In a Bible study that I had with family and friends on April fool’s day, we discussed the Lord’s supper and shared opinions about how to interpret key passages and how to apply those interpretation to our practice as Christians. I think one of the key questions that came up was what is binding and what isn’t.

“whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matt 16:19b

Jesus told the disciples that they would be binding and unbinding commandments, rules, rituals, ceremonies, patterns, traditions. We see this in action in Acts 15:28 where the question of Judeaizing gentiles was addressed. Also Paul exerted tradition and example and command in these cases (among many):
• Teaching on women in prayer and prophesy (1 Cor 11:2, 16)
• Tongues and orderly worship (1 Cor 14:37)
• Standing firm in message delivered by mouth and by letter (2 Thes 2:15)
• Command to keep away from the idle (2 Thes 3:6)

So what did Jesus and the disciples bind or unbind? Were the bindings permanent or temporary? Was the authority/responsibility to bind/unbind for the Twelve only or for other and subsequent leaders? The answers to these questions will influence every part of your practice as a Christian.

In the case of the Lord’s Supper, do you enforce weekly observance of the Lord’s supper based on Acts 20:7 augmented by 1 Cor 16:2? Do you require that it be observed in an upper room? Do you simply look for the essence or meaning of the Lord’s supper and give little concern to the specifics around it in scripture?

My sense is that we stick to the essence and avoid contentiousness over the forms and rituals. This is a scary proposition since it will be all the more subject to personal interpretation and subject to our natural desire to hear what we want to hear (2 Tim 4:3). However, we find that we can’t agree on the who, what, how of the specific forms and practices, so let us put our energies into understanding the whys and let love and patience rule during the practice of it.

I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest

Advertisements