The Lord's Supper

The Lord's Supper is a variation of the name and the service of The Last Supper or Eucharist. This name tends to be used by the churches of minimalist traditions, such as those strongly influenced by Huldrych (or Ulrich) Zwingli and the Disciples of Christ-Churches of Christ. Nevertheless, churches holding other views, such as Lutherans and Reformed churches, as well as non-denominational churches utilize the term. It is also used by the Holy See. [1] (



The supporters of the minimalist viewpoint usually hold that the Lord's supper is a church ordinance, and shy away from the term sacrament1. Proponents view the ordinance as a remembrance of the suffering and death of Jesus, instituted by Jesus as a perpetual memorial until His return. Transubstantiation, consubstantiation, and "means of grace" views are rejected. The institution of Lord's supper from the four gospels is emphasized, as well as the Apostle Paul's account in 1 Corinthians 11:23-27:

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.


This viewpoint is most often historically associated with the Anabaptists of the Radical Reformation (i.e., Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz), Huldrych Zwingli, and the English Baptists. Nevertheless, supporters of the doctrine of the Lord's supper as a memorial believe their position to be historically connected to the institution of Jesus and His apostles, and the practice of the apostolic church.


Consecration or presidency

Some churches, such as the Disciples of Christ-Churches of Christ allow lay consecration of the elements.


The elements of the Lord's supper are most commonly unleavened bread and wine2. In traditions in which temperance movements have had strong influence, grape juice is substituted for the wine. In a few Holiness bodies, water is substituted for the wine.


There is wide variation of practice on who may partake of the bread and wine. The traditional Baptist position favors restricted communion, in which the participants are limited to believers who are immersed church members. A variation on this is closed communion, in which only members of the church observing the ordinance participate in the Lord's supper3. General Baptists and non-denominational groups favor open communion, in which all professed believers are invited to participate.


The frequency with which the Lord's supper is observed is often a matter of tradition rather than doctrine for most groups. It may be observed annually, bi-annually, quarterly, monthly, or weekly. The Churches of Christ hold the position that the Lord's supper must be observed on the first day of each week. Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate it annually, because they consider it the "Lord's Memory" and consider the Lord to be their passover, beliefs they base on 1 Cor. 5:7; 11:23-25. The earliest tradition seems to be that communion was frequent. E.g., "[H]ear the Savior: '...I supply daily the Drink of immortality'" St. Clement of Alexandria [2] ( (d. 217) (Jurgens 436a).


  • Close Communion and Baptists, by J. H. Grime
  • The First Communion, by S. E. Anderson
  • The Lord's Supper: Believers Church Perspectives, by Dale R. Stoffer
  • The Meal Jesus Gave Us, by N. T. Wright


  • Note 1: as Anabaptist leader Pilgram Marpeck put it, "The true meaning of communion is mystified and obscured by the word sacrament." Nevertheless as far as his theology goes Marpeck was decidedly more incarnational than many of his Anabaptist peers, and thus closer to the Roman Catholic position than even Zwingli.
  • Note 2: e.g., see What is It to Eat and Drink Unworthily, by J. R. Graves
  • Note 3: ibid.

See also

External links



  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools