A world that is "expanding its acceptance"...

(Tim, w/thanks to Taylor) Well, this one's a gnash-your-teether. It's the account of a man winning the woman's RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship (golf) who's used drugs and knives to alter his appearance so he can pass for a woman.

Really, though, the long drive rules committee has only done for the world of golf what Evangelicals and Emergents are doing for the church. Which is more twisted? A man winning the women's long drive championship or a woman serving the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper?

Yes, indeed, we are a world that's "expanding our acceptance." But what will we do in the end?

Comments

Lawless

Disregarding the traditional arguments for and against women in ministry, I shouldn't need to point out that NOWHERE in scripture is the administration of the Eucharist explicitly reserved for clergy, much less men only. The ritualization of sacraments is an invention of man and a product of Constantinian manipulation of scripture for the assimilation of Christianity into Rome's preexistent pagan context. According to Paul, there is neither "male nor female" in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). Thus, you speak heresy.

Josiah. Let's see is that male or female? No wait, it is neither male nor female.

Josiah. That sounds Jewish or is he/she a Gentile? No wait, it is neither Jew nor Gentile.

I would use 2000 years of traditional arguments but I see that we are disregarding all the traditional arguments. Let's see, as I recall the people who throw out all the traditional arguments are the ones who have been called heretics.

Josiah, please go back and carefully reread the context of Galatians 3:28, then read I Timothy 2, then Ephesians 5:22-33, then I Corinthians 11 and then Genesis 1-2 and then think some more about what you are saying.

Robert,

Unless you can scripturally demonstrate that service of the Lord's supper is to be the province of clergy and/or men only, your "traditional" arguments are irrelevant. We're talking specifically about the Eucharist here, and I don't see a single explicit reference to the implied doctrine anywhere. If the idea of a woman (or a layperson) serving Communion is so "twisted" and antithetical to the foundational sensibilities of our Faith, shouldn't there be some explicit statement of this doctrine SOMEWHERE??? Please get specific.

Respectfully,
Josiah

Let me also clarify that the reason for "disregarding the traditional arguments for and against women in ministry" is the fact that it is not germane to the discussion of the Eucharist, as (again) nowhere in scripture is the administration of the Eucharist a privilege reserved for clergy. Moreover, try to exegete a biblical framework for the doctrine/practice of having professional Christian clergy. The rabbinical/priestly tradition effectively ended with Christ, as Peter (in 1 Peter 2) and the author of Hebrews testify to (this is of course the basis for Luther's doctrine of the "priesthood of all believers").

Josiah,

"And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was formed first, then Eve."
1 Timothy 2:12-13

Clergy or not, to administer the Lord's Supper is to exercise authority over those partaking.

Is this explicit enough?

"To administer the Lord's Supper is to exercise authority over those partaking."

Scriptural support please. All that is ever said it "do this in remembrance." No prescriptions are ever made regarding the SERVICE of the sacrament, only the RECEIPT. Remember, this isn't about what "makes sense" to you, it's about what the Scriptures say.

Moreover, was Apollos in sin when he sat under the teaching of Priscilla (Acts 18:26)? What of Phoebe, who is described as a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae (Romans 16)? The four prophetess daughters of Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:8-9)? Unlike servers of the Eucharist, teachers, deacons, and prophets are all explicitly vested with spiritual authority throughout scripture.

That was actually to read "no prescriptions OR DESCRIPTIONS are ever made regarding...," for the record.

No description, I mean, of the service of the Lord's Supper as an exercise of authority. If anything, especially when view within the cultural context of the early Church, serving a meal (as with the washing of feet) should be seen as an act of servanthood, rather than as a demonstration of power over those being served!

Josiah, God commands us to submit to those in authority over us in the Lord--those who, one day soon, will give an account to God for their care for the flock. If they are committed to faithfulness in their office, those called by God to exercise that authority must have a humility far beyond the humility of those who wash feet or toilets, or wait on tables. Why?

Because the church today is filled with men who hate authority and reward unfaithful shepherds who abdicate that authority while punishing those who are faithful.

Very well, Tim. I am hard pressed to disagree with anything you have just said. But I am still waiting for a scriptural defense of the idea that a woman serving the Lord's Supper is in any, even slight way "twisted."

Josiah,

Sorry for my absence. I thought it would be evident that serving communion involves allowing or disallowing participation. Read 1 Cor 5, and explain to me how it can be that barring someone from the Lord's supper can be discipline for the sinning brother, without there being some use of authority in the implementation of this discipline.

Does that help?

Eric,

I see nothing in 1 Cor 5 specific to the Lord's Supper. If you are trying to justify your argument with the clause "not even to eat with such a one" in v11 (ESV), notice that Paul's vernacular makes it clear that it is the righteous person who is to abstain from community with the unrighteous brother, but makes no intimation that the unrighteous brother is to be barred from the table. Rather, the righteous are to bar themselves.

