The Ward - Brooks Debate

Brooks' Third Negative

"The Scriptures authorize a given local church to come together to break bread, tarry, and eat together the Lord's Supper in only one assembly on the same first day of the week.."

Brooks' Third Negative

To Mark Ward and the Religious Debates community:

Thank you, Mark, for an honorable and pleasant debate on the issue of communion frequency. I feel this first half has been an excellent example of what God intends for people to do in contending for their respective positions. You are a gentleman, and I will be privileged in the second half to read your gentlemanly rebuttals.

There is so much in your third affirmative I wanted to answer. Many good topics and points were made. However, in keeping with the topic at hand, and because I want to give extra time to my own affirmative, I am going to limit my comments to your specific points and questions regarding my objections. I am doing this because you can't respond to any of my comments. There is no point in offering some points, which you cannot comment on. Much of what I want to say here will be addressed in my first affirmative, in defense of my own position. Below I have provided a recap of your comments, followed by my responses.

Mark writes:

Here, in my estimation is where we presently stand in this discussion, I pray that Ray will address these and correct me if I have misunderstood his beliefs.

1. Ray and I do not go about establishing authority the same way.

Ray says: True

2. Ray contends that some "disobedience" is acceptable (He wrote, "One can be in "disobedience" to some fine point and still be saved."); I strongly reject that notion! (See Matthew 23:23)

Ray says: Salvation is based on what Christ has done Himself. Period. Faith in His finished work is the basis of forgiveness and eternal life. That is my view. Therefore, your summary on this point is correct.

3. Ray contends that I Cor. 11 cannot be applied to a church with more than one assembly on the same first day of the week. I disagree and point out that since "eating together" is required, it excludes multiple observances on the same day (whether in the same or different assemblies).

Ray says: Yes, we disagree here. Five assemblies or one assembly, the group is still eating together, no matter how many times they do it in one day.

4. Ray does NOT believe we need to have authority from God from the new testament scriptures for what we believe, teach and practice today...that is, the scriptures are not ALL-SUFFICIENT. He waffles on this a bit (see explanation below) but the reality of his position is that you need MORE THAN SCRIPTURE to get it right today. I contend the Scriptures are ALL-SUFFICIENT and that God does not lead us into truth today separate and apart from the written Word (John 8:31,32; John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:16,17; Jude 3; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 John 9).

Rays says: This statement from the above paragraph is incorrect—

Ray does NOT believe we need to have authority from God from the new testament scriptures for what we believe, teach and practice today.

This statement does not reflect my views, and also, Mark equates this statement to the teaching that "the scriptures are not all- sufficient". For the record, I see no POSSIBLE connection between these two statements. I DO believe we need authority from God, from both Old and New Testament scriptures. Mark's conclusion makes no sense to me.

5. Ray does not see that inherent in ALL APPROVED EXAMPLES is the very authority from God (permission) to engage in that act! I contend that the very fact that actions are approved of God necessitate the authority of God to engage in those actions! Applicable approved examples show us what we MAY or MUST do today (may=liberty; must=mandatory).

Ray says: Yes, I do see permission in examples. No, I don't see a requirement. It does not follow, however, that just because God approved of an example, that we are bound by that example. That is not logical.

6. Ray asserts that the new covenant is without laws, regulations, and stipulations. I contend the Bible teaches otherwise (James 1:25; James 2:12; Gal 6:2; Rom. 6:17; 2 John 9).

Ray says: All four passages are in reference to the Christian life, not salvation. I regard the receiving of eternal life as a prerequisite to the obedience that is involved in the Christian life. Obedience neither initiates nor maintains salvation. That is by faith. Obedience, in the context of a person filled with the Spirit of God, brings blessing and fruitfulness. Disobedience brings God's discipline. But all of these consequences, good and bad, are in the context of the Christian life, not to establish or maintain it. God disciplines ONLY His children, not the lost. God blesses, in the practice of Christian living, ONLY His children, not the heathen. The New Covenant laid out in Hebrews 8 contains no law. It is God's work on man as a result of man's faith in Christ's work. All obedience to God proceeds from salvation, and the obedience is NOT a condition of that salvation.

7. Ray contends that the frequency of the Supper is not limited (that "as oft as" really means "as oft as ye CHOOSE"). I contend the Scriptures teach us weekly first day observance in the approved example of Acts 20:7 (this is the only day of the week in the entire New Testament authorizing the church to break bread).

