The Christian Household and the Lord's Supper: Resources.

The Christian Household and the Lord's Supper: Resources.
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Church family,

In Acts 20, the Apostle Paul tells the people in Ephesus: “...for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27) We believe that this call has been entrusted to the elders of local churches and we take it seriously. That is why we are currently preaching on the topic of the Christian Household. We want to hold forth what God’s word says about the family and the household. In addition, we recently let our members know at a Member Meeting that we would be adjusting our practice of the Lord’s Supper to what is called “close communion.”

Because this current sermon series and the new mode of practicing the Supper are both rooted in biblical, theological, historical, and pastoral positions and principles, we wanted to provide some longer explanation and resourcing for those with questions or looking to dig deeper. 

As has become our pattern, our elders have taken some time to work through this topic in a format that we hope will be a resource for the members of Mosaic. In addition to the preaching ministry, we have prepared this paper that dives deeper into the topic of the Christian household. You will find in it a longer exploration of key passages, big questions, and some practical tips on how to implement some of what we have discussed within your household and family.

We hope this paper is helpful to you as you continue to explore what scripture says about these matters and how you can faithfully implement biblical principles when it comes to the core questions of household and family. The paper should be seen as a supplement to the sermons. You might read something in the paper and think, “I wish they would have added more of a gentle, nuanced, or pastoral tone to their consideration of this portion.” Our aim has been to provide more detailed instruction in the paper alongside the sermons, which offer a more natural opportunity for expressing pastoral care and circumstantial nuance. We hope that, with both sermons and paper considered together, we approximate a healthy balance.

If our staff and elders can help you as you think through these topics, please let us know by reaching out to a pastor or staff member.

In Christ,

The Elders of Mosaic Church

With regard to the Lord’s Supper (or “Communion”), we have provided some level of direction and teaching to our members on this topic, but wanted to make some responses to FAQs available here. Along with some additional resources for you to consider.

What does Mosaic believe about the Lord’s Supper?

The Lord’s Supper is that ordinance by which the church remembers and is nourished by the work of Christ in the sacred use of bread and cup. In the Lord’s Supper, God’s people are invited to taste and see that the Lord is good. We believe the Lord’s Supper is reserved for baptized Christians in good standing with a local church. Good standing means that the recipient of the supper has given a credible profession of Christian faith, has been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is not currently under church discipline, and is not avoiding unreconciled relationships broken by sin in another church.

What changed about Mosaic’s position?

There are two significant changes about our belief and practice of the Lord’s Supper that have raised questions from members.

We have amended the language in our Statement of Faith to include the word “nourish.” This is to indicate that we hold to a view of the Lord’s Supper that goes by the name of the “Spiritual Presence” view of communion. This means we believe the Lord’s Supper is remembrance AND nourishment. As one of two ordinances in the church; the Lord’s Supper mediates a nourishing or sanctifying grace where the Holy Spirit manifests the spiritual presence of Christ in a unique way. When we receive the Lord’s Supper we are spiritually invited up to meet with Christ at the table He hosts and to receive spiritual nourishment from the symbols of his body and blood.

The other change is with the inclusion of “baptized Christians” into the question of who can participate. This is what’s called “close” communion. Closed communion would hold the Lord’s Supper for only the members of a local church, open communion would hold the Lord’s Supper open to all (with no conditions). Close communion is a middling position between the other two views.

Why should the reception of the Lord’s Supper be conditioned/restricted? Because it appears that in 1 Corinthians the fellowship of the Lord’s Table was a central way of confirming genuine Christians - to be separated from the Lord’s table is the clearest sign of discipline. In short: The bible places restrictions on who can receive communion and this seems to be tied to Scripture’s exhortation that those who “eat and drink in an unworthy manner” are susceptible to incurring greater judgment from God. (1 Corinthians 11)

But, why is baptism a condition?

Baptism is the ordinance by which the church welcomes and affirms the profession of faith of its members. Baptism is the front door by which Christians are welcomed publically into the household of God. It is a way of the church giving an account of those who are being asked to be treated as followers of Jesus. Since  the Lord’s Supper is a covenant renewal meal, it should be reserved for those who have entered into the covenant love to begin with. Baptism is the way someone publicly confesses that they have received this covenant relationship by grace through faith in Christ.

What prompted Mosaic to make these changes?

Driving these changes was a theological consideration, a historical consideration, and a pastoral consideration.

The theological consideration was greater attention to the blessing of partaking of the Lord’s Supper and the burden of taking it in an unworthy manner. It increasingly appeared to us that the Lord’s Supper is viewed as carrying a spiritual blessing or burden that goes beyond mere remembrance.

The historical consideration was an acknowledgment that the Lord’s Supper has occupied a more central place in the worship and liturgy of the church than it currently did in Mosaic’s liturgy. We believed that the witness of the historic church should be considered when reflecting on our emphasis on the centrality of the Lord’s Supper in our church’s worship.

The pastoral consideration is rooted in scripture’s call for the elders of a local church to give an account of its members before the Lord, the biblical pattern for church discipline as removal from table fellowship, and the exhortations concerning the spiritual danger of eating and drinking in an unworthy manner.

What about children receiving the Lord’s Supper?

It is our strong encouragement and exhortation that baptized Christians be included regularly in receiving the Lord’s Supper. It is also our strong encouragement and exhortation that children who have not yet been baptized refrain from receiving the Lord’s Supper until they have received the public Christian identification marker of baptism. We know this may mean having to reframe your child’s participation in the Lord’s Supper, but we believe those hard conversations will be wonderful opportunities to talk with your children about God’s word, God’s call on their life to follow through with baptism in accordance with Christ’s call, and the role the Lord’s Supper plays in the Christian life.

If you want to dig into this topic more, we’d invite you to consider the following resources: