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 Issues | Lord's Supper | W. H. Griffith Thomas on the Lord's Supper

 

"A Sacrament of our Redemption"

An Enquiry into the Meaning of the Lord’s Supper in the
New Testament and the Church of England

By
W. H. GRIFFTH THOMAS, D.D.

Second Edition, Revised

The Church Book Room, 1920

To the
VERY REV. HENRY WACE, D.D.,
Dean of Canterbury,
Formerly Principal of King’s College, London.
With the Respect, Gratitude, and Affection of One
of His Old Students.

 

PREFACE

The purpose of the following chapters is to discover the meaning of the Lord’s Supper as it is revealed in Holy Scripture and stated in the Prayer Book and Articles of the Church of England. In view of some modern works, in which the consideration of the Holy Communion starts from an entirely different standpoint, it seemed worth while to make a fresh attempt to apprehend the meaning of that sacred ordinance from the New Testament first of all, and then, having learnt what Scripture teaches, to examine the statements of the Prayer Book and Articles with the view of discovering the real meaning of the doctrine of the Church of England.

This simple and restricted purpose clearly obviates the necessity of discussing Patristic teaching on the Holy Communion. What appeared to be before all things necessary was to appeal direct to Holy Scripture, and then to study the formularies of the Church of England in the light of the New Testament, according to the great principle laid down in Article VI. that Scripture is the supreme and ultimate authority on all essential doctrine. Those, however, who wish to prosecute the study of the Patristic doctrine of the Supper of the Lord may be referred to the exhaustive catenas of authorities given in Dean Goode’s great work, On the Eucharist, and in that truly remarkable, masterly, and convincing treatise of Dr. Vogan, The True Doctrine of the Eucharist.

For the same reason no catena of English Church writers has been given. To say nothing of the fact that these extracts would themselves need interpreting and explaining in the light of their circumstances and contexts, the work has already been so thoroughly done by Dean Goode, Dr. Vogan, and the Rev. N. Dimock, that any further attempt would be quite superfluous.


In the exegetical portion of the present work full use has been made of all available modern authorities. In the historical portion I have mainly followed the guidance of one whom the late Bishop of Edinburgh, Dr. Dowden, rightly described as “that minutely accurate student, Mr. N. Dimock,” whose knowledge of the English Church doctrine of the Holy Eucharist was so thorough, and whose researches are such a mine of wealth to students. Mr. Dimock’s books are among the greatest treasures a clergyman can possess.

 

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I.

THE TRUE STARTING POINT OF ENQUIRY.

Our Lord’s Teaching about His Death and Second Coming
The Institution of the Supper, combining a reference to both events

The sad fact of strife associated with the Ordinance
Is it necessary for this strife to continue? Can some starting point of agreement be found?
The only one is to revert to the original Institution as recorded in the New Testament
Study of, and Adherence to, the New Testament teaching the only sure basis of agreement
The importance of this method
            (1) Gain of Clearness by considering it first of all
            (2) Superiority over Bishop Gore’s Approach “first from the outside”
            (3) Danger of Departing from primary standards and thereby of losing the supreme authority of Scripture
            (4) The New Testament record is Divinely inspired and authoritative
            (5) This is the position and method of the Church of England

 

CHAPTER II.

THE APPROACH TO THE INSTITUTION.

Five distinct passages in the New Testament

The New Testament titles of the Ordinance
The Time and Circumstances of the Institution
             (a) Close Connection with the Lord’s Death
             (b) For Disciples who had been already instructed in other teaching
The Foreshadowing of the Death in St. John vi
             (a) The Circumstances of the Discourses

             (b) Gradual Development of teaching
             (c) Clear Reference to His Death
             (d) The true Interpretation is the absolute necessity of participation in His Death
             (e) Quotation from John Ferus
The relation of St. John vi. to the Supper
             (a) Primary Interpretation to Supper impossible
             (b) Testimony of Dean Strong
             (c) The relation is that of a Universal truth to a particular application
             (d) Or both Discourse and Supper refer to the same thing: the Cross
             (e) Explanation of Bishop Westcott
             (f) Opinion of Archbishop Cranmer
Close Association of the Supper with the Passover
            (a) Analogies between the two Ordinances
            (b) Sense in which the Supper may be called Christian Passover
            (c) Connection between the Supper and Passover, a key to True Meaning
            (d) The Lord’s Spiritual Transformation of the Passover

 

CHAPTER III.

THE INSTITUTION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

Text of the Words of Institution
Institution “As they were eating"
The Actions of Blessing and Thanksgiving
The Language considered in detail
            (a) “This” τουτο
            (b) “Is” εστιν
                   (1) The True Meaning
                   (2) “Is,” not “becomes”
                   (3) Illustrations from our Lord’s “I AM”
                   (4) View of Bishop Gore
            (c) “My Body which is being given on behalf of you”
                  (1) The Words to be taken in their Entirety
                  (2) Their Real Meaning
                  (3) Comment of Bishop Ellicott
            (d) “Covenant”
            (e) “In remembrance of Me” αναμνησις
                  (1) “Remembrance” not “Memorial Offering"
                  (2) No Sacrificial Association
                  (3) Views of Dr. Darwell Stone and Dr. T. K. Abbott
            (f) “Do this,” τουτο ποιειτε
                  (1) Impossible to render “Sacrifice this”: View of Bishop Ellicott
                  (2) Interpretations of Dr. Darwell Stone and Dr. T. K. Abbott
                  (3) Note on St. Luke xxii.19, by Dr. Plummer
                  (4) Testimonies of Canon Mason and Bishop Gore
Clear Discriminations of the two Elements and their separate Bestowal

 

CHAPTER IV.

