By Larry Ray Hafley
From California: “Do we have Bible authority for more than one observance of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week?”
1. The “Second Supper: ” There is no Bible authority for an individual to “observe the Lord’s supper” more than once upon the first day of the week. Does any one know a Christian who eats and drinks the Lord’s supper twice on the Lord’s day? All talk of a “second supper” is wasted effort. Who takes of it twice? Is there a church that “offers” the Lord’s supper twice to the same people? No, it is specified during a Sunday evening assembly that the communion is available “for those who were unable to attend” an earlier gathering. So, each church provides each saint with an opportunity to do what the Lord said to do on the first day of the week, namely, break bread.
2. A Practice Begun “In About 1870: ” Our querist states in a letter accompanying her question that offering the Lord’s supper on two occasions on the Lord’s day began “in about 1870.” Some historians and scholars tell us that the first century church had no church buildings such as we have today. Does this necessarily imply that church buildings are without scriptural authority? No, church buildings are authorized (else we should not have them-the same could be said for songbooks, chalkboards, etc.), but the fact they were not utilized until later does not argue against their scripturalness. Likewise, with the Lord’s supper being provided for certain ones on Sunday evening.
Some tell us that early saints met only once on the first day of the week. Does this fact argue we should meet but once? If we argue that one provision for the communion is all that is allowable, why not contend that one assembly is all that is authorized on the Lord’s day? Obviously, if Christians meet but once on Sunday, the communion is provided but once. Saints who meet twice on the first day of the week offer no one the Lord’s supper twice. Each is offered the Lord’s supper once, though there may be two assemblies.
3. Excuse Abuse: “But if you offer the Lord’s supper on Sunday night, some will take advantage of this and forsake on Sunday morning.” An abuse of a thing is not sufficient reason to abandon the item itself. Suppose one were to object to preaching twice on Sunday. “If you have a sermon on Sunday night, some will lay out in the morning but will attend in the evening.” Does that abuse reasonably argue that we should do sway with “Sunday night preaching?”
There will always be thinly veiled lies called excuses that someone may use to serve himself. This is a form of will-worship. It is an act of one who seeks approval before men. His service is vain. He is not a servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10). It may be that some conceive the communion as a sacrament that can somehow sanctify and purify an otherwise ungodly life. This is not taught in the Scripture.
If one cannot attend a Sunday morning worship service due to some unavoidable cause, but he can be present on Sunday evening, why should he be barred from the partaking of the Lord’s supper? It is still the first day of the week. God has not specified the time on the first day of the week when he must break bread. Thus, one may examine himself and eat and drink of the body and blood of the Lord (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23ff.)
Some churches have been disturbed over this matter. It is a sad day for the Lord’s people when they will separate over such matters. It shows that other things lurk in the heart-hatred, jealousy, envy, the party spirit. Be not a party to those who rend asunder the body of Christ, but in all things seek for truth and purity in love, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).
Truth Magazine XIX: 9, p. 130
January 9, 1975