The Lord’s Supper and Priestcraft

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As we develop a right approach to the Supper, which includes a weekly approach to the Supper, we have to be careful to avoid distractions. One such distraction is the charge that this “high view” of the Supper is somehow incipiently Roman Catholic.

In considering a historical debate as we come to the Supper is not to be thought of as a distraction because this Supper is the embodiment of our faith in the communion of saints. You are not only partaking of the wine and bread together with the saints in this room, you are also doing this with all the saints down throughout history. This includes your fellowship with your Protestant forefathers, and their great recovery of the gospel as participated in here.

At the time of the Protestant Reformation, participation in the Supper was extremely rare for the average worshipper. The Mass was said frequently, but laymen were routinely and brutally excluded. Calvin fought for weekly participation in the sacrament for the entire congregation, but because of long-established practice, was unable to get that far. He reluctantly settled for monthly observance, but he wanted the whole congregation to come every week.

The irony is that since the Reformation, the heirs of the Reformers have begun to drift back to the assumptions and practices of medieval Catholicism—maintaining that the Supper is for the spiritual elite, and not for the spiritually hungry, that the Supper is a reward for the spiritually mature, and not food and drink for babes. To round out the irony, anyone who challenges this drift is then accused of wanting to restore medieval Catholicism.

But know this—wine for the world is not the same thing as wine for the priest only. Bread for the world is the grace of God that challenges priestcraft everywhere—whether those priests are Protestant or Catholic.

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