Sunday, July 13, 2008

Communion not as a warm-up or pre-service batting practice

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More Curiouser,

"Why not every day?"

Because of the hardness of our hearts. Faithful Lutheran pastors offer it "when people ask for it." Some do. The pastor of our church is faithful. He offers it every single day, that is, he regularly lets people know that he will do so when asked and many take him up on it. The regularly scheduled days are Sunday, Monday and Friday.

Ask a dozen WELS members who enter church on any "dry" Sunday if they would desire the Sacrament if it were offered. Then ask the pastor why he doesn't. You'll be amazed at the answers. That is the difference. Some pastors, the faithful ones, will offer it whenever the people gather for a service and when they ask for it. Some pastors, the unfaithful ones, don't offer it when people gather for a service and refuse to offer it when people ask for it (because a hard hearted church council or voters assembly voted against people receiving the true Body and Blood of our Lord.)Baptism was called Baptism, Confession and Absolution was called Penance and or Confession and the Lord's Supper was called "The Sacrament."

The word sacramentum (Latin for mystery) apply describes the Lord's Supper (as of course other mysteries) and was generally used to describe the Supper. Luther regularly did. The ancients and confessors considered each "sacrament" in itself and not generally under a general category which sometimes leads to mishchief.

Curious Jorge

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you implying that those WELS pastors who do not serve congregations that offer The Lord's Supper every Sunday are somehow less than faitful? I'd be interested in seeing any legitimate scriptural support for that position. Lacking any, you have proven yourself a legalist.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Read the post. Those pastors, wels and otherwise, who do not offer the Lord's Supper to those who desire it are NOT faithful.

Christ said, "Feed my sheep."

Read AC and AP XXIV.

You have proven yourself an ignornant Lutheran, thankfully a curable condition.

Jorge

Anonymous said...

A@12:34,

Are you implying that those wels pastors who don't offer the Sacrament to those who desire it are being faithful? If so, you have proven yourself an idiot and a heretic.

And how does offering the Gospel make someone a legalist? No one said that pastors offering the Sacrament every Sunday are forcing all to receive. THAT would be legalism. Likewise, refusing to offer the Sacrament to those who desire it because it's not a scheduled communion Sunday IS legalism.

Rotund Consuela

Anonymous said...

This whole argument is ridiculous to me. There are absolutely no WELS pastors (at least that I've ever heard of) that refuse to offer the Lord's Supper to members. I feel completely confident that I could call my pastor any day of the week asking him to offer me communion and he would gladly do it. I feel completely confident that's true for any pastor in the WELS. That's what it means to be a faithful pastor.

So, really, this whole argument about the frequency of communion in public worship is completely meaningless--unless one contends that public worship is the only time during which communion can or should be offered. I hope no one would make that contention.

So unless someone has evidence of a pastor refusing communion to a repentant member who desired it, this is a pointless debate.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Have you ever been to a wedding banquet where a beautiful meal was not served?

Alice in Wautoma

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

If a WELS pastor did not preach the Gospel in his sermon every Sunday (something I have suffered many times) would you say he was an unfaithful pastor?

And if you said "yes," where is your Scriptural proof that he has to "every Sunday"? Lacking any you have proved to be a legalist. If you said "no" then God help you.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Dan,

Let's say that a congregation one Sunday has a service of lessons and hymns. The pastor doesn't preach a sermon that Sunday. Is he being unfaithful? No way. The Gospel most certainly is being proclaimed through the lessons and the hymns.

So, no, there is no legal requirement for the pastor to preach a sermon at least once a week.

The Gospel is communicated in many ways. We cannot place one over all the rest.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

You simply do not understand the place of the Sacrament in the life of the Church and the Sacrament itself. So it is rather pointless to discuss any of this with you until you undertand that.

Evidence of pastor's not giving it? How about those churches where the Voter's Assembly has rejected an every Sunday celebration? How about those couples who have asked it be served at their wedding and are refused? How about those young ordinands who have asked it be offered at their ordination but are told by the vacancy pastor "we don't do that in the WELS"? There are a number that I know of. How about those people who have asked their pastors why they don't have it every Sunday and the pastor mumbles something about it "not being special" or "not offending the visitors"? The Sunday Service is where the church gathers in Communion, as one loaf. It is the time when the preparation that is preaching goes on. It is the time when the church and the people have ordered their lives to gather together. As "Dan" wrote above, what is this gathering of believers doing, is this not the wedding banquet? Before you comment of "frequency" you should understand what the Supper is, for it you did you

A. if you were a layman, would "compel" your pastor to offer the blessed Sacrament.

B. if you were a pastor, would preach so the laity would "compel" you to offer it to them.

When that is not going on, obviously there is a giant deficit in the training of the pastorate of your congregation and your synod. (By the way, what you describe is the extraordinary situation of private communions which are not the norm.) Your argument boils down to "our pastors would give it if someone asked, but not in the regular Sunday Service."

