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What About Sacraments?, Redux: The Lord's Supper, Pt. 2 (Articles of Faith Series)

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The Truth Network Radio
January 17, 2021 12:01 am

What About Sacraments?, Redux: The Lord's Supper, Pt. 2 (Articles of Faith Series)

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January 17, 2021 12:01 am

The sons of light continue their deep dive discussion of the Lord's Supper. They begin to look closely at the relevant New Testament passages related to this sacrament, and discuss their meaning and application. Here they cover Luke 22:17-21, 1 Corinthians 10:14-22, and begin their discussion of 1 Corinthians 11:17-29.

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. We were all born and raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, more commonly referred to as the Mormon faith. All of us have left that religion and have been drawn to faith in Jesus Christ based on biblical teachings. The name of our podcast, Outer Brightness, reflects John 1-9, which calls Jesus, the true light which gives light to everyone. We have found life beyond Mormonism to be brighter than we were told it would be, and the light we have is not our own.

It comes to us from without, thus, outer brightness. Our purpose is to share our journeys of faith and what God has done in drawing us to His Son. We have conversations about all aspects of that transition, the fears, challenges, joys, and everything in between.

We're glad you found us, and we hope you'll stick around. You are listening to Outer Brightness, a podcast for post-Mormons who are drawn by God to walk with Jesus rather than turn away. I'm Matthew, the nuclear Calvinist. I'm Michael, the ex-Mormon apologist.

I'm Paul Bunyan. Let's get into it. The fourth LDS article of faith states, we believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are, first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, second, repentance, third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. In our previous episode of the Outer Brightness podcast, we each discussed our past experiences as Latter-day Saints related to the necessity of baptism and the sacrament, what most Christians refer to as the Lord's Supper, communion, et cetera. Whether differences in viewpoints on the sacraments or ordinances disrupt the unity of the Christian church and how we now prepare and receive the Lord's Supper and baptism as born again Christians.

In this episode, we would like to take a closer look at the subject. In previous episodes, we have described our personal journeys out of the LDS church and toward biblical Christianity and continuing our faith journeys. One topic that was a particular concern to me was what water baptism is, what it signifies, who must receive it, and whether it is still an absolute requirement for eternal life. The same was true for the sacrament. Why do Christians do it?

Do they believe the same things that I did about it? Does God do anything in the sacrament or is it a memorial only? During this episode, we hope to address some of these questions and describe how we have grown in our understanding of scripture concerning the Lord's Supper, the Lord's table, or communion. While we three may have differing views on these topics, we recognize that there is room for disagreement based on the teachings of the word of God. We all recognize this to be an important topic and that baptism and communion are commanded to be observed in Christ's church by the Lord himself. While we may not understand them in the same way, we acknowledge that we are brothers in Christ's church and that we each are seeking to follow him, to be conformed to his image, and that we must be willing to be teachable.

A Christian's journey never ends. When instituting the sacrament or ordinance of the Lord's Supper at the Passover table the night of his betrayal, the Lord said the following in the gospel according to Luke chapter 22 verses 17 through 21. Quote, and he took a cup and when he had given thanks he said take this and divide it among yourselves for I tell you from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And he took bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them saying this is my body which is given for you.

Do this in remembrance of me. And likewise the cup after they had eaten saying this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. Close quote. In regards to this passage, what is Christ saying here when he says, quote, this is my body, close quote, and, quote, this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood, close quote.

Paul, would you like to tackle that first? Yeah, so as you mentioned, this is, you know, Christ instituting the Lord's Supper as he's having Passover, the Passover meal with his disciples and so, you know, the broken bread and the wine, they are representative of his sacrifice that he was going to carry out the following day. It doesn't literally mean that the elements, the bread and the wine are or become Christ's body and blood. You can see as an example of this, Jesus' language in Luke chapter 8 verse 11, which is, you know, the explanation, part of the explanation of the parable of the sower where Jesus says that the seed is the word of God, right? And it is so figuratively, just like the bread and the wine are figuratively his body and blood.

And so metaphorical language like that is, it's typical of, it's a typical Hebraism. And so when his disciples are gathered together with him for the Passover meal, that was a remembrance of God's deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt, right? And it was also a prophetic type of Jesus' sacrifice. So what Jesus was about to do the following day in laying down his life, that would fulfill the symbolism of the Passover. So the institution of the Lord's Supper is the new remembrance of deliverance, which is why Jesus says, do this in remembrance of me. Thoughts on that?

I mean, I totally agree with all of that. In fact, I think that whole line right there where he says, do it in remembrance of me, basically disproves the idea that there's a localized presence, you know, in the bread or the water or that it literally becomes Christ, because you wouldn't be doing it in remembrance of him if it actually was him, because that's like, you know, saying, hey, you know, come hang out with me so that you can remember me. You know that you're actually in the presence of somebody at that time. So I think it is saying that it is a symbolic thing. This is metaphorical language. But that said, I don't think that it necessarily disproves like a spiritual communion with the Lord when you're taking the sacrament, because he is talking about the wine and the bread.

And so it's symbolizing his localized physical form at that time, and we are remembering the sacrifice that he made in that form. So I don't know. What do you think about that? I'm sorry, I was trying to follow and I think I lost it. So you're saying you agree that they represent the localized form of Christ? Could you repeat that?

Sorry. Yes, I was saying I don't think that they represent the localized form of Christ or that it, you know, becomes the actual, you know, blood or flesh of Christ, because we're doing it in remembrance. So it's a it's a symbol that helps us remember him.