Ray says: Yes, we do disagree here. I contend that the example is not binding in any way at all.

Ray disagrees and asserts that "as often as ye" really ~means~ "as oft as ye CHOOSE" for in his second negative he wrote, "...For the record, I believe it DOES imply 'do as oft as ye CHOOSE'." The error of such can be easily illustrated by comparing the following two statements:

"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death til he come." (I Cor. 11:26).

"For as often as you have a birthday, you will age another year."

So does our birthday come just anytime we CHOOSE? Note that Ray's contention is that the language "as often as" implies "as often as you CHOOSE"...but such is not really the case! Such is a bare assertion, without proof. The text in I Cor. 11:26 simply does NOT tell us "when" or "how often" to observe the Lord's Supper ("as often as" is not all that God revealed on the matter), but other passages help us on that instruction (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11:33).

Ray says: False analogy. 1. A birthday is not an act; it is not something I choose to do. Eating the bread and drinking the cup is something I choose to do. 2. The consequence in your analogy IS a logical necessity. Each year on the date I was born, I DO AGE another year. However, eating the bread and drinking the cup CAN BE DONE without acknowledging the Lords' death at all.

Your analogy is invalid for the point you want to make. I don't choose to age another year, I DO CHOOSE to eat the bread and drink the cup.

8. Ray argues FOR and AGAINST the all-sufficiency of the Scriptures. Note the paragraphs Ray wrote (from his 2nd negative):

In the interest of time, I will say no, we can not act outside the boundaries of the perfect law of liberty and be right with God, though I might define those terms differently. Since I do not believe that the primary goal of learning scripture is to please God, but rather to know God intimately, it is a question too limited in scope to give an accurate answer.

No, I do not believe that God has revealed in His written word all that we need to know to please Him. No, I do not believe in modern day revelation in the sense that God is continually adding to His Word.

What I DO believe (and what your two questions overlook as a possibility) is that God speaks supernaturally to men today, giving them specific direction for life and leading in what God wants them to do in their own personal circumstances. And these revelations are NOT additions to scripture.

Mark responds: We can't have it both ways. Either the Scriptures ARE all-sufficient, or they are not! If the Scriptures are not sufficient and we need these modern day "directions", then the revelations ARE additions to scriptures  (else they would be included). I appreciate Ray explaining his position to us so we can know what he believes the truth of the matter to be. If I understand his belief, Ray says God is not adding to Scripture, but Scripture does not contain all we need to know to please Him! We need MORE guidance from God IN ADDITION to written Scripture to please God  (according to Ray). The BIBLE says when we READ, we can UNDERSTAND (Eph.  3:4). I hope all the readers, and our beloved Ray, can see the fallacy in this position.

Ray says: Mark, thank you for the well thought out answer to this point. After many years of debates and discussions, I decided to try something different in this debate. And I thank you for the way you responded.

I fully and firmly believe that the scriptures are ALL-SUFFICIENT. However, in our modern times the usage of that phrase ALL-SUFFICIENT has been so abused and generalized as to make it almost meaningless. I chose to disagree with this point because I believe what most people mean by ALL-SUFFIENT to me has NOTHING TO DO with what the scriptures mean. So I decided to claim they are not all-sufficient to see what you would say.

I am both pleased and disappointed by your response. Pleased because my fear was confirmed. Disappointed because you took it in one of the directions that to me shows how far from dealing with the bible as a REAL book the church today has come. This is not really the subject of the debate, and it is the only point I'm going to take some time to deal with that is outside the context of our debate. Forgive the digression…

All-sufficient has a context. The bible tells us to feed the poor. It does not give cooking lessons. It tells us to evangelize. It does not tell us how to create tracts, set up gospel meetings, or build baptisteries. When the scripture says it is all-sufficient, it means that it is all-sufficient to do the job that IT does. Giving our lives direction is a job for the Holy Spirit, separate from the Word, and therefore the scriptures are not all sufficient for that.

I don't expect Mark's agreement. My point is not to start a new topic, only to define that all-sufficient has a context. Any view that sees the COMPLETE and UNQUALIFIED all-sufficiency of scripture is simply absurd, ignoring reality.

