The Common Cup, a Command

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JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
For your consideration...

The Common Cup, A Command



We live in a world of constant change. Should this change enter our Church? Paul says in 2Th 2:15 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Paul wrote these words, in part, because there were those who wanted to change the way things were done in the Church, even in Paul's day. This will always be the case so long as we are here on earth. Our duty as a Church of Christ is to keep those biblical traditions handed down to us throughout the ages, and not waver from them no matter how unpopular they might seem.

The Lord's Supper is one area where change has taken place. Not only has the sacrament itself gone through many changes, but the way in which we administer the elements has also changed. In many Reformed Churches, people no longer come forward to a table. Instead, the elements of wine and bread are passed out row by row. Because of this new idea of people sitting in the pew, and having the elements come to them (instead of going forward to a table), one cup has been replaced by many individual cups (an American fundamentalist invention[1]). Even 50 years ago, the practice of individual cups was never found in our Churches. However, more and more congregations are switching to personal cups and leaving off the use of common cup.

Some will say, “So what? Is this really a big deal? Does it matter to the Lord if we have many cups instead of one common cup?” This short paper will attempt to answer this question, “Yes, the Lord does care.”2

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 for the first time, 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 [3]. Exactly. There is a continuum in the institution of Holy Supper with that of the Passover [4], 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 Greek. 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 expects 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” (one cup), among the many, and drink, everyone, from “it” (one 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).

One In Christ

The common cup represents in its second place, the oneness all believers have in Christ. 1Cor 12:12 says, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." Gal 3:28 says the same thing, "...for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

What message does the common cup signify, if not a unity in Christ and oneness in Him? The symbolism of this unity is completely lost in the use of individual cups by asserting the individual over the collective body. It is, by symbolism, both independent and baptistic [5] in nature and spoils the symmetry of the body by focusing on the parts. Listen to the apostle Paul once more in 1 Corinthians 10:16, “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?” The word “communion” in this text means, “joint fellowship, or community”. The common cup is a visible demonstration of oneness in Christ, and singularity of the body.

The Common Cup In History

Pro 22:28 says, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” Do our fathers have anything to say in this regard? Yes indeed.

We run the risk of doing great harm to our children by being the generation that removes the landmarks of our fathers. Often, the first generation to take liberty on a subject is followed by a generation which takes license. We must be very careful that we are not the generation known as the one who removed the landmark of the common cup. Briefly, let us examine our own confession of faith on the subject of the common cup.

First, let us examine closely the wording of the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 28,
question and answer 75:

Question 75. How art thou admonished and assured in the Lord's Supper, that thou art a partaker of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross, and of all his benefits?

Answer: Thus: That Christ has commanded me and all believers, to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup, in remembrance of him, adding these promises: (a) first, that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes, the bread of the Lord broken for me, and the cup communicated to me; and further, that he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, with his crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive from the hands of the minister, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ .​

Our Instructor, in this answer, makes it abundantly clear that the single cup was used during the time of this writing. In fact, the Heidelberg Catechism goes so far as to affirm that the common cup is a command. The next question and answer (76), quotes many of the passages we spoke of earlier as proofs of the institution of the Supper as well as demonstrating its proper administration.

Hear Dr. Zacharias Ursinus in his book, Of The Lord's Supper, And the True Doctrine and Pure Administration thereof; With a Refutation of both Transubstantiation & Consubstantiation.

“The rites which Christ has instituted are, that the Lord's bread be broken, distributed, and received, and the Lord's cup be given to all the communicants, in remembrance of his death”.