It's it's not actually him. But I was I was saying that it doesn't disprove like a spiritual presence of the Lord being there, because he's saying that this is my this is my body and my flesh, basically, to remember me in this form and the sacrifice that is made, you know, at this time. Yeah, yeah, I agree with that sentiment. It's it's one of the I brought this question up just because it was such a huge. This was actually the first thing that the saints separated over after the Reformation. There is pretty much unity in the beginning until the Marburg colloquy. So it was the Marburg colloquy where Zwingli and Luther, they tried to resolve this dispute over what was really going on in the Lord's Supper. And I think they had correspondence before then, back and forth. And some of it might have been kind of heated. So this they met in 1529 to kind of try to resolve this.

But what it ended up doing is they didn't end up resolving and end up just kind of splitting the factions a little bit. Martin Luther, he was a Roman Catholic priest. And so he went when the when the Roman Catholics, when when their priests bless the bread and wine, when they say in Latin, when they say the words, this is my body, this is my blood or the equivalent in Latin. They believe that in that moment, that by the priesthood authority that that priest holds, they believe that there is that miraculous transformation of the elements of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. But they remain in their outward appearance to remain as as bread and wine.

So those are called the accidents where the outward form still stays the same and the outward appearance. But the essence, what it actually is, is completely and miraculously transformed from bread and wine to the body and blood of Jesus. So, Luther, he he had he didn't really have very strong sentiments against the mass until a little bit later in his life where he had very strong words against the mass. But and he didn't believe in transubstantiation as the Roman Catholic Church teaches. He believed he believed in the Reformed call it consubstantiation, but Lutherans hate that term. So but they call it real presence. So they say that Christ is really present physically in the in the in the bread and wine, but the bread and wine are still there. So it's kind of like Christ's presence is added to the bread and wine. So I ask this just because there's very different understandings of what this passage means.

And R.C. Sproul said in the video, he said jokingly, but seriously, he said, so which which view is it? Is it Luther's view or is Wingley's view?

How do we know which is correct? And he said, well, it depends on what the definition definition of is, is. And it was meant kind of jokingly, but he was serious. You know, what does it mean when Jesus says, this is my body, this is my blood? Is it meant literally?

Does it literally become his body and blood? And I don't think we can say it is, as you've already spoken, it's symbolic. And another point you could say is, is that Christ had not yet given his body up on the cross as a sacrifice. So he had not yet performed that work. And so how could it be transformed before the work was already accomplished?

Because they because because Roman Catholics don't believe that that the Passover had transubstantiation, they believe it was like a spiritual meal, but they didn't believe it was literally his body and blood until the New Covenant. So that's why I wanted to bring that up. I think I kind of might have deviated from where our conversation was going, but I hope I didn't go too far. Let me ask you a question, Matthew.

And maybe this will just push us slightly more down the rabbit hole. But I mean, like we learn and we read in scripture where it says, you know, where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them. Would you say that that is kind of the same spiritual presence that happens at communion or is it different? Yeah, I think it's similar. I think it's similar because, yeah, that's something I have to think about a little bit more.

Well, because if it is similar, I mean, if Christ is in in our presence when we're gathered together in his name, how can anyone not believe that the spiritual presence of the Lord is there when we're having communion? Right. Yeah.

Okay. That's what I just wanted to ask because I wasn't sure. But that was just my thought on it. And that's a good point. I was thinking about that just because in reading Herman Bavinck, he's the he wrote the Reformed Dogmatics.

He's really great. It's kind of been maligned of Zwingli. It's been said of him that he believed that it was purely memorial, the Lord's Supper. Like there's there may be grace that's given, but it's it's like purely memorial.

There's no presence of Christ there at all. But he explained that he actually that Zwingli actually did believe in a spiritual presence in the Lord's Supper, some kind of spiritual presence. But he saw it as more of like a confession. You know, he saw it as more of like, just as when you respond to the gospel, just as when in baptism or in church, when you're praying together or singing together, he kind of saw the Lord's Supper as an extension of that. As like, it's an it's another way to confess Christ. It's another way to commune in that sense where we're reconfessing our faith. And so he believed in a spiritual presence in a sense of kind of like, I don't know, I don't know how to explain it, kind of like what you're talking about, Paul or Michael, sorry, about maybe like, you know, we're all confessing together. We're all here in the name of the Lord Jesus. And so his spirit is within us. And so that's how we we are communing together.

Do you know what I mean? But I think it depends on who you're talking to, like the Reformed view, I think it might go a little bit further than that, because the Reformed view is that it is spiritual real presence, but it's not merely that Christ's spirit is present in the congregation, or that it's present when you partake of the Supper. It's like a it's kind of like a sacramental union of the body of Christ when they partake of it. For those who have faith, it's a sacramental union to Christ. So you are communing with the spirit of Christ because Christ's divine spirit is omnipresent.

It's not limited by time and space. So we're communing with his spirit and partaking of the body and blood. And so in so doing, we commune not only with the spirit of Christ, but with the physical human body of Christ in heaven, because when you commune with the spirit, the divine spirit of Christ, you are communing with the person of Christ. And because of the hypostatic union, meaning that in Christ, there are two natures, human and divine, when you commune with one of those divine natures, you commune with both. So we really do commune with Christ, whose human exalted glorified body is in heaven at the right hand of the Father.

And we commune with his with his spirit, with his body and with his blood sacramentally and all the benefits of his body and blood that he shed. So it's kind of a little bit deeper than that. Do you see why I kind of was a little bit hesitant to say it's the exact same as what you're describing?

