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Why The Discrepancies In Observation Of The Lord’s Supper In Churches?

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The Holy Communion, better known as the Lord’s Supper, which some denominations prefer to call the Holy Eucharist, is an essential ordinance in Christendom. But as important as it is, not all churches undertake this observance instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ, Who instructed that it should be acknowledged by the Church in His memory. This was demonstrated in 1 Corinthians 11:24-26 “And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, this cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come.” In some people’s view, only church elders should observe it and if an individual has more than one wife, he is not qualified. How really should this act be observed? Are there conditions attached before anyone is allowed to undertake the rite? Why don’t all churches partake of it? Interestingly, while some clerics told CHRIS IREKAMBA that the act is unscriptural, others believe it is mandatory.

‘You Can’t Partake Of The Holy Communion As A Polygamist Or Teenager’
(Rt. Rev. (Dr.) Isaac Nwaobia, Bishop of the Diocese of Isiala Ngwa South, Anglican Communion, Abia State)

THE Holy Communion is a very important aspect of worship in the Anglican Communion because through it, we commemorate, celebrate and remember the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. For anyone to partake of that spiritual food, s/he must first of all be a full-fledged member of the church. Other conditions such as baptism and confirmation, as they concern the church, must have also been observed. Baptism is the first step to becoming a Christian because one may not be able to say emphatically whether somebody stood in for you or you stood in for yourself.

In the same vein, the confirmation confirms the individual’s faith. While the first step is provisional, the other one is a confirmation, which qualifies the individual to partake of the Communion. And of course, the man must have just one wife.

bishops2A polygamist cannot partake of the Holy Communion. The same thing applies to a teenager, because such will be meaningless. Others that cannot partake include a pronounced sinner such as someone that has been identified as being cultic, an idolater or a morally low person.

In the real sense of it, Holy Communion is not meant for saints only. It is meant for sinners, who want to become saints and who are determined to become saints and who believe that by having that intimacy and relationship with Jesus Christ their lives will become new

These are the basic areas we consider before a person is allowed to take the Holy Communion. If someone has been excommunicated from the church, s/he is considered a sinner and cannot partake of it. We usually observe it during Christmas, New Year and the Easter period. It is also observed when there is a priest, but in the situation, where there’s no priest, the Holy Communion is not commemorated. As for Christians that don’t observe it, I don’t know the side of the Bible; they have taken.

‘Members Take Holy Eucharist After A Process Of Formation’
(His Grace, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of Lagos)

THE message of Christ in the scriptures concerning this issue is very clear. He stated that it should be done in His memory. We believe that when we receive the Holy Communion, we are receiving Christ Himself under the appearances of bread and wine. And that it is the body, soul and divinity that we thereby receive.
So, in the Catholic Church, people are prepared to go through a process of formation before they are able to receive the Holy Eucharist. It is also important that the individual is in a state of grace, which means that s/he is first of all in communion with the church and also with God. That s/he is not in anyway living in a grievous sin that can separate him/her from God. So, the Holy Communion when received is a sign of unity with God and others in the church.

Mass is celebrated everyday and during this period, the Holy Eucharist is given to people, as they go forward to receive the Holy Communion, which is the body and blood of Christ. Often times, the Catholic also believes that anyone who is able to receive the body and blood of Christ has to be in communion with the church, which is to say that the one who receives the Holy Communion is not only receiving the body and blood of Christ, s/he is also expressing the belief of the church, as a body. Secondly, that s/he accepts the Holy Father the Pope, as head of the church, accepts the sacrament and is ready to live by the teachings of the church, as regards morals and doctrines. All these form what makes a person qualified, as it were, to receive Holy Communion either everyday or on Sundays.

‘Anyone Can Take Holy Communion But Basically It Is For The Born Again’
(Bishop Olanrewaju Obembe, General Overseer, El-Shaddai Bible Church, Ikoyi, Lagos)

THE Holy Communion is one of the major ordinances instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He did this and told us that we must continue to do it. And the Apostles worked in those ordinances. For example, in 1 Corinth 11:22, Apostle Paul said: “I delivered unto you that which also I received of the Lord.” So, it is one of the major ordinances of the church that can never be avoided because it is our power base. Also in John 6:51, Jesus said: ‘I am the Living Bread, which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever… ” He goes further to say in John 6:53 “verily, verily I say unto you, except you eat of the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood you have no life…” Now there is a scriptural principle that the life of every living organism is in the blood. Leviticus 17:11 says, “the life of every living is in the blood…” So, the life that was in Christ Jesus was the life of God and that life was in His blood. By eating His flesh and drinking His blood, you are appropriating His life. So, except we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we don’t have life. But when we do that, we are assured of eternal restoration. So, for anybody to just discountenance the instituted ordinances, which Jesus established, is an aberration and must not be condoned.