Mark says:

The BIBLE says the scriptures can furnish us to EVERY GOOD WORK (2 Tim. 3:16,17)! We should contend for the all-sufficiency of the written revealed word, as we have it today! I truly believe that Ray is sincere, but his position that God has left us lacking, when He calls it "the perfect law of liberty", "the faith once for all delivered", "the gospel of Christ...power of God unto salvation", etc. cannot be supported.

Ray says: I contended for the nature of sufficiency above. Here I want to give an example of what we as Christians do that challenges the notion of sufficiency (as we use the term to describe the bible).

Suppose I have a job opportunity. I can change to another position. It is offered to me. Should I accept it? The scripture tells me to pray about all things. I should pray about accepting that other position, or remaining where I am. However, the scriptures themselves offer NOTHING SPECIFIC about this job change. They don't tell me ANYTHING about God's purpose for me. The only way to know what is best is to seek an answer from God Himself. God does not tell me what to do on this in scripture. How do I know what God wants in this situation? Some people believe God does not care which job I have. Some people believe God does not answer a question like this. Some people challenge the validity of expecting God to be interested in my daily personal life. The bible still commands me to pray about all things. And this is something I should pray about. God's direct guidance is needed. The scriptures do not answer me here. Are they still all-sufficient? Yes, they are, if you define all-sufficient in such a way that takes into account a personal relationship with God that allows God to speak to us.

Mark says:


Ray, however, does not believe that we need authority from God to act today. He wrote:

Ray says: Mark, that is not what I said. My statement has a context. I was SPECIFICALLY answering the issue of FREQUENCY. You are generalizing my statement.

Your quote of me disproves your generalization:

"...I don't believe authority is needed. We are free in Christ to decide this for ourselves. Prove, Mark, that the scriptures are LIMITING. You assert this constantly, but you don't prove it once..."

"...No, Mark, and I hope you understand that the purpose of this debate is to prove this very statement ~authority inherent in the approved example~ valid. If I could accept your reasoning on this point, there would be no debate in the first place..."

Ray then wrote near the end of his second negative:

Mark, I am confident in my position, but I would like to understand how you draw your conclusions. If I wasn't confident that my position is true, I would never have agreed to debate you, but I do want to understand where you come from. Explain how you come to the conclusion that SPECIFIC AUTHORITY from examples is valid, and how you conclude that such authority excludes all other options. I genuinely want to understand your position.

Mark replies:

When God told Noah to build an ark of GOPHER wood, Noah had SPECIFIC INSTRUCTION or AUTHORITY to use GOPHER wood (Gen. 6). If Noah used any other wood, he would err. The specifying of gopher wood (use of specific authority) EXCLUDED all other types of wood (things in that same category: wood). This is the nature of specific authority. Such is the case in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, in the home, at work, with the authority of civil governments, and all other walks of life. SPECIFIC AUTHORITY is a prescribed course of action that excludes other courses of action in the same area of that which has been specified.

Ray says: Mark brought up this example twice in his affirmatives. I ignored it the first time because I believe it is irrelevant. Since he thinks it is relevant, I will now show him why it fails to make his point.

Your argument does not address the REASON or PURPOSE of using gopher wood. God's authority is not the PURPOSE of the wood choice. There is a REASON God chose the Gopher wood. I don't know what that purpose is, because it is not my area of expertise. PURPOSE DOES NOT COME FROM pure authority. You are defending box checking in this example: "If Noah used any other wood, he would err". Mark, Perhaps he would have erred. I don't dispute that. But I vehemently dispute that the ONLY reason he used GOPHER WOOD is because he had AUTHORITY. There was a reason that gopher wood was the right choice. The wood type itself served a PURPOSE. Your argument does not even address that point.

The PURPOSE for taking communion is the issue here. The PURPOSE for the frequency, whether you are right or I am right, is the foundational issue at stake. It has been ignored by both of us. I blame myself. I should have addressed the PURPOSE of communion in my first rebuttal. Too late now. I will deal with PURPOSE in my affirmatives.

I agree with your use of Noah's story to defend specific authority. I do not agree that the principle applies to our debate topic. God gave no such specific instruction regarding the frequency. The once a week only on Sunday position you defend is based on inference, not specific instruction. Any attempt to contend for God's displeasure in the frequency of communion demonstrates a lack of concern for the PURPOSE of communion. I look at purpose before I look at methods.