Second, our form for the Administration of the Lord's Supper is also quite revealing. In it, when the minister takes up the element of wine to bless it it says, “The cup of blessing which we bless is the communion of the blood of Christ.” Notice the singular cup that is blessed? It is good at this point to remind ourselves that at the table of the Lord, only one cup is blessed. How could a minister say, “The cup of blessing which we bless” to 60 or 70 individual cups? That would require the minister to bless all the cups individually, or changing the form by saying “these cups” instead of “this cup” (It would also require changing 1 Cor. 10:16!). In most congregations that use individual cups, the wine was poured into them before the service began and thus, remain unblessed. It goes without saying then that the only cup blessed is the one prayed over during the Lord's Supper. Do we then bless the pitcher instead of the cup? The problem still remains as the wine poured out during Holy Supper is only that of the minsters, not the congregation. Do we remove the problem by lifting the whole tray or stack of trays and blessing the individual cups that way? To remedy this obvious theological problem, we would need to institute a whole new series of man made inventions. The simple answer is the biblical one, we bless the same cup that all partake of just as Christ intended.

And finally, in our Church Order, article 62, we read, “Every Church shall administer the Lord's Supper in such a manner as it shall judge most conducive to edification; provided, however, that the outward ceremonies as prescribed in God's Word be not changed and all superstition be avoided...” If what we have tried to establish previously is indeed the prescription of the Word of God, and if our fathers testify to this truth, it would be hard to argue for the use of individual cups and remain faithful to the Word of God and our Church Order.

The Dutch Reformed Fathers

In 1618, the Synod of Dordt commissioned a group of ministers to write an commentary on the whole Bible. These annotations remain one of the great contributions to the Reformed world by commenting on most passages of the Bible. Here is what our forefathers say regarding the common cup as found in Matthew 26:27, “And took the cup, and having given thanks, gave (it) to them; and they all drank of the same [cup]: [Namely, as Christ had commanded them, Matthew. 26.27].”
Wilhelmus à Brakel (2 January 1635, Leeuwarden – 30 October 1711, Rotterdam), one of the ablest of all Dutch Divines says on this subject,

Even if the world, as their enemy, hates, despises, persecutes, and oppresses them, there is yet no reason for concern; they can readily miss its love, for they have better company and they refresh themselves in a sweet manner in the exercise of mutual love. They confess this unity in the Lord’s Supper by eating of the same bread and by drinking of the same cup. “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Cor.10:17) (Wilhelmus a Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Bartel Elshout, trans., [Morgan, Pennsylvania: Soli Deo Gloria], 1992, 1995 [1700], 2:577).​

Likewise, another well loved Dutch divine Herman Witsius (1636-1708) says, "The third action of the guests is, to drink the consecrated wine out of the cup. It is remarkable, that our Lord said concerning the cup, not only “take this, and divide it among yourselves,” Luke xxii. 17, but likewise added a mark of universality, “drink ye all of it” , Matt. xxvi. 27. And we are told how they complied with this command, Mark xiv. 24, “and they all drank of it” [i.e. they all drank from it- LFRC] (Herman Witsius, The Economy Of The Covenants Between God And Man, [Phillipsburg: Pennsylvania], 1990 [1693], 2:455, 456,).

For the sake of time, we have only given to you a small sampling of the record of our History. We could take several more pages and detail the absolute unity of the practice of the common cup from our fathers (Early Church Fathers, The Magisterial Reformers, Puritans, Westminster Divines, etc), but brevity prevents us. Suffice it to say that we are in great peril of removing the “ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set”, when it comes to the common cup, should individual cups be used.

Objections Answered

There can be no mistaking that the dawn of the individual cup came about for 2 reasons. The first is the individualism of our age, the “me” gospel of independentism. This, we hope has been answered as an objection, namely, that unity and oneness must take precedence over individuality. The second objection is more general, and it has to do with the concern of sanitation.

The Yuck Factor

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.

3.It is more likely that one will contract illness through the neglect of hand washing and then making physical contact with a carrier (door, hand, etc). You are more likely to contract illness eating out of a communal vegetable dip at a fellowship meeting than you are from using the common cup.

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

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?

On this point we leave you with God's words to Peter, who argued the uncleanness of what God had sent down from heaven, in Act 10:15, "And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."