It seems you cannot get past or answer the simple question, why don't you have it in the regular gathering of the congregation? (That you can't speaks volumes.)

Jorge

PS Was at a baptism in a WELS church recently and it was confirmation Sunday. The confirmands were urged to receive the Supper often ... just not that Sunday. Must be something good about it, but not that good. (Oh, and there was no sermon either that day.)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

No preaching and the PREACHER is still being faithful? Incredible.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Now you say that in addition to having NO Sacrament there can also be NO preaching of the Gospel. Then the people ought to just stay at home and read their NIV Bibles.

Perhaps you don't know what the church is. The Lutheran Confessions tell us it is where the Gospel is RIGHTLY PREACHED and the SACRAMENTS ARE RIGHTLY ADMINISTERED. But I guess in the wels you have the glorious "freedom" to not do so.

Some church.

Jorge

Anonymous said...

"the preparation that is preaching"

This phrase speaks volumes about how some view preaching in relation to the sacrament. Preaching is equally powerful and effective and special as the sacrament. To claim that preaching is merely preparatory exalts the sacrament over the word, and makes the word subservient to the sacrament.

"if you were a pastor, would preach so the laity would "compel" you to offer it to them"

Don't you think there are thousands of pastors who are preaching so as to lead the congregation to compel them to offer the sacrament weekly? But what would you suggest doing when the people just aren't doing the compelling? Shove it down their throats anyway? That seems to be what some would suggest.

Dan and Jorge are clearly not pastors, and clearly don't have pastoral hearts. Change takes time and care and patience. There are many, many pastors who are working toward the noble goal of weekly communion. But it does absolutely no good to come on a blog and claim that such pastors are unfaithful or untrained or worse. This doesn't encourage these pastors; it only leads them to become defensive and search for reasons not to offer weekly communion. That's not productive or beneficial for anyone. Why not rather speak of the glorious blessings of communing regularly and let the Spirit do his work, without the vitriolic attacks on pastors and people who don't yet have your level of sacramental piety?

Anonymous said...

Jorge,

Just for clarity, are you indicating that "faithfulness" and Communion frequency are linked?

Our church offers the Lord's Supper every weekend at one of our two sites. Our pastors offer private communion to members almost weekly (at home, office, hospital). Are they, in your opinion, not being faithful because they don't offer it at both sites every weekend? I don't believe I am abusing Christian freedom by questioning your link (no biblical support given) between faithfulness and frequency of the Lord's Table. I have read no prescriptive passage on the subject as I have read and studied the four direct NT accounts concerning the Supper. Can you help me here?

Are you not stepping into legalism when you measure faithfulness by some other standard than Holy Scripture?

Some clarification would be helpful.

Just shout'in

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

It seems you do not know what preaching is either. The "preparation that is preaching" is preaching that hammers and consoles creating hearts desiring of communion with Christ, with the very thing that procured his salvation, the sacrifice one given on the cross, now given in the Sacrament. As Dr. Luther (you know him, don't you?) wrote,

"Now the mass is part of the Gospel; indeed it is the sum and substance of it...For this reason popular sermons ought to be nothing else than expositions of the mass, or explanations of the divine promise of this testament (AE 36, p. 56).

You in your guile write, "To claim that preaching is merely preparatory exalts the sacrament over the word, and makes the word subservient to the sacrament." Where did I write "merely". No I said what Luther said. And as so many in the WELS do you operate with this weird false antithesis between word and sacrament. What in all the word do you think gives the Sacrament its power?! Duh, the word.

You write "But what would you suggest doing when the people just aren't doing the compelling?"

A. The preacher is probably not preachng law and Gospel, or

B. If he is, the people need to be admonished for their indifference towards the Gospel.

My guess is the former (as hundreds of online sermons show). And in the case of the second, I would bet there are souls in need who have been told "NO" by the damnable Voter's Assembly.

Then you impudently write, "Shove it down their throats anyway?" So this is what you resort to when you have no argument. As Consuela above said, no one says you must go when it is offered, it is legalism of the worst kind to deny souls in need. This you purposely ignore because you heart must be dark. Offering the Sacrament is not legalism, offering it is the greatest good. After all don't you sing in the Communion hymn "for our soul the highest good"?

You claim these pastors are preaching so. Hardly. Otherwise more than 5% of WELS churches would be offering it in every Sunday service. And of course catechesis is necessary, what do you think confirmation class is for? But obviously once you teach what the Sacrament is and there still is resitence by some (usually the pastors themselves and the die heard WELS members) do you deny those in need?

You still haven't answered the question, why not? Why don't you desire the blessed Sacrament of the Altar?

Just Shouting,

As I noted above with anonymous, you do not understand the role of the Sacrament in the Church (hint: it is the wedding banquet of the Son).

