An Edible Oath

The apostle tells us that every time we come to this Table we do so in order to make a proclamation. Every time we eat and drink here, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Now this proclamation is something that occurs among the Lord’s people, for we are the ones invited to this Table, but the proclamation is meant to be heard by all that has breath. Every living thing is invited to worship the Lord.

We don’t need to know how God arranges for nonbelievers to hear this proclamation, or how they come to learn of it, but fortunately, we don’t have to. All we have to do is eat and drink with sincere love for God and for our brothers and sisters. God takes care of the rest. He is the one who called it a proclamation, and who called all of us His messengers.

One reason the proclamation is heard is because when we do this we are taking a blood oath—and this is a blood oath that obligates us to break down all the altars of all the gods in the land. The caretakers of these altars are not oblivious to our presence; they are not ignoring what we are doing.

We are renewing covenant with the God who calls us into His salvation, and we do not do this because the covenant was going to expire, like a lease. We don’t renew anything that way. We renew our covenant obligations the way food renews the body, the way sexual union renews marriages, and the way laughter and fellowship around meals renew family ties.

This meal is the way God has arranged for us to declare our allegiance. He invites us to His Table, and He also tells us that to try to eat from two tables is incoherent. Look at the bread. That is your only food. Look at the wine. That is your only drink.

So we declare our allegiance by renewing it. We renew our allegiance by declaring it. So here it is—an edible oath. So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

Theology That Bites Back



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  • Mike Bull

    Pastor Wilson, This is brilliant – especially concerning renewal. That part of CRW didn’t sit right with me before. / / / / 
    I’ve learned a lot about the Lord’s table from you – and used it in prayers for the Lord’s table as well. / / / / 
    Our original example is the Old Testament prophets who ate with God, but our prime example is the disciples and the ministry of the firstfruits church. The first altar they tore down was the one in Jerusalem, and then, in the Church, the Lord took on the altars of Rome. / / / /
    But to me at least there seems to be in what you have written a magical blur between the oath and the job of the messengers. Paul says that the supper proclaims the Lord’s death. I guess this means that it speaks in the way that Abel’s blood spoke, but includes a blessing as well as a curse. Abel’s blood was avenged on Jerusalem’s final generation (“…us and our children,” Matt. 27:25; “you, your children…” Acts 2:39). / / / / 
    To say that “We don’t need to know how God arranges for nonbelievers to hear this proclamation, or how they come to learn of it, but fortunately, we don’t have to,” is a bit misleading. We certainly *do* know how God arranges for nonbelievers to hear this proclamation. / / / /
    What’s missing is the testimony of the saints. As usual, for me this relates to baptism in my book, but the point of communion is that those who partake become Jesus’ body so that His death might be proclaimed not only in the Church but in public. The apostles were broken as bread and poured out as wine. I don’t believe there is any issue of what to do with the left overs because the only bread and wine that matters is the stuff that walks out of the building and proclaims Jesus’ death. The world doesn’t care about the Lord’s Table until it has legs and a mouth. / / / /
    So the oath we take at the Table is the name of Jesus, the only Man who could ever say to God, “I have done as you commanded.” What we are proclaiming is not the oath that Israel took after the giving of the Law, but the name of the one who protects us from its curse. That is what proclaiming His death means. I know you don’t mean it this way (and paedobaptism confuses the issue – Israel’s babies didn’t take the oath and were spared death in the wilderness) but you make it sound like legalism. We are to leave the assembly filled with the Spirit. / / / /
    To my mind, messing with the architecture of baptism (and my main argument against paedobaptism is Old Testament architecture) requires the sacraments to take on a magical quality which is undefinable, which I detect in some of your posts. But the Bible makes the process clear. We take the supper that we might not only be bound to Jesus and bound to each other, but to then fill up Jesus’ afflictions in the courts of the rulers of the world, which are now the outer courts of His Temple. / / / / Which is why I believe baptism and table are not for babies but for knights, New Covenant Nazirites. The miracle is not what happens at the table but those who come to it willingly and what they do after they leave it.

  • Andrew Lohr

    “Substance” of proclamation but “accidents” of talking to each other, eh? :)

  • Eric Stampher

    Makes you wonder how in the world we once proclaimed this oath out of one side of our mouths but fenced and blocked our / His little ones on the other side.   I see it every communion service at our exclusive club — turning what should be laughter & fellowship instead to nervous kiddos being and feeling left out.

  • Mike Bull

    They only feel left out because they’ve been told they have been baptized. But paedocommunion is a solution like flattening the other tire on your bike as well is a solution. Baptism and table belong together, but they belong together along with the regeneration Pastor Wilson is passionate about. The New Covenant is regeneration, because the New Covenant is Jesus.

  • Eric Stampher

    Mr Bull, the kiddos have no clue about baptism.  All they know is its food sharing time, and they are shushed: “Not for you!”