A last objection often offered is one of pragmatism. If one cup is commanded, why is it that some congregations use two cups? For this we would remind the reader of article 62 of our Church Order, “Every Church shall administer the Lord's Supper in such a manner as it shall judge most conducive to edification; provided, however, that the outward ceremonies as prescribed in God's Word be not changed and all superstition be avoided...” The use of one cup at one table (to the left), and another table (to the right) still carries with it the symbolism of the one cup for many people. The emphasis is still on the sharing of a cup between believers as a demonstration of unity. In some congregations, multiple tables are needed for Holy Supper. It is for expediency that more than one cup is used. This accommodation, for time constraints, is not a sound reason however for each communicant to have their own cup, and act contrary to the Word and Church history. Two cups at the table does not remove the symbolism of unity as individual cups do, and is in keeping with article 62 of the Church Order. In light of the material here presented in this paper, this objection argues to little.

A Plea to Return to the Common Cup

Unless the Lord does a work of reformation in His Church, each generation will take a step to the left. History has borne this truth. We will, because of our corrupt human nature, have the natural tendency to leave off the things that should be done in order to make accommodation. Some have argued that this is a “tempest in a teapot” issue, that it is not all that important to the wellbeing of the Church. If so, then why change to individual cups at all? While we would admit that one's salvation does not hang on whether or not a common cup is used, it is still important to God, and subsequently to His Church. As a Church, we are to take heed to ourselves and to our doctrine, not just in the main, but also in the detail.

Holy Supper is no small thing. It is a means of grace for every believer that takes part by faith. By faith we are fed by the true heavenly bread and drink, Jesus Christ. Do we then not wish to walk with Him in obedience to His revealed will concerning it? Is there any biblical reason to use individual cups? No. Are there biblical reasons to use a common cup? We hope we have demonstrated that there are indeed.

Pastor J. Lewis

_______________
1. See, Material History of American Religion Project The Individual Communion Cup at http://www.materialreligion.org/documents/may98doc.htm. This is a reprint of the 1906 article in the United Brethren periodical.
2. All bold words are the emphasis of the the author.
3. Alfred Edersheim .The Temple: Its Ministry and Services. Chapter 12, "The Paschal Feast and the Lord's Supper." In fact, each section of the Passover had a cup associated with it, four in fact. This does not detract however from the fact that the Lord used one cup for Holy Supper.
4. To this day, Orthodox Jews still use the symbolism of the common cup at Passover.
5. We note that several Reformed Baptists also use a common cup.
 
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Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
And what about the common loaf.

The best way to serve the bread that I have seen is to choose a soft loaf and cut slices at right angles to each other about an inch to an inch and a half down. It is easy to brake off a substantial morsel/mouthful as the one loaf signifying the one body is passed round.

It is much better than these - often minuscule - pre-cut squares or crutons that we are often presented with. I try not to let these kind of things diminish my enjoyment of the Sacrament.
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
And what about the common loaf.

The best way to serve the bread that I have seen is to choose a soft loaf and cut slices at right angles to each other about an inch to an inch and a half down. It is easy to brake off a substantial morsel/mouthful as the one loaf signifying the one body is passed round.

It is much better than these - often minuscule - pre-cut squares or crutons that we are often presented with. I try not to let these kind of things diminish my enjoyment of the Sacrament.

Agreed. It is the best practice as you suggest, and is done, I'm sure, in your congregation and most of the Scottish Churches. In our congregation, we do all take from one loaf.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
We use two cups, one for the men and one for the women. Ditto with the bread. But I think the idea is still there.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
And what about the common loaf.

The best way to serve the bread that I have seen is to choose a soft loaf and cut slices at right angles to each other about an inch to an inch and a half down. It is easy to brake off a substantial morsel/mouthful as the one loaf signifying the one body is passed round.

It is much better than these - often minuscule - pre-cut squares or crutons that we are often presented with. I try not to let these kind of things diminish my enjoyment of the Sacrament.

Agreed. It is the best practice as you suggest, and is done, I'm sure, in your congregation and most of the Scottish Churches. In our congregation, we do all take from one loaf.

Sadly no. The previous Presbyterian church I belonged to used a single loaf as described.

