November 18, 2017

Third Negative

By Elmer Moore 

Proposition: The Scriptures teach that the cup (drinking vessel) in the communion represents the new Covenant. 

I will try to wade through all of the reckless and loosely connected statements that brother Hawkins wrote. If you have difficulty in trying to understand what he wrote, join the crowd. He reminds us of my obligation in the negative and my failure to measure up to that obligation. The negative is to examine proof offered by the affirmative (of which I find very little) and has the right to present rebuttal arguments. This I believe I have done. You be the judge. 

The problem with the affirmative is that he admits that in the texts describing the institution of the Lord’s supper figurative language is used. He even admits that you have both a metaphor and metonymy. Then he ignores the basic rules governing them in his explanation of the texts under discussion. This is the same mistake that men make in the study of parables and symbols, making literal that which is symbolic. He charged me with ignoring what he wrote about these figures. He wrote, “He didn’t say a word against it.” I agreed with his basic argument, “that any rule about the phraseology will equally apply to Matthew 26:28.” I wrote, “Certainly! There is no question about the phraseology; the question is what was he teaching.” This rule our brother will not apply. You will note that I presented an illustration of his blunder. I pointed out that in Matthew 26:26 he argued that the word “this” refers back to the bread. He then argues that the word “this” in Matthew 26:28, the same context, points forward to fruit of the vine. Thus, he has the word “this” referring back to bread and forward to fruit of the vine. You see this even if he doesn’t. To follow his rule the word “this” in Matthew 26:28 must refer back to “cup.” Thus, according, to his rule Jesus is saying that the “cup” (container) is (represents) his blood. Yet brother Hawkins is arguing that the “cup” (container) is (represents) his new covenant and in so doing has Matthew and Luke in contradiction of one another. This is the logical consequence of his argument. I presented this in article two and what did brother Hawkins say about it? He wrote “this is a classic example of his sly misrepresentations.” Jesus used both a metaphor (one thing named to suggest another) and metonymy (the change of one noun for another related noun) as in the “cup” for its “contents.” 

While I am discussing these figures let me also, once again, address what he said about Bullinger and Thayer. He blatantly misrepresents these men. He wrote, “Thayer on page 15 said the cup represents the new covenant.” Brethren look at what Thayer said. Thayer is discussing the subject of blood and he writes, “The blood by the shedding of which the covenant should be ratified, Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24 or has been ratified . . . add, 1 Corinthians 11:25; Luke 22:20 in both which the meaning is, ‘this cup containing wine, an emblem of blood, is rendered by the shedding of my blood an emblem of the new covenant.” Brethren this is reckless- ness on the part of brother Hawkins. Thayer states the same thing here that he does on page 533 where he writes, “By metonymy of the container for the contained, the contents of the cup, what is offered to be drunk.” 

Our brother then writes, “Bullinger said the nouns in a metaphor must both be mentioned and are to be taken literally.” Bullinger also writes on page 739, “The whole figure, in a metaphor, lies, as we have said, in the verb substantive ‘is’ and not in either of the two nouns.” He also wrote, “so in the very words that follow ‘this is’ (i.e., represents or signifies) my body we have an undoubted metaphor.” “He took the cup . . . saying this IS my blood!” Here, thus, we have a pair of metaphors. In the former one, ‘this’ refers to ‘bread’ and it is claimed that IS means changed into the ‘body’ of Christ. In the latter, ‘this’ refers to ‘the cup’ but it is not claimed that the cup is changed into ‘blood.’” 

Bullinger does not support the claim of the affirmative, quite the contrary. Bullinger writes that “this” refers to the cup. Brother Hawkins continues to misrepresent these scholars. 

“In Remembrance” 

He writes that “in remembrance” is W.E. Vine’s opinion. No, Jesus said “this do in remembrance of me.” I simply gave Vine’s definition of the word “remembrance.” The word means “affectionately calling that person to mind.” The bread representing his body and the fruit of the vine representing his blood do precisely this. The literal con- tainer does not. Brother Hawkins is arguing for the “literal container” but bases his argument on what the Bible teaches about the “new covenant” which is not an issue. I agree that there is something that reminds us of what Jesus did, but it is not the “literal container” of the Lord’s Supper. Our brother argues that Jesus said something represented the new covenant and has conveniently ignored what Jesus said about it. He said “new covenant in my blood.” We are dealing with figurative language. What did this mean? What ratified the new covenant? Was it a literal container or the blood of Jesus? A container was named to suggest its contents. The contents was the fruit of the vine. What did the fruit of the vine represent? It represented the blood of Jesus. What did the blood of Christ do? The shedding of his blood ratified the new covenant and made possible the forgiveness of sins. Brother Hawkins asked the question why did Jesus refer to the container at all? Jesus named the container to suggest what was in it. His audience under- stood his language. Brethren the two statements, “the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20) and “my blood of the covenant” (Matt. 26:28) are teaching the same thing. 