Yeah, I do. I see what you're saying. So I'd have to think a little bit more on that, but I think it's slightly different. You know, depending who you talk to, spiritual presence is slightly different. But yeah, when I was when I was really studying the Lord's Supper from the Reformed perspective, you know, you think of Reformed as like really dry.

They call them the frozen chosen, you know, but but they really have this really deep sacramental theology. And we don't believe that Jesus's body and blood are locally present in the Supper as we both as we all agreed on. But through communing, you know, through partaking in the community, we do commune with his body and blood in heaven. And it's kind of the working of the Holy Spirit that that does that work. And so and so here's something I also wanted to bring up. Maybe I should wait on till another passage. Yeah, let's wait off on until first Corinthians 10.

How's that sound? I have a thought there. So is there anything else you wanted to bring up, talk about on this passage?

I feel like I've talked a lot. Sorry. Yeah, I think I brought up what I wanted to. Yeah.

One thing, one more quick thing I wanted to share is I think I tried to talk about it another time, but I fumbled through it. Another thing that points to the fact that when Jesus said, this is my body, this is my blood, is it was in the context of the Passover meal. Right. And in the Passover meal, they all there are different aspects of the Passover. The Seder, as I was called, I don't speak Hebrew, so please correct me. So in the Seder meal, there's different aspects of it. So they have the lamb, which reminds participants of the feast of God's salvation. So it's kind of like with the when God preserved those who had put the lamb's blood on their doors. And that also points to Christ, he being the lamb of God. So all these there's all these symbols in the Passover supper itself. And so when they have each part of the supper, whether it's the lamb, they also have the unleavened bread.

So each of these things represents something in Israel's past and the redemptive history. And they also have four cups of wine, which is I didn't know that until I studied that recently. I thought there was just one cup of wine. So so the four cups of wine, they will say that the first cup or the first glass is the cup of sanctification. The second is the cup of judgment. The third is the cup of redemption. And the fourth is the cup of praise. So at the last supper, when they were all gathered together, Jesus, he took the first cup, the cup of sanctification.

And he promised his disciples that the next time he would drink it with them would be in the kingdom. So then later on in the in the Seder, Jesus took he took the third cup, which is the cup of redemption, and he added additional symbolism to it. He said he used that as a cup to symbolize the new covenant. So when we when we point to that cup and you say this is the cup of redemption, you know, I don't think that the Jews were looking at that and thinking that that wine literally in and of itself was redemption, you know, physically redemption.

You see what I mean? It was symbolic of of God's redemption. And so then when Jesus took the cup and he said, this is my blood in the new covenant, I think that he was speaking primarily symbolic in saying this is my blood. And then they would associate his blood with redemption. So I don't think that the apostles would have taken that as a literal meaning.

This is literally my blood, just as much as they wouldn't have taken the concept that this is the cup of redemption being literal either. So I think when you take that whole Seder together and that each part of the supper symbolize something else in the Jewish redemptive history. And then he says, now this represents something new. He's adding new symbolism to it. And then and it's establishing a new covenant. Then it would make sense that it made sense to them what he was saying.

You know, they didn't have to stop and say, wait, wait, wait a minute. Are you saying this is literally your blood? You know, I think they I think they understood what he was saying there. So I think that that adds when you add the context of of the Passover meal itself to the Last Supper and the institution of the the body and the body and blood of Christ in the new covenant for communion. Then I think it makes it makes a stronger case for for not being literal, physical, local presence. Now, I'm not saying that that necessarily negates the Lutheran view. I just mean primarily the Roman Catholic view of transubstantiation. The Lutheran view is kind of more mystical. They say that Jesus's body and blood are added to the supper, but it's kind of left to mystery and they don't really go further than that. You know, they don't want to try to quantize in terms of like the and the atomic structure, you know, of of the bread and wine, kind of like Roman Catholics do a little bit. Do you see what I mean?

They don't try to like really solve the problem. They just leave it to mystery. Thanks for that detail.

No problem. Paul warned the saints in Corinth about the temptation to commit idolatry. In First Corinthians 10, verses 14 to 22, he says, Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

I speak as to sensible people. Judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?

Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar. What do I imply then that food offered to idols is anything or that an idol is anything?

No. I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy?

Are we stronger than he? Close quote. So long passage, but hopefully we can get some good discussion. So what do you think it means when Paul says the cup of blessing that we bless? Is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Must this be a literal interpretation or is there another understanding that could be possible? So this would kind of be piggybacking on what we talked about before, but hopefully we can get some more good discussion going here.

So how about you, Michael, would you like to start us off? Yeah. So I do think it piggybacks on what we were talking about before and that it doesn't have to be a literal translation, but there's a lot of metaphor in here. But because it's a sacrament and it's actually a physical thing that we are doing, there is a literal aspect as well. Not to the bread and wine actually being Christ's body, but as far as how we are participating, are we participating in the blood and the flesh of Christ or are we committing idolatry? And I don't know why, but when I was thinking about this passage, the fall came to my mind because it was one of those instances, it was almost like an anti-sacrament when Adam ate the forbidden fruit.

It made him mortal. We all fell into sin and we're all under that. It's imputed to all of us. And as a Latter-day Saint, I just didn't think that that was fair.

Why are we being punished for something that somebody else did? But in reality, we are all participants in that sin because we're all committing sin every single day in our actions and the things that we do. And this scriptural passage came to my mind and I just wanted to read it, but it's Matthew 23, starting in verse 29. This is Christ talking. He says, woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, if we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets. Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Philip, then the measure of your fathers, you serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah.