My current Presbyterian congregation uses tiny pre-cut squares.:um: I'll have to speak more seriously to the elders about the benefits of what I described. We have a common chalice, or rather two chalices to ease distribution. There is no distinction between men and women.

We do not have a table, but communicant members who are not there already come forward to the central area of seats, so there is a visible division in the congregation.
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
Thanks for this, Pastor Lewis. Our church has a table to which we come for the Lord's Supper, and we also pinch off bread from a common loaf. However, we do have indidvidual cups. My question would be this (and it is truly sincere, as I have no objections to a common cup): If the Apostles were asked to divide it amongst themselves, could this dividing amongst themselves be also done by pouring wine from the common cup into smaller receptacles?

Thanks again for the essay.

Dear Josh,

I think that the exegesis speaks very clearly to that question. Each time the wine mention in relation to distribution, a common cup is also. To take the one cup and divide it into several other cups could have been the case, but it is not recorded. In my humble opinion then, the RPW, as to the essence of worship, not the circumstance applies.

Blessings brother!
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
We use two cups, one for the men and one for the women. Ditto with the bread. But I think the idea is still there.

What's the reasoning behind the two cups?

When we hold a communion service, everyone gathers in a circle around the front half of the church, men on one side and women on the other. One cup/bread goes around one way, one goes the other way; mostly to make things proceed faster, I think.

edit: Another argument for a common cup: You don't have to buy all the individual cups, thereby saving money which you can then use for another purpose!
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
We do not have a table, but communicant members who are not there already come forward to the central area of seats, so there is a visible division in the congregation.

I have seen this practice when I did communion on the Isle of Lewis. It was a first for me. Is that a cultural thing? Is there a reason there is no table?
 

sastark

Puritan Board Graduate
We use two cups, one for the men and one for the women. Ditto with the bread. But I think the idea is still there.

What's the reasoning behind the two cups?

When we hold a communion service, everyone gathers in a circle around the front half of the church, men on one side and women on the other. One cup/bread goes around one way, one goes the other way; mostly to make things proceed faster, I think.

edit: Another argument for a common cup: You don't have to buy all the individual cups, thereby saving money which you can then use for another purpose!

Why do men stand on one side and women on the other?
 

E Nomine

Puritan Board Freshman
I've never been convicted of a need for a common cup even though I was raised Anglican where a common cup was the exclusive practice.

As the OP points out, the Greek references are singular. Each individual cup is singular.

I see this as an issue of liberty. Christians can divide the common cup reverently (and more hygenically) via the individual cups.
 

JOwen

Puritan Board Junior
As the OP points out, the Greek references are singular. Individual cups are singular.

Seems to me, "cups" is a plurality not a singularity.
I see this as an issue of liberty. Christians can divide the common cup reverently (and more hygenically) via the individual cups.
How can this be done. I'm interested in your proof brother.
 

E Nomine

Puritan Board Freshman
You are correct re "cups." I edited my entry immediately after posting to clarify.

-----Added 6/25/2009 at 03:14:45 EST-----

Obviously there's no scripture proof on the hygiene issue. You make the good RPW argument. I guess I still have normative leanings :)
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Interesting and challenging.


My church overseas has folks who have almost died of TB, coughing up pink tinged phlegm and losing 50 lbs in the process...... that YUCK factor is certainly there.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
We do not have a table, but communicant members who are not there already come forward to the central area of seats, so there is a visible division in the congregation.

I have seen this practice when I did communion on the Isle of Lewis. It was a first for me. Is that a cultural thing? Is there a reason there is no table?

No. Traditionally there was a table and still is in some congregations - covered with a white cloth. At larger communions there would be a very long table, and often at communion seasons where people came from miles around, there would be many sittings with each sitting being addressed by the minister(s) meaning that a communion - or "action" - service could last well into the afternoon or evening.

Lord's Supper: Malcolm Maclean: Amazon.co.uk: Books

This is a very thorough book on the Lord's Supper and Scottish communion seasons recently released by Malcolm MacLean, FC minister on the island of Scalpay, Harris.