THE LORD’S SUPPER IN THE EPISTLES.

Consideration of 1 Corinthians x.14-22
            (a) “The Cup of Blessing which we bless"
            (b) “Communion”
                  (1) “Joint Sharing” not “Communication”
                  (2) View of Speaker’s Commentary
            (c) Close Adherence to the original Institution
            (d) The Lord’s Table in a sacrificial context
Consideration of 1 Corinthians xi. 23-29
            (a) “Ye do show forth”
            (b) “Unworthily”
            (c) “Guilty of the Body and Blood”
            (d) “Not discerning”
            (e) “Till He come”
Consideration of Hebrews xiii.10
            (a) View of Bishop Westcott
            (b) The Context
Consideration of Hebrews x.19-25
            (a) Reviewer in the Guardian
            (b) Bishop Westcott’s Note
            (c) The True Meaning
The Fewness of New Testament allusions to the Supper: its Position in the“Proportion of Faith”
The Relation of Grace to the Elements
The Alleged Distinction between the original Institution and subsequent Observances
            (a) Note by Dr. Plummer
            (b) The first Disciples received a blessing
            (c) The Appeal of the Supper the same to-day
Its Appeal was, and ever must be, to faith, with a pre-supposition of Discipleship

 

CHAPTER V.

SUMMARY OF NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING.

The Simplicity of the Institution
The Fundamental Idea centred in “Do this in remembrance of Me”
Yet remembrance carries with it appropriation as part of “Do this”
Also to be observed in company with others
It includes a look forward to the Advent
“Do this” reveals, symbolises, and proclaims the whole Gospel in miniature
Its strong spiritual appeal to every part of our nature and life
It reveals and expresses the “totality of salvation"

 

CHAPTER VI.

THE LORD’S SUPPER IN THE PRAYER BOOK.

Importance of ascertaining the Teaching of the Church of England
             (a) Because of its Position in the Prayer Book
             (b) To test the Church by her own Standard in Article VI.
             (c) To provide a touchstone for testing all other teaching

Church Teaching found in Prayer Book and Articles only
Great Weight attached to views of Compilers and to Representative Opinions
Yet ultimate Court of Appeal is the Prayer Book itself
The Lord’s Supper in four places in the Prayer Book
            (a) Catechism for the Instruction of the Young
            (b) Service of Holy Communion for Ordinary Worship
            (c) Service of Holy Communion for the Sick
            (d) Articles for Theological Statements
Summary of Prayer Book Teaching
            (a) Its Meaning
            (b) Its Distinction between “worthy” and “unworthy reception”
            (c) Its Central Position in Church Life and Worship
            (d) Its Agreement with New Testament Teaching

 

CHAPTER VII.

THE LORD’S SUPPER IN THE PRAYER BOOKS OF 1549 AND 1552.

The Prayer Book in the Light of its History
Its Form dates from the Sixteenth Century
The Embodiment of the English Reformation
It expresses the Mind of the Church as opposed to Mediaeval Doctrine
It expresses Real Differences between the Church of England and Roman Catholicism
Impossibility of bridging over the gulf
Five Stages of Prayer Book Revision
The First Prayer Book of Edward VI.: 1549
             (a) The Communion Order of 1548
             (b) The General Character of the 1549 Book
             (c) The detailed Statement of Contents
             (d) Inclusive and comprehensive Protestant Character
The Second Prayer Book of Edward VI.: 1552
            (a) A Drastic Revision of the Earlier Book
            (b) Its Theological Tendencies
            (c) Details of significant alterations
            (d) “Reformed” not “Lutheran” in standpoint
“Reformed” Doctrine is not Zwinglianism
Revision of the Prayer Book not due to foreign interference

Entire freedom from Ambiguities in Prayer Book of 1552

 

CHAPTER VIII.

THE LORD’S SUPPER IN THE PRAYER BOOK OF 1559 AND THE ARTICLES OF 1571.

The Character of the Elizabethan Reformation
The Omission of the “Black Rubric,” 1559
The Prayer Book of 1552, not 1549, as the Basis of Revision
Essential Doctrinal Position of 1552 maintained
The Doctrine of the Articles
             (a) The Forty-two Articles of 1552
             (b) The Revision of 1563
             (c) The Revision of 1571
Did the Elizabethan alterations betoken Lutheranism?
             (a) The Lutheran Views of Bishops Cheney and Geste
             (b) Archbishop Parker and Article XXIX
             (c) The New Clause of Article XXVIII
             (d) The Testimony of Jewel’s Apology
No Alteration from Standard and Standpoint of 1552

 

CHAPTER IX.

