Is the Lord’s Supper A Meal?

There is a groundswell bubbling beneath the surface of contemporary Christianity. It is trying to burst forth freedom from “religion”.

My difficulty is, however, that this coming Reformation is CONTRARY to the original Reformation.

The Reformation of the Church popularized by Dr Martin Luther was a thirst to RETURN to a bible-based application of religious practices.

The new Reformation will make the same claim. The difficulty is that we now have a multiplicity of versions of the Bible that contradict each other. The contradictions are now leading to interpretations of ancient practices contrary to the original texts.

The Lord’s Supper is case in point.

There is a movement to refer to the Lord’s Supper as a “meal”.

The argument goes something like this:

  1. Jesus was observing the Passover with His Disciples.
  2. The Passover was a meal.
  3. The observance Jesus commanded was given at the Passover meal.
  4. Therefore, the observance is a meal.

Those that follow that logic and embrace its application are rejecting the Scripture as preserved in the Reformation Texts.

Paul the Apostle specifically instructs, “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is NOT to eat the Lord’s supper” (I Cor 11:20, emphasis mine). “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God…” (I Cor 11:22).

  1. The purpose of Christian assembly is NOT to eat the Lord’s Supper.
  2. Eating belongs in your house.
  3. Confusing Christian assembly with household meals is DESPISING God’s Church.
  4. Therefore, the observance is SACRED.

That is why it is called a “sacrament”, not a “meal”. The reformation texts also used the term “ordinance”.

At the root of the issue is how to translate and/or apply the Greek word, paradosis.

I Corinthians 11:2 reads “keep the ordinances, as I have delivered them to you.” The revised traditional texts now translate pardosis as “tradition”. At least that is closer to paradosis than the application of it being a “meal”. “Tradition”, however, is still weaker than the original “ordinance”. The Orthodox Jewish Bible, instead of translating the term into English, preserves the Hebrew:

Now, I commend you that in all things you have remembered me and you hold fast to the masoret torat haShlichim just as I transmitted and handed them over to you. (1 Corinthians 11:2, emphasis mine).

The beauty of this is the concept of the observance being something “set apart” from the meal itself. The context of Paul’s teaching is that the Lord’s Supper is NOT to be observed as any other traditional meal (see I Corinthians 11:27-34).

The meaning of paradosis and the masoret torat haShlichim is passing on that which was taught before. It deals with the substance of the teaching and of the body of precepts, especially that of a ritual.

No matter how you translate the original language, the observance is meant to be special, not common. To treat the Lord’s Supper as a common meal is literally to PROFANE the ordinance.

What is being lost through all this confusion?

  1. The observance was post-meal.
  2. The observance was to supersede the Levitical tradition.
  3. The observance was to establish Jesus as the High Priest of a different priesthood.
  4. The Passover is Levitical; the observance is PRE-Moses!

The ritual performed by Jesus Christ established Himself as the new high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was the priest of the most high God, not the high priest of Israel. He “brought forth bread and wine” and he “blessed” Abraham. Abraham gave of his tithes to Melchizedek (compare Genesis 14:17-20 and Hebrews 7).

Treating the Lord’s Supper as a common meal or even a part of the Passover Meal covers over the establishment of Jesus Christ as the High Priest of the most high God. As the high priest after the order of Melchizedek, Jesus was able to go to the Cross and offer His life vicariously for humanity. If the Lord’s Supper was just a meal, His sacrifice was in vain.

The Prophetic Psalm of David (110)

The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand,
until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,
in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning:
thou hast the dew of thy youth.
The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent,
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.

He shall judge among the heathen,
he shall fill the places with the dead bodies;
he shall wound the heads over many countries.
He shall drink of the brook in the way:
therefore shall he lift up the head.

Morning Prayers

The following seven prayers each represent a day in the Creation Week. They are modelled after the Lord’s Prayer. They have been a source of strength in my life. I pray they will be for you as well.

