The Lord's Supper

We confess that the words which Jesus spoke at the first Supper, and the words spoken by the pastor at every subsequent Supper, are the same words and have the same effect, provided they are spoken according to Christ’s institution. The word of Jesus does what it says, whether spoken by His own mouth, or placed in the mouth of His ministers. Wherever His Supper is, there is Christ, speaking effectively and causing earthly bread and wine to be His Body and Blood.

Therefore we reject all schemes which separate Christ from His Words, either by making the cause of the Real Presence something in the character of the minister himself, or by regarding the words of institution spoken by the pastor as a fundamentally different word than that which Christ spoke at the first Supper, or as a mere recounting of the historical narrative of the Supper. Rather, the words spoken at every Lord’s Supper are just as effective as those words which Christ spoke at the first Supper, for in both cases they are His Words, and He is acting in and through those Words to bring about what His Words declare.

Therefore we likewise believe that once Christ has spoken in any Supper observed according to His institution, His Body and Blood are present from that moment onward, are distributed by the hand of the pastor and are receive by the mouth of the communicant. Therefore it is fitting and proper, and in no wise to be discouraged, to venerate Christ in His Supper, not as a worship of bread and wine as such, but as the worship of Christ, Whose Body and Blood are present in a mysterious manner in the bread and wine.

Because Christ has plainly declared the bread and wine to be His Body and Blood, and has not given us any word declaring a time when His Body and Blood are no longer present, we may in no wise impose upon the Words of Jesus our own notions as to when the presence of His Body and Blood might cease. Furthermore, since He Himself has commanded that we are to take and eat that which He has declared to be His Body and Blood, we are bound by his command to eat and drink all that Jesus has blessed and consecrated with His Word, and to leave nothing remaining. To do otherwise is to bring in scandalous questions which should not be asked, and to impose upon the Sacrament our own notions of when we shall, and shall not regard the Words of Jesus to be true.

Therefore we reject all practices by which the consecrated elements are considered to be common bread and wine once more. We further reject all practices which intentionally do other than eat and drink that which Christ has declared to be His Body and Blood, such as reservation and processions. We also condemn the practice of a pastor intentionally preparing the Sacrament in such a way as to consecrate more elements than he intends to distribute to be consumed by himself and his congregation, for the words of Jesus, “This do” include also Christ’s own distribution to His disciples of what He had blessed, and the commands, “Take and eat,” and “Take and drink.”

Finally, we believe further that the useful rule adopted during the Reformation, “Nothing has the character of a Sacrament apart from the use instituted by Christ” is not to be used to divide the Sacrament within itself so as to pick and choose when we might regard Christ to be present with His Body and Blood, but rather to distinguish all proper observances of the Lord’s Supper from those which are not the Lord’s Supper because they are not observed according to His Words. Thus by this rule we do not regard the private masses of the Roman Catholic Church where there is no congregation to receive the Supper, or the masses for the sole purpose of reserving the Sacrament, to be the Lord’s Supper, because they are not observed according to Christ’s institution.

Our congregations continue the practice of Closed Communion, in which we only commune those who have been instructed and examined in the doctrines of the faith, are able to examine themselves and confess their sins, and who are not members of erring or heterodox fellowships.