Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 27, 1952
NUMBER 30, PAGE 2-3b

"Lord's Supper At The Evening Service"

Oliver Watts, Craig, Colorado

This is the fourth article with the above title to be published in the Gospel Guardian. In the first on June 12 it was contended that according to Scriptural usage the darkness "was part of the same day as was the light it followed". This was answered in an article appearing July 17 in which it was proved that according to both Old and New Testament usage, the twenty-four hour day began and ended at sunset. The October 2 issue contained an article by a third writer who attempts to show that in the New Covenant "it is probable that a different starting place for the day was changed." All three papers also discuss the scripturalness of a second serving of the Lord's Supper on the same Lord's Day by the same local congregation of Christians.

Does Acts 20:7 Establish The Midnight Count?

It is claimed that the context of Acts 20 7 "almost, if not quite" proves that the Gentile Christians "very" probably used the Roman time schedule of beginning the day at midnight. In order to establish that, it is assumed that Paul began to preach to the Troas gathering after sunset on Sunday. The context does not demand any such assumption. If the assembly was on Saturday after sunset and "the morrow" was used in the accommodative sense of meaning the daylight time which was to follow, then Paul departed when he intended. Now, after midnight we speak of our plans for "tomorrow" and mean the next "daylight" day.

If the congregation gathered and Paul began to preach before sunset on Sunday then "the morrow" was any time after sunset according to the literal, scriptural count. Even if the meeting is supposed to have begun after sunset on Sunday, as is assumed, midnight as the starting time of the next or second day is still not established. Our brethren who teach and write contending for the Babylonian time count of starting a day at sunrise come forward and insist that "the morrow" did not begin until sunrise Monday. We repeat: "All are agreed that it is scriptural for a church to assemble to observe the Lord's Supper sometime between sunrise and sunset on Sunday". Note further that the Lord's method of reckoning was not "peculiar to Israel and the First Covenant" but was in effect at Creation. "And the evening and the morning were the first day".

Do We Violate Civil Law?

The article states that the reckoning of a day from midnight to midnight by our government is a mandate from God Himself that Christians must do the same as concerns their worship. He cites 1 Pet. 2:13 and Rom. 13:1-2. How could the brother have failed to notice that the civil authority (Roman government) so regarded time when Luke 23:64 and Matthew 27:662 were written many years after the New Covenant had been in effect? The writers did not add, " — according to the custom of the Jews" or any such explanation, as they certainly would have had the method of reckoning been changed in the meantime. But did these brethren break the Roman law? Did the early Christians sin? The truth is that they disobeyed no ordinance and neither do we. Where is the statute which demands that Christians cannot observe the Lord's count of time in their worship? Quote the law. What penalty does it impose for its violation?

Will this article be used against me as evidence by the F. B. I.?

There is no evidence that Christians anywhere adopted the various local starting times of the day as concerned their worship. If we are going to discuss the scriptural starting time then we must talk about sunset because that is the only starting time of the full day anywhere revealed in God's Word.

"The Second Serving Of The Lord's Supper"

Matthew 18:20 is said to be "proof that it is scriptural to serve the communion to a few at a second service. But any service contemplated by this verse must be in Jesus' name or by His authority. His authority is in His Word and we have to go outside of that to find the type of service practiced. At Troas and at Corinth the entire local church assembled to break bread or "to eat" I Cor. 11:18-33. Read that scripture and Acts 7. Imagine quoting these scriptures and advocating the second serving of the communion to denominational people in urging them to accept the New Testament as "our only rule of faith and practice".

Will our brother claim that we are not obligated to produce (1) a direct command, (2) an approved scriptural example, or (3) a necessary inference, in regard to the time and frequency of observing the memorial?

Incidentally it is sad to see people claiming to follow God's Word serve the supper to one person and use as authority a verse which plainly reads "two or three"! In the brother's home church in Kansas a brother who has already partaken at the morning worship waits on the table in the evening and begins by asking, "is there any one present who did not have the opportunity — ?

Why Not Advertise The Second Serving?

Noting that some brethren are sensitive about what we call this service we ask the question: "Why do not brethren in newspapers and over the radio advertise the second serving of the Lord's Supper? We have noticed a decided hesitancy on the part of its advocates in publishing notice of this action before sectarians. It is well! It ill behooves people who claim to follow only New Testament examples in all their worship to broadcast to the world that they do not do so after all! Consider publishing an announcement about your services in your papers reading "8 p. m., Evening Service. Scriptural Worship including Second Serving of Lord's Supper". All right, brethren, why not? Are you ashamed to? Will you do so during the next few weeks? Think it over.

Although our brethren always take the money away and care for it they will leave the sacred emblems unattended in an unlocked building all afternoon. In many meetinghouses people come and go during that time. At some places children have been known to play around the "table" which has been "left spread". But let someone refer to the supper left over as a "left-over Supper" and he is "impious" and "dangerously near blasphemy".

The Under-Privileged

Why do not the churches with this practice have a third serving at the afternoon singing for one or more still further underprivileged brethren whose business (or pleasure) does not permit them to attend either the morning worship or the evening serving?

Can someone produce scriptural authority for any church serving or offering the communion to a few at a time at several services? Certainly if these "implication", "probable", and "almost proves" arguments are the best that can be advanced in favor of this recent innovation, then the practice should be abandoned by those who would faithfully follow the Lord's perfect will.