In fact, Apostle Paul said in Corinth 11:26 ‘…as often as we do this, we are showing the Lord’s death by taking communion.’ Also Gal. 3:13 says ‘That Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law…’ Of course, there could be administrative procedure, but that should not hinder those who are followers of Christ from eating His body and drinking His blood. We are to eat His flesh and drink His blood. What Jesus did when he was serving the Lord’s Supper was to give emblem representing His blood, the bread and then the wine that has no alcohol. All that we do is by faith. Apostle Paul said nobody should eat unworthy and some pastors have taken this to the extreme. The Bible talks about how Holy Communion should be taken. You have to examine yourself very well before taking it. The sinner and the saint need the blood of Jesus; no one must be precluded. Basically, it is for those that are born again and not just anybody because Jesus started with His disciples. So, it is not a matter of just gathering people who don’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, or who don’t believe in the power of His sacrifice or His death and resurrection. It is the belief in the Lord Jesus that qualifies a person. As you come to Jesus, His blood is the propitiation, which means the atoning sacrifice. It is the bleach and when you come like that you are actually bleaching and washing yourself from your past up to the present sin.

Every one that is born again in our church is qualified to take the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Even if you have sinned you need that blood for cleansing. You take it in repentance though some people repent and don’t take it. Whatever excludes you from the blood of Jesus can hinder you from making heaven.

We take Communion or Lord’s Supper corporately every month. Any one that does not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is not entitled. Any church that is not doing it and according to Bible procedure is not following God’s instruction. Some people even call it the miracle meal. When you eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus, you are integrating yourself into the super-super natural.

‘Christ Never Vested The Power On Anyone To Observe Holy Communion Or Lord’s Supper’

(Brother Godwin Ifeacho, Chairman, Executive Board, God’s Kingdom Society, GKS, Warri, Delta State)
SOME believe that the whole substance of the bread is converted into the Body of Christ and the whole substance of the wine into His Blood. But to say that by eating the bread and drinking the wine, one is actually eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood amounts to saying that the believer is committing cannibalism. To drink any kind of blood, even that of beasts, is a sin. And Christians are warned to “abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood”. (Acts 15: 28, 29; Leviticus 17: 10, 14.) How could Christ, in violation of the strict law of God, asked His disciples to eat His real flesh or drink His blood, literally? It is unthinkable. Jesus Christ did not say or mean that the bread was His real and substantial living body or that the wine was His actual blood. Rather, He pointed out that the wine was the “Fruit of the Vine.” (Matthew 26: 29) The teaching of the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine has no support of the Scriptures. It is a fiction and must be rejected as such.

The truth is that the bread and wine were emblems or representations of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Dr. Moffatt’s Translation of the Bible renders Matthew 26: 26-28, thus: “Take and eat this, it MEANS MY BODY… Drink of it, all of you; this MEANS MY BLOOD…” This is explicit. The bread and wine are not His very body and blood. In some Churches, communicants are given only the bread, while the priests alone drinks the wine. They teach that “Christ is contained entirely under each specie”. But Jesus Christ gave both the bread and wine SEPARATELY to the Apostles. (Matthew 26: 26-29) Christ did not change the bread and wine into His flesh and blood and He never vested the power to do so on anyone. The Apostles did nothing to change the example and pattern of Christ’s institution.

The practice of certain churches in giving the bread and wine to everyone of their adherents is unscriptural. Their explanation that the “Holy Communion” is a “nutritious food to the soul” and an “antidote for sin” has no basis in the Bible. It is a lie. It is plainly shown in the Scriptures that the purpose of the Supper was to commemorate the death of Christ until His second presence. Said St. Paul: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come.” -I Corinthians 11: 23-26.

It is noteworthy that when Christ instituted the Supper, it was ONLY the apostles He made to partake of it. If He had intended it as food for the saving of souls or remedy for sins, He would have given it to all His disciples—both men and women. But He did not. Not even the 70 Disciples of Christ, who were next to the apostles in maturity, took it.

The fact is that Christ intended the observance of the Supper only for the Anointed Christians, who are of the class of the apostles. They are men that devote their lives wholly by giving up their secular work to the preaching of the gospel and in that they proclaim the Lord’s death. Anyone who is not of this class of consecrated Christians, the Saints, ought not to partake of the Supper because it is a damnable sin to do so. In the Bible, no woman or child ever took it. There were many faithful women disciples of Jesus and children followers or admirers in His days, but NONE of them partook of the bread-and-wine spiritual feast—NOT EVEN MARY HIS MOTHER. Why? Because it is meant for the SAINTS, the ANOINTED Christians only, who are members of His body (cabinet). The danger in taking the Supper unworthily is shown in St. Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians. As it is written: “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (die).” -1 Corinthians 11: 27-30. Those who, like the disorderly Corinthian Christians, think that the Lord’s Supper is daily food, which they must always feed on, should take warning and cease from gluttony over this matter, which is purely spiritual. St. Paul cautioned: “And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation.” – l Corinthians 11:34.

