By Elmer Moore
The negative took the liberty of ignoring the major part of the first affirmative, choosing rather to completely ignore what was written by declaring that the material was “ridiculous and totally without biblical authority.” I know that he understands what the negative is supposed to do. I guess he thinks that all he has to do is just assert something and the reader will accept it without question. I don’t believe it. I urge you to read the first affirmative and then examine the first negative to see if he answered the arguments. He didn’t even try. Even though I am in the affirmative, I will examine what he wrote in the order he presented it.
“The Real Issue”
In discussing what he thought was the issue he reflects an improper attitude toward Bible authority. He states, ” Thus he must either find a command demanding their use or some passage that necessarily infers their usage” (my emp., em). If such were the case it would not be a matter of liberty. Yet the proposition states “may”! However, the language reflects a basic mistake of the negative and his brethren, that of demanding specific authorization for our practice, while neglecting such for their own.
“Assertions of the Affirmative”
He charged me with insisting that “container is never under consideration when the cup is used in the Lord’s Supper account.” What I said was “that a vessel or container is necessary to contain liquid is not denied.” The negative is fighting a strawman. He is arguing against something that I have never denied. You see it was easier for him to address himself to this false issue rather than the arguments made.
His Definition of “Cup”
Surely the negative knows that a word is always defined literally! Never is one given a figurative definition!
“What Did Jesus Do?”
The negative tells us that they do what Jesus did. Do they? Jesus, on this same occasion ate the supper in an upper room and washed the disciples feet, and told them to do as He had done (Jn. 13:3-14; Lk. 22:12). In this section of his article, he takes the liberty of changing the Lord’s statement “drink ye all of it” to “drink ye all from it or out of it.” Read the passage! Mark says no such thing. This is just a case of the negative making it say what he wants it to say. However, if he could prove this, it would not prove that a plurality of drinking vessels is wrong.
He repeatedly asserted that the statement of Mark 14:23, “They all drank of it. . . ” demands that all who drink must “drink from or out of it.” In other words, all who drink “of” something must touch their lips to the container. This is just another assertion of the negative. Let him try his hand on 1 Corinthians 9:7. The same preposition occurs referring to drinking the milk “of” the flock. Does this mean that one’s lips must touch the container of the mild to “drink of the flock”?
The negative fails in his so-called parallels. He takes the language of Jesus which is obviously metaphorical, and compares it with his coffee illustration that is literal. Note the following comparison:
Jesus: “This (fruit of the vine) is my blood.”
Negative: “This (coffee) is good coffee.”
It doesn’t take Solomon to see the difference in these. Jesus is using a metaphor: one thing (cup) is said to be something else, His “blood” (Bullinger’s Figures of Speech, p. 741). In the negative’s illustration there is no metaphor. “Coffee is (good) coffee.” Our brother applies the general laws of language and grammar to figurative language. This is one of his basic mistakes and is the same one that the advocates of the doctrine of transubstantiation make. It is the same basic mistake.
Effort to Reply to Argument – “Bible Authority”
The negative asserts that my argument that, “every passage that teaches the obligation to drink the fruit of the vine, is a passage that authorizes a plurality of drinking vessels (Lk. 22:19),” is “ridiculous and totally absurd without biblical foundation.” He states this without showing why! Does our brother think that he can just assert and assume Matters without offering proof? It would have been interesting for him to have advanced an argument showing the fallacy of my reasoning. This he did not do! He says that my argument, if applied to the support of preachers, would authorize indirect support. Why did he not formulate an argument to show this? He further asserts that my argument, if applied to benevolence would justify the support of the non-saint. Again he made no argument, just asserted it. I deny this categorically. You will recall that I stated, “When the Lord authorizes an act to be performed, whatever is necessary to carry out that direction, and whatever is expedient, is contained in the authorized action, unless what we do violates otherprinciples of Bible teaching.” I illustrated this point in the matter of singing. Our brother saw fit to ignore it, as he did most of what I wrote. He certainly recognizes this fundamental principle. I know he believes that it is scriptural to preach the gospel by means of television. Where is the “example” of such being done? Where is there a “command demanding such practice or some passage that necessarily infers its use”? Remember this is what he demands of me? If he leveled the same criticism at his own practice, that he does to others, he would have to give it up. Concerning the “support of preachers” and “benevolence,” the total context of Scripture will reveal that “indirect support” and “non-saint benevolence” will “violate other principles of Bible teaching.” Let our brother deny it!
