Holy Communion dunking style: You can’t have your wine and eat it

Some things we all absorb by instinct. Some Christians also absorb by intict. It happens at communion when the minister warns the congregation that the cup contains real wine and that if you don’t drink wine you may “dunk your wafer” instead of drinking from the cup. So, if you don’t like drinking wine, you can eat it.

Many Protestants are either not aware or do not take seriously Jesus’ command to both eat his body and drink his blood. I am not for one moment saying, as Roman Catholics and Lutherans do, that the body of Jesus, sinews bones and blood and so forth, in heaven replaces the substance of (Roman Catholicism)  or mingles with (Lutheranism) the bread/wafer and the wine. What I am saying is that there is a sense – don’t be afraid to call it “mystical” – that we are eating Jesus’ body and drinking his blood. Here is the Apostle Paul:

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24).

And then:

“For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgement to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep” (1 Corinthians 11:29-30).

Here is Rick Phillips:

Why Intinction Matters

One of the Book of Church Order amendments making the rounds of PCA presbyteries this year is a proposed change to forbid the practice of intinction.  For those not in the know, intinction is the procedure of receiving the Lord’s Supper by dipping the bread into the cup. Instead of eating the bread and drinking the cup, one eats the wine or grape-juice saturated bread.  It seems likely that this amendment is going to fail to achieve the necessary 2/3 of presbyteries to be approved, so that we will see the novelty of a Reformed Presbyterian denomination approving a procedure historically associated with the Roman Catholic Mass.  What is more revealing, and to me discouraging, is the kind of argument being reported in presbytery after presbytery.

Typical arguments include the following:

“People doing intinction are just trying to reach people with the gospel.  Why are we giving them a hard time?” “What is wrong with the PCA that we even debate silly things like this?” “Are we really going to say that brothers are wrong and force them to do things our way?”

There is, of course, no doctrine or practice that can be excluded under the above arguments, which it seems will carry the day in the PCA.  But what is most alarming is that there is no doubt regarding what the Bible teaches on this matter.  The NT passages instituting the Lord’s Supper state clearly that Jesus first took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat.”  Then, Jesus passed the cup, saying “Drink of it” (Mt. 26:26-28; Lk. 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).  So here we have a worship practice for which Jesus gave us detailed procedural instructions.  It is curious to me that a Reformed and Evangelical denomination would want to administer the sacrament in a way that is different from Jesus’ institution.  Do we think we are improving on his procedure?  If we think it is safe to disregard the Bible here, where else are we doing this? Still, people will say, “Okay, but why does this really matter?”  The first answer is that it always matters greatly how we respond to the clear teaching of our Lord.  A spiritually-alive church will “rejoice with trembling” (Ps. 2:11) at the Word of God.  We should joyfully desire fully to obey the Scriptures and fearfully tremble at the thought of doing otherwise.  This is a very big matter for any church and denomination, and it makes the intinction debate important.

Second, intinction matters because the Lord’s Supper is important to the life of the church.  To say that this is a “silly” debate that “wastes our time,” raises questions about what our ministers think is important to the spiritual life and health of our churches.

It has been curious to me that many who seem least concerned to be biblical about the Lord’s Supper are those who administer it most frequently.  In fact, during the General Assembly, more than one minister who emphasizes weekly communion told me that intinction was necessary because the biblical procedure takes too long.  I realize that this subjective data does not prove that everyone who differs on intinction has become cavalier about the sacrament.  But the argument, “Why does this matter?” and “Why are we wasting our time on this instead of preaching the gospel?” raises serious questions about our attitude toward the sacrament instituted by our Lord on the night of his arrest.” (End of Phillips).

Ok, so you’re afraid that if you drink from the cup you’ll catch a germ. Solution, come early and sit in front – and pluck up courage to let your minister know, even if he’s not German, how you instinctively now feel, since reading this piece: Dunking is Verboten.

Vielen Dank.

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