Zwingli and the Reformed Confessions on the Supper

The question came up on the PB whether Zwingli gets a bum rap on the Supper. It’s true that Zwingli has on the receiving end of the stick. This has provoked a reaction, led most recently by W. P. (Peter) Stephens in . . . Continue reading →

Fed By Christ or the Person Next to Me?

One of the recurring questions I get is about the meaning of “body” in 1 Corinthians 11:28. The question is whether “discerning the body” in Paul’s narrative refers to “being cognizant of the congregation” or to Christ’s physical, actual body and blood, . . . Continue reading →

Fencing the Table or the Scandal of the Church

Perhaps nothing so scandalizes the contemporary (i.e. “Modern”) church as the attempt by the visible church to obey the teaching of Jesus and the teaching of the Apostles concerning the Lord’s Table. I say this for three reasons. 1) Recently I’ve been . . . Continue reading →

The Black Rubric And The Creator-Creature Distinction

The “Black Rubric” was so-called because it was set in black print in the 1661–1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. It was first inserted into the Second Edwardian Prayer Book in 1552. It was intended to explain that when communicants . . . Continue reading →

Resources On Fencing The Lord’s Table

Some HB readers have been discussing the question of fencing the Lord’s Table. Fencing is a figurative way of speaking. There aren’t literal fences in Reformed Churches. It’s a way to describe the Reformed attempt to apply Paul’s instruction in 1Corinthians 11:27–32. . . . Continue reading →

A Minister Not A Priest

This truth is deeply reflected in historic Reformed practices regarding the observance of the Lord’s Supper. For instance, the truth of Jesus’ sole mediation is one reason the Presbyterian ministers stand behind the communion table (and not in front of it) when . . . Continue reading →

It is Not Heroic To Be A Celibate Homosexual

Perhaps most important of all from a pastoral perspective, rehabilitating the category of friendship will help us avoid the temptation of privileging the celibacy of one section of the single Christian population over another. The underlying values of Christian hero-worship have often . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 53: We Believe In The Holy Spirit (3)

In part 2 we looked at what the church catholic (universal) has confessed about the Holy Spirit and how our confession of the person and work of the Spirit developed. 53. What do you believe concerning the Holy Spirit ? First, that . . . Continue reading →

On Profession Of Faith And Communion

James writes to ask about when children should make profession of faith and receive communion. He has observed young children being admitted to the table and wonders whether that is proper, whether children are really professing faith or merely parroting what they . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 75: The Supper Is More Than A Memory (3)

75. How is it signified and sealed to you in the Holy Supper, that you do partake of the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross and all His benefits? Thus: that Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat of . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 77: As Don Says, It’s In The Bible

It was the first time I got to see how daily pastoral ministry really was. It was, in a word, intense. It was also biblical. Don was constantly referring back to Scripture or quoting Scripture and reading it or studying it. It was very impressive. I had heard that Scripture was essential but in Don I saw right away that the Bible is at the center of pastoral ministry. Continue reading →

Heidelberg 78: Against Transubstantiation

The key term here is substance. In the older Christian appropriation (and modification) of Aristotle the term substance refers to that which makes a thing what it is, that without with it is not (sine qua non). It’s easier to understand substance if we contrast it with accidents. You are probably reading this post on a computer or a mobile device. Your device may be silver, black, or white or some other color. Its color is accidental to its essence. Accident here does not refer to an unintentional collision but to a feature of something that is not essential to it. So, in an electronic device, the color does not make it what it is. Its circuits, chips, and screens make it what it is. They are essential to it. They are of the substance of the device. According to the Romanist doctrine of the supper, the substance of the bread is transformed into the substance of the body of Christ, even though the accidents remain unchanged. Continue reading →

Coming Soon: Theodore Beza On The Lord’s Supper

Theodore Beza lived from 1519 until 1605. This means that he was a boy when the Reformation occurred and was nearing his death as the controversy between Arminius (whom Beza taught in Geneva) and the Reformed churches was developing. In between, he . . . Continue reading →