Mark says:

Concerning examples: SOME examples are approved and others are disapproved. How do we know if an example is approved or disapproved? If the action is sinful it is disapproved. If it is scriptural it is approved. It's just that simple.

Ray says:

This is the worst example of begging the question I think I have seen in a long time. Totally redundant. You proved nothing here.

Mark says:

Within the category of approved examples (those God permits, allows, authorizes) there are two basic types: those we MAY follow and those we MUST follow. Those we MAY follow are optional, but are authorized as liberties (Rom.  14; I Cor.  8). Those we MUST follow are mandatory and are required (I Cor. 11:26; Acts 20:7). We have to pay attention to the totality of teaching on the subject matter to ascertain the difference in the two.

Ray says: Unfortunately, that last sentence is the only comment you made on the single most important issue that I identified in my second rebuttal. If the only comment you have for distinguishing between MAY and MUST is that we need examine all the teaching of scripture on the topic, you have failed to make your point, and your position is not sustained. We need more, much more than that, to give ANY "MUST" weight to an example.

Mark says:

Ray is simply WRONG about the nature of the example of folks in England driving on the left side of the road not being "approved" and "binding" on the roads of England. Ray, do you believe the example is NOT approved? Do you believe that the folks are NOT LIMITED to driving on the left hand side of the road? Do you believe that the example is NOT one that is BINDING on others to follow in that land?

Ray says:

Pardon me, Mark, but this is poor reasoning. I will answer your questions, though I wasn't going to deal with this at all. You have expounded on this example, and disproved your entire position in the process. Let me answer your questions and explain:

Yes, the example is approved. The laws of England approve the example. Yes, the folks are limited to driving on the left side by the laws of England. No, the example is not binding; the laws of England are binding.

Mark, please, listen to me carefully. If I were in England, I would follow the examples just like you did. But that doesn't make the EXAMPLES the source of authority. The source is still the laws of England. The fact that you did not read the rules while you were there changes nothing. You were still following SPECIFIC AUTHORITY revealed in a WRITTEN DOCUMENT. You may have gained that information through example, but the document itself is the authority, not the example.

My point, Mark, is that you are using these British driving methods to prove the authority of example, and it does not prove your point at all. In fact, it disproves it. Your position is that EXAMPLE contains INHERENT AUTHORITY. The drivers in England are following the WRITTEN SPECIFIC AUTHORITY. You are contending for the INHERENT AUTHORITY OF EXAMPLE. This is not the case for your driving experience. England's drivers are following the law of the land. The fact that you did not read the rules but followed their example changes nothing about the facts. And it is the facts that disprove your position.

Mark says:

I was over in England the summer of 1976, drove all summer and did NOT read the rule book associated with the driving regulations. I KNEW, beyond a shadow of a doubt Ray, that when I was driving on the left side of the road, following the example of others, that such was not only APPROVED, but was LIMITING or BINDING.

Ray says:

Yes, you did KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt, because you KNEW that there was a law written down, established by Parliament, which validated what you were watching. The fact that you did not PERSONALLY read the rules changes nothing. Their example is approved because they are following a specific law. That is NOT the point you are contending for in your defense of example. YOU are contending that the EXAMPLE ITSELF contains the authority in scripture. You believe the example is itself an authority, not backed up by any specific command. The drivers you watched are backed up by a specific command. Your point is lost.

Marks says:

While such cannot be said of ALL examples, we are concerned in this study with the scriptural observance of the Lord's Supper. The TOTALITY of instruction (both explicit and implicit) concerning the Lord's Supper teaches us that the Lord's Supper is to be eaten TOGETHER. Such excludes separate/fragmented eatings whether in the same or different assemblies on the same day in the same congregation.

Ray says: No, it doesn't.

Mark here:

Is "proper meditation" then, part of God's requirements for us in the new covenant for scriptural observance? Sounds like Ray really DOES believe in some stipulations, regulations, or law in the new covenant! The BIBLE says that worship is to be "in spirit and in truth" per John 4:24. I truly believe that Ray  (in his explanation above) is very interested in the "in spirit"  (from the heart) part of worship. We AGREE that such is a necessity! But Ray, in my estimation, is not giving proper attention to the "in truth" part of our worship. To be pleasing to God (and yes, Ray, we MUST strive to please God), we MUST worship Him in spirit and in truth (according to His revealed will for us).

