In commenting on a passage from Charles Spurgeon (which I quoted in a post called “Spurgeon’s ‘Building the Church’“), Arthur at “the voice of one crying out in suburbia” has made some excellent observations in a post called “On the Lord’s Supper and genuine, Biblical Christian fellowship“. First, read the Spurgeon quote, either on Arthur’s post or mine, then read Arthur’s comment:
That is a far cry from how we break bread with one another today. I think that the problem with the prior post on denying the table to Christians is that we are not talking about the Lordâ€™s Supper in the same frame of reference that the Bible speaks of the Supper. We see the Lordâ€™s Supper, the fellowship, the breaking of bread as being something that is reserved for formal, organized meetings â€œat churchâ€, on schedule and in the proper format. Nothing could be further from the Bible. We have lost the sense of the Supper being an act of worship, of fellowship, of community among the redeemed. It is now a ceremony, a function, a sacrament. We are poorer as a people for it and the Supper is less meaningful because of it.
Again, this is not to discount the need for and the value of corporate gathering and worship. We have been in fellowship with other believers in a corporate setting every Sunday since we moved, often multiple times on Sundays. But we as the Body of Christ have so modified the idea of Christian fellowship and the breaking of bread and worship from how it appears in the Bible that I fear that we are doing a lot more tradition following than we are Bible following. Especially from those of us who are Reformed, who believe in the inerrancy, perspicuity and sufficiency of the Bible. We, of all people, should seek in the spirit of semper reformanda to constantly test what we believe and what we do with the words of Holy Writ and not let our theology and practice be dictated by tradition or culture or confessions, but instead be guided by the Word of God. What is tragic is that being â€œReformedâ€ seems to require greater and greater form and structure. What is ironic is that being â€œReformedâ€ is looking less and less like a reformation and more and more like what Christians were trying to reform in the first place.
Are we willing to admit that we’ve replaced community with ceremony? Are we then willing to move beyond ceremony and seek true community in Christ?