As promised earlier, this is our second of two pastor’s posts on the topic of Lord’s Supper frequency. While we did not receive any questions from the congregation, we wanted to take the opportunity to answer a few more common questions/objections for Harvest members who might be asking.

  1. EMPTY RITUAL: What if by increasing the frequency of our Lord’s Supper celebrations, we dilute the significance (or specialness) of the Lord’s Supper?

ANSWER: First, the same objection could apply to the preaching of the Word, another means of grace that we receive each week. Second, as we noted in our last pastor’s post, this objection fails to give due consideration to God’s action in the sacrament. God seals His promises to us, pledges His good will, and nourishes and sustains our faith through the sacrament. Even if our attitudes are faulty, how can we say the Lord’s Supper becomes meaningless if God is the main one who makes the sacrament effectual? God’s grace towards us in the Lord’s Supper is not conditioned on how much we feel subjectively that He is at work.

  1. TIME: If we serve the Lord’s Supper every week, won’t it add too much time to our worship service?

ANSWER: By what standard are we saying that the worship services would be too long? The elders exercise Christian prudence in determining how long our worship services should be (WCF 1.6). This prudence may mean that we allow some extra time for worship or it may mean that we arrange other elements of the service differently on occasion. It may also mean that we stretch our capacity to engage in worship for slightly longer than we’re used to (in some cultures, our worship services would be considered short!).

Realistically, we are talking about a ten-minute change to the service. If we are truly concerned to keep our worship services to a particular time, we could slightly reduce the time spent on other elements (i.e. sing one less song earlier in the service, have 30-35 minute sermons instead of 35-40 minute sermons).

  1. REQUIRES SIGNIFICANT PREPARATION: There is a significant time commitment required in preparing the wine and bread for the Lord’s Supper. Lord’s Supper every other week will require extra time and volunteers. Do we want to do that?  

ANSWER: Preaching, musical accompaniment (musicians), and public prayer all also require time and preparation, yet we don’t take weeks off from any of these because they require work or preparation. Why should we prioritize the preparation of these activities and not time to prepare for the Lord’s Supper?

However, we would concede that this will take some extra volunteer service. Getting this volunteer help will be an important consideration as we review our change in practice. If you would like to assist in preparing the elements, please contact Sandra Ter Haar.

  1. TOO CATHOLIC: What if our services begin to resemble a Roman Catholic service because they more frequently conclude with the Lord’s Supper?

ANSWER: This argument fails on two fronts. First, it does not follow that because something is practiced by Roman Catholics it is necessarily wrong or misguided. We recite the Apostles Creed in worship, which the Roman Catholic church also recites, yet this does not make this action wrong. Second, regular practice of the Lord’s Supper has strong precedent in the Reformed tradition. Reformed theologians like John Calvin, Zacharius Ursinus (an author of the Heidelberg Catechism), and John Owen were all proponents of a frequent celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

  1. NEGATIVE EFFECT ON OUTREACH: There are already many strange things that people from a non-Reformed background have to overcome in order to join our churches. Why would we want unnecessarily to introduce a new practice that makes us even stranger to average people?

ANSWER: The response can be three-fold: (1) It may be a new practice to our congregation, but it is not a new practice of the church, (2) Though the practice may be unfamiliar to un-churched people, our response should not be to shy away from using this means of grace; rather, we should work harder to explain it to outsiders in an intelligible way, (3) Lord’s Supper every other week provides a natural opportunity to call unbelievers to faith in Christ.
 

This post was written by Pastor Wayne Veenstra and edited by Pastor Adrian Crum.

 

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