Ray says: My point about "proper meditation" addresses the PURPOSE of communion, not the method of taking it. I will deal with that in detail in my affirmatives.


Ray believes he has a major point when he takes the passages I used to prove that God's Word teaches that we are to follow approved examples. Ray tries to LIMIT ME to the written examples in the Bible and he wants to EXCLUDE the written examples from the Bible from the ones he is going to follow!

I believe that we are to imitate all applicable examples (whether in Scripture or in person that we can see today) that are approved examples. The rule, standard, or pattern that we would use, however, would be the written revealed "perfect law of liberty" to measure any example by (written in the Bible OR seen today). I can follow any man or woman as they follow Christ per passages like I Corinthians 11:1. Ray has no point here.

Ray says: Yes, I have a point: the scripture commands us to watch our friends and brothers in the Lord who obey Him. They are obeying the specific commands, not the examples, and they are to be imitated. I can't imitate what I see in scripture, I can only imitate the men I watch each day. That is my point.

Mark says:

Ray does not yet see that the requirement to EAT TOGETHER precludes the second, third or fourth serving.

Ray says: No, I don't see that as even remotely logical. It makes no sense at all. The people eating in each subsequent serving are still eating together.

Mark says:

A second assembly (per se) is NOT outside the teaching of God's Word, but eating separately is wrong per this text! Eating separately is what is wrong; eating together is required

Ray says: as you wish.

Mark says:

As noted above, Ray believes we must follow the stipulation of properly thinking about the death of Christ during the observance of the Lord's Supper or we are wrong! Straighten this out for me in your next, please Ray.

Ray says: I will straighten it out in my First Affirmative, where I will give badly needed attention to the PURPOSE of communion, which I have utterly failed to do in my rebuttals, and you have not addressed ONCE in your affirmatives. This is an issue tragically overlooked in our debate. Again, I am on the defensive here, and I blame myself. Had I brought it up in my first rebuttal, this discussion could go a far more productive direction. We will see what comes of dealing with it in my first affirmative.

Mark replies:

When you go back to the old law to try to justify actions today, you fall from grace (See Gal. 5:4; Acts 15:1-10; Heb. 8:5-13). The things written before are helpful (See Rom. 15:4) but are not "authority" for our actions today. The new testament, the perfect law of liberty is what we will be judged by (James 1:25; 2:12) and NOT the old testament.

Ray says: That is not the context of Galatians. The issue is not justifying behavior, but being JUSTIFIED as righteous in the eyes of God. The point Paul makes is that if you try to make yourself RIGHT WITH GOD by obeying the law of Moses, you will fail. Ironically, Paul actually uses the generic term for law throughout Galatians, meaning if you try to be justified before God by following ANY RULE, you will fail. Mark has spent three affirmatives trying to prove Paul wrong. Mark believes following the New Testament will make you right with God. Paul says that you are Justified before God by faith, not obedience. Interesting.

As for our actions, we are liberty in Christ to pull our worship from ANY WHERE in scripture.

And for the record, NO LAW OF ANY KIND will judge my eternity. Christ settled that on the cross. I will be judged for rewards according to my works, but not my eternity.

Mark writes:

I have used 2 John 9 numerous times in this discussion to prove the scriptures are LIMITING (you can't go beyond the doctrine of Christ), but Ray still rejects the proof. Did we read any counter from Ray that 2 John 9 is not LIMITING in nature? The scriptures also teach us NOT to go beyond that which is written in I Corinthians 4:6. We are to follow (and stay within the boundaries of) the pattern of new testament teaching (See Rom. 6:17; Heb. 8:5).

Ray says: Ok, time to address 2 John 9. Mark ignores the context here. The doctrine of Christ is not referring to the "teachings" that Christ gave the people. The doctrine of Christ is the teaching about who Jesus Himself is. 2 John 7 clarifies this. John's point is that a person who does not teach that Jesus is God is to be ignored. The doctrine of Christ being referred to is the teaching of Christ's person and nature, not the doctrines that Christ taught. Good try, Mark, but the context disproves your position.

Mark continues:

Yet, remember Ray has properly taught that we are NOT to ADD TO the elements of the Lord's Supper! God didn't EXPLICITLY say "don't add to the elements of the Supper" did He? But, Ray properly applies the implicit teaching from a passage like 2 John 9 (whether he knows it or not) to not adding "jelly" to the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine in observing the Lord's Supper!