Peaceful blessings,

Tim

Sunday morning – Prayer for my Spirit

Creator of Light: thou hast created all things. I have risen on this first day of the week from the darkness of sleep. I beseech your Spirit to move upon the face of my soul so that I may glorify you today. Manifest for all to see your light in me, for it is good. Divide the light from the darkness within my being. Enable me to shine forth the Gospel of thy Kingdom. Help me to enjoy Thy Radiance and share its warmth with all I touch today. Keep me from the cold of Night and deliver me into thy Day. For thine is the Universe with all its power; thou alone art worthy of eternal glory. Amen.

Monday morning – Prayer for my Soul

Creator of Firmament: thou hast created Space. On this second day of the week I have risen from the midst of the watery emotions. I beseech your Word to divide my earthly soul from its heavenly spirit so that my heart’s intentions discern with praise. Enable me to think on the virtues of Heaven: Truth, Honesty, Justice, Purity and Love. Help me to walk today in such a way where all I touch will report my actions as good. Keep me from the simple and deliver into thy Wisdom. For thine is the Division with all its Space; thou alone art worthy of eternal praise. Amen.

Tuesday morning – Prayer for my Body

Creator Gatherer: thou hast pooled the waters. On this week’s third day, I have risen from the Sea’s instability to plant my feet on Earth’s solid ground. I beseech you to let me take root in thy law so that I may be planted by the pure river of water of life. Bless me to yield fruit in season and with leaves that never wither. Help me to prosper in whatever I do. Keep me from becoming chaff serving wind that cannot withstand your judgment. For thine is the Gathered congregation to righteous Unity; thou alone art worthy of eternal fruitfulness. Amen.

Wednesday Morning – Prayer for my Mind

Creator of Lights: thou hast created Time. I have risen on this fourth day of the week under heaven’s lights. I beseech your Rulers to protect my mind so that I may serve you today and defend against rulers of darkness. Clothe me with truth to stand within the strength of thy Kingdom and brightly shine your Light. Help me to be a fire in his dark world, a season of refreshment for others, a window for Time’s Wisdom to faithfully guard Truth year by year. Keep from the strangers that would rob me of thy Strength. For thine is the Light with all its stability; thou alone art worthy of eternal power. Amen.

Thursday Morning – Prayer for my Growth

Creator of Abundance: thou hast created Growth. On this week’s fifth day I have risen from stillness of darkness. I beseech you to let me manifest your command so that I may swim through the waters of Life and fly through its Air. Regenerate my being for all to see your abundance in me, for it is good. Multiply the effect of my actions to move people to fruitfulness. Help me to fill this day with Thy word and propagate its power. Keep me from all thoughts that prevent me from soaring in your heavens. For thine is the Fruitfulness with all its regeneration; thou alone art worthy of eternal pleasure. Amen.

Friday Morning – Prayer for my Victory

Creator of Man: thou hast created Victory. I have risen on this sixth day of the week from the dust of Earth. I beseech your Spirit to breathe into my being so that I may honour your Image today and subdue my dominion. Empower me to subdue earthly elements, for it is very good. Equip me to overcome Evil and escape its pollutions to establish thy Kingdom on Earth. Help me to enjoy thy bounty and share its plenty with everyone today. Keep me from worldly entanglements and deliver me from the wicked. For thine is the Victory, with all Faith; thou alone art worthy of eternal worship. Amen

Saturday Morning – Prayer for my Perfection

Creator of Endings: thou hast created Perfection. On this final day of the week, I have risen from the labours of work. I beseech you to finish your work in me for your eternal glory. Complete me with thy sanctification. cause this day to be one of blessing for all the miracles that advanced your Kingdom this week past. Help me to rest in thy Creation and enjoy its beauty with everyone I touch today. Keep me from temptation to work and deliver me into thy joy. For thine is the Sabbath with all its rest; thou alone art worthy of eternal sanctification. Amen.

“Thou Shalt Not Lie” is a Lie!

Adults who struggle to believe scripture “dumb down” the text only to be out-smarted by children.

Last Sunday, my wife was teaching Sunday School. The local church we attend provided the curriculum. Assuming children are incapable of handling “technical” words of scripture, they altered the ninth commandment.

The argument children are somehow unable to comprehend bible words has always amazed me. The argument is given by persons incapable of matching a toddler’s skill with I-Pads and small children’s understanding of Digital TV remote controls.

children ipads

As a child growing up in church, I capitalized on this mindset, playing dumb to many things I was more than aware. Adults seemed scared of telling children the truth.