I still think the occaisional big communion season can be greatly blessed by the Lord as long as we're not tied to them and think that they have a specific Scriptural mandate. These gatherings were certainly often greatly blessed in the past; though it can be hard work for the ladies - and the visiting minister.
 
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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
"occasional big communion" also seems not to be a biblical idea. It seems that the supper was eaten more regularly and in conjunction with an agape feast (i.e. a real dinner)
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
What's the reasoning behind the two cups?

When we hold a communion service, everyone gathers in a circle around the front half of the church, men on one side and women on the other. One cup/bread goes around one way, one goes the other way; mostly to make things proceed faster, I think.

edit: Another argument for a common cup: You don't have to buy all the individual cups, thereby saving money which you can then use for another purpose!

Why do men stand on one side and women on the other?

Tradition.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
"occasional big communion" also seems not to be a biblical idea. It seems that the supper was eaten more regularly and in conjunction with an agape feast (i.e. a real dinner)

In Scotland for many years and still in parts of the Highlands there would be one communion season a year in a congregation. But because the churches for miles around closed and because people travelled from far and near, people were often able to attend many communion seasons throughout the year.

We now have three or four congregational communion seasons a year here in Knox FC, Perth, with 1 or 2 or no additional services. It would be nice to have an old-style big communion season every so often as well. There was/is plenty agape feasting at such events, although no specific agape feast.

Christian conferences where people partake of the Lord's Supper are not a biblical idea, either. A big communion is like a Christian conference where old friends meet and stay together, and eat; except it is focussed on the Lord's Supper.

If people are introducing agape meals before or after the Lord's Supper, that's fine, as long as the agape meal and Lord's Supper don't get confused as in Corinth.
 

sastark

Puritan Board Graduate
When we hold a communion service, everyone gathers in a circle around the front half of the church, men on one side and women on the other. One cup/bread goes around one way, one goes the other way; mostly to make things proceed faster, I think.

edit: Another argument for a common cup: You don't have to buy all the individual cups, thereby saving money which you can then use for another purpose!

Why do men stand on one side and women on the other?

Tradition.

Thanks. I was just curious, as I'd never heard of that method of taking communion.
 

21st Century Calvinist

Puritan Board Junior
I still think the occaisional big communion season can be greatly blessed by the Lord as long as we're not tied to them and think that they have a specific Scriptural mandate. These gatherings were certainly often greatly blessed in the past; though it can be hard work for the ladies - and the visiting minister.

Richard,
I would love to see the biblical support for this.
Without a doubt I have been richly blessed by the communion seasons I attended when I was a member of the FC. These were rich times of feasting on the Word, Fellowship with the Lord and one another as well as feasting on delicious food. However, in my reading of Scripture I have not come across anything that supports the Scottish Communion season.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
or communion tokens.

-----Added 6/25/2009 at 06:54:07 EST-----

Oops, sorry, I am getting off topic again. Some days its hard to stay on the OP, huh?
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
I personally don't have the faith for this germ-wise, I would feel like I was putting God to the test. I get such bad asthma even with a cold that I am careful. Ten days ago I got swabbed for swine flu ( no results yet) and I was sooooooo sick. Fever and my lungs got infected.

Two decades of the immune compromised community ( mostly AIDS) has bred a race of super bugs from all their massive antibiotic usage that just this year are starting to emerge into the non hospital population. Only political correctness is stopping the massive reporting this deserves. MRSA is all over, TB resistance, etc. It will only get worse.

I believe in James 5 healing and have experienced it. I would try and trust God if my church did this, but I don't know if I could drink from a common cup. Even with wine the rim gets saliva. ugh.

I even got scabies from doing the nice Christian thing at the nursing home for "bottom feeders." Double ugh, I can't shake hands with the homeless now w/o cringing at the thought of scabies.

It would be easier to be a loving christian if I didn't know about germs.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I have church members who have active TB.

Isn't there ANYONE who can refute this. I really don't want to do this, though I do have a commitment to biblicism. Aaargh, someone prove this post wrong....PLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Quote from Pergamum
or communion tokens.

