Vol.XVI No.II Pg.7
April 1979

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

How can one reason with people who partake of the Lord's Supper twice on the Lord's Day? They say we also sing and pray morning and evening; and we can not exclude anyone, as each must examine his own right to partake (1 Cor. 11:28). We surely can not restrict these brethren, while we allow non-members to partake. R.W.


The Lord's Supper is a memorial symbol, a living monument; and is NOT in the same category as singing and praying. (Having something in common, as, being a part of our worship on the Lord's Day, does not make them the same in all respects.) Prayer and song have not a symbolic significance as does the Lord's Supper. Their frequency is regulated differently (Jas. 5:13; 1 Thes. 5:17). Reasoning (?) "We sing and pray more than once.." shows a marked failure to understand the nature of the Lord's Supper — and may also show a failure to understand the proper use of prayer and song in public worship. These are not ritualistic "items" to be performed.

The second argument (?) also shows a misunderstanding of 1 Cor. 11:28. The Lord's Supper is clearly for the saints, and has significance to them only. Paul was correcting misconduct among saints when he wrote, "Let a man examine himself," and was not saying that self-examination can eliminate the difference in Christian and non-Christian. Lipscomb's comment on this is excellent: "Let him ascertain by earnest consideration whether he is in a proper state of mind for commemorating and proclaiming the Lord's death; whether he feels a suitable gratitude for the sacrifice it commemorates, and is firmly resolved to observe the injunction of its founder."

We do not build a fence about the Lord's Table — it is not a "sacrament" subject to official administration or withholding. One does not forbid total strangers to look upon a family monument in the cemetery — though the stone has little significance to such. "Let a man examine himself" is sometimes carelessly used if a non-member inadvertently or ignorantly partakes of the elements. Charitably, we may mean we do not claim to be able to judge the heart, and in the case of a stranger, can not know his life. We are simply saying, "God knows if he is a Christian." But this is far from saying the Lord's Supper was given to aliens; or that we should be content with continued misuse, and make no effort to teach those who seem not to know the nature of a memorial act.

The "twice on the Lord's Day" folk may be of the modern breed who thrive on "some new thing" — especially if it has emotional impact, or they feel it indicates they are smarter or more "spiritual" than others. If so, don't be surprised when they show up in ascension robes, speaking in tongues. The letter of inquiry gave insufficient evidence for such judgment, and I am more inclined to believe this is some quirk that has developed in ignorance of the nature and significance of the Lord's memorial. If they had lived before Christ they may have had breakfast, lunch, and dinner Passover lambs. They certainly can offer no N.T. authority for their practice.