The curriculum on Sunday taught the ninth commandment as: “Do not lie”. The children began to explain how that cannot be.

“If a girl comes to me and asks if she is beautiful, I’m not going to lie and say she is ugly even if I think she is because that would hurt her.”

You got to love child logic!

10 Commandments

The truth of the matter: the commandment is, “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:19). The key word is “witness”.

The 10 Commandments are legal precepts given to the founding of a nation. They are to undergird the legal system of a newly created country. The context is a court of law. Today, we call that perjury: not telling the truth when you are under oath. You swore to tell the truth yet you are providing a false witness.

I truly believe a child can understand that explanation when couched with illustrations from Hollywood.

  • Look at the complexity of children’s TV shows!
  • Consider the moral lessons ingrained within Disney movies.

Children are able to articulate the technical words learned from Harry Potter books and movies. They are able to explain them with passion and enthusiasm. No one seems to argue learning new terms are harmful for children.

If Hollywood can believe in children’s ability to absorb technical words, why cannot the Church?

Beginnings

New beginnings are so empowering!

That very word, beginning, carries with it the joy of a new birth, the hope of a better future and the peace that the past is irrelevant.

Such a powerful word!

Recently, I outlined Why I Was Quiet in 2017. It wasn’t that I wasn’t active: I just didn’t find the strength to blog. And your response was so encouraging!

Thank You.gif

2017 was also special year for all of western civilisation – whether they knew it or not. It was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses on the local notice board… which just happened to be church doors. The internet of his day was called the Gutenberg Press. Newly invented, it seized the opportunity to spread its technological connection with society.

The rest is history!

Here we are 500 years on, and many still appreciate the wildfire that burned through our western values.

  • Women were elevated.
  • Libraries were created.
  • Public education had its seedlings.

I was privileged to sit on a committee to help with local celebrations. There were plays, public talks, media displays, concerts – it was full on!

And I was privileged to act as Luther in a couple dramas.

Me as Luther

The committee that created the celebrations were with a local Presbyterian church. Presbyterian churches were an indirect creation of Luther. I was asked to deliver one of the public talks. They wanted to know more about the Beginning of their denomination.

The presentation is now available by book – paperback and Kindle! (Click on image below).

Thanks for your encouragement. I’m enjoying the new beginning 2018 has delivered.

Presbyterian Cover

Creating Order from Your Chaos

The story of creation provides a model for new beginnings. All cultures share this story and at its root is order from chaos. By embracing the chaos in a person’s life or organization’s current standing; you position yourself to receive an orderly creation of something better.

Producing a new beginning for any person or organization means just that: creating order from chaos.

This powerful notion of success is discovered by using a shared language of the Elements. Comparing explanations of origin in different cultures, faiths, and ancient philosophies, there is a shared story. The traditions have passed down:

Fire, Air, Water, and Earth were combined through a Spirit process that began with chaos and ended in order.

The Genesis story of Creation widely known in our Western civilization also preserves this ancient understanding of the Elements. It begins by recognizing existing chaos: “The earth was without form and void.”

  • SPIRIT – And God said.
  • FIRE – Let there be light.
  • AIR – Let there be a firmament (space as in “outer” space).
  • WATER – Let the waters be gathered.
  • EARTH – Let the dry land appear.

Enjoying hard earned success is finding order in your life. To get there, you followed a process because your life or your business needed change. Something was missing. You were seeking fulfillment.

From within yourself (spirit), you articulated a plan (fire). You separated into divisions (air) everything surrounding your project. From there a plan was formulated (water) connecting the divisions and your success appeared (earth).

Following this pattern propelled you to success. Recognizing this configuration allows you to enjoy continued success.

I have applied this arrangement to assess several sales organizations. The company would have already enjoyed success. It reached a plateau and was finding it difficult to grow beyond its last level of success. It was usually bogged down with a toxic environment.

Every time I assess a successful team in trouble, I emphasize two truths:

  1. The current problem was a result of their success and therefore contains the very elements for the solution;
  2. To go forward they had to be willing to allow “Light” to shine in the darkness of their chaos.