Communion tokens were/are given to prospective communicants the day before the communion service to make sure that no-one under discipline or not a communicant member takes the Supper. Particularly important when dealing with large numbers and strangers. Seems to be communion cards these days.

There used to be (still is?) the largest colllection of communion tokens in the world in Perth Museum. Maybe that's why they turned to cards, because someone was collecting communion tokens!

Quote from Donnie MacLeod
I have not come across anything that supports the Scottish Communion season.

As long as we don't treat them as sacrosanct and the only way to have a communion, I don't see why they can't be a valid variation on holding the Lord's Supper. All that's happening is that some extra services are being held for the feeding of God's people. We don't require specific biblical sanction for multi-day devotional Christian conferences in a hotel. Sometimes the Lord's Supper is held at these.

Some of the men and women from the past and present and some of the denominations erred (and some still err) because it is almost held that the communion season is the only valid way of celebrating the Lord's Supper. Tradition took over in this respect a long time ago in this area. To the extent that God's Word was honoured the fact that the practice had become an unbiblical tradition, didn't mean that the Spirit did not often manifest Himself powerfully in revival and blessing when larger or smaller numbers of God's people gathered for a communion season.
 
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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Quote from Pergamum
or communion tokens.

Communion tokens were/are given to prospective communicants the day before the communion service to make sure that no-one under discipline or not a communicant member takes the Supper. Particularly important when dealing with large numbers and strangers. Seems to be communion cards these days.

There used to be (still is?) the largest colllection of communion tokens in the world in Perth Museum. Maybe that's why they turned to cards, because someone was collecting communion tokens!

Fascinating!
 

Claudiu

Puritan Board Junior
I've never been convicted of a need for a common cup even though I was raised Anglican where a common cup was the exclusive practice.

As the OP points out, the Greek references are singular. Each individual cup is singular.

I see this as an issue of liberty. Christians can divide the common cup reverently (and more hygenically) via the individual cups.

:agree:

I grew up in a legalistic, formalist church (don't go there any more) where the old people were always mandating that the church take the communion from one cup. So this issue is not new for me, I've seen people get pretty over worked over the whole debate.

The communion meal, in the Jewish tradition, has more than one cup, and was done fairly often. It was a meal.

I see this issue as a preference. One church I've been to before would have a common cup for the people whose conscience told them they could only have communion from a common cup, while others had their own smaller cups.

From what I have read Jesus never commanded only the use of one cup. Even if there is strong evidence for him only using one cup, he didn't specifically mention that there should only be one cup.

I think the symbology is more important here, instead of making it an issue of a common cup v. more cups. Similarly, another issue that arises is the drink thats used. Some churches don't use wine, while others do.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
If a communion season and tokens are permissible variations, isn't more than one cup also a valid variation?
 

Igor

Puritan Board Freshman
I think that the exegesis speaks very clearly to that question. Each time the wine mention in relation to distribution, a common cup is also. To take the one cup and divide it into several other cups could have been the case, but it is not recorded.
That's true, and in case of the congregation of twelve or even twice and three times as much - no objection. But the Church I was baptized in, for example, had over 3 thousand members...
My present Church has about 70 members - we have 2 common cups for those who are more traditional (especially elderly people) and many small cups for the rest - everyone chooses what he or she wishes. It is a matter of freedom and we never had any issues.
 

21st Century Calvinist

Puritan Board Junior
Thanks Richard for your response. I don't necessarily disagree that it is an acceptable way to celebrate communion. However, there still remains no biblical support for this practice. In my lesser moments I have referred to them as holy days.
I guess my main issue is that I favor a weekly celebration of communion.

Re Communion Tokens
There really is no purpose to them nowadays.

Common Cup
The insistence on one cup to share among all would that not then preclude multiple common cups or refilling the common cup?
There is the idea that the common cup promotes or symbolizes the unity of the church. Can we not show our unity by all partaking at the same time? In the old Scottish tradition of physically going and sitting around a table required back in the day that multiple tables be served one after the other. Apart from lengthening the service it always seemed strange to me that not everyone would partake together.
 
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