The title of this article was the heading of an announcement in an insert in a church bulletin recently. But, before I notice the contents of this particular announcement, there are some observations that I would like to make concerning the Passover and the Lord’s Supper. Whenever preachers and teachers in the church of our Lord have discussed at length the Lord’s Supper whether from the pulpit or in the classroom, the Passover has also been presented as being the background for the time when the Lord took the bread and fruit of the vine and said, "this is my body" and "this is my blood" (Matthew 26:26-29). There was the shedding of the blood of a lamb during the Passover that was observed by the Hebrew children beginning while they were in Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12). Jesus, the precious Lamb of God shed His blood on Calvary for the sins of mankind (John 1:29; Hebrews 2:9; Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 1:5). The Lord’s Supper has been observed by Christians and has been the focal point in our assemblies of worship on the first day of every week. It has only been when false teaching has permeated a congregation that the Lord’s Supper has not been taken on the first day of every week (Acts 20:7). The example of the church at Troas partaking of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of every week has been understood as an apostolic example that is binding on us because of the underlying command of the Lord to partake of the Supper in remembrance of Him (I Corinthians 11:23-29). Generally speaking, brethren would not think of observing the Lord’s Supper only quarterly, once a year or even on another day other than the first day of the week. However, things have changed and the adverse affect of false teaching by our own brethren has influenced many Christians to think and do otherwise.
In 1988, I purchased a book entitled, FREE IN CHRIST that was written by a brother Cecil Hook, a retired preacher. He attacked what he would call our traditions and the fallacy of our reasoning in concluding that the Lord’s Supper should be observed only on the first day of every week. Permit me to quote some of his conclusions: "No examples are binding!" "All that we have been covering in this lesson can be illustrated very well in regard to the Lord’s Supper. Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of me." This is no arbitrary command. It has a purpose. The purpose is not to flatter Jesus or to take a census of the faithful. It is to keep the atonement, the basis of our hope, ever fresh in our minds. We eat it, not to fulfill a command, or for a sacramental grace that it might impart, but to strengthen and express our faith in the atonement. In so doing, we show forth His death till He comes and we discern the oneness of the body. If its purpose is to make us think on the atonement, then what difference does it make at what hour or on WHAT DAY WE DO IT, OR IF WE DO IT TWICE A DAY OR SEVERAL TIMES WEEKLY? "IF A PERSON DERIVES THE BENEFIT OF THIS REMEMBRANCE ON WEDNESDAY INSTEAD OF SUNDAY, DOES IT SUDDENLY BECOME A CURSE INSTEAD OF A BLESSING?" (Pages 14, 15,emphasis, mine, RE). This type of teaching grieves my heart. It is with deep sadness that I note that this book has circulated among our students at our Christian colleges and universities. Whether by this brother’s false teaching or by the oral and/or written teachings of others who hold the same conclusions, the church of our Lord has been influenced to digress from the New Testament doctrine concerning the observance of the Lord’s Supper. The Family of God at Carriage Hills, Montgomery, Alabama and dated Wednesday night, made the following written announcement March 20, 2002:
"The Passover was instituted by God to commemorate the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. The Israelites were to observe the Passover on the first month of the year. It was upon the first day of the Passover feast that the Lord chose to institute the Lord’s Supper that commemorates the deliverance of the world from the bondage of sin. The early Christians observed the Lord’s Supper on the first day of each week. Many of the acts done in observance of the Passover point to the anointed one, the Messiah (in Hebrew) or Christ (in Greek). _________has done extensive study of the Passover service (Seder) and does a wonderful presentation showing how it looked forward to Christ. This year, Passover begins at sundown on Wednesday, March 27. The entire church will gather in the auditorium at 7:00 p.m. to hear ____ deliver a lesson about how the Passover relates to the Christ and to the Lord’s Supper that Christians observe today. After ____ delivers the lesson, ALL WHO WISH MAY OBSERVE THE LORD’S SUPPER, JUST AS THE DISICIPLES DID WITH THE LORD OVER 2000 YEARS AGO" (Emphasis, mine, RE).
This announcement correctly stated, "The early Christians observed the Lord’s Supper on the first day of each week." Why then, would the elders have all who wished to observe the Lord’s Supper on a Wednesday night to do so? This action was in direct contradiction to what they had stated in the announcement. Could it be that their convictions would be the same as stated by the brother in his book, Free In Christ? That is, it really doesn’t matter on what day a person may partake of the Lord’s Supper. But, it may be that the elders would have this observance of the Lord’s Supper only at the season when the religious world celebrates ‘Easter’. But, the principle is the same and a precedent has been set. If a congregation can observe the Lord’s Supper on a week day once a year, what would prevent others from observing the Lord’s Supper on a Wednesday night during the rest of the year? Some churches celebrate the Lord’s Supper on ‘Good Friday’, at weddings, funerals, etc., regardless of the day of the week. How would you deal with such practices if you condone the partaking of the Lord’s Supper on a Wednesday night?
When you consider the apostasies in the history of the Lord’s church, you must realize that so many began by the corruption of the public worship of the church. That is true regarding the kind of music (vocal or instrumental) that is acceptable to God, false teaching done by preachers, whether or not women can be used as leaders in the public assemblies and false teaching and practices pertaining to the Lord’s Supper. I love my brethren and pray for them daily. I pray for peace among brethren. I pray that all of us might be submissive to the will of our Father. I take no joy in pointing out error in the teaching and practice of my brethren; however, as a gospel preacher, there comes a time when it necessary to "reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (II Timothy 4:1-5). And, as long as I do this in the spirit of brotherly love, my conscience is clear.