The Order of Record 

Our brother knows what I wrote concerning the order of record. He put it in quotations in this article. Yet in his second article he falsely charged me. I now know he knew better. He then tries to get out of trouble by charging me with “relocating words in a sentence.” I showed that the two passages, Matthew 26:28 and Luke 22:20, taught the same thing but not in the same order (see previous article). I wrote, “These passages are not teaching two distinct truths, as the affirmative states, they are affirming the same truth.” Remember that these writers are describing the exact same event that took place on the night of the betrayal. Thus, that which they relate to us must be consistent. Matthew was present at that event and knew exactly what the Lord was saying and exactly what took place. Neither Mark nor Luke were present but, being guided by the Holy Spirit, that which they wrote must agree with what Matthew wrote about the matter. I didn’t cite Romans 10:9 to argue that it was like Luke 22:20. I cited the passage only to show that “the order of record is not always the order of occurrence.” Brother Hawkins built a straw man to attack and ignored my argument. 

His “Waterloo” 

In this section brother Hawkins tells you that I contended that the word “it” metonymically refers to contents. Is he denying this? He then points out that the word “it” is not in Luke 22:20. Is he arguing that this is not the same cup in verse 20 as the cup referred to in verse 17? How many containers does he think were there? Note also that he is making some progress. He is affirming “literal container” represents the new covenant. Now he writes “this cup (filled with the fruit of vine) is the new covenant.” Thus, he virtually admits what I have been arguing that “the container is named for its contents, and in whatever sense the ‘cup’ is the new covenant, it is talking about contents and not the container.” He has denied his own proposition. If the container becomes significant only after it is filled with “wine” then we must ask ourselves “what made it significant?” After the “wine” is drank, is the container still significant? What can be done with the container other than wash it and put it back on the shelf or throw it away if it is of the throw-away type? These questions are not trivial because there is the problem of showing when the container becomes “holy” and when it ceases to be “holy.” Not so with the “wine” or the “bread.” They become of significance, to each individual, during the process and completion of the act of imbibing of each, respectively, and then only if it is properly done (1 Cor. 11:20-29). 

1 Corinthians 11:27 

The affirmative attempts to answer my argument on two elements in 1 Corinthians 11:27. He totally ignores my argument and writes about the covenant and its importance, which is not an issue. My argument was based on what the passage states about the Lord’s supper. There are two actions identified. They were to eat the bread and drink the cup. Paul declares “whosoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” My argument still stands. There are only two elements of significance. Is it possible that Paul would have ignored the significance of the container if it was of importance. He was teaching the Corinthians the proper manner of taking of the bread and the fruit of the vine. That which he received of the Lord is that which he taught. 

Brother Hawkins tries to prejudice the reader by refer ring to “Brother Moore’s sectarian argument.” I guess he thought that you would not realize that he did not touch top, side, or bottom of my argument. In this same connection he cites Acts 2:42 and 20:7 where the passages refer to the “breaking of bread” and wants to know if this is only one element of significance. No brother Hawkins the phrase “breaking of bread” sometimes referred to a common meal and sometimes referred to the Lord’s supper. In these passages the Lord’s supper is suggested in an often used figure of speech, synecdoche, where a part is named and the whole is intended. The part of the Lord’s supper implied, of course, is the eating of the bread. Did you think that this only meant that they just ate the bread and did not drink the cup? 

NASV 

Brother Hawkins takes it upon himself to challenge the translators of the NASV. He writes that they “inaccurately translated” Luke 22:20 but gives no authoritative evidence of why he believes this to be true. He reminds me of the Baptists who deny the inspiration of Mark 16:9-20. They do it because they know that it repudiates their doctrine. Our brother challenges the NASV for the same reason. He knows that it utterly destroys his contention. Brother Hawkins writes that “poured out modifies blood.” This does not help him in the least. There is no issue about what was poured out, it was the blood of Christ. What represented that blood is the question? In Matthew 26:27-28 Jesus took a “cup” and said “drink ye all of it (cup); for this (cup) is my blood.” Thus, it was the cup (contents) representing his blood that was poured out. The NASV presents the truth on this passage in Luke 22:20. I would also remind the reader that Bullinger agrees that the word “this” in the above passage refers to the “cup.” 

Conclusion 

We must handle aright the word of truth. In so doing one must exercise caution in examining texts that involve figurative language. When Jesus said “go tell Herod that fox. . . .” I know what he said, but I must try and understand what he meant. Brother Hawkins emphasized what Jesus said but failed to understand what he meant. This can be a fatal mistake when dealing with figurative language. 

My brethren there are two elements of significance in the Lord’s memorial supper. This is taught in 1 Corinthians 10:16. “The cup of blessing which we bless is it not (it is, em) a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break is it not (it is, em) a communion of the body of Christ.”Also in 1 Corinthians 11:27, we are directed to “Eat the bread and drink the cup.” If we do so in an unworthy manner we become guilty of the “body” and “blood” of the Lord. The Lord’s supper is a memorial. Whatever is of significance must “affectionately call the person (Jesus) to mind.” The bread representing his body and the cup representing his blood do precisely this; the container does not. It is my hope that the reader will realize the fallacy in making the physical container an element of significance in the memorial feast. There is no way for the partaker to relate to the container except that it is necessary to contain that which is of significance, the fruit of the vine that rep- resents his blood that was shed for the new testament and for the remission of our sins. It is important that we are continually reminded of this great sacrifice that was made by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. 

I thank both the editors of Old Paths Advocate and Truth Magazine for allowing me space to set forth what I believe about the Lord’s supper.

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