Understanding the Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace

This past week, at our church plant’s Thursday night gathering, we took some time to talk about the importance of the Lord’s Supper in the life of the believer and the church.

We looked at our philosophy of ministry, which says,

The ordained rites of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are faith-nourishing signs that tangibly portray Gospel realities to believers. As such, they are not to be neglected, devalued, or misused, but, rather, are to be guarded, administered conscientiously, and cherished as gracious gifts from Christ.

Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:19-20; Acts 22:16; Rom 6:3-4; 1 Cor 10:16; 11:23-27; Gal 3:27; Col 2:12; Tit 3:5; 1 Pet 3:21.

I want to follow up on that discussion here in this post.

Often times, in the more baptistic, non-denominational, believers’-church-tradition circle in which I find myself, the Lord’s Supper is seen as nothing more than a cognitive aid for rehearsing the sacrificial death of Jesus. We call this the memorial view of the Supper: the Supper is a means of remembering (hence “memorial”) the death of Christ.

Now, I don’t want to downplay the importance of simply remembering Christ’s work on our behalf. But I do want to ask, What is that “remembering” suppose to look like and involve? What does the New Testament have in mind when it talks of this “remembering.” Is it merely a recall, a cognitive exercise like running scenes from the Passion of the Christ in your head? Or is it something more like what we refer to today as “preaching the truths of the Gospel to yourself”?

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Goodreads Review of Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary Ecclesiology by John Hammett

Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary EcclesiologyBiblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary Ecclesiology by John S. Hammett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent book.

Well-written. Well-researched. Thoughtful. Generally fair to alternative positions.

One of its best strengths — thoroughly Biblical. He engages in critical exegetical and synthetical (or: systematizing) examination of scripture.

Main complaint (and I say this as one who adheres to Baptist distinctives) — I think he overestimates the clarity of scripture’s testimony to what we call “congregationalism” today, especially in his engagement with what is called “elder rule” polity. Furthermore, I think his actual case for congregationalism is weak. A better case can and should be made than the one he offers.

But, to avoid ending on a negative note — a solid book I will definitely recommend to others in the future.

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