Barry Newman's Blog

October 16, 2009

Christ Centred Communion (part XVI)

Filed under: Ceremonies,Christ Centred Communion,Freedom,Lord's Supper — barrynewman @ 10:25 pm

The Lord’s Supper Today

What of the service or ceremony, called, “the Lord’s Supper” or “Holy Communion” conducted by various Christian denominations in different ways over the years and today?  It is a token meal, not a real meal, but also a ceremony.  Just as Paul argued that circumcision, food restrictions and special day observances do not in themselves achieve anything, so the same can be said for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.  However, it can be a very valuable custom.  It can help us to seriously reflect on the death of the Lord Jesus and its significance.  It can remind us of things that we might tend to forget. Yet, we must not invest it with anything that is improper.  We must rid it of error so that we are not led astray and do not lead others astray. Taking part in a service of “The Lord’s Supper” or “Holy Communion” does not make anyone right with God.  It does not bestow any special benefits.  It cannot.  It is only a ceremony.  However, if we find it helpful to participate in such a ceremony, then presumably we will take part in that ceremony.  And if we do so, how frequently should that be?  That is a matter of choice! No one should make demands of us but neither should we make demands of others.  Any participation in such a service can be helpful but it is not mandatory.

We must seek to honour the Lord Jesus Christ – not ourselves and not our ceremonies. We are free from the Law. We are recipients of the mercy and grace of God.   We have been justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and we live by, and must walk by, the Spirit.  The ceremony of baptism in itself avails nothing.  The ceremony of Holy Communion in itself avails nothing.  Christ and his death are everything.  We will glory in him!

Barry Newman                                                                                                                                                  Christ Church St Ives                                                                                                19th July 2009 v. 2



  1. helpful ‘but not mandatory’ in the way that coming to a church meeting is álso ‘helpful but not mandatory’?

    Comment by Michael Jensen — October 23, 2009 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

    • Hi Michael,

      Yes, I guess so, or as reading the Scriptures daily is helpful but not mandatory. My main interest of course has to do with whether there is a requirement considered mandatory because it is thought that there is a command from Jesus. Catholics, Lutherans, protestsants, reformed protestants, eastern orthodox etc. – however we name ourselves, we, with very few dissenting voices, consider that there was such a command. That is what I am seriously questioning. Many things can be helpful incuding entrenched customs. However sometimes, partly because they are customs, they can be unhelpful. They can also be unhelpful simply if they contain false ideas. In these last comments I am stating the obvious! – Cheers Barry

      Comment by barrynewman — October 30, 2009 @ 4:37 am | Reply

  2. Well, so long as you recognise to what degree this is a minority of a minority position!

    Trouble is, helpful vs mandatory is a bit of false dichotomy. I would have thought meeting with other Christians was of the esse – but it is not a saving esse, right? It is just something Christians do because of who they are. It doesn’t establish them as who they are. But ‘helpful’? I don’t think that really covers it…

    Comment by mpjensen — October 30, 2009 @ 5:01 am | Reply

  3. Yep – minority of a minority position – a reason for caution but not for withdrawing from the debate.

    Indeed, “helpful” vs “not mandatory” is not a dichotomy. The word, “but” does not necessarily introduce one. I was saying two different things about the matter while denying a link between “helpful” and “mandatory”. Of course more can be said about various practices over and above that they might be “helpful” but I wanted to say that much.

    Comment by Barry Newman — October 31, 2009 @ 11:47 pm | Reply

  4. Sadly this is the attitude of much of the Sydney Diocese. So much so that it is hard to find a church where the Eucharist is regularly celebrated. After 4 years of travelling from the Blue Mountains to St James, King Street, I am moving tomorrow to the diocese of Dunedin where I can find the Eucharist celebrated in a true Anglican manner close to my home. Not to mention that women are recognised as equal in the face of God.

    Comment by Brian Ralph — January 21, 2010 @ 5:41 am | Reply

    • Dear Brian,

      Sorry that the material was not to your liking. May your time in Dunedin be very enjoyable.


      Comment by barrynewman — January 21, 2010 @ 9:39 pm | Reply

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