Theological Argument: Who is eligible to administer the sacrament of Communion? One of the most freeing things about leaving the established church is that those who have left now have the ability to ask the tough questions and are able to truly seek out the answers in scripture alone.
We all know that the Kingdom of God functions (in many ways) totally opposite of the world’s wisdom in many respects. When God has an important message to send, He doesn’t send the most qualified; rather, He chooses someone who is humble and weak to share God’s message in His mighty power. And when God wanted to tell the World the greatest news we have ever heard, the angels declared it not to the Kings and teachers of the Law; they sought out society’s outcasts shepherding the flocks by night. Even as the Son of God Himself reveals His Public Ministry in the Gospel of John, it is not to the Jews who are most qualified to receive it; rather, it is revealed to the unclean (half-blood Jews) Samaritans that had lost their honor even from birth.
From a boy slaying a Giant to a man wearing Camel hair being proclaimed as the greatest born of women, the Kingdom of God provides example after example that God will always humble the proud and exalt the humble. So the question is: Why don’t we see that in the established church?
Everyone strives to sit in the seat of honor. This even includes our pastors and priests who are called by God and given the spiritual gifts to shepherd the Lord’s flocks. Power and authority can be corrosive as the power given by God can slowly shift into power given through position. The Catholic Church provided a great example of this during the dark ages when the only person worthy to even take communion was the priest himself. The rest of the church was not even allowed to watch as the Priest partook of the sacraments behind a veiled wall. In this way, the thing that Jesus commanded was adulterated by those who craved total authority, honor and power.
The question arises: Why is the pastor, priest, or elder the only ones who can administer the sacrament of Communion? For if we are not required to understand grace in order to receive it, why should we be required to fully understand grace in order to dispense it to others which is our call and purpose? Questions like this remind me of a story I heard in a sermon once in my youth.
The pastor illustrated: A young lady wanted to cook a roast for the first time and wanted to follow her mother’s recipe meticulously. However, there was one direction she did not understand. She asked her mother, “Why do we have to cut the ends of the roast off? The mother kindly replied, “Because that is the way it has always been done. Grandma always would cut off the ends of the roast.” Not satisfied with that answer, the young lady called up her grandma and asked her if she knew why the ends of the roast needed to be cut off for the recipe. She giggled a little and replied, “I had to cut off the ends because the roast did not fit into the small pot I was using.”
Communion is one of those sacred cows we have in the church. It has always been done a certain way. Like a grandma cutting off the ends of the roast, we continue to do our rituals much of the same way as we have been taught. And whenever we question why things are done a certain way, we receive the same abrupt answer from our spiritual mothers who have been using the same recipe for years.
But what does scriptures tell us? How was communion received in the homes of the early church? What was the intentions of Christ as He prescribed the frequency and substance of His Body and Blood to be administered by those who are elevated above the rest of the congregation? You see, if we are willing to strip away the traditions of men and seek the Lord afresh in His living Word, we might realize that the blessing we receive from those in a position of authority could be equal to or even greater than if we had the faith to allow the sacraments of Christ to be administered by the least of these among us.
So I ask all of you who genuinely seek to sharpen your swords, “Is it the Word of God, or is it religion and tradition that disqualifies the laity from administering the body and Blood of the Lord within the fellowship of the Bride? And if it is not the scriptures, shouldn’t we allow anyone to have the honor of dispensing the grace of God to any and all who seek to receive it?
No matter what our positions may be, let the grace of God be in our conversations… Blessings