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Today I read an extra chapter from Frank Viola’s From Eternity to Here.  This is the chapter I bought the book for.  In The Anatomy of the Church, the author lists and describes 14 biblical images of the Church, from the familiar: Bride, Body to the obscure: Field, Loaf.  Each one includes references.

 

“Compare the bouquet of roses to a rose bush. In a rose bush, the roses are one organic whole. Each rose possess its own individuality, but none are individualistic. They grow together for they share the same root. The bush passes through seasons of death and resurrection together. They are one organism. The church that the New Testament envisions is a rose bush, not a bouquet of roses.”

 

Frank emphasizes the communal (non-individualistic) nature of the Church and the headship of Jesus Christ, brought forward in every image.  Jesus redeems individuals in order to make for himself a special people. And He takes us and baptizes us into one body.

 

I’m interested to study a few of these images more.  The Loaf and The Army particularly piqued my interest.  Is the Armor of God given to the corporate Church rather than to individuals?  What does that look like?  Where does this Bible teacher get the idea that the “grains” produced by Christ’s death and resurrection must be crushed and fired and turned into one loaf?

 

On the other hand, how beautiful and exciting to meet with a vision for the Church: for God’s love for her, His purpose for her, and His delight in her.  How do we respond to that?

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I loved these articles on the Lord’s Supper.  They’re written by a professor at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.  So they have good Bible study, and come from a perspective I recognize: Baptist.  Professor Svendsen does delve into a lot of Greek and some early Church history.  For a summary of his points, just read the Introduction, Theological Ramifications and most importantly, the Conclusion.


Introduction

Where Did We Ever Get the Notion that the “Elements” of the Lord’s Supper Constitute a “Supper”? (Part 1) – I like this article, discussing Paul’s reference in 1 Corinthians to a supper, not just a ritual.

Where Did We Ever Get the Notion that the “Elements” of the Lord’s Supper Constitute a “Supper”? (Part 2)

Where Did We Ever Get the Notion that the “Elements” of the Lord’s Supper Constitute a “Supper”? (Part 3)

The Significance of “The Cup/One Bread” – Most churches I’ve been in take 1 Corinthians 11 as a text for their Lord’s Supper ceremony, but they ignore the chapter before that emphasizes one loaf and one bread, and the Lord’s Supper as a means of Church unity.

Where Did We Ever Get the Notion That the Lord’s Supper is a Funeral Procession? (Part 1) “The other important point to note in Acts 2:46 is themood of the church while “breaking bread.” It was not with solemn reflection that they “took their meals together,” but rather with “gladness.” The Greek word translated “gladness” (agalliasis), a word unattested in secular writings, in its various forms often denotes the exultation that accompanies messianic expectations.”

Where Did We Ever Get the Notion That the Lord’s Supper is a Funeral Procession? (Part 2) “So then, the Lord’s Supper that is being instituted by Jesus has an eschatological element; it is an anticipation and foretaste of the Messianic Banquet to come.”

Where Did We Ever Get the Notion That the Lord’s Supper is a Funeral Procession? (Part 3) – “Do this in remembrance of Me” a reminder to us or a reminder to Jesus?

Where Did We Ever Get the Notion That the Lord’s Supper is a Funeral Procession? (Part 4)

Where Did We Ever Get the Notion That the Lord’s Supper is a Funeral Procession? (Part 5) – Maranatha!’s historical connection with the Lord’s Supper

Where Did We Ever Get the Notion That the Lord’s Supper is a Funeral Procession? (Part 6) – “In other words, Paul is not saying one comes under judgment for eating the Supper while in an unworthy state. He’s saying rather that one comes under judgment for eating the Supper in an unworthy way;”

Where Did We Ever Get the Notion that the Lord’s Supper Would Become “Too Common” if Celebrated More Often than Once a Month? (Part 1) – The Early Church probably gathered each Sunday to “break bread” (including the Lord’s Supper).

Where Did We Ever Get the Notion that the Lord’s Supper Would Become “Too Common” if Celebrated More Often than Once a Month? (Part 2) – “In light of this emphasis on the connection between the Lord’s Day and the Lord’s Supper—in the practice of both the New Testament church and the post-apostolic church—evangelical churches must begin to rethink the true purpose for meeting together as a church, and the frequency with which they partake of the Supper.”

Some Theological Ramifications to Our Lord’s Supper Series (Part 1) – “Is the culture of the church at this point based on the surrounding culture, or is it based on eschatological reality? If in fact there is going to be a Messianic Banquet at the end of the age, and if that banquet (as we have seen) is rooted in eschatological reality, then we must see the biblical imagery of a banquet as independent of Hellenistic society.”  and “Since anything resembling the eschatological banquet is rarely found in the context of the Supper within the modern church, so too the accompanying eschatological joy is rarely found. Instead, the mood resembles much more that of a funeral.”

Some Theological Ramifications to Our Lord’s Supper Series (Part 2) – (Who can partake?  Do we have to protect the Lord’s Supper?)  “Bear in mind that the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament was a full meal, and participation in that meal was the very purpose for meeting together in the first place. In fact, the entire meeting was very likely conducted while at table, and the eating likely lasted throughout the entire meeting.”

Concluding Thoughts to the Lord’s Supper Series – “What is needed is not more adaptation of the Supper to accommodate our modern setting; what is needed is more of a willingness to conform our setting to accommodate the Lord’s Supper as revealed in the New Testament. Until we do, much of the theology of the Supper will remain lost to us—and with it, its benefits to the church.”

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