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 →

Happy Birthday to the Heidelberg Catechism

A belated Happy Birthday to the Heidelberg Catechism. On 19 January 1563 (Julian Calendar) the first edition of the catechism was adopted by the Palatinate Church.  Though earlier scholarship thought and wrote about the catechism as if it were the product of . . . Continue reading →

Bullinger On Communion In Two Kinds

THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SUPPER WITH BOTH BREAD AND WINE. We think that rite, manner, or form of the Supper to be the most simple and excellent which comes nearest to the first institution of the Lord and to the apostles’ doctrine. . . . Continue reading →

From The Eleven Articles Of 1559 On The Lord’s Supper

IX. Moreover, I do not only acknowledge, that private masses were never used amongst the fathers of the primitive church, I mean, public ministration and receiving of the sacrament by the priest alone, without a just number of communicants, according to Christ’s . . . 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 →

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 65: Faith, Union With Christ, And The Means Of Grace (3)

Neither Holy Baptism nor the Holy Supper create the realities they signify and seal but they are gospel sacraments. They are promises of good news to believers. Faith receives what they promise. Faith knows, assents, and trusts and receives all that they promise. The sacraments do not replace faith. They supplement faith. They confirm faith the way a registered letter embossed or stamped with a government seal confirms a declaration. 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 Catechism 76: Embracing, Communing With, And United To Christ

One of the great tragedies of the debates about the nature of the sacraments is that they force us to look at the sacraments instead of looking at him whom they signify, Christ, and that which they promise: the gospel. Thus far we’ve spent a good bit of time doing what it is necessary to come to a clear understanding of what sacraments are, how they are that (sacraments) and not the thing signified but true and real signs and seals of the covenant of grace. The Supper is a real, mysterious, Holy Spiritual communion in the true body and blood of Christ 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 →