Our brother wrote that Jesus could have solved the problem if He would have said, “He took the cups,” or “He took the fruit of the vine.” No, if Jesus had said “cups” my brother would have demanded a plurality and refused the use of one. Jesus did say in no uncertain terms that He was talking about the fruit of the vine. As I pointed out in my first article, Jesus used a metaphor and explained His metaphor. He declared that He was talking about the fruit of the vine. The negative is so wedded to his literal approach that he refuses to see it (see first affirmative on “How many elements of significance?”).
The negative states, “We have no right to demand that a matter lacking spiritual significance be preserved. ” He then endeavors to show that the drinking vessel has “spiritual significance.” First, he makes an argument by changing what Jesus said to what he desired Him to say. Jesus said, “Drink ye all of it”; the negative changed it to read, “Drink out of it.”
Secondly, he argues that there are three elements of significance, including: the “fruit of the vine” referring to the Lord’s blood; the “bread” referring to the Lord’s body; and the “cup-vessel” referring to the New Covenant. About one fourth of his article was devoted to giving a lesson on the laws of language. Again, he ignores the fact that Jesus used highly metaphorical language (Dungan, Hermeneutics, p. 253, and Bullinger’s Figures of Speech, pp. 738-741). This is a mistake that a man of brother Wade’s background ought not to make! After one reads what he writes, one may be impressed with his ability in the field of grammar, but what does he prove: That there was literal bread, juice and a vessel? Who denies it?
Strip his argument of all the excess verbiage and we have him declaring that the statement “this is my blood of the New Testament” (Matthew and Mark) and the statement, “this is the New Testament in my blood” (Luke and Paul) are not teaching the same thing; that they are advancing two different ideas. This is the result of his literalizing this account in the way he does. These two statements are teaching the same thing. Both are teaching that the cup, the fruit of the vine, represents the blood of Christ that ratified the New Testament. This statement is comparable to Hebrews 9:20 that indicates the ratification of the Old Covenant by the blood of animals. The difference in the order of record does not necessarily indicate a difference in the teaching. Our brother knows this. He stated, “The order of mention is not necessarily the order of occurrence” (Wade-Knowles Debate, p. 35).
To further show this I call attention to Romans 10:9-10. One verse records confession before belief while the other records belief first. Are they teaching two different concepts? Matthew and Mark record the statement in one order while Luke and Paul reverse that order. It is important to note that both Paul and Luke are using the figure of speech of metonym, i.e., the container for the contents. A casual reading will reveal that the “cup” was to be “divided,” and they were to “drink” it (Lk. 22:17; 1 Cor. 11:25-28; cf. Thayer p. 533). It is evident that both of these writers are talking about the contents and not the container. Hence, in whatever sense that the “cup” is the New Testament, it is not the “container,” but the “contents.” My brother is wrong about this.
Two Elements of Significance
I call your attention to an argument that I made in my first affirmative, that the negative totally ignored. Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 10:16 that the “cup of blessing” was a communion of the blood of Christ,” and that the “bread was a communion of the body of Christ.” Do you not see that there are two elements of significance, which are the bread which is a fair representation of His body and the cup, the fruit of the vine, which is a fair representation of His blood?
The negative argues that the number of vessels is explicit, only one, because the Bible speaks of “a cup,” “the cup,” etc. This he declares “leaves no room for a plurality.” I suppose that one should be extra careful not to give more than one cup of cold water in the name of Jesus since He said “a cup” of cold water (Matt. 10:42). Please note that the term “the cup” was used to describe what the church at Corinth and at Ephesus both blessed (1 Cor. 10:16; 16:8). Even if we grant the negative’s contention that there was only “one” container used at each place, you still have “two,” one at Corinth and one at Ephesus. If the term “the cup” can mean two it can mean a plurality, contrary to the argument of the negative.
Please read my first article and note the argument made on “The Design of the Lord’s Supper.”
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 5, pp. 145-146
March 5, 1987