Now, please show me a scripture that states explicitly that the server of communion has any right whatsoever to deny a brother the Eucharist. Again, this isn't about what "seems to make sense," it's about what the Scriptures actually say.

"... please show me a scripture that states explicitly that the server of communion has any right whatsoever to deny a brother the Eucharist."

Josiah,

(Hebrews 13:17)
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

There is your scripture.

Every action surrounding the sacraments requires discernment and discrimination. Discrimination, whether it is exercised by determining if someone should be baptized or if they should have access to the Lord's table, is an exercise of authority. You say that no-one has the authority to deny someone access to the Lord's table. Of course you mean, once someone, in authority, has allowed them access in the first place.

Your argument is foolish. The scriptures also do not explicitly say that an unbelieving/unbaptized man cannot take communion. Would the woman you have serving communion be wrongly exercising authority by refusing the unbeliever the cup? Would she be wrong because she was a woman exercising authority or because she discriminated against someone without an explicit scriptural mandate?

"According to Paul, there is neither "male nor female" in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). Thus, you speak heresy."

Josiah,

Assuming the transformation you argue for here in your interpretation of Galatians 3:28 actually happened to you, which public restroom do you use?

You are on a spiritually destructive path.
Heed the instruction of Godly men before you destroy yourself and others.

"which public restroom do you use?"

That is definitely one I have to remember for the next time I am in a conversation like this one.

On the issue of women serving at the Lord's Table, may I request a point of clarification?

In the church background I come from, serving at the Lord's Table is seen as a servant role, no more or less than taking the offering or serving coffee afterwards. So, there's no particular issue attached to women doing it, even in the very conservative churches.

My reading of Reformed polity, is that it has always been custom that the elders serve at the Lord's Table, therefore having women do it is tantamount to their usurping a leadership role. I would be grateful if someone could confirm or otherwise that my understanding is correct.

>I would be grateful if someone could confirm or otherwise that my understanding is correct.

Dear Ross,

You're correct. Presbyterians historically practiced church discipline, and beyond private disciplinary acts like correction and rebuke, the most frequent form of discipline was temporary (definite) suspension from Table fellowship, followed by indefinite suspension, and finally excommunication. These disciplinary acts are in the hands of the session (elders), thus the across-church-history practice of elders serving the Lord's Supper. And if elders aren't there in sufficient number, other officers (deacons) join them in Table service.

So the pastor officiates (please don't mind the word) at the Table and the elders serve (administer) the elements. There are many reasons why this has been done and is good, but any man who assumes that his predecessors across church history were neither bigoted nor fools will discover those reasons, thinking small thoughts of himself and large of those who went before him. Then he will see there was indeed a reason for this pattern.

In your own tradition, it's my guess that careful thought has not been given to these matters in the past, and therefore having women serve the Lord's Supper does not carry the significance within your fellowship it does among presbyterians. In other words, for a Vineyard church to have women serving the Lord's Supper is in no way related to a PCA congregation having women serve the Lord's Supper.

Also, there's a difference between women helping serve and women serving. Really, if the elements are passed down the row, every church always has women serving the Lord's Supper. So on some level, those who believe the elements being passed down the pew is a proper form of administration can't be absolutely opposed to women serving the Lord's Supper because must always happen by the very nature of that form of administration. Same with children--they must "serve" also.

But such discussions could go on forever. I'll simply close by saying that our elders often engage in pastoral care or bring matters to the session for pastoral care based upon their serving of the Lord's Supper the previous week(s). Most commonly, we (I also help serve, at times) see covenant children we believe should be communing, so later we speak to them about it, prodding them to take the next step in Christian discipleship. Or, on the other side, we see unbaptized children communing and recognize our need to exhort the parents in the matter.

And of course, regularly, we see tender souls not communing. And seeing it, we realize we need to exhort and encourage the man or woman according to our knowledge of his particular temptations or vulnerabilities. So, for instance, we notice a certain man who struggles with homosexual pornography is not communing this particular Lord's Day. This may prompt us to speak to him, asking him how his heart is before God? Or, it may cause us to watch during our next Table fellowship to see if he's now communing? Either week, we may decide to speak with him about his soul based on that observation.

These are just hints in the direction of why presbyterians have, historically, had the pastor and elders serve the elements of the Lord's Supper. I hope my thoughts are helpfully suggestive to you in your own tradition.

Warmly in Christ,

Thanx for your answer, very helpful actually. In my question I was wanting to see some light shed on this, not heat.

I think that Vineyard is in common with the many other movements whose take on things is more Dispensational than Covenantal, and this flows into both their understanding and their practice of the Lord's Supper. So we wouldn't insist on the pastor or a TE or RE officiating at the Lord's Table, for example. In a number of settings, I've led at the Table myself, and I'm not an ordained or even commissioned deacon.

I don't know if we would bar someone from the Lord's Table as a disciplinary measure, though there are other things we might do in its place.

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