Many a successful person repels such revelations. They don’t want to face the reality of their problems. They state they want solutions but in practice their pride stands in the way. As leaders, they know subconsciously they are responsible. After successfully building their dream, they personalize attempts to apply needed change. They interpret these efforts from well-meaning consultants, staff members, and even colleagues as attacks on their character and/or position.

To enjoy the abundance of your hard earned success, you must remain open and coachable. Success never changes that fact. You are right to repel judgment on your actions. You are successful! You fulfilled your dream. However, do not allow that to cloud the light of reality. Remember that rules change to sustain success. Embrace the chaos. It is proof you possess the elements of success.

Remain open to the light of truth. It is your friend. It will be the difference between enjoying good success and great success.

Affirmation: I am abundant enjoying my hard earned success.

From 56 Notions of Success

The New Testament Problem of John’s Writings

Christian thought–what was once known as theology–has evolved over the centuries. Ever since the State takeover of the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.), Christian thought has incrementally removed itself from the original teachings of Jesus Christ.

The first century A.D. preserved the oral wisdom of Jesus in writing. Those writings continued over the next two centuries. The Primitive Church faithfully preserved Christic traditions. Unfortunately, they were not the chosen favorite of the State. Emperor Constantine’s Council created orthodoxy as opposed to heterodoxy.

Adherents of the Primitive Church were thenceforth branded as heretics. Their writings were systematically destroyed. Later generations were dependent on their enemies to explain what they taught. Would you trust your enemy to faithfully represent your beliefs and practices? Of course not!

There have been several more crisis points in the history of Christian Theology. The Great Schism of 1054 A.D. saw the Eastern Church split from the West. Now known as the Orthodox Church, it continues to preserve traditions in place a thousand years ago. Their traditions, however, are still 700 years away from the Primitive Church.

When the Roman priest Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the church door of Wittenberg, the so-called Great Reformation was well underway. Rather than reform the Roman Church it created another schism. The Protestant Church was exorcised for its protests. Although claiming to return to Primative teachings, it took with it many of the religious practices of the time.

The Protestant Church opened the door for further schisms. Different denominations were created. I grew up under the Baptist banner. Baptists, continuing the ancient tradition of schisms, have created an array of traditions. The American Civil War preserved cultural differences between the South and North. The Southern Baptist Convention remains powerful to this day producing 3 U.S. Presidents:

  • William Jefferson Clinton;
  • Jimmy Carter; and
  • Harry S. Truman.

The North did put their own Baptist in the White House: Warren Harding.

Baptists are a haven for Fundamentalists. Any layman could answer “the call” and become a minister. Whether or not he received training was irrelevant. “The blind leading the blind” enabled extreme teachings.

I was a leader in one of those Fundamentalist Baptist sects.

Born and reared under this strain of Christian Thought, I embraced its principles of individual soul liberty and truth being rooted in the scriptures. I began reading the bible at 8 years old. It took me 4 years to finish it and I have repeated that exercise scores of times.

In my teen years I got my hands on the writings of Primitive Church teachers. Much of what I absorbed raised questions when compared to Christian Thought. After divinity training I was lost in the work of the ministry. Any study seemed to be preparation for the 5,000 times I taught or spoke. During the three decades of Baptist ministry, there was a niggling in the back of my heart:

The problem of John’s writings in the New Testament.

Whereas the Catholic and Orthodox Churches emphasize the Gospels over the rest of scripture, the Protestants and Baptists elevated Paul’s writings as the filter to read the Gospels. The niggle in my heart was the fact that John wrote his Gospel and Apocalypse decades after the others.

Why?

My theological and divinity training suggested John later wrote to combat Gnosticism. The problem was when I read John’s writings, I see the preservation of what has been labeled Gnosticism. His high Christology; his emphasis on the Word; his revelation in the spirit of the Book of Enoch; it was hard for me to fully comprehend my denominational teaching.

And then again, should I trust the opponents to faithfully represent what Gnostics teach?

“I trow not” (Jesus, Luke 17:9).

I am not claiming to be a gnostic!

I am reclaiming my heart belief that the Primitive Church faithfully preserved the oral teachings of Jesus.

And I am now filtering Paul’s writings through John’s.