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Definition

One of the Church’s two ordinances or sacraments, the Lord’s Supper, was instituted by Jesus to commemorate his death, to symbolize the New Covenant, to point to the fellowship of a redeemed people gathered at his table, and to anticipate the messianic banquet yet to come.

Summary

The Lord’s Supper traces its symbolic roots to the Passover meal at the time of the Exodus. It was instituted by Jesus at the time of his final meal with his disciples. The bread and the cup point to his broken body and shed blood and are the definitive symbols of the New Covenant in Christ. Debate concerning the significance of the Supper (particularly the way in which Christ is present at the Supper) was a central point of division at the time of the Reformation, both between Protestants and Roman Catholics, and among Protestants. Protestants reject the idea of transubstantiation but maintain divergent understandings of the precise significance of the Supper. Nonetheless, all would agree that the bread and the cup speak eloquently as symbols of Christ’s redemptive work at Calvary, of the fellowship of the people of God in Christ, and of the coming day when a redeemed people will gather in the presence of the Savior at his eschatological banquet.

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Views: Frequency

The following articles address the issue of how frequent the Lord’s Supper should be celebrated in churches today.

We Celebrate the Lord’s Supper Frequently But Not Weekly

Living in a land of drive-thru cappuccinos and customizable DVR TVs, Christians have often been tempted to engage with the church in a similar fashion—-quickly, easily, and preferentially. The Lord’s Supper provides us with such an example. Mistakenly seen by many as a traditional accent to an already packed worship service, this time of communion has easily slipped into becoming something other than what Christ originally intended for it. The Lord’s Supper was instituted by the head of the church—-Jesus Christ. Taking the history and imagery already understood by the account of the Exodus and God’s salvation of his people,...

The Frequency of Communion Calmly Considered

This essay maintains that none of the approaches to the question of frequency of communion (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually) are self-evidently the “right” one, given the fact that the New Testament does not directly address the frequency question. Dogmatism on the subject cannot, therefore, be warranted. We cannot make direct appeal to the three Gospels, which record Jesus’ institution of this meal, for the Synoptics record no statement of Jesus bearing on the frequency question. One might infer that the connection of this meal with the annual Passover, observed by Jesus with his disciples, implies that we should...

Views: Remote

The following articles address whether the Lord’s Supper can be celebrated remotely or while gathered digitally, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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