Moreover, the observance of the Lord’s Supper was not meant to take place daily or weekly or monthly as many church denominations are doing. It was a commemoration of the death of Christ (1 Corinthians 11: 23-26), which should be done but ONCE a year. There is a point we have always called to people’s attention but which many have lost sight of. This is the fact that the Lord’s Supper was not instituted to be celebrated for eternity, but for a limited period of time. Now that Christ has come in spirit, there is no need to observe the Lord’s Supper any more – John 14:19,22; Matthew 24:7,8; 2 Corinthians 5:16.

‘You Must Be Baptised And Confirmed Before You Are Allowed To Take Communion’

(His Grace, Most Rev. Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, Primate of the African Church/President, Christian Council of Nigeria)
A HOLY Communion is something that should not be done haphazardly. It is also not a celebration that every Dick, Tom and Harry should observe. Before anybody takes it, such a person must have desisted from sin because it represents the body and blood of Jesus Christ. And the Bible has given us injunction that whosoever that eats the flesh and drinks the blood in an unruly manner eats and drinks to damnation. So, the Bible says anybody that wants to take the Holy Communion must first and foremost examine himself or herself in order to avoid God’s judgment. So, the condition we give our members in the church is that first, somebody must be baptised, confirmed and before you take the Holy Communion, you must know what it is all about. More over, those that take the Holy Communion are people that have repented of their sins, accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and must not live in sin, and must be sure that he or she is pure before partaking in the Lord’s Supper.

Taking the Holy Communion means you are having fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a fellowship meal, just like in the Old Testament. In the spiritual realm, it also signifies a believer having fellowship with the Lord. So, there is a spiritual blessing, if it is observed in a sanctified manner. There is a divine blessing, which will not manifest in the physical.

I wouldn’t say only the elders in the church should observe it. However, those who do so must have their reasons. But before taking Communion, you must be old enough to know its importance, because if you give it to a child that does not know Who Jesus is, it may not augur well. In fact, according to the Bible, to avert damnation on such a child, it is better not to give him/her. Let the child grow up enough to know Who Jesus Christ is and what it means to have fellowship with Him.

In some of our churches, we have it twice in a month, while in some we have it once in a month and at any important service we have the Communion as well.

But to say that by eating the bread and drinking the wine, one is actually eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood amounts to saying that the believer is committing cannibalism. How could Christ, in violation of the strict law of God, asked His disciples to eat His real flesh or drink His blood literally? It is unthinkable. Jesus Christ did not say or mean that the bread was His real and substantial living body or that the wine was His actual blood.

But to say that by eating the bread and drinking the wine, one is actually eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood amounts to saying that the believer is committing cannibalism. How could Christ, in violation of the strict law of God, asked His disciples to eat His real flesh or drink His blood literally? It is unthinkable. Jesus Christ did not say or mean that the bread was His real and substantial living body or that the wine was His actual blood.

‘Holy Communion Is Not Meant For Saints Only But Sinners’(His Eminence Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria (MCN)

YOU must have the right mindset before you can partake of the Holy Communion, according to 1 Corinth 11:24-27. Some that take it with corrupt mind have fallen sick, while others have died because they were unqualified. So, you must come to Communion with faith because we believe that it is the highest sacrament in the church. It is a sacrament of atonement and substitution, as Jesus Christ substituted for the sinners. He died a gruesome death on our behalf and through Communion or the Lord’s Supper, we can make amend, come to Him and say we are sorry for what we did in the past and are ready to turn a new leaf. And I believe that God will forgive us.

In the real sense of it, the Holy Communion is not meant for saints only but for sinners that want to become saints and who are determined to become saints and who believe that by having that intimacy and relationship with Jesus Christ, their lives will become new. Who is born again? Only Jesus Christ makes us to be born again. I believe some people are born again, but not without the Holy Spirit. Most of the people who claim to be born again are sometimes involved in robbery, corruption, fornication and adultery. They are involved in dubious activities.

Our church believes that it’s a gift of grace to be accepted and received humbly with penitence. If you see yourself as qualified and come to Lord’s Supper, then you are equating yourself with Jesus Christ. You are expected to come to Communion with penitence and genuine repentance believing that your sins have been paid for.

Once you are 14 years and above you can take Holy Communion. Even now, we are trying to come down to 12 or 13 years because school children in JSS3 and about to enter SS1 should take Communion because they are literate and enlightened enough, unlike in the olden days when people were stark illiterates. We give Holy Communion to people that can read and maintain a close relationship with Christ. We observe it as often as possible, just as Jesus instructed. And those we should not give Holy Communion to are people who have fallen out of favour with God.

For instance, if a man has more than one wife, or goes for a second and third wife, while the first one is still alive, he is unqualified. So also a cult member needn’t to come. It is a requirement to maintain faith in God.



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