The Donahue - Carroll Debate
Donahue's First Affirmative
"The Bible teaches that all Christians should eat the
Lord's Supper every first day of the week."
This article is intended to prove that the Bible teaches that congregations of Jesus' disciples should eat the Lord's supper every first day of the week. The reasoning will go as follows:
Acts 20:7 provides an approved example of disciples eating the Lord's supper on the first day of the week.
The Bible requires that we follow approved New Testament examples.
Therefore, we must eat the Lord's supper on the first day of the week.
Acts 20:7 Refers To The Lord's Supper
Acts 20:7 reads, "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." The same phrase ("break bread") appears in I Corinthians 10:16 ("The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ: The BREAD which we BREAK, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?") and definitely refers to the "communion," which is the Lord's supper. And I Corinthians 11:21-22, 34 proves that Acts 20:7 cannot be referring to a common meal when it condemns the congregation coming together to eat a common meal. Therefore
Acts 20:7 must be referring to the Lord's supper.
The Bible Teaches/Binds By Example
The following passages teach that we learn by example; that is, we are supposed to follow "approved examples" that we find in the New Testament:
Philippians 4:9 - Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
I Corinthians 4:16 - Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
Philippians 3:17 - Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
II Thessalonians 3:9 - Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
I Corinthians 11:1 - Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Hebrews 6:12 - That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
I Thessalonians 1:6 - And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord ...
So we see that the Bible actually commands us to follow approved examples.
Acts 20:7 Binds It To First Day Of The Week
Acts 20:7 says that the disciples broke bread (ate the Lord's supper) on the "first day of the week." Since we must follow approved examples, and since Acts 20:7 presents us the approved example of eating the Lord's supper on the first day of the week, we (the congregation) must follow that example and eat the Lord's supper on the first day of
Oneness Pentecostals Learn By Example
I asked Richard Forsythe (a Oneness Pentecostal preacher), "Do you believe that we should follow Approved Apostolic Examples (Phil 4:9, I Cor 4:16)?" He answered in writing, "Yes Sir, I certainly do." Does my opponent agree? Does my opponent agree with the following quote from another Oneness Pentecostal preacher?: "Does scriptural APOSTOLIC EXAMPLE mean nothing? To our brethren (Pentecostals) we humbly point out that we have no command to speak in other tongues -- we only have APOSTOLIC EXAMPLE. If we are honest, we must conclude that if the example of scripture is enough to establish one doctrine of the Church, then it is enough to confirm
My opponent uses apostolic example to help prove:
initial evidence of speaking in tongues - "every time someone was baptized in the Holy Ghost, they spoke in tongues" (see above quote)
baptism should be done "in the name of the Lord Jesus" - Acts 19:5
a Christian may "fall from grace" - Gal 5:4
baptism is by immersion - Acts 8:38-39
My opponent has two choices:
1. Quit teaching that the above doctrines are taught by approved example, or
2. Start teaching, as I do, that Acts 20:7 teaches by approved example that we must eat the Lords' supper on the first day of the week.
Oneness Pentecostals agree that we learn by apostolic example, but will they be consistent and follow the apostolic example found in Acts 20:7?
Why Is The Example Of Acts 20:7 Important?
For those who ask how we know the disciples eating the Lord's supper on the first day of the week is a binding example, and not just an incidental occurrence, please consider the following points that suggest that this example is
not just what some individual Christians did "incidentally":
It was done by a group of Christians.
It was done by a congregation meeting together (I Cor 11:18, 20, 33) during a worship service.
It was accompanied by preaching.
It was determined before hand by the disciples (the congregation) that they would come together on the first day of the week for the purpose of eating the Lord's supper. In other words, that is why they came together!
Allow me to make one additional point along these lines. Carefully read Acts 20:7. Is the phrase "first day of the
week" mentioned just in passing, or does the text go out of the way to point out that the disciples broke bread on that
day? If you agree that it is the latter, then you agree that the day is not just an incidental.
EVERY First Day Of The Week
To provide additional proof that Acts 20:7 is teaching that we must eat the Lord's supper every first day of the week, compare it with Exodus 20:8 which reads, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." The verse does not say, "remember every sabbath day," it just says, "remember the sabbath day." How did the Israelites know they were supposed to keep every seventh day holy? Because every week has a seventh day in it. Likewise, we know that we must eat the Lord's supper every first day of the week, because every week has a first day in it.
The Israelites were commanded to keep the passover on the "fourteenth day of the first month" (Lev 23:5). How often were the Israelites to keep the passover? As often as a fourteenth day of the first month occurred: once a year. The Israelites were commanded to offer sacrifices on the "new moons" (I Chron 23:31). How often were the Israelites to offer these new moon sacrifices? As often as a new moon occurred: once a month. The Israelites were commanded to "remember the sabbath day" (Ex 20:8). How often were the Israelites to keep this sabbath? My opponent agrees, as often as the sabbath occurred: once a week. We are taught (by example) today to eat the Lord's supper on the first day of the week. How often are we to eat the Lord's supper? As often as the first day of the week occurs: once a week. The conclusion would be that the Bible teaches that we must come together to eat the Lord's supper every first day of the week.
I Corinthians 16:1-2
In addition, consider the commandment to give as we've been prospered found in I Corinthians 16:1-2. Though it doesn't necessarily prove the frequency of the Lord's supper, it does show that another activity of the saints occurred on the first day of the week.
Does the congregation of Christians that you meet with, come together every first day of the week for the purpose of eating the Lord's supper? They ought to. If they don't, get with one that does.
--Patrick T. Donahue
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