Ray says:

No, I didn't say, "don't add to the elements". That goes back to the PURPOSE for communion. I will address it in my first affirmative.

Mark says:

But, Ray is inconsistent on the matter of properly applying explicit AND implicit authority on other things, like eating together being required, the assembly for the purpose of breaking bread being required, the first day of the week being required. Ray believes they are all scriptural, but are not limited, and therefore he ADDS to those: you can eat separately if you want to, you can eat outside the assembly if you want to, and you can take on any day of the week, if you want to! See the point?

Ray says: Mark, what appears to you as inconsistency is nothing more than my putting a priority on purpose before method. I firmly believe the purpose of an act must be addressed before the method of the act will be relevant to me or to God.

Mark says:

Ray offers nothing from the "word of God" (Scripture) on this, but gives us his bare assertion! I Corinthians 16:1, 2 apply to us today. God has given us his Will for giving into the church's treasury. Ray does not (yet) see the nature of specific authority herein.

Ray says: Correct, I see no specific authority here at all.

Mark replies:

Ray LIMITS the subject matter in I Cor. 1:10 wherein we are to speak the same thing and be perfectly joined together to the person and work of Jesus on our behalf! Paul, however, addressed numerous issues in I Corinthians that might divide the brethren and wanted them to be united in the same mind and same judgment on these matters. These included such DOCTRINAL matters as: "preacher-itus", taking a brother to court, a man who had his father's wife, church discipline, marriage issues, and yes, even the eating of the Lord's Supper! Truth is not ambiguous, and if we unite on truth we will be of the same mind and the same judgment. There is no basis to LIMIT the subject matter to what Ray said, especially after looking to what the inspired writer PAUL actually wrote!

Ray says: Yes, I do. Mark apparently believes we should be a fragmented and scattered body, refusing fellowship and showing the world a divided body instead of loving each other as Christ commanded and prayed. I guess Mark thinks there is merit before God in showing the world how much more important it is to be RIGHT in doctrine than to make EVERY EFFORT to regard one who names Jesus as Lord as my brother. Mark, my standard of fellowship and unity is the person and work of Christ. I will not divide on any other basis. If you insist on such division in the body, then I suggest that you are guilty of what Paul is condemning in the very passage you quoted.

Mark writes:

Ray! Certainly you can now begin to see that IF folks were APPROVED in what they did, THEN we can KNOW that they had PERMISSION (authority) from God to do such! This should be self-evident. IF folks were DISAPPROVED in what they did, THEN we can KNOW they DID NOT HAVE PERMISSION (authority) from God to do such! Can you now see the point?

Ray says: I see your point, but I don't see it as a limitation.

Mark writes:

FINALLY, we are coming to some agreement. This is great. I AGREE with Ray that some examples are permissive. Ray now needs to see that inherent in those examples IS the AUTHORITY (permission) to engage in those acts IF WE WANT TO  (because they are permissive, and not obligatory). After that, if Ray can see that there are some examples that are authorized (approved) that are examples of applicable, specific, mandated instruction being carried out, he will hopefully realize that those are are binding, limiting, and a requirement!

Ray says: I've never disagreed on the permissive nature of authority. It is on the issue of REQUIREMENT and LIMITATION that we differ.

Mark writes:

The church in question served the Lord's Supper prior to preaching. After the sermon, during the invitation song, a person comes forward to become a Christian. After the baptism, in the same assembly, another prayer is offered for the bread and the new Christian is served  (solo). Then, a prayer is offered for the fruit of the vine and the new Christian is served (solo). Then, a person in the audience who is an erring Christian wants to repent and make things right with God and brethren. The same assembly continues. After prayer is offered for the sins of the erring saint, another prayer is offered for the bread and the restored saint is served (solo). Then, another prayer is offered for the cup and the restored saint is served  (solo). Three different eatings in the same assembly! Ray, is this a scriptural situation? Why, or why not?

Ray says: Mark, your story almost brought tears to my eyes. I have long prayed and wished for a church that would do as you have shared here. Remember, Mark, my focus is purpose before method. To provide communion to a person in the very process of conversion is the most blessed and scriptural recognition of their faith one could ask for. For another person to be repentant, be restored, and take communion as a result blesses me to hear it far beyond my wildest dreams. I wish every church in the world did what you witnessed. It does my heart good to know it happened at least once somewhere in the world. Thank you for that story. I am overjoyed.

