The Fruit of the Vine: Introduction

As far back as I can remember, this congregation has used grape juice in its observance of the Lord’s Supper.  Some time ago your elders, the session, began to give thought to whether that is the best, the most biblical way to observe communion.  It is clear that this is an issue on which people hold strong positions, and those views do not all run in the same direction.  The session has not made a decision on this issue and does not expect to for some time.

At least two issues arise.  One is the sacramental one: what is the most biblical way to obey our Lord’s command to do this in remembrance of him.  The second is that of Christian liberty: what does the Bible teach us about (in this case) the use of wine.  Those issues are related, but it is important to distinguish them.

Over a period of time I plan to use this space to explore those issues with you, starting with the question of Christian liberty.  At some points you will see references to and quotations from others who have done work in this area.  We will touch on history, both of the church and of American and other cultures.  We will explore the Word together.

My hope is that this can be a discussion.  If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please pass them on as a comment.  It is my prayer that as we consider these matters we can all be guided by Scripture, submitting our thoughts and preferences to the Word of God, being willing to re-evaluate our thinking by what God says.

This is an area in which tradition, world and life view, and emotions may have as much to do with the position adopted as do specific theological or exegetical arguments.  Enfolding all these other questions ought to be the question of the impact of our discussion and decisions on the unity of the body of Christ.  Are we acting in love?

About jwm

I serve as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newberg, Oregon.
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