In a previous post, I argued that the church should rekindle a sense of the primacy of baptism in the process of conversion. Baptism shouldn’t be minimized. Certainly, there are elements of church doctrine that should be considered relatively minor. So, it’s a question of the wisdom of how to discern between major and minor components of the faith. My argument is that baptism is not one of those minor practices of the church. In Scripture, it occupies a normative role in how someone receives Christ and is added to the church. In my own “non-liturgical” evangelical background, I have observed a lessened role for baptism. I’ll leave it to the historians to tell us how this came to be.
It’s my contention that the church is a pilgrim community, on a spiritual journey to the full realization of the Kingdom of God. In the church’s sojourn on earth, baptism and communion stand out as two key rituals/ceremonies that order her life. Baptism provides entrance into the church; regular observance of Communion spiritually sustains the church in her walk with the Lord.
I would like to take several posts to address Communion in the life of the church.
Why do so at this time?
- I have noticed major neglect of Communion among several churches with which I have been associated. The degree of neglect in some cases has been manifested in an annual or semi-annual observance of Communion. These churches have mainly been of the conservative, evangelical, “seeker-friendly” persuasion.
- In the past couple of years, I have undertaken a fresh study of the New Testament to develop deeper convictions on the practice of Communion and would like to share what I have learned.
- I believe that the observance of Communion is the spiritual “glue” that binds congregations and the church as a whole together. Because of this, the topic deserves discussion.
- The Apostle Paul taught that observance of Communion serves as a proclamation of the death of Jesus. Does Communion have any significance for the world at large, outside the confines of the church community? If it does, what is the significance?
Join me in the coming posts as I look at the following aspects of Communion:
- What are the primary actions involved with its observance?
- Is there a central purpose to it?
- Is there a biblical model for it?
- Who is to participate in it?
- What should be the frequency of observance?
- Does location of the observance matter?
- How should Communion relate to other ministries of the church (e.g. worship services, teaching, etc.)?