THE LORD’S SUPPER IN THE PRAYER BOOKS OF 1604 AND 1662.

The Additions to the Catechism
Do these imply any new Doctrine?
The Historical Facts to be considered
Opinion of Dr. Ince
Revision of 1662
             (a) Alterations doctrinally slight and insignificant
             (b) Reinsertion, with verbal change, of “Black Rubric”
             (c) Justification of this verbal change
             (d) The Structure and Purpose of the Rubric as a whole
             (e) View of Dr. Heurtley
             (f) View of Dean Goode
Summary of Revision of 1662: Testimony of Baxter
Review of the Five Stages of Prayer Book History
            (a) The Facts Stated
            (b) Doctrine essentially uniform all through
            (c) Opinion of Dr. Ince
            (d) Representative Names of Sixteenth Century
            (e) Representative Names of Seventeenth Century
            (f) Representative Names of Eighteenth Century
            (g) Representative Names of Nineteenth Century
Conclusion

 

CHAPTER X.

THE LORD’S SUPPER IN TRACTARIAN TEACHING (I.).

Fresh Prominence to the Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper through Tractarian Movement
This Teaching is not a legitimate Development of Church of England Doctrine
A New Deposit and Growth during the last Eighty Years
Its Manifestation culminated in the Declaration of the English Church Union in 1900
More recent Teaching in the same direction
The Doctrine of a Real Presence
The Absence of the Phrase “The Real Presence” from Church of England Formularies
The Meaning in Modern Teaching
Our Lord said more than “This is My Body"
Not the glorified Body but the Body as crucified
The Fallacy involved in the New View
No Special Mode of the Presence at the Lord’s Supper
The Latter Part of the Institution practically minimised in current Teaching
The Case of unworthy recipients
The Teaching of Article XXIX
Objective Presence not necessarily in the Elements only
The Meaning of Consecration
The Relation between “Sign” and “Thing Signified”
The True Church Doctrine
The Opinions of Bishop Andrewes and Bishop Dowden

 

CHAPTER XI.

THE LORD’S SUPPER IN TRACTARIAN TEACHING (II.).

The Doctrine of a Eucharistic Sacrifice
The Difficulty of Obtaining a Definition
View of Canon Mason
View of Dr. Mortimer
View of Hon. and Rev. J. G. Adderley
View of Bishop Gore
Absence of Scripture Warrant
Inconsistent with Teaching of the Epistle to Hebrews
The only Christian Sacrifices apart from Calvary
The Significance of the Rubrics concerning the Alms and the Elements
The term “Altar” not in the Prayer Book
“Altar” never used of Holy Table in Early Church
Bishop Westcott’s Note on the Subject
“Do this” not sacrificial language
Distinction between “Sacrifice” and “Sacrament”
Testimony of Bishop Bilson
Commemoration of a Sacrifice not a Commemorative Sacrifice
Quotations from Bishop Westcott

 

CHAPTER XII.

THE LORD’S SUPPER IN TRACTARIAN TEACHING (III.).

The Doctrine of Eucharistic Adoration
The Ambiguity of the Term
Worship at the time of Holy Communion
No Adoration of our Lord’s Presence in the Elements
The Testimony of the “Black Rubric”
The Eucharistic as “The Highest Form of Christian Worship”
The True Nature of Worship
The Relation of the Lord’s Supper to Worship
The Doctrine of “Sacramental Grace"
The True Position stated
Ambiguity of “Sacramental” and “In the Sacrament”
The Church Doctrine Stated
The Testimony of the Service for the Communion of the Sick
The Need of Careful Scrutiny of Term
Quotations from Dr. Ince
Counsel of the Bishop of Edinburgh: “Define your Terms"
Quotations and References appended to the Declaration of the English Church Union
Criticisms of Bishop Dowden and Dr. Ince
Incompatibility of Tractarian and Prayer Book Doctrines
Dr. Ince on the Real Tendency and Purpose of the modern teaching
Reservation
Archbishops’ Judgement
Invocation of the Holy Spirit
“Principal Service”
Non-communicating Attendance
Fasting Communion
Concluding Summary
            (a) True Churchmanship content with Prayer Book Doctrine
            (b) Following Bible and Prayer Book prevents exaggeration or depreciation
            (c) The Duty of maintaining the True doctrine
            (d) Chief Reason for careful adherence to Scripture Truth

 

>> Chapter 1 - The True Starting Point of Enquiry

 

 

 

 

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Related Links

Sacrament of our Redemption Pages
BulletIntroduction & Contents
BulletStarting Point of Enquiry
BulletApproach to the Institution
BulletInstitution of the Lord's Supper
BulletThe Lord's Supper in the Epistles
BulletSummary of N.T. Teaching
BulletLord's Supper in the Prayer Book
BulletPrayer Books of 1549 & 1552
Bullet1559 Prayer Book & 1571 Articles
BulletPrayer Books of 1604 & 1662
BulletRitualism I: "The Real Presence"
BulletRitualism II: "Eucharistic Sacrifice"
BulletRitual. III: "Eucharistic Adoration"

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