So basically saying to them that they're going to have the blood of people they didn't even kill on them, because they are part of that head, what their fathers did is going to affect them, because they are participating in the same things that their fathers participated in. And so it kind of hit me that we aren't guiltless, but it kind of works the other way with the Lord's Supper. We're participating in Christ's righteousness that he has given us.

We're relying on the good somebody else did on our behalf to cancel the debt of our transgressions. And we were kind of talking off of the podcast and came up with this baseball analogy that I really like. You know, we've all struck out, but it's like Jesus took the bat and got a home run and won the game. And even though we all struck out and did really horrible, just by virtue of being on his team, we're all victors. We've all won. So to me that's, I know it's kind of going the long scenic route here, but to me that's what it means to be partakers, to participate in the blood and the flesh of Christ, is we're basically saying like, hey, we are taking Christ as our head, as our representative.

You know, we're on his team and we want the gift that he is giving us. Yeah. Amen.

That's great. Thank you for that, Michael. Paul, did you have anything else you wanted to add off of that?

Yeah, just a little bit. I mean, Michael, to go to the baseball analogy again, he knocked it out of the park. That's a really good and beautiful answer, Michael. I thought you brought some really good insights there. I really enjoyed what you had to say about the fall and the partaking of the fruit by Adam being an anti-Eucharist.

That's interesting. So Michael talked about how when we partake of the Lord's Supper, we're participating in what the Lord has done on our behalf, right? And there's real biblical support for that idea, right? Because the word that is translated here in this passage that we're talking about as participation, or some other translations have it as communion, it's the Greek word koinonia.

And it means to have in common, to participate and have partnership with. So yeah, the KJV renders it communion. And it's for that reason that I personally hold to the real presence view of the Lord's Supper, because when a believer partakes, he communes with the Lord in remembrance of the Lord's sacrifice.

And I like what John MacArthur has to say about this passage. He says, commemorating the Lord's Supper was a regular and cherished practice in the early church, by which believers remembered their Savior's death and celebrated their common salvation and eternal life, which reflected their perfect spiritual oneness. So it's not only a communion of the individual believer with Christ, but it's also a communion of the body come together. And you both have touched on that in various ways tonight. But yes, it's the communion of the body of Christ together with their Lord. So yeah, it's a spiritual real presence for individuals and communally.

Yeah, both really great comments. I was thinking about that too, about the horizontal and the vertical aspects of the Lord's Supper. And maybe we'll go a little bit more in depth on that on the next one, because there are some horizontal aspects to it that Paul kind of warned about in his epistle to the Corinthians.

So we'll get more depth to that. So this passage is kind of focused specifically on fleeing from idolatry. And to buttress that argument or that command, he refers to the Lord's Supper. So it seems like he starts off talking about idolatry and then he moves on to the Lord's Supper. But so related to the warnings of idolatry from Paul, why do you think he is comparing the cup or table of the Lord to the cup or table of demons? And how might that apply to Christian worship today? So Michael, you already kind of touched on that.

Is there anything else you wanted to add to what you already spoke on that? I don't know if it applies directly, but one of the things that I thought of when I was looking at this question is just, this probably isn't a real popular opinion that I'm about to give, but we went to several churches after I came out of Mormonism, and then a couple more after I got married trying to find a church that kind of fit both of us. And a lot of the churches that we went to, it seemed like they were really worldly, just kind of trying to be entertaining, kind of like the world.

And just, I don't know, a lot of the sermons were just real punchy and real, I'm trying to think of how to word this, but they seemed to really pull the punches that the Gospel's supposed to give. I think they call it seeker-sensitive churches. And we went to the church that we're going to now, and I remember they were just talking about how when you become a Christian, you'd have to take up your cross and follow Christ.

And that does not mean that you're going to be naming and claiming it, or just getting everything that you want and being happy all the time. That means that you're going to walk through sorrow, and that's just part of what being a disciple of Christ is, and it just spoke to me so much. You know, I'm like, man, this is the kind of church that I want to go to.

So I do worry sometimes. I think that's one of the things that scares me the most about my new faith is just how many congregations there are out there that just don't seem to want to, I guess, teach the whole scope of the Gospel, that want to sweep some things under the rug and just talk about the things that feel good or sound good. So would you say that maybe in a modern context, the table of demons might be kind of referring to placing something other, someone or something over and above God in their worship services rather than focusing on the Lord? Is that kind of what you're talking about? Yeah, I think so, because I went to one of my brother's baptisms, and I remember they sang a song in the middle of church, and it had nothing to do with Christ.

It was just a contemporary song that they decided to sing for some reason. And so I do think that, yeah, I think that just putting something else above Christ or taking the focus off of him would be what I would consider the table of demons, and I think that's something that can creep in to churches, so yeah. That's interesting, and I don't think I was thinking of that when I wrote the question, but yeah, it is interesting when you're talking about the bands and the smoke machines and whatever and the... Laser lights. Yeah, I mean, I guess I'm not against necessarily certain instruments, but it's the atmosphere, kind of what you were talking about. Is it the atmosphere of entertainment or the atmosphere of praising and worshipping God?

