What About Lord's Day Evening Communion? - A Response
J. P. Needham
Elsewhere in this issue will be found an article by brother Scott Dixon, whom I have never met. It has been requested that I respond to the question raised by his article. I am glad to do so.
Is It Really the Second Supper?
Brother Dixon questions the right of a congregation to provide the Lord's Supper for both of our usual two services on Lord's days, labeling the evening communion "The Second Supper." My question is: IS IT REALLY THE SECOND SUPPER? If we should admit that brother Dixon's objection is valid, he still would be mislabeling the Sunday evening communion, because it is not "The Second Supper." If it were wrong for Christians who had to miss the Lord's Day morning service to commune on the Lord's Day evening, it is still the first supper for them. I know of nobody who eats a "second supper." It might be properly referred to as the second time the supper is offered on a certain Lord's Day, but it is still the first supper for all who eat. I make this explanation for clarification.
Authority for Lords Day Evening Communion
Brother Dixon asks: "Where is the commandment, example, or inference given in the New Testament for this observance?" We find it in the same place where we find authority for the Lord's Day morning communion. Acts 20:7 constitute our authority for communion on the first day of the week. It does not say "the morning of the first day of the week." Since it doesn't say this, it is best that we don't. We must speak as the oracles of God (I Peter 4:11). I know of no passage that indicates or in any way infers that all the saints must commune at the same hour on the first day of the week. If anyone else knows of such a passage, we would be happy to know of its location. Since Acts 20:7 specifies no certain hour at which we are to break bread, who is the man to specify a certain hour? And who am I to tell saints who come to a Lord's Day evening assembly, "We had the Lord's Supper this morning, and since you were not present, you can't commune today." These people want to break bread on the first day of the week; just what Acts 20:7 obligates them to do, yet men want to deprive them of this right. We should be careful lest we bind where the Lord has loosed.
Will anyone say those who commune on Lord's day evenings fail to fulfill the demands of Acts 20:7? Will someone take the position that those who commune at the evening assembly are guilty of sin, and will be lost for so doing? If not, then they admit that their objection to evening communion is a matter of opinion, and thus should not be used as an instrument of strife. It's all right to hold an opinion as long as one does just that!
What About Working on Lord's Day?
Our brother raises the question of working on the Lord's Day. He seems to believe that a brother who works on Lord's Day morning and misses the morning assembly is violating Matt. 6:33 which commands that we put the kingdom first. I would agree if a person deliberately chooses to work rather than attend worship. But what about one employed where it is absolutely necessary for him to work during one of the Lord's Day assemblies in order to keep his job? Let's say this brother is 45 years old now, (an age at which nobody wants to employ him) and he is well established in his present job with twenty years experience and seniority, a pension almost made. He learns the truth and obeys the gospel. Should he quit his job and look for another because he is required to work during one of the Lord's Day assemblies? If he failed to do so, would he refuse to put the kingdom first? Putting the kingdom first requires that I give priority to my spiritual obligations, whatever they may be. One such obligation is to provide for my own (I Tim. 5:8). One spiritual obligation does not militate against another. If keeping my job which is necessary to adequately providing for my family depends upon my working during one of the Lord's Day assemblies, I affirm that such would not militate against another spiritual obligation, namely, attending the assembling of the saints on the first day of the week; when I do this, and also fulfill my spiritual obligation to my family and my employer.
Brother Dixon indicates that the Lord will provide for a saint if he quits his job or is fired because he refuses to work on the Lord's Day. He uses Psalms 37:25 as proof of this. It says, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." Is brother Dixon sure that this has application where a saint brings hardship upon himself by actions which are ill advised, unnecessary, and not scripturally required?
Brother Dixon says, "It would seem an act of gross disrespect for me to be absent myself deliberately from worship when Christ has said He will be there " This is true, but is the brother described elsewhere in this article "deliberately absent" from the assembly when he is required to work during one of the Lord's day assemblies? Surely we can all see a difference between one's working during one of the Lord's day assemblies because he is required to and being absent because of a desire to sleep or do something else he considers more exciting than worshiping God. The difference is; one is deliberate, the other is not.
CONCLUSION: This is one of those questions that each saint will have to answer for himself. Unless one is willing to say that it is a sin to have the communion on Sunday evening, let him hold the matter as an opinion. If he cannot conscientiously work during a Lord's Day assembly, (even if it is absolutely required), that's fine, let him refrain from so doing. But let him not seek to force his opinion upon others.
TRUTH MAGAZINE X: 3, pp. 13-14 December 1965