Why do Southern Baptist’s and FBC El Do normally only observe the Lord’s Supper quarterly or on 5th Sundays?
Now THAT, my dear friends, is a really good question.
This question came as a result of my announcing that FBC El Dorado will observe the Lord’s Supper 8 Sundays in a row – throughout October and November.
It’s a great question because it seems just about every denomination approaches this differently.
This is so because the Bible does not give any indication of how often a local body of believers should observe the Lord’s Supper. Jesus merely told us to do it, and the early church just did it. No set times. No specific orders for the ordinances.
In addition, the only thing mentioned about the Lord’s Supper in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is:
“The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.” (Under Article VII – “Baptism and the Lord’s Supper”)
Likewise, the Constitution and By-Laws for FBC El Dorado provide ZERO indication of when and how often the Lord’s Supper should be observed by its members.
So in a sense, this is a really good thing. Why? If the Bible is void of any direct instruction on the frequency of the Lord’s Supper then I would be a bit concerned if our denomination or church documents enforced something unbiblical. Wouldn’t you?
This being the case – I can’t help but believe that our Lord desires each church to be autonomous in deciding when and how often congregations observe the Lord’s Supper.
Some churches observe every week. There’s nothing biblically wrong with that.
Other churches observe once a quarter. There’s nothing biblically wrong with that.
Honestly, however, I think both practices – just like anything else – can be too extreme. What I mean is, I fear Southern Baptists’s neglect the ordinance too much and those who observe every week attend to it too much. What happens is we SBCers don’t focus on the death, burial, and resurrection enough and others perhaps (I cannot speak from personal experience – only speculation) fall into a ‘routine.’ Not doing something enough (what I believe we are guilty of) too often neglects the reason the church exists (the Gospel of Jesus!) and doing so too much tends to rob it of its meaning over time.
What’s the answer? A healthy balance. Not every week, every year. Not once a quarter, year after year. A frequency that balances out these two extremes – in my opinion – would be the healthiest practice for a church.
I think it is a really good thing that the SBC and FBC El Dorado do not have any directives on the frequency of observing the Supper. What’s not a good thing is that – as a result of this – we tend to default to recent history. We let the way we have ‘always’ done it dictate the way we do it now. The frequency of the Lord’s Supper should NEVER be dictated by something that is unbiblical. Rather, it should be dictated for the reason Jesus instituted it – “in remembrance of Him.”
How often will FBC El Dorado continue having the Lord’s Supper? After November 24th, 2013 I can’t say for sure. I guess whenever I and the pastoral leadership believe it to be necessary.
So now I ask YOU a question:
Would you please pray for me and our pastoral leadership – asking the Spirit to guide us as we plan our services, giving us ears to hear from Him on when He would have us lead the congregation in observing this ordinance?
Now THAT’s a Good Question!
Thank you in advance.