Does he come first? Right, and just to preface what I am saying and what I'm not, I'm not necessarily saying that every congregation that is fun and energetic is necessarily a bad thing, because especially coming out of Mormonism, for me, that was really freeing for a while. Like, oh my gosh, I can really just sing praises to God. I mean, as long as it is focused on Christ, then it's not a problem. We have different worship styles and things. I think it's when you're not giving the full gospel truth, when it starts to take the message away, when you're not being biblical, I think that's when you're really starting to have a problem, and I think those things can lead to that, but it's when you cross that line that you've really started to have a problem. Yeah, that's great. I like how you said that when you went to that church and they said that you need to pick up your cross and follow Christ, that it was that that spoke to you, not the seeker sensitive, here's how your life's going to be great now, or here's kind of the prosperity type speeches you might hear at other churches, but what spoke to you was the opposite. Your life's going to be hard, and you need to trust in Christ as you go through that life. I really like that. Yeah, I mean, we needed Christ to be justified, but that doesn't go away when we're saved, and if the message that's being taught is that we don't need Christ anymore, except he's just there to give us presents all the time and pat us on the back, I just don't think that that is something that's appealing.

If I needed him then, then I still need him now just as much. I think that's the sad part is a lot of those kind of worship services, they try to appeal to the goats, and in so doing, the sheep are left starving. They want to hear the word. They want to hear solid preaching, and instead, they're not getting it, and so that's why I think it is so important to make sure you go to a solid Bible-preaching church where the word is preached faithfully, that they're not afraid to say we need to repent and trust in Christ, and not afraid to say that something is a sin.

That's also something that's not politically correct today. Paul, did you have any thoughts on that? Yeah, really good points, gentlemen. What you just said, Matthew, about them kind of playing to the goats, yeah, I definitely have felt that at times, where it's like, man, I wish my church would be more serious about discipleship of believers, because I think that's important, and it's in some ways maybe more important than getting more butts in the seat. So anyway, I'll move on to talking about the passage. So this passage is definitely, it kind of goes back to the supernatural worldview of the New Testament writers that I touched on when we were talking about 1 Peter 3.21.

And so I'd like to just bring in here also Michael Heizer, Dr. Michael Heizer's take on this passage from his book The Unseen Realm. He says we can be sure that Paul was thinking of the demonic entities of Deuteronomy 32.17 with regard to this issue, since he quotes that verse within 1 Corinthians 10.14-22. So when Paul says, Therefore what am I saying, that food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but that the things which they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. When he says they sacrifice to demons and not to God, that's where he's quoting Deuteronomy 32.17. Heizer goes on to say, For Paul, the pagan gods were demons. This makes perfect sense when considered in light of Deuteronomy 32.17, which makes exactly the same connection.

It is interesting that Paul isn't completely categorical. He allows that meat sold in the marketplace can be eaten, 1 Corinthians 10.25, but is fearful of provoking God to jealousy under other circumstances. This phrase is an important clue, for it is lifted from Deuteronomy 32.16, the verse right before 32.17, where the gods are called demons. And then he quotes from Deuteronomy 32.15-17, which says, And Jeshurun Israel grew fat, and he kicked.

You grew fat, you bloated, and you became obstinate. And he abandoned God his Maker, and he scoffed at the rock of his salvation. They made him jealous with strange gods, with detestable things they provoked him. They sacrificed to demons, not God, to gods whom they had not known, new gods who came from recent times.

Their ancestors had not known them. And Heizer goes on and says, It's pretty clear that Paul was worried about sacrificing to demons with respect to the whole issue of meat sacrificed to idols. The meat wasn't really the issue. Being involved in the sacrifice was. Apparently some in the Corinthian church had gone beyond eating the meat to actual participation, assuming that since an idol was just a piece of wood or stone, their participation wouldn't defend God. Paul had to teach them that this wasn't true, and use the Lord's Table as an analogy.

For Paul, there was no middle ground. Participation at the Lord's Table meant solidarity with and loyalty to Yahweh. The Lord's Table commemorated not only Jesus' death, but the covenant relationship Yahweh had with the participants. So I think Heizer makes some really interesting points there, both about context and about what Paul is actually saying about whether or not it was lawful to eat the meat sacrificed and sold in the marketplace. So I think today, if we think about what Paul is really saying, it definitely applies to us in the same way, right? Paul makes the distinction between eating meat purchased in the marketplace, even though that meat had been sacrificed. But he makes this distinction between eating the meat purchased and participation in the actual sacrifice and participation.

Right. There's that word again that keeps coming up in this passage from Paul. So he's making a distinction between the meat and participating in the ceremonies where the meat is sacrificed to idols. So the Lord's Supper is reflective of that covenant relationship, as Heizer says at the end of the quote I read. It's reflective of the covenant relationship between God and a believer. So believers should abstain from participating in non-Christian religious ceremonies.

That's how this would apply today. And that's something where lines are constantly getting blurred today in our multicultural society. It doesn't mean that you can't respect somebody. It doesn't mean that you can't treat somebody with civility and with charity who may have different religious views than you non-Christian religious views.

It doesn't mean that you need to be mean or off-putting towards them. But when it comes to actual participation in sacrifices or in religious ceremonies, that's what, according to Paul, people should abstain from if they're believers in Christ and in that covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Yeah, that's fantastic. That's a lot of what I was reading from Simon Kistemacher in his commentary. And he said a lot of the same things that you and Heizer were describing. Yeah, because Paul, like you said, Paul describes how meat sacrificed to idols in and of itself is not wrong. It's just when you actually participate in those ceremonies, as you said, that's when the sin comes in.

And I was thinking about it. I think, Michael, you briefly touched on it and said that it was kind of like an anti-sacrament, you know, talking about the table or the cup of demons. And that's how I see this passage. It's like there's a symmetry where on one side you've got the table and cup of the Lord and on the other side you've got the table and cup of demons. And while Paul says that idols are nothing in terms of like the actual wooden statues, when you offer sacrifices to that idol, that is devotion to a being that's not of God. So the idol itself, the wooden statue might not be anything but that worship of, you know, involved with that idol can actually be worshipping demons. And so there is a symmetry.

