances nullifies the sacrament itself, then it is better simply to not have the Supper until such a time as the Lord relieves the famine. To use your own example (and to demonstrate how different the cases are), if we find ourselves bereft of Psalters it doesn't authorize us to sing hymns.
  3. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks for your response.
  4. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks to all who weighed in. It appears that the overwhelming consensus is that the type of bread is immaterial. It seems strange that there should be such a wine/juice contention and none at all about bread.
    Personally, I'm with Perg--the substance of the elements matters less than the thing that they signify, even if I prefer red wine, and bread broken rather than individual crackers.
    I'm sorry I can't interact more with individual answers, but time does not allow, and I am grateful for all who have responded thus far.
  5. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    It is as easy as what the elements are. :) Wine and bread.
  6. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Granted: but there are so many things called "bread." Banana bread. Zuccini bread. Cornbread. Potato bread, etc. Would the introduction of a bread-foreign substance into the recipe make it bread not suited to communion (raisin bread? Cinnamon rolls?)
  7. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    I did not.

    That’s the “common bread” in the south.:D Sometimes we make a bowl of cereal using cornbread crumbles and buttermilk (hard to find the good stuff anymore).

    But on a serious note, I think that is where just the common plain bread of the land and the common plain “wine” of the land simplify things. Even on that note, the process of pasteurized grape juice is much more “complex” than that of wine.:detective:

    P.S. Glad your back posting on PB BTW.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
  8. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    This is where plain common sense helps out.
  9. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Glad to be back--had a bit of a hectic winter.
    But back to the purpose of the thread--it was simply to find out whether a bread controversy existed, as it does with the vine's fruit. I am glad it does not.
  10. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    You can find at my house and you're welcome anytime.
  11. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I recall, as a child, one Saturday night helping my missionary-pastor dad pick raisins out of a loaf of raisin bread. The nearest store was hours away, and he had discovered rather late that it was the only bread we had in the house. There surely must have been other solutions as well, but he decided that once the bread was de-raisined it was fine to use. "Bread is bread," he said. But raisins in the bread would have invited questions and introduced another clearly noticed substance, so those had to come out. Common sense, I think.

    We can get into situations where we overthink the matter and convince ourselves that conscience requires us to sit out a Supper not prepared to our specs, which we have somehow decided must be God's specs. In this way, overthinking can erode fellowship, the very "communion" the Supper should be promoting.
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  12. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    A very sweet anecdote. Thank you for sharing.
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