By Larry Ray Hafley
From West Virginia: “We have a problem in the church where we worship. There are two elders that are not working together. One apparently wants to do what the Bible says, the way it says. The other one is liberal. They do not work together. Is there any command or example where members are supposed to carry the Lord’s Supper to the sick or shut in? One of them does that and says he is doing a good work. “
About The Elders
Christians, let alone elders, ought to be able to work together. When there are doctrinal differences, the problem is intensified. Elders need not be carbon copies of one another. They should, however, mutually seek the best interests of the church which they oversee. Some of the best elderships in this country are composed of men of diverse backgrounds, personalities, and approaches. Their varying strengths, talents, and weaknesses are counterbalanced by one another. Their goal is the glory of God; their care and concern is for the flock of God which is among them. So, their personalities are joined in a single, united effort. Like different parts of a puzzle, they fit and work together to accomplish a complete picture. That is as it should be.
Our querist should talk with the elder that is “liberal.” In a spirit of meekness and humility, discuss his liberal tendencies. Also, he should discuss with these men what he has revealed in the question and comments above. The difficulty cannot be arbitrated on these pages. (In the letter that came with the question above, the writer suggested that comments be made in Truth Magazine about this matter.)
About the Lord’s Supper
I know of no “command or example where members are supposed to carry the Lord’s Supper to the sick or shut in.” By studying Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 11:18-29, one can see that the Lord’s Supper was taken when they “came together” “into one place.” One of the purposes of coming together is to “break bread.” I know of no Scripture that indicates that those who cannot attend on the first day of the week should be taken the Lord’s Supper.
But the one who does it says he is “doing a good work.” That is how a Lutheran justified infant baptism to me. He admitted that it was not in the Bible, but he said he would retain the practice because it was “a good work.” One lady attended a midnight, Catholic Mass at Christmas time. The organ music was “so inspiring,” she said, that it “had to be a good work.” Now, answer those arguments while making the one about taking the Lord’s Supper out to the sick and shut in. I will be watching to see if you blink or swallow.
This thing about “a good work” has been used to justify everything from,-benevolent societies to church sponsored ball teams. A work is not a “good work” unless appointed and ordained by the word of God (Eph. 2:10; 2 Tim. 3:17; 2 Pet. 1:3). Whenever a thing is labeled a good work, a good response might be, “A good work, huh? Says who?” Smile and wait for a Scripture.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 26, p. 418
June 28, 1979