And I think when you that's why. And I think Paul, you talked about this, too, at the beginning, is that I agree that I think this passage to me is stronger than the institution of the Lord's Supper in describing spiritual presence and actual spiritual communion, real presence in the supper here than in that passage, because it talks about how we participate in the blood of Christ and in the body of Christ. We're participating, we're communing, we're coming together, we're actually becoming one with it. Often in scripture, we see the blood sprinkled on the altar in Israel. We see that blood sprinkling, covering, you know, baptism is like covering, washing over. We see this covering, this motif of covering being like covered in the blood of Christ and the perfection of Christ. So when we're participating in the cup, it's like we're becoming enveloped in Christ. And as you said, you know, eating the meat itself is not wrong, but it's when we participate in that religious ceremony where it becomes sinful.

And I was thinking about the opposite. I was thinking, well, if we drink wine outside of the context of the Lord's Supper, it's not sinful, right? It's not moral or immoral. It's a Christian liberty kind of thing. But then when we, when we partake of wine in the context of the Lord's Supper, it becomes a good thing. It becomes a holy thing.

It becomes, it's separate from the world. We become, we become communing, we're communing with Christ. And so just as participating in the religious ceremonies of another god or an idol is sinful, even though otherwise eating that food or drinking that wine might not, might not do anything sinful. Same thing when we're participating in the Lord's Supper. What normally is not moral or immoral is it becomes immoral, becomes good. It becomes righteous.

It becomes pleasing to God. So I just love this passage for the symmetry that, and like you said, Paul, he's drawn a clear line. You're either with us or you're not with us. You can't sacrifice.

You can't participate with these other gods, these other idols, and also claim to be Christian. There's, there's no, it's a clear dividing line. There's no gray area. And so I thought that's why this passage was really important to talk about because I think it really does talk. There is something spiritual, something powerful going on in here. It's not merely a memorial. And I think this passage really demonstrates that because it was just a memorial. You know, what's the big deal about, you know, participating in the Cup of Demons? If you're just thinking about a demon and they don't or an idol and it doesn't exist and it doesn't really do anything.

But, but if there's a real spiritual communion going on in the Lord's Supper, then there is some kind of communion with evil spirits or demons or whatever if you participate in those ceremonies. So lots to, lots to think about and digest. Yeah, for sure. Really, really good thoughts on this passage from, from both of you. And, you know, it's this, it's this reason why I'm glad the last time we were together, we decided to hold off these questions and discuss them this time because one, we needed to have the time to go in depth on these and two, you know, needed the time to also really prepare to go in depth because these are, these are really important passages. So I'm glad we did that. Yeah, me too.

Thanks for your input, guys. Can we move on? Does that sound good? Yeah.

All right. So we're just going straight through 1 Corinthians. You know, we might as well just make this a series on our commentary on the book of 1 Corinthians. It's a good letter.

It is. OK, so Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians discusses the divisions that had come among the Corinthian church in relation to the Lord's Supper. Quote, But in the following instructions, I do not commend you, because when you come together, it is not for the better, but for the worse. For in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you must be recognized.

Sorry, maybe recognized when you come together. It is not the Lord's Supper that you eat for an eating. Each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry.

Another gets drunk. What do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the Church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this?

No, I will not. For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread. And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you.

Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, also, he took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks of the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself then and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

Close quote. OK, so Paul starts off by kind of rebuking the sinks and corn. So in this passage, Paul is clearly describing the Lord's Supper and stripes related to it in the Corinthian church. What kinds of things was he prohibiting in his instructions to the Corinthians? Why were there divisions and what must Christians do when partaking of the Lord's Supper related to, quote, discerning the body? Close quote.

Michael, would you like to go first? Yeah. So out of all the questions, this is the one that I have the least insight on tonight. But so I'm just going to real, real briefly just kind of give you my thoughts here, because, I mean, to me, it's just just kind of comes off at face value of what he's saying here. But it looks like he says there were divisions among them to show who was devout among them. It says it seems to me that he was saying that, you know, people shouldn't be getting drunk off of the Lord's Supper, like that's just not the purpose. And I mean, yeah, I think I think at that point you've really just swept under the rug the whole purpose of of communion, but also that there shouldn't be people going hungry.

And I don't know if he was saying that people weren't getting it or or what. Yeah. Sorry, Paul, are you about to speak? Yeah.

So go ahead. So, Michael, I don't I don't I'm not going to I'm not trying to throw you under the bus here because I kind of read this passage similarly when when I first became a Christian, because, you know, it's not necessarily a passage you you read a lot as a Latter-day Saint. And so when I first read this and he's talking about, you know, getting drunk and and kind of being gluttonous in the way that people eat, it threw me. I was like trying to imagine what that's because we can we can imagine like, OK, so people are getting together for the Lord's Supper and there's they're getting drunk on the wine and they're eating so much bread. They're being gluttonous.

It's kind of a weird image, right? Because it's not how we're used to thinking about the Lord's Supper being passed as a Latter-day Saint, especially. But we've got a couple of things going on here in this passage. So in early in the early church, believers held what were called love feasts or agape feasts, and they would come together and enjoy a meal and fellowship together. So often the Lord's Supper was was the culmination of those meals. So these feasts are mentioned explicitly in Jude, verse 12, and they're often also by scholars inferred from this passage in First Corinthians. So what we have here is we have a love feast going on right where it's kind of like if you think of like a potluck kind of thing, right? People are bringing food and they're fellowshipping with one another. And then at the culmination of that is they serve the Lord's Supper.

