Featured Items Ritchie Christian Media

Question Box

What is your opinion about the practice of taking the bread and wine to the sick or elderly who cannot attend the Lord’s Supper?

Such a practice of taking the emblems of the Lord’s Supper to sick saints may be well meaning and purely motivated, but there is no evidence that such a thing was done in the apostolic period. The silence of Scripture on such a matter should be respected. The fact needs to be emphasized that the Breaking of Bread is a collective church act and should not be detached from the coming together of believers to remember the Lord. In 1 Corinthians 11.17-14.26 we have the recurring phrase, "when ye come together". This is a Scriptural coming together of an assembly. From Acts 2.42, 20.7, and this Corinthian passage it is clear that the Lord’s Supper should be kept within the context of a local assembly. There is no such thing as extra practices envisaged away from the assembly environment. With regard to the bread Paul says it is "The bread which we break" (1 Cor 10.16). We do not see that 1 Corinthians 11.30 refers to elderly saints as such but rather to chastened believers. If it did then the collective nature of the Supper would be a sufficient argument against it.

In addition to the above, from 1 Corinthians 11.30 we learn some of the Corinthians were sick due to the chastening hand of God upon them. This was because of the disorder among some of those participating in the Lord’s Supper. It should be remarked however, that not all sickness is due to the judgment of God, but there are exceptional cases where this may be true. It is very solemn that God should move this way and who would be bold enough to say that He no longer acts in this manner in this late period of the church age? Had two or three elders, for example, in the Corinthian assembly carried the symbols to sick believers they would have seriously interfered with the sovereign purpose of God whose will it was to debar those chastened from the privilege of Breaking Bread.

John J Stubbs

"A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject" (Titus 3.10). Is a heretic one who has repented from his error but goes back to his incorrect view and should now be disciplined?

If v.9 of Titus 3 tells us what the attitude of Titus was to be towards false teaching, then vv.10-11 set before us what his reaction was to be towards a factious person.

The English word "heretick" (AV) is a transliteration of the Greek hairetikos, itself derived from a verb meaning to take for oneself, to choose or prefer. A heretic (modern spelling) does not, in the language of the New Testament, necessarily signify a man holding false doctrine, but rather one who has chosen an idea or a course which is not commonly acceptable to the company. He is a person who is more concerned about gathering some adherents to himself and maintaining some sectarian line of truth and, in so doing, causes strife, faction and division in the assembly.

Should anyone continue with such a self-chosen idea or course, he is to be admonished; the admonition is to draw his attention to the sin. Should he refuse the first admonition, a second is to be given; there is to be no over-hasty action. If he still does not change his ways, he is to be rejected, i.e. he is to be shunned, avoided or "given the cold shoulder". This would certainly mean imposing restraints as far as his active and public participation in the assembly meetings is concerned. There is no suggestion here of his being put away from the fellowship of the assembly, since false doctrine opposed to fundamental truth is not in question. Nevertheless, the stage might be reached when an assembly would have to withdraw from a man who persistently acted in such an unworthy manner, for the saints could be divided beyond remedy.

His refusal to listen to the admonitions would show what the man is a) as to his character, "Knowing that he that is such is subverted"; the word may be rendered "perverted" (RV), and indicates that the individual is in a state of being twisted or turned out of the right way; b) as to his conduct, "and sinneth"; he keeps on sinning, both by his factiousness and by his refusal to listen to admonitions. This leaves the man guilty, "being condemned of himself" (v.11); by his actions he unconsciously passes adverse judgment upon himself.

David E West

Subscribe

Back issues are provided here as a free resource. To support production and to receive current editions of Believer's Magazine, please subscribe...

Print Edition

Digital Edition

Copyright © 2017 John Ritchie Ltd. Home