It actually sounds like that church is on the brink of revival, and that possibly the Spirit of God is preparing a powerful work in the congregation. A church that refuses to allow the kind of legalistic restraints such as you have been defending to stop it from honoring the Lord Jesus three times over in one service staggers my faith. God Himself must have been throwing a party in heaven when He saw the recognition given to His Son so many times due to conversion and repentance.

Wish I had been there. Wish I could talk my church into doing that, too. You have given me new hope that the church will remember why we take communion, and that it may one day ignore all box-checking legalism and focus on the REAL REASON we take communion. AMEN AND HALLELUJAH! I have been blessed!


I AGREE with Ray that the use of Bible questions is doing good in this debate.

Please consider the following in the interest of furthering the cause of this good debate. My answers follow below.

11. Are the following stipulations found in the new covenant to be obeyed by people today: a. husbands love your wives (Eph. 5)? b. servants obey your masters (Eph. 6)? c. obey civil government (Rom. 13)? d. children obey your parents (Eph. 6)? e. a widow can marry whom she will, only in the Lord (I Cor. 7:39)? f. "This do in remembrance of me..." (thus, eat the Lord's Supper - I Cor. 11:24)?

Ray says: Yes, they are all to be obeyed. They are Christian life practices, and do not affect one's standing in the covenant. Faith affects one's standing in the covenant.

12. You have previously stated that you believe that I Corinthians 11:33 applies to us today, but not the "tarrying". Since the only verb of action required "when ye come together to eat" IS to "tarry" one for another, please explain ~just what~ IS required/applicable to us from this verse?

Ray says: Sorry Mark, but I'm not beating a dead horse. Your position hinges on the LIMITING factor, which I don't buy.

13. When the church eats the Lord's Supper today (scripturally), does God want the saints to eat: a. together? or b. separately?

Ray says: He doesn't care.

14. Why do you believe you can't ADD to the elements of the Supper? What passage would you use to help someone who wanted to ADD "jelly" to the elements?

Ray says: I will address this as a side issue in my first affirmative. Good question. Too bad it came at the end of the first half, we could make much of this. For the record, I would not address any methods in answering the person. I would address PURPOSE.

15. Is eating together required by God in scriptural observance of the Supper?

Ray says: No.

Mark says:

I believe we must do BOTH. We must have a personal relationship and know God as intimately as we can AND obey His prescribed methods which He has given us to follow.

Ray says: No offense intended, Mark, but this statement surprised me. I had no idea, based on all three affirmatives, that you even knew there IS a personal relationship with God, with intimate involvement. Your entire position seems bound and determined to disprove such a thing. You have ignored the relationship entirely in your arguments.

Mark says:

Why not BOTH, Ray? Why not take the biblical position that we are to know God AND follow His prescribed course of action? Pleasing God is a demonstration of LOVE for God (See I John 5:2,3).

Ray says: You have spent your entire time defending obedience as a way to RECEIVE God's love, not show Him yours. It seems you have a problem. Which way is it? Do you obey to get His love or do you obey to show your love for Him? You can't do both. It's impossible.


Eating together is taught by COMMAND and APPROVED EXAMPLE in I Corinthians 11:33 and Acts 20:7 (when viewed in context with all the teaching on the subject). We must have authority for what we do (Col. 3:17)! We cannot practice things outside the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). Please give your full attention to Ray as he gives us his thoughts in his third negative and first affirmative (as we change places in the discussion for the second half). Again, I appreciate and admire Ray for his good attitude and determination to press me wherein he thinks I am wrong. May God continue to bless this good Bible discussion.

Ray says: Mark has tried hard, has been fairly repetitious, and not dealt in detail enough with the methods of authority. He tried, I give him credit, but he failed to deal with all of it in sufficient detail to maintain his methods of AUTHORIZING as valid. He seemed to appeal to tautology, and it just didn't work. His position stands disproved on the grounds that the examples and specific commands were not proved to be limiting or exclusive.

Since we both failed to deal with the purpose of communion in this half, I will deal with it in the second half, and read your responses with great interest.

Thanks for a healthy discussion, Mark.


[-end of third negative by Brooks]



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