Right. And so what Paul's talking about is within the context of the love feast, you know, you're going to have believers who were wealthy. You're going to have believers who were not well-to-do. And you've got everyone coming together to share in this fellowship. And you have some people, you know, gluttonously eating and getting drunk within the context of this love feast while other people are going hungry. And Paul says, you know, if that's what you're going to do when you come together as believers, you might as well just stay home.

Right. You're making a mockery of what we're doing here. So it is in the context of the Lord's Supper, but it's also in the context of those love feasts. So he's calling out those who were who within the context of the love feast were eating and drinking selfishly and gluttonously. Those who weren't regarding the love that they should have for their fellow believers who didn't who maybe didn't have so so much food abundantly the way they did. They failed to discern the sacred nature of that culminating Lord's Supper that they would do afterwards, in which each individual believer enacts ritually a participation in a communion with the risen Christ, but also with the body of believers. So a selfish attitude at the preceding agape feast represented an affront to the unity of believers and the unity that believers experience in the Lord's Supper.

And that's that's kind of my my answer to the first part of your question, Matthew. Well, that that makes a lot more sense. See, I didn't I'd never heard of these love feasts.

Yeah, I hadn't either. And like I said, when I was taking my theology course and we were we were going over the Lord's Supper passages in the Bible, and this came up and I just, you know, I had a list of passages to read and study through and I read this one and I was equally perplexed with you, Michael. I was like, what?

What is going on here? I'm picturing, you know, some guy like the King Noah grabbing, you know, this big jug of wine and just slugging it down. You know what I mean?

And it just didn't make sense until I kind of dug into the commentaries. Well, and then there's the little, you know, Mormon voice that never, never died out in my head saying, yep, that's why we should be using water, because that wine, it's so dangerous. You know, one one little sip.

That's probably enough to make you get drunk. Yeah. Great comments. Great comments.

I wanted to just piggyback on you, Paul, real quick. I think I think you might have already said some of the things in here, but there might be some tiny little details that I think Kistemacher kind of throws in there that I thought were interesting. He says, In all probability, the Corinthians observed class distinctions in worship services and at the love feasts. Prominent members received preferential treatment. The rich people consumed choice food from their own larders and left the remainder for the poor. They had no patience to wait until everyone had arrived. Instead, they ate without waiting for the day laborers and slaves. We conjecture that some of the poor who were unable to come earlier saw that all the food had been consumed. They're the ones whom Paul describes as being hungry. The affluent, by contrast, had used their time to eat their fill and drink excessively. The word each in the text applies to the rich, not the poor. So I don't know if you added that detail in, Paul, but I thought that was interesting where he said that there were day laborers and slaves that were working all day. And then by the time they arrived, all the all the good food was gone. And so Paul is really sharply rebuking him for doing that. That's that's wrong.

They need to prepare and keep some of that food for the people who can't come. Yeah. Yeah. That's really good detail to sharpen the context.

Thanks for that. Yeah. It's really.

Yeah. When you read this, there's a lot of days. I don't even know if I read this as a Latter-day Saint, to be honest. You know, I might have read the part where he quotes, you know, the institutional Lord's Supper.

But yeah, it's a really fascinating passage. So so there were divisions because of this classism. And so, you know, do you guys think we have that today or are Christians all perfectly unified? You know, and we don't we have no cliques.

You know, everyone's equal. Have you have you have you seen any of that kind of the churches you've been in? I mean, I don't if it's there. I haven't even noticed it because it's so much more subtle compared to where I came from. So, yeah, I haven't noticed it at all.

How about you, Paul? Yeah, I haven't really noticed it either. I'm just trying to think what I want to say here. So on the one hand, I think that there's some truth in the idea that largely the distinction may be between the more wealthy and the poor can be. So sometimes you won't necessarily have a mixture within a church because of where a church is located. So I think I think sometimes you might largely see that, that there's no distinction in maybe socioeconomic status within a church because of where it's located. And then, you know, if you go to another community, you might find people who are who are less well to do than than maybe another church in another community. And that's that's just that's that's part of, you know, Christianity, where, you know, it's different than than Mormonism, where you kind of go within Mormonism, you go to the ward where you live.

And that's where you have to go. People within Christianity can choose to go anywhere they want to go. So people, I think, will generally gather with people who they're comfortable with, maybe of the same socioeconomic status.

I don't think that's always the case. I do think there's some some variation within churches. And I can think of some some really cool examples from the church that I attend. You know, the pastor's wife got involved with starting up a ministry called Off the Streets, where she went and ministered to prostitutes and brought them into into our congregation and had had a Bible study class for them and a clothing ministry for them. And, you know, anybody who was who was willing to repent and work to get off of the streets, you know, was was willing to come. And there were quite a few ladies who were who were doing so. And, you know, that's that's obviously a very different subset of society than than, you know, people in the suburbs of Cincinnati typically interact with. But they were welcomed within our church and they were viewed as part of the community. And it was a really cool ministry to see going on. So I would I would say, yeah, there's there's some variation and it depends.

It's going to depend on the church and what kind of care church ministries they get involved with. But it can be really cool. Yeah, that's great. That's some interesting ideas in there that I hadn't really thought about before about people choosing a church, you know, possibly because of similar socioeconomic statuses. That's interesting. I kind of always considered it mostly it's just like a doctrinal thing, like, well, you know, the Presbyterians don't want to associate with us, you know, dirty Baptists. So they go to their church, you know, I'm kidding, of course.

But that is interesting and really thought about that aspect. Yeah, our church does ministries, too, in terms of I think we every week we have someone, usually a deacon, go to nursing or not a nursing home, retirement home. Well, I don't really do it anymore because of covid-19, but they would go there and preach the word to them.

