The Donahue - Carroll Debate

Donahue's Rejoinder

"The Bible teaches that all Christians should eat the

Lord's Supper every first day of the week."

Donahue's Rejoinder

John Carroll’s second debate article argues that I am inconsistent because I accept what Paul said in passages like Philippians 4:9 that we are supposed to follow approved examples. To show that I am not inconsistent, it should suffice to say that we believe that the examples of washing feet and the holy kiss are to be followed as approved examples like the Lord’s supper. The difference between John and us is that John makes washing feet a religious ceremony, whereas we practice it as an act of genuine service for someone whose feet need cleaning (John 13:10). I have washed another’s feet, just not in a church service as John’s brethren do it (without scriptural authority, I might add). We also practice the holy kiss, but just not in the cultural way John’s brethren insist it must be practiced.  John’s contention here is basically “two wrongs make a right.” I have proven that eating the Lord’s supper is required (by example) every first day of the week, but instead of accepting what the Bible says on it, John’s argument is that “Pat is not following examples either.” John, if I am wrong on washing feet and the holy kiss, that wouldn’t justify your false position and practice on the frequency of the Lord’s supper.

I previously showed that John’s interpretation of Philippians 4:9 cannot be correct because if the verse means that we have to both hear Paul teach on a matter and see an example of him living out the instruction for the teaching to be binding, then his instructions to women (as in Ephesians 5:22, Titus 2:3ff, etc.) would not be binding. In addition, I wonder if the Corinthians had to see Paul fulfill I Corinthians 7:3-5 for his teaching on marital “due benevolence” to be binding? It is clear to everybody except John that what Paul is saying in Philippians 4:9 is that if we hear Paul teach something we must obey it, and if we see Paul do something we must follow that also. He only had to teach it one way or the other for it to be binding. And we definitely see Paul eating the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week in Acts 20:7, and so we must follow that.

John's article ignored (for the second time) the other verses I gave to prove that we must follow examples, and that don't also mention about hearing the same thing taught (I Corinthians 4:16, Philippines 3:17, II Thessalonians 3:9, I Corinthians 11:1, Hebrews 6:12, and I Thessalonians 1:6). Let the reader note that it is impossible to interpret the above six verses the way John interpreted Philippians 4:9, since they don’t refer to hearing what Paul taught, but only to doing what he did.

John seemed to pretend he didn’t understand there can be differences in the institution of a religious practice and the regular observance of that practice. John said “the fact that Jesus and the disciples took it on Thursday and in Acts 20:7 they took it on Sunday is proof enough that no necessary day or frequency is taught in the bible.” According to this reasoning, the fact that Jesus and the disciples ate the Lord’s supper without remembering his death as an accomplished fact (he hadn’t died yet) would prove that we don’t have to obey Paul’s instruction in I Corinthians 11:25-26 to remember Christ’s death while we are observing the Lord’s supper.

I supplied two differences in the institution of the Passover and the regular observance of the Passover. I supplied four differences in the institution of the Lord’s supper and the regular observance of the Lord’s supper. I think John would agree with all six of these illustrations (he didn’t respond to any of this, so I don’t know for sure), yet he still comes back and argues like all the details of the institution of a religious practice and its regular observance must be the same. I Corinthians 11:17-34 teaches that we must eat the same elements as what Jesus ate in the institution, but Acts 20:7 shows that the day of the week to regularly observe the Lord’s supper is different than in the institution. And John knows this is true because he eats the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week, not Thursday.

John wants to know if the language of Exodus 12:11,14 is stronger than Acts 20:7. The answer is “no”: neither passage uses the word “every,” but both mean “every” for the same reason. Since every year contains a 14th day of the 1st month, then the Passover must be kept every (once a) year. And since every week contains a first day, then the Lord’s supper must be eaten every (once a) week. As we have shown repeatedly, we are commanded to follow Paul’s example, and every first day of the week that goes by that John and his brethren do not eat the Lord’s supper, they are disobeying the commands to follow the example of Acts 20:7.

I agree the phrases “throughout your generations” and “continually” indicate that the Passover and new moon were to be observed with some frequency, but they do not give indication of how frequent. Again, how often does a new moon occur? About once a month. Therefore it needed to be observed once a month, every time a new moon occurred. How often did a Sabbath occur? Once a week. Therefore it needed to be observed once a week, every time a Sabbath occurred. Likewise since a first day of the week occurs once a week, we are to eat the Lord’s supper once a week, every time a first day of the week occurs. The reasoning on all four observances (Passover, new moon, Sabbath, and Lord’s supper) is exactly parallel.

John’s brethren need to apply the same reasoning to the issue under discussion. Realizing that approved examples are binding (proven earlier), then Acts 20:7 requires us to eat the Lord’s supper EVERY first day of the week, since once a week is how often a first day of the week occurs. Why try to get around what God clearly teaches on this subject?

--Patrick T. Donahue



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