The prescriptive passage you seem to find lacking is "Do this," "Feed my sheep" etc. So why gather as the Communion of Saints and not have the Holy Communion? Why gather as the Bride of Christ and not consumate the union? That the WELS and the remnants of the Synodical conference don't speaks volumes about their understanding of the Sacrament in the life of the Church.

"Our Churches," because the Sacrament is what it is, answer the question prompted by our Lord's "Do this" as to how often, every Lord's Day, festivals and when people ask for it? Why don't yours?

Jorge

Anonymous said...

Oh, Anonymous, you wrote,

"But it does absolutely no good to come on a blog and claim that such pastors are unfaithful or untrained or worse. This doesn't encourage these pastors; it only leads them to become defensive and search for reasons not to offer weekly communion."

The law hurts, doesn't it? If any Lutheran pastor is looking for reasons not to offer the Sacrament every time his sheep gather, he is arrogant and should be driven from office because he does not understand the Ministry or the Sacrament.

Why don't you want the Supper every Lord's day? What "good" reasons are there? (Still waiting for an answer.)

Oh, Just Shouting,

you wrote "Are you not stepping into legalism when you measure faithfulness by some other standard than Holy Scripture?"

"Feed my sheep." That is the standard. That is the standard to which every Lutheran pastor is obligated.

Member, usually a new one who has been taught what the Sacrament is, says, why can't we have it every Sunday? That is all you need to institute an every Sunday Sacrament. The pastor who says, "No, you have to wait till the first Sunday of the month" is unfaithful. (Or are you saying that on any given "non-communion Sunday" there are NO members in your WELS parish that desire the Sacrament?)

Jorge

(PS Dan, doesn't it amaze you to see the lengths that some go to defend the horrible WELS practice?)

Anonymous said...

Jorge,

Indeed! Indeed! (per you double posting.)

Dan

Rick said...

I'd like to have communion every week, but it is not offered. I've asked, but been turned down. I've never suggested that the Lord be shoved down anyone's throat; all I've ever asked for is the opportunity to receive my Lord. My pastors are more concerned about offending visiting unbelievers than about feeding their believers.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, Rick. Same situation here. Length of service also has been used as a reason. Offend visitors? I am offended because the Lord's Supper is not offered.

Anonymous said...

Jorge,

Your insistence that John 21:15f "Feed my sheep", is some how a direct reference to the Lord's Supper seems to me to be an isagogical stretch in view of the immediate context and what is stated in the Smalcald Articles:

"He bids him "feed," i.e., teach the Word (the Gospel), or rule the Church with the Word (the Gospel), which Peter has in common with the other apostles."
Concordia Triglotta 513

Anonymous said...

[Jorge writes: " "Feed my sheep." That is the standard. That is the standard to which every Lutheran pastor is obligated."]

Where is the SPECIFIC command to offer communion at every service in this bible passage, or any other? Is this is the closest you can come to a passage that prescribes the Lord's Supper at every worship service? Then you have failed to show a clear biblical warrant for your position. Admit it. To continue to burden the consciences of your brothers and sisters in this matter is nothing less than rank legalism.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

You refuse to answer any of the questions I pose to you. Pointless to continue. Discussion over. Your only respons to why the wels refuses to celebrate the supper when the church is gathered together is, don't have to. The only question put to you. Sheesh.

Jorge

Anonymous said...

The WELS lives in the law. The response to the question, why don't your churches celebrate the Lord's Supper in every "Lord's Day" is always framed in reference to the law - we don't have to. But the Sacrament is pure Gospel, pure invitation. No one here says you have to. What I and others have asked is why don't you. The WELS is incapable of answering that question. It is the worst legalism to deny the Sacrament to those who desire it.

As Jorge asked, Anonymous, when you go to church why don't you want the true Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgivness of sins? That you cannot answer that shows you do not understand the place of the Sacrament in the life of the Church. Sad.

Dan

P.S. Christ wasn't saying to his pastors, offer the sacrament to my people when he said "Feed my sheep"? Again the odd WELS antithesis between word and Sacrament, cultish in fact.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous,

Are you a pastor? If so, have you never had a member (like me) ask you why don't we have Holy Communion every Sunday? What do you say? If you are not a pastor, have you ever asked your pastor why can't we have Holy Communion every Sunday?

My pastor told me that the Lutheran Confessions say that because Holy Communion is the blessing of the body and blood of Jesus that Lutheran churches celebrate it every Sunday and in special festival services. (I know growing up Wisconsin Synod our church had it only once a month). It seems you say you don't have to, why wouldn't you want to?

Alice in Wautoma

Anonymous said...

"Where is the SPECIFIC command to offer communion at every service in this bible passage, or any other?"

Where is the SPECIFIC command not to? Where is the SPECIFIC command to deny those who desire it?

Number One Legalist