But I think they have started doing it again now. Now that I think about it, you know, they probably have a million and one regulations and stuff they have to do to prepare. But and we've also had people that helped with the mission in Albany. And so we'll get we'll get sometimes we'll have people from the mission come up to our church. And, you know, I think I think just as human beings, we naturally gravitate towards people in terms of friends. You know, like you just click with some people better. And so I think I may have seen stuff like that, you know, where friends may talk to each other when we would have lunch together and stuff like that. People generally stick to the same people.

But I didn't really see any kind of like this kind of classism that I thought, you know, that Paul is preaching against in his letter to the Corinthians. I don't think I ever really saw anything like that. And so when I came, they were very welcoming. You know, I was just some kid that showed up off the street and they were very welcoming and I made friends and I was really grateful for that. And every time we have a visitor, I think we try to do our best to welcome them and, you know, shake their hand and make them feel welcome. And, you know, we would always invite them for lunch and we would always make sure to bring extra because there were some members that were actually like like the comment that Kisten Walker made in his text. That's interesting.

I didn't make that connection till now. There is someone who who he unfortunately can't get off of work on Sunday morning. So he would come as soon as he could off of a shift, I think, and he would show up just in time for lunch and then the second afternoon service. And so we would always make sure to have a plate prepared for him or, you know, something left over so that he could have it.

We know we wouldn't we would make sure that there's something that he could he could eat when he comes comes by. So I think I think that's a good thing to see that they're consciously thinking about everyone and trying to take care of everyone rather than just gorging themselves and taking the best stuff. You know, there's there's a little bit of everything and everybody shares and it's a it's it's it's great. It's it's actually something that I really enjoy that.

I wonder why, you know, it's kind of like Mormons do it sometimes, but it's only usually after Fast Sunday. They'll have the what do they call it? There's a name for it. Linger. Is it a Linger Langer? Break the Fast. Yeah, we call it Linger Langer.

Yeah, I don't like that one. We always call the Break the Fast. Did I tell you guys about the sneaky thing that I did on the my Linger Langer? They asked me to bring dessert and then like a couple of days later, they asked me to bring a vegetable because I guess enough not enough people were signing up. So I brought candy corn. Two birds with one. You're getting two food groups, baby. I see it when you said that I thought you were going to say like, yeah, I gorged all the root beer or you know what I mean?

Like I don't like to talk about that. So, yeah, I want to put a little bit finer point on what I was saying about, you know, socioeconomic differences and classism. So, you know, I've talked before about Eugene, England, who was a Latter-day Saint writer professor at Brigham Young University. And he had an essay called Why the Church is as True as the Gospel. And I think he had originally titled it Why the Church is Truer than the Gospel and then changed it to Why the Church is as True as the Gospel when a friend of his had read it and gave him some editing advice.

And I think it was good advice. But he makes that point, right? He tries to make the point that because of the way Mormonism is organized in wards and stakes and you have to go to the ward within whose boundaries you live, you can't choose to up and decide to attend a different ward in another community. That it forces Mormons to attend church with people that they may not choose to attend church with and that therefore it provides opportunities for growth and conflict that lead to growth, basically. And I think it's an interesting thought.

And another friend of mine who I really used to discuss things with related to Mormonism, you know, he thought that Mormonism had a better view of salvation because it has a communal view of salvation, right? It's not just an individual. It's a family.

And it's not just a family. It's all of the human race, right? The change should extend all the way back to Adam, right? You've heard those kind of sayings with regards to genealogy and temple work. But what's really missing there, if you think about Eugene England's essay and the point he's trying to make, okay, yeah, you're forced to attend church with people who may be in a different socioeconomic class than you are. Maybe different races, people who speak different languages, people you wouldn't normally maybe choose to go to church with. But minus the true gospel that actually changes individuals, that can be very damaging to people within a ward. And so, like I was talking about with the church that I attend and some of the really cool parachurch ministries that I've seen, people getting involved with going and serving meals to homeless people at a homeless shelter.

And people getting involved with, like I said, the Off the Streets ministry. There's some really, really effective and good ways that the gospel gets out there and ways that bring people into the church who are different. But because the church teaches and preaches the true gospel that actually is sharper than a two-edged sword and actually does change people from the inside out, there's a love towards people who are different that I didn't see before. So that just, like I said, put a finer point on what I was talking about.

Yeah, that's great. And I was just thinking too, in the LDS church, I think that there are some people that generally just want to help people, but I think even for the most, you know, even for the most noble Latter-day Saint, I think in the back of their mind, they've always got this works-righteousness mentality, like this perfection that they have to reach. So it's like, if I'm helping them, it's helping myself kind of a thing, you know? And so I think just taking it out of that context into the Christian context where it's like, and which is confusing to Latter-day Saints because they're like, well, why would you do anything good? You know, you've already got your access to heaven. And it's like, well, because we want to, you know, Christians genuinely want to help people, not because they, you know, not because they try to reach a higher level of heaven, but because they've felt the blessings of being in Christ, of having forgiveness, and they want to help others.

Yeah, I agree with that too. I mean, not only when a Mormon does service, is there, you know, that blessing in the back of their minds, but if they don't do it, you know, there's that cursing, because it's like, have I really done all that I can do? Am I really willing to carry other people's burdens like I said I would in my baptismal covenant? Because if I was really willing to do it, wouldn't I have done it? And so you've got this blessing and this cursing that's kind of dictating your actions. But yeah, when you're a Christian, that's just not there.

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